April 8, 2009 archive

I Don’t Pee In Your Toilet

So why do you make me swim in your cesspool?

OK, it’s about media.  And you thought TERRA,TERRA,TERRA was over as a meme?

Emergency….Emergency…Please to get from street.

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports Iran responds cautiously to Obama’s gesture. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran welcomes “honest” talks with the U.S.

    “The Iranian people would welcome a hand extended to it if the hand is truly based on honesty,” said Mr. Ahmadinejad in a speech at the central city of Isfahan today…

    “Yet, if it has an honest appearance but is dishonest by nature, the Iranian people would give the same response that it gave to George Bush,” he said. “Therefore the change should be in action, not in words.”

    Reuters adds the U.S. will now join major power nuclear talks with Iran. “What is different is that the U.S. will join the …discussions with Iran from now on,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood. America will now join with ” Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain to reach a diplomatic solution to areas of concern with Iran.” Iran has been invited to talk.

    “If Iran accepts … we hope this will be the occasion to seriously engage Iran on how to break the logjam of recent years and work in a cooperative manner to resolve the outstanding international concerns about its nuclear program,” Wood said. “Any breakthrough will be a result of collective efforts of all the parties.”

    Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden warns Israel off any attack on Iran reports the LA Times. Biden said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would “ill advised” to attack Iran.

    With his brief comment Tuesday, Biden became the highest-ranking administration official to caution the Jewish state against a military strike. In the interview, Biden was asked whether he was concerned that Netanyahu might strike Iranian nuclear facilities.

    “I don’t believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill advised to do that,” Biden said.

    “And so my level of concern is no different than it was a year ago.”

Four at Four continues with cyber attacks on U.S. infrastructure, piracy, and a new trial for the men accused of murdering Dorothy Stang.

When Will Obama Speak to the Nation on Torture and Wiretapping?

In light of the DOJ’s recent action to dismiss the right of citizens to sue for being spied on, which it is very difficult NOT to see as the government protecting it’s right to spy on YOU without a warrant.

In light of the ICRC’s, as the body charged with the task of charging torture, charges that the the Bush Administration did indeed torture.

In light of the massive body of evidence in the public sphere that torture was systematically approved and used.

In light of Spain investigating the US for torture.

In light of the United Nations investigating the US for torture.

In light of the UK investigating itself for torture

And in the light of the fact that President Obama has not addressed either Domestic Spying or Torture in a meaningful and substantive way since he has taken office….yet in his campaign championed the Constitution, the rights of citizens, and the Rule of Law.

When will President Obama address these issues before the American people?

News Alert! Sen. Chuck Schumer is FOR investigations!

This will be the shortest essay evah!  Just had to interrupt your current “program” with this news!

A quick call to Sen. Schumer’s office might be in order!  Yes?

h/t David Swanson

On: TBI – PTSD – No Bids & War Profiteering – Obstructionism and the VA

Let me start out with some Good News, but that still have many of us puzzled as to why it took so long to get to the ‘Good’ and much needed, no answers.

On ‘Obstructionism’ and the VA, Plus:

I’m saving this cut of the Rachel Maddow show, on the evening of 4.07.09, to show how those we hire to represent us don’t.  

The abdonment of the 50-state strategy may be the opening needed for third parties.

Cross-posted from Progressive Independence.

A while back I linked to a blog entry that reported on the abandonment of Howard Dean’s fifty-state strategy that put Democrats back in real political power after sixteen years in favor of what’s shaping up to be the DLC’s preferred method of losing elections by ignoring everything but the so-called “swing states.”  This horrendously bad decision is bound to cost the party dearly next year, especially as voter dissatisfaction with the current dictator’s failed economic policies and ever-more-fascistic behavior grows.  As early as January, prominent Democrats voiced their concerns over the dismantling of a successful electoral strategy:

(Full story reproduced below the fold.)

1000 Words, 1000 Years

It’s been awhile since my last entry in my series on the New Deal.  I’ve dipped into the motherlode of picture archives – the FSA pix from the Library of Congress, and got lost amongst the rich legacy therein for a time.  Starting with Dorothea Lange, with some 4000 entries.  This picture of hers is one of the most iconic from the period:

A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?  And everyone thinks they know what this picture’s about.  But consider the caption that goes with:

Migrant agricultural worker’s family. Seven hungry children. Mother aged thirty-two. Destitute in pea picker’s camp, Nipomo, California, because of the failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. Of the twenty-five hundred people in this camp most of them were destitute.

Permanently changed my understanding of the picture.  Throughout the diary, text in italics is direct quotes from the photographers notes

Cross-posted from Daily Kos

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

Wednesday Science Supplement is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Science

1 Wall Street rocket scientists crash to Earth

by Sebastian Smith, AFP

Tue Apr 7, 11:58 am ET

NEW YORK (AFP) – There’s a reason Wall Street resembles a rocket experiment gone wrong: rocket scientists helped make it happen.

Known as quants, these are the mathematicians and physicists who devised the financial instruments and computer programs fueling stock markets’ spectacular rise and collapse.

And while in good times they became financial rock stars, quants — short for quantitative analysts — are now being cast as villains of an industry that abandoned its values.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind XI

Art Link

Eye #2

Aliens Among Us?

Even if there is

“someone out there,”

in the cosmic vastness,

why in the hell would

they ever come here?

Do we think we are so

intrinsically interesting

that “they” would want

to keep an eye on us

in secret?

Could any sane person

think that another race

could travel the stars

but would be too afraid

to say hello?

