September 23, 2008 archive

an absurdity-based reality

Photobucketi imagine the word “reality”, when used, implies some baseline in agreement or objective consensus. or perhaps some kind of truth in being.

but lately, it seems reality has taken a sharp right turn into the absurd. i think, ladies and gentlemen, that while pink may be the new black, absurdity is the new reality.

it’s not just that Hank Paulson wants to push through a plan in which he can make decisions unchecked and unchallenged. or that our army crossed into Pakistan and started shooting or that politicians fly to natural disaster sites, lying about aid. it’s not just  a war with Iraq based on lies. or the lie of medicare and tax cuts. seriously, there was a time when i could click off all the outrages. but i’m buried in them now. and i can’t seem to excavate them all.

but maybe you get my drift. it’s the entire fucking package. i keep thinking that, as each new lie enforces absurdity in the great collective reality, there will be a tipping point. when people will take to the streets. or demand a recall of Congress. will this story be absurd enough to get people in the streets?

Older Americans with investments are among the hardest hit by the turmoil in the financial markets and have the least opportunity to recover.

now that. that is absurd, no? why would one of the largest segments of the American population, its baby boomers, not have its wealth stabilized as the first priority of any kind of bail out? why? in what universe does that make sense? in what economy should that be allowed as reality?

perhaps it is absurd to even ask: BUT then who gets the fucking bailout money???????????????????  

An alternative to bailing out Wall Street

There is another way to solve the banking problem on Wall Street and that is to abolish money as debt. Here is a movie, Money as Debt, from Canadian animator Paul Grignon from 2006. The film is 47 minutes long. Please give it a view.

The film has been around in a shorter form since at least 2002. I think it is important to at least view before we sign $700 billion over to the Wall Street and international banks.

Chihuly At The De Young


The Stars Hollow Gazette

Because you just can never get enough Anthrax-

Key senators dispute FBI’s anthrax case against Bruce Ivins

Glenn Greenwald,

Wednesday Sept. 17, 2008 10:25 EDT

Already, after 30 minutes or so, the two ranking members of the Committee have both told Mueller that, in essence, they do not accept or believe the FBI’s accusations against Bruce Ivins. The Democratic Chairman of the Committee, Pat Leahy (who was a target of the anthrax attacks) told Mueller categorically that he simply does not believe that Ivins was the prime culprit if he was a participant at all, and said he is absolutely convinced that there were others involved in the preparation and mailing of the anthrax. Leahy began the hearing by identifying the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground and the private CIA contractor Battelle Corporation — but not Fort Detrick — as the only two institutions in the U.S. capable of producing anthrax of the strain that was sent to him and Sen. Daschele. Leahy asked Mueller whether he was aware of any other institutions capable of producing the anthrax, and when Mueller — amazingly though unsurprisingly — claimed he couldn’t answer, Leahy demanded that he obtain the answer during a break and tell the Committee today what the answer is.

The bottom line is that it is quite extraordinary that the FBI has claimed it has identified with certainty the sole culprit in the anthrax attacks, but so many key Senators, from both parties, simply don’t believe it, and are saying so explicitly. Leahy’s rather dark suggestion that there were others involved in these attacks — likely at a U.S. Army facility or key private CIA contractor — is particularly notable. It has been crystal clear from the beginning that the FBI’s case is filled with glaring holes, that their thuggish behavior towards their only suspect drove him to commit suicide and thus is unable to defend himself, and yet, to this day, the FBI continues to conceal the evidence in its possession and is stonewalling any and all efforts to scrutinize its claims.

The crucial point, at least from my perspective, isn’t that the FBI’s accusations against Bruce Ivins are demonstrably false, and it’s not that Bruce Ivins had no role in the anthrax attacks — there is ample grounds for believing both propositions to be true, but I’m not at all suggesting one can reach a definitive conclusion based on what is known. Rather, the point is that the accusations that the FBI has outlined and the evidentiary case it has disclosed are so full of substantial holes that the FBI ought to disclose all of the evidence in its possession — scientific and non-scientific — and fully cooperate with a real, independent review of all of that evidence by an investigative body possessing subpoena power and whose mandate is both to examine the anthrax attacks and the FBI’s case from scratch.

