Wednesday, January 31, 2007.
I know at least Trevor is ready to take this challenge?
In an interview this week, the Newshour's Jim Lehrer asked the President the following:
Shit, I've been sacrificing peace of mind for most of my life.
Don't stone women to death, burn them or circumcise them, immigrants wishing to live in the town of Herouxville in Quebec, Canada, have been told. The rules come in a new town council declaration on culture that Muslims have branded shocking and insulting.
[Article continues at link. Of course this is persecution of a religious minority, since there is no connection between Islam and stoning women to death, burning people alive or involuntary genital mutilation.]
McCain: On a more serious note, how did environmentalists contribute to the disaster in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina?
John Berlau: They blocked the building of large steel and concrete floodgates around Lake Pontchartrain that the Corps of Engineers, the ... state congressional delegation, and the New Orleans levee board had all endorsed as being able to provide the best protection against storm surge from hurricanes. The gates were similar to the folding "seagates" that were being built, and now have been built, in the Netherlands that only close during North Sea storms. Like those, these gates would have only closed during severe storms -- blocking water from getting into Lake Pontchartrain and flooding New Orleans. Renowned hurricane experts say these gates would have likely prevented most of Katrina's devastation in New Orleans. But the Environmental Defense Fund (now Environmental Defense) and the Louisiana group Save Our Wetlands persuaded a federal judge to halt the gates in 1977 because of the alleged damage they could do to fish, even though the project had already been granted a thumbs-up in a review from the Environmental Protection Agency.
[Interview continues at link. The moral I get from this is we cannot predict all of the outcomes of our decisions, thus much 'good guy / bad guy' style politics are likely mistaken.]
Tuesday, January 30, 2007.
ISPs are not*, however, the culprits. Doing the dirty is the BSA (Business Software Alliance) which, "watches all traffic and it sees what IPs are contributing or downloading from various sites."
If i were an alien or a speaker of english as a second language, i might soon develop the idea that the word business was a synonym for 'police', 'government', 'corruption' & 'greed".
what is it with businesses? & businessmen?
*well most are not...
What they're doing is even worse than Carnivore," said Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who attended the Stanford event. "What they're doing is intercepting everyone and then choosing their targets."
FUCK THE FBI. and fuck googles blogger too!
Sir Karl Popper: Excerpt from The Open Society and Its Enemies Volume 2
"All political parties have some sort of 'vested interest' in their opponent's unpopular moves. They live by them and are therefore liable to dwell upon, to emphasize, and even to look forward to them. They may even encourage the political mistakes of their opponents as long as they can do so without becoming involved in the responsibility for them. [This has led some] parties to look forward to the political moves made by their opponents against democracy. [...] This policy of letting one's opponents expose themselves must, if extended to moves against democracy, lead to disaster. It is a policy of talking big and doing nothing in the face of real and increasing danger to democratic institutions. It is a policy of talking war and acting peace; and it taught the fascists the invaluable method of talking peace and acting war."
The Army Times reports: "A panel of constitutional scholars said Tuesday that Congress clearly has the power, if it chooses to use it, to stop the war in Iraq. The difficulty in exercising the power is political, not constitutional, in getting a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate to agree on binding legislation to either cut off funding for combat operations or repeal the previously passed authorization to use force, the legal experts said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee."
[Article continues at link. How to contact your representatives in Congress.]
TAMPA - A 21-year-old woman told police Saturday that a man grabbed her off Howard Avenue and raped her behind a building during the Gasparilla festivities. But officers investigating the case arrested her after learning she had an outstanding warrant from her teenage years for failure to pay restitution. She spent the next two nights in jail. [...] The woman's family is outraged. "We're incensed. Everyone is just beside themselves," her mother, 47, said at 5:20 p.m. Monday, moments before escorting her daughter from Orient Road Jail. [...] Adding to the mother's ire is her claim that a jail nurse prevented her daughter from taking a second dose of emergency contraception prescribed by a nurse at a clinic as part of a rape examination. The jail nurse, said the mother and the victim's attorney, denied the medication for religious reasons.
[Article continues at link. What part of 'denied the medication for religious reasons' belongs in the 21st Century? France is set to outlaw religious practice in jails. I don't think that's the solution, because you can't legislate stupidity, cruelty and superstition out of people. I think reason-based criticism (spiced with merciless ridicule) of religion is the solution.]
Monday, January 29, 2007.
welcome to new blogger
The Dutch are currently upset by a proposed new dating reality show which matches up visibly disfigured adults.
