December 18, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports Iraqi journalist says sorry for throwing his shoes at Bush. It would seem the Iraqis have beat an apology out of Muntazer al-Zaidi.

    According to Yasin Majeed, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s media adviser, Zaidi wrote in a letter that his “big ugly act cannot be excused,” but begged for forgiveness. “”I remember in the summer of 2005, I interviewed your excellency and you told me, ‘Come in, this is your house.’ And so I appeal to your fatherly feelings to forgive me.”

    Zaidi’s family says he suffered a broken arm and other severe injuries after he was dragged away struggling and screaming by Iraqi security officers and US secret service agents. They say he is in hospital in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. Zaidi was brought before a judge on Tuesday and admitted “aggression against a president,” a crime that could carry a 15-year sentence, officials said.

Four at Four continues Wall Street bonuses, late boomers going to Washington, hard times facing the solar power industry, and the space shuttle is for sale.

Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate War Crimes …updated W/revisions

Dear Attorney General Designate Holder,

We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

These crimes  are being euphemistically referred to as “abusive interrogation techniques” by such respected figures as Senator John McCain. These are euphemisms for torture. Torture is a War Crime. Waterboarding is a War Crime. The CIA has admitted waterboarding detainees. Recently, Vice President Cheney has brazenly admitted authorizing the program that lead to waterboarding, other forms of torture too numerous to list, and ultimately, the deaths by homicide of detainees.

As Major General Antonio Taguba, the Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison has stated:

“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

The Washington Post recently summarized the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on detainee treatment thusly:

A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere.

Given the overwhelming amount of evidence, accusations, and admissions of War Crimes; evidence, accusations, and admissions that are only excused by thinly veiled euphemism and the weak and self-serving and widely disputed legal arguments commissioned by the Bush Administration to retroactively exculpate itself from legal jeopardy, we the undersigned citizens demand that a full and thorough investigation be implemented and pursued immediately upon your taking office. And that it be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be.

America is a representative democracy. The actions of our government officials are done in the name of the Citizens of the United States. War Crimes have been done in our name. Torture has been done in our name. The only way to clear our name of War Crimes is to repudiate them through the aggressive prosecution to the full extent of the law of each and every official who participated or authorized these War Crimes.

How to Fight Slippery Roads and Vampires

Governments at all levels around the country are facing severe budget problems, and that includes the city of Ankeny, IA.  Ankeny shares a problem with lots of other cities — a lack of road salt.  As our friends at the Salt Institute know, road salt is spread on roads to help melt ice and snow.  It can be a big expense for city governments, and a snowy winter last year hit city government budgets hard and created a road salt shortage heading into this winter:

Some towns are paying as much as $170 a ton as salt prices nationwide soar because of shipping problems and surging demand. Hoping for the best – but preparing for the worst – communities are making plans to stretch supplies by mixing salt with sand, brine or even beet juice.

Ankeny, unfortunately, does not have a lot of spare beet juice lying around.  But they do have a Tone’s Spices plant.  And Tone’s just happened to have 9 tons of excess garlic salt lying around which they graciously donated to the city of Ankeny.  

They are the Branches, We are the Tree

This essay is in support of the petition announced in buhdydharma’s Cheney Throws Gauntlet, Admits to Authorizing Murder…Now What?.

There has been endless talk about Pelosi taking impeachment off the table, the complicit Dems and corrupt Repubs, the wretched SCOTUS, the debauched and criminal Executive Branch.

The bottom line is that none of our elected and appointed representatives have, in these past eight years, stood up to this gang of crooks in an effective manner, no one in power has been able to stop them or hold them accountable for their criminal actions.

We are in the surreal position of seeing Democrats, including Obama, speaking out about a corrupt Governor, saying he should step down, be impeached, and yet maintaining a horrible silence about a corrupt and criminal Executive Branch.

Veterans Disability Lawsuit Tossed, Again

Yesterday another Class Action Lawsuit was presented this time at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the previous was presented a few months back in California federal court on complaints from Veterans of OIF and OEF, and others, as to disability payments delayed and or denied.

When we returned from Vietnam many of the Vietnam Vets, needing care at Veterans clinics and Veterans Hospitals as well as attempting to file and receive disability benefits of already diagnosed Occupation Theater physical and mental ailments went through much of the same treatment. Those coming back and developing very serious ailments from coming in contact with heavily sprayed area’s of the Defoliants, mostly Agent Orange, were not only denied benefits and treatment the Government and Chemical Companies Denied they were hazardous to humans. We are going through the same All Over Again.

IMF Chief Warns (rather Wants) Food Riots

Most people think the IMF is saving the world but we think the IMF is enslaving the world.  Does the head of a globalist organization have a soul?

I think not, see definition sociopath.  Yes, I am with the most extreme of anti-globalist reactionaries.

Another name which comes up in this is Gerald Calente.

Docudharma Times Thursday December 18

The Bush Lying Tour Continues

Maybe Your City Is Next?

Thursday’s Headlines:

Chrysler to close all manufacturing plants for a month

Don’t neglect Aids crisis, warn health workers

‘Assassination attempt’ on Mugabe henchman

30-year journey from Mao to the market

Pakistan groups banned but not bowed

Mafia boss kills himself after arrest

EU gives in to pressure and relaxes rules on state aid for businesses

OPEC announces historic cuts to buoy oil prices

Israel’s ruling party holds national primary

35 Iraq Officials Held in Raids on Key Ministry


Published: December 17, 2008

BAGHDAD – Up to 35 officials in the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior ranking as high as general have been arrested over the past three days with some of them accused of quietly working to reconstitute Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, according to senior security officials in Baghdad.

