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Modern India vs Lord Rama’s bridge!

And it looks, at least for the moment, that Lord Rama might win!

http://news.bbc.co.u…

This was posted on by muriel_volestrangler at DU here: http://www.democrati…

This was my reply:

If it didn’t say he built it in a day, then it’s possible!

Lord Rama trained the monkeys, who would take stones and throw them into the sea at it’s shallowest point. Over the years, silt built up over these stones and the ‘bridge’ was completed. Sure, it probably took several hundreds, if not thouhsands of years, but Lord Rama was probably patient.

Makes sense to me, but then I look at what Alexander did at Tyre and am used to marvels!

Go Lord Rama!
http://rama.avatara…. /
Choose Peace!

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Crime and punishment: a theory of American self-immolation in Iran

As the prospect of an attack on Iran grows more likely, nobody has arrived at a rational explanation for why our nation would undertake such a foolhardy adventure with such a high probability of disastrous consequences. If reason cannot be our guide, we must look elsewhere. The only explanation that fits all the available evidence is that Americans wish to expunge their sins in Iraq through a catastrophe.

Like the guilty murderer in “Crime and Punishment,” Americans cannot carry the pain of what we have done to Iraq. We have effectively destroyed a nation of 20 million people that was the cradle of civilization. Close to a million civilians have died in the war; two million have fled; much of the country’s institutions have been looted and burned; and cholera is ravaging refugee camps.

We did this to Iraq, and we know that we did it. No moral person can carry responsibility for this enormous transgression without atonement. Here is what form I believe the atonement will take.

It is said that America attacked Iraq to secure oil. We shall atone for this crime by being deprived of oil when export traffic in the Persian gulf is halted by war against Iran. The US strategic petroleum reserve may have sufficient capacity to absorb the shortage, but the immediate impact of a Persian Gulf shipping shutdown will likely result in skyrocketing gasoline and fuel prices and shortages as panic buying and hoarding behavior breaks out.

It is said that America attacked Iraq because Iraq was an easy victim, unable to inflict significant casualties on our forces. We shall atone for this crime by incurring heavy casualties in Iran. Iran is not a soft target. Iran’s military has not been weakened by sanctions and defeat in the desert by American airpower. Iran has had many years to prepare for the American onslaught, and it has ample stocks of modern weapons; a large army; and mountainous terrain well-suited to defense and guerrilla warfare. American forces attacking Iran will likely suffer significantly higher casualties than in Iraq.

It is said that America attacked Iraq to stimulate its economy and feed billions in government money to politically-connected corporations. We shall atone for this crime by having our treasury drained by the ruinous cost of fighting a nation four times larger than Iraq. Foreign governments will eventually cut off lending to our self-destructive nation, and we shall have no choice but to inflate our currency or raise taxes to pay for a huge expansion of the Mideast war. This will bring economic pain to much of America.

As America drifts toward a war that almost everyone believes will be a disaster, there is an eerie stillness in the land. I believe that, consciously or not, Americans expect to be punished for the destruction of Iraq, and I believe that they expect that punishment to come from a war with Iran. That is why I believe the war will happen, because we believe we must atone for our crimes.

Bush is losing the war that matters

Maybe, just maybe, George W. Bush is more clever than we realize.  Let’s start with how we got into the so-called “war on terror.”  Protected by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and his associates promised and plotted to attack America.  After receiving an ominous Presidential Daily Briefing (“bin Laden determined to attack in the U.S.”) on August 6, 2001, Bush went on vacation.  On September 11, four passenger jets were hijacked and used as guided missiles, bringing down both towers of the World Trade Center and punching a hole in the Pentagon.  During the attack, Bush sat comfortably in a planned photo opportunity, reading “My Pet Goat” to grade school children in Florida.  The destruction and loss of life took the breath out of every American.  On September 20, Bush appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver an ultimatum to the Taliban and request military authorization to attack Afghanistan if certain conditions were not met.  On Oct 7, airstrikes on Afghanistan began in an effort to dislodge the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan.  I assume nothing in this thumbnail history is news to anyone. 

As a nation, we were largely united behind the military effort in Afghanistan.  The world community also backed our campaign.  The use of force was viewed an act of collective self-defense provided for under Article 51 of the UN Charter.  In other words, the use of force was considered legal under existing international law (unlike the war in Iraq).  The UN Security Council authorized the International Security Assistance Force to use force in its mission of securing the country after the Taliban was removed from power.

Now, let’s fast foward six years to the present.  This week marked the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attack by bin Laden, aided and abeted by his friends in the Taliban.  So, dear friends, what has been the focus of our attention?  Afghanistan?  No.  In fact, did Bush, Petraeus, Crocker, or anyone else even mention Afghanistan and the status of our efforts to stabilize that country in their proud parade of pandering piffle?  No.  Even the latest missive from bin Laden is focused on Iraq while he hides in Afghanistan or just over the border in Pakistan.  Brilliant, as the Brits like to snark, simply brilliant.

