Saturday, May 30, 2009

MILK: "The Gateway to Alcoholism"

The hed (above) is of course true, once you accept the "post-hoc, ergo propter hoc" fallacy. It is meant to highlight the incredible logic of the folks who claim marijuana is 'the gateway drug' to using (and always, by implication of course, "abusing") heroin, cocaine, meth, and the rest of the illicit pharmacopoeia.

While it is probably true that people who eventually use (though not necessarily abuse) those other substances used marijuana 'first,' so it is equally likely--and equally valid to claim--that drinking milk "led" destructive alcoholics to their addiction, too. It's perfect illustration of the old statistical wheeze: correlation does not equal causality. Because, of course, many more people--probably MOST of them--who "used" milk in their youth did NOT go on to 'abuse' liquor than those who did. (Right: Mother, sowing the seeds of her child's future drunkenness.)

The folks at Alternet put up a discussion of this issue yesterday, which makes the necessary point in much lengthier style than I have here. Here's the "nutz":
In 1999, the National Institute on Drug Abuse commissioned a major study on medical marijuana conducted by the venerable Institute of Medicine, which included an examination of marijuana's potential to lead to other drug use. In simple terms, the researchers explained why the gateway theory was unfounded:
Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana -- usually before they are of legal age.

There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.
In 2006, the University of Pittsburgh released a more thorough study in which researchers spent 12 years tracking a group of subjects from adolescence into adulthood and documented the initiation and progression of their drug use. The researchers found that the gateway theory was not only wrong, but also harmful to properly understanding and addressing drug abuse:
This evidence supports what’s known as the common liability model, an emerging theory that states the likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illegal drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug but instead by the user’s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.
Of course, the simplest refutation of the gateway theory is the basic fact that most marijuana users just don't use other drugs. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports:
More than 100 million Americans have tried marijuana; 14.4 million Americans are estimated to be "past-month" users. Yet there are only an estimated 2,075,000 "past-month" users of cocaine and 153,000 "past-month" users of heroin. [DrugWarFacts] (Emphases supplied. W)
Clearly, people who use marijuana overwhelmingly do not move on to other drug use. That's why the number of people who use marijuana will always be more than 10 times greater than the number of people who use cocaine, heroin, etc. The fact that marijuana users rarely become involved in other drug use is right here in front of us.
There's more, a couple of pages, but the point is pretty clear: "If you want to prevent alcoholism, you must stop feeding milk to babies."

Erm...no, wait...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is the Right Attacking "So-So Sonia" To Give Her Cred On The Left?


And to conceal their delight in Obama's choice?

Cuz she's a chicken-chokin' corporatist's wet-dream, from what I can see.

She never met a corporation which didn't require more succor than the plaintiffs against it. To say she's "insurance-friendly" would be a major understatement. From her record, So-So will be a reliably 'conservative' voice in matters of advancing governmental authority, endorsing corporate hegemony, and regulating regulations. She may rule slightly more 'liberally' on the notorious "wedge issues," though as an observant Roman Catholic (# 6 on the fucking highest court in a secular state), she cannot be relied upon when it comes to matters of the intersection of 'faith and morals' with civil rights and equal protection. She's no Oscar Romero...

David Lindorf, this morning on BuzzFlash, offers some interesting impressions:
I don't know at this point whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a good choice for Supreme Court Justice or a bad one.

She certainly is a lousy judge for writers and other creative people, having ruled (and been overruled by an appellate court and then, when that reversal was upheld, by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called New York Times Inc. v. Tasini) that the Times and periodical publishers could reprint, without any additional compensation, any freelance works they contracted on the basis that they had a general copyright on each entire issue they publish.

And she appears to have rarely met an insurance company that she didn't feel was more deserving of court succor than any insured person suing an insurer. In a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, reporter Joseph N. DiStefano quotes an insurance attorney named Randy Maniloff as saying that in cases involving insurance companies and insurance policyholders "It's insurers by a landslide."

Such a pro-corporate position would put her in league with the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the court, and would be consistent with her pro-corporate stance vis-à-vis writers and artists and copyright law. (In fairness, Sotomayor did rule against an insurance firm and in favor of a policyholder's family in 2005.)
She's not particularly Green, not notably pro-gay rights, says she's a proponent of 'stare decisis' (but so did that drooling shitmonkey, Roberts, at his confirmation hearings);, not appreciably different, that is, from the run of SCROTUS appointees over the past 30 years. Which is why I believe the Pukes are, in fact, camouflaging their pleasant surprise that Obama named her.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Paying the Piper: ACLU Sues To End Liberty "U's" Tax-Free Status


HuzzaH! for the ACLU. They accuse the Xian madrassa of engaging in partisan political activity, in violation of the terms of their tax-exempt status.

A couple of weeks ago, Liberty "University," the Xian/fundie diploma mill founded by "Rev" Jerry Falwell, "reorganized" the ways by which the "University" grants charters to student organizations. In the aftermath of the reorganization, the "University" banned its nascent Young Democrats from the use of "univeristy" facilities, or resources, and kicked them off the campus. A WaPo editorial last week outlines the issue clearly:
This Is Liberty?
Campus Democrats are punished for supporting Democrats.

YOU CAN be a Democrat at Liberty University as long as you don't support Barack Obama. Or Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello. Or any other candidate who so much as hints at supporting abortion rights or same-sex marriage. That, at least, seems to be the message Liberty University sent when it withdrew its recognition of the campus Democratic group as an official club. The students' offense was not that they spoke out in favor of abortion or gay marriage but that they supported candidates who do. Liberty is a vibrant, diverse school of 11,500 residential students; it's too bad its administrators appear to have so little tolerance for political diversity.

The university recognized the club in October with the understanding that members wouldn't support gay marriage or abortion. "In fact," said Mathew D. Staver, dean of the university's school of law, "they did not live up to their statements." Mr. Staver acknowledged to us that club members never vocalized support for abortion or gay rights. Rather, he said, they were "advocating positions for individual candidates that clearly promoted abortion." Mr. Staver emphasized that campus Democrats won't face sanctions and will still be able to meet on campus; they just won't be able to use the university's name or receive school funds....
So the ACLU bravely took the bit in their teeth and launched a request that in view of the clearly discriminatory and partisan nature of the exclusion, that IRS look into into the tax-exempt status of said fundie madrassa with an eye to ending it.

I won't cease being aggrieved by this nest of obscene 'academic' poseurs until the day dawns when the bull-dozers roll over the feculent fundie hell-hole, and a coven of witches follow behind strewing salt on the ground.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gonna Make 'Em Wear Crescents On Their Sleeves, Too?

Flexing their muscles after electoral victories, and emboldened by the weakness of Obama in reining in Netanyahu and Israeli territorial ambitions, Israel’s conservative parliamentarians--especially Avigdor Lieberman--are drafting laws that appear to target and harrass Isareli Arab citizens, causing both allies and civil libertarians to cringe.

Via TruthDig:
One measure would create a loyalty oath, while another would punish any “call to negate Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state” with a year in jail.
Haaretz:

The Knesset plenum gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison.

