Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Your Daily Dose of Tao

Tao Teh Ching #66

How does the sea
become the queen of all rivers and streams?
By lying lower than they do!
Hence, it is the queen of all rivers and streams.

One who humbles himself, therefore,
can serve all people.
By putting himself last, he comes to be their leader.
Thus, when one of subtle virtue is set above people,
they do not feel that he is their burden.
And, when he stands in front of people,
they do not feel that he is an obstruction to them.
Therefore, the world follows one of subtle virtue joyfully,
and never tires of doing so.
He does not compete with anyone,
thus he is above all competition.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Courage to Speak the Truth

My husband wrote this paper for his military ethics class.

The Ethical Dilemma of Preventive War

On March 19, 2003, the United States began the invasion of Iraq. The justification for the war presented by the US government was based primarily on claims of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and their capacity and desire to produce more, use them against US targets, or hand them off to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. These threats were deemed to be so significant that invading Iraq for the purpose of regime change was the most certain way to ensure the safety of American national interests from imminent danger[1].

But there was no explicit threat from Hussein against the US, nor was there irrefutable evidence that Iraq currently had any WMD in hand. There was an assumption that, since Hussein kicked out the UN inspectors in 1998 and never issued a full accounting of what the final disposition of all of his weapons actually was, he must have been hiding something, and there was speculation that his intelligence agents had met with Al Qaeda operatives several times over the years. But war is the most significant action one government can take against another with the most devastating and far-reaching consequences, and therefore one would assume the requirements for starting a war should be rather high and the evidence for its necessity beyond reproach. So the question the US faced was this: Can any country morally or legally justify prosecuting a war of preventive self-defense against another, not in retaliation for a threat or an attack, but in order to prevent some theoretical capability for a future attack?

Preventive wars of self-defense are morally and legally wrong.

First, we examine the Constitutional Paradigm and the Legalist view of Just War Theory to determine whether this type of war is permissible. The US sought, but did not get, UN authorization for military action. UNSC Resolution 1441 clearly did not authorize military action, but required further action by the Security Council after a report from the UNMOVIC inspection teams[2]. The report to the UNSC by Hans Blix on behalf of UNMOVIC on 7 March 2003, 12 days before the start of the invasion, said that “at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance.” He commented on Iraq’s initial reluctance to fully comply, but noted that recent steps had been made that were resolving the outstanding issues, including developing means for testing dump sites to determine the quantity of weapons that had actually been destroyed and gathering scientists for interviews. In conclusion, Blix said that he felt within months disarmament would be completed and verified and the follow-up monitoring regime could be put into place[3].

When the US and UK returned to the Security Council in March to seek another resolution specifically authorizing the invasion, one was not passed because there was no agreement on the Council. UN Charter, Ch. VII, Art 42 requires a determination to be made by the UNSC that non-military measures have been ineffective before authorizing military force[4]. Thus no authorization for the invasion in the international community existed. Two days after Blix’s speech to the Security Council, British Sec. of State for International Development said that “if there is not UN authority for military action or the reconstruction of the country, I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the UN.[5]” The UN charter states that nothing in it can be construed to remove a nation’s right to self-defense, but according to the UN charter, Ch. VII, Art. 51, a war of self defense can only be undertaken by a member state in response to an attack[4]. Under the terms of the Constitutional Paradigm, the US is bound to follow the laws of the land, to include international treaty obligations such as the UN Charter. As long as the US is a member state of the UN (more so, perhaps, because the US is a permanent member of the Security Council) the decisions of the UN should be highly valued when determining US foreign policy. The decision to invade Iraq cannot by supported by the Constitutional Paradigm or the Legalist Perspective of Just War Theory.

Investigating the invasion of Iraq through Kant’s Categorical Imperative, we ask: what is the moral maxim involved in the decision to go to war? The maxim presented by the President is that the US is morally justified in invading another country to protect itself, not because of some overt and explicit act of aggression, but because of a perceived threat of a possible future act of aggression[1].

Kant’s next question to the decision maker is whether or not the maxim can be universalized without loss of consistency. In the case of preventive war, the answer must be an emphatic no. No one would wish the heightened and combative rhetoric between North Korea and Japan in recent years to come to a point where Kim Jong Il preemptively defended himself against the threat of Japanese or US aggression by launching missiles into Tokyo or Seattle, using the preventive US invasion of Iraq as a justification for both its fear and its actions. Nor would anyone want Iran preemptively defending its borders from a perceived threat of a US assault from the large contingent of war ships near its territorial waters by launching missiles at the carrier battle groups stationed there. As these examples show, the doctrine of preemptive or preventive self-defense cannot be universalized with pleasant results. If the moral maxim is only true for oneself, it violates the categorical imperative.

Kant also argued that any lie told to advance one’s goals exhibits the height of immorality because it removes the other person’s ability to properly make his own choice on the matter. The use of false or misleading claims of evidence against Iraq to convince the US public to be supportive of the invasion violates the public’s right to choose based on a full and accurate accounting of the facts surrounding the case for war. The president cited intelligence in his 2003 state of the union speech that was largely based on a document known to be a forgery[6]. The often cited aluminum tubes which were claimed to have been part of a centrifuge program were determined by the Department of Energy to only be useful in a rocket program, not a centrifuge, especially in combination with the particular magnets Iraq was alleged to have purchased at the same time. Colin Powell cited HUMINT sources in his speech to the UN in Feb. 2003 that were known to many in the intelligence community to be fabricators or completely unreliable. While he had instructed the CIA to screen out of his speech things that were single source or unreliable, the CIA still cleared things in the speech that were “overstated, misleading, or incorrect.”[7]

The government claims that after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 the US can no longer afford to wait for the enemy to strike first. This was given as the reason for the sudden decision to confront Iraq on WMD. However the administration has reportedly been planning the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Hussein’s government since its first days in office. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill provided the press with a document labeled “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq” from early 2001[8]. The first two National Security Council meetings of the Bush administration in January 2001 were about the problems Iraq posed to regional stability and the idea of regime change. According to participants in those meetings, “it was a matter of how, not whether” the US would invade Iraq[9]. If it is true that the administration has been planning the invasion of Iraq since the early days of the Bush presidency, then any claim to the contrary by the administration is intentionally misleading, and therefore immoral.

On the other side of the discussion about Iraq, there are many who made a case for going to war. Those arguments for invading Iraq that have any basis in traditional moral philosophy can largely be divided into two groups. A utilitarian would argue a similar case for invading Iraq as Truman used for deploying nuclear weapons against Japan: while our strike may cause large scale death and destruction, not striking in this manner will result in a much greater number of dead. Bush delivered a speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that attempted to assuage concerns of some of his critics[10]. Bush claimed that he had to start a war in Iraq to disarm and depose Hussein before Iraq could find a way to use WMD against America. Now, because of 9/11, America knew that “the price of indifference would be catastrophic[11].” Bush did not want to wait for the “smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud” delivered by an Iraqi nuclear weapon[10]. Preemption was, he argued, the only logical and safe choice for the man charged with protecting the country to make.

