Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Arthur Andersen is no individual.

Once again, the Supreme Court rules to favor the rights of the institution over the well-being of the individual. This ruling was unanimous, which indicates that the pay for all was very, very good.
Just think about it, Arthur Andersen committed no crime, and yet many, many retirees and pensioners have lost their savings in bad investments which were Arthur Andersen's responsibility. There are victims galore, and conveniently, no one is there to face the music.
Corporate personhood is the license of the mob to plunder and impoverish the rest of us.

Bush: America promotes freedom around the world

America promotes freedom around the world on its own terms: those of torture, invasion, conquest, corporate exploitation and mass murder. This article is another attempt to discredit the Amnesty International report.
This speaks volumes not about American human rights abuses, but the desperate objective of this administration to keep its dirty dealings secret. It also indicates the veracity of A.I.'s report. The Bush Regime would not thrash so if there were no truth to the allegations.
Okay, one echo chamber, three voices so far: Myers, Cheney and Bush. I'm waiting for Rice and Rumsfeld to chime in. Just because they repeat something doesn't make it true. I know that. I just hope the rest of the American public has it figured out.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Cheney: No Regrets About Guantanamo

Yes, that's right. There are no American human rights abuses. It's all one big and offensive hallucination on the part of Amnesty International.

Quote:
"Guantanamo's been operated, I think, in a very sane and sound fashion by the U.S. military. ... I think these people have been well-treated, treated humanely and decently," Cheney said. "Occasionally there are allegations of mistreatment.

"But if you trace those back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who has been inside and been released ... to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated. end quote.

A person, subject to torture and threats of death, will never disclose his condition while confined. He waits until he is around true friends. His waiting does not affect the veracity of his or her disclosures.
Dick Cheney is around friends all the time. He never has to confront any policy dissenters, any of his "Islamofascists," or anyone of the people who believe he's got one big empty hole where his heart once was. No, he's always among friends, that one. I wonder what he'll think after he's been apprehended and the voluminous evidence of American human rights abuses is finally resting its full weight on that hollow skull and chest. The sheer weight of the truth of his iniquity will crush not just his life, but his spirit. No heaven waits for this anti-human being. Whatever treasure he has garnered will be the wrecking ball of his personal tower of Babel.

My Heart Remains Unmoved

This is a rather sad story about a church that is discontinuing mass in Latin. Ridiculous! They offer mass in Spanish, what's the problem with Latin?
Personally, if I had a parish offering Latin services, I'd demand that everyone present be able to translate the entire service in writing before they could attend. I'm sick and tired of Latin Masses fulfilling some irrational need. If you can't comprehend the service you are attending, how do you really know it honors God and not someone else? You don't. So get busy translating, people. Less irrationality please.

Still Indicted

The Bush Regime, through the person of General Richard Myers (who does not command any allegiance from the civilian populace of the US at all), has decided that rejecting Amnesty International's report on American human rights abuses will automatically make the accustions go away. Poof! What a world they live in!

Quote:
Gen Myers appearing on Fox News says the camp is a "model facility"
Top US general Richard Myers has described an Amnesty International report on Guantanamo Bay as "absolutely irresponsible".

The human rights group last week described the US detention camp in Cuba as "the gulag of our time".

But Gen Myers said the US military treated detainees there humanely. end quote.

No sieg heil here, daddy-o.

Quote:
In Geneva, the ICRC said it would neither confirm nor deny the New York Times report -- in which allegations of treatment tantamount to torture go further than what the neutral intermediary has publicly stated before about inmates held at Guantanamo. end quote.

I wonder who strong-armed the ICRC? It takes a lot of bullies, bribes and backroom deals to force silence from the ICRC. I guess in order to serve the detainees' best interest, the organization must remain silent in matters concerning the ... Geneva Conventions.
As far as I'm concerned, two sources, Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have indicted the Bush Regime. I'll be very happy to see Bush, Rumsfeld, et al behind bars and turned pale.

War On The Working Class

Liberals write about class warfare.
Conservatives are waging it effectively in the area of housing.

