December 15, 2007 archive

Professor Obama will restore the Constitution

Today is a very important holiday. The congress did not nearly unanimously pass a resolution recognizing it’s importance. But it’s pretty damn important in my mind, I am speaking of course of the Bill Of Rights day. How am I celebrating Bill of Rights day? I’ve already drunk some tea from my disappearing civil liberties cup as shown above and watch our bill of rights disappear (Thanks Patriot Act!) Now I’m mad enough to do something about it. But first I recommend you get a similar cup. Only 11 dollars on Amazon. Now on to the real topic of the diary, why I believe former Professor (He was actually a Senior Lecturer in Law but professor sounds better) Obama will restore our constitution and our Bill of Rights. And a little call to action.

Indian Boarding Schools: Cultural Assimilation and Destruction (Updated & Edited)

What happened inside the walls of theIndian Boarding School that used to be to the right here?

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Let’s look to history for some feasible answers.

(This video is over at Pretty Bird Woman House)

A moment crying for leadership.


It is a word thrown around all too frequently, and far to often without much though as to what actually constitutes leadership.  Oftentimes, it means doing something or being in a position where your words or actions can motivate others, while it also means having the ability to make others want to follow you based on your actions or stances on issues.  And other times, it means taking a strong stand for what you know in your heart and mind is the right thing, regardless of the odds or the obstacles.

Most of all, leadership is demonstrated by actions, and while there are many many opportunities to talk about how one would lead, there are fewer opportunities to stand up for your beliefs, both symbolically and in reality – and to back up your words.

This is one such opportunity.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Judge urged not to ask about CIA tapes

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration told a federal judge it was not obligated to preserve videotapes of CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists and urged the court not to look into the tapes’ destruction.

In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.

It was the first time the government had addressed the issue of the videotapes in court.

Okay, Now I Get It


Like so many others, I have been bothered, bewitched and bewildered by the behavior of the Democratic ‘leadership’ over the past few years.  At first the excuse that they were being steamrolled by the majority Republicans provided them some cover, but it gradually became evident that something more sinister was at play.  

What Really Were In The Tapes and Why The Destruction!

I was going to do a quick writeup about the destroyed CIA Interrogation Tapes, earlier this week, after listening once again to ex-CIA agent John Kiriakou being interviewed, on NPR’s All Things Considered {you can listen to the interview at the link} and his interviews sounding so much like they were memorized facts that really go no where.

Fact is I don’t buy his story.

The reasons he’s out in public giving this story are my suspicions, and not yet based on facts, may never be, but than again all it takes is total honesty, by someone, to get the real story.

The whole debate, to date, revolves around one form of Illegal Torture, Waterboarding.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was a member of the team that captured and questioned al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. The interrogation is one of two CIA interrogations at the heart of the current controversy surrounding destroyed videotapes.


Xposted at PDA Blog

I first heard of the IRAQ MORATORIUM at the 20 year anniversary of  Nuremberg Actions.   September 1, 1987 was the day a  US navy munitions train ran over Brian Willson when he and Nuremberg Actions were protesting US actions in Central America.  The commemoration lasted a couple of hours at the Concord Naval Weapons Station “tracks.”   Then we gathered in a Berkeley backyard for a great barbeque, many reminiscences, and lots of laughter.  

With so many old time activists in attendance, it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to strategizing about what could be done to get us out of our current situation–the madness, the craziness, the intransigence of war on Iraq and threats against Iran.   Some of the folks present were already involved with the Iraq Moratorium, and the conversation really settled on that.  Dan Ellsberg was one of the main participants.  Despite his busy schedule, Dan stayed all day, from 10 AM to 8:30 PM.  He seemed so eager to find a way, a new possibility.  He related the story of the Vietnam Moratorium in the late 60s.

In October 1969 Nixon was so discouraged, angry and disheartened with the course of the war in South East Asia, he decided to threaten bombing North Vietnam with Nuclear Weapons.  Whether this threat was real or a bluff is still up for debate; it was most probably both.  According to Ellsberg, Nixon made it clear to North Vietnam and the world, both through direct statements and through the Russian Ambassador, that “…the train had left the station and was heading down the tracks…,” a phrase meant to convey the irreversibility of his plans.  

However, at the very same time, yet separately from Nixon’s plans, the peace movement came up with the “Vietnam Moratorium.”  A movement where people pledged to be in non compliance with the system 1 day a month, to walk out from school, from work, from business as usual in the name of peace and in protest of the war.  According to Dan Ellsberg, when Nixon saw 2 million people engage in this action, and state their intention to do the same the following month, he really felt he could not risk this large display of non cooperation with the system.  Ellsberg indicated that it was the Vietnam Moratorium which deterred Nixon from going forward with his plans to “nuke” North Vietnam.  