Another argument in favor of the moral permissibility comes by way of natural law theory. Protecting one’s life is an inviolable virtue and therefore a moral obligation. The state is an amalgamation of many lives, therefore an obligation of the state is to protect the lives of its citizens. Hussein allegedly posed a grave threat to American lives, therefore protecting ourselves from him must be the state’s obligation. But taking other lives would result from this action. The qualification of forfeiture points to Hussein’s treatment of his citizens and past military efforts as an example of his lack of respect for life. The doctrine of double effect asks four questions of the moral agent before engaging in a war. One must show the following things to be true. First, removing Hussein from power is a good act in itself. Second, all of the death that comes with war is unavoidable if Hussein is to be removed and disarmed. Third, any innocent deaths that result from the war are not the means of removing Hussein, only an unfortunate side effect. Fourth, any innocent deaths resulting from the war are not disproportionate to the good effect of removing Hussein. The US argued that all of these statements were true before going to war.

What is the balance of these competing arguments? Since the US eventually invaded Iraq, one might be convinced to claim the latter position as the morally justified one. But this would be justifying a decision simply because the decision was made. This assumes that America is right because it has the military force to silence all challengers. Perhaps instead we should heed the words of MP Smith in a speech to the House of Commons. “Strength does not lie simply in military might. Strength lies in having an unanswerable case. It lies in making the right moral choices.[12]” Again, the nature of war requires that its necessity is sure and its justification beyond reproach.

The argument that this war was necessary based on the notion that America could not abide the consequences of leaving Hussein in power ignores the positive steps the UNMOVIC inspectors were making towards verifying disarmament. It ignores the disarmament of Libya through diplomatic means[13]. If the danger was imminent, Bush should have begun the invasion in early 2001. If all diplomatic options had been exhausted, why were the inspectors sounding confident that they would have things wrapped up satisfactorily in a few months? If the decision to use force had been made, why start a war when an assassination team could have accomplished the primary objective in a few weeks? This leads to the conclusion that the danger was not imminent, nor was the war the last option available.

The justification of this war is in question on a number of points. If the US is to be a global leader in the post-superpower era, it must act as the first among equals in the international community. There is no place in today’s world for a single hyper power, for a global hegemon who issues unquestioned directives. While US military power is impressive, that is not enough to keep the world on a tight leash. The UN is necessary, despite its flaws, and taking a grievance to the Security Council with the intention of using it as a cover for doing things on your own anyway, regardless of the outcome in the Council did more damage to its future effectiveness by undermining its decision than its own bureaucratic inertia ever could have.

The war in Iraq was waged unnecessarily and unjustifiably. Since there was no imminent threat from Hussein, no clear articulation of the real reasons for pursuing this war, no pressing need for war over diplomacy, and therefore no excuse for all of the lives that have been lost, we must determine that preventive wars must be excluded from future debates over international relations.

1., 2002 State of the Union Address
2., UN Security Council Resolution 1441
3., Hans Blix report to the UN on behalf of UNMOVIC, 7 Mar, 2003
4., UN Charter
5., Iraq: developments since UN Security Council Resolution 1441, p. 16
6., United States Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Released on July 7, 2004
7., United States Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Released on July 7, 2004
8., O’Neill: Bush planned Iraq Invasion Before 9/11, CNN report, 14 Jan, 2004
9. Suskind, The One Percent Doctrine
10., President Bush, speech to the nation, 7 Oct, 2002
11., 2002 State of the Union Address
12., Iraq: developments since UN Security Council Resolution 1441, p. 15
13. Suskind, p. 46

The instructor, a Navy Captain, gave him an A.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book Review: Chomsky

What We Say Goes: Conversations in U.S. Power in a Changing World
By Noam Chomsky

This book is a collection of interviews with David Barsamian done for The American Empire Project.

My husband bought me this book for my birthday and I finished it in one day. I couldn't seem to put it down. It is a wonderful book that not only discusses current events, but gives you a historical background that helps you better understand the current events. The interview format makes this book very interesting. The topic is constantly changing, keeping you wondering what will be discussed next and insuring that you are never bored. There is a wealth of knowledge in this book. I highly recommend that you read it.

Happy Birthday to Me.
(Btw, I turn 26 today)

Torture Tapes

No matter what I do, I cannot sit down and write a decent post. There are probably two or three posts worth reading on this entire blog.

It wasn't always like this. A few years ago I could write something in depth nearly every day. I guess that was before I gave up. It may not seem like it with my content devoid work of late, but I still pay attention to every little detail of what is going on in this country. And every day it becomes more clear that nothing is going to change. I can't muster up the energy to put what I feel in words. This country is a clusterfuck. But, I will give it a try.

I am sure everyone has heard about the CIA guy who has come out and said that he was involved in water-boarding detainees, the ones that were on the tapes that were recently destroyed. This guy is a real piece of work. I say he is a master propagandist.

My husband was watching Dan Abrams last night and this guy was on. He sprinkled his story with enough truth to be credible and the rest of what he said is questionable at best. He admitted that Zubaydah was water-boarded but then went on to say that there were no beatings and that he gave the CIA actionable intelligence.

The interesting thing is that almost word for word this sounded familiar, like I had heard this story before. I had. In Ron Suskind's book, The One Percent Doctrine. Except, in the book, Suskind describes a mentally ill guy who was not only water-boarded, but also beaten. He also goes on to describe the many wild stories that Zubaydah told and how the CIA would jump at every wild accusation just to find that there was nothing there. This is where the CIA guy diverts from the story that I had already heard.

What scares me is that this guy is a master propagandist, unlike the usual talking heads. He is good. I watched in amazement at his flawless execution of the point he is trying to get across: torture is ok because it works and saves lives. He does it as a "skeptic", which gives him the cover of credibility. But, this guy is no skeptic or whistleblower. At the end of the show, he was asked why he came forward and he said, "I wanted the American people to know about this wonderful success story." (paraphrasing)

Success story? To see that the entire smoke and mirror show up until that point had been to arrive at that very moment made my stomach turn. That is where the interview ended, leaving those words hanging there. I sat in silence for a moment trying to process what I had just witnessed. Moments like that I am reminded that I live in a bizarro world.

Here are some things to think about when listening to this guy speak. One, there is no way that the CIA would let this guy go on television and tell people that we water-board people unless they approved it for their on benefit of some sort. Remember, these are the same techniques that the Bush administration has claimed they cannot disclose because they are classified and would "embolden the enemy." Two, CIA agents sign non-disclosure agreements when they begin and cannot divulge secrets without retribution. This guy doesn't seem to have a care in the world, which points to him being allowed to tell us certain things that will be to the benefit of someone. I have no doubt that this guy is not genuine. The whole thing stinks.

Remember, this guy said that the reason he came forward is to tell the American people a torture success story. He said that himself. This, I am afraid, is the first step the establishment is taking to legitimize torture and make it something that is openly acceptable. Remember, the wiretapping scandal was, according to the government, a lie and conspiracy until it wasn't anymore and then it was necessary. The secret rendition prisons were lies made up by the "liberal America-hating media" until they were proven to exist, then they were not only necessary but legal and good.

