Monday, June 30, 2008

Skinny Defect


Hey if you can't go skinny dipping in the reservoir then where can you go skinny dipping, after all isn't this an American tradition.

Pair caught skinny dipping in Portland reservoir
Two people caught skinny dipping in a Portland reservoir that is a main source of water for the city nearly caused officials to dump millions of gallons of water and close the facility.

Fingertips

Stevie Wonder

Say the Pledge

We are into the patriotism testing and chest thumping phase of the Presidential campaign.

Ordinarily this is the phase where right wingnut Republicans begin their screwy attack on the patriotism of the Democratic candidates. I keep forgetting this but all Democrats are socialist minded communist fascists. And where exactly is your flag pin?

Do Republicans dutifully jump to this low level because they fear actual dialogue on the important issues. You know, if we keep them off balance with a mud slinging contest then maybe we can squeak one out.

The media naturally has to follow along, rolling around in the muck is just fine for the MSM and an even better for America.

CNN: Obama responds to attacks on his patriotism
Obama vowed to never question the patriotism of others in the campaign, adding "I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine."

Obama has been defending his patriotism ever since the beginning of the primary season, when he was first criticized for not wearing a flag pin -- which he now does much more frequently -- and when false rumors began circulating that he did not say the Pledge of Allegiance.

As June Ends

FT.com: Wall Street set to end month on dismal note
New York stocks bounced back modestly on Monday as soaring oil prices boosted energy stocks but the rally was too little, too late to prevent the S&P 500 from registering its worst month since September 2002.

The relentless rise in oil prices has been the scourge of stock markets this month, undercutting investor confidence with the threat of inflation and turning modest gains in April and May into significant losses in June.

McCain

Personally, it never even occurred to question McCain's military record.

Back in 2004, I was abhorred by the swift boating of John Kerry and the ease with which the right embraced this type of maliciousness.

The questioning of John McCain's military record can only occur because of the internet and the example of the Swift Boaters in 2004. Certainly the main stream media wouldn't question McCain on his military record, yet they were perfectly willing to allow the right to attack Kerry's with paid ads.

It was the right that dropped the hands off the military record agreement. Its curious to see that the issue of McCain's record which forms a large part of his political and public persona as it were, is being questioned by the left. The left is using many of the right's unsavory tactics.

Once the issue is merely brought up into the consciousness of the public's collective mind, a sense of doubt arises as well. Isn't this the intent?

Politico: Some on left target McCain's war record
Noam Chomsky, the linguist and activist, said in an email that he thought Americans should question the relevance of McCain's torture in an unjust war to his campaign.

"The questions could scarcely even be understood within the reigning intellectual and moral culture—though I don't doubt that much of the population would understand," Chomsky said.

"McCain isn't being mocked, he's being questioned..."

Stagflation

Reuters: Oil rises for 3rd day, stagflation fears boil
The record breaking rally in oil prices has made stagflation -- quickening inflation combined with slowing economic growth -- a top fear for investors and is making analysts unhopeful about equity markets in the second half.

"Stagflation is here," read the subject of a weekly report from JPMorgan asset allocation strategists
Reuters: Detroit's mood grim as automakers face the brink
Crosstown rivals Ford Motor Co and privately held Chrysler LLC face similar pressures (dwindling sales). As the automakers weigh their options to ride out the industry's most-trying slump in 25 years, thousands of Detroit families are doing the same.

But last week, GM shares skidded to their lowest level since 1955.

On a combined basis, GM, Ford and Chrysler have cut more than 100,000 factory jobs since sales began to slow in 2006.

Michigan's jobless rate jumped to a 16-year high of 8.5 percent for May.
As a friend recently said, the other shoe has dropped. Its a hold onto your hats period and it is worldwide.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The 'Coalition' is Responsible

Reuters: U.S. faces Iraqi anger over raid near Kerbala
The U.S. military faced Iraqi anger on Sunday over a raid near the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala in which a distant relative of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was killed.

"Coalition forces deeply regret the loss of life and are conducting an investigation," he said.

U.S. helicopters landed in the al-Hindiya district, just east of the southern city of Kerbala, during the raid.
The first line states that the US military faces Iraqi anger over a raid. The key word is "U.S. military."

The second line quotes Colonel Jerry O'Hara, a U.S. military spokesman as saying in response that "Coalition forces deeply regret the loss of life." The key word is "Coalition forces."

The words point to a US led raid but the apologists are the "coalition forces" through an American military spokesperson.

There is the appearance of a US led raid that went wrong killing a relative of the Maliki and then the diffusion of the act by apologizing on behalf of the "coalition."

Exactly how many active "coalition countries" are left in Iraq?

Here's a couple of facts.

American troops death in Iraq - 4113 - the most of any country.

The country with the second most troop deaths in Iraq - England with 176.

Third is Italy with 33.

Fourth is Poland with 23.

Fifth is Ukraine with 18.

Sixth is Bulgaria with 13.

Seventh is Spain with 11.

Eighth is Georgia and El Salvador with 5.

Step by Step into Iran


Reuters is describing an article published in the newest New Yorker Magazine written by Seymour Hersh.

Hersh has the deep connections to get the information and the excellent gravitas to support his writings. If one needed a model for excellence in journalism, it would be Hersh. We are indebted to Hersh for keeping America informed about the doings of its own government.

It is a pathetic situation that we are in where it takes a deep journalist to uncover some of what is going on. Yet we insist on calling it a Democratic Republic.

Reuters: U.S. escalating covert operations against Iran: report
The scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which include the Central Intelligence Agency, have now been significantly expanded...

Among groups inside Iran benefiting from U.S. support is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People's Resistance Movement, according to former CIA officer Robert Baer. Council on Foreign Relations analyst Vali Nasr described it to Hersh as a vicious organization suspected of links to al Qaeda.

Urban Ornithology

Guardian.co.uk: Urban life is stressing out our songbirds
New research shows that male birds trying to compete with traffic and city sounds are singing louder and at increasingly higher frequencies, which could harm their vocal cords and hearing. As a result their songs are becoming more chaotic and less diverse, which makes them less attractive to female birds and damages their mating opportunities.

Another study of the dawn chorus of nightingales found that birds in Berlin sang up to 14 decibels louder than their counterparts in the forest. The highest volume occurred on weekday mornings. A further group found that great tits in European cities sang at a higher frequency than birds in the country, so that they could be heard above the rumble of cars, lorries and industry.

Marlene on the Wall

Suzanne Vega

Mission Exponentially Mis-Accomplished


The list of governmental reports exposing or condemning poor judgment, missteps, inadequacies in planning, and overall incompetence in the handling of the Iraq debacle is long.

A new military report points out more flaws in the post - "mission accomplished" period.

Many of us did not support the invasion from the very beginning. We understood that the 'evidence' was flimsy, and the momentum to war was eerily reminiscent of something more akin to fascist states than it was to democratic republics. We are and were correct.

