Bend over, take it and like it, America!


David Sirota breaks down the motives behind handing over essential US port functions to the United Arab Emirates.

Ugh. It's been obvious for a while that our administration are the lackeys of corporate culture, but this REALLY takes the cake.

I wish Bush would at least buy us all dinner before FUCKING US ROYALLY.

You can destroy a country, but never shoot a campaign contributor


Veep Dick Cheney on the shooting of his hunting partner:

"The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out my mind," Cheney said, somberly. "It was one of the worst days of my life."

Perhaps he should see some videos of soldiers falling.

Or Afghanis. Or Iraqis.

I think this shooting is the least of Cheney's karmic worries.

War is brutal...duh.


Over there:
Video of British soldiers beating young Iraqi boys.

Be forewarned. This footage is EXTREMELY disturbing.

The British government has said that most soldiers do not engage in behavior like this, and while that may be true, one thing has to be said. War can make beasts out of men, and this war is no exception.

When you are given weapons and free reign to use your power, brutality becomes a reality. War can turn good, honest people into brutal monsters. That is the nature of war, and no statements to the contrary can make that any less true. War teaches people to hate; how else could you brutalize and shoot people? It is dehumanizing and wrong. Period.

Videos like this one, and the pictures we have seen from Abu Ghraib just prove the point. Even if it is only a handful of people that get caught, dehumanizing an entire people results in untold brutalities toward them.

We have seen it in every war. Every war. Did we really think this one would be any different?

At home:
There are many studies showing a link between violence and sexual pleasure. Just one listen to the "narrator" of this video goes a long way in reinforcing that evidence. He literally sounds like he is getting off on the beatings. Is THIS what we want coming back from war? Soldiers who have linked violence to sexual pleasure and now are expected to "re-civilize" themselves? There is a great book by John Nichols called "American Blood" that illustrates this point vividly, using the Vietnam War as an example.

From increased domestic violence to increased sexual abuse committed by soldiers returning from war, the stories are many and tragic. We teach people to brutalize and kill while at war, and they apply those lessons learned when they return home as well.

This is a tragedy that affects not only those traumatized in wartorn countries (our own soldiers as well as the people in those countries), it affects those of us on the homefront as well. Some examples:

Post Traumatic Shock:
Violence in Military Families Goes Untreated

The Connection Between Militarism and Violence Against Women
Atrocities Abroad, Violence at Home

This war and warmongering must stop. Our planet literally depends on it.


Exxon energy exec says the US will never be free of our oil habit.

No really. We can't do it.

It's just impossible.

Why do I feel that way? Well...just...ummm...because...

Is there a conflict of interest? Of course not! I would never say these things out of blatant self-interest. I am simply saying that it is impossible!

"Americans depend upon imports to fill the gap," McGill said. "No combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological advances could realistically and economically provide a way to completely replace those imports in the short or medium term."

Instead of trying to achieve energy independence, importing nations like the U.S. should be promoting energy interdependence, McGill said.

Now the reason I say that no combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological advances could work is because...well...I'm not gonna let 'em work. Again, no conflict of interest, I just know they won't work. Because I won't let them.

It has NOTHING to do with record profits, it's just not feasible. What? Sweden's doing what?!?!

*pulls George Bush aside* (whisper) Bomb Sweden next, please.

Ahem. Really. There's no way this would work.

lazy post day


The debate over the blogosphere and "progressive action"


Can Blogs Revolutionize Progressive Politics?

While the organic growth of the blogosphere may resolve issues of race and gender over time, it will do little to address its overwhelming bias toward urban professionals. And that can’t be good news for a party that is already being punished at the polls for its weak connection to working-class Americans.

“For me the greatest problem is low-income people,” Cornfield says. “The irony is that it’s not because they don’t have money to get a laptop—especially with the $100 laptop now. It’s that people who are poor don’t have the civic skill sets and motivation to go online and do these sorts of things. That will take a concerted effort.”

At a time when the visible digital divide may be shrinking as increasing numbers of Americans come online, it may be replaced by an invisible version that benefits those who are well-educated, well-connected and organized.

