September 4, 2008 archive

We are more than political props

George W. Bush turned up in Louisiana yesterday, figuring it was safer to show his face in the wake of a hurricane that his administration has not yet had time to blow than to appear in person at his party’s political convention up the river.

Bush clearly needed some exposure related to something that appeared to be going right.

Once again, the people of Louisiana were relegated to serving as props in a photo op.

It’s a role that we’ve played too frequently – for Democrats as well as Republicans – to the point of becoming typecast. Frankly, I’m tired of it.

Four at Four

  1. Iraq reports 7 killed by U.S. friendly fire, according to the LA Times. “A U.S. military boat patrolling the Tigris River in the dark drew fire Wednesday from Iraqi security forces who mistook it for the enemy, sparking a deadly gun battle that killed seven Iraqis and prompted local anger over American use of firepower against friendly forces.”

    According to the Iraqis, “the U.S. was moving boat without its lights on, raising suspicions among Iraqis at a fixed checkpoint on a bridge spanning the river.” The area has had recent suicide bombings and other attacks by the insurgency.

    The resulting battle left dead three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and “two paramilitary fighters known as Sons of Iraq and allied with U.S. and Iraqi forces”.

    The deadline for a military update on the occupation of Iraq is days away, but for This round, the Pentagon may keep Gen. David Petraeus offstage, reports the CS Monitor. “Members of Congress have requested that Petraeus make another appearance on Capitol Hill… The Defense Department has refused that request, ostensibly because of scheduling issues. But as the Pentagon struggles to muster more troops for Afghanistan, officials worry that the general’s testimony on Iraq will upstage other needs.”

    “Petraeus is expected to be cautious on troop drawdown, not wanting to lose a hard-won security despite pressure from some colleagues to free up forces for Afghanistan.”

    The Iraqis want U.S. troops to leave Iraq as well. Meanwhile, McClatchy Newspapers report Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s growing defiance of U.S. worries allies and critics. His insistence on “a firm date for U.S. withdrawal” is rankling some Bush administration officials.

  2. In other news of the Empire, Ecuador is giving the U.S. air base the boot, reports the Washington Post. Despite $71 million in upgrades to Manta’s airport and about $6.5 million the U.S. “injects each year into the local economy”, Ecuador wants the U.S. out of their country. So next year, 450 contractors and U.S. Air Force personnel will be leaving the base.

    The WaPo story is complete with the requisite scary picture of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez together with Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and verbiage on how this base is “one of the most important foreign outposts” of the failed “War on Drugs”.

    “The U.S. stopped being the benchmark of what is good for Latin America,” said Gustavo Larrea, Ecuador’s security minister. “Because Latin America did everything that the U.S. asked it to do and wasn’t able to get out of poverty, the North American myth lost political weight.”

    This is a ‘bad day for America’ the story implies. All across Latin America, goverments are rejecting U.S. money. How dare these countries champion their own sovereignty and denounce American “imperialism”, the WaPo story implies.

    “This is a problem for us of sovereignty,” Larrea said. “It’s as if we had a base in New York. This would be incomprehensible for North Americans.”


Four at Four continues with an update on the situation in Pakistan and an investigation into oil price manipulation.

Why I Am a Liberal

 Note: This is part of an ongoing effort to define what it is we want, what we are fighting for as liberal/Progressive /Democrats. As we take power after the next election I believe we should define who we are and what we stand for. Both so people know what they are voting for, and so that we do not lose our principles to the glamor of power, as the Conservatives have.

We are born into this world as a blank slate.

Sure there are existing influences, the parents we are born to, their situation, their finances, the solidity of their commitment to each other, their religion, their political affiliation and beliefs are huge influences on who we become. Some even say that Karma from past lives influences who we are.

But each and every one of us has to ultimately make a series of choices who define who WE are in this life. This lifetime is ours and ours alone, no matter how much our human nature wants to blame someone else for all this crap! Overcoming the crap, overcoming the obstacles that we all face is part of the process of learning and growing, part of the process of choosing who we are. I am ME. I am responsible for who i am, no matter what circumstances or obstacles have been put in my way or what tragedies I have overcome, or what other people have tried to make me into. All of those conditions are valid on some levels as to what defined ME. But when I stand before St Peter, or kneel before the great Karmic judge (whatever the fuck that is, lol) I do NOT get to blame anyone else for what I made of my life. Whatever horrific circumstances I may have been born into, I have always had a choice as to how to respond. In my opinion, and this essay is pure opinion….The goal of life is not to see how much money you can accumulate, or how high you can rise in whatever hierarchy is handy, or how often you can get laid. It is to become the best person you can become, despite and informed by the circumstances. The goal is to take the clay that you have been given and to mold the best life out of it you can, become the best YOU you can be.

