Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Immigration Inequality

Imagine, if you can, falling in love with someone from another country. It could be someone you met on vacation or while living abroad. Maybe you met him through a dating site or another online social site or even a friend. Your relationship develops over time, he comes here for a visit you go there and then you decide ‘he is the one'. You want to spend your life with this person. Sounds easy right? You plan your wedding, file all the necessary paperwork for a temporary visa so he can move here, wait for your interviews and eventually if all goes as planned he gets permanent status and can possible even become a US citizen if he so chooses.

Well for thousands of US Citizens this process is impossible. While 19 nations around the world allow their citizens to sponsor their same sex partner the United States does not. Same sex couples that may have even married in other countries cannot come back together and have their marriage recognized because of the Unites States' Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

These couples face leaving behind the person they love or leave their country and their family to move somewhere else. This isn't always an easy solution either because unless their partner is in a country that allows same sex partner sponsorship then these US citizens are faced with meeting rigorous immigration requirements before being allowed to immigrate out of the United States.

As of the 2000 Census there were approx. 36,000 gay couples with one person being a US citizen and the other a foreign national. They represented about 6% of all gay couples in the United States.

Our current marriage laws have a very real and serious impact on GLBT Americans. I cannot lie and say I understand anyone that believes their personal belief on ‘marriage' gives them the right to deny other citizens the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. But I'm willing to read your opinions.

Can you stop for one second and think what your life would be like without your partner/husband or if you had never been able to build the family you have built?

If you are interested you can read more about this issue in the Family, Unvalued report that was put out by Immigration Equality a few years ago.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Film About Vaccines You Simply Must See

This stunning censored interview (top) was cut from the TV program The Health Century due to its huge liability -- the admission that the Merck drug company has been injecting cancer viruses into people worldwide.

If you find the content shocking, consider watching the second video, the entire movie, “In Lies We Trust: The CIA, Hollywood & Bioterrorism”.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Headzup: Why Republicans Skip Minority Debates

Clicking on the link will take you directly to the YouTube Video.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Yup, it turns out we don't do that 'peace' thing well


If you were uncertain as to how our awesome engine for spreading peace and democracy throughout the world is doing, wonder no more: We suck worse than a Sanjaya-Connie Chung duet.

Yup, turns out we don't do that "peace" thing too well.

According to the Economist, the U.S. placed 96th in the British magazine's first Global Peace Index of 121 nations. If the sucking thing bothers you, you can always look at it another way: We're really, really good at shooting at people, destroying their homes and creating an ever-growing army of enemies, thereby ensuring wars for generations to come. Hey, I'm trying to emphasize the positive.

To put the results into context, they are presented under an umbrella project called Visions of Humanity. A heady title, heady concept (see complete list of rankings here -- one that the U.S. fails to grasp, as a monkey would a greased football. Consider that Libya (58), Cuba (59) and Syria (77) are considered more peaceful that the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Better yet? China, where political dissidents are either jailed or put to death, ranked at 60. But, just how did those hoity-toity Economist editors come up with this ranking? Surprisingly, they didn't just make it up.
Several factors contribute to a country's position on the list - how much its citizens trust one another, the percentage of the population that is incarcerated, potential for terrorist acts, access to heavy weaponry, crime rates, so on and so forth. These indicators, plus drivers such as the population's level of education, together determine a nation's level of peacefulness.

Guess who we just managed to beat? Iran (97). Whew. It would have been embarrassing if a government we've failed to strong-arm into giving us their oil, er, following our lead in um, freedom and diplomacy, had beaten us on the peace list. This close call, though, shows the list's obvious anti-American bias.

For starters, we should get some credit for restraint. That's right, restraint. Of our 2006 taxes, 41 percent went to military spending, while 5 percent went to social programs. And research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute -- clearly some Nordic hippie think thank -- tells us that global military spending in 2004 surpassed $1 trillion, with our military expenditures accounting for roughly 47 percent of that total. And then there's our belief in how to achieve peace, best explained by President Bush, who said, "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."

