March 26, 2007

A country, behaving badly

Japan, denying a piece of its history, again. Seems to be a recurring theme with Japan, Turkey, the US, heck lots of folks in the news recently.

Posted by duver001 at 10:54 AM

March 19, 2007

Zimbabwe in the news

It's been largely under the radar in the States, but the political situation in Zimbabwe is perhaps approaching its logical conclusion. We might just see some real democratic change there. Someday.

Posted by duver001 at 5:36 PM

March 4, 2007

January 29, 2007

Paint it black

Posted by duver001 at 10:43 AM

December 19, 2006

Iraq continues to spiral down into chaos

And that is chaos in the bad sense, not the positive sense.

Posted by duver001 at 1:53 AM

December 6, 2006

November 30, 2006

Your terrorism score, as compiled by the government

Oh wait, it's not accessible, though they will keep it for forty years. Comforting to know that they include your meal choice (Halal?) as part of the scoring process. Another illegal operation brought to you by the "freedom" folks, a.k.a. the good guys.

Posted by duver001 at 7:20 PM

November 27, 2006

Let's enjoy it!

Posted by duver001 at 3:38 PM

November 20, 2006

Bush's choice to head the Family-Planning Post?

Yup, you guesses it, someone who opposes contraception. At least for white people.

Posted by duver001 at 11:53 AM

Meanwhile at the CIA...

..."no evidence" of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. And Bush isn't a fan of Seymour Hersh's it appears.

Posted by duver001 at 11:49 AM

Brilliant military thinking!

The secret Pentagon report calls to the US to 'Go big, go long and go home' as the three courses of action.

Though the "decider" hasn't decided whether he wants to send more troops or bring them home. That's decisive!

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

November 13, 2006

Okay, one week or so more of rubbing it in

Posted by duver001 at 12:14 PM

Rummy and other torturers may have their day in German court

Nuremberg Trials revisited?

Posted by duver001 at 11:59 AM

November 8, 2006

Okay, now I'll say something about the election

I think I'd like to learn a whole lot more about exit polls and computerized voting. Why did the exit polls now agree with official tallies, but not in the 2004 election? Anyway, that's a subject for a different day...

Today, we have to ask ourselves the most burning question, why did so many incumbent Republicans manage to keep their ill-deserved seats? Look, Orrin Hatch and Trent Lott are not actually good for the country, folks. Minnesota looks a touch bluer than it did before, though Pawlenty seems to be staying. And we're really sorry about sending Michele Bachmann to DC, though I suspect some number of people voted for her in order to get her away from Minnesota.

Dirty tricks? Well, the racist TV ad in Tennessee might have worked, and we have two interesting stories on voter suppression and odd (and dirty) tricks in Maryland:

And the ballot measure results were interesting too.

Posted by duver001 at 10:27 AM

November 7, 2006

Nothing about the election

Posted by duver001 at 2:16 PM

November 6, 2006

Couldn't have put it better myself...

Why the election tomorrow is so important.

Posted by duver001 at 12:06 PM

Confused by right-wing "reasoning?"

National Review columinst David Frum eplains why wingnuts should keep their faith. Essentially, a gay bashing, closeted homosexual, meth user is still a better person than a principled, gay, liberal who advocates drug decriminalization. Snow talked about two cultures, but I'm not sure that this was what he was thinking. Heck, he probably wouldn't have seen any "culture" in those folks.

Posted by duver001 at 10:20 AM

Why indeed?

Posted by duver001 at 10:17 AM

November 3, 2006

Another day, another hypocritical fundie Republican

Head of the National Association of Evangelicals, a man who frequently rants about the evil of gays and drug addicts, wait for, yep, regularly pays for gay sex and methamphetamines. Oh well, it's not as if his followers would have learned anything from previous examples.

Posted by duver001 at 11:43 AM

Ahead of this election, let's remember this little op-ed

The Day the Enlightenment Went Out, by Gary Wills. Written right after the 2004 election.

Posted by duver001 at 11:40 AM

November 1, 2006

"The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

That was Martin Luther King talking about his country shortly before his murder. Still true today with Iraq in a state of chaos, at least 300 000 dead Iraqis (best estimate of over 600 000), 90% of Iraqis reject the presence of the US "liberators." The war must be ended and the damage to this country undone. And we must resolve to create no more killing fields.

Posted by duver001 at 10:42 AM

October 30, 2006

Running out of October surprises...

Posted by duver001 at 12:04 PM

October 29, 2006

So here's just about the weirdest thing I've seen recently

Dubya's new ranch of 98,000 acres in Paraguay. Okay, here is where it gets weird. Is that his little hiding spot to avoid prosecution for war crimes? Of does the 2.2 mile long runway (look on google earth) mean he's moving full-time into the cocaine exporting racket? Weirder still is the connection with the Moonies and their purchase of land in the same area. Okay, and then the Jenna connection? Too strange for words.

Posted by duver001 at 9:42 PM

October 26, 2006

October/November Surprise and torture

Karl Rove has promised it to the Republican faithful, there will be an October Surprise again this election cycle. As Osama Bin Laden hasn't missed a US election in years, that's certainly possible, either a new video or death "evidence" from Pakistan. Also of note is the amazing coincidence that the Saddam Hussein verdict (guilty) will be announced two days before the election. That gives a day for the talking heads and Dubya to be in the media. Any other brilliant ideas? Something new maybe? A terrorist attack against Norfolk, VA? Redmond, WA?

We're also now seeing countries saying, "hey, if the US does it (torture) we can too." A city on a hill.

Posted by duver001 at 2:21 PM

October 25, 2006

Election day 2000 details

The full story is so much more complicated than what we thought was happening at the time. And that's even without Diebold in the picture.

Posted by duver001 at 5:54 PM

October 23, 2006

October 21, 2006

Cost of the war

It speaks for itself I fear.

Posted by duver001 at 4:29 PM

October 18, 2006

November surprise

I think we've all noticed that the Iraqi court has scheduled Hussein's "guilty and we sentence you to die" for November 5th. That way we'll have a full news day for Dubya the day before the election. Noted at the Nation online.

Posted by duver001 at 10:44 AM

October 17, 2006

A different Darfur solution

Okay, so the US, the UN, and the African states aren't going to do anything about the ongoing genocide. There are lots of petitions and the like floating around in the US, but those aren't going to accomplish anything. The army there has just suffered some defeats and is reactivating the Janjaweed Arab militias. So I have a horrible idea. If we're not going to intervene and help the people of Darfur, let's send arms and munitions instead.

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

October 12, 2006

Further thoughts on the 655 000 Iraqis

655,000 sounds like a lot, but at an exchange rate of 1,471 Iraqi Dinars per US Dollar, it's as if just 445 Americans had died. Or, put another way, since 1 Iraqi vote equals 0 American votes, it just doesn't matter at all to Dubya.

Putting the 2.5% of the Iraqi population lost into perspective..."The five boroughs of NYC, at 8 million people, contain 2.67% of the total US population."

Posted by duver001 at 12:54 PM

October 11, 2006

Someone pointed out that I didn't quote Goerge Bush enough

George Bush's March 2003 speech. My favorite part?

"Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near. "

Ooops!

Posted by duver001 at 4:49 PM

October 9, 2006

And the new Bush space program

Politics is probably a better category than physics and astronomy, alas. The new Bushie space policy was announced. It's all about Moon, Mars, beyond, and "access to space." Okay, that's maybe partly complaining about Chinese laser illumination of US satellites (look it up!) and maybe also about a nuclear rocket? What do you think, time to resurrect Project Rover/NERVA? Wait, here it is! Triton from my Dad's old employer, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

Additional scary bits? "The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to..." Yup, Rummy gets to decide that Astronauts go into space with the food they have, not the food they want. Or air.

Son of Star Wars. Hmmm...filthy lucre...

Posted by duver001 at 3:27 PM

Religious institutions in the US...

...have long had special rights. No property taxes, non-profit status even when they build theme-parks, salons, and bookstores. They aren't subject to OSHA, state child protection, EEO, or EPA guidelines. Recent iterations of the federal government have funnelled more money to the churches (under the banners of "stop abuse of xtians" and "faith-based initiatives) and given them additional right beyond those of individuals, non-profits (that are non-religious), and corporations.

The New York Times is running a series of articles on these issues. The first two have appeared already.

Why shouldn't churches pay property taxes? They receive fire protection, police protection, and are connected to city water, gas, and sewers where applicable. Here in Minneapolis, they run apartment buildings, a nightclub, and bookstores and repay nothing to their community. A sorry state of affairs.

Addedon October 10th: The third part of the story, with a focus on property taxes and tax breaks for those with religious affiliations.

Posted by duver001 at 11:09 AM

October 6, 2006

The religious right worries that their children won't follow them

Some of the discussion in abstracted in this New York Times article. Do note the t-shirts that the girls in the photo are wearing. Electrical outlets. There are corresponding electrical plug shirts for boys...

Anyway, I think this highlights again the oddity of indoctrinating children with theology. Christianity (or Islam or Hinduism or Jainism) is right because your parents happen to be members of that cult? And everyone else is wrong? I think the time will come (and not soon enough) when the concept of "catholic child" or "jewish child" can only have a cultural meaning. Theological indoctrination of the young by authority figures will come to be regarded as no more acceptable than other forms of child abuse.

Posted by duver001 at 11:37 AM

October 4, 2006

The "victory" party

$20 million for the victory in Afghanistan and Iraq festivities. Originally in this year's budget, moved to next year.

Posted by duver001 at 12:04 PM

October 3, 2006

Gamble with logic and lose

"Gambling is a serious addiction that undermines the family, dashes dreams and frays the fabric of society," said Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader.

"Except for Indian Casinos, thank you for your contributions. And state lotteries. Gotta keep those colored folks from learning math or we'll have to raise taxes! Oh, and Vegas Casinos, they donate money to the GOP also. And the stock markets of course, they aren't really gambling if someone tells you to get your money out of Enron before the news appears. And insurance? Nope, the insurance industry is one of the largest financial supporters of the Republican party," said Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, to himself.

Oh, I almost forgot, Frist also noted that the Afghan War is lost and suggested that the Taliban be invited into the government.

Posted by duver001 at 12:42 PM

October 2, 2006

The FCC

Media consolidation continues. Who would have guessed?

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

September 30, 2006

What we did while the President fiddled...

Do they think that the Supreme Court has been packed to the point where the Constitution is irrelevant? Just what was in the antiterrorism bill? Meanwhile, Woodward, previous caught up by the Bushite's propaganda (did you read Bush at War from 2002?), has gone in and seen the horror of crazed incompetence of his certainty, of his vision thang. What a mess. And no impeachment in sight.

Posted by duver001 at 7:09 PM

September 28, 2006

Today's news: Friendly fascism

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air however slight lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." - William O. Douglas, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

If you're not outraged that Habeas Corpus rights are disappearing, and that torture is being legalized, then you must not be following the discussions in Congress this week. Znet. UPI. Washington Post.

It looks increasingly clear that Al Queda's September 11th, 2001 coup of the US government was successful.

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

September 27, 2006

What we value

We value freedom of speech, so so an opera which beheads Muhammad (along with Jesus, Buddha, and Poseidon). "It is a signal to other stages in Germany, or even elsewhere in Europe, to put no works on their programs that criticize Islam." Once again religion gets a free ride due to its threat of violence.

We value reason and rationality, so a report on how the US is failing the war on terror is hidden away, to avoid discussion, or critical voting in November. It seems as though there should be a real discussion here as the "war on terror" has produced two wars that the US is in the process of badly losing. Not to mention setting the state for other wars to come.

