Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just a Position or Juxtaposition?

posted by The Sailor @ 5:55 PM Permalink

Today I'm instituting a new feature on this blog. It's labeled 'juxtaposition.'

Example 1: (which I've slightly rearranged for clarity):
when asked what he would tell family members contemplating a trip to Mexico during the flu outbreak [...] “I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said [...] “You’re in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes; it goes all the way through the aircraft.”
“If you’re out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes, that’s one thing,” Biden said. “If you’re in a closed aircraft, or closed container, or closed car or closed classroom, it’s a different thing.”
Umm, seems reasonable to me. The CDC says “When it is absolutely necessary to enter a crowded setting or to have close contact with persons who might be ill, the time spent in that setting should be as short as possible.”

Who could object to that? Ohhhh, these folks:
Hotel executives said their business began to suffer after Obama warned at a Feb. 9 town-hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, that companies receiving bailout money “can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.”
Wow! Ending all those CEO parties on the taxpayer's dime was the reason their business is suffering!? Hmmph.

Example 2:
Napolitano Facing Republican Calls for Her Ouster

Obama's Security Chief Ignites Firestorm by Warning of 'Right-Wing' Extremism in U.S.
Umm, what 'firestorm?' Oh, the one by rightwing extremists:
Oklahoma Man Arrested for Twittering Tea Party Death Threats

An Oklahoma City man who announced on Twitter that he would turn an April 15 tax protest into a bloodbath was hit with a federal charge of making interstate threats last week
But wait, there's more!
Sweep targets gang

Seven arrested in two-county skinhead bust

A sweep of skinhead lairs throughout the Inland Empire on Monday twice took sheriff's deputies to maternity wards where pregnant women were trying to bear babies on Adolf Hitler's birthday.
The white racist street gang has been responsible for murders in the High Desert, drug trafficking, home invasion robberies and countless assaults, officials said.
Abortion clinic bombers, skin heads, Tim McVeigh, militia groups are the republican base, or at least they must be because republicans are up in arms about labeling them terrorists.

BTW, my friends from across the aisle are right to be worried. President Obama wants to take your guns and put you in reeducation camps and as a bonus feature, he's gonna f*#k all the white women too! Morans.

Example 3:
Opponents of Climate Change Bill Launch Ad Campaign

Opponents of federal limits on greenhouse gases are launching ad campaigns in the districts of moderate Democrats negotiating a bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The radio ads, sponsored by the American Energy Alliance, are running in the districts of nine committee Democrats and one Republican, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.
The ads contend that the bill would hurt the economy and cost jobs.

The lobbying and advocacy group, which was formed last year, is headed by Thomas J. Pyle, a former energy policy aide to onetime Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas (1985-2006). It is affiliated with the Institute for Energy Research, a public policy center advocating what it terms “freely functioning energy markets.”
Hmm, OPEC is a “freely functioning energy market?”
But if you call now you'll receive:
Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

"The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood," the coalition said in a scientific "backgrounder" provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that "scientists differ" on the issue.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

"The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied," the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Is "mis-remembering," in reality just an attempt to rewrite history?…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:49 PM Permalink

…I ask this because of an incredible, within the literal sense of the word, op-ed written by Christine Todd Whitman, you know the bush cabinet member that helped hide how dangerous the air was around the WTC after the attack there.

I HAVE always admired Arlen Specter for his willingness to stand up for his principles and to put policy ahead of party when he thought it was necessary. I do, however, regret his decision to switch parties and I worry about the direction this country could go with a filibuster-proof Democratic majority. Some historians suggest that no president has had such power since 1937, when large Democratic majorities in Congress gave President Franklin Roosevelt tremendous leverage.

The United States needs two vibrant, competitive parties. With the economic crisis, the war in Iraq and countless other issues facing the nation, the stakes are too high to simply let one ideological segment of the country determine our fate.
Just what kind of specious, scurrilous, lying, revisionist history rewriting is this?

Lemme see, from 2001 through 2006 this country did have "one party rule" that was indeed disastrous for all Americans and the country as a whole, but I seem to remember that it was six unobstructed years of GOP control, not that of Democrats.

Funny, I don't remember Ms. Whitman raising these concerns when the GOP had complete control so it makes me wonder: Is she a liar or just plainly too stupid to remember 2001-2006?

Let's break this down: "…With the economic crisis…," purely a republican born fiasco of unsurpassed borrowing and spending. "…the war in Iraq…," another construct of the GOP to steal oil and conduct a Middle East genocide. "…and countless other issues facing the nation…," caused by the awful leadership of bush-cheney, such as torture, holding people without trial for years and years, committing murders and kidnappings by presidential fiat, and the GOPs blatant attempt to convert the president into an emperor with unlimited power and the right to violate any or all the conventions created by the Constitution.

And lastly: "…the stakes are too high to simply let one ideological segment of the country determine our fate.…," which is obviously true if the party in charge is republican, the creators of nine tenths of our current dire straits.
In the coming election cycle, we have the opportunity to remind the nation that our party is committed to such important values as fiscal restraint, less government interference in our everyday lives, environmental policies that promote a balanced approach between protection and economic interest, and a foreign policy that is engaged with the rest of the world. The responsibility of ensuring that the party follows the right path lies with those moderates who are willing to work to make it happen. I anticipate that centrists will convene in the coming days to discuss how we can return the party to the sensible middle.
Unmitigated BS, MS, and Phd (bullshit, more of the same and piled higher and deeper).

"The responsibility of ensuring that the party follows the right path lies with those moderates who are willing to work to make it happen. I anticipate that centrists will convene in the coming days to discuss how we can return the party to the sensible middle." Uh, good try Ms. Whitman, but your party apparently HAS NO sensible middle or the country wouldn't be at war, unpopular with the rest of the world, considered to be known torturers who lie about it, or financially bankrupt from the unabated and irresponsible borrowing and spending of bush-cheney, while also reducing revenue by giving the mega-rich tax breaks courtesy of the GOP.

If this is truly your vision, or the way you see America, you need to reconsider the lies you present here as moderate fact.

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Are we doomed?

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:46 AM Permalink

Quite possibly.

Top 10 books on April 29, 2009 and in 1961

From Amazon today:

  1. Conservatism
  2. Da Vinci Code 2
  3. Vampires
  4. Vampires
  5. Inspirational Christian novel
  6. Vampires
  7. Vampires (by a different author than the other 3)
  8. Set of four books… about vampires
  9. Pop-science
  10. Vampires

Publishers Weekly from 1961:

  1. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  2. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Mila 18 by Leon Uris
  5. The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins
  6. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  7. Winnie Ille Pu by Alexander Lenard (translation of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne)
  8. Daughter of Silence by Morris West
  9. The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor
  10. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

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Another conversation over drinks

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:29 AM Permalink

I wish Mr. Vidiot had more time to blog because he was ON last night. We were discussing the pandemic stupidity (pandemic! pandemic! PANDEMIC!!) and I was still stuck in "Why? Why go nuts over something that is clearly not a big deal?" and he explained, very clearly, and I'm certainly not going to do it justice, that the logic of the institutions needs a problem to solve. Without a problem, legislatures wouldn't have anything to legislate. If there's no legislation, the executive wouldn't have anything to uphold and enforce. It would also put the judiciary out of a job since there would be nothing to decide. So the institutions create problems so that the institutions have something to do.

Go beyond the pandemic nonsense (pandemic! pandemic! PANDEMIC!!) and look at the Specter story. The media is loving it, the republicans are loving it, the democrats are loving it, everyone who is part of any institution is loving it because its giving them something to do. The republicans can act all 'republicany' and posture and spin, the dems can walk around all 'peacocky' and pound their chests, the media have a story to report on and get all breathless about. It's like a hurricaine, only it doesn't matter to any real people.

