December 1, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. Like there was any doubt, but the NY Times reports “It’s Official: Recession Started One Year Ago“.

    The evidence of a downturn has been widespread for months: slower production, stagnant wages and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs. But the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research, charged with making the call for the history books, waited until now to weigh in.

    In a statement released Monday, the members of the group’s Business Cycle Dating Committee – made up of seven prominent economists, most from the academic sector – said that the economy entered a recession in December 2007.

  2. The LA Times reports Bombs kill at least 34 people in Iraq. Police recruits in Baghdad and U.S. and Iraqi security forces in Mosul were targeted.

    The monthly death toll for November, including civilians, police and soldiers, was 339, compared to 278 in October, according to figures from the ministries of health and interior. The number is far lower than for the month of November last year, when the death toll from bombings, shootings and other attacks linked to Iraq’s war was 608.

    The NY Times has the following quote in their coverage of the bombing:

    “If you dare to tell the truth, this is because of the American forces,” said a man who refused to give his name. “Their convoy went to the end of the street and the suicide bomber came right then. All of our troubles are because of the Americans.”

    At a press conference today to unveils his national security team, President-elect Barack Obama said “said he was sticking to his goal of removing American combat troops from Iraq within 16 months, which he called ‘the right time frame,’ and that this would be accomplished with safety for the troops and security for the Iraqi people.”

Four at Four continues with the climate talks in Poland and Pakistani-Indian tension.

Playing for Life

On Saturday night I was invited to play for about a hundred yogis at ‘source yoga’, a studio in town, for the arrival of a swami from India. I get there and stand in a corner where I can hear myself tune, and think about what has happened in the last few days, specifically in Mumbai. I think of so many people who have given a message to us, a message of common humanity and shared values of goodness and compassion. In India, independence would not have come so easily had Gandhi not been there. Oh, it would have come; you cannot sustain a colonial presence, especially with ethnic differences as deep as between the British and the Indians; but somehow his message of Satyagraha, non-violent action, really succeeded where many armed uprisings failed.

I go to play, and the music comes out. I stand there, listening twice. Once for the music that I hear inside, and then again as I try to copy as accurately as I can the sounds that I hear in my heart. Mostly I do all right, and as I resolutely play without any amplifitation in the large and very full room, I let the music take me over until I’m hanging on for dear life as this sound emerges from my instrument.

The swami is late, held up in traffic; they ask if I would play some more. I take my instrument, and in the time that it takes to tune a new thing is there to be freed. I again try to be a pure conduit for the energy, thinking about everyone who has lost someone in the mess that was the siege of the hotels Oberoi, Taj, and Nariman house; the pictures of the young rabbi and his wife, the faces of the two ‘terrorists’ who were photographed, all come together in a face that reflects the intensity of the feelings of the situation.

The second piece starts with the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’, then moves into a terra ingognita of conflicting feelings, odd and jagged melodies contrasting with solemn tones that are like Bach’s cello suites in their sobriety. gradually the sound evolves back to finish where it began, with the simple notes of ‘Amazing Grace’, one of my favorite hymns, full of hope and redemption. I can’t help thinking that the young men who executed the attack left behind a grieving mother, a family burdened by grief; everyone of us pays for this, no matter the exhortations of religious figures that preach that violence is a great way of serving God. And I realize that we, as common humanity, have paid enough for religious differences; We have paid enough and too much for the exhortations of religious leaders who urge violence as a sacred duty, sanctioned by the Creator, who I believe has said no such thing.

And I return to my personal revelation, of Jesus coming to me late at night a few weeks ago and saying just this:

“I am love; first of all and most importantly, I am that love that moves all things. Remember this, and remember that apart from all sectarian feelings and dogmatic sayings I am first and last pure love.”

I pray that we all can move towards this universal love, the source of all good action towards all beings; beyond individual prophets and their revelations, “that love that moves the sun and the other stars”, as Dante so beautifully puts it, pulls all beings toward itself.

