Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Saturday, 14 May 2005 at 7h 38m 21s|
Why do they hate us?
I thought the reconstruction was supposed to change this...or is too much
profit being skimmed off.
From the London Guardian.
More than two years after Saddam Hussein's fall, 85 percent of Iraqis complain
of frequent power outages, only 54 percent have access to clean water and
almost a quarter of Iraqi children suffer from chronic malnutrition, a U.N.-
Iraqi survey revealed Thursday.
``The survey, in a nutshell, depicts a rather tragic situation of the quality
of life,'' said Iraq's new planning minister, Barham Saleh.
Although Saleh blamed years of wars, economic mismanagement and repressive
policies under Saddam, conditions worsened after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and
insurgents now are doing their best to tear down the economy, averaging 70
attacks a day at the start of May.
The U.S. reconstruction effort also has drawn criticism. Last week, government
investigators said U.S. civilian authorities in Iraq cannot properly account
for nearly $100 million promised for projects in south-central Iraq.
A total of 21,688 households in Iraq's 18 provinces were surveyed for the
It found 1.5 million new housing units are needed to deal with a critical
housing shortage. Almost a quarter of Iraqi children between the ages of 6
months and 5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition, and 193 women out of every
100,000 births die in labor.
Unemployment is running at just over 18 percent, literacy at 65 percent.
In addition to power and water problems, only 37 percent of the population has
working sewage systems, the report said.
``If we compare this to what was there in the 1980s, we would see a major
deterioration in the situation,'' Saleh said. ``In 1980, 75 percent of families
had access to clean water.''
Iraq had one of the region's best infrastructures, health and education systems
in the 1970s, but conditions deteriorated rapidly after Saddam became president
And Saddam was our boy in 1979, the year all hell broke loose in Iran, and our
old boy the Shah was ousted by the people. Yep, we traded one sick, repressive
regime for another, one right after the other.
And you wonder why they hate us? How delusional is it to believe that our
soldiers are over there fighting for freedom?
I support the troops. Stop hemorraging money and bring them home now!!!!!
|Saturday, 14 May 2005 at 7h 22m 30s|
A difference in mental apparitions
From the Mahablog
..look at what the righties are saying. Then look at what the lefties are
saying. Notice the difference in the quality of the arguments. Lefties write
long posts full of data and figures. Righties link to the columnists they want
to agree with, then say yeah, see? What he says. Democrats stink.
As we all know, the purpose of right-wing think tanks is to think up excuses
for pernicious rightie policies. And the purpose of rightie columnists is to
tell the faithful what they want to hear. Essentially, the think tanks mix the
Kool-Aid, the columnists fill the cups, and the rightie bloggers line up to
|Thursday, 12 May 2005 at 17h 47m 16s|
Seeds of commercialism
It's a world full of advertising. A world in which we are depicted as
imbeciles, savages in dire need, or as persons enjoying the best life has to
offer, achieving the ultimate bliss with a grandiose or smooth background
tune. It's all a suggestive message that is a lightly offered reminder, a
seed planted in the mind that will hopefully germinate.
If you pay attention, you permit the seeds to enter the brain.
It is really that simple.
|Wednesday, 11 May 2005 at 6h 22m 13s|
Liberals are irrelevant. Or so is the profound believe of
of the Reich-wing propaganda spin machine. The hired letter writers are out
there are sending their packaged writing to the editorial pages of American
newspapers. The words are leaving the lips of the radio-television hired guns
The audacity of the statement is incredible. How can someone profess belief in
democracy and yet denounce the opinions of the "other side" as "irrelevant" --
something to be tossed into the dust bin of history by being completely
ignored? The very idea of not bothering to listen to someone is the absolute
contradiction of democratic beliefs.
What we have here is a twisted sort of "divine right of kings," driven and
fueled by the aggregation of political power. That this voice is both twisted
and reaches all people does not indicate a popularity of opinion, no more than
the availability of coca-cola indicates that a vast majority of people drink
Coca-cola. The Coke is there on account of the huge immensity of the Coke
corporation, buying out local competitors when necessary. The opinions of the
Reich-wing are there because they are abetted by the interests of the large-
scale financial conglomerates that own the newspapers and media voice-boxes.