The reports that condemn the mis-handling of the war/occupation on one hand lend credibility to the war itself because they do not point out the essential and flawed reasoning that brought the war about in the first place. Like John Kerry, they merely condemn its management.

Regardless, the overall effect highlights the general incompetence of the Bush administration. We become keenly aware of a highly flawed individual, posturing to put a happy face on a monumental tragedy of incalculable proportions.

Reuters: U.S. Army history slams post-invasion Iraq plan: report
"I can remember asking the question during our war gaming and the development of our plan, 'Okay, we are in Baghdad, what next?' No real good answers came forth," Col. Thomas G. Torrance, the commander of the Third Infantry Division's artillery, said in the report

Supreme Decisions

The recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the right to possess handguns in the home for self-defense along with the decision to allow for Gitmo inmates to challenge their incarceration i.e. reactivating habeas corpus, continue to stir great controversy. Personally I oppose the former and support the latter - too many guns, too much violence, and a scary erosion of human rights and freedoms does not make for a happy world.

NYT: Important Supreme Court Decisions, 2007-2008
The court ruled 9 to 0 that participants in 401(k) retirement plans can sue to recover losses due to the mishandling of their individual accounts.

By a vote of 6 to 3, the court upheld Indiana’s voter identification law, which requires would-be voters to present current state or federal photo identification to cast a ballot.

Iraq Violence 6-29-08

AP: Truck bomb kills 7 people north in Iraq

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Kiss Bill's Ass


Sitting and former president(s) have been known to say and do eccentric things.

Lyndon Johnson liked to sit on the pot and hold meetings while in mid defecatio.

Kennedy liked women. Nixon liked manipulation, and we don't really want to know what Bush Jr. likes because we suspect it may be too terrifying for the human mind and heart.

Bill Clinton clearly states that he wants his ass kissed. I suspect this may not be the best thing to say to a black man.

Telegraph.Co.UK: Bill Clinton says Barack Obama must 'kiss my ass' for his support
Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama's victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.

Airplane Protest


I love this story. Its a case of an impromptu, let's do it, protest.

Hey, maybe this will snowball. Can you imagine - 30 cars surround the gas station, all drivers turn the cars off, get out and run taking the car keys with them. 10,000 people surround the White House and meditate in pure silence...

Taking it to the man...

Yahoo: Passengers sleep on plane after flight cancelled
Fifty-two passengers on a Chinese airliner whose flight was cancelled due to bad weather refused to disembark and instead spent the night onboard before finally leaving to their destination, local media said on Friday. The passengers boarded for their 8 p.m. (1:00 a.m. EDT) flight from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Yantai, but after more than three hours of sitting on the tarmac, the airline cancelled the flight, the Beijing Morning Post said.

Every Breath You Take

The Police

Lousy?

CNN: McCain calls Carter a 'lousy president'
John McCain directed his trademark straight talk toward a former president, flatly calling Jimmy Carter a "lousy" commander in chief.

The Arizona senator has long attempted to portray Barack Obama's policies as in the mold of Carter's, though the Republican has previously held back criticizing Carter so directly.
Sheesh, if all we are talking about is lousy, exactly which Republican President over the last 50 years does not fit this description. Most would easily exceed the criteria and the present one would exponentially exceed the criteria.

This is a humorous tactic being put into play by the Republicans and its a throw shit on the ceiling and see how much sticks type of strategy.

Carter was in office way the hell back 32 years ago. This would almost be like Clinton invoking Eisenhower in 1992, its preposterous. It is a grasping at fumes type of tactic.

McCain is actually demonstrating his advanced age. The youth vote wasn't even born yet when Carter was President. McCain is attempting to secure the white old age Republican vote with this strategy. Message to McCain - you already secured that particular demographic, now lets hear something worthy of a potential president.

The alleged aphorism 'straight talk' is beginning to sound more and more like a synonym for 'boorish mouthiness.' It is the ability to self censor discursive thoughts before one opens one's mouth that is the hallmark of the political.

Iran War and Oil

Oil has now reached $142 per barrel. Recall that a short time ago people wondered if it would ever hit $100 per barrel. Clearly there is not a direct proportionate relationship between the price of oil and the price of gas. If there were we would be paying significantly more for gas.

With a looming war with Iran in the public consciousness, oil prices undoubtedly would be affected by such a calamity.

Here an Iranian general highlights that point. Certainly this is one way to play the cards in your favor. It is a manipulation but it is also a considerable possibility. It is a line drawn in the sand and surely American military experts might dispute any assumptions.

So many economic, social, and political structures have been disrupted or destroyed during the Bush regime and by the Bush regime, why not shoot for the stars. I think of Bush as the Nero President. He seems oblivious.

Gulf News: Iran to control Gulf oil route if attacked
"If there is a confrontation between us and the enemy from outside the region, definitely the scope [of the confrontation] will reach the oil issue," Jafari said.

"After this action (of Iran imposing controls on the Gulf waterway), the oil price will rise very considerably and this is among the factors deterring the enemies," he said.
Here is an article from June 2006 on oil and an Iran War.

BBC: Iran war 'could triple oil price'
World oil prices could triple if the West's stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme escalates into conflict, the Saudi Arabian government has warned.

The Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, said such an event could send prices spiralling from their current level of about $70 per barrel.

Flooding Continues

There some kind of saying about how bad news comes in groups of three.

We are way beyond three, and the people in flooded communities of the Midwest are experiencing great suffering.

The price of food was already an issue with rising fuel costs affecting many aspects of food production. With crop fields and especially corn fields damaged by flooding, food prices will increase worldwide as America is a great bread basket for the planet.

Corn is a misunderstood crop. Corn is found in so many processed foods its almost unreal, plus it is also used as livestock feed. You could be eating food that has a corn product in it all day long, everyday, and not realize that a corn product is in the food. That would also include beverages, ice cream, almost everything that is processed.

Reuters: Midwest levee breaks, corn price at new high
Fears that as many as 5 million acres of corn and soybeans have been lost to flooding in the world's largest grain and food exporter have pushed corn and livestock prices to record highs in the last week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kate Bush

'Running Up That Hill'

Sensible Food Production

This is not brain science. There are very simple and elegant solutions to some of the challenges that we face. Its called do it yourself.

FT.Com: Mexico cultivates ‘backyard agriculture’
“We want to make people realise that they can use their gardens, yards and roof terraces to grow food,” says Adolfo L√≥pez Villanueva, the programme’s director. “With the climate we have in Mexico City you can get between two and three harvests a year and that would help families keep costs down.”

Slavery


This story seems to be the topper on a great deal of unpopular news for this day.

The Iraq war/occupation is refunded through next year. Bush leaves office with no governmental pressure from Congress or the Senate to stop the occupation. The media keeps the bad Iraq news out of the public eye, and people are far more keen on the state of the economy with respect to gas prices and stock values anyhow.

