July 22, 2009 archive

Is it time for the Feds? Intimidation and Violence Escalating in West Virginia’s MTR areas

A month ago, non-violent protesters infiltrated an anti-Progress Mines (Massey Energy) Mountaintop Removal site in Western Virginia.  Through the early morning, they snaked through desolated terrain, formally beautiful mountains and valleys, reminiscent of a World War I battlefield. A trained group climbed the dragline and put up a Stop Mountaintop Removal sign.

Everyone involved had training in non-violent protest. Everyone involved knew that, no matter their actions, they risked physical harm from angered Massey Energy employees. They knew that they risked arrest for this action.  Yet, they went in anyway because they know the harm that Mountaintop Removal is wrecking West Virginia and the devastation that coal is contributing to globally.  People willing to sacrifice their safety and their liberty for something larger than themselves merit a simple description: hero.

And, when called, the police quickly arrived and eventually arrested 19 of the protesters.  And, the FBI is investigating the incident (hmmm … probably not Massey Energy’s devastating impacts on the area and the planet).  

In contrast, at a July 4th picnic with many of locals concerned about Mountain Top Removal went a bit differently than one might expect.  The vast majority of those there: local citizens ranging in age from babies in their parents arms to octogenarians proud of the generations of their families there with them.  To this event came 20 or so (rather obviously) drunken Massey Energy employees (okay, 20 or so people wearing Massey Energy clothing claiming that they worked for the company) who disrupted the event, cursing, and threatening people’s lives — quite directly.  One witness account from jacquesellul.

My wife and I were present at the event and witnessed the? trespass and harassment. The MountainKeepers Festival is a family event with music, food, (no alcohol), and friends hanging out together.

The violent and obscene talk and physical threats certainly were frightening to children and their parents. It should be noted that some of the trespassers tried to prevent overt violence, and that others in the vicinity refrained from coming over.

Intimidation and threats are an ongoing occurrence.

The police arrived — over two hours after they were called.  Despite publicly available film evidence of crimes (at minimum drunk and disorderly), there is no sign of impending arrests.

Hmmm … people make a peaceful protest and 19 people are arrested on site.  On the other hand, people disrupt a private event, threaten people’s lives, and the “Friend of Coal” Gov. Joe Manchin has ignored the situation so far and the rest of the West Virginia State Government remains starkly silent.

And, the indications are that the potential exists for real, rather than simply threatened, violence to hit this battlefield for the future of West Virginia and the planet.  Check out the comment sections to the video of the protest and the video of the picnic.  

Four at Four

  1. The Hill reports Pentagon propaganda blitz didn’t break rules, says Government Accountability Office.

    The Department of Defense (DOD) did not violate ethics rules by encouraging retired military officers to appear on news programs as media analysts in the buildup to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report…

    “Clearly, DOD attempted to favorably influence public opinion with respect to the [George W. Bush] administration’s war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan through the” retired military officers, wrote Daniel Gordon, GAO’s acting general counsel, in the report…

    None of those activities violated statutes, however, because products given to the retired officers were clearly marked as Defense Department materials, GAO found. Further, the Pentagon did not pay for favorable coverage it received.

  2. The Washington Post reports U.S. deaths hit a record high in Afghanistan. “So far this month, 31 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan, surpassing the record of 28 deaths in June 2008. Losses for the entire NATO-led coalition, including British, Canadian, Dutch and other forces, have also spiked this month, feeding growing unease over the war in those countries.”

    “Although U.S. Marines are in the midst of a major offensive in the south, American troops have suffered the heaviest losses in the east, where 16 U.S. soldiers have been killed this month. The vast majority of those fatalities have been caused by roadside bombs, which have grown increasingly sophisticated.”

    The LA Times adds the Taliban claims responsibility for new wave of attacks in Afghanistan. The Taliban said it was responsible for coordinated, “commando-style assaults in the provincial capitals of Jalalabad and Gardez, targeting a U.S. military base and several Afghan government compounds” that “demonstrated the insurgents’ ability to mount sophisticated, multi-pronged attacks over a wide geographical area.”

    Meanwhile, the NY Times reports Pakistan objects to the U.S. plan for its Afghan war. “Pakistan is objecting to expanded American combat operations in neighboring Afghanistan”. Pakistan fears “the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan”.

