Sunday, January 30, 2005

Update from Iraq

I just got off chat line with my friend in Iraq this morning and when I asked her about elections she got very testy and said "F the elections" and even asked me not to talk about it anymore.
She says no one understands what it is like over there and she thinks everyone in the world thinks this election will be magic.
She says all she wants to do is to be able to go outside, to take a hot bath(no hot water today) get online (could only stay online for a few minutes at a time due to electricity), to live a normal life for a 26 year old, not have a mean and vicious landlord, have enough money for necessities, etc.........
She has spent the last week staying home and inside for all the reasons we know and mostly sleeping for lack of anything else to do.
I have to say that all the muted joy I felt over the election has been somewhat dissipated after hearing from her this morning and as usual I felt at a loss to say anything to comfort her, since progress with the elections, etc. does not seem in her view to help her at all. I wonder if the frustration level is as high for other Iraqi's.

I am finding with her that due to her life history and perhaps life history in general there, that she does not see this situation in the same way we would if we were there. That is from the point of being an American and our past history.
She does not see the power of the people to change things, and as many Iraqi's has a fatalistic view of life.
Whenever I make the suggestion to her that these progressions should or hopefully will result in making life better for her there she just slaps that away and doesn't appear to believe it.
She is pro American which surprised me very much, and anti Iraq. Although she does not excuse the US for the mistakes she is glad we at least got rid of Sadaam.
I guess the bottom line to her is make her life livable there, allow her to have some small bit of happiness and most of all get her out of that country. She would be very happy to leave there and never see the place again. That would be her greatest joy and as she has said "fullfill her life long dream of leaving Iraq and becoming an American."
She also has said "they could make this place heaven on earth and I still would not want to live here."

Friday, January 28, 2005

Outsourcing America/President's Helicopters

The Pentagon has once again outsourced American jobs and this time it is for the Presidents fleet of Helicopters, from

"""The Pentagon today chose the Lockheed Martin Corporation and a group of international partners over an American-only team headed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Company to build the next fleet of presidential helicopters, perhaps the most prestigious aircraft contract in the world.

The $1.6 billion contract is not be the biggest ever handed out by the Pentagon, but it gives the winner global bragging rights and touches on the politically sensitive question of whether a president should be ferried around in a craft - known as Marine One when a president is aboard - that is made only in the United States or one that has some foreign parts, design and ownership.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Torture Still Routine in Iraq jails

Torture Still Routine in Iraqi Jails, Report Says
Published: January 24, 2005
Filed at 7:02 p.m. ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi authorities routinely torture prisoners, a leading human rights group said Tuesday, citing examples of abuse which will sound all too familiar to those who suffered under Saddam Hussein.

Prisoners have been beaten with cables and hosepipes, and suffered electric shocks to their earlobes and genitals, the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch said. Some have been starved of food and water and crammed into standing-room only cells.

``The people of Iraq were promised something better than this after the government of Saddam Hussein fell,'' said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the group's Middle East and North Africa division.

``The Iraqi interim government is not keeping its promises to honor and respect basic human rights. Sadly, the Iraqi people continue to suffer from a government that acts with impunity in its treatment of detainees.''

Go to above link to read full story. Another example of what we have wrought.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Update about Iraq Friend

I just got off a chat room with my pen pal in Iraq, a young women of 26, educated, who was just so upset at her situation ever more difficult today. She is having trouble with her landlord, with whom she and her mother share an apartment, 2 families situation, and he and his family are giving them all kinds of trouble. Such as turning off electricity and water to their area, harassing her mother, wanting her to move out, wanting higher rent which is already $100 per month and her income is only 200.

I said "can you negotiate" and she said "are you kidding, this is Iraq, he would be insulted that a 26 year old women would even attempt."
The situation there is so dismal for everyone, but especially for women still. These two women are alone without a male in the family and they have it especially difficult.

Whenever I get these emails from her I feel so helpless and so guilty for my country that has put such burdens on an already overburdened country.

What is to be said to her, only that I am trying with all my might as just one women with a computer to try to get some kind of change here.

And it's not much, not much at all that I can do.
She cannot leave that country even despite the situation, cannot get a visa.
If you could hear the heart rending stories that I have from her, you would never be able to shake it off.
What is to be done??????

