Friday, October 12, 2007

At Ease

There will be no posts today. Relax....But congratulations to Al Gore, who has demonstrated that not winning the White House can be a good career move. Can you imagine George W. Bush losing in 2000 and going on to do public interest work that wins him a Nobel prize? That's a rhetorical question.

Posted by David Corn at October 12, 2007 06:12 AM


capt said...

I wonder if the Nobel people know about Al's electricity bill?


capt said...

Defending Christianity

A few words in favor of religion

It's awful, this thing called Christianity, many are saying today, and my disagreement with that judgment has at least something to do with the kinds of sermons I hear on Sunday mornings in a 139-year-old church in a small Colorado town.

Just recently, for instance, the rector talked to the congregation about living the Christian life not only by summoning up extraordinary moral courage to do large and difficult things on those rare occasions when circumstances might demand that of us, but through constant efforts to be kind.

His contention was that if we consistently treat those we encounter with good deeds even of the smallest variety, we may thereby uplift their lives in all sorts of unexpected ways while growing in God's love ourselves.

Preachments of this nature are hardly atypical in America's churches, I would guess -- the overall tenor of the faith is to love your neighbor -- and yet the anti-religion diatribes keep coming at us, as if the opposite were somehow the case, as if average Christians were happily plotting ugliness toward others, as if their beliefs were malicious. The diatribes are getting an audience, a recent survey indicates.

A press report tells us that The Barna Group out of California found that a majority of 867 sampled people from 16 to 29 years old said Christianity is "judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay," and would themselves flee from the Christian designation because of the images it connotes.

Is the inevitable hypocrisy argument true? This much is: Most of us will sometimes act contrary to our principles, whether Christian or not. The first thing Christians recognize is that we all have our lapses, but what they also get is that there's rescue through repentance that aims to avoid future lapses.

Judgmental? Well, making judgments about bad behavior is not just OK; it is that without which civilization crumbles.

Anti-gay? Some of those calling themselves Christians no doubt have hateful attitudes about gays, and that's execrable. But it's not hate at work when some conservative Christians argue that we should not recklessly tinker with one of the most fundamental of all institutions, marriage, that in all ages and all cultures has been between a man and a woman. And don't forget, either, that many gays themselves embrace Christianity.

"Jesus' message is the strongest thing that gay people have going for us, I think, in terms of asserting our right to be ourselves," Bruce Bawer said to Bill Moyers on a Moyers TV show that I saw, later finding the quote on the Internet.

Bawer, author of a book called "While Europe Slept," fled America to Europe to escape anti-gay bigotry, only to run into something worse.

"I wasn't fond of the hypocritical conservative-Christian line about hating the sin but loving the sinner, but it was preferable to the forthright fundamentalist Muslim view that homosexuals merited death," he is quoted as saying. His book is about a fanatical, fundamentalist Muslim faith he believes threatens European nations.

Christians can and have been fatally fanatical themselves, but the large-scale examples usually cited go back hundreds of years and, as others have noted, don't begin to compare with the atrocities of such atheistic fanatics as Stalin or Mao Tse Tung. It's fanaticism that's the enemy.

The critics of Christianity -- the gifted journalist Christopher Hitchens is one -- almost invariably give us hopelessly crude and therefore basically mistaken caricatures of Christian beliefs. They also often incorrectly assert that the faith has been a barrier to science overall, despite convincing scholarly investigation suggesting the opposite, and frequently manage to skip over the great infrastructure of moral understanding, art and thought that comes from the faith and underlies much of what's most valuable in our society.

The idea of some popular writers that the universe is wholly material is itself the superstition that religion is often said to be; look at one small piece of the universe, a book, and then make the claim that it is simply ink and paper with nothing immaterial proffered on its pages. That would be an absurdity, in my view, but a greater absurdity would be to say that, as imperfectly practiced as it certainly is, Christianity is essentially an instrument of either cruelty or dangerous beliefs that block human progress. One reason I know that to be untrue is a Sunday sermon encouraging kindness.

(Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)


capt said...

White House "happy" for Gore

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Friday praised former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N. climate panel for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to raise awareness of the threat of global warming.

