Friday, June 15, 2007

Michael Moore Strikes Again

A new Michael Moore film is opening next week. Called SiCKO, it takes aim at the health care industry. No Moore film is complete without controversy and creative marketing. We've had the controversy already, with the Treasury Department threatening to go after Moore for taking sick American veterans to Cuba for free medical treatment. Now comes the creative marketing. A publicist for the film just sent out this notice:

Quick heads up: This coming Wednesday (June 20), Michael Moore will hold an exclusive screening of his new film, SiCKO, in Washington, DC, specifically for healthcare lobbyists.

Print and online "invitations" will appear over the next five days in the Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call that list all of the reregistered health care lobbyists in Washington, DC and invites them (so long as they bring the ad as their ticket) to an exclusive screening. The ad (which I can email you in you want) features a set of tombstones, which reflects a central theme of the movie--the health care industry is killing people. The ad--because it lists all of the names and because of its provocative nature--will cause a stir next week.

We will have a real-time webcam set up at the screening so the American public can track how many lobbyists actually show up (it will be a real time video to a variety of sites and then be converted into a YouTube posting to go on the SiCKO YouTube channel).

As you know, a central theme of the movie is how the health care lobby is maintaining a death grip over our health care system through its control of the political process. The industry puts profits before patients and too many politicians put contributions before care--all in response to the health care industry's lobbyist muscle. Hence, the ad and the premiere. We are hopeful that some health care lobbyists show up and that they are able to see the real life consequences of a broken health care system.

As the ads are being placed today, this info is going to start getting out and I just wanted to give you a heads-up.

How many lobbyists for private health care and insurance firms will show up at this special screening? Probably as many senior White House officials who attended the Washington premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11. And that's the point. This will be one empty house a film producer is happy to see. Let's hope the movie is as ingenious as the promotion.

Posted by David Corn at June 15, 2007 02:09 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Mike will be filming the exclusive sceening so we all will get to know who shows.

I think he should also invite every politician that receives health care industry donations.

Thanks for all of your work


capt said...

What bundle of nerves, outside of the brain, may have more neurons than the spinal cord?


The enteric nervous system lies in your gut, monitors digestion and endocrine function, and spans from esophagus to anus.

(I had a gut feeling about that)


David B. Benson said...

On Scientific American today:

An exciting article about turning sugars into plastic!

Gerald said...

I believe that the Michael Moore film, Sicko, can be seen in theaters June 29.

capt said...

The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience: Albert Camus: French novelist, essayist, and playwright.1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. 1913-1960

A great wave of oppressive tyranny isn't going to strike, but rather a slow seepage of oppressive laws and regulations from within will sink the American dream of liberty: George Baumler

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home: James Madison: US fourth president, 1751-1836

This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector: Plato: Ancient Greek philosopher (428/427-348/347 B.C.)


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Watch this video:

"One of Thousands" - Hometown Baghdad

A very sad story.

I urge everyone to look at the streets, the homes, their furnishings. We are not that different. We have to get out of Iraq.


capt said...

U.S. says all Iraq reinforcements now in place

BAGHDAD, June 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday Washington was disappointed with the Iraqi government's efforts to pass laws aimed at reconciling the country's warring factions.

Gates flew into Baghdad for an unannounced visit to assess a U.S. troop build-up aimed at buying leaders of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups more time to reach a political accommodation and press the government to move faster in passing the laws.

His comments were some of the strongest criticism of the Iraqi government, although he took care to stress that Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faced "enormous obstacles" and deserved Washington's continued support.

Gates arrived on a day when the U.S. military said it had completed its troop build-up to 160,000 soldiers. Nearly 30,000 extra troops have been sent to Iraq, mainly to secure Baghdad.

The effort has been costly for U.S soldiers. May was the third deadliest month for U.S. troops since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, with 126 killed.

The military said on Friday that four more soldiers were killed on Thursday, taking the June toll to 42 and 3,519 in total since 2003.

Gates is the third senior U.S. official to visit Baghdad this week, following in the footsteps of the top U.S. military general in the Middle East, Admiral William Fallon, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

He said he would echo their message to Maliki and other Iraqi leaders -- speed up passage through parliament of legislation that includes laws on distributing oil revenues, control of regional oil fields and holding provincial elections.


*****end of clip*****

speed up passage through parliament of legislation that includes laws on distributing oil revenues

Seems a bit odd that the occupying power would be pushing Iraqi revenue legislation, unless it obviously serves our purpose.

I think making the above statement is a mistake. Other than the "surge" being a bonehead idea - the military could have said anything in their "press release" nobody is believing them.


capt said...