You might ask: Aside from outright declarations of war, what else is the U.S. doing to export peace to the rest of the world? Two words: Arms sales. A 2005 report by the World Policy Institute found the bulk of U.S. arms sales to developing countries go to governments defined by the U.S. State Department as undemocratic and with serious human rights issue. Think Pakistan (115 on the Global Peace Index), Angola, (112) and Saudi Arabia (90).

For you anti-patriotic pinkos who care, the top-10 most peaceful countries in the world are: Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Portugal and Austria. So if you want to move to some dull place where they don't believe in fighting an actual (not ideological) war for peace, now you now where to go.

Speaking of detonating the bejezus out of heaven and earth in the name of peace, justice and democracy...Iraq placed last on the peace list. Personally, I think Iraqis are getting a raw deal here. Their country would have ranked much higher were it not for our invasion, overthrowing its government and flushing its security forces down the toilet. But, hey, they need to be patient over there. When Bush says, "We have an opportunity to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come," the peace to which he's referring will come way, way later -- like, decades after we're done blowing things up there, and the remaining warring factions in Iraq are done killing one another off. Then, they'll have peace. No need to thank us.

D. Parvaz is an editorial writer and member of the P-I Editorial Board. E-mail:

Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's official...I suck at this mom stuff

It's day three of chasing after the puppy and the boy. I'm officially exhausted and ready to go back to my 60+ hour work week.

My mother stopped by today and suggested I check out a Co-op preschool, I almost chased her out of the house with a pitch fork! Today I can't imagine staying home all summer let alone taking care of other people's children!

What I do know is I totally suck at this.

How do other moms make this look so easy!?

Network censors dissenting general


Listening to retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, you sense his intense loyalty to the military. He commanded the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, capping a 31-year Army career. So why did CBS News fire him as a paid news consultant? A straight answer from CBS seems as elusive as those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The short answer: Batiste appeared in a television advertisement sponsored by, a non-partisan group that advocates for veterans. In the 30-second spot, he said, in part: "Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril."

Batiste is one of the six retired generals who called for the resignation of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the spring of 2006. Of those generals, he alone both served at a high level in the Pentagon and commanded 22,000 troops in Iraq. Despite a promised promotion to three-star general, which would have made him the second-highest-ranking officer in Iraq, Batiste made the difficult decision to retire and speak out.

In his book and documentary "War Made Easy," media critic Norman Solomon explains the impact those retired TV generals have on the national debate:

"In the run-up to the war in Iraq, the failure of mainstream news organizations to raise legitimate questions about the government's rush to war was compounded by the networks' deliberate decision to stress military perspectives before any fighting had even begun. CNN's use of retired generals as supposedly independent experts reinforced the decidedly military mind-set even as serious questions remained about the wisdom and necessity about going to war."

In 1999, when the U.S. was bombing Yugoslavia, I asked Frank Sesno, vice president of CNN: "Why pay these generals? And have you ever considered putting peace activists on the payroll? Or inviting them into the studio to respond to the drumbeat for war?" He replied: "We've talked about this. But no, we wouldn't do that. Because generals are analysts, and peace activists are advocates."

That's not far from the reason given by CBS for firing Batiste. According to a blog on, CBS News Vice President Linda Mason explained, "We ask that people not be involved in advocacy." Generals, it seems, are analysts when they agree with the war plan, and advocates when they oppose it. Political blog the Horse's Mouth reported that CBS News consultant Michael O'Hanlon clearly advocated for President Bush's troop surge but didn't get tossed. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, told the Horse's Mouth he "would be personally gratified to see Batiste back on CBS."

CBS is not alone in icing out perspectives critical of the Iraq war, especially when it mattered. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media watchdog group, did a study analyzing the major nightly newscasts for the two weeks surrounding then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech for war before the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. On the major evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, FAIR found 393 interviews on the issue of war, of which only three were with anti-war leaders. This, when a majority in the U.S. either opposed war or supported more time for inspections. This is not a mainstream media, but an extreme media, beating the drums for war.

