September 26, 2007 archive

Iran War

It’s 5:50 PM EDT.
Note the comment saying Kyl-Lie-berman resolution passed in the Senate.

Note rabid 52 year old America searching attic for American flag to hang upside down on front of house located on Main Street.

Nice horsie, God says time’s almost here.

Yes I guess it’s official

The floodgate of Hell itself are wide open.

Send Hagee To Hell: Don’t Let Bush Bomb Iran!

My old friend, who is an ex-southern Baptist preacher and also who introduced me to Plato’s “Cave Allegory” as an undergraduate, told me of his new found philosophy of hell one day by relating a conversation he had with a woman. She was very upset after he asked her a question and answered it for her. His question to her was “Since Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, where is hell?” “The Bible doesn’t say that,” she objected. He then told her the verse it came from  and answered his own question, “Since the Kingdom of Heaven is within, then hell is within.” She became angry at him in his story, and we both had a good laugh. He relished in telling the story, while I enjoyed it immensely. It speaks of how fundamentalist Christians ignore or care not to discover the very words their Master spoke when and if those liberating words do not suit them – fundamentalist Christians like John Hagee and his blind flock.

Political power, leftist corporations and a new communitarianism

(This is an updated version of a diary that appeared today on DKOS)

In case this is news to anyone, political power is not a function of being able to convince others using reason to follow a particular path. Political power may flow from elections and democratic institutions but, as we are currently constituted in the United States, this is not the case. We have a President that can still do pretty much as he pleases whether he has an 80% or 20% approval ratings and whether or not his party has a majority in Congress. There are reasons for this that come down to this: as a practical matter if you can control what is “real”, i.e., control information you can rule in today’s environment. Information is controlled not through banning alternate views but rather by the ability to endlessly repeat one view. The blogosphere can present all kinds of contrary information, but if cannot repeat with the automatic weapons of propaganda that the mass media use to make even the most aburd ideas into truth. This happened, in its most obvious way, by endlessly associating Saddam with Al-qaeda and WMDs even though most experts knew very well there was no truth to either claim. But because the propaganda organs endlessly repeated it became “true” for most people during the time the campaign was underway and remains true for many people even after the officials admitted that those associations were false.

Four at Four

This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started. Better a handful of dried dates and content with that than to own the Gate of Peacocks and be kicked in the eye by a broody camel.

  1. The New York Times reports the Bush administration is giving away $10 billion in federal oil and gas leases for little or nothing. The report, “prepared by the Interior Department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, the report said that investigators found a ‘profound failure’ in the agency’s technology for monitoring oil and gas payments. ¶ It suggested that the agency was too cozy with oil companies and that internal critics had good reason to fear punishment… ¶ The report was the latest result of a long series of investigations into the troubled federal program for collecting oil and gas royalties. Last year, Mr. Devaney told a Congressional hearing that ‘short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior.’ ¶ The new report did not try to estimate the amount of money that might have been lost. Early in 2006, officials conceded that the government might lose about $10 billion in revenue over the next decade because of a legal mistake in oil and gas leases that had been ignored for six years.” Funny how the ‘mistake’ cropped up when Bush took office.

  2. You think the dollar is about worthless now, just wait until the Republicans’ total war completely bankrupts the United States. The AP reports, Defense War Secretary Robert Gates seeks $190 Billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008. His request increases “initial projections by more than a third. ¶ In remarks prepared for a Senate hearing, Gates says the extra money is necessary to buy vehicles that can protect troops against roadside bombs, refurbish equipment worn down by combat and consolidate U.S. bases in Iraq.” Gate makes sure to link everything back to September 11th, 2001, concluding his prepared remarks “I would like to close with a word about something I know we can all agree on — the honor, courage and great sense of duty we have witnessed in our troops since September 11th.” According to the U.S. News & World Report, “the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was $173 billion in fiscal 2007.” The capitulation Congress is expected to rubber stamp the ’emergency’ request, but add ‘strings’ like a war with Iran. Lovely.

