Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I'll be gone awhile

Tomorrow, I'm going to pack up my computer because my mobile storage unit will arrive on Thursday. I'll write again when I get access to a public computer or when I get home internet access again hopefully in about three weeks to a month. I'm glad this move takes place in the summer and that it isn't too far. I bought an air conditioner yesterday which will hopefully be enough to cool my apartment.
I've been trying to get hold of my landlord, and even though I can call the company, they're still not working very closely with me. I e-mailed one of the managers soon after I sent the lease back with a tentative moving date, and then confirmed it later. I just hope someone who knows I'm moving in is around on the 25th.
My lease goes into force tomorrow. I still have a few things yet to do here, and they should be done by the time I'm ready to go.
I'm going to miss this place much though. I have a lot of good, caring friends here. I hope I can garner the same where I'm going.
Till later, I'll leave you with a quotation from Mark Twain & Charles Dudley Warner's The Gilded Age:


The law is what I was born for. I shall begin the study of the law. Heavens and earth, but that Brabant's a wonderful man--a wonderful man sir! Such a head! And such a way with him! But I could see that he was jealous of me. The little licks I got in in the course of my argument before the jury--"
"Your argument! Why, you were a witness."
"Oh, yes, to the popular eye, to the popular eye--but I knew when I was dropping information and when I was letting drive at the court with an insidious argument. But the court knew it, bless you, and weakened everytime! And Brabant knew it. I just reminded him of it in a quiet way, and its final result, and he said in a whisper, 'You did it, Colonel, you did it, sir--but keep it mum for my sake; and I'll tell you what you do,'says he, 'you go into the law, Col. Sellers--go into the law, sir; that'syour native element!' And into the law the subscriber is going. There's worlds of money in it!--whole worlds of money! Practice first in Hawkeye, then in Jefferson, then in St. Louis, then in New York! In the metropolis of the western world! Climb, and climb, and climb--and windup on the Supreme bench. Beriah Sellers, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, sir! A made man for all time and eternity! That's the way I block it out, sir--and it's as clear as day--clear as the rosy-morn!"


So Let's Write About What's Essential

Elisabeth Bumiller has indulged the heart-challenged Dick Cheney by giving him yet another chance to sell the American public a nest of evils.

WASHINGTON, June 13 - Vice President Dick Cheney strongly defended the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Monday, saying that it was essential to the administration's efforts to combat terrorism and that detainees there had been treated better by the United States than they could expect to be treated "by virtually any other government on the face of the earth."END QUOTE.

So, Mr. Cheney, they should be grateful that the US alienates this time-honored principle.

Mr. Cheney dismissed those who say the prison should be shut down. "My own personal view of it is that those who are most urgently advocating that we shut down Guantánamo probably don't agree with our policies anyway," Mr. Cheney said. He said that detainees at the prison were "properly housed and properly fed," and that their medical and religious needs were being met.END QUOTE.

Properly housed & properly fed in defiance of this more important, more democratic principle.

Adherence to habeas corpus keeps us free.
Defiance or the total alienation of it leads to totalitarianism regardless of the political stripe of the government.

To Bush and all who support him.

The fear of the people has sheltered you.
The love of the people is beyond you.
And the rage and mourning of millions will discredit your ideology and destroy your success.

A step in the right direction,

albeit very late.

“Thankfully, justice in our Nation has moved forward and left such despicable acts to history,” said Senator Allen. “But, this story can never be complete without an acknowledgement from this body that it failed to protect individual freedoms and rights. This apology is long overdue and I’m pleased the Senate will finally extend one to thousands of victims, their families, and ancestors.” END QUOTE

I think an apology is fine, but Allen's statement about our culture "leaving such despicable acts to history" is untrue. Back in my ancient days at Radio Left, I collected some stories about present-day lynchings.

I wonder what Allen would say to

These things, lynchings, war crimes, detention without charge, frontier justice, are far from in the past for the United States. Unless you make your own reality like the good neocon that George Allen is.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Silent Disaster

Couple rampant elitism with aggressive, criminal imperialistic wars, a criminal lack of public investment, outright social neglect and this is the result.

