June 27, 2008 archive

Painted Pony Party

by Elsie Carousel on Brighton Pier, England

by stuttermonkey Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, OR

Yes, There Is A Double Standard……..

going on regarding what politicians and other people have been saying about this current flooding and what they said after the federal flood about New Orleans and those it impacted. I was cynical enough and had had my suspicions as I noticed that something was missing.

To wit: Nobody, even though some of the currently-affected communities along the Mississippi which had also been affected in the flooding of 1993 have been flooded again, has been telling the folks in these communities that they should not rebuild……  

The Bill of Wrongs

Cross posted from my morning Open Thread on WWL this morning.

Finally had time to cross it! Have a grin. (kind of)

I am thinking about the slaughter of the Bill of Rights. Of course, when written it only inferred itself to rich white men anyway; now it blatantly applies to rich white men.

(Hat tip to Mentarch for sending me off on this tangent a couple times this week!!)

Being in a snarkilicious mood, lets examine these shall we? I’m dying to see what I come up with, and dying to see if you can find a better, more humorous way to re-define them in the comments.    

Nuremberg & Shifting Rationales for War against Iran

The germ of this essay was posted as a Comment to Truong Son Traveler’s diary on DailyKos, “The Truth About the Iranian Threat,” which TST also posted on Docudharma.  

Principle VI of the Nuremberg Principles appears to make even the formation of a Resolution such as HRes 362 a criminal act “against peace.” The thrust of the ambiguously-worded HRes 362 seems to be to provide legislative cover for acts of war against Iran. HRes 362 discusses what is to be done about Iran, increasingly demonized as a “Threat to Humanity.”  But why Iran should be held subject to punishment is not yet clear; judgment has been rendered and punishments spelled out, but no criminal act on Iran’s part has as yet been named.

In much the same fashion as the US invasion of Iraq was rolled out on the American stage through shifting rationales and propagandized demonization campaigns, so the “Shock Doctrine” is being prepared for Iran, under similar shifting rationales concealed by similar demonizing rhetoric. I’m not a lawyer or a legal scholar; it just seems to make sense to me that the reasons for unleashing such destabilization, death, and destruction can make all the difference in an assessment of their morality and legality.


Four at Four

America is doomed. Get out while you still can.

  1. Surprise! Congress agrees to keep troops in Iraq until end of Bush’s term, reports The Guardian. “The Democratic-controlled US Congress late yesterday agreed to keep the military in Iraq until George Bush leaves office… The massive war bill faced little opposition… The war bill gives the Pentagon $162bn to continue Iraq operations well into next year… Approving war money for Bush with no strings”.

    Meanwhile in Iraq, the LA Times reports U.S. forces postpone handover in Iraqi province. “The U.S. military today postponed a weekend ceremony to hand over responsibility for security in Anbar province to the Iraqi government, citing forecasts of bad weather… The decision was not connected to a suicide bombing at a community meeting in the Anbar town of Karmah on Thursday that killed 20 people, including three U.S. Marines and two interpreters. High winds and dust storms are expected Saturday… The military provided no new date for the official handover but said it would take place soon.” Feel the “surge” working or is it just the wind?

  2. Surprise! Is Obama turning out to be just another politician? asks McClatchy Newspapers. “From the beginning, Barack Obama’s special appeal was his vow to remain an idealistic outsider, courageous and optimistic, and never to shift his positions for political expediency, or become captive of the Inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia, or kiss up to special interests and big money donors. In recent weeks, though, Obama has done all those things.” Imagine that?

    “In Illinois, fellow politicians and civic activists who watched Obama as a state lawmaker say he’s a political realist who pivots when he needs to, but can be counted on to follow through on big promises… Obama’s aides dismiss criticism of his shifts as misunderstandings of his original positions, or merit-based decisions that Obama had never ruled out.”