The world markets are falling. The last few days appear to be about as bad as it gets.

The theme of holding someone as a slave or captive does seem to be a more frequent and timely tragic story. What particular archetype or psychological demon is getting activated lately that would allow people to enslave another human being. Probably someone could make the case that as we see control played out on a larger scale - Iraq, torture, Gitmo, the authoritarian presidency, the neoconservative agenda, privatization, surveillance, loss of economic power and such, its also played out in the home.

BBC: US 'slavery' woman given 11 years
A wealthy New York woman has been sentenced to 11 years in jail for keeping two Indonesian women as slaves.

Varsha Mahender Sabhnani, 46, and her husband Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, 51, kept them as slaves and abused them physically and psychologically.

Friday Morning Asian Markets

FT.com: Asia markets follow Wall Street plunge
Asia shares looked set for a gloomy end to the week and the first half of the year as New York shares tumbled overnight to near two-year lows and investors fretted about prospects for the US, a key export market. Oil jumped to a record of $140 a barrel overnight.

Stay the Course

We know that McCain is willing to remain in Iraq for 100 years. He has said as much.

Exactly how will Obama remove troops from Iraq with war funding in place through next year, with no timetable for withdrawal of troops in place, and with a 92 to 6 Senate approval of this approach.

Reuters: Congress passes new Iraq war funds
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved $161.8 billion in new funds to continue fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next year, without timetables for withdrawing combat troops.

The Senate's 92-6 vote to pass the war-funding bill marked a victory for Bush...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Goes Up...

FT com: Dow at lowest level since September 2006
Spiking oil prices, poor corporate earnings reports and more bad news from the banking sector sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average scuttling to its lowest level since September 2006 and knocked the S&P 500 below 1,300 on Thursday.
Its interesting, I read in January when the recession was being openly discussed initially, that it takes about 6 months for stocks to bottom out. Here we are, 6 months into 2008 and stocks are as flat as a pancake.

How low can it go...

Hey Good Lookin'

Hank Williams

The Presidential Sewage System


This article does not require commentary. The commentary and initiative are wrapped in one reeking package.

International Herald Tribune: San Francisco may name sewage treatment plant after Bush
From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water-treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

The plan - hatched, naturally, in a bar - would place a vote on the November ballot to provide "an appropriate honor for a truly unique president."

Supporters say that they have plenty of signatures to qualify the initiative and that the renaming would fit in a long and proud American tradition of poking political figures in the eye.

Obama on Child Rape

Gulf News: Obama disagrees with court on child rape case
"I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution."
The Supreme Court just made the ruling on child rape:

NYT: Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape
The 5-to-4 decision overturned death penalty laws in Louisiana and five other states. The only two men in the country who have been sentenced to death for the crime of child rape, both in Louisiana, will receive new sentences of life without parole.

Those who voted with Justice Kennedy in the majority were Justice Stevens and Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen G. Breyer. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the dissent, along with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
From a purely political point of view, and this is probably the most unimportant aspect of this decision, with his statement Obama comes across as more of a centrist. Look, he's agreeing with Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, the gang of four. So perhaps he is yearning for praise from Limbaugh.

The crime is obviously as heinous as it gets. The victim faces a lifetime of coping with tremendous trauma. Certainly we want anyone who has suffered in this way to find healing.

As a Buddhist, there is the part of me that agrees with Obama. However this is in conflict with the general sacred idea that life requires preservation. So I am personally conflicted about the ruling.

I know that if I had been victimized by rape as a child or if my daughter or wife were raped as a child, I would find it very very difficult to disagree with Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas. Under these circumstances in our personal lives and families, we all would, if we admit it.

Obama's statement is not a recommendation for the death penalty, but opens the door to its possibility in specific cases.

How would we feel about a sociopath who was destroying the lives of many, a serial child rapist. We want him boiled in oil.

This is a tough one. I suspect the decision will be revisited.

How do we prevent such an outrage and crime from occurring in the first place, and could that ever happen. Are there countries or points in history where child rape does not occur.

A Beginning


Reuters: California unveils ambitious climate plan
The plan, which aims to reduce pollutants by 10 percent from current levels by 2020 while driving investment in new energy technologies that will benefit the state's economy, is the most comprehensive yet by any U.S. state.

The program will also encourage development of walkable cities with shorter commutes, high-speed rail as an alternative to air travel...
Recall that the massive Federal Government complex under the direction of the deft visionary George Bush has focused the needs of the country on preventive and elective go it alone wars. George Bush had a gut feeling that this is what is best for the country, and America went along with it because - you can imagine yourself having a beer with this man.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Her Own Words

Valerie Plame was interviewed by TruthOut journalist Jason Leopold back in November of 2007.

With McClellan in the news recently and with all sorts of storms surrounding the White House lately, particularly focused on the hiring of partisan lawyers, we can review Plame's words with a renewed interest. This is part one of the interview, the second part is on youtube.

Bolton on Iran

Telegraph.co.uk: Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts
John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in.

"The key point would be for the Israelis to break Iran's control over the nuclear fuel cycle and that could be accomplished for example by destroying the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan or the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

Chet Atkins

"Dark Eyes"

From a deep operative -

Breaking with His Tradition

Reuters; Iran nuclear issue can be solved diplomatically: U.S.
Asked whether Israeli officials were pressuring the administration to take military action against Iran before Bush leaves office, Perino said: "This is a rumor that I hear quite a lot from reporters being brought to us, and what I can tell you is President Bush believes that we can solve this issue diplomatically, and that everyone's preference is to solve it diplomatically, not just here in the United States but with our allies and certainly with Israel."
This is strange. Bush has spent the last 7.5 years saying that the US does not talk with "the enemy."

The problem is, we hear this sort of quote coming from the White House spokesperson and we become even more suspicious.

The reports have been very wide on Iran lately. Most have determined that Bush bombs Iran, it is the reason why that seems to change.

We have Kristol saying Bush bombs Iran if Obama becomes the next President. Then we have Ray McGoovern with his deep operative connections saying that bombing Iran is a done deal. Ritter agrees, then the Israelis stage pre-attack war games.

Naturally the neo-cons and McCain want war with Iran as well. That is a given.

Recapping, the economy is tanking. Greenspan says we are on the verge of a recession. Many believe the recession is already here. The stock market has many more losers than winners. Inflation continues and is now exacerbated by crop damage due to flooding in the Midwest. Iraq is going nowhere, fast. Afghanistan is sinking and attacks are up.

Yet, Iran is on the radar. Makes sense to me, in a screwy kind of way.

Iraq Violence 6-25-08

NYT: 3 U.S. Soldiers Killed by Bomb in Iraq

These three soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in the Mosul area.