  3. Yesterday, the House passed legislation expanding the federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) by a 265 to 159 vote. According to The New York Times, 45 House Republicans voted for it, along with 220 Democrats. “More than two-thirds of senators are expected to vote for the bill when it reaches the floor later this week. Without a fresh infusion of federal cash, a dozen states are expected to run out of money for coverage of children next month.” George W. Bush has promised to veto the legislation. “The money provided in the bill is $35 billion more than the current level of spending and $30 billion more than Mr. Bush wanted.” Insuring the health of American children is too expensive for the Republicans and the Bush administration, but according to House Minority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who did not vote for the bill’s passage. $190 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a “small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids.” According to the Washington Post, “If it comes to a veto override fight, Boehner will be the White House’s man on the Hill.” Bush’s $10 billion gift to the oil and gas industry could have paid for a third of this program.

  4. It just wouldn’t be Four at Four without a round-up of Blackwater news.

    • TPM Muckraker has obtained a forthcoming study by private-military contractor expert P.W. Singer concluding private security firms have hurt the U.S. efforts in Iraq. “What the contracting industry diminishes in political cost it compounds in actual cost to counterinsurgency. Iraqis view private companies like Blackwater as lawless, and they have no reason to distinguish between private contractors and U.S. troops — thereby compounding the danger to U.S. forces from infuriated Iraqis… ¶ Even more simply, private military contractors aren’t in the chain of command, meaning U.S. officers are powerless to stop them from engaging in activities deleterious to a command plan.” The Washington Post reports the U.S. military has made similar conclusions, putting the military at the state department at odds.

      In high-level meetings over the past several days, U.S. military officials have pressed State Department officials to assert more control over Blackwater, which operates under the department’s authority, said a U.S. government official with knowledge of the discussions. “The military is very sensitive to its relationship that they’ve built with the Iraqis being altered or even severely degraded by actions such as this event,” the official said…

      “This is a big mess that I don’t think anyone has their hands around yet,” said another U.S. military official. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing these guys are being held accountable. Iraqis hate them, the troops don’t particularly care for them, and they tend to have a know-it-all attitude, which means they rarely listen to anyone — even the folks that patrol the ground on a daily basis.”

      “This is a nightmare,” said a senior U.S. military official. “We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib, and it comes at a time when we’re trying to have an impact for the long term.”

    • The U.S. State Department is protecting Condoleezza Rice’s mercenary army in Iraq from Congressional oversight, the Los Angeles Times reports. “The State Department has interceded in a congressional investigation of Blackwater USA, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians last week, ordering the company not to disclose information about its Iraq operations without approval from the Bush administration… ¶ In a letter sent to a senior Blackwater executive Thursday, a State Department contracting official ordered the company “to make no disclosure of the documents or information” about its work in Iraq without permission.” The House oversight committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, had scheduled “a Blackwater hearing for next Tuesday, but Blackwater’s attorneys warned the committee that the State Department’s letter may complicate company executives’ testimony.” According to The New York Times, the State Department calls their interference just a “misundestanding”. “In response, a State Department statement late Tuesday said: ‘There seems to be some misunderstanding with regard to this matter. All information requested by the committee has been or is in the process of being provided.'” According to a statement on the House oversight committee’s website, “The State Department has sent a new letter to Blackwater informing Blackwater that the company should provide documents to the Committee.” I think Blackwater is a distraction to the real issue. Waxman must get Rice to publicly testify about private armies. Why, after six years are mercenaries still employed?