There are many reasons the Iraq Moratorium movement can be so potent:

    1) The actions are incredibly simple, ranging from wearing a black arm band to

         not shopping (especially for gas) to standing in a vigil to civil


    2) The actions are spread out across the nation and therefore close to our homes.

    3) The main thing is to sign the pledge to do something to make a statement for

         peace on the 3rd Friday of every month.  By signing the pledge, the numbers are


    4) These gentle steps can lead to the most potent action of all, a General Strike.  

         Please read a short essay on this:

                 Garret Keizer, “Specific Suggestion: General Strike,” HARPERS

                                           MAGAZINE, October 2007, “Notebook”

    5) The Iraq Moratorium is designed to find the 65% to 75%  who oppose the war

         but who don’t know how to speak out.  This is a way to find them and to give

         them a means to speak out and be counted.  The Iraq Moratorium is an umbrella,

         not a group.  All groups can fit under the umbrella.

    6) The Iraq Moratorium breaks the competitive tendency amongst different groups.

         It isn’t one group against another.  It isn’t come to “our” demo instead of

         “that” demo.  The Iraq Moratorium is an umbrella, not a group.  All groups

         can fit in under the umbrella.

For this to happen, imo, all the activist groups must come together and YELL about the Iraq Moratorium.  All the Peace and Justice groups need to spread the word of the Iraq Moratorium far and wide.  Sign the Pledge!  Do something the 3rd Friday of every month!  And the essence of what you do is non-cooperation, a refusal to cooperate, with the system, with the status quo.  

The fine video documentary, “A Force More Powerful,” tells the stories of 6 successful nonviolent resistance actions from Gandhi to Apartheid South Africa, to the Civil Rights movement and more.   The refusal to cooperate, the refusal to go along is the key.  But it takes massive numbers to be this powerful against the recalcitrant sturm and dreng of the repressive immobilists.

And the question is:  How do we get these massive numbers?  We need to take the simple message “wear a black arm band” to every nook and cranny of mainstream America.  And for those who are strong of heart already, and are able to take the day off from work, then do it, General Strike!  

When I have contemplated the sagging turn out numbers at our recent demonstrations, it would be easy to despair.  After all, the ‘big’ National rally of October 27th, which had been planned for almost a year, saw only between 80 and 150 thousand people turn out.

The population of the US is 300 million.  The percentage of 80 or 150 thousand to 300 million is…


…5/100 of 1%!…

NO, no, no, boys and girls.  This won’t do.  Rather than become discouraged, I’m going to keep YELLING LOUDER to get people to stand up, speak up in some form or other, and TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

I agree with Dan Ellsberg, that the Iraq Moratorium presents perhaps the best opportunity for doing that.  

This is a plea to the Peace & Justice community to YELL with me.  



Contacting the Past

Last night I posted a diary about an email I received from a former student.  It contained the following words:

I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me for my silence as you struggled to simply live your life. I am a father now, and I would never want my children to have to suffer cruelty that I know you had to deal with when you were in Conway.

The diary (A Letter and a Response) includes my response to this and the rest of the letter.

I would have been remiss to not look at the incident from a slightly more detached viewpoint as well.  Here was a student contacting a professor after a decade or more to try to correct an injustice he had perceived himself committing towards that teacher.  How often does that happen?

Saturday Strategy: Reaching the Dems

We have all realized at this point that the Congressional Democrats aren’t listening to us. In fact we have all realized that the only voice they are listening to is that of their inner Barney Fife.

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So on the one hand, it is up to us…We The People….to come together and lead the politicians and do all we can to Save The Constitution, End The War, and demand Full Investigations into all of Bushcos crimes. It will take People Power  to do that, but the mass of public support we are working to generate must still be funneled through some avenue to effect real change.

Our most effective (but not only) road to doing that still lies through utilizing the only part of our government that we have a shot of affecting: The Democrats. The question is, how do we get them to pay attention?

flush right left

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More about RUSSIA. #4 in series. Many photos.

Welcome to the 4th in the series about my trips to Russia.

If you did not read the prior essays, I urge you to Do so. Number one is a little longer than the others but you could at least check out the setup at the beginning and check out the photos If you don’t want to read all the trivia and humorous stories.


Here is the link to number one, so you can start at the beginning if you have not.…

Each of the diaries ends with a link to the next diary in the series.

Let’s start with a few photos.

