August 18, 2008 archive

Nailing the TradMed

Bingo! From Joe Lauria via lukery’s diary, Sibel Edmonds Case: FBI files “formal complaint” with Sunday Times on  Daily Kos. If you don’t know about Sibel Edmonds background and the charges she has leveled against our government just page back through lukery’s Dkos page.. But for our purposes today I want to highlight Lauria’s quote and it’s implications. The pattern/behavior that he outlines is in no way limited to Sibel’s case, but hers is a ‘great’ example of it. Follow the links in the diary for more background and info, lukery is a true asset to the blogosphere.

“Centrism is the philosophy of the American media – and that essentially backs the status quo, when you’re a centrist, and this game of objectivity that they play is really limited by parameters that you’re allowed to ask questions and to investigate and in a sense then you’re transmitting these assumptions, and reinforcing every day that the US is really a functioning democracy


The mindset of the American mainstream press does not allow certain ideas to easily filter through: the idea that high-ranking US officials might actually be facilitating this… It’s entertainment all the time, the presidential campaign is entertainment, and do you actually think that these guys would actually go in there and make changes, whoever wins, when behind this wall of entertainment put forward by news media and the entertainment industry is a murky world of terrorism, nuclear procurement ring, of CIA, of the FBI working – and this rarely breaks through to the mainstream press…

They rarely look at the entire system being rotten, not just one official here or there being rotten, and they pat themselves on the back. And when I say the entire system being rotten, I mean Congress that is enthralled to corporate backers, and approving their aggressive foreign policy that enriches themselves, and does nothing to secure the American people or the interests of most American people. That is not even in the discussion in the mainstream press, so this Boston Globe reporter was unable to conceive easily that a government official could have been involved. “

Of hooves, horns, and beaks

We had a plan.  Or someone came up with a plan.  I don’t exactly remember being consulted about the plan.  But I was amenable to the plan.

We left Hesperia on Sunday and drove down I-215 and I-15, through Moreno Valley and Temecula Valley to San Diego.  That route passes right by (almost) San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, which is just a bit east of Escondido, so the plan was to stop there on the way to our temporary headquarters in SD’s Hotel Circle.  We purchased tickets that allowed us access to all three venues (the Wild Animal Park, the San Diego Zoo, and Sea World) for five days, though we weren’t planning to stay that long.

It was hot.  Africa hot.  Which I’m sure the African animals appreciated.  I didn’t.

PS:  That’s a Javan rhinoceros (aka unicorn) to the left.  The hint about why it is included here is inside.

[22 photos included]

Four at Four

  1. The CS Monitor reports there is now a Record number of US contractors in Iraq. The numbers are staggering.

    The scale of the use of contractors in Iraq is unprecedented in US history, according to a new congressional report that may be the most thorough official account yet of the practice.

    As of early 2008, at least 190,000 private personnel were working on US-funded projects in the Iraq theater, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) survey found. That means that for each uniformed member of the US military in the region, there was also a contract employee – a ratio of 1 to 1

    The CBO estimates the total cost of these military contractor operations from 2003 through 2008 to be $100 billion. That’s about 20 percent of all US funding for operations in Iraq.

    And that’s the the contractors in Iraq.

  2. The NY Times reports from the Obama campaign with Enticing text messagers in a Get-Out-the-Vote push. “Last week, the Obama campaign said that anyone who sent a text message of “VP” to a dedicated phone number would be among the first to learn the identity of his running mate… The efforts spotlight Mr. Obama’s push to harvest millions of cellphone numbers of potential voters through text messaging, a technology that is increasingly moving into the mainstream. And it could have a significant effect in November, when the campaign plans to use the technology to get out the vote.” It’s a clever strategy that I hope works well for Obama in November.

  3. The Guardian reports Millions eating food grown with polluted water, says UN report.

    At least 200 million people around the world risk their health daily by eating food grown using untreated waste water, some of which may be contaminated with heavy metals and raw sewage, according to major study of 53 world cities.

    Urban farmers in 80% of the cities surveyed were found to be using untreated waste water, but the study said they also provided vital food for burgeoning cities at a time of unprecedented water scarcity and the worst food crisis in 30 years.

    The study from the UN-backed International Water Management Institute (IMWI), said the practice of using waste water to grow food in urban areas was not confined to the poorest countries.

    With food being grown and shipped worldwide, this impacts food in America too.

  4. From the Washington Post, Waterboarding on Coney Island. “Slip a dollar into a slot in the ‘Waterboard Thrill Ride,’ and watch through bars as a man in a hooded sweatshirt pours water into the nose and mouth of another man in an orange jumpsuit convulsing against his restraints.”

    “It looks like a scene from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But this is Coney Island, and the two men are motorized mannequins whose interaction takes place alongside freak shows and funnel cakes.”