Posted by duver001 at 11:52 AM

September 26, 2006

Different schemes for increasing power

The EU is looking at adding Romania and Bulgaria.And the US? Moving ahead with plans for the attack on Iran with possible use of nuclear weapons.

Posted by duver001 at 12:26 PM

September 22, 2006

War signs?

I think that The Nation here is being rather premature to write about "war plans" as another US carrier group heads to the Persian Gulf. It would be interesting timing to be in place just ahead of the mid-term elections...

Still, longer-term, it seems difficult to imagine that there will not eventually be US or Israeli strikes on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Negotiations appear to not be really desired either in Tehran or Washington. We'll see how this turns out, but the concept of beginning a third war while losing in the other two seems rather silly.

Posted by duver001 at 2:51 PM

September 20, 2006

What does second-hand cigarette smoke and global warming have it common?

Some of the same folks bankrolling the "scientific" opposition to them. What a strange world!

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 AM

September 19, 2006

The Zimbabwean disaster continues

It wasn't that many years ago when I visited, camping in the parks, walking through the cities, enjoying the hospitality of the people. This is a country that has been destroyed. The bakers have been arrested for charging more than the governement says they should for bread.

  • Life expectancy 30 years
  • High dependency on food aid (This was the "bread-basket" of Africa!)
  • 20% adult HIV prevalence
  • Shortages of basic foodstuffs (No bread on the shelves now.)
  • High unemployment
  • Inflation 1,200%

It's been a while since I've seen any US coverage, though there are comments from Zimbabweans living in Minneapolis if you click into the BBC's articles, though there isn't much for a full-on genocide in Sudan either...

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

September 17, 2006

Darfur deaths underestimated by a factor of ten!

Relative to the US state department numbers.

Posted by duver001 at 5:49 PM

September 13, 2006

Making new history the right-wing way

Don't like history? In this case, want to put all of the blame for 9/11 on Clinton? Make a movie and have Disney and ABC show it for you. "Not a documentary," but how many of the viewers are fooled? Maybe the same ones that thought there was a connection between Iraq and bin Laden?

Posted by duver001 at 10:32 AM

September 5, 2006

Fear of war crime prosecution

The Bushites are running scared, trying to remove the War Crimes Act to avoid any possibility of being charged with gross violations of the Geneva Conventions. It's nice to think about, but Henry Kissinger hasn't been dragged to the Hague yet, so Cheney and Gonzales probably have a few decades to go.

Posted by duver001 at 11:19 AM

September 1, 2006

SLC mayor vs. Federal Lies

A brilliant speech. Simple and direct.

Posted by duver001 at 11:21 AM

Today's good guy: Wal-Mart!

Who would have ever guessed? Wal-Mart is launching a plan to try to sell 100 million compact fluorescent lightbulbs to its customers. This sort of scale distribution could have a quite measurable energy-use reduction nationwide! (Horrible confession: I have a stack of CFLs that I haven't installed yet. I know, I know, but I just haven't gotten to it.)

Posted by duver001 at 10:21 AM

August 31, 2006

When all else fails, crackdown on "crime" online

Zimbabwe plans to use Chinese technology to monitor telecommunications. It does seem to be the refuge of failed dictatorships and nascent ones perhaps as well...

Posted by duver001 at 9:29 AM

August 25, 2006

¡No Pasarán!

There hasn't been much coverage in the US of what has been happening in Mexico since the presidential elections there. This relatively poorly written article at least gives a feel for what it's like on the ground.

Posted by duver001 at 1:06 PM

The continuing struggle of science & education against theocrats & ignorance

Lawrence Krauss has a decent, albeit brief editorial in the New York Times after the Kansas School Board skewed back towards reality. I'm not sure in what forum his disagreement over "scientifically inappropriate attempts by some scientists to discredit the religious faith of others" appeared. Will have to take a look. Though I can see tactically why scientists might feel that, I think that it is hypocritical to argue for a reasoned, scientific approach in all matters other than other people's theology. The logical holes are there along with the incoherence of major religions, their ahistoricality, and their pernicious nature in practice (and perhaps in theory). I see little benefit in doing this, but little harm either. Deeply-held beliefs, whether sensible or not, are not likely to be changed by simple logic.

Just the other day, we see an evolving piece of the religious attack on reason and science. Due to a "clerical" (hmmm...that has two meanings...) error, evolutionary biology has disappeared from a federal list of university majors approved for federal student grants. Yup, follow the link and you can still (8/25/06) see the missing line, a blank line, for 26.1303. What a coincidence.

Posted by duver001 at 9:16 AM

August 21, 2006

Interesting little bit in the NYT on Devon Avenue

When I lived in Chicago I thought of it mostly as a place to find good Indian food. The article discusses how this Pakistani-American neighborhood differs from the terrorism incubators similar neighborhoods in England have become.

Posted by duver001 at 9:09 AM

Hey Joe, where you going with those Republican dollars

The "Democrat" that the Republicans got to defeat a Republican got defeated by a Democrat. The continuing unholy alliance of Lieberman and Rove.

Posted by duver001 at 9:03 AM

August 2, 2006

Religion and politics

An interesting article about one church which has separated fundamentalist Christian beliefs from support for fascism. It's interesting to see how controversial this is. We'd really have to look to Franco's Spain to see such an antimodernist, pro-statist movement so closely associated with theology. Hmmm...that's following the Christian model of course, we could also look to Iran or the Taliban's Afghanistan for a comparison with the US religious right.

In good news, Kansas school board members opposed to the real world lost out. It amazing that in 2006, the school board is only 6-4 against superstition and nonsense. Guess it poins out the need for better education.

Posted by duver001 at 1:41 PM

Internationalist republicans, Abe Ribicoff, Lowell Weicker, and the CT senate race

It will nice to see no more of Joe Lieberman and his Forbes buddies. A compromised and desperate Lieberman indeed.

Posted by duver001 at 10:15 AM

August 1, 2006

"Because I wanted to kill people"

Just why do soldiers want to go to Iraq? The interviewee has since been charged with rape and murder. Unlike his fellow soldiers.

Posted by duver001 at 12:45 PM

July 29, 2006

July 28, 2006

And in Las Vegas...

you need to have money in order to be invited to a picnic. Yup, feeding the homeless in a park is illegal.

Posted by duver001 at 11:31 AM

July 27, 2006

Against Empire

From The Nation.

Posted by duver001 at 7:59 PM

July 26, 2006

Public opinion now and during the Second War

I had no idea, but FDR conducted secret polling of the American public during the war. What does it show? People knew what the war was about, setbacks had little affect on their views, and support was high. Compare and contrast... It's also interesting seeing that the public correctly saw Stalingrad and the other coincident events as the turning point. I hadn't realized that it was obvious at the time.

Posted by duver001 at 8:56 AM

July 21, 2006

Nasrallah's Game

From the Nation article of the same name. I feel a little uncomfortable not seeing much to surprise me in Israel's reactions. What are they going to do? Rolling over doesn't work. Negotiating doesn't work. I'd like to support peace (as a good liberal) but find room for last resorts when needed.

Posted by duver001 at 12:18 PM

July 17, 2006

The Real Bushite Agenda

"Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints."


"One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less effective war on terror."

Posted by duver001 at 10:58 AM

July 16, 2006

An interesting take from the Israeli view on what the heck the Palestinians are trying to do

It's sort of a formalized version of the well-known, "they never miss a chance to miss a chance," quote.

Posted by duver001 at 7:22 PM

July 9, 2006

Progress?

A bloody mess in Baghdad.

Posted by duver001 at 11:16 PM

June 29, 2006

Tales from two city media outlets

"U. S. Guantanamo trials illegal" reads the BBC coverage headline. In the NYTs "Supreme Court Blocks Trials at Guantanamo". The SCOTUS found that the Bush regime violated the US Constitution and the Geneva Conventions.

No word on when indictments are expected...

Posted by duver001 at 12:39 PM

The anniversary of the return of the death penalty

Let's not forget that this week marks the 30th anniversary of the return of the death penalty to the United States. 1026 deaths. 123 death row exonerations.

Posted by duver001 at 12:19 PM

June 28, 2006

Al Gore's presidential moment

Okay, truth be told, he's had several presidential moments and we all know that's a few more than the current occupier of the oval office. Still, what to say about An Inconvenient Truth? I saw the movie over the weekend and came away with a string of opinions and a fear that someone would note that I had driven to the movie theater rather than walked...

  • The science looked accurate. Scientists in the relevent field agree with a few minor caveats. Still, it's an interesting experience to hear a politician get facts straight.
  • The animated bear and frog are just ridiculous.
  • Not a bad powerpoint (or Keynote) presentation. I suspect that the interns/staff has a lot to do with it.
  • Apple advertising! (Thanks Anne for the thought.) If this movie gets the US working towards lowering carbon emissions, someday Apple will use it in an ad.
  • The bear and frog? Drop them in the director's cut.
  • The whole human interest bit with Gore's son, hit by a car, reeked of cheap manipulation. The story of his sister (who died as a smoker of lung cancer while the family farm grew tobacco) was much more effective.
  • There's a decent review of what's happening here from the New Haven Advocate.
  • And the NYT talking about geoengineering "solutions" to ameliorate the global climate change.

Posted by duver001 at 11:06 AM

June 26, 2006

Who's really screwing America?

A little exerpt from The Nation. I like the non-obvious nature of some of these listings. Dan Brown and Dick Cheney together at last.

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 AM

Buffet's big donation

$37 billion donation to the Bill Gates Foundation. Noting the size of the Gates Endowment compared to the UN budget was enlightening... Let them do good with the money.

Posted by duver001 at 10:33 AM

June 12, 2006

Dead prisoners

One was even due to be released.

Posted by duver001 at 9:39 AM

June 9, 2006

Dungeon in Chechnya

The Russian torture center has been found. But do we think that the US has done any better?

Posted by duver001 at 2:29 PM

June 8, 2006

Another academic success for the University of Minnesota

Oh wait, you mean the millions of stadium dollars doesn't help with education? And in fact harms the chances of getting other large blocks of money from the state for actual education programs? But we do know what is most important in a Big 10 state school. A stadium on campus. Yup, that's it.

Posted by duver001 at 4:39 PM

June 7, 2006

Success in Iraq. Failure in Washington.

For about the eightieth time, Dubya announces a turning point in the Iraq debacle. What is it? Well..."'He wouldn't have taken my phone call a year ago,' Bush said Monday of the new Iraqi parliament speaker. 'He's now taken it twice.' Wow, and it only cost $200 billion and thousands of maimed and dead American soldiers to get the President's call returned."

Meanwhile, we ponder the extent to which the US's utter contempt for human rights and international norms allow event such as the Haditha massacre and cover-up (and pay-off) to take place. A world of "us or them," "right or wrong," and "with us or terrorist" is right out of a twelve-year-old's world-view. But then again, so is playing soldier

Posted by duver001 at 4:15 PM

EU complicit in the CIA prisoner torture network

BBC

Retuers

Posted by duver001 at 12:30 PM

June 6, 2006

"Turning the corner"

Or not exactly. Iraq is in worse shape than ever:

Posted by duver001 at 12:00 PM

June 5, 2006

George Clinton and Ray Nagin

Hey, C. C.! We've freed our asses, will our minds follow?