Quote:
For some American homeowners, the greatest housing boom in U.S. history has delivered riches. They repeatedly tap their homes for equity and use the cash to purchase granite countertops, a BMW, even a trip to the Super Bowl. But there's a dark side -- a sharp rise in foreclosures that is destroying the single greatest generator of personal wealth for most Americans. Foreclosure rates rose in 47 states in March, according to Foreclosure.com, an online foreclosure listing service. The rates in Florida, Texas and Colorado are more than twice the national average. Even in New York City and Boston, where real estate markets are white- hot, foreclosures are rising in working-class neighborhoods. end quote.

The housing boom in working-class neighborhoods, among working-class people, was a feature of the Clinton years.
Its bust is a feature of the Bush II years.
If that isn't evidence of class warfare waged for the profit of elites, I don't know what is.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Peccavimus

Chris Floyd is a gifted commentator who writes a weekly column for the Moscow News every Friday. Here is a piece posted by him at Empire Burlesque and then reposted at Smirking Chimp.

Quote:
The young soldier thought she'd been sent to fight for democracy and freedom, the relative told Hersh, but it was a lie. Instead she found herself in Hell, committing crimes, violating her own nature, her sense of duty perverted by leaders who twisted it into a weapon to serve aggressive war. Since her return, said the relative, the young soldier keeps getting black tattoos, more and more of them, slowly covering her entire body -- trying literally to change her skin.

The fate of this soul-broken, tormented daughter of America embodies the nation itself under the malevolent reign of George W. Bush. The whole country is changing its skin, trying to cloak its shame and complicity by a wilful disfigurement. Who could look on the hideous form of Bush's America -- the snarling faces belching rancor on Fox News; the rabid partisans oozing bile through the halls of Congress; the money-glutting religious extremists relentlessly pushing ignorance, intolerance and theocratic dominion; the corporate beasts devouring the landscape, destroying communities, writing their own laws, gorging on unprecedented profits wrung from global sweatshops, corruption and war; the somnolent, silent, acquiescent public, blankly countenancing torture, deceit, elitist rule, military aggression and the open destruction of their Constitutional order ­-- and not see in all this a body politic in profound psychological crisis: traumatized, guilt-ridden, turning itself inside out in a frantic attempt to escape the truth?

end quote.

An excellent picture of the conscience of the nation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Echoes of the truth

A few months ago, when I was busy fantasizing about just what kind of place I would be living in in the not-too-distant future, my thoughts kept going to living close to a cemetery. I'm ecstatic. My apartment will be just down the street from a cemetery established in 1849, Forest Lawn Cemetery. There is a teaching hospital, Millard Filmore Hospital, just across the street from the apartment. Just further down Delaware Avenue opens onto the Niagra River.
This is a wonderful, wonderful location. And to walk to school, I'll be walking up my street, turn left, walk next to the cemetery for a while, and then turn a few degrees left and continue up Main Street to the North Campus. That's so simple, but a little further than I've been walking here. Still, it's only 3.7 miles. I can handle that.
I think this new place is going to agree with me well.

The Bush Regime, Indicted Again.

The rope is long enough, now let them hang themselves again. I don't think any rant is necessary here. The case has been made clearly enough by a reliable authority.

Overturning Secrecy

is defending both the republic & democracy.
Henry Waxman has thrown down the gauntlet to the rotted majority.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Here is the complete testimony

of George Galloway.
Let it be spread far, farther, and boomerang back to the censors who scrubbed it from the Congressional archives.
No sympathy for the censors,
no rest for the wicked,
no salvation for the unrepentant.

The Sanitized War

This transcript from Pacifica's Democracy Now! is an extended discussion of censorship and the American tolerance and even acceptance of the undeclared Iraq War.
It's good reading for those wondering why the Vietnam War was so divisive and the Iraq War seems like a giant yawn in the American public's mind. Few have taken a stand against it, and those who harbor misgivings are dead silent about them for the most part.
Those who support the war insist that their stand is civilized.
Yeah right.
And I'm a million-year-old wooly mammoth with newly-conditioned fur.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A telling photograph

for anyone who does not believe that the conquest of Iraq has cultural and religious implications. Blessed indeed are the peace makers.

