Must See DVDs

Must See DVDs:

The End of Suburbia
The Future of Food
An Inconvenient Truth
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Blue Vinyl
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
King Corn

Up to 40%

"During World War II, victory gardens supplied as much as 40 percent of the produce Americans ate." Michael Pollan

One Idea to Clean Up Hush Money

Commit your tax rebate to peace media - donate to Democracy Now!

Your support makes it possible to continue this broadcast and train a new generation of independent journalists. Please give today at

Organic Corn Yields



News (that is not news)



A Citizen's Arrest



Author Diane Wilson




The Revolution


Are You Manipulated by Corn?


Climate Change, Arctic

Vast cracks appear in Arctic ice
A Canadian research expedition finds dramatic evidence of the break-up of the Arctic ice-cap.

Methane rise points to wetlands
Rising levels of the greenhouse gas methane could be caused by changes in wetlands, largely around the Arctic.

Value, Virtue Close to Home


Olbermann on Clinton


Pesticides Banned for Bees



Not the Solution



Cheap Gas


Pollan, Salatin, TED Talk



Dems Won't Touch It Either


Urban Farm Makes NY Times



Sam Ragan Poetry Fest, June 21, Weymouth

Free and open to the public. Registration is at 9:15 and you can purchase lunch from I-95 or bring your own. Please forward this widely. Website is here: http://www.ncpoetrysociety.org/

This is always a fun annual event with lots of music and poetry.

June 21 Sam Ragan Poetry Festival

Featuring: Award-winning poet, lyricist, and singer Keith Flynn, founder and managing editor of Asheville Poetry Review

Southern Pines, NC — Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities

Intermodal Bill, Raleigh, House Bill 2363

Dear Friends:
[from Nina Szlosberg, member, NC Board of Transportation] I am writing to let you know about an important piece of legislation that was introduced in the NC House today.

This legislation would create "The Intermodal/Congestion Relief" Fund. The 21st Century Transportation Committee, on which I sit, created the bill and voted unanimously last week to send it to the legislature for passage. Rep. Becky Carney of Mecklenburg County (who also sits on the 21st committee and is Chair of the House Transportation Committee) is sponsoring the bill. Becky is a real leader and a great supporter of well planned transportation.

The fund will do two things.
First, it will provide a mechanism to establish a stream of funding for multi-modal projects throughout NC. Currently the NC DOT spends less than 3% of a 3.7 billion annual budget on rapid transit and other multi-modal projects - so the fund is needed if we are to "get up to speed" with other states.

Here's some of what the fund does:

Provides a state match for qualifying transit projects in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the Triad, the Triangle, Asheville and Wilmington (and surrounding areas.)

Transit in these communities will reduce congestion and provide mobility choices.

Provides funding for the short line railroads which stimulate economic activity in rural areas (and take truck traffic off the highways),

Provides funding for the NC Railroad... which could provide commuter service linking workers in "ring counties" to their jobs in urban areas.

Provides funding for the NC Ports - which stimulate economic activity throughout the state.

Second, it will provide enabling legislation to give a number local communities the option of putting a referendum on the ballot asking voters if they would like to raise the sales tax in that community by a half a cent and dedicate that funding to transit. In Charlotte, for example, where they have just opened a very successful rapid rail system they raise 70 Million a year through a half cent sales tax which funds all transit operations (including local bus, express bus, neighborhood circulators and light rail.)
A positive referendum outcome in the Triangle would raise appx. 82 million a year. This is important because a Special Transit Advisory Committee (made up of prominent business and civic leaders in the Triangle) has recently released a report laying out a bold 20year plan for transit in the Triangle region.

The Intermodal Congestion Relief bill could help make that plan a reality.

So, what can you do? I am including you in this email because you all represent many different communities statewide and as such
have tremendous power to make a difference. First, pass this email on to your constituents, friends, family, neighbors, members of organizations with which you are affiliated.

Second, please encourage your legislators to support the bill.


That will tell you who represents you in the NC House and Senate. Click on the link and that will take you to the individual
lawmakers webpage. There is an email address there.

Write an email to your lawmaker (and others elected leaders and lawmakers as well) and tell them that it is important to you that they support House Bill 2363.

Tell them that if North Carolina is to remain economically competitive we must provide transportation choices for our citizens.

Tell them that as gas prices rise, it is more important than ever to provide people with options other than their cars to get to work, school, shopping and recreation.

Tell them that those who live near transit drive 4400 fewer miles than the average American.