    • Despite allowing Blackwater back on the job, the Iraqi government might actually be asserting its sovereignty. According to the Financial Times, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told George W. Bush that Iraq’s investigation into Blackwater comes before Bush’s coveted new oil law. “But despite months of US pressure, the Iraqi parliament has yet to agree a new oil law, relax earlier de-Ba’athification measures or change the constitution. ¶ Instead, the Baghdad government indicated on Tuesday that it was proceeding with plans to put private security groups – such as the US company Blackwater, which was involved in a fatal shooting this month – firmly under national law.” However, the Los Angeles Times reports the meeting between Bush and Malaki was brief. “U.S. officials said the exchange was neither lengthy nor confrontational. Instead, there was ‘a general discussion of the importance of recognition of Iraqi sovereignty,’ said Stephen Hadley, Bush’s national security advisor. ¶ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Maliki discussed the incident in greater detail after the formal meeting. The two countries are seeking better cooperation and coordination in security operations, while taking into consideration Iraqi sovereignty and the needs of protecting State Department personnel, Hadley said.”

    • NPR’s profile of the CEO of Blackwater, concluded Erik Prince has strong Republican and Christian group ties. Prince’s father “was a close friend and supporter of Christian evangelists, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, as well as a contributor to the Republican Party. He was an early benefactor of the Family Research Council.”

      Prince has been a steady contributor to the Republican National Committee, giving more than $200,000 since 1998. He also has supported various conservative candidates, including President Bush, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rick Santorum (R-PA), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

      Other members of Prince’s family have been active in Republican politics. His sister, Betsy DeVos, has served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party, and her husband, Dick DeVos, was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Michigan in 2006. Dick DeVos, a member of the conservative family that co-founded Amway, succeeded his father as president of that company.

      Prince serves as a board member of Christian Freedom International, a nonprofit group that provides Bibles, food and other help to Christians in countries where they face persecution.

One more story below the fold…


Edited and updated

Because really, what else is there left to do?

Some insane Democrats have just insanely voted for an insane bill to insanely approve THREATENING Iran, which is insanely similar in enough symbolic ways to the insane AUMF to make the use of the word insane…..mandatory. And of course, the Republicans are insane too, but we all knew that. Our government is yet again ratcheting up its War Machine to attack yet another sovereign nation that has taken no direct action to harm us.

Combined with continuously giving unconditional blood money to Bush, and the FISA debacle and SOOOO many other just…..insane….actions they have taken and sane ones they have not taken… can anyone have ANY hope that the Democrats as a whole will in any way oppose Bush? And if THEY don’t oppose Bush, oppose war with Iran, oppose $200 Billion to kill Iraqis…..who will?

Where does that leave us….the sane people of the world? What choices do we have left?

How can we let them know of our disapproval?

How can we repudiate this latest insanity?

How can WE oppose Bush, since they won’t?

How do we keep the Blood off of our hands?

A refusal to participate in the system is all we have left.

There is a call for a general strike on November 6, 2007.

Don’t go to work. Don’t buy anything. Simple.

Tell everyone you know to do the same. Write about it. Do it.

What else is left to us to do, besides surrender and admit that we have NO power, NO voice, and NO chance for ever changing anything.

I refuse.


Gutted Lieberman-Kyl Iran Amendment Passes

Wasting time, good will and attempting to wreak havoc, the original Lieberman-Kyl Amendment on Iran was tantamount to granting President Bush the power to wage war against Iran. Still wasting time and attempting to wreak havoc, the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment was gutted of its war authorizing provisions, but remained provocative, unnecessary and stupid. It should have been voted down. It was not. It passed. Among the Ays was Senator Hillary Clinton. Among the Nays were Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Absent was Senator Barack Obama. 

Torture Critics, Ethics Games, and Institutional Corruption

Dr. Michael Wessells, one of ten members of the American Psychological Association’s 2006 Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS), has released a letter to APA strongly condemning the position taken by that organization regarding psychologist participation at national security interrogations at sites like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prison.

Dr. Wessells is Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University, and also Professor of Psychology at Randolph Macon College. He is the psychosocial advisor for the Children’s Christian Fund, and “regularly advises U. N. agencies, donors, and governments on policies regarding child protection and well-being”. Dr. Wessells is the author of Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection.