Moore’s webcam to check which lobbyists see ‘SiCKO’

Documentary filmmaker and gadfly Michael Moore is gearing up for an all-out blitz on Washington next week that will directly target healthcare lobbyists and their employers, along with lawmakers, to promote the upcoming film "SiCKO," which criticizes the healthcare system.

Prior to a red-carpet Washington premiere of the movie Wednesday night, Moore plans to screen his documentary before an audience of healthcare lobbyists, whom he is inviting through full-page ads in The Hill, the Washington Post and other publications.

To document what, if any, lobbyists show up for the screening, Moore will set up a Web camera outside the Phoenix Union Station theater. The video will stream live online and be archived on YouTube.

The "invitation" to these lobbyists is considerably more strident than that e-mailed this week to lawmakers, the media and others for the exhibition Wednesday night at the AMC Loews Uptown Theater.

The ads set images of tombstones, carrying messages such as "Denied because of pre-existing conditions" and "Claim denied deemed as ‘elective surgery,’" against a list of names comprising more than 900 lobbyists. All of them have registered to represent drug makers, health insurers, physicians, hospitals and other parts of the healthcare system, according to Moore’s representatives.

"Michael Moore is pleased to invite the following healthcare lobbyists to an exclusive screening," the tagline reads. Lobbyists on the list are instructed to bring a copy of the ad to the theater if they want admission to the 4 o’clock screening. Healthcare lobbyists not listed also are welcome, a spokesman said.

According to materials being distributed by public relations firms retained by Moore, "A central theme of the movie is how the health care lobby is maintaining a death grip over our health care system through its control of the political process. … We are hopeful that some health care lobbyists show up and that they are able to see the real life consequences of a broken health care system."

The two screenings are only part of what Moore plans for Wednesday. The filmmaker plans to stage events alongside lawmakers and activists, though his promoters did not specify whom., the Campaign for America’s Future, the California Nurses Association and other unnamed liberal groups are helping to organize Moore’s D.C. blitz and will participate in other activities around the country to promote the film.

The promotional campaign is being run for the studio, the Weinstein Co., by Chris Lehane, the former Clinton White House aide who handled the media for ex-Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential run and Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) campaign in 2004.

Moore’s list includes more than a dozen former members of Congress who have gone on to careers in lobbying.

The list features ex-Sens. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) at Parry Romani DeConcini & Symms; Bob Dole (R-Kan.) at Alston & Bird; and Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.). The ad also lists ex-Reps. Dick Armey (R-Texas) at DLA Piper; Tom Bliley (R-Va.) at the Scott Group; Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.) at DLA Piper; Chris John (D-La.) at Ogilvy Government Relations; Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.) at the Washington Group; Bruce Morrison (D-Conn.) at the Morrison Public Affairs Group; Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Billy Tauzin (R-La.) at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Robert Walker (R-Pa.) at Wexler & Walker; and Vin Weber (R-Minn.) at Clark & Weinstock.

The rest of the list is a mix of Democrats and Republicans, big names and small, composed of former Hill staffers, former agency officials and other Washington insiders.

Moore’s operation also plans an advanced screening in New York for bankers, investors, shareholder groups analysts and other Wall Street types.

The movie opens to a wide U.S. release on June 29. Those who can’t wait that long might be in luck. News reports circulating Friday indicated that the entire film has already become available on illegal Internet file-sharing networks.


*****end of clip*****

A bit more on the 'Sicko' special screening.


Gerald said...

Our Oceans Are Turning into Plastic

We must soon learn that we are called upon to be stewards of our world.

Gerald said...

Lying Us Into War, Again

by Charley Reese
The drumbeat for war against Iran has begun again, led by Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, and the usual pro-Israel crowd. Lieberman seems to be under the impression that the U.S. can bomb Iran and not get into a full-fledged war.

Well, we know all about cakewalks and how they turn into long, bloody and dreary marches. We learned nothing from Vietnam, and apparently some of the people have learned nothing from Iraq, now a cakewalk war that has lasted longer than World War II, though not with the same intensity and mass.

If the senator, who seems to be one of those who loves war as long as he doesn't have to fight it, really believes that we can attack Iran without Iranian retaliation, then he's naive. If he knows better, he's a liar, and to lie the American people into a second war before the other lied-into war in Iraq is even over is despicable. He should be shunned by all decent people.

I don't see how any honest man can believe that Iran is a threat to the United States or its neighbors. Iran has not invaded anyone in the past 100 years. Iran has from the beginning insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes, and there has been no evidence – I repeat, no evidence – to the contrary. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty explicitly authorizes countries to enrich uranium. In other words, Iran has not done anything illegal.

Iran has no intercontinental missiles, and the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons is Israel. Please note that the United States flatly refuses to endorse the idea of a nuclear-free Middle East. Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel has refused to sign it. Iran admits international inspectors. Israel flatly refuses to allow international inspectors. The only country in today's Middle East with weapons of mass destruction and a history of invading and occupying other people's countries is Israel.

