October 7, 2007 archive

Torture, Terrorism, Death Squads when we stopped being the good guys

A few days ago this essay was posted on docudharma it concerns state sponsored terrorism and torture enabled by the DoJ, CIA and of course our President. My response to the essay has evolved into a diary about the roots of our violent, regime changing, torturing, death squad, secret prisons and extraordinary rendition school of foreign relations.  Follow me below the fold for a glimpse of our shameful past, present and future and when we stopped being the good guys to the rest of the world.

excellent anti-war music video: very worth checking out

Serj Tankian, otherwise lead singer of the fantastic System of a Down (no strangers to anti-war videos themselves), released a video last month for his solo single “Empty Walls” that really deserves watching if you haven’t seen it already.  The whole thing is good, but the ending especially is a zinger:

Don’t waste your time
on coffins today

The video was released on September 11, but has recently picked up enough steam to score rotation on MTV, which is how I first saw it (albeit late at night, when MTV’s not showing one of its million non-music shows).

Largest US burger meat processor out of business after E.coli recall

Another addition of Sign of the Times…

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — Topps Meat Co. LLC, the meat company responsible for the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history, said Friday it will close its plant in Elizabeth, N.J., and go out of business, effective immediately.

Topps on Sept. 25 began a recall of its frozen hamburger meat that was expanded to comprise 21.7 million pounds of the meat, which may be contaminated with E. coli after federal inspectors discovered inadequate safety measures at its plant.

“In one week we have gone from the largest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers to a company that cannot overcome the economic reality of a recall this large,” he said.

Here is the USDA recall page.

Countdown ’til some clueless Gooper argues that meddling big government agencies are bad for the economy. 

In 3…2…1….

Topps Meat Company, LLC, a privately held company, is apparently not the same firm as Topps Company, Inc., a public company (NASDAQ NM: Topp) that makes sports trading cards.

Four at Four

This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started. Toss the lucky man into the Nile and he will come up with a fish in his mouth.

  1. This Sunday, here are three different views of life for the people in occupied Iraq.

    • For Iraqi Christians, James Palmer of the Washington Post reports they either ‘Live In Fear Or Flee‘. “Extreme Islamic militants increasingly are targeting Christians in Iraq, especially in the capital. As a result, Iraq’s Christian community — long the minority in a largely Muslim country — continues to dwindle.”

      The last Iraqi census was conducted in 1987 and counted 1 million Christians. “National aid groups estimate that between 300,000 and 600,000 Christians remain among an estimated 25 million people” in Iraq. Many Iraqi Christians have been given three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) pay “protection” money, or 3) leave.

    • For Iraqis who work for Americans, Sabrina Tavernise reports ‘In Life of Lies, Iraqis Conceal Work for U.S.‘ “For the tens of thousands of Iraqis who work for the United States in Iraq, daily life is an elaborate balancing act of small, memorized untruths. Desperate for work of any kind when jobs are extremely hard to come by in Iraq, they do what they must, even though affiliation with the Americans makes them targets.”

      The Iraqis who work for the Americans construct elaborate, complex lies to cover their work, where they go and what they do. They live in constant peril of having their cover blown by casual conversation or even their own children. Often their complex stories turn and pose problems for them. Other Iraqis, believing the workers’ cover stories, often ask them to do things, fix things, make things only their alibi could do… further putting them at risk.

    • Finally, for an Iraqi family trying to leave Iraq, opportunities to immigrate prove elusive. As an Iraqi, anonymous fro security reasons, writing for the Los Angeles Times explains in ‘After leaving Iraq, a bitter return home‘.

      I never knew how badly I wanted to leave Iraq until I was forced to come back… Even though we both were making good money in Iraq, we flew to the UAE in December to take the tests required to work there as pharmacists…

      Life was different there — no explosions, no blackouts. We would go out in the evenings, doing whatever we liked without fear of militias or religious extremists… Even our baby girl, who was too young to understand what was happening, had more fun… For us, a small family, it was a piece of heaven…

      After two months, my application for a work visa still had not come through. I had to leave the UAE because my visitor’s visa was about to expire, but I was confident my work visa would come through…

      My wife says it is our bad luck to be Iraqis. ‘This bad luck is stuck to us forever,’ she said after the visa was rejected. I think she is right.

The rest of today’s Four at Four is lurking below the fold.

  1. An update on what comes next from Burmese activists and a report on a secret junta crematorium in Burma.

  2. Three stories relating to Blackwater in the “Guns of Greed” section.

  3. The arrest of American Indian Movement leader Russell Means yesterday.

Plus a bonus story about the fate that awaits Pacific Northwest salmon from global warming. So dive in, there’s a lot more below the fold…

I am not pinche _ loafano

Oh my goodness!

I got home a little while ago from a morning at church and then a barbecue at my cousin’s house with the whole family here in Chicago. She lives close by. I started reading the blogs, like I do most days – Docudharma, Daily Kos, and then pff.