Although I generally dislike reality shows - mainly because they tend to pick idiots I wouldn't want to spend ten minutes with in real life, thereby making me that much less likely to want to welcome them into my living room via television - and though I understand that people feel this exploits people with handicaps, I am kind of intrigued by the idea of a show which features disfigured adults. Why not encourage minorities we usually isolate and consign to loneliness to step into the light and be part of the larger pop culture?
It doesn't sound as if the producers are doing this as a post-modern freak show, where participants are put on stage so audiences can laugh or jeer or gasp in horror. If that was the point, then yeah, I'd be all for stopping this before it airs. But this could be a useful lesson in diversity. We usually only see the beautiful few on dating shows - sending the message that only the beautiful are desirable and loveable.
It's fine to worship beauty, as long as you don't confuse a phenomenon with a norm. People who don't look the way we expect people to look are socially ostracized, forced into a closet. More than that, people look at the visibly disfigured with a primitive type of suspicion, as if there's something spiritually or morally wrong with them. Seems to me the ones who are protesting this the most may well be the people who should be forced to watch this show. Maybe if they got to hear the stories from, and develop some emotional rapport with, disfigured people they would otherwise avoid or stare right past on the street, they might discover for themselves that the way you look does not define who you are or what aspirations you should possess.
I think we should encourage everyone to come out of hiding and the only way to do that is to take bold new steps to encourage them to do so. If it upsets people to see those who don't fit the norm, you know what? Good. Let them be upset and then let them get over it. Let them see that people with physical challenges or disabilities are just as real, just as human, just as deserving of love and romance as anyone else. Let them get used to the idea that physical beauty is not a moral value, just a lucky throw of the genetic dice. Besides, as anyone who has a friend or relative with visible handicaps knows, the better you get to know them the less you notice the handicap.
We give a lot of lip-service to the saying "beauty comes from within." The time's long overdue to put that saying into action.
"Are you proud, america?"
Good Bombs, Bad Bombs
Steve Weizman: Israel to buy US bomb kits for $100M. "The Israeli air force has decided to buy smart munitions kits from the Chicago-based Boeing aerospace company for an estimated $100 million, Israeli defense officials said Monday."
Mark Tran: US studies Israel's cluster bomb use in Lebanon. "Israel may have violated agreements with the US on the use of cluster bombs during the war in Lebanon last summer, the state department is expected to report to Congress today."
Emergency influx of migrants, my ass. Emergency reaction to the awakening of the American public, more likely.
Please note: it's a year old - this contract was awarded last January.
Let's hear it for the ol' Gipper! Ray-Gun! Ray-Gun! yah yah yah!
Sunday, January 28, 2007.
Iraq is in negotiations with San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to build a new $3 billion petrochemical facility, and is in talks with several other Western companies over industrial projects.
Adel Abdel-Mohsen, adviser to the Minister of Industry, was shot down by armed militants in Yarmouk district, western Baghdad. His two daughters and three other accompanies were also killed.
I think not...
This is the God I want - a God who hates. A God - how quaint a notion is this? Right up there with drawing on cave walls.
Saturday, January 27, 2007.
During the first media demonstration of the weapon Wednesday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters and acting out other scenarios U.S. troops might encounter. [more]
Substitute 'rioters' for 'protestors.'
United States President stealthily took over the Federal Government last week through a new executive order last week that takes away all autonomy from Agencies, according to public interest organizations. [more]
Secrecy Is at Issue in Suits Opposing Spy Program
In August 2004, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which was investigating an Oregon charity, al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, inadvertently provided a copy of a classified document to a foundation lawyer, Lynne Bernabei.
This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance.
~Philip K. Dick
Q: Mr. Secretary, can you share with us any details of the results of the airstrikes in Somalia? And can you comment on the international law aspect of it? Does the United States assert the right to attack anywhere in any country where you suspect that there might be some terrorists?
well, gates is wise enough to not try to offer any legalities to make the case that the rogue u.s. has the right to view the world as its stomping ground. i'll just leave it at that...
The DoD is denying this, but there are reports of
American soldiers seized in southern Somalia, Arab and Western diplomats say
Mogadishu 26, Jan.07 ( Sh.M.Network) There have been mounting reports that number of American soldiers was missing in southern Somalia following the recent US air operations on the Islamist and al-Qaeda hideouts in southern jungles of the country, alsharqa, an Arabic newspaper based in Qatar reported on Friday.