I am going to have some more content driven posts up in the days to come. There is also going to be a special treat coming soon just for the holidays. So, stay tuned, I guess. And, stay away from the television if you want to stay sane.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I hate the cold

That's why I am glad that it is 80 degrees outside today.

Nice warm spell just in time for my birthday tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


The task of propaganda lies not in weighing right and wrong, but driving home your own point of view. You cannot objectively explore the facts that favors others and present them in doctrinaire sincerity to the masses. You have to push relentlessly your own case...

Even the most brilliant propaganda will not produce the desired results unless it follows this fundamental rule: You must stick to limiting yourself to essentials and repeat them endlessly. Persistence on this point, as in so many other cases in the world, is the first and most important precondition for success...

Propaganda does not exist to furnish interesting diversions to the blase' young dandies, but to convince above all the masses. In their clumsiness they always require a long lead before they are ready to take notice. Only by thousandfold repetition will the simplest concept stick in their memories.

--Mein Kampf (via Sources of the Western Tradition 6th ed. p. 379)

And people say that Bush doesn't read.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Compliance and Deadly Force

Back in 2005 there was a story about a bipolar guy that was shot and killed on a plane for acting "weird". I believe that this was one of the first times that I lost all hope for this country and realized that most of the "left blogosphere" was not much better than the rest of the brainwashed country. I had a different blog then. I wrote how horrible this was and how stupid the air marshals had been. I was pretty sure that most compassionate people would understand how fucked up it was to shoot a mentally ill person in cold blood after the wife tried to tell them over and over that her husband was bipolar. But, instead, that day I found myself facing the fact that most of my readers that I had formed a relation with were not that compassionate when it came to the mentally ill.

That day I realized that yet again I was on my own. There were a handful of people who were compassionate, but the overwhelming majority agreed that taking out a gun and shooting this man was the "safest" option. Obviously, to me, that day it was clear that most people still see mental illness as a crime. Kill what we don't understand!

To understand what this has to do with anything and why I am bringing this up two years later, I will have to give you some background information. My sister is schizophrenic. Right now she is in the care of my parents, but I am all too aware of the fact that one day they will not be able to care for her anymore. It has already been basically established that the torch will be passed onto me. I have no problem with that other than the fact that it scares the hell out of me.

See, my parents live in a small town where everyone knows that my sister is sick. Everyone knows everyone and the police know who she is and what to expect. I, on the other hand, move around a lot. I live in larger cities where no one knows you. I am a military spouse and I move a lot. That brings me to the airplane story. I was thinking about this the other day and came to the realization that I would never be able to take her on a plane. If she were to live with me, I would not be able to take a plane to visit my parents. I may be living thousands of miles away and I would have to take a car because I cannot trust that my sister would be safe. I cannot say with certainty that she would not be shot and killed for being different.

But it is more than flying. If I am in a place with fascist police, I could never feel comfortable taking her anywhere. She acts "weird", she doesn't "fit in", and she doesn't comply with social norms. Every time I hear a story about a mentally ill person being tasered because they were acting strange or not complying, I get sick. What if that were my sister? What if I took her out in public and she started to freak out? What if the police ignored my pleas that she is sick? What if they ignored me when I said she is harmless? She is not a violent person, she is schizophrenic plus she is a little slow. She would not understand what they were saying to her or wanting her to do.

So, I guess the point is that the next time you hear a story about a mentally ill person who is tasered or shot because they were acting"strange", try to imagine it was your sibling or parent or child. Try to imagine how helpless you would feel knowing that there are only a handful of people that understand mental illness and have compassion for those least among us who are all too unaware of the ugly world that we live in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kucinich Update

From the Kucinich campaign:

Our nation faces a crisis, yet its leaders, and the candidates
campaigning for the Presidency, refuse to acknowledge or address
it in any substantive way.
That's why it's time for: A DIALOGUE FOR DEMOCRACY.

This Thursday, November 29, Democratic Presidential Candidate
Dennis Kucinich will host an unprecedented "Dialogue for
Democracy" forum that will be streamed LIVE on the Internet at Along with invited guests, Dennis will bring
this crisis to the attention of the nation and the world so we
can better understand what's wrong, and, more importantly, what
we can do about it. The first segment of the LIVE broadcast
begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m. The LIVE forum will
resume at 5 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I was hoping for major political changes this past year. It seemed like my last hope. In a few months, I will begin packing all my things in preparation for another big change. What is coming is unknown really, since I will not know where I am headed and what I am in for until right before it happens. At this point, I just know that I am leaving sometime in the next six months. Where to I am unsure.

My life is going to change dramatically. I am not looking forward to this change. The thoughts of what's to come are worrisome to say the least. I will be making a major change in my life in the midst of the upcoming elections. What happens in these elections will have a direct impact on my very future. I have no expectations that the electorate will do what is sensible. Actually, I am preparing for the worse. Don't be surprised if my depression comes out in my writing as Spring draws closer.

This post may seem strange, but I have been dealing with this looming change by myself for awhile now. I have known that this time would come. It is not something that has just sprung up. But with each passing month, reality sets in. What the hell have I got myself into? It has been a fun couple of years pretending to be the wife of a civilian and not of a military officer. Those days are coming to an end. Soon the sun sets on this short era of my life and a new era begins. One I can't help thinking will be a dark era. An era filled with regret and depression. But, who cares right? Everyone else can do what they want. Go shopping, don't worry, start more wars, have a grand old time while others suffer, right?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Garden Update

Here's the garden as of yesterday. The peas are blooming and we have more tatsoi than we know what to do with. But, everything is doing great despite the fact that it dropped down to 29 degrees the other night. A few weeks ago, I decided to give them a blanket of straw and they have been fine on the few nights that the temperature has dropped.

Compare to a month ago.

Late Happy Turkey Day

Monday, November 19, 2007

Great Minds

Dennis Kucinich
by Gore Vidal

I asked a dedicated liberal his impression of Kucinich; he wondered if Kucinich was too slight to lead a nation of truly fat folk. I pointed out that he has the same physical stature as James Madison, as well as a Madisonian commitment to our 1789 Constitution; he is also farsighted, as demonstrated by his resolute opposition to Bush's cries for ever more funding for the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More to the point, in October 2002 he opposed the notion of a war then being debated. For those of us at home and in harm's way from disease, he co-wrote HR 676, a bill that would insure all of us within Medicare, just as if we were citizens of a truly civilized nation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Town Hall meeting on the Tubes

The New Constitutional Convention
with Congressman Dennis Kucinich!
Wednesday, November 14

Go to to watch.

From a Kucinich campaign e-mail:

The New Constitutional Convention Initiative will include a a series of nationally
broadcast discussions (via that seek to accomplish three outcomes:

1. Outline the ongoing assaults on the Constitution.
2. An educational component / civics lesson to clarify the intent of the framers and
provide a foundation for understanding the ongoing assaults on the Constitution .
3. Discuss in detail what can be done collectively and individually to restore crucial
constitutional principles.
4. Provide a venue which will lead to a coordinated and sustained national effort to
renew the Constitution and restore accountability in government.

