More Insight

Friday, May 30, 2008


A letter to Congress from Doug Giebel:

Dear Members of the House and Senate:

I will be brief and dispense with a humorous opening, for men, women, children and this planet are in distress.

I will not congratulate you or extoll your virtues, because you all are most experienced masters of the mutual admiration arts.

Instead, let me ask a question.

What was that oath of office to which you swore?

Did you swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?

Yes.You did.

But what have you done lately to uphold that hallowed oath?

You in this august assembly who have defended the Bush Administration's propaganda, blunders and lies must be reminded that whatever administration holds office, that administration is not the Constitution of the United States. And when an administration defies, subverts or ignores constitutional principles, it is your sworn duty to choose protecting the Constitution over condoning vile political acts and policies.

Of course, one expects Bush Administration supporters in Congress to toe the party line, no matter how obscenely it may violate supposedly-sacred constitutional demands. But what of those, mostly Democrats, who oppose Bush-Cheney policies and actions? Again, that oath you took has been abandoned at a time when it should be most honored. Unfortunately, you have deliberately chosen to play the Game of Politics at the expense of protecting individual rights and liberties.

How many times has Karl Rove or some other reluctant Bush Administration operative been "invited" to appear before one of your seemingly-endless hearing line-up? Finally, as the magical witching hour of the election draws near, a subpoena has been issued for Mr. Rove to appear, not immediately, but sometime in July. May we confidently expect that his hearing will be conveniently postponed?

It is obvious you Democrats are deliberately stalling. You are avoiding without embarrassment the necessity of holding this current administration accountable for its (and for some of your own) misdeeds. To their everlasting shame, your leaders are as obscenely unwilling to confront Bush Administration wrongdoing as that administration has been willing to abort fairness, constitutional rights and basic human decency in its pursuit of an agenda aimed at destroying America's economy, reputation and principles.

Tell us, Democratic leaders: Will the hapless Scott McClellan now be invited to a round of hearings so that you all may publicly express how you are "Shocked, shocked, shocked!" by his belated revelations of what everyone has known for years?

Whatever happened to the calls of Republicans such as Bruce Fein, Robert Barr and others for an investigation of Bush Administration high crimes and misdemeanors? Why are so many Democrats unwilling to join Representative Robert Wexler and his small band of Minutemen and Minutewomen in their effort to "do the right thing"?

Seldom has this nation been so poorly served by its elected officials.

You took an oath, but you didn't take it seriously.

A plague. A plague on both your houses.

Oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God

Too Good to Skimp

Here's the rest of the RFK Jr speech from NY last year, including BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast blasting voter fraud, severe education shortcomings, and pleading for you to steal his book.

Don't pretend for a moment that Kennedy is just scratching his face, he's actually giving you the finger.

All of you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pentagon, Baby Gone!

"I don't want to leave you with the impression that this provides us a whole lot...the department as a whole will then run out of critical funding," sobbed DoD spokesman, Bryan Whitman, phishing for sympathy.

The Pentagon announced that it's going to "shift" $9.7 Billion of its budget for the war effort, "but warned on Wednesday it will run out of money if the U.S. Congress does not approve more funding by mid-July."

Sucks, don't it? I mean, if I had to shuffle around about 1/50th of my budget as a sign that I need more money, it would be a tough step to take.

Luckily, the Pentagon made a little room last week when an internal audit revealed that $15 billion were no longer burning in their pockets. As it turns out, they just plain lost it, can't account for it, don't really know what happened with it.

The new SCHIP, healthcare for poor kids, would've cost about half of this amount per year. Sorry poor sick kids, but that money is better spent being lost.

For perspective on how outrageous this is, according to the 2007 CIA World Factbook, 109 countries - entire nations - EACH had a gross domestic product (GDP) of less than the $15 Billion our Pentagon most recently lost.

That's more than the combined GDP of the poorest 31 nations on our earth. What a slap in the face that must be!

That is the depth of the incompetence of this administration.

While it may not be surprising that they let this happen, I am absolutely perplexed why when these audits come out almost every year with similar waste, that no one is held accountable, why the same people are still in charge, why no one is held responsible for losing a STAGGERING amount of the public's money - YOUR tax dollars, vanished.

And our only response is to give the same people another $165 billion of our money, crossing our fingers that this time will be different.

Go Democracy, Go!


One of my mentors sent this article by Charley Reese to me today, and 2 decades behind, many have probably seen this - an 'updated' version - before, but I think it's worth repeating.