The measure was the latest of several introduced in the past week by right-wing lawmakers and denounced by critics as an assault on free speech, particularly for Israeli Arab citizens, most of whom are of Palestinian origin.

It would outlaw the publication of any "call to negate Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, where the content of such publication would have a reasonable possibility of causing an act of hatred, disdain or disloyalty" to Israel...

MK Haim Oron (Meretz) attacked the proposal, saying “this insane government, what exactly are you doing? Creating a thought police? Have you run off the rails?”...

Oron said that even though he disagrees with those who do not support Israel’s identity as a Jewish, democratic state, there is no reason to make it a criminal issue.

Civil rights activists have cautioned that this and other legislation threatens to curb the rights of Arab citizens. Its approval on a preliminary reading showed how Israeli support for laws seen as targetting Israeli Arabs has grown since a right-wing government was sworn in after a February election.

Another bill introduced by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party this week would require Israeli citizens to take a loyalty oath to the Jewish state before they could be issued a national identity card.

The cabinet was scheduled to debate the loyalty oath measure at a session next week.
Of course, Israel must completely secure Palestine. It has been clear for some time that the "State" of Israel has territorial ambitions between the Jordan and the Sea. Each successive step isolating, marginalizing and alienating Israeli Arab citizens is another step, too, toward the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine. So there can be NO independent Palestinian State.

Israel cannot tolerate another state side-by-side. ANY State. For by granting such a State legitimacy, Israel would be bound by law and convention to share the resources of the region equitably. Since Israel already claims preferred usage of about 80% of the resources, this would require Israel to concede a substantial fraction of "their" resources to the Arabs, something I promise you, NO "State of Israel" will EVER do...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If I Twittered, This Is What I'd Tweet...


When you wanna diss that fat fucker, Rush? Call him:

Limbah, the Butt?

Jabba, the Rush?

Each is entirely the consonant allusion. C.f. Darth Cheney.

Only ridicule 'works.'

And hurling offal.
I like the first one better because it alludes to the pilonidal cysts in his rectum that--along with his father the publisher and his uncle the judge--rescued Rusty, after he'd flunked out of South-Southwest Missouri State College in late '67, from being drafted, going to boot-camp, and becoming a man--where that is understood to mean looking at yourself, naked, weak, and afraid, and growing... According to his section 8 papers, he literally grew a mad hair up his ass, and it has never come out. All this is way past twitter range, unless you broke it up...

Is that the underlying message/lesson of twitter-talk? That human intelligence can accommodate only 140 characters at a time? Or that that is the optimum length of a human message? where the limitations of the medium reduce communication to its grittiest essentials. Like I said, this rap wouldn't twitter. Too lengthy. Transitions are what would be the first to go.

It occurrred to me some time ago that the instant communications media provided humanity with something they thought they had lost out on the veldt: constant reassurance from the tribe. Welcome to the Monkey House. The din is incessant. Each screams to its fellows to assure itself of its connection with its tribe. "I am 'someone' and I know to whom it is true."

If I were offered the chance to do another ph.d., I'd do it at the intersection of the 'discursive practices' of the Internet(s) and the Vygotskyian Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). That'd be rich territory for a semiotician/semiologer to mine.

How Can We Call Ourselves "Civilized?"


No culture, no society, or nation which subordinates the health of its citizens to the wealth of its elites is entitled to regard itself or be elsewhere regarded as being in a state of "civilization."


Bill Moyers and Michael Winship examine the issue of the invisibility of the Single-Payer option in, and the sudden withdrawal of the "public-option" from, the so-called "health-care debate."

Which is not a debate so much as a marshalling of 'the conventional wisdom' in the service of preserving the parasitic "status quo." The health care industry spent $134 million on lobbying just this year to keep its profits high and public health in the shadows. Now Congress and "thePrez" are scrambling to make sure nothing upsets the extremely profitable, extremely "generous" (with campaign funds, support, etc), extremely inefficient private-health-insurance clusterfuck which has been so good to so many parasitic Health Insurance Executives and Congresscritters.

It's kinda long so I won't c&p it here. But you NEED to go read it. And then send obliquely threatening missives to any and all the relevant parties in the farce, warning them that dire consequences of a personal order may ensue from their rejecting their responsibilities to the People and pandering to the parasites...

And keep calling them "parasites."

No one should write anything about the private Health Insurance 'industry' without using the word "parasites." Repeat it over and over. Protecting the Health Insurance Industry is like saying ring-worm isn't good for you, but it's better than malaria, and just thank your lucky stars you don't live in Niger...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering...

Death of a Ball-turret Gunner, a poem

By Randall Jarrell
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.


Death, a poem

by William Butler Yeats
Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone
Man has created death.


Peace, a poem

by Rupert Brooke
Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there's no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart's long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.


The Man he Killed, a poem

by Thomas Hardy
Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.



The Anxious Dead, a poem

By John McCrae
O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear
Above their heads the legions pressing on:
(These fought their fight in time of bitter fear,
And died not knowing how the day had gone.)

O flashing muzzles, pause, and let them see
The coming dawn that streaks the sky afar;
Then let your mighty chorus witness be
To them, and Caesar, that we still make war.

Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
That we will onward till we win or fall,
That we will keep the faith for which they died.

Bid them be patient, and some day, anon,
They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep;
Shall greet, in wonderment, the quiet dawn,
And in content may turn them to their sleep.



The Universal Soldier, a song

By Donovan Leach
He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.


Remember...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Don't Twitter, But...


If I did, here's one I'd send:
Torture? Listening to Brittney Spears, or eating egg-plant, THAT is torture. If somebody tells me "water-boarding" is torture, and they've done it? I BELIEVE them!!!


EDIT: Torture? B. Spears! Egg-plant! I know torture. So somebody says "water-boarding" is torture & they've done it? I BELIEVE 'em!!!

That's under 140 now!

"A Republic, If You Can Keep It!"


Since 1789, it has ALWAYS been possible that someone would forsake the implicit compact of "honor" and "game" the Constitution; would pervert the presumptions of the social contract and turn freedom, and fairness, and equity against the people; would realize that a government "of, for, and by" the people could be easily transformed into a government of, for, and by the Elites whereby, if something accidentally benefited the people, well, shit happens.

I am sure that the Founders were smart enough to have foreseen and understood that for the "noble experiment" of USer 'democracy' NOT to fail miserably, the participants would be required to act in "good faith." They possessed and preacticed an ethos of personal "honor," and so, even if they could have foreseen the temptations of "gaming" the system, they would have relied on the "honor" of the actors--and their understanding of the fragility of the system--to preserve it.

They didn't figure on Ronnie Raygun or Newt Gingrich (okay, nobody could have foreseen the Cheney co-Presidency with the Chimp). Persons with less of that which was traditionally known as "honor" would be difficult to name. Great despots come to mind, but no "democrats."

