Thursday, January 31, 2008

Laws Are For Constitutional Republics And Other Sissies

Bush Asserts Right to Ignore Law Barring Funds for Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq

The news comes as President Bush has declared he has the right to bypass a new law that prohibits the use of taxpayer money to establish permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. The ban was passed as part of the new National Defense Authorization Act. Hours after signing the bill Monday, Bush issued a signing statement asserting his right to ignore the restriction that bars federal funding “to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing” of U.S. forces or “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

Bush’s signing statement also asserted his right to ignore a measure that boosts protection for whistleblowers employed by companies with government contracts.

And the statement also objects to the creation of an independent commission on contracting fraud and waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Source: Democracy Now, January 30, 2008

Obama

"Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person between Nixon and the White House."
--John F. Kennedy, during the 1960 campaign

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Adjusted

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
--Krishnamurti

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mukasey Rules Out Special Counsel Probe of Destroyed CIA Tapes

Mukasey Rules Out Special Counsel Probe of Destroyed CIA Tapes

In news from Washington, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced on Friday he does not plan to appoint a special counsel to investigate why the CIA allegedly destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes showing the interrogation of two detainees. During the same press briefing Mukasey again refused to say whether he views waterboarding as a form of torture.

Source: Democracy Now, January 28, 2008

___________________________

Note that even with Democracy Now, this was the 15th out of 17 headline items. Most other media outlets it was ignore altogether. As Benjamin Franklin said, "A republic--if you can keep it".

TLC

Knob

"Don't you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work."
--Gallagher

Monday, January 28, 2008

Limitations

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours."
--Richard Bach

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Deities

"No one loves the man whom he fears."
--Aristotle (384-322BC) Greek Philosopher

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Groundhog Day

February 2nd, 2008

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall on the same day.

As Air America Radio pointed out: "It is an ironic juxtaposition:

One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog."

Cradled

"Do we desire to be cradled, and then carried throughout life to our graves by this partisan propelled bureaucratic monstrosity? ... as individuals of sovereign dignity, are we now so terrified, bewildered, and impotent that our main purpose is to seek asylum from the potential hazards of freedom? Have we no faith in our natural strengths and abilities?"
--Sergei Hoff

Friday, January 25, 2008

Living II

"I'd rather die living than live dying."
--Author Unknown

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crackpots

"Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity."
--Thomas J. Watson, Jr., entrepreneur

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No Oil, No Problem

Congo Conflict Killing 45,000 Each Month

A new study says the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is killing around 45,000 people each month—half of them small children under the age of five. The International Rescue Committee says the war in the Congo is the deadliest conflict since the Second World War, with 5.4 million people killed over the past decade. The majority of deaths were attributed to preventable conditions worsened by the fighting, including infectious diseases, malnutrition and pregnancy-linked fatalities.

Source: Democracy Now, January 23, 2008

_______________________

Where's all that US government compassion about the horrors being inflicted upon the people of another country...?

And isn't the ongoing silence of the "Christian" churches in the US, fearful of losing their tax-exempt status, equally fascinating? Can you fathom Jesus mincing any words because the Word Of The Father must be tempered by the government's willingness to allow financial contributions to be tax deductible?

TLC

Irrepressible

"I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it."
--Abraham Lincoln, 16th US president

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beyond Vietnam, Iraq, Iran

The speech of Martin Luther King, Jr., coming out against the war on Vietnam, is just as timely today as it was then. Just substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam" as you listen.

Transcript, courtesy of American Rhetoric, with useful footnotes.

Good quality downloadable audio, courtesy of the A-Infos Radio Project.

TLC

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Planning II

"I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change."
--Jim Rohn

"Think Big"

White House Tapes Transcript, April 25, 1972

Nixon: See, the attack in the North that we have in mind... power plants, whatever's left--POL (petroleum), the docks....And I still think we should take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?

Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.

Nixon: No, no, no... I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that Henry?

Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.

Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? I just want you to think big, Henry, for chrissakes. The only place where you and I disagree is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about civilians, and I don't give a damn. I don't care.

Kissinger: I'm concerned about the civilians because I don't want the world mobilized against you as a butcher.


Source: Nixon White House Tapes, recorded April 25, 1972

Special thanks to Lapham's Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 1 (Winter 2008) for printing the above in its premier issue, a publication I highly recommend.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happen II

"There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. We all have a choice. You can decide which type of person you want to be. I have always chosen to be in the first group."
--Mary Kay Ash

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First

"If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it."
--W.C. Fields

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Habitual

"The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."
--George Washington (letter to Alexander Hamilton, 8 May 1796)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Price

"There is hardly anything in the world that some man can’t make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey."
--John Ruskin, art and architecture critic

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Character

"I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character!"
--Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919, Twenty-sixth President of the USA)

Feelings

Dog retrieves his best friend - a cat buried in the garden
--Russell Jenkins

A pet dog missed the family’s dead cat so much that he dug up his grave and brought the body back into the house.

