August 14, 2008 archive

You deserve to know!

Before entering the ballot box, you deserve to know. You have the right to know. Actually, you have the responsibility to know candidates’ positions on the critical issues before us and before the US. And, a new tool has emerged for doing so on critical energy and environmental issues.

Candid Answers provides a path for voters (for citizens) to query quickly candidates on five critical issues: Global Warming; Renewable Energy; Nuclear Power; Public Transportation; and Automobile Fuel Efficiency.  And, these queries, if they are made, will lead to a public record for candidates across the nation.

Avoiding Water Wars and Feces Waters

Our government is setting us up for a life of water wars between communities and between people and wildlife.  We need to stop thinking that solutions to water supply issues in a climate change world can be solved by resolutions used in the past in a pre-climate change world. Resolutions beneficial for isolated droughts, isolated dust storms, isolated flooding or isolated extreme storms will not prepare us for multiple extreme events of greater intensity, frequency and widening geographic scope.  In short, we need to discuss proposals about how to prep for living in a climate change world where our finite water supplies will become so stretched that water wars will be commonplace unless we take action now to develop a national water supply policy designed to minimize or avert climate change impacts on our water resources.  

Four at Four

  1. Expanding on the theme of the American police state, McClatchy Newspapers report the FBI is to get freer rein to look for terrorism suspects.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey confirmed plans Wednesday to loosen post-Watergate restrictions on the FBI’s national security and criminal investigations, saying the changes were necessary to improve the bureau’s ability to detect terrorists.

    Mukasey said he expected criticism of the new rules because “they expressly authorize the FBI to engage in intelligence collection inside the United States.” However, he said the criticism would be misplaced because the bureau has long had authority to do so.

    The Oregonian adds Mukasey says agents will apply methods used to investigate organized crime. But don’t worry, “Mukasey also promised to protect civil liberties and forbid the use of prejudicial investigations based on race, religion or constitutionally protected political expression.”

    According to Mukasey, such changes will transform the FBI into an “elite national security organization“!

    The McClatchy story notes civil libertarians are “alarmed” by the changes. For example:

    Michael German, a former veteran FBI agent who is now policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said if Mukasey moves ahead with the new rules as he describes them, he’ll be weakening restrictions originally put in place after the Watergate scandal to rein in the FBI’s domestic Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. At the time, the FBI spied on American political leaders and organizations deemed to be subversive throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s.

    “I’m concerned with the way the attorney general frames the problem,” German said. “He talks about ‘arbitrary or irrelevant differences’ between criminal and national security investigations but these were corrections originally designed to prevent the type of overreach the FBI engaged in for years.”

    Last year, Jeffrey Rosen writing for the NY Times, asked Who’s Watching the FBI? This was written after “widespread and serious misuse” of national-security letters by the FBI was disclosed. So who is watching the FBI, since Congress has sure proved it isn’t up to the job.

Four at Four continues with the West desperately trying to save Musharraf from impeachment, Pelosi and the Democrats can’t capitulate fast enough, streetcars, and bonus story about urban gardens.

Heal the Warrior,

Heal the Country.

I most certainly am not an Edward Tick, author of War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a few other books, as well as the article in Yes Magazine linked above. He is also the director and senior psychotherapist of Soldier’s Heart: Veteran’s Safe Return Initiatives.

So I’ll give a few of the cuts from the article and add some other related information I’ve recently received.

Republican Congressman Attacks 14 year old blogger

That’s right. Yesterday at a debate between Rep. Virgil Goode of Virgina’s 5th district and his Democratic challenger Tom Perriello Goode said this

“And they want me out of Congress, the liberal Democrats want me out. And they want me out because I’m a conservative voice, if we can silence that person that’s exactly what we want, we want more mushers up here  in Congress that won’t speak out and stand out. They want a Obamajority in this country, Tom is on the Obamajority list for the US House of Representatives, they want to get him in there because they know he is going to be voting with them. They want to control the White House, 60 votes in the US Senate and a strong majority in the US House of Representatives.”

Goode is famous for using bogeymen to scare people, he attacked Rep. Keith Ellison for being a Muslim and repeated tall tales about China that even Dick Cheney said were false.

Now he’s found a new bogeymen. He’s attacking the Obamajority, an ActBlue page started by a 14 year old blogger–me.