  3. Surprise! Key player in waterboarding policy ‘smug’ under questioning, according to the LA Times. “Glaring out through half-rimmed glasses, David S. Addington, a top aide to Vice President Cheney and alleged master-mind of the legal rationale for the harsh techniques, appeared before a House subcommittee.”

    David Addington and John Yoo

    Or, as Dana Milbank of the Washington Post puts it When anonymity fails, be nasty, brutish, and short.

    There he sat, hunched and scowling, at the witness table in front of the House Judiciary Committee: the bearded, burly form of the chief of staff and alter ego to the vice president — Cheney’s Cheney, if you will — and the man most responsible for building President Bush’s notion of an imperial presidency.

    David Addington was there under subpoena. And he wasn’t happy about it.

    Could the president ever be justified in breaking the law? “I’m not going to answer a legal opinion on every imaginable set of facts any human being could think of,” Addington growled. Did he consult Congress when interpreting torture laws? “That’s irrelevant,” he barked. Would it be legal to torture a detainee’s child? “I’m not here to render legal advice to your committee,” he snarled. “You do have attorneys of your own.”

    John Yoo was equally as helpful.

  4. Surprise! The NY Times reports the Dow moves into bear territory as oil hits new high. “Shares fell as oil reached $142 a barrel, a new record, as the major indexes extended their losses a day after a painful 358-point plunge in the Dow.”

    This Recession, It’s Just Beginning, writes Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post.

    So much for that second-half rebound…

    It ain’t gonna happen. Not this summer. Not this fall. Not even next winter.

    This thing’s going down, fast and hard. Corporate bankruptcies, bond defaults, bank failures, hedge fund meltdowns and 6 percent unemployment. We’re caught in one of those vicious, downward spirals that, once it gets going, is very hard to pull out of.

    Only this will be a different kind of recession — a recession with an overlay of inflation.

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, Made it race against time. Once I built a railroad, now it’s done — Brother, can you spare a dime?

Freedom of Speech and Political Correctness

There is an old saying…Your right to freely swing your fist ….ends at my nose. Pretty clear cut, in principle, til the lawyers get hold of it.

There is another old saying that ‘takes it back’ even further…Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. It seems almost absurd in the context of the world we live in today, where we are deeply restricted by laws and basically living in a police state. But the saying is meant to convey, in part, that we a DO have perfect freedom. The only thing that restricts that freedom is…..consequences. You are free to do whatever you want, but you WILL face the consequences for your actions. Another way to put it….Karma, it is not a philosophy…it’s The Law. For every action there is a (not necessarily equal, in human affairs) reaction.

The position of Freedom of Speech is that you have the right to use any word any way you want to. That is absolutely true.

I have the freedom of speech to call you a huge flaming asshole for doing so.

That is a consequence of you exercising your freedom.

Then you defend yourself…then I attack your defense. Then you attack my attack, and I defend.  Etc. Etc. Etc. We have the Freedom of Speech to yell at each other all day long! But there are consequences. We are also “free” to punch each other in the nose, or “free” to pull out guns and shoot each other. But there will be consequences.


This is why political correctness started. The consequences for using your freedom of speech are mostly (aside from hate speech) social consequences. Iow, people yelling at you or shunning you. Yes we all have the freedom to say whatever we want, but the consequence for saying things that hurt other people is that people will say things back to hurt you. If enough people are hurt or offended by what you say you will have ALL those people trying to hurt you back. Or if you are lucky, trying to explain to you why what you are saying is hurtful. Like it or not, for good or ill, this is how societies define what is “acceptable speech.” By using their freedom of speech to “police” your freedom of speech. To make it politically (note: polite, police. Same root. Societies DO police themselves, through …politics, heh) correct. Or to use different words …(Since it has reached the point where the phrase “politically correct” is now an “attack phrase” in and of itself!)…socially acceptable. How is what is or is not socially acceptable determined?