The New Constitutional Convention Initiative will hold a national conference call each
week for the next 10 weeks - culminating in a major event at the end of January.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What are rising oil prices doing to the rest of the world?

Oil price rise causes global shift in wealth

"High oil prices are fueling one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history. Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago, pumping more than $2 trillion into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone."

The winners in this financial cluster-fuck are Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Argentina. The losers are the US, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and China. Breaking even are Britian and continental Europe.

Conditions for doing well seem to center around either being a net oil exporter with a stable political environment or around reducing total petro-product usage to compensate for rising prices. Doing poorly appears to result from taking environmentally stupid positions as an importing nation or being a producing nation without the political infrastructure necessary to develop the country in a financially sound manner. Britain produces what it needs and continental Europe has been cushioned against rising oil prices by a severely weakened dollar against the Euro.

The surprising details in the article make it well worth reading. I suspect at some point America will be forced to acknowledge that it is no longer a sole global hyper-power, but would be in a better position if it claimed status as first among equals or something like that. A reinvention of the American psyche in that manner might better posture us to deal with emerging issues in the global political sphere.

We will, I suspect, lose the ability to economically bully people as the dollar falls and markets here generally drop. We are also not convincing as a military bully after Afghanistan and Iraq have shown the impotence of a small fast professional military in dealing with popular uprisings in urban settings. All we have left is the ability to talk to people in a sincere and conciliatory fashion, working together to achieve a common end. I hope someone in charge realizes that we don't hold all the cards anymore before it's too late.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Week Review

In case you missed it:

1. Mukasey may still have a fighting chance at the Attorney General spot despite his dictatorial tendencies and his refusal to verbalize that water-boarding is torture. And despite the fact that retired JAGs* have come out and said what everyone already knows: "Water-boarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal."

*These are not just some JAGs, these were the JAGs. The difference is important.

2. Project Censored has come out with it's Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008. If you want to stay informed, you have to check out the stories on this list. While it is a long read, it is definitely worth the time.

3. Rep. Kucinich has introduced a resolution to impeach VP Cheney.* While this is not the first proposal he has made, he has said that he is going to continue to push this one regardless of the opposition he receives. I believe this man deserves some acknowledgment for standing up for what is right from the beginning.

*This is a link to a Youtube video

4. And on a lesser note, put here for it's absurdity, the FBI has been sifting through grocery purchases to try to bag them a terrorist. (pun intended) But seriously, the FBI has reached a new low by trying to find "Iranian terrorists" by following the sells of falafel. Firedoglake has the details.

5. To not just pick on the FBI, I figured I would include the CIA for their own tax payer wasting absurdity. Check out the ridiculousness here at this fresh new up and coming blog:
Guys from Area 51

And that is it for this week in review.
However, I wanted to note that I have been having intermittent internet problems that have been keeping me offline more than I would care for. What the hell am I paying for again? Anyway, enjoy.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Reason #999 Why I Suck at Blogging

Sorry for the hiatus. All last week I had terrible debilitating migraines. When I get migraines, I cannot look at this computer screen. But, thankfully, those are gone. However, as soon as the migraines passed, I didn't have time to jump right back into blogging.

See, my loving husband has coerced me into accompanying him to a ball. Yes, a ball. I am not a frilly woman. I hate dresses and makeup and all of the hoopla that goes along with it. I hate shopping and malls and department stores, etc. So, it has been hell for me to spend much of this past week there looking for a dress and shoes and makeup and accessories.

I finally managed to pick out the perfect lipstick to go with my gown. Then, the next day, I read about high lead content in women's lipstick on Tom Paine. I searched the site that was linked to and found my exact lipstick on the list of lipsticks with high lead content. My luck I guess. Now I have a choice of buying a different brand and hoping that it is not full of lead too (unlikely) or wearing the poisonous lipstick one night and throwing it in the trash afterwards. Unfortunately, at this point, option two is more likely. In case you don't click on the other link here it is again:
E. coli conservatism in the makeup kit

(You didn't think I would write a post that had nothing to do with politics did you?)

But, on a lighter note: I realized this week that I suck, I mean absolutely suck, at walking in heels. If I don't break my neck Saturday, I will call the night a success.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My attempt at a fall garden

I have had food growing in my garden since March and I am down to my very last tomatoes and okra coming in. A few months ago, I started my fall garden. I am hoping that everything works out.

In this garden, I am currently growing Tat soi, Rouge d'hiver lettuce, Parris Island Cos, Beets, Spinach, Rainbow chard, Cilantro, and Sugar peas.

In my container garden, I am still growing a few things. My Poblano plant is finally putting out peppers. I have decided to try some Purslane and I have a pot of that growing. My hot peppers and banana peppers are coming to the seasons end. Soon, they will either come inside for the winter or wither away. Sad. But, that is how it goes. The only thing you can do is preserve some for the winter, which I have began to do. This is my first time jarring anything, but I gave it a go. Here is what I got so far:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Looming Environmental Disaster

Drought-Stricken South Facing Tough Choices

ATLANTA, Oct. 15 — For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water.

Officials in the central North Carolina town of Siler City estimate that without rain, they are 80 days from draining the Lower Rocky River Reservoir, which supplies water for the town’s 8,200 people.

In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city’s main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days.

The hard numbers have shocked the Southeast into action, even as many people wonder why things seem to have gotten so bad so quickly.

Can't say that this is a surprise. I have been aware of the drought for years. I noticed as everything got worse this year. The river just down the street was so low a few months ago that you could walk from one side to the other without being more than waste deep at the deepest point. If this trend continues, it is going to be really bad, really soon. Maybe this is what it takes to get people in the South to wake up and realize that this is why conservation and responsible use of our resources is important.

I think this guy says it best:
“I think there’s been an ostrich-head-in-the-sand syndrome that has been growing,” said Mark Crisp, an Atlanta-based consultant with the engineering firm C. H. Guernsey. “Because we seem to have been very, very slow in our actions to deal with an impending crisis.”

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tortured Logic

I was sick for a week and realized that I must have slept through the outrage and uprising that occurred in response to the revelation of the Torture Memos.

I must have, right? There is no way that this could have been revealed and then sizzled out without much more than a whimper, right? I know that there was probably some moral outrage vocalized by the opposition party, hell they probably even wrote a letter or threatened to investigate. But, where is the real anger? Where is the real outrage that one would expect from so-called civilized peoples when they are shown that their government has been torturing people? I have seen none. And I expect, like most real important things, this will be forgotten by next week and relegated to the memory hole along with all the other stuff that is supposed to get investigated. Until then, I will not hold my breath.

I however am going to skip the stage of blathering on about shocked moral outrage. I am not shocked and I can hardly be more outraged than I was years ago when it was painfully obvious to any honest person with a brain that our government was engaged in torture. I wrote about it on my other blog and was attacked by true believers that feigned outrage that I dare say the word torture when I had no proof. (To them, proof would be a signed statement by Bush saying that it is happening, caught on videotape so they couldn't say it was forged) People like this don't want to believe and never will.