As for Iran's alleged threat to "wipe Israel off the map," that is propaganda based on a mistranslation. Nobody in Iran has ever threatened to attack Israel militarily. The accurate quotes from Iranians have been simply that Israel as a Zionist state will eventually collapse, just as the Soviet Union as a communist state did. Iranian officials have even explicitly said they have no desire or intention of attacking Israel.

You should ask yourself, What is the real motive of people who deal in lies? What is the real agenda of people who wish to paint Iran as a threat to the world? (Remember what a threat they said Iraq was?) Why, if the United States is really concerned about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, has it steadfastly refused to endorse the idea of a nuclear-free Middle East – something Iran and the Arab countries have proposed time and again?

Finally, of course, there is the matter of deterrence. Deterrence worked against the Soviet Union's 30,000 nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Anybody who says Iran would not be deterred from using a handful of nuclear weapons – assuming it even developed them – is a fool or a liar.

Furthermore, Iran would gain nothing by attacking Israel, the U.S. or Europe. Americans might disagree with how Iranians choose to run their country, but that doesn't mean that Iran's leaders are insane. They are, in fact, intelligent and well-educated.

As for the United States' latest claim that Iran is supplying weapons to the Taliban, I simply don't believe it. The U.S. government has lied and lied to the American people. It has zero credibility. Iran is a Shi'ite country; the Taliban are a fanatical Sunni sect. Iran volunteered its assistance during the initial American attack on Afghanistan. Why would Iran suddenly change its mind?


Will our Nazi country and government ever join all other living beings or will we continue to be savages who glorify murders and war crimes???

How can Nazi Joe Lieberman be shunned by other people when many Nazis call him Holy Joe?

Gerald said...

A Letter to a Child Not Born Yet

Gerald said...

Taken together, it all constitutes a great weight to lay upon the shoulders of an 18-year-old kid born so long after all these troubles began. So we send an apology from our generation to yours, expressing sorrow for what we've gotten you into with our inattention, our acquiescence, our failures as citizens of a democratic nation, our lack of outrage, our selfish and indwelling personal concerns.

Sleep safe, young soldier. The prayers of people now long dead come to you with this letter.

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: June 16

Gerald said...

On the Escalator to War with Iran

Gerald said...

Which raises the question: Where is the Congress? Why is it not holding public hearings and sifting the evidence to determine if Tehran is behind these attacks on Americans and if the United States has not itself been aiding insurgents inside Iran?

Or is it all up to George W. as to whether we launch a third and wider war in the Middle East, which could result in an economic and strategic disaster for the United States?

When a nation and her people have lost their souls to false information and greed, there is no need to hold any hearings. For we have reached the abyss of hell in ourselves!

Gerald said...


Gerald said...


Gerald said...


capt said...

Always a "DO NOT MISS"

Bob Geiger Saturday Cartoons

Never quite as good as Pande's TNF's but a good collection of giggles just the same.


capt said...

The General’s Report

How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties

n the afternoon of May 6, 2004, Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba was summoned to meet, for the first time, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his Pentagon conference room. Rumsfeld and his senior staff were to testify the next day, in televised hearings before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees, about abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq. The previous week, revelations about Abu Ghraib, including photographs showing prisoners stripped, abused, and sexually humiliated, had appeared on CBS and in The New Yorker. In response, Administration officials had insisted that only a few low-ranking soldiers were involved and that America did not torture prisoners. They emphasized that the Army itself had uncovered the scandal.

If there was a redeeming aspect to the affair, it was in the thoroughness and the passion of the Army’s initial investigation. The inquiry had begun in January, and was led by General Taguba, who was stationed in Kuwait at the time. Taguba filed his report in March. In it he found:


*****end of clip*****

Another good one from Sy Hersh


Gerald said...

Faces of Integrity

capt said...

Bill Moyers: Begging his pardon

There are contrarian voices: "This is an open and shut case of perjury and obstruction of justice," said Pat Buchanan. "The Republican Party stands for the idea that high officials should not be lying to special investigators." From the former Governor of Virginia, James Gilmore, a staunch conservative, comes this verdict: "If the public believes there's one law for a certain group of people in high places and another law for regular people, then you will destroy the law and destroy the system."

So it may well be, as The Hartford Courant said editorially, that Mr Libby is "a nice guy, a loyal and devoted patriot...but none of that excuses perjury or obstruction of justice. If it did, truth wouldn't matter much."


*****end of clip*****

Pat Buchanan is thinking of the OLD republican party, the paleo-conservatives that believed in smaller government, balanced budgets, no foreign entanglements, etc. The NEW or shall I say neocon republican party is the very antithesis of conservative.

