Friday, September 29, 2006

. . . Stripes Forever?




Stockton and Tweed (both of y'all, apparently) took issue with my support of the concept of "extraordinary powers" to meet the transient needs of "extraordinary times". I'm glad they did, because I meant what I posted but think the clarification of why believe it is the most important thing.

While I think my reply
in the comments more fully explains how I can support such measures, despite their lacking in specific, literal constitutionality, I think the bigger issue is still and always, what will the electorate support? What impells voters to support people whose methods go against the grain of moral treatment and consideration for any but the most recalcitrant from reason or emotionally misguided of our fellow humans?

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer
Stay Vigilant About Our Civil Rights
CATHY YOUNG

SYNDICATED COLUMNIST


*****

Recently, I attended a symposium at the conservative American Enterprise Institute on the state of national security. The day's last panel, on law and order, was made up of three war-on-terrorism hawks: Heather Mac Donald, researcher and writer at the Manhattan Institute; former deputy attorney general John Yoo, and Cornell University law professor Jeremy Rabkin. All three deplored what they considered an excessive hysteria about the maltreatment of detainees resulting both from knee-jerk hostility to President Bush and from liberal softness.

All three stressed that we are facing a faceless and stateless enemy with no visible command and no combatant uniforms. Our response, they argued, should be viewed in the context of this threat.

Yet it was Mac Donald, no one's idea of a softie, who made an important and alarming point: "The very fact that detainees are violating the rules of war, that they are not wearing uniforms or any identifying insignia, makes the possibility of factual error in who you pick up much more severe than when you are capturing a traditional uniformed enemy."

In her view, the administration should have put "a lot more due process early on to make the factual determination" that we are holding the right people. She declared that human rights activists "have it right when they complain that detainees in the war on terror are facing the prospect of indefinite detention," and dismissed as "disingenuous" the assertion that every war is of indefinite duration when it starts.

Measures to safeguard the innocent, she said, would have boosted support for the war on terrorism both at home and abroad.

The Skimmer's poster up top has an eerily prophetic feeling to it. I don't like what it implies but am fascinated by how well it reflects my own feelings about the politics which people in this country, at this stage of our cultural evolution, can still consider acceptable behavior vis-a-vie others of own species.

BG's imaginings, possibly paranoidal, conceivably not so much, are echoed in conversations I have with normal everyday kinda folk with whom I work and for whom I have a great deal of respect when it comes to how they live their daily lives and treat people with whom they come in contact.
Maybe it's just my imagination running wild, but I can see it.

I can also picture a lot of my neighbors, friends and some family members thinking to themselves or even saying out loud to each other ...

Well, she shouldn't have had a blog to begin with! That was really dumb of her. And to name it that? Serves her right. She should've known better. I would never have done such a thing.

If you haven't done anything wrong, then you've got nothing to worrry about.

Unless of course we give the definition of "wrong" entirely over to people who have no respect for the lives, rights and liberties of those who not only don't agree with them, but merely appear to be like those who with whom they have seriously and violent disagreement.

Happy weekend, everyone. Keep the conversation going so we don't start accepting things like torture, spying on our own citizens and "dissappearing" non-citizens as human values with which we are willing to live, just for a little more cushion between our singular lives and the often terrifying and unfair reality in which we exist.

That Sick Sick Feeling

US Senate backs terror trial bill

The US Senate has passed controversial legislation endorsing President George W Bush's proposals to interrogate and prosecute foreign terror suspects.

The 65-34 vote followed Thursday's backing by the House of Representatives for almost identical legislation.


The new bill could be signed into law by the president within a few days.


Under the new legislation, special tribunals will be set up to question and try suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
[BBC Article]
I've said it before that I could see some limited depression of Habeas Corpus for non-citizen suspects. I don't like it, especially because I don't trust the current Deciders, but I understand where the fact that there are terrorist orgs makes necessary some kind of special powers available to the Intelligence Community for a LIMITED time.

The same is true for electronic surveillance; as long as the courts are included with Warrants within the time given in the F.I.S.A. legislation.


There is No Way that "subtle" forms of torture such as any form of physical manipulation to induce disorientation and fear can be considered acceptable behavior for a government sworn to uphold the United States' Constitution. There simply isn't.

Amendment VIII - Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX - Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Even though we know this Admin will Decide Legality with its own Ends in mind, the Congress still see's an Executive need and gives it up for a few years. I'll honor that intellectually and under the circumstances.

But if I've gone and created circumstances under which someone is willing to
kill themself and others, regardless of the innocence of my intentions or my (in)ability to see where what I've done in their home has offended them, how could I possibly ignore the need to be changing my own behavior in regards to their concerns?

And instead of looking at what causes of terroristic hysteria certain changes in our policies in the Middle East might well alleviate, our Congress has gone and created more drastic curtailments of Human Rights for the entire world to see how intractable we can be in our desire to still be considered the most important and and powerful and
Righteous nation in that world. In effect, we are saying that Law doesn't matter and we have a right to abuse others in order to deal with our fears.

What makes me sickest is that Sherrod Brown signed onto this apparently inhuman legislation. I knew Mike D would do so, but Sherrod . . . {shakin'head} He's being as shortsighted and politically opportunistic here as he is in his handling of "Free Trade" concerns. Both times, I believe he stepped
just on the other side of that thin line of compromise.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Equality: Evolution and Erosion

[Link] The catastrophe of enduring poverty suffered by workers -- and people who want to work -- is visible in more than just the domestic sphere. The U.S. foreign policy demands uttered by our nation's leaders increasingly suggest that wealthy U.S. corporations and their allies are the only ones in the world who should determine who has the right to eat, to survive and to develop technology.

