"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Real News | Serious Video Discussions: Activist Briefing Materials (Plus)

The Total Impeachment Tool Box | Use It Now And All Week. If There is any chance of turning the pending “Sham Impeachment Hearing” into something more meaningful than another exercise in frustration and post hearing Bitching; it is up to us!

The Geo-Politics Of Oil

The Pentagonization Of US Life

Obama And The Cold War Mentality

Obama And The National Security System

Who Can And Who Can't Have Nuclear Weapons?

How Should The US Fight International Terrorism?

Would Iran Give Nuclear Technology To Hezbollah?

Is Iran A "Threat To Peace And Security?"

Dear Ed.,

The Bush administration's at it again -- denying reality that doesn’t fit its political agenda (as it's done with global warming, the war, the economy and so much more).

The press this week reported on an offensive protocol by the Census Bureau for how it intends to handle married same-sex couples during the 2010 Census. The Bureau will NOT count legally married gay couples as married, and will instead EDIT the data submitted by married gay couples to change their status to "unmarried partners."

Please sign on to our petition to the Census Bureau urging them not to do this.

Sadly, supporters of the Census Bureau's actions may hide behind a federal law, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), and argue that the federal government doesn't recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. But a number of states and other countries do, and gay and lesbian couples who are legally married are, in fact, just that -- married.

So the policy -- besides being highly offensive -- would lead to the reporting of inaccurate demographic data, completely contrary to the Bureau's mission and goals!

Please sign on to our petition now telling the Census Bureau to do its job and collect and report ACCURATE data about all Americans, including married same-sex couples.

Officials at the Census Bureau seem to be in denial, but here's an inconvenient truth for them: gay families exist. No matter what the Census says, gay couples who are legally married ARE married.

Please join the petition now and then forward this to your friends and ask them to do the same.

Thank you. -- Your Allies at People For the American Way

P.S. We wanted to share with you the irony of the Census Bureau's own mission statement*:

"Our Mission -- The Census Bureau serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly. We are guided on this mission by our strong and capable workforce, our readiness to innovate, and our abiding commitment to our customers."

Quality data? Commitment to their customers? Guess that doesn't apply to gay families...

Tomgram: William Astore, Generation Warfighters

A strange week of war. Israeli historian Benny Morris placed a bloodcurdling and bizarre op-ed in the New York Times, insisting that only an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities (with a U.S. green light) by next January could prevent a future radioactively scorched Middle East. Meanwhile, the President seemed to reverse course (and himself), sending his third-ranking State Department official William J. Burns unexpectedly Geneva-wards -- not, supposedly, to "negotiate" with Iran (along with European partners), but just to sit and "listen."

In the same week, he suddenly agreed, in a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to a "general time horizon" for the withdrawal of American "combat troops." ("Support troops," we were assured, would be there "for years" to come.) But let's be clear: This was no "timetable" for withdrawal, which the President had long sworn he'd never countenance. (What's that on the horizon? Not quite as much time as we thought?) And just to add a sad note: There are less than seven months left for Bush administration officials to reach for their dictionaries and continue to creatively pretzel the language.

In the meantime, at home, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates launched a fierce verbal assault on… go ahead, take a guess: the "creeping militarization" of U.S. foreign policy. It seems that too many unappetizing "peacekeeping" tasks, once handled by other departments of the government, are now in the military's lap, which turns out not to be quite as capacious as once imagined. "The Foreign Service is not the Foreign Legion, and the U.S. military should never be mistaken for a Peace Corps with guns" were among his exact words. Of course, this is what happens when your leaders love military power to death, can't imagine dealing with anyone here or abroad unarmed, and expand the Pentagon's job description in every imaginable direction.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, as ever more bombs fall, civilians, including a bride and her wedding party, were being regularly wiped out in sizeable numbers by American air power. As the civilian casualty reports came in last week, the U.S. military alternately denied that civilians were dying, issued vague regrets that civilians should have to die, and launched "investigations" that we're guaranteed never to hear about again.

And the Afghans? Well, here was an aside in a New York Times account of a Taliban attack on a U.S. base near the Pakistani border in which nine U.S. soldiers were killed and 15 more injured: A former governor of the region where the attack took place said "some local people might have joined the militants since a group of civilians were killed in American airstrikes on July 4 in the same area. 'This made the people angry,' he said. 'It was the same area. The airstrikes happened maybe one kilometer away from the base.'"

As for the Air Force high command, R. Jeffrey Smith of the Washington Post reported: "The Air Force's top leadership sought for three years to spend counterterrorism funds on 'comfort capsules' to be installed on military planes that ferry senior officers and civilian leaders around the world, with at least four top generals involved in design details such as the color of the capsules' carpet and leather chairs, according to internal e-mails and budget documents."

The cost of this program is now estimated at $7.6 million in Global War on Terror money, $68,240 just to change the color of the seats and seat belts from an unpleasant Army brown to a cheerful Air Force blue (while adding seat pockets). Believe me, if you were a general, you would have been involved too. After all, among other features to decide on: a "37-inch flat-screen monitor with stereo speakers, and a full-length mirror" in each two-room capsule. Attention Secretary Gates: Should U.S. Air Force generals be mistaken for interior decorators with Hellfire missiles?

And just in case you didn't think that ordinary Americans back home could do their bit supporting our troops to the nth degree, they now have a wonderful opportunity, thanks to HBO's "Generation Kill" website, where they can "gear up," pick-up that needed Generation Kill women's tank top or men's Tee, and even -- no kidding -- send a box of "Bandaid brand adhesive bandages" to the soldiers as part of the site's "troop drive." Creeping militarism, who sez? Well, retired Lt. Col. (and TomDispatch regular) William J. Astore, for one. Tom

Having the "Best Military" Is Not Always a Good Thing

Reclaiming Our Citizen-Soldier Heritage

By William J. Astore