They note that that leaflet was found in Jordan.
Saturday, April 26, 2003
Cogent Provocateur has a long post where he refers to the whole WMD's in Iraq as a "snipe hunt." With plenty of detail, he shows how the whole WMD argument for the war is now officially defunct, even if a few things turn up here or there in the coming days (weeks? years? millenia?). If Iraq had the weapons and programs on the scale that it was claimed to have as an excuse for the war, those weapons and programs would have been discovered already. Excellent reading if you have the time.
Mary from Fort Worth reports that CNN had a short report yesterday that showed the Democratic candidates' faces on playing cards, a rather obvious attempt to connect viewers' minds with the "most wanted" Iraqis.
SARS: Is it really a serious threat to our health, or another weapon being prepared to separate us from our civil liberties? After reading this, I have to wonder. And, as Bob Harris, filling in for Tom Tomorrow, reports, SARS is already being blamed for the crashing economy. Harris points out that SARS is really scary: Heck, it's both severe and acute. If it somehow manages to become critical, and turns into an epidemic instead of a syndrome, it will then get a truly appropriate name: SCARE (Severe Critical Acute Respiratory Epidemic). The worldwide death toll from SARS currently stands at 274, mostly in China. This is about the number of people killed in car accidents in the US on a typical weekend.
Members of the commission "investigating" 9/11 are being denied access to crucial documents by the commission's leaders: Washington Post.
It's what they DO, not what they SAY. Good rant from Seeing the Forest about the Bush lies. Excerpt:
Under the Soviet system, people came to realize that they could not trust government sources of news. They learned to look for what was being done. Under Saddam Iraqis learned to trust what they saw instead of what they heard.
By now the pattern is clear. By now we should all be learning not to waste our time and energy refuting their arguments. That's just getting yourself bogged down in the fog and smoke. That's just looking "over there" when they point their finger and shout, "Look over there!" Their "facts" and arguments are just trees. See the forest. The forest is this: they lie. They just lie. They say whatever their polls and focus groups tell them to say. Learn to see only what they do.
This is what democracy looks like? US Forces Make Iraqis Strip and Walk Naked in Public. From the Memory Hole. Thanks to Mary in Fort Worth for the link!
Tell Wolf what you think: "Should the United States consider launching a pre-emptive strike against North Korea?"
Former POW chooses football over Bush. From Atrios.
From Slowpoke. I guess this finally answers the question: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Answer: Because there was finally a break in the traffic.
Cars, cars go away
Park yourselves and rust away
You've killed millions, aim for more
Made our land one big eyesore
People drive to earn their pay
Which they spend on Chevrolet
Bush and pals grab foreign soil
So you'll have your lifeblood oil
Cars, cars go away
Leave the roads for kids to play!
It's outrage day! In addition to the NY Times editorial that I rant about below, Cyndy at MouseMusings rants about an ABC News report which quotes administration officials saying that the war in Iraq was more about a global show of US power. Let's impeach the shrub now, while there's still a world left in which to impeach him.
What? The NY Times lead editorial today has this amazing paragraph:
This page agreed with the president's conviction that there were world-threatening weapons in Iraq, if not the manner in which the United States went to war. We still tend to believe they are there. Iraq certainly had biological and chemical weapons, and a program to create nuclear ones, at one point. If everything were indeed destroyed, Saddam Hussein put his nation through years of crippling economic boycotts and brought on the ruin of his regime for no good reason. On the other hand, it no longer seems totally inconceivable that the government was so corrupt and out of touch with reality that it was not even capable of operating rationally when its survival was at stake.
(Usual caveat that I'm not defending Saddam, blah blah, but) Don't you think that if all of the so-called WMD's had been destroyed, and the regime was concerned with its survival, that it might have claimed that it had no WMD's anymore? Maybe it would have invited the US Congress to come inspect for themselves, bringing as many experts along with them as they wanted. Doesn't it seem likely that, even though previous inspection teams included spies who were more interested in Saddam's whereabouts than they were in WMD's, that Saddam would nevertheless permit UN inspectors to return to his country, with free access to any site they chose? And if the inspectors found things they thought were technically in violation, like El Samoud missiles, that Iraq might agree to destroy them, even if they did not agree that they were in violation?
