June 29, 2009 archive

The Ailments that put you on the Insurer’s Drop List

If you’re going to need Health Care anytime soon, make sure you don’t “get” any of these more “costly” conditions:

breast cancer, lymphoma, pregnancy, or high blood pressure.

If you do, it will put you on the Insurer’s Radar, for possible Policy Cancellation …

Having the audacity of “Getting Sick”, can instantly turn you into a “Bad Investment” for “Big Insurance” … according to the latest info coming out of Senate Hearings into Insurance Company practices …

Gitmo Hunger Strikers: What DO They Want?

I’m just gonna lose my damn mind. I’m reacting, partly, to some of the comments in the front page piece at dKos by Lithium Cola about forced feedings at Gitmo.

LC says:

President Obama has declared that America does not torture — an overly careful use of verb tense. However, even granting the present tense, and that the President’s claim is strictly about the current moment, the claim is false. According to the Red Cross report, force-feeding is never justified, is always torture. I am inclined to agree with the Red Cross. However, we need get into no debates about the morality of allowing a hunger-striker to die. It is inarguable that force-feeding a hunger striker who is not on the verge of death is a form of torture, and nothing other than a form of torture.  

There was a variety of replies, but this in an example of what set me off:

Force Feeding Is Torture (5+ / 0-)

I don’t believe that prisoners who starve themselves should be force fed.  If they die they die.

Overnight Caption Contest

Pique the Geek 20090621. Drugs of Abuse III: the Psychedelic Indoles

Well, only one installment in this subseries after this one, but it will be special.  Tonight we will explore this class of drugs, what they do, and how they work.

This class of drugs also includes LSD, but that material is so culturally important that it will have a post of its own.  Thinking about it, it may deserve two posts, so there may be two installment after this one.  We will have to see.

Iran: It’s Really Not Over


Maybe I’ve been distracted by other things: Michael Jackson, Gov. Sanford, Farrah, Ed McMahon, US v. Brazil, Honduras.  I missed something about Iran.

I implied on Saturday that the Iran Revolution was in ashes, but that I hoped there was a fire under them.  Then I disconnected from the story. I turned away.  I assumed it really was over.  Finished.  But, thankfully, I was wrong.  It’s not really over.  The demonstrations continued on Sunday.  Despite the threats.  Despite the arrests.  Despite the violence.  This movement has not succumbed to the brutality and violence.

AP reports on Sunday evening:

Several thousand protesters – some chanting “Where is my vote?” – clashed with riot police in Tehran on Sunday as Iran detained local employees of the British Embassy, escalating the regime’s standoff with the West and earning it a stinging rebuke from the European Union.

Witnesses said riot police used tear gas and clubs to break up a crowd of up to 3,000 protesters who had gathered near north Tehran’s Ghoba Mosque in the country’s first major post-election unrest in four days.

Some described scenes of brutality, telling The Associated Press that some protesters suffered broken bones and alleging that police beat an elderly woman, prompting a screaming match with young demonstrators who then fought back.

The reports could not be independently verified because of tight restrictions imposed on journalists in Iran.

So, I was wrong.  It’s not over.  The demonstrations are continuing.  Smaller perhaps.  But continuing.

Twitter about #iranelection has slowed down.  But it’s still constantly updated.  And from what I’m reading, it’s not over.  It continues.  It continues despite brutal repression.

It’s dropped down on but not off the front page.  The New York Times reports the Sunday demonstrations on page 1:

In spite of all the threats, the overwhelming show of force and the nighttime raids on private homes, protesters still flowed into the streets by the thousands on Sunday to demonstrate in support of Mr. Moussavi.

Mr. Moussavi, who has had little room to act but has refused to fold under government pressure, had earlier received a permit to hold a ceremony at the Ghoba mosque to honor Mohammad Beheshti, one of the founders of the 1979 revolution who died in a bombing on June 28, 1981, that killed dozens of officials. Mr. Moussavi used the anniversary as a pretense to call a demonstration, and by midday the streets outside the elaborately tiled mosque were filled with protesters, their arms jabbing the air, their fingers making a V symbol, for victory.

The demonstrators wore black, to mourn the 17 protesters killed by government-aligned forces, and chanted “Allah Akbar,” or God is great.

“There was a sea of people and the crowd stretched a long way onto the main street on Shariati,” said one witness, who remained anonymous because he feared retribution.

What started as a peaceful demonstration turned into a scene of violence and chaos by late Sunday, witnesses said.

So, it is not over.  It may move down the front page.  It may move off the front page. It may move off of this blog.  But there was fire beneath the ashes, as we assumed, and this is not over.  Not yet.

As I wrote before, we need to remember the demonstrators and continue in solidarity with them:

All we can do outside of Iran is bear witness as the struggle unfolds. And while we bear witness, we can continue to lift our voices as individuals (and not as a government) in solidarity with the demonstrators.  And offer our thoughts and prayers* for a peaceful resolution.  And find other, creative ways to support the struggle in Iran for democracy and freedom.

The Iranian Democracy movement is absolutely worthy of our personal (as opposed to governmental) support.  Support and solidarity at this point require, indeed permit only the simplest of things.  There are only simple things we can and should do:

Things like changing our location and time zone on Twitter to Tehran and GMT +3.5 hours.  Things like making our avatar green.  Things like reading the posts of those who are there.  Things like posting and distributing their videos on youtube.  Things like writing blogs and asking others to link arms with them in solidarity.  Things like talking about what ideas we might have that could be of help to them. [Things like putting a green ribbon on docuDharma]

These are things that might be completely ineffective to help Iranians achieve democracy, to get a new, fair election, to overturn the sham outcome of their last election, to prevent governmental violence and repression.  I realize that.  But that’s not what’s important.  That’s not what’s important now.

What’s important, I think, is our continuing solidarity with this struggle, our saying, however we can say it, “Brothers and Sisters, we’re with you.  We want you to succeed.  We want you to be safe, and free.  We want you to obtain the change you seek.”

Let’s stand firm with the Iranian democracy movement.  Let’s not forget them.

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles



Considered Forthwith: Committee Primer

Welcome to the 14th installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

This week is a special edition of Considered Forthwith. Instead of examining a single committee, I will look at the committee system in general this week. For one thing, Congress is in recess for Fourth of July (funny, I only get one day off for that). For another Meteor Blades is launching the committee monitoring project, so this seems to be an ideal time to go over the basics.

CIA Crucified Prisoner In Abu Ghraib

from Sherwood Ross, June 28, 2009

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

“A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.

“No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.

An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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