4° Celsius Increase In Global Temperature = Human Extinction

According to climate scientist Bob Watson, we need to prepare for an increase of 4° Celsius in global temperatures.

The collapse of the polar ice caps would become inevitable, bringing long-term sea level rises of 70-80 metres. All the world’s coastal plains would be lost, complete with ports, cities, transport and industrial infrastructure, and much of the world’s most productive farmland. The world’s geography would be transformed much as it was at the end of the last ice age, when sea levels rose by about 120 metres to create the Channel, the North Sea and Cardigan Bay out of dry land. Weather would become extreme and unpredictable, with more frequent and severe droughts, floods and hurricanes. The Earth’s carrying capacity would be hugely reduced. Billions would undoubtedly die.

Watson’s call was supported by the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, who warned that “if we get to a four-degree rise it is quite possible that we would begin to see a runaway increase”. This is a remarkable understatement. The climate system is already experiencing significant feedbacks, notably the summer melting of the Arctic sea ice. The more the ice melts, the more sunshine is absorbed by the sea, and the more the Arctic warms. And as the Arctic warms, the release of billions of tonnes of methane – a greenhouse gas 70 times stronger than carbon dioxide over 20 years – captured under melting permafrost is already under way.

To see how far this process could go, look 55.5m years to the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, when a global temperature increase of 6°C coincided with the release of about 5,000 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, both as CO2 and as methane from bogs and seabed sediments. Lush subtropical forests grew in polar regions, and sea levels rose to 100m higher than today. It appears that an initial warming pulse triggered other warming processes. Many scientists warn that this historical event may be analogous to the present: the warming caused by human emissions could propel us towards a similar hothouse Earth.

It’s downright frightening when you consider that the fossil fuel industries will never allow such reforms as mentioned in the article to come to pass.  That’s why it is imperative that we take back this country; relying on the dubious support of Democrats isn’t enough.  We need solutions, and we need them twenty years ago.

Are We There Yet? Police State America

“Reasonable” people call it Authoritarianism for the sake of “reasonable” conversation. People who are more interested in describing the trend we have seen over the last eight years of “Authoritarian” rule (not governance) allow their alarm and disgust to utter words that once did seem alarmist and unreasonable in reasonable conversation.  Words like totalitarianism, tyranny and even the dread and semi-forbidden word….. fascism. Or perhaps even worse….Police State. These words have previously been used in The Land of the Free as part of the Cold War propaganda effeort to describe countries and governments behind the Iron Curtain. The thrust of the propaganda effort of course, was to point to America as a bastion of all things free and just and right, particularly individual and human rights. America MEANS Freedom, especially individual freedom.

Not anymore.


Great Grassroots Ad

This was diaried several times on dKos, is on the rec list over there. It was created by cartwrightdale

I wanted to post it here, as I think it’s a seriously great ad. I would like it to be ubiquitous.

Revolutionary Pony Party

This letter was recently sent by Tesco’s Head Office to a customer in Glasgow:

Dear Mrs. McTavish,

While we thank you for your valued custom and use of the Tesco Loyalty

Card, I am considering banning you and your family from shopping with us unless

your husband modifies his behaviour. Below is a list of offences over the past few months, all verified by our

surveillance cameras:

 June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people’s

trolleys when they weren’t looking.

July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute


July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to feminine

products aisle.

July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official tone,

‘Code 3 in Housewares’….. and watched what happened.

August 14: Moved a ‘CAUTION – WET FLOOR’ sign to a carpeted area.

September 15: Set up a tent in the outdoor clothing department and told

shoppers he’d invite them in if they would bring sausages and a Calor gas


September 23: When the deputy manager asked if she could help him, he

began to cry and asked, ‘Why can’t you people just leave me alone?’

November 10: While appearing to be choosing kitchen knives in the

Housewares aisle, asked an assistant if he knew where the antidepressants


December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously, loudly humming the

‘Mission Impossible’ theme.

December 6: In the Kitchenware aisle, practised the ‘Madonna look’

using an assortment of funnels.

December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed, yelled out


December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, assumed

the foetal position and screamed ‘NO! NO! It’s those voices again!’

And last, but not least:

December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited a while and

then yelled, very loudly, ‘There’s no toilet paper in here!’

