Friday Night at 8

Oh the old intertubes aren’t working very well at casa del Nightprowlkitty, but hopefully I’ll get this posted in time.  If I don’t comment right away, you’ll know why.

Does anyone else share the feeling I have today, a feeling of something impending?  Because I don’t have anything to say about current events or culture or even personal anecdotes.  I feel a sense of apprehension.  And of course it’s about America.

I think even the boys at the big blogs are now aware that business is not as usual.  We’ve even got kos yelling at the Democrats over their incomprehensible behavior when it comes to opposing this misAdministration.

Something has changed.  August was the lull before the storm.  Folks all over the country are waiting for someone to pull the plug on these criminals.  Everyone agrees they are criminals, everyone knows they want to take us into a world of unending war, unending governmental incompetence, unending theft and corruption.  That’s simply how they operate.  They don’t know how to do anything else.

And now we are all awaiting a report by David Petraeus and everyone already knows the White House has rewritten it, everyone knows this misAdministration is doing its best to discredit the GAO’s report, shout down any dissent on what is going on in Iraq.  And here we sit, wondering what’s going to happen.

This isn’t like Viet Nam.  We’re older and wiser now.  We see this happening in real time, all of us.  It’s strange and surreal in so many ways.

It hasn’t been even a year since the 2006 elections.  We’ve seen truckloads of investigations, information pouring out of those investigations that reveal an out of control power mad group of criminals — and we all knew this, didn’t we?  For six years these folks have gotten away, literally, with murder.  And there hasn’t been one single thing done by this misAdministration and its former rubber-stamp Congress that has benefited America.  Not one thing.

And here we are, on the brink of deciding whether we should continue an illegal war, continue to pretend that Mister Bush and Mister Cheney are legitimate leaders.  Yes, it is surreal.

So I don’t have a lot to say tonight.  I’m happy to be here at Docudharma, I hope it will be something new and different, that we’ll all find a way to change the paradigm of how we speak to each other as Americans.  I hope we’ll talk about social justice, the deep primal human needs that percolate through our sophisticated and civilized minds and find their finest expression in laws, laws that apply to everyone equally.  I hope we’ll talk about how to regain that kind of justice, and how our laws can help us extend human dignity to those who are suffering so badly both in America and throughout the world.

Because, to me, politics isn’t very interesting in and of itself.  It interests me only insofar as it helps us all to express the highest of our aspirations, the deepest of our respect towards our fellow human beings and other sentient creatures on this planet.  I know that those lofty goals have always been achieved in this world by the dirty and grubby process of politics, I know that’s the way it has always been.  I hope we can regain our understanding of what we really do need as human beings, and that our politics will flow from that understanding.

I/P

Over at the Admin site, Turkana wrote this-

maybe it’s time we discuss how to deal with i/p. otherwise, we’ll have an israel-bashing diary on the rec list, every day, and the same poison that infects every site where these people take their hatred. i wish there was a button to prevent a diary from going rec list. any ideas?

To which buhdy’s response was-

Let’s talk to them!

Once again transparency and sunshine….

If someone does something we don’t like, let’s have a short convo here to define it….and them tell them about it!

I will be happy to lead this effort….when I can again …..sniff!

My thoughts below the fold.

I think it should be ok to talk about Israel and Palestine, but I have to agree with Turkana that I don’t want it to dominate this blog.

In the interests of full transparency I don’t much like the current government of Israel or it’s policies and I think they’re leading OUR government around by the nose.

I do have a lot of sympathy for Israel as a country and I like to think I’m not terribly anti-Semetic.  Jews are not all anything any more than Christians (I’m not, but was) or Danes (proud to be, what’s it to ya?).

Arab reaction to the creation of the state of Israel struck me as a bunch of Whiny Ass Titty Babies, but I can’t deny that conditions in the Gaza Strip and West Bank are unbelievably harsh and current Israeli settlement policys are out and out thievery unless compensation is provided.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Kelo v. New London.

But mostly what I want is to not get involved.  Those debates bore me and I’m so totally willing to let Turkana sort through the tedious he said she said.

I do have some interest in not having the disscusion of this issue hijack this blog and I don’t think there’s a button to bounce things from the Rec List.

You can turn off comments and recommends and hide content however, even the title, but not the author.  You can delete the diary and individual comments.

I don’t really think we should put budhy on the spot on this issue so he has flexibility in the future.  He is the boss and what he says goes.

I have some shopping to do so I won’t be around for all of this constantly, but I’d like to hear what you think.