How did "we, the people" come so far and so fast from that Declaration of 1776? It is as though the nation's new declaration to the world is "accept our terms of trade or die."

Angela Gilliam of Seattle is a cultural anthoplogist and emeritus faculty at The Evergreen State College.
Other than the fact that, in 1776 they simply didn't count the dispossessed as human so didn't even consider applying the same Rights and Standards to those mass of folk, I'd say this does sum up our current political and sociotal State of the Nation quite accurately.

So sadly so.

But we are learning about why we are as such as a species. Maybe this fall's elections will show some indication of that assertion and the godlets of war will at least be sent home to consider their deserts.

Heh! Slow, painful progress. Barring armageddon, I think its continuation is just as inevitable as our past suggests.

Who's Up For Rio?



I've never once bought a Roxy Music album. I hesitate wehn figurin' on why... I loved this band in the day. I'm thinkin' it was soemthing stupde like they weren't Heavy Metal, or maybe cuz I wasn't allowed (read: was afraid) to be a Ferry fan because somebody might've thought I was gay or a target for pickin' a fight. I freakin' fough way too much in school, it even got to the point where I'd started starting some myself, just to do it.

Yah. I definately got this all messed up long before I got to High School.

Geez but those keyboards do rock with that sax! Wow.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pro Choice for Peace Options

Somalians are part of an ethic conflict which seems unending. That duration allows for a lot of sociological phenomena to be studied for cause and effect and the synergies arising from contact with the world outside their borders. This article uses the term "islamists" a few times within quotes from folks in the town of Baidoa. Get to the whole story though, and you've gotta wonder whether that's a religious or a purely political term.

My point being that there is no difference as long as stability and political equanimity are being provided.

One thing which empirically destroys the neo-con world warriors' proscription for attaining peace is the fact that a main part of the goal is to Not Kill People, but to simply ensure those people's safety as they go on about their lives.

[- Link -] Despite the fears, on the outside, life is carrying on as normal.

Although the government has not yet set up a civil service, many people have come to depend on it since it arrived in the town last year.

Hotels, car-owners and communication firms rely on the custom of MPs, as does camel milk-seller Faduma Madey.

"Before the government I used to spend the whole day here, selling milk without much benefit but now, I sell all my milk in a few hours," she says.

"I believe this is the result of peace, God save our town from another conflict."

Extortion

Traders say the prices of most basic items have fallen by about 20% since the government established itself in the town.

So maybe it's not God, but having a stable relationship with your own government sure seems to make deadly violence less commonplace. That peace results in business getting done and people eating and sleeping without wondering if they'll wake up dead.

Think about Iraq for a second. Remember the causes of the Crusades and Ottomon expansion into Europe. Study any Asian conquests and the height of Rome to see what supports and provides Peace, and why Gods and other Politicians bring Hell out of their fears and delusions and "help" to manifest it right here on the Earth, wher
e every person Shares the Only world in which we all actually live, irrespective of everyone's individual belief about "other worlds".
But businessmen say food prices are still more expensive than in the capital, Mogadishu, which the UIC seized in June.

In Mogadishu, the check-points manned by gunmen who used to extort money from passers-by have been dismantled, leading to a fall in prices.

Part of the road between Baidoa and Mogadishu is manned by freelance gunmen allied to neither the government nor the Islamists.

"Our goods pass through eight check-points where gunmen impose taxes," said businessman Isgow Ibrahim.

He just wants those gunmen removed, to make easier and goods cheaper.

But he does not care whether they are taken out by the government or the Islamists.

[BBC News: Baidoa, Somalia]

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Media Meme Play: Time and Again. . .

I love seeing the subtle processes of propaganda being observed and explained. Truth in Advertising, no matter how deadly or mundane the product, almost always requires disclaimers and an understanding of the marketers' intentions.

People need to see the mechanism working before they can feel angry enough to admit how herded and penned into their "own" beliefs they have become.

From
Norman Solomon at Common Dreams
... when the media system undermines the free flow of information and prevents wide-ranging debate, what happens is a parody of democracy. That's what occurred four years ago during the media buildup for the invasion of Iraq.

Now, warning signs are profuse: The Bush administration has Iran in the Pentagon's sights. And the drive toward war, fueled by double standards about nuclear development and human rights, is getting a big boost from U.S. media coverage that portrays the president as reluctant to launch an attack on Iran.

Time magazine reports that "from the State Department to the White House to the highest reaches of the military command, there is a growing sense that a showdown with Iran ... may be impossible to avoid."

The same kind of media spin -- assuming a sincere Bush desire to avoid war -- was profuse in the months before the invasion of Iraq. The more that news outlets tell such fairy tales, the more they become part of the war machinery.

-- Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." E-mail to: mediabeat@igc.org.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Feel Like It

Published on Saturday, September 23, 2006 by OneWorld.net
Nationwide Actions 'Declare Peace', Raise Pressure on Congress
by Haider Rizvi

NEW YORK - A nationwide civil disobedience campaign aiming to force the administration of President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress to end the military occupation of Iraq is now in full swing.

Anti-war demonstrators block a gate to the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006, after marching in front of the White House protesting the war in Iraq. Park police officers arrested 34 of the demonstrators after they refused to leave.

More than 500 peace groups and justice organizations from all over the United States have joined the "Declaration of Peace," a week-long comprehensive campaign that calls for a prompt timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Those who signed the Declaration this week pledged to hold demonstrations, rallies, marches, and vigils in hundreds of cities across the country, which will continue until next Thursday.
I'm trying to pump my depressed arse up to get to one in C-Town, but (luckily?) can't find any.