"Of course we're happy for Vice President Gore and the IPCC for receiving this recognition," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said, referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the award with Gore.

Gore, a Democrat, has been a vocal critic of the environmental policies of President George W. Bush, a Republican who beat him narrowly in a disputed presidential election result in 2000.

At a White House-convened summit last month, some of the world's biggest greenhouse polluters called Bush "isolated" and questioned his leadership on the problem of global warming.

Bush has rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that sets limits on industrial nations' greenhouse gas emissions, and instead favors voluntary targets to curb emissions.

Since leaving office in 2001, Gore has lectured extensively on the threat of global warming. In a statement on Friday, he said the climate crisis was "our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level."


Hajji said...

"...Can you imagine George W. Bush losing in 2000 and going on to do public interest work..."

I can't even imagine him bothing to work up the effort to piss on burning special-ed schoolbus...oh hell, forget it...

micki said...

"...Can you imagine George W. Bush losing in 2000 and going on to do public interest work..."

It's public record what he would have done. When he was asked what he'd do if he didn't win the presidential election, he said time and again, with that vacuous stupidity, "I"ll go fishing."

But, I think he was lying, even then. He meant to say, "I'll go drinking."

David B. Benson said...

Watch out!

Hackers could skew US elections

capt said...

Ad Campaign Criticizes Pro-Life Members of Congress for Voting against Children’s Health Insurance

October 11, 2007
Contact:Chris Korzen(202) 903-0856

Washington - Catholics United will launch a radio advertising campaign targeting ten members of Congress whose opposition to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) have compromised their pro-life voting records.

The ads, which feature a mother urging her Congressional Representative to support SCHIP, will primarily air on Christian and talk radio stations from Monday Oct. 15 to Wednesday, Oct. 17 as Congress approaches a critical Oct. 18 vote to override President Bush’s veto of bipartisan SCHIP legislation.

“Building a true culture of life requires public policies that promote the welfare of the most vulnerable,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “At the heart of the Christian faith is a deep and abiding concern for the need of others. Pro-life Christians who serve in Congress should honor this commitment by supporting health care for poor children.”

The following members of Congress have voted against SCHIP, which provides high-quality health coverage to more than six million children whose families would otherwise be unable to afford insurance. Radio ads will air on local radio stations in their congressional districts.

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, Florida (listen)
Rep. Joseph Knollenberg, Michigan (listen)
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, Michigan (listen)
Rep. Tim Walberg, Michigan (listen)
Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio (listen)
Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi (listen)
Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota (listen)
Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri (listen)
Rep. Thelma Drake, Virginia (listen)
Rep. John Peterson, Peterson (listen)

The script for the radio commercial reads: “I'm the mother of three children, and I'm pro-life. I believe that protecting the lives our children must be our nation’s number one moral priority. That’s why I’m concerned that Congressman X says he’s pro-life but votes against health care for poor children. That’s not pro-life. That’s not pro-family. Tell Congressman X to vote for health care for children. Call him today at XXXX, that’s XXXXX.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, and the Catholic Health Association have all urged Congress and President Bush to support SCHIP.


Catholics United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. This is accomplished through online advocacy and educational activities. For more information, visit


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This is only right that the anti-abortion go after those that have used their cause as a wedge issue. Those wedges always seem to come home to roost.


capt said...

Ex-Pentagon official: 'Iraq a nightmare'

Former commander calls war a disaster with 'no end in sight'

A former top US military commander in Iraq said the current White House strategy in Iraq will not achieve victory in the four-and-a-half-year war, which he described as "a nightmare with no end in sight" in a hard-hitting speech.

In the bluntest assessment of Iraq by a former senior Pentagon official yet, retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez also lambasted US political leaders as "incompetent," "inept," "derelict in the performance of their duty" and suggested they would have been court-martialed had they been members of the US military.

"There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," said Sanchez on Friday, addressing a meeting of military correspondents and editors in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington.

He blasted President George W. Bush's "surge" strategy which calls for maintaining more than 160,000 US troops in Iraq until the end of the year in the hope of reducing sectarian violence and bringing political stability.

