March 16, 2008 archive

Winter Soldier 2008 Part Two & RIP Rachel

Cheney Five Years Ago: ‘We Will, In Fact, Be Greeted As Liberators’

And so from the spectre of the summer soldier who shrinks from the hard truths and his country’s crises, comes the Winter Soldier who will not look away.

Visit War Comes Home to Replay previous testimony, opening statements, transcripts and much more.

Visit IVAW – Iraq Veterans Against The War to Watch, online, and get further information.

Broadcast of todays testimonies, 3-16-08, begin at 10am ET

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Elton John

Your Song

Congressional races round 2: Mississippi, Missouri, Montana

Continuing through the alphabet….

Mississippi has 4 representatives: 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans

The filing deadline was Jan 11, and the primary was on March 11

Missouri has 9 representatives: 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats

Filing deadline is March 25, primary is Aug 5

Montana has one representative, a Republican

Filing deadline is March 20, primary is June 3

Docudharma Times Sunday March 16

You can’t help being hard up

Can’t trust the gods we trusted

Don’t think that’s any insurance

Sunday’s Headlines: For Democrats, Increased Fears of a Long Fight: D.C.’s Gun Ban Gets Day in Court: Iran’s young women find private path to freedom: Militant’s death unites Bethlehem:  Scores of civilians and US military staff feared dead as huge Albanian arms dump explodes: Britain’s refugee shame: Taiwanese to rally over China law:  New Pakistan parliament set to convene: Leftist Mexico party in danger of split: Official: 4 Belgians freed in Guatemala: In His Own World of Denial

Beijing locks down Lhasa as crisis grows

At least 10, possibly dozens, killed as violence spreads and international protests mount

China flooded the streets of Lhasa with riot police, yesterday, as the international community urged an end to the bloodshed in Tibet that has already claimed at least 10 – possibly dozens more – lives.

Security forces were also used to regain control of a second community yesterday as a protest in Xiahe, Gansu province, followed the worst riots in Lhasa in almost 20 years. Thousands of protesters smashed government offices in Xiahe after marching through the streets chanting support for the Dalai Lama, according to overseas support groups. Observer correspondent Tania Branigan said the crowd was dispersed with tear gas, but quickly regrouped.

Through the Darkest of Nights: Testament I

Every Friday every few days over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel I’ve written about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11.  This second post is the first installment of Chapter I of Through the Darkest of Nights, an intensely personal story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption that contrasts the protagonist’s idealism with the apathy and moral decline of a nation that has lost its way.

All installments will be available for reading here.


A Carbon Tax?

One of the most pressing issues facing the candidates is global warming or climate change, whichever you prefer.  I want to talk about ways to stop or at least slow down the effects of said issue, at least from the Dem perspective.  I have listened to the candidates and their positions on helping the planet.  So far I am not too impressed with many of their views.  To me they are given too much time for the elimination of the harmful emissions.  IMO, the popular cap and trade that is being proposed by most candidates will not do the trick.

The leading candidates have the same plan, only with slightly different end goals.  That is a cap and trade system.  That is efforts to curtail emissions through fuel economy standards, biofuel mandates, or appliance standards may be well-meaning, but in my opinion, this is not the answer.  Clinton wants to cut oil consumption in half by 2025; Obama wants to a two-thirds reduction by 2050 and then there is Edawrds who wants an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050.  All these are cap and trade approaches.

The program that I feel would be better in the control of the situation is an emissions tax.  But it is a TAX!  Yes it is and taxation seems to be an ugly word these days, but if taxation discourages consumption; for example, taxing carbon emissions discourages carbon consumption, why would this be a bad idea?  The less carbon emissions released into the atmosphere the better and more healthy the planet will be.

There are five reasons why the emissions fee or carbon tax is better than the popular cap and trade.  These are the reasons put foward by

   * Carbon taxes will lend predictability to energy prices, whereas cap-and-trade systems will do little to mitigate the price volatility that historically has discouraged investments in less carbon-intensive electricity generation, carbon-reducing energy efficiency and carbon-replacing renewable energy.

   * Carbon taxes can be implemented much sooner than complex cap-and-trade systems. Because of the urgency of the climate crisis, we do not have the luxury of waiting while the myriad details of a cap-and-trade system are resolved through lengthy negotiations.

   * Carbon taxes are transparent and easily understandable, making them more likely to elicit the necessary public support than an opaque and difficult to understand cap-and-trade system.

   * Carbon taxes can be implemented with far less opportunity for manipulation by special interests, while a cap-and-trade system’s complexity opens it to exploitation by special interests and perverse incentives that can undermine public confidence and undercut its effectiveness.

   * Carbon tax revenues can be rebated to the public through dividends or tax-shifting, while the costs of cap-and-trade systems are likely to become a hidden tax as dollars flow to market participants, lawyers and consultants.

The costs passed on to each consumer might be noticeable, but need not excessive. An emission fee of $15/ton or a permit price of $15/ton would increase gasoline prices about 15 cents per gallon and residential electricity prices about ¾ of a cent per kilowatt-hour, according to Joe Aldy of the Progressive Policy Institute.  

The proposals of the “Big 3” take too long to achieve the goal of cutting emissions and saving the planet for future generations.  Personally, since we all are contributors to the problem then we all should be part of the solution and the best solution is the emissions fee.

IMO, a much better idea than the “cap and trade” proposals being offered by the two candidates.