Friday Philosophy: Nonviolence

I was raised in a violent atmosphere.  Our house was not filled with the physical violence that leads to bodily injury.  But there was physical violence that results in psychological trauma and much verbal and emotional abuse.  It’s difficult growing up knowing that one is not good enough, that one’s talents and skills are not appreciated, and that who one is less important than who one might be perceived to be.

My father was an angry man.  While practicing his bowling in the living room and simultaneously arguing with my mother, he “accidentally” threw his ball through the living room wall.  Because he was having trouble with the Christmas tree one year, the tree was thrown through the plate glass window in front of which it was to supposed to stand.  That his anger did not produce physical violence against his children is testament to my mother’s fortitude.  But there was always the mental abuse.  All four of us kids are just starting to cope with that…40 years later.

 

Growing up as a child, I became involved in fisticuffs exactly twice.  On one occasion, I chose to protect a neighborhood lad in my school who was the target of stones being thrown by the local bully.  Though the bully was bigger than I, I managed to wrestle him to the ground with me on top and gave him enough good blows to send him on his way.  I did not feel good about that.  On the second occasion, I was attacked by a boy who I thought was my best friend. He was himself being given a hard time for hanging out with me, the “cry baby” of the neighborhood.  I got a split lip during the altercation.  And yes, I went home crying.

The two incidents resulted in my conviction that violence is never the correct response for me.  I could have protected the first boy by hurrying him out of distance of the stones.  And the second attack only escalated when I tried to protect myself.  The damage done to my soul by not choosing to refuse to fight was hard for me to bear.


I have chosen to refuse to inflict violence ever since.  During the Vietnam War, I chose to dodge the draft and was successful for nearly three years until found by the FBI in Oklahoma.  Since being nonviolent was not sufficient reason to keep me out of the military (the option I was given was to serve 5 years in the violent atmosphere of a penitentiary), I did do my time in the Army.  But I chose to do so as nonviolently as possible.  When they taught me how to kill and maim, I would spend the night afterwards trying to meditate on peace while sick to my stomach. In the end, I was lucky.  I never had to hurt anyone else during those awful two years.  Had they attempted to send me off to kill, my plan was to attempt to run away again.  Failing that, I would have chosen to die rather than kill someone else, for killing someone else would surely have been the death of my soul and protection of my soul is more important to me than protection of my body.

The only good thing that I can see my time in the military taught me was the ability to disarm a dangerous situation without violence.  I was taught to use the violent approach, to be sure, but I refused to use it.  Being a military cop and a prison guard, violence did have a tendency to happen around me.  But I found that words and reason could stop fights and the skills they taught me to keep from being in a situation where I could be the focus of the violence were sufficient to protect me.  But I still regret learning the skills they taught me so that I could inflict damage on other people.  I hope I have forgotten most of them by now.

Yes, I was raised in what is now a suburb.  That was back in the days when even suburbs needed workers.  But I have lived in areas where violence occurred more frequently than it should (which is never, as far as I am concerned)…in San Francisco after the Death of Hippie, on the original Skid Row in Seattle, in a brothel in Miami, in Resurrection City during the Poor People’s March in 1968, in Spanish Harlem in New York for a spell, in a racially divided area of Milwaukee.  But I refused to let the violence change the way I lived. 

No, I do not know what it is like to be a person of color.  But I do know what it is like to be attacked solely because of my appearance.  None of those places brought as much danger as being a transsexual woman living in Arkansas and traveling this country.  It’s not too hard to tell I was born male.  I’ve been assaulted twice while living near Little Rock and once in Menlo Park, CA, because of it, had all the tires on my car slashed because of it, and had cat feces put in my mailbox because of it.  I’ve been arrested using a public restroom because of it.  Compared to that, when I became the target of a big rock in Little Rock on another occasion because I was a dyke, I actually had the thought pass through my mind that at least the perpetrators were acknowledging me as a woman.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do not condone anyone’s use of violence.  But I figure that a violent response by me means that those who acted violently towards me have won. I refuse to let that happen.  What if someone comes face to face with me and demands my money?  Then they can have my money.  What if someone invades my home while I am there and wants my property?  Then they can have what they want. What if someone wants to kill me?  Then they can have my life…but they cannot have my soul.


Peace is not won easily.  It is definitely not won by enacting war, either war on a large scale or war on a personal level.  Certain parts of this society have much invested in keeping us divided and at each other’s throats…divided along racial lines, economic lines, religious lines, and gender lines.  Until we can refuse the fighting, they are the winners. Until we can cease being afraid of one another, they are the winners.  Until we can learn that we can work together, they are the winners. Until we realize that there is strength in our numbers, they will rule.

