Is Bush trying to surreptitiously fund an attack on Iran?

We all know that Bush wants $196,000,000,000 more for his Iraq and Afghanistan disasters, but something curious was tucked into the funding request. According to ABC News:

The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP.

The MOP is the the military’s largest conventional bomb, a super “bunker-buster” capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=farmacia-viagra-generico-100-mg-a-Firenze The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to “an urgent operational need from theater commanders.”

ABC called CENTCOM to ask about it. CENTCOM said they’d look into it and call back. They haven’t yet.

Congressional Quarterly adds:

side efeects of accutane In interviews Tuesday, military experts said the new weapon was not designed for the kind of counterinsurgency campaign being conducted by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They said the MOP could prove useful against other targets, notably underground Iranian facilities that are said to be producing nuclear weapons materials.

“A weapon like this is designed to deal with extremely hard and buried targets such as you would find in Iran or North Korea,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the conservative military think tank the Lexington Institute, who is also a consultant for some defense contractors.

“Clearly, in the case of North Korea, the likelihood of military action is receding as the Pyongyang government becomes more tractable,” said Thompson, referring to recent progress in diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs.

How about Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility?

“You’d use it on Natanz,” said John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org. “And you’d use it on a stealth bomber because you want it to be a surprise. http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=iv-lasix-5mg-hr-drip-calculation And you put in an emergency funding request because you want to bomb quickly.”

And you can read more about the MOP at the GlobalSecurity.org website.

Pike does point out that such a bombing raid should be launched in secret, and that the funding request would seem to telegraph the intent to make such a bombing raid, which raises questions about whether or not there really is such intent. Of course, that assumes that Bush Administration military planners are something other than utterly inept; and there is no evidence on which to base such an assumption.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports:

The Bush administration plans to roll out an unprecedented package of unilateral sanctions against Iran today, including the long-awaited designations of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, according to senior administration officials.

The package, scheduled to be announced jointly by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., marks the first time that the United States has tried to isolate or punish another country’s military. It is the broadest set of punitive measures imposed on Tehran since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy, the officials said.

Because Iran is such a grave threat.

“The policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge for American security interests in the Middle East, and possibly around the world, because the combination of Iranian terrorism, Iranian repression at home and the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology — technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon — is a very dangerous mix,” Rice said yesterday in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Wow! Graver than Iraq! Possibly graver than the increasing tensions with Russia. Graver than the actual terrorists who actually attacked us on Septmeber 11, 2001- who had nothing to do with Iran, and who are still on the loose. Iranian terrorism? For example, um… uh… Well, let’s just skip over that part. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons? Well, the U.N.’ Nobel Peace Prize winning chief arms inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, says that program’s purported threat is ovestated. And, of course, it’s not like Rice has any known credibility problems.

Will the attack happen? None of us knows. Unlike with the Iraq product line, the Iran marketing campaign is not working. But it’s clear that Bush and Cheney want this war. Will they do it without any international or domestic support? That is the question.


(note: Mishima covered this, this morning, but I think it deserves an essay of its own)

Pony Party: SLFN edition…

Happy Afternon!  I’m writing at four in the morning, and may be on the road when you read this…

Anyway, this will be my last Pony Party for at least awhile…I’m trying to get my real world stuff together…so, so long for now…

Be excellent to each other…

We Are Only Being Shown What is There

Many people are expressing frustration and even outrage at what appears to be a complete collapse of our system. Everything from the erosion of all governmental checks and balances, to our mainstream media giving a free pass to our wayward administration, to a failed leadership are being paraded before us. Most believe that these conditions are new phenomenon but I believe that we are just seeing now what has been in existence for centuries.

Cross posted on dkos

Any system or relationship can only be truly evaluated in times of stress and trauma. The honeymoon periods, the good times can be handled by even the most flawed system or people. A flood wall made out of paper works great until the flood comes. The flood has come and our paper flood wall is giving way on all sides. Here are a few examples.

The first wave of water was the 911 bombings. What this event exposed was our faulty belief that we could control or prevent attacks on our homeland. It was more or less believed by most Americans that if you had the best army, most advanced technology and strongest economy you were invincible. This event shattered that illusion which gave way to a variety of disturbing reactions that are now destroying our country.

We have an administration that is riddled with personality disorders and as a result of their collective illness they have flaws including incompetence, magical thinking, bullying to name just a few.  These negative tendencies have caused a number of reactions including a majority of the American people losing faith in our government. A number of us are in complete disbelief at the incompetence of our administration and we want accountability and change.

All of this is the flood. What this flood has exposed is that our flood wall, our democracy is not really a democracy. The will of the people is not as important as we have been lead to believe. We have been told that our opinions matter that we are a government for the people and by the people but that has been show to be a lie. The Bush administration is not the problem. They have exposed this flaw, this incongruity in our system that we claim to be a democracy but there is another power behind the throne and it is not the people.

The Iraq War is another part of the flood. This flood was sold to us by lies and now the American people want out. The people put the opposition party, the democrats into power to end this war. They have not. This part of our flood wall, our two party system is being shown for the illusion that it is. We see that both the democrats and the republicans serve their cooperate masters first and foremost. In fact the Democrats and the Republicans have more loyalty to each other then they have to their constituents. We have basically a one party system that takes turns ruling the country.

There are many aspect of this flood of truth, the rise of the internet and people powered communication, economic and energy crisis, national debt, health care, pollution and just an overall clarity of consciousness which all have exposed a flawed and crumbling system.  Most of us have had the experience where we think we know someone; we think this person is a good person but eventually a situation arises that exposes a malevolent side to this person that has been lurking underneath. This often happens with systems as well, our families for example which we idealized in our youth but later we grow to see our parents and siblings as human beings often in a dysfunctional or even toxic system. Anger, outrage and disbelief are there at first but those reactions do little to fix the problem.

What we are being shown today is the effect of a society that places money and power above all else. The ship is taking on water and we appear to be sinking. Money and power are being saved and human life, integrity, love, loyalty, the constitution and everything else are being left to drown so that power and money can survive. This is our system and it is only now coming clearly into view.

Our government was a breakthrough originally but it was just one small step on our evolutionary path. Our sort of democracy is at least better then a tyrannical monarchy or a malevolent theocracy but we still have a long way to go. We are getting a view of the dark side of our system. It is not very palatable but our aversion will be the catalyst for change and further evolution

Four at Four

Here is some news and an pfizer viagra free samples open thread brought to you by the resident instrument of doom and gloom. I think that makes me a banjo.

  1. The Washington Post reports White House feels Rep. Henry Waxman’s oversight gaze. “Waxman has become the Bush administration’s worst nightmare: a Democrat in the majority with subpoena power and the inclination to overturn rocks. But in Waxman the White House also faces an indefatigable capital veteran — with a staff renowned for its depth and experience — who has been waiting for this for 14 years.”

    “We have to let people know they have someone watching them after six years with no oversight at all,” said Waxman, 68. “And we’ve got a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick.”

    This morning, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before the House Oversight Committee that Waxman chairs and, as TMPmuckraker described it, Rice continued proud tradition of State Department stonewalling. Waxman’s doing his job. I guess the Founders never considered executive branch officials would just “not recall” when they drafted our Constitution. Keep at it Henry. You’re fighting the good fight.

  2. BBC News reports Costa Rica gets a forest fund boost. “The US and conservation groups will cut $26m (£12.8m) from Costa Rican debt in return for the country spending the same sum on forest protection. Costa Rica will spend the money over the next 16 years on large swathes of its tropical forest. It hopes to help conserve such endangered species as the jaguar, squirrel monkey and scarlet macaw. Areas targeted include the Talamanca Highlands that contain the country’s largest untouched tract of rainforest.”