Presidential Poll - June 25


LA Times: Obama holds 12-point lead over McCain, poll finds
Buoyed by enthusiasm among Democrats and public concern over the economy, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has taken a sizable lead over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the opening of the general election campaign for president, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

In a two-man race between the major-party candidates, registered voters chose Obama over McCain by 49% to 37% in the national poll, conducted Thursday through Monday.

On a four-man ballot that included independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, voters chose Obama over McCain by 48% to 33%.
The poll indicates that Obama has a greater margin with Barr and Nader in the race.

We welcome Bob and Ralph into the fold. Nader's campaign is in full swing. Bob Barr is committed.

May I suggest you make your contributions to either Nader or Barr to help secure their candidacies and to help boost Obama's lead over McCain.

On the Brink

Reuters: Economy on brink of recession, Greenspan says
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned on Tuesday the U.S. economy was on the brink of a recession, with the chances of that happening at more than 50 percent.

The U.S. economy has been hit by a credit crisis which began in the sub-prime mortgage market, prompting a series of interest rate cuts to help boost the economy. But price pressures are growing, making more rate cuts unlikely.
Surprising news since we have been under the wing of the most deft leadership that I can recall.

Think about it, Bush's is the most capable leader we've had. His capability however runs in the negative. We cannot recall one single aspect of his presidency that has shown any benefit whatsoever.

The only job left for Bush and company is to work as hard as possible to reinvent history, hide behind a massive wall of lies (excuse me - misinformation), and attack Democrats.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Don't Dream Its Over

Crowded House - 3.9 stars ***9/10* -Sande

A very memorable and almost flawless tune.

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
Theres a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But youll never see the end of the road
While youre travelling with me

Hey now, hey now
Dont dream its over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they wont win

Now Im towing my car, theres a hole in the roof
My possessions are causing me suspicion but theres no proof
In the paper today tales of war and of waste
But you turn right over to the t.v. page

Hey now, hey now
Dont dream its over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they wont win

Now Im walking again to the beat of a drum
And Im counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and relief

Hey now, hey now
Dont dream its over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
Dont ever let them win

Afghanistan Violence 6-24-08

Reuters: Attacks in east Afghanistan up 40 percent, US says

Iraq Violence 6-24-08

Reuters: Bomb kills 6 Iraqis, 4 Americans in Baghdad
A bomb killed 10 people including two U.S. government employees and two U.S. soldiers at a council meeting in the Baghdad stronghold of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday, officials said.
The news about Iraq cannot go onto the occasional back page of an obscure newspaper. Its looks like its going to be up to us to make sure it stays in people's eyesight.

Ethanol Fails Another Test

The report indicates that ethanol blended gas gets worse gas mileage, fuel efficiency goes down. In the long run, the math would seem to indicate that there is no saving from the point of view of carbon emissions by adding ethanol.

Last Chance

NASA warming scientist: 'This is the last chance'
James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth's atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.
I don't want to sound like the pessimist here but the news would not seem to indicate that a reversal in man made carbon emissions is happening.

Considering that the giant countries like China and India are building coal power plants at a sprint-like pace and that invigorated countries like Russia are catching up to American lifestyle sensibilities, where is the urgency to make the hard changes.

Did we not read that China has surpassed the USA in carbon emissions? It was not a particularly proud moment in world economic history.

In my light research, I came upon a company called Fuel Tech. They have systems for attempting to clean up the emissions from power plants. Its a good idea, we might agree on that point, but at this point it does not appear to be making a dent. What's the answer?

McCain's Neocons


For my money, it is McCain's political advisers that are the deal breakers. Among the many reasons why we might not want McCain as president, this is very high on the list. For me, it is the highest point on the list. McCain has chosen to follow in the footsteps of George Bush by surrounding himself with neoconservatives.

If you think that the GW Bush slash and burn, shock and awe foreign policy is a good thing then you will love McCain's foreign policy. It would shape up to be more of the same.

Contrary to the notion that the neocons are in disarray, they are right in the center of the Presidential campaign.

McCain's Neocon Advisers
Randy Scheunemann, McCain's chief foreign policy spokesman, in 2002 founded the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which agitated for the US invasion that was launched in 2003.

Scheunemann and Robert Kagan, another McCain advisor, head the neoconservative Project for a New American Century, which takes a hawkish line on foreign policy issues.
More information on Randy Scheunemann:
A well-connected lobbyist and political insider with strong ties to the neoconservative political faction, Randy Scheunemann has been involved in a number of advocacy campaigns aimed at pushing an aggressive U.S. foreign policy agenda in recent years, helping found the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), an advocacy outfit that emerged in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to push for war in Iraq. Along with other like-minded groups, including the now mostly defunct Project for the New American Century (for which Scheunemann served as a director), CLI played a key role in forging coalitions of political figures behind a neoconservative-inspired Middle East agenda that had at its core toppling Saddam Hussein. CLI members included several prominent congressional figures, including Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

A long-standing associate of McCain, Scheunemann serves as an adviser to McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, helping bolster the senator's arguments for continuing the war in Iraq. Criticizing various Democratic-supported ideas aimed at reducing U.S. troop levels in Iraq, Scheunemann said in April 2007: "It's ludicrous. Because the idea that we will be able to better prevent sectarian violence and fight al-Qaida better from Kuwait than how we are doing it now is laughable" (quoted in "McCain's Bulldog," New York Observer blog, April 11, 2007).
It should be as clear as a bell, a McCain Presidency will include more Iraq and expanding the war into Iran and possibly (probably) into other countries as well.

The Project for a New American Century is the source of the axis of evil terminology and policy, the unilateral war machine, the dissociation from the U.N., the private security force AKA mercenary ascendancy, and much more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Afghanistan Violence 6-23-08

The Australian: Britain admits to using 'brutal' vacuum bomb against Taliban
Apache attack helicopters have fired the thermobaric weapons against fighters in buildings and caves, to create a pressure wave that sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies.

The Ministry of Defence has admitted to the use of the weapons, condemned by human rights groups as "brutal", on several occasions, including against a cave complex.

The use of the Hellfire AGM-114N weapons had been deemed so successful they would now be fired from RAF Reaper unmanned drones controlled by "pilots" at Creech air force base in Nevada, an Defence Ministry spokesman added.

Iraq Violence 6-23-08

Apparently the main stream media is putting the Iraq war/occupation onto the back pages, and even that might be an occasional report.

Well after the surge 'worked' and with Americans now focused on gas prices, food prices, housing prices, a stumbling stock market, the presidential election, and Britney Spears' sister, war get short changed. After all, its only a war and hey, out of sight, out of mind. As long as your kid or nephew or grandson or granddaughter are in college or anywhere but the military, no problem.

Everybody scream. We'll do it in unison.

CNN: Officials: Iraqi councilman kills U.S. soldiers
A member of an Iraqi city council shot at U.S. forces Monday outside Baghdad, killing at least three soldiers, two Iraqi Interior Ministry officials said.
Chalk it up to a free and democratically elected Iraqi government.