    Pakistan doesn’t have enough troops to guard the Baluchistan-border and its border with India. So, once again, Pakistanis say “dialogue with the Taliban, not more fighting, is in Pakistan’s national interest”.

    The LA Times notes that Waziristan a tough nut for Pakistani forces. Two Pakistani military offenses in recent years failed to eliminate the Taliban from South Waziristan. “And now, as Pakistani generals brace again for war in South Waziristan, the Taliban militants there are tougher and greater in number than their brethren on the run from the military in the country’s volatile Swat Valley”.

    “Waziristan’s desolate plateaus, caves and roadless basins provide an ideal battlefield for guerrilla fighters like the Taliban — and a no man’s land for a conventional force like Pakistan’s military, which relies on helicopter gunships, fighter jets and heavy artillery. Military convoys moving along the few roads in Waziristan are likely to be easy targets for ambushes from surrounding hillsides.”

Four at Four continues with pot tax in Oakland, ore shipments in Duluth/Superior, and Congress pushing to combine church with state.

Colbert on torture trials, John Yoo PUNKD





    And now this should be an instant classic. Our Aussie brothers now how to pull a practical joke. Here they totally destroy John Yoo!

    Just watch!

    If only we were allowed to talk about politics on television, instead of engaging in the witch hunt for easter eggs on a daily basis.

    I think there is one hidden up Lou Dobbs ass.

He Not Busy Being Born, Is Busy Dying

The Progressive Movement is busy being born.  

The Conservative Movement is busy dying.  

New media is busy being born.  

Old media is busy dying.  

Multicultural America is busy being born.  

Racist America is busy dying.  

Why are they howling and screeching with such fear and fury?  

Because they’re dying.

And they know it.  

Sen. Hatch Jumps Ship On Health Care Negotiations

Well, we have moved on step closer top getting a more rational policy out of the Senate today. Bloomberg News is reporting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has decided to end his participation in bipartisan talks on the health care reform. Now of course the chattering classes on our TV machines are going to spin this as another reason the sky is falling on the Presidents (and our) health care reform initiative, but the Dog does not see it that way at all.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

When does the “change I can believe in” start happening?


This isn’t the first time, Obama has resembled Bush. It seems to becoming a trend. The longer President Obama is in the White House, the more his administration will use the arguments and precedents set by Bush.

Obama is proving Dick Cheney right when he told Rush Limbaugh back in December:

“Once they get here and they’re faced with the same problems we deal with every day, then they will appreciate some of the things we’ve put in place.”

Reminiscent of Cheney’s secret meetings to formulate an energy plan with oil executives that led to the Iraq war, the LA Times reports the Obama White House declines to disclose visits by health industry executives. Certainly not the kind of transparency to government that candidate Barack Obama promised before he was elected as president.  

Kucinich: ‘Is the Fed paying banks not to loan money?’

In these insane years, the only people making sense, and the only people with what appears to be what used to be called “common sense” are those who are now labelled “extreme left”.   You know, Democracy Now, Dennis Kucinich, etc.

Well, Kucinich now can’t help but wonder if the Federal Reserve isn’t paying banks to NOT make loans.

It makes a lot of sense.


Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants to know: “If [the Troubled Asset Relief Program] isn’t about keeping people in their homes or providing credit to businesses, what is it for?”

Expressing his frustration before the Government and Oversight Committee, the two-time presidential candidate suggested that the Federal Reserve may be paying banks to hoard money and avoid making loans.

Banks make loans in order to make money.   If they don’t make loans, then what are they in business for?   Why would they quit making loans?

Media Blood Sport: Killing Health Care

Simulposted at Daily Kos

Every channel you flip to, every page you flip, every MSM page you click, there it is….the self fulfilling prophecy (they seem to hope)….HEALTH CARE IS IN TROUBLE!!!


The American fixation on tearing down and destroying the Idols we create and build has now officially moved in to politics.

And Health Care is the New Michael Jackson, and every anchor is eager to do the autopsy, LIVE!!! and to top every other anchor for the stridency, urgency and spectacularness of declaring the patient dead. In  mysterious circumstances. Which can be speculated upon in lurid sound bites. With clever graphics. And stern august experts, picked off of the menu of stern august experts, all willing to say whatever the anchor wants them to say so that those stern august experts can get more face time, so they can be even more of a stern august expert on their resume.