Political Speech on the Internet

This is a coordinated and appropriate response in light of recent attempts to regulate political speech on the internet in blogs such as mine.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Trial finished.

The Trial by Franz Kafka is finished. The final two chapters, "In The Cathedral" and "End" were more uplifting and easier reading than all the chapters before them put together. "In The Cathedral" is worth teaching or linking to one lesson or other having to do with rational and imaginative responses to modernity and post-modernism.
In fact, I'd say that the human response to modernity is what The Trial is all about. I would love to go into a discussion of it here with quotations, but I'm not sure if this book is in the public domain. When I can answer that question, I'll try something with it. But I do know that a history, philosophy or literature class dealing with the 20th century that does not include a discussion of The Trial or at least "In The Cathedral" is anemic and limp.
And as for Franz Kafka, he was a very original human being who saw the monster of process, arbitrary power and bureaucracy bearing down on the human spirit and was trying to give his fellow creatures a way to cope with it, a road map beyond it. Not one of dogma, not one calling back to ancient ways, but one involving mental abilities we all have in the here and now.
So when you get a chance, please read Franz Kafka's The Trial.
There's a free e-text available, translated into English, at Project Gutenberg.

Life Journal

I spent much of this week sitting tight. In fact, I've been knitting what I call my sit tight sweater. It's one of my roll raglans with half-sleeves and all the roll edging is replaced with two-stitch ribbing. I'm making it in two colors, one is a kind of deep pink that was on a velvet yo-yo I owned decades ago, and the frontpiece is off-white. Yesterday, though, I got the news that my check had cleared on the lease for my new apartment. I'm pleased.
Today, I went out and bought some seasonings, a bottle of louisiana steak seasoning, a timer, and some coffee. I also decided to get a chocolate bar with almonds because they were only 85 cents. Can you compare 85 with a dollar & nine over at the convenience store? Good gosh.
So tonight or tomorrow I'm going to be looking over moving technologies and arranging my belongings for the trip. I still have a while before I have to actually move. I'm glad I can do this at my pace instead of hurrying along.
I've spent a little time reading the news, and I might waste a little more there.
I also want to finish The Trial by Franz Kafka. I'm close to being done with it, but it's a very exhausting book to read. Kafka intended it to be so. It shows a gloomy picture of bureaucracy, life, and how the former chokes the individuality, spontaneity, and strength from the latter. It's also about uncertainty. It shows us the ultimate modern and post-modern set of binaries, the process is fixed in its steps, the need to do this or that is present and demanding in its clarity, yet the reason for the procedure, and its results are all invisible and uncertain. This is a wonderful novel, not a waste of time. But it is hard to read, even if you are a very experienced reader.

Does Evolution Really Contradict the Bible?

Observe:

Quote:
Then as now, the controversy over evolution revolved around two Darwinian theories that contradict the biblical version of creation: Darwin's assertion that all life, including humans and monkeys, descended from common ancestors and that it is all the result of natural selection and random mutation. end quote.

The controversy over evolution is public, not scientific. Evolution existed as a theory long before Darwin. Evolution through natural selection is Darwin's theory named. In science, so much evidence is weighted in favor of it that it has the force of fact. It is one of the few theories one may describe that way. It's right up there with gravitation.
The story says that all life descended from common ancestors.
The bible may be interpreted to say the same thing without being edited at all.
If the diversity of life is the result of natural selection, then it still can be said to belong to God because God created nature and every process in it. Finished.
No controversy. No questions. No mess.
So what the hell is going on in Kansas & New York?
Do these people really believe that the issue they take with evolution is intelligent and even valid?
They don't look intelligent, their thoughts are invalid.
They just look like a bunch of paranoid freaks.

Confronting Christian Fundamentalist History

David Barton's Christian historical concepts are described and debunked in this essay by Rob Boston. The essay was written back in 1993, but remains timely as Christian fundamentalists and aspiring theocrats attempt to distort the content of American education away from precedent, tradition, reason and truth.
The larger site at which the essay was found is titled The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State.