Increasing numbers of young American children are showing signs of serious malnourishment, fueled by a greater prevalence of hunger in the United States, while, paradoxically, two-thirds of the US population is either overweight or obese.

Ain't patriotism grand?
Loyalty won't feed you, won't educate you, and won't give you a home.
So when will the impoverished and "middle class" in this self-deluded country disown the elite, the corporate, the rigid, the imperialistic and the evil once and for all?
How many people must suffer for years?
Do you really think a job is enough? Is that life?

Totalitarianism in US Foreign Policy

The United States acted like a totalitarian state in its pre-war dealings with Britain.

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal. END QUOTE.

They supposedly live in a country with a democratic tradition, yet they are given no choice by the commitment of one small elite. Totalitarian regimes don't want your passive support. They demand your obedience, your hysteria, and your activity on their behalf.
The United States believes it can be totalitarian in its relations with other countries and in its relations to the people.
The government will no longer serve the people.
The people and other nations will serve the US government and whatever elites control it.
Where there is a mindset of control, there is no democracy or liberty. There is only the licentious conduct of the rulers over the ruled.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sometime between today & tomorrow, my mother was born. Happy Birthday!

And here's something more:

I shopped around for these last week.
Hope I'm not too late.

Most of the lighter materials

in my stash of earthly possessions are packed. I've had some nightmares about being lost or about losing familiar people, and as I told my mother, I think it's just me being anxious. I've been combing over maps with what little vision I've got. Fortunately, I'll have about two months to practice walking about in my residential neighborhood and at home. I also went to the website of the Lockwood Library, which is where I'll be doing most of my work. I've heard that it has several computers equipped with the voice programs I like to use. It has an extensive collection of pulp fiction.
I've been listening to Daniel J. Boorstin's The Americans: The Democratic Experience over the last week or so. I haven't been using vast amounts of time on it because I want to think about each concept as Boorstin introduces it. The writing is seamless and reminiscent of James McPherson. Although McPherson's work is narrative-based rather than thematically based.
I also downloaded Life On The Mississippi by Mark Twain. Project Gutenberg just keeps getting better and better.
At the school I will attend, they have started an account with bookshare, which will be more convenient for undergraduates than graduate students.
I attended my son's graduation ceremony yesterday. It did not last too long and he sang a song with the honors choir during the presentation. He's still euphoric about it I think.

Idolators, You Are Doomed

There are certain Christians who advocate the blatant commission of idolatry.
The Pledge of Allegiance is idolatrous enough as it is. Do you pledge your allegiance to the flag? If you do, then you don't really know the principles that govern you or the ideas that influenced the founding of this country. If you pledge your allegiance, try doing so by reading the Declaration of Independene or the Bill of Rights. Emblems are for the intellectually lax. True believers know what they believe in.
The first commandment condemns the creation of objects for worship.
The Bronze Serpent was destroyed because it had turned from a connection to faith to an object of worship.
The only flag offerings I'll make are with fire, ending in the destruction of the flags.
Speaking of the Pledge, here is what they've replaced the first idolatrous one with:

The Pledge of Allegiance
* I pledge allegiance, to the Christian Flag,

of the United States of America,

and to the Lord, who made us great and free.

I purpose, to band together, with all believers,

to protect the truth and liberty of God. END QUOTE.

This country was not founded on Christian principles in any direct sense.
This country is a pluralistic one, racially, culturally, religiously, and politically.
Pluralism is not evil.
Exclusion and indifference are evil's very essence.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Neglecting Soldiers

This is an old item from David Sirota's blog, but given the complaints about inadequate supplies this spring, one year after its release, it is still timely.