The strategy has since been adjusted, with the current plan calling for the withdrawal of about 21,500 combat troops by next July to bring the total to the "pre-surge" level of 130,000 servicemen.

But Sanchez said he did not believe these changes would prove effective.

"Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory," he said. "The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat."

Born into a poor family in southern Texas, Sanchez rose through the ranks of the US military to become the highest-ranking Hispanic in the US Army.

In 1991, he served as a battalion commander during Operation Desert Storm, a US-led allied operation to drive Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait.

He became commander of coalition forces in Iraq in June 2003, after the US-led invasion, and served in that capacity for a year.

Sanchez retired from the military in November 2006, part of the fallout from a scandal over abuse of detainees by US military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Reacting late Friday to Sanchez's comments, the White House evoked a September report to Congress by the current US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker. They painted a difficult situation they said was nevertheless marked by gradual improvements.

"We appreciate his service to the country," White House spokesman Trey Bohn told AFP, of Sanchez. "As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have said, there is more work to be done, but progress is being made in Iraq. And that's what we are focused on now."

Sanchez, however, had a starkly different view.

"There is nothing going on today in Washington that would give us hope," he said in his speech.

He said US political leaders from both parties have been too often consumed by partisan grandstanding and political struggles that, as he put it, at times have "endangered the lives of our sons and daughters on the battlefield."

"There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders," the retired general complained. "In my profession, these type of leaders would immediately be relieved or court-martialed."

"The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the Department of State, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable," he added.

For all his criticism, Sanchez essentially agreed with President George W. Bush's position that a precipitous US military withdrawal from Iraq would plunge the country and, possibly the whole region, into chaos.

He argued that some level of US military presence in Iraq would be necessary "for the foreseeable future."

The New York Times cited Sanchez as saying he favored promoting reconciliation among Iraqi sectarian factions and standing up an effective Iraqi army and police force -- projects already being tackled by the Bush administration.

It reported that the ex-commander was said to be considering publishing a book.


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It is all well and good that so many of these guys are finally coming out with the truth. Where the heck have they been?


capt said...

Rice covers up 'endemic corruption'

Lawmakers say Secretary of State is hiding problems

Four powerful Democratic lawmakers on Friday warned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "endemic corruption" in Iraq was fueling the insurgency, and accused her department of covering it up.

The House of Representatives committee chairmen also accused US officials of refusing to answer questions on corruption in Iraq, and complained the department had reclassified data on the issue after it had been released.

They sent their letter a week after the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen testified to a House committee that corruption was imperiling the US mission in Iraq.

"We are writing to express our concern that endemic corruption in Iraq may be fueling the insurgency, endangering our troops, and undermining the chances for success," the four committee chairman wrote.

They complained to Rice that the department had taken steps to suppress information about the extent of corruption in the Iraqi government.

"We have learned that on September 25, 2007, the State Department instructed officials not to answer questions in an open setting" on questions about the ability or determination of the Iraqi government to tackle corruption.

They said the department had also retroactively classified two reports on corruption in Iraq and slapped a classified tag, on sections of a report by a government watchdog body after it had been made public.

State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey rejected suggestions that the United States was not taking corruption in Iraq seriously, and said the committee had received all the information it had asked for.

"I don't think anyone could argue that the State Department or the US government or the Iraqi government is trying to deny that corruption is a serious problem and is one that needs to be addressed," he said.

Casey also said that two "working-level" officials had been asked not to provide "broad policy assessments" and that policy officials should do it.

"That's hardly a directive for people not to comment on corruption."

Casey also said that it was important that certain data be classified, to preserve Iraq's ability to fight corruption, and to protect the names of certain Iraqi officials.

The letter was signed by Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Ike Skelton, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Tom Lantos chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and David Obey, chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.


micki said...

Well, Dennis Kucinich voted against SCHIP, too, but for different reasons.

Rosemary Palmer is going after his seat.

Paul Hackett endorsed her.

The rumor is Kucinich may not run again.


Heat in the kitchen and all that....

capt said...

