Thursday, September 29, 2005
Meat: Your Maker: Images from "The Good Guys" -- WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC
You've probably heard about this web site by now -- NowThatsFuckedUp.com -- as it's been in the news because U.S. soldiers in Iraq have been posting horrific war photographs to the site, in exchange for access to pornography.
(Onward Christian Soldiers . . .)
Well, have a look.
This is why sane people hate this fucking pro-military hero-worship bullshit -- praising the killers with unconditional love, as though they can do no wrong and are only "Armies Of Compassion," seeking only to do good works like Jesus and to help children.
And to even criticize them is to be unpatriotic -- even a traitor.
As far as I'm concerned, anyone who supports this war is morally obligated to look at these photos (submitted by U.S./U.K. soldiers) and to read the comments.
"Dehumanization" doesn't do it justice. "Inhuman" doesn't cover it. "Evil" -- maybe.
I'm sorry to say this, but here it is: I do not support the troops.
There. I said it.
Call me a traitor if you like -- I really don't care at this point. Really.
Spend an hour or so on this site (the soldiers' photos, please, not the porn). Read the comments. Then have at me.
I do not support this.
Some of the comments:
That is definitely that guy's brain laying next to his head.
and why not? he wasn't using it any way
fuck these raghead bastards, many thanks to the USA soldiers who are over there kicking ass and wasting these towelheads!
F*%k'um where they eat !!
they didnt nickname us Devildogs for nothing
kill em' all.Fucking towel heads want to die for "Allah" but keep their faces covered so they dont get hunted down & killed. Fuckin cowards... we should blow them all to hell.
. . . Fuck them way to go Marines let the 72 virgins work with a guy with no face.
dirty job but someone got to do it! Go Army!
die fuckers... sand niggers
wow those are some high explosive grenades,deadly!
MIGHT BE SICK BUT THATS THE WAY IT IS, WE WILL CATCH THEM ALL SOONER OR LATER AND BAG THEM UP NICE AND NEAT
OOOOORAAAAH! GO MARINES GO ARMY!
. . . . . . . .
Having said that, I'm going to weaken my words with a disclaimer: I know not every soldier is like this, and I know that they are brainwashed and trained to hate and kill, and this is the inherent nature of their situation and a predictable consequence of military occupation of a foreign country . . .
But that's not enough for me. And "I was just following orders" is not enough for me.
If there is a Hell, Satan's working overtime to build the 10th floor. And every person who takes delight in murder and mutilation, dismemberment and spattered blood, and charred corpses . . .
"If there is a Hell, I'll see you there."
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Sinister Events in a Cynical War
Sinister Events in a Cynical War
By John Pilger
09/28/05 "ICH" -- -- Here are questions that are not being asked about the latest twist of a cynical war. Were explosives and a remote-control detonator found in the car of the two SAS special forces men "rescued" from prison in Basra on 19 September? If true, what were they planning to do with them? Why did the British military authorities in Iraq put out an unbelievable version of the circumstances that led up to armoured vehicles smashing down the wall of a prison?
According to the head of Basra's Governing Council, which has co-operated with the British, five civilians were killed by British soldiers. A judge says nine. How much is an Iraqi life worth? Is there to be no honest accounting in Britain for this sinister event, or do we simply accept Defence Secretary John Reid's customary arrogance? "Iraqi law is very clear,? he said. ?British personnel are immune from Iraqi legal process." He omitted to say that this fake immunity was invented by Iraq?s occupiers.
Watching "embedded" journalists in Iraq and London, attempting to protect the British line was like watching a satire of the whole atrocity in Iraq. First, there was feigned shock that the Iraqi regime's "writ" did not run outside its American fortifications in Baghdad and the "British trained" police in Basra might be "infiltrated". An outraged Jeremy Paxman wanted to know how two of our boys - in fact, highly suspicious foreigners dressed as Arabs and carrying a small armoury - could possibly be arrested by police in a "democratic" society. "Aren't they supposed to be on our side?" he demanded.
Although reported initially by the Times and the Mail, all mention of the explosives allegedly found in the SAS men's unmarked Cressida vanished from the news. Instead, the story was the danger the men faced if they were handed over to the militia run by the "radical" cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "Radical" is a gratuitous embedded term; al-Sadr has actually co-operated with the British. What did he have to say about the "rescue"? Quite a lot, none of which was reported in this country. His spokesman, Sheikh Hassan al-Zarqani, said the SAS men, disguised as al-Sadr's followers, were planning an attack on Basra ahead of an important religious festival. "When the police tried to stop them," he said, "[they] opened fire on the police and passers-by. After a car chase, they were arrested. What our police found in the car was very disturbing - weapons, explosives and a remote control detonator. These are the weapons of terrorists."
. . . . . . . .
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Al Jazeera Hires an Ex-Marine
I wonder if he's worried about being shot or bombed now . . .
Saturday, September 24, 2005
New Reports Surface About Detainee Abuse
Mistreatment Was Routine, Soldiers Say
By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 24, 2005; Page A01
Two soldiers and an officer with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division have told a human rights organization of systemic detainee abuse and human rights violations at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, recounting beatings, forced physical exertion and psychological torture of prisoners, the group said.