Well, Iraq did all of those things. What seems totally inconceivable at this point is that there was anything at all that Saddam could have done, even including live self-immolation on CNN, that would have stopped the US-led invasion of Iraq. There were two brutal regimes involved here--Saddam's and Bush's. Of the two, Saddam's acted more rationally. As has been reported, Bush said back in March 2002 "F*** Saddam. We're taking him out." None of the "debates" in Congress or in the UN, nor anything that Saddam did or might have done, was apparently going to affect that in the slightest. And in the finest American tradition of blaming the victim, the Times says that Iraq's "government was so corrupt and out of touch with reality that it was not even capable of operating rationally when its survival was at stake." He "brought on the ruin of his regime for no good reason?" Because he said didn't have WMD's when maybe he really didn't? What has to be clear (and I'm sure it is) to leaders all over the world--from Assad in Syria to Kim in N. Korea to Castro in Cuba to Chirac in France--is that once Bush decides to target a country, there is nothing (like evidence or truth or actions to deal with his alleged reasons) that is going to stop him. Furthermore, it is clear that our embedded media will support him, no matter what.
Friday, April 25, 2003
Mark that red state blue!
Unless Alabama's election law is changed, President Bush could be left off the state's presidential election ballot in 2004.
The problem is that the Republican National Convention is being held later than usual to avoid conflict with the Olympics and the GOP won't choose a candidate until Sept. 2 - two days after Alabama's Aug. 31 deadline to certify presidential candidates.
Republicans are asking the Democrat-controlled Legislature to change the law and extend the deadline until Sept. 5. That bill is on the work agenda in the House for Thursday, but some Republicans say they are concerned the bill has been placed behind several controversial issues and may not come up for consideration.
"I don't think the people know that if this doesn't pass, they won't get to vote for President Bush," said Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn. He said if the bill doesn't pass, Bush could be forced to run as a write-in in Alabama. -- from the Northwest Alabama TimesDaily. Thanks to Lean Left for the link. (Actually, the main reason the Republitrons are having their convention so late is to capitalize on the third anniversary of 9/11. Hopefully by then people will start to realize that 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, that he may have been able to prevent it, that he has used it as an excuse for spending billions of dollars to kill thousands of people who had nothing to do with it, and that it was total nonsense to give him any additional mandate or authority based on that tragedy.)
The Right to Travel by Human Power
Cyclists and pedestrians have a legal right to access every destination reachable by public roads. This means that they deserve safe accommodation on every road and across every intersection. Non-motorized travel must not be prohibited except where controlled-access expressways provide service that is completely redundant to safe and efficient routes for non-motorized users. Accommodation of cyclists and pedestrians must be provided via safe, lawful and courteous behavior by other road users and by appropriate engineering of roadways. -- Lead paragraph from an excellent article by Steven G. Goodridge.
I am constantly torn between a desire out there on my bike to claim my right to road space (while of course getting where I'm going in a cheap, efficient and healthful way) with a desire to avoid the hassle and take the bus and/or walk. For getting to work, riding the bike is certainly faster and more flexible, competing rather well with driving. But as far as my nerves go, walking to and from bus stops and riding the bus is much more relaxing than either cycling or driving. So many drivers seem completely unaware of the rights of cyclists and are totally unsympathetic to the arguments in that article. My job deals with research on cars and trucks (safety features, mostly), and I own a car and drive it occasionally, but I'm pretty much a car-hater. As I slowly progress toward grumpy-old-manhood I find myself more and more often muttering at the cars going by "Stop Driving!" So many people live and work in places that couldn't possibly survive without automobiles--and that's a crime.
More on WMD's from the Times (UK).
Stacking the deck:
Plenty of places on the web seem to be selling "Official Iraqi" card decks, mostly imitations of the ones issued to US troops for tracking down high-ranking Iraqis. (example) Has anyone come up with a "US Most Wanted" playing card set, or am I going to have to do it myself?
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Some choice excerpts from the Moron-in-Chief's speech in Ohio today:
We've been through some tough times here in America. We've had a recession. And then we had an enemy attack us -- then we attacked back. (Applause.) There's been the uncertainty, uncertainty of war hanging over our heads. Then we had some of our corporate citizens forget what it means to be a responsible citizen. And they didn't tell the truth to employees and shareholders. We had to deal with the corporate scandals that rocked the confidence of America.