Tell them that you are concerned about our dependence on foreign oil and that public transportation can help reduce that dependency.

Tell them that Public transportation saves 4.2 billion gallons of fuel a year - equal to all of the fuel we import from Kuwait, the equivalent to 320 million cars filling up - 900,000 times a day.

Tell them that households that use public transportation save an average of $6251.00 each year.

Tell them that public Transportation reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 37 million metric tons a year - equivalent to the electricity used by 4.9 million households. To achieve a similar reduction in carbon emissions, every household in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles combined would have to completely stop using electricity.

Tell them that North Carolina will grow by 4 million people in the next twenty years - equal to the current population of SC coming over the border to North Carolina. Ask them where are they going to live? And how will they move around the state?

Tell them that the majority of transportation and land use planners agree - traffic will grind to a halt unless we get serious about transit. Soon.

Tell them that you want to protect the quality of life in North Carolina. And that preserving mobility through creating more transportation choices is key to keeping North Carolina a great play to work, live and thrive. A great place to grow a business and raise a family.

If you have any questions about the bill there is information below, or you can email me (but please don't hit "respond to all" - there are hundreds on this list.)

Thank you for being such concerned, engaged North Carolinians. Your voice (and vote) matters.

Best to you,
Nina Szlosberg
Member, NC Board of Transportation
21st Century Transportation Committee Member
Board President, Conservation Council of NC

Intermodal Bill filed Tuesday as HB2363
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 17:42:05 -0400
From: Gerry Cohen (Bill Drafting, Director)
To: Gerry Cohen (Bill Drafting, Director)

The Intermodal Bill recommended by the 21st Century Transportation Committee was filed in the North Carolina House of Representative this afternoon as House Bill 2363. It has four primary sponsors, Representatives Becky Carney (Mecklenburg), Lucy Allen (Franklin), Deborah Ross (Wake), and Pricey Harrison (Guilford). At the time of filing, 17 other house members signed as cosponsors, but members have until one hour after adjournment Wednesday, May 21 to add their names.

During the House floor session Wednesday, the bill will get first reading and be referred to a committee, and by late afternoon Wednesday the first edition of the bill will be linked from the bill status page and will include the names of all sponsors. Page and line numbers of the first edition will be different than from the filed edition.

An explanation of the bill is here:

Protest Rally, Thursday, Fayetteville

Fayetteville Peace with Justice will be taking part in a press conference and rally together with the Democratic Party at the Market House in downtown Fayetteville this Thursday from 5 to 6 pm.

The protest will focus on President Bush's opposition to a strong G.I. Bill. The backdrop will be the Peace with Justice wall of names of soldiers killed in Iraq, together with our banners and signs calling for an end to the war and the return of all U.S. troops now.

More information will follow on the G.I. Bill, along with further details related to the press conference.

Please make plans to attend this important rally on the occasion of President Bush's visit to Ft. Bragg.

Farming Reformation

European Union looks to cut farming subsidies
The EU is to announce plans to reform its hugely expensive rural payments system, the Common Agricultural Policy.


NC Needs Fair Rules

NC Sustainable Energy Association Press Release

Dear Friends,
Would you like to produce clean, solar energy from your rooftop? You probably answered, "yes."

Yet even if we handed solar panels out on street corners, you might not be able to start generating clean power and saving money. Why not? Because state rules prevent you from easily connecting your solar panels to the electricity grid and receiving fair credit for the clean power they produce.

We can change this, by making fair rules. North Carolina needs good "net metering" and "interconnection" rules. This year we are working with our state legislature to get them.
Will you sign a petition asking Senator Basnight and Representative Hackney to support net metering?

Go to www.votesolar.org/nc.html

Best Regards,

Natalie Burlison
Administrative and Membership Assistant
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association

Net Metering is the simplest, fairest way to bill customers who have their own renewable generators. Put simply, if you don't use a utility kilowatt-hour from the utility, you don't pay for it. If you create excess energy, your meter simply spins backwards, storing credit for next month - like cell-phone rollover minutes. In some form, it exists in 35 states, including all with successful renewable energy programs.

The NC Sustainable Energy Association works to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development.


Standing Up To the Madness


Voting FOR More Iraq Funding--Coble

[please write or e-mail Howard Coble to voice our disappointment in his vote.]

Bush, Nazis, Appeasement


Not Sustainable

DNA damage 'caused by pesticides'
Pesticides could have damaged the DNA of people in agricultural communities, new research in India suggests.


Concerts Calendar, Aberdeen


Voluntary Simplicity


Why Do They Come?