Quote:
The Authors
Jim Allison is a certificated paralegal and historical-legal researcher and writer living in Virginia Beach. Susan Batte is a lawyer and a member of the US Supreme Court bar who practices in Virginia. Both have been involved in the separation of church and state debate, researching and writing extensively on the subject, for several years.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We Could Employ Millions of Americans

If the economy is restructured to serve the people instead of shareholders and corporations.
Textile and plastics manufacturers do not need to be corporate giants. They could be domestically owned and operated individual proprietorships and profitable.
Workers could be unionized and such organizations would remain profitable.
They could take on the objective of serving the communities in which they are based and remain profitable.
The problem is that the economy and job markets are structured now to serve Chinese workers and to disempower and impoverish Americans.
Everything we see that is made abroad, clothing, dishes, name tags, souvenir objects and tools of all kinds, was made here in the past. Millions of Americans are out of work or are unqualified for the high-tech information and service vocations. Laborers, long internal exiles, must be served, accommodated, and given a decent, dignified place in this country. They will know only desperation until the economy and government cease to be the pet-handmaids of the business and shareholding classes.

More arguments against American sanity

If the American foreign and domestic policy is so clear-headed, moral, right-thinking and salubrious, why do John LeCarre and Kurt Vonnegut question its makers' state of mind and sense of humanity?
The framers of fascism are walking back and forth through the rotunda, and the ghosts haven't seen fit to throw the statues down yet.

The Alienation of the Public, continued.

Here are several points from a story by Ron Hutcheson and posted at Smirking Chimp today.

The story is how the Bush Regime has faced institutional rivalries for power, but I think its most important point, which is mildly stated, is that the public has grown further apart from the policy-making process. Policies that affect the public should be overseen by the public. Secrecy has no place in policy-making in a decently free society.

Quote:
A decision to bar Senate filibusters - unlimited debate - against judicial nominees effectively would give Bush a free hand in picking judges. It also would reduce the inherent power of every senator, and the Senate itself, to exert leverage against any president. end quote.

The point is not that certain judicial nominees have been rejected. The point is that these neocons want to restructure the nomination and election process for federal judges. It is an attempt to eliminate a constitutional check by Congress, in essence, an expression of the the public, against the executive, which is not the public and grows further and further away from the public with each passing hour.

Quote:
On issue after issue, Bush has guarded presidential prerogatives and tested the limits of his office's clout. He asserted a ground-breaking doctrine of authority as commander in chief by declaring his willingness to attack other nations first if he thought them sufficiently threatening, sought to bypass the courts in dealing with terrorism suspects and proposed new restrictions on public access to presidential papers. end quote.

See the Presidential Records Act, which was passed in March 2001.
Bush's academic records and crucial biographical sources have all been suppressed.
The records of his father's administration and those of the Reagan administration are also off limits to the public, historians, and possible political opponents. This is the most secretive president to ever sit. The secrecy has to exist for a reason, some interest must be behind it.

Quote:
When Congress shelved his plans to boost federal aid to religious charities and scale back environmental regulations, he used executive orders and federal rule-making power to get his way. end quote.

Executive orders and regulation are no substitute for public debate on the issues. Bush makes policy from the back room out, not by way of honesty and integrity. In other words, the people need not interest themselves in what affects them personally.

Quote:
But Bush's approach isn't just a matter of circumstance. In a revealing interview late last year, Vice President Dick Cheney said the former Texas governor came to the White House determined to exert authority in the aftermath of the hotly disputed 2000 election. end quote.

Cheney's justification for Bush's amassing of power (and it's not authority, it's power) shows that this regime understands its foolishness. They cannot garner true respect with well-made decisions, nor can they create any consensi in the Congress around their policies, so they spend their time circumventing the republican and democratic processes with regulations, stonewalling, and ignoring precedents.

Quote:
"In many ways, the Constitution has taken a beating in the last half-century. Congress has lost its backbone," said David Adler, a political science professor at Idaho State University who specializes in balance-of-power issues. "It seems to freely surrender these powers." end quote.

Imperialism, elitism, corporatism and militarism and outright social and industrial neglect have their price. Enjoy the ride.