The way we stop the violence is to stop the violence.  It is a personal act in behalf of our society when we refuse to be violent.  It is a public act in behalf of our society if we can teach others to be nonviolent as well.

Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who want to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

* 9 am (mega slacker)
* 12 Noon (slacker)
* 6 pm (now)

If that is not enough punishment we will increase the level of abuse.

I thought we were here for an argument.

This is an Open Thread.

Weakness

(It’s that time again. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

How many iterations have there been of this, my now favorite theme: The Democrats are afraid of looking weak… of being perceived as weak… they don’t want to look anti-military… they don’t want to be perceived as weak on defense… not a week goes by that Democrats aren’t using the we’re afraid we’ll look weak defense.”

Whaaaaaat?

Let me break it down for you.

They are afraid of looking like they’re afraid. They actually use fear of being perceived as fearful to defend their abysmal lack of action on reinstating our Constitution.

The Dems are afraid of using muscle. They are afraid of action. They are even afraid of perception. The Dems are very polite, even when they writer angry letters, the tone is collegial.

How about if I provide you all on Capitol Hill with some some muscular numbers on, well, let’s pick Iraq, Armando’s daily drumbeat:

– almost 4,000 Americans dead
– almost 28,000 Americans wounded
– tens of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded
– widows, widowers, orphans, people displaced and made homeless

And the cost of all this death and destruction… the amount of money to buy all of this horror:

$449,579,883,847
and counting…

Everybody keeps asking why you don’t DO anything meaningful or muscular. Well, for me, it pretty much boils down to two things: either you’re corrupt or you’re inept.

Oh, and I forgot, you’re afraid.

————————-
posted also at dKos

Four at Four

Four stories in the news at 4 o’clock. Simple, huh?

  1. Ouch. Bush’s Gilded Age economy has ground to a halt. The New York Times reports, 4-Year Growth in Jobs Ends; Stocks Plunge. “Employers eliminated 4,000 jobs in August… If the jobs report had been merely lackluster, it might have been welcomed by investors as a sign that fears of inflation had abated sufficiently to make the prospect of a Fed rate cut all but certain. The reversal in job growth, however, went far beyond expectations, raising fears that corporate profits will weaken as the market upheaval moves beyond the housing and financial sectors and casts a chill on the broader economy.” (As profits weaken, expect corporations to cut even more jobs.) “The nation lost 4,000 jobs in August, the first time employment has shrunk since August 2003,” the Washington Post notes. “The dollar tumbled to a 15-year low today,” The Guardian adds. “The American economy is poised for an impending recession,” The Telegraph predicts.

  2. The death toll from Hurricane Felix continues to climb. Hundreds still missing as Felix toll reaches 98, according to The Guardian. ‘The death toll from Hurricane Felix rose to 98 today, with hundreds more people still missing. Rescuers working in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, pulled bloated bodies from the sea while villagers used canoes to search for survivors. Residents of the remote area claimed they had been given little warning of the hurricane’s approach, leaving many fishermen stranded at sea… Hurricane Felix hit Nicaragua’s north-eastern Miskito coast early on Tuesday as a category five storm, the highest on the scale.”

  3. The Sydney Morning Herald reports from the APEC meeting, Not much civility from police chiefs, but scant civil disobedience.

    Superintendent Stephen Cullen, the head of the NSW Police Riot Squad, laid it on the line this week. Sydney, he said, was on the brink of violence and civil disobedience on a scale never witnessed here.

    Violent agitators were “well-drilled and disciplined” and the police intelligence was disturbing, cautioned the burly police veteran, who also carries the title of Civil Order Commander for APEC. “I have absolutely no doubt that minority groups will engage in a level of violence not previously experienced in Sydney,” he said. “Never in my career have I held such serious concerns for public safety.”

    They are the kind of comments that have flown thick and fast from the lips of politicians and police for months, as they justify the huge expense of the APEC security operation. But, even as the city braces for the main anti-APEC protest rally today, they are sentiments that are looking increasingly shrill and alarmist.

    As of yesterday afternoon, APEC-related arrests in Sydney have encompassed 11 members of a comedy troupe, a man who squirted tomato sauce on a pro-US banner and another individual who apparently used bad language. All low-level stuff considering the security wall and police powers introduced for the summit, not to mention the spending on riot gear.

    “It’s out of proportion,” said Alan Behm, a security analyst and former senior defence official. “The security measures are excessive, the amount of money spent is not proportionate to the threat, and it set a new precedent in dignitary protection which is above the standard of any other country that I’m aware of.”