Bush and the neocons are radical and that is not conservative by a long shot.


David B. Benson said...

And related to mothing much, today about 6,100 trucks are snow-bound in the main, 12,500 foot high pass between Chile and Argentina.

Them's a lot of trucks...

capt said...

The Story of Father's Day

Father's Day, contrary to popular misconception, was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards. In fact when a "father's day" was first proposed there were no Father's Day cards!

Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a "father's day" in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd's mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.

The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington. At about the same time in various towns and cities across American other people were beginning to celebrate a "father's day." In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

Father's Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father's Day.


*****end of clip*****

A hearty "HAPPY FATHERS DAY" to all!


capt said...

The den of Vice

Bush's personal insecurity and search for daddy men and mommy women to pat him on the fanny and say "good job, junior" when first elected made his administration a tragicomedy. But nothing was worse for the nation than his allowing Vice President Cheney to develop and operate a shadow presidency.

Could anyone imagine any other time in their memory that a lead article like Iran Strategy Stirs Debate at White House could appear in a major newspaper? It describes how "a new dispute over whether diplomacy has any hope of reining in Iran’s nuclear program pits the secretary of state against hawks in the vice president’s office."

Of the fourteen vice presidents who became president, unless you count John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, none came close to the kind of influence Dick Cheney has had during his tenure as vice president.

Historians will puzzle over what enabled this second rate politico and corporate weasel to gain the power of a quasi-president. I think they will determine that 9-11 had a great deal to do with it. However I don't think it was 9-11 per se that allowed this to happen.

In my opinion it was the competence vacuum in the Oval Office and the leadership and intellectual vacuum in its occupant's psyche that opened the doors for Cheney and his cadre of neocons to grab unprecedented control of international relations.

Putting aside the Iran issue, can anybody image the following being written about any other vice president:


*****end of clip*****

Future historians will have a field day with the Bunnypants (p)residency.


Gerald said...


Welcome to The Weekly Sunday Section by Gerald

Personal stress must be reduced to control the heart arrhythmia that increases the heartbeat to a dangerous degree and places my life in grave jeopardy. I need to develop a carefree attitude about Nazi America and her imminent demise. A carefree attitude is difficult to achieve when I see Nazi America murdering humanity.

John 31:34-35
A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you, so you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another!

Psalm 51:1
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Love and mercy are essential behaviors for a better world and for all of God’s children.

Proverb 3:5-6
Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps.

Prayer for Peace – John Paul II
O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy; send forth your Spirit that he may work on the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace that will extinguish all arguments, for charity that overcomes hatred, for pardon that disarms revenge!

May God bless and keep you in the palm of His hand.

Illegal immigrants can voice their concerns but nonviolent protesters against the Iraq war are arrested. There is something wrong in Nazi America.



For the above reason Hitler Bush will not leave the White House in 2009. He must continue to maintain himself and the Nazi American empire through wars. His wars will always be unending wars in order for him to enslave the masses of humanity. Gerald!

Here are the words for eternal happiness and eternal life:

…On the night before He went forth to His eternally memorable and life-giving death, like a Lamb led to slaughter, rejecting violence, loving His enemies, and praying for His persecutors, He bestowed upon His disciples the gift of a New Commandment:

"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another."

Then He took bread into His holy hands, and looking up to You, almighty God, He gave thanks, blessed it, broke it, gave it to His disciples and said:

"Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you."

Likewise, when the Supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples and said:

"Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven."

"Do this in memory of me."

The Words

I have from time to time said what was my definition of love. As I have said, “Love is wanting the best for another person or persons.” This post is to share with you my love in words. There will be 29 words shared with you.

The Six Words

I was listening on the radio sometime back and Dr. Paul Pearsall, a psychiatrist, was discussing the six words that would bring us happiness in our natural word. He said the six words were HAVE LESS, DO LESS, SAY NO. Each person will decide for him or herself what these words mean in their life.

The Eight Words

Jesus of Nazareth has given each of us the eight words to practice in our lives to prepare us for happiness in the supernatural world. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” If we practice these words in our daily lives toward our brothers and sisters in God, we will be preparing ourselves for supernatural happiness.

The Fifteen Words

With the six words and the eight words we will be ready upon our death to hear the fifteen most glorious words that you and I would want to hear. “Welcome home, my good and faithful friend. Come, I have prepared a place for you.” Please reflect on these words from time to time! Please think about God preparing a place for you and me! But, most importantly, please think about God calling you and me His friend! Can you even imagine the Creator of the Universe and the Creator of all there was and all there will ever be calling us His friend? The thought of being God’s friend is beyond comprehension for me as a mortal being.

You can accept these words or not accept these words. You have a free choice. I am giving you my love through these words.

Gerald said...