So, when Stanley Kutler, writing at TrugthDig yesterday, claims that "Congress Is Broken" (and it undeniably IS broken; and leaking toxics across the entire politics of the land), he's only touching part--albeit an important part--of the problem.
Congress is broken. The framers of the Constitution, building on nearly six centuries of parliamentary experience, situated Congress at the heart of the American constitutional system. Representative government was believed to be the purest, and yet workable, means of self-government. For the past twenty-five years, however, Congress has made a joke of that system, as it has trivialized and mocked any meaningful representation in the sense that the makers of the Constitution framed it.

That sense was best captured by Edmund Burke (1729-1797), the great English parliamentarian and statesman, whose work became the lodestar for the rising intellectual conservative movement fifty years ago. Burke was a contemporary of the founding fathers and a keen observer of the American scene. Today, however, he is not in fashion; in particular, when neo-conservatives and neo-liberals alike celebrate the historical expansion and maintenance of the American empire, they ignore Burke’s warning that “great empires and small minds go ill together.”

Burke had much to say about the role of peoples’ representatives. He acknowledged that representatives owed the “strictest union . . . and the most unreserved communication” to their constituents, yet he insisted that representatives possess “independent judgment and enlightened conscience.” A representative must strike a delicate balance, offering constituents “his judgment,” said Burke, while bearing in mind that “he betrays, instead of serving [them], if he sacrifices it to [their] opinion.” Burke recognized it is easy to “run into the perilous extremes of servile compliance or wild popularity.” Instead, the interest of the whole community must be pursued, not some local, individual interest, or a “momentary enthusiasm.”

In The Federalist No. 10, James Madison saw the danger of representatives pandering to “factions,” or groups “actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest adverse to . . . the permanent and aggregate interest of the community.” Burke and Madison alike would be appalled by Congress’s ready acquiescence to executive power.

Congress has been a spectator to President George W. Bush’s Iraq war and to the shameful use of “enhanced interrogation” and other forms of torture which were widely documented during Bush’s presidency. Congressional Democrats roundly criticized the Bush administration for maintaining the prison facilities at Guantanamo. Although Bush’s successor now has made pointed efforts to remove and reject such polices, Congress is once again derelict, as it refuses to take any responsibility for cleaning up after the Bush crew.
Congress, hopelessly ion the thrall of the most powerful, richest CorpoRat interest on the planet, CANNOT act in the interest of the "people" without aggravating the owners and donors who keep the parties in power.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Everybody Knows

Jon Schwarz' A Tiny Revolution blog is home to some of the most brilliant, concise critical commentary anywhere in all of Blogdom. Today's contribution to the field of 'cultural epistemology' by Bernard Chazelle is exemplary of the both the content and the concision.
That's How It Goes, Everybody Knows

By: Bernard Chazelle

Everybody knows. By now everybody knows we're slaughtering women and children in Afghanistan. We even worry about it. No, not worry in the sense, "OMG we're slaughtering women and children! How evil can we be?" Worry in the sense "How can we win that thing if we piss off the natives?" The Times explains
the trade-off between the short-term gain of eliminating enemy fighters and the larger danger of alienating the general population.

That's Jack the Ripper wondering if bumping off all those prostitutes might not end up hurting his popularity in London. Note how the Times's quote strips our "knowledge" of the slaughter of all morality. It's a chess game, really, with its "gains" and "dangers." In a poignant op-ed today, the Irish writer John Banville wonders what it means "to know."
If children were sent to orphanages, industrial schools and reformatories, it must be because they were destined for it, and must belong there. What happened to them within those unscalable walls was no concern of ours. We knew, and did not know. That is our shame today.
The rationalization is the same. The shame is not. In fact a whole academic field was created for the specific purpose of "deshaming" our imperial conquests. It's called "International Relations." Read Banville's piece. (For the writing alone, and for the rest, it's worth it.)
Banfield's sentiment reminded me of Darwin's musing on a similar matter, quoted in the epigraph of Gould's The Mismeasure of Man: "If the misery of the poor be caused not by laws of nature but by our institutions, (then) great is our sin."

And this:
That's Jack the Ripper wondering if bumping off all those prostitutes might not end up hurting his popularity in London.
I'd kill for an analogy like that...

"Everybody Knows..."

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Don't Twitter, But If I Did, This Would Be My First Tweet

Glenn Beck: You could call him a douchebag, I guess. But I can't imagine any woman would want him anywhere NEAR her nether parts...

What's the character count on that? I dunno...

Big Lies, Big Liars

Dick Cheney: Liar. BEEEEG LIAR, telling the BIG LIE!



Yes, that "BIG LIE."

The one Hitler so approved in Mein Kampf that it became the center-piece of Nazi informatics; perfected (until Cheney and the Busheviks) by no less an eminence than the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, but which actually was invented by Edouard Bernays (Freud's favorite nephew), the "father of Public Relations," (described by someone once as 'the art of the felicitous falsehood') who probably more than any other single individual was responsible for the entry of the US into "Woodrow Wilsons War," WW I.

The BIG LIE is one of the most--if not THE most--effective, single propaganda strategy ever devised. Of course, it needed the perfection of the mass-media to become REALLY effective. Without the means of spreading lies across all strata of a society, in many locales, simultaneously, political 'lies' must necessarily have been local and, therefore, subject to local remonstrance and rebuttal. That's easy to do, locally, where pretty much everyone lived in a fishbowl, and proven liars were often ostracized. So out-right, knee-knocking, bald-faced lies were not such common parts of previous politics as they have lately become. But since 1900, with the total domination of the information universe by mass communications (and related, evolutionary technologies), no propaganda device has been used more often, or to greater effect, than Bernays' BIG LIE.

Somehow, it seems that folks have managed to 'grow up' wholly immersed in mediated culture without having learned to recognize the patterns and practices of propaganda. Nobody wants to think they've been "propagandized," as if it were somehow evidence of some personal failing. But propaganda is the ONLY media strategy by which States (and other large, cultural institutions, like churches, corporations, etc) now communicate with their constituents, and so it is shameful that those constituents do NOT seem to know they are ALWAYS being propagandized.

Yes, you are ALWAYS being propagandized: If you think there is any objective difference between Fordf and Toyota, between "the Colonel" and "the King," between Coke and Pepsi, between Coors and Miller, between Macy's and Gimbells' (or between Dims and Pukes, of course), then you have been successfully propagandized. And probably you believe--or at least do not doubt--some iteration of the BIG LIE.

The Big Lie works (and how!) quite simply. It begins with the psychological realization that, in general, everyone either lies now, or has lied, or aniticipates the need to lie at some point, but that there is a (rational) inhibition against lying built into the social contracts by which we function as a society. People usually tell only little "white" lies, nervously, and are generally (again) uneasy telling large, egregious lies because the risks and consequences for being caught in such an act are regarded as serious.

The Big Lie exploits this situation. People, mainly being reluctant, minor-league liars, tend to regard public statements of 'respected' public persons as intrinsically truthful, on the basis of their own hesitations about lying in fora where they could be easily found out and condemned for it. So the Big Lie begins in that "presumption" of truth. The Big Lie is NEVER over trivial matters, either. Both the subject and the presentation, the rhetorical act, are BIG.