I personally think that there aren't very many people on any political side that really, truly care. I say this because when I get to this topic, I have to stop dead in my tracks. I think, why are there any other things even being discussed? How can people put this up and then an hour later put up a post on "Guess what so and so said about X issue." How do you treat torture just like you treat any other mundane piece of information? How are those things equal? And then the very next day, poof!, it's gone. Forgotten. There is some other thing to be outraged about. Do you know what Rush, Coulter, O'Reilly, etc. said/did? The answer should be, "Who Fucking cares".

However, the people of short attention spans need their 24 hour brain-drain overload of crap information. Because, if they didn't, if these people could only slow down long enough to let any of these big issues really sink in before having something shiny dangled before them, they may have time to really think about them and they may get upset. The fact that a lot of big blogs have moved more and more to the 24 hour, big news format is depressing and counterproductive. One must wonder if their stats (ratings) are more important than actually informing anyone.

So, I am just going to let you chew on this for a while:

Your Government Tortures People

Let that sink in. Sleep on it, meditate on it, pray on it for all I care, but just really think about it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To the Monks in Myanmar

May Peace be with you my brothers.

Pathetic Pussies

There are some dirty things people do all the time and, most of the time, they at least have the balls to do it to your face. But, then there are those that are so pathetic and mentally castrated that they will lower themselves well below the lowest common denominator. One of those people is Megabrad.

This mental midget has been a permanent fixture on a friend's site for quite awhile. I try to ignore him and I haven't even addressed him in about a year. He has never been to my site and commented, so when I found this:

I was quite surprised.

At first I was just baffled as to why anyone would pick on my tiny site like this. I have not stepped on anyone's toes, I had no foes that I knew of, I do not troll right wing hate sites. So, I thought, why me?

That is until I used the great technology of the internets and Googled "Iamretarded". Fortunately for me, a certain imbecile had went around bragging about owning the site:

So, why is this asshole picking on me? Why does he do these things behind my back? Does he just lack the balls to confront someone face to face? Is he that much of a little pussy?

It was also very classy of him to send an anonymous troll to leave this message on my blog:

This is how I found out about the whole Iamretarded website. I thought the comment was weird, so I checked haloscan and got the IP. Then I compared that IP to my statcounter, and lo and behold, the author came from So, was this comment a plant from Megapussy to try to discredit my blog from the whole three people who read it? Would he be that pathetic? I believe he would.

Update: I have verified that the above comment is indeed from a rightwing troll. How nice. No doubt a friend of Megadumbass. It is a shame that his friend was too stupid to read my profile and see that I am married to one of those "idiots". I see now who really hates the military.

Update 2: I have been removed from the site and replaced by Fade.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Random Idiotic Comment from the Internet

Every once in a while, you run across something so dumb and disturbing while going through internet forums, you have to scratch your head. Here is an example of that idiocy. From a college paper forum that's not really worth linking to, in response to the MoveOn ad:

"Your exercise of free speech seems to have proven yourselves foolish pawns of our enemies."

You have to fear for the nation if this is a common thought on college campuses. And all this time I thought that it was the Terrorists™ that hated us for our freedoms.

I think I may make this recurrent post. Every Friday I will try to find a comment that is so dumbfounding that you have to wonder if you have been kidnapped and transported to an alternate universe.

However, speaking of college campuses, this seems to be the only 'protest' going on in my neighborhood:
Protest causes campus chaos

Friday, September 21, 2007

Political Inaction

Just a reminder...

Blogging is NOT taking action. If I see one more person say, "I am so pissed off, I am going to blog about this", I will frickin' scream. Yes, I blog. To vent. But, at the end of the day, I know that this is all it is--a place to vent. When I get out there in the streets and protest, and talk to friends and neighbors about what is going on, when I inform people about important events that aren't covered in the news, I am acting.

Get out there and march, scream, be heard! Get off your asses for once and DO something.

You have got to get out there in the real world and use your rights NOW. Before they are gone.

Political Insanity

The MoveOn scandal. Where do I begin?

This has been one of the most ridiculous weeks in the Senate since probably 2002-2003. The democrats continue to give the republicans anything they wish. Not willing to take a stand on anything of importance, they prove over and over that they are no different, for the most part, than the republican authoritarians. After allowing the republicans to obstruct the Webb bill (mostly crap anyway*) and the Habeas Corpus Restoration bill (actually pretty important) without putting up a fight, they go on to pass a bill condemning for a political ad. It was a slap in the face.

*Whereas the Webb bill may seem to some as an important bill for our troops, and it is at least part of the 'slow bleed' school of thought on ending the war, I say it is mostly crap because the best way to end the war and 'take care of the troops' would be to stop funding it. This bill doesn't do that. It plays into the 'who supports the troops more' diversionary tactic of the right. And it has nothing to do with ending this illegal war.*

The 'obstruct freedom of political speech' bill, also known as the Cornyn Amdt. No. 2934, condemns for criticizing General Patraeus. Not only is this a rediculous waste of time on the Senate's part, but it is an attack on free speech. What business is it of the Senate's to condemn an organization's opinions?

Half the democrats voted for this attack on free speech. Maybe some blind dem supporters will finally see that a large contingency of democrats are no different than their republican counterparts. We are fucked as a nation if this is what our government has come to.

The leading dems are not going to stop the war! It is all politics. They could care less about what the people want, or that the war is illegal and immoral. They just want POWER. Kucinich is about the only democrat I could vote for without holding down vomit, yet he is relegated to the fringes. Only about 30% of democratic voters even know who he is. The people in power like it that way. We will vote for the people that they have pre-approved.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Now He Tells Us

Greenspan speaks:

Of the conflict in the Middle East, Greenspan said: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
I am saddened too Mr. Greenspan. Of course, I am also saddened that you didn't speak up sooner. I just wish all the enablers in the Democratic party would start saying it too.

Also, I find it interesting that this article is entitled, "Greenspan Bashes Bush Policies in Memoir". Is MSN trying to marginalize Greenspan? By using this language, they are channeling republican talking points. The right wing's big thing is that people on the left are just 'Bush bashing' because they hate Bush and not because they have valid problems with his policies. Way to frame the article MSNBC. Don't be too obvious about it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Combat Sailors?

A new trend is emerging that is especially scary to me. The Army and Marine Corps is stretched so thin that the military is turning to the Navy to supply warm bodies to the never ending war in Iraq. In the past, the Navy had a program called blue to green where sailors could volunteer to serve in Iraq. Recently, this has changed. With Bush's surge at full tilt, the Navy has begun forcing sailors to pack up and ship out to Iraq for a role that they have not been trained to do. I first found this out when someone my husband knows at his current command had his orders changed at the last minute and he was reassigned to Iraq. Everyone at the command was puzzled. When asked if he had volunteered for the duty, he confirmed that he had not. It came as a surprise to him. (His actual words were along the lines of, "Hell no I didn't sign up for this shit.")

