March 12, 2008 archive

Sign ze papers, or you don’t work here

In this one I stated how the company you work for owns you.  I have the pdf file which says.…

Employees can be held liable for damages to the company.

Thing two now comes at my wife.  The “health care” company she works for has demanded she sign her rights away or get zero hours next week.

If you have not signed the agreement you will be removed from the schedule.

In Amerika signing under duress constitutes an “agreement”.

What This Country Has Brought On Itself!

An Update to my post from last night, I also expect a Video report following a local TV Stations nightly news from the area, with the family press conferance.

Body identified as former Marine Hall

(Last updated: March 12, 2008 11:14 AM)  

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has notified Eric Hall’s family this morning that the remains found in a culvert Sunday was the former Marine.

A detective from the agency notified the family at 10 a.m. and relayed the cause of death has not been determined.

Becky Hall, Eric’s mother, plans a press conference at noon.

The family scheduled a military memorial service at noon Thursday at the Faith Lutheran Church, 4005 Palm Drive, Punta Gorda.

I certainly hope this Country is out of it’s collective Denial, about Vietnam, and it’s Apathy as to this World we live in, much of it created by our past policies and now the present, for the Future is Here!

Why we count the casualties

Some day soon, the 4,000th American service member will die in Iraq, and antiwar activists will mark that grim milestone with vigils, marches, and other actions.

When similar events marked the 3,000th American death, on New Year’s Eve of 2006, the right wing accused us of “celebrating” the death toll.

It is anything but a celebration, of course.

We will mark the 4,000th death because it is an opportunity to remind the American people of the price we are paying for an unjustified war that will soon enter its sixth year.  Unfortunately, although they continue to say overwhelmingly that the war was a mistake and should be dended, Americans have become numbed to the casualties, which have long ago slipped from the front page.

The Associated Press reports:

Fewer people know how many U.S. troops have died in the war in Iraq, even as public attention to the conflict has gradually diminished, a poll showed Wednesday.

Only 28 percent correctly said that about 4,000 Americans have died in the war, according to a survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

That’s down from last August, when 54 percent gave the accurate casualty figure, which was about 3,500 dead at the time. In previous Pew surveys dating to 2004, about half have correctly given the rough figure for the approximate number of deaths at the time.

In the new poll, around a third said about 3,000 U.S. troops have died while about one in 10 said 2,000 deaths. Fewer overestimated the number of casualties: about a quarter put the figure close to 5,000.

The 4,000 figure, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg.  To many Americans, some deaths — those of Americans — count more than others.  And some don’t count at all.

The 4,000th coalition death was recorded last August, but went largely unreported. That includes deaths of troops from 20 US allies, most of which have small numbers there.

If you’re only concerned about American casualties, nearly 30,000 have been wounded. Many will never heal.  Their lives have been permanently destroyed — physically, emotionally, psychologically, or some combination of the three. They are brain-damaged, missing limbs and other body parts, scarred internally and externally. Those veterans, their families, our society, our country and its taxpayers will bear the costs of their injuries for the next 60 years or more, just as we continue to pay every day for Vietnam.  

Every day our troops remain there, it is guaranteed that more of them will be permanently damaged. If you have a strong stomach, a photo essay in the New England Journal of Medicine will give you a taste of what kind of casualties and injuries are being treated.  It’s not pretty.

How many Iraqis have been killed or wounded?  We don’t seem to have the foggiest idea.  Estimates range from 100,000 to more than a million, including military and civilian fatalities.

Another 4 million Iraqis have been driven from their homes, half having fled the country as refugees and the other have displaced within their own nation.

But none of those Iraqi numbers seem to count.  After all, the President says we’re there to do them a favor and bring them freedom — if they live to see it.

As we mark the 4,000th American death in Iraq, the war hawks will no doubt drag these numbers out again, revisiting the arguments from Death Number 3000, and remind us that there were 58,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War, 36,000 in the Korean War, 405,000 in World War II and 116,000 in World War I.

So what’s the problem with 4,000?  Hardly worth mentioning, right?

That argument baffles me.

If you use use a false premise to launch an unjustified invasion, one death is too many.

Hundreds of thousands on both sides is inexcusable.  Some would say criminal.


“It looks like the Bush Justice Department just bagged themselves another Democratic Governor.”

Eliot Spitzer has resigned, effective Monday. Taegan Goddard didn’t spare him:

Rule #1: If you ride into elective office as a crusader on your white horse, people will try to knock you off. If you’re arrogant, they’ll try harder. In Spitzer’s case, he came into office on a streamroller but the lesson is the same. The forces of bureaucracy and the status quo are incredibly powerful. Show any sign of vulnerability or hypocrisy and they’ll stop you right in your tracks.