I'm sure all of this is Sociology 101, but sometimes, after he's done explaining it, I'm like, how could I not have seen that?

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flying Pig Flu Must Read

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:45 PM Permalink

From Global Research:
Panic and fear of death was used by the Bush Administration skilfully to promote the Avian Flu fraud. With ominous echoes of the current Swine Flu scare, Avian Flu was traced back to huge chicken factory farms in Thailand and other parts of Asia whose products were shipped across the world. Instead of a serious investigation into the sanitary conditions of those chicken factory farms, the Bush Administration and WHO blamed ‘free-roaming chickens’ on small family farms, a move that had devastating economic consequences to the farmers whose chickens were being raised in the most sanitary natural conditions. Tyson Foods of Arkansas and CG Group of Thailand reportedly smiled all the way to the bank.
The more I watch the news, and the more I see them get all breathless over the swine flu, I have to wonder why. Why create such a scare? Not that many people have died. Not that many people are sick. What is all this fear doing? Who is it benefiting?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean

posted by The Sailor @ 5:29 PM Permalink

Guess who said this?
March 17, 2003
War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."
The people who performed the torture, the people who used tortured legal logic to rationalize the torture, the people who approved the torture, to the people who knew about the torture and did nothing to stop it should be tried for war crimes.

This isn't a partisan issue, it's a war crime issue. Whether you're a Dem or a Repub, go to the International Court; do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the court and get a fair trial.

p.s. CIA official: no proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks
p.p.s. Torture does work! (If by 'work' you mean being tortured until you tell the torturers exactly what Bushco wanted to hear.)

I can't believe there is even a debate about torture in our country. Or even a debate about what constitutes torture. We've had this debate, as has the rest of the world, and we came to specific conclusions about torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Ronald Reagan signed it.

Even if it did work, which it doesn't for purposes of 'actionable intelligence', it's wrong, it's wrong on so many levels!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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The Great American Soul Search

posted by Global Patriot Worker @ 11:30 AM Permalink

It does no good whatsoever to keep talking and ranting about something unless you intend to get busy and do something. As my old "Okie" pal used to say...."Ya done got the talkin' part over with!"

As a nation and an informed populace (at least those that chose to be informed) we know plenty. We know there has to be some really bad rationale for Cheney to be sticking around Washington spouting off at his shit-encrusted mouth. We know the entire media structure is no better than Pravda was in the Soviet era. From rigorous grass roots investigating we know that 9/11 did not go down as it was portrayed to us. We know that unidentifiable aircraft are purposefully dumping mega tons of something into the troposphere. We know that the 9/11 anthrax came from a U. S. government facility. We know all about hyping shock and awe violence to the betterment of no one but the likes of KBR and Halliburton. We know that Israel spies on us relentlessly for God knows what reason and we are happy to let them do it. We know that our environment is in peril and the solutions may cause us to change our habits a bit to ensure that our species survive. We know that we have been financially reamed without so much as a card and a kiss. We know that somebody who supposedly ran this country for eight years called our Constitution a "God damned piece of paper." Oh yeah.....that's just part of the things we now know, yet we sit like a bunch of dumbfounded idiots when it comes to solutions. "Give me a distraction please.....I need a break"...... and believe it or not....I understand.

So I see in this anxious passivity a certain amount of national soul searching going on. We can't possibly be that blind to the complete and utter assault that has taken place on us or our daily affairs can we?

Let's skip the part about whether this soul searching is actually going on and just move to the imperative that it must go on. In short if we do not get up off our collective, fat, complacent asses there are some incredibly bad things in store for us. We are looking at an entire planet that serves as only a playground for the rich and you will eventually be told what to do from cradle to grave. Your ability to stay healthy will be forever compromised. The food you eat will be of a grade that would not sustain a cockroach. The air you breath will continue to be reduced to a plasma-like substance that is a nothing but a medium for the military to manipulate. Your rights will be non-existent and your "papers will have to be in order" even if it is nothing but an RFID chip implanted at birth. And so forth. So what must we do? It is essential that we have a collective spiritual awakening. We must now redefine our destiny and insist that our leadership types stick to a new plan that differs radically from the old plan. No longer should we put faith in a banking system rigged to benefit those that squander instead of those that save. We must demand healthy natural food that does not come from a test tube but from genetically sustainable seeds. We must stand morally at all junctures for the truth however ugly it may be. Lies are like a polluted river. If you remove the source of pollution, the river's natural cleansing ability works its own miracle. Such are our daily affairs. Unfortunately the river of our society is currently filled with the rotting stench of industrial strength lies and the bloated putrid fish of deception. This can and must change. We can start our own local newspapers and print the truth. Don't forget that the internet is a machine, it sprung up seemingly out of nowhere and can return to non-existence overnight. Archive the truth however you chose to do it. The Constitution is, by birthright, our very own miracle. It is an academic and spiritual marvel. Even though our belief in our own exceptionalism led to horrible genocide on the American continent and then across the globe we can recognize our own deadly faults, correct them and become better people. We must rigorously soul search in order to find our path to the future.

If we do not now look deep inside our own character then we have abandoned the traits that bind us and make us human. We are nothing without each other and without the light of love for each other. The alternative is to become mindless pseudo-human machines. The darkness of fear, coercion and subservience are forever pulling the curtains shut in hopes that we lose our way. We must never let the temporary confusion blind us from our ultimate destiny of fulfilling the love we harbor. In summary this destiny is one that you either choose for yourself or let someone else choose for you. A great national soul search indeed.

Next time we get more specific.

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Monday, April 27, 2009


posted by The Vidiot @ 6:15 PM Permalink

is when one person emails you one thing and shortly thereafter, another person emails you something completely different that reinforces the first email so perfectly, you have to blog about it.

Email one from my Aunt:

End the University as We Know It

Unfortunately this mass-production university model has led to separation where there ought to be collaboration and to ever-increasing specialization. In my own religion department, for example, we have 10 faculty members, working in eight subfields, with little overlap. And as departments fragment, research and publication become more and more about less and less. Each academic becomes the trustee not of a branch of the sciences, but of limited knowledge that all too often is irrelevant for genuinely important problems. A colleague recently boasted to me that his best student was doing his dissertation on how the medieval theologian Duns Scotus used citations.

Email two from the Sailor:
The International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 14, No. 2, 212-231 (2009)
DOI: 10.1177/1940161208330904

The Irony of Satire
Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report

Heather L. LaMarre
The Ohio State University,

Kristen D. Landreville
The Ohio State University

Michael A. Beam
The Ohio State University

This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert's political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert's political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.

Key Words: political entertainment • comedy • satire • political ideology • information processing


Albert Einstein once said…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:54 PM Permalink

If WWIII is fought with nuclear weapons, WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones
Just another reason to be thankful bush no longer has his finger on the nuclear trigger.

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A so-called presidential historian on MSNBC was asked to compare…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:57 PM Permalink

…Obama's first 100 days to former presidents and it is clear where Mr. Shankton's loyalties lie.

He never even mentioned any republican administrations and simply asserted (without proof) that Obama was doing well compared to the 'failed' Jimmy Carter presidency, as if keeping America out of senseless wars and horrors!, balancing the budget and actually leaving a $600,000 surplus of money actually in the treasury was a 'failed' presidency.

He then cited the disastrous 'Bay of Pigs' fiasco from JFK's first 100 days to opine that Obama was doing better than JFK did. No mention of the leadership of either president.

I guess he couldn't comment on the Iran-Contra scandal of Ronnie Raygun's presidency, selling arms to Iranians that were purchased with drug money from Latin and S. America. Or GHWB's stagnant turn at the wheel were he became known more for breaking his, "No new taxes," pledge and then substantially raising taxes (This is actually the one thing any bush, IMO, really did altruistically, and that I admired: He threw away a second term to do what was right, not just politically self-serving.)

