Thursday, November 29, 2007

Department Of Hearts & Minds We Don't Need To Worry About Anymore

What's Arabic for "Oh, shit!"? Or for "Oooops"? "Sorry 'Bout Dat"?
U.S. military kills civilians in Iraq, apologizes
By Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD — For the second day in a row, U.S. soldiers on Tuesday killed Iraqi civilians when they fired on a vehicle that they thought was a threat, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. military also reported that two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Salah ad Din province. Two other soldiers were wounded. The military provided no further details on the incident and didn't release the names of the dead.

The shooting deaths of the civilians took place in the al Shaab neighborhood of northern Baghdad. Two people died and four were injured when an American soldier fired at a minibus that was transporting workers to a bank operated by the Iraqi Finance Ministry, the military said in a statement. But Iraqi police and employees at al Rasheed Bank said that four people were killed, including three women, and that two were injured.

The minibus was driving near a U.S. military outpost when it ended up on a road where only car traffic is permitted, the military said. American soldiers signaled the minibus to stop, and when it didn't, one of them fired a warning shot.

A military official familiar with the incident said the warning shot struck the pavement in front of the vehicle and broke apart, spraying the minibus with pieces. The official asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak in detail about the incident.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq acknowledged the deaths of the civilians. "We regret when civilians are killed, and we do feel terrible about it," the spokesman, Maj. Brad Leighton, said. He said the incident was under investigation.
The infallible, murderous syllogism: If they're Iraqi, and they're dead, they were insurgents. For more details on this phenomenon, I recommend Conn Hallinan's piece up at
Reporter Chris Hedges, who talked with solders, officers, and medical personnel in Iraq, said his interviews "revealed disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops: innocents terrorized during midnight raids, civilian cars fired upon when they got too close to supply columns. The campaign against a mostly invisible enemy, many veterans said, has given rise to a culture of fear and even hatred among U.S. forces, many of whom, losing ground and beleaguered, have, in effect, declared war on all Iraqis." Sgt. Camilo Mejia told Hedges that, as far as the deaths of Iraqis at checkpoints, "This sort of killing of civilians has long ceased to arouse much interest or even comment."

Except among the survivors and relatives, of course, who now know who their enemy is. "Our children are being killed. Our homes are being destroyed. We are bombed. What should we do?" asks Abdul Qader, who lost seven family members in a June 29 U.S. air strike that killed 60 people in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

"The Americans are killing and destroying a village just in pursuit of one person [Osama bin Laden]," one man told The New York Times. "So now we have understood that the Americans are a curse on us, and they are here just to destroy Afghanistan."
Any questions? The only thing I object to is the juxtaposition of the report of the two USer deaths on the same day with this piece on Iraqi civilian casualties, as if just possibly the former in some way mitigates the latter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Send Seasonal Greeting Cards To Wounded GIs

My very compassionate friend, the Vet In The Mountains, sent this to me, and I wholly endorse the idea:

I truly wish we didn't have any one to send these cards to, and wish the war had never begun. But, I can certainly find a card to send. Hope you can, too.

If you are sending your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get.

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

If you approve of the idea, please send it on.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jesus Fucking Christ: "120 War Vets Commit Suicide Each Week"

By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted November 26, 2007.

The military refuses to come clean, insisting the high rates are due to "personal problems," not experience in combat.
Earlier this year, using the clout that only major broadcast networks seem capable of mustering, CBS News contacted the governments of all 50 states requesting their official records of death by suicide going back 12 years. They heard back from 45 of the 50. From the mountains of gathered information, they sifted out the suicides of those Americans who had served in the armed forces. What they discovered is that in 2005 alone -- and remember, this is just in 45 states -- there were at least 6,256 veteran suicides, 120 every week for a year and an average of 17 every day.

As the widow of a Vietnam vet who killed himself after coming home, and as the author of a book for which I interviewed dozens of other women who had also lost husbands (or sons or fathers) to PTSD and suicide in the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, I am deeply grateful to CBS for undertaking this long overdue investigation. I am also heartbroken that the numbers are so astonishingly high and tentatively optimistic that perhaps now that there are hard numbers to attest to the magnitude of the problem, it will finally be taken seriously. I say tentatively because this is an administration that melts hard numbers on their tongues like communion wafers.

Since these new wars began, and in spite of a continuous flood of alarming reports, the Department of Defense has managed to keep what has clearly become an epidemic of death beneath the radar of public awareness by systematically concealing statistics about soldier suicides. They have done everything from burying them on official casualty lists in a category they call "accidental noncombat deaths" to outright lying to the parents of dead soldiers. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has rubber-stamped their disinformation, continuing to insist that their studies indicate that soldiers are killing themselves, not because of their combat experiences, but because they have "personal problems."

