March 27, 2009 archive

Friday Philosophy: prelude to apathy?

It’s that time of year again.  Next week is Gay Pride Week on campus here at Bloomfield College.  Sometimes it is a little earlier, but usually it is a little later.  But the second week of April includes Easter Break, so it was now or never.

I’d love it if it were a time of joy.  But I often find it to be rather depressing.  I’ve been one of the co-coordinators of the Gay/NonGay Alliance since I got a full-time job here in 2001.  I wish I could say it has been rewarding.

The truth is that it has all been an uphill journey.  No matter which direction one looks, it is uphill.

Four at Four

  1. McClatchy reports At least 48 people die in a suicide bombing of Pakistani mosque. “The blast demolished a two-story mosque in Jamrud, in the tribal area near the Afghan border. Many of the dead and wounded were buried under bricks and slabs of concrete. Officials warned that up to 70 people could have died, and some reports put the wounded at 170.”

    Meanwhile, the NY Times reports President Obama unveils Afghan plan to add troops and set goals. “The situation is increasingly perilous,” Obama said. The president warned that of intelligence estimates that al Qaeda “is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.”

    “We have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future,” Obama added. “That is the goal that must be achieved.”

    Obama will send an additional 4,000 U.S. from the 4th brigade, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC to Afghanistan in a training role. According to McClatchy, Obama shifts the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan toward more modest goals. In addition to sending more forces, “it will also ‘surge’ of hundreds diplomats and civilian specialists to help run elections, fighting rampant corruption and battle increased narcotics trafficking. It also calls for tripling economic aid to Pakistan.”

    According to the Washington Post, Obama wants more funding for the Afghan occupation. According to White House aides, expenses for Afghan operations this year “will increase about 60 percent from the current toll of $2 billion a month… Obama called on Congress to pass legislation to provide $1.5 billion a year for five years in economic assistance to Pakistan, along with a bill creating ‘opportunity zones’ for exports. Additional development aid is also planned for Afghanistan, and Obama said he would launch a “dramatic increase,” expected to number in the hundreds, of U.S. civilian officials on the ground there. The United States also plans to provide additional equipment, including transport helicopters, to the Pakistani military.”

    “I do not ask for this support lightly,” Obama said… “These are challenging times, and resources are stretched. But the American people must understand that this is a down payment on our own future.”

Four at Four continues with plans to stay in Iraq cities beyond the June deadline, the algae bloom CO2 experiment in Antarctica fails, and social safety nets work in Europe while here in America, jobs are shifted overseas.

WWL Radio #12 @ 6pm EDT: Surviving Armegeddon Intact

Join us tonight for an unscripted version of WWL Radio, as I discuss in raw and brutal honesty the emotional fallout of living in these times with Ed Encho and Gottlieb.

We want to hear your voices too.

Have you become more jaded, more isolated, or more involved and connected?

Has it brought a depression or a rage to your life to live in financial collapse, or endure certain job loss?

Do you feel like going postal or going fetal?

The call in number is 646-929-1264

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will be active after 5:30-ish.…

Be warned: We have had ongoing technical problems with BTR, so be patient on the line, and if dropped, call back!!!!

Will Any of You Pray With Me?

I’ve been worryin’ a lot lately about America losin’ it’s traditional values under our socialist President.  Socialism, for those of you who talk about it all the time even though you don’t understand what it means, is the process of ruining the economy by removin’ the traditional role of religion from it.  Obama is tryin’ a whole bunch of voodoo economic policies, and we all know how God feels about voodoo (it barely ranks above bein’ a Muslim).  We’re gettin’ bombarded with lots of talk on how to fix the economy but we seem to be ignorin’ the One Voice we should be listenin’ to.    

The Frightening Absurdity of Post-Bush America.

Memes baby, we got memes. Memes, Paradigms, Conventional Wisdoms, Tropes, Dopes and Hope.

But mainly memes, we are soaking in them. We are waist deep in the big paradigm and the water is still rising, apparently. HELP! I have fallen into Conventional Wisdom, and I can’t get up! If only there was a fast and easy way to get rid of these tropes that make laundry day such a chore! Will no one rid me of these troublesome dopes?