But the size of the misrepresentation of fact is only one part of the power of the Big Lie. The other--the equally, if not more, vital--component is repetition. The Big Lie must have continuous currency. Its power stems from ubiquity. It becomes the 'conventional wisdom,' it becomes 'common sense,' through unending repetition. It cannot languish, it cannot rest. Right up until the end of the Reich, ordinary Germans blamed the Jews for all their problems. So, of course this is where the SCUM (SoCalledUnbiasedMedia, the corpoRats) comes in.

The SCUM: In a Corporate State, corporate media are the State Media. Under the regime of the Big Lie, corporate media--conglomerated, consolidated and contained under the weight of the Boardrooms of the nation's largest corporations, which constitute the only important influence group on the affairs of State--are the instrument of ubiquity. Cheney's lies are huge. But unrepeated, unheralded, unremarked, they are beneath immaterial.

Cheney's job now is to promulgate the Big Lie, to give it a persona, and supply legs.

And because of who he and they both are, and to whom they both owe their fundamental, primary allegiances (Hint: Not you and me), the SCUM treat him as worthy of respect, and treat his words as essentially uncontrovertible, just for the reason of his having said them.

Our current media environment seems to have been invented JUST for the purpose of spreading the Big Lies, because to be effective, such lies have to be repeated and repeated, until they become common-place, and thereupon join the "common sense," conventional wisdom."

Cheney speaks the Big Lie, Fox (but also all the rest) repeat it.

Even if somebody tries to rebut it, the Lie, having got the street to itself first, always has the advantage, and the critics only serve to enhance its apparent 'truthiness.' At some point--pretty much, now--the Bushevik/Corporat lies have entered the lexicon as facts, and any attack on them merely enhances their status.

There is only one cure for Cheney and his tactics: offal.

Every and anytime he appears in public, for the purposes of spreading and repeating the Big Lies, he must be met by hordes of shouting, jeering, angry people, armed with decaying produce and animal excrement, who must then hurl it at him.

Accuracy isn't the point.

The hurling is.

Because the one thing the Biggest Lies cannot withstand is ridicule. The truthiest truisms collapse under the weight of enough spoiled eggs and rotten tomatoes, and the liars along with them.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ron Reagan Slags Rush Limbaugh REAL GOOD!

Slimeball has been incystant these last weeks on launching personal, demeaning, insulting attacks on Nancy Pelosi, mocking her looks. Recently he said that Pelosi was shaking from "botox withdrawal," and back in January Limbaugh said he could keep the birth rate down by putting pictures of Pelosi in every hotel room.

The scurrilous attacks finally got to Ron Reagan, the only apparently even remotely human of the get of Ronnie "I Don't Recall" Raygun, and a syndicated columnist, too. He got right up in the grill of the fleshy fucknozzle--well, as close to the grill as the girth would permit--and publically made fun of Limbaugh's impotence. Aravosis credits Slog for the following:
"Limbaugh hasn't had a natural erection since the Nixon Administration; think he's compensating for something? Now, I wouldn't pick on him for any of this stuff, not his blubbiness, not his man-boobs, not his inability to have a natural erection—none of that stuff—to me, off limits until! until! Mr. Limbaugh, you turn that sort of gun on somebody else—once you start doing that, you're fair game, fat boy. Absolutely, you jiggly pile of mess. You're just fair game, and you're going to get it, too."
Hell, Rush hasn't SEEN his dick since he was 10. There's also plenty of material in Rush-bo's trips to the Dominican where he's alleged to favor dark, young, native beach-boys.

There is really only one way to defeat these sleazy mo-fos: they have to be humiliated, embarrassed, shamed. When they open their mouths, they should be silenced by hoots of derision. Any kind of obscenity, obloquy, insult that you can hurl at them, you must. You have to mock them, scoff at them, hurt their pride. It's really the only thing...

Posting Light & Slight Today; Bidness Beckons

The "Morin" Corps: Jim Morin Is A Gem!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Breaking!!! Flash!!!! Bulletin!

Glenn Beck Is A Lying Bucket of goD-Shit

All the proof you need, right here:

Barbara Walters is really FURIOUS that, by claiming to be a commentator, Blech is eschewing responsibility for the 'facts' that he uses in his commentary. BabwaWaWa's premier conceit is that she is a real, "professional journalist," (as opposed to, say, a highly placed, cosmetically enhanced, speech-impeded, infamously round-heeled celebrity gossip columnist, I suppose?) and Blech offended that conceit. She was almost (horsely) SHRILL!

Which does in no way diminish the fact that Beck is a steaming, reeking, runny pile of god-shit...a term I use so as not to unnecessarily defame the canines of the world who cannot help what or where they poop...mostly...Glenn Beck: Excretium Dei. Who knew?

I kept expecting him to lean in, kinda smarmy/confidentially and sort of stage whisper "Hey, Beyotches! Cut a man some fuckin' slack. It ain' nuthin but Bidness... We'all in da Bidness, right? Give a why-boy a break heah..."

Which, now that I think about it, was pretty much what he did do...Listen to him try to disarm (aka "Suck Up!") with politesse: First "Mrs. Walters" then later "Ms. Walters"...He was just THAT close to calling her "Mrs. Kissinger..." He thought it was the same old kabuki, but the women were pissed, really pissed. They finally saw him clearly, right down to his tighty, mormon Whiteys!

ADDENDUM: In Comments, Margot provided a link to Beck's demand for an apology from "The View." Link if you dare...

They're Going To Need A MUCH Bigger Rope!

KBR: The Case For A "Corporate Death Penalty"?
Alternet this morning brings this bit of glad tidings, though the prospect of actually terminating these corrupt, criminal enterprises is dim:
Bribes, kickbacks, concealing gang rapes, and engaging in human trafficking are among the crimes listed in a new class action lawsuit.
Not to mention the electrocution of no fewer than 5 USer troops in faultily-wired shower facilities in Iraq and elsewhere, where it is alleged that over SEVENTY THOUSAND (that's "7," followed by four zeroes: 70,000) buildings were equipped with faulty wiring systems.
The complaint identified some of Halliburton's and KBR's known "misdeeds" in Iraq, including providing troops with untreated, untested water from the Euphrates and delivering ice to troops in a truck that showed signs of its former use as storage for corpses. The complaint concluded, "The myriad crimes and wrongdoings discussed above simply could not have happened if Defendants were doing their jobs. As officers and directors of the Companies, the Defendants were required to ensure that the Companies' internal controls were in place, functioning properly, and sufficiently strong to prevent it from committing wrongful or illegal acts."
YNews reports today that
The U.S. Army paid "tens of millions of dollars in bonuses" to KBR despite the fact that the contractor's work put U.S. soldiers at risk, Reuters reported. The Houston-based company, which was part of Halliburton Co. until two years ago, was hired to install electrical work at facilities where U.S. soldiers operate in Iraq. An Army-approved inspector who viewed the company's work said 90 percent of the wiring was done incorrectly and an estimated 70,000 buildings were not up to code. At least three service members have been electrocuted while showering at U.S. facilities in Iraq. Others have been injured or killed in electrical incidents. KBR denies responsibility for the deaths.
As long as the Constitution is interpreted to grant corporations the same rights as are enjoyed by "natural" persons, and as long as "natural" people are still subjected to capital punishment in any venue or jurisdiction in the Country, then there should be provisions to "execute" corpoRat enterprises which kill people. End them. Terminate them with extreme prejudice (and the executives responsible). Then cut them up into little pieces.

