July 18, 2008 archive

Four at Four, at Five

Special guest host?  Nah, It’s just me.

Special edition?  You bet.  We’re in Central time now, folks.

Welcome to the Four at Four, at Five (Four Central).

  • President Bush and Iraqi (puppet) Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have agreed that an agreement over troop reductions can be reached…or something ambiguous like that.

    The long-term agreement had been held up by differences over issues like the extent of Iraqi control over American military operations, the right of American soldiers to detain suspects without the approval of Iraqi authorities and Iraqi demands for a timetable for withdrawal.

    But in a statement, the White House said Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki had agreed “that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals – such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq.”

    The White House offered no specific dates for troop cuts, but the inclusion of even just a reference to a time horizon is a significant concession by the Bush administration, which has long resisted setting a timetable for cuts in combat forces. It is a tacit admission that the United States’ military presence in Iraq is not endless.

    Call me a cynic, but that doesn’t sound like a concession at all.  Putting a candle in a cowpie doesn’t make it a chocolate cake, it just makes it a pile of shit with a candle.

  • A California poll shows only 42% favor a ban on gay marriage, an initiative that will appear on the ballot in November.  On Wednesday the state’s high court ruled in favor of allowing the proposed ban to be on the ballot, which has been in development since the court first overturned the previous ban as being unconstitutional.  Of course, an initiative to name a sewage plant after George W. Bush will also be on the ballot…so there should be plenty of people at the polls…

  • Good news out of Citigroup, as the banking giant lost only $2.5 billion in the second quarter…leading its stock to rise 9% as the loss wasn’t nearly as bad as they projected.

    But it’s hard to get too enthusiastic about clearing a low bar. It was Citi’s third straight quarterly loss and neither JPMorgan nor Wells Fargo managed to notch a profit gain compared to last year. Meanwhile, the brokerage Merrill Lynch & Co. reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss. And next week, Wachovia Corp. and Washington Mutual Inc. are anticipated to reveal losses, too, with Bank of America Corp. expected to report a steep profit decline.

    Citigroup, the nation’s largest banking company by assets, lost the equivalent of 54 cents per share in the April-June period. In the same timeframe last year, the bank earned $6.23 billion, or $1.24 per share.

  • Israel has arrested six Arabs in an alleged plot to attack George Bush’s helicopter, and according to Israel’s intelligence agency they were trying to form an al Qaeda organization in Israel.

    Israel’s Shin Bet counter-intelligence agency said one of the suspects had used his mobile phone to film helicopters at a sports stadium in Jerusalem that was used as a landing site for Bush’s delegation.

    The suspect then posted queries on Web sites frequented by al Qaeda operatives, asking for guidance on how to shoot down the helicopters, the agency said in a statement.

    Bush visited Israel in January and again in May.

    So…they waited until months after his visits to arrest these guys?  Or they are just finding out this information after the opportunities had passed?

The United State of Denial

Objective observation of the current politics and populace tells us that here in 21st century America, there are two ideas that take precedence above all else. Both are myths. Both are ideas apparently more important than any facts, logic, proof, evidence, or demonstrable reality.

The first is that America, no matter what it does, how many crimes are committed in its name, by its duly elected officials, is the good guy, the cowboy in the White Hat. Photobucket

America lied its way into a illegal and immoral war of aggression for no reason other than the greed and lust for power of its political and economic leaders. The majority of the American populace went along for the ride. America tortures. America exploits migrant workers while condemning them and punishing them for our reliance on them. The list goes on and on.

And the whole of the list of American wrongs that are not wrong because they are our wrongs, exists for one purpose above all others, to bolster and enable the second myth. (Which of course makes them ultimately the same myth.)

The myth that the Christian God created America to serve ‘his’ purpose, and selected white Christian males to work ‘his’ will on earth. Thus can they do no wrong. Thus are their wrongs….not wrong.

This myth is so woven into the fabric of American culture and belief that it is invisible to most. It is not spoken of, except in rare slips of the tongue such as this exchange between O’Rielly and McCain from last year:

O’REILLY: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you’re a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have.

The most destructive consequence of this myth is America’s surety that they are entitled to this God-given American lifestyle. This is what ensures than even in the face of facts, logic, proof, evidence, and demonstrable reality that the ‘American lifestyle’ is destroying the planets atmosphere and, ultimately, the “lifestyle” of every living thing on earth, their violent denial will continue.

