THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #26

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THE WAR IN IRAQ

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In This Issue:

 

  • David’s Notes: What You Can Do
  • Shell Game
  • Recommended Reading
  • The Flag of Human Suffering
  • A New Book on the Working Poor

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DAVID’S NOTES

WHAT YOU CAN DO

As folks who, more than forty years ago, pounded the streets to campaign for civil rights and to protest the Vietnam war, it’s been difficult to get used to the new cyber-protests, but we’ve got to admit these new forms are having their effect. And this is not the time to let up or relax. Now is the time for even more pressure on those in Washington, DC. This week, October 7-13, is a critical week for the anti-war movement. The more you can do this week the better.

Although emails are easy and cheap, we think phone calls are more much more effective. Snailmail takes weeks to be processed into Congressional offices, and email can be overwhelming. When you place a phone call you can talk to another human being. He/she can hear the emotion in your voice. And your opinion doesn’t pile up in an In-Box.

FOUR THINGS YOU CAN DO:

1. Call your congressional delegation and register your strong opposition to giving President Bush carte blanche to do whatever he wants to do wherever and whenever he wants to do it. Speak out against the war in Iraq. If you don’t have phone numbers for your senators and congressmen they are available at: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress

2. Call the White House opinion line and register your strong opposition to the war in Iraq. Call (202) 456-1111, Monday through Friday between 9:00 and 5:00 Eastern Standard Time. This only takes a minute, and a real person answers the phone and asks whether you’re “for” or “against” the war, and what state you’re from. If you have done this before, do it again. They do not ask you for your name or address, only what state you are calling from. Call the White House every day this week.

3. Display your opposition to war with peace flags, U.N. flags, Earth flags, anti-war posters, etc.

4. Pass this edition of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE along to your contacts.


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SHELL GAME
by
David Budbill

 

A year after 9/11, it is clear that George Bush and his administration are using the so-called War on Terror as an excuse to advance their dreams of unilateral domination abroad and their Right Wing agenda at home. The sooner we can be rid of This Disaster and his administration the better off we all will be.

Before 9/11 the Bush Administration established an arrogant, go-it-alone attitude toward the world community with acts such as withdrawing from the Kyoto Treaty for climate change. Then, after a brief post-9/11 sojourn into talk of coalitions and allies, Bush & Co. returned almost immediately to its myopic, unilateral way of approaching all issues. They thumbed their noses at Russia and withdrew from the ABM treaty; they refused to sign on to the International Court of Justice and demanded exemption from it; they withheld our contribution to funding for the United Nations Population Fund, to name only three in a depressingly long list of examples of ways in which the Bush administration is an international bully.

And the president’s abysmal failure of leadership in the Middle East, his embarrassingly pro-Israel stand, and his increasingly bellicose rhetoric about invading Iraq have not only alienated and infuriated moderate Muslims everywhere, they have also alienated and infuriated and frightened our former friends around the world.

And here at home Bush & Co. seem determined to alienate everyone but the most conservative. John Ashcroft invents TIPS–the Terrorism, Information and Protection System–so that we can spy on each other in the name of security. It sounds like the McCarthy Era or Communist Russia or Maoist China. The same man who invented TIPS also spent thousands of dollars to cover up the bare breasts of The Spirit of Justice. A year ago we were attacked by religious fanatics from far away; now our civil rights and our own spirit of justice are attacked by a religious fanatic here at home.

George Bush & Co. have found that The War on Terror is a handy tool for doing what they wanted to do anyway: gut environmental legislation and regulations, give more tax breaks to the rich, cut support for the young, the old and the poor. The list is endless.

Yet the American people are silent. Why?

Is it because Americans are brow-beaten and bamboozled by the shenanigans of the last Presidential election–an election that was “won” with illegal and racist tactics in a state where the president’s brother is the governor?

Is it because Americans know that “our” president was not elected but appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

Is it because Americans are incredulous at the Bush administration’s self-righteous, moralistic bombast about business ethics while criminal CEO’s run the White House?

Is it because Americans are genuinely threatened by and afraid of future terrorist attacks? We want wise, far sighted leadership in the White House, not self-serving megalomaniacs.

Is it because Americans are frustrated and angry, because an unelected President declared a war that is not a war? We haven’t smoked Osama bin Laden out of any hole. In fact nothing has happened except we’ve got a huge, new deficit, the stock market has fallen apart and the President has proposed a military budget larger than all the rest of the world’s military budgets combined.

And for what? So we can fight Rogue States? Some wacko Axis of Evil?

The plague of Pax Americana is upon the world. And it is upon us also. We–you and I and our country–we are the Rogue State. As Pogo said once, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Yet as a nation, it’s as if we are hypnotized by a bunch of fast talking street corner con-men and shills eager to sell us a bill of goods we know we shouldn’t buy.

When are Americans going to wake up and realize that this so-called War on Terror is a sham, a scam, a shell game played on a cardboard box on the nation’s street corner? On September 11, 2002, it is clear that George Bush has found a way with his War on Terror to keep the American public from speaking out about and rebelling against the insane travesty of justice and governance that is now transpiring in our nation’s capitol.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This essay first appeared in a slightly different version in THE RUTLAND (VT) HERALD and THE BARRE (VT) TIMES ARGUS on September 11, 2002. The essay was originally commissioned by THE BURLINGTON (VT) FREE PRESS, but was rejected for being “too partisan.”