Car Sales Are Up - in Russia


St Peterburg Times: Car Sales Continue to Rocket, Prices Rise
Car sales in Russia continue to soar, having reached a record 855,000 vehicles so far this year, including both imported and domestically-produced models.

There are currently 260 car owners per 1,000 people in Russia, and if the trend in sales persists, Western Europe will be overtaken in two years’ time. The United States, with a rate of 900 cars per 1,000 people, is set to be left behind in another two years.
I feel bad for Russia. Heartless endless highways filled with anxious drivers and massive threatening trucks, crammed mega malls circled by a sea of rusting metal car carcasses, exhaust fumes stench, emergency rooms with crumpled teens, boom box cars drowning out your thoughts, traffic jams, oh yes the benefits of wealth, at least you can get there in style.

Thank You

Sly and the Family Stone.

Sometimes you just have to revisit early 70s funk.

Yoga Pose of the Day


Downward facing dog or as it known to the experts, Adho Mukha Svanasana.

The model is able to get her heals to the ground. People with stretched calf and hamstring muscles can do that while someone like myself can't.

The arms and legs are straight. The model is forming a nice inverted V shape.

Some early yogi observed the movement of dogs when they stretch and said good idea.

Drilling and Gas Prices


Reuters: Florida’s Republican House Speaker calls McCain ‘disingenuous’ for linking drilling to gas prices.
“For anyone to represent that someone drilling off the coast in Florida is going to lower gas prices here or anywhere in this country is disingenuous and a flawed argument,” he said. “Oil drilling could take 10 years before any oil is pulled out of the ground, and there are a large number of leases held by oil companies that are not being exploited now. We can’t say we need more until we’ve exploited those.”
Marco Rubio (R) appears to have summed up the latest shrill talking point from the right. The talking point is designed to give land rights to big energy while the giving is good i.e. while Bush is in office.

Having McCain repeat the points in the media is disheartening. McCain isn't even president yet and already he's lying. Perhaps he's testing the waters.

George Carlin on Religion

Remember, its comedy.....

"Religion has the greatest bullshit ever told." - Carlin

George Carlin Dies


Reuters: Edgy comic George Carlin dies at 71

Carlin died from heart failure. I'm sorry to see him go. Saw him live once, angry, very funny, very political, and a liberal. He had a knack for picking apart the incongruences in our words, language, and meaning.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yoga and Money


I found the following article to be of value. The idea is to use a balanced, and calm approach not only during yoga or meditation practice but throughout your entire day including how you handle money, also including how you handle saving money or investing money.

Can yoga help make you rich?
In yoga, we are taught to become aware of various parts of the body that we previously ignored -- perhaps noting some extra tension we're carrying in our shoulders or abdomen, for instance. With our money habits, when we look honestly at the areas we've been avoiding, we can identify the underlying motivations for our spending, investing or giving -- and transform our bad habits into behaviors that serve our best interests.

Tear the Roof Off

P-Funk

Ah, the 70s.....

Ruined Corn Fields = Higher Food Prices


We already know how higher fuel costs are affecting food prices. And we know that with food price inflation things like food stamps buy even less, especially if the food stamp allotment is fixed.

Well it gets a little bit worse especially for corn fed animal food like beef, chicken, and pork, but it also includes milk, cheese, and eggs. The flooding in the Midwest ruined a few million acres of corn. Well you know what happens when a commodity becomes scarcer. Exactly, it gets more expensive.

So now farmers are going to be paying even more for feed. That translates into higher food prices for animal related food.

As I eat little to no meat that aspect of inflation is less of a problem, but it still hurts seeing yogurt and cheese become luxury items.

Record corn prices mean more expensive meat, dairy

Food Stamp Deflation


Here's an aspect of rising food prices that we probably were not thinking about.

NYT: Food Stamps Buy Less; Families Are Hit Hard
The sharp rise in food prices is being felt acutely by poor families on food stamps...

In the past year, the cost of food for what the government considers a minimum nutritional diet has risen 7.2 percent nationwide. It is on track to become the largest increase since 1989...The prices of certain staples have risen even more. The cost of eggs, for example, has increased nearly 20 percent, and the price of milk and other dairy products has risen 10 percent.

But food stamp allocations, intended to cover only minimum needs, have not changed since last fall and will not rise again until October, when an increase linked to inflation will take effect.
I've said this again and again but families that live on the financial margins are going to be incredibly pressed with the steep rise in food and fuel.

We know that the upcoming winter is going to be very difficult for some to stay warm with rising fuel costs.

We want to move from our present house which is heated with a gas furnace. If we are unable to get out by the winter, we are going to get a wood pellet stove.

It has been suggested that cities and townships need to open up 'warm spaces', a gym or community room where people can stay warm. Think about it, if people are having a hard time now how are they going to get by in the winter.

Also, this gets back to the issue of inner city violence. I believe violence is going to rise sharply. People are angry along with being overwhelmed by incredibly bad archetypes. Please watch yourself walking around on the streets. Keep a very vigilant eye and have a scenario for getting away in mind. Anger, deeper impoverishment, and an existing propensity towards violence are a very bad mix.

Finally, what we are also going to witness is an increase in the number of people on the margins. The inflationary food and fuel prices will push more people into the pressure of being impoverished.

The Saudis did announce that they were boosting oil production. This might translate into slightly lower gas prices. Regardless, we are in a tough web.

Iraqi Forces Find Hidden Weapons

Reuters Presidential Poll

We've seen two other polls recently. Newsweek has Obama with a 15 point lead over McCain and conservative pollster Rasmussen has Obama with a 4 point lead over McCain.

Now Reuters has Obama with a 5 point lead over McCain.

Reuters: Obama has narrow lead on McCain
That is down slightly from Obama's 8-point advantage on McCain in May, before Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York left the Democratic race.
When I talk with friends about the Presidential race, many express the same concerns.

Essentially the first is that McCain wins because there is a great racial divide in the country that cannot be overcome. They believe McCain gets the good old boy vote and that's enough for him to win. McCain probably does get that vote but he is working on piecing together enough from other groups, way beyond the black vote, to win. He can pull it off.

The second is their deep concern that some crazed right wing militant wants to off Obama. Its the JFK scenario. Regardless of its probability, this concern speaks about the deep fear and cynicism that we hold. We expect to see a type of conspiracy surrounding the bad and violent news. How tragic is this. We live expecting the worst. In this sense, Bush fulfilled our fears. Sometimes if you expect the worst, you get the worst. There is a big difference between being open to possibility and anticipating tragedy.

Iraq Violence 6-22-08

Reuters: Female bomber kills at least 15 in Iraq
At least 15 people were killed and 35 wounded when a female suicide bomber blew herself up among policemen having lunch north of Baghdad on Sunday, Iraqi police and hospital sources said.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

FOMC Announcement on Wednesday

It looks like Wednesday is going to be a tough day in the stock market. There is a fear that the Fed is going to raise interest rates in order to attempt to curb inflation. In addition, fuel and food prices are getting higher, the fallout from the sub prime mortgage fiasco is not over, and unemployment is higher.