My next roadtrip looks to be much more fun and relaxing at any rate. A wise man once said to dance away the heartache, so I'm takin' his advice.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Taking Care of This Problem . . .

. . . would go a long way towards removing any mysterious or apparent shred of legitimacy from the Big Pharm conspiracy theories.

Too many Normal Average Folks believe some way-out-whackiness simply because this system
IS so obviously messed up and wasteful. The industry has enough challenges with strictly medical issues of efficacy. All the marketing crap just belittles those Real research and development problems.

FDA Told U.S. Drug System Is Broken
Expert Panel Calls For Major Changes
By Shankar Vedantam

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 23, 2006; Page A01

The federal system for approving and regulating drugs is in serious disrepair, and a host of dramatic changes are needed to fix the problem, a blue-ribbon panel of government advisers concluded yesterday in a long-awaited report.

The analysis by the Institute of Medicine shined an unsparing spotlight on the erosion of public confidence in the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that holds sway over a quarter of the U.S. economy. The report, requested by the FDA itself, found that Congress, agency officials and the pharmaceutical industry share responsibility for the problems -- and bear the burden for implementing solutions.

Here's the part I think will most directly address the Integrity of Big Pharm.
[Link] The panel called for a moratorium on consumer advertising of newly approved classes of drugs until they have been on the market long enough for unrecognized side effects and risks to emerge. Packaging for new types of medications should also carry a special symbol, such as the black triangle required in Britain, to alert patients that the drug's safety profile would not be fully known until it had been more widely studied, the report said.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Victory? Not Again . . .

Michael Kinsley reviews the Bush Administration's "victories".

Kinda makes ya want the Chimperor to admit defeat already; step aside and let someone else, someone with a little comprehension of the English language perhaps, approach the "war on terror" from a different perspective. One which has a chance at attaining a resolution of the all the various political, cultural and economic issues boiling over throughout the world.

[Link] On May 1, 2006, the third anniversary of "mission accomplished," McClellan was asked whether "victory" had been achieved in Iraq. He said, "We're making real progress on our plan for victory. . . . We are on the path to victory. We are winning in Iraq. But there is more work to do." Democrats should shut up because their criticism of the president "does nothing to help advance our goal of achieving victory in Iraq." (Once victory is achieved, presumably, it will be okay for Democrats to criticize.) And make no mistake, Bush said July 4: "When the job in Iraq is done, it will be a major victory.

On Aug. 28, criticizing "self-defeating pessimism," Cheney said there are "only two options in Iraq -- victory or defeat." On Aug. 31 Bush said that "victory in Iraq will be difficult, and it will require more sacrifice." He predicted that "victory in Iraq will be a crushing defeat for our enemies" -- which, as a tautology, is a safe bet.

Which brings us to last week, and Bush's television speech on the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. "Bush Says Iraq Victory Is Vital" was The Post's accurate headline. And Bush was eloquent. "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more. . . ." Well maybe not that eloquent. But his point was the same as Henry V's: Don't give up now! "Mistakes have been made in Iraq," he conceded. He even conceded that "Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks." But let us not, for mercy's sake, learn anything from five years of experience. Instead, let's just pretend it all never happened. After all, we won this war back in 2003.

kinsleym@washpost.com

Of course, there are always some few people who think victory has been earned in the Marketplace.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Defend the Great Writ"

Here's the Big One for Impeachment. I've indicated before that I think the whole Wire-Tap crap is already accounted for by the F.I.S.A.,* and all Dubya & Co need to do is follow its proscriptions and the Constitution will be intact; subverted by essential relativism, but that's how life and human ideas evolve. It can handle it IMHO.

Just as humanity as evolved
away from torturing each other.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has one of those awesome forms which you can use to send your Senator the message that you find our Chief Executor's archaic belief in ANYONE's RIGHT to torture living beings and his dictatorial disdain for our U.S. Constitution to be unacceptable Policies for them to support.

How many times have you heard somebody say "we should cut
their heads off!" when the topic is the attrocities committed by Terrorist groups across the world? Yes. OUR people - we - (gee. Go figger...) are as capable of such base and archaic thinkin' as homo sapients of any culture and every continent. The slope from "humiliation" to "beheading" is not slippery in most cases. It is inevitable.

The first bit (in green) is my own preamble to the CCR standard letter to your Senators.
Howdy Senators Please don't let this backsliding on Political Responsibility become law. Please don't let America continue to earn the Shame of the World's people for ignoring humane rights; no matter what inhumanities have been committed.

Even our Enemies are Humans. If we fail to see them that way, as they are, then we fail to see ourselves behaving every bit as degenerately.

The rest is from CCR and I support its message and echo its request for you to Vote for Specter-Levin's Habeas Amendment.


As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to vote for the Specter-Levin Amendment to the military commissions bills when it is introduced and save the right of habeas corpus.

Both bills (the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [S.3901] and the Bringing Terrorists to Justice Act of 2006 [S.3861]) include provisions which would deny people – even U.S. citizens taken prisoner abroad – the right to challenge their detention in U.S. court. There is no more fundamental check on executive power than the right of habeas corpus. Passing these bills without the Specter-Levin Amendment would grant an unprecedented degree of power to the Presidency.


The current drafts of these bills also cut back on hard-fought victories of victims of sexual violence to hold their perpetrators accountable. This will affect not only women and men detainees subject to sexual violence and abuse, but will set standards that will have a far-reaching affect on the rights of rape and sexual violence victims worldwide.

I join the Center for Constitutional Rights in calling on you to defend democracy and preserve the most fundamental of all rights. Vote 'Yes' on the Specter-Levin Amendment, remove any attempts to redefine torture from the bills, and vote to defend the most fundamental democratic right.



