August 7, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Miami Herald reports Brakes put on Obama gas station ads. “A Barack Obama ad ready to air at Florida gas stations that have pumps topped with TV screens was nixed at the last minute because the advertising company’s chief said it reflected poorly on the oil industry, according to the presidential candidate’s campaign.” Ouch, the people of Florida watch ads while they pump gas.

    “The ad — which can still be viewed on television in Florida and other states — is more critical of McCain than Big Oil, describing him as a Washington insider who voted against alternative energy sources and higher mileage standards. ‘Barack Obama. He’ll make energy independence an urgent national priority . . . as we break the grip of foreign oil,’ the ad says.”

    While not the ad proposed to run at Florida gas stations, I guess Big Oil wouldn’t really want to remind people of this while filling up.

  2. Mishima already touched upon the story about “500: Deadly U.S. Milestone in Afghan War” this morning, but I think this graphic from the NY Times was worth highlighting.

    About this graphic: “U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan grew through the second half of 2007 and continued at the same pace this year. Combat deaths rose and more involved improvised explosive devices. These charts show deaths of soldiers directly involved in the Afghanistan war for six-month periods. The 2001 deaths are for December only.”

    A paragraph from the article: “June was the second deadliest month for the military in Afghanistan since the war began, with 23 American deaths from hostilities, compared with 22 in Iraq. July was less deadly, with 20 deaths, compared with six in Iraq. On July 22, nearly seven years after the conflict began on Oct. 7, 2001, the United States lost its 500th soldier in the Afghanistan war.”

Four at Four continues with Iraq’s parliament going to recess and shutting down climate change help to poor nations.

George Bush Has Won The War On Terror

I blog to you today from the great north woods near the Canadian border, using only the power of the sun. (And a phone line, but that does not sound as adventurous and romantic) To get here, with all of the various complications, I passed through four different TSA/Homeland Security checkpoints. While doing so, I watched my fellow residents of the Land of the Formerly Free and Home of the Once Brave cower and kowtow in the face of Authority. I watched little old ladies react in …terror… as they were challenged or singled out by  other former residents of that semi-mythical land, who presumably also possessed in the not so distant past the same fierce independence and  frontier spirit that is alleged to be the cornerstone of the American collective character. Those Americans, the TSA agents, in order to preserve or build their slice of the semi-mythical “American Lifestyle” that has now replaced thesemi-mythical independence and  frontier spirit as the raison d’etre for American exceptionalism, unwittingly terrorize their fellow Americans. The TSA agents, now more than ever, just need a job. Being just normal Americans and thus subject to the propagandized programming of fear foisted on them by the new myth makers in politics and the media…… do not realize that they are the modern counterparts of the guys in the old movies who stare you down in that efficient and effective Authoritarian mein as they hold out their hands and say in the bad guy accent du jour….”Your Papers, Please.” Nor do the traveling massses realize fully that they have just been subjected to  what amounts to a totalitarian tactic that is more designed to keep them cowed and submissive than actually “catching terrorists.”  This is just the most apparent example of how America has changed since 9/11, and almost all of those changes have been for one real purpose, to remind Americans to be afraid.

America and Americans have been terrorized.

By their government.

Anthrax II


The FBI’s emerging, leaking case against Ivins

Glenn Greenwald

Tuesday Aug. 5, 2008 06:54 EDT

Within less than 24 hours, we went from “a New Jersey mailbox used to send the anthrax was less than 100 yards away from a sorority for which Ivins harbored an intense life-long obsession” to “the mailbox was near a storage closet used by a sorority that Ivins used to frequent 27 years ago and by a specific chapter that Ivins appeared to have absolutely nothing to do with.”

And then there is the Hatfill-like leaking of scurrilous information about Ivins, including the fact that he had — as the NYT put it today — “a history of alcohol abuse, had for years maintained a post office box under an assumed name that he used to receive pornographic pictures of blindfolded women.” Leaving aside the fact that alcohol abuse and pornography consumption aren’t exactly clues marking someone as the anthrax killer, how bad could his “alcohol abuse” have been if he continued to maintain Government clearance to work at a U.S. Army facility with the nation’s most dangerous pathogens?