Mr. Shankton barely mentioned Bill Clinton, and did not, on purpose I'm sure, even mention bush-cheney, the worst and most damaging administration in American history, attacking a sovereign country, Iraq, to steal oil and conduct a genocide while the whole world watched.

Maybe it's just me, but daytime programming on MSNBC seems to have been slowly taken over by republican talking heads and biased newsreaders.

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Why is this flu different from all the others?

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:29 AM Permalink

Bump and Update below.

I'm sure you've heard about the flu epidemic in Mexico City (it's not a pandemic until it goes global). Last I read, 800 ill and 60 dead so far. That's a 10% kill rate. It's no Captain Tripps, but it's significant.

But why is it so weird and suspicious?
The new Mexican Swine Flu has elements of DNA from the following: avian flu, human flu Type A, human flu Type B, Asian swine flu, and European swine flu. A strange combination never seen before and having less than 1/10% chance of being a natural event. Human and animal viruses from four or more continents suddenly recombine in a new flu during a non-flu season that spreads from human-to-human with a 10% fatality rating.
It's pretty amazing, from a biological standpoint really. It's hard not to think there's a conspiracy. Could it be a government depopulation plan? Or just a pharmaceutical company wanting to rake in a few extra bucks? It's easy to 'go there' when there's a 1/10% chance of a natural occurrence of the strain.
Update: Other websites are trying to remind folks that the world lost 40 microbiologists in 4 years (2001-2005) to mostly mysterious circumstances. Additionally, a commenter below mentioned that the farm where they suspect the flu originated is US owned.
All I remember from my biochemistry classes is that viruses are incredibly interesting buggers. I remember thinking at the time that if someone were clever enough, they could program a virus to do whatever they wanted. I was just very naive. I couldn't imagine anyone using a virus for nefarious reasons. I'm not saying that this virus is bioengineered, but it's not out of the realm of possibility

For one thing, just because the strain here in the US is milder than in Mexico doesn't mean we'll not get hit with something worse. Additionally, with all the microbiologist deaths, the recent scandal involving the 'accidental' shipment of live virus to various labs by a pharmaceutical company, well, it's not hard to imagine that either the virus is evolving or worse, was designed to target a genetic group. Someone on a forum posted a Wayne Madsen Report that said it is definitely bioengineered. What was posted was only a blurb:
According to two mainstream media journalists, one in Mexico City and the other in Jakarta, who spoke to WMR on background, they are convinced that the current outbreak of a new strain of swine flu in Mexico and some parts of the United States is the result of the introduction of a human-engineered pathogen that could result in a widespread global pandemic, with potentially catastrophic consequences for domestic and international travel and commerce.

The journalists have been told by top officials of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) about the grave dangers posed by the new and deadly swine flu strain, known as A-H1N1. The flu, never before seen by scientists, has already killed up to 68 people in Mexico and has forced the cancellation of public events, including sports matches and concerts, and the closure of schools, libraries, and museums. Eight cases have been reported in Texas and California and one Texas family is already under a quarantine. Doctors are examining several students at a Queens high school in New York who displayed symptoms similar to those experienced by swine flu patients in Mexico.

Our Mexico City source said a top scientist for the United Nations, who has examined the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa, as well as HIV/AIDS victims, concluded that H1N1 possesses certain transmission "vectors" that suggest that new flu strain has been genetically-manufactured as a military biological warfare weapon. The UN expert believes that Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and the current A-H1N1 swine flu virus are biological warfare agents.
Madsen's track record is sporadic at best. He may or may not be a government disinfo guy. I'm just including it here so you can see what's being said out there. The end of the article cites Tamiflu and Relenza as effective treatments, both of which are products made by large companies with lots of government connections, which makes me think that this is disinfo. But that's for you to decide.

Update 2: I was just thinking that maybe it's not as big a deal here in the US because it's a third or fourth generation infection. Maybe the virus can only be transferred to 2 or 3 people and then just sort of loses its steam down the line. That's not all that unusual for a virus.

And all the hullabaloo in the media is, as usual, for naught.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

OK, let me see if I'm getting this straight...

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:14 PM Permalink

Detainees, with actual heartbeats, mothers and sentience, are NOT persons
A Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are not "persons" according to it's interpretation of a statute involving religious freedom.
but Corporations are.

Does anybody else think that's crazy?

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

This is something I've ruminated about for a long, long…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:01 PM Permalink

…time that I think is appropriate for all people, specifically bloggers and commenters to blog postings. It is a general observation but it makes a point that is easily forgotten sometimes:
You can argue facts, but you can't argue sincerely held opinions.
The moon is 225,000 miles away. No, at this time of year it's farther away than that. This could be argued ad nauseam, or until your eyes finally glaze over and someone changes the subject.

But if someone states that in his/her opinion the Volkswagon bug is the most beautiful car ever made, it would be fruitless and an impossible effort to change that opinion by arguing that many other cars are much better and more beautiful than a Bug.

Facts: arguable

Opinions: the eye of the beholder

Oh, it may be possible to sway an opinion, and opinions often change through time and experience, but if a person has a set opinion it is an exercise in futility trying to get them to change it. Empirical proof has no context in a person's opinion.

But that's just my opinion, which is never wrong for me.


Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm no lawyer

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:30 PM Permalink

Bumped and updated by The Sailor

Original Post by The Vidiot: I've never deleted a post before, but I've deleted this one. The more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off and it sounded wrong and silly.

It was based on the following.

Holder has said they won't prosecute the torturers because they were only doing what they were told.
"Those intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and in good faith and in reliance on Department of Justice opinions are not going to be prosecuted," he told members of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, reaffirming the White House sentiment. "It would not be fair, in my view, to bring such prosecutions."
This got me on so many levels. How can a person do what they did? Aren't they human? Couldn't they have said "Hell no?" And since they didn't, they should defend their lack of humanity.

However, I was missing the point. The point is not that the torturers tortured, but rather, the system that they work within condoned torture and made it possible to torture. Anyone stuck in that system would have to do whatever the system compelled them to do. Once you embed yourself in a system, you really have little choice but to obey the logic of that system.

Look at the corporations that pollute our waterways. Individuals not in the system are appalled. But people within the corporation have all sorts of rationalizations that allow them to perform their jobs within that company. What's really sick is not the people who push the button that flushes the chemicals into our water system, but rather, it's the corporation itself that has an end goal that runs counter to the best interests of the environment and the people who live within it.

I hereby promise to not hit "publish" on an emotional post until it's fermented for a few hours first.

UPDATE by The Sailor: Vid, I think your original take was correct "How can a person do what they did? Aren't they human? Couldn't they have said "Hell no?" And since they didn't, they should defend their lack of humanity."

They should have said 'No!'

Some did. Some shrugged and turned their heads. Some went along, got promoted, got Medals of Freedom and cushy jobs. Some were prosecuted, a few went to jail.

They all, from the highest (Bush, Cheney, Rice) to the lowest should be tried for war crimes. And that should also apply to the contractors mercenaries that were employed.

An actual trial, in an impartial court, where evidence and testimony are not coerced or obtained thru torture.

One of the courses I had in the Navy (late 70's) was on refusing illegal orders. The lessons of the Nuremberg trials were still very much a part of the training.

"I was only following orders" is not an excuse for war crimes, crimes against humanity, or torture.

I know the recruitment standards have changed, but I don't know if the syllabus has changed. But just because a culture or system has changed doesn't mean that torture isn't still wrong.

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Why don't we all stop talking about America Torturing…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:37 PM Permalink

…so many people, some who have done no wrong, and some that clearly should be imprisoned for life if the charges can be brought and a conviction had by court findings that comply with American and foreign laws alike.