* And "spying" on Bank Accounts has its own set of rules which seem to have stable enforcement.

** You can send my part too, if you want. Feel Free {-;

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

American Boneheads, Take Note

Now the screw up's the biggest thing. We have to ask if the guys who messed up here can actually get it done without more of the same.

Honesty is always a nice weight on the side of the benefit of the doubt. Unless they're bullshittin'.

[Linkage . . . ]
"We screwed up. Not a little, a lot," Gyurcsany was heard saying. "No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have."

He told colleagues the government needed to end its duplicitous ways. "I almost died when for a year and a half we had to pretend we were governing. Instead, we lied morning, evening and night. I don't want to do this any more," he said.
In the U.S., that's what the Impeachment process is about. The Prez'dint has admitted his Iraq policy is boneheaded, though he calls the reasons "mistakes" and "misinformation". There's just no hint of that last bit which Gyurcsany proferred.

Bush is still Gung Ho and there's still plenty of money to be made playing War.

With all of the lives lost over George Walker Bush's "mistakes", how can they not be considered High Crimes? Every investigation to date - whether independant or conducted by the Intelligence community - suggests a Trial is due.

Monday, September 18, 2006

One Century at a Time

Analysis: An unfortunate deepening of the religious divide
By Arnaud de Borchgrave | Published Today | Religion and Culture , Peace and Conflict
More than off the cuff

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large

WASHINGTON -- The Pope's temporary lapse of infallibility was a theological cannon/canon shot heard around the world. From Turkey, where the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini, to Tunisia, where even moderates were in high dudgeon, and from the mosques of London to Lahore, imams were fanning global flames of angry resentment. Seven churches were sacked in the West Bank. Morocco and Iran recalled their ambassadors to the Vatican.
[The rest of the article...]
Not that any of these church sackers are prone to violence or anything like that. Not over an affront to their religion for goodness' sake.

Yah... So Daddy points out a predecessor's infallible opinion - rather non-committally at first, just an observation of what the dead king, err, pope said - and now he's gotta be officially human while he's still alive himself, and kinda, basically, in a sorta straight up way, apologize.


Change. One century at a time.

NEXT PLEASE . . .

Wanted: Catharsis




the sage Deep on the mountain’s an unseen cloister;

Wicker shadows lock in the long bamboos.
Suddenly there’s a bell
Ringing now and then,
Empty valley filling with white clouds

Off drawing water, an old monk returns;
Pine-tree dew stains his robe green.
Bell barely murmurs; the cloister gate has closed.
Mountain birds, all by themselves,
Skirmish over roosting spots.

- Ch’en Fou (1240 – 1319)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Jimmy Eat World

It's only rock-n-roll though, I guess . . .
In the midst of mid-'90s grunge, four childhood friends formed a band that would eventually impact modern rock of the new millennium. Jimmy Eat World formed in 1994 with kindergarten pals Jim Adkins (vocals/guitar) and Zach Lind (drums), Tom Linton (guitar/vocals), and Mitch Porter (bass). The foursome derived the band's moniker from Linton's younger brothers, Ed and Jimmy. The two had a fight one day and Ed resorted to drawing a picture of his cherubic older brother eating the world with "Jimmy Eat World" printed beneath. The band thought it was a perfect fit. Soon, they tinkered around with heavy punk rock sounds, playing small shows around their native Mesa, AZ. Influences ranged from Rocket From the Crypt, early Def Leppard, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Fugazi, and the Velvet Underground, leaving Jimmy Eat World as a work in progress.
[More from Pandora.com]
The highlighted part is what I wanna see a picture of. It sounds kind of apocryphal to me without the drawing linked. Google didn't find it even as a liner note.

Bleed American apparently lost its title right after 9/11, about a month or so
(?) after it was released. It's the only album of theirs I have so far, since I've not been buying much music. Closer is on the wishlist though, eh.

Blue October's been growing on me lately too.

Just sayin'

Friday, September 15, 2006

Signs of Spines

Senators Defy Bush On Terror Measure
Panel Backs Rival Bill On Interrogations


By Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writers

Friday, September 15, 2006; Page A01


A Senate committee rebuffed the personal entreaties of President Bush yesterday, rejecting his proposed strategies for interrogating and trying enemy combatants and approving alternative legislation that he has strenuously opposed.


The bipartisan vote sets up a legislative showdown on an issue that GOP strategists had hoped would unite their party and serve as a cudgel against Democrats in the Nov. 7 elections. Instead, Bush and congressional Republican leaders are at loggerheads with a dissident group led by Sen. John McCain (R), who says the president's approach would jeopardize the safety of U.S. troops and intelligence operatives.
I've been dreadin' posting on this. I didn't think, even with all the evidence and information supporting it (not to mention a fine reference for our Senators in these matters) that enough Republicans in the Senate would really stand up on this one as Human Beings first, partisans second.

Kudos to McCain. Those are deserved even if too many of his decisions have led to massive death totals in Iraq and elsewhere.


I mean it too. Credit where it's due. Regardless o' past offenses. Those aren't forgotten.
McCain told reporters that Hayden wants Congress to give the CIA a virtually free hand to treat detainees as it wishes so that he and his agents will be immunized against accusations of unlawful conduct. "He's trying to protect his reputation at the risk of America's reputation," McCain said. The senator noted that other nations would be more likely to abuse U.S. captives if Americans appeared to sanction such conduct.

[The rest of the story ...]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

and then some

i never lost my compassion


it just morphed into selfpity

. . . 't least it seems that way

night . . .

A More Heinous Kind of Glitch

I just need to prop this article because I think Monseigneur Tutu is Spot On.