Ben, beef and Buddha

Ben Bernanke's decision to cut interest rates in September will probably be used as the leading example in the "what not to do" classes for central bankers in decades to come.

Besides focusing too much on a single piece of data - the August headline payroll decline of 4,000, he was also accused of paying too much attention to the wishes of Wall Street moguls. As it turns out, even as stock markets jumped significantly in

September, the original headline for August jobs was actually erroneous. Announcement of the September payrolls last Friday saw an upward revision of the August number to a positive 89,000 jobs, along with a substantial rise of 110,000 in September. That sent bond yields higher around the world, and probably caused billions of dollars of losses across Asia, where central banks hold a bulk of their countries' reserves in US Treasury bonds.

Investors rejoicing about the rise in global stock markets though must stop and think about their gains in the context of other asset prices, such as gold. When used as the benchmark, ie, index prices as a function of gold prices, America's stock markets are actually down around 9% this year, rather than being up 10% as people report. For much the same reason, the Hong Kong stock market is up "only" 20% this year, rather than the 45% gain that newspapers report using simplistic index calculations.

In effect, the rise in nominal stock market values shows a lack of confidence in monetary policy by investors who are looking to re-leverage their portfolios in order to avoid inflation. This is an important point that is not always appreciated by central bankers - investors behave in relation to expected price changes, rather than observed variables. Thus, even in places where interest rates are being kept steady, when investors expect a rise in inflation, their view of the real cost of borrowing changes, ie, it becomes lower. Reduced cost of borrowing, in their minds, would then equate with higher borrowing.

Look at this from the perspective of savers, and the view is much the same. When Bernanke cuts interest rates as he did last month, he reduces the amount paid to savers each month. Even as their incomes are reduced, they may find that expenses remain the same or actually increase. Under this scenario, keeping money with a bank is not an option, so investors have to go out and buy assets with greater chances of appreciation. Now that no one in the US believes in buying houses, they have gone back to chasing stocks.

This is of course a wonderful cycle. Confronting the dotcom bubble in 2000, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan cut interest rates aggressively, in effect encouraging speculation on home ownership. Now that house prices are falling after the boom went just a bit too far, his successor has attempted the same medicine but this time to favor stock markets. Many companies are now trading at multiples that are similar to those observed in 1999, just before the dotcom bubble broke.


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Maybe if things get bad enough the fed will pay to lend? If it is all just paper anyway what's the difference?


capt said...

Blackwater Is Soaked

Oct. 15, 2007 issue - The colonel was furious. "Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers." He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV. His account was confirmed by the head of another private security company. Asked to address this and other allegations in this story, Blackwater spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "This type of gossip has led to many soap operas in the press."


capt said...

Death special: How does it feel to die?

capt said...

Former CEO Says NSA Punished Phone Firm

Qwest called program illegal, records show.

A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.

Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.

Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records.


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"a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records"

This is why Bunnypants absolutely must have retroactive immunity for the phone companies - he promised them immunity AND a mountain of money. The truth will destroy them.


capt said...

Leadership dooms Iraq strategy: ex-commander

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A "catastrophic failure" in the Bush administration's leadership of the Iraq war has mired the United States in a nightmarish conflict with no clear way out, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq said on Friday.

The blistering assessment by retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez was one of the harshest yet by a top military leader involved in the war.

"There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders," Sanchez told a group of military reporters, according to a copy of his remarks.

"America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve 'victory' in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism," he said.

Without mentioning President George W. Bush by name, he called the president's troop-escalation "surge" strategy a "desperate attempt by an administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war."

"There is no question America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," he said.


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

Watch the Reich-wingnuttia smear the General.


capt said...

"Mother" Welcomes David Corn with Party

Left-leaning publication hosts party to celebrate its new bureau chief.

The Stewart Mott House, tucked between the Supreme Court and the Senate office buildings, has always been the place to party for liberals. Got a blue-colored cause? Gather at the venerable manse at 122 Maryland Avenue, Northeast.