“No time like the present to attack Iran”

No time like the present to attack Iran

Of all the nations America has arbitrarily decided are evil, the worst is Iran, an oppressive theocracy that sponsors international terror, but doesn’t pretend to be friends with us and give us oil. Obviously they must be destroyed, but we’re running out of time to do so. Experts agree we must attack by January, or it’ll be too late. If we wait any longer, we run the risk of no longer having a president who’s crazy enough to do it.

We must bomb Iran, as payback for the Iranian hostage crisis, a despicable act that happened before I was born. Those hostages were taken in retaliation for the America-backed coup that occurred when my dad was a baby. So you see the startling immediacy of the conflict. The problem is the only possibly attackable thing Iran’s president has done lately is say a lot of crazy stuff. And though our own president has shown it’s a short leap between saying crazy stuff and blowing things up, Iran hasn’t yet made the jump.

Olbermann has sold out.

I just got done reading Keith Olbermann’s tortured excuse for not calling out Barack Obama on his FISA cave, and frankly, it’s as lame as it can get.  Sorry, Keith, but you’ve sold out to the far right without even realizing it.  Here’s why.

Throughout this campaign, you’ve been doing little or nothing but bash Hillary Clinton for all the wrong reasons.  While the senator supposedly representing New York has undoubtedly made plenty of verbal gaffes and has a poor record of defending the Constitution against the shrub and his gargoyle, you focused your rage exclusively upon her, and for all the wrong things.  One example is her suggestion that the bigot bloc might not vote for Obama, which is true: no matter how much he panders to the far right, no matter how often he bashes blacks to their faces, the bigots in this country simply are not going to vote for a black man for president; they’d sooner cast their ballots for a white woman.  You, however, joined in with those who relentlessly attacked her for pointing out this fundamental truth.

Liberal Media Bias? Will McClatchy Torture those who Torture?

John Yoo and David Addington managed to show up yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee (HOLY Bamboo under the fingernails, Batman!  They showed up?!?) and started laying out a considerable load of crap before the members of the Judiciary Committee regarding their “diminished roles” compared to what people have been led to believe regarding interrogation techniques.  Well, among other things like Presidential powers, and just plain raping and pillaging the image of America.  

First, lets get a little background on these two scumbags (purely MY opinion; McClatchy did not weigh in on this description).

John Yoo – (AKA Bamboo Yoo)

A professor of Law at The University of California, Berkley, Bamboo Yoo is best known for his stint in the U.S. IN – Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council while assisting the Attorney General to give IL – Legal advice to the President (Yes, Bushie) from 2001 – 2003.

After he left the Department of IN – Justice, we learned that Yoo authored memos, including co-authoring the Bybee memo defining torture and American habeas corpus obligations narrowly. The memos, known today as the “torture memos,” advocate enhanced interrogation techniques, while pointing out that refuting the Geneva Conventions would reduce the possibility indivuals face future prosecution under the US War Crimes Act of 1996 for actions taken in the War on Terror.  

This is where the Imperial Presidency got it’s beginning.  Bushie loved this guy!!

In addition, a new definition of torture was issued. Most actions that fall under the international definition do not fall within this new definition advocated by the U.S.  Top military lawyers, including Alberto J. Mora, reported that policies allowing methods equivalent to torture were officially handed down from the highest levels of the administration (see Cheney, VLAD and Bush, Bimbo), and led an effort within the Department of Defence to put a stop to those policies and instead mandate non-coercive interrogation standards.  But, Mr. Mora didn’t succeed, because Vlad and Bimbo loved ’em some “enhanced interrogation torture techniques.”

Since he left the Department of In – Justice in 2003, after his return to Cal-Berkley, student protesters at Berkeley have demanded, that he renounce the memos or resign his professorship.  However, being a Wingnut Neo-Con, he of course would never ADMIT to having done anything wrong (without the bamboo treatment, of course) and he has thumbed his nose at his detractors ever since.

On to our Not-Friend David Addington (AKA Scooter Two).