I want to thank you for bringing your families. I thank you for showing your families what you have done to help make history, to help make the world more peaceful. You tell your children when they see the images of war on their TV sets that we take the action we take, and you build the products you build, because we believe in peace in America. We understand we have an obligation to keep our nation secure. You build the weapons you build here because we love freedom in this country. (Applause.)
In Iraq, we are defending this nation's security. After the attacks of September the 11th, 2001, we will not allow grave threats to go unopposed. (Applause.) We are now working to locate and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. (Applause.)
Iraqis with firsthand knowledge of these programs, including several top officials who have come forward recently -- some voluntarily -- (laughter) -- others not -- (laughter) -- are beginning to cooperate, are beginning to let us know what the facts were on the ground. And that's important because the regime of Saddam Hussein spent years hiding and disguising his weapons. He tried to fool the United Nations, and did for 12 years, by hiding these weapons. (Applause.) And so, it's going to take time to find them. But we know he had them. And whether he destroyed them, moved them, or hid them, we're going to find out the truth. And one thing is for certain: Saddam Hussein no longer threatens America with weapons of mass destruction. (Applause.)
I guess it's up to the bloggers--again! Many reporters attended Strom Thurmond's birthday party where Trent Lott made his infamous gaff, but it was ignored in almost all reports until bloggers made it an issue two days later. Well, I just checked out the Washington Post, NY Times, and CNN articles, and none of them even mention Bush's statement that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction may not exist. They do all indicate that he considers $350 billion to be "little bitty."
I posted my previous rant ("Bush admits..."; read it first if you haven't already) on our local e-mail list. I got a quick response from Eric, who pointed out: Bob ... actually in his state of the union address he said repeatedly things like "he has given no evidence of destroying them" rather than "he has not destroyed them." Wanting, at least usually, to be as accurate as possible, I did a little research and responded to Eric as follows:
You're basically correct about the state of the union address, although he did say that the line that he repeated many times later: "If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him." While from a technically logical point of view this doesn't preclude attacking anyway, it clearly suggests that possession of weapons will be THE reason for attacking. But back in October, Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati where he said that Iraq posesses chemical and biological weapons:
Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.
And in his address the night the war began he said:
The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.
I'm pretty sure there have been other quotes from Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, Fleischer and others along the lines of "He's got them. We know he's got them." Hopefully there will be a few in the media ready to quote these if Bush tries to use his qualifiers from the state of the union address to cover his butt. And as far as the supposed lack of documentation regarding the destruction of weapons, I think there are several responses, both flippant and accurate:
"Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence." (What Rummy said about WMD's)
The documents may well have been destroyed in any of the numerous bombings over the past 12 years, or in the recent looting of most government ministries in Baghdad.
If you were destroying something you weren't supposed to have, and had said you didn't have, would you document it?
Finally, I guess I'd say that W's speechwriters clearly made an attempt at a pre-emptive butt-covering. Any attempt to use it now should immediately be jumped on with these question: "Why? Were you not sure of your own information, or did you actually know that it was false? One-hundred twenty-three US soldiers are dead because you took us to war on pretexts that you knew were false?"
So, at least in my liberal, logical mind, we've got him, in his own words. Unfortunately, he's got the media and Tom DeLay and millions of warons, and he's the type of person who always believes he's right, no matter how irrefutable the proof to the contrary may be.
Bush admits there may not have been any WMD's!
So what was the war about, George? Are you going to say that inspections weren't going to work because, well, there was nothing to find?
"It's going to take time to find them," Bush said of Iraq's alleged chemical and biological weapons as well as a nuclear weapons program Washington insisted Saddam Hussein was pursuing.
"But we know he had them, and whether he destroyed them, moved them or hid them, we're going to find out the truth. And one thing is for certain, Saddam Hussein no longer threatens America with weapons of mass destruction."
It was the first time Bush has raised the possibility that the alleged weapons were destroyed before the war and might not be found. -- from Reuters.
This should be THE biggest story of the year--Bush undercuts his own excuse for the war.
Thousands of Iraqis have been reduced to poverty, raped and murdered by rampaging goons as U.S. Marines stood around and watched. Wanna guess how long it will take them to "get over it"? We watched the plunder of museums in Mosul and Baghdad safe at home with our tisk-tisk dismay, but Iraqis will remain outraged by the wanton devastation we wrought through war, permitted through negligence and shrugged off through arrogance. ("We didn't allow it," Rumsfeld shrugged. "It happened.") Imagine foreign troops sitting idly, laughing as hooligans trashed the Smithsonian, stole the gold from Fort Knox and burned down the Department of the Interior.