So it was in keeping with the cause that Mother Jones, the crusading lefty monthly magazine, chose the Mott House Wednesday night to celebrate its Washington bureau and welcome its new chief, David Corn. Luring Corn from the Nation was a coup. The niche publication gets a name-brand Washington journalist who has written books, tangled often with the Bushies, and is a usual suspect on political talk shows. Look for Mother Jones to start to get the play of the Weekly Standard and National Review—which I suspect is one of its goals in snaring Corn.

More later on how Mother Jones can grow its Washington presence while other news organizations wither. For now, it’s party time.


capt said...

Even worse than we imagined: AT&T contract for NSA to surveill all internet traffic, foreign and domestic, started before 9/11

That’s all Internet traffic, foreign and domestic, data and voice. And the decision to do this was taken, not because of 9/11, but as soon as Bush took office. As was the decision to ignore the rule of law. So much for the idea that the extremely benevolent and trustworthy Bush administration was reacting to 9/11, and just wants “surgical” surveillance* to keep us safe from terrorists, eh? Could this program be Spencer Ackerman’s “Project X”?


capt said...


The Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest happens at the DC Improv (202-296-7008). It's a benefit for VH1's Save the Music Foundation and the Institute of Musical Traditions. Expected to take part are Clarence Page as emcee; David Corn, the Nation; Ana Marie Cox, and the person who made Wonkette a recognizable name; Patrick Gavin, Washington Examiner; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Alex Pareene, who recently left Wonkette for; Joseph Randazzo, the Onion; Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post; Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.); and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). . . . Soulful singer Ruthie Foster performs a benefit for the "One in a Million Campaign for THEARC" in THEARC's Theater (202-484-3272).

capt said...

The convention which framed the Constitution of the United States was composed of fifty-five members. A majority were lawyers-not one farmer, mechanic or laborer. Forty owned Revolutionary Scrip. Fourteen were land speculators. Twenty-four were money-lenders. Eleven were merchants. Fifteen were slave-holders. They made a Constitution to protect the rights of property and not the rights of man,: Senator Richard Pettigrew - Triumphant Plutocracy (1922)

" I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed. I feel, at this moment, more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." Lincoln in a letter to Col. William F. Elkins on November 21, 1864

"These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel." : U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, speech to Illinois legislature, Jan. 1837. See Vol. 1, p. 24 of Lincoln's Complete Works, ed. by Nicolay and Hay, 1905)

This great and powerful force-the accumulated wealth of the United States-has taken over all the functions of Government, Congress, the issue of money, and banking and the army and navy in order to have a band of mercenaries to do their bidding and protect their stolen property. Senator Richard Pettigrew - Triumphant Plutocracy - Published, January 1, 1922.

"A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you." : Ramsey Clark - U. S. Attorney General: Source: New York Times, 2 October 1977

"It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.": Dorothy Thompson (1894-1961) -Source: Ladies Home Journal, May 1958


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

Water, too much or too little:

Climate Change Will Impact River Flow

Of course, we could get together to reverse the global warming.

Nah, too busy making $$...

capt said...

General Electric agrees to buy water company

STAMFORD, Conn. --General Electric Co. will buy a water treatment company in Canada for $656 million in a deal that will accelerate the conglomerate's plans to tap into a fast growing market in a thirsty world, company officials said Tuesday.

GE's acquisition of Zenon Environmental Inc. will provide technology to help convert seawater into drinking water and to reuse waste water from municipalities and industry, company officials said.

"We think it will position us as the leader and the lowest cost producer of fresh water from these new sources," said Colin Sabol, chief marketing officer for GE Water and Process Technologies. "We'll be able to make fresh water less expensively than anyone in the world."

The Fairfield-based industrial, financial services and media company entered the water business in 2002.

"We saw water scarcity spreading across the globe," Sabol said.

GE is helping build one of the world's largest water desalination plants in Algeria.

Zenon makes advanced membranes for water purification, wastewater treatment and water reuse. The company pioneered the use of technology for water and wastewater treatment that is spreading rapidly throughout the world, company officials said.

Zenon's technology will lower costs to treat water in the initial step, Sabol said. The membranes are well suited to handle fluctuations in water quality typically associated with seawater and wastewater, he said.