Active-duty soldiers, however, are only part of the story. One of the well-known characteristics of post-traumatic stress injuries is that the onset of symptoms is often delayed, sometimes for decades. Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam are still taking their own lives because new PTSD symptoms have been triggered, or old ones retriggered, by stories and images from these new wars. Their deaths, like the deaths of more recent veterans, are written up in hometown newspapers; they are locally mourned, but officially ignored. The VA doesn't track or count them. It never has. Both the VA and the Pentagon deny that the problem exists and sanctimoniously point to a lack of evidence they have refused to gather.

They have managed this smoke and mirrors trick for decades in large part because suicide makes people so uncomfortable. It has often been called "that most secret death" because no one wants to talk about it. Over time, in different parts of the world, attitudes have fluctuated between the belief that the act is a sin, a right, a crime, a romantic gesture, an act of consummate bravery or a symptom of mental illness. It has never, however, been an emotionally neutral issue. In the United States, the rationalism of our legal system has acknowledged for 300 years that the act is almost always symptomatic of a mental illness. For those same 300 years, organized religions have stubbornly maintained that it's a sin. In fact, the very worst sin. The one that is never forgiven because it's too late to say you're sorry.

The contradiction between religious doctrine and secular law has left suicide in some kind of nether space in which the fundamentals of our systems of justice and belief are disrupted. A terrible crime has been committed, a murder, and yet there can be no restitution, no punishment. As sin or as mental illness, the origins of suicide live in the mind, illusive, invisible, associated with the mysterious, the secretive and the undisciplined, a kind of omnipresent Orange Alert. Beware the abnormal. Beware the Other.
There's more... Jesus Fucking Christ!

Monday, November 19, 2007

But Probably, It's Cuz She REALLY Sucks In Bed

Crony US Attorney Paulose says members of the Federalist Society are victims of a new McCarthyism and black-list.

She further alleges she's being hounded out of her office for her religion, ideology, gender and skin color.
Couldnt POSSIBLY be because she's an incompetent fucking HACK, could it???

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fucking Japanese Whaling Fleet Sails For Antarctic to Kill 1,000 Whales

Where's a good, cheap, used U-boat when you need one?
TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - A Japanese whaling fleet left on Sunday for an expedition activists say will for the first time target humpbacks, a perennial favourite among whale-watchers.

The Nisshin Maru, the 8,000-tonne flagship of Japan's whaling fleet, left Shimonoseki port for the Antarctic along with catcher boats around midday, environmental group Greenpeace said, adding that others in the fleet were expected to follow soon.The fleet aims to catch more than 1,000 whales before returning to port early next year, Greenpeace has said.


Among these are some 50 fin whales, which environmentalists say are endangered, and 50 humpbacks, which are favourites of whale-watchers for their distinctive silhouettes and acrobatic leaps from the water.

The remainder of the catch will consist of minke whales, which Japan says are now abundant enough to take.

The departure of the fleet was postponed to Sunday from the originally scheduled date of Nov. 15 to avoid causing friction during a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and U.S. President George W. Bush that took place on Friday, Greenpeace said.

Japan argues that its whaling programme helps the understanding of whale stocks and species, and fisheries officials in the past protested the activities of environmental organisations.

Japan abandoned its last Antarctic whale-hunting season earlier this year after fire crippled the Nisshin Maru, killing one crew member. That expedition netted a haul of around 500 whales. (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by John Chalmers)

Note the fucking euphemism "catch?" Sounds pretty benign, doesn't it. Makes you think of "catch and release," like it's some kind of fucking Whales Unlimited, or something. Lying shitwhistles. They're just gonna kill whales and sell the meat.

Here's what you do and how you do it: Approach 'em on the surface, give 'em plenty of warning and time to abandon the fucking ships, then sink the fuckers, BAG AND BAGGAGE. Shouldn't take more than one torpedo, or mebbe just a couple of 40mm cannon rounds, right at the waterline... Just blow'em the fuck right under the water.

And if they don't wanna abandon their murderous mission, and if a coupla the 'hunters' got killed, well whaling was always a dangerous occupation...We can mourn 'em later.

Or not!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The "Intelligence" Bill Reported Out Of Senate Judiciary WITHOUT 'Immunity'

...also drops the requirement that the Fascist Fux in Govt get a warrant to spy domestically.

What the rosy red FUCK izzat about? Is this a a typical Dumbofuck 'negotiation?' A trade-off to get a Bill, any bill, to the chimp for his "X" before February?