A 30-page report by Human Rights Watch describes an Army captain's 17-month effort to gain clear understanding of how U.S. soldiers were supposed to treat detainees, and depicts his frustration with what he saw as widespread abuse that the military's leadership failed to address. The Army officer made clear that he believes low-ranking soldiers have been held responsible for abuse to cover for officers who condoned it.
The report does not identify the two sergeants and a captain who gave the accounts, although Capt. Ian Fishback has presented some of his allegations in a letter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Their statements included vivid allegations of violence against detainees held at Forward Operating Base Mercury, outside Fallujah, shortly before the notorious abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison began. The soldiers described incidents similar to those reported in other parts of Iraq -- such as putting detainees in stress positions, exercising them to the point of total exhaustion, and sleep deprivation.
They also detailed regular attacks that left detainees with broken bones -- including once when a detainee was hit with a metal bat -- and said that detainees were sometimes piled into pyramids, a tactic seen in photographs taken later at Abu Ghraib.
"Some days we would just get bored so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid," an unidentified sergeant who worked at the base from August 2003 to April 2004 told Human Rights Watch. "This was before Abu Ghraib but just like it. We did that for amusement."
And like soldiers accused at Abu Ghraib, these troops said that military intelligence interrogators encouraged their actions, telling them to make sure the detainees did not sleep or were physically exhausted so as to get them to talk.
"They were directed to get intel from them so we had to set the conditions by banging on their cages, crashing them into the cages, kicking them, kicking dirt, yelling," the soldier was quoted as saying. Later he described how he and others beat the detainees. "But you gotta understand, this was the norm. Everyone would just sweep it under the rug."
Army and Pentagon officials yesterday said they are investigating the allegations as criminal cases and said they learned of the incidents just weeks ago when the Fort Bragg captain's concerns surfaced. Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said the Army began investigating as soon as it learned of the allegations.
Lt. Col. John Skinner, a Pentagon spokesman, severely criticized the report and emphasized that the military has taken incidents of detainee abuse extremely seriously since the Abu Ghraib scandal, changing policies and procedures to prevent such mistreatment. There have been hundreds of criminal investigations and more than a dozen major inquiries.
"This is another predictable report by an organization trying to advance an agenda through the use of distortions and errors in fact," Skinner said. "It's a shame they refuse to convey how seriously the military has investigated all known credible allegations of detainee abuse and how we've looked at all aspects of detention operations under a microscope. . . . Humane treatment has always been the standard no matter how much certain organizations want people to believe otherwise."
In addition to talking to Human Rights Watch, Fishback has made his concerns known in a series of signed letters and memos sent to Capitol Hill. Fishback, a West Point graduate who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, wrote that no one in his chain of command has been able to give him a clear explanation of what humane treatment is, and he believes that U.S. soldiers have regularly violated the Geneva Conventions by torturing detainees and taking family members hostage as a means of coercion.
"Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees," Fishback wrote in a Sept. 16 letter to McCain, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a former prisoner of war in Vietnam. "I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment." Fishback, reached by telephone yesterday, declined to comment.
Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said yesterday that the report again shows the need for an independent investigation into detainee abuse, and for Congress to define how U.S. soldiers are to treat detainees in their custody. "Even officers who wanted to behave honorably found it difficult to do so because there was no clarity about what the rules are," Malinowski said.
Purging the Poor
I haven't been quite this enraged in some time.
The Bush/Republican response to the Katrina disaster:
1.) to start using the military for law enforcement, effectively suspending the Posse Comitatus Act (can you say "Waco"?). Which also means, of course, funneling even more money to the military rather than doing something sane with it, like funding FEMA and making it a functional cabinet-level agency, or funding levee construction through the Army Corp of Engineers . . .
2.) suspend prevailing wage laws so that those suffering can suffer just a little bit more
3.) suspend environmental regulations (which simply aren't needed when there's an environmental catastrophe -- that makes perfect sense)
4.) hire Karl Rove (whose only credentials are that he is good at lying and getting away with it) to head the reconstruction effort
5.) give out the usual batch of huge illegal no-bid contracts to the crony capitalist corporations like Halliburton, Bechtel, Fluor, etc.
6.) capitalize on the disaster by using it as an excuse to push the right-wing ideological agenda with such things as corporate wellfare (including for casinos), subsidies for oil exploration (including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), de-funding alternative energy research, pushing school vouchers instead of funding the public schools, and (the old favorite) cutting taxes.
These bastards quite simply have no shame.
But what can we expect? They were re-elected; the American people (well, half of them, anyway) put their stamp of approval firmly on this corrupt -- can we just call a spade a spade?: fascist -- administration. And they saw that as a green light to keep doing what they'd been doing for four years. Hell, no one seems to mind, I guess we can get away with it. (Insert Bush's sniveling chuckle here.)
Do I use the word fascist lightly? Perhaps more lightly than I should. But applied in its literal/original sense (Mussolini), it is quite accurate: the merger between the Government and the Corporation.
(Consider, also, the "Karl Rove Playbook.")