By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices, 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.

They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.

I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.

The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a

Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the Speaker of the House?

She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no unsolvable government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

While I agree, especially about voting the losers out and cleaning house, I think it's unwise to pretend that the 545 are the only culpable and that every one of the 545 deserves the same degree of blame.

Of course there are certainly those within the 545 who are trying to reform the body (Kucinich, Waxman and Wexler first come to mind).

But it is irresponsible to let the blame, and apparently all the power, end with the 545.

I would place equal amount of blame on the 300 million who not only stood by and did nothing while their constitutional and human rights were made a mockery of, but continue to elect and support such offensive negligence, irresponsibility and greed.

The 'power' essentially lies with the public, who have failed to use and instead willfully allow the 545 to usurp it.

And of course we can't forget the corporations behind most of it. From pacifying a literally revolutionary culture into a consumer nation, where especially news and information is commercialized, we're all less informed; to the buying off of the weak 545 through lobbyists and campaign contributions.

And lastly let us not forget to blame ourselves, we who believe something is certainly amiss, for merely recognizing and endlessly complaining about the 545 instead of doing something productive like REALLY raising awareness beyond our inner circles and actually holding the 545 accountable for selling off our once great nation and literally, to our faces, handing us the bill to pay for it all.



The more I think about it, the more I completely disagree with him as I realize that what Reese was saying wasn't anything profound, new, or even accurate; it just sounds good - it's an appealing resolution to all our problems to scapegoat an insignificantly small percentage of individuals, freeing ourselves of any semblance of blame, responsibility, or patriotic duty to action.

It sounds neat and tidy and problem solved, pat yourself on the back and wash your hands clean because "they" have everything to do with it and only "they" can and should do anything about it. It sounds good. But it's harmfully wrong.

This is a tragically shallow understanding of the nature of the problems at hand, and displays an especially ignorant contempt for human complexity, let alone group complexity.

And not only is he just disrespectfully lumping together many elected federal officials as uniform in nature, but he's excusing himself and everyone else from ever having to do anything about it.

And the worst part is that by spreading a message like this, he's deceiving people into docility, advising complete abdication of civic responsibility. It's startlingly dangerous to advocate sheepish, hands-off, blame-free behaviors and attitudes to a public that needs now, more than ever since 1775, to move to action and defend the rule of law from tyranny home and abroad, and to uphold the integrity of democracy.

The United States is not meant to be an oligarchy, don't encourage it to be.

iViva Castro!

Yes, Fidel Castro still viva, and is writing, it seems.

The Guardian is publishing a recent article he wrote for Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper. A translated version of the entire original article can be found here.

'It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing Barack Obama's speech delivered at the Cuban American National Foundation last Friday. I feel no resentment towards him, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries a favour. I have therefore no reservations about criticising him and expressing myself frankly.

What were Obama's statements? "Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice and repression in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy ... I won't stand for this injustice ... I will maintain the embargo."

This man who is doubtless, from the social and human points of view, the most progressive candidate for the US presidency, portrays the Cuban revolution as anti-democratic and lacking in respect for freedom and human rights. It is the same argument US administrations have used again and again to justify crimes against our country. The blockade is an act of genocide. I don't want to see US children inculcated with those shameful values.

No small and blockaded country like ours would have been able to hold its ground for so long on the basis of ambition, vanity, deceit or the abuse of power, the kind of power its neighbour has. To state otherwise is an insult to the intelligence of our heroic people.

I am not questioning Obama's great intelligence, his debating skills or his work ethic. He is a talented orator and is ahead of his rivals in the electoral race. Nevertheless, I am obliged to raise a number of delicate questions. I do not expect answers; I wish only to raise them for the record.

Is it right for the president of the US to order the assassination of any one person in the world, whatever the pretext? Is it ethical for the president of the US to order the torture of other human beings? Should state terrorism be used by a country as powerful as the US as an instrument to bring peace to the planet?

Is an Adjustment Act, applied as punishment to only one country, Cuba, in order to destabilise it, good and honourable when it costs innocent children and mothers their lives? Are the brain drain and the continuous theft of the best scientific and intellectual minds in poor countries moral and justifiable?

Is it fair to stage pre-emptive attacks? Is it honourable and sane to invest millions and millions of dollars in the military-industrial complex, to produce weapons that can destroy life on earth several times over? Is that the way in which the US expresses its respect for freedom, democracy and human rights?