For the women (& men) who saw the naked ass of the tall man with the sculpted body, the first photo is him and his horse from the front.…

Guys this second photo is an example of REALLY trusting your wife. Top photo is a museum in Tomsk Russia and second is inside the museum (real trust).…

Victory Day in Russia is a big holiday. The day Russia took Berlin. I was in Russia on Victoy Day in 2004. Statue and flowers at base as is true of every statue of military significance all over Russia.…

Some street muscians in St. Pete.…


– I met a Chinese man in an apartment building I was staying in once when I was in Moscow. He had relocated to Russia ten years earlier. It was a nicer high-rise apartment building because it was primarily for foreigners for work or some other long term reason. Most had the rent paid by their corporation. Had receptionists, guards at side entrances and a neat and clean elevator that worked 24hrs. This Chinese man was living in this apartment building. We passed in the hall and nodded and smiled a couple of times. One day he specifically stopped me and asked if he could come to my apartment and speak with me. It was clear he had been giving thought for a while about making this request. I set a date to have him by my apartment. He had many questions about America. He shared much with me about his home country. Another place I knew little about before he was good enough to enlighten me. We spoke for three hours and he showed me the photo albums he bought to our meeting. It was a nice experience.

– I met an American man living in Moscow for fifteen years who was in the transportation industry as I had been. He loved Russia. We spoke a couple hours and he taught me much about Russia and Russians.

– Russians are NOT cold and distant people. On the surface they seem so. Most walk down the street and look cold and angry but they are just the opposite when you get past the gruff exterior and “walls” they have built through necessity. Every “real” exchange I had with a Russian quickly became embracing, caring and thoughtful.

– Everyone I ever met in Russia felt a great responsibility for me enjoying their country, culture and the whole experience. Many people apologized if there was anything in their country I did not like even though it had nothing to do with them.

– Most Russians are multilingual and more educated than Americans. Most know more about the rest of the world than Americans do. Many know US geography, US politics, American history, as well as our traditions and holidays. Many know more of these than many Americans.

– My father in law, is 60, he is a retired truck/taxi driver so we had a common connection with my background in the transportation industry. He can speak almost no English. The first time we met, he said through his daughter, that it pained him that we could not get to know each other better. He toasted to me, his daughters future and more things before downing each one of the dozen or so shots he took in a four hour period. A half dozen times during that evening he gestured me to the balcony to share a few minutes in silence while we enjoyed smoking a cigarette together.

– In the above explained situations, we developed a bond without even being able to speak each others language.

– I have concluded that the cold and stoic exterior of some Russians is a survival and coping mechanism to deal with the difficult, sometimes cruel, sometimes impersonal and often disappointing world and structure in which some live. The life some lead can be spiritually and emotionally murderous but they are survivors and have adapted ways to endure.

– I believe part of the rituals of alcohol use and it’s importance are the attempts for some to bond with others and get closer to other people. For some a celebration to drown their mutual pain. In some areas people who are heavy drinkers will say to another person, “if you respect me, you will drink with me”. It seems in reality, sharing a drink is the best way some know to let another person in, to let their guard down and share themselves. Toasts are much more common than in America. We reserve toasts for “special” occasions. They also toast for special occasions but toast before each drink in normal situations.


Night boat ride on one of many rivers in St. Pete. This river has a huge bridge and the river is a main access for boats bring in supplies to St.Pete. and every night the bridge is raised about midnite for many boats to pass through.…

The remainder of the photos in this essay are taken in Petergof, a city near St. Pete. Amazing history to this. I may have already said this but it was the home of Admiral Petr Perry a famous war hero. It was completly destroyed in war and then rebuild exactly the same. This photo is of the bumpiest, most ass breaking water slide you have ever seen.…

-Nobody wants to say this but it is absolutely true; The primary reason 99% of women in Russia look for a man in another country is because of their experiences with Russian men. Between all FSU nation, I would estimate there are at least 500,000 actively seeking a husband outside their country. Many men are the reason and there is no other reason. Not living conditions. Not money. Not anything but the fact that some have given up on Russian men being anything other than chauvinists, pigs, drunks, womanizers and don’t make their family their first priority. Of course, there is the 1% of the woman looking outside their nation, that are gold diggers, we have them here also.

– Russian men these women have encountered shirking responsibility and obligation are part of the reason these women are disenchanted with Russian men.

– Other primary reasons some Russian women have given up on the men there, include alcohol abuse, verbal abuse and infidelity.

– Every woman I got to know spoke of infidelity.

– Many spoke of an ex-husband who was MIA for two days while partying.

– Some of the men in Russia (FSU) with enough money to support a family very well have ties to illegal activities.

– Some of the reason Russian women resort to an international search for a man, is cultural. Very few Russian women over 30 do not have a child and even fewer have never been married. The belief that these are staples of life is ingrained and very strong, right, wrong or indifferent it is a fact, they want to be married.

– In spite of those things I said above, men bashing that I heard in Russia was limited ONLY to issues like; irresponsibility, alcohol abuse, infidelity, lack of financial assistance (I mean normal daily things not diamonds and furs) and attention to their needs.