Quote:
In a 5-4 ruling last year, the Supreme Court said Bush overstepped constitutional bounds by asserting the power to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists without giving them access to lawyers or the courts.

"That was an incredibly far-reaching claim to unilateral power," Adler said.
end quote.

Far-reaching?
Criminal is the most descriptive word for it.

Quote:
Bush has had other setbacks. He initially resisted plans for an independent investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, only to yield, then fought requests for public testimony from then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. end quote.

Why would he resist the investigation into 9/11?
He would only in the event he had a compelling interest in keeping every detail of the plot secret. If this doesn't shout for some kind of complicity in the disaster nothing else can. Cui bono, usurper Bush?
The public is exiled again from policy-making and oversight, and the crimes continue.

Quote:
More recently, a federal appellate court in Washington backed Bush in his effort to maintain the secrecy of the closed-door deliberations that led to his proposed energy policy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled May 10 that the White House didn't have to reveal the names of energy industry officials who worked with an energy-policy task force that Cheney headed. end quote.

Who is affected by the energy policy?
It's government policy so it's public. The public is interested, involved, and will be profoundly affected by the decisions of these secretive elitist people. The judge ruled in favor of the private interests of a few men over the over-riding concerns of the public, in favor of the life of the corporation and against the dignity of the individual. The ruling is unreasonable, and serves only the secrecy of the few. Why is this judge still on the bench?
Why is Dick Cheney still in office when he doesn't deserve to be?

A Conservative Condemns

I suppose some conservatives can resist the lure of social darwinism, extreme militant christianity, money, power, self-righteous indignation and imperialism. If your views are conservative and you embrace the evil the Bush Regime has created, try this on for size.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Perceiving Class Affectively

I don't believe that class and economic mobility are the same, and I don't think class is the function of economic mobility. Social classes are hard-line distinctions that are expressed culturally. The elites are wealthy, the middle classes struggle, and the working classes and destitute struggle harder. The elites make it through life comfortably, the middle classes struggle, and the working and destitute are on the roulette wheel.
Class is what I feel when I walk into a room with a hardwood floor and find myself looking at a table with a white tablecloth on it and over that, row after row of wine glasses full of champagne. That is not class as in elegance, it's class as in certain people are here, they pick up these glasses and feel perfectly all right about it, and the world outside doesn't share the atmosphere or objects.
Class is what I feel when I walk into the local convenience store and some of the people standing in line are wearing jeans that look like they're a decade old and faded sweatshirts and others are wearing semi-formal, well-ironed, dresses whose colors haven't faded because their owners could afford to have them dry cleaned.
Class is what I feel when a person is trying to communicate with me in English, and yet has never encountered the English of the educated middle-class and silently resents my facility with it.
Class is what I feel when I encounter the homeless.
Class is what I feel when I note that students at the university I attended for five years do not greet or interact with the custodial staff and other workers.
Class is what I feel when I hear that some students on work-study feel humiliated when their mates come in and see them working in bookstores or eating facilities on campus.
Class is what I feel when people talk about others having or not having teeth.
The existence of classes in America does not exalt our country. It is our humiliation, it is the inability of the society to accommodate all the citizens.
Class is the refuge of pride, poverty, disease, anxiety, untimely death.
Class excuses social neglect because it can bury the individual, warp perceptions, and nourish ignorance.
Conservatives wage class war without any thought. The people who pass laws that ensure the financial security of health insurers, hospital corporations and credit card companies are waging class warfare.

Discredit this, neocon filth.

Another story about Afghanistan has come out that should make Muslims even madder than the "discredited" Newsweek article. Mangling & flushing the Koran may seem bad, but what do you say to the humiliation and murder of the human being him/herself?
Isn't the human being a closer reflection of God compared to the Koran?
I think so. Read it here.
May death come to the murderers and torturers with humiliation and even more intense pain. They've earned it all. I don't give a damn if they are American.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Tyranny of the Rich

College graduates fear indebtedness, the loss of credit more than terrorism.
Is credit the truest gauge of how moral and decent a person is? Is it Herr Bush, Herr Snow & Herr Biden?
This story demonstrates the realism of the American people.
Christ isn't going to save you from debt, and wealth does not save your soul from hell. Sounds like you're caught between a rock and a hard place if you're a believer in Republicans, the Christian romance, extendable credit for the empire without forgiveness, and capitalism without principle.