There are superior methods of interrogation that are much more effective at obtaining valid information. I fervently hope trials for torture and prosecution of the many war crimes of gwb are in the works.

Even if it does turn out that it is Spain or Italy or Germany that undertakes the formation of a war crimes tribunal, somebody needs to do something about these small, evil men who perpetually violated our values.

America will never again be on a level playing field with the rest of the world as long as any American can escape prosecution for the commission of preemptive wars, holding thousands of prisoners without probable cause, murder by president fiat, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the displacing five million more by driving them from their own ancestral homes and lands, and the use of cluster bombs where it is known women and children might come across a bomblet and accidentally kill themselves or their children.

Haven't we killed enough? Or is this just another unjustified genocide? Have we become purveyors of evil ourselves?

This is not the America in which I grew up.

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I've got some ideas for ridding ourselves of…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:42 PM Permalink

…the scourge of the recent numerous attacks of both American and European aircraft by terrorists trained geese, ducks, and the most commonly hit bird, the dove. Like the two terrorist geese that brought down Sully's Airbus and forced a river landing that was textbook perfect.

What's called for is a strike force trained in bird observation and identification that can move through marshy terrain while maintaining focus on the terrorist threat. This new cadre of soldiers should be taught the different paths each type of bird might pursue to place the new forces in a position to attack.

The solution is easy, and can be implemented in a very short time, if not immediately. It is cost effective method for the demanding job of fighting terrorist birds.

My solution is highly complex, so if you must break out a slide rule, start a new Excel spreadsheet, or crunch the numbers through a Cray Supercomputer in order to grasp this plan, please do so.

Dogs, Bird Dogs (In the vein of Bond, James Bond), specially trained troops stationed at airports, along with very loud but otherwise harmless super-size cannons making a big bang. The dogs, of course, would necessarily be taught to never encroach on the tarmac, but just to chase away migratory terrorist birds.

And the best part is all the dogs would ask in return would be a warm place to sleep, a light, but healthy diet, and a kind pat on the head. Think of the value!

Think of the doggie fun!

Or we could ask cheney to do national and international jaunts teaching hunters to hit the bird they are aiming at without shooting another trainee in the face.

FOOTNOTE: I also have an exciting solution to replace the practically useless Hum Vee, which is too wide for most roads, especially the ones being operated upon today.

It is the quintessential vehicle that can go places no Hum Vee , half-tracks, 2 1/2 ton trucks, or any other of the huge vehicles we currently use in a combat scenario. It is almost maintenance free, can carry a soldier and his gear to the many places to which they must go without burning up hundreds of gallons of fuel and has absolutely superior off road capabilities. They can be bought on the common market for pennies, compared to tanks and such, and it costs little to fuel them as they can survive on the vegetation of the many terrains and combat environments where our troops are considered to be the enemy. This mode of transportation would be a welcome visitor in most places, entertaining for the kids, sure to be fun, and guaranteed for laughs at a party.

It's called a 'horse.'

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

I don't have time to comment

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:39 AM Permalink

But you MUST read about how Time Warner is using it brutal strength and power to outlaw community-based, publically-owned competition.
The cable companies aren't happy that they've been one-upped in both price and quality of service

Time Warner Inc., after finally dropping its plans for metered internet services for the time being, appears to be back to its old ways. This story begins in Wilson, North Carolina. Wilson is a small city of about 47,000 residents located in the middle of North Carolina, roughly 45 minutes east of Raleigh, the state's capital.

Whoever believes that capitalism is all about competition is wrong wrong wrong.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Traitors betraying traitors among themselves. More fun…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 5:35 PM Permalink

BUMP and UPDATE by The Sailor for the comment dialogue.

Original post from April 9th, 2009:

…guaranteed good laughs at a party, and sure to solidify the image of traitorous republicans acting like the cowards they really are. The kids should find this to be fun also.

Excerpt from an article titled, "GOP Leadership Hammers Obama Over Policies They Support":
Some progressive House Democrats were quoted criticizing President Obama's approach to Afghanistan and Iraq on Thursday, and perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans in Congress jumped all over it.

"Folks -- just wanted to make sure you didn't miss this story in this morning's Wall Street Journal," wrote a GOP leadership aide in a morning email blast to reporters. The aide highlighted what is by far the most damning quote: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) calling Obama's war plan "embarrassingly naïve."

It would make for a sharp political attack if it weren't for the fact that GOP leadership in the House actually supports Obama's plans. Take for example, this quote from Minority Leader John Boehner just two weeks ago:…
OK, there is some democratic opposition, but these ridiculous republicans:
…"The challenge of bringing stability to Afghanistan is enormously complex, but our efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban are vital to the security of the American people. I support the strategy the President unveiled today because it reflects the advice of our commanders on the ground. I hope he will continue to honor their counsel because we should not allow political considerations here at home to trump the importance of achieving success in the region. Moving forward, we must ensure this strategy is implemented in a manner that is both flexible and reflective of the situation on the ground, and we must aggressively monitor its progress."

Or how about this one from Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who wrote in the Washington Times yesterday: "The GOP has the obligation to be the honest opposition. When we believe the president is correct -- for example, in his handling of Iraq policy -- we will stand with him."

Then there is the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, who has endorsed the approach the administration has taken to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
So it's support quietly and then go out screaming maniacally in opposition. Are the "Party of No" traitors finally awakening to the fact that Americans are no longer afraid so playing the fear card is an exercise in futility?

Or they might have realized that the more they rail against Obama the numbers of voters who support the Obama popular agenda goes up?

It's lose-lose for republican traitors.

It's a bootifull thang, ain't it?

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Just how sick and depraved can the Iraqis be…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:38 PM Permalink

…when doing something Think Progress detailed today.

"A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using 'Iranian gum.' ...Yina Mohammad told that, 'Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.' According to her, the new substance 'is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.'"
Torture begets more torture, and apparently there is nothing too cruel for the Iraqis and the methods by which they torture.

I'd bet that gwb is sitting somewhere having Laura read this to him and him saying, 'Gosh I wish I had thought of that first!"

But can anyone tell me why we continue to associate ourselves with a sovereign nation so despicably cruel? Other than their oil?

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The headline: Crisis or Not, Russia Will Build a Bridge in the East…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:13 PM Permalink

What, are the Russians taking lessons from that gal-killing-and-maiming-of-wolves-and foxes-from-the safety-of-a low-flying-aircraft-governor (aw, c'mon, you know who I talking about! the other one had his entire house lifted in order to make it a two story house) by building a their very own 'bridge to nowhere?'

How exciting that Russians would learn decision making from Pale-in and weird Teddy Stevens. Now they will soon be as broke as America.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

posted by The Sailor @ 9:23 PM Permalink

But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" and with "large volumes of water" rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.'s inspector general.
Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.
F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databases

Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions more people who have been arrested or detained but not yet convicted.
Gee, government agencies have actually exceeded the incredibly unconstitutional powers that were granted them without our knowledge ... and then they were granted them ex post facto!?

Wow, no one could have predicted ...

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one

posted by The Sailor @ 8:02 PM Permalink

Obama consulted widely on memos

White House senior adviser David Axelrod says President Barack Obama spent about a month pondering whether to release Bush-era memos about CIA interrogation techniques, and considered it “a weighty decision.”
A former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush called the publication of the memos “unbelievable.”

“It's damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama's action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are,” the official said. “We have laid it all out for our enemies. This is totally unnecessary. … Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again — even in a ticking-time- bomb scenario where thousands or even millions of American lives are at stake."
I'll ignore the standard Politico method of giving anonymity to anyone who asks for it, (it's been covered), and go straight to the heart.