  3. The Guardian reports Giant wind turbines face a storm of protest. “General Electric is developing wind turbines with blades longer than the tip-to-tip wingspan of a jumbo jet. In a move likely to dismay activists who view wind farms as a blot on the landscape, the American company has taken the wraps off a project to develop power-generating windmills with blades of 70 metres [229 feet] – some 75% longer than the typical existing length of 40 metres [131 feet].”

    Lorraine Bolsinger, vice-president of GE’s ecoimagination division, was unapologetic about the aesthetics of giant windmills. “You can’t say no to everything,” she said, pointing out that there were also objections to nuclear and water-generated power.

Today’s episode of Guns of Greed is below the fold.

  1. Today’s Guns of Greed examines more private contracting to keep the occupation going in Afghanistan and the Blackwater massacre fallout.

    • The Globe and Mail reports Beleaguered NATO set to charter helicopters. “NATO plans to rent helicopters to resupply front lines and remote bases in southern Afghanistan… Defence ministers meeting today in the Netherlands are expected to approve chartering up to 20 large helicopters, flown by civilian contractors, to provide vital airlift and reduce the number of military convoys exposed to roadside bombs… Outsourcing helicopter services will also relieve the severely overstrained U.S. helicopter squadrons in Kandahar whose deployment has been repeatedly extended.”

    • The New York Times reports Under Siege, Blackwater Takes On Air of Bunker. ” For weeks, not a word has emerged publicly from the compound, as the F.B.I., the American military and the Iraqi government investigate the Sept. 16 and earlier Blackwater shootings in Iraq. But in recent days, that secretive Blackwater world has begun to fray under so much scrutiny, said four current and two former Blackwater employees. They described a grating sense among many of Blackwater guards, especially those with years of experience, that the killings on Sept. 16 were unjustified.”

    • The Washington Post reports State Department ousts its Chief of Security. “The State Department’s security chief was forced to resign yesterday after a critical review found that his office had failed to adequately supervise private contractors protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq. Richard J. Griffin… was told by… [Deputy Secretary of State] John D. Negroponte, to leave office by Nov. 1. Griffin’s chief deputy, Gregory B. Starr, will become acting assistant secretary for diplomatic security. Griffin is the first senior official to lose his job over the widening private-contractor scandal… Griffin’s departure was widely seen as a positive move within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), where many senior agents have expressed growing concern over the dependence on and lack of supervision of private contractors.”

    • Meanwhile, ABC News reports that Despite Blackwater, State Department officials get promotions. “Condoleezza Rice quietly promoted two senior staffers who directly oversaw controversial Blackwater security operations… Justine Sincavage has been serving as director of the Overseas Protection Operation (OPO), which has direct responsibility for all State Department security contracts for Iraq and Afghanistan… [Her] predecessor as OPO director, Kevin Barry, was also promoted… Current and former officials were outraged.”

      “They both got promoted in the face of all this mismanagement and controversy — talk about government B.S.,” said another. “What does it say when State promotes the two people into DS’ most senior positions, when if they had properly managed the programs under the responsibility, we wouldn’t be in this mess?”

    • AFP reports Iraq revokes security contractors’ immunity. “The Iraqi government announced on Wednesday that it has decided to formally revoke the immunity from prosecution granted to private security companies operating in the war-ravaged country.”

      “The cabinet held a meeting yesterday and decided to scrap the article pertaining to security companies operating in Iraq that was issued by the CPA (Coalition Provision Authority) in 2004,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement. “It has decided to present a new law regarding this issue which will be taken in the next cabinet meeting.”

      The move still needs approval from Iraq’s parliament.

    • The Christian Science Monitor reports In contractors’ shootings, Iraqis search for justice. “Many Iraqis, especially the victims’ families, say that the contractors should face charges in an Iraqi court. They say they are not willing to let the contractors go unpunished, despite the fact that the US government has already started the process of offering many victims’ relatives compensation…

      Mohammed Hafidh says he refused to accept an envelope filled with $12,500 in cash from Patricia Butenis, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Baghdad, as compensation for the death of his 10-year-old son, Ali.

      “I told her that I want the courts to have their say,” says Mr. Hafidh… For Hafidh, who lost his young son, the shooting “was a nightmare. I saw them shoot at people who were already dead over and over again.” …

      Hafidh wrote on a claims form that he wanted $15 million in total compensation, an apology from Blackwater, and assistance to leave the country with his wife and three other children.

So, what else is happening?

What’s Better Than Meta?

Getting paid to write about Meta.

Go visit and comment there so I can keep scamming them.

The Eternal Struggle

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

Tom Paine

Did you people think this was going to be easy? Did you think it would be quick and painless?  Did you think there was a single solution, an easily implemented plan, a Silver Bullet…….that Superman would appear and save us?

That someday the clouds would part and the sun would shine through and peace and freedom and prosperity would suddenly appear?

It just doesn’t work that way. It is not just a single battle, or just one war, not even a LONG war. It is a continuum, an ongoing project, a running firefight throughout the history of man.

If any time ever illustrated a battle of good versus evil, this is it. If there was ever a doubt that evil exists in the world and must be actively and doggedly and eternally fought by the forces of good here we are.

Again.

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Still.

.

Evil is ascendant right now….in fact evil is getting ready to bomb the crap out of Iran.

And this time evil is not just threatening Poland or France or Great Britain. It is threatening the whole damn planet. The very same people who  are mongering war are the ones who are preventing mitigation of our rapidly accelerating Climate Crisis.

There are two forces at work in the world, two entities struggling or control of the future, two ideas at war….just as it has ALWAYS been. Being part of this battle is what it MEANS to be human.

You can couch in religious terms or philosophical ones or in military terms. It doesn’t matter. Your choice on Earth is simple….Good or Evil.

Your next choice is how hard to work at it……and/or, how much to ignore it.

Did you think it would be easy being human?  Walk in the park, a day at the beach? That you would get to enjoy the labors and sacrifices of all the billions of human that came before you, that fought the battle? That died for it, that lost their families and everything they owned, that were made to witness and participate in any of the huge battles between good and evil that have been fought here on earth….for as long as there have been humans? Did you think the fight was OVER?

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“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he doesn’t exist” Verbal/Kaiser

.

.

I will leave it to the pedants to decide if what we should call this current embodiment of evil, Fascist or Authoritarian….or even if we “should” call it evil at all. I will leave it to them as well whether ranting works to fight this evil. I don’t care.

I intend to fight.

My body is broken now, but not my spirit and not my voice. What I can do is to to yell….and I intend to yell as loudly as I can, while changing my life, while changing myself, while changing what of the world I can.
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OPPOSE!!!

RESIST!!!

FIGHT ON!!

and

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On November sixth there is the BEGINNING of a General Strike.

This weekend there is a protest in 11 cities around the US…..do strikes and  protests ‘work?’

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You bet your ass. The people who say it doesn’t are the people who are made uncomfortable by protest. The function of protest IS TO MAKE PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE. To wake them up, to make them think, to burst the bubble of comfort that the Powers That Be wish us all to build and enjoy and live inside of ….as they rape the world and propagate evil unopposed. So if it makes you uncomfortable to see your brothers and sisters in the streets protesting…..good. But instead of blaming them….or Code Pink….or ANYONE else, look in the mirror and ask why someone actively fighting against evil makes you uncomfortable. Whatever the answer I will NOT condemn you. Nor will I tell you what comprare vardenafil Liguria you should be doing. All I ask is that each and every one of us look into that mirror.