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RECOMMENDED READING

Out of the mountain of material to read out there on the web and in newspapers, we want to recommend just three items:

1. From THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, Jay Bookman’s piece, THE PRESIDENT’S REAL GOAL IN IRAQ, the one piece out there that, in our opinion, explains clearly why Bush wants so badly to start a war. The war in Iraq is not about Saddam Hussein or terrorism or that ubiquitous phrase, “weapons of mass destruction.” It’s about unilateral and absolute world domination. It’s about a Pax Americana. And it’s about, once and for all, the destruction the United Nations. All this has been a part of the Right Wing’s master plan, according to Jay Bookman, since at least 1992. And now that the Radical Right’s cabal is in the White House, they can act on their long standing desires.

For the details go to: http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/bookman

2. We also recommend Ramsey Clark’s LETTER TO THE U.N.: DO NOT SUPPORT ATTACK ON IRAQ. This letter by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark was sent to all members of the UN Security Council, with copies to the UN General Assembly on September 20, 2002.

To read the letter go to: http://www.iacenter.org/rc_letter0902.htm

3. Finally, we recommend, WAR ON IRAQ: WHAT TEAM BUSH DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW by William Rivers Pitt with Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector.

Author William Rivers Pitt talks to former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter (a self-described conservative Republican) who debunks the key arguments for war on Iraq. The book closes with a stark forecast for American troops if a ground war ensues and urges the nationÕs leaders to seek a diplomatic solution before it is too late.

Order WAR ON IRAQ from your local bookseller. It should be in stores this week. Or go to Amazon.com to:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1893956385/qid=1033827674/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-4259589-8100656 or to: http://www.war-on-iraq.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page to order. Good discounts to individuals ordering multiple copies.


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THE FLAG OF HUMAN SUFFERING
by
David Budbill

 

The most striking image for me in all the hours of television I watched on September 11, 2001, was the picture of a man and a woman, both African Americans, both dressed in business suits, both completely covered in gray ash, both fleeing hand in hand, their mouths open in gasping Os. Their ashen faces and bodies, their postures of woundedness, grief and confusion made me think of images I’ve seen of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the moments and days after we dropped atomic bombs on those cities.

A lot of people said right after 9/11 that the American age of innocence was over. To cite just one example, shortly after 1:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, September 16th, Mara Liasson on National Public Radio said, “A certain amount of our innocence is gone.” She gave voice to a common misunderstanding. We as a nation have never been innocent. What is over is not our innocence. What is over is the American age of impunity. Now and into the future we will get to suffer as the rest of the world has suffered.

Seeing those two people staggering through the rubble of the World Trade Center and thinking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, made me think about the saturation bombing and the napalm we loosed on Vietnam and that made me think about the TV pictures of our relentless bombing of Baghdad, you remember those squeaky clean images of our “smart” bombs falling all over Baghdad, you remember how we sat at home and watched on our TVs as Generals Powell and Schwartzkoff explained to us the technical details of our devastation of Iraq.

What unites all of these images of human suffering, these acts of carnage and devastation, from Nagasaki to Baghdad, until September 11th, is how all of them were so far away, just pictures to us, just TV images to be analyzed and watched with a cool and pristine fascination. Not anymore.

My daughter stood on the Brooklyn shore of the East River and watched tens of thousands of ash covered New Yorkers stream across the Brooklyn Bridge as if they were refugees, this timeless image from Germany, Japan, Vietnam, China, Iraq, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, this image of dazed and confused refugees fleeing–this image that came home to New York.

In the year since 9/11 I had hoped we might put away the American flags, and raise instead the flag of human suffering. I had hoped we could attend to the pain and grief of human suffering–no matter where it presented itself, whether it is the stockbroker who died in the rubble of the World Trade Center or the janitor in the stockbroker’s office or the fireman who died trying to save them both or the suffering people of Iraq who now live in daily panic at what we may, any day, do to them.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This essay first appeared in THE BURLINGTON (VT) FREE PRESS on September 13, 2002


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A NEW BOOK
ON THE WORKING POOR
 

Bottom Dog Press, an outfit created specifically to publish writing about and by the working class, has just published a book called WORKING HARD FOR THE MONEY: AMERICA’S WORKING POOR: In Stories, Poems, and Photos, edited by Mary E. Weems and Larry Smith.

A gripping introduction by Mary Weems and Larry Smith pulls the reader into a plethora of wide ranging stories, poems and photographs about being poor and working hard in America. The contributors are from and write about all the geographic regions of the United States, urban and rural, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.

This is a fine anthology full of good writing by writers you’ve probably never heard of. Very Highly Recommended.

You may order copies at $12.95 each, plus 1.50 postage (a total of $14.45):
ISBN 0-933087-77-2
from:

BOTTOM DOG PRESS
c/o Firelands College
P.O. Box 425
Huron, Ohio 44839
or from Larry Smith at lsmithdog@aol.com
or by phone at: (419) 433-5560

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