Finally, while on the subject of yet another non-talked about war, related to Somalia, only in name/title: (I sire some you guys can figure it out) Blackwater Down
The Jawa report has an interesting analysis of the jihidist groups taking credit for the helicopter downing:
Note: The above link is not a friendly blog...
Damn, on preview, this just in:
U.S. soldiers were abducted, then executed in Karbala
More about the abducted then killed US soldiers in Karbala
CCB*, he's a 'War President' don'tcha know...
*Chief Clearing Brush.
Friday, January 26, 2007.
Utah's only openly gay senator is sponsoring a bill to eliminate the state's anti-sodomy law. But Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, said the bill has nothing to do with his sexuality. "I'm doing this bill for all the consenting adults who don't want the government's nose in their business."
ready for new blogger?
It looks like I'm going to have to switch to the new blogger soon. Blogger is now not letting me in unless I switch, and I only managed to get into 'old blogger' this time because after I signed in and it forced me to the google sign in page (which is new), I instead went to blogger.com and there the old blogger was available (temporary hack, I'm sure). So, is everybody ready with their google ids?
More info about the helicopter that was shot down earlier this week:
The List of Casualties from this attack contains the following:
1 Lieutenant Colonel
2 Command Sergeant Majors
1 First Sergeant
1 Sergeant First Class
2 Staff Sergeants
That's one hell of a lot of brass on a single helicopter flight. This could indicate infiltration into the Green Zone of untold proportions.
Let's be clear, half of the manifest includes four field grade officers and two CSMs. That's a huge loss for a small and agile force such as what we've got deployed in Iraq. On top of this fact is also the fact that CSMs are the enlisted equivalent of general officers. CSMs run the army. CSMs can bring any company grade officer down with little effort. The only officers that will generally stand up to a CSM and call them on the carpet would be full bird colonels (two of which were lost on this flight) and command officers (i.e. generals).
The loss of a single CSM can often bring a full brigade to a standstill.
When faced with an insurgency using guerilla tactics, taking out four field grade officers with a single shot is a victory of epic proportions.*
The military indicates it is investigating the event. Two questions must be answered:
1. Why were so many high value targets placed on a single helicopter flight?
2. Who knew so many high value targets would be on this flight, especially who within the Iraqi government and military?
the diarist at dkos says: The loss of this single helictoper is a disaster. This needs to be corrected immediately or no surge, regardless of how many troops are sent in the surge, will do anything but exact a toll in blood and lives.
* Oh, and lets not mention this..
Guess, Robert Gates is doing a 'heck of a job' eh?
Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.
Also see, AFPC LAUNCHES AD CAMPAIGN ON IRAN
Today, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) begins a week-long advertising campaign aimed at educating the American public about the growing threat posed by a nuclear Iran. The ad campaign consists of two 30-second spots that began running Tuesday on CNN, MSNBC, Headline News and the Fox News Channel in Washington, DC, Maryland and northern Virginia.
Also, speaking of Lebanon and hizbala, At a donor's conference for Lebanon, the US pledges $770 million to help Lebanon rebuild. What could $770 million have paid for in this country, had we not given Israel the green light to go ahead and destroy the Lebanese infrastructure? Not to mention the money spent on giving ISrael the weapons in the first place, and then replenishing the weapons used...
While the meeting was being held in Paris for donors to rebuild Lebanon after the merciless bombing by Israel, (no war reparations here, get someone else to pay), the UN is busy with a new resolution
for Iran to be in violation of.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in December, shortly before he took office, that it was unacceptable for Iran to deny the Holocaust or call for Israel to be wiped off the map.
I guess is doesn't matter that there is some controversy over whether those words were said.
But further down we see this:
The reform program "won't be sufficient by itself to steer the economy on a viable financial path," said John Lipskey, a senior official with the International Monetary Fund.
Ah, now we get it. For the price of all of those billions of dollars, we have bought long-term dependence, not to mention taking Lebanon off the table as a competitor in the regional marketplace. Was it worth the price?
And then we come to the piece de la resistance, which is this, from Condoleeza Rice (elsewhere I've seen her nicknamed "KindaSleezy Lice"):
"The people of Lebanon deserve to live in peace, they deserve to make decisions about their political future, free from the threat of violence and free from political intimidation," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the conference.
The statement deserves to be entered into the hypocrisy Hall of Fame. Kinda sleezy, indeed.
Donors pledge billions in aid to Lebanon
And still no mention of 'New Orleans'....
