August 21, 2008 archive

KO: Heroes and Speeches

Uggghhh. It is a sad day when people on the Left turn against Keith Olbermann for any reason.

KO is one of the sole voices pissing into the hurricane/tsunami of disinformation and neo-con propaganda from the Murdoch Empire and all Minions Fox and elsewhere… and people ask him to stop his Editorials.

Let Kieth be Kieth.

These are the same People who attacked Reverend Wright for speaking Truths in this country.

If Obama stayed Obama, a man who admired Rev. Wright, he would not be losing ground via handlers and media-whores.

Why is it that people are uncomfortable with Truths? Oh they claim to want Truth, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their TV pleasure viewing the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic games, the grandiose hoopla and the shiny young athletes.

America likes its Public Service Announcements snuggled in minute sound bytes during the breaks of their obsessive American Idol episodes… it makes their guilty pleasure of being brainless hedonists ease up a little to be able to yell “Right On” at a commercial that says “Green Power”.. all while turning up their Air Conditioning and keeping the volume on their TV’s cranked up to Prime Numbers.

But WATCH a whole documentary or turn off the TV and read a book about it?  Too depressing, man. They don’t want a bowl of whole-grain truths, when they can sprinkle a little fiber on their processed Sugar Puffs.

More about real heroes below.

Docudharma Times Thursday August 21

Joe Lieberman

Republican Sock Puppet Or Is

That Concern Troll

A True Party Of One

Thursday’s Headlines:

In the Nevada desert, there’s something out there — the Black Mailbox

Key U.S. Iraq strategy in danger of collapse

Saudi mosques open 24 hours for Ramadan

Farewell my beautiful Zimbabwe: how paradise turned to poverty

Nigeria military chiefs dismissed

Kim Jong-il: School days of a tyrant

Nepal’s ex-guerrillas take on civilian rule

153 killed after Spanish holiday jet crashes during takeoff

 Fury in the Kremlin as US and Poland sign missile deal in Warsaw

Peru’s army on standby as jungle unrest grows

Russia to keep soldiers in Georgia

Moscow plans to set up 18 checkpoints, some in Georgia proper, a Kremlin official says. The plan appears to violate the terms of a cease-fire.

By Sergei L. Loiko and Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

August 21, 2008  

MOSCOW — Russia plans to establish a long-term presence in Georgia and one of its breakaway republics by adding 18 checkpoints, including at least eight within undisputed Georgian territory outside the pro-Russian enclave of South Ossetia, a ranking Russian military official told reporters Wednesday.

The checkpoints will be staffed by hundreds of Russian troops, the official said, and those within Georgia proper will have supplies ferried to them from breakaway South Ossetia.

If implemented, the plan would in effect put under Russian control the border between Georgia and the South Ossetia region, which is seeking independence, as well as a small chunk of Georgia proper.

“This is the essence of it,” Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the army general staff, told reporters at a briefing. He showed maps detailing the proposed Russian positions, one just outside the Georgian city of Gori, which lies along a crucial juncture of the country’s main east-west highway.

Report Rejects Medicare Boast of Paring Fraud  


Published: August 20, 2008

Medicare’s top officials said in 2006 that they had reduced the number of fraudulent and improper claims paid by the agency, keeping billions of dollars out of the hands of people trying to game the system.But according to a confidential draft of a federal inspector general’s report, those claims of success, which earned Medicare wide praise from lawmakers, were misleading.

In calculating the agency’s rate of improper payments, Medicare officials told outside auditors to ignore government policies that would have accurately measured fraud, according to the report.


A Few Speculators Dominate Vast Market for Oil Trading

 By David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 21, 2008; Page A01  

Regulators had long classified a private Swiss energy conglomerate called Vitol as a trader that primarily helped industrial firms that needed oil to run their businesses.

But when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission examined Vitol’s books last month, it found that the firm was in fact more of a speculator, holding oil contracts as a profit-making investment rather than a means of lining up the actual delivery of fuel. Even more surprising to the commodities markets was the massive size of Vitol’s portfolio — at one point in July, the firm held 11 percent of all the oil contracts on the regulated New York Mercantile Exchange.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

All that we are is the result

of what we have thought:

it is founded on our thoughts,

it is made up of our thoughts.

If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought,

pain follows him, as the wheel follows

the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.