And ask what YOU can do to help.

In YOUR own way.

What is the change YOU can become?

comprare viagra sicuro OPPOSE!!!

RESIST!!!

And never, never, never give up.

Things are fucked up….but things will only get more fucked up if we don’t all fight back. Each in our own way, each in our own time…but as hard as we can. And tomorrow, just a little bit harder.

“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
  —  Edmund Burke

Burma: Systematic Rape/Murder and That Chevron Ad

Riddle me this: Why is the largest “progressive” blog in the world advertising Chevron, an undeniable culprit in the state sponsored torture, rape and murder of innocent Burmese women and children? And before you say the all too familiar phrase “because its his blog and he can do what he wants” please join me below:

It more than the Monks who have been targeted for murder in Burma:

According to a recently published report, an alliance of NGO’s has accussed the Burmese ruling jaunta and military of stepping up its oppression of ethnic minorities through a systematic campaign of torture, rape and arbitrary killing.

From the Christian Science Moniter October 23rd:
The Internal Displacement in Eastern Burma Survey, released Monday by the U.K.-based Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), details the eradication of 167 Burmese villages and the forced internal displacement of around 76,000 people between January and September 2007.

That the regime uses state sponsored rape and torture is well known. Lesser known is the the dramatic increase in the jaunta’s war against the people who live in the ethnic minority Karen State.

“This report confirms once more that Burma’s military junta is prepared to use all means necessary in its large-scale and bloody war against Burma’s minorities,” said Atle Sommerfeldt, general secretary of Norwegian Church Aid, on Monday at a seminar in Oslo to launch the report .

Norwegian Church Aid, a partner organization of the TBBC, believes that as many as half a million people are currently displaced and said the worst affected area was Karen State, where at least 38 people have been murdered in the Thanduang province in 2007 alone.

Why? The answer is as simple as it is devasting: Chevron and The Yadana Pipeline

The Yadana Gas Pipeline Project represents the single largest foreign investment project in Burma. Ignoring democratically expressed calls for a moratorium on international investment in Burma, transnational oil companies Unocal (US) and Total (France) have chosen to invest in a regime with one of the most deplorable human rights and environmental records in the world. (Chevron bought out Unocal in 2005)

Even worse, the companies have contracted with the Burmese military regime to provide security for the Yadana project. Thus, the Burmese army has engaged in a pattern of systematic human rights abuses and environmental degradation as it seeks to fulfill its contractual responsibilities to Unocal and Total.

http://www.earthrigh…

The result of The Burmese Army’s protection of the pipeline has resulted in tremendous suppression of the ethnic minorities surrounding Yadana, in particular the people of Karen:

Forced labor and systematic rape and murder is targeted particularly at the ethnic minorities living in the border regions such as Karen, Mon, Shan, and Karenni. According to The International Committee of the Red Cross there are over ninety forced  labor camps in the country.

The military’s systemic use of sexual violence against women and girls has dramatically escalated in recent years, especially in dissident ethnic areas like Karen.. Oftentimes soldiers will marry a woman after raping her to ensure she bares a child in a form of ethnic cleansing reminicent of Nazi Germany.

Myanmar has the largest number of child soldiers in the world and the number is growing. Human Rights Watch said there were about seventy thousand child soldiers as of 2002, most of them forcibly recruited by the country’s army from area like Karen.

The Chevron and Total Pipeline is directly responsible for the torture, rape and murder of tens of thousands of innocent ethnic minority groups that live in rural areas surrounding the Yadana Pipeline:

According to a  2002 report from Earthrights International entitled We Are Not Free To Work For Ouselves confirms that security forces for the Yadana and Yetagun pipelines continue to conscript civilians for forced labor: 
Excerpts from the report include:

“One time, a porter named [redacted] could not carry his load because his foot was sore and swollen. A soldier got a stick and beat him with it. Another porter named [redacted] was exhausted and sick from diarrhea; he fell down on the ground. The soldier beat him and ordered him to stand up. When he got up, he fell back down again. Then [an officer] beat him again. The military left him . . . When we arrived at the next destination, one of the corporals said that [he] had died.”
“The military raped [my cousin] and also [name redacted]. The military kept them in the jungle for four or five days, and they raped [them both]. [My cousin] was separated from the other women. They killed her because they had already raped her, and they did not want her to say anything. After four or five days, the other women were taken into town, and they got a message to her relatives that they should go to the jungle to try to find her. Our relatives found [my cousin’s] body in the jungle.”

http://www.earthrigh…

So again I pose the same question that I began with:

Why is The Daily Kos supporting this activity (and it is) through accepting advertising dollars from Chevron and as importantly, what is this saying about
the netroots community that it is not demanding a stop to it?

I am just getting used to the requirements (linking etc) for posting diaries here so forgive me for not making this one as internet friendly as it should be.

This Way to the Camps: Homeland Security Directive

This Presidential Directive is copied and pasted in its entirety from the White House site –
http://www.whitehous…

This is exactly what Naomi Klein, Naomi Wolf and other thinkers on social justice and democracy have been warning us about.

I will be most interested in seeing your thoughts and comments, and of course Stonemason’s – whose idea it was to post this.

Homeland Security Presidential Directive
HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-21

White House News

Subject: Public Health and Medical Preparedness

Purpose

(1)  This directive establishes a National Strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness (Strategy), which builds upon principles set forth in Biodefense for the 21st Century (April 2004) and will transform our national approach to protecting the health of the American people against all disasters.

Definitions

(2)  In this directive:

(a) The term “biosurveillance” means the process of active data-gathering with appropriate analysis and interpretation of biosphere data that might relate to disease activity and threats to human or animal health – whether infectious, toxic, metabolic, or otherwise, and regardless of intentional or natural origin – in order to achieve early warning of health threats, early detection of health events, and overall situational awareness of disease activity;

(b) The term “catastrophic health event” means any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in a number of ill or injured persons sufficient to overwhelm the capabilities of immediate local and regional emergency response and health care systems;

(c) The term “epidemiologic surveillance” means the process of actively gathering and analyzing data related to human health and disease in a population in order to obtain early warning of human health events, rapid characterization of human disease events, and overall situational awareness of disease activity in the human population;

  (d) The term “medical” means the science and practice of maintenance of health and prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and alleviation of disease or injury and the provision of those services to individuals;

(e) The term “public health” means the science and practice of protecting and improving the overall health of the community through disease prevention and early diagnosis, control of communicable diseases, health education, injury prevention, sanitation, and protection from environmental hazards;

(f) The term “public health and medical preparedness” means the existence of plans, procedures, policies, training, and equipment necessary to maximize the ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from major events, including efforts that result in the capability to render an appropriate public health and medical response that will mitigate the effects of illness and injury, limit morbidity and mortality to the maximum extent possible, and sustain societal, economic, and political infrastructure; and

(g) The terms “State” and “local government,” when used in a geographical sense, have the meanings ascribed to such terms respectively in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101).

  Background

(3)  A catastrophic health event, such as a terrorist attack with a weapon of mass destruction (WMD), a naturally-occurring pandemic, or a calamitous meteorological or geological event, could cause tens or hundreds of thousands of casualties or more, weaken our economy, damage public morale and confidence, and threaten our national security.  It is therefore critical that we establish a strategic vision that will enable a level of public health and medical preparedness sufficient to address a range of possible disasters.