The Government Must Get A Fucking Warrant, issued by competent fucking authority, to spy on ANY-fucking-BODY...Chuy en menudo! WTF is so hard about that. They ABSOLUTELY MUST GET A FUCKING WARRANT, and from a Court--rememember, the THIRD (separable) part of Government--not the DOJ or some intelligence agency flunky. A FUCKING COURT!!!

Why is this so hard for people to understand. THE GOVERNMENT MUST HAVE A WARRANT if it means to intrude into your privacy. That means 'probable cause,' and a whole buncha other legalese.

All of which is necessary for the preservation of our liberties under the (rapidly dissolving in the fascist shitstorm) Constitution!

Say it again, with me: The Fucking Government Must Have FUCKING Warrant

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Teens Who Smoke Pot but not Tobacco Function Well

(Ed. Note: After I was about 30, I mainly smoked tobacco to disguise the thc-cloud in which I perpetually and contentedly traveled.)
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Teens who smoke pot but not cigarettes appear to be more likely to get good grades, play sports and live with both parents than those who also use tobacco, finds a surprising new study from Switzerland.

What's more, the study found that teens who smoke pot were more likely to have a good relationship with their friends than teens who smoked neither tobacco nor pot, found the study published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

To conduct the study Dr. J. C. Suris and colleagues at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, analyzed data from a 2002 national survey of almost 5,300 Swiss students aged 16 to 20 years. Of the group, 455 smoked marijuana exclusively, 1,703 smoked marijuana and tobacco, and 3,105 abstained from both substances.

The survey also found that, compared with students who used both substances, students who smoked marijuana only were more likely:
to be male (71.6 per cent vs. 59.7 per cent),
to play sports (85.5 per cent vs. 66.7 per cent),
to live with both parents (78.2 vs. 68.3),
to have good grades (77.5 vs. 66.6).
As well, the researchers noted that students who smoked marijuana only were less likely: to have been drunk in the past 30 days (40.5 per cent vs. 55 per cent) to have started using cannabis before the age of 15 years (25.9 per cent vs. 37.5 per cent) to have smoked marijuana more than once or twice during the previous 30 days (44 per cent vs. 66 per cent) to use other illegal drugs (8.4 per cent vs. 17.9 per cent).

Those who smoked marijuana only used it less often than those who smokes both cigarettes and pot. About half of the tobacco-and-marijuana group had used pot 10 times or more in the previous month, compared to about half in the marijuana-only group who had used the drug only once or twice in the same time period.

Compared to teens who abstain from smoking pot or cigarettes, pot-only smokers are more likely to skip class, but still have the same level of good grades. And although they were more likely to report having a relationship with their parents, they are not more likely to be depressed than abstainers.

The study did not explain the reasons behind any of its findings.

The authors note that although teens who smoke both marijuana and tobacco seem to have more psychosocial problems, those who smoke marijuana only should be monitored closely too. They note as well that marijuana use has increased in recent years among teens in Switzerland and other European countries.

"The situation of those adolescents who use cannabis but who declare not using tobacco should not be trivialized," the authors conclude.
Them smart ol' Romans had a phrase: Ipso facto; Q.E.D.

Mrs . C. Prospects A Salted Mine:

Why is it excusable for Hillary to plant questions in an audience at a 'Town Meeting,' but it is unethical for Homeland Security to hold a press conference with employees playing 'reporters'?

Morally, and practically, the two acts seem indistinguishable.

Which again, for those who need reminding, signals the essential similarities among the whole of the political class, regardless of ostensible party affiliation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ron Paul Is No Friend of Human or Civil Rights

David Niewert, of the blog Orcinus deserves a medal for doing the research. THIS SHOULD GIVE ANYONE PLENTY OF AMMO with which to ward off even the most avid Paulites (who have grown both more numerous and more luminous with righteousness). Since Paul's media-savvy fund-raser last week, he's been accorded a patina of legitimacy he does not deserve. Plus, he provides cover behind which the radical fringe of his ideology conceal their ancient racist bigotries.

Libertarianism is a phenomenon explicable only by an undeveloped, uncritical intellect such as that typically possessed by teenagers: rationalizing, and attempting to legitimize the childish selfishness of which advancing adulthood will soon enough deprive them. Nobody over the age of 25 can take it even remotely seriously. It's the 20th Century equivalent of Hobbes' war of all against all:
Praefatio (preface), section 14: "Ostendo primo conditionem hominum extra societatem civilem (quam conditionem appellare liceat statum naturae) aliam non esse quam bellum omnium contra omnes; atque in eo bello jus esse omnibus in omnia."