–Dhammapada, verse 1

Phenomena XXVI: transgressing



How much


did you get

from the fly

after you picked off

its wings?

What intelligence

did you gain

from the butterfly

when you

crushed it

with water?

Did the squirrel

divulge secrets


a ticking bomb

as you

dissected it

Did you

move on

to people?


the corners off


with too many


the surface

of those

too different

forcing into focus

the fuzzy people

is how some people

spend too much time

It’s a short step

from here to torture

Is it forward or back?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–April 18, 2008

Infinite In All Directions: An Essay On “Generation Kill”

The war is real, the ultimate reality show, and we don’t get to watch it, because we forgot to create checks and balances on the cooption of the fourth estate, because in the days of the framers we didn’t have journalism, we had a half-crazy nudist vegetarian with a printing press and illegitimate children all over the place. Fast-forward a few centuries, and you have a war that’s been going on since my college graduate sister was in junior high, without a single body on TV, because reporters can’t ask or tell about the war, or else they won’t get access to anything else. You’ve got Evan Wright, for whom this enterprise is a career-maker, and… that’s about it. Half the guys in the original article got discharged for talking about real shit. But there’s the filter of memory, and then the next filter, of Evan Wright telling about this. And then the filter of words on paper, into a book, which is taken and filtered through the dramatic sensibility into a TV show whose only mandate is to match up to the original Xerox as well as possible. From all accounts, it feels the same even if the facts are different, which is the only important thing if you’re the original article, the book, the script, or the performance of the show itself.

And then there’s me, trying to recap the drama of the book of the story of the story of the thing that happened. Postmodernity is all well and good, but I think the point where you actually masturbate to the idea ends somewhere around sophomore year of your finer liberal arts universities and institutions. It’s an infection you eventually burn out because Eco and Foucault and Calvino and Baudrillard are not the story: they’re the story about the story. At the end of that particular hall of mirrors, there’s beautiful Rudy who is either dead or alive, in a second you can point to with your finger and say: that is real. I mean, I triangulated on Nate by reading his book, and I do love Brad Colbert, but all that is just looking through a lot of layers of obfuscation that’s not even purposeful: we’re all trying to tell the real story, all down the line. Not often you could say that about something that’s come through this many hands. So imagine what it would be like if one of the people along that line, from Evan to David Simon to me to you, who had an agenda that wasn’t at least trying to be about telling a greater truth? I’m not setting myself up as a storyteller at all, that’s not my intention: I’m saying my intentions are to say what I think honestly happened, based on looking at what somebody else thinks honestly happened. But if it got dirty administration hands on it? Even one layer? Much less all the ones we casually accept now?

My point is, there have been a few moments throughout that made me feel like we were seeing something real: Doc Bryan’s line to Brad a while back, when he asked what he could do. That hit me in the face. “November Juliet” and Evan’s total adrenal breakdown this week. That wandering shellshock guy that Brad tried to feed. Trombley’s… everything about Trombley. It’s scary shit. But looking at actual Rudy looking through that hole in the fictional windshield, and seeing superimposed over it the well-rehearsed image of actual Rudy looking through the actual hole in the actual windshield? I’ve been trying to ignore the weirdness of this assignment, because I don’t really feel up to grasping the fact that those little fictional kids were very real and are very dead. They didn’t get married or have kids or join the army or have a job or anything little kids get to do. They just died.

~Jacob, recapping Generation Kill for Television Without Pity

There has never been any television show like HBO’s Generation Kill.  It is almost impossible to imagine how there could have been.  But of course, there has never been a war like ours in Iraq either.

McCain: Simple, Direct, Deceitful

Whether discussing his voting record on renewable energy, his relationship with lobbyists, or three wise men he would consult with, John McCain speaks simply, directly, deceitfully.

On issue after issue, coming to the fore is that John Maverick McCain has a problem with speaking truth.  

Madia: “It’s time for a little more bravery in Washington”

Today is Ashwin Madia Blog Day and so as a supporter from pretty much the day the primary field settled. I thought I’d post a little bit about why I’ve been part of Madiamania for so long. It shouldn’t be two hard beacuse two blogs today, Ashin’s in The Hill and Howie Klein’s on DownWithTyranny, have spelled out my main reason pretty well. I’ve supported Ashwin Madia since the start beacuse he has courage.