Military officials say "more money will be needed soon" and have "identified unmet funding needs, including initiatives aimed at providing equipment and weapons for troops in Iraq. The Army has publicly identified nearly $6 billion in funding requests that did not make Bush's $402 billion defense budget for 2005, including $132 million for bolt-on vehicle armor; $879 million for combat helmets, silk-weight underwear, boots and other clothing; $21.5 million for M249 squad automatic weapons; and $27 million for ammunition magazines, night sights and ammo packs. Also unfunded: $956 million for repairing desert-damaged equipment and $102 million to replace equipment lost in combat. end quote.

In tabular form:
The Army had asked for approx. 6 billion dollars.
These were not granted.
What was the 6 billion to pay for?

Amount Need
(in millions)
132 Vehicular armor
879 combat helmets, undersear, boots, clothing
21.5 M249 squad automatic weapons
27 ammunition, sights, packs
956 repairing equipment
102 replacing equipment

Remember, this is where the money DID NOT GO, WHAT IT DID NOT DO.

Friday, June 10, 2005

From MoveOn PAC,

I have this message.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

1 story that should've been 2

This article, reposted from Smirking Chimp, should be two stories instead of one.

The lead:
WASHINGTON - President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday forcefully denied that Bush manipulated intelligence to build support for war with Iraq, as a controversial British government memo suggests. END QUOTE.

This is the first sentence of the story. It should be the entire content of the story summarized. But alas, we receive some surprises.

The lingering questions about the rationale for war overshadowed Blair's announcement that the two leaders are nearing agreement on a plan to forgive 100 percent of Africa's foreign debt. Blair hopes to make African debt relief a centerpiece of next month's G-8 summit in Scotland, which will bring together leaders from eight industrialized democracies. END QUOTE.

Will someone please tell me what this story is about? This paragraph should be the lead of another story. Methinks I'm viewing a bait and switch.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Newsweek isn't finished

In this short editorial, their former Baghdad bureau chief observes:

Living and working in Iraq, it's hard not to succumb to despair. At last count America has pumped at least $7 billion into reconstruction projects, with little to show for it but the hostility of ordinary Iraqis, who still have an 18 percent unemployment rate. Most of the cash goes to U.S. contractors who spend much of it on personal security. Basic services like electricity, water and sewers still aren't up to prewar levels. Electricity is especially vital in a country where summer temperatures commonly reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet only 15 percent of Iraqis have reliable electrical service. In the capital, where it counts most, it's only 4 percent. END QUOTE.

Baghdad Year Zero, of course. The assertions of Naomi Klein's article are buttressed by these observations in turn. Americans help themselves and destroy everything they touch. There is no sense that rectitude is necessary on the part of the powerful. Our government is being led by moral non-entities. This is a war to defend the interests of the contractors, to fatten the contractors, and to keep them prosperous, cool and happy while the rest of Iraq suffers, suffers, and suffers.

Homelessness & Debt Open The Door

to slavery. Many thanks to Lawyer to Capitalists at Daily Kos. Five 13th-Amendment cases have brought in Florida in the last five years. Jeb Bush shows us a future picture of Americans in poverty and debt. Elect this reptile into the presidency and the merely possible nightmare will become razor-edge clear I'm sure.

Repression Here, War Crimes Abroad,

what more can we expect of the Bush Regime and present circumstances?
More repression here coupled with a better understanding of our war crimes abroad. And that's hope.
Of course hope is a feast for a starving person.

On a more personal note
Yesterday, I made a beef stew I flavored with Cabernet Sauvignon, rosemary & oregano. I ate more of it for dinner today, and it's still the best food I've had. I'm going to eighty-six the boullion for the most part when I'm living alone and keep using wine & spices to season my soups and stews. I need to cut my salt intake any way.
Tomorrow I go swimming. It will be outdoors and I need to bring a lot of sunscreen with me. I remember the minor disaster that happened last year the first time I went. I wan burnt thoroughly on my shoulders and legs. I'm vowing, not this year. I'll be glad after I move. Both the pools at the university where I'm going are indoor pools. I love the ambience of an outdoor pool, but I just can't take the sun for longer than an hour.
I've also started writing my notes for America and the Sea. The first discussion is about North American geography, currents, and wildlife. Marine wildlife was a key resource in the pre-Columbian, Colonial and Early Republic. The next discussion is about the Native Americans, their maritime cultures and relationship to the sea. The next chapter is very important because it's about the Viking contact with Greenland and via Greenland with North America a good 500 years before Christopher Columbus. These are the first narratives of American maritime history.