Health Care must be in trouble, the expert intones augustly, because I heard someone else say Health Care is in trouble, so I better repeat that Health Care is in trouble because if health care is in trouble and I don’t say Health care is in trouble too I will lose my gig as an expert….even though I am wrong all the time anyway, but if I say what the anchor wants me to say and fluff his pillow he will have me back on no matter how many times I am wrong!

The anchor pronounces in stentorian and ominous tones the latest, largely imaginary, prognosis, based not on facts but only on  the fact that he or she has to outdo in overdoing the drama that the anchor that was on before overdid. The expert miraculously agrees with the anchor and observes that some anonymous someone somewhere told him something that just happens to agree with the latest talking point that somehow appeared somewhere JUST in time to top the lats talking point. The drama builds! Hands are wrung!! pearls are clutched!!! Horrified concern is made manifest!!!

And then they usually quietly and anti-climatically agree that yes, health care will probably pass.

If the polls are not mysteriously driven down by forces that no one can fathom, even as they drive that force in attempt to drive up their ratings that have mysteriously slumped since the last frenzy over the latest celebrity death or republican sex scandal died….from lack of oxygen or real analysis and perspective.

If no celebrity has died today….let’s kill Health care! That has sufficient drama to hold the eyeballs of the few hundred thousand viewers who actually watch and believe this drivel…….in addition to the eyeballs of their REAL audience. The other anchors and pundits and experts and ‘reporters’ who are all rapturously watching to take the cues and take the KILL HEALTH CARE! ball and run with it in the next hour or their next column or their next self-aggrandizing tweet.

If their is nothing real for the vultures to eat to fill their continuously vacant maw, well then dammit, they will just have to kill something, anything, themselves. The issue du jour is then served up hot and piping on a plate of hyperventilated hyperbole.

Feast, media. Feast!

So that we can then get on to the shame and blame and dissecting what went wrong…. in order to make us all feel better that WE are, at least, still alive. And thus able to tut tut and gossip about the dead. Whoever or whatever the dead is today.

There is only one problem, the patient is actually healthy and, much to their scheming chagrin, will certainly pass in some form or another. After being watered down in the fashion of the stimulus, out of concern that a mythical public (as opposed to the real public that is studiously ignored) is “concerned and frightened” by the upcoming changes. Concerned and frightened of course, because the media has just spent days and weeks competing to see who can concern and frighten them the most. Using the fear based….but DRAMATIC!!! talking points of The Republican Merchants of Fear, on whatever the latest issue that could lead to the demise of The Republican Merchants of Fear.

An issue that the real public know virtually nothing about, really. Unless they are on of the rapidly growing number of people who get their news from the blogs.

Because all they get from the traditional corporate media is….bloodsport.  


Sexual Assault Charges for Former Iraq Contractor

Iraq Sex Crimes Prosecutions Rare, Experts Say


July 16, 2009-

Federal prosecutors have charged a former KBR employee with sexually assaulting a female co-worker in Iraq last year.

Charles Breda, 34, of Pearland, Texas, was arrested last week and charged with abusive sexual contact of another employee of Texas-based government contracting giant KBR in October 2008 at Camp Al Asad. Breda, who left KBR earlier this year, was arrested last week at a Houston-area barber college. He has pled not guilty. He appeared in court Wednesday for a detention hearing.

KBR hired the musclebound Breda in 2007 to work in a gym for government personnel in Iraq.

And WHAT a surprise – he’s done it BEFORE!!!

In her testimony, NCIS agent Brancino said that Breda had been separated from the Army in 2001 after officials discovered he had sex with and bought alcohol for an 18-year-old female recruit.

The Army found Breda used a government vehicle to have sex with an 18-year-old female he was recruiting to join the Army, Brancino said. He also used the car to take the woman to buy alcohol, and go to a motel for a sexual encounter, the agent said. The findings were part of an Army administrative investigation which led to Breda’s separation, according to the agent.