Lawrence of Arabia wrote that during one of his travels, he ran into an old blind hermit near a spring of pure water in the desert; and that finally, the old man said:

“The Love is From God, and of God, and towards God”.

That’s all the religion I need. And all the religion that the whole world needs.

Impeachment on TV!

I’ve been ‘out of it’ for a while, so this is the first i have heard of this, anyone have any more info?

Via Raw Story

The National Impeachment Network is planning to run an advertisement on California television during the months of December and January 2009 which advocates for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

Headed by Ralph Lopez, diarist at the left-leaning Daily Kos, the National Impeachment Network is supported by grassroots groups such as Code Pink, Veterans for Peace and Republicans for Impeachment.

From the network’s website:

“Ralph Lopez at the National Impeachment Network has created this ad for television, a version of which has already run in Vermont on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN Headlines, and other stations. We are going over the heads of congressmen and appealing directly to their constituents in order to generate pressure for impeachment. Impeachment can be accomplished in three days with single article like refusing to obey congressional subpoenas. In an up-or-down vote before the entire Congress, even Republicans who are not part of the rabid right will start hearing from their constituents to impeach. Bush has no friends left, and he shouldn’t. They can do it. And the future of democracy will be that much more secure, with his unprecedented law-breaking firmly punished.”

The website, which includes a paypal account for donations. The commercial….

What Now, Speaker Pelosi?

We know you hold us mere ‘advocates’ in contempt…

Unsmilingly, she continued: “If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have ‘Impeach Bush’ across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.”


“They are advocates,” she said. “We are leaders.”

….and that when you hold someone in contempt, you tend to dismiss what they say. Well we hold you in contempt as well. I am sure that you would be happy if we all just forgot the last two years when you had the power to stop the Iraq war and impeach Bush for his multiple crimes. I am sure that you wish the shrill activists in your base would just go away. But we aren’t going away, and neither are the crimes that George Bush committed on your watch.

We will not forget that you literally allowed Bush to get away with murder while you were the only one who had the power to stop him, the power to impeach him. We will not forget that you had the unbridled arrogance to take the Constitution into your own hands and figuratively tear the impeachment clause right out of it.

All for political advantage, all to win the recent elections.

Well, we won.

Now what?

I am sure that you are more than happy to now kick the can down the road to Obama and dump the mess YOU made into his lap. But you are still here you still have power and it you are still responsible for the last two years of war, torture, domestic spying and all the rest.

We won’t forget, and we won’t let you off the hook. You have even more of a majority now, you have a completely different political climate. You can still do something to hold Bush accountable….if you WANT to.

Now what Nancy?

We are waiting. And we are NOT going away.

P-P-P-Pragmatically Preserving The Power of the President?

The US federal government has made strong preparations for “continuity of government” in the event of a national catastrophe.

A full army brigade is now on active duty within domestic borders, and the Bush administration has issued a directive which allows the president to coordinate all three branches of the federal government in such an event.

The Real News spoke to Bruce Fein.

Real News: December 1, 2008

US prepares for “continuity of government”

Bruce Fein: Army to deal with potential domestic “civil unrest and crowd control”

Bruce Fein is the founder of the American Freedom Agenda, that works to restore constitutional checks and balances. He served in the US Justice Department under President Reagan and has been an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a lecturer at the Brookings Institute, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He is an adviser to Ron Paul.

Open Thread


Girls just want to have thread.

Considering the source

(crossposted from Cobalt6)

I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be, a member of the National Rifle Association.

That said, many of you who read this blog know that I am extremely pro-Second Amendment.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

–Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).

No security for the women of Basra

This is the kind of story I find it hard to comment on…its just too painful. From the Guardian we hear

Hitmen charge $100 a victim as Basra honour killings rise: Fathers and husbands who openly hire assassins on the streets of the city are going unpunished

As we hear so much in the MSM about how things are improving in Iraq, I want to say, yeah right, compared to what?????

