UP BEAR CREEK | With Obama in His Second Term, It’s Time to Talk About Drones
by Art Goodtimes
Feb 04, 2013 | 1372 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

DRONES … I told my friends I wouldn’t start criticizing Barack Obama until (and if) he won a second term. I voted for him a second time, even though the Green Party had a wonderful, competent and visionary candidate in Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts. But it feels like we’re still semi-trapped in the social and economic collapse of the Bush/Reagan dynasty, and it was important to move this nation off center right, and back to center left. I think the swing won’t be complete until the Dems regain control of Congress …Then will be the time to mount a hard push to the left to enact a New Green Deal like Stein was advocating – putting America back to work with a Full Employment Program to be co-developed locally and nationally; moving towards green energy and sustainable small businesses; regaining public control of our domestic monetary policy; abolishing corporate personhood; instituting regulatory safeguards for voting rights; championing local control over federal pre-emption, defending civil liberties; and financing new programs by cutting military spending in half; closing our 700+ American military bases around the world; and starting a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives … But with the president formally inaugurated into a second term, I have to raise my voice in public opposition to his use of drones -- officially UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) – a program begun under the previous administration and continuing now into Obama’s second term … Extra-judicial state murders of suspected terrorists, with its collateral damage of civilian casualties, is illegal, unethical, and just plain wrong. It violates the U.N. Charter, and constitutes a thumbing of Uncle Sam’s nose at international law – just like the previous administration used to do. If George W. Bush should have been charged on the world stage for war crimes, and Ronald Reagan likewise for his Contra War in Nicaragua, funded by covert illegal drug smuggling, what should we do with Barack Obama’s drone strikes? … According to the website Global Research, an estimated 800 or more innocents have been killed by UAVs in Pakistan, including up to 168 children, and only 22 Al Qaeda commanders. And according to the Council of Foreign Relations website, by 2010 there had been 79 drone accidents, costing $1 million each … Maybe we ought to stop trying to limit Americans’ citizen access to guns, and stop slaughtering innocents in drone attacks worldwide. Just because we don’t see it, don’t read about it in the corporate media, and it doesn’t happen to us or our neighbors doesn’t mean a terrible thing isn’t happening – paid for by our tax dollars … Both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have come out publicly and voiced opposition to Obama’s drone assassination policy. So must we.

 

GUN CONTROL … A hot button issue, red/blue conflict written all over it. Or is it? I find myself, living in Norwood for some 30 years now, having watched my neighbors, most of whom have guns, be respectful, not harm anyone and not negligently allow arms access to their youngsters, so I’m having a hard time endorsing a letter supporting President Obama’s gun control measures in this country, when this is the same president who’s using drones to kill terrorists and terrified children in foreign nations, in open violation of the U.N. Charter (why host an international alliance if you aren’t going to honor its charter?) … OK, that was kind of a non sequitur. But I think we have to face up to the facts. Ours was a nation born in revolution. We owe our independence to a citizenry who threw off the yoke of a King and founded a democratic union wherein they had the right to bear arms – not just for hunting or for sport but for self-defense and against ill-doers or (goddess forbid) a government coup … Yes, I’ve walked for peace in Telluride on the 11th of almost ten years’ worth of months. I deplore state violence beyond our borders, except for the most egregious situations – of which ‘Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan did not qualify in my book. And as a commissioner, I’ve sworn an oath to uphold and defend our State Constitution, as well as our federal one … But I also think, as Americans, we have a responsibility to defend ourselves, families and friends and a duty to defend our nation. Let’s start giving our society new tools to prevent mass killings (mental health programs, youth mentoring, etc.) rather than taking away our rights to defend ourselves.

 

CONFESSIONS OF AN ENERGY PIG … Well, I keep chipping away at my energy consumption piggyness. My latest San Miguel Power bill for December at my ramshackle Cloud Acre home in Norwood shows a total kilowatt hour (kWh) usage for the past 12 months of 6,708 kWh, with a monthly average of 519 kWh … That’s down from a total usage calculated in February of last year at 10,580 kWh, with a monthly average of 881 kWh … Compare that to my December bill two years ago of 11,452 kWh and a monthly average of 954 kWh, and finally to my bill for August three years ago when I had a whopping total yearly usage of 16,118 kWh and a monthly average of 1,343 kWh … Getting conscious of my energy use and working to reduce it, I’ve been able in three years to cut my energy guzzling by more than half. Imagine the carbon footprint savings we’d have if everyone in the county could start getting energy conscious?

 

THE TALKING GOURD

 

Climate Change

 

If it’s at all odd

the weather this year

on Wright’s Mesa’s uplifted shores

it’s gotta be the chill

before the January thaw

 

Ferns & transplants

can tolerate summer swamps

but a cold spell

clamps down on bones

like a box turtle’s jaw

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