You want to monitor the real enemies of the state? We need a database of THESE pieces of shit because most of them, like this one, ARE repeat offenders. And they need to end up in the hoosegow. At best.

Seriously. These mad dogs need to become an endangered species. They need to be collectively put out of our misery.

You want to see an end to fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in our government? Watch how the statistics go down if you start removing military and DoD contractor rapist and sexual harassment scumbags from the equation. Bring a set of downhill ski gear, you’re gonna need it, because that curve is gonna be steep.

Arguing over the deck chairs

Imagine if the passengers of the Titanic, informed of their grave peril, began arguing over how the deck chairs should be arranged so as to provide the most comfortable sinking experience. That is an appropriate metaphor for what passes for political discourse in the blogosphere these days. Here are some examples:

1. The health care fiasco. The insurance and drug industries have such a powerful hold on the US Congress that nothing resembling what the public wishes (a national single-payer plan) has a hope of emerging from the process. So what is all the excitement about? It’s about whether Obama can pass ANYTHING resembling an improved health care plan.

2. The forever war. Obama’s election caused the US antiwar movement to implode. Hey man, Obama is pulling us out of Iraq! We are still in Iraq, and we have expanded the war in Afghanistan to more than offset any reduction of expenditure of blood and treasure from Iraq. So what is the debate about? How soon we can pull completely out of Iraq to increase the commitment to the quagmire in Afghanistan.

3. The crumbling economy. Nobody believes Wall Street or the Government any more, because their lies are plain to see. Our economy is deflating like a punctured balloon as the debt-fueled building of unsustainable living patterns hits the wall of fiscal and ecological reality. So what are we arguing about? How quickly we can resume building McMansions and selling more SUVs.

4. The torture follies. Everybody now knows that half of Americans support torturing human beings in order to protect “national security.” This is the final verdict on American society in the 21st century: we are a cruel and wicked people who deserve to be punished. So what are we arguing about? Which Republican politician (Cheney?) can be made to absorb all the blame for a torture policy that half of America supports.

What passes for politics in America is now fully decoupled from the discussion of the problems that face us, as we drift in a fantasy land of bogus “issues” to avoid dealing with the truths that we just can’t handle. But as we adjust our political deck chairs, the ship continues to sink.


Yes.  Breathing clean air, drinking clean water plus being in an enviornment with lower levels of electronic smog for two weeks is enough time to feel the effects of retoxification on returning home.  I plan to avoid TV news with a higher than usual state of vigilance just to see if I gain more piece of mind when we return to the woods for the second two weeks.

Government Goons & Who’s a Citizen

Those crazy “Birthers” are getting an awful lot of ink and air time lately, offering good comedy fodder for late night television while occasionally making regular people turn away in revulsion. Like the “Teabaggers” weren’t hilarious enough to use the name of a sexual weirdness as their moniker, or to publicize their racist rants and ridiculous charges against the President, after being the very same wackos who accused those who questioned any illegal act of the last administration of being traitors.

CNN commentator Roland S. Martin has a piece up today (July 22) entitled, Obama birth issue is nutty that proceeds to make good fun of the wingnuts. But since one of George W. Bush’s first serious actions as President after 9-11 was to arrange the biggest government overhaul since the New Deal – by inventing the so-called “Department of Homeland Security” – there are Americans out in the hinterland who are suddenly quite confused about their legal status. I’m one of them, and so is recent Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Who, like me, actually wasn’t born in the United States of America.

McCain, like me, was a Navy brat. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, I was born in the Philippines. There used to be a clear law on the books that held the children of American citizens born in a foreign country are indeed ‘natural born’ American citizens, even if they automatically get dual citizenship for the country in which they were born. I had that until I was 18, though after that I would have had to formalize, and I was never very fond of Ferdinand and Imelda “Shoe-Lady” Marcos. So I let it slide. Still, if nobody questioned McCain’s citizenship qualification for POTUS, the fervor with which wingnuttia rants about Obama seems even crazier. I mean, even if Hawaii hadn’t been a state when he was born, did not all Hawaiians receive automatic citizenship when it WAS made a state? It was a territory, after all. Like Puerto Rico. Which apparently some wingnuts in Congress think is a foreign country too, thus Judge Sonia Sotomayor can’t be a citizen either. Weird.

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