Rule #2: You need friends and allies in politics. Even politicians with the best intentions get pushed off course. But without people on your side, you’ll spend most of your time trying to get out of a ditch. Your adversaries will work tirelessly to keep you there. Since his inauguration, Spitzer has even had people in his own party cheering for his demise.

The New York Times had a profile of Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson, who will become this nation’s fourth-ever African American governor, and who is legally blind. But there’s much more to the story. Glenn Greenwald wants to know who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes? And my DocuDharma colleague ek hornbeck angrily made the point:

On the one hand we have a man who, if every single allegation and inference is proven true, paid money to have sex and tried to conceal that fact from his wife, the government, and the people who elected him.  He hypocritically denounced the crimes he was committing.


On the other hand we have a man who is a war criminal.  Who’s administration has killed hundreds of thousands of innocents (maybe along with a few guilty). and rendered millions homeless refugees.  Who has condemned millions of women to Sharia Law and Burkas.  Who lied 935 times to us and the whole world.  Who is even now plotting to extend this illegal war that has damaged our national defense and our economy in a direction that will DESTROY IT!

But others question the very process that led to Spitzer’s getting busted. Because it fits a certain sinister pattern.

Pony 6-month Blogiversary Party

pony games


Congratulations to all Dharmaniacs!

McCain’s torture should raise questions about his fitness to lead

John McCain did not deserve to be tortured.  Neither does anyone else – even putting aside the fact that it just doesn’t work.  The fact that he had to endure the physical and emotional suffering that he did – for more than five years – is a testament to the determination he showed during that terrible time in his life.

But that doesn’t make him more fit to lead the US military and exercise the measured, calculated, deliberative judgment that is required if that White House phone rings at 3AM.  Rather, it raises questions about whether his decision making ability is clouded (and if you listen to his republican Senate colleagues, it certainly isn’t for the better) by his experience.

Of course, John Kerry, who heroically served in Vietnam and receive Purple Hearts is a terrorist loving traitor, and the press will no doubt be just as fair to someone whose fellow soldiers in Vietnam remind us as the one who lost 5 US Navy aircraft and was a below average student in the Naval Academy.

We’re going to shut down the IRS! MARCH 19, 2008

It’s important to be reminded that innocent and precious lives are being needlessly lost right now and every day until we stop it.  I know there are no high-priced hookers involved (as far as I know) or super delegates or anything like that but this senseless war is five years old now.  It’s bad enough that we initiated such a stupid catastrophe in the first place.  That we haven’t ended it by now five years later is a crying shame.  

We have a responsibility for this war, a responsibility to do something about it.  If you take your responsibility in this regard seriously and have been thirsting for an opportunity to do something about it, then please consider coming to Washington DC on March 19 to pitch in and help those of us who have had enough.


No More Excuses

Dear Eliot Spitzer, Lefty Blogsphere, and Democrats:

I’m no longer willing to tolerate this from people in office.

i’m not talking about sex. i’m talking about a guy who represented the State of New York and fought organized crime. and what… he turns around and contributes to it? is a customer and enabler of it?

not to mention: Eliot, you must be stupid. yes. stupid. why not use cash instead of complicated money transactions (if in fact that’s what happened). why compound it???? i do concede the human trafficking thing is ridiculous, since even hookers can still travel freely from place-to-place, no?

but really… how do we swallow this from a guy who fought these exact kinds of people running organized criminal operations. and he went after them like an avenging angel: no mercy at all. no, it has nothing to do with sex. but all of the corruption that attends organized crime. and that’s what he did… contribute to organized crime.

Though his signature issue was pursuing Wall Street misdeeds, as attorney general Mr. Spitzer also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

no. i don’t want a governor who is less bad. i want us to start sending a message LOUD AND CLEAR: no more of this shit. we need energy focused on our very serious problems.

no more people in office telling others how to live and talking about justice or god or patriotism or the constitution and then flaunting it in our faces. because the rules don’t apply to them.

fuck that. i’m done with that. and if i was wise enough then, i would have held Clinton to the same standards. he lied. under oath. he should have paid the same price i would have paid.

we need to level the playing field. these people are citizens. not gods. not above the law.

done. with. it. no more excuses.

time to hold ALL politicians accountable. because when we let Nixon get away with it, we sent the wrong fucking message. when we let reagan skate, we sent the wrong fucking message. when we let clinton get away with lying under oath and making excuses for him, we sent the wrong fucking message.

if we want to stop BushCo and that ilk going forward, then we need to make sure our laws and/or ethical standards are applied equally and justly to those holding political office, billionaires, theocrats, and corporatists. and when we go after the corporatists et al, let’s make sure we start putting men behind bars instead of just women (Martha and Leona come to mind… oh and Linda Bloodworth too).

god::: i’m tired of this crap.

happy 6 months docudharma!