Nazi Americans and Nazi Brits Are Caught

And, we call ourselves good, holy, and saintly people?

Gerald said...

The Deadliness Below

Why does Nazi America hate planet, Earth?

Gerald said...

WH Lacks Compassion for Working Americans

Hitler Bush is totally stupid. What he fails to understand is that a good captain takes care of troops (people) because someday the the troops (people) will take care of the captain.

Gerald said...


I have recalled what Jesus of Nazareth said when He was alive.

Gerald said...

Once, again, Americans are given the birdie

Gerald said...

Maybe this is America's hitting bottom. Maybe we FINALLY realize that effectively all politicians are lapdogs of America's Dictatorship of the Rich. Maybe we FINALLY realize that "politics" is a meaningless game invented by America's Greek God like elites (the 1% or less) to delude Joe and Jane America that they have some (any!) input into the national and international policies of our pseudo constitutional republic.

CAREY said...

Capt! I just heard the author of the book on the stomach as a second brain. It sure explains all those tummy upsets. Your stomach thinks on its own fellas--that's why it can be so naughty. Sound like another organ?


I watched Gorbachev this morning on CSPAN 3. What a treat. A hugely great man unrecognized and belittled. I despised Yeltsin. He ruined the reformation of the Soviet Union and the progress of perestroika.

I didn't know David was on the tube. Darn it.

capt said...

We're losing birds

On a summer night, few sounds speak more eloquently of the season and of the softness and beauty of the rural Wisconsin landscape than the song of the whip-poor-will.

Anyone who has sat in the darkness of the small amphitheater at American Players Theater near Spring Green and enjoyed a Shakespearian play probably remembers the beauty and the mystery of the whip-poor-will's call. The song echoes from the nearby woods during plays and is one of those things mentioned fondly by those who make a visit to the theater an annual summer event.

Yet a landmark report Thursday from the National Audubon Society raised the possibility of a landscape absent this evocative song. The whip-poor-will was among hundreds of common birds listed in the report as being in serious decline. Populations of the bird, according to 40 years' worth of data from Christmas bird counts and breeding bird surveys, have declined more than 57 percent, said the report, "Common Birds in Decline.''

A number of other common Wisconsin birds, many familiar to backyard birders and weekend visitors to the state's parks, are also listed as suffering steep declines in their numbers, largely because of loss of habitat due to sprawl and large-scale agriculture, threats which become even worse when combined with the perils posed by the warming climate and by ever-encroaching invasive species. Other Wisconsin species listed as being among the top 20 birds with the greatest declines in populations since 1967 include:

Eastern meadowlark, down 71 percent

Field sparrow, down 68 percent

Grasshopper sparrow, down 65 percent

American bittern, down 59 percent

Ruffed grouse, down 54 percent

Thought to be insulated

Though none of the birds are in immediate danger of extinction, bird experts with Audubon and in Wisconsin say the population declines are significant because they are happening to species with historically abundant populations thought to be somewhat insulated from threats such as habitat loss.

"These are not rare or exotic birds we're talking about--these are the birds that visit our feeders and congregate at nearby lakes and seashores and yet they are disappearing day by day," said Audubon Chairperson and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner. "Their decline tells us we have serious work to do, from protecting local habitats to addressing the huge threats from global warming."


capt said...


I read a short piece in the LA Times about 20 years ago about the "gut feeling" and the number and complexity of the enteric nervous system.

It gives good reason to trust gut feelings as much as brain thinking and over the years I have found one is as accurate as the other (or inaccurate).


David B. Benson said...

I tentatively blaim burning coal for the decline in common birds.

The carbon contributes to climate change, but that's not the reason.

The sulfur ends up ruining the soils, that might be part of the reason, but mostly the sulfur is scrubbed out now.

But the arsenic and cadmium is not. Deadly stuff, that...

capt said...


Pollution from polluted politicians expressed through coal - oil - gas.



capt said...

A Conversation with Zbigniew Brzezinski


RK: Before the American invasion of Iraq, there was a lot of talk about the road to Jerusalem leading through Baghdad: Destroy Saddam and you supposedly strengthen the prospects for peace on terms acceptable to Israel. Some people now argue that the road runs the other way -- that an Israel-Palestine settlement would reduce tensions in the region because it would remove one of the principal frustrations in the Arab relationship -- and, for that matter, the Iranian relationship -- with the United States. On the other hand, has so much damage been done now by the Iraq War and the radicalization of Islam that even a settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict would no longer be so helpful in bringing greater peace and stability to the region?