Most people don't know enough to have an opinion about most matters of
substance and a medium amount of detail. This is not a negative statement.
Most people are busy working, or raising families -- or they are incapable of
achieving self-awareness. We might know quite a lot of detail about a
particular subject, but are quite unaware and ignorant of a number of other
topics. Very, very few people know a great deal of detail about a wide range
of subjects. Therefore, most people simply don't know enough to form their own
opinion independent of being influenced or nuanced by exterior sources.
Thus, there are a lot of people whose opinions are just a concatenation of
phrases they have heard from media sources. These phrases and aphorisms form
the basis of their proud opinionations. Do not expect them to analysis the
meaning of these phrases and aphorisms, because they are fundamentally
unquestionable. Would that I understood why this is so. My only venture is
that people embed their sense of self and theier insecurity within the chosen
phrases of their self-justification. To question the syllogisms of words is
akin to questioning their very self.
Someone who makes a political statement which pillories the amorphous
opposition with something beyond sarcasm is acting violently with words. The
true conservatives of the 1950's were polite and respectful. This bunch that
calls themselves arch-conservative should really call themselves corporatists,
because that's what they really are. They are not at all conservative. They
advocate political violence and destruction, not preservation. They do not
believe in fundamental liberties, and only say so to promote the myth of their
inclusion of the hard-working in their philosophy. It is only banter however.
They are the breed which buys you a beer and talks you up, while they are
sleeping with your wife and robbing your business.
Sounds like a "talk to the hand" technique. One does not have adjust or
compromise, simply ignore. One does not have to reassess, learn from mistakes,
or even admit that one is wrong. No. All admitting of fallibility is a thing
of the past, committed to the dust bin of history, because of the belief that
we are never wrong.
Or at least you can follow the finger principle. Simply put, the more you
spend time criticizing and scapegoating the opponent, the less time you have to
admit to culpability. When questioned, all you have to do is quickly admit to
a superficial denial, and then deftly hone in on something specious about the
"Yes, I have behaved badly, but, but, ... but my opponent has never admitted to
voting against bill 234." Alas, there were good reasons to vote against 234,
but still that is not the point. The point is to change the subject and focus
on the possible weakness of the opponent.
This is the oldest debate trick in the history of mankind. But it doesn't make
I feel sad when I read such vile disrespectful opinions, because deep down in
my soul I have a great respect for personal opinions. I strongly believe that
opinions should be aired out and discussed. Everyone needs to come together
and realize that their is common interest, and everyone benefits. When I hear
such abhorent statements that essentially murder the idea that another opinion
has a right to exist, I am wounded at the core of my philosophical
justification of existence.
How can anyone profess belief in democracy, and yet act like they can ignore
the concerns of at least 50 percent of our population? All the horror movies
in the entire history of Hollywood could not even come close to the one in
which we are now experiencing.
|Tuesday, 29 March 2005 at 19h 21m 20s|
The Party of No Principles
by Ari Behrman
03/29/2005 @ 10:22am [permalink]
On Sunday, a Los Angeles Times report detailed how House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay let his own comatose father die in 1988. As the
leader of the save Schiavo movement in Congress, DeLay embodies the GOP's rank
hypocrisy on this issue. Democrats at Columbia University recently compiled a
other examples of GOP hypocrisy in the Schiavo case. We've included the most
relevant and added a few of our own.
** While Governor of Texas, George W. Bush signed a law allowing hospitals to
remove a patient's life support regardless of the wishes of the family. Just a
week ago Texas terminated the life of Sun Hudson, a five-month old baby
suffering from a fatal genetic disorder.
** The 2000 Republican platform read: "Medical decision-making should be in the
hands of physicians and their patients." Four years later, the language
remained nearly the same: "We must attack the root causes of high health care
costs...by putting patients and doctors in charge of medical decisions."
** Much of Terry Shiavo's care came courtesy of Medicaid, which the Bush
Administration wants to cut by $60 billion. Just recently Republican Governor
Bob Riley of Alabama tried to drop coverage for 13-year-old Lauren Rainey, a
severely handicapped girl who requires a suction tube to breathe.