That was us in Iraq. -- Ted Rall
A Bush advisor said that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry "looks French." Touché! Can we please give the country back to the grownups now?
"There is no supremacy of life or physical integrity over economic interests," according to a court order in Argentina. Apparently, factory owners had shut down factories. Workers reopened them and ran the factories themselves, doing better than under the previous management. The former owners decide they want to take the factories back, so they get the court order and heavily-armed cops to do it for them. (From the WSWS)
At this point, though, we can only hope it will all turn out for the best, and that a retired U.S. general will figure out how to use the country's natural resources to end poverty, build excellent schools and provide crime-free streets and an electoral system where positions of power don't go to the highest bidder. Then he can come back and apply this genius at home, where we've got plenty of unwelcome violence, poverty and on-the-take politicians.
However, in the unlikely case this fantasy comes true, albeit at an untold price in money, lives and human suffering, it should be remembered that this was not the justification for war given to the American people.
And, in a more sober mood, one must still ask the embarrassing yet essential question: Did our president knowingly deceive us in his rush to war?
If he did, and we are truly concerned about our own democracy, we would have to acknowledge that such an egregious abuse of power rises to the status of an impeachable offense. -- Robert Scheer.
Let's you and him fight:
A senior White House official, asserted today that Mr. Gingrich's criticism "was seen at the White House as an attack on the president, not an attack on Powell." There was widespread anger at the White House, the official said, but he declined to characterize the reaction of Mr. Bush himself. -- NY Times. Maybe he'll declare Gingrich an "enemy combatant" and send him off to Guantanamo Bay. Certainly no 15-year-old or 85-year-old "Taliban" ever did as much damage to this country as Gingrich. Let's hope that this is the start of lots of infighting among the neo-conmen which ultimately leads to their demise.
Flag-o-Rama! Patriotic items for fanatical flagwavers.
(Hint: From what I can tell, the tire is satire, while the B-52 bombing Iraqi Freedom with America is an item actually for sale out there.)
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Pretty good article on Dennis Kucinch in the NY Times today. That's Kucinich, Democratic Congressman from Ohio, running for president! Click on the banner at the top of the right frame to learn more about Kucinich and to contribute to or volunteer for his campaign.
Free Air Time Campaign: One of the things we need to support to get our country back.
Powell says there will be consequences for France's opposition to the war on Iraq. I'd suggest a huge "Merci" along with a "Nous sommes désolés." (We're sorry.) The administration seems to think that it is time to end the sanctions against Iraq. The sanctions were supposedly in place because the people ruling Iraq had used (apparently true, even supposedly on "their own people") and were thought to still possess (apparently false) so-called weapons of mass destruction. The current de facto rulers of Iraq are from a country which not only undoubtedly possesses huge quantities of WMD's, but has expressed a willingness to use nuclear weapons, by far the worst of the WMD's, against countries that don't have them. That country is the only one ever to have used nuclear weapons against people. That country has used chemical weapons, even "against its own people" (ask the thousands of Vietnam vets sickened by Agent Orange), and continues to use chemical weapons in the "war on drugs" in Colombia and "dirty bombs" made of depleted uranium in Afghanistan and Iraq. As US military bases are established in Iraq, it seems quite possible that there will be far more WMD's in Iraq in six months than there are now. It seems that if sanctions really worked against the proliferation of WMD's, now would be the time to tighten them, not remove them. (I'm not advocating continuing sanctions, just saying that there may be more justification for them now than there was three months ago.)
Edward Said on the war:
Adding to the fraudulence of the weapons that weren't there, the Stalingrads that didn't occur, the formidable artillery defenses that never happened, I wouldn't be surprised if Saddam disappeared suddenly because a deal was made in Moscow to let him out with his family and money in return for the country. The war had gone badly for the US in the south, and Bush couldn't risk more of the same in Baghdad. US National Security adviser Condoleeza Rice appeared in Russia on April 7. Two days later, Baghdad fell on April 9. Draw your own conclusions, but isn't it possible that as a result of discussions with the Republican Guard mentioned by Rumsfeld, Saddam bought himself out in return for abandoning the whole thing to the Americans and their British allies, who could then proclaim a brilliant victory.