All sorts of similar questions are raised by the onslaught of other FBI leaks. Dr. Jasenosky told me that he finds claims of some “ground-breaking” new DNA technique, or some “big breakthrough” to be “quite strange,” given that what the news accounts have described is nothing more than an incremental extension of molecular analysis techniques that have existed for several years and which, at most, appear to have only enabled existing techniques to be conducted more rapidly. He further emphasized that even the most sophisticated DNA tests could never link anthrax to any particular scientist, and that no assessment of the FBI’s assertions is possible without a thorough review of its underlying data. Dr. Meryl Nass said the same thing today: “Let me reiterate: No matter how good the microbial forensics may be, they can only, at best, link the anthrax to a particular strain and lab. They cannot link it to any individual.”

And then there is the issue of Ivins’ mental state. The New York Times reported today that part of the FBI investigation was so heavy-handed that it actually entailed showing gruesome photographs of the anthrax victims to Ivins’ adult children, telling them that their father is the one who did that, while trying to entice them to turn on him with promises of a reward. As Rep. Holt indicated this morning, is it any wonder that any person — guilty or not — would experience severe psychological distress when targeted by the FBI that way? Moreover, this morning’s Frederick News Post (doing some of the best reporting in the country on this case) reported that it was FBI agents who told Jean Duley to seek a protective order against Ivins — the action that then created the record used by most media outlets to depict Ivins as a crazed psychopath.

No matter what the FBI says over the next week, or whenever it is that it finally gets around to stopping its manipulative leaks to its media friends and begins instead showing the public its evidence, a full-scale investigation is required here. Bruce Ivins may very well be the anthrax killer, having acted alone, but there is no rational basis for believing right now that he is.

Pony Party

~♥~ Pony Party is an Open Thread. Please don’t wRECk the pony. ~♥~

Curiosity is Dangerous, or So is Obama?

Warning: This is a depressing essay. If you find reality offensive in nature, or simply do not wish to be exposed to it, I advise you to read the other fine essays here at Docudharma instead of this one.

I have a habit of roaming the net soaking up information and opinions like a sponge. It often leads me to learn things that if repeated tend to sound very depressing and and to attract the criticism of some who seem to prefer “hope” to reality.

The past eight years have seen a relentless slide towards mind control by mainstream media and an obviously fascist government apparatus constructed by the Bush administration accompanied by the denial and burial of information by those many people hope would reverse these processes, the democratic congress and a probable democratic president after January 2009.

Reality seems to be on the defensive, and when people need hope more than anything else they seem to be willing to suspend rational judgment and curiosity in favor of hoping against all reason.

This morning I ran across an article that I’ll reproduce in full here because I think it contains some very sound information, opinion and analysis.

Written by editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report: The journal of African American political thought and action, here is…

Freedom Rider: Obama Pardons Bush

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

July 30, 2008

There will be no need for George Bush to pardon himself and his fellow criminals. Barack Obama promises to let the “W Gang” off, scott-free, when he takes over the White House. Impeachment? Heavens, no! “That is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances,” says Obama, apparently in the belief that Bush’s behavior has been routine for an American president. Obama surrogates say bipartisanship should decide the question of investigating current and past presidents. In other words, Obama will let the Republicans decide if Bush gets away with murder. “So Bush crimes will be buried by a Democrat.”

article continues on the flip

THANK you, Eric Boehlert!

If you haven’t read Smirking Chimp writer Eric Boehlert’s excellent column regarding the shameless double standard in media coverage of John McCain, now is the time to do it.  There are some grammatical errors, but beyond those, the piece does a superb job of pointing out the tepid criticism of just one of the Republican candidate’s endless series of lies – compared to its record of pouncing on nearly everything, no matter how innocent, uttered by Democratic candidates as pathological deceptions.  Boehlert systematically dismantles the new Lie being promulgated that the media has somehow “turned” on McCain.

Barack Obama does not support the return of the Fairness Doctrine.  He should, if for no other reason than it would place some restraints on media goons who play favorites during electoral cycles.  Please use the comment feature for ideas on how we can get the Democratic candidate to change his mind.

A new round of nuclear lies

Original article by John Pilger via and originally published in the Guardian.  Subheaded: A look at the “progression of lies” surrounding the August 6, 1945, dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima provides insight into how those lies are being repeated for new wars today.