** In his previous career as a heart surgeon, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
pulled the plug "on a regular basis," his office acknowledged last week. In his
1989 book Transplant, Frist advocated killing anencephalic babies, who are born
in the same mental state that Terry Schiavo finds herself in today.
** The tort-reform bill recently passed by the Senate would block cases like
the malpractice suit that provided for Terri's care from reaching the courts in
the first place.
** So-called family values Republicans who constantly invoke the "sanctity of
marriage" have viciously attacked Terry Schiavo's husband Michael, calling him
a lying, lecherous wife-killer. It got so bad that TV host Joe Scarborough
asked fellow conservative Pat Buchanan, "Are you comparing Michael Schiavo to a
|Thursday, 24 March 2005 at 20h 37m 45s|
Another liar in this cruel hoax they call morality
This is from David NYC at the Dailykos.com.
Congressman Dave Weldon, smiling and holding a packet with some lady
seated adjacent to his expensive
Congressman Dave Weldon (R-FL) wrote a letter to the newspaper Florida Today,
taking issue with some statements the paper had made in an editorial on the
Schiavo matter. What did Weldon have to say?
Did the editors interview registered nurse Carla Iyer, who personally treated
Terri for a year and a half?
She said in a sworn court affidavit that Terri "was alert and oriented. Terri
spoke on a regular basis saying things like 'mommy' and 'help me" and 'hi' when
I came into her room."
Iyer says Terri would sit up in the nurse's station from time to time and laugh
at stories they told. She felt pain and would indicate so. Carla fed her by
mouth and not by tube. Does this sound like a woman in persistent vegetative
state for the past 15 years? (Emphasis added.)
Florida judge George Greer, one of the main judges in the Schiavo matter,
called Iyer's affidavit "incredible," elaborating as follows:
Ms. Iyer details what amounts to a 15-month cover-up which would include the
staff of Palm Garden of Lago Convalescent Center, the Guardian of the Person,
the Guardian ad Litem, the medical professionals, the police and, believe it or
not, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler. Her affidavit clearly states that she would "call
them (Mr. and Mrs. Schindler) anyway because I thought they should know about
their daughter." ... It is impossible to believe that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler
would not have subpoenaed Ms. Iyer for the January 2000 evidentiary hearing had
she contacted them as her affidavit alleges. (Emphasis added.)
|Thursday, 24 March 2005 at 20h 0m 50s|
What did Bill Frist say when Christopher Reeve died ?
From CNN:[Link] --Thanks to Atrios for this.
Senator Bill Frist (R-Tennessee)
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist attacked Sen. John Edwards on Tuesday over a
comment the Democratic vice presidential candidate made regarding actor
Edwards said Reeve, who died Sunday, "was a powerful voice for the need to do
stem cell research and change the lives of people like him.
"If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do
when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of
that wheelchair and walk again," Edwards said.
Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, called Edwards' remark "crass"
and "shameful," and said it gave false hope that new treatments were imminent.
Frist, who was a heart surgeon before coming to the Senate, responded Tuesday
in a conference call with reporters arranged by the Bush-Cheney campaign.
"I find it opportunistic to use the death of someone like Christopher Reeve --
I think it is shameful -- in order to mislead the American people," Frist
said. "We should be offering people hope, but neither physicians, scientists,
public servants or trial lawyers like John Edwards should be offering hype.
"It is cruel to people who have disabilities and chronic diseases, and, on top
of that, it's dishonest. It's giving false hope to people, and I can tell you
as a physician who's treated scores of thousands of patients that you don't
give them false hope."
|Thursday, 24 March 2005 at 19h 23m 54s|
The real sadness of Iraq
This is from Ari Behrman. [Link]
Rumsfeld, November 13, 2003: "We're making enormous progress. In
terms of essential services, schools are open, hospitals are functioning,
people are out on the streets eating in restaurants, and life is going on, and
23 million people have been liberated."
