December 3, 2008 archive

The Second Satanic Veil

The first veil: Ten percent of us will pierce the first veil and find the world of politics. We will vote, be active and have an opinion. Our opinions are shaped by the physical world around us; we have a tendency to accept that government officials, network media personalities and other “experts” are voices of authority. Ninety percent of the people in this group will live and die without having pierced the second veil.


Four at Four

  1. Shame on the United States. Spiegel Online reports the U.S. still shuns a cluster bomb ban. “It is being hailed as the most significant piece of international humanitarian law for a decade, but the ban on cluster bombs to be signed by over 100 nations still lacks a certain sting due to some notable absences.” Namely the United States, Russia, and China.

    Since 1965 it is estimated that more than 13,000 people have been killed or wounded by the deadly bomblets…

    Their lethal legacy will continue for years to come, as proved by the continuing casualties suffered in the South East Asian country of Laos. The United States dropped 260 million cluster bombs there between 1964 and 1973, and since then they have killed an estimated 11,000 people. Children in particular are attracted to the small shiny objects, often assuming they are toys.

    Meanwhile, the NY Times reports Afghanistan says it will sign cluster bomb treaty. “In a surprising last-minute change of policy, the government of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed on Wednesday to join about 100 nations signing a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions, Afghan officials said.”

    “It’s a huge deal because no one here was not expecting it,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst for Human Right Watch, who was at the event in Oslo. Mr. Garlasco said that upon hearing the news, a group of Afghan survivors of cluster bombs, most of them in wheelchairs or on crutches, burst into tears.

    Afghanistan “joins Laos and Lebanon among the most affected nations by these weapons, saying these horrific weapons must be outlawed,” Mr. Garlasco said. “This is a huge step for Afghanistan towards policy independence from the United States.”

    Why is it a surprise that a country so harmed by cluster bombs wish to see their use banned? What is surprising is the lack of moral outcry in the United States that our country is not a signatory. The ban is only partial for it even allows small 10-bomblet cluster bombs.

    Disarmament activists are already looking beyond the Bush administration and are calling on President-elect Barack Obama to sign the cluster munitions treaty and send it for ratification soon after he takes office. For good measure, they want Mr. Obama to sign a 1997 treaty banning the use and sale of anti-personnel landmines.

Four at Four continues with Iraq withdrawal, drones on the U.S.-Canada border, and college tuition.

Citizens Petition to Attorney General Eric Holder…….A Draft

Dear Attorney General Holder, we the undersigned citizens hereby petition you to aggressively investigate and prosecute the many and various crimes we believe have been committed both by and under the Bush Administration.

For eight long years the Citizens of the United States have stood by helplessly and watched as crime after crime has been committed by the President, the Vice President and their political appointees and staff. Including the corruption and politicization of the Department of Justice which you now head. In fact the corruption of your department, the DOJ, is indeed one of the greatest crimes they have committed, as it has shielded them, not just from full prosecution as evidenced in the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame case, but from nearly all accountability and investigation by the corruption of the subpoena process by which our laws hold our officials accountable. No citizen is immune from subpoena, and neither should be our government officials. Your department has not only been politicized and abused, it has been used to, as Patrick Fitzgerald put it, “throw sand in the face of the umpire.”

We as citizens are subject to the rule of law, and we demand that our government and its officials be as well. We as citizens have lost faith in our justice system, as we have watched it be abused by the Bush Administration. Only you Attorney General Holder can restore that faith. And it may only be restored by the aggressive and unrelenting prosecution of those who have corrupted it. One of the most important founding principles of America is that no man is above the law. That principle must be restored and it is your responsibility to do so. The eyes, and the hopes, of our nation are upon you Attorney General Holder, at this critical time.

The list of offenses is long, ranging from minor violations of the Hatch Act to what a former president and head of the CIA classified as treason, the exposure of an entire CIA counter-terrorism network:

GEORGE H.W. BUSH: “I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.”

(insert rest of list, which we shall build, here)

These investigations and prosecutions that we so strongly urge you to undertake and pursue will have many consequences. Some of them could prove to be politically inexpedient for or new president and especially for the Democratic congress that has refused to fully uphold and pursue their own investigations and prosecutions. We urge you just as strongly to, unlike your predecessors Attorneys General Mukasey and Gonzales to ignore these political considerations and consequences in the pursuit of justice.

Our justice system has been corrupted and compromised. Our standing as an nation that hews to the Rule of Law above all else has been gravely and perilously threatened.  Only one man, standing independent from all other considerations, can restore both our standing, the Rule of Law in our great nation, and the integrity of the Department of Justice itself, Attorney General Holder. And that man is you. We are counting on you.

The More Things Change: Empire Classic Or Empire Lite?

In the spring of 2007, 6 months after taking control of Congress in the November 2006 midterm elections by running on an “end the Iraq occupation” platform throughout 2006, the Democratic controlled congress under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned around 180 degrees, stuck their thumbs in the eye of the public who had given them their majority based on the expectations of ending the occupation, and gave George Bush the first Iraq supplemental funding bill ever passed by a Democratic congress, in their determination that the US would control the oil resources of Iraq and have a central base from which to attempt to expand that hoped for control across the Middle East.