Just for laughs and giggles, how many of you pay any attention to Afghanistan or have you been completely caught up in that other war, the one in Iraq that Bush wants you to focus on, the one he claims is the central front in the fight against bin Laden and al Qaeda?  If you said Iraq, as well we must all answer if we are honest, then score one for Commander Bunnypants and his army of flying monkeys.

Let me show you how things are going in Afghanistan and why it should be the central front in the war against Bush.

Here is story that appeared on September 9, 2007.

KABUL (AFP) – Afghanistan is supported by the world’s strongest military forces and the Taliban are weakened, but Afghans are still losing hope, ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah told AFP in an interview.

The distance between people and the government is growing, Abdullah said as the country marked the sixth anniversary of the assassination of famous commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, who fought the Taliban and Soviet occupation.

Abdullah was a key aid to Massoud and knows a thing or two about internal strife in Afghanistan.  For him to suggest that the people of Afghanistan are losing hope that peace and something akin to economic development beyond poppy production will return to their country should make you cringe.  Are they seeing dark clouds on the horizon and a return to repression?

Growing insecurity, government inefficiency and incompetence and the absence of a coherent development strategy have contributed to popular disillusion, said Abdullah, who was controversially dropped as foreign minister last year.

In 2002, for example, Afghanistan could have coped for “at least a few months” without the international troops now here to fight the Taliban.

“Today we cannot afford this for six minutes,” Abdullah said.

I am no expert on counter-insurgency like Gen. Petraeus, but even he might not take much comfort in such an assessment of the capability of the Afghani army.

Is there other evidence to support Abdullah’s assessment?  How about casualties suffered by US and NATO forces in Afghanistan?

Year: Coalition Fatalities

2001: 12
2002: 68
2003: 57
2004: 58
2005: 130
2006: 191
2007: 170* [as of Sept. 14] 

The bottom line is that casualties were stable from 2002 to 2004, and rose 100% from those levels in 2005 and 200% in 2006.  This year is shaping up to be the worst yet.  Those numbers are only going in the correct direction if you support the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Here is a story about the Canadians conducting an offensive to retake a province they cleared in 2006

Canadian Forces launch new Afghan offensive
Andrew Mayeda, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, September 08, 2007

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canadian Forces launched their biggest combat operation in more than a month early Saturday, pushing into the Zhari district of Kandahar province to clear the way for Afghan security forces to reclaim recently lost ground.

[snip]

Canadian Forces were believed to have secured much of Zhari, located to the west of Kandahar City, in a series of operations beginning last fall.  But the Afghan National Police, which has become notorious for its corruption and incompetence, was unable to hold a number of checkpoints in the district.

The Canadians have suffered 70 fatalities in a force of 2100 soldiers (3.3%), nearly all of the losses occuring in the last three years.

Another grim assessment appeared this morning.

AFGHANISTAN is sliding ever further into conflict with more than half of the country affected and several regions out of reach of humanitarian aid, a senior international Red Cross official warned today.

“The conflict is clearly spreading and in certain areas also intensifying,” said Reto Stocker, head of the Afghan delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“Today, more than half of Afghanistan is mildly to very strongly affected by the conflict,” he said.

Increasing numbers of people are being displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict between the Afghan government and international allies one one side, and the Islamist Taliban militia on the other.

Mr Stocker said that security was so bad that many parts of the country are “no-go areas” for aid workers.

“There are lots of districts that have not seen for a prolonged period of time representatives of national or international NGOs”, including the United Nations and the ICRC, he said.

The Republicans, from Bush to Boehner to Petraeus, have created the impression that Iraq is the central front in the fight against al Qaeda.  This is a damnable lie.  If we killed every single member of al Qaeda in Iraq, it would have no effect on the operational strength of al Qaeda.  None.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.  Bush knows that.  Boehner knows that.  Petraeus knows that.  Even Osama bin Laden knows that.

We are losing the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the true central front in the so-called war on terrorism.  Bush knows that.  Boehner knows that.  Petraeus knows that.  Most especially, Osama bin Laden knows that.

Bush is losing the war that matters, the one in Afghanistan.  No one is paying any attention except Osama bin Laden. 

Thanks for reading.  Also available in Orange.

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Down and Dirty Jersey Style

Street Fight, Marshall Curry’s 2002 documentary provides fascinating and often disturbing insight into the down and dirty politics of Newark, New Jersey and the race baiting tactics used within the African American community to elevate one candidate while attempting to destroy another.

