This short blurb quoting Peter Van Buren was sent out today by the Institute for Public Accuracy, http://www.accuracy.org/
Peter Van Buren is a 24-year veteran of the State Department who spent a year in Iraq. Following his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began proceedings against him. The book, published in 2011, called out the State Department for failing to reduce the root problems in Iraq, both the Sunni-Shia tribal/political/religious divides as well as the failed civil and municipal infrastructures that underlay widespread discontent with the Iraqi government. Instead of reviewing Van Buren's arguments, the State Department sought to prosecute him as a whistleblower, until the intercession of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU allowed Van Buren to depart his 24 years of government service on his own terms.
He wrote the piece “Why Air Strikes in Iraq Are a Mistake,” in “the Dissenter” blog at Firedoglake, which stresses the need to "Understand how deep the U.S. is already in. It is highly likely that U.S. Special Forces are active on the ground, conducting reconnaissance missions and laser-designating targets for circling U.S. aircraft. If U.S. planes are overhead, U.S. search and rescue assets are not far away, perhaps in desert forward operating positions. This is how bigger wars begin. Go Google 'Vietnam War,' say starting about 1963.
"The U.S. media is playing the meme that the U.S. is worried about Christian minority in Iraq, as a way to engorge the American people with blood. But the media fails to note that over half of Iraq’s Christians were killed or fled during the U.S. occupation. ... Separating the people from the insurgents is CounterInsurgency 101. Instead, via airstrikes, the U.S. has gone all-in on side of Iraqi Shias and Kurds. You cannot bomb away a political movement. You cannot kill an idea that motivates millions of people with a Hellfire missile."
Sarah Palin appears to be quite intoxicated in this video, but is it fake? Maybe not.
This just in from LRAPA:
Lane County is currently experiencing a hazy and smoky forecast, which may affect air quality over the next few days. A shift in winds will increase the potential for smoke intrusions from the Southern Oregon and Northern California wildfires into the Willamette Valley. Wildfires are not uncommon this time of year, and thunderstorms are contributing to new fires every week.
“Air quality can change quickly and it would not be surprising to see levels in the moderate range with a wind shift,” says Jo Niehaus, spokesperson for the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA). “The smoky haze in the upper atmosphere has been quite noticeably obscuring views today.” Despite the haze and higher particulate levels, air quality lingers between the “good” and “moderate” air quality levels.
Residents who are sensitive to pollution are advised to use caution when participating in outdoor activities. Individuals with asthma, respiratory problems, or heart disease are advised to curtail vigorous activity when air quality deteriorates. The fine particles in the smoke are especially harmful because they are inhaled deep into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream. Residents experiencing health problems associated with the smoke and heat are encouraged to consult with their doctors.
LRAPA will be monitoring conditions and will provide updates as warranted. The public can track hourly particulate levels and view the Air Quality Index by logging onto the LRAPA website at www.LRAPA.org. For up-to-date information about the wildfires, including smoke dispersion forecasts, residents can check out an interagency blog: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
Today (Aug. 1) is the last day to register for Paddle Oregon the week of Aug. 18. We haven't heard whether or not any spaces are still available. Send a note to Kate Ross <email@example.com>
Folksinger Jim Page sings about the white-painted bikes that memorialize cyclists who have died on our streets in collisions. This performance was at Tsunami Books in 2010 and Page played "Ghost Bikes" at the Oregon Country Fair this year.
LRAPA just sent out his notice this afternoon (July 24) about pollution from the mill fire in Springfield last week:
Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) has received a complaint of possible debris from Swanson Mill Fire on private property. These burned materials range from small flakes of ash to larger palm-sized charred debris. Some of these materials have tested positive for containing asbestos. Further testing is being conducted to confirm these results at an accredited lab and results are expected by tomorrow.
Asbestos can be harmful when airborne. “If you see fire debris on your property that is white, beige, or gray in color, and is felt-like in appearance, please do not disturb the material,” said Jo Niehaus, a spokesperson for LRAPA. “As long as the debris is solid and undisturbed, it will reduce risk of possible fibers becoming airborne.”
LRAPA would like people to take caution if they decide to handle the debris personally. It is difficult for asbestos fibers to be airborne when the material is wet and reduces the risk of exposure. High pressure water hoses are not recommended because they may break apart the remains. It is recommended to use protective masks, gloves, and to use a water mister to wet down the material and store it in a sealable plastic bag. To dispose of the collected material, please call Lane County Department of Public Works, Waste Management Division at 682-4120.
If you believe that your property has also collected the debris, please call our office at 736-1056, we are currently working with the Swanson group to investigate all possible cases. For more information, please call Jo Niehaus, LRAPA’s public affairs manager at 736-1056 ext. 217.
This event took place Saturday, July 19, in support of legal homeless camps, Conestoga huts and other housing for low-income and no-income folks locally.
This video takes a look at the backgrounds of some of the people who are without housing in Orlando.
Some remarkable photography in this TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg, looking at the "hidden miracles of the natural world."
Mother Jones and Utne Reader have a fascinating story this week based on scientific research into possible genetic and physiological reasons behind right-wing leanings.
We are reminded of former congressman Jim Weaver's book, Two Kinds, in which he comes to a similar conclusion about hawks and doves based on his observations and research.
The remarkable performer Reggie Watts was reportedly spotted at the Oregon County Fair last weekend, quietly doing his thing along the path. In case you don't know who he is or what he looks like, here's his TED talk from a couple of years ago that got nearly 2.8 million views.
Word went out this week through the Oregon Country Fair family and elsewhere, that Stephen Gaskin had died. Google his name and find an extensive obit at the New York Times. Here's an interview from 2011.
Here's a little video to start the week off right, with David Attenborough.
Lots of interesting comments can be found at the bottom of this video on living sustainably, and legally.