March 21, 2008 archive

Joe Lieberman-Sith Lord of the Evil Empire

I have said before “left” and “right” in America serve mostly as marketing type focus groups.  “Discussions” emerge for the sole purpose of discovering what is most destructive to America and how media can best promote it.

Note here that in 1992, yes that was 1992 Kyoto made China and India CARBON EMISSION EXEMPT.  Can I say that again louder.

Joe Lieberman however has “stepped” forward several times now with policies, beliefs and stances which should be in direct conflict with rational normal thinking.  It is as if he is in training for Henry Kissinger’s slot, high up in the Satanic organization that runs the world, The Illuminati.

Iraq Liveblogging the liveblog of this Iraq Essay

1:15 PM: Write title, “Liveblogging this Essay”. Consider whether it’s eye-catching enough. Decide on “Liveblogging the Liveblog of This Live Essay” to give it a “what-the-fuck-is-dude-talking about” effect.

2:16 PM Smile. Take a long deep breath and congratulate self. Eat two Whatchamacallit bars as a reward for a job well done.

2:21 PM: Return to intro, crafting joke with either “platypus” or “marsupial” as punchline. Vacillate… platypus… marsupial… marsupial… platypus. Ditch both in favor of “Sea Cucumber Salad”.

Friday Philosophy: A grand fiction

A lifetime ago…

I had dreams from time to time about writing fiction.  If I could only capture my dreams, which I was sure were filled with interesting substance of grand consequence, I was sure there would be stories people would want to read.  As I grew older, though, the only part of the dreams I could remember was the part where my dreamself was searching for a functioning toilet…meaning it was imperative that I wake up soon.

I never mastered the fiction thing.  When I start with a premise based in untruth, even the smallest change in the Herenow, my mind tends to follow too many paths arrived at because that untruth sparked too many consequences.  So mostly I read my books and thought about how those stories would have gone if I had been the author…a state which was surely never going to exist.

When I did start writing something besides mathematics, I stuck with my experiences, thoughts and feelings.  The only things approaching fiction were descriptions of the way I thought events should have…or could have…transpired.

Pony Party: War

Four at Four

  1. The International Herald Tribune reports the U.S. risks losing its future military leaders as Iraq war goes on.

    During the war in Iraq, young Marine and army captains have become U.S. viceroys, officers with large sectors to run and near-autonomy to do it. In army parlance, they are the “ground-owners.” In practice, they are power brokers…

    The Iraqis have learned that these captains, many still in their 20s, can call down devastating U.S. firepower one day and approve multimillion-dollar projects the next. Some have become celebrities in their sectors, leaders whose names are known even to children. Many believe that these captains are the linchpins in the Americans’ strategy for success in Iraq, but as the war continues into its sixth year, the army has been losing them in large numbers – at a time when it says it needs thousands more.

    Most of these captains have extensive combat experience and are regarded as the army’s future leaders. They are exactly the people the army most wants. Unfortunately for the army, corporate America wants them too. And the hardships of repeated tours are taking their toll, tilting them back toward civilian life and possibly complicating the future course of the war…

    “Many of the brightest and most experienced captains of my generation are being driven out of the army by the prospect of a career filled with deployments every other year,” said Captain Patrick Ryan, who says he is certain to leave the army when his five-year commitment is done. “I think the army stands to lose a generation of battle-tested junior leaders.”

  2. The Los Angeles Times reports the U.S. seeks jobs for surplus hired guns in Iraq.

    When the Sunni Arab villagers decided to fight back with the help of U.S. forces, Nasir said, he was one of the first to sign up for the $10-a-day paramilitary work. So he was less than pleased when he was informed last month that security had increased to the point that his services as a gun-for-hire were no longer needed.

    “I don’t want to make trouble,” he told the soldiers urgently. “I just want to live my life, and I need work.”

    After five years of trial and error, the strategy of recruiting tribesmen to help defend their neighborhoods against Islamic extremists has proved one of the most effective weapons in the U.S. counterinsurgency arsenal. But restoring a measure of calm to what were some of the most violent places in Iraq has in turn presented the U.S. military with one of its biggest headaches: what to do with the more than 80,000 armed men whose loyalty has been bought with a paycheck that cannot go on forever…

    Already, cracks are appearing in what one senior official describes as the central plank of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy. Hundreds of Sunni guards abandoned their posts for weeks last month in the Diyala provincial capital, Baqubah, demanding the replacement of a provincial police chief, a Shiite Muslim they accused of brutality against Sunnis. Errant U.S. airstrikes, which have killed a number of the fighters, prompted a similar walkout in Jurf al Sakhar, south of Baghdad.

  3. The Seattle Times reports Here at home, Army battles to attract qualified recruits. “At a time when the Army and Marines have relaxed their standards for new recruits in an effort to increase their fighting forces, the military can’t afford to lose many prospects. After five years of controversy over U.S. involvement in Iraq and nearly 4,000 combat deaths, finding qualified candidates and persuading them to enlist is difficult, recruiters say… The war’s unpopularity in many circles has made one traditional source – high schools – a tough sell for recruiters… To draw more people into their ranks, the Army and Marines are granting waivers to those who earlier would not have been accepted.” Seems like there are Sunnis in Iraq who want to paid to keep the peace in Iraq. Maybe the U.S. should let them?

News of Iran, Titan, and a bonus subprime video is below the fold.

Passport-Gate: Secrets In The House Of Bush

In less than 24 hours, a story that began with the disclosure that State Department employees were peeking into the passport records of Barack Obama, it has come to light that the snooping also extended to Hillary Clinton and John McCain. While there is still much that is unknown, these revelations are being treated by the victims as a serious breach of privacy and security.