Stoller does not think that it’s important for blogs to reach a less-affluent audience: “Not everybody has to be part of that conversation. If someone wants to have access to those discussions, they should be able to do that. But for the most part, people—like that person working two shifts—will go on with their lives knowing that good people are making good decisions and policies on their behalf.” Bloggers like Moulitsas—who is equally unconcerned that his blog will never reach “someone working at the DMV”—are likely betting that the cadre of activists they reach will be able to form connections across those differences within their community.

Stoller...well...his attitude barely deserves a reply. *Sigh*. I shall forge on nonetheless. "But for the most part, people—like that person working two shifts—will go on with their lives knowing that good people are making good decisions and policies on their behalf."

Oh...I feel SO much better. What would I do without my blogger saviour to make decisions for me? Frankly, there is no difference between this jerk's elitist BS and an entire system that wants us to believe we are too stupid to make our own decisions (hence: "representative democracy"). In fact, I dare say it reeks of patriarchal colonialism: the idea that the poor and the oppressed can't realize their own freedoms; that they all need a smarter, WHITER hero archetype to swoop down and save them.

Hmmm...that sounds...faintly...familiar.

White Europeans civilizing "savages". The British in India, French in Algeria, the US stopping communism from spreading amongst yellow people who didn't know enough to make their own decisions, and...oh looky! The big caring US has to bomb the brown Iraqis to give them the freedom they were just too unsophisticated enough to pursue of their own volition.

Wow. What would oppressed people do without their white people to make their decisions for them?

Guess what one needs your shining bright American white boy mouth (or keyboard) to make decisions for them. Your politics may carry the progressive label, but your actions speak volumes about how entrenched colonial arrogance still is.

I'll let you in on something you probably don't realize: the poor don't want to jump into the pit of political punditry because they understand that people like you use their issues as a stepping stone to power, without ever giving two shits about them as humans. So, as it turns out, the poor people whom you cast as simpletons in need of your leadership...they are smart enough to know bullshit when they see it. So they organize on the ground, with people who identify with them instead of people who look down on them as if they were idiotic children.

And THAT is why Democrats and superficial "progressives" will keep losing. Until resistance takes place in your heart, and not just your words...what you say will be just so many ones and zeros..."full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

a much needed laugh


random political tidbits for the day


Bob Barr, the guy who managed the Clinton Impeachment, tells fellow conservatives that the debate over the presidential power grab and NSA spying is "a debate about whether or not we will remain a nation subject to and governed by the rule of law or the whim of men." He gets booed by his own people. Go figure.

And this on the Washington Post's front page. The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year says that the Bush administration pushed the war on Iraq with faulty information, and with the intent of "making a case" for war instead of critically interpreting the data.

The Bush administration, Pillar wrote, "repeatedly called on the intelligence community to uncover more material that would contribute to the case for war," including information on the "supposed connection" between Hussein and al Qaeda, which analysts had discounted. "Feeding the administration's voracious appetite for material on the Saddam-al Qaeda link consumed an enormous amount of time and attention."

More news: NOLA mayor Ray Nagin reaching out to other countries to aid in the rebuilding of the Big Easy, since Bush seems to have forgotten his promises.

And why do we need Venezualan president Hugo Chavez to help the American poor heat their homes? Because our own country doesn't give a shit. Granted, its probably a political move for Chavez, but it will do more good than anything the Bush administration has come up with so far.

To round it all out, the Grammys had Bono and Kanye West attending, so who finally goes and makes a direct political statement? Well, Springsteen made a "bring 'em home" blurb at the end of a song, but actually it was Burt frickin' Bacharach, who made the most to-the-point political assessment, albeit not one that made the broadcast (go figger). Here ya have it:

"At one time, if the president had just gotten up and said 'I made a mistake, I take full blame for it. There are no weapons of mass destruction. Bear with me, and we'll get this together."' said Bacharach, "I never like to be lied to by a girlfriend or an agent and certainly not by the president of the United States."

...or in case some of us are too young to have been around when it happened, the US government LIED to the American people to gain support for bombing Vietnam.