Those 'techniques' the Bush official was unwilling to lay claim to? Yeah, that would be torture, illegal by moral, US & International laws. And the 1st thing President Obama did in office was to outlaw those methods.

Now back to Bushworld "It's damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama's action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are" - actually the torture methods have been proven not to work. They weren't designed to elicit information, they were designed to elicit false confessions.

And, point of fact, the methods have already been published, (raise your hand if you've heard of 'waterboarding?'), just not the memos that authorized the torture. And what Obama was signifying to the world was that we have begun to climb out of the immoral & illegal abyss that 8 years of Bush & Co sunk us in.

More from the NYT:
Interrogation Memos Detail Harsh Tactics by the CIA.

Together, the four memos give an extraordinarily detailed account of the C.I.A.'s methods and the Justice Department's long struggle, in the face of graphic descriptions of brutal tactics, to square them with international and domestic law. Passages describing forced nudity, the slamming of detainees into walls, prolonged sleep deprivation and the dousing of detainees with water as cold as 41 degrees alternate with elaborate legal arguments concerning the international Convention Against Torture.
In the memos, the Justice Department authors emphasized precautions the C.I.A. proposed to take, including monitoring by medical personnel, and the urgency of getting information to stop terrorist attacks. They recounted the C.I.A.'s assertions of the effectiveness of the techniques but noted that interrogators could not always tell a prisoner who was withholding information from one who had no more information to offer.

The memos include what in effect are lengthy excerpts from the agency's interrogation manual, laying out with precision how each method was to be used. Waterboarding, for example, involved strapping a prisoner to a gurney inclined at an angle of "10 to 15 degrees" and pouring water over a cloth covering his nose and mouth "from a height of approximately 6 to 18 inches" for no more than 40 seconds at a time.

But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" and with "large volumes of water" rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.'s inspector general.
2 Suspects Waterboarded 266 Times

C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.
A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Wow, either waterboarding doesn't work or these guys really like their job!

p.s. John McCain, that flaming liberal, says:
"It's unacceptable," McCain said, adding:

One is too much. Waterboarding is torture, period. I can ensure you that once enough physical pain is inflicted on someone, they will tell that interrogator whatever they think they want to hear. And most importantly, it serves as a great propaganda tool for those who recruit people to fight against us.
p.p.s. Digby says it better than I can.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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I am opening this new thread in order to facilitate…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:23 PM Permalink

…the excellent repartee taking place regarding my post of April 9, 2009, titled: Traitors betraying traitors among themselves. More fun, at here and I'm doing this to continue the most excellent conversation taking place on that post.

While I don't always agree with the people writing in, I am impressed with the civil nature of the conversation and the fact that we can all agree or disagree without being disagreeable.

Last excerpt:
Lifting the Klan mask revealed a chaotic multitude of antiblack vigilante groups, disgruntled poor white farmers, wartime guerrilla bands, displaced Democratic politicians, illegal whiskey distillers, coercive moral reformers, sadists, rapists, white workmen fearful of black competition, employers trying to enforce labor discipline, common thieves, neighbors with decades-old grudges, and even a few freedmen and white Republicans who allied with Democratic whites or had criminal agendas of their own. Indeed, all they had in common, besides being overwhelmingly white, southern, and Democratic, was that they called themselves, or were called, Klansmen.

Historian Eric Foner observed: In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party's infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Wikipedia, but it does tend to indicate that the KKK was joined and formed by many disparate groups and not just purely democrats as some have appear to have alleged.

Also, I consider what gwb and the GOP have done by overseeing the greatest transfer of money ever from the poor to the rich a national shame. I know the republicans are embarrassed by the crushing loss at the polls last November, and that vote was mostly accounted for by the public being tired of the borrow and spend republican congress and their efforts to block the minority vote in an attempt to gain more personal and to eliminate chances of a black candidate winning by openly calling for Obama's assassination, creating the song "Barak the Magic Negro" and going even further in the case of the defeat of Harold Ford by issuing a deliberately racist commercial spot with a white woman allegedly asking Harold to give her a call (wink-wink)

So while the democrats obviously were in the mix forming the KKK, their racial hatred and desire to encourage the killing of a black presidential nominee, an act of supreme disgrace of politicians trying to remain to retain control of government, were just another attempt at signal that overt racism is just fine with the GOP.

And it would clearly seem that the republicans have picked up the mantle of the KKK and are constantly trying to disenfranchise millions of blacks without regard to the illegalities, dirty tricks, robo-call, and clear, but untrue statements that Obama has made the country less safe.

The republicans have been fighting tooth-and-nail against any legislation favoring the poor, the elderly, the unsured, and the unemployed. The unemployment rates for black now stands at 12%, naturally shaming congress and the republican "party of no," which is stifling attempts of modern day democrats to help all groups and not just rich, old white men further enriching old, white men.

It will never easy to gain and keep discrimination in check, but it is perfectly clear that the GOP doesn't stand for anything more than a party of greed that has picked up the mantle of the KKK, at least in spirit and intent, and that have acted most foul when dealing with racial issues.

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I'm so glad this was posted.

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:27 AM Permalink

The Family Guy song and dance called "Bag of Weed"
"A bag of weed,
A bag of weed,
Oh, everything is better with a bag of weed."

After it was over and they went to commercial, Mr. Vidiot and I, at the same time, said, "That was awesome!"

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There's a good conversation going on below

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:19 AM Permalink

You should check it out. It is in response to Bill's post on Traitors.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009


posted by The Vidiot @ 6:42 PM Permalink

He looks so sad when she stops. And so happy whens she starts again.


Things I didn't know about Viet Nam

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:59 AM Permalink

Agent Orange wasn't the only herbicide used.
During what the Vietnamese refer to as the American War, local hearts and minds were "won" by American military forces through aerial spraying of herbicides that were identified by the color of 4-inch bands painted around their 55-gallon drums. Agent Orange has by far received the most attention, but five other herbicides also were used.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Ward, you're too hard on the Beaver Squirrel!

posted by The Sailor @ 10:04 PM Permalink

It's a sad day indeed that I'm compelled to report the demise of Ponsonby Britt. The famous executive producer of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Hoppity Hooper, Fractured Flickers and George of the Jungle has shuffled off this mortal coil.

I have fond memories of visiting the Jay Ward Productions lot and seeing the cells where Rocky, Bullwinkle, Dudley Doright, Nell & George were held for all time.

I miss you Ponsonby and I'll always remember your final words "But Nell, I can't marry you, I'm in love with my horse!"

And my final words to you "Watch Out for That Tree!"

Cross posted at SteveAudio


Praying for Theocracy in Okla. reads the headline……

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:04 PM Permalink

Last time we checked in on the Oklahoma legislature, some members were trying (unsuccessfully) to remove from the official record a session-opening prayer delivered by Rev. Scott H. Jones, pastor of Oklahoma City's Cathedral of Hope who happened to mention his "loving partner and fiance, Michael."

No objection was made after a more recent opening-session prayer delivered by Rev. Wade Burleson, pastor of Enid's Emmanuel Baptist Church who happened to mention his disdain for atheists and secular humanists: "Let the secular humanists lead the socialists, let the atheists lead the totalitarian governmental regimes, but may only believers in God lead our democracy," Burleson said.

I think they call that a theocracy. Burleson's prayer reminds me of a line from a song by Oklahoma native Garth Brooks: "Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."
I am a full-blown atheist so I don't necessarily agree that only god-fearing people should lead this country.

And a right-righteous, sanctified "man of god," such as Rev. Wade Burleson should, by way of establishing and confirming the belief that god exists, provide empirical proof that an actual god exists, or STFU.

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That's it, they have gone way to far now…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:13 PM Permalink

…and it's high time they level with the citizens of this country.