GE's water business, now $2.1 billion, is expected to grow to about $2.5 billion next year and $5 billion in five years, Sabol said.

GE expects to use the new technology in water-thirsty countries such as China, India and Australia.

"It will allow us to accelerate our growth in desalination," Sabol said.

The transaction will require the approval of Zenon's shareholders and regulators.

GE shares rose 11 cents, to close at $33.78 Tuesday on the New York stock Exchange. The stock has traded between $32.21 to $37.34 over the past year.


On the Net:


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

Some darn big plans for water. A very profitable resource.


capt said...

"The Principles of Newspeak"

An appendix to 1984
Written by : George Orwell in 1948


Original Newspeak : Times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unperson rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

English Translation : The reporting of Big Brother's "Order of the Day" in the Times of December 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes reference to nonexistent persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to higher authority before filing.

Original English : "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that thy are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government....."

Newspeak Translation : Crimethink


capt said...

Words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details.
George Orwell (1903 - 1950), Politics and the English Language, 1946

David B. Benson said...

Who applauds Gore's Prize?

The Nobel Peace Prize and ...

Not Repugs.

And not graciously, Hillary.

capt said...

Gov. vetoes hospital disclosure proposal

Schwarzenegger kills a bill that would have required infection and death rates to be made public, and puts forward less stringent approach.


Federal officials estimate that healthcare-associated infections lead to 99,000 deaths each year, making them one of the biggest killers in the United States. Infections have grown so costly to Medicare, the nation's insurance program for the elderly, that starting next year the government will cease reimbursing hospitals for the cost of treating infections that patients pick up there.

Infections acquired at California hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions cost $3.1 billion to treat, according to a state estimate. In 2006, a bacterial outbreak forced White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles to close its neonatal and pediatric intensive care units to new admissions for two weeks; at least seven children were infected, including one baby who died.

"It doesn't make any difference what hospital you walk into, they're all very dirty," said Christine Cahill, a retired state infection control investigator who is now a private consultant. "You go into a restaurant and you find tougher regulations in the kitchen than you do" in hospitals.


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

No small wonder hospitals are for sick people and the very brave.


capt said...

Afghanistan 'is going down fast'

THE bloodshed in Afghanistan has reached levels not seen since the 2001 invasion as anger at bungling by an ineffective Government in Kabul and its foreign backers stokes support for the Taliban and other extremist groups.

The death of Trooper David Pearce underlines the rising dangers for Australia's 1000 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of them deployed in the Taliban's southern heartland -- a region some of Canberra's NATO allies consider too dangerous to fight in.

"This place can only go up or down, and it's going down fast, which is something the international community simply will not understand," said a security analyst who has been working in and out of Afghanistan for 30 years.

Almost six years after the hardline Islamist Taliban were ousted, their insurgency is gaining strength, fuelled by resentment at NATO bombing of civilians, billions of dollars of wasted aid, a lack of jobs and record crops of opium, the raw material for heroin.

The fighting is spreading to places once relatively safe, including the capital and the western and northern parts of the country.

"This is a guerilla movement but it does seem to have a real momentum behind it at the moment," said Joanna Nathan, an analyst for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank headed by former foreign minister Gareth Evans.

In Kabul, where suicide bombs have killed almost 50 people in two weeks, foreigners are increasingly ordered into "lockdown" -- barred by employers from leaving their heavily protected compounds, often behind armed guards, razor wire and concrete blast walls.

"It's all now too close -- people are jumpy," said a UN official who has lived in the dusty, chaotic city ringed by mountains for four years.


capt said...