Today in a blog for The Hill  Ashwin summed it up in one line

It’s time for a little more bravery in Washington.


Read this… these are two of the cheerful passages in the article.

Then go read the whole thing.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, yet. It’s still sort of reverberating around inside my head as I try to come up with something halfway intelligent sounding to say about it… maybe some of you will be able to?

The Delusion Revolution: We’re on the Road to Extinction and in Denial

By Robert Jensen

Aug 15, 2008

Imagine that you are riding comfortably on a sleek train. You look out the window and see that not too far ahead the tracks end abruptly and that the train will derail if it continues moving ahead. You suggest that the train stop immediately and that the passengers go forward on foot. This will require a major shift in everyone’s way of traveling, of course, but it appears to you to be the only realistic option; to continue barreling forward is to court catastrophic consequences. But when you propose this course of action, others who have grown comfortable riding on the train say, “Well, we like the train, and arguing that we should get off is not realistic.”

In the contemporary United States, we are trapped in a similar delusion. We are told that it is “realistic” to capitulate to the absurd idea that the systems in which we live are the only systems possible or acceptable because some people like them and wish them to continue. But what if our current level of First World consumption is exhausting the ecological basis for life? Too bad — the only “realistic” options are those that take that lifestyle as non-negotiable. What if real democracy is not possible in a nation-state with 300 million people? Too bad — the only “realistic” options are those that take this way of organizing a polity as immutable. What if the hierarchies on which our lives are based are producing extreme material deprivation for the oppressed and a kind of dull misery among the privileged? Too bad — the only “realistic” options are those that accept hierarchy as inevitable.

Let me offer a different view of reality: (1) We live in a system that, taken as a whole, is unsustainable, not only over the long haul but in the near term, and (2) unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.

How’s that for a profound theoretical insight? Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.


Attempted Encroachment on the Medicine Bluffs

I guess I always thought that at least the Medicine Bluffs would be safe from development. In fact, I just told someone today that it probably would be, since it is on an Army Base.


A federal judge has blocked the U.S. Army from starting a construction project at Fort Sill in Oklahoma out of concern for the religious rights of the Comanche Nation.

The tribe says it wasn’t consulted about the development of a training service center near the foot of Medicine Bluffs, a sacred site at Fort Sill. Work was scheduled to begin on Monday until Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti issued a temporary restraining order.

“The court finds that, given the nature of the interests which plaintiffs in this case seek to protect, irreparable harm will result if the construction project commences,” DeGiusti wrote in the five-page order.

I was wrong.

China, Free Wu Dianyuan And Wang Xiuying!

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


The Chinese Government is very afraid of these two women.

Seventy-nine-year-old Wu Dianyuan, on the right, and her neighbor Wang Xiuying, 77, followed the law.  They applied for a protest permit.  They wanted to protest inadequate compensation for the taking of their homes in preparation of the Olympics.  They asked for the permit five times.  They didn’t get it.  They ended up instead being sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor.”

According to NY Times:

Two elderly Chinese women have been sentenced to a year of “re-education through labor” after they repeatedly sought a permit to demonstrate in one of the official Olympic protest areas, according to family members and human rights advocates.

The women, Wu Dianyuan, 79, and Wang Xiuying, 77, had made five visits to the police this month in an effort to get permission to protest what they contended was inadequate compensation for the demolition of their homes in Beijing.

During their final visit on Monday, public security officials informed them that they had been given administrative sentences for “disturbing the public order,” according to Li Xuehui, Ms. Wu’s son.

Mr. Li said his mother and Ms. Wang, who used to be neighbors before their homes were demolished to make way for a redevelopment project, were allowed to return home but were told they could be sent to a detention center at any moment. “Can you imagine two old ladies in their 70s being re-educated through labor?” he asked. He said Ms. Wang was nearly blind.

Join me in Beijing.

Pony Party: Baskit case

John McCain’s Sex (and Woman) Problem-Part II

First, let’s all take a page from the Maverick…sometimes you just have to laugh (in this case, to help from crying):

AIG refuses to pay off policy of veteran

Once again, Raw Story shows why it is quickly becoming my blog of choice for news.

In Charleston, WV, it is reported by the Charleston Gazette that AIG is refusing to pay off a $50,000 life insurance policy taken out by a veteran.

This just makes me sick and it should provoke a huge boycott of AIG.

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