But hey, don't worry, be happy, we got the money from the people, to bomb Somalia.
Ethiopian soldier exposes direct involvement of US mechanized force in Somalia’s invasion
that'll teach em to mess wit da
So plunder and war war and plunder, how many wars are we in now? I lost count...
Thursday, January 25, 2007.
Perhaps, some of our paid 'disinfo' contractors, G-men wannabee's would find new diggs?
Has anyone reported this yet?
Alarm calls over loud speakers warn residents in Green Zone area to take cover as mortar attacks target US embassy.
Popular films ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to children's cartoons are depicting "crude and exaggerated" stereotypes of Muslims and perpetuating Islamophobia, according to a study published today. A report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission argues that films as diverse as The Siege, a portrayal of a terrorist attack on New York starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis, the Disney film Aladdin and the British comedy East is East have helped demonise Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening, and reinforce prejudices.
[The negative stereotypes of Muslims has nothing to do with the Quran, nothing to do with stoning people to death, nothing to do with whipping people, nothing to do with chopping off people's hands and feet, nothing to do with female genital mutilation, nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with 'sectarian' violence in Iraq... nope, none of that. It's
Not that you'll ever need it of course... ;-)
The president called on Congress to authorize an increase of about 92,000 active-duty troops over the next five years. He then slipped in a mention of a major initiative that would represent a significant development in the U.S. disaster response/reconstruction/war machine: a Civilian Reserve Corps.
Ummm...they plan a "civil service reserve..." eh?-- now where have we we, heard that before? So not only do they use it to verify your legal status and stop you from flying and buying at their discretion, but they also use it to forcefully deploy you to war zones to "contribute" your special skills....
Total war, indeed. Everyone one will be used, --that's you and me, brother sister--and most are/will be expendable cannon fodder. Whither dost thou grasp the grim meathook future dear citizen?
If any of you out there are my friends, I ask you out of the kindness of my heart to repost this. If you're not my friend, I ask you search for the source compassion in your soul and repost this anyway. More importantly, if you're in a position to, DO something about it.
This is about California legislation being passed to exterminate pit bulls. If it passes in California, it could be on it's way to anywhere. Someone has to try to make a difference...what if it were your pet?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007.
I find it some what disturbing and yet amusing, that some of the best posts, the ones that should make thinking people and in particular, so called 'democrats'-- see what a scam both parties are--are mostly always thrown away to the dumpster. I have a little game I play over at dkos, I go right for Susan G's Diary Rescue first and foremost. I call it 'dumpster diving' because, the real treasures, the ones that have any depth are in the dumpster with little or no comments to them. Read the above and see if you can see why. Bonus points if you can comment on why a kossack wouldn't want to acknowledge the info given here.
Greg Palast has an important response to the State of the Union speech:
First, there was the announcement the regime will, “give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers.” In case you missed that one, the President is talking about creating a federal citizen profile database.
Will Big Brother abuse these snoop lists? The biggest purveyor of such hit lists is Choice Point, Inc. – those characters who, before the 2000 election, helped Jeb Bush purge innocent voters as “felons” from Florida voter rolls. Will they abuse the new super-lists? Does Dick Cheney shoot in the woods?
I never thought that the argument over immigration was intended to protect American jobs; indeed, Bush made clear his view that we should legalize underpaid Mexican labor. Bush is making a list, checking it twice -- a list of who are you and where you are, without which you can neither buy nor sell.
Why haven't the Apocalypse-spotters glommed onto Choice Point? 'Bout time those wackos did something useful...
Two brothers filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America on Monday, alleging they were sexually abused as children in the 1980s by a Mormon "home teacher" who was also a Boy Scout leader. The lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges the church and the Boy Scouts were responsible because the man, identified as Timur Dykes, was an authorized representative of the groups. [...] Dykes was later convicted of child sexual abuse "on several different occasions," according to the lawsuit filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, who has also represented victims of alleged abuse by Roman Catholic priests. Clark provided a list indicating Dykes had been convicted in 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994. Dykes declined to confirm those convictions. But he said he had served time in prison from 1993 to 2002. [...] Dykes, also known as Timur Van Dykes, is listed on the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Web site as a "predatory sex offender" who "gains access to victims through positions of trust (Boy Scouts, church membership, befriending single mothers); targets vulnerable boys and families; has used intimidation and threats to maintain victim compliance."
[Article continues at link.]
"Congressional Israel Allies Caucus of the United States Congress" Pow Wows with "Knesset Christian Allies Caucus of the Israeli Knesset..." in the U.S. capitol... at our expense....