I speak, of course, about the Obama administration releasing more of the torture memos that constitutes the greatest shame in American history, courtesy of bushco and cohorts.

I think one of the worst outcomes of this is that for the first time it has been revealed that confining prisoners in cells full of insects was used as a method of torture. Now Obama has directed a stop to this injustice too, but he has increased our unemployment exponentially.

But did he stop and consider all the insects that are now out of work? How will they feed their hundreds of thousands of baby insects? Where in the private sector is there a demand for insects specifically trained to torture illegally held prisoners? Isn't the unemployment rate high enough already?

And just what is going to happen if those insects escape Gitmo, wipe out the Cubans, and then board ships (or say, a piece of wood) headed to America? Do we have a policy in place regarding intercepting insect covered drift wood? Do we have plans in place a plan to deport this obvious threat? To what country would we deport them?

Will they train millions of other insects in the fine art of torturing human beings? Would they use these dark arts to conquer every government and subjugate all the citizens as slaves to serve their needs? When will these insects eventually overthrow our government and seize control of America?

All citizens MUST demand an explanation to include what we will do with these insects.

Sending them all to gw bush and family is the best and most logical thing to do as insects rarely accumulate armies to attack other insects.

But they do love carrion, and I can't think of any American citizen as depraved or more deserving, as gw bush, so let us send them all to him.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

This is definately what a police state looks like.

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:14 PM Permalink

I mean, damn. A Baptist pastor was beaten and tasered at an internal border patrol checkpoint. First, I was only vaguely aware that they were even talking about doing internal checkpoints. I hadn't heard confirmation any checkpoints had actually been set up. Second, a Baptist pastor? Really? How power stupid do you have to be to pick on a Baptist pastor? And third, those police dogs may look all cute and furry, but at the end of the day, a cop can interpret whatever the dog does in any way he sees fit. Creating probable cause with a police dog is pretty damned easy.

I found it on boingboing and I hope they'll follow up on it. The guy's court hearing is tomorrow, Friday the 17th of April.


Right-wing extremists seen as a threat…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:04 PM Permalink

…says the report of Greg Miller of the LAT.

The economic downturn and the election of the nation's first black president are contributing to a resurgence of right-wing extremist groups, which had been on the wane since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment distributed to state and local authorities last week.

The report, produced by the Department of Homeland Security, has triggered a backlash among conservatives because it also raised the specter that disgruntled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might "boost the capabilities of extremists . . . to carry out violence."
This scenario is not totally implausible considering the military services have been obtaining hundreds, if not thousands, of waivers for felons, people the military used to summarily dismiss, refusing them waivers for their past crimes and enlist.

And they are right to fear right-wing extremist groups and convicted felons that have now received military training that makes the danger of them forming new gangs with military training in the use of heavy duty weapons, training dealing with counterinsurgency methods and techniques, how to shoot straight, how to set up ambushes, and witnessing the terror and havoc that a single dedicated terrorist can cause with proper training. Training I'm sure that they will not hesitate to teach to their felonious gangs.

Monsters, gwb armed and trained monsters in his wildly insane prosecution of an unnecessary war to steal control of Iraqi oil which America could have purchased on the open market for a lesser price than America has paid by trying to obtain control of all that oil.

And damned near all the religious right groups have done is to propound hatred towards any person not following their edicts, even if they are American citizens. They openly called for the assassination of an American presidential nominee. These are dangerous people and constitute, IMO, the greatest threat of future domestic terrorism.

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The headline reads, "Regulate Me, Please."

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:38 PM Permalink

… and I really like the comments made in this op-ed by Tom Wilson of Allstate Insurance from the NYT:
THERE are plenty of people singling out causes for the collapse of the financial markets, and conveniently, the source of the problem is usually someone else. But accountability lies with all of us — the insurance industry, regulators, banks and credit rating agencies. The insurance companies that wrote credit default swaps were happy not to be regulated. Insurance regulators didn’t expand their oversight to ensure the solvency of these companies. Banking regulators, banks and credit rating agencies did not properly assess the strength of issuers and readily accepted these complex derivatives.…

Business and government leaders must avoid the trap of diminished expectations and continue to demand the best of ourselves and our fellow Americans. Millions of hard-working families are counting on us to get this right.
How 'bout that? An insurance executive speaking up for American families and people.

Perhaps miracles CAN happen once in a while.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You know...

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:53 PM Permalink

I've said it somewhere before, that society marginalizes those those that don't think like everyone else. I mean, if you think about it, society marginalizes those who think outside the confines of society itself. That's what insanity is; someone who doesn't think like anybody else. It's the psychologist/psychiatrist's job to make sure that everybody fits into the accepted reality and if they don't, they are diagnosed and treated so that they can be a part of mainstream society. Otherwise, they're locked away.

So, when I see the way dKos community treats something like Texas Gov. Perry's declaration of Texas sovereignty, it just rings all sorts of bells for me. What Perry was doing was nothing more than asserting the 10th Amendment of the US constitution
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Saying, basically, if the federal government tries to overstep its boundaries, the states have a right to say, "hell no." But if you read the dKos treatment, words like Cuckoo are used. Perry didn't say "secede" but a few of his supporters did. Big deal. Perry is still part of the overall machine and he won't move Texas to secession. Whether or not citizens of that state would like that is something else.

My issue is that it's portrayed in such a negative light that the actual merits of the issue are never discussed.

You might notice that happens a lot.

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I usually like Talking Points Memo

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:33 PM Permalink

Not because I agree with Josh Marshall, but mostly because the posts are well written, well researched and at least, not thrown together in a slapdash way.

However, his "Enter Ron Paul" entry was, well, sort of dumb. I think he missed the point.
Ron Paul is now suggesting what he, I guess, thinks is a libertarian solution to the growing piracy problem. Have Congress get into the idea of issuing "letters of marque and reprisal," which as Paul notes is actually a power expressly granted in the US constitution.
What Ron Paul is really saying is why the hell should the US government be protecting the interests of these threatened corporations. That's all. It's not lunacy. It's not stupid. It's actually quite logical. Make private enterprise deal with it. Not the American taxpayer.

Sorry, but I think Josh Marshall is all wrong over this one.


I'm Burning, I'm Burning, I'm Burning for You

posted by The Sailor @ 6:48 PM Permalink

The stupid, it buuuurns!
Conservatives Decry Homeland Security Report on "Rightwing" Extremism

Yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted that "The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired."

Gingrich was referring to this report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security's Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, and coordinated with the FBI.

As Fox News has reported, DHS also issued a study of the threat of leftwing extremists (read it HERE.) But the report on the rightwing extremists is the one attracting heat in the conservative bloggosphere, from Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, and elsewhere.
[Dr. James Dobson] said "there are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. They're making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen."
Wow! Instead of condemning these violent, extreme wacko nutjobs the republicans and conservatives are endorsing them! But I guess it's no surprise since the constant drumbeat of politicians and Faux News 'reporters' calling President Obama a fascist & a terrorist, and saying he wants to have death camps'* and 'take our guns away' and outright calling for militias to take over the government. And that's the mainstream morons. BTW, these were the same folks that demanded every lib & Dem to constantly denounce Islamic terrorists ... as if we didn't already.

Let's go to the facts. There are "Timothy McVeighs out there right now": Threats to candidate/President Obama's life

And when the military lowered their recruiting standards for Bush's war (on a country that had nothing to do with al Qaeda or 9/11) so much that felony convicted white, black and brown gang members could join, it's pretty obvious that some of them will come back and rejoin their gangs. Duh.

*Excerpt from Fox News Glenn Beck's program titled:
Debunking Web Myths About FEMA Camps

BECK: OK. One last question: I want to show you — take a look at this picture. Can you put this picture up, please? This is another one. And we're going to have you back tomorrow and — just answer yes or no. Is this — this is what they claim. This is a concentration camp?