The NYT’s Awful Op-Ed on Prostitution

The New York Times op-ed page has become all too often a haven for the worst writing and opinions America has to offer.  Naturally, with prostitution in the news, they found a horrible opinion piece to publish.

The article begins with a deliberate misinterpretation of a simple notion, that of a victimless crime.  A victimless crime is simply put, a “crime” where each party to the crime is engaging in the crime consensually, as opposed to the standard crime victim, who is involuntarily subjected to the crime in question.  To say, for example, that the drug trade is a victimless crime means nothing more than that both parties in a drug deal engage in it voluntarily.  That hardly means that no one suffers due to the drug trade.  However, the op-ed tries to use this term to pretend that victimless means that everyone involved is in no way suffering, a ludicrous claim.

The op-ed then goes into unsubstantiated and pointless digression:  

But most women in prostitution, including those working for escort services, have been sexually abused as children, studies show. Incest sets young women up for prostitution – by letting them know what they’re worth and what’s expected of them. Other forces that channel women into escort prostitution are economic hardship and racism.

Is anyone suggesting that incest in victimless?  Or for its legalization?

The paragraph coming shortly afterwards, however, is stunningly laughable:

Telephone operators at the Emperor’s Club criticized one of the women for cutting sessions with buyers short so that she could pick up her children at school. “As a general rule,” one said, “girls with children tend to have a little more baggage going on.”

Have the authors ever met anyone with a job before?  Few employers are enthusiastic about workers who cut out early to pick up their children.  And generally speaking, employer bias against parents is well-documented.  But the authors actually try to convey the attitude that employer dislike of employees cutting work short to pick up children is a shocking act, which is evidence of the victimization of sex workers.

Those of us who have campaigned for the legalization of sex work, along with other “victimless crimes”, are not doing so because we consider these activities beneficial or beatific.  We do so because we believe, as the evidence clearly shows, that forcing certain trades into the black market does nothing to prevent the activity and does considerable harm to both the workers in such industries and to society at large.  This idiotic and offensive op-ed does our cause harm, both by pretending that it is answering any of the arguments for the legalization of sex work and by sloppy and unsubstantiated claims which do not address any meaningful issue.

The Times should know better than to publish such garbage.  But I hope at least that I can help readers here not be taken in.

Four at Four

  1. USA Today reports Saddam’s spies are back at work in Iraq.

    “Iraq’s government has been quietly bringing back into service Saddam-era intelligence agents who have experience spying on Iranians. The effort is aimed at improving Iraq’s ability to gather intelligence about Iranian-supported networks operating in Iraq, said Dan Maguire, the top U.S. adviser on intelligence.”

    “The practice of hiring former intelligence agents seems to conflict with a new law designed to come to terms with people who worked in Saddam’s ruling Baath Party. The “Accountability and Justice” law, passed this year, bans members of Saddam-era security services from government work because of their brutal reputation… U.S. officials have approved of the practice of bringing back some former agents. Maguire said the hiring of former agents had ‘a lot of logic to it.'” Occupied Iraq just like with Saddam, but now with added DEMOCRACY™!

  2. The Los Angeles Times reports some Guantanamo Bay prisoners to be allowed family phone calls.

    The change in a policy that has kept the 275 foreign men still held here in isolation for as long as six years remains in the early planning phase, said Army Lt. Col. Ed Bush, a spokesman for the Joint Task Force that runs the prison and interrogation compound…

    The decision to allow the prisoners to speak with relatives — most for the first time since they were arrested abroad and moved here — was the result of pressure from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only outside humanitarian observation of the prisoners allowed by the Pentagon…

    In New York, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights that represents most Guantanamo prisoners in their U.S. court challenges to their detention called the disclosure “a public relations stunt.”

    “I am frankly skeptical and won’t believe it until I see it,” said Dixon Wells. “This is an attempt to draw attention away from conditions of confinement designed to destroy these men physically and mentally.”

    This is an actual picture of the phone the Guantanamo Bay inmates will be allowed to use.