When I spoke with Batiste, he shied away from political commentary. He was focused on the issues: the safety of the troops, the situation in Iraq. He says we need "a comprehensive national strategy," including "the tough diplomatic, political and economic measures." Instead, he says, the U.S. is "depending on our military almost entirely to accomplish this ill-fated mission in Iraq."

Batiste is a lifelong Republican. His father and both his grandfathers were in the military. "You see, we got this war terribly wrong. I'm not anti-war at all." Moveon.orgcirculated an online petition demanding CBS restore Batiste, which more than 230,000 people signed.
Batiste's crime is obvious: He dared to dissent, directly contradicting the endlessly repeated assurances reported by the network news that Bush takes his military advice from his generals on the ground, not from Congress or public-opinion polls.

CBS News has reached a new low when it censors even a pro-war Republican retired general merely for criticizing the president. The power that the broadcasters have amassed, their craven servility to the Bush administration and its failed wars, and their refusal to offer airtime to dissenters all amount to a direct threat to our democracy, a far greater threat than Saddam's imagined WMD.

Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ft. Lewis to consolidate memorials

By KOMO Staff & News Services
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - So many Fort Lewis soldiers are being killed in Iraq the Army base will no longer hold individual memorial services.

Starting next month Fort Lewis says it will hold one memorial a month for all the dead soldiers.

Sixteen Fort Lewis soldiers have been killed this month -- the most of the war, so far.

Fort Lewis acting commander Brigadier General William Troy told staff last week that the number of soldiers in harm's way will preclude individual services.

About 10,000 Fort Lewis troops, including two Stryker brigades, are now in Iraq, the most since the 2003 invasion.

Some other Army posts have already consolidated services.

A memorial service planned for Thursday for one soldier will go on as scheduled at Fort Lewis, and the first consolidated service for four soldiers will be held on June 5.

On Wednesday the Department of Defense announced the deaths of three more Fort Lewis soldiers in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Thomas M. McFall, 36, and Pfc. Junior Cedeno Sanchez, 20, were killed when a bomb exploded while they were patrolling on foot in Baghdad on May 28.

Both soldiers were members of the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Pfc. Charles B. Hester, 23, was killed May 26 when an improvised explosive device detonated next to his vehicle. Hester was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Profiles in candor: Carter, Gore dare to speak out

Floyd J. McKay / Guest columnist to the Seattle Times
Printed Wed. May 30, 2007

Some presidents or vice presidents have a lot of time after their departure to shape their legacy, and those with a literary bent are particularly prone to the temptation. While most have adhered to a type of gentlemen's agreement not to harshly criticize their successors, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore are finally fed up and speaking out.

Carter left office at 56 and has never stopped producing books as well as humanitarian accomplishments; he is certainly the model of a former president. But in his 80s, his impatience and finally his anger and disgust at the administration of George W. Bush have spilled over, the latest in an interview in which he stated, "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history." Carter later made a partial apology, but the gist of his remarks was clear.

When he campaigned for office in 1976, Carter promised he would never lie to the American people. Certainly, this comment is no lie. America's importance in international affairs began as the 20th century began, and without doubt the Bush presidency has done more to damage our relations abroad than any other. No other president even comes close.

A spokesman for the White House reckoned that Carter was "becoming increasingly irrelevant." They wish. Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and his work with Habitat for Humanity, fighting disease in Africa and campaigning for honest elections and human rights is beyond reproach. George W. Bush is none of the above.

Carter had his own foreign-policy blunder, of course: He continued the policy of his predecessors and blindly supported the shah of Iran, which continues to plague us in our relations with Iran. But his historic role in the Israeli-Egyptian peace accord was the best thing America did for Israel since President Harry S. Truman helped launch the Jewish state.

His accomplishments give him license to speak out, and he has not been timid. His 2005 book, "Our Endangered Values," lends his moral standing to the American political debate, particularly in regard to separation of church and state. A year later, in "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," Carter boldly criticized Israelis and Americans as well as Palestinians for their roles in allowing the Middle East to drift in desperation, taking stands no American politician dares to take.