(I show in the first place that the state of men without civil society (which state may be called the state of nature) is nothing but a war of all against all; and that in that war, all have a right to all things.)
Libertarianism is a public relations stunt designed to put a fresh coat of lipstick on the pig called 'social Darwinism.'

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fuck Long Beach, Ca., and Martha Thuente, for Fascist Fux

I would never advocate taking united action against a private citizen, of course, so you are admonished to ignore the information which is provided here for purely historical purposes.

Anti-war vets banned from Long Beach Veteran's Day parade
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 11/08/2007 10:50:52 AM PST

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Anti-war vets have been banned from marching in the 11th Veterans Day Parade in Long Beach. (Because, you know, they were just "phony" soldiers, I guess?)

A participation application filed by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out was turned down because organizers want Saturday's parade free from politics. (And supporting the war is not a political position, right?)

"They do not fit the spirit of the parade, the spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done," said Martha Thuente, coordinator for the nonprofit Veterans Day Parade Committee. (This person needs to get a few phone calls, imho. She's NOT just "any citizen/organizer, but rather a relatively well-placed and powerful member of the Long Beach 'elite,' to the extent that that is NOT a raving oxymoron.)

"We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops' withdrawal from Iraq," she added. (Like the American Legion, which once tried to foment a coup against FDR, is "non-political?)

Some veterans and anti-war groups were unhappy. (That'd probably qualify for some award for understatement, I 'magine!)

"It's a violation of Democracy, the whole concept which we are allegedly dying for," said Adrian Novotny, a Vietnam vet and local president of Veterans for Peace. He said it was particularly frustrating because the group was allowed to march in the parade last year.

Iraq veteran Jason Lemieux, a Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq and is now against the war, said he had planned to march as a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

"I wanted to march like the rest of the Iraq veterans," Lemieux said. "I served my country. I'm a veteran of a foreign war. I think I deserve that respect."

The anti-war groups complained to the City Council this week, but City Attorney Bob Shannon said Wednesday that the parade committee was a private, nonprofit organization that had a right to choose its participants. (I recall a similar argument being used to prevent gay groups from marching in Colombus Day parades. The reasoning is STILL specious.)

"These veterans groups certainly have First Amendment rights," Shannon said. "But the parade committee also has the First Amendment right to exclude whoever they wish if (the entry) does not keep within the theme." (BULLSHIT!)

The city provides the staffing, flags, banners, utilities and police protection, Shannon said, but does not play any role in the approval of parade participants. (Then the fucking CITY should withdraw any andf all of its participation, including the permits.)
The City quite clearly gives its imprimatur to the parade. Theat they

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Arthur Silber On Chris Floyd: "There Are NO "Lessers Of Two Evils' Here Anymore"

Verbatim: Chris Floyd:
No mainstream Democrat will ever allow full-fledged criminal investigations and prosecutions of Bush II officials for torture and the war crime of military aggression. You know and I know that's not going to happen. We will get, at most, some soaring rhetoric about "healing national wounds" and "coming together again" and "moving on." (With the outside possibility of a few small fry being offered up as sacrifices, to let the Dem president preen as the "restorer of the rule of law" -- and also purge the Republicans, and Bush, of the worst taint: "Hey, it was a few bad apples, and now they're gone. We've got a clean slate!")

So let's not wring our hands like Russ Feingold, fretting over the Regime's nominees. Let us simply reject, adamantly and utterly, anyone put forward by the Bush Administration -- and anyone who approves anyone put forward by the Bush Administration.

And let us at last be done with the fatal pretense that what we are witnessing today in the war of aggression and the torture program are some kind of aberration, the result of "bad apples" in the White House and Pentagon. Let us instead embrace the truth spoken by Simone de Beauvoir, about the "war on terror" that her native France waged in Algeria (and which is quoted to apt effect by Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine):

To protest in the name of morality against "excesses" or "abuses" is an error which hints at active complicity. There are no "abuses" or "excesses" here, simply an all-pervasive system.
That system is one of authoritarianism and corporatism, coupled with criminal war abroad in the name of American hegemony, that I have discussed here and here.

There is one thing worse than "anyone who approves anyone put forward by the Bush Administration." That is the person who intentionally absents himself from taking a position at all -- the person who claims he recognizes evil and, precisely at the moment the battle is joined and one must either resist evil or support it, removes himself from the conflict, thus ensuring that evil will triumph.

Into this category -- which is perhaps the most abominable of all moral categories -- fall most of the major Democratic presidential contenders. Chris Floyd again:
The only four Democratic senators who did not vote on the nomination of Mukasey – and the legitimization of torture and presidential tyranny it represents – were the four Democratic senators seeking the presidency.

