January 11, 2010 archive

Civilian Contractors Wounded In Wars

This report is more about the civilian contractors we’ve hired to do the service work for the military in these theaters, not the mercenaries working for the Sate Department for security or now finding out working for the CIA.

The out of theater hires from here in the states and the many brought in from so called third world countries. Also about the in-theater hires like interpreters and other civilian support personal. In the discussion he talks about how the insurance companies are, in many cases, refusing to pay for the needs if these civilians are injured or loose limbs, PTSD etc., i.e. War Profiteering. Many aren’t even informed they can get, by law, disability payments even if not from this country.

Tax Payers have already paid for the insurance yet many of these civilians don’t know they even have it, so Insurance Companies just keep those gains.


Are you a small player that wants to be a big one? Are you having fun and getting good at the game but just can’t seem to get over the hump? Do you want to be part of the action, but just don’t know how? Well here is how you can do that!

ALL of our larger players are willing to help, advise, supply and mentor the smaller players in our alliance. This not only helps the smaller players, but helps the alliance as well.

Communication, growth, and effectiveness in attack…and particularly in wars, are all part of what choosing a mentor help foster. your mentor and you will form a team and grow strong together. And when YOU get strong and knowledgeable enough, then you can find someone to mentor too!

Not to mention that your mentor will have a vested interest in protecting you, when trouble comes.

So if you are intersted in learning and growing just as fast as you can, find a strong player….near you….and start talking to them about working together.

In this fashion, regional teams are formed and communication between those teams grow and before you know it, you will be part of an elite tactical attack force! And the more of these elite tactical teams we have working together, the stronger and more kick ass you…and our alliance as a whole will be.

Today Carinthia, tomorrow the world!

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 34 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Six NATO soldiers die in Afghan violence

by Sardar Ahmad, AFP

2 hrs 26 mins ago

KABUL (AFP) – Six foreign soldiers — three of them American and at least one French — were killed Monday in a wave of violence in Afghanistan, NATO and French defence officials said.

The NATO-led alliance said that in addition to the Americans and the French soldier, two others had died of their wounds. An official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP one of the two was also French.

One of those whose nationality was not officially identified was killed by an improvised bomb in southern Afghanistan, said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Reality Check: Government Is Corrupt and Politicians Lie

In this little series on Reality vs the Coalition of the Comfortable, we now come to one of the real crux’s of the matter….trusting politicians to be honest and the government to work in the interest of The People.

History is replete with cases of corruption in the US government and it could be said that history itself is a catalog of the lies of politicians. I won’t bother to list them , if you don’t know at least the highlights…..you really have no business commenting on politics at all. Go forth and google.

Or…just look at the Health Care Debacle Debate, where the real dynamic was InsCos vs The People. How did the InsCos win? (And make no mistake, they won big.) They won by corrupting enough Senators and Blue Dogs to apply pressure on behalf of and to vote for them, over the interests of The People.

And so it goes.

So if you need proof of corruption in our government you don’t have to look very far. There are at least two Reps serving time right now. Nancy Pelosi et al had a nice turn of phrase while Bush was in office….The Culture of Corruption. But apparently, some folks think that entire Culture was subject to some kind of genocide when the Dems took office.

It wasn’t.

Breaking! Republicans re-discover racism!

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    In the year 2010, the Republican party has finally, officially, re-discovered racism.

    In between demanding to see President Obama’s birth certificate so that he can prove for once and for all that he is NOT a secret Kenyan Muslim and Republican demands to be able to racially profile all Muslim-Americans who might be mistaken for a terrorist based on appearance, name or faith, the Republican party has re-discovered racism in America, and all because of this comment by Democratic Senator Harry Reid.

    Despite many, many acts on their own part that could be considered racist, Republicans finally became aware of the existance of racism in America again when a Democrat supposedly did it too.

    In 2009 I catalouged racist moments made by Republicans in an article titled Just call him a N!&&ER and get it over with, Republicans. We ALL KNOW that’s what you mean. By Republican standards NONE of these instances were racist. Why? Because It Doesn’t Count If You Are A Republican.