Their dreams of empire have since developed a badly cracked and shattered facade but not died out, and that first supplemental funding bill was to become only the beginning of a two year long series of betrayals of their mandate, as the Democrats put all of their energy into enabling Bush with multiple Iraq supplemental funding bills and selling the same old deathtrap in Iraq with a shiny new Democratic paintjob, and over the past couple of months enabling and participating in the theft of nearly nine trillion dollars from taxpayers as they have fallen all over themselves to hand bags of cash to their criminal friends on Wall Street who have been busy as beavers all this time wrecking the US and global economy.

Bush Fatigue

The latest in a long string of screw ups, the economic decline towards Hooverism, is not being blamed on George W. Bush for some reason.

Harlold Meyerson at the Post says:…

Herbert Hoover, we should recall, had a program for dealing with the Depression. It consisted of lending to banks but opposing fiscal stimulus or direct aid to individuals. Which is why Hank Paulson’s frenzied endeavors to prop up the banking sector and Bush’s dogged resistance to assisting anybody else amount to pure neo-Hooverism.

As the 1930s began, Hoover believed that the coordinated actions of the private sector could save the beleaguered economy. It soon became apparent that the only action that private-sector businesses could agree upon was closing down factories and offices and throwing people out of work. Under immense pressure to do something, in late 1931 Hoover asked Congress to establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, to provide funds to banks it deemed creditworthy.

Does this sound familiar? A “commander”, inept or otherwise, forcefully closing his eyes so he won’t see the locomotive juggernaut of failed economic policies and how they affect us little people not included in his “base”.

As breadlines lengthened, he [Hoover] vetoed a bill appropriating funds for public works on the grounds that it was inflationary and contained pork-barrel spending. Bankers would be saved; everyone else was effectively damned.

History repeating itself? Isn’t this administration focusing its efforts on the lending institutions and ignoring the homeowners unable to pay off their mortgages? Do they still think it’s going ‘trickle down’ after 28 years of proof that the only thing that trickles down is warm and wet and unwelcome.

Open Thread


All in all it’s just another brick in the thread.  

On the Death Penalty, Suicide, the Wallstreet Bailout and the joys of plumbing without a House Joe

(Originally posted as my Open Thread on WWL)

Yesterday, what I really woke up thinking about, before I read Aristeides “Make Peace” essay and got sidelined into my careful optimist ramble, was the Death Penalty.

Why? Hell, I don’t know. I would venture it was because my 9 year old asked a few days prior “Suicide is against the Law?”

We had been watching a show, and some agent or another was tricking a guy into testifying, by claiming she would arrest him for attempted suicide if he didn’t ‘fess up.

I answered, laughing, “Yeah, Jake, but its kind of hard to arrest someone who actually does it.”

::I stand, Look at imaginary dead body on the floor::

“You have the right to remain silent.”

::Dramatic pause, glance at Jake::

“Check. Looks like that one’s covered.”

~~kid starts giggling at me, I look back at the floor~~

“You have the right to call an attorney.”

::Dramatic pause, roll eyes at kid::

“Not gonna happen. Even if I gave him the dime.”

~~kid laughing like crazy~~

We cracked up. He’s far too young for the question to have been frightening as it may be during the teen angst years, and I could tell he just thought it weird.  But the idea of legislating life and death reappeared in my brain, with a bunch of thoughts stuck to it.

Not the least of which, individual suicide is against the law, yet businesses who are legal ‘people’ get money for trying to commit suicide.

Try and commit suicide, get 80 billion dollars. Huh. That’d stop the next bridge jump attempt.

Your suicide? Arrest! Wallstreet suicide? Punishable by REWARD.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XVIII

Art Link

Landscape of the Mind

The Candy-colored Clown

In my dreams

the eagle transforms

into the dove of peace

every soul is sparked

by precious pieces

of Martin and Coretta

their essence permeates

the landscape

of my mind

fairness prevails

people are kind

nice caring helpful

human warmth flows

toward everyone

through everything

replenishing the fabric

of this mortal coil

There’s always fair weather

where justice reigns

the justice that Martin

saw from the mountain top

Then I awake

let out a gasp

and cry out

in despair

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 17, 2006

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Gates: Military looks to accelerate Iraq pullout

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 1 min ago

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates signaled a willingness Tuesday to forge ahead with two key priorities for the incoming Obama administration: accelerating the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

As the only Republican Cabinet member asked to stay on by President-elect Barack Obama, Gates told reporters that military commanders are looking at ways to more quickly pull troops out of Iraq in light of the 16-month timetable that was a centerpiece of the Democrat’s campaign.

He also said it will be a high priority to work with the new Congress on legislation that will enable the U.S. to close the detention center at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, where about 250 terrorism suspects are still being held.

Late Night Karaoke

Talking Avoids Silence

Bette Davis Eyes

First Satanic Veil

The “news” today about those “top” internet searches from Yahoo has prompted me the get on and classify the first of the Satanic Veils.  That veil would be media.

Manufacturing Tuesday: Week of 12.01.08

(My apologies folks, for the delay.  This was supposed to be published this morning, but I had rush a sick wiener dog to one of those emergency vet places.  Rest assured, he’s Ok, and probably won’t eat another sock again!)

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to another edition of Manufacturing Monday…er Tuesday!  Originally I wanted to post this on Monday morning, but I wanted to include the latest development from the Boeing SPEEA talks. Outside of this we got news from the steel industry, unfortunately not the good kind.  Sticking with steel for a moment, there’s an op-ed piece I wish to highlight that I thought you should look at.  We have news or alarm bells I should say about pensions.  Of course we also have some Green news, some ominous, but some good.  

But before we get to those, let’s take a look at the Numbers!

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