When this sort of announcement is known to be upcoming, an article like this one attempts to brace people for falling stock value.

Struggling Wall Street braces for new message from Fed
"All eyes will be on the FOMC which is slated to announce its latest policy decision on Wednesday," said Meny Grauman, economist at CIBC World Markets.

Credit problems are expected to deteriorate over the next 12 months, which should drive stock prices lower in the second half of 2008, in our opinion."

Bank stocks, he added "need to bottom out before the broader stock market can begin a meaningful sustainable rally."

Bush Twists Again

AP: Bush says Democrats keep blocking his energy plans
President Bush is accusing Democrats in Congress of blocking his energy proposals, saying they are partly to blame for high gasoline costs pinching Americans' budgets.
First off, we don't Bush planning anything whatsoever for the US except his quick exit.

We have become all too familiar with Bush's plans. This last twisting of reality and fact to attempt to scare people into drilling in wilderness preserve is an abomination.

Bush conveniently fails to mention, which is his hallmark, the fact that the oil industry is presently sitting on millions of acres of unexplored, untapped, un-drilled federal lands in the USA proper. The call for big oil to get their hands on more federal land is representative of a President who is in absolute collusion with big oil. Bush wants to give away as much as possible before he slithers away for good, we hope.

Congratulations to the Democrats for derailing this bad idea.

Liar - Henry Rollins

Latest Presidential Polls

There's a little disparity going on with Rasmussen showing Obama with a 4 point advantage while Newsweek now has Obama with a 15 point advantage.

Rasmussen:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Barack Obama attracting 45% of the vote while John McCain earns 41%. When "leaners" are included, Obama holds a four-point advantage, 48% to 44%.
Newsweek:
With numbers consistently showing rock-bottom approval ratings for President Bush and a large majority of Americans unhappy with the country's direction, the opposing-party candidate should, in the normal course, have attracted more disaffected voters. Now it looks as if Obama is doing just that. A new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that he has a substantial double-digit lead, 51 percent to 36 percent, over McCain among registered voters nationwide.

Afghanistan Violence 6-21-08

4 Coalition soldiers killed in S. Afghanistan
Four soldiers of the U.S.-led Coalition were killed and two were seriously wounded Saturday in a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan, the Coalition said in a statement.

Music For 18 Musicians

'Music for 18 Musicians' by Steve Reich is beyond outstanding. It is a masterwork of the 1970s.

At present there isn't a complete performance of the piece on Youtube. This was the best I could find.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ray McGovern on Iran

From a deep operative -

I attended a lecture given by Ray McGovern one time. He is a former CIA guy and he knows his stuff. He is still in communication with many CIA coworkers and such. So he is quite up to date, his sources are good.

Ray explained that he does what he does, going about the country and speaking against Bush and company, because he has a firm belief in a moral responsibility to the country. Ray does not want to see a war with Iran. He tried very hard to expose the lies that ran us into Iraq.

He has even taken on Rumsfeld.

Alternet: Bomb Iran? What's to Stop Bush?
Unlike the attack on Iraq five years ago, to deal with Iran there need be no massing of troops. And, with the propaganda buildup already well under way, there need be little, if any, forewarning before shock and awe and pox -- in the form of air and missile attacks -- begin.

This time it will be largely the Air Force's show, punctuated by missile and air strikes by the Navy. Israeli-American agreement has now been reached at the highest level; the armed forces planners, plotters and pilots are working out the details.

Sick Teacher

Ohio teacher burned cross on kids' arms
A public school teacher preached his Christian beliefs despite complaints by other teachers and administrators and used a device to burn the image of a cross on students' arms, according to a report by independent investigators.

McClellan Testifies

Reuters: Bush didn't know about CIA leak, McClellan says
U.S. President George W. Bush did not know about a White House effort to leak the identity of a CIA agent but tried to protect staffers who were involved in one of the biggest scandals of his administration, former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told Congress on Friday.

But Bush, through his chief of staff, ordered McClellan to tell reporters that White House staffers Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby were not behind the leak...
When all is said and done about Bush, everything that we suspected will end up being the tip of the iceberg.

Vicariously Led US War

NYT via FT.com: US says exercise by Israel directed at Iran
Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
First off, I do not believe Israel carries this off without US approval.

Second, it appears that this might be the Bush October surprise we are waiting for. We go to war with Iran, but Israel does the dirty work from the point of view of being the face of the war/aerial bombardment.

Its occurred to all of us that this is how it could go down. If it happens, its going to be ugly.

Bush still seems bent on carrying out the neo-conservative agenda at all costs and contrary to all public and world opinion. If Congress has any spine it will intervene.

Intervention is the right word. This is what you do when the important person in your life has fallen off the path and wants a type of misery for all.

Afghanistan Violence 6-20-08

The horribly neglected in the US media 'other' war is truly another quagmire.

At present there are more American soldiers in Afghanistan than ever. Recall Coulter talking up how Afghanistan was going "swimmingly."

The violence in Afghanistan is ratcheting up.

AP: Suicide bomber ambushes military convoy, killing 6
A suicide bomber attacked a military convoy as it drove through a town in southern Afghanistan Friday, killing five civilians and one soldier from the U.S.-led coalition, officials said.

Blog Update

I've come to the conclusion that the video clips from Redlasso are the problem with opening this blog easily.

So I have deleted the clips from Redlasso from the last week.

This is unfortunate, their clips are a lot of fun and include John Stewart and Colbert.

They were sending my laptop into freeze mode just opening this page.

So, the plan is to use Redlasso with a once in a while post.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

45 by 2030


John McCain is calling for the building of 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030.

Reuters: McCain says wants 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030
Republican John McCain promised on Wednesday to put the United States on course to build 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030 if elected president as part of a plan to move the country toward energy independence.

McCain, his party's presumptive nominee in this fall's presidential election, is laying out a strategy to wean the United States from foreign oil, an issue that has risen to the top of voters' minds as gasoline prices soar.
I've posted on the problems with nukes many times here.

One simple problem is that nuclear material like oil, is finite.

Another problem is that companies are reluctant to invest in nukes because there is such opposition to them. This means that a good deal of the funding for nukes comes from the government. In other words we are talking about another form of corporate welfare. In other words, you are going to be paying for these nukes to be built, which you in turn will pay again to provide you with electricity.

A third problem is that the waste from nukes is just that, still a problem. What do you do with something that takes kalpas of time to decay into a form that is not harmful. I think a kalpa is something like 175,000 years.

A fourth problem involves the vulnerability of the nuke. If your talking about a point at which to strike from a terrorist's point of view, its the nuke. If your talking about the problem of technology going out of control and ravaging a broad swath of the population you are talking Chernobyl.