Americans have been cheated, Iraqis have suffered impossibly, and Bush looks like the moral equivalent of a cowboy sheriff who has just led his righteous posse to a victorious showdown against an evil enemy. On matters of the gravest importance to millions of people constitutional principles have been violated and the electorate lied to unconscionably. We are the ones who must have our democracy back. Enough of smoke and mirrors and smooth talking hustlers.
Kucinich! Kucinich! Kucinich!
Good article on Dennis Kucinich from the Progressive. That's presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, US Congressman from Cleveland, former mayor of Cleveland, head of the progressive caucus. Kucinich! Kucinich! Kucinich! (Repetitition worked for the bad guys--let's put it to work for a good guy!)
Proud: Why? A veteran who's a member of our local peace group posted this response to hate mail received by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War:
It really amazes me how tough guys like you can brag about what just happened in Iraq. The US military against Iraq is the equivalent of a High School Senior class beating up a Kindergarten Class. You might call that heroic but I call it cowardice. What we have done and allowed to be done to the people and country of Iraq makes me sick. Anybody that is proud of what we did there has no right to call themselves Christian or even Human. The amount of war crimes committed by the US military has not been seen on this earth since the glory days of the Third Reich. Sayings like "Live Free or Die" and "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" may be noble self mantras but to enforce or inflict them on unwilling people is a crime against Humanity of the highest order.
Bao Loc, Vn.
Okay, so they did have WMD's:
While this reporter could not interview the scientist, she was permitted to see him from a distance at the sites where he said that material from the arms program was buried.
Clad in nondescript clothes and a baseball cap, he pointed to several spots in the sand where he said chemical precursors and other weapons material were buried. This reporter also accompanied MET Alpha on the search for him and was permitted to examine a letter written in Arabic that he slipped to American soldiers offering them information about the program and seeking their protection. -- from Judith Miller's "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert" article in the NY Times on Monday. I basically rejected the article out of hand as nonsense based on the headline, but I didn't realize how ridiculous it was until I read this article from Counterpunch and went back to the Times online and read Miller's article in full. Watching a guy "in nondescript clothes and a baseball cap" point at the sand was her only contact with the so-called scientist.
More from Miller's article:
Under the terms of her accreditation to report on the activities of MET Alpha, this reporter was not permitted to interview the scientist or visit his home. Nor was she permitted to write about the discovery of the scientist for three days, and the copy was then submitted for a check by military officials.
Those officials asked that details of what chemicals were uncovered be deleted. They said they feared that such information could jeopardize the scientist's safety by identifying the part of the weapons program where he worked.
I'd say that Miller, and the Times in general, are so embedded at this point that they will be giving birth to numerous military-fathered offspring next January. That they would run the article at all based on such non-information is appalling. It must recall the "good old days" for Russian veterans of Tass and Pravda.
From Ted Rall.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
I haven't read it yet, but this sounds like a book you and I might want to read: Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology and Bioterrorism, by Marion Nestle. From the review:
"For reasons of history, inertia, turf disputes and just plain greed," she writes, "government oversight of food safety has long tended to provide far more protection to food producers than to the public."
Don't miss the newest Tom Tomorrow cartoon.
Kids being held at Gitmo: No charges, of course. Just bomb their Afghan home, drag them across the ocean, imprison them for over a year--leave no child behind.
Another Reason for the Looting:
If such weapons or the means of making them have been removed from the centralized control of former Iraqi officials, high-ranking U.S. officials acknowledged, then the war may prove to aggravate the proliferation threat that President Bush said he fought to forestall.
"It's a danger," Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said in a telephone interview. There are signs, he said, "that some of the looting is actually strategic." Former Baath Party and Iraqi government officials appear to be "doing at least some of the looting" of government facilities, he said, "including those that might have records or materials" relating to weapons of mass destruction. -- Washington Post. So the neocons, of whom Feith is one of the leading blights, appear willing to admit that the bungling (or worse) which allowed the looting to happen may have actually contributed to the proliferation of weapons, as long as it gives them cover for not actually finding any WMD's. Also, the article points out how the Pentagon is rapidly exhausting its list of suspected WMD sites, without finding anything. It implies that they will soon start a door-to-door witchhunt. I'd say maybe it's time to revise downward the supposed number of UN resolutions that Iraq was in violation of. The Bushies made a weak and highly-flawed case for the war to begin with--it only appears more weak and flawed as time goes on.