In 2002, Newark was literally drowning in poverty, ghettos, unemployment and crime. High school graduation rates were in the low 40% range. There were two cities of Newark–the thriving downtown and suburbs, where the “Renaissance” of the city had been thriving and the ghettos neighborhoods of the Portuguese, Latino and African American communities.

In 2002, Cory Booker, an up and coming young Democrat, community activist and local Ward Councilman, decided to run against four term incumbent, Mayor Sharpe James. What he didn’t realize was that he wasn’t just running against a lifetime politician (James had been in one office or another for 32 years in New Jersey).

Booker was literally running against the entrenched establishment that was determined to hold onto power, even if it meant using the same tactics that the whites had used in the South against civil rights activists 40 years earlier.

Mayor Sharpe James grew up in abject poverty, raised by a single parent, and rose through the ranks due in large part, to his participation and contacts made within the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Known as a hometown favored son, James held office in Newark for 32 years. Voters literally grew up with him and were fond of his humor and local understanding of their community.

Cory Booker’s parents, both civil rights activists and the first two African Americans to live in their local, all white neighborhood, instilled in Booker a love of civil activism. Booker’s grandfather was from North Carolina and had suffered mercilessly under Jim Crow laws in the 1930s’. His family were no strangers to the racist division that pervaded 20th century American society.

Booker was an all-star high school football player and went on to earn a scholarship to Stanford, where he excelled and graduated. He then earned his law degree at Yale. He decided to run for the City Council, and in a stunning upset, defeated a local incumbent. (Incumbents do not lose–they die or retire–whichever comes first in Newark.) Booker moved to the low income housing development in his Ward, in order to prevent himself from forgetting who he was representing and how they lived, day to day.

It is these two unique African Americans that Curry follows during the 2002 mayoral race. What starts off as a typical campaign race quickly degenerates into an often violent suppression of voters, by use of intimidation from both Sharpe supporters and the Newark police. Booker, his campaign staff, and worst of all, supporters/voters were subjected to physical threats, intimidation, coercion, financial shake downs, business closures, destruction of property, home and office break-ins, voter fraud and suppression of the vote.

But even intimidation, threats, financial blackmail and thuggery could not keep down the neighborhoods that began to support Booker in droves. Sharpe, realizing that there was a serious chance of being replaced, resorted to race baiting.

Not too far into the campaign, James pulled out his “ace in the hole” and began claiming that Booker was “too white” and was secretly a right wing Republican. (While technically the mayoral race was considered non-partisan, it was widely known throughout Newark that both candidates were Democrats in a heavily registered Democratic city.)

For one black man to accuse another black man of being too white brought the community nearly to blows. Sharpe James ran on a campaign slogan of being “The Real Deal.” His remarks, captured on tape by both Curry as well as local news networks, leave no doubt as to his insinuations that Booker was a well to do carpetbagger that was “too white” for Newark.

To paraphrase one Booker supporter, Sharpe’s accusation of Booker being “too white” to represent the black community of Newark was the same kind of insinuation that slave owners alluded to in order to divide their slaves and pit them against each other. To see an entire African American community engage in the same tactics as their former white suppressors was almost unbearable.

And that’s where this movie hits you between the eyes–the lengths that a local town bully will go to in order to keep his cushy $200,000 a year job (he gave himself a sweet pay raise), his two vacation homes, his 46-foot yacht and Rolls Royce. He gleefully engaged in the same vicious divisive tactics that were used in the 1960s’ by those who were determined to maintain their Jim Crow way of life in the South.

James pulled out the big political machine guns in order to win a 5th term–he enlisted the likes of the Newark police department, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to publicly endorse him, while engaging in behind-the-scenes thuggery and race baiting. They knew it. He knew it. And they all took part in it, in order to keep the status quo.

And win he did. By a little less than 4,000 votes, he managed to squeak out re-election for a 5th term.

Curry’s documentary is a powerful and often disturbing fly-on-the-wall view of both Sharpe’s tactics and the pain and division that were the results of a bitter race between a young civil activist and an aging establishment candidate, who would do anything to maintain power, including engaging in suppressing and intimidating his own people.

[Post script: In 2006, Booker, who had raised funds for 4 years and continued to build name recognition, ran for the mayor’s office. Two weeks after turning in his petitions to run for a 6th term, Sharpe abruptly withdrew, without notice, from the mayoral race. A token candidate State Senator Ronald Rice took Sharpe’s place to run as the establishment candidate. In a stunning defeat, Booker won 70% of the vote and became mayor of Newark.)