(4)  The United States has made significant progress in public health and medical preparedness since 2001, but we remain vulnerable to events that threaten the health of large populations.  The attacks of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina were the most significant recent disasters faced by the United States, yet casualty numbers were small in comparison to the 1995 Kobe earthquake; the 2003 Bam, Iran, earthquake; the 2004 Sumatra tsunami; and what we would expect from a 1918-like influenza pandemic or large-scale WMD attack.  Such events could immediately overwhelm our public health and medical systems.

(5)  This Strategy draws key principles from the National Strategy for Homeland Security (October 2007), the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (December 2002), and Biodefense for the 21st Century (April 2004) that can be generally applied to public health and medical preparedness.  Those key principles are the following: (1) preparedness for all potential catastrophic health events; (2) vertical and horizontal coordination across levels of government, jurisdictions, and disciplines; (3) a regional approach to health preparedness; (4) engagement of the private sector, academia, and other nongovernmental entities in preparedness and response efforts; and (5) the important roles of individuals, families, and communities. 

(6)  Present public health and medical preparedness plans incorporate the concept of “surging” existing medical and public health capabilities in response to an event that threatens a large number of lives.  The assumption that conventional public health and medical systems can function effectively in catastrophic health events has, however, proved to be incorrect in real-world situations.  Therefore, it is necessary to transform the national approach to health care in the context of a catastrophic health event in order to enable U.S. public health and medical systems to respond effectively to a broad range of incidents.

(7)  The most effective complex service delivery systems result from rigorous end-to-end system design.  A critical and formal process by which the functions of public health and medical preparedness and response are designed to integrate all vertical (through all levels of government) and horizontal (across all sectors in communities) components can achieve a much greater capability than we currently have.

(8)  The United States has tremendous resources in both public and private sectors that could be used to prepare for and respond to a catastrophic health event.  To exploit those resources fully, they must be organized in a rationally designed system that is incorporated into pre-event planning, deployed in a coordinated manner in response to an event, and guided by a constant and timely flow of relevant information during an event.  This Strategy establishes principles and objectives to improve our ability to respond comprehensively to catastrophic health events.  It also identifies critical antecedent components of this capability and directs the development of an implementation plan that will delineate further specific actions and guide the process to fruition.

  (9)  This Strategy focuses on human public health and medical systems; it does not address other areas critical to overall public health and medical preparedness, such as animal health systems, food and agriculture defense, global partnerships in public health, health threat intelligence activities, domestic and international biosecurity, and basic and applied research in threat diseases and countermeasures.  Efforts in those areas are addressed in other policy documents.

(10)  It is not possible to prevent all casualties in catastrophic events, but strategic improvements in our Federal, State, and local planning can prepare our Nation to deliver appropriate care to the largest possible number of people, lessen the impact on limited health care resources, and support the continuity of society and government. 

Policy

(11)  It is the policy of the United States to plan and enable provision for the public health and medical needs of the American people in the case of a catastrophic health event through continual and timely flow of information during such an event and rapid public health and medical response that marshals all available national capabilities and capacities in a rapid and coordinated manner.

Implementation Actions

  (12)  Biodefense for the 21st Century provides a foundation for the transformation of our catastrophic health event response and preparedness efforts.  Although the four pillars of that framework – Threat Awareness, Prevention and Protection, Surveillance and Detection, and Response and Recovery – were developed to guide our efforts to defend against a bioterrorist attack, they are applicable to a broad array of natural and manmade public health and medical challenges and are appropriate to serve as the core functions of the Strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness.

(13)  To accomplish our objectives, we must create a firm foundation for community medical preparedness.  We will increase our efforts to inform citizens and empower communities, buttress our public health infrastructure, and explore options to relieve current pressures on our emergency departments and emergency medical systems so that they retain the flexibility to prepare for and respond to events.

(14) Ultimately, the Nation must collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health.  The specialty of emergency medicine evolved as a result of the recognition of the special considerations in emergency patient care, and similarly the recognition of the unique principles in disaster-related public health and medicine merit the establishment of their own formal discipline.  Such a discipline will provide a foundation for doctrine, education, training, and research and will integrate preparedness into the public health and medical communities. 

Critical Components of Public Health and Medical Preparedness

(15)  Currently, the four most critical components of public health and medical preparedness are biosurveillance, countermeasure distribution, mass casualty care, and community resilience.  Although those capabilities do not address all public health and medical preparedness requirements, they currently hold the greatest potential for mitigating illness and death and therefore will receive the highest priority in our public health and medical preparedness efforts.  Those capabilities constitute the focus and major objectives of this Strategy. 

(16)  Biosurveillance:  The United States must develop a nationwide, robust, and integrated biosurveillance capability, with connections to international disease surveillance systems, in order to provide early warning and ongoing characterization of disease outbreaks in near real-time.  Surveillance must use multiple modalities and an in-depth architecture.  We must enhance clinician awareness and participation and strengthen laboratory diagnostic capabilities and capacity in order to recognize potential threats as early as possible.  Integration of biosurveillance elements and other data (including human health, animal health, agricultural, meteorological, environmental, intelligence, and other data) will provide a comprehensive picture of the health of communities and the associated threat environment for incorporation into the national “common operating picture.”  A central element of biosurveillance must be an epidemiologic surveillance system to monitor human disease activity across populations.  That system must be sufficiently enabled to identify specific disease incidence and prevalence in heterogeneous populations and environments and must possess sufficient flexibility to tailor analyses to new syndromes and emerging diseases.  State and local government health officials, public and private sector health care institutions, and practicing clinicians must be involved in system design, and the overall system must be constructed with the principal objective of establishing or enhancing the capabilities of State and local government entities.

(17)  Countermeasure Stockpiling and Distribution:  In the context of a catastrophic health event, rapid distribution of medical countermeasures (vaccines, drugs, and therapeutics) to a large population requires significant resources within individual communities.  Few if any cities are presently able to meet the objective of dispensing countermeasures to their entire population within 48 hours after the decision to do so.  Recognizing that State and local government authorities have the primary responsibility to protect their citizens, the Federal Government will create the appropriate framework and policies for sharing information on best practices and mechanisms to address the logistical challenges associated with this requirement.  The Federal Government must work with nonfederal stakeholders to create effective templates for countermeasure distribution and dispensing that State and local government authorities can use to build their own capabilities. 

(18)  Mass Casualty Care:  The structure and operating principles of our day-to-day public health and medical systems cannot meet the needs created by a catastrophic health event.  Collectively, our Nation must develop a disaster medical capability that can immediately re-orient and coordinate existing resources within all sectors to satisfy the needs of the population during a catastrophic health event.  Mass casualty care response must be (1) rapid, (2) flexible, (3) scalable, (4) sustainable, (5) exhaustive (drawing upon all national resources), (6) comprehensive (addressing needs from acute to chronic care and including mental health and special needs populations), (7) integrated and coordinated, and (8) appropriate (delivering the correct treatment in the most ethical manner with available capabilities).  We must enhance our capability to protect the physical and mental health of survivors; protect responders and health care providers; properly and respectfully dispose of the deceased; ensure continuity of society, economy, and government; and facilitate long-term recovery of affected citizens.

(19)  The establishment of a robust disaster health capability requires us to develop an operational concept for the medical response to catastrophic health events that is substantively distinct from and broader than that which guides day-to-day operations.  In order to achieve that transformation, the Federal Government will facilitate and provide leadership for key stakeholders to establish the following four foundational elements: Doctrine, System Design, Capacity, and Education and Training.  The establishment of those foundational elements must result from efforts within the relevant professional communities and will require many years, but the Federal Government can serve as an important catalyst for this process. 