The photo is 'Miss Chernobyl 2004.'

Bear Sterns Justice

In truth, these two should be put away for good. Its not a very compassionate sentiment, I know, and fortunately that are innocent till proven guilty.

The problem is these two have cost countless people their homes and countless people their savings.

There are malicious crimes of the body, but the ones that are generated in this sort of manipulation are worse. One murder is one person, but these two are responsible for harming thousands and thousands. The reverberations from the mortgage crisis are ongoing and will continue into the future. So in this sense, their crimes have still not yet maturated.

I would be willing to bet that the pressures on some people from the loss of home or savings have pushed them into taking their own lives.

Bear Stearns execs among 400 charged in US mortgage fraud
In an indictment unsealed in New York, the former Bear Stearns executives, Ralph Cioffi and Mathew Tannin, were charged with conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. Cioffi was also charged with insider trading.

Blog Update


I've noticed that adding lots of clips from Redlasso and such seems to really slow down this blog. I have a high speed DSL and this blog clogs my laptop once or twice a day.

So I am going to try to more sparingly use Redlasso and MSNBC clips. It will take a few days for the posted clips to filter out.

The end result will be a leaner and meaner blog and force me to get back to writing a bit more, at least until I figure out how to add those clips with less disturbance to how the blog actually works. Suggestions are appreciated.

India and Suicide Bombers

Reading through news articles day by day, there is generally a type of consistency to the news. There is great suffering and trouble, and there are calls for progress and change, but it all follows a consistent trend.

It is the unusual article that gets my attention because it may be pointing towards a new trend. The trend could be one of more suffering or a mollifying idea, etc etc.

This article describes a very unfortunate trend that we do not want to see. The article describes a call for Hindu suicide bombers to counter the Islamic suicide bombers.

Reuters: Call for Hindu suicide squads sparks anger in India
A powerful Hindu-nationalist political party in western India has called for Hindu suicide squads to counter Islamic terrorism, causing outrage and embarrassing the national opposition with which it is allied.

"Just like Islamic extremism, to safeguard the country and Hindus we must create Hindu suicide squads if Hindu society is to be saved."
We must save ourselves by killing them is as old as the hills, but we do not want to see extremist Hindus adding to the misery of suicide bombing, bad idea, really really bad idea. We need to figure out how to prevent suicide bombing not create more suicide bombing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

War Criminals


McClatchy: General who probed Abu Ghraib says Bush officials committed war crimes
"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
If you do a check on Bush and war crimes you will find that this goes back a few years. People have equated Bush to a war criminal for a while now.

Its an interesting phenomena to witness because naturally Taguba will be attacked by the right wing pundits starting now.

There does seem to be a change in the atmosphere though. The patriotic fervor that followed Bush is gone. The vast majority see Bush and company as a failed President and you hear this term 'failed' applied to Bush with more and more frequency and ease.

That's probably an important part of the equation, there is no more energy propelling Bush from the point of view of the electorate. The King really is naked and now everyone sees the nakedness.

Bottom line: Nothing happens to Bush. He's not impeached, he's not tried for war crimes, eavesdropping, nothing. Bush is the son of the power elite. He and his dad appoint the ultimate judges of his fate. He is way too well connected, in ways that we can't even imagine.

Better Late Than Never


What the hell, why not. Kucinich is raising hell, good for him, and good for us on his behalf.

Can we really imagine that there is going to be an impeachment battle to oust the present king-ident during the Summer of party nominations. I gotta think no, but I like the idea, its got zing.

WaPo: Kucinich Vows More Impeachment Articles On the Way
...he's giving the House Judiciary Committee 30 days to act on his resolution proposing 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush...If Judiciary does nothing, he'll go back to the House floor next month armed with nearly twice as many articles.

Latest Rasmussen Poll


Rasmussen puts out a daily presidential tracking poll.

Today he still has Obama leading McCain.
Barack Obama attracting 45% of the vote while John McCain earns 41%. When "leaners" are included, Obama holds a three-point advantage, 48% to 45%.

Bob Marley

'I Shot the Sheriff'

Plame Continues


In a few days, McClellan will be testifying before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Once again, the Bush administration is under scrutiny and the heat is rising surrounding their role in the outing of Plame.

Baltimore Sun: FBI interviews of Bush, Cheney subpoenaed - House committee demands files from probe of CIA leak
A House committee subpoenaed yesterday records of the FBI's interviews with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney during the investigation into the leak of a covert CIA officer's name.

Executive Denial


American torture of detainees is of concern to the world at large.

When we talk about the fading image of America world wide, its because of torture and the unitary go it alone foreign policy. The BBC is heard globally.

BBC: US interrogation policy condemned
Chairman Sen Carl Levin said they had then "twisted the law to create the appearance of legality".

The White House responded by saying the US had treated all detainees humanely.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Tree Friends

'Shard at Work'

Something to make us squirm.

The Latest McCain Contradiction-gate

Poor John McCain, we know that he doesn't know how to use a computer, but he better start figuring out that what he says is being recorded and juxtaposed next to his own words.

Post 9-11 Torture

Torture, and specifically torture approved by the President to use on suspected terrorists, keeps periodically returning to the headlines.

AP: Probe: Pentagon lawyers sought harsh interrogation
The Pentagon in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks pursued abusive interrogation techniques once used by North Korea and Vietnam on American POWs despite stern warnings by several military lawyers that the methods were cruel and even illegal, according to a Senate investigation.

"The guidance (administration lawyers) provided will go down in history as some of the most irresponsible and shortsighted legal analysis ever provided to our nation's military and intelligence communities," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C...
I just don't get Lindsey Graham. He makes a responsible statement like the one above and then he comes out completely in favor of the administration that approved it in the first place.
Several of those techniques, including stress positions, were later approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a December 2002 memo for use at Guantanamo Bay. Rumsfeld and Haynes agreed to the methods, despite objections by military service lawyers that they might be illegal.
Pointing to Rumsfeld as a source for torture is like pointing to the sky and saying that's where the air is.

What is amazing to me is that you have someone like Rumsfeld practically openly admitting what he did. Then he supports it with his 'wizened' persona. The effect is that people stop and actually think, yes that's true.

Where is the objectivity and the principle of universality when we judge Rumsfeld and his merry neo-con band of hooligans.

The trick is to go back to step one. Step one is plain and simple, torture is wrong, it is illegal, it is reprehensible, and it doesn't work. Now you can dress that up in a pony tail and miniskirt or if you prefer 30 years of governmental work under right wing politicians and its still wrong, illegal, reprehensible and it doesn't work.

There is a legal system in place for political leaders that get carried away with their own majestic presence. This is exactly where Bush and co. belong, in the justice system and on trial for war crimes.

Iraq Violence 6-17-08

We read and hear that the surge has worked but the suicide bombings continue.