Monday, May 16, 2005

An article & thread about class.

I've been reading through a thread on Smirking Chimp about an article treating of class.

The problem is that it doesn't really treat of class. The critique quoted later in the thread is correct that the article treats more of social mobility and not of class in the United States. These topics are distinct from one another.

I also found the tone of the article to be quite crass. Here is the lead & paragraph one.

Quote:
There was a time when Americans thought they understood class. The upper crust vacationed in Europe and worshiped an Episcopal God. The middle class drove Ford Fairlanes, settled the San Fernando Valley and enlisted as company men. The working class belonged to the A.F.L.-C.I.O., voted Democratic and did not take cruises to the Caribbean.
end quote.

And another quote:
Mobility is the promise that lies at the heart of the American dream. It is supposed to take the sting out of the widening gulf between the have-mores and the have-nots. There are poor and rich in the United States, of course, the argument goes; but as long as one can become the other, as long as there is something close to equality of opportunity, the differences between them do not add up to class barriers.
end quote.

In my next post, I'll write about class from my view and in light of this article & thread.

And now, another list.

The corruption that neocons tried to project onto the UN Oil-For-Food program has boomeranged.

If the claims of the Newsweek story that featured flushing the Koran are false, then why did Secretary of State Rice respond to them as though they were valid?

The United States Military is having much trouble recruiting members and inspiring their allegiance to the mission.

Well-being, willing service, and success belong to those worthy of them.
Obviously, imperialistic war is a less than meritorious undertaking in the eyes of many of our citizens.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A collection of stories

from last week & the week before. I didn't have time to write extended comments on them, but all pertain to the dehumanization of our society by Bush foreign and domestic policies and attempts to resist it.

Afghanistan, the great untold story.
I DEFY YOU TO JUSTIFY THESE CRIMES! NOW!!!
U.N. Rights Monitor Ousted Under U.S. Pressure (Horrific Abuse)


Here, also from Daily Kos, is a current interview of Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
Ambassador Wilson: White House Operatives Are Traitors by ePluribus Media.

The Individual & Institution
The dehumanization of our society is played out murderously when American Marines are endangered by the consistent Bush Regime refusal
to armor vehicles properly.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch demand that the US government be subject to its own and international laws. This story was printed in the Independent UK.


The Bush Regime: they choose to see only what they want to see.

QUOTE:
What's going on? Actually, it's quite simple: Mr. Bush and his party talk only to their base - corporate interests and the religious right - and are oblivious to everyone else's concerns.

The administration's upbeat view of the economy is a case in point. Corporate interests are doing very well. As a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, over the last three years profits grew at an annual rate of 14.5 percent after inflation, the fastest growth since World War II.

The story is very different for the great majority of Americans, who live off their wages, not dividends or capital gains, and aren't doing well at all. Over the past three years, wage and salary income grew less than in any other postwar recovery - less than a tenth as fast as profits. But wage-earning Americans aren't part of the base.
END QUOTE.

They Were Young Once, and Fit is about the U.S. use of depleted uranium, the great sleeper story of the last 14 years.

QUOTE:
For Americans to remain silent as Bush hands down death sentences for their children and their unborn grandchildren is a war crime in itself. Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York cites a study done by eminent scientist Leuren Moret which names DU as the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Bernklau says of the 580,400 US Gulf War I soldiers, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, when Bush and his draft-dodging warmongers were already planning Gulf War II, there were 325,000 military personnel on permanent medical disability. Currently, more than half of those who served in Gulf War I have pemanent medical problems.
END QUOTE.

And, from Daily Kos, No Tax Relief for the Poor. Well, should we be surprised?

Just a few more features of the long train of abuses suffered by the American people at the hands of their unelected, fraudulent, elitist and indifferent government. The re-birthplace of existentialism will be the United States of America.

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