(20)  Community Resilience:  The above components address the supply side of the preparedness function, ultimately providing enhanced services to our citizens.  The demand side is of equal importance.  Where local civic leaders, citizens, and families are educated regarding threats and are empowered to mitigate their own risk, where they are practiced in responding to events, where they have social networks to fall back upon, and where they have familiarity with local public health and medical systems, there will be community resilience that will significantly attenuate the requirement for additional assistance.  The Federal Government must formulate a comprehensive plan for promoting community public health and medical preparedness to assist State and local authorities in building resilient communities in the face of potential catastrophic health events.

Biosurveillance

(21)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish an operational national epidemiologic surveillance system for human health, with international connectivity where appropriate, that is predicated on State, regional, and community-level capabilities and creates a networked system to allow for two-way information flow between and among Federal, State, and local government public health authorities and clinical health care providers.  The system shall build upon existing Federal, State, and local surveillance systems where they exist and shall enable and provide incentive for public health agencies to implement local surveillance systems where they do not exist.  To the extent feasible, the system shall be built using electronic health information systems.  It shall incorporate flexibility and depth of data necessary to respond to previously unknown or emerging threats to public health and integrate its data into the national biosurveillance common operating picture as appropriate.  The system shall protect patient privacy by restricting access to identifying information to the greatest extent possible and only to public health officials with a need to know.  The Implementation Plan to be developed pursuant to section 43 of this directive shall specify milestones for this system.

(22)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, shall establish an Epidemiologic Surveillance Federal Advisory Committee, including representatives from State and local government public health authorities and appropriate private sector health care entities, in order to ensure that the Federal Government is meeting the goal of enabling State and local government public health surveillance capabilities. 

Countermeasure Stockpiling and Distribution

(23)  In accordance with the schedule set forth below, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall develop templates, using a variety of tools and including private sector resources when necessary, that provide minimum operational plans to enable communities to distribute and dispense countermeasures to their populations within 48 hours after a decision to do so.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall ensure that this process utilizes current cooperative programs and engages Federal, State, local government, and private sector entities in template development, modeling, testing, and evaluation.  The Secretary shall also assist State, local government, and regional entities in tailoring templates to fit differing geographic sizes, population densities, and demographics, and other unique or specific local needs.  In carrying out such actions, the Secretary shall:

(a) within 270 days after the date of this directive, (i) publish an initial template or templates meeting the requirements above, including basic testing of component distribution mechanisms and modeling of template systems to predict performance in large-scale implementation, (ii) establish standards and performance measures for State and local government countermeasure distribution systems, including demonstration of specific capabilities in tactical exercises in accordance with the National Exercise Program, and (iii) establish a process to gather performance data from State and local participants on a regular basis to assess readiness; and

(b) within 180 days after the completion of the tasks set forth in (a), and with appropriate notice, commence collecting and using performance data and metrics as conditions for future public health preparedness grant funding.

(24)  Within 270 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security and the Attorney General, shall develop Federal Government capabilities and plans to complement or supplement State and local government distribution capacity, as appropriate and feasible, if such entities’ resources are deemed insufficient to provide access to countermeasures in a timely manner in the event of a catastrophic health event.

(25)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall ensure that the priority-setting process for the acquisition of medical countermeasures and other critical medical materiel for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is transparent and risk-informed with respect to the scope, quantities, and forms of the various products.  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, shall establish a formal mechanism for the annual review of SNS composition and development of recommendations that utilizes input from accepted national risk assessments and threat assessments, national planning scenarios, national modeling resources, and subject matter experts.  The results of each such annual review shall be provided to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the time of the Department of Health and Human Services’ next budget submission.

(26)  Within 90 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a process to share relevant information regarding the contents of the SNS with Federal, State, and local government health officers with appropriate clearances and a need to know.

(27)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of State, Defense, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, shall develop protocols for sharing countermeasures and medical goods between the SNS and other Federal stockpiles and shall explore appropriate reciprocal arrangements with foreign and international stockpiles of medical countermeasures to ensure the availability of necessary supplies for use in the United States.

Mass Casualty Care

(28)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, shall directly engage relevant State and local government, academic, professional, and private sector entities and experts to provide feedback on the review of the National Disaster Medical System and national medical surge capacity required by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act  (PAHPA) (Public Law 109-417) .  Within 270 days after the completion of such review, the Secretary shall identify, through a systems-based approach involving expertise from such entities and experts, high-priority gaps in mass casualty care capabilities, and shall submit to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism a concept plan that identifies and coordinates all Federal, State, and local government and private sector public health and medical disaster response resources, and identifies options for addressing critical deficits, in order to achieve the system attributes described in this Strategy.

(29)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, shall:

(a) build upon the analysis of Federal facility use to provide enhanced medical surge capacity in disasters required by section 302 of PAHPA to analyze the use of Federal medical facilities as a foundational element of public health and medical preparedness; and

(b) develop and implement plans and enter into agreements to integrate such facilities more effectively into national and regional education, training, and exercise preparedness activities.

(30)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall lead an interagency process, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security and the Attorney General, to identify any legal, regulatory, or other barriers to public health and medical preparedness and response from Federal, State, or local government or private sector sources that can be eliminated by appropriate regulatory or legislative action and shall, within 120 days after the date of this directive, submit a report on such barriers to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

(31)  The impact of the “worried well” in past disasters is well documented, and it is evident that mitigating the mental health consequences of disasters can facilitate effective response.  Recognizing that maintaining and restoring mental health in disasters has not received sufficient attention to date, within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, shall establish a Federal Advisory Committee for Disaster Mental Health.  The committee shall consist of appropriate subject matter experts and, within 180 days after its establishment, shall submit to the Secretary of Health and Human Services recommendations for protecting, preserving, and restoring individual and community mental health in catastrophic health event settings, including pre-event, intra-event, and post-event education, messaging, and interventions. 

Community Resilience

(32)  The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, shall ensure that core public health and medical curricula and training developed pursuant to PAHPA address the needs to improve individual, family, and institutional public health and medical preparedness, enhance private citizen opportunities for contributions to local, regional, and national preparedness and response, and build resilient communities.

(33)  Within 270 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Labor, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security and the Attorney General, shall submit to the President for approval, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, a plan to promote comprehensive community medical preparedness.

Risk Awareness

(34)  The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall prepare an unclassified briefing for non-health professionals that clearly outlines the scope of the risks to public health posed by relevant threats and catastrophic health events (including attacks involving weapons of mass destruction), shall coordinate such briefing with the heads of other relevant executive departments and agencies, shall ensure that full use is made of Department of Defense expertise and resources, and shall ensure that all State governors and the mayors and senior county officials from the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States receive such briefing, unless specifically declined, within 150 days after the date of this directive.

(35)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services,  and the Director of National Intelligence, shall establish a mechanism by which up-to-date and specific public health threat information shall be relayed, to the greatest extent possible and not inconsistent with the established guidance relating to the Information Sharing Environment, to relevant public health officials at the State and local government levels and shall initiate a process to ensure that qualified heads of State and local government entities have the opportunity to obtain appropriate security clearances so that they may receive classified threat information when applicable.

Education and Training

(36)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall develop and thereafter maintain processes for coordinating Federal grant programs for public health and medical preparedness using grant application guidance, investment justifications, reporting, program performance measures, and accountability for future funding in order to promote cross-sector, regional, and capability-based coordination, consistent with section 201 of PAHPA and the National Preparedness Guidelines developed pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-8 of December 17, 2003 (“National Preparedness”).

(37)  Within 1 year after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, and consistent with section 304 of PAHPA, shall develop a mechanism to coordinate public health and medical disaster preparedness and response core curricula and training across executive departments and agencies, to ensure standardization and commonality of knowledge, procedures, and terms of reference within the Federal Government that also can be communicated to State and local government entities, as well as academia and the private sector. 

