May 13, 2008 archive

Winter Soldier ’71, Winter Soldier ’08 Testimony, Congress May 15th

I was still in ‘Nam, counting down the days, real short, in returning back to ‘The World’ and my discharge after 4years of service, when ‘Winter Soldier Investigation ’71’ took place.

The Congressional Testimony than would follow the Detriot testimony of my brother ‘Nam Vets who had already returned from that Debacle and Occupation!

Sadly the Country that said, almost as one {many of us ‘Nam Vets said we would never allow again} we would remember the lessons of, We Didn’t, and history repeats!

Who deserves a market wage?

Inherent in universal health care plans are price controls.  By bundling patients together under major health care insurance providers or the Federal government, patients gain the ability to collectively bargain with doctors, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and nurses, lowering the cost that these people and companies can charge for their services.  By this method, more people are able to get more health care at a lower cost, with the sacrifice being that we can no longer use market mechanisms to influence our health care system.

Conventional market economics will suggest that this is an outright bad idea, since market mechanisms are more responsive and elastic than asymmetrical bargaining.  However, this can be dismissed as a serious rebuttal since health care markets are already deeply distorted by complicated insurance systems and the AMA cartel controlling doctor credentials.

But, there is an important practical and philosophical problem which this poses.  

learning lessons

All high schools look the same don’t they?  That weird cheap tiling on the floor and cinderblock walls painted industrial beige.  I looked in the trophy case as I passed by, taking notice of years of proud football awards, basketball, plaques, pictures, memorials to accomplishments.  Posters all around.  Some hand made from students advertising upcoming events, a few supplied by companies or public interests.

Four at Four

  1. The Miami Herald reports that Newcomers are assimilating quickly in U.S. “A wide-ranging and provocative new study of immigrants’ integration into U.S. society has concluded that newcomers today are assimilating more quickly than their predecessors did 100 years ago — with Cubans, Vietnamese and Filipinos among those leading the way.”

    Jacob L. Vigdor, a Duke University economist, authored the study which was published by the Manhattan Institute, a right wing think tank. The study found that new immigrants become part of the American society “remarkably well.” “Today’s immigrants are making faster progress. As a result, even as immigration has skyrocketed, assimilation has remained stable, Vigdor concluded. ‘This is something unprecedented in the United States,’ he said.”

    Only “Mexicans — by far the most numerous nationality — lag significantly behind other big immigrant groups, possibly because a lack of legal status keeps many Mexican immigrants from advancing.” The Washington Post adds “A major reason” why the assimilation of Mexican immigrants lags behind others is a “high percentage of Mexican immigrants who are in the country illegally… ‘If you’re in the country illegally, a lot of the avenues of assimilation are cut off to you,’ he said. ‘There are lot of jobs you can’t get, and you can’t become a citizen.'”

    Vigdor noted: “In general, the longer an immigrant lives in the United States, the more characteristics of native citizens he or she tends to take on… however, that the speed with which new arrivals take on native-born traits has increased since the 1990s. As a result, even though the foreign population doubled during that period, the newcomers did not drive down the overall assimilation index of the foreign-born population. Instead, it held relatively steady from 1990 to 2006.”

  2. The New York Times reports Defense War Secretary Robert Gates wants weapons useful in current conflicts. “Gates issued a clear warning to the military and its industrial partners on Tuesday that expensive, new conventional weapons must prove their value to current conflicts, marked by insurgency and terrorism, if they hope for a place in future budgets.” In addition, Gates indicated “the Army and Marine Corps would continue to carry the brunt of the nation’s combat effort. The Air Force and Navy, he said, would be cast as ‘America’s main strategic deterrent’ against potential adversaries such as Iran, North Korea and China.”

    He acknowledged that given troop commitments to Iraq and Afghanistan, “it is true that we would be hard-pressed to launch a major conventional ground operation elsewhere in the world at this time.”

    “The risk of overextending the Army is real,” Mr. Gates said. “But I believe the risk is far greater – to that institution, as well as to our country – if we were to fail in Iraq. That is the war we are in. That is the war we must win.”

Four at Four continues with the oil pander of Congress and the real betrayal of America.

Zen and the art of earth maintenance

A stumbling point for me in the practice of Buddhism is optimism.  I do not do optimism.  My thoughts on optimism parallel Ambrose Bierce.

Optimism: The doctrine that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong… It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.

I am particularly prone to pessimism (realism) when it comes to the response of our species to climate change. In reading the parable of the Burning House from the Lotus Sutra, I am tempted to wonder (which is as close as I come to hope).

Free The Press! McCain’s “Grace Period”

Dis grace ful

Washington Post’s Balz: Media will scrutinize McCain ‘once the general election really begins.’

Wash. Post’s Murray: ‘Just wait’ until after the primaries for media to scrutinize McCain.

Russert: ‘In Time,’ McCain Will ‘Receive The Same Scrutiny’ From The Media As Obama And Clinton

RUSSERT: We get flooded with e-mails, Senator McCain making a mistake on Shia versus Sunni, making mistake about the first Persian Gulf War and the second vis-a-vis oil. His own relationship with Pastor Hagee and why isn’t that talked about and reported on the way Reverend Wright’s relationship with Senator Obama is talked about. But all that in time. I mean, it is only May. This has been going on for some time but it will be a long, long campaign. And when Senator McCain is back in the media’s light, he’ll receive the same scrutiny.