At this point hope is all we have, as we try to turn the Fundy Tide left over from the decade of disinformation. I come to this sentence not to bury the Bushshit, but to praise it. It was some damn effective Bullshit.

We are still soaking in that too.

We are still reacting to Bush. To the reality that Bush and Cheney and Rove concocted, perpetrated, and imposed upon us and the world. Even after it has nearly destroyed it. The greed of the rich is still good and necessary for the economy, the greed of the poor is still tacky and unseemly. Brown people are still the enemy and encased in ICE and held in torturous circumstances in Bagram.

We are still hacking our way through the thickets of illogic and fear towards the hilltop of reason and the rising sun of a new day. Still wandering in the desert of republican power, even as they fully reveal themselves for the noxious stinking pool of quicksand that they have always been. And yet we keep wandering in circles back to the same pool. The muscles of our Right legs have been more developed than the muscles of our Left legs, you see, and so without a reference point to head towards, we walk in a circle, with the muscle of the Right propelling us round and round.

LOOK! we shout. Over there! Freedom, Justice, Salvation!!! There it is! That is our reference point! There is our way out! All we have to do is shed this baggage and make for it post haste!!!

Oh no, we can’t do that!!! What would the VERY SERIOUS PEOPLE think if we just told them to STFU and get out of the way??? The Villagers might burn us if we yell too loudly and wake them from their slumbers! Or…or…maybe even….gasp….The Very Serious People who have been proven wrong over and over and over might not respect us!

Or even worse….if we tell them we are angry, we might become a mob……somehow.

The whole frikking world knows that things are bad. The whole frikking world knows that it is bad because of Bush. The whole frikking world except the Very Serious Villagers and their lackeys in the Merde Stream Media knows that the remaining Republicans are pushing the same damn ideas, memes, tropes and conventional (but WRONG) wisdom that fucked every goddam thing you can possibly think of up. And thanks to the law of Unintended Consequences, they have fucked up things we CAN’T even think of!

Yet here we are. Still huddled in our caves of color coded fear….as one man, one brave, smart, VERY patient man fights our battles for us. As he fights, we huddle in our caves and hopes he saves us. He has called us to the battle lines, summoned us to the barricades, and yet we huddle still. He has given us our assignments as clearly as he can while using the politicode that HE is forced to use. Yet we do not heed his call.

He has told us to challenge the conventional wisdoms that he in the position of power cannot safely challenge openly. He has told us that we can and must challenge HIM to do so. He has told us to Make Him Do It. He has told us to raise our voice and use our power, people power, the power of the Citizen, the power that got him elected, the power of millions yelling for change.

But instead, we huddle behind his skirts and WAIT.

WAIT for him to fight the battles, Wait for him to slay the monsters, Wait for him to lift the non-existent rock blocking the exit to this cave of fear that we evidently need. Since we evidently are comfortable only when we are seeing the Shadow of the True Forms of the world in which we live.

This man, this hero that history has sent us to lead us out of the Bush Swamp and to the mountaintop, is OUT THERE doing all one man, doing MORE than what one man can do.

And he is virtually alone.

Because now that he is the government, any attack on the government is seen as an attack on him.

Barack Obama does not want your defense, he does not want your sympathy, he does not want you to follow him. He wants you to fight BESIDE him, not follow him.

He wants you to get off your ass and fight and yell and scream the things that he cannot scream.

Republicans are stupid and have nothing to offer.

The Press is stupid and dumbed down from the bush years and has nothing to offer.



He can’t change it, Congress can’t change it, the press can’t change it.

ONLY YOU can change it.

War, torture, corruption, financial collapse, a broken press, destructive republicans, destructive democrats. It is all broken, They are all broken….and theirs is only the illusion of power. THEY are at the end of their rope and hanging on to the past, the Memes, Paradigms, Conventional Wisdoms, Tropes and Dopes of the past by their fingernails. And the future is staring us in the face and challenging us to DO SOMETHING DAMMIT!!!

A HUGE power vacuum exists. All the old power is ready to topple and crumble at the slightest push. There is only one Power left.