The U.S. ain't at all likely to start taking Global Arms Sales as the serious threat to our entire species that it is. Not unless there's a groundswell from the folks electing Representatives. We absolutely need the lower house of the Congress to move on this, because the Senate and the Executive branch are all about money-flow.

Arms Sales are Bigger Money than even Oil.

The Modern Successor to the Slave Trade
No longer should the peace business be undermined by the arms business
by Desmond Tutu

For many years, I've been involved in the peace business, doing what I can to help people overcome their differences. In doing so, I've also learnt a lot about the business of war: the arms trade. In my opinion it is the modern slave trade. It is an industry out of control: every day more than 1,000 people are killed by conventional weapons. The vast majority of those people are innocent men, women and children.
There have been international treaties to control the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons for decades. Yet, despite the mounting death toll, there is still no treaty governing sales of all conventional weapons from handguns to attack helicopters. As a result, weapons fall into the wrong hands all too easily, fuelling human rights abuses, prolonging wars and digging countries deeper into poverty.

". . . a little drama . . ."




I just like imagining retiring in orbit, at around age 85. But would I be Solient Green?

Hmm...

They worked out a 'puter glitch and got 'em deployed. At this point anyway, it's all good.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dark Milestone


RJ Eskow: DARK MILESTONE: More Americans Have Now Died In Iraq Than Died On 9/11
RJ Eskow Tue Sep 12, 1:15 PM ET


While
President Bush and other Republican politicians spent the day exploiting the memory of those we lost five years ago, the nation overlooked a grim milestone: More Americans have now died in Iraq than died on 9/11. Iraq didn't attack us on that day, and our misguided policy there has now taken more American lives than Al Qaeda.

Here are the numbers: 3,015 Americans have died in Iraq as of September 9. 2,666 of these were military deaths and 349 were civilians.
[The rest of the story...]

I've nothing to add at this time.

Not Your average run-o-the-mill Hero

You'd think I had something better to write about, but the Croc Hunter was one of the good things to come out of humanity in the last couple o' decades. I think it's important to celebrate him and remember why - though he's only one silly human who managed to gain a wide audience - what he did with his life was so normal and expectable from any of us.

Crikey! Eh mates. . . (alright.. you'll get no mo' o' that talk from me. {-; )

'Crocoseum' tribute set for Irwin

. . .

In her first statement since her husband's death, Mrs Irwin said the memorial service would be open to the public, and that people who wish to attend should make a donation to Irwin's Wildlife Warriors fund.

The venue only seats 5,500 people, but large television screens will be set up in other areas, and the event will be broadcast live on TV in Australia, the US and Asia.

[...
the Rest of the story.]


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Perspective Problem

It was the end of our Sophmore year at Lorain Catholic when Tom was buried. The parties at which he was always a favorite had started and, some of our friends anyhow, saw to it that Tom, though no longer able to come for the fun, should have the fun come to him.

They had a good ol' time partying on my best friend's grave. Even left a couple of roaches and plenty of empty beer cans to show how much he meant to them, and that they felt he was still one of us.

You might imagine how Tom's Mom's perspective on their version of Respects was just a little different from their own.


Seems there may be a few folks with a slightly different perspective on Steve Irwin's death by Stingray. I'm not exactly thinkin' ol' Steve would have appreciated these folks' take any more than my friend's parents did
our friends manner of dealing with a loved one's demise.

It's the kind o' thing that happens when one can't see beyond their own point of view. . .

Irwin fans 'in revenge attacks'
Stingrays have been found dead on two Queensland beaches


Dead stingrays with their tails cut off have been found in Australia, sparking concern that fans of naturalist Steve Irwin may be avenging his death.


Mr Irwin, a TV personality known as the "Crocodile Hunter", was killed while diving in Queensland when a stingray's barb stabbed him in the chest.


Since then, 10 stingrays have been found mutilated on Queensland beaches.


Government officials said they were investigating the deaths and there could be prosecutions.


Two stingrays were found at a beach north of Brisbane with their tails cut off, while eight were found on another beach on Monday, The Australian reported.


Wayne Sumpton of the state fisheries department said it was not clear if the incidents were connected to Mr Irwin's death.


He said fishermen who inadvertently caught stingrays sometimes cut off their tails to avoid being stung, but such a practice was uncommon.
[the rest of the article]

Monday, September 11, 2006

. . . from "I" to "we" . . .

If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not cuases, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of ofowning freezes you forever into "I", and cuts you off forever from the "we."

The Western States are nervous under the beginning change. Need is stimulus to concept, concept to action. A half0million people moving over the country; a million more restive, ready to move; ten million more feeling the first nervousness.

And tractors turning the multiple furrows in the vacant land.
They just seem like relevant words today, as we experience Life become art yet again. And, yet again, put art ahead of life.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Falsification Fallout Continues

"Where we have distorted something, we have made a mistake, and that should be corrected. It can be corrected." Harvey Keitel
Well, I feel better 'bout one thing, anyhow. Just the other day, I commented on Peacechick Mary's post vis-a-vie the Disney Docuganda Debacle, bemoanin' the fact that Keitel is in the ABC Docudrama on 9/11. Turns out he's feelin' a little duped by his producer.

From MediaMatters via Betmo's take on the concensus response to the flick.

[Link] KEITEL: Yeah, I had questions about certain events and material I was given in The Path to 9/11 that I did raise questions about. Yes, I had some conflicts there.

A.J. HAMMER (host): How was that met?

KEITEL: With discussion. With argument. When I received the script, it said "ABC history project." I took it to be exactly what they presented to me -- history, and that the facts were correct. It turned out not all the facts were correct, and ABC set about trying to heal that problem. In some instances, it was too late because we had begun.