We cloak ourselves in cold indifference to the unnecessary suffering of others--even when we cause it: - James Carroll

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason": Thomas Paine - Common Sense -[January 10, 1776] LINK

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.": Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), US civil rights leader

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.": Rudyard Kipling - (1865-1936)


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Americans Keep Dying

Mother Knew It Was Bad News When Soldiers Came Looking for Her (WV)

Wife of Florida Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Was Set to Deploy Also

Accident Claims Life of Indiana Sailor in Iraqi

Las Vegas (NV) Soldier Dies of Illness in Iraq

Paratrooper (PR) Dies From Blast Wounds in Iraq

Everett (WA) Soldier 'Was a Quiet, Respectful and Honorable Son'

Soldier (WI) Wounded in May Bombing in Iraq Dies

Miami (FL) Soldier Killed in Iraq Spent Career in Military

Glenwood (IA) Soldier Dies in Iraq Bomb Blast

Soldier Who Grew Up in Los Osos (CA) Dies in Iraq

'Gung-Ho' Soldier Left Tough Streets of DC for the Army

Savannah (GA) Soldier With 10th Mountain Div Dies in Iraq

Hundreds Say Goodbye to Irish-Born Servicewoman (MA) Killed in Afghanistan

Samoan-Born Hayward (CA) Man Killed by Small-Arms Fire in Iraq

Soldier From White Hall (ARK) Killed in Iraq Bombing

Wisconsin Medic Saved Others in Iraq

BILL said...

Hillary Clinton congratulates Gore

WASHINGTON, Oct 12, 2007 (AFP) - Democratic White House front-runner Hillary Clinton on Friday congratulated former vice president Al Gore, after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Clinton emblazoned a message (including a photo of Gore in Socratic pose) headlined "Congratulations!" on her website, for Gore, who served for two terms as vice president to her husband Bill Clinton.

"Congratulations to Al Gore for his well deserved Nobel Peace Prize. His dedication and tireless work have been instrumental in raising international awareness about global warming."

The honor has sparked fresh speculation over whether Gore, who won an Academy Award this year for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" will jump into the crowded Democratic field for the 2008 election.

Another 2008 Democratic candidate, former senator John Edwards, was first off the mark with a message of congratulations for Gore.

"The Nobel Peace Prize rewards three decades of Vice President Al Gore's prescient and compelling -- and often lonely -- advocacy for the future of our Earth," Edwards said in a statement.

"The Nobel Committee's recognition of Vice President Al Gore shines a bright light on the most inconvenient truth of all -- the selection of George Bush as president has endangered the peace and prosperity of the entire planet."

Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 election, but lost out to Bush in the state-by-state electoral vote after a dramatic legal battle over Florida ended up in the Supreme Court.

capt said...

Groups on left, right ask candidates to reject Bush's wider powers

President Bush's drive to expand executive power over surveillance, detention, interrogation and the meaning of new laws has drawn largely ineffectual protests from Congress. But a group of liberals and a handful of prominent conservatives are pressing would-be successors to renounce those powers before they take office.

Both the liberal American Freedom Campaign and the conservative American Freedom Agenda have adopted platforms complaining of administration muscle-flexing on issues ranging from the treatment of prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Justice Department's threats to prosecute reporters for espionage.

The liberal group also has asked all presidential candidates to sign a pledge of limited executive authority, reading, "We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people's phones and e-mails without court order, and above all we do not give any president unchecked power. I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from attack by any president."

None of the nine Republican candidates has responded. The pledge has been signed by five Democratic hopefuls: Sens. Barack Obama and Chris Dodd, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. Mike Gravel.

The other three Democratic candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph Biden and former Sen. John Edwards, have not signed, but issued promises covering roughly the same ground. Letters from all three included renunciations of torture, wiretapping of U.S. citizens without court approval and imprisonment without judicial review.

The conservative campaign has asked candidates of both parties to endorse its detailed 10-point platform. Only one, Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican with libertarian leanings, has signed it, although Edwards has posted the document on one of his campaign Web sites.

The competing pledge campaigns reflect a degree of bipartisan frustration with political leaders' silence about what their backers see as Bush's effort to tip the government's balance of powers.


capt said...

Maternal Mortality Shames Superpower US

United Nations - Despite its enormous wealth and highly advanced technology, the United States lags far behind other industrialised countries — and even some developing ones — in providing adequate health care to women during pregnancy and childbirth.

The U.S. ranks 41st in a new analysis of maternal mortality rates in 171 countries released by a group of U.N. public health experts on Friday. The survey shows that even a developing country like South Korea is ahead of the United States.