Posted by duver001 at 1:15 PM

The Army Field Manual revised

It will omit that pesky Geneva Convention business when talking about prisoners. I know the Bushites are stupid, but can they really be this stupid? The Eastern and Western fronts during World War 2 in Europe were decidedly different wars due in large measure to ignoring the Geneva Conventions in the East. This is another decision that bodes poorly for the US's standing in the world.

Posted by duver001 at 12:49 PM

May 31, 2006

FBI spying on Portland (OR) city government?

Big Brother indeed.

Posted by duver001 at 10:38 AM

Silly patents

At Patently Silly dot com. The cordless jump rope (why bother?) and the "cylindrical object" (rock) skipping on water are my current favorites. Another beautiful demonstration of (some) failures of the patent system.

Posted by duver001 at 10:21 AM

May 25, 2006

Technical details on the AT&T/NSA spy gear

Follow the little links...

Posted by duver001 at 4:24 PM

May 22, 2006

May 18, 2006

Will the last conservative to leave the room please turn off the lights?

"You were right. I was wrong.

Posted by duver001 at 4:54 PM

May 16, 2006

More uses for the illegal wiretapping run by the Bushites

Looking at the phone records of reporters to find out who in the government has a conscience and is "leaking" information about the crimes the government is committing. Equally scary are the comments from the wingnut right about how this information has compromised national security and killed US troops. I could have sworn that US troops weren't dying on a failed mission in Kansas and Iowa where the wiretapping is taking place, but I could be wrong.

Posted by duver001 at 11:23 AM

Words that matter: Truthiness?

It's as current as the regime in Washington, more recognizable than "double-speak" and less risque than "bullshit." Truthiness.

I especially liked the line "Speak truthiness to power" as an explanation of Colin Powell's failure as SoS.

Posted by duver001 at 11:18 AM

May 15, 2006

Diebold's back door into the voting machines

Taken from Bob Parks's What's New.

PREYING ON THE VOTERS: FLAW FOUND IN TOUCH-SCREEN MACHINES.


The most severe security flaw ever found in a voting system has
been discovered by a Finnish expert working for a non-profit
group. A professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins told the
NY Times that he, "almost had a heart attack," when he learned of
the problem. This was not some innocent design error that wasn't
caught. Diebold, the company that makes the machines, built in a
secret "back door" to "update the software." It could be opened
in minutes if someone knows the code. Don't worry, the code is a
proprietary secret of Diebold. Of course, there was that 2003
fund-raising letter to Ohio Republicans from the Diebold CEO that
said, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its votes to the
President" http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN03/wn121203.html .


Read more about the problems with Black Box voting here.

Posted by duver001 at 11:04 AM

The widening illegal wiretap mess

Only Qwest appears to have questioned the illegal requests from the Bush regime to illegally collect domestic intelligence on US citizens. Didn't this all get worked out back in the Nixon administration? No domestic spying by the international intelligence agencies? And impeachment for the leader of the thugs?

Instead, the NSA director of these crimes is proposed as the new CIA chief.

More on this here at The Nation.

Posted by duver001 at 10:40 AM

May 2, 2006

Continuing with failed states: NYT on Zimbabwe's inflation

Headed towards 1000%. If you have cash, you use it right away. Tomorrow it will be worth 5% less. A sheet of toilet paper is not about the same value as a Z$500 bill. And the government is printing money as if it was going out of style.

Posted by duver001 at 9:32 AM

May 1, 2006

Bush challenges to the rule of law

Bush has claimed that he is above more than 750 laws. That they do not apply to him. ''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper [Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term] said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."

And more than 3500 Americans were illegally spied on last year by the FBI following the contention of Bush that domestic spying laws could be completely ignored. I really think his best chance in the long term is to resign and let Cheney give him a pardon. Unless Cheney is forced to resign first...

Posted by duver001 at 2:09 PM

Get past the difficult (and less than exciting) title

..."The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal" and you'll find an elegant (if overly simplistic) essay on the roots of the Dubya Conservative take on the cold war and a contrasting liberal version of the cold war. The author argues that that liberal cold war vision of America building democracy at home and as an example overseas can be used in the post-9/11 world by a democratic party interested in regaining power.

Posted by duver001 at 12:00 PM

Laughter in response to the GOP's $100 fuel bill for our children & grandchildren

Fortunately, sometimes people do see through transparent schemes. Guess it'll take more to satisfy Americans than a $100 check (followed by the $100 bill). Maybe taxing the oil companies?

Posted by duver001 at 11:43 AM

April 27, 2006

Darfur & Biafra

Been thinking about the big rally being held this Sunday, April 30th at the State Capital. "What did you do to try to stop the Darfur Genocide?" Been thinking about Biafra in light of what is happening now (and heck, for years now) in the Sudan. Got a book on the Biafran War a few days ago. Hadn't thought about it in quite some time. Anyway...there's not a lot of good material (at least that I could find quickly) on Biafra online, but you can try these to start:


So, what to do?

Another take on Darfur, from two years ago.

Posted by duver001 at 8:39 PM

The Republican plan to fight energy costs?

Send everyone a check for $100 and add the total to the national debt. Brilliant.

Posted by duver001 at 2:21 PM

April 26, 2006

Build your own Iraqi police/death squad

It's pretty cheap, and the cool mullahs are doing it. Guns, uniforms, bulletproofed cars. All available for cash transactions.

Posted by duver001 at 12:35 PM

April 24, 2006

Ignorance (of the law) is a valid excuse now?

A woman badly hurt her child shaking it in order to banish "evil spirits" from it.

Posted by duver001 at 11:57 AM

April 21, 2006

One man's effort to pursue Iraq contractor fraud

...and how the Bush regime is preventing it from going ahead. Those fraudulent contracts, skimmed overhead, and no-bid contracts must be providing political donations.

Posted by duver001 at 12:41 PM

Bush, the nuclear blunders

It's clear now how the Iraq distraction has harmed us in the pursuit of bin Laden, with North Korea's nuclear weapons, and now with the standoff with Iran. The US is immeaurably weaker today than when Bush decided to launch a war of aggression with Iraq.

Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM

Al Franken for US Senate?

The last few actors in politics haven't done much for the notion, but Al might be different from Ronald, Sonny, & Arnold. And Minnesota did elect Jesse Ventura to statewide office...

Posted by duver001 at 11:21 AM

April 20, 2006

A new lawsuit may open up the black world of the contract mercenaries in Iraq

It's an interesting read, how right-wing corporate types run the second largest military in Iraq. With no oversight.

Posted by duver001 at 4:25 PM

Priestly problems

This priest in Mexico killed and cut up his long term lover. They had been together since he met her at the age of 13. She was murdered after an argument following his Easter Mass. Their 18 month old daughter was not injured.

Priests allowed to keep their jobs (LA) even after abusing children.

Posted by duver001 at 3:36 PM

April 19, 2006

Goodbye Scott, it's been surreal to hear you lie

Scott McClellan steps down and Karl moves (officially) from policy to Republican elections.

Posted by duver001 at 9:56 AM

April 18, 2006

The Republican plan for election victory

A new campaign to "re-liberate" Baghdad. Hmmm...might not work that well. I mean, wouldn't scheduling a major terrorist attack in the States be less risky? Oh wait, did I say that? I mean everyone saw right through the whole Reichstag fire, didn't they?

Posted by duver001 at 12:02 PM

April 14, 2006

(Another) >$100 Billion dollar tax giveaway to large corporations

That was a MIGHTLY big payoff for their political contributions.

Posted by duver001 at 12:11 PM

April 12, 2006

How Ronald Reagan invented gangsta rap

By illegally funding the Contras through cocaine imports into the US which funded the labels and on and on...
It's a beautiful figure. The interconnectedness of politics, drugs, and rap.

Posted by duver001 at 12:27 PM

Lied to again by the felon-in-chief

Two days after the secret intelligence team reported to the White House that those nasty Iraqi trailers had nothing to do with bioweaponry, Dubya announced "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." It was not only incorrect, it was a bald-faced lie, known at that point to be incorrect. The lies that got the US into the war continued in (mostly failed) attempts at justifying the growing debacle.

Posted by duver001 at 12:22 PM

April 11, 2006

Simplely shocking that illegal campaign tactics were being run out of the White House

Karl? You home? Got any more suggestions for me? Karl?

Posted by duver001 at 4:20 PM

The Iranians add fuel to the fire

Surely they realize that they're playing into George's hand?

Posted by duver001 at 3:58 PM

April 10, 2006

As the US heads towards El Salvador...

We should at least see what happens when the "pro-life" movement criminalizes all aspects of abortion. Interesting how Opus Dei has been involved in the fight against women both here and in El Salvador.

Posted by duver001 at 12:21 PM

April 7, 2006

The clearest version of the Libby-Plame-Cheney-Bush leak of classified information

As if we needed additional grounds for impeachment... And you would note that the White House hasn't even bothered to deny this.

"If what Scooter Libby said to the grand jury is true, then this latest development clearly reveals yet again that the CIA leak case goes much deeper than the disclosure of a CIA agent's identity to the press. The heart and motive of this case is about the deliberate attempt at the highest levels of this administration to discredit those who were publicly revealing that the White House lied about its uranium claims leading up to the war. The Bush Administration knew that Iraq had not sought uranium from Africa for a nuclear weapon, yet they went around telling the Congress, the country, and the world just the opposite. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Valerie Wilson's husband, publicly spoke out with proof that the administration was not telling the truth on uranium, the administration engaged in an orchestrated plot, which now reportedly includes President Bush, to discredit Ambassador Wilson and dismiss any notion that they had lied about pre-war intelligence."

Can the President fire himself? Oh yeah, that's called resigning in disgrace. Bush could resign and get a Presidential pardon from Cheney. Wait, he'd then have to resign and get a pardon from the Speaker of the House. Wait, DeLay has already resigned due to his criminal behavior being prosecuted. So, would that be then the new speaker of the house? Or a newly appointed VP for Cheney? The possibilities!

Posted by duver001 at 12:41 PM

April 6, 2006

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan fully and truly skewered in Vanity Fair. "Press Secretary Scott McClellan's mangled sentences, flat-footed evasions, and genial befuddlement have made him the butt of a thousand blogs, as well as of an increasingly savage press corps."

"Every day, he's pulped, pummeled, spit upon for speaking White House untruths—or for not speaking them well enough.

It is so bad, and so constantly public—every misspoken word, every stutter, every repetition, repeated mercilessly across the information universe—that he can only hope that it's gotten bad enough for him to get a sympathy vote."

Wow!

Posted by duver001 at 7:04 PM

April 4, 2006

Dancing is not constitutionally protected

And the number of cities or towns that allow couples to freely dance is down from ~1000 in the 1960s to about 300 today. Didn't Emma Goldman say something about this once?

Posted by duver001 at 2:42 PM

Thinking about Jill Carroll's story

It appears that if you detain folks, threaten them, possibly torture them, and force them to give statements under duress, those statements might not be truthful? Hopefully someone will let the military and the CIA know about this.

Posted by duver001 at 12:00 PM

April 3, 2006

"Thousands of mistakes"

Condi Rice admits "thousands of mistakes" in Iraq. Though the two main ones would have to be lying to Congress and the American people to initiate an illegal and immoral war, and then screwing it up so badly as to leave the country in civil war with tens of thousands of casaulties. She later clarified that she didn't mean literal errors, but rather figurative ones. Huh?

Posted by duver001 at 11:40 AM

Never again?

Genocide in the Sudan continuing with little coverage or excitement. Where are the religious commentators in the US who were up in arms about the Christian Afghan guy who was being tried? No trials for those about to be murdered in Sudan.