Just to let you know, she tells me that the people there are so backward thinking, so fatalistic and so oppressed that they do not welcome any kind of changes and do not seek democracy at all. Most of them. They don't understand it, have no experience even thinking about it, only the very few educated understand at all what it is about. They are like this country was 300 years ago in many of their ways of thinking. But they have no fire for democracy or self government. It is not an issue that came from the people as our history was.

What they want is electricity 12 hours a day, at least, fuel that is cheap and easy to acquire, freedom from daily fear, freedom to travel and leave there, a decent income, buildings that are not all blown up, civilians not dying every day, being able to take a stroll or go to a park or just to have fun in any way.
Freedom, they have no freedom!!!!
They are not embracing this democracy thing at all. Now they are bitter at all the problems we have caused in their every day life. They feel hopeless and helpless. What do they have to look forward to, more of the same at best, civil war at worst.It's totally impossible to function in any kind of meaningful way there, to say the very, very least.

The very most frustrating thing to me is that very few people here are even aware of the conditions there and what the people are going through. That is why I am posting these letters. We need to know the real situation in Iraq. We need to really help these people and I think that means to just get out of there. I don't really know, I don't have the answers, but I sure feel we are making it worse.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Email to Iraq Friend

My letter to my friend describing how the American Experience was for my own family and in my own view, basically to show the evolution of women in a democracy.

I just got back from my daughters and my mind kept wondering about this letter I wanted to write, mostly as a result of your letter.
I thought I would tell you the history of my own family as it relates to the settlement of this country and the founding of America.
As I mentioned before I did a study of my families genealogy and was able to go back to around year 1200. All of my ancestors who left Europe to come here were persecuted for religious beliefs in what is now Northern France and on up in to German Area, which was then Prussia. They were persecuted for being Protestants, which is a derivative of protest, they were protestors of the Catholic religion which was most prevalent in Europe at the time.
They heard of America and that you could have freedom of religion there, mostly because of William Penn and the colonies he was creating in Pennsylvania. He believed in these freedoms and sought to secure a place for these protestors here.
In order for most of my ancestors, and we do not know exact situations in most cases, but we do know even most of the ships they came across in, in order to come here many had to sell themselves as indentured servants, from a period of 6 years and up. They were little more than slaves. If a family came across as indentured, and the father died, the son had to then take his place as a servant and on down.
Fortunately there were German colonies already established here to help them in some ways. Many lost memebers of families due to horrible crossing conditions, and all of their possessions. In time they were able to work out their indentured status and were given tracts of land, or purchased them and began to spread out into Penna. and to conquer the wilderness.
There were incidents of Indian attacks and scalpings in the early settlers.
Some had trades when they came and others were farmers. Most of them prospered and their families grew and spread even further. This goes on to today, we all seem to have the spirit of going to new lands as I did myself when I was 17 and with my Mother moved across this country to a new area, California and settled here.
At the beginning my ancestors started to come in 1727 and continued until the early 1800's. When they stepped off the ship all of the men were taken to a courthouse and there had to swear allegiance to King George of England. So because many of these people of great religious faith, preachers and such, they took this oath very seriously so when the Revolutionary War started many refused to fight the king they had sworn allegiance to.
At the beginning and for many years after the only citizens who could vote were men with property and the women and children were considered chattel to be "owned" and controlled by the men. After some years the women said, "we have worked just as hard for this country and we are just as important, and so it says in our Declaration of Independence "All men are created equal" and so women wanted the vote." They found that although alone they had no power, that if they joined together they had huge powers and they began to exercise that power and continue to do so.
Then my generation came along and women were finally freed from the home due to the second World War, and by the time the 60's came aound with the Vietnam War and all women rose again in the form of women liberation and began a new movement.. As a result of that we were brought nearly equal with men, but not quite, always almost but not quite.
A side effect of that movement was that men were suddenly confused about their place and we (women) delighted in it until it wore off. Men here still are unsure of their place and are caught in this movement and we will not stop until they realize we are fully equal in every way.
And there you have it, women in the US have had a great deal to do with the way the country became what it is. However we have never been able to lead men to peace, they seem uncomfortable if something is not stewing in some pot somewhere in the world and they can get their guns to fix it.
So to end this letter I will say that I am glad that we liberated your country, if it can stick, and glad also about Afganistan especially for the women. Just mad we could not have planned better and not made so many crucial mistakes.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Daily Life In Iraq