The truth is that the White House's determination to turn renters into mortgage payers is less about solving Louisiana's housing crisis than indulging an ideological obsession with building a radically privatized "ownership society." It's an obsession that has already come to grip the entire disaster zone, with emergency relief provided by the Red Cross and Wal-Mart and reconstruction contracts handed out to Bechtel, Fluor, Halliburton and Shaw--the same gang that spent the past three years getting paid billions while failing to bring Iraq's essential services to prewar levels [see Klein, "The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," May 2]. "Reconstruction," whether in Baghdad or New Orleans, has become shorthand for a massive uninterrupted transfer of wealth from public to private hands, whether in the form of direct "cost plus" government contracts or by auctioning off new sectors of the state to corporations.
This vision was laid out in uniquely undisguised form during a meeting at the Heritage Foundation's Washington headquarters on September 13. Present were members of the House Republican Study Committee, a caucus of more than 100 conservative lawmakers headed by Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. The group compiled a list of thirty-two "Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices," including school vouchers, repealing environmental regulations and "drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Admittedly, it seems farfetched that these would be adopted as relief for the needy victims of an eviscerated public sector. Until you read the first three items: "Automatically suspend Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws in disaster areas"; "Make the entire affected area a flat-tax free-enterprise zone"; and "Make the entire region an economic competitiveness zone (comprehensive tax incentives and waiving of regulations)." All are poised to become law or have already been adopted by presidential decree.
DemocracyNow! had an interview with Naomi Klein also.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The Right welcomes "Candy Striper Death Orgy" to their ranks
This makes me giggle. While throwing up a little bit.
Hunger Strike Spreads at Guantanamo Camp
I can't understand what's going on here. I thought these people were at a "resort" -- with lemon chicken and rice pilaf, and fluffy cushions. Isn't that what my Republican "representatives" in Congress said? Why aren't they just resting peacefully, and watching some reruns or something? It has been stated repeatedly that these people have it better than any POW's in history. (Oh, right, sorry -- they're not POW's, cause that would give them some rights and stuff; they're "enemy combatants." My mistake.)
Mass Guantanamo suicide protest
FEMA Sends Trucks Full Of Ice For Katrina Victims To Maine
Storing Surplus Of Ice An Expensive Job
Kurt Vonnegut's List of "Liberal Crap I Never Want To Hear Again"
LIBERAL CRAP I NEVER WANT TO HEAR AGAIN
Give us this day our daily bread. Oh sure.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Nobody better trespass against me. I'll tell you that.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are the merciful. You mean we can't use torture?
Blessed are the peacemakers. Jane Fonda?
Love your enemies - Arabs?
Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. The hell I can't! Look at the Reverand Pat Robertson. And He is as happy as a pig in s**t.
Excerpt from Vonnegut's "A Man Without A Country" (thanks to Security Hooligans) :
"In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appallingly powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed.
In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis were.
And with good reason.
In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want.
Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything.
Piece of cake.
The O'Reilly Factor.
So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and Chicago paper called In These Times.
Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic New York Times guaranteed that there were weapons of mass destruction there.
Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.
Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?
Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is not the first time I have surrendered to a pitiless war machine.
My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse."
Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas!
Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler.
What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?"
Monday, September 19, 2005
Who's in Charge? Karl Rove!
All you really need to know about the White House's post-Katrina strategy -- and Bush's carefully choreographed address on national television tonight -- is this little tidbit from the ninth paragraph of Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson's story in the New York Times this morning:
"Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort."
Rove's leadership role suggests quite strikingly that any and all White House decisions and pronouncements regarding the recovery from the storm are being made with their political consequences as the primary consideration. More specifically: With an eye toward increasing the likelihood of Republican political victories in the future, pursuing long-cherished conservative goals, and bolstering Bush's image.
That is Rove's hallmark.
. . . . . . . .
Ambassador John Bolton Undercuts Global Commitment to Fighting Poverty and AIDS
So, how's that Bolton guy doing at the U.N.? Well, one of his first acts was to betray the promise this administration made to give money to the Millenium Fund.
Nice. I don't know why people were so worried about confirming this gentleman.
What are these greedy poor countries asking for? (Actually, I don't know that they're even asking.) .7% of GDP. That's right: less than 1%. And what are we providing? .1%. That's right: 1/10 of 1 percent.
"That which you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me."
Is there really anyone who still believes that Bush is a true Christian?
Bunker Buster Action Animation
At least we're not pursuing new Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Cause that might be, like, hypocritical or something. So that's a relief.
The good news is, even Republicans oppose this madness, and have refused to allocate funding for it.
Rumsfeld Seeks to Revive Burrowing Nuclear Bomb
South Korea world leader in broadband internet acccess
. . . . . . . .
Most pay about $33 monthly for an 8 megabit-per-second connection. Wireless access, which allows subscribers to access numerous public Wi-Fi networks, costs an extra $8.50 a month.
. . . . . . . .
Such broadband vitality didn't come out of nowhere. The Korean government sank over $1.5 billion into helping create the world's most advanced telecommunications network, according to a report from Britain's Brunel University.
. . . . . . . .
See also South Korea leads the way
This is NOT a trivial matter. Especially in this age of increasing media consolidation -- and with the FCC (grasping at straws, of course) stating that the internet makes it hard for the huge Corporations who own the media to compete, therefore we need to deregulate . . .
