April 27, 2008 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 3 killed in militant attack on Afghan president

By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer

37 minutes ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Militants firing rockets and automatic rifles attacked the Afghan president at a ceremony in Kabul on Sunday, missing their target but killing three and wounding eight others.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault that sent President Hamid Karzai and foreign ambassadors scurrying for cover, underscoring the fragile grip of his U.S.-backed government.

Gunmen opened fire as a 21-gun salute echoed over the capital at an anniversary ceremony to mark the mujahedeen victory over the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

They just have to make it close enough to steal

Sure, the media is obsessed with trashing Obama or Clinton, depending on the week or sound byte that can be taken out of context and twisted to insinuate that Democrats hate America or love terrorists or whatever other utter horseshit that they can conjure up to distract from the fact that John McCain is dangerous, or contradictory or just a flat out liar.

But the corporate media as well as McSame himself are just two pieces in a larger puzzle – the one to keep “The Base” happy and wealthy. We can hear lie after hyperbole after projection about how the Democrats are weak or that Hamas wants McCain to lose or that Osama secretly cast his ballot in 2004 for Kerry.

We know that is all nonsense – and that thankfully, many more Americans are waking up to that fact as well. And with a growing number of Americans thinking that the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections were stolen, not to mention the US Attorney purge, the Justice Department’s gaming the system from the inside, illegal redistricting, illegal phone jamming, voter ID laws that serve to suppress likely Democratic voters and FEC Commissioners who have a history of illegal partisan voter suppression, it isn’t like there is ample evidence that republicans steal elections – and that is before you even get to the hanging chads”, questionable SCOTUS decisions and Diebold hacking.


Darkness Falls

I’ve been trying to write about torture, and I’m finding it slow, painful going.  I’ll begin one thought only to be distracted by wave after wave of random related thoughts crashing on the heels of the unfinished original, leaving me twitching in psychic anguish, paralyzed and at a complete loss for words.  My God, how did we let it happen?  And why in hell haven’t we stopped it?  Why have we not arrested the torturers?  Why have we not impeached this sorry excuse for a President?

“History will not judge this kindly,” to quote that rat bastard, John Ashcroft.

That of course presupposes that there will be a future from which to look back on this disgraceful period, and that this is just a phase, not simply the end.


Café Discovery

We are starting work on next year’s programming for Women’s Studies already.  We’ve decided to try to work on relationship violence as an issue.

We recognize the problems this presents us.  As Reverend Todd put it:

…films are a good idea…but only after men are on board.  If films are shown that show male abusers/scumbags/therapy-recipients (heaven forfend anyone should find himself in therapy!*) before our men are on board, the message will likely bounce off the surface without getting through.  I believe what’s needed first are programs aimed at manliness: what does it mean to be a real man, gentlemanliness, male spirituality, the role of men in a rapidly changing society (read: the feminization of society), male sexuality, etc. In that context, issues of how men sometimes perceive women should also be addressed and fleshed out, issues like: “She was asking for it,” “Women lie,” “Women try to ‘trap’ men,” sporadic true stories that get stretched and distorted and used to define all women.  Until this territory is covered, anything that could be seen as taking “bad” men and rubbing their noses in the mess they’ve made will probably be met with emotions ranging from guardedness to hostility.

*Just thinking to myself: Do we really want to show only the “bad guys” getting some emotional therapy?

Obama on Fox

Well it’s certainly been interesting to watch the fervent Obama supporters justify and spin his appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Having seen it twice now (9 am and 10 am, there are repeats at 2 pm and 6 pm on Fox News Channel) I myself have come to 2 conclusions-

First of all, Barack Obama is not particularly liberal or progressive.  While his performance was masterful and left Chris Wallace flopping around like a fish out of water, Obama achieved his success by basically throwing the Democratic part of the Democratic Party under the bus.

John Roberts?  Puleeeeze.

Nor was that the only example.

Armando warned us months ago that politicians always disappoint and if you are of the belief that Barack is just fooling the Villagers and that he really doesn’t mean the things he says about “bi-partisanship” then he was lying like a rug today.