Dharmaceutical: Your daily dose of outrage

{Crossposted on To Us!  Permission to use noncommercially with attribution.}

Open post to Brian Williams of NBC News:

In response to this from your Daily Nightly blog, in which you wrote

A number of television journalists gathered for lunch with the president at the White House today — a practice becoming more and more common when this president has a major speech to deliver. The following is a review of my notes, and is offered here under the ground rules established by the assembled White House senior aides. Vice President Cheney attended but did not speak.

I realize that you don’t publish my comments, pointed and critical as they are, but I hope that you are at least reading and considering them in the spirit in which they are offered.

Journalists are considered the 4th estate.  To that end, the public relies on you (the plural you) to be assertive in pursuing clear, accurate and comprehensive information from reliable sources, and that you perform adequate fact-checking.  Moreover, the public expects you to refrain from editorializing to the extent that is possible for educated humans to accomplish. 

That translates into questioning and protesting such intolerable conditions as the “ground rules” that the White House is mandating for off-the-record briefings.

We, the people, supposedly elect those occupants of that branch, and we have full rights to know what the president and his cabinet (and whatever the heck the VP is calling his position in the branches these days) are doing, what his plans are, what his rationale is, what resources he is actually using, who his advisers are, etc.

It is not acceptable for NBC News, a la Tim Russert’s court testimony, to assert that everything is assumed to be off the record as baseline, and that only when express permission is obtained, that sources are revealed. 

To be blunt, that is un-American.

We now live in a topsy Orwellian world of doublespeak.

I am no politico, no genius and no one of import.  But I highly recommend that you reacquaint yourself with Orwell’s 1984 and Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here.  Read some Morrow.  Read some 1930’s history.

Speak with your international print and television news colleagues.  Try to step outside the US media market and look at it from a global point of view.

It’s frightening.  And you, your counterparts at ABC and CBS, and the anchors of the political commentary cable “news” shows are not meeting the public need.

What would be a good start?

In the transcripts, include the citations for all presented facts and sources.

In the NBC News Division, include professional CVs for all anchors, reporters, correspondents and news writers and researchers. Tell us your academic credentials, your professional experience, and even jobs held in other industries to help us understand your perspective.

Most important, provide full disclosure for any and all relationships between you and your subjects.

If you’re still reading, I thank you!

Please consider hosting reader/blogger fora.  Having Chris Colvin present her blog round-up twice weekly is a real treat, and she’s first rate, but that’s just a start.

It would be very interesting to have a working forum with key bloggers and NBC News staff to develop working relationships and to create some synergistic effects.

Not for “nuthin'” – it might be useful to get a better handle on the demographics of bloggers – especially those in the political blogosphere.  My guess is that’s where your market share growth is, but only if you learn how to tap in to the blogging fire hose.

Thanks for reading.  I’m always open to criticism, too, and please don’t hesitate to provide it. *g*

Addendum:  This was submitted on 9/13/2007 to the Daily Nightly blog and was not published as of the time of this post.

PONY PARTY… a.m. driving to work edition, pardners

I don’t think there is anything worse than being stuck in traffic. There’s nothing worse than being behind a Sunday driver on a Monday morning in rush hour. In the left lane of a four lane highway. Coming up to lights with BIG trucks in front of both lights.

Or driving to the beach for a glorious week… dreams smashed as your everyday world anger and frustrations exlode, full blown, sitting in the car, in traffic…and your older car threatening to overheat. And then, and i really loved this, having my ex husband tell: BE HERE NOW.

Be… here… now… BE HERE NOW? No no no… you don’t understand. I don’t want to be here NOW…

You gotta pet peeve. Throw it out there… come on… pony it UP…

go ahead, play, talk, and be excellent to each other. oh and whatever you do, DO NOT push the recommend button on PONY PARTIES… these are here for fun, but we don’t want to take up space on the recommended diary list…

Road to DC Progress Report

Just a quick update on how the trip is going

Skippythebox just called to let the Mom unit know all was OK. jlynne and Joe left Grand Junction about midnight yesterday, picked up Matt and headed to Omaha where we threw Skippy on the bus. They left Omaha about 4:30 yesterday on their way to Chicago, they have picked up pico and are now in the home stretch to DC. The silver juggernaut Hyundai seems to be surprisingly comfortable since it is at its maximum for passengers. At least so far no one has had to run along side. I am hoping they will finally get a good WIFI connection and be able to update you all themselves. In the meantime here is some raw video of the gang picking up skippy in Omaha.

Do you ever wonder

Do you ever wonder? The catch phrase made popular by humorist Andy Rooney. A 60 Minutes staple, he is both funny and thought provoking at the same time.

Please follow me below the fold for my take on that age old question.

Do you ever wonder why gas has dropped more than a dollar a gallon in my area over the last 2 weeks, when the  flooded refinery causing the momentous jump less than a month ago is still off line?