When it comes right down to it, that is the myth that prevents any REAL change in America. How on God’s Green Earth do we fight that?

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore (A Quote For Discussion)

Over at Mindfully.org you can find hundreds of big and small literary and informational treasures for those interested in peering through the veils of darkness that the media does it’s best to pull over our eyes with all of their well practiced smoke and mirrors.

One such is in the Political/Social category. An article titled Beyond Voting that is particularly relevant this year.

Here’s an excerpt, but the entire thing is worth a close read, and some intense discussion or at least much thought, IMHO…

Roughly speaking we can distinguish five degrees of “government”:

       (1) Unrestricted freedom

       (2) Direct democracy

       (3) Delegate democracy

       (4) Representative democracy

       (5) Overt minority dictatorship

The present society oscillates between (4) and (5), i.e. between overt minority rule and covert minority rule camouflaged by a facade of token democracy. A liberated society would eliminate (4) and (5) and would progressively reduce the need for (2) and (3). . . .

In representative democracy people abdicate their power to elected officials.

The candidates’ stated policies are limited to a few vague generalities, and once they are elected there is little control over their actual decisions on hundreds of issues – apart from the feeble threat of changing one’s vote, a few years later, to some equally uncontrollable rival politician.

Stopping the war with Iran before it starts

Today is Iraq Moratorium day, a day to take action to end the war and occupation of Iraq.  This month, it leads into three days of action to prevent war with Iran.  A number of Moratorium events will connect the two, as participants in today’s events make cell phone calls to Congressional offices, leaflet about Iran, or write or email their representatives.

Much of the focus is on a House resolution which essentially calls for a blockade of Iran. List of sponsors.  There’s also a Senate resolution, with sponsors listed here.

Does it matter?  United for Peace and Justice reports that two members of Congress already have changed their minds after being challenged by local peace organizations. This report from St. Louis tells of one of the successes.

Maryland Police Spied On Activists, Claim It Was Legal

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

WaPO reports that Maryland police infiltrated and spied upon peace and death penalty abolition groups in 2005.  The information the cops gathered was apparently sent to other law enforcement agencies.  No crimes were alleged to have been committed by the activists.

That crushing sound you hear is the crumbling of the First Amendment:

Undercover Maryland State Police officers conducted surveillance on war protesters and death penalty opponents, including some in Takoma Park, for more than a year while Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was governor, documents released yesterday show.

Detailed intelligence reports logged by at least two agents in the police department’s Homeland Security and Intelligence Division reveal close monitoring of the movements as the Iraq war and capital punishment were heatedly debated in 2005 and 2006.

Organizational meetings, public forums, prison vigils, rallies outside the State House in Annapolis and e-mail group lists were infiltrated by police posing as peace activists and death penalty opponents, the records show. The surveillance continued even though the logs contained no reports of illegal activity and consistently indicated that the activists were not planning violent protests.

Then-state police superintendent Tim Hutchins acknowledged in an interview yesterday that the surveillance took place on his watch, adding that it was done legally. He said Ehrlich (R) was not aware of it. “You do what you think is best to protect the general populace of the state,” said Hutchins, now a federal defense contractor.

Did you read that?  The then state police superintendent says that the surveillance “was done legally.”  I feel so very assured and comforted by this conclusion about the law.  And protected.  Protected from what you might ask?  And from whom?  “To protect the general populace of the state” is a police goal that apparently does not include protecting the privacy and right of association of death penalty abolitionists and peace activists.  

Pony Party

Good old days????

Whenever people talk about getting back to the good old days in this country I get confused. I immediately wonder what days they’re talking about. I think that what we refer to as “good” is all too often in the eye of the beholder.

Most times the pull to some mythical wonderful past in this country takes us to the glory days of WWII and its aftermath in the 50’s. Those were the years of my childhood, and yes, there were certainly some good things about that time.

But when we open our eyes to historical facts, we learn a different story of those years and the reality that they were anything but the “good old days” for far too many.

I just recently read an article by Tim Wise that was written in the aftermath of the Jeremiah Wright controversy. He has a powerful story to tell us about how we think of history. Its titled Of National Lies and Racial America.

Fort Hood Town Hall Presidential Forum

The country’s wartime status has riddled this Presidential election year with added questions.

That’s why several non-profit military groups have come together to try to hold a Presidential town hall meeting at Fort Hood.