    But, just for the sake of accuracy, lets review the year of 2009 in Republican racism and selective outrage.

Open and Shut



When the newly inaugerated President Obama signed that EO ordering the closing of G’mo last January I cheered. Right alongside many here at Docudharma who wrote countless detailed and compassionate essays on the whole subject. I thank you for my education and your vigilance … Jeff Kaye (Valtin), PDND, Buhdydharma, and more.

h/t to jimstaro (he embedded in his comments in his essay), the Miami Herald has this compelling video.

Today marks the first day of the Witness Against Torture effort by these folks who begin today in D.C. with a rally:

Today, activists and Guantanamo lawyers mark the anniversary by demanding that President Obama make good on his pledge to close the prison as first step towards restoring the rule of law. Further, the group opposes any plan for holding prisoners without charge or trial in the U.S. and denounces the White House’s expansion of Bush-style detention in Afghanistan.


Green Bank Action Briefing Live Feed, And More

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

We have three great events coming up that we will be broadcasting live over at Sum Live Change.

To begin with, The Green Bank Action Briefing on Tuesday, January 12th from 1:00-3:00pm (EST):

Lessons Learned from the Demise of the Recording Industry

In college I was THE music snob around campus.  Or, at least I thought I was.  Friends of friends would stride up to me in the media center or outside of class, asking my opinion on this release or that release, or requesting names of albums that I deemed worth hearing.  I was, of course, only too glad to oblige, since I practically lived in independently-owned record shops and spent the majority of my meager income on CDs.  To some extent, I was the local in-house expert.  So when the recording industry began to tank, I managed to patch together a few credible guesses as to why it happened and for what reason, but I didn’t have the luxury of a full understanding, the way that only someone on the inside would really know.  

Steve Knopper’s recent book, Appetite for Self-Destruction:  The Spectacular Crash of the Recording Industry in the Digital Age answers most, if not all of my questions.  It is a work of interest to even those who are not ravenous audiophiles, since the music industry took such a massive role in the American consciousness, particularly with the rise of rock ‘n roll, and since its decline, a massive void has been left that has never really been filled.    

Even before reading the book, I had not much in the way of sympathy for the recording industry.  Avarice is one of the easier sins to spot and since it is so omnipresent, we are fine-tuned to detect each and every instance.  Sometimes we are mistaken, but often we are not.  Even a few minutes skimming through the book could provide a tremendous body of evidence for anyone inherently skeptical or openly hostile to capitalism, or at least unregulated capitalism.  What I personally found most interesting is just how many times that the recording industry has crashed, only to revive itself, Phoenix-like based on a combination of dumb luck and embracing the future rather than being stubbornly rooted to the tried-and-true.  

An additional irony to add to all of this is that the compact disc, which revolutionized the industry and temporarily made it wealthier beyond belief, was very nearly vetoed by suspicious major label executives whose reservations primarily stemmed from the fact that they were unwilling to take a chance on something that wasn’t a proven seller.  The demise of the industry is a combination of a metaphorical compulsion to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs and an often childish desire to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face.  In an earlier era, the backlash against Disco brought the industry to its knees, but the invention of MTV  and the promotion of Michael Jackson and Thriller removed it from life support and returned it to profitability.  A decade or so later, billions upon billions of dollars flowed into the coffers due to the adoption of exploitative profiteering.    

By the late 1990s, the record business had boiled down much of the business to a simple formula:  2 good songs +  10 or 12 mediocre songs = 1 $15 CD, meaning billions of dollars in overall sales.  Cassettes, too, gradually fell victim to this formula, and were phased out.  Attempts to resuscitate the singles market, like the “cassingle” and a shorter version of an album known as the EP, ultimately failed.

“It’s no coincidence that the decline of cassettes and the rise of CD burning arose simultaneously,” says Steve Gottlieb, president of the independent label TVT Records.