So, I took it upon myself to look this up and see how common it is.
This is what I have found so far:
Air Force, Navy seeing growing duty in Iraq

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Peace with Honor

(Click the image to open full size in new window)

Monday, August 20, 2007

95 Never Felt Better

The last couple of days have been wonderful. The temperature here has been in the mid to high 90's. It may not sound that great, but I never realized how refreshing and cool 95 was until I had to suffer through 10 days straight of temperatures above 100 degrees. I don't know if many people have been paying that much attention, but it has been hell this summer in the South. Here is a US Drought Monitor.

I went to the Congaree National Swamp on Saturday and on the way there I passed through a very rural area dotted with farms, except these farms were skeletons. I passed field after field of dead and dried up corn fields. It almost looked as if someone set them all on fire. It was bad. I also read a story the other day about dairy farmers in South Carolina that were just having trouble keeping their cows alive. At the time, they were losing several cows a day. Not to mention that they were no longer getting much, if any, milk out of them. The same things are happening in Alabama and other SE states. Along with this, Texas has been drenched with rain all summer. I wonder if that is also having detrimental effects on farmers and agriculture in general.

I thought about all of this when I ran across this post at Blognonymous. The graphic he has up on rising food prices is alarming. How much worse is it going to get when we really start feeling the effects of a disastrous summer growing season?

On a similar topic, my garden is barely hanging on. I guess 10 days straight of record breaking heat will do that. My okra and a few tomato plants are doing pretty well, but everything else in my garden is basically gone. My container garden is doing pretty well also. I can move them into the shade when it gets too hot. We had our first rain in a month Friday. I hope it won't be another month before we get some more.

Tomorrow is supposed to be over 100 again. Hopefully, this will be a one day thing. I am just now getting used to not sweating all day in my own house.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It begins...

Administration will designate group as ‘global terrorist’

The designation of the Revolutionary Guard will be made under Executive Order 13224, which President Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding. It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said -- a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization.
There are people in the administration that will not be happy with anything short of an all out war with Iran (Cheney, etc). This is the first huge step to escalation. This is the first major policy that sets up the rationale for war. We are on our way folks. Get ready, because it's coming.

Also from the article:
"The administration's move comes amid growing support in Congress for the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act..."

What fucking idiots. This is playing out just like Iraq. 'Oh, we didn't think that the President would use this to make a case for war, yada, yada, yada...' Of course not, you idiots. Of course not. And if I believed that, I would be as stupid as they pretend to be. Of course these people know what they are doing.

We are alone. Our Congress has proven that they are not there to represent the people or protect the constitution. They have proven over and over that they are just enablers to illegal war, the destruction of our constitution, and the systematic dismantling of our country in general. Our courts are a joke, our attorney general is criminal at best. And what do they do? They give this criminal enterprise known as the Bush administration more power to spy and now an excuse for another preemptive illegal war. And what do we do about it??? Not a damn thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Something rotten...

According to the latest White House Jobs and Economic Growth report:

"The President's Pro-Growth Policies Are Helping Keep Our Economy Strong, Flexible, And Dynamic."

So dynamic, in fact, that it is apparently very easy for the economy to shit itself while no one was paying attention. So flexible that the economy of 2007 can contort itself into a near exact replica of the economy from 1927. It appears to me that the Fed and Treasury Secretary were so concerned with staying on message and promoting the President's Strong Economy propaganda that they missed or chose to ignore the impending sub-prime mortgage fallout, which dropped the bottom out of several types of bonds and securities, and in turn hit the highly volatile hedge funds very hard.

These are large markets that don't just jump around because someone issued a terror alert or a celebrity got busted for coke. These are the markets that (unfortunately) run your lives. The economy has long ceased to be a string of quarterly reports or an aggregation of earnings tables or a stock ticker at the bottom of CNN. This is a nearly sentient organism out of anyone's control. This is not something that breaks one day for no reason, and it's not something you can fix in a couple of hours. If I had any liquidity at all, I'd be buying all the Euros or gold I could get a hold of. But I don't because I live in Bush's strong economy where the average household savings is negative. It really doesn't matter much though, because we'll all be dead sooner rather than later.

Well, fuck. That won't imbed right, so here you go. Please watch the video at this link.

Oh, yeah, one more thing.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

To Fade

Here's the beginnings of a response to Fade's latest post.

You appear frustrated because of your commitment to Truth, Justice, and the American Way. I suspect the root of your frustration may lie in your conviction that Truth and Justice are somehow an American Way, as opposed to just a Good Way. Once you realize that the American government has rarely been true or just, you can set your sights on fighting for Truth and Justice, where ever you see their precepts violated. Instead you place the focus of your love on your country, and become frustrated when it does not live up to your ideals of how it should behave. Just know that Truth and Justice are not unique to America, they were not new ideas with the birth of America, but they are, perhaps, more important than America as a country. Countries come and go, but a Good and Decent Human's commitment to Truth and Justice will be a struggle that will need to be fought for generations after the American empire crumbles into the dustbin of history. Then, there will be a mention of the once proud American empire in the history books, but the real and important story that historians will be praised for digging out of that dustbin will be that, even in the end, even in the darkest final days of the empire, there were still humans willing to work for the high ideals of Truth and Justice. Be THAT footnote in history. That, my friend, is something worth fighting for.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Wall Decor

This is probably my favorite decoration in my house. I bought it in March after a protest that I attended. It is a 3' by 5' flag and, yes, there are 50 stars. I counted. The flag currently takes up a wall in my dining room. It always gets strange looks when I have people over for the first time. I was planning on flying it outside, but I figured someone might destroy it or throw a flaming brick through my window. I have become attached to it (and the integrity of my windows), so I have decided to hang it inside instead. Maybe I can find a miniature companion to hang out front...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Link Dump

Ship of fools: Johann Hari sets sail with America's swashbuckling neocons
-Hear what is said when the camera's aren't rolling

Thom Hartmann talks to Paul Craig Roberts about Bush's power grab
-Could America be heading towards dictatorship?

Corporate warfare has a branding problem
-Dead soldiers and 600,000 dead Iraqis bad for the war business. Corporations, I mean the Pentagon, looking to Madison Avenue to learn how to better sell war. The problem with the Iraq war/occupation is not all the death based on lies, it is a 'branding issue'. (If this doesn't make your stomach turn, you may want to take your pulse to insure you are still alive. Only the living dead would not find this atrocious.)

*UPDATE: Third link fixed.
*UPDATE II: New Link!

US Coup
-Must know American history, or the history corporations would rather you not know.

Empty Talking Points

There is no such thing as a discussion on the internet. All people do is talk in stupid pre-packaged phrases, or talking points. People are so pathetically self-absorbed that they cannot just discuss an open-ended subject. All they want to do is 'win' the argument (since everything must be an argument with these people). For the most part, the internet, like the MSM, is devoid of intellectual content.

When I read most things, I am encountered with the juvenile bantering of, "I'm right, you're wrong, lalalalala." It's pretty annoying and makes me not want to try to converse with others in this format. I like to take on broad philosophical topics. I like to debate them and hash them out with other people in an intellectual manner. I believe that this is a good way to reach solutions. The only problem is that the internet doesn't tend to be the medium that allows a healthy debate. It instead allows people to avoid problems and swarm anyone with an inquisitive mind with talking points.

