April 5, 2008 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Candidates to press Petraeus on Iraq war

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

1 minute ago

WASHINGTON – When Army Gen. David Petraeus delivers his assessment of the Iraq war next week, the next commander in chief will weigh in as well.

Republican Sen. John McCain will get a chance to argue that last year’s U.S. troop buildup has been a success and withdrawal would be a mistake. Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama will have an opportunity to ask why the United States is still fighting more than five years after the invasion.

All three presidential contenders serve on Senate panels that will hear and question the top U.S. military commander in Iraq when he testifies Tuesday. McCain and Clinton serve on the Armed Services Committee; Obama is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Raise Hell for Molly Ivins

In this video, Molly Ivins speaks about Americans who are slackers, failing to defend the most magnificent political document anyone on this planet has been heir to.

This address was recorded over two years ago. The stakes are higher now: It is the eleventh hour for America.

Here’s a recording of a “Raise Hell for Molly Ivins” memorial service for Molly held in January.

What are YOU doing to help America and save the Constitution? What would Molly do?

Stop waiting. Get out the pots and pans. Raise Hell for Molly Ivins.


“Bring Out Your Pots & Pans!

Help organize an action in you home town! We are just regular folks with jobs and all of life’s pressures, but we feel a need to speak out and do what we can. Please join our Raise Hell campaign by banging pots and pans for peace, and using every peaceful means including the Internet, phone and fax to let the LOCAL office of your Congressional Representative know – on the 3rd Friday of every month – that the war must end NOW and no attacks on Iran!

If you cannot attend a physical protest, please WRITE, TELEPHONE, FAX and EMAIL your LOCAL Congressional Representative’s office on that day!


Network with local organizations and individuals is your area. Let us know about your efforts, and send us your pictures to help inspire others; we will post on the website. We will also help you network with others in your area as well as statewide and nationally. Contact us at: [email protected]

Download Flyers and Signs

Go to our section of print-ready materials for flyers and signs that you can use as is, or modify for your locality,

Send Letters and Emails to Congress

See our Congressional contacts and Sample Letters for complete info.


We need BLOG and Internet enthusiasts to get the word out; researchers to gather congressional info and more; website content development and programming support; and other assistance to build the campaign.


We’re making a difference, with a simple, low-cost approach, but it does take hard cash to make the most of our collective efforts!


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 1-925-787-3354 ”

Below the fold, a fun video from the Pots and Pans Brigade.  

Blackwater is Special

At first, it sounds like a step in the right direction. And maybe it is. A very small step. According to the New York Times:

The American military has charged a contractor with assault in a case that may emerge as a major test of the military’s legal jurisdiction over civilians who accompany the armed forces into the field, military officials and legal experts said Friday.

And it’s about time. Because, as Jeremy Scahill wrote in Salon, almost a year ago:

Before Paul Bremer, Bush’s viceroy in Baghdad, left Iraq in 2004, he issued an edict, known as Order 17. It immunized contractors from prosecution in Iraq, which, today, is like the wild West, full of roaming Iraqi death squads and scores of unaccountable, heavily armed mercenaries, ex-military men from around the world, working for the occupation. For the community of contractors in Iraq, immunity and impunity are welded together.

And as the Washington Post reported, in November:

That ruling remains in effect.

And as reported in Time Magazine, in February, the State Department and the Pentagon are fighting over whether or not to demand that the supposedly sovereign government of Iraq extend the immunity:

Contractor immunity may be unique to Iraq and difficult to demand of Baghdad, but the Pentagon still wants it. In interagency discussions arranged in preparation for the start of negotiations, the Department of Defense has said it want to ask the Iraqis to maintain status quo. The State Department, however, has argued strongly against that position. “We are just still internally discussing this, and still haven’t really come out with a position,” says the senior Administration official. A State Department official says discussions are underway. Says Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, “Don’t confuse interagency discussions with disagreement. We’re all trying to achieve a single U.S. position on the way ahead in Iraq.”

Because nothing is greater proof of a nation’s sovereignty than allowing foreign corporations from an occupying foreign power to be immune from local laws. Laws against things like mass murder. So, it’s a good thing that a contractor is finally being charged for an act of violence. As today’s Times report continues:

Republicanism At Its Finest: Willfully Imposed Ignorance

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida teens who believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy have prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state.

Another myth is that Florida teens also believe that smoking marijuana will prevent a person from getting pregnant, Local 6 reported.

State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida’s abstinence-only sex education, Local 6 reported.

They are proposing a bill that would require a more comprehensive approach, the report said.

It would still require teaching abstinence but students would also learn about condoms and other methods of birth control and disease prevention.

Republicanism is authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is control. Control is dictating to other Human Beings not only what they can and cannot do…but what they can and cannot know as well. The willful and purposeful imposition of ignorance, superstition, and fear.  

Prima Materia

 “All things transitory are meant for us as symbols.”


I look for you

at the back of the wind

in the red thread of dawn

by the Star of the Sea

but you remain hidden

cached between stars

dust of my dust

the old moon wrapped

in the new moon’s arms.


For Your Soul

This is going to be a short essay because my purpose in writing it is to send you on your way to a web site that I think will touch your soul. Its a photographic exhibit, but its so much more than that.

The photographer is Gregory Colbert and here’s how he describes his work:

In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present.

The exhibit can be viewed at ashes and snow. I suggest you take a look and follow the “Enhanced Experience” (if your computer will allow it) to the “Explore” option. Your soul will thank you.