In general, I am opposed to the death penalty. But the Rightard argument about the deterrent effects does have its charms, and should be tested. On the likes of Bernie Madoff and/or "(O)fficers and directors of the Companies, the Defendants (who) were required to ensure that the Companies' internal controls were in place, functioning properly, and sufficiently strong to prevent it from committing wrongful or illegal acts." String the fuckers up!

Just to see if there is a deterrent effect, of course...

Gutless

That would be ... wait for it ... LEADER of the DEMOCRATIC party in the United States' Senate.

Gutless, feckless, useless, spineless, worthless, ball-less: Harry Reid.
"QUESTION: If the United States -- if the United States thinks that these people should be held, why shouldn’t they be held in the United States? Why shouldn’t the U.S. take those risks, the attendant risk of holding them, since it’s the one that says they should be held?

REID: I think there’s a general feeling, as I’ve already said, that the American people, and certainly the Senate, overwhelmingly doesn’t want terrorists to be released in the United States. And I think we’re going to stick with that.

QUESTION: What about in imprisoned in the United States?

REID: If you’re...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: If people are -- if terrorists are released in the United States, part of what we don’t want is them be put in prisons in the United States. We don’t want them around the United States."
Perhaps he's hoping that a Cat. 6 hurricane will sweep them all into the sea?

Harry Reid is disgusting. As the questioner notes (inconveniently), the prisoners are OUR responsibility. WE captured, detained, and in many cases TORTURED them. It disgusts me that I have been associated, in any way, with anything with which Harry Reid is in any way connected, including breathing the same air. He pollutes it abominably by merely being here, worse by being a person of power and influence. We are all in the 'family of man,' but I may be forgiven, I hope, in wishing that our relations be as distant as possible...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now HERE'S A Good Idea--Not!

I am a big fan of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting). They have a cool blog that delivers bite-sized, easily digested nuggets of frequently sardonic, snarky analysis of crap the CorpoRat Media tries to pull. Witness what they posted earlier today (with the nice Shakespearean allusion; I lurv smart media people.)
The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Search Engines
05/19/2009 by Jim Naureckas

Corporate media's arguments against Google are getting stranger and stranger. While previously the Washington Post had accused the search engine of "vacuum[ing] up their content without paying a dime," now the Post has media lawyers Bruce Sanford and Bruce Brown (5/16/09) charging that search engines "crawl the Web and ingest everything in their path."

Can anything be done to stop these terrifying monsters? Yes, the two Bruces say--you could change the law to require search engines to "obtain copyright permissions in order to copy and index websites." Given that the point of this would be to force search engines to "negotiate with copyright holders over the value of their content"--that is, with millions of copyright holders located all over the world--this would likely eliminate all problems associated with search engines...by eliminating search engines. Then I'm sure we'd have a golden age of journalism once again. (Emphasis supplied)
There is, of course, one other thing they could do: Stop wasting bandwidth by ceasing to put their crapulent shit up on the web. Ya think?

(PS: Just from a glance at the wear on the letters on my keyboard, I'd have to say the letters "a," "e," "r," "t," "o," and "n" are the most often typed letters in the universe; the "s" key is worn, but only distantly as much as the former few...)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Arthur Silber Is Back

After another of his recurrent bouts with illness and poverty, one of the most literate, most acerbic critics of all things neo-liberal, Arthur Silber, is back on the trail of the psychopaths, sycophants, liars, perverts, thieves, and the other assorted criminals who comprise our political and journalistic classes.

Most recently he has expounded on the barbarity of the Obama military posture in Afghanistan, where the wanton destruction of both human and community life is the apparent price the Obamanauts are willing to pay not to be judged "soft" on terrorism.
Barack Obama is the perfect front man for the continuation of Empire -- for more murder, more slaughter, more brutality and, yes, more torture.

But now, there are very few people to oppose him. Thus, the Empire will continue on its bloody, murderous course, knowing full well that most of the opposition it might have encountered has voluntarily, and very often enthusiastically, joined the ranks of collaborators.

When you make excuses for evil of this kind, and when you attempt to "justify" or "explain" it, you make yourself evil. You are a knowing accomplice to slaughter and brutality. Those who decline to pass the necessary judgments about Obama will expend great effort to avoid this conclusion. But some of us see the truth, and we will be sure to remind such people of their own evil and complicity....

Related Essays:

A Choice of War Criminals

Killing Truth and Hope: The Fatal Illusion of Opposition

Obama and the Triumph of the American Myth

The Honor of Being Human: Why Do You Support?

The Mythology of the "Good Guy" American
The previous entry in Silber's (unfortunately often) sporadic blog focuses on the story revealing how Boy Scout "Explorer" troops are "training" in Southern California (and presumably elsewhere the threat is as palpable) to capture and control "illegal immigrants...terrorists...and drug-dealers."
'll add this post to my growing list of entries concerning the superlative, life-enhancing lessons taught to America's children by our compassionate, nurturing culture. Here are some earlier essays in the series:
Let The Victims Speak

Bullied, Terrorized and Targeted for Destruction: Our Children Have Learned Well

Careful the Things You Do: Wishes Come True, Not Free

When Awareness Is a Crime, and Other Lessons from Morton West
Silber is probably the most trenchant, most voluble, most unforgiving critic of the USer political betrayal of USer principles writing today. Check him out (though if you think I'm objectionable, you won't get two sentences into Silber's work...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

You KNEW This Was Just A Matter Of Time


This is the ticking time-bomb with which the Busheviks should have been concerned when they turned loose the torturers. Via Balkinization:
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

News Flash: Taliban Waterboards Captured U.S. Soldiers--Claims "Not Torture"

Brian Tamanaha

According to reports out of Kabul, the Taliban announced that they have waterboarded three U.S. soldiers taken prisoner. The Taliban commander asserted that waterboarding is not torture and does not violate the Geneva Convention or U.S. law. He assured everyone that a medical officer monitored all waterboarding sessions to insure that no permanent damage was done to the soldiers. In addition, he said they were careful to follow the directions on waterboarding in a SERE training manual they found posted on the internet.

In support of his assertion that waterboarding is not torture, the Taliban commander cited legal analysis produced by the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. He pointed out that the authors of this legal analysis are a respected federal judge on the second highest court in America and a professor at a top American law school. The Taliban commander also referred to the careful legal analysis of a Distinguished Professor of Law who concluded that waterboarding is not torture because U.S. trainers did it to their own troops "hundreds and hundreds of times."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ain't It Pee-KEWL-Year?