I ranted last year about how crazy it was for Alabama to outbid other states to get a Hyundai factory located in Montgomery at the cost of $133 million, or $66,500 per job (see http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bgoodsel/post911/archive2002.htm, scroll down to April 29). But Alabamians are rank beginners compared to the Bushies! Paul Krugman points out that the Bushies are claiming that 1.4 million jobs will be created by their plan to cut $726 billion in taxes, which works out to over $500,000 per job. Krugman points out that it would be a lot cheaper for the government just to hire people directly. By my calculations, $726 billion could pay 5 million people $29000 a year for 5 years--more if it were earning interest! It would also go to people more likely to spend it (on something other than Lockheed Martin (destroy) and Bechtel (rebuild) stock), giving a further boost to the economy. Of course, all of this is sophistry--there is no $726 billion to be dolled out in either tax cuts or jobs programs. Instead, it is being looted from the states and from the future.
Monday, April 21, 2003
What the war was really about: Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq. The article also repeats a lie which just won't die:
In a particularly important development, officials said the United States was likely to reduce American forces in Saudi Arabia, as well. The main reason for that presence, after all, was to protect the Saudi government from the threat Iraq has posed since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
The idea that Iraq was threatening Saudi Arabia in 1990 was based on fabricated satellite photos supposedly showing 250,000 Iraqi troops on the Saudi border, ready to invade. These were used to convince the Saudi government to allow the presence of US troops, over the strong objections of one Osama bin Laden, who offered to use the mujahadeen forces under his control to do the job instead. There is little doubt that Osama could have adequately prevented those 250,000 troops from invading, since THEY DIDN'T EXIST! Independent satellite photos showed that there was no Iraqi troop buildup on the Saudi border. (See Ramsey Clark's The Fire This Time and numerous other sources for details on this and other Bush the First deceptions which led to Gulf War I. I'm guessing Clark may be working on "The Fire This Other Time" about this Gulf War--he'll certainly have plenty of material.)
In truth, I think that the main reason for American forces being in Saudi Arabia was to regain a foothold in the region after the Shah of Iran fell in 1978. Through numerous lies, distortions, bluster and bombs the US imperialists now have bases in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia (still), and Iraq. And it's not really so Americans will have cheap oil, although that is part of it. It is to exert military domination over the Middle East, and economic domination over Europe, China, Russia, and the rest of the world.
Complying with the Patriot Act is illegal...If you're lucky enough to live in Arcata, California.
So where are they, Mr Blair?
Not one illegal warhead. Not one drum of chemicals. Not one incriminating document. Not one shred of evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction in more than a month of war and occupation. -- From the Independent.
States of Desperation:
In Texas, 275,000 fewer children will receive health care. The state already ranks first in the number of children without medical coverage. Ohio is planning to cut 50,000 people from health coverage, which would be the largest increase of uninsured Ohioans in history.
Colorado suspended property tax breaks for 120,000 elderly residents. The tax exemption had saved Carol DeBoer, who lives in suburban Denver, $486 a year. "I'm just living one day to the next right now," said Mrs. DeBoer, whose husband has Alzheimer's disease. "We worked hard; we paid our taxes. If there is enough money for wars, shouldn't there be enough to help seniors?"
President Bush, who was the governor of Texas, is aware of the problems states are facing, aides said. But he made clear when addressing governors in February that no significant help was on the way from the federal government. "It's because we went through a recession and we're at war," he told the National Governors Association. -- from a lengthy NY Times article on the budget crises in the states.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Sierra Club Election:
About a month ago, I sent an e-mail to all 16 candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors. I expressed my concern that none of them mentioned opposing war as a critical environmental position, and my disappointment at the Sierra Club's reluctance to take a strong anti-war stance last winter. The response was encouraging. Twelve of the sixteen candidates replied, and all said that they opposed war in Iraq. If you're a Sierra Club member who hasn't voted yet, you may want to review my list before voting. Here are the five that I voted for, based on the quality and/or timeliness of their replies: Betsy Gaines, Emma McCauley, Dick Schneider, Lisa Force, and Robbie Cox. The others who responded with anti-war answers were Don Young, Adam Werbach, Paul Watson, Doug LaFollette, Lisa Renstrom, Nancy Rauch, and Patrick Murphy. Deadline for voting is Wednesday at noon.