Draw your own conclusions on the implications of these absences, and what they portend for the possibilities of genuine reform should any of these worthy paladins win the White House.

I am sick to death of hearing Democratic apologists, including many prominent liberal and progressive bloggers, make excuses for these loathsome human beings -- or, which is worse, watching them ignore these assaults on liberty, humanity and civilization, just as these presidential contenders ignore ongoing crimes that they could try to stop if they cared to. Try to understand this: the Democrats will not "save" you, me, the United States, the Constitution, or the dying, moaning animal that just got run over in the road. The Democrats are coequal partners in this monstrousness. They have been for many decades. In one critical respect, the Democrats are worse than the Republicans.

But go on. Keep telling yourselves you support the Democrats because otherwise, the state of things will be even worse. How exactly will they be worse? We are now a barbarian, pariah nation, one that officially endorses and utilizes torture, just as the most disgustingly brutal and inhumane regimes in history have endorsed it. We commit genocidal murder against peoples and nations who have never seriously threatened us. The Democrats could stop the murder, but they refuse to do so. The foundations of liberty have been completely destroyed, and the Democrats have no intention of restoring them. Full dictatorship could descend upon us via many routes -- and the Democrats refuse to close off even one of them.

So how exactly could things be worse? Lie to yourselves if you must, simply to get through the day without detesting yourselves as much as some of the rest of us detest you. But don't lie to everyone else any longer.

Decent, intelligent people see through the lies, all the way to your pathetically rotten souls. If you support Democrats as inextricable parts of one of the core institutions of power in contemporary America, you are supporting evil -- while you simultaneously make sickeningly dishonest claims to some kind of superior moral virtue. At present, it would appear that some bloggers can do virtually nothing but lie. In such cases, I have one suggestion to offer: shut the hell up.

AND: Not so by the way, some of us saw all this very clearly before the last election. I did.

ALSO: I linked this essay above, but I hadn't reread it in its entirety for some months. I just did: "Living Under the Guillotine's Blade." It's damned good. I hope you read it, too.

Alternet Asks: "Will Democrats Restore Our Liberties Stolen in the Bush Era?" Short Answer: "Yeah, Right!"

Repealing the Patriot Act, ending warrantless wiretapping, restoring habeas corpus -- have Democratic leaders figured out that these are winning issues in the aftermath of Bush's power grab?

Ari Melber, AlterNet (posted November 10, 2007) sez: "Yes and no, maybe, if you're lucky."

Most rank-and-file Democrats strongly support constitutional rights, from grizzled ACLU liberals to Iowa Caucus voters to MoveOn's web enthusiasts, and the issue regularly competes with Iraq as a top priority for party activists. Yet Democratic leaders are much more ambivalent. The Democratic Congress buckled in its largest civil liberties clash with the White House, passing legislation to expand warrantless spying in August. And while Democratic presidential contenders are better -- they all opposed the surveillance bill and the administration's unconstitutional Military Commissions Act -- few have used the full power of their office to advocate constitutional rights. As the Bush era of radical secrecy, unitary executive power and openly unconstitutional leadership draws to a close, the Democrats are still debating how to restore rights and liberties while waging a more effective battle against terrorists.
Both Hillary and Obama say they''ll restore Habeas Corpus. Well I should FUCKING HOPE SO...

The real question is: Why would it even be an issue? And Obama says he supports Chris Dodd's bill (we'll see: Obama is a Dem Specter on a lot of issues, full of rhetoric and bluster, but significantly lacking when it comes to votes).

So I do NOT expect prompt, effective action on restoring the Fourth Amendment front after the coming election. The Fourth Amendment is the fundamental piece of the protections that shield the People form the o'erweaning desires of the State. Nobody in power, and almost nobody who seeks power, now REALLY wants to see a strong Fourth (or 14th) Amendment. Take it to de bank, chers...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shamelss Ploy: Sadly,No! Abortion-a-Thon Courts Blog-Award Voters

In the context of which I commented:
There is a fairly large fraction of male ‘pro-lifers’ who, effectively, accuse ALL women of having to have abortions because they believe/fear All women are heartless whores who abort without compunction--for 'convenience.' I have wondered long and loud what might befall if their women truly understood they were pre-judged by their own menfolk to behave that way, too?

Bobbitry amid the babbitry?

If I Had Children, I Might Feel Strongly Enough To Take The Law Into My Own Hands

Arthur Silber writes (you read!): Consider:
This is where we've come: two criminal gangs run the United States from Washington. Neither of them understands the supreme and sacred value of an individual human life. Neither understands any matter of principle relating to liberty or peace. Both of them are intent upon power, no matter how many innocent people must die, and regardless of how many countries must be destroyed, including our own.<[p>This is your government today. Two murdering, thieving, plundering, power-mad gangs, both of which deserve the worst fate that can be imagined. These are the people who will rule you for years to come.