FBI Still Using Shiny Objects to Distract from Their Flimsy Anthrax Case

By: emptywheel Wednesday September 17, 2008 10:16 am

We’re worried about Pat Leahy’s seeming certainty that only scientists at Dugway in UT and Batelle in OH have the technical competence to make the anthrax used in the attacks; when Leahy made Mueller call FBI to find out if that were true, Mueller eventually responded that the answer is classified. We’re worried that the FBI’s explanation for how and why Ivins would have driven several hours to Princeton to mail the anthrax letters keeps changing from dubious story to dubious story–meaning even if Ivins made this anthrax, they have no proof he mailed it. And we’re worried that the FBI seems to have attributed Ivins’ wife’s beliefs to him in order to explain the choice of targets–even though Leahy’s apparent suspicion (that the attack was related to recent efforts to develop an offenseive bioweapons program) provides a much more plausible explanation for the targets.

In other words, the flimsiest aspects of the anthrax case have nothing to do with genetic analysis. But it’s through an independent review of the genetic analysis, and genetic analysis only, that Robert Mueller would like to use to reassure us that the case is sound.

Their desperate gamble with our money

Original article, an editorial subheaded Whether or not Henry Paulson’s rescue scheme works, one thing is already crystal clear: The capitalist system has failed spectacularly, via

THE BUSH administration’s treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, is demanding the financial equivalent of martial law–$700 billion and a blank check to rescue the Wall Street system from the catastrophe caused by the blind greed of the super-rich parasites who run it.

Open Thread

I quoted this little line back in September of 2006 over at the Orange.  I think it bears repeating again during these times.

We know what we’re fighting against in almost excruciating detail.

But we often don’t have the words to know what we are fighting for.

In 1955, Philip K. Dick wrote a book entitled Solar Lottery.  The protagonist (if there ever is such a thing in a Philip K. Dick Novel), Ted Bentley, gives his idea of what, I think, so many of us are fighting for:

“I never told anybody what to do in my life.  All I want to do –” Bentley shrugged angrily, unhappily. “I don’t know.  Be another Al Davis, I suppose.  Have my house and a good job.  Mind my own business.”  His voice rose in despair.  “But goddam it, not in this system.  I want to be an Al Davis in some world where I can obey the laws, not break them.  I want to obey the laws!  I want to respect them.  I want to respect the people around me.

Emphasis mine.

                                                                      * * * * * * *

And from the I-Ching, in the hexagram of Lu/Treading, Conduct:

But it is important that differences in social rank should not be arbitrary and unjust, for if this occurs, envy and class struggle are the inevitable consequences.  If, on the other hand, external differences in rank correspond with differences in inner worth, and if inner worth forms the criterion of external rank, people acquiesce and order reigns in society.

Open thread is now open!

Opinion: American Fascists or Christian Fascists?

American fascism is the term used by Dr. James Luther Adams, who “was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church.” He said that American fascists would dismantle the open society, using scripture, during “prolonged social instability or a national crisis.” Either of those conditions certainly meets the living conditions on many reservations of their social structure and their Nation. I argue from definition that “Christian fascists” or American fascists are appropriate to be applied to those who christianize Indigenous People as well as to be applied to those who committed  “the slaughters of yesteryear” for the following reasons:  

Tonight: Live Panel Discussion, RNC Arrests, 9-22-08

Media and Law Enforcement at the Republican National Convention?

The Real News Network, with thanks to will live stream a panel discussion tonight from St. Paul Minnesota.

The Reality-Based Community

Remember back in 2004 when Ron Suskind wrote about this conversation with a White House staffer?

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

I know there have been parallels drawn between the push to pass this Paulson bailout and the same kind of fear-mongering that brought us the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq. And I think those comparisons are spot on.

But I also think that in focusing completely on the absurdity of the bailout plan, we are once again letting folks like Bush (and this time Paulson) be the ones to create reality. All of our energies are going into stopping what they’re trying to do – which is important. But how much are we balancing that with an attempt to understand what is happening in our economy right now? Are we creating a narrative that can help people understand what is going on? And finally, are we crafting solutions that can at least minimize the pain and suffering that real people are going to feel as a result of the mess we’re in?

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