The PENS Task Force, of which Dr. Wessells was a member, was ostensibly organized to address the controversy over psychologists working in national security settings. As the APA/PENS June 2005 Report described it, PENS was to

[E]xamine whether our current Ethics Code adequately addresses [the ethical dimensions of psychologists’ involvement in national security-related activities], whether the APA provides adequate ethical guidance to psychologists involved in these endeavors, and whether APA should develop policy to address the role of psychologists and psychology in investigations related to national security.

Custer’s Pipeline & Genocide Denial

A Canadian company has the legal right to condemn land for a crude-oil pipeline through the eastern part of the state (South Dakota in this case) –

Custer’s method of attack was a four front attack at dawn on sleeping villages. It seems an extreme comparison to make, even irresponsible. Is it however, since George W. Bush and the Neoconservative forces in the U.S. and in Canada who de-affirmed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are going to finish what Custer started in the sacred Black Hills? Custer discovered gold there and that brought the railroad along with cultural destruction in the very least. Today, uranium has been being drilled for, and more cultural destruction will probably tragically come about as the result of the TransCanada Keystone Project. But wait, that’s not the only problem.

The Grunts and Transformational Leadership

I had planned to provide another project management tool for your toolkit.

But, seeing as the response to essays which ask for actual – WORK – on the part of readers approaches zero, I’m not going to bother.

See – no commitment.  Just gimme some Bush bashing, some inane unfounded opinions, and some free wheeling swearing.

Cheap thrills abound on progressive blogs.

I asked before for links or leads to group blogs that address policy.  There were zero.

Folks, blogs are great for entertainment, sensation and outrage.  In these, they won’t fail to disappoint.

But if you want to make real change and act, then you have to do some real work and make real commitments.

Capitulation Congress

I can’t fucking believe it.

Our Craven Cowards, our Beltway Bozos have just passed the Kyl-Lieberman “Let’s start a war we will fucking lose” amendment and a House censure for over the BetrayUs ad.

Let me tell you who’s betraying us- Congressional Democrats!

Quislings.  Cowards.  Bone headed assholes the lot of them.  Bush Buttkissers.  Enablers of Torture.  Simpering Sycophants.

Fuck them all.

Kyl-Lieberman via Think Progress.

Markos’ list.


Docudharma is about discussing and debating ideas. All ideas. We are not about being respected by other media or electing …anyone. That gives us the opportunity to discuss politics and everything else, freely. Our nominal focus is on finding a way to create a better future, but that is mainly because we needed a nominal focus! Other than the usual parameters of relatively civilized behavior, there is nothing out of bounds. Vigorous debate is encouraged, not shunned, and if you cross the legendary ‘line,’ folks will call you on it. Vigorously.

Inflammatory discussion of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not allowed. What constitutes inflammatory is my subjective call. If you wish to publish on this issue please e-mail me for more details.

There are some other things that are not allowed here, but they are just the basics. Threatening or calling for or planning violence, spamming, fundraising or publishing pedophilia. These things will get you warned and if you persist… quickly banned. As will excessive and prolonged Assholery. Assholery is of course subjective, but basically consists of NOT debating ideas, but attacking or stalking other posters. Attacks on other posters WHILE discussing ideas is discouraged, but since it happens on every blog everywhere inevitably, we have to some extent surrendered to it here at Docudharma.

One thing we do NOT do here is pre-emptively ban. You will be warned, in public if you are getting close to being banned. You have the right to argue that, you have a right to appeal it. But unlike other blogs we will not pretend that it is not subjective. If enough people don’t like the way you post…you will hear about it! Only one person makes the final decision to ban…me, buhdydharma. To get banned here, you have to offend me.

It is very hard to offend me…but this is my site and what I say goes. I will ban people, if necessary, but…WITH an explanation of why. And with a three comment argument policy. In other words, I will listen to your argument for three comments as to why a post shouldn’t be pulled, or why you shouldn’t be banned. If you fail to convince me in three comments, I will most likely stop arguing with you.