My friend in Baghdad Iraq informs me that though they don't side with insurgents, they cannot be pro American publically in any way. You cannot even let on that you are communicating with American or British. You cannot even purchase American books at bookstore, someone might see you.
Packages from America cannot be delivered to home address, must be to business address.
Electricity is down 16 hours or more a day, none at night except rarely. Goes on and off all the time. No heat in houses, cannot buy fuel. Temps. go down to zero in winter there. Long Lines(hours) at gas stations, and this is in Iraq.
Streets are dangerous and impossible at times, just to get to work is hazardous.
Work week there is Sat. to Thursday, they have Friday off.
Pay for a computer specialist is $200 per month. They cannot take high paying jobs with Americans or British for fear of death.
They are in a code red situation,(I guess that a code red in Iraq would be off the charts here) reports of a blackout election day.
Most people will not vote or even leave their houses election day, they will, stay at home locked in. Business are closing for that day, etc., it goes on and on.
Daily fear, daily threats, daily hardships, daily deaths. And they cannot even leave, no visas are granted at this time.
And most of them blame it on the Americans for the mess they have made.

They were hopeful to begin with then hopes were dashed soon after.
And yes, they have to do whatever they can each day to stay alive, whatever that entails.
Can you imagine living like this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Comment on Ohio Election 2004

Comment I posted on Daily Kos Jan 11, 2004 in response to a posting about Ohio Elections and whether a recount was viable

So if fraud occurred it should be investigated, and a recount will probably not reveal that. But have you considered that the probable fraud was that the voting machines were owned by Diebold, and others, all heavy contributors and avowed repubs, and they owned the software, and it has publically been shown by black box voting that the machines were easy to access and change votes which was done on Topic A on CNBC or MSNBC, not sure which.
Bev Harris showed Howard Dean (the guest host that day) exactly how it could be done.
Here is link to that site:

This is a non partisan site that has been investigating since 2000 election and she has had several successful prosecutions.
This is just one part of the problem, there were others, what I think people want is an investigation into all of this, not just Ohio.
You say impossible to run an election with no errors, well then I guess we all should fear the ATM, and thats all over the world, but yet I have heard no scandal regarding that.
By the way, if Bush would have lost Ohio, don't you think we would have a full scale investigation going on as we write, and going to the supreme court and we would be in the state we were in in 2000.
I really don't think you have done the research on the voter problems, I have been astounded at my own research and what it has revealed. Even the Conyers report does not touch on it all. I urge you to do some research. Democrats have and are still challenging results in Ohio, there are cases pending, but they have been stonewalled at every turn and the absense of Kerry in the debate, has stalled media coverage.
Keith Oberman on MSNBC has covered this story on air and in his blog, since Nov. 2. He is the one media man courageous to cover this story. I urge all to check out his show and to check out his blogs.
Before he started to cover this story I would have sworn he was a Repub. and maybe he is, and if so would make his coverage even more salient.
If you want to find out info on almost any subject, I have found this method to work, type in the name of the subject and add scandal and see what you come up with. Try it with the members of this administration or anyone and anything, it pulls up pages that you would not ordinarily get.

Fear, is this how we want to live

Posted Jan 10, 2005
Someone has to start to say the impeach word. There are sites that are working on this, why not add your name;
Are these crimes committed by this Administration much worse than Clinton or not. Where is the outcry.
Maybe it is true we do not have the guts that the Repubs do. They would be so on top of all of this and we just stand there and say, in congress, well we just want to investigate this, not make too many waves.
Don't wait for senators, don't wait for Kerry, don't wait for the next man, do it yourself and now.
Why not an out and out revolt?
Is this how we want to live.
I remember years back when Congress passed a bill to tax Social Security payments and the people rose up and there was such an outcry, that the bill was repealed in a matter of a month.
How many people check this site (Daily Kos) everyday, and make their comments and feel they have done their part. You've maybe done nothing except take time away from the action you should be doing.
Write to everyone, media, congress, join together and organize, you know the repubs would if it was reversed.
Can't find a leader, then be one. If enought try to lead one will rise up, but right now we all have to be leaders, we all have to do something.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My outlook for today

I just finished reading Daily kos regarding an American Soccer Mom Declares War on American Traitors and it brought home once again that we as a people need to do something. We need to stand up as citizens and demand that Congress investigates all the various scandals and misdeed and misdirections made by this Administration.
We are standing around like a bunch of sheep saying what do we do, what can we do.
While all the time we know the answer to that. We have to take to the streets and to the emails.
We have to demand our voice to be heard, we have to fight. This cannot be allowed to go on any longer as we enter more and more into a police state, under the control of one man.