When Oscar’s owners woke up the next morning they discovered the dog curled up beside Arthur, the late cat, in his basket.

His owners, Robert Bell, 73, and his wife, Mavis, of Wigan, Greater Manchester, believe that the dog had licked the cat clean before falling asleep.

Mr Bell said that the two pets were constant companions. Arthur, who was a large cat, used to help Oscar to climb on to the sofa.

Oscar, an 18-month-old Lancashire Heeler, had watched Mr Bell dig a grave in the garden and then lower the cat into the hole.Mr Bell said: “He had managed to climb out through the cat flap in the night, obviously with the intent to get Arthur back. Bearing in mind that Arthur was a huge cat, Oscar must have used all the strength he could muster.

“Then he pulled him into the basket and went to sleep next to him. Arthur’s coat was gleaming white. Oscar had obviously licked him clean. It must have taken him nearly all night.”

Arthur is now reburied in a secure grave. And Oscar has a new playmate, a kitten called Limpet.

Source: London Times, January 10, 2008

_______________________________________________

This response to the article came from one of the email lists I'm on:

When Dante (my older dog) first came home as a pup I had three cats. He and the eldest, Maggie, ended up good friends - they would sleep together, play tag, and generally hang out.

I lost Dante for a year and a half (my ex took him when he left, then gave him back). When he came back, he and Maggie picked up their friendship. Maggie left us a few months after Dante came back. I let Dante see her body and he watched me bury her in the back yard.

For weeks after that, he would fret and pace around the house, focusing on places where she hung out in her last months.

One day, I found a cedar carving of a sleeping cat the same size as Maggie and had a feeling I needed to buy it. Bought it, brought it home, and put it in one of Maggie's favorite sleeping spots. Dante went over to it, sniffed it thorougly, looked at me, fetched up an enormous sigh...and stopped pacing and fretting. It was like he needed me to show him that I missed her, too.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Defend

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." --Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965), American Broadcast Newsman

Friday, January 11, 2008

NO RECOUNT In New Hampshire

From Nancy Tobi, who's been through this before:

I am telling everyone who asks to beg Paul and others to NOT request a recount. I would beg you to urge everyone to STAND DOWN from this strategy. It is a trap. Use all your influence to inform the Paul and Kucinich campaigns, which are being targeted to carry this out, to please NOT pursue the recount this year. I can not stress enough how important it is they do NOT have a recount.

We have no control over the ballot chain of custody and we have learned the pain from the 2004 Nader recount, in which only 11 districts were counted, chosen by a highly questionable person, and then nothing showed up. Now all we hear is how the Nader recount validated the machines. A candidate asking for a recount may well be a tool used to "prove" everything was okay and then that candidate will be further discredited. This is high stakes, no bullshit.

You do not walk into a battle ground not knowing where the snipers are, just because you were invited. Strategically, going into something like this where you have NO CONTROL is foolishness.

And I say this as one of the strongest recount proponents of former times. Things I come to learn and understand have changed my mind. The recount is someone else's game, not ours.

NO RECOUNT PLEASE

In the recount, we have no control, and we have already lost 48 long hours of ballot chain of custody oversight. We need citizen control and oversight. This is not going to come from the recount. If the election was rigged, which we will never know, but if it was, don't you think the riggers would have a backup Plan B rigged recount, knowing how easy it is to get a recount in NH?

No. It is time to take control. We want accountability and change. We get this NOT from a recount, but from an investigation. We need questions asked and answered, and changes made so we have a clean election in NH in November.

The first question that needs to be asked is why did the NH Ballot Law Commission approve this firmware in March 2006 when the vendor himself testified it was defective and after citizens testified for more than four hours against the approval. That's the first question. Then we want to know, why did the State not respond to citizen requests for a rehearing after the California decertification. Then we want to know why was every citizen request for risk mitigation through procedural changes and legislation rebuffed by the state. Why did the Deputy Sec of State testify to kill two bills in two sessions that called for full software disclosure for voting equipment? Why did the State do nothing after hearing expert testimony from Harri Hursti and Bruce Odell about risk mitigation procedures and also about new software in use in Florida that is supposed to have fixed the known defects in the firmware approved last year. And finally, did the State have any prior knowledge that an executive in the firm programming NH elections is a convicted drug trafficker, and does the State think this is appropriate for a firm handling such sensitive state data as our votes.