A well known case in Phoenix happened a year or so ago (maybe more), where a swat team was propelling tear gas canisters through an upstairs window in an Ahwatuckee subdivision. A candle got knocked over, set the draperies on fire. The whole house was burned up, including a pet dog. It turned out to be the wrong address.
No redress, no apology.
It is very easy to persuade people that "slag" is not an acceptable insult to level at a woman. "You wouldn't say that to a man," you could point out. Even though it is pretty much a cross-gender term these days, and one might often hear a man described as a right slapper, that still seems to hold. There ought to be a flipside to this - we ought, in the year 2007, to have stopped talking about chastity as a feminine virtue. We ought to have stopped holding women up as the gatekeepers to sex, who get to be in charge because they don't enjoy it. We ought to have stopped perseverating on how men want it with anyone, any which way, where women only want it with "kind, funny, generous men".
Yet the curve is going in the opposite direction: in America, commentators (I suppose they're called) have long been haranguing adult and teenage females about the boon of chastity.
[Article continues at link.]
Christian activists yesterday promised to appeal the dismissal of their federal court claim that Philadelphia officials infringed on their freedom of speech when they blocked anti-homosexual protesters at a 2004 Center City gay festival. 'This is a very shocking decision,' said Michael Marcavage of Lansdowne, director of Repent America, and one of 11 protesters who were arrested at the 2004 Outfest.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel on Thursday granted a summary judgment for the city and the event organizers, Philly Pride Presents Inc. 'There is no constitutional right to drown out the speech of another person,' Stengel wrote in the 52-page judgement.
[Article continues at link. Here's another quote from Marcavage: "According to the Scriptures, it’s the government’s job to enforce God’s law and to uphold his law, and the Bible talks about how, I don’t want to really get into this — it’ll make me sound like I’m crazy — but it does talk about how [homosexuals] are to be put to death. The wages of sin is death. But I want to make [it] clear that I’m not advocating the [independent] killing of homosexuals. … I’m saying that the government’s duty is to uphold God’s law. … I know that’s harsh, but we have all broken the law, God’s law, and we need to be held accountable." And here's a suggestion for Marcavage.]
Tuesday, January 23, 2007.
Forgive the dkos posts, however I have been watching troutfishing's posts for a long time, they are always worth reading, and this one is no exception.
The drums are getting louder, can you hear em?
David Shuster is on MSNBC right now...:
Also see, Prosecutor: Libby 'wiped out' Cheney memo
Defense in CIA leak trial counters that White House tried to set up Libby
Libby Liveblog: Fitzgerald’s Opening Statement
Guarding Abu Ghraib
cache this it won't be around for long @ you tube
guard at abu ghraib
....girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn't been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So....
A new video has just popped up on YouTube, which, if it is honestly labeled, gives a disturbing first hand account of events inside the walls of Abu Ghraib.
The piece has been extensively edited and may not be genuine, but the video appears to show a former guard telling about his work inside the prison. If true, the story of Abu Ghraib has been far more brutal than the infamous photos depicted.
NOTE: Again, to make absolutely clear, Iraqslogger has not been able to verify this video as being a true account of an American soldier who worked at Abu Ghraib. We've attempted to contact the individual who posted it on YouTube, but have yet to receive a response. At this point, we do not have enough evidence to conclude anything about its provenance. If our citizen-sloggers know anything about the subject in the video, or the source of it, please send us a tip: here.
It probably won't do much good to complain, still less to be shocked,
but, for the record, one should at least be aware of two matters placed
in evidence at the Federation of American Scientists
Project on Government Secrecy site:
# What appears to be a deliberate muzzling of the Congressional Research Service, and
# the charming spectacle of the New York Times invoking the State Secrets Doctrine in winning their case against (falsely accused?) anthrax expert Steven J. Hatfill.
It is undoubtedly childish to hope that the true perpetrator of the anthrax letters will ever be brought to justice, despite the fact that this is patently an area in which there are so few technically proficient suspects to investigate that the even the most sluggish FBI investigation ought by now to have produced indictments.
Monday, January 22, 2007.
by Cindy Sheehan
Hillary may be inevitable, but not if another, more remarkable woman Cindy Sheehan can prevent it. Cindy and all her activities will surely be consigned "by her betters" to the memory hole, but I will not forget her ability to cut through the bullshit and bear witness to her truth.