Docudharma Times Thursday August 7

Oh The Irony

Of The First Story

Enemy Combatants:

Illegal Wiretapping:


Secret Prisons  

Thursday’s Headlines:

Anthrax suspect Bruce Ivins’ emotional state is detailed

The death of a nation

?Berlusconi buys Campari villa ‘to save heritage’

The tragic last moments of Margaret Hassan

In Iraq, troops balance fighting and lending a hand

President Musharraf of Pakistan to be impeached

China’s leaders are resilient in face of change

In Kenya, two protagonists and the conciliators

White farmer’s ordeal in Zimbabwe

Venezuelans protest Chavez’s new socialist push

Bush chides Beijing over rights

US President George W Bush has expressed “deep concerns” over China’s human rights record in a speech on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.


“The US believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings,” he said in the Thai capital Bangkok.

He praised China’s economy but said only respect for human rights would let it realise its full potential.

Mr Bush has been criticised by some campaigners for going to the Games.

He was due to fly to Beijing following the speech in Bangkok, a stop on his final trip to Asia before he leaves office in January.

Foreign Activists Manage to Pierce China’s Broad Security Apparatus

By Edward Cody

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, August 7, 2008; Page A01

BEIJING, Aug. 6 — China’s intense efforts to block any protest that would mar the Olympic Games were challenged Wednesday by foreign activists equally bent on diverting attention to issues as varied as Tibetan independence, the crisis in Darfur and religious freedom. Two American and two British protesters slipped through a smothering Olympic security net, climbed a pair of lampposts and unfurled banners demanding freedom for Tibet near the new stadium where the Beijing Games are to open Friday night. In Tiananmen Square, three American Christian activists spoke out against China’s rights record and protested its population control policies.


500: Deadly U.S. Milestone in Afghan War


Published: August 6, 2008

Not long after Staff Sgt. Matthew D. Blaskowski was killed by a sniper’s bullet last Sept. 23 in eastern Afghanistan, his mother received an e-mail message with a link to a video on the Internet. A television reporter happened to have been filming a story at Sergeant Blaskowski’s small mountain outpost when it came under fire and the sergeant was shot.

Since then, Sergeant Blaskowski’s parents, Cheryl and Terry Blaskowski of Cheboygan, Mich., have watched their 27-year-old son die over and over. Ms. Blaskowski has taken breaks from work to watch it on her computer, sometimes several times a day, studying her son’s last movements.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

In this world

Hate never yet dispelled hate.

Only love dispels hate.

This is the law,

Ancient and inexhaustible.

–The Dhammapada

Phenomena XV: Love



Fear is strong

Does hatred

make anyone


We come in

all degrees

of beauty

all depths

of substance

all capabilities

of love

Should cultural


so consistently

deny us love?

The riddles

need solving

so that lives

may be lived

and love

may be found

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–June 13, 2008

The Stars Hollow Gazette

HarlequinWell so far this week my writing has had a pretty fair reception, even the pieces where I mostly quote someone else.

I like to think I have an audience for the off topic stuff I post here too.  I think that if you’re a regular reader you should find nothing out of the ordinary in my obnoxiousness.

Sometimes I indulge my own tangents and peculiarities and don’t worry too much about the consequences until it’s far too late.

Anyway I’m always looking for bright and shiny objects for you and when I find the next distraction I’ll be right back.

Dinnae eht Mehke Ye Proud tae be Scottish?

Eht’s SHITE bein’ Scottish! Weh’re thae louest ay the louw! Thae scoom ay the fookin’ erth! Thae moost retched, miserable, serrvial, pathetic trash that was e’er shat intae civlization. Soom heht the English-I doon’t. They’re jest wankers. We, on thae oother hand, ere colonized by wankers. Cannae even find a decent coolchur tae be colonized by. We’re rooled by effehte erseholes. It’s a shite steht ay affehrs tae be in, ehn all thae fresh ayr in thae wirld won’t make any fookin’ deffrence!

The Green Desert: Field Trip to New York City

This is a continuation of The Green Desert and The Green Paradox.  The quick update is:  more flowers; still many bees; growing number of moths and butterflies.  Still no bees on flowering plants around the Roundup Ready corn and soybean fields.  

This story starts about a week ago with a phone accounting of all this to a friend in NYC, who I had called to tell we were coming to the city for a few days.

Specifically, I told him not only about the bees, but the complexities of mass production and paying the bills on a family farm, ala how my father works alone the amount of ground that would have been 3 families’ work just 50 years ago, and grew much more than they did then as well-all while using (at minimum) poisons that (at minimum) bees don’t like and seem obviously to be out of balance with nature.

So my friend said, “Well, what’s wrong is the feeling that you have to grow that much.”  Which got me to thinking.

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