(38)  Within 1 year after the date of this directive, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, shall establish an academic Joint Program for Disaster Medicine and Public Health housed at a National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  The Program shall lead Federal efforts to develop and propagate core curricula, training, and research related to medicine and public health in disasters.  The Center will be an academic center of excellence in disaster medicine and public health, co-locating education and research in the related specialties of domestic medical preparedness and response, international health, international disaster and humanitarian medical assistance, and military medicine.  Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense authorities will be used to carry out respective civilian and military missions within this joint program.

Disaster Health System

(39)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall commission the Institute of Medicine to lead a forum engaging Federal, State, and local governments, the private sector, academia, and appropriate professional societies in a process to facilitate the development of national disaster public health and medicine doctrine and system design and to develop a strategy for long-term enhancement of disaster public health and medical capacity and the propagation of disaster public health and medicine education and training.

(40)  Within 120 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit to the President through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and shall commence the implementation of, a plan to use current grant funding programs, private payer incentives, market forces, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services requirements, and other means to create financial incentives to enhance private sector health care facility preparedness in such a manner as to not increase health care costs.

(41)  Within 180 days after the date of this directive, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security, shall establish within the Department of Health and Human Services an Office for Emergency Medical Care.  Under the direction of the Secretary, such Office shall lead an enterprise to promote and fund research in emergency medicine and trauma health care; promote regional partnerships and more effective emergency medical systems in order to enhance appropriate triage, distribution, and care of routine community patients; promote local, regional, and State emergency medical systems’ preparedness for and response to public health events.  The Office shall address the full spectrum of issues that have an impact on care in hospital emergency departments, including the entire continuum of patient care from pre-hospital to disposition from emergency or trauma care.  The Office shall coordinate with existing executive departments and agencies that perform functions relating to emergency medical systems in order to ensure unified strategy, policy, and implementation.

National Health Security Strategy

(42) The PAHPA requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services submit in 2009, and quadrennially afterward, a National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) to the Congress.  The principles and actions in this directive, and in the Implementation Plan required by section 43, shall be incorporated into the initial NHSS, as appropriate, and shall serve as a foundation for the preparedness goals contained therein.

Task Force and Implementation Plan

(43)  In order to facilitate the implementation of the policy outlined in this Strategy, there is established the Public Health and Medical Preparedness Task Force (Task Force).  Within 120 days after the date of this directive, the Task Force shall submit to the President for approval, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, an Implementation Plan (Plan) for this Strategy, and annually thereafter shall submit to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism a status report on the implementation of the Plan and any recommendations for changes to this Strategy.

(a) The Task Force shall consist exclusively of the following members (or their designees who shall be full-time officers or employees of the members’ respective agencies):

(i) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, who shall serve as Chair;

(ii) The Secretary of State;

(ii)  The Secretary of Defense;

(iii) The Attorney General;

(iv) The Secretary of Agriculture;

(v) The Secretary of Commerce;

(vi) The Secretary of Labor;

(vii) The Secretary of Transportation;

(viii) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs

(ix) The Secretary of Homeland Security;

(x) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

  (xi) The Director of National Intelligence; and

(xii) such other officers of the United States as the Chair of the Task Force may designate from time to time.

(b) The Chair of the Task Force shall, as appropriate to deal with particular subject matters, establish subcommittees of the Task Force that shall consist exclusively of members of the Task Force (or their designees under subsection (a) of this section), and such other full-time or permanent part-time officers or employees of the Federal Government as the Chair may designate. 

(c) The Plan shall:

(i)  provide additional detailed roles and responsibilities of heads of executive departments and agencies relating to and consistent with the Strategy and actions set forth in this directive;

(ii)  provide additional guidance on public health and medical directives in Biodefense for the 21st Century; and

(iii) direct the full examination of resource requirements.

(d)  The Plan and all Task Force reports shall be developed in coordination with the Biodefense Policy Coordination Committee of the Homeland Security Council and shall then be prepared for consideration by and submitted to the more senior committees of the Homeland Security Council, as deemed appropriate by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

General Provisions

(44) This directive:

(a)  shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and the authorities of executive departments and agencies, or heads of such departments and agencies, vested by law, and subject to the availability of appropriations and within the current projected spending levels for Federal health entitlement programs;

(b)  shall not be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, and legislative proposals; and

(c)  is not intended, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

# # #

Pretty Bird Woman House has NO House!

Cross Posted at the Daily Kos under betson08

In late April, after Amnesty International released a report on the problem of sexual violence against Native American women that included a story about the how the Pretty Bird Woman House was in danger of closing its doors, this community rallied to its support. I did too, and then joined a team of volunteers to support the long-term viability of the shelter. On that front, I have some good news, some bad news, and a request for help.

The follow site good news is that this fall Georgia Littleshield, the shelter’s director, procured a 3-year Federal grant for the program to pay salaries and travel expenses. This means that during the summer, the shelter would not have been able to assist women in danger or advocate for a woman in court had the netroots not provided interim support.

The proscar miracle drug for diabetes bad news is that the building they were in was broken into so many times by people who smashed through exterior walls to gain entrance that it became unsafe safe for anyone to stay there. So, the Pretty Bird Woman House lost its house. To add insult to injury, somebody torched the building the day after they moved out.

But the source url good news was that the Tribal Council now fully supports the shelter, and has given them free office space and storage for their furniture until they can find a permanent home. Since there is a chronic housing shortages on the reservation, this is usually easier said than done.

Before I share a letter that Georgia has asked me to post for everyone who donated the last time, I thought I’d provide some information for the folks who weren’t around or didn’t notice the Daily Kos efforts last spring.

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=viagra-generico-50-mg-miglior-prezzo-pagamento-online-a-Bologna Some Background on the Netroots’ Effort to Save the Pretty Bird Woman House

Beginning on April 26, nbier wrote a series of diaries  here, here, here, and here that alerted us to the problems the shelter was having, and then he created a ChipIn page to raise money so it could stay open. At the same time, Devilstower wrote a great article called Here There Be Monsters, on the Amnesty International report, Maze of Injustice, which raised our awareness of the issues facing Native American women in this country.  Did your blood boil as much as mine did when you found out that not only will 1 in 3 Native American women be victims of sexual assault in their lifetimes, but that these crimes are committed mostly by non-native men who rarely if ever are prosecuted? And that many hospitals serving Native American populations don’t even have rape kits or staff trained to deal with rape victims? What country is this again? A rich country, a democracy? Alas, it is, and injustice does in fact pre-date the Bush Administration.

Other people who did diaries included flautist and sarac, who wrote why donations and grantwriters were needed, respectively. Soon, njgoldfinch also posted a diary encouraging people to donate, which Devilstower followed with another great post. Njgoldfinch then wrote the final diary on the issue, announcing that the fundraiser had not only met, but had exceeded its goal, and that the Pretty Bird Woman House would in fact stay open until the next grant cycle. That diary generated more than 500 comments.

Incidentally, I joined the Daily Kos because of those diaries, which came up when I was Googling to find the Amnesty report. Before that, blogging was an abstract concept to me. After reading those diaries I was so impressed by how caring this community is that I wanted to become part of it too.

A letter to you from Georgia Littleshield

The other day, after discussing the shelter’s housing problem with Georgia, she sent me a letter and asked me to post it. Here it is. I was not able to reproduce their nice letterhead.