Yours sincerely

Charles Brown

Store Manager

Pony Party

Real News: Nuclear War By Miscalculation, and The Russo-Georgian War and The Balance of Power

Continuing the coverage of the Georgia/South Ossetia crisis provided yesterday by F William Engdahl, today Engdahl explains that Russia went into Georgia to essentially deliver a message to America and the world that Russia was not prepared to submit to being encircled by the US and was taking steps to reassert its power on the global stage and limit neocon expansion.

Engdahl also offers the observation that the neocons may unwittingly cause nuclear war by their miscalculations.

Following the Engdahl video we also have an in-depth intelligence background briefing on the situation in Georgia and explaining the re-emergence of Russia as a major world power, reproduced with permission from George Friedman, president of Stratfor, a private intelligence agency founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas that provides intelligence briefings to Fortune 500 companies and international government agencies. Barron’s once referred to Stratfor as “The Shadow CIA”.

August 14, 2008 – 4 min 4 sec

F William Engdahl: The geopolitics of Georgia pt2 – Nuclear war by miscalculation

ENGDAHL: Russia went into Georgia to essentially deliver a message. There are more than 1,000 US military special forces in Georgia doing exercising, training Georgian troops, before Georgia launched the attack on Ossetia on 8 August. There are 1,000 Israeli troops at least, private security firms and military advisors, including advisors who are upgrading the Georgian air force in an installation near Tbilisi. That’s what the Russian airplanes hit, and they essentially made the military strike on South Ossetia militarily impossible by making incursions inside Georgian territory before they announced that they were calling a halt to their military operations.

Docudharma Times Thursday August 14

John McCain: Experienced And Ready

To Lead

When Dealing With Lobbyists  

Thursday’s Headlines:

Whites will be minority group by 2042, Census predicts

Turkish PM appeases critics by disowning anti-porn bill

‘Hollow Tooth’ peace symbol of Berlin faces deadly decay threat

Mugabe must back down, says rival

Nkomo’s ghost haunts Zimbabwe talks

Warmer Lebanon-Syria ties puts focus on prisoners’ fate

Gaza: Israel clears tank crew over killing of Reuters cameraman

Kashmir violence reignites sectarian tensions

Situation vacant: Girl, 3, wanted for role of living goddess. Must offer blessings

6 officers in Mexico crime unit arrested

Russian forces begin leaving key Georgian city

Troops roll out of strategic Gori; major U.S. aid operation launched

MSNBC News Services

TBILISI, Georgia – Russian troops have begun pulling out of the strategically important city of Gori, where their presence raised fears that Russia would challenge a cease-fire agreement, Georgian officials said on Thursday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said that Russian troops have also left Poti, a Black Sea port city with an oil terminal that is a key part of Georgia’s fragile economic health.

Russian troops entered Gori on Wednesday. The city is about 15 miles south of South Ossetia, the separatist Georgian region where Russian and Georgian forces fought a brutal five-day battle.

Peace Plan Offers Russia a Rationale to Advance


Published: August 13, 2008

TBILISI, Georgia – It was nearly 2 a.m. on Wednesday when President Nicolas Sarkozy of France announced he had accomplished what seemed virtually impossible: Persuading the leaders of Georgia and Russia to agree to a set of principles that would stop the war.

Handshakes and congratulations were offered all around. But by the time the sun was up, Russian tanks were advancing again, this time taking positions around the strategically important city of Gori, in central Georgia.

It soon became clear that the six-point deal not only failed to slow the Russian advance, but it also allowed Russia to claim that it could push deeper into Georgia as part of so-called additional security measures it was granted in the agreement.


Thai slave laborers freed in El Monte become U.S. citizens

The women take part in ceremonies in Montebello. They were among 72 workers whose plight in 1995 captured the nation’s attention.

By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 14, 2008  

Maliwan Clinton recalls her first taste of America with a shudder. In this fabled land of the free, she was enslaved behind razor wire and around-the-clock guards in an El Monte sweatshop, where she and more than 70 other Thai laborers were forced to work 18-hour days for what amounted to less than a dollar an hour.

When she was freed, a shocked public learned of slavery in its midst and flooded the Thai laborers with American generosity: Churchgoers offered shelter, community advocates proffered English lessons and job tips, lawyers fought for work permits and legal status for the group.Exactly 13 years to the day the Thai laborers won their freedom, Clinton’s American journey came full circle Wednesday as she acquired U.S. citizenship by taking the oath of allegiance to her new nation.

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