Today I clicked on a diary titled “Who is pinche – loafano?” at pff and I saw my Docudharma username has been included in a poll. The poll asks the question, “Who is pinche _ loafano? And lo and behold I am leading in the poll with two votes. OK ,that’s not many, but still!

here’s the link : http://politicalfles…

My goodness. I’m figuring the author of the diary at pff, pinche _ loafano, saw my name in Jay Elias’s diary here yesterday. Jay was responding to p _ l’s diary falsely claiming that Jay had left Docudharma.  He must have used my name in the poll cause it’s sort of unusual.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Give Peace a Chance

Barry MacGuire:  Eve of Destruction

The TaleMaster 2… The Dwarves Tale

This little tale started itself about a dozen years ago. It was originally a one page background for a D&D character. Then came a dream or three which added so much more. Life & Death interfered for many years. I’ve begun dreaming of the tale again, recently. This will eventually be a book, I hope.

If you’re just joining the story, here’s a Link to previous part

So please, go get yourself a tall cold beverage, adjust your reading glasses and settle into your comfy chair….

  The Seth runs his hand through his coarse grey hair, causing greater disarray, then strokes his wispy beard and settles his patched and faded robes. He picks up the tankard, takes a quick swallow and places it back on the floor.

  As he begins, his voice gains resonance and depth. “And so begins the tale of ‘How the Dwarves Came to the Mountain’. This happened long, long ago before your Grandfathers-Grandfathers time.

My Other Life

I’m now a week away from ….I don’t know – nothingness might be an apt word.

So this last bit of blogging is essentially risk-free and somewhat liberating, as lasthorsestanding remarked on another thread. My other life – the one where I had a home, an occupation and a “normal life” – is one you might find of interest, and how it led to today, where I have nothing and no one, and where there is no future except no future.

Several years ago, I was house-hunting for a small country place in which to be able to keep my two horses.

BushCheney’s Legacy: Chaos, Contractors, Mercs and Military

Where to begin…? Sifting through the various remnants of news that percolate through the blogosphere and occassionally leak out onto the traditional media, watching as the words stain and run like ink written in blood, I’m trying to piece together several aspects of the current state of our nation after six and half years of a maniacal, arrogant Executive Branch that’s been desperately protected by the Republican leaders in Congress.

The topics are many.  Environmentally, they range from enhancing the denial of global warming evidence to outright enabling of faster destruction of national rivers, streams, mountains and forests. In terms of national security, New Orleans recovery from Katrina stains mix heavily on the page along with the Walter Reed scandal and screwing the troops, all while the military is stretched to the breaking point and beyond, and the same imbeciles who brought us into Iraq — based on lies that switched between false claims of ties to a preventable 9/11 disaster to false claims of Al Qaeda support or possessing and developing WMDS — are now actively striving to get us into position to bomb the sh!t out of Iran.

So, where the hell to begin? What kind of legacy have these feckless fools crafted for our upcoming generations?

What Ever Happened to the Democrats?

Remember when they were an opposition party?  Remember when they were on our side?  I’m sure most of you have noticed by now that they just aren’t anymore.



maybe we could just use the internet to promote peace amongst ourselves, the ordinary everyday people. like between me and armando. he sought me out to have peace in our relationship. it shook me up a little and convinced me this can be done.

i was at pff yesterday. all in all, a very exhausting but very worthwhile experience. some people there feel they are owed an apology. tell me, do we need to negotiate who will be the first to drop their weapons? or do we just do it, and let go of sorting out who started what or why. can we do it without assigning blame and asking for anything in return. even if we are turned out, not welcomed. can we pursue peace there?

it seems to me if desire is the root of the problem then in this case, it’s the desire to be right or to be acknowledged as right. what if that’s exactly what is wrong?

one last thing. maybe this peace thing is just a simple as bypassing governments. maybe we can achieve peace, from one person to the next by “paying it forward” and acknowledging that is what is happening. and the internet can facilitate this. maybe it will end up with warring factions going to each others web sites and asking for peace. ridiculous? maybe. but maybe not.

armando started with me. i brought that to some others.

no letters to write or e-mail petitions to sign. nothing to buy or donate to. just make peace with somebody you’ve been at war with and then ask them to do the same.

Robyn knows about this… her story has stuck with me about her siblings.

What America Is Today: Wearing A Flag Lapel Pin While Torturing

Today, the NYTimes Editorial Board opines:

Once upon a time, it was the United States that urged all nations to obey the letter and the spirit of international treaties and protect human rights and liberties. American leaders denounced secret prisons where people were held without charges, tortured and killed. And the people in much of the world, if not their governments, respected the United States for its values.

The Bush administration has dishonored that history and squandered that respect. As an article on this newspaper’s front page last week laid out in disturbing detail, President Bush and his aides have not only condoned torture and abuse at secret prisons, but they have conducted a systematic campaign to mislead Congress, the American people and the world about those policies.

And then asks:

For the rest of the nation, there is an immediate question: Is this really who we are?

Indeed America is not simply a Nation that tortures. It is a Nation that insists that an American flag lapel pin be worn while we torture.

Patriotism? No, jingoism. Fascism.

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