Before judging our country, Obama should know that Cuba - with its education, health, sports, culture and science programmes, implemented not only in its own territory but also in other poor countries around the world, and in spite of the economic and financial blockade and the aggression of his powerful country - is proof that much can be done with very little. Cuba has never subordinated cooperation with other countries to ideological requirements. We offered the US our help when hurricane Katrina lashed the city of New Orleans. Our revolution can mobilise tens of thousands of doctors and health technicians. It can mobilise an equally vast number of teachers and citizens who are willing to travel to any corner of the world to fulfil any noble purpose, not to usurp rights or take possession of raw materials.

The goodwill and determination of people constitute limitless resources that would not fit in the vault of a bank. They cannot spring from the hypocritical politics of an empire.'

Not bad, for Satan

Best Entertained, Least Informed

Brain tumors and assassination remarks aside, the Kennedys still got it

"80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life is (im)Peachy

Yesterday afternoon, Ralph Nader spoke in front of the White House, calling for the resignation of President Bush and Vice President Cheney based on 5 impeachable offenses
  1. Criminal war against Iraq (13:15)
  2. Torture Policy (15:10)
  3. Arresting Americans without charges or Habeas Corpus (16:00)
  4. Signing Statement abuse (16:20)
  5. Spying on Americans in violation of FISA (17:10)

He's not alone. The Iraq Veterans Against the War testified recently in front of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, calling for similar action, which can be viewed here

There is a large online community (getting over 1.2 million google hits) calling for impeachment as well.

Representative Robert Wexler (D-FL) has joined Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) bill, H.R. 333, to impeach Vice President Cheney. The legislation is already out there, but without the pressure on Congress to hold the hearings.

Special Assassination

'Special' Apology

Friday, May 23, 2008

Moye Morers

Bill Moyers discusses the wealth of resignations of Bush political appointees as corruption runs rampant.

Support journalism with integrity and don't let its budget be cut any further

Manufactured Threats

It's easy to forget that this administration launched a 'global' war on terror that extends beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. They have tried to make the case for action against North Korea, Syria. Now there is an extensive effort to drum up support for unilaterally attacking Iran. Hugo Chavez has never been a friend of the Bush administration, and he's paid for it with anti-Venezuelan propaganda, including this latest attempt to build a case using Colombia as a tool. It reeks of the fables we heard against Iran and N. Korea, and the media campaign to support action leading up to the invasion of Iraq.
After the Colombian military illegally attacked a FARC camp in Ecuador in March with US assistance, the Uribe government claimed to have found laptops belonging to the rebels that they say show clear ties between the FARC, Venezuela and Ecuador. The Colombian government handed these laptops to Interpol for verification, but what did Interpol really find?

'[T]he demonization campaign seems to be reaching another level nowadays. Look at these developments. A US Navy surveillance plane—the Pentagon admitted they had entered Venezuelan airspace. They are trying to resurrect, in fact, the force fleet. And on top of it, the Pentagon plans to build a Colombian military base near Venezuela's border. So where are we heading next?

...This is, along with the disinformation campaign, there's clearly a sort of escalation of provocations. And I would say that it's roughly similar in some ways to the escalation of provocations with Iran. And it's very hard to know what is happening inside the Bush administration right now. At no point has it been characterized by transparency, and in that respect it's very much like the Colombian regime of Alvaro Uribe—they're joined at the hip; they're sort of Siamese twins. But right now it's not clear what exactly is going on in terms of this sort of escalation of provocation, but it looks very much like the pattern we see in Iran. And it's incredibly worrisome, because Colombia's violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty was one of the gravest breaches of diplomacy in the hemisphere in some time, and instead of kind of drawing back and really, you know, rethinking that type of policy of provoking its neighbors, Colombia has continued on the same path and has been encouraged to do so by the United States and the US media. But I agree with you that this has clearly reached kind of a new level of tension and polarization and provocation.'

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Do You Make?


via The Martian Chronicles

Remember NOLA?

That's ok, neither does FEMA

Freedom of Religion

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,"

So begins the 1st amendment to our Constitution. But how far does that really extend? Just because Congress didn't pass a law establishing a religion, can there still be an unofficial religion in the government? What about the military?