For using the term "apartheid," Carter was pilloried by Zionists, the fate of any commentator who dares to criticize Israel. But media and peace groups within Israel itself have used the term for at least 25 years, to describe their fear of drifting into a state with two separate classes of citizenship. Carter was right in suggesting that Bush has done nothing to advance his "road map," and in fact stood aside while Israel pushed additional settlements into the West Bank.
Jimmy Carter is now 82 and, like many seniors who care about the country their grandchildren will inherit, he is increasingly frustrated by a White House locked down in stubborn mode, at home and abroad. I've been fortunate to spend time with Carter on several occasions over the years, and nothing impressed me more than the steely intensity of his eyes and his impatience with foolish people and foolish policies. This Southerner is no good old boy.

Neither is Al Gore, who would have been president in 2000 if everyone's vote counted the same as Supreme Court justices'. His new book, "The Assault on Reason," goes beyond foreign policy and a searing criticism of the Iraq invasion, and into domestic policy on several fronts. These include climate change, as expected, but also the current president's willful disdain for science, his domestic eavesdropping plan and the Katrina failures. Gore is also searing in his view of the media in general and television in particular, for failing their responsibilities in democratic government.

Carter and Gore were good soldiers in the wake of their defeats, which was particularly hard in Gore's case, but their patience has expired. Gore, unlike Carter, is still young enough for another campaign if Democrats deadlock in those early primaries.

If America under a new president in 2009 begins the long road to reversing global warming, Al Gore, the almost-president, will have a lasting legacy in his favor. Jimmy Carter already has such a legacy in the Camp David peace agreement and in his post-presidential endeavors.
The contrast with George W. Bush — on whose watch an entire nation was dismantled and tens of thousands killed or maimed, while at home the gap widened between the rich and American workers — could not be clearer.

Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University, is a regular contributor to Times editorial pages.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

1st Official Day as a Stay at Home Mom

Ok, so technically the day isn't done as my husband hasn't walked in the door for the official toddler pass off, but it's getting close and I can always amend my post if it suits me.

Today started at 4:00 a.m. today when the clock radio/alarm started bellowing. Somehow that darn thing is still on my side table. I think my husband secretly resents that I don't have to get up. Okay, the resentment really isn't that big of a secret right now. What started out as a great plan for me to stay home is starting to sour with him, but honestly I digress.

Thankfully, Noah didn't wake up until 6:30 am so that gave me two very glorious hours with the news, too bad it all seems to be ugly. He started the day out beautifully, very excited that we will be having a 'home day'. It only took three short hours for me to wonder if I had my head on straight when I made this decision.

A short trip to the store, that was all it was suppose to be, but Noah had other plans. He has decided that he is a big boy now and does not want to sit in his 'baby' car seat. Thirty minutes of discussion and a final promise that we will look for a big boy car seat if he will just get into his seat and let us get our errands started. No, I'm not above bribing him!

Finally, the store...the plan is to run in grab the few things we need and circle back past the crayons. First obstacle, Noah would not get into the cart and he took off running towards the crayon aisle. Ok, I figured I could handle this, he would pick out something quickly and I could bribe him to get into the cart so he could look at his new treasure. I did mention my full belief in bribes didn't I?

Ah, the wants of a four year old are many..."I want clay...I want chalk...I want finger paints...I DON'T want crayons!" I should have recognized the warning signs of a full on temper tantrum. What was I thinking taking him to the store two hours before his nap! Of course, I forgot that I am no super mom; I am not faster than a speeding toddler! Three aisles away from the art supplies and it hit...World War Noah! It was that first smack across my face that shook me out of my denial that my child would make it through the store like the sweet little prince we glimpse when he is sound to sleep. Now, of course the negotiations begin again and I started to hear the chuckles of all the retired folks wandering aimlessly through their mall walk.

I did what any good working mother would do, I left the cart right where it sat, scooped him up like a sack of potatoes, and took off straight for the car. Screw the crayons! I can pretend to know what I'm doing another day!

There was a recent story about a group of moms that get their kids together for play dates and while the kids play the moms down a bottle or two of wine. At first my holier than thou working mother attitude thought 'how irresponsible'...after today I know realize that the wine is the fountain of sanity for stay at home moms!