The Angel says, "Hi!"

Discrediting Aljazeera

is a key Bush Regime objective. Not sure? The evidence is clear and here.

Rumsfeld has previously voiced his disapproval of Aljazeera due to its coverage of Iraq and its interviews with Arab dissidents.

In September, the US defence chief said that "over and over again we've seen that Middle Eastern television channel Aljazeera that seems to have a wonderful way of being Johnny-on-the-spot a little too often for my taste".

In other words, Aljazeera makes it a point to be where news is happening on the ground as it covers stories. Embedded journalists are where the regime wishes them to be-- far away from the secrets, the crimes and the corporate exploitation of Iraq.

One Name, 2 Organizations

One is fraudulent, the other is genuine.

Al Jazeera dot com has no mission statement at all.

AlJazeera dot net
Covering the four corners of the world Aljazeera has given millions of people a refreshing new perspective on global events.

Free from the shackles of censorship and government control Aljazeera has offered its audiences in the Arab world much needed freedom of thought, independence, and room for debate. In the rest of the world, often dominated by the stereotypical thinking of news “heavyweights”, Aljazeera offers a different and a new perspective.

Aljazeera's correspondents opened a window for the world on the millennium’s first two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our expanded coverage competed with and sometimes outperformed our competitors bringing into the spotlight the war’s devastating impact on the lives of ordinary people.

We continue to cover all viewpoints with objectivity integrity and balance.

Also note Al Jazeera dot com employs the space between Al & J.
Aljazeera dot net employs no space.
The Al Jazeera Online Edition, and dot com organization is fraudulent.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Few Objects, Much To Do

I don't have really very many objects to move. I have to move a desk, an end table, a large table, and my futon. That is all my furniture. Then there's the computer and all my other groovy tools. Among the most durable are the two cast iron pans which Lee bought for me almost twenty years ago. I also have a set of saucepans, only two of which have lids. I'm going to need to order more lids for the set, ones that have handles. Revere ware is great stuff though. I remember my father's copper-bottomed saucepan from the time I was about five years old. He didn't have a lid for his, though.
I bought two beautiful lamps, one is short and white, the other is tall, a sort of buffet lamp. Both are suitable for the 40-watt bulbs that I favor. I wish 40 watt bulbs were more common. I think 60 or above is just way too bright. If you need a light that bright you should get yourself a flourescent and install it in the ceiling. When we first moved here, lee had a flourescent installed over the sink for me. He hoped it would help me get the dishes and sinks cleaner. I also have a small lamp that takes a 4-watt bulb. That's my nightlight. I put it in the window wherever I am. The light is such that I can even function when only that light is burning.
I finished my sit tight sweater. The decorative stitching on the front, twist stitch diamonds, give it a texture similar to a ribbed sweater. The next one I make, and I've started on the back, I'll finish in Buffalo. I believe I'll put moss stitch on the front of that one and on the sleeves to match. I also knitted a pair of bi-colored socks with worsted weight cotton and crocheted three dishcloths with the same yarn. I can't bleach them, but I think they're going to be tough enough to last at least a couple of years.
I've ordered a pod to be here on the 16th. It's scheduled to be at my new address on the 25th, perhaps in the morning. I'm a bit aggravated though. I lost my social security card, and so I'm going to have to apply for a new one. I just hope it arrives before I move away. This is a very aggravating time to lose something like that, but I've got several other forms of ID. I'll be all right.

Countering Tort Reform Lies

Sick of lawsuits dot com? Tort reformers are desperately trying to repackage the product, following the old neocon maxim: if you package it right, anyone will buy it.
Here are some reasons to not buy it.
Tort reform pits the institution against the individual consumer.
The news is that tort reform is not about citizens or the well-being of the people, it's about making corporations fatter. Tort reform is graft and profit day for the insurance industry.
The high premiums of medical insurance are not the product of damage awards.