Spc. Jeremy Hall sued the Army in September after experiencing blatant discrimination for his religious views, even threatened with death by 'friendy' fire.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Believe I Can Fly

R. Kelly has come out of the closet to appear in court
'After six years of delays and millions of dollars in costs, prosecutors finally had the chance to lay out their case against the R&B singer R Kelly today, in the most high-profile trial to be staged in Chicago for decades.
The singer, 41, is charged with 14 counts of child pornography, and faces up to 15 years in jail.'

Although, I wonder if the Chicago Sun-Times will be indicted too for handling the 26-minute sex tape featuring a 13 year-old girl now that the Supreme Court voted 7-2 that pandering – 'the act of offering to sell or trade – child pornography was a federal offense.'

But who knows, R.Kelly could've just been 'showing grandchildren dressed in pajamas' or 'legitimate educational, scientific or artistic depictions of youthful sex.'

On a related note, I Believe I Can't Fly because oil prices are jacking up not just gas prices, but also airfare, leading to more airlines going broke recently.
In the US, concern about inflation escalated when it emerged that producer prices, excluding food and fuel, rose at the fastest rate in 17 years, sending the Dow Jones industrial average plunging by 180.7 points to 12,847.5.

And it's no surprise with oil prices rising to $129 a barrel today, and expecting to reach $150 by the year's end. In fact, today the House of Representatives approved 324-84 a bill involving suing OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela over oil pricing.
'This bill guarantees that oil prices will reflect supply and demand economic rules, instead of wildly speculative and perhaps illegal activities," said Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, who sponsored the legislation.'

But even if it passes the Senate, and Bush signs it (which he says he won't; it's just easier to beg the Saudis anyway), who wants to talk to Iran and Venezuela anyway? That's like giving Hilter a free pass!

Senator Sanders (I-VT)

Bernie Sanders had this to say in an op-ed in this morning's Boston Globe

EVERY GUN that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." -President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953.

During the next few weeks Congress will consider hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending, yet this legislation will receive relatively little review and scrutiny. Spending by Pentagon officials continues to grow at an incredible rate and it is time for Congress to determine whether this level of funding makes sense.

President Eisenhower, the five-star Army general who was the military commander of the European theater during World War II, laid out stark choices that he and the country faced during his first year in the White House. Fast-forward 48 years to the last year of George W. Bush's presidency, and it is remarkable how prescient Eisenhower was.

Today, Bush's military budget is $515 billion, more than half of all discretionary spending. This is in addition to the $200 billion a year being spent on the war in Iraq, and another $16 billion spent on nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, as military spending explodes, the middle class in America is shrinking, poverty is increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider. While we now spend $94 billion more on defense than three years ago, poverty and hunger are increasing, 47 million Americans lack health insurance, and an entire generation of young people wonders how to afford college.

In his last budget, Bush provided a very generous increase in funds for the military while proposing major cuts in programs which benefit low- and moderate-income families. At a time of real threat from international terrorism, all of us understand the need for a strong military to protect our country. However, the Pentagon cannot be exempt from Congress' oversight responsibility to root out waste, fraud, and abuse.

Here are just a few examples that Congress must explore if we are serious about saving taxpayer dollars:

The Government Accountability Office recently assessed 72 major weapons acquisition programs and reported a colossal $295 billion in cost-overruns on a $1.6 trillion contract portfolio.

One item - the Army's Future Combat Systems - may cost the taxpayer more than $200 billion, a staggering $40 billion cost overrun from initial 2003 estimates.

The total cost for the F-22A fighter program, a Cold War legacy, amounts to an astronomical $65.3 billion, so large that the Air Force has been forced to reduce its buy from 648 to 183 aircrafts. Still, that amounts to about $355 million a piece.

There also has been enormous waste and fraud by contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was recently discovered that a 22-year-old businessman sold as much as $300 million in old ammunition (much of it defective) to the Afghan army and police forces under a contract with the Army Sustainment Command. Millions of cartridges were shipped from China, making their procurement a possible violation of US law.

In Ramadi, Iraq, the Air Force paid a private US contractor $32 million to construct an air base that was never built.

A GAO survey examined $8 billion in contractor incentive fees that were paid out regardless of outcome. In other words, the Pentagon is paying contractors bonuses whether or not they are deserved.

Not only did Eisenhower vigorously fight against misplaced national priorities and overspending on the military, he also understood why that happened. In a 1961 speech, as he was leaving office, he said, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

At a time when this country has a $9.3 trillion national debt, a declining economy, and enormous unmet needs, the time is long overdue for Congress to stop rubber-stamping White House requests for military spending and to address the Pentagon's needs within the context of our overall national priorities.

Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, is a member of the Budget Committee.

Japanding Military Budgets

The arms race is far from over

So we don't look like the only paranoid gun-toters, US Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer wants Japan to expand its military spending - because everyone else is doing it!

Japan has a bit of a history of too much militarism, and is trying to even further reduce their military budget.
"We believe that Japan should consider the benefits of increasing its own defense spending to make a greater, not lesser, contribution to its own security," Schieffer said in a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.
How many attacks on Japanese soil have there been in the last century? I can only think of two major ones, in August 1945

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Seventh Kingdom

Keven Kelly discusses the evolution of the seventh kingdom (in addition to Bacteria, Archaea, Protista, Fungi, Animalia, Plantae).

He discusses how the evolution of technology mirrors the evolution of life, towards:
  • Ubiquity
  • Diversity
  • Specialization
  • Complexity
  • Socialization

(think of these five trends in relation to hammers, or armor, for example)

"The emergent system of the technium — what we often mean by 'Technology' with a capital T — has its own inherent agenda and urges, as does any large complex system, indeed, as does life itself. That is, an individual technological organism has one kind of response, but in an ecology comprised of co-evolving species of technology we find an elevated entity — the technium — that behaves very differently from an individual species. The technium is a superorganism of technology. It has its own force that it exerts. That force is part cultural (influenced by and influencing of humans), but it's also partly non-human, partly indigenous to the physics of technology itself...

"We are reaching down deep into the culture so that everybody has to ask these very big questions. It's no longer the job of philosophers, nor avante guard artists — but ordinary citizens. With each new headline in USA Today, everyone is being asked, What is a human? A vernacular theology, in a certain sense, is one of unanticipated aspects of this technological culture.

"This constant identity crisis can make people depressed and it may be one of the factors driving people toward religion, since religion, especially fundamentalist religion, believe it has definite answers to some of these questions. But religion, especially fundamentalist religion, has no real answers the specific questions of say whether enhancement is humane, whether AI is good, whether we should remain one species or many, and even what precisely it means to be human. Therefore this large scale technological identity crisis is going to be the recurring theme of this century...

"Technology is not merely a human-derived entity. The roots of technology go all the way back to the Big Bang. It's part of the same line that I call extropic systems that extend back through living systems, self-regulating planets, auto-coalescing star systems and so on. Extropic systems might also be called near-equilibrium sustainable systems. They run in the opposite direction from entropic systems. These are complex, sustainable systems that always teeter on the edge of falling over, but keep going. Over cosmic time, a type will gradually build up more complexity sustained on the edge of collapse. We see extropic systems in galaxy formation, planet formation, life formation, intelligence formation, and I believe, in technology formation.

"In this way the technium shares many characteristics with biological life, mind, and other near-equilibrium self-sustaining extropic systems. Technology, therefore, can be understood in a cosmic scale as an outgrowth of the Big Bang. Because we have some clues about what it has in common with these relatives of life, we can begin to dissect and understand it through the lens of extropic systems. I believe when we view the technium in the context of life-like systems, we can make some guesses about its trajectory and how we can use it...

"We can show evolution through mutations in the technium, and major transitions of change in technological organization. We can see a large scale move, as in life, from the general to the specific. Technology also follows life in a cosmic scale migration towards greater complexity, diversity, and energy density. So we can think of the technium as a 7th kingdom of life...

"I would argue that, in a certain sense, we have a moral obligation to increase the technology of the world — of the universe — to insure that the genius of every person born will have some way to express its fullness. In the end, this is what the technium wants, too. What the other six kingdoms of life want. What we want. To increase choices. To open up new freedoms. To expand the possible."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

On Democracy

Alternet presents an excerpt from Bill Moyers' new book, Moyers on Democracy
Edward R. Murrow told his generation of journalists: "No one can eliminate prejudices -- just recognize them." Here is my bias: extremes of wealth and poverty cannot be reconciled with a genuinely democratic politics. When the state becomes the guardian of power and privilege to the neglect of justice for the people as a whole, it mocks the very concept of government as proclaimed in the preamble to our Constitution; mocks Lincoln's sacred belief in "government of the people, by the people, and for the people"; mocks the democratic notion of government as "a voluntary union for the common good" embodied in the great wave of reform that produced the Progressive Era and the two Roosevelts. In contrast, the philosophy popularized in the last quarter century that "freedom" simply means freedom to choose among competing brands of consumer goods, that taxes are an unfair theft from the pockets of the successful to reward the incompetent, and that the market will meet all human needs while government itself becomes the enabler of privilege -- the philosophy of an earlier social Darwinism and laissez-faire capitalism dressed in new togs -- is as subversive as Benedict Arnold's betrayal of the Revolution he had once served. Again, Mary Lease: "The great evils which are cursing American society and undermining the foundations of the republic flow not from the legitimate operation of the great human government which our fathers gave us, but they come from tramping its plain provisions underfoot."