People Power.

And Obama is waiting and hoping and praying for us to pick it up.

Yet we still huddle in our caves, waiting for HIM to do something about it.

But, but but……WHAT should we do, buhdy???

Well I guess that is the first thing we need to do isn’t it, figure out what the fuck to do! I am just a schmo like all of you, I don’t have all the answers, neither does anybody else.

Even Obama, so waiting for him to fix it ain’t gonna work.

And neither will respectful silence or patience or trying to be acceptable in the sight of Very Serious Villagers.

I will tell you the first thing we have to do, BREAK OUT OF THE FUCKING CAVE…..and make some goddam NOISE goddam it. You are pissed off and frustrated, we all are. So YELL!!!

And let the sound of your voice, raised in responsible anger be your guide. Once we break out of the cave, once we break out of the fears of the past, once we break out of the fear of our own power (are you a mob? No, and neither am I, so stop fearing yourself too) and find our voice, the Way will become clear, I promise.

The bad bad Bush boogiemen are gone. It is safe to come out now. Really, I promise. All you have to do is be you. A citizen in a democracy, with all of the power and responsibility that entails. Which means that only YOU can save you.

The Final Friday Constitutional – Amendments 26 And 27

Crossposted on Square State

Happy Friday and welcome to the last of the Friday Constitutionals (Wow, that is surprisingly hard to write!)! This is the final of the Dogs 21 week series on the Constitution of the United States. For those of you just coming in, where have you been the last five months? In any case this series takes a layman’s look at the founding document of our nation and its system of laws. If you are interested in the previous installments of this series, you can find them at the following links:  

“Overcapacity” and a Robert Brenner interview

Mostly this is an explanation of a theory behind the current economic crisis.  Robert Brenner, who teaches economic history at UCLA, suggests that the fundamental root of the crisis is the stagnant nature of the neoliberal economy, which attempts to evade its problems with overcapacity by intensifying borrowing.

In plain English: once the loans dry up, the neoliberal economy tends to sink.  Turn the page to discover why.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

Pigs on Wall Street Squealing

I read this statement this morning and I just shook my head:

Dimon of New York-based JPMorgan this month called on government officials to stop demonizing Wall Street, saying “it’s just hurting our country at this point.”

When I hear the constant vilification of corporate America, I personally don’t understand it,” Dimon said in a speech earlier this month hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.…

I bet you don’t Mr. Dimon.  But working people losing homes and jobs sure do.

We need more vilification of corporate America, not less.

We will never have change in this nation until we admit the problem is a system that places profit over people.

I do not think we will see that soon, not even people AND profits.  Just a softer and gentler version of Profit over People.

After weeks in which the White House was often sharply critical of excesses at financial companies, the president wants to adopt a more collaborative approach.

We’re reliant upon them to help rebuild our economy,” said senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. “It would be very unnatural if we didn’t engage them and have a direct opportunity to pick their brains and look to the future.”…

Which side am I on?  Workers over investors.  Labor over capital.

In 1931, coal miners in Harlan County were on strike. Armed company deputies roamed the countryside, terrorizing the mining communities, looking for union leaders to beat, jail, or kill. But coal miners, brought up lean and hard in the Kentucky mountain country, knew how to fight back, and heads were bashed and bullets fired on both sides in Bloody Harlan.

It was this kind of class war — the mine owners and their hired deputies on one side, and the independent, free-wheeling Kentucky coal-miners on the other — that provided the climate for Florence Reece’s “Which Side Are You On?” In it she captured the spirit of her times with blunt eloquence.

Mrs. Reece wrote from personal experience. Her husband, Sam, was one of the union leaders, and Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men came to her house in search of him when she was alone with her seven children. They ransacked the whole house and then kept watch outside, ready to shoot Sam down if he returned.

One day during this tense period Mrs. Reece tore a sheet from a wall calendar and wrote the words to “Which Side Are You On?” The simple form of the song made it easy to adapt for use in other strikes, and many different versions have circulated.…

The same war is going on today.  We constantly are asked in our lives, which side are you on?  I know which side I’m on.