Date: October 23, 2007

To: Those of you that donated to the Pretty Bird Woman House

Fr: Georgia Little Shield/Director

Want to thank all of you that have so graciously given from your heart to help the women here on the Standing Rock Reservation.  With your helpful dollars we have provided the services for One hundred and eighty eight women (188) and One hundred and thirty two children (132). We answered three hundred and ninety seven (397) CRISIS CALLS.  What we did with your dollars was to pay for the three employees that provide these services for the women.  We also paid for the phone and crisis lines. It is so great to be able to do the work when you have so much more to give. We had since then received a three year grant from the federal government. This will keep the workers paid but we still have the shelter crisis that we are with out a shelter. We are located on a 2.3 million acre reservation and have yet only one to two officers that cover the whole reservation per shift.  With the lack of officers we were unable to prevent vandalism to the shelter that we were in. We had three break-ins to the shelter and a lot of food was taken and the large TV that was donated to us. The second break in they stole our computers. The vandals were coming through the walls. Breaking through the sheet rock, we had to move out to assure the safety of the women and children. We are currently looking for a new shelter home. We are doing a fund raiser to begin a fund for a shelter and a fence that will protect the area with a surveillance system.

Oh must tell you what changes are happening on the front of the Amnesty International report. I recently attended a court sentencing of man that pled guilty to a charge of sexual assault against a Native American Woman and the Mayor of his town testified that he was an up standing community member and that the community would except him back with open arms and to just give him probation. This angered the District Attorney of South Dakota. That men can be upstanding citizens, and do these things to Native women, and be accepted back into the community as if they did nothing wrong. Finally some one is seeing our problem and correcting it. The man did get 33 months incarceration and three years probation.

If you could please post this to the blog and thank you so much for all your support in getting a change started.

Georgia Little Shield/Director

Pretty Bird Woman House
P.O. Box 596
McLaughlin SD 57642

 

How do they do all of that with only 3 people and so little money? They must be exhausted. Actually, they do more than that.

More information from the Pretty Bird Woman House annual report.

Numbered Served 614
Women Served  188 
Protection Orders 23
Men 0 
Restraining Orders 6
Children 132 
Divorces 10
Crisis Calls 397 
Medical 16
Gave Gas 38 
Court Advocacy Support 28
Community Education Served 360

The Pretty Bird Woman House has served 614 individuals with education and services. We are working on many things that need to be improved. One is the Sexual assault and Protocol of police and information of sexual assaults.

There have been many bumps in our road and mounds that we have plowed. One not having a shelter has really decreased our ability to shelter the women of Standing Rock Reservation. WE are still sending the women away to other shelters. This also increases the amount we spend on travel.  Not having computer impaired us for a while but as of this week we now have three computers. We are proud to announce that we now have full support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. That is one mound that was conquered this year. We also had the Amnesty International release the “Maze of Injustice for Native Women”. This is a big hurtle for all Native women. 
We still work closely with the Sacred Heart Center and the Bridges Against Domestic Violence. With the support of these women we are making a difference in our area.

More information on that court case

Here is more on the case Georgia talks about in her letter. It illustrates the progress that has been made, and the influence of the Amnesty report, but it also shows how far we need to go. A local bar owner had hired a young woman to clean the bar on an occasional basis. One night he asked her to go over and clean it, but once she got there he locked her in the building and sexually assaulted her. Luckily, her boyfriend was very supportive and took her to one of the few hospitals equipped to handle these types of cases. The Pretty Bird Women House staff then advocated for her in court. The Mayor’s testimony angered the South Dakota District Attorney, who cited all the publicity the Amnesty report was giving to this issue, and he told the judge that it was time to put these people in jail. Nonetheless, at first there was a hung jury. However, because the state was determined to go to trial again, the man then plead guilty. He also had to close down his bar because of all of this. Good.

THE HOUSING CRISIS

As you can see, the Pretty Bird Woman House needs a new house now! Taking women to different shelters off the reservation strains the capacity of the other shelters and diminishes the ability of the PBWH staff to serve the women, especially because of the long distances involved in transporting them.

Pretty Bird Woman House lost its home through no fault of its own. However, as luck would have it, there is a house for sale right across from the police station. The price is around $60,000, but I figure with closing costs, an electric fence, and a security system, they really need around $70,000.

A house is also key for the shelter’s long-term viabliity.

So, here’s what I’ve done.

First, I’ve created a PRETTY BIRD WOMAN HOUSE BLOG as a clearinghouse for information and discussion on the shelter, the issues, and this fundraiser.

Second, I started a CHIPIN CAMPAIGN. The goal is $70,000. Any money that is collected beyond that will go towards buying furniture and appliances for the house.

Lets all pitch in again! You know, it took hardly any time at all to fund Cheers and Jeers, and even less time to raise the money to keep the Pretty Bird Woman House open in May. I’m excited to see what could happen this time because of nature of the people in this community.

So, please: everyone, condense, rewrite, plagarize, and otherwise take possession of the information in this diary. Copy the ChipIn widget and post it everywhere. Send the blog link around in your emails, link it to your own blogs, and add the PBWH blog to your blog roll.

You know, lately, most of us have felt that we have been banging our heads against the wall trying to make change happen in the country. This is one thing we can do as a community that is guaranteed to make a big difference.

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“Six Lies About Iran”

Usually if I run across a story or an article on current events that particularly catches my attention I’ll quote from it and comment with my interpretation.

Back in February though, I found one of those rare gems I occasionally stumble over while looking for something else, like walking through a forest and cresting a hill or suddenly stepping into a clearing and spotting something that grabs your attention before you realize it was there.

So, this time, with no interpretation of my own or comment other than to say it says what it says better than I ever could, I’m just reproducing an entire article.

Please give Rosa your entire attention:


Six Lies You Shouldn’t Believe About Iran, Especially Since, Hey, There’s People Down Here.
by Rosa Schmidt Azadi

It feels so different watching an aircraft carrier group coming toward you than watching it sailing away from you toward another part of the world.

I’m an American who used to live in New York City. All my life, when I heard about warships, it was US warships going places far away. I never even imagined hostile warships sailing toward New York. Now I’m in Tehran, and aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is heading our way. And as it sails, people are discussing Israel and/or the US bombing Iran as if my family and 69 million other people weren’t even here. I’m getting scared.

Most Iranians that I know don’t worry about this as much as I do, though they’re wondering how the sanctions will affect the economy. Khomeini had a famous saying that we actually saw on a sign yesterday in another town: “America can’t do anything to us.” Some friends here speculate that Bush just needs an enemy so that he can continue his programs in the US, and that Iran is the enemy du jour. I wish I could believe that.

The way I see it, somebody has to stop the US president right now, and it’s very upsetting that the Congress isn’t doing it. My frustration is greater because I’m in a country where the Internet is not completely available. For example, I tried to send a donation to Dennis Kucinich, but PayPal wouldn’t take it because of the embargo. I tried to write to my Congressperson, but the Islamic Republic blocked the communication, presumably because it was with the US government. (Sometimes news stories that I want to read are blocked, too, but there are ways around that.)

If the US and/or Israel attack Iran, it will be a war based on lies, just like the Iraq war. Iraq didn’t have WMD, but Iraqis died in the hundreds of thousands. The lies about Iran seem intended to, first, make Iran look like the new Nazi state that must be bombed so as to avoid a new Holocaust, and second, make Americans fear that Iran will hurt our soldiers in Iraq or give nuclear weapons to terrorists who will hurt us in “the homeland.”

History shows that Americans are very susceptible to demonization of particular leaders of countries that the US wants to attack. Remember Castro? Noriega? Saddam? Now it’s Ahmadinejad. Whatever people think of views attributed to Ahmadinejad, it remains the case that it’s not morally acceptable to kill people because of their president, whether that president be Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or George Bush.