  3. Well according to Threat Level blog at Wired, House Democrats are proposing a commission to investigate warrantless spying and still reject telecom amnesty. “Not only shouldn’t companies that helped the government’s warrantless spying on American citizens be given retroactive amnesty, the government should establish a national commission — similar to the 9/11 Commission — to subpoena documents and testimony in order to find out — and publish — what exactly the nation’s spies were up to during their five year warrantless, domestic surveillance program.

    “In other words, House Democrats aren’t planning a compromise on telecom amnesty and are actually going on offense to find a way to learn more about President Bush’s five-year secret ‘Total Information Awareness’ program. At least that’s what’s suggested by a 119-page draft bill being circulated by the leaders of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees as answer to the Administration-backed Senate spying bill.” If it’s similar to the 9/11 Commission, then it’ll be just another… ahh what’s the use? However, TPMmuckraker reports, Senate intelligence committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-Telecom) isn’t keen on the House bill.

    Well this will surely uncover something… not. TPMmuckraker also reports CREW asks FBI to probe missing White House emails. “It’s the burning question of the Bush Administration: malfeasance or incompetence? … CREW, which has been pursuing a lawsuit over the lost emails, wants to know. And today the group wrote (pdf) FBI Director Robert Mueller to request that he investigate whether White House officials deleted emails relevant to the Valerie Plame investigation.”

  4. Finally, maybe our houses are just too damned big? In his column for the Seattle Times, Danny Westneat asks Who says tiny house cramps our style?

    Renting for $800 a month, it may not be the cheapest house in Seattle. But I bet it’s the tiniest.

    At 230 square feet, it’s no bigger than some tool sheds. In fact, that’s what it was before someone converted the wedge-shaped shack into a stand-alone home, complete with amenities of houses 10 times the size. It has a bathroom with a shower, a dishwasher, a four-burner stove, a pantry, built-in dressers. Even a closet…

    The house I live in now is 2,500 square feet – the U.S. average, but 11 times larger than Seattle’s Smallest. Yes, I’m now married with two kids. But it’s also true we have rooms nearly 230 square feet that we scarcely use.

    When I was peeking in at Seattle’s Smallest and its 3-foot-wide bathroom, I wondered: What if I moved back here, family in tow? Would we go crazy? Or could we fit?

    I guess I’d go crazy. But there’s a guy in California, Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., who sells and lives in 100-square-foot houses. He says that while micro is not exactly the new mega, the space you need truly is a state of mind.

    According to a 2006 story on NPR, Behind the Ever-Expanding American Dream House. “The average American house size has more than doubled since the 1950s; it now stands at 2,349 square feet. Whether it’s a McMansion in a wealthy neighborhood, or a bigger, cheaper house in the exurbs, the move toward ever large homes has been accelerating for years.” How much is enough and not too much?

    According to Housing: Then, Now, and in the Future by Moya K. Mason, the first houses built by Europeans in America “had less than 450 square feet of space”. “At the beginning of the last century, the average home was 700 to 1,200 square feet. In 1950 the average home was 1,000 square feet growing to an average size of 2,000 square feet in 2000.”

Congressional Poverty Scorecard – Anti-Poverty Legislation Blocked

On Monday, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law released its 2007 Congressional Poverty Scorecard. The President of the Center, John Bouman, noted that in states with the highest poverty rates, their congressional delegations tended to score the worst.

“Poverty is everywhere in America, but it is interesting that in states with the highest concentrations of poverty, the Congressional delegations seem least interested in supporting initiatives that fight poverty,” said John Bouman, president of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, which released the study. “This appears deeper than simply opposing spending. A member could have opposed any of the measures we analyzed that called for new spending and still could have voted to support half of the poverty-fighting measures on our list.”

Former presidential candidate John Edwards was also on the center’s conference call with reporters.

“We can get the national leadership and we can get the congressional leadership we need,” Edwards said. “But first voters need to be educated as to who is doing the work and who is not.”

Docudharma Six Month Anniversary!

Yes you read that right! Amazingly today is exactly six months since we published the essay that officially opened DD as a blogging entity, broadcasting 50,000 Pixels of Power across the known Blogoverse!


Six months of just outstanding essays and Pony Parties, six months of building a community, six months of that community coming together and growing stronger…..six months of Yelling Loudly!

At this point I think we can safely say that Docudharma has established itself as a thriving community blog, and of course that means that all credit goes directly to the community…which means…YOU! Yes YOU! Sure, the admins and Contributing Editors have worked their butts off to bring us all excellent post for the Front Page, but none of that means anything without readers, without commenters, without community. Thank You!

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