ZB: Prior to the war with Iraq, an Israel-Palestine settlement, with us playing a creative role in it, would have fundamentally altered Arab attitudes toward the United States. The United States has been viewed in the region somewhat benignly as a kind of post-imperial presence, replacing the British and the French, in spite of its support for Israel. But in recent years, when we shifted from being a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, that positive image began to erode and provoke, among some, intense hostility toward America. Some of that would disappear if there was such a settlement.

Unfortunately, we have done other damaging things since then. We have destroyed the most viable and the most modern Arab country in the Middle East. We destroyed the Iraqi state, loathsome as its leadership was. Now, we are also destroying the country -- 24 million people, two million of whom have been driven out of the country, one and a half million of whom have been driven out of their homes, and roughly half a million of whom are not living today because of what happened. Not that all of them were killed by us, but some children were not born because of us. Other people died earlier because of us. There's been a general decline in fertility, and a general increase in mortality, because of what has happened. That has created a lot of resentment, obviously.

And then on top of it, there is the Islamophobic rhetoric that Bush has fostered, and the irresponsible plunge of the mass media and the entertainment industry into terror sensationalism with a strong racist, religious tone to it, resulting in a feeling of real resentment. Some of these manifestations really, to me, are reminiscent of the characterizations of Jews in Nazi Germany, the deliberate caricatures of entire groups of people in a conscious way. I am particularly shocked that some Jewish student organizations are now promoting that with films and so forth, as if they were not aware of the fact that the Holocaust was the product of similar hatred; and that is profoundly disturbing, politically and morally.


*****end of clip*****

" Some of these manifestations really, to me, are reminiscent of the characterizations of Jews in Nazi Germany, the deliberate caricatures of entire groups of people in a conscious way."

Hate is ugly and is universal and timeless. Bottom line I guess the Nazi comparisons are neither inaccurate nor over the top.


capt said...

Froma Harrop: Bush and the borders: A squalid status quo

As much as anyone, he made the immigration mess we can't get out of.

Immigration reform was to be George W. Bush's legacy. It's now clear that he won't have a legacy to stand on.

The president's visit to the Capitol was supposed to restart the immigration "grand bargain," currently in a mid-air stall. As is his habit, he painted scary scenarios if things don't go his way. (Note how he lists the dire consequences of pulling out of the mess he created in Iraq.) On immigration, he warns that "the status quo is unacceptable."

And we can thank him for that unacceptable status quo. As America's chief executive, it was Bush's duty to enforce the laws against hiring illegal immigrants.

And for seven years, he did next to nothing. No, he did worse than nothing. In 2004, he publicly vowed to "match any willing worker with any willing employer," thus ending the tradition that stressed the interests of American labor in making immigration policy. The message was heard as intended, setting off a new surge of illegal entrants.

One recalls the famous line in the movie "Touch of Evil," when Orson Welles, a corrupt U.S. cop, asks Marlene Dietrich, a fortune-telling madam in Tijuana, to read his future. "You haven't got any," she says ominously. "Your future is all used up."

The same can be said of Bush's future as a leader on immigration reform. The president's credibility is all used up by his conscious strategy to neglect immigration enforcement -- part of a shameful drive to cheapen American labor for the advantage of business.

Bush also pulled a bait-and-switch. He always spoke of amnesty as something that would be extended to illegal aliens who've been here a long time and paid their back taxes. But the bill he supports gives amnesty to people who crashed the border as recently as six months ago, and it drops the part about back taxes.

So small wonder that Americans greet Bush's views on the immigration bill with either hostility or utter indifference. They sense that the fix is in -- that illegal-alien advocates and big business have combined with lawmakers to sell them out.

And they don't want to fall for a repeat of the 1986 grand bargain, which promised amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in return for fines against employers who hire them. The amnesty came off, while the employer sanctions were sabotaged. The original proposal called for a computerized registry against which employers would have to verify the right of all job applicants to work in the United States. It was ditched and replaced with an "honor system" that let employers accept documents that looked OK to them. Thus, a new era of counterfeiting was born.

Here's a simple idea to build public support for an immigration compromise: Have Congress pass the part of the bill that would force employers to check all new hires' eligibility to work in the United States with a database (and fine those who don't). Once that's being done to the public's satisfaction, we can discuss what to do about the illegal immigrants living here and whether to increase the number of legal visas.

The latest round of threats has it that if Congress doesn't pass comprehensive immigration reform right away, the issue will get lost in the upcoming presidential campaigns. Wrong. On the contrary, the American people will have the opportunity to press the candidates on what they would do about a matter that affects their wages, health care, taxes and the environment.

There are worse things than the status quo. Bush has shown time and again that he knows how to create them. Now, if he would only just go away.


*****end of clip*****

The fact that Bush is pushing hard on the immigration bill tells me the bill should never be made into law.


David B. Benson said...

capt --- We've had 21 years to do immigration properly. How many different Presidents is that?