Despite withering criticism and tremendous hostility at first, once the CD became the chosen format, it quickly became a cash cow, and suddenly all the initial reservations were mysteriously cast aside.  Music industry execs willfully revised the history of the proceedings and sang hosannas, claiming they had been in favor of this exciting new technological advance all along.  But yet again, they never even considered restraint or long-term consequences.

Or, as it is written,

But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”

The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite.  


In the context of modern capitalism, it would be easy to draw parallels.

Cycles of boom and bust have been our fate over the course of centuries, often for identical reasons.  The difference between the recording industry and the major power brokers on Wall Street is that much thought is given to keep the system profitable and stable, since its lasting health is of paramount importance to all with a dog in the fight.  This doesn’t mean, as we have recently discovered, that the American economy or the Wall Street pirates don’t take dumb risks at times or play fast and loose with otherwise sensible strategies, but most of the time it is fortunately not one unforeseen development away from complete meltdown.  Part of the shock among many during our latest financial crisis was that the existing framework, designed to prevent another Great Depression, completely collapsed, and with its demise came the discrediting of theories that had stood unchallenged for years and years.  Economists will have their theories and counter-theories for years to come, but in this circumstance, how it happened is not nearly as important as the fact that it did.  

Any industry reflects in large part its clientele and those under its employ, and musicians don’t tend to be the most fiscally conservative bunch, nor the most inclined to restrain their impulses.  Record executives often partied as hard as the acts they signed, which often necessitated a desire to keep pumping out inferior product.  And it is for this reason that I believe that the industry has only itself to blame.  Indeed, if there were a way for us to rip apart any major corporate entity, I would surely advocate for it.  This is a bold pronouncement, and I justify it from a moral stance, since the more I read about the way any massive conglomerate functions, the more it makes me want to take a hot shower.  As for the recording industry, major movers and shakers acted like low-level mafioso, and none of them comes across the least bit sympathetic or personable.  I believe that the demand for certain services will always exist and since necessity is the mother of invention, someone with a good idea will step forward to satisfy a need.  In time, the systems proposed by today’s enterprising soul will probably grow corrupt, but I see human progress as a constant cycle of building up, revising, tearing down when necessary, and then building up again.          

To return to the subject at hand, with the CD boom came excess of all kinds.  Major labels hired far more staff than was necessary and in an effort to keep everyone on payroll, they went for the low-hanging fruit in the form of copycat bands.  For every original act, ten sound-alikes were signed, purely to bleed dry the record buying public and generate the maximum possible revenue.  Profit became more important than discovering new talent and facilitating musical advances.  It was this degree of sustained unethical business practice that led frustrated consumers to embrace wholesale file sharing and illegal downloading of music files.  Though the industry managed to shut down Napster, Pandora’s Box had already been opened and it has never been shut.      

To summarize from the book,

Labels were fat and happy, although some executives worried about a market peak.  “You have the huge infrastructure of people…on a ton of floors and all of a sudden you’re stuck with these huge costs.  And its harder to cut people than it is to hire them,” says Lyor Cohen, chairman of the Warner Music Group.  

“All these companies did was try to find fabricated s**t so they didn’t go through having to let people go.  Then you go into an era of fabricated, highly promoted, highly advertised stuff–it’s very flimsy, it sells quickly, and we’re also hurting our credibility with the long term music lover.  And then [the fans] go away to college.”

Teen pop was one last squeeze of the sponge to get the world to spend millions and millions of dollars on compact discs.  It wouldn’t last.