The return on early education is 17 to 1: The Rand Corporation recently cited research demonstrating that the return to society for every dollar invested in early education was as high as US$17.

Yet almost 40 percent of children in Latin America are not in early education programs.

Species Extinctions

The world’s species are declining at a rate “unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs” … land species have declined by 25 per cent, marine life by 28 per cent, and freshwater species by 29 per cent.
Report produced by WWF, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network





World's Wildlife Lost

Wildlife populations 'plummeting'
Between a quarter and a third of the world’s wildlife has been lost since 1970, says the Living Planet Index.


Not Guilt, but Anger


[And the movie, King Corn, is now available thru Netflix. The more we learn, the more powerful we become.]


World Hunger, Monsanto Profits

The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world's richest food companies are making record profits.

Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn.



Moore County Beekeepers, May 13

The May meeting for Moore County Beekeepers Association
Tuesday, May 13, 7 p.m. in the Agricultural Building, Carthage

Sanford Toole assures me that we will have a very interesting program so be sure and be there. Be ready to volunteer to serve on a committee for the Summer Meeting of the NC State Beekeepers Association at Sandhills Community College, July 10-12.

Concert Tonight, May 11, Aberdeen

Summer on the Porch
The Near Misses

The Postmaster's House
204 E. South Street, Aberdeen
Sunday, May 11th, 6 p.m.


Celebrate every mother who ever was with delicious food, fantastic music, and great company.Bring a chair or blanket and all your friends.

Lessing, Nobel Prize



Conservation Insider Bulletin, May 9

Conservation Insider Bulletin

Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use
Editor: Dan Besse, cib@conservationcouncilnc.org

May 9, 2008

We examine the results of the NC primary in races of environmental interest, and take a look at the status of national environmental endorsements, this week in CIB:

--Campaign Watch, NC: CCNC Endorsements Fare Well in Primary
--Campaign Watch, Washington: FOE Endorses Obama; LCV's Endorsements List

Campaign Watch, NC: CCNC Endorsements Fare Well in Primary

CCNC's endorsed candidates fared well in the primary voting this week, with 10 of 11 of those endorsed winning their races. CCNC Political Director Brownie Newman reports:

Lt. Governor-- In spite of a strong campaign, we were sorry to see Dan Besse lose his bid for Lt. Gov. The race was won by Sen. Walter Dalton. He will face Robert Pittenger in November.

Now the good news. We won all these contests:
State Treasurer--Janet Cowell defeated a well-financed opponent, Buncombe County Commissioner David Young.
Cowell, 47%, 596,000
Young, 36%, 456,000
Weisel, 17%, 219,000
Senate District 5-- Donald Davis came in first place among the five candidates. He will face a run-off against Kathy Taft as no one garnered more than 40% of the vote. The strong showing by Davis indicates he will be the front-runner in the run-off..
Donald Davis, 36%, 10,180
Kathy Taft, 24%, 6846
Ed Wilson, 14%, 3866
Tony Moore, 12%, 3504
Charles Johnson, 6%, 1564
Senate District 16-- Josh Stein won the race to fill Janet Cowell's vacant seat. His opponent, Jack Nichols was endorsed by the NC Homebuilders in the final days of the race.
Stein: 49%, 19,063
Nichols, 40%, 15692
Senate District 25-- Sen. Ellie Kinnaird defeated challenger Moses Carey by 27,084 to 14,982
Senate District 28-- Sen. Katie Dorsett defeated challenger Bruce Davis by 20,509 to 11,063.
House 7-- Rep. Angela Bryant defeated challenger Jean Reaves by 10,686 to 3360.
House 100-- Rep. Tricia Cotham defeated challenger Lloyd Scher by 7679 to 2074
House 119 -- Rep. Phil Haire defeated Avram Friedman by 8659 to 3283.
Our two pro-conservation Republican Senators who faced primary races were also re-elected. In Senate District 36, Sen. Fletcher Hartsell defeated Thomas Hill by 7115 to 3313. In Senate District 42, Sen. Austin Allran defeated challenger Kitty Barnes, who is Chair of the Catawba County Commission, by 1

Campaign Watch, Washington: FOE Endorses Obama; LCV's Endorsements List

FOE Endorses Obama: Friends of the Earth (FOE) this week announced its endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president. The national environmental organization especially cited Obama's energy positions as a strong factor in its decision. In a news release, FOE president Brent Blackwelder said, " The 'gas tax holiday' debate is a defining moment in the presidential race. The two other candidates responded with sham solutions that won't ease pain at the pump, but Senator Obama refused to play that typical Washington game. Instead, Obama called for real solutions that would make transportation more affordable and curb global warming. He showed the courage and candor we expect from a president." FOE also cited Obama's broad pro-environment record, including a 96 per cent voting score from the League of Conservation Voters. FOE had previously endorsed John Edwards in the presidential contest. More info on FOE's endorsement can be found at http://www.foeaction.org/Obama.

