These poems depict a journey through a dark landscape, where the political and personal are fused into a geography of disinformation, sex, betrayal and deadly technology. Phelan has produced verbal "snapshots" of a subterranean war-- with fronts in Los Angeles as well as Fallujah-- where the only defense is one's integrity and the stakes may be life itself.
Thank you for your support!
Janet Phelan - Reporter at Large
To Be Of Use--by Marge Piercy
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
Will American Citizens Experience the Horror of a Drone War?
President Obama’s drone policy is back in the news again, as he is reportedly mulling over killing another American citizen abroad via a drone strike.
The issue of a President ordering the assassination of a US citizen first hit the presses when Obama authorized a targeted strike against US- born Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. The ACLU attempted to derail this revocation of constitutional rights to due process, but the Obama administration prevailed and al-Awlaki was reportedly killed in a drone strike on September 30, 2011. Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, also a U.S. citizen, was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen.
The Fifth Amendment to the US constitution reads that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Obama administration has responded that an enemy combatant cannot use his citizenship as a shield. The individual now under consideration for assassination via drone strike is reportedly living in a mountainous region overseas.
The Obama administration has declined to release the name of the individual or what country he resides in.
According to reports, the US Department of Justice is currently involved in constructing a case against this individual. This process does not mandate a trial or other Constitutional protections. In his widely reported clarification of his drone policy last year, Obama affirmed that the CIA would not make drone strikes against US citizens. Thus, this potential assassination will be accomplished as a military mission.
Since killing American citizens via drones is now evidently American policy, one must raise the question as to whether or not US citizens living on US soil are protected from this prospect. In a letter by US Attorney General Eric Holder to Senator Rand Paul, dated March 4, 2013, Holder admitted that such an attack on American citizens on US soil was possible. After affirming the excellence of our law enforcement and judicial system in dealing with terrorism, Holder then wrote:
Obama's drone policy--This war is coming home
This radio show aired on Feet to the Fire on February 16, 2014. The ramifications of President Obama issuing "drone kill orders" on American citizens, coupled with Holder's statements on the legality of using drones against Americans on US soil are discussed in this half hour broadcast.
Another Insider Predicts a Biological Weapons Attack
In remarks at a hearing held this past week by the US House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, Dr. Robert Kadlec warned of the imminent nature of a biological weapons attack on the United States. As reported in Bioprepwatch, this hearing was intended to permit experts in the biodefense field to assess the current bioterrorism threat.
The risk of biological attacks on the U.S. is an uncertain, imminent reality,stated Kadlec, who was assistant and senior director for biodefense policy for President George W. Bush and has a decades-long history with the US military.
Kadlec went on to warn against the vulnerability presented by the US to such an attack, stating, “Our ability to predict or know when this threat will manifest itself is severely limited by the capabilities of our intelligence services’ and the wide array of potential perpetrators who could conduct such attacks,”
Affirming the deadly possibilities of such an attack, Kadlec said. “Biological weapons could inflict grievous harm on America, equal to and potentially greater than nuclear weapons.”
Kadlec thus adds his name to the growing number of US “insiders” who are issuing warnings about the imminent nature of either a biological weapons attack or a pandemic.
Last Updated (Friday, 28 February 2014 12:39)
US steps back towards its original Syria Policy
Recent statements attributed to Secretary of State John Kerry show him again positioning the US to attack Syria. In a leaked report to the Washington Post, Kerry was quoted as saying that Obama's Syria policy is failing and that it is time to change the strategy.
These are remarks that deserve further scrutiny. As it turns out, Kerry is dismayed that Syria has not destroyed its estimated 1300 tons of chemical weapons in a scant six months.
Syria has responded by stating that the actions of the rebels in that war torn country have disrupted the conveyance of the weapons to the appointed place.
It should be noted that when the United States joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, it pledged to destroy all its chemical weapons within ten years.
The deadline came and went and the US did not comply. The US received another deadline, for 2012. And once again, failed to achieve this deadline.
And now, the US, which reportedly still has about 3000 tons of chemical weapons in its stockpiles, has stated it will not be able to comply with the treaty mandate until 2023.
What's wrong with this picture? The US can't but Syria must?
Last Updated (Monday, 17 February 2014 20:50)