HAMMER: Do you feel that anything should be changed in this film?

KEITEL: Yes, I do. This is a tough issue.

[... the rest of the story.]

(emphasis by MediaMatters)

It's not like I find whatever an actor has to say on the subject of any great importance. Not normally.

But it's refreshing to read that a celebrity for whom I've
somewhat mysteriously developed a relatively high degree of respect really understands why such a film is more important than your run-o'-the-mill Mini-series. Keitel really seems to get that whole "honest, true and accurate" concept when purporting to dramatize recent historic events.

It's still amazing to me how eager are so many folks to alter the "people's" percerption of History, irrespective of the known facts.


Mary suggested my email to my local ABC affiliate might be worth repostin' for a wider read. Why not? I got a little vanity in me, especially where something I've writ may be helpful.

If the criticisms of the coming 9-11 TV movie are true I would hope your management would make a note of the inaccuracies which appear. I've only read stories. I haven't seen it for myself yet of course. I hope that if it airs, it will not disgrace the memories of those who died on that day. What is the truth about what we know about September 11, 2001?

There are several guides by which this "docudrama" has to be directed in order to be accurate. Anything else is false, and merely dishonest propaganda for our current Executors. Even the Senate has finally officially called this Admin on Its deceit to our citizenry.

Please do not propagate lies at NewsNet5.

Sincerely
You've still time to bug ABC about gettin' it right, if it decides to run it at all.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sacrifices?! For the Neocon Rich?!!?

What they hell. Dude (Levey) acts like they've never suspected Iran of funding Terrorists. Near the end of the story, he broaches the REAL bomb in this Long Overdue maneuver: the World Trade leaders are gonna hafta make "sacrifices".

"Sacrifices?!?! What the hell. . ? Ain't it only them dumb-ass poor SOBs s'posed to be making sacrifices???
"

A-Holes... Stop spittin' shit and deal with the fact that individual rights for "Business" don't trump individual rights for individuals en masse. Wealth is a created resource. The power which creates it is always more important than the Capital Accumulation factor; whether that be financial, religious or secular political Capital.

[Link] "We will no longer allow a bank like Saderat to do business in the American financial system, even indirectly," Levey said.

The move by the U.S. Treasury comes as the Bush administration is encountering some difficulty persuading allies to move ahead with
United Nations sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.

The United States has made the point that it intends to keep pressure on Iran, no matter what the U.N. does.

Levey also said it was important for governments and the private sector to take whatever measures were necessary to stop Iran from advancing "dangerous policies" in future.

"The next steps may involve sacrifice, but I think that people are beginning to recognize that the costs we face now pale in comparison to those we might face in the future if Iran does not change course," Levey said.

We Have . . . Countdown

This is just one example of how George Dub would make a horrible NASA administator. Dude's got no patience for doing the right thing regardless of what what it is that he wants.

I wouldn't consider it my problem if he wasn't freakin' one of the most powerful human beings in history*. Loser.

After problems in previous flights with the sensor, NASA created a new rule requiring a stand-down of 24 hours when one of the hydrogen tank's four engine cutoff sensors doesn't work properly; such a delay would allow engineers to gather more data on the problem.

"We had a lot of discussion. ... We follow the rules," launch director Mike Leinbach radioed Atlantis' crew, notifying them about the scrub. "Ought to feel good that we did that."
Huh? Was that a jab at our Preznit? Nahhh... I'm sure it's just my grubby li'l librul mind goin' off on another Snipe Hunt.

But still . . . {{ :-/
"We understand. We concur 100 percent," responded Atlantis' commander, Brent Jett. "It's the right thing to do."

A large number of managers favored flying, but opposition to launching was led by NASA's flight crew operations director.

Shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said top officials "decided staying with the plan ... was the prudent thing to do."
Kinda sounds like what Dubya's Daddy said about Sadamn back in the day.

Hhmmm...
Aboard Atlantis is one of the heaviest payloads ever carried into space — 17 1/2 tons of girders that will be added to the half-built space station. It includes two solar arrays that will produce electricity for the orbiting outpost.

Atlantis' crew members will make three spacewalks during the 11-day mission to install the $372 million addition.
They gotta get this station built already. There're just too many stupid little maintenance needs that aren't being met because the money for 'em is smolderin' in Iraq.

Two things stuck out for me in the article, the first shouldn't even be an issue 'cept for the budget. "...(A) glitch with a 30-year-old motor in an electricity-generating fuel cell" which should've been replaced before the Shuttle even left the barn the first try, and the situation where there's still only one Docking Port. That's keepin' there from being more than one mission at a time. Construction would proceed significantly faster if the construction crews didn't have to wait on each others' ships to get outta the way.

'Course, that pace is still essentially dictated by each nation's own Budget. . . Every nation has its political priorities which determine how much cache they'll get from a project like ISS construction, and that's what decides 'em on how much cash it "needs".

At any rate ... While we're waiting for the Launch this morning, my Boo Grrl sent me something to keep me from gettin' bored. It's a hekk of a lot better than goin' up and down 5 flights of stairs to do 2 loads o' laundry, but I gots to be doin' that as well.

Enjoy this part anyhow, eh. {-;

* Just like any other President of the US since F.D.R.

For now anyway . . .

Friday, September 08, 2006

One Nation, Indivisible . . .

'I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with equality, liberty and justice for all.'

That's how it was
originally written, sans equality, according to the story.
[Link] Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex.

The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth's Companion, the leading family magazine and the Reader's Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford had enjoyed Francis's sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford Hall Forum, located in downtown Boston.