(Illustration by Mr. Fish.)

Is it just me? Could be. Been an out-lier my whole life. So tell me:

Does it strike anyone else as "peculiar" that the whole flocks of folks standing by to carve up and pick the carcasses (stet) of the Big Three, while ardently cheering the dissolution of the UAW--thereby throwing some several hundreds of thousands of auto workers and workers in associated trades, out of work--seem to harbor a great, abiding, sympathetic, but to me inexplicable, fondness for and devotion to the jobs of the parasites in the health insurance industry, such that they vitriolically oppose single payer health reform --or say they do-- because those parasites would lose their jobs?

When did the onus of unemployment become easier for the layed-off rivet-head or nail-banger than the obsoleted/redundant cubicle rat? When did 'retraining" become something only blue-collar workers did?

As a person who was formerly a journeyman, union, class-a carpenter (bridges, high-rises, architectural concrete), as well as a professor of curriculum theory (lit crit of "school-as-text"), it appears to me that folks most disdainful of physical work seem mostly to have done the least of it.

Endangered Species Day

One of these species is critically endangered. The dead one, the argali, or Marco Polo's Sheep. You may take the trophy sun-glasses at your leisure. To avoid spoiling your "head", aim just between the horns.


Seems to me they should be worth more than a stinking (weekend) day. Neither African-Americans nor American Jews are 'endangered,' but both get a full month. Via The Clade:
Endangered Species Day: Rosters
By Chris Clarke | Posted on May 15, 2009

Because it’s important to name names, to honor as best we can the species brought to the brink due to our actions, here are partial lists — courtesy the US Fish and Wildlife Service — of the plants and animals listed as endangered or threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Note that these are incomplete lists: the IUCN’s Red List is of necessity more exhaustive, and not all endangered species are known. But it’s a sampling. Each species deserves protection.

The list of plants is here, and the list of animals here.

A note on terminology in the lists: Some species are listed despite being relatively abundant, because they are substantially similar to taxa that are endangered or threatened. This is done to forestall potential enforcement problems so that law enforcement need not carry advanced equipment in the field to distinguish among parts of similar species.
See the (cheapy) slide presentation, here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Revolver

Superfund: 1,623 Sites
Nearly 100 companies and the federal government are linked to 40 percent of the total sites represented above. One out of two Americans live within 10 miles of a Superfund site.

Perhaps someone can explain to me the reason why a President, who has professed his desire to clean-up the environment and to try to restore some balance to USer energy use and development, would want to install in the remarkably sensitive position of Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, in the DoJ, an attorney who's most recent experience includes--but who has in fact spent most of her professional life--trying to defeat or block "super-fund" and other environmental suits against the country's most egregious, polluting, corporate defendants. What's in it for us?

The person named for the post is Ignacia S. Moreno, regarded by many as the nation's top corporate environmental litigator. On Tuesday, Obama “announced his intent to nominate” Moreno to as the primary enforcer of the nation’s environmental laws. At present, Moreno represents the nation's top environmental criminal. This makes no sense to me.

This is Moreno's second trip through the revolving door INTO government. She previously served in the Clinton DoJ as counsel to the Division she is now being named to lead. Her appointment has stimulated questions about the Obama administration's commitment to the environment protection. As lead litigator for GE, Moreno led the effort to stall, postpone, and otherwise obstruct the multi-billion dollar, Court-ordered clean-up by GE of the pcb pollution in the Hudson River. Critics wonder (justifiably, imho) if she can be an aggressive prosecutor of industries she has so long defended agains the very department she'll be leading. I add my own skepticism to the small chorus: Just because the fox guarding the hen-house is female doesn't make her any less likely to feather her nest.

Some might argue, charitably, that Moreno's experience defending corporate miscreants makes her the ideal person to direct Governmental litigation against those same polluting corporations.

But I'm not in a charitable mood, and I don't think that position captures the true spirit of the Govt. Regulator/Regulated revolving door. Morena made her bones in Clinton's DoJ, but Clinton's been gone for 8 years. She is said to have served "with distinction." But in the interim, Moreno took that experience (you might--uncharitably, I admit--regard it as a "taking' of the regulator's 'proprietary knowledge') and sold it to the highest corporate bidder, to help them thwart the Government's legitimate claims against the criminal polluters.

I am sure she's very comfortably fixed, by now: partner in a law firm, executive at GE, etc. But perhaps she felt she needed to burnish her credentials for her bosses at GE and elsewhere. She'll be worth a LOT more to them again AFTER she's been in Govt again for long enough to become more expert at avoiding regulation.

I doubt she's going to bite too fiercely at the hands she expects again to be feeding her in a couple of years. Given her cozy relations with sleazy corporate behavior, she'll fit right in with Eric Holder, the guy who got Chiquita off for hiring and supplying paid killers to keep "order" in Columbian banana plantations.

No, no, I don't really trust anybody in Government or Industry not to betray people for profit.

Do you think I am wrong in this?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Burst at the Seems


Mainly on the strength of what must anymore be regarded as a species of 'historical inertia,' the USofA still holds on, tenuously, to some prominence as a beacon for and a bastion of human and humane rights.

That has been changing, for some decades. But the change is accelerating.

The efforts of Obama to shield the Intelligence Community from further embarrassment and obloquy--or even any accountability--that would inevitably ensue from revcealing further evidence of torture by American--military or, and probably more troublingly, civilian/mercenary--operatives 'interrogating' West Asian detainees is using up USer political capital around the globe at the rate of a breached, beached tanker spilling oil into a pristine sea.

This is the consequence of presidential, Congressional, and media equivocation about the practice of torture, and America's undeniable--and shameful--descent into it. The Ship-of-State ran full-speed onto a well=-charted reef called "Torture," and burst at the seems. (Stet, goddam it)

The greatest harm "America" does by equivocating on what constitutes "torture," and whether or not USers do it, is to enable and empower torturers with less public accountability than even the Busheviks to pursue their malign designs on the bodies of their own citizens--which is where the overwelmingly greatest fraction of torture is inflicted. By arguing about whether or not waterboarding is torture, and eliding the deaths in captivity, probably through the consequences of torture, of upwards of 100 detainees--many of whom were undoubtedly unlucky, innocent victims--the stalwart defender of justice and humanity that the USofA prides itself as being becomes an icon for another, entirely different kind of official conduct.

Let us not forget that the USofA has not actually possessed the moral authority it pretended to since 1974, and the resignation of Nixon. Internationally, no matter what they professed in public, nobody with greater cognitive discernment than an onion has believed a single word produced by the USer/globalist propaganda machine for 35 years or more ("Light at the end of the tunnel" ring a bell?). So this fall from grace has been well understood by our neighbors and adversaries, but less so by our own citizen/consumers.