The Politics of Self Loathing: A Highly Personal Essay

 diary deleted sorry

Lest we forget what war means

It was a year or so before it became a story, but 40 years ago today US soldiers committed the worst of the known atrocities of the Viet Nam war.  A short article in the Economist gives the briefest of thumbnail sketches,

VICTIMS’ bodies were mutilated; women were gang-raped; a baby was used for target practice.

And here we are 40 years later, in a regime that had the apologist for My Lai, Colin Powell as Secretary of Defense engaged in another war started under another pretext.  When will we get the revelations about this war?  What we know is bad enough, certainly, but we know that worse will come.  Even just the daily destruction, dismemberment, humiliations of the occupation are atrocious, but there will be stories that come out that put the lie to this being a righteous occupation done by pristine warriors firmly on the side of the right.

As in all wars, this is a war fought by the young and the bored and the scared.  A war fought in a land where we are unwanted-even when we act our best.  I never thought that we would let ourselves get into another war without good reason, but once again I was wrong.

Iglesia ……………………………………… Episode 40

(Iglesia is a serialized novel, published on Tuesdays and Saturdays at midnight ET, you can read all of the episodes by clicking on the tag.)

Previous episode

Rogers had to physically go and get Abe.

He had started out with a strong ‘pssssst’ just before Abe got to the tree that was, for their purposes, the “end” of the lane. Abe had just kept walking, his body following orders to keep going no matter what. Then Rogers had coughed. Then called Abe’s name. Then, very uncharacteristically, had shouted  “Hey!” Finally he had had  to jog down the lane to catch up with Abe and put his hand on his shoulder. Abe of course, reacted by trying to grab the hand and twist it and use it as leverage to control his assailant, to pull and twist it up behind….well. It would have worked great, if the ‘hand’ had been flesh. Shrug. But it did bring him back to his senses, that he had lost completely, thinking about the person that had above all others, had now become….her….to him.

Since he was a warrior he actually knew what a poleaxe was, so he knew he had not been poleaxed, as the expression went, by…….. her. It was more as if he had been hit full force right between the eyes by one of those enormous wooden hammers things.

The Admiral Resigns before “Checkmate” and more. w/poll

Via Dar Al Hayat (Lebanon):

Nicknamed “the Fox” by his colleagues, he was renowned as one of the best strategists in the US military, and the most diplomatic – the “voice of reason in the administration” according to Hillary Clinton. When President George Bush appointed him Commander of the US Central Command, he had hoped to rely on him in the confrontation with Iran. He is Admiral William Fallon, who submitted his resignation two days ago, generating a whirlwind of interpretations as to the reasons behind it, despite the clarity of the resignation text itself.

Will Al Qaeda endorse Obama? McCain thinks they’ll help the Dems

John “100-Years-War” McCain, on his way to Iraq, worries that Al Qaeda will do something this fall to hurt his candidacy for president.

Why would Al Qaeda do that?  Because the Democrats are weaklings who offer aid and comfort to the enemy, of course. What would be more natural that for Osama to endorse Obama?  

McCain didn’t go that far, but he went far enough. Reuters reports:

SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Friday he fears that al Qaeda or another extremist group might attempt spectacular attacks in Iraq to try to tilt the U.S. election against him.

McCain, at a town hall meeting in this Philadelphia suburb, was asked if he had concerns that anti-American militants in Iraq might ratchet up their activities in Iraq to try to increase casualties in September or October and tip the November election against him.

Yes, I worry about it,” McCain said. “And I know they pay attention because of the intercepts we have of their communications …

In fact, my worries have been the opposite — that Still President George W. Bush will engineer some kind of wag the dog crisis in hopes that the American people will rally around him and his tougher-than-nails, would-be successor, John McCain.

It would not, of course, be the first time Republicans have used real or imagined threats from abroad to help themselves at election time, as others have pointed out.

But to suggest that Al Qaeda would launch attacks to try to help his opponent — presumably Obama, but either Democrat — is very much like saying that Democrats who want to end the war are aiding the enemy.  Al Qaeda would simply be repaying them for their help, apparently.

The worst new is that this claim didn’t spark any controvery, and McCain wasn’t asked to explain himself.  The media were all too busy running and re-running video clips of Obama’s pastor, and even with 24-hour news channels it is clear they can only cover one story at a time.

McCain also continued to plant the seeds of the need to “Bomb, Bomb Iran,” which could be Bush’s October surprise.   AP reports:

McCain told reporters later that al-Qaida remains smart and adaptable despite an increase of U.S. troops in Iraq.

“We have had great success with the surge, but to think they’re not capable of orchestrating really strong attacks … I think is an underestimation of the enemy,” McCain said.

“We still have the most lethal explosive devices coming across the border from Iran into Iraq,” he said. “We still have suicide bombers landing at the airport in Damascus and coming into Iraq as we speak.

“So I would not be surprised if they make an attempt. I believe that we can counter most of it, as we are countering. But there will still be spikes and difficulties and challenges associated with this conflict. Otherwise, I’d be advocating that they come home,” he said.

If only.  Instead, he’s prepared to leave them there for 100 years.  

RE: McCain Instrumental in Removing Dineh-Navajo Tribe (Edited)

How does history repeat itself? Let’s count some of the ways.



The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. A few tribes went peacefully, but many resisted the relocation policy. During the fall and winter of 1838 and 1839, the Cherokees were forcibly moved west by the United States government. Approximately 4,000 Cherokees died on this forced march, which became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

In 1974 the U.S. Government legally endorsed genocide when Congress passed Public Law 93-531, which enabled Peabody Coal Company to strip mine Black Mesa by ripping the traditional Navajo and Hopi peoples from the land.


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