    Now that is the kind of reporting, we don’t see anymore in the America’s traditional media.

  4. Spiegel Online brings this sticky news from Germany: Chocolate Sauce Blocks Autobahn. “Thirteen tons of chocolate melted and flowed across the German Autobahn on Thursday night after the truck carrying it caught fire. ¶ Willy Wonka would have approved. Apparently, the truck suddenly caught on fire as it was cruising through the night near Ludwigsfelde just south of Berlin… ¶ The driver was able to separate the tractor from the trailer, but the chocolate wasn’t nearly so lucky. The heat from the fire made quick work of the sweet cargo and before long, a mini chocolate river was flowing across the highway.” Send in the Oompa-Loompas!

One more story below the fold…

  1. Finally, another giant has fallen. The New York Times brings the sad news that author Madeleine L’Engle, Children’s Writer, is dead. “Madeleine L’Engle, who in writing more than 60 books, including childhood fables, religious meditations and science fiction, weaved emotional tapestries transcending genre and generation, died Thursday in Connecticut. She was 88. Her death, of natural causes… ¶ Ms. L’Engle (pronounced LENG-el) was best known for her children’s classic, “A Wrinkle in Time,” which won the John Newbery Award as the best children’s book of 1963. By 2004, it had sold more than 6 million copies, was in its 67th printing and was still selling 15,000 copies a year. ¶ Her works — poetry, plays, autobiography and books on prayer — were deeply, quixotically personal. But it was in her vivid children’s characters that readers most clearly glimpsed her passionate search for the questions that mattered most. She sometimes spoke of her writing as if she were taking dictation from her subconscious.” I will miss her, but thankfully she has left behind her wonderful books. Fare thee well ‘Meg’.

So, what else is happening?

Friday Fun: Intelligent Design

Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures

Better viewed widescreen at TED. (Expando symbol upper right of screen.)

Anyone remember Sandkings?

State of the Onion II

Art Link
Purple with Beading

Thursday is Queersday

Long away and far ago
when I was young and naive
wearing purple on Thursday
meant one was most likely queer
as it was called at the time
Though I didn’t truly know
couldn’t really comprehend
what it entailed to be queer
I still didn’t wear purple
on Thursdays or any day
For that I am yet ashamed
The power of fear is great

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–March 16, 2006

Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who wamt to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

* 9 am (slacker)
* 12 Noon (now)
* 6 pm

Woke up late this morning,
A storm was really rolling,
Frogs and dogs were raining from the sky…

Everything seems awkward to me,
Nothing is as it should be,
If this keeps on I’m sure I won’t get by…

But then I close my eyes and try to smile…
I know things are bad and getting worse….
But after all this I can rest a while..

And then I’ll party, party!
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,

Shake your tail and you can..

Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,

Shake your blues away!!!
(ha ha ha…)

(shin’s voice) Yo! Reggae vacation mon!

This party’s shakin’ and it ain’t just shakin’ here,
I see that smile grinin’ ear to ear,
Sing this song and you should really sing it dear,
Just sing along with US!

Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,
Party, party, join us, join us,

Shake your tail and you can..

PARTY! PARTY! PARTY! PARTY-PARTY!

This is an Open Thread.

RESISTANCE!

Note: This is going up on dKos as Mojo Friday in about a half-hour here.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it…. All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.
-Henry David Thoreau

I want to talk about what many of us are going to do one week from tomorrow, and why.
Jump in.

When the spring segued into the summer, and we saw Congressional Democrats cave on war funding, and the summer’s heat rolled on, and we came no closer to ending the war, and we were treated to the spectacle of Congress signing away our civil liberties out of political cowardice and fealty to a criminal and amoral Presidential administration, I said this not once, but many times, and I meant it:

“When the streets call, I will come.”

The time is approaching. Eight days and counting.
Will you be there?

It is now expected that  General David Petraeus will testify before Congress on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, four days before the deadline for his report to Congress on the War in Iraq. On Saturday, September 15, 2007 Washington D.C. will be the site of what promises to be the  largest protest ever against the Iraq War.

Your presence is required.

Register for the Forum, and coordinate your trip to D.C. with others from your area. Share expenses, make new friends, save your Country.

RESISTANCE!

THIS VIDEO HAS THE TOP-LEVEL KESTREL SEAL OF APPROVAL. PLEASE SPREAD IT AROUND.