“Women are unnecessarily dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications because the U.S. is moving in a wrong direction,” said Beneva Schulte of Women Deliver, a Washington-based group campaigning for women’s reproductive rights and access to public health care.

Based on 2005 estimates, the U.N. analysis suggests that one in 4,800 women in the United States carry a lifetime risk of death from pregnancy. By contrast, among the 10 top-ranked industrialised countries, fewer than one in 16,400 are facing a similar situation.

The reason? According to experts, in many European countries and Japan in the industrialised world, women are guaranteed good-quality health and family planning services that minimise their lifetime risk.

Many independent experts and sympathetic legislators hold the current U.S. public health policy responsible for its dismal record because some 47 million U.S. citizens have no access to health insurance, most of them African Americans and other minorities.

“We must ensure that pregnant women are covered,” Congresswoman Lois Capps, a California Democrat, told IPS. “Even if we have the best technology, not everyone has the access to health care.”

Capps also said the scope of the problem could be even worse than it appeared. “We have to improve our data collection,” she said. “I don’t think we have all the data.”


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

We have lost the American dream and found the dollar democracy nightmare.


capt said...

Iraqi corruption may make 'surge' pointless

Here's a simple question New Hampshire voters should ask every presidential candidate: "Why are we paying for some of the bullets the insurgents are using to kill our soldiers?"

Here's David Walker, comptroller general of the United States, addressing House committee hearings this month on the scope of corruption in Iraq: "Widespread corruption undermines efforts to develop the government's capacity by robbing it of needed resources, some of which are used to fund the insurgency."

The next question voters should ask: How much of the hundreds of millions of dollars American taxpayers have spent to pay for reconstruction efforts in Iraq has been used for that purpose?

Here's Judge Radhi al-Radhi, the chief of anti-corruption efforts in Iraq's government until, while he was in Washington for Justice Department training, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ousted him from his position. Maliki accused al-Rahdi of corruption and froze his assets, stranding him in the United States, David Corn of The Nation reported.

Al-Rahdi told the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee chaired by California Rep. Henry Waxman that corruption was rampant in almost every sector of Iraqi government, and little or no attempt was being made to prevent it. When his office tried, Maliki quashed prosecution attempts. His office's investigations led to the death of 31 of its employees and 12 of their family members. Some were tortured - one with an electric drill, one hung on a meat hook.

Corruption is costing the Iraqi government tens of billions of dollars, al-Rahdi said. Some of that money is being funneled to sectarian militias. Though 5 million Iraqis have fled, the government is spending the same amount on ration cards. Food and supplies never make it to their destination. Ministries are fulfilling between 2 and 5 percent of their obligations, al-Rahdi said.

The Bush administration has asked for $255 million more in aid for Iraq's government this year, but the Government Accountability Office has said no more money should be sent until it's clear that it will further U.S. efforts in Iraq.

Corn believes that the Bush administration is doing all it can to keep the public from knowing about the extent of Iraqi corruption and the waste of their money. To admit that Iraq's government is too corrupt to function is to admit that the surge to buy that government time was a mistake.

Several other U.S. officials testified at Waxman's hearing. Among them was retired New Hampshire Superior Court justice Arthur Brennan, who served in Baghdad briefly as head of the State Department's Office of Accountability and Transparency, the agency charged with documenting the extent of corruption in Iraq's government.

Asked whether he found any coordinated U.S. strategy for combating corruption during his service in Iraq, Brennan, according to a transcript of the hearing, said "No."

Brennan's report and other information provided by those with knowledge of the situation has been stamped classified, and officials have been prevented from discussing the matter. On orders of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department is refusing to provide Congress with the information about corruption in the Maliki government.

"The scope of this prohibition is breathtaking," Waxman said in a sharply-worded letter of complaint to Rice. "On its face, it means that unless the committee agrees to keep the information secret from the public, the committee cannot obtain information from officials in the Office of Accountability and Transparency about whether there is corruption within Iraqi ministries, how extensive that corruption is, or whether the corruption is funding the insurgency and undermining confidence in the Iraqi government."

Not all the corruption, it appears, is in Iraq.


capt said...

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