Do you ever wonder why Wall Street was so disappointed in Exxon's recently announced 2nd quarter profits of $10.6 BILLION dollars. The 4th largest quarterly net income ever posted by a publicly traded U.S. company? Do you ever wonder what Exxon's obscene 2006 profits, the largest ever at $39.5 BILLION represents when put in perspective? Well it would fund these Government agencies for a year:

Department of Housing and Urban Development $34.7 billion

Food Stamp Program                                                  $35    billion

Department of Commerce                                          $6.2   billion

Body Armor For Soldiers                          $260  MILLION

Department of Energy                                                 $23    billion

National Institute of Health                                         $28.5  billion

Department of Homeland Security                               $31.9  billion

Department of Interior                                              $10.3  billion

Department of Justice                                              $19.4  billion

State Department                                                    $28.6  billion

Army Corp of Engineers                                             $4.7  billion

EPA                                                                            $7.5 billion

Health Care for 6 million Children                                  $3.5 billion

There are countless other programs that $39.5 billion would fund and of course 3 months of the War in Iraq. AND the what about the combined oil profits last year? Just the biggest of the oil companies had profits of $377 BILLION in 2006, or about $1300 for every man woman and child in this country.

Do you ever wonder why Republicans are against funding universal health care for children? Do they really believe there are no uninsured or poor Republicans in this country. There are 15,869,776 Children in Red states living in poverty, nearly half of all children in Texas, more than 3 million. 55% of all poor children live in Red states.

Do you ever wonder why truth, justice and the American way hasn't been like that since Superman was a kid. Do you ever wonder why Russ Feingold couldn't have come to KOS with some closer to the truth. Like no matter what it may look like we understand the mandate of the last election and we DO have your back.

Do you ever wonder why football commissioner Roger Goodell needs an independent lawyer to look over the Michael Vick indictment to see if Vick has violated ANY NFL policies on personal conduct?  In the mean time Vick misses training camp, we can only hope Goodell does the right thing. Nike and Rebok among others saw no dilemma and sacked him.

Do you ever wonder why breast milk was prohibited on aircraft when a well applied metal ball point pen can be lethal.

Do you ever wonder why when Cheney declared himself the fourth branch of government, Congress didn't bitch slap him by defunding his office. It was a close call, 9 more yea votes would have passed it. Unfortunately of the nay votes  24 of them were Democrats; Bean, Boren, Boyd (FL), Capuano, Cuellar, Edwards, Ellsworth, Gordon, Herseth Sandlin, Kaptur, Klein (FL), Lampson, McDermott ( the good guy from Wa state, Murtha, Obey, Peterson (MN), Ross, Salazar, Sestak, Skelton, Smith (WA), Snyder, Space, Tanner. If they represent YOU, you might want to have a chat.

Do you ever wonder why parents don't seem to tell their children or grandchildren about their heroes? I do, in fact we had a discussion recently about one of my “lefty” heroes, Phil Donahue and his interview with Donald Rumsfeld and others, regarding the Iraq war. The whole idea that we were better off because Saddam was evil, killed thousands of his own people and had WMDs made him bristle. He fearlessly braced Rummy about WMDs and how whatever WMDs Saddam had he got them from us. He reminded Donald how he had met with Saddam in December of 1983, like they were old friends. And then the coup de grâce-when Saddam gassed the Kurds with WMD's we gave him, I didn't hear you crying then Donny.

Do you ever wonder why people seem to have a problem with theories trying to make them facts ahead of their time, or complete discounting them once they become fact. Theories are like a crime scene investigation, you take what you know, what you think you know and what you might imagine happened (this includes but isn't limited to wild assed guesses)and one by one eliminate what doesn't fit until you have the truth. All scientific facts started as theories, as did all factual conclusions of any kind. It is the sum total of what you have until you have all the answers. Global warming is not a theory and neither is the hidden environmental dangers of nuclear power.

Do you ever wonder why three years later we can't fix the Gulf Coast. I don't mean the Government or Insurance companies, they will never do it, I mean US, you and me. The first thing we need to do is push HARD for the protection and restoration of Delta wetlands. No single act can do more to protect the Gulf Coast than to protect wetlands and barrier islands, they are hurricane sinks. The other thing we need is a clearing house to connect people who want to help with people who need help. Maybe something like making the whole area the America's new “home town”, adopt a town or rural area to help, sister cities, individuals, churches, colleges, businesses, hell, come one come all. The Government and companies supporting a “national vacation” to encourage business to promote time taken to the Gulf Coast to help. Perhaps even put together employees willing to go and pay their expenses and wage while they do. Construction companies and trades people usually have a slow season, a perfect time to make a visit to one of the most beautiful spots in the world. The Government allowing those businesses and individuals who participate to deduct the cost of their trip on their taxes dollar for dollar and refund any excess. If the Gulf Coast is ever going to be fixed it falls to us to get it done, the good news is, WE CAN DO IT.