This is our national life now -- and this is your future.

The Franchise, the fundamental power of the People to rein in elected officials, was insufficient (predictably, given the economic culture of unrestrained, predatory capitalism that dominates ALL aspects of USer society) to prevent these criminal/civic abominations. It will also (again predictably, and for the same reason) be insufficient to provide remedies to stop or reverse them. What it will require is blood in the streets, heads on pikes, and a plethora of dime-sized fucking holes freely distributed among the complicit fux who refuse to honor their commitments (that's why they call it an "OATH," you fucking asshwholes!@) to preserve and defend the Constitution, goddamn it!.

The government of the People is not homologous with the management of a firm. In 'bidness,' gaming the system works because 'everybody' games the system; people go out of bidness who aren't either good or willing; which is why 'bidness ethics' is such a reliably laughable oxymoron.

But governing the People? That CAN only work when folks who know how to game the System have sufficient honor to refrain. If they don't, they should not be IN "government," and probably they should be in prison, in exile, or dead. Such are the stakes when you game (an euphemism for 'betray') the People.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nobody Takes You Really Seriously As An "Oppressor-State" Til You've Got "State Security Police Apparatus" For Dissidents

Silly me, I used to think the USer Interior Army might be the National Guard, and that the Bush Cabal had deployed so many members of the Guard to Iraq to 'bloody' them and get them used to taking orders to shoot 'extremists' or 'insurgents' on command.

But I had reckoned without the magic of the marketplace. Rather than relay on members of the Guard to foresake their loyalty to their communities and open fire on command no matter the targets, the Bush Cabal solves the problem by enlisting 'private security firms' whose operatives have, ipso facto, forsaken any such loyalties for the employers' cash.

The threats and dangers, both implied and real, of Blackwater's rise to power have not been widely enough told, much less deeply enough explored amid the myriad hours of coverage by the mainstream media. So Truthout's Geoff Millard sat down with Jeremy Scahill, author of a new book on the mercenary firm. In this interview, Scahill delves deep into the real dangers of a private mercenary army as powerful as Blackwater.

It is well to recall that Goering's SA/SS started out as a private (Partei) army of disaffected, former military thugs and gunsels, too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another burst of interest in my posts in which I featured the Fallujah Bridge photo.

These things come in waves. There have been 41 hits on this site this morning already, more than half of which have been directed thence by searches for a particular image: the charred, mutilated corpses of the four Blackwater mercs ambushed, killed and desecrated in Fallujah, Iraq, in early 2005, hanging from the girders of that bridge while exultant 'insurgents' smile and mug before the camera.

That event was the primary trigger for the unrestrained USer military assault on the city some months later, the city's eventual reduction to mainly ruins, and the deaths of uncounted innocent Iraqi civilians. If not in scale, at least in intent, the USer razing of Fallujah approaches the 1937 Japanese rape of Nanjing in the annals of needless slaughter and savage war-criminality.

These searches have resulted, in my case, in unexpectedly high numbers of hits. Not that I'm complaining; mebbe somebody comes looking for a gruesome photo, but comes back for the perverse profanity, obscene obloquy, and/or eloquent epithet...Anyway, welcome (I guess)...

BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award to Jon Stewart

This Week's BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award Goes to Jon Stewart: "If the emperor wears no clothes, it's in large part because Jon Stewart has disrobed him."

Unfortunately, the Daily Show is in repeat mode til the writers' strike is settled. I am a union guy, and my sympathies lie with the writers. But I hope it's settled soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

All Gloom & Doom Makes A Boring Blog: H/w The Reason Why Things Are As They Are

Veterinarian friend of mine sent this along.

Subject: Life lessons???

On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"  God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?" And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?" And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."

But man said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," God said. "You asked for it."

So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

And now you know...

(Crossposted on Correntewire and MyLeftWing.)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blackwater: Spies for Hire? This is beyond privatizing.

Blackwater's Owner Has Spies for Hire
Ex-U.S. Operatives Dot Firm's Roster
(via Truthout)
By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 3, 2007; Page A01

First it became a brand name in security for its work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it's taking on intelligence.

The Prince Group, the holding company that owns Blackwater Worldwide, has been building an operation that will sniff out intelligence about natural disasters, business-friendly governments, overseas regulations and global political developments for clients in industry and government.