This one has political implications in one respect -- that FEMA and Homeland Security are still incompetently ignoring simple inititiatives that could help to give us a more resilient and more robust society.
Mostly, though, it is about a case of treachery in our own pockets.
also see, the crosspost at dkos.
Remember this when the shit hits the fan...
On a sim, but very related note, do not ever forget Chaos in the Middle East [and at home*]is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.
*It's not a "conspiracy," friends, it's a BUSINESS PLAN.
A U.S. view: Is chaos the real objective?
Kill 'Em All, Let God Sort 'Em Out
According to a report by the Democratic Policy Committee, the Bush administration cut off veterans’ health care, despite growing need as veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan; shortchanged veterans’ health because it failed to budget for returning veterans; is imposing higher care fees for veterans; and veterans' health care still fall short. But Bush has a plan! Something that costs nothing, is supported by the courts and literally works miracles...
Ryan Foley writes: "The Department of Veterans Affairs' increasing use of religion in treating ailing veterans does not violate the separation of church and state, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge John Shabaz dismissed a lawsuit by the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and defended the agency's practices in his decision Monday, saying religion can help patients heal and is legal when done on a voluntary basis. [...] The group's president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said Tuesday it would appeal the ruling. 'I think the public will be startled to learn that if you're a VA patient and you want a referral to the eye doctor, you have to have a spiritual assessment in order to do that,' Gaylor said.
"The lawsuit challenged the agency's practice of giving most patients spiritual assessments that ask questions about faith, such as how often they attend church and how important religion is in their lives. Agency officials say the assessments help them determine patients' needs. The suit also targeted VA drug and alcohol treatment programs that incorporate religion, the integration of its chaplain program into patient care and the expansion of chaplain services for outpatient veterans instead of just those at VA hospitals."
How awesome that magic spells are going to take care of the vets that Bush isn't going to take care of! I wish he'd thought to use magic spells to fight the terrorists in the first place instead of real human beings, but no need to focus on the negative. And I feel GREAT that my tax dollars are being kept out of the stem cell research business and invested in the magic spell business.
This news came in last Friday, 1/19/07, from the Pensacola News Journal:
Pensacola evangelist Kent Hovind was sentenced Friday afternoon to 10 years in prison on charges of tax fraud.For further amusement, you can always hop on over to Hovind's blog.
According to a summary released by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the HAA can watch over a circle of countryside 600 miles in diameter. That’s everything between Toledo and New York City. And they want to build 11. With high-res cameras, that could mean constant surveillance of every square inch of American soil.
How paranoid is too paranoid? I've hit it. This Lockheed-Martin project was uncovered after an accidental fire in an Akron, OH warehouse and all I can think is that there was no "accident" involved.
I said once in a 2005 rant that Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, et al were open secrets which were calculated to keep the amygdalae of voters (some of whom might otherwise be tempted to become dissenters... and Kissinger made clear his opinion about those folks!) on overdrive since no reasonable case can be made that torture produces actionable intelligence. It ain't about the "terrorists"... people suffer or are surveilled to keep folk like me and you in line.
Stories like the above may or may not be accurate, but there was nothing "accidental" about them being revealed.
Sunday, January 21, 2007.
Eric Ervin: Insults hurled at gay, trans MLK marchers. "On the day designated to commemorate the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — a man who believed in equality for everyone — anti-gay remarks were hurled at gay groups who participated in Atlanta’s MLK Day March on Jan. 15."
Tony Grew: Tutu stands up for gays. "Legendary anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has urged his fellow Anglicans to focus on the problems facing Africa and stop obsessing over gay issues."
an in-depth analysis of the exact language used by Ahmadinejad in his supposed "wipe Israel off the map" comment, and an analysis of how the comment came to be distorted. (You will be surprised.)
Energo-fascism, or the militarization of the global struggle over ever-diminishing supplies of energy, will, in time, affect nearly every person on the planet. Either we will be compelled to participate in or finance foreign wars to secure vital supplies of energy.
...sooner or later we may find ourselves under constant state surveillance, lest we consume more than our allotted share of fuel or engage in illicit energy transactions. This is not simply some future dystopian nightmare, but a potentially all-encompassing reality whose basic features, largely unnoticed, are developing today.
Saturday, January 20, 2007.
Tracked in America introduces the stories of 25 individuals who have been targeted by the U.S. government. The stories span from World War I to the post-9/11 world. Six eminent historians provide historical perspective and context to the time periods in which these individuals were under surveillance. Together, the profiles convey the courage of these individuals and reveal a dangerous pattern of government surveillance.