The arrests, confirmed by officials from the Ministries of the Interior and National Security as well as the prime minister’s office, included four generals, one of whom, Gen. Ahmed Abu Raqeef, is the ministry’s director of internal affairs. The officials also said that the arrests had come at the hand of an elite counterterrorism force that reports directly to the office of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

The involvement of the counterterrorism unit speaks to the seriousness of the accusations, and several officials from the Ministries of the Interior and National Security said that some of those arrested were in the early stages of planning a coup.

Spinning Quirky Yarns

Film Industry in Small Indian Textile Town Makes Low-Budget Parodies Of Bollywood Smash Hits With a Lot of Heart, Local Flavor and Ingenuity

By Rama Lakshmi

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, December 18, 2008; Page A19

MALEGAON, India — Past a narrow alleyway filled with sleeping goats, water tanks and women washing clothes, Shaikh Nasir’s modest home is a landmark. This is where he thinks up new ways to make the people of this grim textile town laugh.

Nasir is the father of a homegrown film industry that is famous for its parodies of blockbuster movies from Bollywood, India’s Hindi film capital.



Dollar’s Slump Erases Months Of Solid Gains

By Anthony Faiola

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, December 18, 2008; Page A01

The dollar yesterday staged one of its biggest one-day drops against the euro and fell to a 13-year low against the Japanese yen as near-zero interest rates and the Federal Reserve’s plan to print vast sums of cash dilute the value of the greenback.

The drops dramatically accelerated the dollar’s reversal of fortune over the past three weeks after months of solid gains. The slide underscores the risks the Federal Reserve is taking to jump-start the U.S. economy through aggressive monetary policy.

On Monday, the Fed cut its target for the federal funds rate, at which banks lend to each other, from 1 percent to a target range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent, and effectively vowed to print as much money as it needs to try to pull the United States from a worsening recession.

Santa Bush’s last gifts to the nation …

Santa George WPE Bush has had, we all agree, too long a run at ‘gifting’ the nation with disaster after disaster, bad policy after bad policy.  

And, on the eve of the holidays (Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, New Year’s, Obama’s Inauguration),

Santa Bush is working to put coal into as many lumps into coal into our stockings, our rivers, our lungs, our lives as he can.

“I’m dreaming of a polluted Christmas …”

personally, i’d prefer Rev. Wright

Rick Warren will give a prayer at the inauguration of Barack Obama. Personally, I’d prefer the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He’s a liberation theologian. He was Barack Obama’s pastor in Chicago. And during the ungodly-long 2008 presidential campaign, Rev. Wright was placed in the spot light, focusing on what some have said were his outrageous statements. Like the government of the United States is responsible for terrorist attacks. Rev. Wright said our gov’t invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.

at dKos

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XXX

Art Link

Brain Scan

The Words

The words have control

command I attend

Through my mind they must flow

I am their vessel

They require writing

demand creation

Pushing boldly forward

whenever I pause

The words I give you

that they may be read

and spead their infection

into the future

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 16, 2006

Late Night Karaoke

Nikai Thursday

The Monkees- I’m a Believer

Quote for Discussion: Deviant Globalization

The underlying political process associated with deviant globalization is the disaggregation of the “sovereignty bundle” of powers associated with the high modernist liberal state. In many places the state is no longer (if, indeed it ever was) the de facto governing authority, in the sense that it does not control the delivery of fundamental political goods, such as security, infrastructure, education, and health care. Different pieces of that bundle are being parceled out to (or, more commonly, grabbed by) a variety of actors: tribal leaders, gangsters, NGOs, religious leaders, transnational and local corporations, mercenaries, ethnic militias, and so on. The particular combinations vary from place to place, and there is a great deal of path dependency. In many places, the same actors who control the resource flows associated with deviant globalization are also de facto providers of “state-like services” such as security or infrastructure. And naturally enough, the common people who rely on these providers tend to align their political loyalties accordingly.

What’s new in this situation is that in many cases these “political actors” have no interest in actually becoming a state or taking over an existing state. They’re happy to wield state-like authority and power, while enriching themselves via dubious business operations. I’m thinking here of groups as various as the Mahdi Army in Iraq, the PCC in Brazil, the ‘Ndrangheta in Italy, or Laurent Nkunda’s crew in Congo. None of these organizations plan to declare sovereign independence and file for membership of the United Nations. What they want, simply, is to carve out a space where they can do their business and not have the state mess with them. This means that, unless a state confronts them, they’re disinclined to challenge states directly-directly challenging the state is expensive, and generally bad for business. As this new class of post-state political actors takes over functions formerly monopolized by states, they and their constituents lose interest in the state. From a political perspective, therefore, deviant globalization leads to (and also is facilitated by) the proliferation of jurisdictionally ambiguous spaces where sovereignty as it has traditionally been conceived simply no longer exists. It’s a self-reinforcing dynamic.

Western pundits and politicians like to describe these sorts of spaces with highly misleading terms such as “failing states” or “undergoverned zones.” The implication of such terminology is that the people living there want to be just like us, but that somehow they’re unable to get there. But such a belief is, if I may be blunt, a narcissistic delusion masquerading as political science. Contrary to what the bien-pensants claim, most so-called failing states don’t want to get fixed. In many of these zones, the local powers that be are quite content with these novel, informal political arrangements. It allows them to make fabulous amounts of money running globe-spanning commercial empires, while being recognized as the “big men” within the communities that they care about. They have no desire to attain the West’s ideal of an inclusive, welfare-providing modern state. These guys are “postmodern” in the sense that they realize that the West’s form of modernity will never include them, and they’re charting an entirely different path. It’s very different from the classic revolutionary movements of the twentieth century.

Nils Gilman

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