Once those questions are asked, the very last question must be: What changes will the State implement to make November's election more secure so voters can believe in the results?
The NH Fair Elections Committee has left a paper and video trail a mile long, documenting all of our efforts over the past four years for remediation. It is time for change. The chickens have come home to roost in NH, and if our State does not like the shit they are dropping all over our elections, then the State needs to FINALLY step up and take dramatic action to send them away.

The days of the status quo are over. And recount is just part of the status quo. We want an honest and open FIRST COUNT, and that will happen only with structural change, not a recount.

Feel free to pass on with the strongest recommendations against the recount and urging for accountability, questions asked and answered, and a plan for real change.

Best, Nancy

Source: Mark Crispin Miller

Scandals

"I don't understand why people have a problem with Bush deciding to invade Iraq. It's not like there's a SEX scandal, or anything."
--Bob Hartley

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Faith

"The faith that stand on authority is not faith."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

CIA Whistleblower Philip Agee Dies at 72

And the former CIA agent turned outspoken whistleblower Philip Agee has died. Agee authored the 1975 book “Inside the Company: CIA Diary”, which detailed several clandestine CIA operations around the world. Former President and CIA chief George H.W. Bush would later call him a “traitor.” I spoke to Agee about his book in October 2003.

Democracy Now!’s full interview

Philip Agee: “We were right to do it then, because the U.S. policy at the time, executed by the C.I.A., was to support murderous dictatorships around the world, as in Vietnam, as in Greece, as in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil. And that’s only to name a few. We opposed that use of the U.S. intelligence service for those dirty operations. And I’m talking about regimes now that tortured and disappeared people by the thousands.”
Agee died last night in Cuba at the age of 72.

Source: Democracy Now, January 9, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Moms Rising: Dangerous To Children & Other Living Creatures

Moms Rising has been on an email tirade for some time about passing legislation in California to expand children's healthcare.

But "Facts are stupid things".


My email to Moms Rising:

Feeding children full of chemicals is not "reform" in any sense of the word. It is not "health" in any sense of the word. The only thing it "insures" is pharmaceutical drug cartel profits. And a trickle of money to doctors that gives them, as the only financially possible "treatment" option for children, drugs.

Does it pay doctors to take the time needed to customize a preventive care plan, a healthy healing diet, and detoxify developing bodies? HELL NO.

Does it mandate that no child be given any vaccine that contains toxins? HELL NO.

Does it remove GMOs, pesticides, sugar, and toxic artificial sweetener (Aspartame/NutraSweet, Splenda/Sucralose) from pseudo-foods served children at schools? HELL NO.

Does it ban the adding of fluoride to the drinking water supply? HELL NO.

Does it mandate testing of the drinking water supply for pharmaceuticals and a wide variety of toxins? HELL NO.

Does it make garbage like Ritalin, Concerta, etc., "options" of last resort, only after comprehensive dietary, allergy, and toxin testing? HELL NO.

Is the proposed legislation, if passed, going to maim and kill children?

HELL YES.

TLC

Thorns

"I can complain because rosebushes have thorns,
or I can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
--Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Liberty II

"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grand-children are once more slaves."
--D. H. Lawrence (1885-1938) 1915

Monday, January 07, 2008

Quote Of The Day - Drug Money

"The candidate - Democrat or Republican - who's taken the most money from drug companies is not a Republican. It's a Democrat and she in this race tomorrow morning,"
--John Edwards

Source: SF Chronicle, January 7, 2008

Experts

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it."
--Robert Heinlein

Sunday, January 06, 2008

"Experiments"

"I had bought two male chimps from a primate colony in Holland. They lived next to each other in separate cages for several months before I used one as a [heart] donor. When we put him to sleep in his cage in preparation for the operation, he chattered and cried incessantly. We attached no significance to this, but it must have made a great impression on his companion, for when we removed the body to the operating room, the other chimp wept bitterly and was inconsolable for days. The incident made a deep impression on me. I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures."
--Christian Barnard, surgeon

Friday, January 04, 2008

Freethinkers

"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless."
--Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi (1828-1910) Russian writer

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Robert Fisk: They don't blame al-Qa'ida. They blame Musharraf

Weird, isn't it, how swiftly the narrative is laid down for us. Benazir Bhutto, the courageous leader of the Pakistan People's Party, is assassinated in Rawalpindi – attached to the very capital of Islamabad wherein ex-General Pervez Musharraf lives – and we are told by George Bush that her murderers were "extremists" and "terrorists". Well, you can't dispute that.
This vast institution – corrupt, venal and brutal – works for Musharraf.