To that end, I am, politically speaking, a liberal.

Sarah Palin Should Have Mentioned Gustav…..

and its survivors across the wide swath of Louisiana which has been tortured by the devastation he left behind. Saying in last night’s speech that she stands behind our fellow citizens in the area would only have been right–especially were she to have called upon other Americans to donate to the Red Cross as has Obama. (Link below the fold).

Now for the “meat”–following is a poem I’ve written to commemorate the third anniversary of Katrina and the federal flood. It is in the voice of the mother of 8-year-old and 9-year-old boys who have a disabled grandmother. While it is fiction, it’s based on things people actually went through during Katrina and flood and in the aftermath.

Why The Obsession With Palin When Louisiana’s Hurting? (With Donation Info)

As duplicative, repetitive diaries keep being posted about Sarah Palin on other blogs, the agonizing aftermath of Gustav in Louisiana is being ignored, if it hasn’t been forgotten already.

Don’t get me wrong–but there’s plenty of time to go into Palin’s issues between now and the election (though as Obama has said, we shouldn’t go into Bristol’s pregnancy because that’s a family problem of the Palins.) And those having to do with her work as a leader are important. But we should not lose sight of what’s going on in Louisiana as we focus on them. Because the disaster and anguish continue in Gustav’s aftermath.

Sorry, John

On the streets, men who use women for sex can be arrested for being “johns”.

In Washington, men who use women like “John” McCain does get standing ovations.

Moving From From Militarism To Peace?

How do we get from militarism to peace, not only in getting out of Iraq, but in avoiding possible future debacles such as an attack on Iran or military confrontation with other countries.

Parallel to the RNC in St. Paul a two day conference was held September 2nd and 3rd at Concordia University in St. Paul by a group called Peace Island.

Retired Colonel Mary Ann Wright was interviewed about her views on how to accomplish a US military withdrawal from Iraq and about her views on McCain’s threats to attack Iran and the catastrophe that would result from such an attack, as well as her thoughts on what it will take to move society from a militaristic footing to a peaceful one.

September 4, 2008 – 7 min 23 sec

Col. (Ret) Ann Wright on responsible US withdrawal from Iraq and the prospects for a peaceful future

Mary Ann Wright has been a career military woman, a State Department diplomat, and an influential spokesperson in the anti-war movement. She served 13 years in active duty, 16 years in the Army reserves, and another 16 years as a foreign diplomat in countries such as Nicaragua, Somalia, Uzbekistan, and Sierra Leone. She is coauthor with Susan Dixon of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience”, the stories of those in the Bush administration and other governments who have had the courage to speak out. “Dissent” was published January 2008 by Koa Books.

Open Thread


All your thread are belong to us.  

GOP Campaign Themes

These people have No Self Worth, I’m talking about those that just hang to this imaginary, once proud, Republican Tag. Even still calling themselves Conservative!

They allow themselves to be led around like the robots they’ve become, and frankly some on the Democratic side are just as willing, but the fall into line and march in lockstep Falls Souly on the GOP!

They’ve been Silent and Accepting of the Lies that led our Troops into Occupations and All that has come about because of that, the torturing, the no-bid contracts, the corruption, the deaths and maiming’ s…………………………………………, and oh so much more!

They’ve been Silent and Accepting as our Freedoms have been slowly stripped away, and Accepting of Rule by Executive Branch Alone ignoring the fact they have hired others to Represent Them!

Against All Fanaticisms?

“The first duty of the philosopher in our world today is to fight against fanaticism under whatever guise it may appear.”

-Gabriel Marcel

Listen to what Marcel is saying here. He is saying that we don’t get to pick which fanaticisms we oppose and which we embrace. He is saying that fanaticism as such must be opposed. Given that every “ism” is a fanaticism” more or less cleverly concealed, are we then to oppose all of them? Must we always be “reasonable”?  Or do some things demand a level of commitment from us that cannot be described as anything less than “fanatical”? If so, then on what ground do we base our triage? How to decide which “isms” to oppose and which to champion? Everyone can agree that the fanaticisms of communism and fascism should  be opposed wherever they present themselves. Many would say that capitalism (especially of the uncontrolled, freebooter variety) should equally be opposed.  But what about those “isms” of which  we approve? What about internationalism? Humanism? And what about that most problematical of fanaticisms, idealism? If these fanaticisms are not also to be opposed, then we need to evolve a “truth test” for good vs. bad fanaticisms, a truth test that by the nature of its structure and content would command assent from any rational moral agent. This truth test would require a lot more rigor than “Well, this fanaticism is nice to people and this fanaticism is mean to people.” That’s  the truth test of the schoolyard, and is useless.