Nearly three decades later, during the Gulf War, columnist Sydney Schanberg warned journalists not to forget "our unquestioning chorus of agreeability when Lyndon Johnson bamboozled us with his fabrication of the Gulf of Tonkin incident."

Schanberg blamed not only the press but also "the apparent amnesia of the wider American public."

And he added: "We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth."

History just repeats itself, and the American memory (and knowledge of history) is so thin that we just buy the lies, over and over and over again.

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war, and each war that the American government has perpetuated to further their own economic interests throughout the world has been no stranger to this precept.

There is documented evidence that the attack on Pearl Harbor could have been avoided. Yet it happened, and we went to war.

There is documented evidence that the attacks in the Gulf of Tonkin were fiction, and yet we went to war.

There is documented evidence that the reasons for going to war in Iraq were false and deliberately misleading, yet here we are.

It is a difficult concept to stomach: that your government does not have your best interests in mind, only the pursuit of more power and widened influence throughout the world. And they are willing to use you, your sons, your daughters, husbands and wives...

People are nothing more than cannon fodder to shore up these conflicts and entrench the US as THE superpower throughout the world.

But that's just too much isn't it?

To acknowledge these truths is to acknowledge our own complicity. To acknowledge our own complicity would mean that perhaps we would have to rise up out of our comfort zones, out of this morass of consumer myopia...and actually do something about it.

So instead we drown ourselves in reality tv, iPods, celebrity marriages and personal drama, because it's just easier than taking a stand at the expense of our comfort.

But...our comfort comes at great expense. Blood on our hands, blood in our tanks, and death on our souls.

I, for one, would rather fight to uncover the truth. The truth IS ugly, but ignorance is never bliss. Rather, it is the stifling silence that, quite literally, kills.

But if you listen closely, the silence is being broken. Whispers of dissent are breaking through, and let me be just one of the voices adding to the growing sound...

...the sound of resistance.

The sneaky shrub hasn't given up on his rather idiotic social security plan.

What's the best way to get around the rather heated social security debate?

Sneak it into the budget with a gerbajillion other really fucking stupid ideas.


*plugs ears* lalalalalalalalalalalalala...

cuz we do it so well here...


US sets up new Iraqi prison system.

One U.S. prison expert questioned whether the U.S. prison system offered the best model for Iraq to follow.

"I would have liked them to take a look at the practices of some of the European countries where they have an independent prison inspectorate, or Canada. The U.S. model is not exactly the best," said Jenni Gainsborough of Penal Reform International, which promotes cooperation between governments and non-governmental organizations to promote good prisons.

The U.S. prison and jail system, with around 2.2 million inmates, accounts for a quarter of all the world's prisoners. Reports of violence, rape, abuse and medical neglect regularly emerge from the system.

We can teach the Iraqis about more humane treatment like the "we care chair".

Yeah, we will be a "civilizing" influence, I'm sure. *double snort*

Bush Says Cooperation Thwarted 2002 Attack

No details. Of course. But since nothing has happened, that must mean that we did it! We did it! Don't let those nasty civil liberties types tell you any differently!

Ok ok. So our nuclear power plants and ports still are not secure, and our police and fire departments (first responders, don't forget!) are still having their funding cut, but we really really really wanna stop terrorism...really we do. And look! We did it!

What's that? You say we are encouraging terrorism by invading Arab countries and killing children? What're you, some kinda America-hater?

Geez...only America haters use LOGIC when talking about this stuff. Cuz you know, bombing innocents or FLYING PLANES INTO BUILDINGS TO KILL INNOCENTS...that doesn't piss people off. Not one bit...

Logic be damned...



Tension Rises Over Cartoons of Muhammad

In a country where evangelical christians FREAK OUT about Britney Spears Christian character on "Will & Grace" making "cruci-fixin's", it's not really that hard to understand the furor over this.

I kinda have to agree with this guy, Mahmoud Hashem:
"Anybody who wants to get some press uses Muslims as a punching bag."

His method of protest: calling for a boycott of Danish products (so much for the view that ALL Muslims are bombthrowing freakies).