If we were the starfarers

and we discovered

a planet-bound society

wouldn’t we subjugate them

or exterminate them?

Wouldn’t we?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–December 16, 2005

Late Night Karaoke

My Hands Felt Just

Like Two Balloons

My 2¢

I tend not to write meta, but I recently felt frustrated to be part of the Docudharma community and wanted to share why. I’ve debated against sharing my opinions, but I decided against self-censorship in this situation.

So the following essay is my opinion only and does not represent the Docudharma admins of which I am not a part.

From a WTC essay, I learned of the talking point many of in our community apparently share. The view seems to be that there was a non-al-Qaeda-led conspiracy that contributed to the WTC towers collapse and anyone who disagrees with that assessment has their eyes closed or has been brainwashed or something. I feel such ‘group think’ discourages a reasoned, thoughtful, perhaps even skeptical discourse.

The essay was cross-posted to Daily Kos in, what I feel was, a childish mocking of their site’s guidelines. I feel it was as if the writer was deliberately trying to annoy that community and the comments in the essay seem more to be about the Daily Kos connection than about the validity of the subject matter of the essay.

Another essay lambasted what the Daily Kos community failed to cover. While it is mildly interesting that, for the most part, that blog’s community had largely turned a blind eye to Larry Summers part-time Wall Street gig that landed him $5.2 million, I think it misses the mark. Instead of focusing on some other blog’s omission, why not write essays damning the corrupt Larry Summers? The void creates an essaying opportunity on an important topic for the Docudharma community.

I’m disappointed that the Docudharma community seems more upset about the lack of coverage on another blog than the actual subject itself. Why should someone else cover it when we here at Docudharma only seem to care about the lack of the Larry Summers coverage on another blog?

I’m confident there is a wealth of opinions about Daily Kos, but I feel wallowing in them here is counterproductive to Docudharma’s own identity and energy.  

An Idea for Change

I’m an avid reader of political blogs and information sources.  My approach to reading is to sincerely try to understand the issues and use different sources to confirm my conclusions or beliefs.  I read many sources, but mostly center to left.  I try to look past the soundbites, speeches, and photo ops that politicans give to support their policies.  I try to analyze the issues in a theoretical sense to try and find the root cause and underlying faults.  

The “idea” is to find a way for the serfs, and I don’t use that pejoritively, from both major parties in particular, to join together in a common cause and reform the power structure in the U.S. and it’s place in the world.  The reason is the belief that the system currently in place does not allow someone as capable as President Obama, perhaps the best bet we could have for a President, to make the changes truly necessary for our country and the world.   Based on my informal research, it appears there are many people on these democratic blogs that agree with my way of thinking.  Of course there are many who don’t, at least not in total.  

The key would be to find enough common causes to enable a joint effort.  In following the economic crisis, I’ve seen some indications that could be a common cause.  If anything can bring the people together it’s the fear of having no jobs, food, and shelter.  Many on the right are fearing the Obama administration because they think he’s going to turn us into a socialist or even communist state.   Many on the left fear the Obama administration is continuing, and even escalating, the chasm between the rich and everyone else.   Outside of the ridiculous claim that Obama is going to give all the lazy people money so they don’t have to work, maybe there really isn’t much difference in those views.  

There are many other issues the right and left could agree on under the right circumstances.  I know many people on the right who are just as concerned as the left about health insurance, continued Native American exploitation, continued U.S. imperialism, Social Security and Retirement, Drug laws, Civil Rights, gun control policies, sensible immigration policies, our prison system, the Military Industrial Complex, and others.  

I believe there is much common ground for most Americans.  The key is knowledge.  I’m a 54 year old Vietnam Vet.  My brother is a 53 year old non-vet.  He voted for Bush twice.  I love him like, well, a brother.   But my brother is one of those.  We look alike, act alike, have many of the same mannerisms and weird connections.  I cringe when I see some of the comments on these sites relative to those that are different in their views.  Many of us have relatives who do have those different views.  My brother owns almost 200 guns, I’ve never owned a gun in my life.  My brother believes Obama is going to turn us into that “communist state” where our rights are further eroded (since my time in the 60’s, they have definitely been eroded), and the country will fall apart with riots and TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it).  I believe the country is controlled by a power elite that seeks to engineer our lives in the manner they believe is best.  Engineer the world, all 6+ billion people.  

So when we talk, there really isn’t much difference in our views.  Except I have to explain to him the truth as I’ve read it.  He’s not into reading the variety of information I read and he knows that and appreciates my informing him.  The more we talk, and its been mostly thru the internet because we live in different cities, the more we agree.  He’s got a large circle of like minded friends who I am now forwarding my comments and opinions to, and they are enjoying the repartee.  

We talk about helping Obama enact his policies.  I’ve seen enough politics in my time to realize things aren’t going to change unless something out of the ordinary happens.  The only answer is the people.  The Bush years woke most people up.  The people rose up and elected someone who promised change.  Most people don’t listen far beyond that.  “Change”, that’s what they heard and that’s what they voted for.  The first major change they’re seeing is 12 trillion dollars given to bankers and wall street, and the talk of a new monetary sytem, devaluing the dollar.  Add to that the escalation of the Af-Pak “whatever it is” (war?) and people from both sides are seeing the change may not be coming.

I don’t believe working toward keeping the democrats in power is going to solve our problems.  I believe we need something much more.  Many on the left recognize the need for citizen action.  Many on the right do also.  We need each other to make it work.  The key is to find the common causes and work together.  I know that’s a tough task, but I don’t see how else it can be done.                

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