September 13, 2009 archive

The Burden of American History

As a student of history, I frequently refer back to the past in the hopes that it might provide some degree of clarity that I might be able to apply to the current day.   While I know better than to engage in the historical fallacy that deceptively promises that the past neatly and exactly dictates the future, I do find it interesting to observe the patterns and the events of a different age and how these intersect ours own times.   What deeply troubles me, however, is that I have begun to hear rumblings and impulsive chantings of division and acrimony.  I have begun to notice some alarming similarities between these times and other instances in our nation’s history where we eschewed logic and reason for emotional excess and mutual paranoia.   Such points in our past inevitably created terrible conflicts, the likes of which we are in many ways still dealing with into the current day.   Irrationality, emotion in place of reason, illogical accusations, and a building animosity bordering on violent hatred between ideological poles was present then and seems to be swelling in intensity now.

Sunday Train: The Charleston WV Hub

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

crossposted from The Hillbilly Report, also available in Orange

The Appalachian Hub Part 2: The Charleston WV Hub

The increasingly infamous Appalachian Development Highway program started out with the goal of supporting the potential for genuine economic development in Appalachia by improving transport links into and within the region.

And yet, with the decentralized, state-based system for planning 110mph, 125mph and 220mph High Speed Rail systems, there is the threat that the very problem that the Appalachian Development Highway system was established to address will be re-created as we modernize our regional passenger transport backbones from asphalt to steel.

An Appalachian Hub project would aim to drag these laudable goals into the 21st Century by filling the gaping hole in Eastern US planning for High Speed Rail systems. “Would”, since this is an exploration of what such a system might look like if West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee joined this planning process – not a report on ongoing, formal projects such as the Midwest Hub or Ohio Hub.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Lehman pain was Asian banks’ gain

by Daniel Rook, AFP

Sun Sep 13, 2:06 am ET

TOKYO (AFP) – Kenichi Watanabe had been CEO of Nomura for just five months when he heard of the Lehman Brothers collapse but when the chance came to buy chunks of the venerable Wall Street bank, he grabbed it.

The purchase of Lehman’s assets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East transformed Nomura into a top global player and marked a sea change for Japan’s once risk-averse banks, just emerging from their own financial crisis.

What made Nomura’s move almost a year ago all the more remarkable was that it came on the same day that Japan’s top bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group announced it would buy a slice of troubled US giant Morgan Stanley.

Glenn Beck; Race Relationships or Health Care Reform

Glenn Beck calls Obama racist

Americans may recall, it began with a Sweet aside and grew into a [Glenn Beck] beckon.  Now, the stage is set.  The audience is explosive.  Words of woe are shouted from every hall.  For more than a month the media has given rise to the troublesome message.  The reason for health care reform; the Obama Administration yearns to provide a platform for “stealth reparations.”

There’s Trouble Dead Ahead — And the Band Played On …

What the band played as Titanic slowly began to sink is never disputed – ragtime, waltzes, specific tunes noted by survivors included ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ and ‘In The Shadows’. But a question mark still hangs over what the last song was as Titanic’s stern began to rise clear of the Atlantic Ocean, and indeed, would it be physically possible for them to play anything in those conditions?…

Angry Letter to My Blue Dog CongressCritter

Sometime last week we (or “current resident”) received a slick 4-color 6×10 card stock mailer that looks at first glance to have come from our NC-11 congressional rep, Heath Shuler. At the top the reverse-on-blue header reads:

“Congressman Shuler Is Fighting To Make Medicare Prescription Coverage Even Better”

and on the bottom reverse-on-red the italicized message reads:

“Call Congressman Health Shuler today at 202-224-3121. Tell him thanks for fighting to improve Medicare without making seniors pay more, and ask him to keep on fighting until we get the job done.”

The wording struck me a little odd as I read the mailer along with my morning Cheerios. Why would Heath tell me to call him and tell him thanks for his notably atrocious Blue Dog position on health care reform? I mean, it’s not like he cares what Democrats in his district have to say about the issue. He made that perfectly clear during the August recess by meeting personally only with Teabaggers, not with his Democratic constituents (whom he pointedly ignored). So I flipped it over and read on the bottom of the address/postage space:

“Paid for by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.”

Whoa. These corporate shills are actually BRAGGING about having bought our Congressman? That’s incredibly nervy!!!

This slick, costly bit of propaganda was produced by the very people whose lobbyists actually WROTE the Medicare-D legislation in the first place to ensure American seniors would pay more – and more directly – for necessary drugs than anybody else in the entire world! Heath is helping them screw Americans yet again in the health reform battle, and they want me – as an actual constituent of Shuler’s – to thank him personally on behalf of Big Pharma? Ha!