For example, we need change in this country. There are several different theories on how that change will come or what it will look like. Most people in this country are fed up with the two party system, but feel trapped in it without any third party candidates that stand out. So, how do we address this? Most people that flock to a third party say they do so because they are disillusioned with the current system. But, this may be part of the problem. They are disillusioned, not driven. They are not putting out a universal message, and if they are, it is one of disillusionment and not a positive forward plan for the nation.

You have to be for something to win. It sounds ridiculous, but that is how the group dynamic works. The message has to be universal, it cannot be too exclusive. What third party fits this description? Third parties are very niche oriented. How then are they ever going to get enough electoral votes to be added as a viable third party? As far as I see it, they won't.

Our system is currently set up in a way that to infiltrate it is nearly impossible. But, what if the third parties made a coalition party and united under one universal banner long enough to get elected to some national position? They could start with the House or Senate to get name recognition for their party. Could they put their pet agendas aside for awhile for the betterment of our democracy? Or are they so unbending that they will continue to just be a thorn in our side and not a vehicle for change?

Why bringing these obvious problems up is considered shilling for the democrats is beyond me, but that is what I am accused of doing. By explaining to them that the current third party apparatus is going nowhere and we need someone to step up and lead with a uniting message, I am obviously just trying to discredit them or something. It couldn't be that I may have a point and they do not want to take their head out of the sand long enough to realize that I may be right. That maybe their candidates aren't doing enough to get the message out (if they have one). And that, if the average people on the street never hear of them or their message, they can never expect to win the vote of those people.

The country is ready for change and there is no one standing up to take the lead. What has Nader done recently? He should personally contact every major liberal blog and get as many as he can on board. He should be at every protest. He should show up at every presidential debate and put his platform out, even if it means on the other side of the blockade. He needs to make town hall meetings all over the country to spread his message. He could do a lot.

What would it take in this country for someone to truly stand up and do whatever it takes to get their message heard and to recruit people to their movement? If a third party candidate just states his/her message without making the effort to spread that message to as many people as possible, and therefore never intending on acting on that message, isn't he/she also just spouting empty talking points?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Have you heard... (the voice of the internet)

Geneva Conventions are quaint

Torture is made acceptable by the Bush administration

The US holds people in Gtmo indefinitely with no right to Habeas Corpus

Extraordinary Rendition

Secret Prisons

Illegal Wiretapping


Lied into War

600,000 Iraqis dead

Plame Gate!!

Bush commutes Libby's sentence!!!!!

Holy Crap! Now we have to do something!! This can't stand!!
(Sometimes I want to bang my fucking head against the wall)

Sunday, July 1, 2007


What is it good for?

Funniest and scariest fucking shit I have ever seen. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Book TV, again

It's time for the second installment of C-Span 2 Saturday Nights. Tonight John Perkins gave a talk about his new book "The Secret History of the American Empire". Some of you may remember Perkins from his first book, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", where he discusses his career convincing foreign governments to comply with the interests of the US, as represented by the World Bank and the IMF. This book goes into a little more depth about the machinations of the US corporate interests, using economic coercion to create an empire rather than overt military might.

First the corporations identify a country with interests worth exploiting. Then the World Bank issues a huge loan to the country for the purpose of development. Except that money never gets to the country, but is diverted to the engineering firms and contractors that build up the infrastructure, and to the few rich government and corporate officials in the country who actually benefit from the "development" projects by colluding with the foreigners against their own people's interests. Eventually, an economic hit man like himself would walk into the government offices in this country and demand cheap resources or a vote in the UN or troops in Iraq since they will never be able to meet the terms of the loan.

If that fails to ensure compliance, the jackals will move in to remove/assassinate that leader, installing one more favorable to the US. He said that because of his own personal failings as an economic hit man, the actual hit men moved against the leaders of Panama and Ecuador and killed them. If the jackals fail to implement US policy in that country, then the military stands ready to bring force to bear.

This supports previous accounts of similar tactics used by bankers and lawyers to coerce foreign governments in developing countries, and correlates nicely with theories of economic imperialism advanced elsewhere.

In the second book, he focused much more on how to change this economic system into something more equitable to the whole world. He dealt with four fundamental questions that we need to ask to determine if we can bring change to a system. First, is there a problem worth trying to change, and what does the change need to be? Second, are we willing to take the risks necessary to implement the change? Third, is there reasonable hope of success in trying to make these changes? Fourth, what can we as individuals hope to do to implement the new system?

Perkins gives a very inspirational speech about change, but one that I feel is somewhat too optimistic. He apparently still has great faith in the ability of humans to get off their lazy stupid asses to help people, even if it won't directly help them immediately. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that Americans seem largely to have lost any capacity for empathy. There are notable examples of compassionate people, of course, but they are the exception. Hell hath no fury like an American separated from reality TV.

But he does try to approach the issue in two ways. He uses the moral argument that, since we as individual citizens have rights and subsequent responsibilities as Americans and as humans, then corporations should be held to the same standard. They have been given rights as corporate persons, but without any of the requisite responsibility incumbent on any effective member of a society. By holding corporations to a new standard of business practice, we can impose on them a new policy, not one of maximizing profit to the shareholders, but one of maximizing benefit to the community. We can convince them to do this, the argument goes, because they already want to go down the responsible path, they just don't know how.

The other approach he takes in convincing people to work for this new version of corporate society is by noting the very real threat posed to the future of humans by the utter failure of the US model of government and economy. He says the US model has already failed, not might fail, or will fail soon, but has already failed, both in fulfilling its purpose and in providing an example to others. If we cannot change our consumption habits, we cannot export our model of society to other nations like China and India. I have seen estimates that, if the current level of US consumption were applied globally, the planet could sustain something on the order of 2 billion people. China has 3-4 times our population and is only now approaching our level of pollution. If consumption trends do not abate soon, the environmental and social order we exist in now will be threatened and ultimately collapse. We have to change because there is no other choice.

I prefer the first argument because it approaches the issue from a social justice perspective that acknowledges the fundamental humanity of everyone, and reminds us that we cannot hope for a better world for our children without rightfully hoping for the same better world for all children. We have the capacity to change the world into a more peaceful place with less poverty and destruction, so we have a moral imperative to do so. I think the second argument will be more effective generally because large groups of people respond better to being made afraid of something, more so if the threat is existential rather than peripheral, if the threat is something that will happen to everyone rather than something that might happen to someone else.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Bravery and Scoundrels

Charleston, SC has had a busy news week. Fred has an article about the 9 firefighters that lost their lives in a factory fire yesterday. This is a horrible tragedy that may have been prevented. According to the New York Times, "a bill that would have required older buildings to install sprinkler systems failed in the Legislature two years ago." Unfortunately, building regulations are not on the top of the list of things to get done in a state that in the past year has seen even its AAA credit rating drop. That's when I ironically ran across another story out of Charleston, one that has definitely been overshadowed by the tragic loss of life on the same day.

Indictment Accuses South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel Of Distributing Cocaine, Starting In 2005

(AP) "South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, a former real estate developer who became a rising political star after his election last year, was indicted Tuesday on federal cocaine charges.