Posted by duver001 at 11:20 AM

March 31, 2006

"Let the prisoners pick the fruit."

Well, that sounds like an intelligent discussion of immigration "reform."

Posted by duver001 at 2:13 PM

Chuck Taylor all-star villain

An interesting biography, including escaping from prison in Mass. Worst part? Election slogan, "“He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him." Wow!

Posted by duver001 at 1:05 PM

March 26, 2006

Billions more for big oil companies

You can divide the number by the number of American households yourself to figure out how much money you're sending directly to the oil plutocrats. Do the same for Haliburton if you want to feel ill.

Posted by duver001 at 11:07 PM

March 24, 2006

I haven't kept up with Hitchens that well since he left the Nation

But I definitely enjoyed his spirited defense of Denmark, the free press, and democracy. And I think we can safely ignore his praise of the Iraq War. I am impressed that he's remained steadfast in his opinions, hmmm..., despite evidence that they're wrong?

Posted by duver001 at 11:56 AM

Dubya presidential library may be built on land swindled from the elderly

How appropriate would that be?

Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM

Not just casinos any longer

Another approach to South Dakota's attack on women's rights. Indian Reservation Planned Parenthood clinics. It's so simple and elegant, I can't believe it hadn't been mentioned before. Okay, I searched, and it's been mentioned plenty of times, including in this omnibus article.

Posted by duver001 at 11:38 AM

By religion, who supports torture?

No great surprise that secular folks are least likely to support torture. But why do Catholics support torture more readily than others? I'd love to go with a good joke on the Spanish Inquisition, but will have to settle for considering The Passion of the Christ and Opus Dei instead.

Posted by duver001 at 11:33 AM

March 22, 2006

Further consequences of the Patriot Act

You need to report to the government if you take your chicken to the vet. Huh? This is smaller, less intrusive government? And it's weird!

Posted by duver001 at 12:22 PM

Heck, do our leaders even pay attention to the real world today?

"Cheney, in an interview on the CBS program Face the Nation, was challenged on his statement three years ago that 'we will be greeted as liberators' and his assertion 10 months ago that the insurgency was in its 'last throes.' He insisted that in both cases his facts were right, but that the news media has created a different perception with vivid imagery of killing." On the other hand, the Iraqi leadership says "It is unfortunate that we are in civil war." [Ayad Allawi]

Posted by duver001 at 12:08 PM

Do we remember three years ago?

When Bush actually took an unscripted question, what did he do? Invoke 9/11 and lie. "[W]e worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose. We were around then, it was only three years ago, remember? That isn't what happened! When the resolution was passed, Hussein allowed in the inspectors and the US went ahead with the war anyway.

Is Bush completely delusional? Or he figures that no one will call him on his lies? Or does he really believe his own propaganda version of what didn't happen? It just boggles the mind.

Posted by duver001 at 12:03 PM

Child "bride" in Afghanistan

One of the more painful stories that I have ever read. Married off at age four, beaten, starved, scalded, abused for years. Finally escaped.

Posted by duver001 at 9:53 AM

March 21, 2006

Outsourcing to North Korea?

Ick! South Korean firms are moving some manufacturing across the DMZ to employ North Korean workers who officially get 1/10th to 1/20th the salary of South Koreans, but the money goes to the North Korean government, not the workers. And the factory owners want to have the products labeled as made in South Korea.

Posted by duver001 at 11:22 AM

Evolution in action

Two strains of the Bird flu. It evolved. Can we say that here, or will the "intelligent design" folks object?

Posted by duver001 at 11:17 AM

March 20, 2006

Before and after Abu Ghraib

This unit of the US military tortured and abused prisoners. "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." Camp Nama continues the pattern of abuse and violation of international laws that has already cost the US generations worth of good will and has rightfully earned us a place among the filthy dictatorships and sqaulid miltary junatas of the world.

Posted by duver001 at 12:03 PM

Welcome to the brain of the Don

The Donald Rumsfeld that is. Plastic has an excellent resume of web links from his halcyon days in the Nixon and Ford administrations to leading two failed wars (see what sort of freedom and democracy has brought to Afghanistan?) for Dubya.

Read his own words, justifying what has been accomplished in the past three years in Iraq. Believe any of it? Like Rummy's $50 billion dollar and 5 week estimates of the war costs and length? And what's up with his comparisons of very and sundries with Hitler? Do we really fear that a 1000 year Venezualan Reich is right around the corner? Or is he projecting a bit?

Going back to the resume, we have to reflect on his successful running of the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon and his back-room efforts to help get the US out of the Vietnam War. For that he was shuffled off to be NATO ambassador. Then triumph as chief of staff and defense secretary under Ford, fighting against the whole nastiness of detante. Off to the private sector until Dubya decides to bring the Nixon crowd all back to the White House. The epic Shinseki-Rumsfeld fight seems now to be a footnote in the story, but certainly marked part of the White House team's decent into unreality.

Afghanistan. Iraq. Some investigations into what Rumsfeld has wrought.


Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

And backrupting the US

As Hegel pointed out. He was thinking of the financial cost of a $2 trillion war, but there is the moral backruptcy as well.

Posted by duver001 at 11:31 AM

Which is more secure, voting machines or slot machines?

Well, obvious it would be slot machines since we know from at least 2000 that voting machine fraud is a big business. Heck, it's a big business that has sworn to deliver elections to their favored party. And thus far, have kept their promise. You can follow the efforts to stop "black box" voting at the blackboxvoting.com website.

Posted by duver001 at 9:33 AM

March 17, 2006

The debt

Well, it now stands at about $27,000 for each person in the country. Or about 65.7% of the GDP. Over $8 trillion. What's going to happen when the Baby Boomers retire? It's rather a mess that those spend and borrow (not tax) Republicans have gotten us into financially.

Posted by duver001 at 3:25 PM

Embarassing news comments on the Iraq War

Hard to believe how far wrong these people were. Though truth be told, those I opposed the war from the start, I actually thought it would go okay. Silly me.

Posted by duver001 at 12:36 PM

Where the tax money goes

A kinda cute graphic for death and taxes. Zoom in and scroll around...

Posted by duver001 at 12:34 PM

March 10, 2006

"The winter of our discontent"

Bush's poll ratings continue to fall as civil war looms in Iraq. Looks like he's still more popular than Nixon was in the middle of Watergate, which goes to show you that most Americans don't follow the news that well.

Posted by duver001 at 2:18 PM

March 8, 2006

March 7, 2006

Deceased

Posted by duver001 at 4:17 PM

Do what we say, not what we do

So, Dick Cheney says that Americans should save more and fund their pensions while Bush has stopped making payments to the Federal Employees' Pension Fund and begun borrowing from it as the US hits the debt ceiling.

Posted by duver001 at 12:54 PM

If there was any doubt that the Iraq War was manufactured

We have Bush telling Blair about a plan to relabel US planes as UN planes. Have Iraq shoot at them. And justify a war that way. Remember, the German invasion of Poland in September of 1939 was a response to Polish-uniformed German troops "attacking." All lies.

Posted by duver001 at 12:51 PM

Wal-Mart bloggers

Wal-Mart press releases and other PR/propaganda are being distributed via blogs. So, blog for Wal-Mart. Hmmm...does it pay well? Hey, I could write positive comments about how Wal-Mart helps out state economies by forcing its workers onto public assistance. Or how it improves the trade deficit with China. Or how much electricity is consumed to make the cheap injection-molded plastic crap. Or how much CO2 is emitted in generating that electricity. Or...

Posted by duver001 at 12:34 PM

By the time we get to South Dakota

The folks in South Dakota are pretty confident in how Alito and Roberts will vote. Stopping at the Rainbow grocery store in uptown Minneapolis, was reminded of this last night. Next door is Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota. The state's one abortion clinic in Sioux Falls handles about 800 per year. Legislation in Missouri and Mississippi is moving forward with the same goal.

Posted by duver001 at 12:17 PM

March 6, 2006

Nuclear power redux

NPR devoted an hour recently to nuclear power, though it wasted some of that time with a cold fusion bit. Got to have that "on one side" and "on the other" thing going.

I'm certainly in favor of sensible ways of cutting back greenhouse gases which would include nuclear power, but a British panel looking into this concluded that building new plants would not yield a significant carbon dioxide benefit to outweigh its risks. It's an interesting argument---the risks included not only the obvious, and vexing, long-term waste problem but also the rigid hierarchical power-distribution structure from nuclear power at a time when micro-generation seems to be increasing.

Posted by duver001 at 12:30 PM

Voices from Guantanamo

Some of the declassified interrogation reports of the inmates. Makes for interesting reading, some dedicated opponents of the West and some people imprisoned for having a name similar to those of Taliban leaders. And little effort being made to prove any of the accusations against them.

Posted by duver001 at 12:19 PM

March 2, 2006

A $7 Billion "word processing error"

That, heh heh, happened to benefit the il companies to the tune of $7 Billion of taxpayer money. Nope, has to be just an accident.

Posted by duver001 at 2:07 PM

Bill of Rights

Wow! 20% of surveyed Americans thought pet ownership was enshrined in the 1st Ammendment. Only one of the one thousand respondants could name all five liberties listed there. No wonder we're losing them.

  • Freedom of/from religion
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Right to court process

Let's see...yup, all of them are under concerted attack.

Posted by duver001 at 1:59 PM

March 1, 2006

February 27, 2006

Falklands 2.0

The Argentinian sabre-rattling is starting to get British attention. Isles Malvinas may once again be a useful distraction for the Argentine government faced with domestic problems.

Posted by duver001 at 12:34 PM

Today's Iraq update

There are no, as in zero, nip, nada, Iraqi battalions are ready to do anything without US support.

Wait a seond! There is something they can do! They can act as death squads and kill up to 900 people per month (July figure). Bodies found with cigarette burns, and mutilated with power tools. These guys went to a cruder torture school than the US torturers. Maybe to the School of the Americas?

Want a different perspective? You can read the defense department's "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq" for lots of statistics. No comments in there about the near civil war situation, the death squads, or the growing power of the mullahs.

Remember the Freedom Tower? 1776 feet of pure freedom in lower Manhattan. Well, you may have to submit to iris scans and thumbprints. Additionally, the building seems to exempt from inspections. So, freedom means no privacy and being above the law?

Posted by duver001 at 12:09 PM

February 24, 2006

A new threat to freedom!

Morrissey? Interviewed by the FBI and British intelligence? "Hang the DJ!"

Meanwhile, we have Iranian mullahs explaining how the US blew up some religious buildings in a country we invaded because we lied and said that they were involved in blowing up some buildings here.

Posted by duver001 at 4:24 PM

Why didn't Bush just say that it was bribery that made him want the UAE to control the ports?

I think it would have been simpler. Send money to poppie, he always did buy coke for his little dubya kid, and the ports purchase can go right ahead. No worries.

Posted by duver001 at 4:20 PM

Black box voting update

Palm Beach County voting machines have had their error logs examined. Votes cast ahead of the election, powered off many times during the election day, and plenty of other headaches. Let's see, there are trillions of petro- and military-dollars at stake, would people make an attempt to defraud the American public and alter the election?

Posted by duver001 at 4:05 PM

February 23, 2006

Tiananmen's ongoing legacy

Another tortured survivor of the prison terms after the uprising emerges. Good links on the page to some oral histories of the events of 1989.

Posted by duver001 at 1:38 PM

February 22, 2006

The consequences of fearmongering

You make people afraid. And then sometimes that fear is not what you had wanted. I think I hear calls for more GOP funding of government propaganda programs now...