This subject demands an expanded essay in itself. More: it demands a book. Maybe some day when I hit the lottery I’ll have the free time to  write it. 🙂

Docudharma Times Thursday September 4

Without Community Organizers

There Would Be No Community

Thursday’s Headlines:

Radiation Detector Plan Falls Short, Audit Shows

Rival Cypriot leaders upbeat as they start reunification talks

US commits $1bn in aid to Georgia

Mugabe gives deal deadline to MDC

Rice to Welcome Qaddafi to War on Terror as Business Ties Grow

Thai PM refuses to quit as crisis drags on  

North Korea to become world’s largest recipient of U.N. food aid

Will summer fun foil Gaza’s extremism?

Handshake defuses a standoff in Baghdad

Palin Assails Critics and Electrifies Party


Published: September 4, 2008  

ST. PAUL – Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska introduced herself to America before a roaring crowd at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night as “just your average hockey mom” who was as qualified as the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama, to be president of the United States.

An hour later Senator John McCain, a scrappy, rebellious former prisoner of war in Vietnam whose campaign was resurrected from near-death a year ago, was nominated by the Republican Party to be the 44th president of the United States after asking the cheering delegates, “Do you think we made the right choice” in picking Ms. Palin as the vice-presidential nominee?

Pakistan reacts with fury after up to 20 die in ‘American’ attack on its soil

· Children reported dead in assault near Taliban base

· Raid was gross violation, says foreign ministry?

Simon Tisdall and Saeed Shah in Islamabad

The Guardian,

Thursday September 4 2008

The war in Afghanistan spilled over on to Pakistani territory for the first time yesterday when heavily armed commandos, believed to be US Special Forces, landed by helicopter and attacked three houses in a village close to a known Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold.

The surprise attack on Jala Khel was launched in early morning darkness and killed between seven and 20 people, according to a range of reports from the remote Angoor Adda region of South Waziristan. The village is situated less than one mile from the Afghan border.

Local residents were quoted as saying that most of the dead were civilians and included women and children. It was not known whether any Taliban or al-Qaida militants or western forces were among the dead.


New Orleans gets its people back

Roadblocks are lifted and residents stream back into many neighborhoods. Power service remains spotty. Mayor C. Ray Nagin says he’s concerned that it’s too soon.

 By Richard Fausset and David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

1NEW ORLEANS — It was people this time, not water, that poured into the streets of the storm-tossed city.

On Wednesday morning, police removed the roadblocks that had kept evacuees out of metro New Orleans. Thousands who had fled streamed back home, with wailing children in back seats and empty gas cans strapped to the tops of cars. They returned to a quiet city of fallen trees, spotty electric service, a fragile sewer system, and shuttered grocery stores and gas stations.0:43 PM PDT, September 3, 2008

But at least it was mostly dry.

“I’m more than happy to be back — I’m delighted, and relieved too,” said Esther Padilla, 74, a widow who lives alone in a brick ranch home in the Lakeview area. Her house was inundated three years ago when the 17th Avenue levee ruptured. This time it was fine, save for some debris in the yard, which she promptly set to cleaning up.

The evacuees’ return to New Orleans has proven to be trickier than their departure, which was widely praised as a model of thoughtful government planning. On Tuesday, many of those residents fumed as they waited at police checkpoints.


Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry I

Art Link

Organizing a Rainbow

The Migration

I am.

I am a boy.

I am different.

I am supposed to be who my family wants me to be.

I am bad.

Something is wrong with me.

Something is wrong about me being a boy.

I have to be who my mother wants me to be.

I am supposed to be a boy.

I am counter-culture.

I am supposed to be a man.

I am supposed to be a husband.

I have to be who my wife wants me to be.

I am supposed to be a father.

I have to be who my daughter needs me to be.

I am caught.

I have to be who society wants me to be.

I am a soldier.

I am a student.

I am a teacher.

I have to be who my employers want me to be.

I am unhappy.

I am suicidal.

I have to take a chance on being who I want me to be.

I am afraid.

I am really a woman.

I really am a woman.

I am a transsexual.

I am proud.

I am transsexual.

I am a transsexual woman.

I am transgendered.

I am transgressively-gendered.

I am queer.

I am gender-variant.

I am Robyn.

I am free.

I am me.

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–September 22, 1998

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