Conspiracy theories are allowed, Dirty Fucking Hippies are welcomed with open arms, and Republicans who are not overly dogmatic are tolerated. To reiterate, this is NOT a site to elect Democrats. NEITHER IS IT A DAILY KOS BASHING SITE. There are plenty of other places to do that.

All of the ‘rules’ are subject to …..MY subjectivity. All of these rules are changeable. And challengable! But….I am The Decider.  The Zen Dictator of Docudharma…meaning, I will have a hands off policy and position as much as is possible, but if it comes to me having to make a decision, I will do so as quickly as possible and take full responsibility for it. If the site is successful and we get too big for me to pay attention to every case, the rules will be changed. Which should lead to some interesting discussions!

Hiding Offensive Comments : We have a three ‘stage’ rating system: Unacceptable (hide), Marginal (wrong), and Excellent (pony). This will work just like at Daily Kos, two ratings of unacceptable and the comment is hidden. Comments are hidden by Responsible Users, the equivalent of Trusted Users at Daily Kos.  Becoming a Responsible User is more difficult at Docudharma, than at Daily Kos.  If you wish to become a Responsible User you have to have been posting here for a while have a good track record of debating honestly and of respecting the community. There is an algorithm that kicks in and qualifies you to become a Responsible User. But we will also review who has the privilege occasionally to cut down on any abuses. As much as is possible, cliques and packs and gangs formed for rating purposes will not be allowed. If you have a problem, or think you are being treated unfairly, talk to me. We will work it out.

Hopefully……none of this bullshit will be necessary! If we approach and communicate with each other with a modicum of respect and honesty in debate, VERY little moderation will be needed. In other words….Be Excellent To Each Other. Don’t Start No Shit, And There Won’t Be No Shit. Live And Let Live. There Is no Crying In CalvinBall.

I believe in transparency, so as much as possible…well let’s be honest…as much as is convenient…the process of running and moderating this forum will be transparent. We are looking to TRULY be a community site. All suggestions for how to make the site better will be listened to and considered. We want every user here to feel as if it is their site, while keeping just enough control to keep from descending into total anarchy So, please, take your shoes off, settle in and make yourself at home!

Questions: If you have a question on how to use the site…or on more existential matters, post them in an Open Thread and they will most likely be answered, if not e-mail us at

Ponies People often ask about the origin and use of Ponies. There are no easy answers. Some things are best left as mysteries! However if you make a comment and a Pony suddenly appears after it, rest assured it is a compliment and  a ‘reward’ for being funny, smart or insightful. If for some reason you have not received a Pony and you are experiencing Pony Envy… just ask!

Guidelines for Essays  Since we are starting out as a small site and are not AS worried about diaries scrolling off the page, there is no Three Paragraph Rule. Your thoughts are welcome even if they do not fill up a page. Out of respect for other essayists we would LIKE you to consider the fact that every essay does move another essay down the list and as in all things here, we ask that you post essays with care and consideration.

While we allow Conspiracy theories and speculation…do NOT be surprised if ANYTHING you state as fact is challenged.

Just as you have the right to express yourself in an essay or comment, everyone else here has the right to challenge what you say…and they will. Be prepared, this is NOT a tea party! We enjoy vigorous debate here.  Though we will make an effort to not allow debate to become too ‘personal’…The official policy of Docudharma is, that if engaged in as honestly as possible, if we can eschew as much as possible attacking the PERSON behind the argument, and if we can shake hands afterwards… Flame Wars Are FUN!

Last Word: This is a blog, not life or death, we are on the Internet, not a battlefield. We are all just fellow posters…The Enemy is not here,  treating someone on this blog as an enemy is a pretty good definition of Assholery. Please keep this in perspective, people…we are here to debate each other, not destroy each other.

It is only a blog.

Load more