Posted by duver001 at 1:26 PM

February 21, 2006

Bikers drown out fundamentalist protesters at military funerals

So, these fundamentalist Christians from Westboro Baptist Church are going to the funerals of American victims of the Iraq War to harass the mourners. Why, you ask? Because the deaths are God's punishment on America for "tolerating" homosexuality. Huh? Okay, stay with me now, so bikers come out and run their engines and show their support for the victims and their families by drowning out the offensive Baptists. Got it? Yeah, it's weird. Read all about it in the Army Times this week.

Posted by duver001 at 12:45 PM

In secret, previously declassified documents are being reclassified

It's a pretty bizarre back-attack on Bill Clinton's 1995 declassification order. That was supposed to speed the declassification of materials that had no need to remain secret.

Documents that have been reclassified range from bizarre to embarassing:

  • "The CIA's assessment on 12 October 1950 that Chinese intervention in the Korean War was 'not probable in 1950' - two weeks before Chinese troops crossed into Korea."
  • "A 1962 telegram from the then US ambassador to Yugoslavia containing an English translation of a Belgrade newspaper article on China's nuclear weapons program."
  • "A 1948 memorandum on a CIA scheme to float balloons over countries behind the Iron Curtain to drop propaganda leaflets."

If you made a copy of them while they were public, you may now be in violation of the Espionage Act. Heck, pretty soon owning a copy of the Constitution is likely to be illegal, so a coverup of CIA misdeeds of 60 years ago may be the least of our troubles.

Posted by duver001 at 12:14 PM

February 17, 2006

Not big believers in free speech

Looks like $11M for beheading. Though getting paid would be tough. Less money in this offer. How much are the Saudis offering?

It's important to look at what the rioters are really interested in in Pakistan.

On another front, looking at the timeline, it's clear that the Saudi actions of 26 January are the true trigger for the "row." What is it that the Saudis are wagging the dog for? The tortured Briton seems like a minor matter to the House of Saud. Everyone knows that the Saudis torture people. After all, doesn't Bush send "enemies of the people" there for special treatment? Let's see, what else was going on in the Saudi desert? Oh yeah, a bunch of people died in a stampede just as in years past. And the hostel collapse that killed seventy other people. Was the anger over these Haj failures redirected? Could be.

You can also take a look at the Arab cartoons that have Israelis around the world rioting, burning down embassies, calling for the murder of the cartoonists, and asking for new laws to restrict freedom of speech.

Posted by duver001 at 11:37 AM

February 16, 2006

Bush PR campaign costs taxpayers $1.6B

In addition to the cost of lunatic policies, Bush has been charging us for propaganda to support his policies. $1.6 Billion dollars worth of legally questionable propaganda. Some bits seem sensible enough, boater warnings and National Park paperwork, but there are also partisan campaigns to sell the regimes war in Iraq, gutting of environmental laws, and Medicare fiddlings.

Posted by duver001 at 12:34 PM

UN asks for Gitmo to be closed

Due to torture, inhuman operating conditions, and an abusive use of power. You can read the report here. And see the news articles here (Yahoo News).

The US regime refuses to consider this. And claims that the torture and abuse is, in fact, humane. And that the torture center houses "dangerous terrorists." Well, if so, they could be charged with crimes and their cases put before a judge and jury.

Looking further at who is actually in detention at Guantanamo Bay reveals an interesting story. Most of these people were Arabs arrested in Pakistan (for reward monies) and are not accused of hostilities toward the US. Though after four years of torture and confinement, it's hard to not imagine them wanting some payback now. Only eight of 132 studied are even accused of planning or being involved with potential terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan. Many are just accused by one other person of having some association with the Taliban.

"If you think of the people down there, these are people, all of whom were captured on a battlefield. They're terrorists, trainers, bomb makers, recruiters, financiers, [Osama bin Laden's] bodyguards, would-be suicide bombers, probably the 20th 9/11 hijacker." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld lying on June 27, 2005

Look at prisoner #032 for a case study. Someone who is not one of the "most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth" as Rummy put it, and is neither an enemy nor a combatant.

The "important" prisoners disappeared into CIA custody, and are not in Cuba. They've been ferried in and out of various torture centers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East instead.

Posted by duver001 at 11:54 AM

February 15, 2006

If you haven't looked at hotzone before...

...you should now.

They have an ongoing, excellent, series of articles offering vignettes from both sides of the Israel/Palestine war. Doctors, film-makers, innocent victims. It's good reporting in a blog format.

Posted by duver001 at 3:12 PM

What was the hunting trip all about?

Two single women, a single man, Dick Cheney, and a weekend with Mrs. Cheney nowhere in sight. Pamela Willeford as Cheney's mistress? Would make sense then with the Secret Service having to give a little extra thought to the press releases. And someone the idea of the VP and Halliburton fat-cat along with the ambassador to Lichtenstein (& Switzerland) on their Valentines Day retreat just leaves me laughing. Of course lunatic right-wing Republicans have family values, so she isn't a mistress. Nope, she's an ambassador.

You know, I feel kinda dirty spreading such rumors, but at the very least there's humor in it.

Posted by duver001 at 2:26 PM

Just how complete is our political defeat in Iraq?

Pretty darned complete. We've written the country off to the theocrats. Even the Israelis are concluding that they will miss President Hussein.

And more images of torture, sexual abuse, and murder of prisoners in American custody in Iraq are coming out. Yuck!

I won't bother linking to additional stories of lost freedoms at home. The consequences of this war have been far reaching---not even at the height of the Vietnam War has America been so universally reviled around the world. This administration has thrown away generations of good will in just a few years.

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

February 14, 2006

February 13, 2006

Cartoon menace

"Mr Ihsanoglu has called on the EU to pass laws banning blasphemy." And we should rightly worry about both the fundamentalist Christians and Muslims trying to take away our rights.

Posted by duver001 at 12:12 PM

February 9, 2006

Tom Delay again

In a desperate attempt to distance themselves from Jack Abramhoff and the criminal money-laundering operations, house Republicans have placed Tom Delay on the on the Appropriations Committee and he "also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is currently investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers." A new era in good government!

Posted by duver001 at 11:25 AM

February 8, 2006

What can the president order?

The murder of suspected terrorists in the US? Even if they're US citizens? Wait, didn't we have some rights a few years ago?

Posted by duver001 at 12:05 PM

February 7, 2006

February 6, 2006

Iraq war hoax

Lawrence Wilkerson is so far the highest ranking former member of the Bush intelligence team at the time of the Iraq War planning to speak out. "A hoax on the American people."

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: It makes me feel terrible. I've said in other places that it was-- constitutes the lowest point in my professional life. My participation in that presentation at the UN constitutes the lowest point in my professional life.

I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council. How do you think that makes me feel? Thirty-one years in the United States Army and I more or less end my career with that kind of a blot on my record? That's not a very comforting thing.

DAVID BRANCACCIO [interviewer]: A hoax? That's quite a word.

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Well, let's face it, it was.


You can read Colin Powell's speech of lies at CNN but it's really just a let down. It's not only been proven to be a bunch of lies now, but was known as such at the time.
Posted by duver001 at 2:28 PM

February 4, 2006

Another chickenhawk

Republican creep from Colorado who wears military uniforms to campaign had asked for deferements and never did serve in the military. To add insult to injury, he appears to have a poor record of supporting veterans appropriations.

Posted by duver001 at 3:06 PM

February 2, 2006

Remember expensive gas?

And hopefully your retirement plan invests in Exxon.

Posted by duver001 at 11:59 AM

February 1, 2006

Warrantless searches

It's amazing to me, but quite telling also, that resisting an illegal, warrantless search by the FBI makes the news. I could have sworn that in all of that "freedom" propaganda there was some mention of actually using the freedom rather than just using it as a rhetorical weapon.

Posted by duver001 at 12:05 PM

How the economy is working

Median and Mean Income: Lower
In 2000 the median Income was $46,058 the mean was $62,671
In 2004 the median income was $44,389 the mean was $60,528

Unemployment: Higher
Unemployment in 2000: 4%
Unemployment in 2005: 5.1%
(The labor force participation rate has dropped from approximately 67% in 2000 to approximately 66% in 2005).

People in Poverty: Higher
Number and percentage of Americans Living in Poverty in 2000: 278,944, 11.3%
Number and percentage of Americans Living in Poverty in 2004: 290,605, 12.7%

Number and percentage of those uninsured: Higher
2000 39.8 million 14.2%
2004 45.8 million 15.7%

Americans' personal savings rate dipped into negative territory in 2005, something that hasn't happened since the Great Depression.

While most Americans are worse off and all of the major stock indexes have actually lost money, not everyone is worse off.

For example, Haliburton's Stock Price has doubled.
Exxon Mobil just reported the largest profit ever for a US company and its stock price has increased by over 60%.

Americans with an income exceeding $1,000,000 can look forward an average Bush tax decrease of = $109,415 in 2006.

Posted by duver001 at 11:42 AM

January 30, 2006

Hostage-takers in Iraq

Include the US military. Fortunately the military hasn't been beheading the hostages. Though being found guilty of murdering prisoners in Iraq (see earlier articles) merits just a $3000 fine.

Posted by duver001 at 12:02 PM

January 29, 2006

"AIDS" funds actually used to fund churches

...that encourage the spread of AIDS by their opposition to birth control. Doublespeak a go-go!

Posted by duver001 at 10:14 PM

January 25, 2006

How transparent can you be?

Oh, rather clear I do believe. Putin wants to wipe away the NGOs in Russia. Presto, spy scandal!

Posted by duver001 at 8:58 PM

Business as usual

The Pope says that the duty of the church is to influence our leaders and the Supreme Court looks to be changing a bit. There was also some bit in there about eros and agape but the Bishop of Rome talking about Greek philosophy is a little too serious for this blog I fear.

Posted by duver001 at 8:45 PM

January 24, 2006

The outsourcing of torture

European governments knew about the CIA's torture flights. These were criminal acts violating European human rights laws. Consequences to be determined later... EU governments have been reluctant to release information to the investigator.

Posted by duver001 at 12:21 PM

January 23, 2006

A clear take on the President's criminal behavior

With everything you ever wanted to know about the authorization of wiretaps.

Posted by duver001 at 9:05 PM

Profits up, charges to the government down

One would have to assume that the natural gas industry has paid off the GOP rather well. To say nothing of the Dubya regime weakening of the auditing process which was already quite weak and has been flagrantly violated in recent years (scroll down to the Burlington Resources bit).

Posted by duver001 at 11:44 AM

January 20, 2006

January 17, 2006

And what were the results of the illegal wiretappings?

Not, as Dick Cheney said, "thousands of lives saved" but rather just dead ends and useless information that occupied hundreds of FBI agents. But the administration probably figured they could make up for it by just torturing some folks.

Posted by duver001 at 8:28 AM

January 15, 2006

A real need for education

...on alternative energy. Looks to be some odd versions of NIMBYs. Windmills make the sound of Nazis torturing Jews? Huh?

Posted by duver001 at 9:14 AM

January 11, 2006

Time to talk seriously about impeachment

True, we've been talking about it in humor since he was selected by the Supreme Court as POTUS, but "high crimes" are in evidence aplenty now. Can a Republican majorityin Congress indict their figurehead? Guess we'll find out.

Posted by duver001 at 8:25 PM

Kurt Vonnegut

"The nicest veterans in Schenectady, I thought, the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought."