Do you ever wonder why increasing terror alerts seem to coincide with increasing problems for W? Oh thats right we figured that out a while back, too bad W continues to embarrass himself by trying to divert our attention.

Do you ever wonder where the real news is and I don't mean Brittany and Lindsay. Here are some news stories you may have missed compliments of Google.

The first induction weekend since the Baseball Hall of Fame promised to honor Buck O’Neil probably will end without any announced tribute.  Mr O'Neil was instrumental in getting 17 Negro League players inducted but was omitted himself. Sadly, he died recently at the age of 94.

Americans make up 36% of users at British news oriented web sites.

The WGA East on Wednesday released a “white paper” study by the guild purporting to show a lowering of news quality at two broadcast networks with which it is locked in protracted and fractious contract talks. Based on interviews with WGA members at ABC and CBS between May 2006 and April, survey results show “the conglomerates have slashed jobs overall, converted full-timers to part-timers and combined jobs,” the guild said. This is part of the cause for the degradation of news reporting.

There was also some good earnings news yesterday. Amazon.com surged $16.93 to $86.18 after the Web retailer said its second-quarter profit more than tripled on strong sales of books, music and electronics worldwide.

Japanese whalers have admitted almost all of the mature female minke whales they killed in Antarctic waters last season were pregnant. But that's good news, they insist, supporting their argument that the population is strong enough to allow a return to commercial whaling.

Merck (nyse: MRK – news – people )told investors that, for the second-quarter, it raked in earnings of $1.68 billion, or 77 cents per share, versus $1.5 billion, or 69 cents per share, for a similar period last year. Pharmaceutical Industry Profits Increase by Over$8 Billion After Medicare Drug Plan Goes Into Effect and nearly 70% of their PAC money goes to Republicans.

Do you ever wonder why on KOS, unlike newspapers, the meat of the diary is below the fold?

Do you ever wonder about DLS and all the terror threats they have so far stopped for us, how they are all a joke. Yet they expect us to take this seriously when clearly in most cases the people are American citizens and either monumentally stupid or innocent of even ignorance and poor planning. Oh, that's right “fight'em there so we don't have to fight'em here” seems to be working based on results from DLS, they have yet to foil a REAL threat.

Do you ever wonder why so many people believe Civil Unions are marriage equality? Or how many are willing to give up the fight and just give in to the Radical Right without ever looking at their argument to see if it holds water? Just a couple of things, first separate is never equal, thought we learned that in the 60's. Secondly, no church has ever been nor will they ever be forced to marry anyone, this isn't about the rights of churches, those rights have never been jeopardized. And lastly the church came very late to the marriage party. Marriage first and foremost is a legal and binding contract for that reason the government has a legitimate interest. In about 550 AD the Justinian Code made marriage a state regulated contract, before then saying you were married was enough. Until the 12th century church marriages were simply blessings with no legal or binding anything. In 1553 the Council of Trent required all Catholic marriages to be performed by a priest, but it wasn't until the 18th century Church weddings became common. Churches simply do not have a dog in this fight.

Do you ever wonder if a President has a defining moment when he actually understands the consequences of his actions and in that moment willingly chooses infamy for his legacy? Take the $1.1 trillion surplus projected by 2008 thanks to President Clinton, how it disappeared to give us a projected $3.9 trillion tax cut for the wealthy? The tax cut according to Bush was to boost an already thriving economy. I have read it would take $1.6 trillion to rebuild this country's ancient infrastructure. (Many of us learned about the importance of infrastructure playing SIM CITY.) For less than half the cost of the tax cut, we could have new highways, ports, power, schools, etc. What a tremendous boost to the economy all those jobs would have been. What a perfect time to start using conductive concrete for road surfaces, building rapid rail, clean energy, clean water and more. All that  and $2.3 trillion left for rebuilding cities and the Gulf Coast, restoring the Delta wetlands, universal health care, getting off oil, clean air, think of the possibilities. I would have given up my measly $300 for any one of these, my guess is you would have too.

Do you ever wonder why reforms of any social program inevitably means fewer needing the help will get it? Welfare reform doesn't need to be a bad thing, but the idea of making it more difficult to get help the first place is wrong headed, it ought to be made EASIER to GET OFF. Programs should be designed to help as many people as possible, make it easy to transition off and understand the only way to get rid of any opportunity to abuse the system is to NOT offer the program, because matter what is done a certain SMALL group will always find a way to scam the government.

Do you ever wonder about the President who when Signing Statements no longer are enough asks Congress to retrofit the law to legitimize his criminality. Constitooshun, we don't need no stink'in Constitooshun.