I actually think this might be more important than any other issue. Seriously. Because it effects every other issue. Whether or not people have access to the information they need to make informed decisions determines the efficacy of our democratic system. It's not an exageration to say that democracy itself is at stake. I think if every person in the country had spent just ONE DAY reading alternative news sources and the history of U.S.-Iraq relations online prior to the Iraq invasion, the Iraq war may not have happened; the public outcry would have been too great. (Though most people will still get most of their information from the mainstream media, which makes media reform perhaps more crucial.)
Why isn't there more discussion about this? And why is it that, in those states which are trying to get broadband to everyone, the Republicans are trying to stop it?
I don't think it's only because they favor big business before people. I think it's also because it benefits their party if people are ignorant.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Bush: One Of The Worst Disasters To Hit The U.S.
Equal Time - No tax-exempt status for churches that refuse to distribute pro-evolution propaganda! By Christopher Hitchens
. . . . . . . .
To my point, then. Why not make schoolchildren study the history of the argument [of Intelligent Design]? It would show them how to weigh and balance evidence, and it would remind them of the scarcely believable idiocy of the ancestors of "intelligent design." The tale is both amusing and instructive, and it is a vital part of the history of the 19th and 20th centuries. How could intelligent scientific secularism lose if this were part of the curriculum?
If we take the president up on his deceptively fair-minded idea of "teaching the argument," I think we could advance the ball a little further in other directions also. Houses of worship that do not provide space for leaflets and pamphlets favoring evolution (not necessarily Darwinism, which is only one of the theories of evolution and thus another proof of its scientific status) should be denied tax-exempt status and any access to public funding originating in the White House's "faith-based" initiative. Congress should restore its past practice of giving a copy of Thomas Jefferson's expurgated Bible—free of all incredible or supernatural claims—to each newly elected member. The same version of the Bible should be obligatory for study in all classes that affect to teach "divinity." No more Saudi Arabian money should be allowed to be spent in the United States on the opening of jihadist madrasas or the promulgation of a Wahhabi Quran that preaches hatred and contempt of other faiths and of atheism until the Saudi government permits the unmolested opening of Shiite and Sufi places of worship; Christian churches and Hindu temples of all denominations for its Philippine, Indian, and other helot classes; synagogues; and Thomas Paine Society libraries. No American taxpayers' money should be given to Israel unless it can be shown that it is not being used for the establishment of religion by Orthodox messianic settlements in the occupied territories and/or until the Israeli rabbinate recognizes Reform and Conservative Judaism as authentic.
Equal time. It has a nicer ring the more you say it. Bring it on.
I find it remarkable that this hadn't actually occurred to me. But it's an example of what I've often said regarding the Separation of Church and State: Christians (and rabid Evangelical Christians, in particular) love the Constitutional doctrine when it helps them (churches are tax-exempt, etc.), but despise and oppose it whenever it might hinder them (religion and prayer can't be taught in the public schools, etc.).
Let's do it. Let's agree to teaching "Ingelligent Design" in schools -- provided that churches are forced to teach Science and Evolution along side their preachings about Genesis, etc.
To quote Penn from "Penn & Teller's BULLSHIT!":
"Take some time and put the Bible on your summer reading list. Try and stick with it cover to cover. Not because it teaches History -- we've shown you it doesn't. Read it because you'll see for yourself what the Bible is all about. It sure isn't great Literature. If it were published as fiction, no reviewer would give it a passing grade. There are some vivid scenes and quotable phrases, but there's no plot, no structure, there's a tremendous amount of filler and the characters are painfully one-dimensional. Whatever you do, don't read the Bible for a moral code; it advocates prejudice, cruelty, superstition and murder. Read it because we need more atheists. And nothing will get you there faster than reading the damn Bible."
The only problem I have with Hitchens' argument (and I know he's being satirical), is that 1.) by inserting Faith into Science, and implicitly saying both are equal and deserving of equal consideration, we would seriously undermine Science; and 2.) we would be reinforcing the false dichotomy of Religion Vs. Science -- implying that you must choose one or the other, but that because they are mutually contradictory you cannot believe in both.
(For the more absurd claims, of course -- like the Earth is only 10,000 years old, and fossils were placed inside of rocks by God to test our Faith -- well, Science and Religion ARE mutually-exclusive, in some cases. But for the more enlightened Christians [like, say, the Pope], all Science including Evolution is simply a process set in motion by God, and rather than arguing against it we must seek to understand and appreciate it as fully as possible, for the more we understand the planet Earth, human nature, etc., the more we understand God.)
Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory (The Onion)
August 17, 2005 | Issue 41•33
KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.
"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."
Founded in 1987, the ECFR is the world's leading institution of evangelical physics, a branch of physics based on literal interpretation of the Bible.
According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.
The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."
"We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.
Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.
"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some gravity making them fall—just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious intelligence governs all falling."
Critics of Intelligent Falling point out that gravity is a provable law based on empirical observations of natural phenomena. Evangelical physicists, however, insist that there is no conflict between Newton's mathematics and Holy Scripture.
"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."
"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"
Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Firms with Bush ties snag Katrina deals
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh,
President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President
Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.
Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Experts say it has been common practice in both Republican and Democratic administrations for policy makers to take lobbying jobs once they leave office, and many of the same companies seeking contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have already received billions of dollars for work in Iraq.
Halliburton alone has earned more than $9 billion.
Pentagon audits released by Democrats in June showed $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.
But the web of Bush administration connections is attracting renewed attention from watchdog groups in the post-Katrina reconstruction rush. Congress has already appropriated more than $60 billion in emergency funding as a down payment on recovery efforts projected to cost well over $100 billion.
"The government has got to stop stacking senior positions with people who are repeatedly cashing in on the public trust in order to further private commercial interests," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.
TWO BUSH APPOINTEES AT HALLIBURTON
Allbaugh formally registered as a lobbyist for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root in February.
In lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Senate, Allbaugh said his goal was to "educate the congressional and executive branch on defense, disaster relief and homeland security issues affecting Kellogg Brown and Root."
Melissa Norcross, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said Allbaugh has not, since he was hired, "consulted on any specific contracts that the company is considering pursuing, nor has he been tasked by the company with any lobbying responsibilities."
Allbaugh is also a friend of Michael Brown, director of FEMA who was removed as head of Katrina disaster relief and sent back to Washington amid allegations he had padded his resume.
A few months after Allbaugh was hired by Halliburton, the company retained another high-level Bush appointee, Kirk Van Tine.
Van Tine registered as a lobbyist for Halliburton six months after resigning as deputy transportation secretary, a position he held from December 2003 to December 2004.
On Friday, Kellogg Brown & Root received $29.8 million in Pentagon contracts to begin rebuilding Navy bases in Louisiana and Mississippi. Norcross said the work was covered under a contract that the company negotiated before Allbaugh was hired.
Halliburton continues to be a source of income for Cheney, who served as its chief executive officer from 1995 until 2000 when he joined the Republican ticket for the White House. According to tax filings released in April, Cheney's income included $194,852 in deferred pay from the company, which has also won billion-dollar government contracts in Iraq.
Cheney's office said the amount of deferred compensation is fixed and is not affected by Halliburton's current economic performance or earnings.
Allbaugh's other major client, Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group, has updated its Web site to say: "Hurricane Recovery Projects -- Apply Here!"
Shaw said on Thursday it has received a $100 million emergency FEMA contract for housing management and construction. Shaw also clinched a $100 million order on Friday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Shaw Group spokesman Chris Sammons said Allbaugh was providing the company with "general consulting on business matters," and would not say whether he played a direct role in any of the Katrina deals. "We don't comment on specific consulting activities," he said.
Bush trying to blame environmentalists for Katrina flooding
The federal government is trying to find evidence of any past efforts by environmental groups to block work on New Orleans' levees, according to a published report.
The Clarion-Ledger said Friday it obtained an internal Justice Department e-mail sent out this week to U.S. attorneys that asks: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation." [...]
Shown a copy of the email, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, said: "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?"
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had nothing to do with the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina that killed hundreds, he said.
"It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups," he said. "It doesn't surprise me at all."
Friday, September 16, 2005
Galloway vs. Hitchens "debate" (or reasonable faximile thereof)
Galloway / Hitchens Debate
Galloway vs. Hitchens - part 1 .mp3 (46 min., 15.7 MB)
Galloway vs. Hitchens - part 2 .mp3 (1 hr. 9 min., 23.6 MB)
Quote of the day:
"I have to laugh at this term, 'Foreign Fighters.' Which part of Iraq is General Meyers from? Which part of Iraq are the British and American generals from? The most foreign fighters in Iraq are wearing British and American uniforms in Iraq.
"But the idea that the Iraqi resistance are foreigners or Islamist fundamentalists is denied now even by the testimony of the United States generals themselves. Hitchens is clinging to an argument which has even been abandoned by the United States generals themselves. Only six percent, according to the United States government, of prisoners taken from amongst the Iraqi resistance have been foreigners -- if Arabs from neighboring Arab countries can be called foreigners by a government in the United States Of America. That means that 94% of them are Iraqis.
"Now you should know better. You see we were told in Vietnmam that if only the Red Chinese and the Soviet Union would stop meddling in Vietnam there would be no Vietnamese resistance. They couldn't bear to concede that the Vietnamese people were prepared to fight them -- with their teeth if necessary -- to rid their country of foreign domination. They've told us in every single anti-colonial struggle that it was foreign interference. It was the Reds. Or it's the Islamists from outside. If only we could extirpate them, Ker Pow the man in a turban with a beard in Tora Bora or his Leiutenant Zarqawi -- who, it turns out, actually fell out with Bin Laden a very long time ago . . .
"This slander of the Iraqi resistance is self-deluding. You're fooling yourselves if you believe it. Because if you believe it, you must believe that if only you could seal the borders a bit more, if only you could get rid of the foreign fighters, then everything would be rosy, everything would be hunky-dory. This is a level of self-delusion which borders frankly on the racist. The vast majority of the people of Iraq are against the American and British occupation of their country. . . . The vast majority of Iraqis want this occupation to end. And the vast majority of those fighting to bring it to an end are Iraqis. Get used to it. Get over it. Understand it. Or your fooling yourselves."