LCV's Endorsements List: The national League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has made three Senate and 18 House endorsements so far this year. The following are LCV's 2008 endorsements to date:

Mark Udall (D) CO; Jeanne Shaheen (D) NH; Tom Udall (D) NM
Jerry McNerney (D) CA-11; Joe Courtney (D) CT-02; Mike Castle (R) DE-AL; Bill Foster (D) IL-14; Chellie Pingree (D) ME-01; Wayne Gilchrest** (R) MD-01; Donna Edwards** (D) MD-04; Vern Ehlers (R) MI-03; Mark Schauer (D) MI-07; Gary Peters (D) MI-09; Kay Barnes (D) MO-06; Larry Kissell (D) NC-08; Frank Lobiondo (R) NJ-02; Martin Heinrich (D) NM-01; Ben Ray Lujan** (D) NM-03; Stephen Black** (D) OH-02; Victoria Wulsin** (D) OH-02; Tom Brinkman** (R) OH-02.

[KEY: ** = Primary Endorsement; Italics = Special Election Endorsement]

Ongoing endorsement announcements by LCV may be monitored at its website, http://lcv.org/campaigns/endorsements/.


Dirt, a Powerful Drug!



Small Farms Hugely Affected by Farm Bill

Small farmers have huge stake in farm bill debate
For the co-owner of Windrose Farm, the ideal measure includes better funding of so-called specialty crops and aid for those with a desire to work the land.

By Barbara Spencer, Special to The Times
May 7, 2008
THE GOLDEN time at Windrose Farm comes just before sunset. The oak-covered hills behind us are illuminated with a golden light. No matter how long the day has been or how much work is still to be done, the farm is glowing with life. It is the perfect time to walk and observe spring.

The longer we farm, the more we are affected by our location, soil and climate. Our choice of what to grow is more and more driven by our belief in terroir, the true nature of a place. This act of farming has changed our values and increased our connection to the earth.

This is also the time of the new farm bill. Originally, the Agriculture Adjustment Act, which was created in 1933 when 60% of American workers were involved in agriculture, was intended to control the supply of farm product and to guarantee a fair price. The goal was to keep farmers and their workers employed and one way to achieve this was to take some land out of production and compensate farmers for lost revenue. Later, programs were added for soil conservation and land preservation.

Today this is a $350-billion program that includes income and price supports, environmental conservation, loan credits, agricultural research, marketing and education projects. Support and programs for the organic farming industry, as well as for fruit and vegetable farmers, could come in this year's bill, currently being negotiated between the House and the Senate (the 2002 bill, which would have expired last October, has been extended several times).

Still, the vast majority of the funds are used in support of the main commodity crops: cotton, corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, sugar beets and dairy, with $5.2 million for direct payments to a small number of commodity farmers.

Rarely has federal money or attention gone to the farms that grow the crops sold directly to consumers at farmers markets
, such as salad greens, strawberries, fresh market tomatoes or apricots. The foods we grow at Windrose Farm are considered by the government to be specialty crops. (Actually, most anything you would recognize on your plate would qualify as such.) And these foods traditionally have not been included in the farm bill funding.

So this year's bill could be groundbreaking. This is thanks to two influences: the growth of corporate organic farming and a groundswell of pressure from small farmers and consumer groups.



Letter from Dan Besse

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who supported my run for the office of North Carolina's Lieutenant Governor!

And thanks to everyone who participated in the democratic process, regardless of who you supported. This has been an extraordinary election year so far, and it is not over yet.

You have already changed the face of public debate in our state. From now forward, candidates for statewide office in North Carolina will have to address an expanded set of fundamental questions.

Certainly, economic opportunity, jobs, and basic educational quality will continue to be must-address needs. In addition, from this year forward, Democratic candidates must respond to these critical questions as well:
How will we ensure that every person in our state receives the health care (including mental health care) that basic human compassion and dignity require?
How will we protect our clean air and water, and our green and productive land, in ways that will ensure that we are good stewards for future generations?
How will we ensure that economic and educational opportunity is spread to historically disadvantaged communities, reaching out to every racial and ethnic community in our state?
How will we continue to expand the umbrella of fundamental human and civil rights to include every person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation?
How will we meet the needs of every worker in our state to fair wages, safe and healthy workplaces, and economic security?
How will we address the changing face of our state's cities and towns, to meet the challenges of growth?