In 1892 Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute - his 'Pledge of Allegiance.'

His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. [ * 'to' added in October, 1892. ]

(italics are mine)

It's about a 5 minute read, and very well worth it if you've ever wondered what the deal is with the United States' Pledge of Allegiance.


The concept of
allegiance itself may make a truly libertarian kinda person Pshaw the whole shebang, regardless of its intention. Personally, I kinda like the idea that I'm expected to participate as a Citizen of the geopolitical unit in which I was born and raised. It's got its Pros and Cons, but overall I feel like its my species, my friends and family and neighbors and fellows across teh planet who benefit as much as I do when we all take an interest in What Gets Done.

Tip o' the hat to mi'migo, Jack in TX.

ABC's 9-11 Docuganda



I've been meaning to post on this for, what... about a week now? Since I first heard of it, at any rate.

What a bunch o' lying bastards over at ABC. If any of their top Execs have actually watched what we're hearing is in this docuganda, one can only guess they'd rather have tools like Dubya in office for the sake that such has only furthered the monopolization of the Mainstream Media by an extraordinarily small group of conglomerates.


Clickin' on the pic will take you to a page with a pre-fab letter of protest and request for information about ABC's intentions with this release. The following is the wee bit which I just
had to add on my own.
Disney can paint fantasies for the young in all of us. Like stories of Santa and Snow White and heroes galore, they convey messages which adults recognize as Desirable and children can use to become whole and healthy adults.

THIS kind of make-believe is only going to result in more ignorance and death and ABC's executives are shameful for letting it through without rectifying the obvious and demonstrable Lies it propounds.

Please correct your mis-information before allowing this - perhaps otherwise well-produced - bit of drama to be aired.

Sincerely

Michael Bains
sillyhumans.blogspot.com
Lots o' folks (thanks Tonya and Matt and others I can't now recall!) have posted this, or another link, for us to let ABC know what we think of the news of the particular inaccuracies contained in the flick. Thanks to all y'all for remindin' me that this is unquestionably a great way for us regular, non-politically-connected folk to take action against the iniquities pervasive in our current form of Democracy.

RAmen!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It Does To Be Gettin' This Way. . .



This kinda shit has come and gone throughout human history. The more we actively complain AND offer rational alternatives, the quicker we can nip this one (which got up its head o' steam with Reagan) in the bud.

Or as close as possible anyway.

It's In The Works

Blair to Stand Down in May: Sky
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister

Tony Blair will step down from office on May 4, 2007, Sky television said on Thursday, citing senior Labour Party members.

Blair is expected to set out a timetable for his departure from office later on Thursday in an attempt to diffuse a leadership crisis which has engulfed his ruling Labour Party.

The US has a proscription for making such a thing happen with our President.

Too bad our Congressfolk get more riled up over one lying 'bout personal issues than they do about lies over Wars and Economics.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Survival Times


"So places in say South Wales would have gone from something that looked like North Africa with hippos, elephants, rhinos and hyenas, to the other extreme: to an extraordinary cold environment like northern Scandinavia."
Chris Stringer
Natural History Museum of London



Despite some awesome work done in Antartica over the last few decades, which is hopefully not to be lost, it may be
too little too late if, once an Ice Age starts, it won't be stopped until it's run its course.

Our warming up the planet with CO will have some equally devastating consequences. We really have to take our species' impact on the atmosphere of our planet more seriously than we have. We've learned the basics of Industrialism. Now we need to fine tune those in harmony with both Individualism AND Nature irrespective of Homo.

We'll just need to regroup and learn from our mistakes. The U.K. may be emptied out, and tens, maybe even hundreds of millions of folk will prematurely die in the coming century or so. I really think the species will survive; though in what civilizational form is still a reserve of SF epics rather than this average blog.

As choppy as it sometimes is, I still believe in Rational Human Progress.


Who Lies in Tom Paine's Tomb

Tom Paine has no tomb. His body lies, somewhere, in an unmarked grave.
Or maybe in the Illumanati's Spaceship near the center of the Earth . . ?

Well, regardless of Paine's remains' whereabouts, the ideas of freedom from Religion which he helped explore and inseminate the culture of the West reverberate strongly in the blog'sphere today.

Don't let the last 8 years disgust you to the still unlimited nature of our human potential. Paradoxically, thank the IDiots for reminding us of their Historic precedents on their own. Most of the bloggers I read refuse to challenge Godwin's law.

Tip o' the hat to Carol on Atheists-World.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

sluicin' down the 'tubes


Tip o' the hat to Darwin's Dagger.

And I can't wait to see Beep's! as well.

Bitten by the Big One


I was makin' an overdue stop over at Stockton and Tweed's Smorgasblog, when I read the news: Crock Hunter Dead at ag 44.

It wasn't that white anaconda that did it, nor a croc as anyone who's seen Steve's schtick might expect.

Stockton provides the details, and ancillary bits as well.

Back to Work

Though, as Greg Palast points out, it's helping others more than me.
Some years from now, in an economic refugee relocation “Enterprise Zone,” your kids will ask you, “What did you do in the Class War, Daddy?”

The trick of class war is not to let the victims know they’re under attack. That’s how, little by little, the owners of the planet take away what little we have.
I am sooo not helpin' myself lately...