Black Hills & “The (Real) Supreme Law of the Land”

…Among the Courts’ cases, 240 of 375 recognized American Indian treaties have been cited 992 times in 342 opinions between the years 1884 and 2004.

Constitution Background



This Constitution, and Laws of the United States which shall be made Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United Stated, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding

So, why is Pe Sla in the Black Hills likely to become a “Sea of Houses?”

Pony Party: Your Morning Art

Alright, I suppose you could easily make the argument that not everybody wakes up in the morning and thinks:Wow, I want to see some Bosch. So, I am a bit socially “tone deaf”. Eight years of Bush kind of invokes those images. The limits of bizarre have stretched way beyond those super strong garbage bags they invented so you could mash more of your shit into one bag. Has anybody thought about doing space exploration so we could find new garbage dumps?


Advice we might want to consider following next week at the girl mash up. Girls plus one brave boy.

I am a cheap drunk. The good news is my hair is short so you won’t have to hold it back.

Please don’t rec pony party, hang out, chit chat and then go read some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.

I might try and slip out to take pictures at a local cat show today. When I was holed up on the couch I kept flicking through the channels going: people watch this? You know. Real Supermodels of Housewife County. Or. Plastic Surgery For Kids: The Pre-School Edition. I have a touch of cabin fever.

Docudharma Times Saturday April 5

Must have been a dream I don’t believe where I’ve been.

Come on, let’s do it again.

Saturday’s Headlines: Bill and Hillary Clinton disclose wealth: In Massachusetts, Universal Coverage Strains Care: Bid to end Zimbabwe poll silence: Somali pirates seize French yacht: Warm words from Putin suggest deal on missile defence shield: The end of the road for Switzerland’s vintage car graveyard: After ban of 40 years, Pakistani film opens across India: Bhutan voters demand return of the king: How kidnapped Iraq security chief lived to tell the tale: In Egypt, Upper Crust Gets the Bread: Maria Barragan succeeds in getting adoptive parents jailed

New clashes in China on eve of torch’s arrival in UK

Reports of up to eight dead after Chinese police fire on protesters

A new series of violent clashes in China threatened last night to aggravate the protest which will greet the London leg of the Olympic torch relay as it passes through the capital this weekend.

As many as eight Tibetans may have been killed when paramilitary police opened fire during protests in Sichuan province, according to Tibetan support groups. They say the protesters were gunned down in the Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture when police used automatic weapons on the crowds on Thursday evening.

China’s state media acknowledged a confrontation had taken place in the mountainous region neighbouring Tibet, but reported that police fired only warning shots to protect officials.

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq/Afganistan – March 2008

Arlington West – March 2008 – Honoring The Fallen

The Video was produced for the New York Times and can be also seen At Their Site

Proposal for a National Strike on MayDay, 2008

The original posting is on DocuDharma, 4 Apr 2008.

This is a simple proposal to not go to work for one day. If we do it individually and on random days, it matters not at all. If we do it together on one day by the thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, it will matter. The more who join, the more it will matter. United we stand, divided we fail to get their sufficient attention.

The theme of the strike is best expressed by the immortal words of Paddy Chayefsky. As the character Howard Beale in his screenplay Network proclaimed loudly:

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

The purpose of the strike is whatever goal each individual has in mind. Whatever it is that is making you mad as hell, be it the War in Iraq, the price of fuel, inflation, wage stagnation, the collapse of the housing market, the bailout of subprime lenders, credit reporting agencies, health insurance companies, Big Business, Big Oil, Big Government, unaffordable prescription prices, lack of access to decent health care, pollution, Global Warming, mountain-top strip mining, human rights, torture, the prison nation, the assault on the Constitution, government agencies that don’t do their job, or the corruption of our government at all levels – pick one or more, none at all, or make up your own and do not go to work or class on Thursday May 1, 2008.

Call in sick, take a vacation day, just don’t show up. Cut class. Most of all cut class. One day is all that’s being asked. Give one day to yourself. Use just one day out of your life to make whatever statement it is that you want the government and the corporate bosses to hear. Wear a T-shirt, carry a sign, gather in a public place, sleep in, go to the beach, take a hike, read a book, play with your children. Make your protest be your own issue, whatever frustrates you the most. Everyone in this country is mad at some aspect of what is being done to their lives by the impersonal manipulation and abuse of their well-being by forces beyond their control. Forces of deaf and blind institutions that have lost any sense of common humanity. Take one day back from them. Just one day. Together. All of us.

Massive, non-violent, peaceful protests get the attention of the MSM, the Government and the Corporate community. Make your voice heard by making your presence at work or school absent. One day. All of us, joined together. Just one simple little eight hour shift of one day of classes. One day to proclaim, for yourself:

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

(Please cross-post, link and forward this proposal as much as you can. This protest needs no organizers, no leaders, no one specific cause. If you can’t bring yourself to take just one day to make your voice heard then maybe you’ll find someone who will.)

Random Japan

The wild west

Thirteen former PhD students at Nagoya City University who bribed a professor to reveal the contents of their oral exams prior to the tests were allowed to keep their doctorates because their theses were “carried in specialty journals overseas.”

Talk about troublemakers: two junior high school students in Fukuoka are in hot water after a series of incidents that included smashing windows, damaging a locker in the principal’s room, threatening teachers, spitting on other students’ parents, and “peeing from the second floor of the school building.”

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