Veterans' Day (On the Hill)

"To me it sounded like exactly what the President was promising we'd be doing in Iraq. And I was very excited about it. I thought that we were gonna be the tip of the spear, and I had to go to Iraq myself to find out that was not the case. The greatest enemies of the Constitution are not to be found on the sands of Fallujah, but rather right here in Washington, D.C."

- Adam Kokesh

Where our priorities lie
Where our priorities might finally be

Support Iraq Veterans Against the War
"An immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq - Congress can make this happen today by voting down continued funding for the occupation. We the troops are asking you not to fund the killing of more of our brothers and sisters in arms."

Support Independent News

Thursday, May 15, 2008

To Protect and Serve

I don't know what it is about cops. Naturally, I'm supportive of all public defenders, whether police, firemen, librarians, city council, water purification specialists... - we entrust them with watching over public safety, knowledge and other assets.

But why so much special treatment? A cop and his wife who called 911 after "overdosing" on pot were not even charged.

Cops who shot and murdered Sean Bell - including one who unloaded 31 shots on the unarmed groom-to-be - were let off without even a slap on the wrist.

Now a Dallas man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison - 35 YEARS IN PRISON - for spitting on a cop. Because the man is HIV positive, his bodily fluids amount to a deadly weapon. The absurdity astounds me.

Why isn't this man charged for exposing his doctors and nurses to this deadly weapon every time they check his blood, or examen his mouth. A deadly weapon is a deadly weapon, regardless of whether discharged intentionally or not.

Now I'm not defending the act of polispitting, but condemning an infected man to 35 years in prison because his medical illness amounts to a "deadly weapon" is beyond absurd.

I'm worried about you, Dallas. Please come to your senses.

Lost in Translation

One of the reasons I want to learn Arabic

Gay Whores and Pimps

Oprah, apparently the new Secretary of State, is a lesbian whore because she turned her back on white people. Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a gay pimp because he turned his back on black people. And somewhere in there, Legs HUSSEIN O'Gay broke up with longtime closet homosexual lover, Jeremiah ThatsSo Wrong over some chicken comment (chickens have short legs), but will still be Vice President anyway

Go Jesus!

Trinity From Hell

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Golf War

The latest of Keith Olbermann's Special Comments

Mapping Bias

Is it any wonder why we're so ethnocentric?

Our Policies are (Anti)Psychotic

The Nation reports

Forced medication is only warranted in the most extreme mental health cases, and even then, it's legality can be questioned. Other times, needed medications are withheld.
"I think people forget to think we are human."
"This is a story we hear all the time. They don't let people get their medication," he said. "What should be shocking news isn't that shocking."
"The secrecy, denial of basic human and civil rights, and inhumanity involved in the treatment of immigrant detainees doesn't align with American values. Disappointingly, once again I had to acknowledge that we are far from living on the promise of this country. We are not who we think we are."
While detained, Mr. Bah had fallen and fractured his skull. Although seriously injured, he was shackled and taken to solitary confinement. In a written report, the detention center staff stated that he was unresponsive and foaming at the mouth. Mr. Bah was left in this condition for almost 15 hours until finally an ambulance was called. The hospital reported that he had multiple brain hemorrhages; he died after four months in a coma. Mr. Bah's family and his attorney were not notified by ICE of the occurrence; the family found out five days later thanks another detainee who called Mr. Bah's roommate.
"They are targeting schools and we are watching them do it,"
Scores of undocumented parents began to panic as early as 7: 30 a.m. May 6, as word got around that ICE vehicles were parked near schools in East Oakland and South Berkeley...At about the same time, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) officials were receiving similar calls from concerned parents and community members that ICE agency vehicles had been spotted near four Oakland schools, including Esperanza Elementary, where parents say they saw agents parked on International Blvd, 98th, 95th, and San Leandro Boulevard, a four block radius surrounding the school.