Bush: Book ‘Em B’rack-o!

I lost my liberal creds somewhere. I looked under the couch, in the glovebox, all my coat pockets, and they are just gone, man.

They must be somewhere by the “you’re an anti-semite” and “religious bigot for not liking star religions” keys.

So now I have to make a whole new set from scratch dudes, and its a total bummer.

So the very first thing I have to do, is make Barack Obama arrest Bush and Cheney.

Then I have to declare martial law in Indiana, where all those “terrified of the black guy” people in M_A’s video yesterday live.  Cuz they got guns, and they loves them some Palin and Jezuz and they ain’t gonna let no “N-word” arrest the righful Pres’nit of these God-lubbin U-natted States without a fight.

I am all over it.

The Women Who Serve,

Too Often Not Mentioned

Last night, on CBS 60min, they had a report on about an very young Lady who is an Army Medic.

How Pvt. Monica Brown Won A Silver Star

Docudharma Times Monday December 1

What Will Monday’s Announcements

Mean For The U.S. And The World?  

Monday’s Headlines:

Geothermal systems conserve energy and reduce bills for heating and cooling

Thai anti-government protesters defy police warning to leave airports

N Korea restricts border controls

Swiss voters give boost to heroin on the NHS

Nato plays it cool over Georgia and Ukraine

Africa’s AIDS fight: Fresh focus on issue of multiple partners

Dissident poet is allowed to speak, but Egypt’s leaders aren’t listening

Iraq, with U.N. help, seeks to improve elections

A dream for the Middle East

Chávez drive for indefinite re-election as president

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security

By Spencer S. Hsu and Ann Scott Tyson

Washington Post Staff Writers

Monday, December 1, 2008; Page A01

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

At war level: India raises security status amid grief

Fallout from Mumbai attacks jeopardises south Asian peace process

Randeep Ramesh in Mumbai and Jason Burke in Islamabad, Monday December 1 2008 00.01 GMT

The Indian government raised the country’s security to a “war level” yesterday saying it had certain proof of a Pakistani link to the Mumbai attacks.

The dramatic move prompted Pakistan to say it would end military operations against Islamist militants on the Afghan border, which are critical to the “war on terror”, for an “unwanted conflict” with Delhi.

With bodies being pulled from the Taj Mahal hotel, where gunmen had made their last stand after a rampage that left more than 170 dead, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, India’s minister of state for home affairs, said the country’s “intelligence will be increased to a war level, we are asking the state governments to increase security to a war level”. The Press Trust of India, India’s official news agency also reported that the government was considering suspending the four-year-old peace process with its neighbour.



A wealth of ideas for Obama’s stimulus program

The next president has yet to offer details of his plan. Its size and scope, and how he’ll address housing and the auto industry, are up for debate.

By Michael A. Hiltzik

December 1, 2008

In three news conferences last week, President-elect Barack Obama began to outline an economic stimulus and recovery program involving public works, tax breaks and new federal funding for energy research.

The planned initiatives provided a spark of optimism amid the nation’s worsening financial outlook, but elements crucial for a sustained recovery are yet missing and many important details remain to be filled in, economists say. These include Obama’s approach to mortgage relief and the structure of a bailout of the automobile industry.

Some of the gaps may be deliberate, as insiders debate the size and scope of the package. Liberal economists in particular argue that to be effective, the program will have to be massive.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XVII

Art Link

Seeking Enlightenment


One step

at a time

sometimes forward

sometimes up

Forward as I move

through my life

even if some wish

to pull me back

Perhaps they

sense the peril

of the new

Upward is harder

as I lift

the burden

of proceeding

to another level

up the staircase

of human evolution

beyond the mundane

They do not like it

that I have taken

this step

or even that

I have shown them

that this place exists

Their screams of pain

anger and terror

will not – can not

bring me back

This place

once conceived

cannot be erased

and cannot be denied

Ideas cannot be unthought

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 7, 2006

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