Which brings me to my second point.  Some people think this struggle is about this or that person.  They are sadly mistaken.  It is about an elitist anti-democratic (note the small d) culture in government and the corporate media that has thrown away the Constitution and the Rule of Law and seeks only raw power for the benefit of a small cadre of the ultra rich (yes Tweety, $5 million a year makes you ultra rich).

It’s not that Hillary or St. McSame are any better, in many respects they are demonstrably worse.

Once again I find myself forced to choose a lesser evil and yet I choose it with the understanding that as evil as it is even incremental steps forward are progress.  You work your ass off to achieve small changes in the environment that will make the job easier in the future.

Anything else is just giving up and that is the coward’s way out.

Is It Truly Organic?

We just celebrated Earth Day–ooooo we–a whole day to celebrate the earth, now there is something Americans can get into.  They do not have to give up anything, just listen to a few speeches and such. then go back to 364 days of polluting and such.But we were gonna talk about organic foods, so I will jump down off my soapbox on Earth Day.

Large food conglomerates are buying out organic brands. Hain Food Group, for example, owns such brands as Health Valley, Celestial Seasonings, Bearitos and Garden of Eatin’. And who are some of the principal investors in Hain Food Group? ExxonMobil (gasoline, oil spills and global warming); Philip Morris (tobacco); Monsanto (genetically modified foods and hormones); and Lockheed Martin (weapons of mass destruction). What does this mean?

Clearly, as large corporations continue to take control of the organic industry, ethical and safety standards are falling. Free range, for example, does not necessarily mean that the chickens or cows are spending much, if any, of their time in bucolic bliss. And from an environmental perspective, an organic artichoke from California might avoid pollution through pesticides, but it uses a great deal of fossil fuel pollution to arrive at your front door. As Stephen Hopp, points out, “Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars.”

But that isn’t the only thing we should be worried about. For example, There are only six corporations control 98 percent of seed sales around the world. Some of these companies genetically modify their seeds so that you must buy their expensive fertilizers to make the seeds germinate. These companies also promote growing limited varieties of plants, which is troubling from a biodiversity standpoint.

My point is that, if you go to the store and buy organic foods….you may be mislead.

First Summer Cookout

Only April but it was 80 degrees out and nothing speaks suburbia like steak on the grill with the family.  The horses are fed and the paddock cleaned up and my grandson has plans for me.  He won’t be two unitl August.  He has a vocabulary of Mama, Dada and ball but with a smiling face and a tug on my pants he makes his intentions well known.

He leads me to the deck stairs, grabs my boots and then a water bottle from the table.  The wish list is complete as he stuffs the bottle into the mesh holder on the ATV.  I take it he does not want a ride, he wants an expedition.  Did he remember last summer?

More magic, magic in the innocence of children?  I seat him in front of me as his hand goes for the key, then the start button.



No, I’m not going to talk about the “end times” or Armageddon. Although, after years spent in fundamentalist churches, that is what the word “revelation” conjures up for me most days.

I’d like to talk about the process of revelation as we grow, learn and wake up. Sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn’t it? But here’s a piece of art by Gerry Bannan that captures the complexities of what it has often felt like to me.

Fifth Graders Stand Against the War

The best part of this diary is going beneath the fold, because this time it’s all about the pictures . Yesterday I posted a report here on the demonstration against Bush and Henry Kissinger in rural Connecticut. In reviewing the fabulous photo album posted by Cornwall CT Iraq Moratorium stalwart Glenn Koetzer, I was struck and I was heartened by how many young folks were at the protest.

Then today, I found the Kids Against the War website and that really did my aging heart good. They’re a crew from the fifth grade class at the Fratney School in Milwaukee, WI. They’ve been participating in the Milwaukee protests observing the Iraq Moratorium on the Third Friday of every month all year, and now they’ve posted some photos and explanations of why they got involved.

Pony Party: The day the music overslept

Pony Party: The day the music overslept

Don’t you just feel so much safer now?

This will be short and sweet, as the irony is just too oppressive at the moment.

Trillions of dollars spent.  Thousands of American lives and just as importantly, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives spent.  Corporate profits off the scale.  War waged specifically for these profits and the easy access to oil.  

This shit has backfired in the face of our criminal administration beyond anything they could possibly have ever in their entire evil lives considered.  WELL….

Except for the important part.  Corporate profits off the scale.

Let’s have a look.  From CNN:

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