I’m Going To Hell

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Pardon me.  I’m not a Christian.  Never was, never will be.  I don’t believe that Jesus was the messiah, that he died for my sins.  I don’t have a personal relationship with him.  I haven’t been saved.  Or redeemed.  I haven’t been re-born.  I don’t believe the Bible is the literal word of God.  And I was simply and utterly infuriated that both the presumptive presidential nominees decided to attend Rev. Rick Warren’s forum so they could show him and his many co-religionists that they were, well, just like them.  That they were all good, moral Christians, and they all believed very much in a particular kind of Christianity, and that they were willing to prove it.  I was outraged that they decided to make a spectacle of their “faith.”  But I was even more outraged that they would seek to prove they had the right kind of faith to this particular audience.

That’s right, prove it.  They weren’t going to refuse the invitation.  They weren’t going to say, “I’m sorry, but what I believe is private.  It’s between me and my God.  I am not willing publicly to discuss theology.”  They weren’t going to say, “I’m sorry, I believe in the separation of church and state, and, therefore, I consider this mega church to be an inappropriate setting for a political discussion about secular, political matters.”  They weren’t going to say, “I’m sorry, I’m a very good person, but I don’t believe the same things you say I should believe.  I’m nevertheless scrupulously honest and moral.”  They weren’t going to say, “You’re free to think about these issues any way you wish, but I don’t want to discuss how my religious beliefs might be related to my policy positions.  My policy positions stand on their own merit.”  No.  No chance.  The candidates decided to show up, and they blatantly pandered to these right wing evangelicals.  To gain their approval, to gain their votes.

Join me below.

Late Summer Reads on Psychology, Anthropology & National Security

For those trying to squeeze in some serious late summer reading, I strongly recommend Dr. Bryant Welch’s recently published book, State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind.

Dr. Welch elegantly and succinctly describes the psychological mechanisms behind paranoia and denial, and links them to the mindset of many Americans post-9/11. This societal regression due to fear and uncertainty is exploited by political leaders and charlatans in a process Dr. Welch calls political gaslighting. The term “gaslighting” is derived from the classic movie Gaslight (with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman), where a sociopathic husband subtly manipulates his wife’s reality and invalidates her sense of what is real, until she feels she is becoming insane and enters a state of mental breakdown.

Two quotes for comment

A morality that has within it no room for truth is no morality at all.

Men may dislike truth.  Men may find truth offensive and inconvenient.  Men may prosecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it, but to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy and the last illusion.  Truth lives forever.  Men do not.

How Dare We?

Just a little moral outrage in reaction to this…

Ocean ‘dead zones’ becoming global problem

WASHINGTON (AP) — Like a chronic disease spreading through the body, “dead zones” with too little oxygen for life are expanding in the world’s oceans.

“We have to realize that hypoxia is not a local problem,” said Robert J. Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. “It is a global problem, and it has severe consequences for ecosystems.”

“It’s getting to be a problem of such a magnitude that it is starting to affect the resources that we pull out of the sea to feed ourselves,” he added.


Pollution-fed algae, which deprive other living marine life of oxygen, are the cause of most of the world’s dead zones. Scientists mainly blame fertilizer and other farm runoff, sewage and fossil-fuel burning.

Really, what right do we have to kill this planet? Where is our deed, where is our permission slip from some patriarchal authoritarian sky god telling us it is ok to trash this planet? And where oh where is our fucking common sense to not keep taking a dump in our fragile blue nest?


Which,  if I may remind us all,  is the only planet we have?

What does it take to be President?

There are things occurring this election that leave some of us scratching our heads.  Is it all really politics?  Calculations based on polls?  

What does it take to be President?

Onward… through the fog…  

Feel Like Telling Bush Where To Go? ESA Comment Period Now Open

Bushie’s new rules will hasten the extinction of many species by redefining when and how protection is provided to endangered and threatened species covered by our Endangered Species Act.  Bush is changing the law by rules because he failed to obtain these changes by legislation.  Bush is using administrative rule changes even though one court rejected a similar rules maneuver by Bush.

If you are already convinced that Bushie is up to his evil-doer ways, then please skip to bottom of diary to the links provided to post a comment to oppose these rules or to send an email to Kempthorne.  Thanks.

McCain: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire …

John McCain spent part of this last Friday at the Aspen Institute speaking about energy issues, including a meeting with T. Boone Pickens.  From an interview there

McCAIN: I have a long record of that support of alternate energy. … I’ve always been for all of those and I have not missed any crucial vote. But my citizens in Arizona know that when I’m running for the President of the United States I have to be out campaigning.

Simply put, Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!!!!!!!!!

John McCain has missed vote, after vote, after vote in the US Senate.

John McCain has been Absent WithOut Leave (AWOL) for critical vote after critical vote on energy issues.

John McCain: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Shadow Pony Party

Pony Hand Too Party

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