We really are treating them like animals.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Defective Model

There is way too much focus on insurance coverage here, and not what that actually means for the patient. I think I only heard the word "deductible" once. Across the board, the more affordable a premium is, the less services are covered, "choice" of physician/hospital/clinic decline, and the higher the deductible.

So yes, maybe McCain's plan will stir up competition to get premiums down to the $2,500 tax rebate level, but deductibles will soar as well to around $2000 or more - with total costs essentially more than the average premium today.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Not Clinton-Lewinsky, but Clinton-Iran.
Blowback, Senator, is what happens when you threaten to obliterate a country, especially so overtly.

'"Blowback" is a CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government's international activities that have been kept secret from the American people. The CIA's fears that there might ultimately be some blowback from its egregious interference in the affairs of Iran were well founded. Installing the Shah in power brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repression to the Iranian people and elicited the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution. The staff of the American embassy in Teheran was held hostage for more than a year. This misguided "covert operation" of the US government helped convince many capable people throughout the Islamic world that the United States was an implacable enemy.

'More difficult than these fairly simple reforms would be to bring our rampant militarism under control. From George Washington's "farewell address" to Dwight Eisenhower's invention of the phrase "military-industrial complex," American leaders have warned about the dangers of a bloated, permanent, expensive military establishment that has lost its relationship to the country because service in it is no longer an obligation of citizenship. Our military operates the biggest arms sales operation on earth; it rapes girls, women and schoolchildren in Okinawa; it cuts ski-lift cables in Italy, killing twenty vacationers, and dismisses what its insubordinate pilots have done as a "training accident"; it allows its nuclear attack submarines to be used for joy rides for wealthy civilian supporters and then covers up the negligence that caused the sinking of a Japanese high school training ship; it propagandizes the nation with Hollywood films glorifying military service (Pearl Harbor); and it manipulates the political process to get more carrier task forces, antimissile missiles, nuclear weapons, stealth bombers and other expensive gadgets for which we have no conceivable use. Two of the most influential federal institutions are not in Washington but on the south side of the Potomac River--the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. Given their influence today, one must conclude that the government outlined in the Constitution of 1787 no longer bears much relationship to the government that actually rules from Washington. Until that is corrected, we should probably stop talking about "democracy" and "human rights."'

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Universe Is In Us

After moving on from Jesus Camp, I share with Neil deGrasse Tyson common "spiritual" views.

"I want somebody to put electrodes on my head and when I reflect on our kinship with the cosmos. When I do the calculation that shows that a 15-ton meteorite that we have in the center of the Rose Center for Earth and Space - it's an iron meteorite - when I do the calculation that shows that if you take all of the iron from the hemoglobin of the people in the tri-state area of New York City, you can recover that much iron out of their blood. And realize, that the iron from that meteorite and the iron from your blood have common origin in the core of a star.

"Tell me what part of my brain is lighting up because that excites me! That makes me wanna grab people in the street and say, 'Have you heard this?!'

"It is quite literally true that we are stardust, in the highest exalted way one can use that phrase.

"And so I feel and I use words! I bask in the majesty of the cosmos! I use words, compose sentences that sound like the sentences I hear outta people who had revelations of Jesus. Who go on their pilgrimages to Mecca.

"There's some commonality of feeling. I know it - well I don't know it, I want someone to do that experiment. Because the day you do, if the same centers in my brain are excited by these cosmic thoughts as are what are going on in the minds of a religious person, that's something to know. That's gonna be really interesting finding. Because what that tells me as an educator is, 'Let me offer the universe to people.' And they'll start taking it in and they'll start achieving those feelings that they had before.

"And I don't so much care whether they abandon previous feelings. I've got an offering that keeps growing, that keeps becoming more majestic!

"When it was announced that we were gonna cancel the Hubble telescope, the greatest outcry to not do that wasn't the astrophysicists, it wasn't from within NASA, it was the public! It was all over the op-ed pages and the talk shows. The public took ownership of the Hubble space telescope because the universe is coming into their bedroom, into the living room, onto their computer. They were participant on the frontier of discovery.

"And as far as I can tell, if you let them know that it's not just that we're in the universe, but in fact, given the chemistry of it all, and the nuclear physics of it all - not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. And I don't know any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me."

All Too Familiar

I just watched Jesus Camp and now I'm certain I need a shrink...