For the spirit:

A broad spectrum of national groups have united to mobilize for a massive fall anti-war mobilization called the Days of Action. September 15-21 will be a major showdown in Washington, DC at the very moment that the Petraeus Report is released and Congress takes up spending over $100 billion to prolong the war. Launched with a huge March on Washington on September 15, led by veterans who have returned from Iraq, there will be seven days of actions to send a shockwave through Washington and the nation with the reverberating demand: End the War Now!


They. Are. NOT. Doing. What. We. Put. Them. There. To. Do.

Remember earlier this summer when Harry Reid and the Democrats vowed they were “going to hold the president’s feet to the fire” on Iraq? Well, now it appears they’ve decided to play footsie with the White House instead and take what one Democratic strategist calls “a more nuanced approach” that includes backing off demands to set a firm withdrawal date…Just last week, Reid was promising “I will not let these Republicans hide. When the Senate returns to Washington, I will force them to take vote, after vote, after vote on bringing an end to the war in Iraq.”

Now the air on Capitol Hill is full of talk of “bipartisan compromise” and even Ken Salazar’s insipid proposal, which Reid himself had previously rejected as a “toothless tiger,” is getting renewed interest.

“I can’t believe how Democrats are playing this game,” a Republican strategist told me the other night. “They hold all the cards — and they are folding.”

“We’re kicking ass,” (Bush) told Mark Vaile on the tarmac after the Deputy Prime Minister inquired politely of the President’s stopover in Iraq en route to Sydney.

What recourse is there left, but to deliver a message?
They know we are coming, and they are trying all kinds of stupid pet tricks to stop us.

Don’t let them.

Assert your rights, and the rightness of the cause.
Road2DC.com has been established for the purpose of networking and organizing activity to begin on Saturday, September 15. Resources to aid you in your planning are centralized there.
There are four in our group. How many in yours?


Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying


Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying

You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate


For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality



Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on

The time is at hand.
D O  S O M E T H I N G, for God’s sake!


Eight days.
One hundred and ninety-two hours, and t3h s4!+ is ON.

DO SOMETHING.

Peace out.

Iraq and the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

(Friday afternoon, whew! Have at it.
-exmearden – promoted by exmearden
)

Crossposted from Daily Kos

I am not an economist, but reading Jay Elias’s latest diary made me think of another problem with the way George Bush and his sycophants look at Iraq: they keep falling for the sunk-cost fallacy. Wikipedia defines the fallacy as follows:

Economics proposes that a rational actor does not let sunk costs influence one’s decisions, because doing so would not be assessing a decision exclusively on its own merits.

This strikes me as being pretty much exactly the mistake George Bush keeps making. What are the merits for staying in Iraq now? None that don’t have some basis in the cost we’ve already sunk.

more

So I googled for Iraq and the Sunk-Cost Fallacy. It turns out that Barry Schwartz beat me by almost two years. That’s right, this problem has been apparent since at least 2005. In the event, Schwartz covers the problem well, and I encourage you to go back and read his column. Some choice excerpts:

How do we honor the sacrifices of those who have died or suffered serious injury in an American conflict? The best way to show how much we respect and value their lives is by refraining from sacrificing other lives in their name unless future prospects fully justify putting more people in harm’s way. The lives of those who died are a sunk cost-one that is much higher than any of our treasure. But their lives can not be reclaimed. Their injuries can not be undone. If our assessment of a military situation is that we are unlikely to be successful, or that the likely price of success in lost lives is too high, then we must change course. What we owe those who have already suffered is enough reverence for life that we won’t send others to suffer after them in order to justify their own suffering.

And:

[I]t is unacceptable to justify [our continued involvement in Iraq] on the grounds that we “owe” it to those who have already fallen. That is a justification that no one should be allowed to get away with. But it is a justification that is coming increasingly to the fore, usually implicitly but sometimes explicitly, as other arguments about staying the course in Iraq become less and less compelling. Whatever the differences may be between Iraq in 2005 and Vietnam in 1968, if we allow policy makers to use our “sunk costs”-our dead soldiers-to justify further conflict, we will have turned Iraq into another Vietnam. And if we do, we will be shamed by Iraq just as we were shamed by Vietnam.

I hope as much as I can hope (I don’t pray) that Congress takes all of this to heart when it considers whether and for how long to keep funding this debacle–and it seems clear to me that we should not.

  And what of our leaders in Congress? Will they see what we see, or will they continue falling for George Bush’s continued reliance on the sunk-cost fallacy? I think we will find out next month, and I do not feel good about the answer we’re likely to get.

Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who wamt to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

9 am (now)
12 Noon
6 pm

If that is not enough punishment we will increase the level of taunting.

This is an Open Thread.

Load more