This bill might not be great, but perhaps it's all that is politically doable. And the status quo really, really pukes for the illegals...

capt said...

"This bill might not be great, but perhaps it's all that is politically doable."

I think the immigration bill under consideration includes $$$ for the border fence. I could be wrong but if it does - why is nobody talking about the fence?

The fact that Bunnypants thinks this bill is so important makes me curious about the fine print and the $4 billion he has added just to sweeten the pot. Is it pork? Is the $4 billion a no-bid contract for his brother or Halliburton? Is the $4 billion to be used to privatize the border. Too many questions and the MSM will never investigate.

If Mexico (the only border any politician speaks to) is such a problem I think we should have invaded Mexico instead of Iraq. Solve the problem once and for all. Make Mexico the fifty-first state.


capt said...

Senators troll for immigration votes


Another proposal expected to be considered would remove a measure known as REAL ID, which requires states to verify that people who apply for a driver's license are in the country legally.


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"REAL ID" - there is the rub. The "REAL ID" is a HUGE step to total control over everybody not just immigrants.

I wonder what they aren't telling us? Does this bill include more crud?


capt said...

It’s just a Crocker

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, was on MTP and well…had a hard time delivering his talking points…

Download (WMV)

Download (MOV)

The White House set up a few themes that they will try to exploit in September. Arianna Huffington wrote about it in detail and I’ll let her explain:

Crocker served up his crock in a bizarre, robotic manner that made him look like he had been put together by Disney imaginers — not surprising since the administration is running out of actual human beings willing to defend the war. So instead they rolled out the Crockerbot2000.

Today’s show was required viewing for anyone who cares about ending this war, because it’s clear that Crocker’s talking points are a preview of the spin the administration will use come September. They were trial balloons, and Democrats should start shooting them down now…read on


*****end of clip*****

What a crock.


capt said...

Wronger Than Wrong

Not all wrong theories are equal

In belles lettres the witty literary slight has evolved into a genre because, as 20th-century trial lawyer Louis Nizer noted, "A graceful taunt is worth a thousand insults." To wit, from high culture, Mark Twain: "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." Winston Churchill: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." And from pop culture, Groucho Marx: "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." Scientists are no slouches when it comes to pitching invectives at colleagues. Achieving almost canonical status as the ne plus ultra put-down is theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli's reported harsh critique of a paper: "This isn't right. It's not even wrong." I call this Pauli's proverb.

Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit recently employed Pauli's proverb in his book title, a critique of string theory called Not Even Wrong (Basic Books, 2006). String theory, Woit argues, is not only based on nontestable hypotheses, it depends far too much on the aesthetic nature of its mathematics and the eminence of its proponents. In science, if an idea is not falsifiable, it is not that it is wrong, it is that we cannot determine if it is wrong, and thus it is not even wrong.

Not even wrong. What could be worse? Being wronger than wrong, or what I call Asimov's axiom, well stated in his book The Relativity of Wrong (Doubleday, 1988): "When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

Asimov's axiom holds that science is cumulative and progressive, building on the mistakes of the past, and that even though scientists are often wrong, their wrongness attenuates with continued data collection and theory building. Satellite measurements, for instance, have shown precisely how the earth's shape differs from a perfect sphere.

Scientists' wrongness attenuates with time.


*****end of clip*****

The true beauty and strength of science is self correction.


capt said...

"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular- but one must take it simply because it is right." : Martin Luther King Jr. 1929-1968

"Today's human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow's conflicts." Mary Robinson: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Retired)

"Misunderstanding arising from ignorance breeds fear, and fear remains the greatest enemy of peace." : Lester B. Pearson


"Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it." : Anne O'Hare McCormick: First woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for her work as a foreign correspondent.


It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty: Martin Luther King, Jr: 1929-1968


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data

An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism.

The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002, and so the mistakes in the FBI's domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews. The earlier report found 22 violations in a much smaller sampling.


*****end of clip*****

It's very important to note that the 1,000 times is from a sample of 10 percent. Simple math would put the true number of violations at 10,000 or am I assuming too much?

" The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002"


capt said...

New doubt over conviction for Lockerbie bombing

Lawyers are to make fresh moves to overturn the conviction of a Libyan jailed for the Lockerbie bombing after new evidence emerged. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is widely expected to announce later this month that it has serious concerns about the conviction of Abdelbasset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, jailed for life in 2001 for the murder of 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie.

Legal concerns about the conviction centre on the reliability of testimony from the Maltese shopkeeper who played a key role in identifying the Libyan as a suspect, and the quality of the forensic evidence about a fragment of circuit board allegedly found at the crash site. The commission, which has been reviewing the case for nearly four years, is ready to return the case to an appeal court in Edinburgh. Many legal observers believe Megrahi's conviction will be quashed, in effect clearing Libya of responsibility and increasing pressure for a fresh investigation into the identity of the terrorists behind the atrocity.