President George W. Bush prides himself on "making tough decisions." But many are sensing something seriously troubling, even psychologically unbalanced, about the president as a decision-maker. They are right.
We don't dare to really confront the scale of his incompetent behavior, because then we would have to face what it means to have such an incompetent and psychologically disabled decision-maker as our president. It raises everyone's uncertainty. And that is, in fact, happening now.
As original poster, it is my responsiblity to retract.
From "Huffington Post"
A Grand Canyon park interpreter wrote:
Friday, January 19, 2007.
Brother and Sisters:
As but a single citizen of the United States of America, I raise my voice in sadness and shame at the actions of our government, past, present, and future. I strongly believe that my words and views are shared by a growing majority of American citizens.
Many of us opposed our government's war against Iraq before the first missile was launched and many have joined us since, constituting now a majority of our citizens. At the moment of the attacks in September, 2001, I knew that our President and his administration would opportunistically use the event as justification for all manner of aggressive military action. Although we cannot condone the actions of bin Laden and al Qaeda, we also do not condone our own government's actions. Many of us advocate reconciliation . . . [more at P!}
Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the
Thank goodness the Dems now control Congress. I, for one, welcome our new overlords and just want to let them know that I think they're doing a heckuva job on the off-chance that praising them over policy decisions in comments that are read by over 500 persons is somehow legally different than criticising them.
If you take the time to grub around in true working class America, most people will tell you the country is going to hell, and it is because we don't have prayer in school and that the homosexuals are running around getting married and kissing in public. Folks think that God doesn't like this stuff and is punishing us. They will all tell you that you can be rich and successful if you work hard and that God will reward you with money and a new Lexus if you walk with Jesus. I have been hearing this all my life. Nothing new. Furthermore, they will tell you that US has a moral obligation to bring liberty and freedom to the whole world and that they are pretty disgusted that these lucky people to whom the freedom has been delivered are not even grateful. What we need is more control, by golly!(...)
Thursday, January 18, 2007.
The Religion of Peace in the Mainstream Media
Wayne Parry: "Muslims Unhappy over '24' Portrayal." "The overwhelming impression you get is fear and hatred for Muslims," said Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. She said Thursday she was distressed by this season's premiere. "After watching that show, I was afraid to go to the grocery store because I wasn't sure the person next to me would be able to differentiate between fiction and reality."
Fox News: "Australian Muslim Cleric Sparks Outrage by Calling Jews 'Pigs' and Encouraging Jihad." The firebrand cleric who went overseas just days before some of his cohorts were rounded up in the nation's biggest counter-terrorism raid is the subject of a new police investigation, after a call for children to join jihad as holy warriors appeared in a DVD being sold in Australia. [...] "We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam," he says. "Teach them this: there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid. Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom."
[Articled continue at links.]
Ethan Zuckerman reports on 10 new "open democracy" type projects.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism’s News Coverage Index is, we believe, the largest effort ever to measure and analyze the American news media on a continuing basis.
The Index examines some four dozen news outlets in real time to determine what is being covered and what is not—a broad sense of the American news agenda. The findings are then released in a weekly report that features an Index of the top stories, a narrative analyzing the twists, turns, and trajectory of the coverage, and a breakdown of the differences among media sectors.
[Via My Heart's in Accra]
Wednesday, January 17, 2007.
The arguments for impeachment are overwhelming. Its a winner politically and the grounds are actually valid and not about blowjobs. But instead of all that dry fooferall here is the argument as a jaunty song. And as the song asks of dems: Don't be pussies!
Trevor Blake (who has a slight interest in atheism) poses an interesting question:
"What matters much more is why a large number of people with ready access to the fact they are being lied to are not objecting to being lied to. Why do 'the masses,' the 'working class,' 'the people' endure and even prefer being lied to? Why do they prefer the decisiveness of tyrants over the compassion of democracy? Why does religion still exist? This is a question for anyone but particularly for those who claim that 'the people' are the hope of a better world. It sure seems like no amount of deception or oppression leads 'the people' to overthrow their rulers, and that 'the people' aren't the ones I should turn to in my hopes for a better world."
There are a number of books I could recommend that address that question. One book is called "Escape from Freedom" by Erich Fromm, of the so called Frankfort School.