The millionaire is accused of buying less than 500 grams of the drug to share with other people in late 2005, U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd said. Ravenel, 44, is charged with distribution of cocaine, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison."
Ravenel, a republican who is "also the state chairman for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign", was just recently elected in November replacing Democrat Grady Patterson. According to the article, "State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said his agents were aware of the allegations before Ravenel was elected in November, but they didn't have enough information to pursue criminal charges."

How many other Americans have needlessly died while our elected officials were snorting coke up their noses?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Must Read

The General’s Report
How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties.

by Seymour M. Hersh

“They always shoot the messenger,” Taguba told me. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal—that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do.”

Taguba went on, “There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff”—the explicit images—“was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this.” He said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, and the high-ranking generals and admirals who stood with him as he misrepresented what he knew about Abu Ghraib had failed the nation.

“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tonight on C-SPAN 2

We were channel surfing tonight when we came across Michael Isikoff interviewing Ted Gup about his new book "Nation Of Secrets: The Threat To Democracy And The American Way Of Life". It was a very educational look at the culture of secrecy that has become so pervasive, not just in government faux national security issues, but in so many aspects of our lives, from federal civil suits to journalism to medical care. He argues that, while there is a legitimate need for national security secrets, the culture of government has been polluted with superfluous classification in an attempt to merely prevent embarrassment or avoid accountability. Also, the problem has been exacerbated by society's acceptance of this secrecy, which raises the issue to one that, he feels, threatens the very fabric of democracy. For if we become complacent, and complicit, in this pervasive attitude of government that they don't need to tell us what they are doing or why they are doing it, then the citizenry's ability to make responsible decisions about our country's future becomes impaired. And he talks about a few juicy formerly classified things that make it that much more interesting a show.

It will be replaying Sunday night at 6 and 9 PM on C-SPAN 2. Get your thinking hats on

Friday, June 15, 2007

Garden Pictures

Main Vegetable Garden

It's kinda small, but for my first garden, it will do. The garden has four tomato plants: Sweet 100, Red Beefsteak, Mr. Stripey, and a Roma. In the back towards the middle are two bell pepper plants, a purple one and a red one. In front are my three yellow crookneck squash plants. Behind them are a row of carrots and a row of red onions. And finally, in the back right corner is my cucumber plant on the trellis.

Okra Garden

My okra are still young. I started them from seed late (May). These are a red heirloom variety from Alabama.

I also have a container garden on my front porch and an herb garden in a flower bed in the front yard. I have a few pictures of the container garden and more pictures of the main vegetable garden here:

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I hope to have pictures of my garden up soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Random thoughts

Remember when...

-The Iraq war was illegal?
-Torture was illegal and taboo?
-Illegal wiretapping was an impeachable offense?
-International law meant something?
-Secret renditions for the sake of torture would have been appalling?
-The Iraq war was wrong because we are killing innocent people based on lies fed to us by our own government and not because it was "handled badly"?
-The Geneva Conventions were not "quaint and outdated"?
-Habeas Corpus applied to everyone?

Probably not. It seems that most people have forgotten. Of course, this is why it is so hard for me to even muster the energy to write this blog anymore. I find it impossible to write within the strict rhetorical framework that most people have surrendered to. I still remember all of the above. How anyone can make an opinion on anything in the political world outside the context of the above items is hard for me to understand. (Hence why I have been so disillusioned since the dems took over. They seem to be fine forgetting most, if not all, of the things that led to them being elected)

Oh, just for fun, I will throw in a cartoon:
Ethanol Magic?

Weather and other things

First off, it's hot. Really hot.

I am really tired of the heat and the drought. I just want rain, lots of rain. I was so happy when the last tropical storm came through (what was left of it).

Let me explain how I got to the point of hoping that a tropical storm would come. It all started about mid May when forest fires in southern Georgia and northern Florida were all over the news. Plans to visit my family required that I drive through Georgia, so that had me a little worried. Thankfully, the drive went fine. It was when I was in Alabama that things began to get weird.

I was in Alabama on my anniversary (six years!). That morning I awoke to thick smoke in the air. It wasn't like a cloud of smoke, but more like a blanket. It turned out that winds were bringing massive amounts of smoke from Georgia into Alabama. I told my husband that at least our sixth anniversary will always be remembered. For the next several days the same thing happened, it would be very smoky in the morning and slowly clear up as the day went on. It was not good on the lungs.

Back to present. So far there has been one good rain storm here and that was the result of the last tropical storm, Barry. It is hard to explain how one feels after weeks on end of no rain. I am hoping it will all turn around and the drought will end. Every day here the weather station calls for the chance of afternoon showers and everyday...nothing. Yesterday we had six drops of rain. I was so happy when the sky turned gray, they winds picked up, thunder was heard in the distance. I was sure that a big storm was brewing. Unfortunately, it was a lot of drama with little to show for it. I heard six distinct drops of rain hit the overhang over my back patio and it ended.

So, yes, I want rain. Any way I can get it. However, I don't think the heat and the drought are going to be the end of this summer of crazy weather. If the really early start to hurricane season is any indication of what's to come, I may be in for an eventful summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Into the Jaws of the Beast

click on picture to see slideshow

I finally found the time to upload the pictures from the Republican presidential debate. It was an interesting experience. There were hundreds of Mitt Romney and McCain people there along with a handful of Giuliani folks. There were also a few other rallies going on besides the pro-republican groups and our small anti-war group. There was a group of confederate flag wearing anti-immigration protesters that showed up, but I didn't get a picture of them. A friend I met up with at the rally said that he took pictures of the anti-immigration rally, so maybe I will be able to put those up at a later date.

Towards the end of the evening, a large rally and march for the fair tax was taking place and completely overshadowed any other group that was there. About 4000 people showed up to march for the fair tax which dwarfed our 20 or so anti-war protesters. Me and one other person got stuck in the middle of the march and were surrounded on all four sides by a train of people. We stood our ground and held up our signs and took the abuse that ensued for about 30 min. (which is the time it took for the entire group to march past us). The republican supporters were nice compared to a lot of the people in the 'fair tax' group. We probably had several hundred people yell at us and flip us off during that grueling 30 min. period, which seemed to last forever. We thought a few of them were going to break out of their formation and jump us, but thankfully they were the type that sticks to the flock. Several of the minions yelled, "There are more of us than there are of you." I yelled back, "I guess that means I have more balls."

So, that was what was going on outside the walls of the republican presidential debate. I am sure there are many places you can go to get the scoop on what went on inside the debate.


I haven't had time to sit down and put a post together on yesterday's debate, so this will have to be a placeholder for the time being. We are going out of town tomorrow and I have been busy preparing, but I will find more time to get this done today. Until then, enjoy this teaser.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Debate is tonight

We're going downtown tonight to harass some Republicans before the debate. There will be an anti-war rally outside the convention center where the debate is being held. We'll try to bring back pictures, unless the local storm troopers smash our camera. Or our faces.

rally starts in an hour. still have to make signs. be back later.

Navyswan out.