Awbalth, a soldier from CA, October 20, 2004: "Immediately after
the 'war' portion of the fighting, we should have been prepared to send in a
massive reconstruction effort. Right away we needed engineers to diagnose
problems, we needed contractors repairing problems, we needed immediate food,
water, shelter, and fuel for the Iraqi people, and we needed more security for
all of this to work...Establishing massive reconstruction efforts that employed
millions of Iraqis would have gone a long way toward proving to the Iraqis that
we were there to help them, not steal their oil and get rich from
reconstruction contracts paid for by the American taxpayer."
|Thursday, 24 March 2005 at 19h 4m 26s|
Big firms are different from smaller investors
Mutual fund giants don't bilk the small-fry investors do they?
do. The big 4 US firms just paid $81.25 million dollars in fines because they
were pushing securities that had lower rates of return (which means in
economist-speak, investors got less profit on the investment ) because they
getting bigger commissions.
Read the story on the BBC here.
A permalink is here.
But this is how the market works. Larger investors, or investing firms, pool a
very large amount of money (as in more than 100 million dollars) and make money
by selling whenever there are 1 to 3 cent increases. That doesn't sound like
a lot, but when you have 10,000 to 100,000 various stocks sold with (say) a 2
cent profit per share --- dat's $200 to $2000 profit a pop. And when counting
1% commissions on all sales that are in the millions -- 0.01 times
$1,000,000 equals an extra $10,000 on top. And this is per day! 240
business days per year, times $12,000 ... equals 2.5 million dollars a year.
Now imagine a large firm with 100 stock brokers.
But this money has to come from somewhere. In the immediate moment the buyers
and sellers are all a mixed composite of stock-brokers, firms, and re-issues,
but the nexus of these events are all in the hands of the larger sellers,
simply on account of the large aggregation of funds. When small investors buy
into a mutual fund or have a firm manage their securities, that small investor
is giving the larger firm or fund managers more money with which to play the
market. In return the larger firm and fund managers promise to share with
their investors some of the profits.
Seems like a fair arrangement on the face of this exchange of services, but the
reality is that these large firms are no more fair and respectful of their
customer investors than other large companies can with telephone, gas, et al
services. There is also no guarantee that your returns will match expectations
because small investors alone have to depend on the machinations of others
unless they are truly independent. Most small investors will not understand
how the market works or not spend the time necessary to be successful
independently, and thus the vast majority of investors entrust their
investments to the machinations of others.
Which brings us back to the important question : where do these profits come
from? The notion of buying low and selling high is simple enough, but that
increase is still bourn by that someone who paid the higher price. Since this
person perhaps thought they could resell at a higher price, the logical
conclusion would seem that desire for profit is what produces the driving force
behind the ability to reap profits from the difference between a high and low
price. And when the price rises too high -- well of course the price then
the point where someone buys that thinks they got a good deal. This is called
the "self-correcting" market, and in this school of economic theology, the
world of investments becomes riddled with winners and losers.
Except one thing. The big firms don't lose. Yes, Citibank, Bank of America,
the DuPont family trust investments -- don't fail. They might make less
profits, but they don't go bankrupt (ie, fail.) We are talking about financial
institutions and multi-billionaire investors who are simply too big to fail,
because since the fall-out would affect too many, the big players either all
pool their resources whenever they have a crisis - or the government (ie,
taxpayers) foot the bill to cover the massive losses.
These are institutions that aren't bothered by the "self-correcting" market,
who simply change machinations when the market dips low, and thus, this idea of
the "self-correcting" market doesn't really apply. Simply said : the small
investors win and lose, but either way, Citibank makes money.
I'll have to return to this theme, once I've thought this through more. But
I'm not saying anything new. Adam Smith himself, and John K. Galbraith have
both mentioned this vulnerability to the "self-correcting" market theory.
To be continued...
|Wednesday, 23 March 2005 at 21h 2m 14s|
Why do I do this
I've been told by a friend who looked at this blog that I
needed to get
girlfriend. Well ...
I already have 5 girlfriends. Their names are Thumb, Index, Middle, Ring, and
Pinky, and I assure you that each of them are equally hot for me. They are
also a great help in producing these flashes of verbage and whatever other
creative endeavors to which life has thrust into my soul. And I am a grateful
man, so what else is there?
But now as to the question of having 6 girlfriends?
I won't answer that.
Why do I do this? Why not?
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