MEIGS: Yes, it is.

BECK: It is. Are there atrocities going on in that camp?

MEIGS: There is every reason to believe there is.

BECK: Is this a government-run concentration camp where atrocities — every reason to believe atrocities are going on?


BECK:There is enough out there. We don't need to make stuff up.
At this point I'd almost ask someone to teabag me, not that there's anything wrong with that, but at least my eyes would be covered.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Headline: 11 Pirates Are Seized in Raid by French Navy…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:43 PM Permalink

… and just where the hell were all the frigates, battleships or whatever we sent to protect U.S. flagged ships?

Have the French built superior sea-going firepower than America?

From the article in the NYT:
French forces detained 11 suspected pirates during an assault on what they described as a pirate “mother ship” in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Somalia Wednesday, less than 24 hours after an American cargo ship was attacked by pirates in the same region.

The 11 detainees are being held on board a French frigate, the Nivôse, part of a European Union antipiracy task force patrolling in the area, the French defense ministry said in a statement.
Man, America needing the help of the French and European Union to capture a bunch of rag-tag pirates is utterly shameful and more than a little embarrassing to my mind. All the alleged technological superiority of our Navy either doesn't exist or has been highly exaggerated.

Either scenario does not speak well for America.

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Be careful what you ask for - you just may get it…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:09 PM Permalink

…and pay for it dearly.

Remember Gray Davis, former governor of California? The republicans pushed and pushed for a recall vote, got it and won.

And just look at what California got in return, probably the worst governor in the history of this beautiful state. We are billions and billions of dollars in additional debt, Arnold is making state workers take a one day furlough weekly, for which they receive no pay, he's laid off thousands of state employees, and now intends to layoff five thousand teachers.

When is the government going to realize that education is the true foundation of this country for educated citizens are better able to keep OUR employees, the political caste, in check.

This strikes me as being entirely counterproductive and conducive to the further degeneration of our society.

The G.I. Bill, after WWII, gave veterans the keys to building this formerly great country to what it used to be. Now that education has fallen to the wayside, America directly faces the consequences.

Excerpt from UPI:
The United States is no longer the world leader in secondary education, according to the rankings of an international organization.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development places the United States 18th among the 36 nations examined, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Headed to the top of the heap is South Korea where 93 percent of high school students graduate on time compared with the United States where 75 percent receive their diplomas.

The seemingly downward trend of U.S. education worries economists.

"The United States has rested on its laurels way too long," Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, told USA Today. "Other countries have increasingly caught up and surpassed the United States."

"We've been asleep for a good number of years as a country," says Richard Freeman, an economics professor at Harvard. "It's not that we're doing horrible. But the other guys are moving faster."
If we continue to neglect education we, all Americans, suffer the worst for it.

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I wonder, wonder who wrote the book of love, who wrote the book of love…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:48 PM Permalink

…and I wonder when, where, how, and who will finally break the modern day definition of "tea-bagging" to the GOP. My wife and I scream with laughter at pompous a$$es like GOP members that do not care to investigate the updated meaning of words.

Of course, it is entirely possible that they know the definition, oral stimulation of the male genitalia (specifically a man's scrotum), considering the way all of the republicans worshipped and probably spent lots of time tea-bagging gwb.

It's a laugh a minute and sure to entertain at parties.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Supreme Ignorance

posted by The Sailor @ 5:21 PM Permalink

Justice Thomas talked about his own school days, reminiscing fondly about seeing “a flag and a crucifix in each classroom.”
The event, on March 31, was devoted to the Bill of Rights, but Justice Thomas did not embrace the document, and he proposed a couple of alternatives.

“Today there is much focus on our rights,” Justice Thomas said. “Indeed, I think there is a proliferation of rights.”

“I am often surprised by the virtual nobility that seems to be accorded those with grievances,” he said. “Shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?”
Sorry Clarence, we already have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

And the 'Bill of Obligations' and the 'Bill of Responsibilities' were not included.

There has been no 'proliferation of rights', there has only been the eroding of them.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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This is the American Way…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:25 PM Permalink

…Says Bob Herbert:
This is the American way. Since Sept. 11, 2001, when the country’s attention understandably turned to terrorism, nearly 120,000 Americans have been killed in nonterror homicides, most of them committed with guns. Think about it — 120,000 dead. That’s nearly 25 times the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the most part, we pay no attention to this relentless carnage. The idea of doing something meaningful about the insane number of guns in circulation is a nonstarter. So what if eight kids are shot to death every day in America. So what if someone is killed by a gun every 17 minutes.

The goal of the National Rifle Association and a host of so-called conservative lawmakers is to get ever more guns into the hands of ever more people. Texas is one of a number of states considering bills to allow concealed guns on college campuses.

Supporters argue, among other things, that it will enable students and professors to defend themselves against mass murderers, like the deranged gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech two years ago.
Millions of guns exist here in America and still the conservatives want to arm ever more people.

Teachers with guns shooting it out with school invaders? That would simply mean that the school invader would blow away as many students as possible while avoiding teachers. Teachers firing into a crowd praying they will hit the foreign gunman and not a student? Not a risk I'd be willing to take.

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A Comment about Race

posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 11:44 AM Permalink

Recently, there was a shooting of police officers in Oakland by an African American man. Micheal Savage's response to a caller who was discussing the issues of race with regards to that shooting was, "black people should be happy now that they have a black president. What more do they want?"

Let us evaluate the complicated notion of race. Granting race as the primary factor motivating human behavior is a simplistic, and worst, reductionist logic. We must understand human behavior from within a process. Humans do not simply live in a vacuum; they live and act in definite time and space occupying real conditions in the social world. In other words, individuals act within a society and this society is composed of multiple institutions. The main institutions are our political, social, economic, cultural, and religious institutions. They are a product of human activity. We made them and we continue them. Now, each individual occupies a certain position within all of these institutions (Whether they know it or not). Power determines one’s social location within each of these institutions. Power is one form of capital. The power elite command the highest capital within these institutions and the homeless command the least capital. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle occupying uneven positions within and between these institutions.

We must understand motivations for action within these institutions of power. Most folks, especially poor black folk, make decisions based on their marginalized positions within all the power structures of our society. They lack political, social, economic, and cultural capital. They know it. A dominant group has power over them, power to label them, power to define what is deviant, power to frame their story and explain their reasons, and power to shape their behavior. In short, the dominant group forces its logic on the powerless group and when the powerless group does not conform, they are punished. Forcing ones logic on the powerless through social control will always result in resistant behavior. I am not excusing behavior, one must be held responsible for their actions. I claim, on the other hand, that if we can understand better the nature of this process, we can better improve the US and how we go about fighting “crime.” We must better understand human action from observing the individuals structural position, their cultural milieu (socio-spatial location, friends, perceived ethnic group affiliation, family, gang) that responds to this position, and how individuals navigate their biographies from within these structures and cultures.

I have a comment about nation-states and their definitions but I will save that for the next time.

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A comment on American politics

posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 11:41 AM Permalink

It is interesting to observe the factors that led to the present Administration’s victory in the latest presidential election. Certainly race and other “feel good” factors were significant variables. Let us look more deeply. Obama, as other members of the power elite, have full access to the means of communication, access that most American citizens are denied. Our media now serves as the mouthpiece of power; they are no longer critical or objective (I am not sure if they ever were) but rather legitimate the dominant logic that shapes our discourse. It is how hegemony works, by winning and shaping the consent of the masses, creating the problems and offering solutions or alternatives to these problems from within this logic. It is how power is maintained and won, less with coercion and more with ideology. With the means of communication at his disposal, a well-paid team of advertisers have simply marketed Obama--and quite brilliantly. A president is not what was voted for, rather the American people voted for a mass-marketed logo, a brand. Voting for Obama was akin to purchasing a stylish and high status pair of Addidas--all style with little substance. What an unfortunate situation.