One of the most heated (and unapologetically ad-hominem, often times) debates I've heard in a very long time. This debate perhaps epitomizes what Jon Stewart despises about the talking head pundits in the media ("Crossfire," etc.). Nevertheless, I think it's the sort of debate that should have taken place before, during, and immediately after the Iraq invasion -- rather than the timidity, even cowardice, displayed by the media.
Quote of the day #2:
"People like Mr. Hitchens are ready to fight to the last drop of other people's blood. And it's utterly contemptible. Utterly and completely contemptible."
I have to say, I still maintain enormous respect for Hitchens. "The Trials Of Henry Kissinger" (the documentary -- I have to confess I haven't read the book) is one of the best documentaries I've seen. He's enormously brilliant, erudite, and articulate, and his arguments are well-reasoned.
In fact if there's one person who might be able to convince me to support this war, it would be Hitchens.
The fact that he doesn't quite succeed is a testament to how sick and wrong I feel this war is.
More on this debate later . . .
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The grilling and fellating (alternately) of Mr. John Roberts
Joseph Biden is a jerk. An asshole. Kind of a bastard.
There. I said it.
And John Roberts -- believe it or not -- seems O.K. to me. At least, not as bad as I had expected.
My main complaints are 1.) he speaks primarily in legalese, and tries to pretend that his own views will never enter into his decision-making process (a laudable goal, perhaps, but impossible); and 2.) his refusal to answer questions simply because "that's an issue that could come before the court" strikes me as hollow. Not only because almost ANY issue could come before the court, but because Roberts SELECTS which cases he feels might come before the court, and thus pleads the 5th.
You can practically predict which questions he's going to answer, and which ones he's going to stonewall on.
I have mixed feelings about abortion. But Roberts seems insincere and inconsistent to me when he insists that he will follow precedents first and foremost, and yet insists that he can't comment on abortion because it's likely to come before the Supreme Court. Whatever one thinks about abortion law, the right to privacy, etc.; the fact is that Roe has been upheld so many times by so many courts that the precedent has been set, and it is not at all likely to come before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, he DOES choose to talk about the government's right of "eminent domain" -- taking private property to use for the public good -- even though an important case dealing with this was JUST DECIDED.
The most interesting and revealing discussion took place when Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) directly asked Roberts about abortion -- whether he thought the "unborn child" was a person or property (a false dilemma, but we'll leave that aside for the moment). Roberts would not comment -- and that's fine. But what I want to point out is the hypocrisy of the right. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) tried to make an analogy between Roe vs. Wade and Plessy vs. Fergusson -- pointing out that although Plessy was established law with 100 years of precedent, it was then overturned and everyone is glad about it. He then questioned this notion that just because Roe is established law with so many precedents behind it, that we shouldn't consider overturning it.
O.K. You want to talk about abortion? Fine. You want to discuss whether or not a right to privacy exists in the Constitution and, if so, does it override the right of the foetus to exist . . . fine. I have absolutely no problem with any of that. But let's put this absurd cliche to rest about "judicial activism," can we? Because Brownback's argument PRECISELY calls for judges to use their authority to overrule laws they find unjust in order to advance social progress -- or perhaps (which is far worse) to advance his own personal moral values.
Chairman Specter, thankfully, pointed out that if you're going to take a "strict constructionist" approach -- seeking only to determine the original intent of a law -- then the Equal Protection Clause SHOULD NOT have been applied to black people, since the law was enacted during a time of segregation.
The other most interesting/important question that I've heard raised (and not answered, by the way) was: since Congress has the power to declare war, does Congress have the power to end a war?
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
"No photos. No stories."
This is also disturbing:
New Orleans Activist Points to Neglected Corpse as U.S. Military Passes Off Blame
(Watch the video.)
Although they don't try to stop Goodman from filming or asking questions, they refuse (most of them) to actually answer her questions, and seem generally indifferent. It's always someone else's reponsibility.
Justice John Roberts Senate confirmation hearing: Day 1: Summary of opening remarks
Day 1: Summary of opening remarks
Repub: You're a prince among men, and it's an honor to be graced with your presence.
Dem: You're a smart guy. But . . .
Repub: In the past, Supreme Court Justices have been confirmed in like 15 minutes. I hope that will be the case today.
Dem: This is an extremely important nomination that will affect the future of our country for generations, and therefore we need to ask a lot of questions.
Repub: No we don't. This is no big deal.
Dem: Roberts has been a judge for only 2 years; he is only 50 years old; and the administration has refused to release many documents that would help us to evaluate his credibility and competence.
Repub: Just shut up and confirm him.
Dem: It would be helpful if Roberts would answer all questions openly and honestly.
Repub: I don't think he should have to answer anything he doesn't feel like answering.
Dem: The Constitution states that nominations must be made with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Repub: It's whoever the president wants. I've got my rubber stamp ready, and so should you. You can even borrow my rubber stamp if you need to.