Sen. Barack Obama is the missing ingredient for a town hall meeting at Fort Hood.

This is a nobrainer for the Obama Campaign, especially as to recent remarks by Senator McCain, and he isn’t as great as he and others think as to Town Halls or other formats. The Obama camp have many like Wesley Clark and other knowledgable Veterans of our Military who have more than just his back, as well as the many running on the same ticket for federal offices.

Insurance Companies Ready Themselves for the Battle over Profits

The insurance industry in the United States of America is actively recruiting and hiring and training LOBBYISTS in huge numbers to ready themselves for the shit-storm that the American people and HOPEFULLY their elected Representatives are about to lay down on them in the very near future.

As we are all well aware, medical insurance and the FOR PROFIT Insurance Corporations in the U.S. are out of control.  Millions of citizens are not insured at all, most citizens that do have some sort of medical insurance are under-insured and the sky-rocketing costs of medical insurance are becoming more and more prohibitive for the average American worker.  Add to that fact that employer based medical insurance is where most Americans recieve their insurance package and then consider the rising unemployment issue in this country, and things can only go from horrible to completely unacceptable.

In an essay I submitted yesterday, US slips down development index, Citizens live shorter lives, we discussed the fact that the citizens of America are now only 42nd among countries in the world regarding life expectancy, even though we spend more money per person on medical care than any other country in the world.

At some point, it should become obvious to even the Insurance Corporations that we are simply not getting our money’s worth with that dismal track record.  Yet, they simply don’t care.  The bottom line is profit, and they are going to spend an incredible amount of their profits on Lobbyists to make sure that no matter the quality of health care U.S. citizens might or might not receive is made to be a moot point.  Their continued profits are all they care about and they are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure those profits continue to flow into their coffers.


Reason to Believe

Hello!  Here’s a song called Reason to Believe.  Thanks as always to anyone who listens!  I appreciate it so much.

Docudharma Times Friday July 18

Terror Funds and

The Lap

Of Luxury


What About The


Friday’s Headlines:

Can anything slow Obama’s fundraising juggernaut?

Tight security, visa restrictions and high fares deter Olympic tourists

North Koreans revamp ‘world’s worst building’

Nelson’s 90th is strictly South African affair

New irrigation project a boon for Senegalese farmers

Soaring inflation undermines sustainability of Persian Gulf region

Talks signal Mideast shift

Spain: Eta killer’s business auctioned to pay victim’s widow

World Focus: Italians and the Gypsies – an old prejudice revived

Oil prices threaten Latin America’s economic gains

Electrical Risks at Bases in Iraq Worse Than Previously Said  


Published: July 18, 2008

WASHINGTON – Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.

During just one six-month period – August 2006 through January 2007 – at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military’s largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007.

India’s Government accused of buying votes

From The Times

July 18, 2008

Jeremy Page in Delhi

The Indian Government, on the brink of a crucial no-confidence motion that is regarded as a turning point in the world’s biggest democracy, has been accused of buying votes on an epic scale.

In the run-up to Tuesday’s vote, Delhi has been gripped by a frenzy of mud-slinging, back-slapping and deal-making as the Congress Party and its main rivals try to make up the numbers. An MP said this week that the Government was offering to pay as much as 250 million rupees (£3 million) for each vote in parliament.


Terrorism Funds May Let Brass Fly in Style

Luxury Pods for Air Force Debated

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, July 18, 2008; Page A01

The Air Force’s top leadership sought for three years to spend counterterrorism funds on “comfort capsules” to be installed on military planes that ferry senior officers and civilian leaders around the world, with at least four top generals involved in design details such as the color of the capsules’ carpet and leather chairs, according to internal e-mails and budget documents.

Production of the first capsule — consisting of two sealed rooms that can fit into the fuselage of a large military aircraft — has already begun.

Impeachment Is Off the Table, But God’s Blessings Aren’t

Madame Speaker:

“You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject.”  She then tsk-tsked Bush for “challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again.”

Wow!  That tongue lashing will bring Bush to his knees in abject shame, imploring forgiveness from God and everyone.  

We’re making progress, fellow advocates!  America’s total failure Speaker of the House just slammed America’s total failure president.  Enjoy that progress while it lasts, if Nancy doesn’t apologize before the day is out, I’ll be a total failure as a prophet.      

Meet the new direction . . .

Same as the old direction . . .


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