AP: Car bomb kills more than 50 people in Baghdad
A car bomb tore through a market area in a mainly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing more than 50 people and wounding dozens, officials said, the deadliest such attack in more than three months.
I can't say it enough, but if this type of violence occurred one time in the US, the mood of the country would crumple. Yet we read about this in Iraq and have become numb to its implications. Sure, the surge is working.

Bionic Dolphin

Its a great story. A dolphin loses her tail in a crab trap, is taken to a hospital, and is eventually outfitted with a prosthetic tail.

Gore Endorses Obama

NYT: Gore Endorses Obama as a Solver of Problems
As Mr. Gore ticked through a long list of challenges facing the nation, he hailed Mr. Obama as “clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Senior Workforce


Now here is a scary proposition. The data is from England and refers to Brits but, one might wonder if the trend could spread.

Financial Time: Surge in employees past retirement age
The numbers of people employed past retirement age are growing faster than any other section of the labour market, according to official data.

The data tell an important story: as lifespans expand and retirement benefits shrink, growing numbers are entering, or refusing to leave, and workplaces are gradually changing their perception of the ideal worker.

Going, Going ...

The New Yorker's George Packer offers up a brief history of the Nixon to Bush years of conservatism and divide and conquer politics. Its a nice summation article.

Going through the GW Bush years, he reasserts Cheney's influence and power.

New Yorker: The Fall of Conservatism
the Vice-President-elect gave the new order of battle: “We would seek confrontation on every front. . . . The new Administration would divide Americans into red and blue, and divide nations into those who stand with us or against us.” Cheney’s combative instincts and belief in an unfettered and secretive executive proved far more influential at the White House than Bush’s campaign promise to be “a uniter, not a divider.” Cheney behaved as if, notwithstanding the loss of the popular vote, conservative Republican domination could continue by sheer force of will. On domestic policy, the Administration made tax cuts and privatization its highest priority; and its conduct of the war on terror broke with sixty years of relatively bipartisan and multilateralist foreign policy.

Ed Rollins said, “Rove knew his voters, he stuck to the message with consistency, he drove that base hard—and there’s nothing left of it. Today, if you’re not rich or Southern or born again, the chances of your being a Republican are not great.”

Painful Question for McCain

A Christian Conservative asks McCain a question. That's fine except the questioner rambles on for several minutes.

This is painful to watch. Hopefully he is not representative of McCain's constituency.

Iraq Violence Down - For Now

This is welcome news. We do not want to see violence of any kind. The Iraqi people have suffered immensely and tragically. We want to see Iraq become a peaceful nation, the signs do not point to that happening yet and the type or quality of peace resembles a forced suppression of action that still wants conflict.

AP: Iraqi violence down; war's root causes unresolved
"This relative calm is the calm before the storm," said Mohammed al- Sheikhli, director of the Transitional Justice Research Center in Baghdad. "The worst violence is not over because the calm may collapse any moment."

Flat Advertising

We just watched 'North by Northwest', Hitchcock's romantic, comedic, spy thriller with Cary Grant.

You sympathize with poor Cary Grant in this movie. He's an advertising executive in Manhattan, kidnapped, and roughed up by cold war spies who think Cary Grant is a CIA kinda guy.

It makes you long for the good old days when the model that one aspired to be was a debonair Manhattan executive with tons of dough and gorgeous women by the fistful.

Poor Manhattan advertising executives are feeling the pinch of our crap economy. We don't feel too sorry for them though, because we are sick of advertising, we are numb to advertising.

U.S. Advertising Spending is Flat in First Quarter 2008, Nielsen Reports
Advertising spending for the first quarter of 2008 remained essentially flat compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary figures released today by Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the competitive advertising information service of The Nielsen Company.
Of all the alleged indicators of the US economy, this is perhaps one of the most relevant. After all, we are consumers not people, and our tastes and purchases need to be ramped up through advertising, otherwise we might be left to our own self-destructive devices. Left on our own, we might even save our money.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Obama - "Father's Day"

This is a short excerpt from Obama's speech on Father's Day. He hits the nail on the head, absent black father's are causing chaos and they need to be responsible to their children. More than half of black families are now without a father.

Powaqqatsi

Part one of the film 'Powaqqatsi' by Godfrey Reggio with music by Phil Glass

Global Warming - Alaskan Salmon

Recall the story from 2007 where jellyfish destroyed an Irish salmon farm.

BBC: Jellyfish attack destroys salmon
A jellyfish invasion has wiped out Northern Ireland's only salmon farm, killing more than 100,000 fish.
The jellyfish do not live in the traditionally cold waters off Northern Ireland. They lived in the Mediterranean. Global warming has changed the water temperatures and along with it, the jellyfish follow.

The rising water temperatures are now affecting the Alaskan salmon industry as well.

In this case the rising water temperatures are bringing along bacteria and parasites that are harmful to the salmon

LA Times: Alaska salmon may bear scars of global warming
Cold-temperature barriers are giving way, allowing parasites, bacteria and other disease-spreading organisms to move toward higher latitudes.

Fishermen and regulators who have cooperated to save species from overfishing and local environmental hazards have been caught unprepared to deal with forces beyond their control: how to manage a fishery for climate change.

In His Own Words

President Bush did an interview with journalists from the 'Guardian UK.'

As you know Bush is presently making the rounds in England.

Bush answered questions on Iraq, Iran, his future, etc. etc.

Here are the excerpts on what Bush believes will be his legacy, and what he will do when he leaves the White House.

We have at least two tasks in reading the excerpts. The first is simply trying to decipher, or understand them. By understand I mean, trying to make sense out of the assemblage of words.

The second task is to try to take what does seem to be understandable and compare it to reality. Here the gap is formidable.
Legacy

"First, I'm not going to be around to see it. There's no such thing as objective, short-term history. It takes a while to be able to have enough time to look back to see why decisions were made and what their consequences were. I'd hope it'd be of somebody who would use the influence of the United States to help transform societies by working on disease and hunger and freedom. And the liberation of 50 million people from the clutches of barbaric regimes is noteworthy, at a minimum.

You've got to have a set of beliefs that are the foundation for your very being. Otherwise, these currents and tides, and 24-hour news, and politics will kind of leave you adrift. And I tell people that when I get home, I'm going to look in the mirror and say I didn't sacrifice my core beliefs to satisfy critics or pundits.

And when I talk about freedom, it's not just freedom from tyranny; it's freedom from HIV/Aids, freedom from malaria, freedom from hunger. For two reasons. One, it's in our national interests that we defeat hopelessness. The only way a suicide bomber can recruit is when he finds somebody hopeless. And secondly, it's in our moral interests. A nation is a better nation when it feeds the hungry and takes care of the diseased."

After the White House

"I'm going to think about writing a book. I'm going to build a presidential library with a 'freedom institute' ... not, you know, like some headquarters for the Republican party, but aimed at promoting the universal values that need to be defended. I'm very worried about isolationism and protectionism."