As for the music industry, well, Knopper seems to think that it has finally destroyed itself for good.  I wouldn’t disagree with his conclusion.  What I am waiting to see is what means of music dispensation the future will provide.  Today we cling to our ubiquitous iPods with the omnipresent white ear buds.  If recent history reveals anything, it promises that in the immediate future we’ll be using something else altogether.  As for the established powers, the industry itself is in a bit of a death spiral, running in a million different directions, desperate to find a Messiah.  I admit I do feel pangs of nostalgia at times for the excitement I once felt when looking forward to the latest release by a favorite band and the gratification of buying a CD copy to take home.  Still, there’s enough of the DIY anarchist left in me that enjoys the ability to focus more on live music and the amateurs who play for the love of it, not for the love of money.  I have always been a believer that there is something eternal about art; art always survives.  In stating this, I note that I have always believed that it simply isn’t compatible with capitalism and never really will be.  Some of the most awkward compromises I have ever observed attempt to bridge the gap between the two with minimum success.

When we discuss change in any context we find that its enemy is a system designed to resist, not facilitate reform.  I honestly can’t think of any gathering or organization off the top of my head whose stated agenda is to eventually pass along the torch to new ideas and new generations.  Change we can really believe in is not change in the abstract, rather it is change that is both well said and well done.  It may be against human nature to predicate any organized group on the assumption that incorporating new strategies and new plans of action is a matter of course, not just a a good suggestion and an interesting proposal worthy of contemplation.  Pushing forward in time rather than stubbornly clinging to the here-and-now is a discomforting notion to some, since we often relish control, and in so doing believe ourselves to be obsolete to some extent the instant when we pass the baton, but it is the only way we will ever accomplish anything worthwhile and lasting.  

We as humans are frequently paradoxical creatures, and each of us wishes to leave our mark, to some extent.  We prefer edifying experiences, shall we say, in which we might be remembered by subsequent generations and thus find a way to live forever.  Here in DC, this is evident by the number of public buildings bearing the name of some elected representative or all around important person.  For a time, people might hold close to them the memory of someone who rose to a position of high authority or accomplished something supremely influential, but the passage of time renders that memory fainter and fainter.  Eventually, inevitably, most people see merely two proper nouns and a building, not some rich legacy of accomplishment.  Our greater accomplishments might not be measured in individual achievement, but in the immeasurable elements that go well beyond personal gratification.  The edifying tendency keeps those who have always had power from sharing when it justifiably becomes the duty of a younger generation to take the reins.

We often are confused because our hearts lead us one direction and the world leads us another.  The world tells us to put our own selves first and our heart compels us to use our talents and gifts for the betterment of others.  Perhaps those things that do not threaten another person, no matter how unintentionally, and cannot be perceived for any reason as a direct challenge to someone else’s competitive spirit and personal insecurities are those that truly stand the test of time.  The memory of sales figures may fade and so too a lifetime’s worth of legislative accomplishment, but a contribution to the ongoing business of finding ways for people to live in peace proves to be immortal.  Proposing the means to co-exist based on love and not fear will live on beyond a few paltry decades.  Compassion and kindness cannot be commodified or copyrighted, nor should they, else they soon be the domain of the archaeologist.    

not so simple.

there are ideas in there. in the egg that is my head.

i feel them sometimes… ideas pecking away, crackling my skull in measures. small fractures, small shatterings etching lines like routes on road maps.

they stay there too, incubating in that folded womb of electrical impulses and chemical spills.

until: viola… ideas formed from thousands of specks of sight, sound, sensations, rushed out between gulps of air and pigs in a blanket at some cocktail party, or picnic, being blogged, painted, or played on some instrument.

THINK. THINK. THINK. so. here’s what’s been birthed in my head of late . . .

Yeah. The deal? It’s all about the deal. … and lots and lots of money.

cross posted at dKos

I’m not a Reporter, I’m a Critic.

And as I’ve mentioned lazy journalism is a key part of it, though no element of our Arrogant Elite Versailles Villager Incestuous Idiot Wannabe Aristocrat Asshat Ruling Class is immune.

Yesterday jeffroby talked about a General Strike.  My more modest proposal is a simple Serf Strike.  Is it that hard to avert your eyeballs from these assholes?  Everybody has one, what makes their’s special or important?