I want to discuss six big lies we are hearing to justify expanding the war to Iran.

LIE NUMBER 1: President Ahmadinejad “has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map.”

Even Al Jazeera English version based in Qatar keeps saying that. Why hasn’t this mistranslation been corrected after it’s been thoroughly exposed? (in the Guardianand prisonplanet.com)

Juan Cole, in Informed Comment, explained how “wiped off the map” was a mistranslation; Ahmadinejad was restating the official Iranian policy that the government system based on Zionism must end. And why the heck can’t newscasters learn to pronounce the man’s name? Anyone who knows Farsi could teach them in a minute. Why should we think they know what he said, in Farsi, if they can’t even say his name?

LIE NUMBER 2: The Iranian government is run by 1930s-style anti-Semites.

Last Spring, a story was planted that the Iranian parliament had passed a law forcing Iranian Jews to wear yellow badges. “Fourth Reich,” screamed a banner headline on one of the New York City tabloids. In a few days, the neocon source was disclosed and the story was completely retracted by the Canadian paper in which it was first published. The New York paper never apologized. When I mention the “yellow badges” to people here in Iran, they look incredulous. “But … that didn’t happen.” I know. But I’ll bet there are some Americans, and Israelis, who actually believe Jewish Iranians are walking around wearing yellow badges.

LIE NUMBER 3: Iran is bent on wiping out the Jews.

Maybe Americans should have a little humility and remember how recalcitrant the US was about accepting Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler during WWII. Iran has a very good history, under Cyrus the Great, of protecting the Jews. The long history of Jews in Persia is indicated by a monument to the Jewish prophet Daniel in the south of Iran. As for the European Holocaust deniers who were among the speakers at the Holocaust conference in Tehran, I just can’t figure it out, unless Ahmadinejad is trying to win popularity points with pro-Palestinian regional populations by appearing to be unafraid of Israel and the US. Or he could be a fool and/or a religious fundamentalist (like some other presidents who shall go unnamed).

LIE NUMBER 4: Iran is causing trouble in Iraq and threatening Arab states.

Everyone should be very clear: Who’s meddling in Iraq, who’s flying thousands of missions shooting at Iraqi citizens, who attacked whose diplomatic mission, who is detaining whose citizens, and who has announced that it is supporting subversive operations inside whose country and across whose border (from Iraqi Kurdistan)? Most likely some of the undemocratic and unpopular rulers in the Middle East are afraid that their own citizens may be attracted to the Iranian model. That may concern the US oil men and financiers who have business and military ties with them, but it’s not a reason for Americans to back destruction of Iran.

LIE NUMBER 5: Iran is dangerous to humanity because it’s trying to get nuclear weapons.

Other people who know more than I are writing about the nuclear issues. But regarding threats by Israel and the US to bomb Iranian nuclear research sites, that’s a violation of international law, not to mention a danger to innocent civilians. Regulating nuclear activities is the responsibility of the IAEA. So far, the IAEA has declared that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is in compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. That’s more than we can say about the USA, which is supposed to be actively disarming its 10,000 warheads, not refurbishing them and developing new kinds of nuclear weapons. Though there are good reasons to think Iran does not want nuclear weapons, let’s imagine, just for the sake of argument, that Iran would someday acquire them. Humanity has managed to live with other countries having nukes. The only reason Iran’s having nukes would be of greater concern would be if the lies spelled out above were true. But they’re lies.

LIE NUMBER 6: Iranians are looking to the USA to bring them democracy, just like the USA has brought democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq.

I’m living here in Tehran, Iran, now, with my family, as are many other Americans, Europeans, Asians, and other foreigners. We are inviting friends and relatives to come and visit. The skiing’s fine. More democracy and more civil liberties would be better, but there are elections and there are laws and there are non-governmental organizations and you can approach public officials. Whatever’s not right with this country is the business of the people here to work on. Some Iranians living in other countries want the US to “save” Iran. I don’t know, but I suspect people like that would like the US to magically bring back the good old days when the US-allied Shah sat on his throne and the well-off classes had a fine life. If anyone finds any overseas Iranians who actually are willing to see Iran bombed, I hope the reporters ask them if they have any relatives currently living in Iran. I hope Americans don’t take these has-beens too seriously.

———-
Rosa Schmidt Azadi is a long-time peace activist, an anthropologist, and a retired civil servant who’s also a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt, godmother, and the mother of two college students. After walking out of the smoke of the 9-11 attacks in New York City and returning to participate in the recovery effort, Rosa began working to prevent further death and destruction in other countries at the hands of the U.S. government. Participating in a peace vigil at the World Trade Center site for more than three years gave her the privilege of talking with thousands of people from all over the world about things that matter most. Dr. Azadi has earned two advanced degrees and is still learning. Currently, she’s splitting her time between Tehran, Iran, and upstate New York.


instruments of change or of doom and gloom

there are two very good essays on the front page examining the ways in which your mortgages or home equity loans can explode in your face. what can be done about this? do we unleash this info and get our state legistlators enacting some kind of laws, even temporary, that prevent such a thing from happening?

there are so many great commentaries at this and other blogs about the tough and dire straits in which we find ourselves.

but i find myself shrinking away from reading anything more. i can barely open a blog for fear of what i might read next.

and here’s the thing. i ONLY feel beaten over the head every day.

what can we do about what is being done to us?

i mean, why should the powers that be shut down the blogs? they see us writhing in psychic pain everyday. they see us continuing to rely on conventional politicians and politics to solve our problems. they see we have not yet begun to understand politicians will not solve these problems. WE are the ones who need to figure a way out. WE need to start to exert control over the pols.

i am not smart enough to figure a way out. i am only smart enough to tell all of you this:

we need to come up with collective and organized action to stop this runaway train. we need to pick one BIG thing that all of us can do in the routine of our everyday… and it needs to be doable, attainable, and measureable.

if we can hobble, let’s say exxon mobil, and people can hear about it and see it work, then we can move on the next thing… and have a few options, depending on the first action.

and then when cosmic debris writes about ways in which we can reuse water, people will see how individuals can exert power and how flexing that power will pay off.

of course, this message, right now, will be picked up by the choir. while we are doing this collective action thing, we need to work on giving information that breaks down barriers to people who

a. may be politically like-minded but hostile to us in other ways
b. totally confused and believing no one
c. completely opposing views

but all, and i’ve not covered everybody, facing the same shit storm.

we need to be able to agree on the problems, magnitude of those problems, and the priorities in dealing with them. health care is NOT the most pressing, imo, for example. stability is and restoring a governmental infrastructure that actually is useful in solving our global and local problems.

anyway, that’s how i’m feeling about it.

Can Kucinich Stop Cheney From Invading Iran?

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If Dennis Kucinich succeeds in forcing a vote to impeach Dick Cheney onto the House Floor …Will that stop Dick Cheney’s plans for WW3?

At 9 pm EDT, Tuesday, October 23rd, in a nationwide phone call organized by Progressive Democrats of America, Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced he will go before the U.S. House of Representatives on a point of personal privilege to move the impeachment of Dick Cheney.  Mr. Kucinich stated he will bring the impeachment forward before Thanksgiving. As soon as we learn more details we will post them immediately.  NOW’s the time to put pressure on all representatives, to impeach Cheney.

The drums are beating louder, the sound of sabers rattling fills the air and the smell of crazy is once again wafting through the worlds dwindling oxygen supply.

Whether you favor impeachment or not….I think we all owe Dennis a vote of thanks for trying, for doing what he can (despite all the jokes) to stop the insanity.

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