I look forward to continuing to work with all of you, this year and beyond, to see that those questions are addressed, and never fade back into the unspoken background of unmet needs.

I have congratulated Walter Dalton and his family and staff for their dignified and successful campaign, and assured him that as our Democratic nominee he will have my strong personal support . I congratulate Pat Smathers and Hampton Dellinger and their families and supporters as well—good, issue-oriented, strong campaigns all!

I especially want to thank everyone who worked with me over the past year and a half:
--My own family—Kay, my parents, and all our family members—whose support and belief made it possible for me to run.
--My extraordinary staff and other volunteers, who worked tirelessly and with great skill against long financial odds.
--My enthusiastic and delightful supporters around our state, who spoke up with passion for our campaign and the concerns which we are committed to seeing addressed.
--My financial contributors (often the same as the first three groups!) who made it possible to physically run a campaign and get our message out around the state.
--The outstanding organizations who believed in our cause and stuck your necks way out against the odds to say so: Progressive Democrats, Conservation Council, Sierra Club, Fire Fighters, Black Pastors, Democracy for America; and to the media organizations who said, we like his messag e and give this guy a chance: The Chronicle, Yes! Weekly, and Winston-Salem Journal.

So to close a long and heart-felt letter, I say once again:
Thank you! Thank you to all for your enthusiasm and active participation!

Please stay involved, as will I. I look forward to continuing public service as a Winston-Salem City Council Member and active citizen in our state and nation.


PS: I'd say, "I'll be back..."—but I'm not going away in the first place!

Dan Besse 2008


Trouble in the Tropics

Mangrove loss 'left Burma exposed' Mangrove deforestation in Burma left coastal areas exposed to the full fury of Cyclone Nagris, a top politician suggests.

Tropic's insects 'face extinction' Many tropical insects could face extinction by the end of this century due to rising temperatures, scientists say.


Conservation Insider Bulletin, May 2

Conservation Insider Bulletin
Published weekly for the Conservation Council of North Carolina
Conservation News to Peruse & Use
Editor: Dan Besse, cib@conservationcouncilnc.org

May 2, 2008

Primary day is this Tuesday, May 6.
--Campaign Watch: CCNC's Pre-Primary Endorsements Wrapup

CCNC this week announced a list of legislators who do not face a primary election, but who are being recommended for support based on their strong environmental voting record. All of the named legislators have CCNC-scored voting records of more than 90 percent pro-environment.

The following legislators without primary opposition make CCNC's early support roll on this basis:

NC House:
Rep. Martha Alexander (D-Mecklenburg)
Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe)
Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland)
Speaker Joe Hackney (D-Orange)
Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)
Rep. Carolyn Justice (R-Pender)
Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham)
Rep. Ray Rapp (D-Madison)
Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Wake)
Rep. Jennifer Weiss (D-Wake)

NC Senate:
Sen. Bob Atwater (D-Chatham)
Sen. Marc Basnight (D-Dare)
Sen. Linda Garrou (D-Forsyth)

Previously, CCNC had finalized primary endorsements in six State Senate and two State House primary contests for 2008:

S5 (Democrat) (Green, Pitt, Wayne), Don Davis
S16 (Democrat) (Wake), Josh Stein
S23 (Democrat) (Orange, Person), Sen. Ellie Kinnaird
S28 (Democrat) (Guilford), Sen. Katie Dorsett
S36 (Republican) (Cabarrus, Iredell), Sen. Fletcher Hartsell
S42 (Republican) (Catawba, Iredell), Sen. Austin Allran
H7 (Democrat) (Halifax, Nash), Rep. Angela Bryant
H119 (Democrat) (Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain), Rep. Phil Haire

S5 and S16 are open seats created by the retirement of Sen. John Kerr (D-Wayne) and the decision by Sen. Janet Cowell (D-Wake) to run for State Treasurer. The other six contests are incumbents facing primary challengers. CCNC legislative endorsements are based on questionnaire responses, incumbents' voting records, and candidates' other environmental/community work records related to the environment.

Also, CCNC previously announced statewide office endorsements in two contests: Dan Besse for Lieutenant Governor and Janet Cowell for State Treasurer (both in the Democratic primary).