I personally found the cartoon in question to be incredibly racist, painting Arabic Muslims with the wide brush of "terrorist" and stoking the fires of conflict between Western culture and Islamic culture. Not a smart move in a world where cultural differences can lead to such incendiary reactions.

And while I support freedom of speech, I also believe wholeheartedly in taking responsibility for what you put out into the world, and understanding the possible implications of your actions before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys...whichever).

That said, does anyone else feel like the world is going freakin' insane?

really now.


House Committee Squashes Torture Queries

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans easily defeated three resolutions seeking information about the Bush administration's policies on torture after a heated committee hearing.

Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said Democrats who submitted the resolutions should "at least silently confess to themselves that their actions pose real dangers to our country."

Hyde accused Democrats of playing politics, with an eye on November's congressional elections, by offering the three resolutions demanding:

-Information on a practice that has been called extraordinary rendition, or sending suspects abroad to countries where they would allegedly be tortured for information.

-Documents about U.S. policies regarding U.N. anti-torture conventions.

-Documents and records involving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's December trip to Europe, during which she was dogged by reports of alleged secret European jails.

All three proposed resolutions were defeated on almost straight party-line votes.

The committee's senior Democrat, Rep. Tom Lantos of California, denied Hyde's accusations of partisan motivation.

and here i thought that condoning frickin' TORTURE posed real dangers to our country.

silly me. such a "quaint" notion, not wanting to become a nation of monsters.
now i see the error of my ways, i was really just "playing politics", not being HUMAN.


Federal budget squeeze


Read the breakdown of who gets what and who gets cut.

I will address a few of these later on this evening, but this one is very interesting to me.

The department budget is essentially flat; the president's budget shows a modest increase of $20 million to nearly $23.6 billion, but the agency says it is actually a decrease of $6 million from fiscal 2006. Included is $250 million to fund a global nuclear energy program that the administration hopes will lead to the expansion of nuclear power production domestically and abroad. The department called yesterday for the development of technology to recycle nuclear fuel and create waste that is less hazardous and more difficult to use in weapons.

The budget adds money to research some alternative fuel technology. Environmental groups said the funding increases are insufficient.

Some programs designed to increase energy efficiency would be cut, as would research money for hydropower and geothermal energy. The spending plan cuts funding for oil and natural gas research programs. The administration, which sought unsuccessfully to cut the programs last year, said the industry can afford to pursue the research on its own given high oil and natural gas prices.

So the State of the Onion hoohah about renewable energy was a bunch of BS, which we all knew it to be.

Not only that, but Bush wants to rebuild a nuclear program that was a failure to begin with. A little research will show that recycling nuclear fuel was a miserable attempt the first time, merely irradiating buildings and proving completely inefficient. Plutonium reprocessing plants were closed years ago because of this, but we just never learn, do we?

We have built up tons of used nuclear fuel rods that at this point are sitting in cooling pools, because there is NO FRICKIN' WAY to dispose of them. The best idea this country has come up with is to transport high level nuke waste across the country and dump it in Yucca Mountain Nevada, an area with high levels of seismic activity. Smrt. Really.

Nuke plants across the country have repeatedly failed safety inspections, had regulations cut so that they had less stringent safety regulations in the first place, and I have to mention Three Mile Island?

For even more fun nuclear reading, grab a copy of We Almost Lost Detroit, a description of an accident at the Fermi reactor outside of the Motor City.

There are plenty of people who would contest my anti-nuke reasoning, but consider this: it's the most expensive way we have come up with boil water, and the only water-boiling method with that much destructive power. And it's NOT pollution free, no matter how many ways they try to say it is.

We are insane if we think that we can keep a handle on this mess. Actually, it's Bush who's insane. I am feeling pretty on point, really.

this is pathetic


Over 4500 Katrina evacuees evicted from hotel rooms across the country.

Yeah. We take care of our own my ass. When many people protested, they were threatened with arrest. Many people are still waiting for promised FEMA trailers. Katrina was a disaster. The treatment of evacuees after the fact is a monstrosity.

We've got money to bomb the crap out of brown people the world over, but we can't manage to help people right here in our own country.


so i'm a little late in putting this up here...