This scum-sucking-triple-asswipe of a human being is currently occupying Scooter’s previous job of Chief of Staff to VP Vlad Cheney and was a former legal council to teh Vice Vampire prior to Scooter-boy being convicted of LYING (OMG!  A Republican?  Lie?  NOOOOOOoooooooo!!).

Addington was previously assistant general council for the CIA and an assistant to then Congressman Cheney during the heady days of the Iran-Contra scandal.  Addington is also the Main, Number 1 Cheerleader for the idea that the President has Unlimited Powers as our Lying-Cheating-Murdering-Commander-in-Chief during wartime.

Ok, enough with the niceties.  On to what McClatchy (whose Service Mark is “Truth to Power”) has to say about these two


To bias or not to bias?  THAT is the question…

Shame On You T Boone, Shame

Your word has turned to slime, hope the business world is paying attention, though you’ll always find

snakes like you to deal with and make some bucks, and I’m sure many already have learned about you

through your years of building your billions.

What’s this all about? Well,


Docudharma Times Friday June 27

Making Sure There Are Guns

For Everyone

The U.S. Supreme Court

Who Needs Any Restraint

Friday’s Headlines:

Gun advocates’ other weapon: lawsuits  

Unicef among critics of Italian plan to fingerprint Roma children

Fairy-tale town up in arms over decree on solar panels

Negotiators quit Darfur, saying neither side is ready for peace

Thabo Mbeki mocked for weakness with words

Militant Hamas as reluctant moderator

Israeli threats stiffen Iran’s resolve    

China Says It Opposes Politicizing Olympics  

In Tibet, a worm worth its weight in gold

Mexican police commander killed  

North Korea Destroys Tower at Nuclear Plant


Published: June 28, 2008

SEOUL, South Korea — With international TV networks filming the scene, North Korea blew up the most visible symbol of its nuclear program on Friday in a gesture demonstrating its commitment to stop making plutonium for weapons.

The 60-foot-tall cooling tower at the North’s main nuclear power plant was blasted away shortly after 4 p.m. Friday before an audience of international TV cameras, reported South Korea’s MBC-TV. MBC has a crew at the demolition site in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

Tsvangirai: vote Mugabe to stay alive

Militia warns voters of reprisals if they back opposition in sham pol

Chris McGreal in Harare

The Guardian,

Friday June 27, 2008  

Zimbabwe’s opposition has advised its supporters to vote for Robert Mugabe for their own safety when they are herded to the polls today amid threats of violence if there is not a resounding victory for the only ruler the country has known.

In a final push to intimidate voters, the ruling Zanu-PF’s militia forced people to political meetings across large parts of Zimbabwe yesterday.

They were again warned that their “vote is their bullet” if they did not support Mugabe even though the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has pulled out of the race because a state-orchestrated campaign of murder, abduction, beatings and rape made it too dangerous for his supporters to vote.


U.S. Embassy refuses to pay London’s road tolls

Owes $3.9 million in unpaid congestion levies since Feb. 2003

Associated Press    

LONDON – The U.S. Embassy in London has failed to pay more than $3.9 million in traffic congestion charges, according to figures published Thursday by Britain’s foreign ministry.

British lawmakers condemned U.S. diplomats, after they topped a list of embassies refusing to pay the charge.

The list of fees owed by embassies showed that the United States refused to pay the levy 23,188 times between February 2003 and last month.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XVII

One step at a time.  One person at a time.  That’s how the world changes.  And for some of us the changes are monumental.

Art Link

Seeking Enlightenment


One step

at a time

sometimes forward

sometimes up

Forward as I move

through my life

even if some wish

to pull me back

Perhaps they

sense the peril

of the new

Upward is harder

as I lift

the burden

of proceeding

to another level

up the staircase

of human evolution

beyond the mundane

They do not like it

that I have taken

this step

or even that

I have shown them

that this place exists

Their screams of pain

anger and terror

will not – can not

bring me back

This place

once conceived

cannot be erased

and cannot be denied

Ideas cannot be unthought

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 7, 2006

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