All of these are curtesy of Rabbi Lerner's Tikkun Newsletter. I'm not, like, signed on and in-line with all his methods, but I certainly embrace the major goals Tikkun.org exhorts.
P.S. Unfortunately, we who do make this society function have not yet succeeded in gaining power over our economic policies, social policies and foreign policies from the elites of wealth and power who control the society. So we come back into the Fall with a world that is somewhat out of control. Below we are sending you a few articles to reorient you to the tasks that lie ahead. In future emails I’ll discuss with you the details of what we face. I apologize for the length of this email, but do want you to have the opportunity to hear some important voices that will help you avoid the simplistic analyses you’ll hear in the mainstream media. In sending you these analyses, of course, we don’t mean to imply that they represent our perspective, but only an interesting set of ideas that most of us rarely get to hear in the U.S. media None of them have, form our perspective, adequately integrated the spiritual vision of The Left Hand of God. Still, they are very worth reading. Please take the time.
Here's an essay which I hope is as crazy as it undoubtedly sounds to those who can't stomache the idea that Amercia may sometimes be way wrong.

I've thought things to comment throughout, mostly Pro, some Con, but am still in utterly discombobulated emotinal-wreckage mode.

Good luck, eh.

"The Tiger at Bay: Scary Times Ahead"
By Immanuel Wallerstein
http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/192en.htm
Commentary No. 192, Sept. 1, 2006


When many years ago, some of us said that the decline

of United States hegemony in the world-system was
inevitable, unstoppable, and already occurring, we were
told by most people that we ignored the obvious
overwhelming military and economic strength of the
United States. And there were some critics who said
that our analyses were harmful because they served as a
self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then the neo-cons came to power in the Bush presidency,

and they implemented their policy of unilateral macho
militarism, designed (they said) to restore
unquestioned United States hegemony by frightening U.S.
enemies and intimidating U.S. friends into unquestioned
obedience to U.S. policies in the world arena. The neo-
cons had their chance and their wars and have
spectacularly failed either to frighten those regarded
as enemies or to intimidate erstwhile allies into
unquestioned obedience. The U.S. position in the world-
system is far weaker today than it was in 2000, the
result precisely of the very misguided neo-con policies
adopted during the Bush presidency. Today, quite a few
people are ready to talk openly about U.S. decline.

So what happens now? There are two places to look:

inside the United States, and in the rest of the world.
In the rest of the world, governments of all stripes
are paying less and less attention to anything the
United States says and wants. Madeleine Albright, when
she was Secretary of State, said that the United States
was "the indispensable nation." This may have been true
once, but it is certainly not true now. Now, it's a
tiger at bay.

It's not yet fully the "paper tiger" of which Mao

Zedong spoke, but it's certainly on its way to being
exposed as a tiger crouching in self-defense.

How do other nations treat a tiger at bay? With a great

deal of prudence, it must be said. If the United States
is no longer capable of getting its way almost
anywhere, it is still capable of doing a great deal of
damage if it decides to lash out. Iran may defy the
United States with aplomb, but it tries to be careful
not to humiliate it. China may be feeling its oats and
sure that it will get still stronger in the decades to
come, but it handles the United States with kid gloves.
Hugo Chavez may openly tweak the tiger's nose, but
older and wiser Fidel Castro speaks less provocatively.
And Italy's new Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, holds
Condoleezza Rice's hands while pursuing a foreign
policy clearly aimed at strengthening a world role for
Europe independent of the United States.

So why are they all so prudent? To answer that, we must

look at what is going on in the United States. The de
facto chief executive, Dick Cheney, knows what needs to
be done from the point of view of the macho
militarists, whose leader he is. The United States must
"stay the course" and indeed escalate the violence. The
alternative is to admit defeat, and Cheney is not
someone to do that.

Cheney does however have an acute political problem at

home. He and his policies are clearly losing support,
massively, within the United States. The scare speeches
about terrorists and the accusations of treason
launched at his critics no longer seem to be as
effective as they once were. The recent victory of war
critic Ned Lamont over war defender Joe Lieberman in
the Democratic senatorial primary in Connecticut has
rattled the U.S. political establishment of both
parties. Within days, a very large number of
politicians seemed to move some distance in the
direction of closing down the Iraq operation.

If, as seems quite possible now, the Democrats win

control of both houses of Congress in the November 2006
elections, there risks being a stampede to withdraw,
despite the hesitancy of the Democratic congressional
leadership. This will be all the more sure if, in
various local elections, prominent antiwar candidates
win.

What will the Cheney camp do then? One can't expect

that they will gracefully acknowledge the coming of a
Democratic president in the 2008 elections. They will
know that they have probably only two years left to
create situations from which it would be almost
impossible for the United States to retreat. And since
they would not, with a Democratic congress, be able to
get any important legislation passed, they will
concentrate (even more than now) on trying to use the
executive powers of the presidency, under the docile
front man, George W. Bush, to stir up military havoc
around the world and to reduce radically the sphere of
civil liberties within the United States.

The Cheney cabal will however be resisted, on many

fronts. The most important locus of resistance will no
doubt be the leadership of the U.S. armed forces (with
the exception of the Air Force), who clearly think that
the current military adventures have greatly
overextended U.S. military capacity and are very
worried that they will be the ones held for blame later
by U.S. public opinion when Rumsfeld and Cheney have
disappeared from the newspaper headlines. The Cheney
cabal will be resisted as well by big business who see
the current policies as having very negative
consequences for the U.S. economy.

And of course they will be resisted by the left and

center-left within the United States who are feeling
reinvigorated, angry, and anxious about the course of
U.S. policy. There is a slow but clear radicalization
of the left and even the center-left.

When that happens, the militarist right will retaliate

very aggressively. When Lamont won the primary, a
reader of the Wall Street Journal wrote a letter saying
that "we have reached a tipping point in this country -
if we allow the left to govern as the majority our
country is finished." He calls Republican leaders
"inept." He, and many others, will be looking for
fiercer leaders.

Everyone worries about civil war in Iraq. How about in

the United States? Scary times ahead!