The operation, Total Intelligence Solutions, has assembled a roster of former spooks -- high-ranking figures from agencies such as the CIA and defense intelligence -- that mirrors the slate of former military officials who run Blackwater. Its chairman is Cofer Black, the former head of counterterrorism at CIA known for his leading role in many of the agency's more controversial programs, including the rendition and interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and the detention of some of them in secret prisons overseas.

Its chief executive is Robert Richer, a former CIA associate deputy director of operations who was heavily involved in running the agency's role in the Iraq war.

Total Intelligence Solutions is one of a growing number of companies that offer intelligence services such as risk analysis to companies and governments. Because of its roster and its ties to owner Erik Prince, the multimillionaire former Navy SEAL, the company's thrust into this world highlights the blurring of lines between government, industry and activities formerly reserved for agents operating in the shadows.

Udall: "I'll Announce Within Two Weeks."

Tom Udall, the long-time back-bencher occupying the NM-3 seat (northern New Mexico) is seen by many observers as having pretty much a lock on the Senate seat being relinquished next year by "Pajama" Pete Domenici, if he decides to run for it. In a field of near-unknowns (Wiviot, et al), too-well knowns (loathesome Albuquerque machine mayor, DINO Martin Chavez, has announced for the seat, too) and with Diane Denish, the State's very popular Lt. Gov. taking herself out of the running recently (saving herself for a run at the Gov. job in 2010), with Bill Richardson committed to the presidential contest, Udall would/should be the overwhelming favorite against any GOP candidate (the field includes Heather Wilson, Domenici's heir-apparent/little laptop, and Steve Pearce, the Bushevik-loyalist incumbent in NM-1). Polls show Udall winning handily over ANY GOP candidate.

Amid cheers of "Run, Tom, Run," at this weekend's Democratic Party of New Mexico's State Central Committee meeting at CNM's Smith-Brasher Hall in Albuquerque, Udall was both coy and temporizing: "Bottom line: Udall will take another two weeks to listen to what the people and his family have to say, and weigh the pros and cons of giving up his secure U.S. House seat in Northern New Mexico before making a decision on entering the 2008 U.S. Senate in New Mexico."

The decision is difficult for Udall, scion of a noted Western family of environmentalist ranchers that includes both his brother, his father, and his uncle. His father, Stewart Udall, was elected four times to Congress before being appointed Secretary of the Interior by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Tom's uncle Morris ("Mo") Udall served in Congress for 30 years and was a major presidential contender in 1976. Representative Mark Udall (D-CO) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) are Tom's cousins and current members of Congress. He won his current seat with 75% of the votes, a sufficient margin to mark it as a sinecure, should he wish to remain in the House, where his influence, due to his environmental credentials, is certain to increase, especially should a Democrat win the presidency this year.

There are clips from the weekend meeting, and excerpts from Udall's address up at "

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Black Mesa, San Ildefonso, NM

At it's most prosaic, it's called a "lava plug." Some millions of years ago, it formed during an immense volcanic event strewed lava over some 1000 square miles of what is now northern New Mexico, and spewed ash and gas all over the world. It emerged as water flowed down the so-called Rio Grande Rift, and the winds blew, and the seasons changed.

As a poetic representation, it occupies a central place in the legends and myths of the several pueblos to which it is adjacent or at least proximate. According to the story at San Ildefonso, on the east side of the River, on which land the Mesa stands, it is the dead heart of a famously cruel and ravenous Giant. The Giant terrorized the People for long years, demanding the sacrifice of their young children to feed his appetites. Finally a set of Holy Twins was borne to the Pueblo, who knew it was their destiny to kill the Giant. When they were of an appropraite age to propitiate the Giant, the Holy Twins went out of the Pueblo and went to the Giant. They were small, and he swept them up and consumed them in a single bite, so swiftly that he didn't even chew the morsels; just swallowed them whole. This was what the Twins had planned on, and they bore with them sharp knives. With them they set about to slice up the Giant from within. In a few hours, they had cut their way out. In the process, they climbed his ribs and stabbed him in the heart. They led the lost children back to the People, and the heart of the Giant remained to remind the People of the gift of the Twins.

That's the way I heard it, anyway.

And this time of year, there are fewer more beautiful places to watch the flow of Autumn down the Rio Grande than on the Santa Clara highway on the west side of the River, when the afternoon sunlight turns the ground almost as golden as the leaves in the tops of the cottonwoods at the riverside.

Probably, it was best 10 days or two weeks ago. It's even more beautiful if there's been an early snow in the Sangres.

Friday, November 2, 2007

What If The Good Samaritan Had Had To Ask For Papers Before Offering To Help?

It'd be a whole 'nother Bible, wouldn't it?