And there's the rub. Too many Murkins still do not believe they've been expertly propagandized since birth to believe the "exceptionalist" myths by which they order their lives. I assure you, if you believe in the core of your being that there is a difference between Coors and Bus, between Ford and Chevy, between MickeyD and the King, between Coke and Pepsi, between Democrats and Republicans,
YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY, IRREMEDIABLY, AND IRREDEEMABLY PROPAGANDIZED, BEYOTCH!!!
Unfortunately, it's too late to change their minds...Yeah, that's you and me, covered in--DYING IN--the shit that leaked out...

Boosters


Up on CJR today is a long (7 pp) essay by Dan Starkman which (overly gently, imho) castigates the so-called 'business' or 'financial' press for either missing or ignoring the signs that the situation on their "beat" was dire and worsening.
Power Problem

The business press did everything but take on the institutions that brought down the financial system

These are grim times for the nation’s financial media. Not only must they witness the unraveling of their own business, they must at the same time fend off charges that they failed to cover adequately their central beat—finance—during the years prior to an implosion that is forcing millions of low-income strivers into undeserved poverty and the entire world into an economic winter. The quotes above give a fair summary of the institutional response of the mainstream business press to the charge that it slept on the job while lenders and Wall Street ran amok. And while the record will show this response is not entirely wrong, one can see how casual business-press readers might have a problem with the idea that final responsibility for failing to stop escalating dangers in the financial system has somehow shifted to them.

Dang, Margaret, we blew it again.

It is understandable that the business press would want to defend its record. But it is equally understandable, I hope, that some readers might want to see some support for these claims. You know the old journalism saying, “If your mother says she loves you,” etc.

For if the institutional response is correct, and all was done that could be done, then journalism has even bigger problems than Google and Craigslist. (Emphasis supplied. W.) In the best case, if this response is to be believed, the financial press faces the problem of irrelevance—all that newsprint and coated paper, those millions of words, the bar graphs, stipple portraits, glossy photos of white guys, the printing presses, delivery trucks, and Yale degrees, is worth about as much as a New Century share.

Lippmann (Walter. W), I think, would understand the problem. Without facts, the public is powerless. With them, well, it can lick Countrywide and Goldman Sachs put together. In his book, Liberty and the News, Lippmann wrote: “Everywhere today men are conscious that somehow they must deal with questions more intricate than any church or school had prepared them to understand. Increasingly, they know they cannot understand them if facts are not quickly and steadily available.” Without them, he says, there can be no liberty.

He was talking about a crude and corrupt press that manipulated public opinion around World War I. We’re dealing with a financial press that is neither of those things, but is nonetheless a battered and buffeted institution that in the last decade saw its fortunes and status plummet as the institutions it covered ruled the earth and bent the government. The press, I believe, began to suffer from a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Now, it is in the awkward position of telling its readers they were insufficiently attentive to what it wrote.
The financial press, according to Starkman, want's to blame its readers for being insufficiently attentive. But of course, absent facts, the reader is likely going to be unable to make reasoned judgments, about anything.

It's the cover story of the magazine this week/month, and will bear your close attention. I replied to/summarized it ("Shorter"):
Seems to me that most of the "business press" is/was so much in the "pocket"/thrall of the people and institutions they were supposed to "cover," and that mere stenography and/or "home-town boosterism" had/has become so common-place that the "press" didn't (want to) recognize there was a problem. The 'financial press' regarded itself very much as though they were cheerleaders for the business they were covering (and getting rich off of).

The TV 'journalists' especially, it seems to me, were as/more interested in getting the next hot stock tip from their inside sources than they were in seeing there were dead/rotting 'trees' in that forest they were supposed to be investigating for the benefit /information of their readers/viewers.

I was in the news biz once, and I remember when "covering" a beat meant reporting things that were inconvenient for the people one was covering. It'd be nice if that ethos were somehow to be recovered, but I am not optimistic .
This is especially unlikely since the people whom the 'ethical' financial journalist should be covering and criticizing are employed by the people whom they are alleged to be 'covering.' We then recall Upton Sinclair's distant admonition: "It is difficult for a man to see that which his job depends on his being blind to..."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Aside: "thePrez" is said to be considering as many as SIX...

...different candidates for Souter's seat.

Women, mostly, Latino/a, gay. Brave choices, maybe.

Good!

But don't start thinking ANYTHING's gonna change the least shittin' bit unless he gets five of the six on the Court at the same time.

Doing Well By Doing "Good": The Public Spirit of Jack Murtha Reaches Out To Arlen Specter

Political altruism, is what it is. First time in history. Really! As Ken Silverstein of Harper's Washington Babylon blog reported earlier this week:
I’ve posted several items over the past month on how Congressman John Murtha & friends have been supporting a controversial biodefense facility that would develop and manufacture “vaccines and other medical countermeasures.” When I first started looking into the project, I called all the key players — Murtha; the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), which donates heavily to the congressman; a lobby shop and private investment firm, both in which Murtha’s good friend Jim Ervin has a stake — but none of them provided much information.

Ervin failed to return phone calls, a lobbyist at his firm said the proposal was “in its infancy” and had little more to add, and the congressman’s office deferred questions to UPMC. The latter did reply to some questions, after several weeks, but was relatively tight-lipped. The spokesman there also said the program was only in its earliest stages, and said no decision had been made about where the facility would be built. I had been told by sources that it would be located in Murtha’s district.

But it turns out the facility is further along than any of these people cared to admit. And now another key player has been identified, new Democratic Senator Arlen Specter:
UPMC wants to build a $830 million vaccine manufacturing facility, of which about $580 million would come from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense, which Specter said April 16 that he would help try to secure.
Not only is there a budget for the project, which was also denied by the people I spoke with, but there’s a proposed location as well. The story says the facility would be built in western Pennsylvania, a stretch of territory that includes(WAIT FOR IT...W Murtha’s district.
Well, it all for a good cause, and it keeps Murtha's political toadies and liskcpittles off the streets, so that's something, I guess...

There's A Black Man In The White House With The Blues

(Apologies to Lowell George/Little Feat)
You had to see this coming. Via FAIR's blog:
Rush Limbaugh Comes Right Out and Says It
05/13/2009 by Jim Naureckas

Political Animal's Steve Benen (5/12/09) notes a recent Rush Limbaugh broadcast (5/11/09) that makes the racist subtext of the right's critique of Barack Obama virtually explicit:
The [economic] deterioration reflects lower tax revenues and higher costs for bank failures, unemployment benefits and food stamps. But in the Oval Office of the White House none of this is a problem. This is the objective. The objective is unemployment. The objective is more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the nation's wealth and return to it to the nation's, quote, "rightful owners." Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if you want to understand what actually is going on.
So Limbaugh thinks Obama is intentionally creating unemployment in order to boost food stamps, unemployment and welfare as a form of "forced reparations"; he's wrecking the economy, in other words, in order to benefit black people. If Limbaugh is the voice of opposition to Obama, no wonder that opposition is so concentrated in the states of the old Confederacy.
Damned as much for a goat as for a ram! Obama's in the position I predicted early on last year: Whether or not he wants it, as an avatar for the aspirations and grievances of the 'minority' whose racial identity he shares, Obama would be seen and portrayed by his detractors--60 million of them voted against him--as being the 'tool' of the marginalized folks with whose interests his skin color and associated "morphological" characteristics associates him whether he likes it or not. On evidence, he seemingly does NOT like it; he ran AWAY from blackness and racialism, as much as out-right rejecting any but an anonymous, generic sympathy for the plight of blacks, or his ability/desire to asist them in Office.