Further, we must now question this idea of democracy. Let us look at what happened. A very powerful propaganda campaign ensued in this last election, a “get out and vote” campaign that somehow manufactured a reality that access to the ballot box is the most important process in a democracy. This is simply false. Democracy requires endless struggle, activism, participation, equal access to the means of communication, and an intelligent and critical public. This is not what I see. I witnessed a bunch of pansy New Yorkers jumping stupidly in the air the night of the present administration's victory. When night faded to morning, the present administration seemed to say, “Thank you for shut up, go home, we will take it from here...thank you for participating.” And here we return to the status quo, that government is our savior, that it makes all the decisions, that people can return back to their comfortable couches and internet blogs and passively watch the spectacle. This, I believe, falls short of America's potential.

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We Have Been Robbed

posted by Global Patriot Worker @ 9:09 AM Permalink

I have been struggling to apply any sense of comprehension to what has been happening to The United States of America over the past few decades and a very disturbing pattern has begun to emerge. I don't want to sound alarmist but there are some bitter truths that need to be fully accepted and responded to by all citizens now.

I now realize that all we have come to know as accepted norms is in jeopardy. In essence WE HAVE BEEN ROBBED!

When I say, "robbed" I mean it in every single sense of the word. We have been monetarily robbed, emotionally robbed, spiritually robbed, environmentally robbed and educationally robbed. Every mortal strand of our existence is now under assault in numerous ways by forces that appear to be undetectable and above our reach.

I want, in this correspondence to outline the areas of assault that we have been experiencing, enumerate them, shine a light on them and hopefully offer a concept for drastic medicine that will lead to better days.

One needn't look far for the thievery. Let's start with our Constitutional protections. The thievery of our guaranteed rights started in earnest after the Oklahoma federal building bombing. Legislation that was held up in Congress concerning surveillance and law enforcement tactics was easily passed after that event. The full story of that event is very much in question in as much as many other bomb devices were found in the building after the event and this under the nose of the ATF who was in fact officed in that structure. Any reporting of this fact was repressed by the media. Did you even stop and wonder how diesel fuel and fertilizer could take out almost and entire steel reinforced structure of that size? Yes, I have questions about those other bombs and I would like them fully answered. As a matter of fact, the whole scene seems now as a warm-up for the big event on 9/11. I will delve into that event in future essays but let's suffice to say that all of the evidence points to score upon score of preliminary explosions after the jet impacts and prior to the demise of the towers as witnessed by city officials, firefighters, police and bystanders and reported by unfiltered media correspondents on the scene. These on-hand media reports of explosions were never reiterated or followed up on. They have however been archived. I encourage anyone reading this to simply watch the entire interview with Fireman Schroeder, and simply listen to what this man has to say. I needn't tell you about it because my words cannot convey the emotion and truth in this man's voice and the dire implications of what he is saying. This is required viewing for all Americans now! And upon the heels of the 9/11 event comes the Orwellian legislation known as the P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act. This document was written BEFORE 9/11! Can we all say "WTF" together? It only took a few days for this piece of anti-American crap to get though Congress and signed into law. Again we are robbed! Believe me...this is the tip of the iceberg as far these events are concerned. Your rights are under concentrated assault.

I think anyone of sound mind can now see the implications of the so-called banking crisis. The word "robbed" is not a strong enough word. To start with, we Americans called, emailed, rallied, spoke out and hollered that the government has no business helping these clowns out. We did it in numbers along the lines of 90% against, 4% for, and 6% undecided...give or take a few points. simple question....did they listen? Hell no. What does that tell you about a government of, by and for the people? So private bankers (including The non-Federal, non Reserve Bank) screw up the money and we are taxed into oblivion to pay for it and get nothing except the right to serve these bastards in the future and smile while we are getting buggered. (More on this travesty in upcoming chapters.)

This brings me to the subject of the media. I'll bet you all thought that you were entitled to the ever-questioning prying eyes of the press, our so-called fourth estate, and all of the clarity and righteousness it brings to a democracy. Well guess've been robbed. The corporate-owned media has coalesced into a fully privatized propaganda juggernaut that owes its allegiance to no one but their corporate boards and their intelligence agency watchers and certainly not to the truth. Even the Supreme Court recently ruled that media has no obligation to tell the truth. Believe it or not it is true. So why were we sold the butchery of Iraq and Afghanistan, the complete and utter lie of 9/11, Oklahoma City, The Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Kennedy killings, MLK and on and on? Because those pivotal moments in history sold a story beneficial to a host of secret agendas that had little to do with our national well-being. You have been robbed of your freedom of the press (and most recently entire newspapers) and your informed consent.

You have been robbed of your jobs. There is practically no job sector that is not under a threat from un-American corporate skulduggery! They would rather burn up a small fortune in fossil fuel to ship a product manufactured in a country that pays near slave wages and ship it half way around the world than make it near where it is being sold and used. When your jobs are gone, your country is gone. They have not robbed us of our ingenuity yet but they are dumbing us down at a breakneck pace and we must relearn retool and get back to work. The large trade agreements have not been beneficial to life in America, as we like to think of it. I am beginning to think the corporations "hate us for our freedoms!"

Health care is a mess. It is either unaffordable, unavailable or out of reach. You have been robbed of access to affordable heath care and often bankruptcy is the only outcome to serious problems. More government is probably not the answer but more greed certainly is not either. Our measure of national pride is how well we take care of ourselves and unfortunately "every man for himself" is not working out too well.

You have been robbed of something as vital as clean fresh air and blue skies. Some of you may not know anything about the international effort to introduce aerosols into our troposphere but it is for real. Maybe you live somewhere that it is not noticeable but they, whoever they are, are damn sure doing it. I've been around long enough to know that jet trails don't linger in the skies for hours and hours and planes flying at 12,000 feet are not supposed to be leaving voluminous plumes of sky-choking materials. The planes that are doing this are not marked. They are mostly white or nearly invisible. They fly at regulated times in coordinated areas of the sky and follow no known highways in the sky. The media and official hush on this is absolute. But some day when you see those big horizon-to-horizon lines in the sky melding into mustard gray shit do something. Go out with some high-powered binoculars or a spotting scope and tell me if you can identify even one of the planes doing this. You can't identify them and no one else will either. The authorities will tell you it is commercial traffic but it most definitely is not. Then read Clifford Carnicom's "Aerosol Crimes" and prepare to be sad. Get some bourbon if you are overly sensitive about these things. You, my friends, have been robbed of your right to Earth's life giving this case the sun and blue skies.

Getting back to are being robbed of your ability to earn interest on your savings. Check the rates on a savings account at any bank and have a good laugh.

More larceny.......Your American cars are nearly extinct. Your water is being eyed as the ultimate privatization. Your property can be taken at will for the next big box store or airport runway.

At long last America you are being robbed of your nation. The gilded words of the founders ring hollow in the eyes of the multinational corporations, most Democrats and Republicans, media moguls, the military-industrial-pharmaceutical-energy overlords and at long last dumbed down Americans. It is time to piss our friends off and get them up off their fat complacent butts and make them pay attention.

I like the Rosa Parks model for correcting all of this. Resistance is the key......strong, organized, resolute, focused, poignant, determined resistance in all facets of American life. Resistance within the law, in a non-violent form is the answer. To every cancer on our American way of doing things there is most assuredly a resistance strategy that will work. It is every Americans duty to strike a blow for our freedom and values and all it will take is some sacrifice on all of our parts.


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