Relatives of the Lockerbie victims believe there is growing evidence which confirms links to Iran and Syria - the two states originally blamed for the bombing - including a series of previously unexplained incidents at Heathrow airport.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was on board the New York-bound flight, told the Guardian he was very suspicious about two events at Heathrow in the hours before Flight 103 took off which suggested strongly that the bomb was planted in the UK and not - as previously alleged - in Malta or in Frankfurt.

The prosecution claimed at the trial in 2000-01 that Megrahi, a Libyan government sanctions buster who frequently went to Malta but insists he is innocent, planted the bomb on a connecting flight from Malta. Many legal and intelligence experts believe the bomb was most likely put on the Pan Am jet at Frankfurt by Syrian and Iranian-backed Palestinian terror groups, in retaliation for the destruction of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes in the Gulf in July 1988, killing 290 people.


*****end of clip*****

What an odd change of events.


capt said...

A relative problem for Congress

What to do with kin on the payroll

Memo to all those partisans who claims their party is better than the other guys or the cult of the gullible who think Ron Paul is a political messiah: Your bubbles have been burst once again.

A new study by Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-partisan activist group, found that 72 members of Congress diverted some $5.1 million in campaign funds to their relatives, or companies owned by their relatives, over the past six years.

The list includes 41 Republicans and 31 Democrats. It also includes rabid John Bircher Ron Paul, the laughable GOP candidate for President who, for reasons that defy even the normal silliness of politics, has become a poster child for both Libertarians and so-called "progressives."

Paul arranged for more than $175,000 of his campaign funds to be siphoned off to relatives -- $163,890 for his daughter alone - in a fundraising Ponzi scheme that sure beats having to pay the kids an allowance out of his own pocket.

The practice of putting your kin on your payroll is an old one in Washington. Former Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley hired his wife to be his chief of staff and other members put their girlfriends and boyfriends on the public dole. Rep. Dan Burton, the bombastic Republican from Indiana, put his mistress on both the public and campaign payroll at the same time - a practice he ended only after the Justice Department launched an investigation.

As CREW's report so-clearly reveals, the practice of letting your relatives live large off campaign money is so widespread that a Democrat and Republican joined forces to introduce legislation to prevent Members of Congress from putting their spouses on the payroll.

Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Mike Castle, R-Del, know the bill doesn't stand much a chance because Congress, as a rule, doesn't approve legislation that curbs their ability to abuse the system.

"I think the ban on spouses drawing campaign checks is needed because there's simply been too much abuse of the practice," Schiff told USA Today.

Ah, the value of understatement.

The two biggest abusers of the system are Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democrat from California, who diverted $285,481 in campaign funds to her husband's firm and California Republican Buck McKeon, who managed to siphon off $263,168 in direct payments to his wife.

Dan Burton made this list as well - skimming $143,900 in payments to his daughter.

Although it comes as no surprise to those of us who know him, shock may hit that small, but extremely loud, minority of uninformed voters who think Texas Rep. Ron Paul is, somehow, the savior of all things political in next year's Presidential race.

Paul, a populist opportunist who tailors his campaigns to the whim of the day, has generated an aggressive following among the tin-foil hat community who like to flood web sites with email and dominate discussion boards with claims that the long-shot candidate is the Next Big Thing in Presidential politics.

Those who embrace Paul because of his latest campaign positions seem unaware of his longtime membership in the ultra-right-wing John Birch Society or his extremist positions of the past.

As the CREW study shows, Paul is just another corrupt politician who plays the system to benefit himself and his family. Thankfully, after he fails to score any delegates in the upcoming primaries, he will fade into the dustbin of political obscurity where he belongs.

What will be even more fun will be watching partisans on both sides of the political fence spin the use of campaign funds to pay off relatives. Some will no doubt claim it is no big deal because campaign funds are not public money. Others will say spending $5.1 million on relatives is not that much in a political system where campaigns cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Such rationalizations seldom pass the smell test. Some of those who will dismiss the practice as no big deal because the money isn't taxpayer funds are the same ones who want public financing of elections, in which case it would be taxpayer money.

And arguing over the amount of the graft reminds us of an old story about an exchange between British author George Bernard Shaw and longtime foil Lady Astor at a fancy dinner party in London.

Shaw asked Lady Astor: "Madam, would you spend the evening with me for a million pounds?"

Replied Lady Astor: "Yes, Mr. Shaw, I believe I would."

Shaw shot back: "How about five pounds?"

Lady Astor retorted: "Mr. Shaw, what do you think I am?"

Concluded Shaw: "I've established that Madam. What I'm trying to determine now is the price."


capt said...

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