"Political reporting" means "royal court gossip"

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 06:12 EST

This is the most revealing aspect of this episode.  The National Enquirer, Matt Drudge and Politico aren’t aberrational extremes in our press corps.  As Halperin and Harris correctly noted in calling Washington journalism “The Freak Show,” they are at its epicenter, leading the way.  The reason there is such a complete merger of interest among low-life tabloids, Matt Drudge, reality shows and the Washington political press corps is precisely because they are indeed indistinguishable — merged.  Even for people who thought that John Edwards’ sexual activities were relevant when he was running for President or vying for a high administration position, at this point he is a completely destroyed, discredited non-entity with no political future, and mucking around in the life of him and his wife is pure sleazy voyeurism.  Subjecting the Edwards to this sort of vicious, judgmental scrutiny is a cost-free activity, which is why so many are so eager to engage in it.

The real value of a book like this lies in the opportunity it presents for Washington’s elite class to distract themselves and everyone else from the oozing corruption, destruction, decaying and pillaging going on — that these same Washington denizens have long enabled.  With some important exceptions, that is the primary purpose of establishment journalism generally.  Even better, the book lets our media and political elite — and then the public generally — feel good about themselves by morally condemning the trashy exploits of Rielle Hunter and the egoistic hypocrisies of the irrelevant John and Elizabeth Edwards.  As The Nation’s Chris Hayes so perfectly put it:  “Just when you think the news cycle can’t get any stupider, Mark Halperin publishes a book.”  All imperial courts — especially collapsing ones — love to occupy themselves with insular, snotty trivialities.  As this book and the excitement it has produced demonstrates, providing that distraction is exactly what our press corps most loves to do and what it does best.  The media sleazebags who turned Bill Clinton’s penile spots, cigars and semen stains into headline news for two straight years haven’t gone anywhere; they’re actually stronger and more dominant than ever.

Hullabaloo and digby (what she said) have also noticed an uptick in Beltway Buttkissing Narcissism this weekend-

  • Divas

    by digby, Saturday, January 09, 2010

And about Pete Peterson, Billionaire deficit hawk who wants to cut his taxes by gutting your Social Security and his Company Town Rag Sellout Enablers.

Your Opinions Requested: Should The Iraq Moratorium Change Its Name?

Many of you are familiar with the Iraq Moratorium. Some of the discussion that led to its formation took place here and at Daily Kos in early 2007 and its launch on September 15, 2007 was well recorded here. Diaries since have covered it, and blogosphere luminaries like Meteor Blades and One Pissed Off Liberal have repeatedly given it play.

The idea is simple, and captured in our pledge:

I hereby commit that, on the Third Friday and/or Third Weekend of every month, I will take some action by myself or with others to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Early last year, the tiny all-volunteer committee that helps coordinate this effort made two changes reflected in the wording above. We added the Third Weekend at the request of some of the many longstanding anti-war vigils that take place on Saturdays and Sundays, and we added the war in Afghanistan.

At that time we decided to keep the name Iraq Moratorium because of its name recognition and because we feared that Iraq was falling off the media’s radar and out of public consciousness entirely.

Looking back, we feel that this was a mistake. Iraq has in fact faded in this country’s awareness, despite the 120,000 troops still stationed there, not to mention the similar number of “private contractors” our tax dollars are paying for. Meanwhile, the administration is in the early stages of its second escalation in Afghanistan in less than a year, and the death toll there is rising inexorably–troops, insurgents and Afghani civilians alike–which has placed the occupation there center stage.

The Moratorium committee’s feeling is that the name should be changed to the War Moratorium, but we ask your input because, as mentioned above, the shoestring operation that keeps the Moratorium going consists of a handful of us. Your views will be a welcome contribution to our decision-making.

This is not the place for a summation of the 2,500 plus events that have taken place in observance of the Moratorium so far, nor for a plea for volunteers to help us build it, especially on the Internet and in older forms of media. Both of those will be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, please check out the website and remember the Moratorium slogan:

It’s Got To Stop! We’ve Got To Stop It!

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