This is just a few things making little sense to me, feel free to add your own “Do you ever wonder”s to the thread.

Hammer Time

Who wants to go here?  I don’t, it isn’t like we haven’t been here before but exorcising the lies and purging the evil is always beneficial and Friday is trash day in my neighborhood so let’s take it out.

Address by the President to the Nation on the Way Forward in Iraq
Oval Office
September 13, 2007
9:01 P.M. EDT

The Greeting:

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character (the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another) of its people. We are now at such a moment. emphasis added

First paragraph establishing the facts before the persuasive arguments are brought forth:

In Iraq, an ally (a friendly (favorably disposed; not antagonistic) nation) of the United States is fighting for its survival. Terrorists and extremists who are at war with us around the world (Specifically who and specifically where dude? This is getting confusing and we are only into the fourth sentence.) are seeking to topple Iraq’s government (the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed……….and wow, I didn’t know Iraq had one of those), dominate the region, and attack us here at home (OH MY GOD……FALLING BUILDINGS AGAIN…….just tell us who they are and where they are attempting to hit and we the population will do everything we can to root these armies we are at war with out!) If Iraq’s young democracy (government based on majority rule and the consent of the governed, the existence of free and fair elections, the protection of political minorities, respect for basic human rights, equality before the law, due process, and political pluralism……….wow, I’m so uninformed and didn’t know Iraq had one of these too) can turn back these enemies, it will mean a more hopeful (inducing a wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment……….what’s the something part?) Middle East and a more secure (free from danger or attack………because the Middle East will be inducing a wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment) America. This ally (a friendly (favorably disposed; not antagonistic) nation)……….wow, are you sure we still have one of those anymore and by the way, I’m losing the feeling of inducing a wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment) has placed its trust in the United States. And tonight, our moral (conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous) and strategic (important or essential in relation to a plan of action………wow, we have one of those too…….I’m getting a headache for some reason) imperatives are one (being a single entity, unit, object………I now have a MIGRAINE): We must help Iraq defeat those who threaten its future and also threaten ours.

I don’t know about you but that’s enough mud hammering for me today.

The Problem With The Netroots Strategy On Iraq

The Netroots has this year focused its fire on Iraq on “moderate” Republicans and what they term Bush Dog Democrats. Move On’s Tom Matzzie “masterminded” a brilliant plan that Move On has implemented this spring and summer of running ads against “moderate” Republicans like Jim Walsh and it worked, Walsh will now favor a toothless “change the course” strategy that Democrats will offer as a “bipartisan” plan. Move On and the Dems have concocted a political position that will give “moderate” Republicans cover on the Iraq issue in 2008 while doing nothing to change the course of the Debacle. Brilliant!

Similarly, the Bush Dog Democrat plan, which threatens to run Netroots-inspired primaries against people like Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) (because I am sure Mississippi Democrats will rise up once some Mississippi progressive is anointed as the Netroots candidate in such a primary), will no doubt make a big dent in Bush’s Iraq policy. Not.

Meanwhile, erstwhile Netroots Dem Joe Sestak (D-PA), once a supporter of a date certain for withdrawal, no longer supports a firm timeline:

Sestak said, Democratic leaders should set aside their demands for immediate withdrawal “and begin to help author a comprehensive regional security plan that accepts the necessity for a deliberate redeployment.” . . . Sestak has been among those Democrats who think that setting a “date certain” for withdrawal is the best way to force Iraqis to assume more responsibility. But he now believes the length of time needed to redeploy, and the potential for the entire Army to “unravel” unless troops are redeployed, require a compromise. . . .

This is indicative of all that was wrong with the progressive activist strategy on Iraq in 2007. Instead of concentrating on growing and holding the group of Dems, once 171 strong in the House, in favor of no funding without timelines, some decided they could pressure Republicans and conservative Dems like Gene Taylor. And we are where we are today in no small measure because of these miscalculations. I repeat, one more time, that it will take pressure on Dems, MAINSTREAM and PROGRESSIVE Dems, to hold the line on no funding without timelines. We need to work for more pledges like this one:

Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.

More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.

We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come. . .

The pledge made in this letter should have been the focal point of our activism. Sadly, it was not.