So, if he's going to be attacked for assisting his 'racial' base, he might as well be shot for a goat as a sheep, and actually DO something for that part of his constituency.

He won't. He'll continue to be a tool of the Owners, serving their interests as loyally as any faithful old retainer, and if something good accrues to the people, well, shit happens...

But what the fuck, he should..,.

Pelosi: Torture Enabler, Minimum


In the wake of the release last week by the CIA of some ambiguous documents regarding the briefing of key members of Congress on the agency's "harsh interrogation techniques,' there is apparently some confusion about Speaker-of-the-House (and formerly minority leader) Nancy Pelosi's involvement with the Bushevik torture regime, such as what she knew and when she knew it.

Robert Scheer, the eminence luminairre of TruthDig, speaks to the issue in a column yesterday on his blog:
Nancy Pelosi is no Dick Cheney, nor a George W. Bush. She was neither the author of a systematic policy of torture nor has she been, like Cheney and most top Republicans in Congress, an enduring apologist for its practice. It is a nonsensical distraction to place her failure to speak out courageously as a critic of the Bush policies on the same level as those who engineered one of the most shameful debacles in U.S. history.

But what she, and anyone else who went along with this evil, as lackadaisically as she now claims, should be confronted with are the serious implications of their passive acquiescence. Why did she not speak up, or if it were a matter of a lack of reliable information, demand an accounting from the executive branch, as befits a leader of the loyal opposition in Congress?

If the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and later House Democratic leader, lacked the authority to publicly question a policy of torture, then how can we condemn, indeed imprison, ordinary soldiers who thought it their duty to follow orders?
Good questions, nest paw? If the bosses who ordered the crimes are immune, how can anyone, in any conscience, punish the enlisted folks, the grunts who were just following orders in a battle zone, for following orders from the consequences of which the Brass Hats--including Pelosi, Bush, Reid, Cheney, Frist, DeLay and others--were immune? If the grunts are in jail, why are their leaders not in the dock?

Of course, we should remember: Lt. Calley went to jail, Capt. Medina got riffed, and Colin Powel went to the War College after My Lai, so it's not all that surprising...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

European Food Authorities Ban "Frankenseeds"

My good, old pal, Sheila Samples (yep, same family), former US Army PIO-turned-relentless lefty blogger, from Lawton/Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, offers a long, serious rumination, on World News Daily's Information Clearinghouse blog on the responses of many international agricultural authorities to the incessant, and often illegal, importunings of USer Chem/Ag giant Monsanto to spread its genetically modified food-stock seeds by compelling the purchase of such seeds by farmers the world over. Some good 'take-away':
This goes way beyond garnering profits for agriculture conglomerates such as Monsanto. It is about disrupting the natural order of life -- whether plant or animal. And, for those orchestrating this havoc, it is about control. As Henry Kissinger once said matter-of-factly, "If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population." Kissinger has long been obsessed with two things -- depopulating the world and establishing a New World Order.

What better way to control the food than to ban seed saving -- what better weapon is there to use against starving populations than food? The answer is laid out in detail in F. William Engdahl's November 2007 critical book about genetic manipulation, "Seeds of Destruction." Engdahl is no conspiracy theorist. He is a leading researcher as well as an economist and an associate and regular contributor for the Centre for Research on Globalization.

In his
extensive three-part review of "Seeds," investigative journalist Stephen Lendman reveals "... the diabolical story of how Washington and four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting life forms to gain worldwide control of our food supply and why that prospect is chilling."

Lendman reminds us that Kissinger has been both at the forefront and behind the scenes since the 1960s when, as Engdahl wrote, "the Rockefellers were at the power center of the US establishment (and) Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (was) their hand-picked protege." Kissinger was there as Nixon's Secretary of State in 1973 when the food crisis hit and, as Engdahl said, he decided US agricultural policy was "too important to be left in the hands of the Agricultural Department so he took control of it himself." Even back then, Kissinger's goal was to go global and seize control of the agricultural food market. Kissinger's "food diplomacy" was to use food to "reward friends and punish enemies."

Lendman writes, "Food is power. When used to cull the population, it's a weapon of mass destruction." He says "One way or another, the Rockefeller Foundation aims to reduce population through human reproduction by spreading GMO seeds." And the "world's number one" in patenting seeds is Monsanto. He explains...
Like it or not, they're advancing their agenda, and a 2004 Rockefeller Foundation report shows it. GM crop production achieved nine consecutive double digit year increases since 1996. More than eight million farmers in 17 countries now plant them, over 90% in developing nations. Far and away, the US is the world's leader "with aggressive Government promotion, absence of labeling, and the domination of US farm production." Here, "genetically engineered crops (have) essentially taken over the American food chain." In 2004, over 85% of soybeans were genetically modified, 45% of corn, and since animal feed is mainly from these crops "the entire meat production of the nation (and exports) has been fed on genetically modified animal feed." What animals eat, so do humans.

According to Engdahl, agribusiness giants, aided by the Rockefeller Foundation, the US government and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are progressing relentlessly toward the second pillar of Kissinger's end game -- controlling food to control (and expunge) populations of lesser nations. In December 2007, Engdahl sounded the alarm about yet another seed venture (adventure?), "Doomsday Seed Vault in the Arctic," a steel-reinforced concrete seed bank built deep inside a mountain on the remote Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. This "program" is funded by the Rockefellers, by such seed giants as Syngenta and Monsanto -- and by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who knows a bit about monopoly.
Here's Sheila's whole piece, which is long and thoughtful and well worth your attention.

Meanwhile, ignoring Lester Brown is becoming more and more difficult. In a piece echoing Brown's persistent warning that the incipient global food shortages could tank world civilization, Joseph Romm (Alternet/Climate Progress) reports:
We desperately need a new way of thinking, a new mind-set. The thinking that got us into this bind will not get us out. When Elizabeth Kolbert, a writer for the New Yorker, asked energy guru Amory Lovins about thinking outside the box, Lovins responded: "There is no box."

There is no box. That is the mind-set we need if civilization is to survive.

It's not news that Lester Brown is warning about our unsustainable approach to feeding the planet. But it is news that Scientific American has run a major article by him on how "The biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse."

Brown's "Key Concepts":
* Food scarcity and the resulting higher food prices are pushing poor countries into chaos.
* Such "failed states" can export disease, terrorism, illicit drugs, weapons and refugees.
* Water shortages, soil losses and rising temperatures from global warming are placing severe limits on food production.
* Without massive and rapid intervention to address these three environmental factors, the author argues, a series of government collapses could threaten the world order.
Not even Brown, however dire his forecasts, approves the plans for the mega-ag (Monsanto/ConAgra/ADM) plans for colonizing the world with frankenseed and frankenfood.