– Some of the women and children may only have three “nice”, matching and tasteful outfits. They will be worn consecutively and often hand washed each day. The children are immaculate. The girls hair is kept looking perfect. Russian women and children are extremely cleanly. Some shower or “clean up” several times a day and never go to bed without “cleaning up”.

-You will see almost no female Russian under 50 years of age that is over weight. Hard to believe but true. This is due to better eating, more walking and largely a conscious effort to maintain beauty.

– You will not see much “white trash” in Russia. Other than street people, gypsies and beggars (many), I was amazed at the appearance of even the poorest of Russians.

– These habits/qualities/behaviors are so ingrained that there is a specific single word to refer to a woman who does less than “normal” to make herself look her best. The word is “mimra.” They have a difficult time even giving a definition of this word because we have nothing in English that has the same meaning. “Mimra” does not refer to any personality trait nor economic status nor beauty or ugliness. It is simply a woman who does little to improve her appearance. Even children use this word for the “abnormal” Russian woman to whom it applies. This should give you an idea how deeply they value appearances. Mimra is used for a woman who goes in public without trying to look her best.


First photo is two on one. The boat is made of all stone, amazing. It is in Moscow not far from Gorke park. Second is an ugly guy amongst beautiful flowers in Gorke park in May. Yes, Moscow in May is not still frozen.…

Typical Russian Orthodox priest in standard attire.…

St. Pete. Statue…

– In a few good restaurants I saw tasteful black and white photos of beautiful naked women (unable to see private parts). There are no women complaining about this or boycotting the restaurants. Imagine this in the US.

– Many women take notice of the beauty of another woman and/or her body.

– I don’t want to convey the wrong idea. In general Russian women can be very jealous. Some are more jealous than many women I have known. For some women Jealousy is actually seen as a sign of love. As long as they don’t think their spouse/partner will act when they take note of another beautiful woman, all should be fine.

– Russian women are great hostesses. Having someone to their home means a day of cooking, preparing, cleaning and ensuring their guest will be pleased. It would be rude to do anything else.

– Most Russian women believe they are responsible for all aspects of the home in addition to the cooking and being a gracious hostess.

– Russians realize many of the shortcomings of their country, in spite of this they love their country. As a whole, their nation may be more patriotic than America. As a percentage, more Russian men might be willing to die for their country than those of us in America who would be willing to.

– I heard less complaining about politics, social systems or most other issues than I hear in America. Believe me, they have MUCH more to complain about than we do. I understand that conversations with tourists do not generally include these type complaints. I have gotten to know many Russians well. Many I know have no qualms about discussing with me some things they were displeased with in their country.

– The “mail order bride” fallacy about Russian women is still believed by many in the western world. Whenever a Russian woman is on an internet chat room or instant messaging site or website or any other mode of meeting foreign men, she has 100’s of men communicating with her from all over the world. When a Russian woman decides to marry a foreign man, the nation to which they go is not relevant to most and is proportional to the number of men from each nation on the site. They do not leave for  

Pony Party: Re-Makes and Do Overs

Do overs have never worked well for either my personal life or my film viewing life. The same crap that came up when I was young, immature, and rash resurfaced when I have tried do overs in romance and friendship later on in life. It was probably all my fault to begin with.

I can make an exception with music, not every cover I have ever heard was bad.

In my world, there is no disputing that the original Razor’s Edge was better than the Bill Murray version. In fact if I was single and dating and a fellow dared to challenge that notion, well that would be a deal breaker. Why oh why did Gus van Sant remake Psycho? Sure it was a daring enterprise and it took guts, but trench warfare took bravery and eventually they realized it was also stupid. Now, I must say the second Mutiny on the Bounty was great.

Nothing against Will Smith but messing with Omega Man is  just like inviting demonic trolls to a picnic. The Omega Man is one of two great Charlton Heston Sci Fi movies of the 1970’s, the other being Soylent Green and now I am fraught with worry some well meaning fool will try and a do over on that one. The Omega Man featured bad 1970’s special effects, an inter-racial romance with Rosalind Cash, zombies who hated technology with a charismatic leader ( sounds like the Christian right) and a weird ending in which Chuck gets a do over on being Christ.

Couldn’t they have waited until he was gone? I have a  real affection for post apocalyptic and apocalyptic movies, bad B and C grade mysteries from the 40’s and 50’s and 1970’s disaster movies. I have a  real affection for post apocalyptic and apocalyptic movies, bad B and C grade mysteries from the 40’s and 50’s and 1970’s disaster movies. I was born in 1964 so the 1970’s nostalgia isn’t that hard to figure out. Sorry Chuck. Wasn’t keen on most of your politics, and you looked good in a shirt when you were young and you made one of my top ten favorite movies of all time…Touch of Evil.


Thanks for checking in. One more pony party after this. Hang out and chit chat but don’t rec pony party, go have a look at the excellent offering on our recent and rec’d list.

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