Posted by duver001 at 8:08 PM

January 10, 2006

January 5, 2006

SUVs a go-go

This is a cute little bit from Europe with the first SUV (or any vehicle) to get a zero crash test rating. Chinese SUVs might take a bit to get into the US market I think. Like be sold as Wal-Mart brand trucks with some sort of Congressional Republican "get-away-with-something-stupid" law as cover.

In a plausibily related note, kids fare the same whether or not they are strapped into multi-ton CO2 machines.

And Physics Today has an article on the physics of car crashes.

Posted by duver001 at 1:00 PM

January 3, 2006

December 30, 2005

December 20, 2005

Back to the J. Edgar Hoover era

As it appears that nearly every US "security" agency has been involved with spying on Americans. Activist groups targetted included environmental groups, animal cruelty (prevention) groups, Greenpeace... It sort of makes sense since we know that Greenpeace was involved with the OKC bombing, and PETA funding the WTC attacks. No wait, someone else was involved in those...

Posted by duver001 at 12:10 PM

December 19, 2005

What your donations to the Bushites can get you


If you have a lot of money, it looks like an extremely good, if distasteful, investment. Forget about the Stock Market, buy a share of the Republican majority. Better returns on your money, and if you're lucky, they'll even make it tax free.

Posted by duver001 at 3:11 PM

Election machines again

Note that in addition to showing that the Florida election machines can be easily hacked now, it's clear that during the 2000 election at least one was. That instance of fraud was caught, but how many weren't? What about 2004? Black box voting, especially where the black box is under the control of partisans, is an amazingly dangerous thing---how can we trust elections? What do we do when reliable exit polls disagree with the official, but unreliable, voting machines?

Posted by duver001 at 3:03 PM

Your freedoms have left the building

No Geneva Convention. No ban on domestic spying.

Posted by duver001 at 2:48 PM

December 16, 2005

More on the Turkish trial

Halted on its first day.

Posted by duver001 at 2:13 PM

December 15, 2005

Quote of the day

Which US Republican president wrote this ?

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Check the extended entry for the answer

President Dwight D. Eisenhower , in a letter to his brother Edgar on November 8, 1954

Posted by duver001 at 4:59 PM

China's execution binge

Amnesty International warned us about this more than four years ago. The US has executed 1000 individuals since the death penalty ban was lifted. But China carries out over 90% of the world's executions. And reports indicate that it's an accelerating program.

If you're willing to go to a right-wing website and have the ability to see some rather horrific pictures... Good to see that the lining up of prisoners and shooting them into a ditch is still in fashion. I'm told that the sign on the woman in the foreground does in fact say "premeditated murder" and her name.

Posted by duver001 at 3:54 PM

Dangers of faith-based prisons

As if it wasn't already obvious...

Posted by duver001 at 3:13 PM

December 14, 2005

December 13, 2005

In the interest of making it clear that religious does not equal political right

The original articles I had seen had him appealing. Looks as though the diocese wasn't moved by his arguments. Oddly enough, I was thumbing through a book on the 1960s antiwar protests and saw a lot of Catholic Worker organizers, demonstrators, and other presence.

Posted by duver001 at 5:21 PM

Torture

It's time to seriously think about the intersection of the United States and the torture of prisoners. It has become clear that hundreds of individuals, brought up much the same way as the rest of us, have murdered and brutally tortured helpless prisoners around the world. It seems evident that, following the Nuremberg Tribunal historical presidence, that the chain of command is guilty. We have the Vice President campaigning against a torture ban, a Secretary of State using every possible turn of phrase to insist that torture is not taking place, and a President that appears to only be caring about his much dwindled support ("Hey, let's talk about undocumented aliens, I mean, illegal immigrants.").

The Nation's Anthony Lewis discusses the administration of torture and the torture administration.

The Nation's editors then join for a condemnation of the torture conspiracy.

Personally I am just horrified (yet again I suppose) at the deeds being done in my name.

Posted by duver001 at 11:12 AM

The Bush regime still has trouble telling lobbyists from journalists

As a Oil Industry shill goes to the Climate Change conference as a journalist. Credentialed by the Washington Times.

Posted by duver001 at 10:50 AM

December 1, 2005

Iraq worse off under the new "democracy"

Says who? How about the US's hand-picked interim president. For example.

Posted by duver001 at 1:42 PM

Small scissors

We're trusted with them on airplanes again. Hmmm...just think of how much safer we are due to the TSA's wonderful policies, now and in the future. Leaves me all warm and fuzzy.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

November 29, 2005

November 28, 2005

Metaphor of the day

SCOTUS facade falls to the ground.

Posted by duver001 at 5:01 PM

November 23, 2005

Pinochet and Al Capone?

Tax fraud charges.

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

November 22, 2005

Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera?

This is, an independent news station, operating out of a friendly country? And was only talked out of it by Tony Blair? I don't know what to say further about the lunatics ru(i)nning our country.

Posted by duver001 at 11:52 AM

"Overheard over S.E. Asia"

Denise Levertov poem, "Overheard over S.E. Asia"

'White phosphorous, white phosphorous

mechanical snow,

where are you falling?'

'I am falling impartially on roads and roofs,

on bamboo thickets, on people.

My name recalls rich seas on rainy nights,

each drop that hits the surface eliciting

luminous response from a million algae.

My name is a whisper of sequins. Ha!

Each of them is a disk of fire,

I am the snow that burns.

I fall

wherever men send me to fall -

but I prefer flesh, so smooth, so dense:

I decorate it in black, and seek

the bone.

Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM

November 17, 2005

A fairly thoughtful article on the Chinese military

There's been so much heated rhetoric on both sides of the debate over the future of the Chinese military. The "inevitable" Sino-American conflict (either over Taiwan or trade) has been hyped in the Atlantic and elsewhere this Fall.

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

November 16, 2005

Willie Peter in Fallujah

The US military use of white phosphorous munitions in Fallujah is getting a lot of press. Especially as a "chemical weapon" according to the original Italian news broadcast and this Guardian commentary. Others disagree that they are, in fact, chemical weapons. I would have to agree, no matter how repulsive they are, fundamentally it's just a different way of lighting people on fire. In Iraq, the US government lights people on fire with conventional explosives, with napalm, and also with white phosphorous (WP). And plenty of people, civilians and fighters alike, die in other horrible manners. It seems to me that the difference here is that for some interpretations of what "chemical weapon" means, WP might fall within that classification. And the public reason for the entry into the war had to deal with lies about weapons of mass destruction such as chemical arms.

Rather, I think the most disturbing part of the story, also seen in the articles above, is the clear murder of the truth. The use of WP was denied repeatedly until sufficient evidence became public that even the Defense Department had to relent and tell the truth. If WP is okay to use on an Iraqi town, which the military obviously believes is the case, then you have to be willing to admit it in public.

The Iraqi government is also investigating what happened in Fallujah.

Posted by duver001 at 10:30 AM

November 15, 2005

Have you heard the politicians saying "even the French thought that there were weapons of mass destruction?"

The web lets one easily show that that is a lie. "He [Mr. Chirac] said France did not have 'undisputed proof' that Iraq still held weapons of mass destruction."

Posted by duver001 at 11:49 AM

Where did US torture techniques come from?

From that benchmark of humanity, North Korea. Yep, North Korean techniques were the basis of the CIA's torture campaign. As long as we keep the moral high ground...

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

November 14, 2005

November 8, 2005

Fujimori at large no longer

Though it remains to be seen if Chile can extradite him to Peru, and what will happen to Peru as a result. It's hard to imagine how Japan has gotten away with just a strict "no extradition of Japanese citizens" policy for so long.

Of course Japan has other curious "racial protection" customs as well.

Posted by duver001 at 11:06 AM

November 7, 2005

Evolution?

Taken from Bob Park's excellent weekly newsletter. "What's New."

EVOLUTION: BUSH ASKS FOR $7B TO FIGHT EVOLVING BIRD-FLU VIRUS.

This is the final week of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board trial in a Harrisburg, PA federal court. Back in August, before the trial was underway, President Bush came down on the side of intelligent design, much to the delight of the religious-right. On Tuesday, however, he announced that he would ask Congress for $7.1 billion to prepare the nation for a worldwide outbreak of flu. It's a hedge against evolution. Although a virulent strain of bird flu has killed at least 62 people in Asia, there have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission. The fear is that the H5N1 virus will mutate (evolve) making that possible. Does this mean that Mr. Bush has changed his mind on evolution?

Posted by duver001 at 3:43 PM

One small (American) tale in one small (American) war

And one small tragedy.

Posted by duver001 at 2:10 PM

France

Though it's nice to not see the National Guard-induced body counts of Watts or South Central in France, it is distressing to see the extent of France's failure to integrate its North African and Asian populations. Or maybe it's inability to have minorities at all.

Posted by duver001 at 11:44 AM

November 4, 2005

Quotes for today

"Democracy is fine so long as people think the right thoughts." - Pope John Paul II , in the 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae

"Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war." - Richard Nixon, Real Peace, 1983

" I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed." - Mahatma Gandhi, May 1940

"These so-called ill-treatments and torturing in concentration camps, stories of which were spread everywhere amongst the people, and particularly by detainees who were liberated by the occupying armies, were not, as assumed, inflicted methodically, but by individual leaders, sub-leaders , and men who laid violent hands on them." - Here's one for you to look up, is this Abu Ghraib being discussed? Or Guantanamo? Or Auschwitz?

Posted by duver001 at 11:15 AM

November 1, 2005

October 31, 2005

Now the Pentagon is willing to do body counts

And estimate the number of civilians killed by the insurgents. Will they calculate how many have been killed by US forces? Not too likely I'd think. An appalling body count all around.

Posted by duver001 at 11:54 AM

Mr. Scalito

Well, it's the lunatic right-wing fringe being represented. Probably not too much of a surprise to see a Scalia clone being brought it. The New York Times is about the same as the Beeb on this one.

Posted by duver001 at 11:51 AM

October 26, 2005

Another liberal bashing the crazed war in Iraq, the ridiculous nomination of Harriet Miers, and the fiasco of Katrina

Oh wait, it's Pat Buchanan. "2000 dead - and for what?" Darn it, it hurts to agree with Pat.

Posted by duver001 at 11:31 AM

The FBI abusing its Patriot Act powers?

Just shocking!

Posted by duver001 at 11:21 AM

October 25, 2005

Coleman vs. Galloway, round 2

Minnesota's embarassing senator is pushing ahead with a his fight against the UK Labour Party's most embarassing refugee. "They have been cavalier with any idea of process and justice so far, but I am still willing to go to the US and I am still willing to face any charge of perjury before the senate committee ." - George Galloway

Posted by duver001 at 10:33 AM

October 24, 2005

DeLay makes first court appearance...

...to answer charges of using corporate money in his political campaigns by traveling in the R. J. Reynolds corporate jet. Irony is so dead and buried.

Posted by duver001 at 11:23 AM

October 18, 2005

Stalinist laser printers

In the bad old days of the Soviet Union, everyone who owned a typewriter was required to submit a typed page from it. That way the authors of subversive litrature could be tracked down.

Today, the US government has made a quick and simple automation of the process in order to track "counterfeiters." Color laser printers hide their serial numbers in prints. Bought it with a credit card? Filled in the registration card? Downloaded an updated driver? Congrats, you're entered in the database.

Posted by duver001 at 11:18 AM

October 17, 2005

Warnings from the UK

On the dangers of the new security laws. Likened to Nazi ordinances, though that of course limits possible discussion, unfortunately, by a group of judges, lawyers, and politicians.