Big Pharma can kiss my shiny white ass, and so can Heath Shuler. Below is the letter I have written in response to this blatant insult from the Drug Pusher’s Union Propaganda Squad…

Sunday Op Ed: A Real National Conversation


The other day Duke1676 posted a diary at Daily Kos entitled Words Do Matter Mr. Obama.

See, here’s the thing.  The advocates for progressive immigration reform  have reached a big obstacle when it comes to moving forward on this issue — the progressive activists and the Democratic Party itself.  The challenge is to change the dialogue so that progressive bloggers don’t repeat and feed the same old right-wing memes on the issue — the same old ways that we saw during the “debate” over the Iraq War, over FISA, over the notion that because Democrats are supposedly seen as “weak on security” they have to move far to the right in order to convince the average American otherwise.

The most recent example of this as described in Duke’s diary, is that during President Obama’s speech, he made a point of using the term “illegal immigrant” as a political choice when talking about how undocumented workers will not be covered under healthcare reform legislation.

Yeah, it’s just a word, isn’t it, why get all bent out of shape about it?

1 more time! Spain Will PROSECUTE Bushies. ¡Viva España!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

I know our fellow dharma bum Edger already covered this, but I wanted to keep the story alive and enjoy the celebration of the rule of law

From September 8, 2009

    A Spanish judge has decided to go ahead with the prosecution of six Bush administration lawyers – including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – who were the architects of the legal framework for President George W. Bush “enhanced interrogation” program, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper Publico. (Original article here; Google translation here.)

    The six Bush administration alumni targeted in the prosecution are former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, author of the “torture memos”; Douglas Feith, then a deputy defense secretary; Pentagon lawyer William Haynes II; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; and David Addington, a former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.


. . .  Holder’s investigation will be limited to instances where interrogators overstepped the boundaries set out by Bush lawyers for “enhanced interrogation.” By contrast, the Spanish case challenges the legality of the entire program.

More below the fold! YAY!

TeaBags in DC and Afghanistan: McClatchy’s Nancy Youssef

Yesterday, 9.12.09, in Washington, we had this: Tea Party Protesters March on Washington extending their purely political use of the tragedy of 9/11. I’ll guess not one at the podium or with the megaphones, nor any in the crowd, even mentioned this: 5 U.S. troops among 50 killed in Afghan violence Sat Sep 12, nor much was said about all the soldiers who’ve died, or are physically and mentally injured from the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ll guess also nothing was mentioned about the monetary, in billions and billions, cost of these still operational theaters of occupation!

A friend at facebook also asked the same I’ve {many have} wondered these past eight years:

Docudharma Times Sunday September 13

Sunday’s Headlines:

The Fading Public Option

Massive crowd marches against Obama’s agenda

Pressure grows in Afghanistan for Hamid Karzai to strike a deal

China uses fear to hush up poisoned children

How Islamist gangs use internet to track, torture and kill Iraqi gays

US envoy in Mid-East peace push

Jihad: The Somalia connection

Freed, Sudan’s pant-wearing woman vows to fight on

Switzerland’s explosive war effort threatens environmental disaster

Sarkozy ‘wields butcher’s hook’

Colombia fears rebels may get surface-to-air missiles

U.S. Gives New Rights To Afghan Prisoners

Indefinite Detention Can Be Challenged

By Karen DeYoung and Peter Finn

Washington Post Staff Writers

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hundreds of prisoners held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan will for the first time have the right to challenge their indefinite detention and call witnesses in their defense under a new review system being put in place this week, according to administration officials.

The new system will be applied to the more than 600 Afghans held at the Bagram military base, and will mark the first substantive change in the overseas detention policies that President Obama inherited from the Bush administration.

New Chapter for Moscow’s Toy Story


Published: September 12, 2009

MOSCOW – Detsky Mir, a landmark here in the heart of Russia’s capital, was once one of the largest children’s stores in Europe, with a central atrium that had elegant balustrades, columns and elevator shafts.Generations of Muscovites and visitors have adored Detsky Mir, which means “children’s world” in Russian. Everything from baby clothes to toys to bobby pins has been sold in the store. Located not far from the Kremlin, Detsky Mir opened in 1957 and became a symbol not only of Soviet architecture but also of the Soviet era itself.

But the store is now closed while it undergoes an estimated $200 million renovation to its interior. The project is raising concerns among preservationists that it could become the latest of the city’s architectural treasures to fall victim to commercial pressures.

American Holocaust 911

The videos explain the future dystopia world completely.

The first is 911 street action you did not see on Good Morning America.

The second one is like Jews going to Auchwitz.  But it’s only “a drill”.

How much more “evidence” does one need

Tell everybody how you “feel” about being rounded up this October.

Utopia 14: Monument

If you want people to get nothing done, convince them they are on one side of something. —Carolyn Casey

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