Overlooked by Media, Important Torture Testimony!

Cross-posted at DailyKOS

Memos written at the request of high-ranking government officials by Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo on August 1, 2002 (also signed by Jay Bybee, now a federal judge) and March 14, 2003, assured the Bush administration that

. . . . the Department of Justice would not enforce the U.S. criminal laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.”

Of course, we know that the purpose of Yoo’s memos were simply established as a means of legal clearance for all that ensued thereafter.  

Daniel Levin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel (December 30, 2004)

. . . . specifically rejects Yoo’s definition of torture, and admits that a defandant’s motives to protect national security will not shield him from a torture prosecution.  The rescission of the August 2002 memo constitutes an admission by the Justice Department that the legal reasoning in that memo was wrong.  But for 22 months, the [sic] it was in effect, which sanctioned and led to the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody.”

Note:  all quoted material above from Marjorie Cohn, President National Lawyers Guild.

Preliminary Feedback Thread…Free The Press!… The Maddow Movement!

OK, I am struggling a bit and need y’alls help/feedback! As I have said, I think it is vitally important to start concentrating on the media, to bring whatever influence we in the blogosphere can to bear on this essential tool for public oversight.

The issue is highlighted right now by the fine, fine work Greenwald and others are doing on the military analyst scandal. (Which, like all things dirty about this administration, seems to have Karl’s fingerprints on it.)

The first struggle, a name for the overall campaign. Something not overly confrontational to their fragile egos…such as Eat The Media!!! but still exciting. I like Free The Press!


But am open to other suggestions. What say you all?

Next…resources. Do any of you fine people want to volunteer to put together a media contact list for the major cable news shows and news directors? If you can come up with a neato format, all the better, but if someone just puts a list together, some other kind soul could volunteer to put it in a handy dandy format. Ideally we would like to end up with a box we can put on the side panel like the contact Congress box. Alternatively, if you know of a good existing list, please link!

On to the Maddow Movement and some serendipitous surfing! >>>>

OR-Sen Candidate Merkley Leads in New Poll

The primary is just one week away here in Oregon. When you look at the polls from the past month there’s only one conclusion you can make. Oregon Senate candidate and current House Speaker Jeff Merkley is climbing up the polls. Here’s a snippet from Survey USA:

Eight days until votes are counted in the Democratic Primary for US Senate in Oregon, state House Speaker Jeff Merkley and attorney Steve Novick remain effectively tied, though today Merkley has the nominal advantage, 31% to 27%.

Revolution: First Strike – Political Cocktail Party

…just let me say this one more thing… start having political cocktail parties and start getting people thinking about our situation and perhaps this will also enlarge their world view


Have we started a list yet of all of the things that have to

be undone beginning next January????


To answer masslass, well yes, now we have.

Pull up a barstool, grab a cold one of your choice, and let’s have a Political Cocktail Party…

From an essay last week entitled “The Revolution Started Yesterday.  Well YOU Started It!  Political Cocktail Party,” I asked all of you enlightened Dharmites to discuss in the comments of that essay the things you feel could and should be addressed beginning Right Now in order to begin the undoing of all of the twisted and underhanded things that have been visited upon our country and the world by our “Current Criminal Administration“.  

The response was even better than I had hoped for, and I would like to thank you all so much for taking the time to get involved in more than just talking or typing about what we need to do, but to begin actually doing something about the issues we identify.  

Under the Topic of Action, we even created a new tag called Issues Project so everyone that wanted to get involved by writing essays that address this issue can be easily found by others here that are interested in these issues.

Blogging Halfway McCain’s Global Warming concepts

John McCain’s speech and policy constructs on Global Warming have gotten a bit of attention from the Energy Smart blogging world. The following are few of the worthwhile discussions to date.

UFPJ encourages Iraq Moratorium participation

By Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, UFPJ:

Since last fall, on the third Friday of every month, people in cities and towns around the country have organized protest activities and other events as part of the nationally coordinated Iraq Moratorium. This coming Friday, May 16th, is Iraq Moratorium #9.

First, we want to congratulate the local organizers who keep pulling together these activities. And we also want to congratulate the national organizers who have maintained and expanded this effort, including the Iraq Moratorium website at:

Second, we want to encourage more local groups to get involved. There is still time to organize something in your community, at your school or workplace, or anywhere you might be able to reach people.

You can find reports from past Moratorium actions, as well as listings for events already planned for this Friday, at the Iraq Moratorium website. Reading through all of this will inspire you and might give you an idea of something you can do as part of this project. If you do plan something, please be sure to list it on the calendar.

Finally, if you are planning something for May 16, try to take some photos or video. Then we hope you’ll take a few minutes to go back to the site and post a report on what happened — not just numbers but anecdotes, descriptions of who came, etc. If you have them, include photos or video. What you do, and the stories you tell, can inspire others for future actions.

Again, the website for the Iraq Moratorium is – be sure to check it out!

(UFPJ — United for Peace and Justice — is the nation’s largest peace coalition, with more than 1,400 affiliated organizations.)

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