And we're reminded, in the 40th anniversary of the start of the Indonesian civil war/genocide/internal troubles/political extermination of 1/2 -2 million people, of the dangers of democratic government support of mass murder. Few such massacres enjoyed as much tacit support from London and Washington as the Indonesian extermination of the local communist party, and anyone else they felt like getting rid of.

Indonesia. Chile. Argentina. Guatemala. Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Uganda. Iran. Ethiopia. It's a long, and sad list, of the failures of the "civilized" western democracies to oppose what we claim to despise.

Posted by duver001 at 11:50 AM

October 13, 2005

Zimbabwe opposition and the upcoming election

There's a strong split developing over whether or not to boycott the elections. The elections are likely to be fair, but should one then chose to not vote? It's not too clear.

I'll also refrain from talking about Diebold and a statistical analysis of the 2004 presidential election. You're welcome!

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

October 12, 2005

Poverty and women's health

From the BBC. The lack of real investment in the health of women in many of the world's most populous nations has serious economic consequences. Yup, like most news, it needs to have an economic spin on it. What about the misery? At least here we're agreeing on what the problem is.


The figure is obviously of considerable import, though not discussed in the article except in the context of HIV/AIDS. Something to think about...

Posted by duver001 at 11:28 AM

October 11, 2005

Attempts at reform...village by village...

And the reformers being beaten. China's very slight democratic changes.

Posted by duver001 at 10:50 AM

October 7, 2005

Bush hurts himself with his base!

Denies that God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by duver001 at 3:07 PM

Serbia will try the "video executioners"

The five members of the Scorpion police unit whose video of Bosnian murders shock up Serbia this past year will be tried. It's a small step. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are still at large.

Posted by duver001 at 1:51 PM

October 3, 2005

Making plans for Cuba

Given how our other democratization programs have gone...how much faith do you have in this? Or do we just call it the Give-Cuba-Back-to-the-Dole Corporation Act?

The Posada Carilles case seems to illustrate the US stance. Our terrorist, good! Your terrorist, bad.

Posted by duver001 at 2:23 PM

September 29, 2005

Again, bad studies

Okay, so the study on religion and societies ills (my entry here) is hardly to most outstanding item of scholarship. I hear you, Jill.

Instead, let's look at it this way...


  • The US leads the industrialized world in teen pregnancy, child mortality, inequality of income, foolishness of our elected leaders, and violence.
  • The US also leads the industrialized world in religiousness, in the fraction of people who claim to lead a religiously ethical life, and the fraction who claim to make their lives a "shining example" of such choices.
  • There is a disconnect between these facts.
  • There might be some correlation between them, that is, perhaps, religion is not a useful/positive trait at some point in a society or culture's development. Or what people think is "religion" is something perverted to serve the upper-class, or similar.
  • There might not be a correlation between them, that is, the two are either wholly independent, or are caused by some further underlying cause. Let's look at those possibilities:
    • Independent...hmmm...okay, I suppose that leaves us with the null result. The US is highly religious and highly messed up, but they're not connected at all. Could be true, but looking at what the "religious right" wants, or how tightly the religious impulses of the US tie to policy (just think of teen pregnancy, religious groups push "just say no" which certainly could have a different effect than "just say safe sex"), it doesn't feel reasonable.
    • Underlying cause. Okay, there's a lot of theory can go into here. Those in power use religion to hold onto power. People aren't genuinely religious, but are hooked instead to the power dynamic. Or a Marxist take. The ruling class still has more power in the US, therefore they keep the population drugged with theology. Or any number of other theories.

  • This study/paper implies a strong connection between religion and social ills. Though the methodology isn't so hot, can we rule out the conclusion? I'm not sure. We might be able to, perhaps even by a statistical arguement. The US is an extreme outrider on ALL of the distributions. Maybe there's evidence for an additional variable?

Posted by duver001 at 3:35 PM

September 26, 2005

Project Censored

Always one of the most important links of the year. The end of open government, the civilian deaths in Iraq, the Diebolding of the election, 1984 cameras, and the purpose of "Homeland Security." Makes you feel proud to be an American.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

Destruction of IRA arms

Appears to have been accomplished.

Posted by duver001 at 10:30 AM

September 22, 2005

The FBI's top priority!

"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."

When FBI supervisors in Miami met with new interim U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta last month, they wondered what the top enforcement priority for Acosta and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would be.

Would it be terrorism? Organized crime? Narcotics trafficking? Immigration? Or maybe public corruption?

The agents were stunned to learn that a top prosecutorial priority of Acosta and the Department of Justice was none of the above. Instead, Acosta told them, it's obscenity. Not pornography involving children, but pornographic material featuring consenting adults.

Acosta's stated goal of prosecuting distributors of adult porn has angered federal and local law enforcement officials, as well as prosecutors in his own office. They say there are far more important issues in a high-crime area like South Florida, which is an international hub at risk for terrorism, money laundering and other dangerous activities.

His own prosecutors have warned Acosta that prioritizing adult porn would reduce resources for prosecuting other crimes, including porn involving children. According to high-level sources who did not want to be identified, Acosta has assigned prosecutors porn cases over their objections.

Posted by duver001 at 10:40 AM

September 16, 2005

And women's rights in Pakistan

Musharraf calls rape a scheme for women to make money and get visas. Out of touch? You think?

Posted by duver001 at 11:26 AM

September 15, 2005

Interesting plot of presidential approval numbers

From the Washington Post. Thanks, Anne!

Posted by duver001 at 6:17 PM

September 13, 2005

See some of the financial cost of the war

Dollars and exotic cars.

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 AM

September 12, 2005

New US nuclear policy?

To use nuclear weapons preemptively against nations and/or terrorist entities. Though it was embarassing enough for the Pentagon to pull the original documents from their website.

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 AM

No rule of sharia in Ontario

Yup, another attempt at being inclusive fails when it's realized that it's actually divisive. Now the future of sharia in Iraq...that's a bigger question mark.

Posted by duver001 at 11:23 AM

September 10, 2005

Colin Powell regrets the mess in Iraq

And calls his UN speech a "blot on his record." We all knew that already, but it's nice to see that he didn't take as long as McNamera to understand his collusion with evil.

Posted by duver001 at 4:05 PM

September 8, 2005

A tour through New Orleans by boat

Here.

Best quote: "In the driveway lay a survivalist's arsenal: two transistor radios, a cell phone, a half-empty bottle of Napa Valley zinfandel, tobacco, a pipe and some blackberry soda." Survivalist blackberry soda, who'd have thunk it?

Posted by duver001 at 10:43 AM

September 7, 2005

"Islam may not be incompatible with democracy, but Locke and Montesquieu take you there more directly."

A great comparison of Philly 1787 to Baghdad 2005. I'm sure you can think of your own additions to the list.

Posted by duver001 at 2:09 PM

Dubya, Katrina, and all

Well, what to say about humor? Dubya's biography might seem funny at first. But it really isn't, is it? Nor are his reactions, real or imagined, to the problems in the south. Are these guys funny? Nope, not funny either.

How about reports that FEMA wasn't interested in hearing about what a storm like Katrina would do? "The scenario was dubbed Hurricane Pam: 120 mph winds, a massive storm surge, 20 feet of water in the city, 80 percent of buildings damaged, refugees on rooftops, possibly gun violence that would slow the rescue." The response that Americans don't live in tents could have been funny, but probably isn't.

Not funny at all is a look at the failures of the Department of Homeland Security.

September 6, 2005

Election geeks rejoice!

Eight days with four big elections. I'm sure you can find some reasonable news stories, but the best hope for discussion appears to be at plastic.

Posted by duver001 at 9:55 AM

August 31, 2005

India on a weapon buying spree

$5.7B in 2004.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

August 28, 2005

"It pains me to hear that more people should die because those people have died."

Trying to understand what Bush wants to do with Iraq now that the quagmire is clear to everyone? Aren't we all?

Posted by duver001 at 8:02 PM

Soldiers die because they're protecting...

...gay Americans? Bizarre even for the Christian Right I'd think.

Posted by duver001 at 7:01 PM

August 25, 2005

More Pat Robertson

As radical cleric Pat Robertson may have made money on making those comments about Chavez I worry a little about whether the bad guys are smarter than we are. Some of his previous quotes would be evidence against that contention though...

On Who Should Be In Charge Here:

"We have enough votes to run the country. And when the people say, 'We've had enough,' we are going to take over." April 1980 "Washington for Jesus" rally

"I think 'one man, one vote,' just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights." 700 Club broadcast of March 18th, 1992 on why white South African votes ought to count more than non-white votes.

Pat Robertson constitutional law expert:

"A Supreme Court ruling is not the Law of the United States. The law of the United Sates is the Constitution, treaties made in accordance with the Constitution, and laws duly enacted by the Congress and signed by the president. And any of those things I would uphold totally with all of my strength, whether I agreed with them or not.... I am bound by the laws of the United States and all 50 states ... [but] I am not bound by any case or any court to which I myself am not a party.... I don't think the Congress of the United States is subservient to the courts.... They can ignore a Supreme Court ruling if they so choose. Interview in the Washington Post June 27th, 1986"

"The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. 700 Club broadcast of December 30th, 1981"

"Supreme Court decisions are binding in the court systems ... but in terms of general law, which binds every citizen, why should you and I be bound because of the ineptitude, if you will, or the skill of one or more defense lawyers, or the plaintiffs in any particular lawsuit?" 700 Club broadcast of October 23rd, 1987

On why September 11th happened:

"We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God's eye and said we're going to legislate you out of the schools. We're going to take your commandments from off the courthouse steps in various states. We're not going to let little children read the commandments of God. We're not going to let the Bible be read, no prayer in our schools. We have insulted God at the highest levels of our government. And then we say, 'Why does this happen?'

Well, why it's happening is that God Almighty is lifting his protection from us." 700 Club broadcast of September 13th, 2001

Pat Robertson on gender issues:

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." 1992 fundraising letter

"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." 700 Club broadcast of January 8th, 1992

Posted by duver001 at 6:39 PM

August 23, 2005

Religion and science in America today


The continuing story of how we define this country. Whose country? Whose ideas? Which freedoms? Which path? The BBC reporting on the growing number of scientists concerned about the anti-science being pushed by the religious leaders of the US. There's so much back material to this. What happens when I mention that I do physics for example. Comments of "I did badly in math" or the like are really the most typical connection. Add in a virulently anti-modernist agenda from the right-wing theocrats-in-waiting, and you have the current situation in the States. (Don't believe that the Intelligent Design and related attacks are a planned afront to rationalism? Read their own "Wedge Plan.")

Does it make sense to quote the "founding fathers?" Of course one could find rival quotation I suppose.