Food Facts



10 Senators to Watch on Global Warming



From the Pump to the Plate



Concert, May 3, Aberdeen

Dinner tickets must be purchased in ADVANCE, by noon Saturday. Fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, roll. Dessert. YUM.

Bill Staines plays the Rooster's Wife

Saturday, May 3rd, 8 pm

Dinner starts at 6 by prepaid ticket.


201 Blue Street

Aberdeen, NC



Escalation of Air War, Iraq

Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

PM Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Escalation of U.S. Air War

In a front-page piece headlined "U.S. Role Deepens in Sadr City," the Washington Post reports today: "In the Sadr City clash, the U.S. soldiers responded by firing rockets armed with high-explosive, 200-pound warheads, killing 28 fighters, [Lt. Col. Steve] Stover said. In a separate incident in Sadr City, a fixed-wing aircraft dropped a bomb at 5:15 p.m. that killed two fighters firing mortars at a joint U.S.-Iraqi outpost, the U.S. military said.

"But Sadr City residents gave a very different accounting of the fighting. They said at least 50 people were killed and 130 injured, many of them women and children."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/29/AR2008042900560.html?hpid=topnews BEAU GROSSCUP, bgrosscup@csuchico.edu,http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book.asp?bookdetail=3721

Author of the book "Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment," Grosscup is professor of international relations at California State University in Chico.

CONN HALLINAN, connm@cats.ucsc.edu,

http://www.fpif.orgA columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, Hallinan wrote the article "Death at a Distance: The U.S. Air War" .

He said today: "We need to really look at U.S. actions right now in Sadr City -- like the increase in the use of air power in a packed, urban environment -- and the enormous increase in the use of armed robot drones in Iraq, like the 'Reaper.'

"The press has given the military a pass on the air war in both Iraq and Afghanistan; the air war ends up alienating the civilian population and serves as a recruiting sergeant for the insurgents. ..."

The U.S. military is falling apart on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a recent study by the Rand Corporation, 300,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder or major depression. Another 320,000 may have suffered traumatic brain injury. This means than more than one-third of the troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are casualties.

I might add, that both PTSD and TBI are difficult and complex to treat, and many of these soldiers will never recover. We cannot sustain this casualty rate, particularly given the declining recruiting numbers."

So the U.S. government is resorting to an air war, which they hope will make it a bloodless war for us. A stepped-up air war will mean an increase in civilian casualties, and greater anger at the United States. The U.S. military tried this tactic during the Vietnam War, but the touted 'increased firepower' ended up alienating the South Vietnamese peasants. 'Fire power freaks' always say they can win if we just let them bomb everyone back to the stone age. But it doesn't work and it also leads to serious violations of Geneva Conventions."

The current fighting in Sadr City is a case in point. According to U.S. figures, more than 500 people have been killed and 2,100 wounded since fighting broke out there in March. The Iraqis say these figures are much higher and that most of them are civilians. This is a case of the 'fire power freaks' running the show. Bombing from the air, artillery strikes, and indiscriminate small arms fire in a crowded urban environment mean you are going to kill a lot of civilians.

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Stover said that U.S. troops were only responding to attacks when they called in air strikes and opened fire in Sadr City. He blamed the Madhi Army for hiding behind civilians."But his defense of what the U.S. is doing in Sadr City is an explicit violation of Article 48 of the 1977 addition to the Geneva Conventions. That article requires the parties to the conflict to 'at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants,' and Article 50 makes it clear that 'The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character.'

What this means is that you can't go into Sadr City and shoot up the place because you don't like the Madhi Army. It can land you on the docket of the International Court at the Hague."The moral of that is: don't occupy other countries because it is almost impossible to avoid violating international law.

Of course, since we violated international law and the UN Charter to invade Iraq in the first place, I don't suppose that cuts a lot of ice with the Bush administration. But we Americans should be paying attention. This is happening in our name."

Background: AP's report "300,000 vets have mental problem, 320,000 had brain injuries"


Navy's Second US Carrier, Tehran

Navy Adds Carrier in Gulf as "Reminder" to Iran http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/043008J.shtml
David Morgan, of Reuters, reports: "the US Navy has temporarily added a secondaircraft carrier in the Gulf as a 'reminder' to Iran, but this was not anescalation of American forces in the region, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates saidon Tuesday. Speaking to reporters during a trip to Mexico, Gates flatly denied asuggestion that the presence of two US carriers in the Gulf could be a precursorto military action against Tehran."