...but I found pictures!

Georgetown law students turn their backs on Alberto Gonzalez as he justifies spying on Americans without a warrant.

...and here we have some details, which includes the rather amusing anecdote of two of the women who turned their backs having "Tap this!" written on the butt of their pants.


oh fucking hell...


oh the hypocrisy


New Federal budget calls for more money for defense and cuts to social programs.

(More info here.)

If that's not predictable, I don't know what is.

"Nearly $9 billion in cuts over the next ten years are being proposed for agriculture, including changes to dairy programs, crop payments and marketing loans," said Kansas GOP Rep. Jerry Moran, who drew no Democratic opponent in winning a fifth term in 2004. "These proposed cuts to agriculture do not come at a good time."

"I am disappointed and even surprised that this budget instead cuts $48 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years," added Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, whose race has not yet drawn significant attention from Democrats.

Those cuts, with this reasoning from Bush:
"Unconstrained spending in the nation's large entitlement programs poses a serious threat to the federal budget and to the health of the economy." Unconstrained spending on a useless war, tax cuts for the rich, increasing the tax burden on the middle class and undermining programs for the poorest Americans poses a serious threat to the federal budget and to the health of the economy. And you don't have to be an economist to figure that one out.

I am less afraid of terrorism than I am of watching our country topple over from its top-heaviness. Dirty bombs don't freak me out; not being able to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly freaks me out. Osama bin Laden scares me less than a major illness hitting right now when I have no insurance OR my teeth continuing to rot out of my head.

My conclusion: these people are just simply INSANE. Reverse Robin Hoods that steal from the poor and give to the rich. Corporate shills doing the bidding of the wealthiest and leaving the rest of us to rot. And I don't exclude the Dems from this, regardless of the (mostly) party line split regarding the budget. Their continual unwillingness to really get to the meat of the matter (while continuing to take corporate money), and rolling over for Bush in the last five years has not done us any good either. Clinton did his damages too.

The whole system is functioning to line the pockets of the rich and powerful, and stomping the poor into the dirt.

If I had the power to toss them all out on their asses, I would do it willingly.

Power run amok is a threat to us all. Oops...uh...yeah...the TERRORISTS are really scary. Yeah...that's it. Really.

tapping the american vein for a fix


We all knew the promises to break America's oil addiction were disingenuous hoohah, but it still rankles to hear them admit straight-up that it's all bullshit.

What? I mean the guy doesn't even write his own speeches. Didn't someone proofread it first?


It would be laughable if it weren't just a pack of bold-faced lies told right to our collective face.

If someone I knew personally talked as much smack as George does, I would kick them in their shins. Really.

As if it could really be narrowed down to one problem. But, really. Situations like the missile attack that killed innocent Pakistanis, but was said to be targeted at Ayman Zawahiri, Al Qaida's No. 2 honcho, truly show one of the biggest flaws in logic of this whole shebang.

It's a tactic that's been used by the Israelis for years. You suspect there may be a terrorist in this apartment complex. SO, instead of sending in special forces to extricate the guy, you BOMB THE WHOLE APARTMENT BUILDING?!?!?! It's like performing brain surgery with a rocket launcher...damn messy, and after all the pieces are picked up, it doesn't matter if you got the tumor or not. Everything surrounding the tumor (like, ummm...the patient)is dead dead dead.

Just be glad our domestic law enforcement hasn't picked up on this brilliant tactic yet. Otherwise, that guy next door dealing pot to his buddies may be the death of you.

So why do attacks like this continue with little to no remorse from our administration? Because it's not about getting Zawahiri, or any of the terrorists. It is about creating fear and bullying not just Iraqis, but neighboring countries as well. It is, dare I say it, the very definition of terrorism. If you don't believe me, check the dictionary:


n : the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear

This administration, for all its talk about values and morals, still has no high ground to stand on. And no amount of rhetoric and shoving the media full of their crass psuedo-patriotic horse hockey will change that.

Liberation my ass...

oh thank the universe...


...there's hope for us humans yet.