And credit to those Representatives who signed the pledge.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA); Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA); Rep. Rush Holt (NJ); Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY); Rep. Diane Watson (CA); Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ); Rep. Barney Frank (MA); Rep. Danny Davis (IL); Rep. John Conyers (MI); Rep. John Hall (NY); Rep. Bob Filner (CA); Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY); Rep. Bobby Rush (IL); Rep. Charles Rangel (NY); Rep. Ed Towns (NY); Rep. Paul Hodes (NH); Rep. William Lacy Clay (MO); Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR); Rep. Albert Wynn (MD); Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA); Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC); Rep. Hilda Solis (CA); Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY); Rep. Michael Honda (CA); Rep. Steve Cohen (TN); Rep. Phil Hare (IL); Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (CA); Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL); Rep. James McGovern (MA); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Julia Carson (IN); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA); Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ); Rep. John Olver (MA); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Rep. Jim McDermott (WA); Rep. Ed Markey (MA); Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA); Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ); Rep. Rubin Hinojosa (TX); Rep. Pete Stark (CA); Rep. Bobby Scott (VA); Rep. Jim Moran (VA); Rep. Betty McCollum (MN); Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN); Rep. Diana DeGette (CO); Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA); Rep. Artur Davis (AL); Rep. Hank Johnson (GA); Rep. Donald Payne (NJ); Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO); Rep. John Lewis (GA); Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY); Rep. Neil Abercrombie (HI); Rep. Gwen Moore (WI); Rep. Keith Ellison (MN); Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI); Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI); Rep. David Scott (GA); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL); Lois Capps (CA); Steve Rothman (NJ); Elijah Cummings (MD); and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Pony Party; Eeny, meeny, miny……mear???

Let me start off this fine, fine morning by saying that I am not monkey-obsessed, nor do I intend to invite monkeys exclusively to the Pony Party.  That’s not how I do.

However, I’m giving myself a pass, as yesterday’s ‘Monkey House’ title was really a reference to Kurt Vonnegut, and not any actual monkeys.  And who doesn’t love monkeys?

Answer: these 2 tigers:

If nothing else, once you’ve watched that you can spend your day serenely pondering how blessed you are not to live near that monkey.  Or near those tigers, really, because I doubt many of us would have the foot- or climbing speed to make that kind of getaway.

May your day be monkey-free, and your ears retain their natural shape at all times!!

Without further ado, the floor is yours….

Don’t recommend the Pony Party essay.

-73v, over and out

“As indigenous people, we have always depended on the environment . . .”

also posted at Truth & Progress


The quote in the title is from a letter which in its English version begins


Dear AES Shareholders:

We are addressing you on behalf of more than 15 indigenous Ngobe communities which live on the banks of the Changuinola River, located in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. We have lived along this river for many years, this river which borders La Amistad International Park – a World Heritage site shared by Panama and Costa Rica. We work the land as our ancestors taught us, cultivating oranges, corn, bananas and other crops which grow together with the small number of animals we raise. But also, the fish and shrimp of the Changuinola River are an important part of our diet and our culture.

Currently, our lifestyle and the ecosystem surrounding us are facing a grave threat: the construction of three hydroelectric dams on the river, located above and below our communities. These dams, called Chan 75, Chan 140, and Chan 220, are being financed and constructed by AES Corporation. While some of us have been temporarily employed to clear trees and prepare the ground for construction, the reality is that in the long term these dams will have disastrous effects for us.


The dams are expected to rapidly eradicate up to eleven species of diadramous fish and shrimp on which the Ngobe traditionally rely. For a technical analysis, see Probable Effects on Aquatic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function of Four Proposed Hydroelectric Dams in the Changuinola/Teribe Watershed, Bocas del Toro, Panama, with emphasis on Effects within The La Amistad World Heritage Site (22-page pdf)

AES’s Panama page, which features a smiling young Indian boy, sounds benevolent enough:

. . . we’re not just running a business, we know that the impact of our work goes far beyond that. Bringing electricity to places that never had it before, working for the social good-these are often profound outcomes of our business. Providing electricity can radically improve the quality of life, especially in developing countries, and especially because AES does so reliably, safely and responsibly.

The Center for Biological Diversity and 50 other groups see a contradiction between the rhetoric of AES and the effect these dams, already abandoned by all other investors, will have on indigenous people and on La Amistad park. Here is a snippet from their letter to AES:

The huge social cost to displaced people has been documented around the world for similar hydroelectric projects, and along with the environmental consequences of these dams, this issue carries massive human-rights implications. For instance, relocation discussions have not been conducted following the cultural norms or the native language of the Ngobe; rather discussions have occurred in Spanish, a language many Ngobe do not speak. Furthermore, the Ngobe do not know to where they would be relocated. If they are moved to a city, many do not have the education required to obtain adequate employment to make a living wage. Alternatively, some Ngobe might decide to move onto land inside PILA, thereby increasing the threat of causing harm to its biodiversity. As such, it must be emphasized that the dams’ impacts on the human populations along the Changuinola River and the animal populations throughout the region would be catastrophic.

You decide. If you agree with the Ngobe and the CBD, you can start by sending this letter to AES and Panamanian officials:

Save Panama Biosphere Reserve From Dams

Tomorrow, we’ll bring the question of indigenous rights back home, to Washington state.

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