So you gotta wonder where a whole State full of the most prodigiously, proudly, persistently "Christianist-religious" folks you can imagine got the idea behind the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 which went into effect yesterday. Any person in Oklahoma who provides a ride anywhere to anyone not a legal resident is liable for a 1-year stint in the pokey.

I'll let The John Birch Society, one of the original sponsors of the measure, explain:
On November 1, a new illegal alien bill became law in Oklahoma, and it is one of the toughest in the country. Earlier in the week, on Monday, an opposition group delivered 1,100 signed petitions to the governor's office. On Thursday, local JBS leader Clark Curry delivered nearly 2,700 signed petitions he had collected at the 2006 Oklahoma State Fair in support of "no amnesty."

"The people of the great state of Oklahoma have taken a giant step forward to protect the critical public resources available to legal, taxpaying citizens by passing the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007. Now they want to see it carried out," Curry stated.

The new law helps to keep illegal aliens from receiving public assistance by requiring proof of citizenship or valid visas before being able to get government identification, such as a driver license. Those charged with a felony or with driving under the influence will have their citizenship verified or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be notified. The law also makes it illegal to transport or harbor illegal immigrants. Public employers and their subcontractors have to register with a Basic Pilot Program to verify the work authorization status of all new employees.

The law reads:
The State of Oklahoma finds that illegal immigration is causing economic hardship and lawlessness in this state and that illegal immigration is encouraged by public agencies within this state that provide public benefits without verifying immigration status. The State of Oklahoma further finds that illegal immigrants have been harbored and sheltered in this state and encouraged to reside in this state through the issuance of identification cards that are issued without verifying immigration status, and that these practices impede and obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration law, undermine the security of our borders, and impermissibly restrict the privileges and immunities of the citizens of Oklahoma. Therefore, the people of the State of Oklahoma declare that it is a compelling public interest of this state to discourage illegal immigration by requiring all agencies within this state to fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The State of Oklahoma also finds that other measures are necessary to ensure the integrity of various governmental programs and services.
"While there are those that claim we cannot deport all the illegal aliens," Curry said, "it’s clear to the state of Oklahoma that we won’t be catering to their needs any longer and in the resulting environment, they will merely deport themselves."
I commend you to the site to cast your eyes upon the smiling author of this deathless prose.

P.S.: In the interests of honesty and full disclosure, I hereby admit to having spent 30 wonderful years in Oklahoma, from 1994 to 2000.

Is the "Perfect" the enemy of the "Good?"

The Lieberman-Warner "Environmental Sell-out to Polluters" bill got through its first markup in committee yesterday. Kate Shepard on Tapped:
Yesterday afternoon, John Kerry held a conference call with bloggers that covered a range of topics, from international accords to probably the hottest domestic topic, the Lieberman-Warner bill, or "America's Climate Security Act."...Kerry seemed to think that worries about passing weaker legislation now and getting stuck with it are unfounded. We can pass a plan now and strengthen it later, he says, as support for action on climate change grows among citizens and businessfolk
.Just out of curiosity, can somebody provide examples of bills--legislation, yaknow?-- which were regarded as too weak at their passage, and which were subsequently STRENGTHENED in the public interest--that is, their regulatory properties were INCREASED--later at the expense of the interests which assured their weakness in the first place?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dunno Know If Anybody EVER Believed It, But Murkins Usta SAY It Were Better That 20 Guilty Men Go Free Than That 1 Innocent Man Be Unjustly Imprisoned

That's now regarded as mainly exceptionalist propaganda/bullshit promulgated for the benefit of children and other naifs, as well as certain deluded exogenes who have no way of knowing any better.

The merest glance is enough to assure the observer that this is NOT the way that USer Jurisprudence functions today. On a program called "HumanKind," radio folks spoke with a Chicago-based attorney/reporter, Rob Warden, director of the Northwestern University Innocence Project, whose efforts have led to the release of many DOZENS of innocent people whose innocence Warden led the drive to prove, including no fewer than SIX who were on death row. Warden cited USDoJ documents which indicate as many as 1 person in 10 (10%) of those now serving prison sentences probably were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted and sentenced.

And I recall a study reported several years ago by The Nation which indicated that over 65% of USers do NOT find it unacceptable that an innocent person should be executed by the State, if in doing so it preserves the death penalty.

This is one majorly fucked-up country, folks, if the people so easily accept the wrongful imprisonment, much less the execution, of an innocent person by the State as an acceptable price for the "convenience" of having a Death Penalty.

But, since 1980, and the so-called Reagan Revolution, this is/has become such fucked-up country in so many ways, mebbe one more way doesn't matter.