I can't remember what I read in college (and I think high school) but here's a synopsis I found on the Internets that catches the money shots so to speak:
His initial book, and likely his most influential work, was called Escape From Freedom, published near the beginning of World War II. In it he described freedom as the greatest problem for most individuals. With freedom, according to Fromm, comes an overwhelming sense of aloneness and an inability to exert individual power. He argued that we use several different techniques to alleviate the anxiety associated with our perception of freedom, including automaton, conformity, authoritarianism, destructiveness, and individuation.
But wait, there's more:
Authoritarianism is a technique that others use to ward off the anxiety. Following an entity outside of the self and perceived greater than the self is the main feature of authoritarianism. As the individual feels alone and powerless, he gains strength from the belief that there is a greater power beyond himself. This entity could be a religious figure, a political leader, or social belief. By giving up power to the powerful, we become the powerful and no longer feel alone. In this sense authoritarianism is two sided or what Fromm describes as sadism/masochism, where we submit to our leader (such as Adolph Hitler) and demand power over our perceived enemies (Jews).
IN other words, people may be hardwired for both fascism and religion. And then there's Eric Hoffer's book on the whole mindset:
Not fun reads I should note.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007.
I have never read so coherent an explanation of the relationship between the physical world and information theory as this description of Anton Zeilinger's explanation of quantum mechanics. (New Scientist)
Remembering the Dream
Most Americans today know that Reverand Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, but fewer know why he was there.
Full Story: American Prospect.
Meanwhile, 19% of college students don't know what the "I Have a Dream" speech was about.
In a ruling sure to make philandering spouses squirm, Michigan's second-highest court says that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.
"We cannot help but question whether the Legislature actually intended the result we reach here today," Judge William Murphy wrote in November for a unanimous Court of Appeals panel, "but we are curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion."
[Article continues at link. In a better world, Peter McWilliams would be here to remind the fair citizens of Michigan Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do. In this world, Peter was another victim of the moral nonsense that is 'consensual crime.' We need a consensual liberation army.]
Monday, January 15, 2007.
Some 30 non-governmental organisations in Niger said overnight they are going to sue the United States for nearly two billion dollars for "unfairly accusing" Niger of selling uranium to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
[Article continues at link. Why aren't the officials I helped elect to office doing the same, and more?]
George Bush Interview on "60 Minutes"
PELLEY: Do you believe as commander-in-chief you have the authority to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do?
BUSH: In this situation, I do, yeah. Now, I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I made my decision, and we're going forward.
[Continues at links. Very few people read American Samizdat. But many, many people watch 60 Minutes. In no way is the fact that George Bush considers himself not subject to the Constitution of the United States a difficult to find fact. Why is it that most Americans aren't up in (metaphorical) arms that the rule of law has been suspended in their country? Where's that 'class consciousness' the left speaks of, the correcting mechanism that is activated by oppression and that causes oppressed groups to act in their own best interest, not in the interest of the rulers?]
The federal government argued that Boy Scouts playing with fire caused a 14,200-acre wildfire and wants a judge to hold them responsible, allowing officials to seek damages. In court documents, the government said it would decide whether to seek damages after a ruling is made. It says the June 2002 wildfire in northeastern Utah cost more than $12 million to control.
A Forest Service investigator pinpointed the fire's origin to an area where Scouts had stayed overnight, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Overby said in federal court Thursday. [...] In depositions, Scouts testified they were playing with fire, even offering a teenage counselor candy in return for setting one, Overby said.
[Article continues at link. Just another example of the New World Order impinging on the religious freedom of a private organization.]
Sunday, January 14, 2007.
The most incompetent consulting company - Bearing Point: Shock and oil: Iraq's billions & the White House connection
The American company appointed to advise the US government on the economic reconstruction of Iraq has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican Party coffers and has admitted that its own finances are in chaos because of accounting errors and bad management.
Tales of class combat in a dying regime.
FREE SPEECH TV
It's Playboy, so you have to ignore the "babes" - well, maybe not,lol -but this long piece is really good:
While vice president for strategy and planning for Lockheed from 1999 to 2002, Jackson, by his own account, was also "responsible for the foreign policy platform at the 2000 Republican National Convention," to which he was a delegate. (The platform involved a dramatic increase in defense spending.) His title at the convention was chair of the platform subcommittee on foreign policy. He also served as co-chairman of the finance commission of Bob Dole's 1996 campaign. Prior to joining Lockheed, Jackson had served as executive director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the think tank whose principles included Dick Cheney. PNAC served as the Bush administration's blueprint for preemptive war and authored a 1998 open letter to President Bill Clinton calling for military force to oust Saddam Hussein.