The Bush administration has developed a reputation as the most secrecy obsessed administration in history. Over the past seven years they have:

  • sought to withhold public records like those of Dick Cheney’s meetings with lobbyists
  • reclassified thousands of documents that were previously available
  • banned photos of military caskets being returned from Iraq
  • thrown roadblocks in front of legislation to enhance the Freedom of Information Act
  • opposed investigations into Iraq, 9/11, Katrina, wiretapping, intelligence failures, U.S. attorney firings, etc.
  • instructed aides to defy Congressional subpoenas

Brought to you by…

News Corpse

The Internet’s Chronicle Of Media Decay.

ACTION: What YOU can do to help NOLA

cross-posted with minor edits from dailykos as part of today’s NOLA diary-athon.

You’ve read about the situation in New Orleans.  You know there are still crumbled houses all over, that thousands have never come back, that the economy is crippled and crime out of control.  You’ve heard that the levees are still unimproved, the local politicians are corrupt or ineffective or both, and that the cable news networks no longer see the issue as sexy enough for your attention.  You’ve wondered if things can get better.

Good news: this diary is dedicated to you, and what you can do to help.

Resurrection, Religion, and War

I am not a Christian. I am certainly not a Christian Theologian, so I am treading on shaky ground in this essay. It is not my intent to offend, and I very much welcome any corrections or different interpretations from those more knowledgeable than my self.

All week we have been discussing war, on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. But one aspect we haven’t much discussed is the impact…or causation…of religion on the war. In this context, I was struck to realize this morning that it is Good Friday and then some of the words of Jesus leapt to mind.

From the New American Standard Bible:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

For easier reference, I have used wikipedia as a source, and they include two interpretations. That Jesus was advocating violence, or that Jesus was predicting violence. To perhaps quell some of the heat this subject tends to cause in discussion, let me say right off that I tend to agree with the interpretation that Jesus was predicting violence, not advocating it.

As a non-Christian, but a self proclaimed spiritually interested or oriented person, to me Christ means on thing: Love. Everything I read of Christ’s words I read through the interpretation that he was the Spirit of Love incarnate on earth.

Iraq Moratorium #7: Be a winter soldier

It’s Iraq Moratorium day, so of course it’s snowing heavily here in Wisconsin, where more than a dozen outside vigils are planned.

There is already several inches on the ground in Milwaukee, and it is still coming down heavily.  By our 5 p.m. downtown vigil tonight there could be a foot of the stuff.

But those who can get there will be there, just as they have been during the winter when temperatures and wind chills were sub-zero.  (Pictured are folks in Whitewater, WI at their February Moratorium vigil.)


I have to wonder myself sometimes.  Why do we persist, when other public events are being canceled left and right?

The easiest answer is that people are committed to ending this senseless, bloody war — and they want to demonstrate their commitment.

Last week, Iraq Veterans Against the War held Winter Soldier hearings, to testify about what life is like on the ground, and what our troops are being asked to do in the name of “freedom.”  

Winter Soldier, modeled after the 1971 Vietnam Winter Soldier hearings, takes its name from these words of Thomas Paine, written during the terrible winter of Valley Forge:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

So, maybe the weather today is just testing whether we are “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” or are really committed.

I’ve talked myself into it:  I’ll be there tonight, whatever the weather.

Whether you’re battling the snow or basking on the beach, please join us in doing something today to show your opposition to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Wear a button or an armband.  Write a letter.  Send an email.  Donate to a peace group.  Whatever.  But do something.  You’ll find ideas for individual action and a list of group events at

Be a winter soldier.

The Flag Pin And Patriotism

A special treat.  The following is an op-ed written by my father and published in the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News on March 18, 2008, a week after his 89th birthday.  My dad asked me if I would put the piece up at my blog, The Dream Antilles, but on reflection, I thought more people would see and appreciate it here.  My dad is a retired school administrator with a doctorate, a fabulous pianist, a veteran and a patriot.  Here’s the piece:

Docudharma Times Friday March 21

Sometimes you dream, sometimes it seems

Theres nothing there at all

You just seem older than yesterday

And youre waiting for tomorrow to call

Friday’s Headlines: Slump Moves From Wall St. to Main St.: Iran a Nuclear Threat, Bush Insists: Saudis to retrain 40,000 clerics : Penniless migrant becomes a maths superstar: Abkhazia, the country that doesn’t exist, prepares to follow Kosovo’s example:  Death of the Reeperbahn: Hamburg’s streets of shame: China mobilises more troops to crush spreading Tibetan unrest: Storm clouds gather as Pakistan prepares for a new dawn: Robert Mugabe grip on power rocked by surging opposition

Police ‘shot at Tibet protesters’

Chinese police opened fire and wounded four protesters “in self-defence” last Sunday in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province, the Xinhua news agency says.

It is the first time China has admitted injuring anyone since anti-Chinese protests in Tibet began last week.

Xinhua said police opened fire in Aba county – the same place that Tibetan activists said eight people were killed during protests near Kirti monastery.

Activists released graphic photos of dead bodies showing bullet wounds.

China has said that only 13 people have been killed during the protests, and that all were innocent and killed by “rioters” in Lhasa.

Pelosi Speaks Out On Tibet; Class Conflict A Cause of Protest

Speaking in Dharamsala, seat of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Ms Pelosi said: “We call upon the international community to have an independent outside investigation on accusations made by the Chinese government that His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] was the instigator of violence in Tibet.”

She added: “The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world.

“If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China and the Chinese in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out on human rights.”


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