Dem: Past decisions made by Roberts call into serious question his support for basic civil liberties, which we might want to clarify before voting. Also, Mr. Roberts, a serious conflict of interests is suggested by the fact that you ruled in favor of unlimited power for the executive branch in holding detainees indefinitely at Guantanamo as "Enemy Combatants" without legal recourse -- with no rights, no P.O.W. status, no protection by the Geneva Conventions -- even as you knew you were being considered for a Supreme Court nomination. Had you ruled differently, you probably would not be sitting here now.
Repub: Some of these people are going to grill you. They're going to have the audacity to ask you what you think about issues and stuff like that. It's going to be like the Spanish Inquisition. I'm ashamed of them, and wish it were in my power to make them shut up and just place a crown upon your head and be done with it. But just remember: you don't have to answer. Just sit there and look handsome.
Dem: The interpretation of the U.S. Constitution by unelected and unaccountable officials appointed for life is one of the most serious matters of government. Until today, people on the right have been saying this -- like a very loud broken record -- for months.
Repub: We never said that. This is a trivial matter.
Dem: It would be nice, Mr. Roberts, to know how you interpret the Constitution.
Repub: The Constitution is unambiguous. And we hope that you will exercise "judicial restraint." In short, we don't want you to do anything. Or say anything. Just be handsome. And restrained.
Roberts: I'm a homosexual nymphomaniac, and my wife has had 6 abortions because I told her to. She kept saying it wasn't my decision, so I beat her mercilessly; when I got tired, I ordered one of my slaves to continue the beating; like my slaves, she is my property, and as such should not have the right to vote. I intend to do something about that. Assuming I'm confirmed, that is.
Repub: Ummm . . . Motion for, uh . . . recess?
Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans
Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.
Arms fair criticised for using Iraq war to market weapons
British and American arms companies have been criticised for marketing weapons used in Iraq at Europe's biggest arms fair.
Campaigners against the arms trade have criticised the Government for inviting countries with dubious human rights records, such as Indonesia and Colombia, to the fair. The campaigners also accused companies such as Lockheed and BAE Systems of "revelling" in the opportunity to sell equipment "battle-tested" in Iraq to those countries.
. . . . . . . .
Yesterday's press preview day included a catwalk-style show organised by Deso, with soldiers in full battledress posing with weapons. These included the British L96 sniper rifle used in Iraq as well as chemical detection equipment, airfield illumination systems and light anti-armour weapons.
. . . . . . . .
Saturday, September 10, 2005
"God's Tough Love" by Joe Toledo
If people had just listened to me, everything would be fine right now. As it is, here I sit in my Ark all by my lonesome. Except for Hashim. He's my coon hound. His name means "crusher of evil," by the way. And that's what he does: he crushes it. You should really come over some time and watch Hashim crush some evil. What are you doing Friday?
Oh, yeah: I got two possums, a racoon, and a salamander on here, too. Forgot about that. I figure that's a pretty good food chain. Hopefully there's some sparks between the racoon and the lizard. But I gotta find me a woman, cause I ain't matin' with no possum, I'll tell ya that right now.
There's a nice-lookin 'gator keeps swimmin' by here, but I ain't been able to catch 'im just yet.
I'd been hopin this here flood would wipe out more sinners than it has. I have yet to read anywhere an accurate account of the number of sinners smited by this thing. Far as I can tell it barely numbers in the thousands. Pathetic. Come on, God: that is a half-ass job if ever I saw one.
But worse still, because of the liberal media's constant bitching, we've now got the President — a good God-fearin man, by all accounts — out there doin the Devil's work by trying to rescue these sinners.
Now I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with this kind of hypocrisy.
I mean, sure: he's doin all he can to bring about the Apocalypse over there in the Middle East, I'll give him that.
But what about here at home? What about OUR rapture, Mr. Bush?
At least he's not as bad as that Satanic Castro fella. That bastard is so anti-Christian he actually EVACUATED everybody before Hugo hit and pretty much granted AMNESTY to probly 20,000 or more sinners. I'm tellin ya, you don't thwart God's smitin' like that and get off scott free. Mr. Castro better be on alert, because God is PISSED.
This interferin with the states by Big Government really gets my knickers in a bunch.
Now they're tryin to go down there and GIVE AWAY FOOD to these people. AND water. These people arent' even WORKING, they're just sitting there in a goddam sports arena! In my day, we called that Socialism. (Pardon my French.)
This is all just a Liberal conspiracy to get more money for Big Government Federal Programs, like FEMA and stuff. But do you hear anyone pointing this out in the Liberal Media? Of COURSE not! Why? Cause they're Liberals!
I even heard one Liberal saying something about how after the Tsunami it was hard to believe in God anymore. You believe that? I mean, read your goddam Bible, people! This is what God does! And thank God He does it, too! If He didn't wipe out all the sinners in some situations, we'd have to do it ourselves, and that would mean using nuclear weapons, probably. Is that what you want, Liberals? Huh? Is it?
God's doing us a service, and no one even bothers to thank him for it. And that's exactly why He doesn't love you anymore.
All this talk about "Evil In The World" and "Why Does Bad Stuff Happen To Good People" and blah blah blah and whine whine whine. Goddam namby pamby pinko liberal atheistic horse shit. Pardon my French again.
Anyway, if the Federal Government REALLY wants to help, they should get down here and help me with my Ark. I mean, God's helpin, but He can't do EVERYTHING, for the love of Pete.