That’s why I came to docudharma to write diaries.  I did not fit among the faux progressives who bow to investors.

Docudharma Times Friday March 27

Republicans Give America

A Pretty Blue Book

Newt Declares Obama

Creating A Dictatorship

What About George W. Bush

And His Authoritarian Policies?


Friday’s Headlines:

Vows of hope for a dwindling Catholic community

Out of Africa

Taxi troubles in South Africa

Torture victim Binyam Mohamed: don’t scapegoat MI5 officer

Women told: ‘You have dishonoured your family, please kill yourself’

Israel suspected of bombing Sudan arms convoy headed for Gaza

Jihadi dispute points to deeper radicalism among youths

Indonesia dam burst kills dozens

In Pakistan, fighting terrorists the five-star way

Pakistani and Afghan Taliban Unify in Face of U.S. Influx


Published: March 26, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – After agreeing to bury their differences and unite forces, Taliban leaders based in Pakistan have closed ranks with their Afghan comrades to ready a new offensive in Afghanistan as the United States prepares to send 17,000 more troops there this year.

In interviews, several Taliban fighters based in the border region said preparations for the anticipated influx of American troops were already being made. A number of new, younger commanders have been preparing to step up a campaign of roadside bombings and suicide attacks to greet the Americans, the fighters said.

The refortified alliance was forged after the reclusive Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, sent emissaries to persuade Pakistani Taliban leaders to join forces and turn their attention to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials and Taliban members said.

How the West lost its way in the East

Kabul was taken in days, but then the ‘liberation of Afghanistan’ became a slow-motion disaster. Patrick Cockburn, who has reported on the conflict since 2001, charts the fatal mistakes

Friday, 27 March 2009

After seven long years in which it seemed a sideshow to the bigger conflict in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan has reached a critical point. The US must now choose how far it will become further embroiled in a messy conflict which affects its relations with Pakistan, India and the wider Middle East including Iran. At a moment when the world is convulsed by the worst economic disaster since 1929, Washington will have to decide if it really wants to invest time, money, military and political resources in beating back the ragged bands of Taliban who increasingly control southern Afghanistan.

At the end of last year, the White House was talking about repeating what was deemed to have been the success of the “surge” in Iraq. Some 30,000 extra US troops were sent to Iraq pursuing more aggressive tactics and the Sunni Arab insurgency seemed to wind down soon after. But the real turning point in Iraq was probably the defeat of the Sunni Arabs by the Shia. Nothing of this sort is likely to undermine the Taliban in Afghanistan just as their guerrilla attacks are inflicting more casualties than ever.


Evacuations ordered as Fargo levee cracks form

Red River could crest at 43 feet on Saturday; sandbaggers try to go higher

Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. – Officials ordered the evacuation of one neighborhood and a nursing home late Thursday after authorities found cracks in an earthen levee built to protect the area from the threat of the rising Red River.

Residents were not in immediate danger, and floodwaters were not flowing over the levee, Mayor Dennis Walaker said Thursday night. The evacuation was being enforced as a precaution.

Officers were going door to door to the roughly 40 homes in the River Vili neighborhood and were evacuating Riverview Estates nursing home. Authorities also called for the voluntary evacuation of about 1,000 people who live between the main dikes and backups in various parts of the city. That evacuation could become mandatory, officials said.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind III

Art Link

Time in an Egg

The Complement of Time

When people see some things as beautiful,

other things become ugly.

When people see some things as good,

other things become bad.

–Tao te Ching (tr. Strephen Mitchell)

Time is

the collective counting

of humankind

With recognition of time

comes recognition of mortality

To live long

becomes the objective

And while we’re all

counting together

maybe we should also

tally our stuff

I guess to

break the tie

when two people

die simultaneously

So greed

is born

Why is life a game?

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–November 28, 2005

Late Night Karaoke


Orion’s Belt

StarDate: -314224.72

The rainy Pleiads wester,
Orion plunges prone,
The stroke of midnight ceases,
And I lie down alone.

A. E. Housman

Orion's Belt
Orion’s Belt and M42 (The Orion Nebula)

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