Interviews with 17-year old schoolkids that have a better grasp on American politics than our politicians seem to.

***drifts off into verses of "I believe the children are our future..."***

Oh wait. Isn't the next line "teach them well and let them lead the way"?
Oh. Well, screw their school funding. They may be smart little whippersnappers, but really...service industry work is VERY fulfilling. They'll get used to it.

The suspect in the violence at a Massachussetts gay bar is dead from wounds suffered in a gun battle with police.

The most telling part of CNN's report was this little blurb at the bottom:
Robida's neighbors have described him as a racist, who decorated his room with swastikas. Robida is a graduate of New Bedford's junior police academy, a program intended to build social skills, self-esteem and self-confidence in children 12 to 14, police said.

Sending a messed up kid to police academy to teach him social skills is somewhat akin to telling a military recruit that he will learn sensitivity along with his weapons skills. There is this idea that sending troubled kids into military/police programs will turn them around, and perhaps it works for some. But instead of delving into the roots of the kids' problems, we send them off to boot camps, and junior police programs, and then we wonder why police brutality or torture by military personnel is so rampant.

Now I am not saying every policeperson or soldier is a formerly troubled teen (well, we all have been, just maybe not to the extent of Jacob Robida), but when our method of dealing with these kids revolves around authoritarian discipline, what we risk creating is a kid who behaves on the surface (because of cohercion), but simmers underneath with their own need to possess that same kind of authoritarian power that has been lorded over them in the interests of discipline.

I guess delving into some psychoanalysis of power dynamics in law enforcement training would be a rather dry and long-winded topic, but I can't help but feel a sense of sadness that the ways we deal with troubled kids are to send them into authoritarian organizations that further emphasize their powerlessness and their need to regain power with similar violent means.

And sadly, I don't think anyone in these fields is exempt from being indoctrinated with these skewed power dynamics, troubled or not. Humans are fallible, and handing them the psychological means to justify their own brutality will not increase their social skills, but rather separate them from the very people they are ostensibly there to protect.

abandon all idiocy...all ye who enter here


Ahhh...the State of the Union...

A prime opportunity to play drinking games, tossing back a mouthful of hops whenever the ubiquitous words "terrorists", "freedom", "enemies" and "nucular" passed through the tinny speakers of the tv. The only way to temper the gag reflex was to continue the swilling.

Sometimes you just have to marvel at the hypocrisy, and none so blatant as King George uttering the names of Martin Luther AND Coretta Scott King, and then going on to compare his administration's actions to MLK and Lincoln all at the same time.

Now, call me nitpicky, but set aside the obvious Orwellian doublespeak sprinkled throughout the speech. Forget about the references to "America's oil addiction" from a failed oilman who's cozied up to so many big oilmen that he bleeds crude. Forget about the hypocrisy of referencing the need for better education a day before education budgets were slashed. I could go on, but do I really need to?

Push all that to the back of your mind and ask yourself...did Lincoln have speechwriters? What does it say about the "leader" of the free world that he cannot speak for himself without a veritable army of pundits, pollsters, speechwriters and campaign strategists to write the words for him?

Now, call me an idealist (go ahead...I don't mind), but I think someone with that much power should at least be able to express themselves without help. I know, I're thinking "If they let Bush write his own speeches, no one would know what the hell he was talking about!" And you're right. And isn't that one of the most telling factors in politics?

We don't elect presidents. We elect public relations firms, and well paid pollsters who tell politicians what to say and how to say it. We elect propaganda machines to tell us what they think we need to hear, without ever really telling us anything.

Bush's SOTU had the frilly wrappings of well-heeled college graduate speechwriter platitudes, dressed up in a smirk, with the substance of a Twinkie.

When I competed in poetry slams, sometimes it came down to a final round, all dependent upon one's ability to improvise. I have had moments of brilliance, and terrible block where I couldn't come up with anything worthwhile. But it was all me.

And my daddy didn't even get me into college.

About me

  • I'm DJ Shiva.
  • From Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • I am a music nerd with a love for bass and political commentary, and far too much time on my hands. So many interesting, informative things on the internets; let me show you them.
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