Re-igniting the medical malpractice overhaul debate, a new study by Dartmouth College researchers suggests that huge jury awards and financial settlements for injured patients have not caused the explosive increase in doctors' insurance premiums.

The researchers said a more likely explanation for the escalation is that malpractice insurance companies have raised doctors' premiums to compensate for falling investment returns.

Is it any accident that this study from Illinois asserts something similar?

Medical Malpractice and the Tort System in Illinois
An ISBA-commissioned study by Neil Vidmar, professor at Duke University Law School, found that the Illinois tort system does not appear to be the cause of the undisputed rise in doctor's liability insurance premiums. The full text of the Professor Vidmar's study is online here. END QUOTE. "online here" is a hyperlink to the study itself.

And consider this description of the effects of tort reform in Texas from the Center for Economic Justice.

Despite claims by TDI of huge savings to consumers, "tort reform" has resulted in huge, windfall profits to Texas automobile insurers of $3 billion for the years 1996 through 1998. Detailed data provided by TDI shows that bodily injury liability premiums for rate-regulated companies were excessive by over 48% in both 1996 and 1997.

The most shameful part of the "tort reform" insurance rate debacle is the failure of the Department to protect even the most vulnerable consumers – those consumers denied coverage by rate-regulated consumers and forced to go to the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA) – from excessive rates. Bodily injury liability rates in TAIPA – the market of last resort for Texas auto insurance consumers – were 22.7% and 26.5% excessive in 1996 and 1997, respectively. END QUOTE.

No, I'm definitely not sick of lawsuits yet.
Chief Justice Rehnquist once said that a lawsuit is never frivolous to the litigants. It's one of the few things he's said that I agree with.

The Iniquitous Regime of Jeb Bush

And this is the man the neocons want to run in 2008. The story, including hyperlinked footnotes, speaks for itself.

Style In Conflict With Substance

Happy words do not amount to the truth. The truth is that the American economy produced only 78,000 jobs in May, no more. In a country where millions of people are unemployed, that means they're not unemployed through their own laziness or through their lack of qualifications. They're unemployed because the economy cannot sustain their needs.
In other words, the US is not an affluent country, but an impoverished one. If I hear another conservative say "the poor bring their harships onto themselves" I think I'll throw a stone at him or her.
Charles Murray, answer for this.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Curious Disjoint

is evident in the assessment of our "counterinsurgency efforts" by a defense analyst called Daniel Goure.

"The reality is we have discovered, despite all our propaganda, that we are facing a very tough, resilient and smart adversary," defense analyst Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute said.

Goure said rebels have continuously changed, updated and modified tactics, dumping those that no longer worked. Goure also faulted U.S. forces for being slow to cut off the supply of bullets, bombs, money and recruits coming over the border from Syria. end quote.

Toughness, resiliency and the ability to be strategically and tactically flexible are the attributes of a fighting force capable of winning the confrontation, battle, and even war.
I believe that these traits are more important than bullets, bombs, money, and recruits-- all of which the US has in plentiful supply when it institutes the draft and frightens the public again with another well-staged attack on American soil.
Our enemy is improvising with success. Their success should be our anxiety, and should force reflection where there was fear.

And Now, Remember The Living

The Bonus Army of pensioners created a tent city in Anacostia, Maryland. Another scion of a wealthy family who never knew a day of hardship or anxiety over resources in his life, Douglas MacArthur, burnt that tent city to the ground.
It's juat another chapter of the story in which those who assert human need are heroic, and those who follow orders simply and efficiently in crushing them become demons of history.
The events are briefly described here.
And here is Wikipedia's take on the matter.
From May to July, 1932, the economic polarization of American society showed its face. It's a rare sight to see. If conditions worsen further in the US, and if that worsening is coupled with deepening indifference of the elites and those they've bought off (Congressional representatives, judges, apparachiks, local governments & media), count on seeing something like it again.

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