"It is owing to this long interregnum of science, and to no other cause, that we have now to look back through a vast chasm of many hundred years to the respectable characters we call the Ancients. Had the progression of knowledge gone on proportionably with the stock that before existed, that chasm would have been filled up with characters rising superior in knowledge to each other; and those Ancients we now so much admire would have appeared respectably in the background of the scene. But the christian system laid all waste; and if we take our stand about the beginning of the sixteenth century, we look back through that long chasm, to the times of the Ancients, as over a vast sandy desert, in which not a shrub appears to intercept the vision to the fertile hills beyond." - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man. They are still so in many countries and even in some of these United States. Even in 1783, we doubted the stability of our recent measures for reducing them to the footing of other useful callings. It now appears that our means were effectual." - Thomas Jefferson, 1800

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." - James Madison, 1785

"As I have now given you my reasons for believing that the Bible is not the Word of God, that it is a falsehood, I have a right to ask you your reasons for believing the contrary; but I know you can give me none, except that you were educated to believe the Bible; and as the Turks give the same reason for believing the Koran, it is evident that education makes all the difference, and that reason and truth have nothing to do in the case. You believe in the Bible from the accident of birth, and the Turks believe in the Koran from the same accident, and each calls the other infidel. But leaving the prejudice of education out of the case, the unprejudiced truth is, that all are infidels who believe falsely of God, whether they draw their creed from the Bible, or from the Koran, from the Old Testament, or from the New." [...] "It is often said in the Bible that God spake unto Moses, but how do you know that God spake unto Moses? Because, you will say, the Bible says so. The Koran says, that God spake unto Mahomet, do you believe that too? No. Why not? Because, you will say, you do not believe it; and so because you do, and because you don't is all the reason you can give for believing or disbelieving except that you will say that Mahomet was an impostor. And how do you know Moses was not an impostor?" - Thomas Paine, 1797

Posted by duver001 at 8:18 PM

Outlawing lip syncing?

Turkmenistan's president bans lip synching. This follows bans on opera, ballet, gold teeth, and restrictions on long hair and beards. Saparmurat Niyazov's cult of personality has always been a bit weird, but seeing lip synching as a threat is sure evidence of deep thinking about the future direction of his nation. All hail Kibo!

The fearless leader has also banned recorded music on TV and at live events. I'm starting to see a trend here! In fact, "radio and television programmes are dominated by performances of his own poems and philosophical writings set to music." Must be a fun country.

Ah yes, there are ongoing efforts to Turkmenify the population. They recently celebrated Melon Day and the fearless leader had a 300 square meter rug commissioned entitled "The 21st century: the epoch of the great Saparmurat Niyazov." That's ego! (Of course, by writing this, I have virutally eliminated the possibility of visiting Turkmenistan without getting to visit a finely crafted prison cell for a couple of days. Darn!) On the other hand, they granted citizenship to 16,000 refugees from neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan so they are at least responsible in that way.

Are there other good Saparmurat Niyazov stories? Post them here!

Looking at the Wikipedia, there's also the closure of libraries and hospitals, replacing doctors with army constripts, building an ice palace in the middle of the desert, the statues of himself, the super-expensive mosque, and banning makeup for TV announcers. Sounds like a lower-rent, maybe somewhat friendlier, version of North Korea.

Oh yeah, and from the opposition website some English language news on Turkmenistan including banning converted LHD vehicles.

The government site is pretty interesting as well. The Visa application form is available online.

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 AM

Where is Tony Blair?

The English papers have been asking the question. We know that Dubya spends most of his time snorting coke and on vacation in Texas, but the Brits aren't used to their leader disappearing.

Though there is a rumor that Blair is in the Caribbean on holiday, we know better! He's taking some time off in Vancouver, BC to learn how to skate.

Skateboarding that is. Reliable reports indicate that Tony Hawk and Tony Blair are practicing some phat moves in parking lots and the stairs of government buildings across the Hong Kong of the West. The Tonymeister was last seen wearing a "Skateboarding is not a crime" cutoff and demanding that The Urinal's first 7" be played louder.

Downing Street had no comment, but unnamed sources in the government confirmed that the Blairster had indeed taken up a new "recreational activity" and would be training the best experts in the world. Earlier reports that this activity was bicycling were proven wrong when Lance Armstrong showed up in Crawford, TX to ride with Dubya and ask for some political cover. The French have finally proven his performance-enhancing drug use, but we know that just starting to call that certain food item "Freedom Fries" will shut them up.

We now speculate that skateboarding is intended as a second occupation for Bliar. He had noted that he would not stand for PM in the next elections, so what would be a more natural job than as a professional skateboarder? He would be the clear front-runner in the "former leader of a nation" skate class/category.

Posted by duver001 at 10:35 AM

Kucinich gets married

Although a single man has been president before, this is bound to help his chances in 2008. And would whoever stole the Kucinich sign from my lawn last summer please return it!

Posted by duver001 at 10:01 AM

August 22, 2005

Zimbabwe evictions and film of the aftermath

Amnesty International got some film out of Zimbabwe showing the squalid conditions after the slum clearances. Despite claims to the contrary, the evictions and home demolitions appear to continue. No sign that the UN, or South Africa, have any real interest in doing anything.

Posted by duver001 at 12:33 PM

August 16, 2005

South Africa fears for a "failed state" in Zimbabwe

Not that they've been doing too much constructively there in Harare.

Posted by duver001 at 3:35 PM

August 15, 2005

WMD found in Iraq!

Oh yeah, the lab is new since the US invasion. False alarm, nothing to see here. More along.

Posted by duver001 at 7:43 AM

August 14, 2005

August 13, 2005

August 12, 2005

Finally, the link between bin Laden and the Iraq government!

Oooops! That's our Iraqi government, not Saddam's.

Posted by duver001 at 7:26 PM

How congress works

Sometimes Rolling Stone is able to put out a good article. Here their writer, Matt Taibbi, follows Bernie Sanders around as he tries to do a little good in the midst of the energy bill corporate giveaway and the Patriot Act machinations.

Posted by duver001 at 6:48 PM

August 7, 2005

Mean spirited?

Bush jokes.

Posted by duver001 at 10:28 AM

Understanding SUVs and the Iraq War

I'll let the article speak for itself...

"Masculine overcompensation is the idea that men who are insecure about their masculinity will behave in an extremely masculine way as compensation. I wanted to test this idea and also explore whether overcompensation could help explain some attitudes like support for war and animosity to homosexuals," Willer said. [...] Masculinity-threatened participants also showed more interest in buying an SUV. "There were no increases for other types of cars," Willer said.

Posted by duver001 at 9:09 AM

No fraternizing!

Yup, our employers can ban fraternizing off-work-time of their workers. Might hurt with union organization? I'll bet they never thought of that! We can think of the other uses of such a ban, can't we?

Posted by duver001 at 7:46 AM

August 2, 2005

Bombay thoughts...

Travel for lack of a better suggested category.

Bombay, Bollywood, Monsoon season. It was quite an experience seeing the city shortly after the huge, killer floods. Garbage, sewage, and water all over the streets. But not over all of the streets. And no longer waist or neck deep.

Random thoughts:
- saw about 1/2 hour of a Bollywood flick at a little shack/street vendor...ate samosas there and watched the film...looked like he was stealing electricity for the TV with a bunch of tangled wires running down from a building...I am going to get the plague I fear, but the food was good!
- speaking of food...Indian food...yup, it's one of the luxuries of the US I think...we get good food of most every type (okay, I know, we also have some really crappy food, but we have good stuff of most types available)...so the good Indian food I've had here is not too different from good Indian food in the US...Udupi in Minneapolis for example
- my hotel in Bombay (or Mumbai, we can talk about those politics some other time) also tried to do "English breakfast" with limited success...they had potatoes with "paprika" but the paprika was some truly hot pepper...tasty, but not exactly what was planned I think...and it's hard to picture some older Brit biting into a four alarm breakfast
- Garlic Naan, yay!
- Politics also...what to say? It definitely feels evil to stay in a nice hotel, drink bottled water, type on a laptop, while outside people slop around in sewage, live on the sidewalks, scrounge for a basic existence. Of course that's true whether I'm here visiting or not. Whether I'm in my first world home in the States or my substitute first world hotel home in India. But what to do about it?
- The meeting looks a bit muddled at this point. There's no posted schedule. In theory there will be transportation tomorrow AM to the meeting leaving from the hotel. No one seems to know about that.

Posted by duver001 at 5:22 AM

July 30, 2005

The IRA

Well, the murdurous thugs who hid behind "Irish Unification" have decided to call it quits. Things are moving quickly with UK army posts being removed as well. A short history of the Provos is here on the BBC website. More than 3600 deaths since 1968. Bombings, random killings, and kneecappings. The London transit bombings must have helped with this decision---it was bad enough for the IRA to be in bed with Libyan intelligence (oh heck, and the Nazis back during WW2), and the Colombian connections, but Osama plus Gerry Adams was too much of a negative image.

Posted by duver001 at 10:24 AM

July 28, 2005

Protecting corporate interests, circa 1950

Local band forced to drop 'olympic' from moniker
(AP) - A popular Twin Cities rock band never thought the U.S. Olympic Committee would be one of the things keeping it from reaching the top. But that's exactly what has happened to the Olympic Hopefuls.

The band was forced to dropped "Olympic" from its moniker to avoid legal action from the USOC. The word "olympic" was trademarked in a little-known congressional act in 1950. The USOC says major corporations pay millions for the rights to the Olympic name. That money helps support U-S teams.

The committee says overuse of the name could keep hinder fund-raising efforts.

Posted by duver001 at 2:30 PM

July 26, 2005

A good summary of the Plame Affair

At the Minneapolis local City Pages with some good links as well.

Posted by duver001 at 12:52 PM

Labor coverage

The Nation covers the AFL-CIO split. Why is there a business section in the paper, but no labor section? Seems pretty weird.

Posted by duver001 at 12:44 PM

People starving in North Korea and Zimbabwe

And those two governments have what in common? They're both (North Korea and Zimbabwe) being propped up by the Chinese government. If you want help without criticism of your human rights record, and willing to hand over mineral rights (Zim) or whatever the heck the North Koreans can offer, maybe not sending millions of refuges across the borner, then China is where to look for your help.

See also the discussion on plastic.com.

Posted by duver001 at 12:35 PM

July 25, 2005

Eight days in July

Rove, Gonzales, Roberts, and Plame.

Posted by duver001 at 1:00 PM

Slate (and Nation) fest

I used to be pretty consistent in reading Christopher Hitchens in The Nation and now have to admit to reading a bit of his work in Slate as well. In fact, I have a slew of interesting Slate articles to link to here. Can't say I agree with all of them, but there's some good Bosnia and Zimbabwe articles here.

Posted by duver001 at 12:13 PM

July 21, 2005

"Nonlethal" weapons to be tested on Iraqis

Since the utility of such a weapon is largely for domestic population control, we can probably expect these deployed for the 2008 Republican National Convention. CNN coverage. And you can see more at the Sandia site. Or join the Slashdot discussion.

From the article:

Burn injury is prevented by limiting the beam's intensity and duration.

Yup, we can trust the police and military to use this safely. Certainly their first concerns will be for the innocents.

Posted by duver001 at 12:35 PM

July 20, 2005

July 19, 2005

Westmoreland Obit in quotes

"Orientals don't place the same value on human life as we do." Gen. Westmoreland

"Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind." Gen. Westmoreland

"We were in the jungle. There were too many of us. We had access to too much money, too much equipment and little by little we went insane." Francis Coppola, on making Apocalypse Now

...General Westmoreland embarked on a whirlwind tour of the U.S. to testify before Congress and drum up support for the Johnson Administration. "With 1968," he said, speaking before the National Press Club in Washington, "a new phase is starting .. we have reached an important point where the end begins to come into view." In a televised news conference, he used the phrase "light at the end of the tunnel" to describe improved U.S. fortunes, repeating almost word- for-word a prognostication made by French General Henri Navarre in May of 1953. From, ehistory.

A correspondent once asked General Westmoreland, the American commanding general and architect of the war, what he thought of how the French fought the war and was he studying the lessons of the French? He said, "Why should I study the lessons of the French? They haven't won a war since Napoleon." This was the American attitude of total arrogance. From an interview with Col. David Hackworth.

Posted by duver001 at 3:59 PM