But it also worked – and still works – for the Taliban. It also works for the Americans. In fact, it works for everybody. But it is the key which Musharraf can use to open talks with America's enemies when he feels threatened or wants to put pressure on Afghanistan or wants to appease the " extremists" and "terrorists" who so oppress George Bush. And let us remember, by the way, that Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded by his Islamist captors in Karachi, actually made his fatal appointment with his future murderers from an ISI commander's office. Ahmed Rashid's book Taliban provides riveting proof of the ISI's web of corruption and violence. Read it, and all of the above makes more sense.

Full article--well worth reading--Independent UK, December 29, 2007

Saudi Govt Shows True Colors: Blogger Exposing Saudi Corruption Arrested

The Saudi interior ministry said Mr Farhan was being held for "interrogation for violating non-security regulations" and declined all further comment. But in the letter he wrote before he was detained, Mr Farhan offers some more specifics: "The issue that caused all of this is because I wrote about the political prisoners here in Saudi Arabia and they think I'm running a online campaign promoting their issue."

A group of 10 academics were arrested by the authorities last February. They were accused of supporting terrorism but have yet to be charged. Their campaigners say that the terrorism story is a charade and the men are being punished for their political activism.

Full Story, Independent UK, January 3, 2008

ABC & Faux To Candidates: Shut Up

ABC & Fox Bar Six Presidential Candidates From NH Debate

In other campaign news, ABC and Fox have decided to bar six Democratic and Republican candidates from debates this weekend in New Hampshire. Democrats Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel won"t be allowed to participate in ABC’s Democratic debate on Saturday. Republicans Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter are being excluded from a debate hosted by Fox on Sunday.

Source: Democracy Now, January 2, 2008

Giuliani Backer Calls For Extermination of Muslims

A leader of the group New Hampshire Veterans for Rudy has resigned from the Giuliani campaign after he called for the extermination of Muslims. John Deady made the comment in a videotaped interview with the Guardian newspaper.


John Deady, co-chair of state Veterans for Rudy: “He’s got I believe the knowledge and the judgment to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims, and make no mistake about it, this hasn’t happened for a thousand years. These people are very dedicated and they’re also very very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or in other words get rid of them.”

Source: Democracy Now, January 2, 2008

Calling Iowa

Iowa's a tough one to predict, as it is a measure of enthusiasm--commitment to spending several hours for your candidate--not just breezing by a voter booth and hanging a chad.
The more people see/hear of HELLary, the less they seem to like her. Obams still troubles me because he is so much style but I'm not so sure on substance. It's difficult to gauge the "enthusiasm" factor on him. I rarely watch Oprah, she's a nice enough person but I'd have a hard time throwing myself into a campaign just on her say-so.

Which leaves us with Edwards. I'm *very* disappointed that Kucinich told his supporters that if Kucinich didn't get the magic 15% in Iowa then they should go with Obama rather than Edwards. In my informal unscientific survey, none of the Kucinich supporters could articulate *why* (recalling that Kucinich's second choice in 2004 was Edwards). So...Edwards supporters are pretty enthusiastic. Ditto Kucinich supporters. I'm not seeing the Kucinich supporters playing follow the leader--I think they'll mainly go for Edwards. If I had to call it, then: Edwards.


Republican side: Ron Paul. His supporters are fanatical, and oblivious to the drawbacks of a Paul Presidency (e.g. Who protects us from giant corporations if the government is disemboweled? What happens to the "revolution" if something happens to Paul? How come Paul isn't standing up for free speech on AETA or the "thought crimes" bill? How come Paul hasn't come out for impeachment?). The corporate media has pretty well killed Kucinich's candidacy by ignoring/ridiculing him, but that's not the case with Paul--Paul's supporters tend to see a reflection of themselves in Paul. If I had to call it, then: Paul; second choice McCain. The rest are too darned nutty. (BTW, the only truly sane Republican, Sam Brownback, never had a chance because he was genuine and honest. More on that another time).

TLC.

Decisions II

"Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader. Don't fall victim to what I call the Ready-Aim-Aim-Aim Syndrome. You must be willing to fire."
--T. Boone Pickens (American businessman, chairman of Mesa Petroleum)

"Just A Dumb Mutt"


Source: Animal Rescue Site (One click a day = .6 cups of food)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Pakistan And America

Bobby Kennedy himself would have scorned this feeling of alienation, Adam Walinsky [close Kennedy aide] contends today--this growing dread that America was lost. "He would have had no tolerance or patience for such a sentiment. His reaction would have been, "What do you mean we've lost America? It's a great country--are you telling me the whole heritage of Washington and Lincoln and everything that Americans and their ancestors have done is all going down the drain because I'm not around? What the f*** is the matter with you? Grow up, get to work, cut that out!"

--from the book "Brothers: The Hidden History Of The Kennedy Years" by David Talbot, pg 371-372