I'm too angry to even talk anymore. I could go on all day.
Anyways, I gotta go catch me some mosquitos pretty quick here — there's lots of bugs hangin around, so that shouldn't be no problem, but you know what they say about Idle Hands, anyway. I s'pose if God decides He needs to spread some more diseases, though, at a later time, He can just create more mosquitos later on. And locusts — son of a bitch, I forgot to get me some locusts.
And when that's done, I think I'll go for a nice swim. They wouldn't shoot a man for skinny-dippin, would they? I kinda liked it better before the government started pokin their noses into my private business. It's a sad day when a man has to take his fire-arm with him just to do a little swimmin.
I'm startin ta think I might just have a tapeworm or two. I'm so hungry I could eat this here possum. But I better wait 'til the little ones are born, and eat them instead. By that time my tapeworms maybe will have started a little family, God bless 'em.
The circle of life keeps on a goin, just as the Good Lord intended.
Well I gotta go, but before I do, God told me to pass this message on to you, California: Watch Your Back, Faggots.
— Joe Toledo, New Orleans LA
On a slightly (only slightly, mind you) more serious note, here's what followers of Pat Robertson's 700 Club have to say about God's Will and such Natural Disasters (commonly called "Acts of God") as Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami in Southeast Asia:
Hurricane Katrina brought catastrophic damage to several Gulf states. Does God allow such storms of destruction?
A few of my favorite comments posted there:
"Our blessing and our curses depends on our handling of Israel. I believe this country have been enormously blessed because we have always been a friend of Israel (although we send financial aid to other Arab nations), but we have for the most part supported Israel's right to exist as a nation. However, whenever this country encourages Israel to give up any part of their rightful God-given land we have suffered the consequences."
"I just want to say it since no one else really has . What happens everytime we are behind moving or displacing the Jewish of Israel from their God promised Land? Something disastrous always happens right after. We watched as the Jewish made a (Historic)move to appease the world. I do believe instead that it will only bring the wrath of God. So yes God does make storms of destruction."
"God warns ahead of disaster like He did through the meterologist many days ahead of the disater to show His love and care to His people (Americans),many took it for granted. No warning for tsunami disaster."
"Yes. Of course. I wonder if the public knows of the annual festival that was to happen this weekend in New Orleans that rivaled Sodom and Gomorrah? May God have mercy on this country!"
"Maybe its like a spiritual war. The storm happens on its own but the area that is hit might be an area with the least amount of prayer coverage if you will. Lets face it, New Orleans has been catering to sin for years. Lets hope Americans learn to pray!"
"I don't want to sound heartless, but I cannot stop thinking that this sounds so much like Sodom and Gomorrah. New Orleans was known for so much history but it was also known for their sin. You cannot flaunt sin in God's face. That is not to say that our God is not one of endless mercy, but the proud declaration by a city that they are home to so much sin won't go unpunished. Yes, I strongly believe that he does allow it, and that sadly, we are in the end times, and there will be more."
(This is why I never care if I offend any Christians. What they need to be offended by is proclamations such as the above.)
Friday, September 09, 2005
Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash
FEMA's relief efforts have brought considerable assistance to at least one man who stands to benefit from Hurricane Katrina perhaps more than any other individual: Pat Robertson.
With the Bush Administration's approval, Robertson's $66 million relief organization, Operation Blessing, has been prominently featured on FEMA's list of charitable groups accepting donations for hurricane relief. Dozens of media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and the Associated Press, duly reprinted FEMA's list, unwittingly acting as agents soliciting cash for Robertson. "How in the heck did that happen?" Richard Walden, president of the disaster-relief group Operation USA, asked of Operation Blessing's inclusion on FEMA's list. "That gives Pat Robertson millions of extra dollars."
Disaster used as political payoff
FEMA Promotes Pat Robertson Charity
And who else stands to profit big? Our good old friend Halliburton.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
A concise but thorough explanation of why people are pissed at Bush right now.
(His consistently smug, seemingly indifferent, overly optimistic tone is enough for me, personally. Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure everyone on the Gulf Coast is as happy as I am for George's plans for a nice tea party on the porch of Trent Lott's brand new "fantastic" home. And, as Barbara noted, things are working out very well for most of these people, since they were "underprivileged" anyway.)
I think more people are starting to realize that the Republicans, not the Democrats, are the "Elitist" party; and that Bush is a lazy, power-hungry fool -- not a "man of the people."
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
In the Garden of Armageddon
They were Iraq's only real WMDs. The U.S. refused to secure them. Now Saddam's nuclear and bioweapons scientists are dispersed and more dangerous than ever.
. . . . . . . .
so little attention is being paid to Iraq's scientists, the war may actually have increased the chances of nuclear capabilities proliferating beyond the country's borders
"The proliferation risk is higher than it was before, and a chaotic situation means this technology is going to spread," says Robert Baer, who spent 21 years as a case officer with the CIA in the Middle East. If the administration had been serious about neutralizing Saddam's weapons program, he says, "the troops would have been securing equipment at weapons sites as they invaded, and they would have been looking for scientists.... It tells you that this war had nothing to do with WMDs."
. . . . . . . .