Monday, March 19, 2007

A Sad Anniversary


The number of dead American Military Personnel in Iraq.
(13 Pending, not yet confirmed by the Department of Defense)


The number of service personnel wounded in Iraq.


The number of Iraqi Casualties, civilian and military.


The number of estimated American Military Personnel Suffering From PTSD.


The number of divorces among American military personnel since the start of the Iraq War.


The number of days that George Bush and Dick Cheney spent in a combat unit.


The number of White House officials being held responsible for the Iraq fiasco.


The amount of time we will remain in Iraq.
Then number of lives that will be lost while we remain in Iraq.
The number of lives destroyed at home and abroad.


The amount of profits yet to be reaped by Halliburton, Blackwater and the other military contractors.

God bless America indeed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Daddy

Today is my father's birthday. He would have been 92.

Dad died five years ago on Valentine's Day from a stroke and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. The picture to the left is Dad and Mom's first Christmas after they got engaged. I didn't find this photo until after they were both gone, and then only the negative. (I guess it wasn't one of Mom's favs.)
Dad was a Southern gentleman who left the South and came to New York to find his fortune. Considering it was during the depression, anything was better than manual labor in Virginia.
He wouldn't use foul language in front of a woman, although he could curse with the best of them. He was a Democrat his entire life. He hated Nixon, and didn't have much more respect for Eisenhower. I think the only time he ever voted Republican for President was Reagan in his second term but nobody's perfect.
He broke his hip playing football in high school and, because of a metal plate inserted there, walked with a limp. In many places, he was considered a cripple and said that he had to work twice as hard as everyone else to earn half as much. Yet his disability didn't stop him from carrying 200 pound sides of beef on his shoulder, or from chasing his kids around Disney World when he was in his 50's.
Dad loved my Mom dearly. He suffered with her when it was discovered she had cancer, and swore up until the day he died that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. We always thought that Dad couldn't live without Mom but later found out that they drew their strength from each other.
I could write a book about my Dad, like all the times in high school when we didn't get along and had daily screaming matches. Or in his declining years, when he needed my hand to help lift him out of his chair.
I got the call while I was at work. He had suffered a stroke and was in the emergency room. Dad was paralyzed on his right side but he was alert and his prognosis was good. Thirty six hours later he was gone.
In the end, you wish that you had more time to tell the people in your life you love them, tell them how much you appreciate all they have done for you and how happy you are that they are a part of your life.
And you wish you had another chance to tell them happy birthday.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hello Pot? This is the Kettle.................

How fucking ignorant is Gen. Peter Pace?

On Monday, he made the declaration that "homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that [we] should not condone immoral acts." [Pace Calls Homosexuality Immoral]

Brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant.

He went on to say, regarding the military policy of 'Don't ask, Don't tell':

"I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way."

So, Pete, please tell me how an illegal war, started with fabricated evidence, that has resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 American service personnel, the deaths of over 250,000 Iraqi citizens - including women, children and the elderly, and thousands of amputations and severe brain injuries, can be considered "moral". Explain to me how the loss of fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers because of corruption and greed constitutes a moral act.

Perhaps Gen. Pace should overcome his general homophobia and look at the bigger picture.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Faux News Channel : What's Next?

I caught myself turning over to the Faux News Channel again last night. This makes two nights in a row.

Why do I torture myself in this manner? I mean, it's not like I am working for a blog like News Hounds or Media Matters, which chronicle their daily stack of lies.

I confess. I wanted to see the spin in action. And it was as I imagined - like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Monday night was the republican spokesman ann coulter love fest at hannity and Colmes. I know that hannity is married, but I'd bet real money that he's tea bagging the coultergeist. Last night was four lemmings and Alan Colmes discussing the Libby verdict - and of course the lemmings all cried "what a miscarriage of justice!"

I just have one question: Do these people really believe this manure they're shoveling? Have they come to the point in their own brainwashing where they can no longer disseminate the truth from lies anymore? Or are they so deep into the mud with the architects of this administration that they have nowhere else to go?

They gloss over the Walter Reed story. They deny that Valerie Plame was a covert agent. They continue to blame Clinton for untold sins. And they continue to worship the chimp, the dark lord and his minion, all the while steering other lemmings away from real news towards fluff like Anna Nicole and American Idol.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Ann Coulter's Little White Lies

Yesterday I was feeling particularly brave and decided to venture into that cesspool known as I had hoped that the mAnnly would have done some fact checking before writing her column. Alas, it was not to be.

Her column on global warming was a screed of republican talking points and accusations leveled against Democrats and Liberals, blaming them for all of the evil in the world, blah, blah, blah… But then one little morsel caught my attention:

“…DDT opponent Rachel Carson wanted to eliminate Africans (introduction to her book "Silent Spring" written by ... Al Gore!)…”

Al Gore endorsing a proponent of mass genocide? Could it be true?

A search in The Google brought up an obscure article from 2003 from entitled “Rachel Carson’s Ecological Genocide” by Lisa Makson. Okay, now it’s looking even worse for Al – promoting someone who is against the environment. After a few moments of silent contemplation and prayer, I ran a check on Rachel Carson. Who was this mystery woman preaching the virtues of destroying the environment and killing off Africans?

To put it in the simplest terms, Rachel Carson was one of the original environmentalists. Carson was a zoologist and marine biologist who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was during her years at the Bureau that she became troubled by the effects of pesticides, including the newly created DDT. This led her to write the book Silent Spring. It was not a total condemnation of the use of pesticides so much as its careless misuse. In her own words,

"Spray as little as you possibly can rather than [S]pray to the limit of your capacity."

As with most environmentalists, Carson had a number of opponents, most notably the chemical industry, which produced those pesticides. Time Magazine, in 1999, wrote the following:

"Carson was violently assailed by threats of lawsuits and derision, including suggestions that this meticulous scientist was a "hysterical woman" unqualified to write such a book. A huge counterattack was organized and led by Monsanto, Velsicol, American Cyanamid - indeed, the whole chemical industry - duly supported by the Agriculture Department as well as the more cautious in the media."

So, what does the banning of DDT have to do with the genocide of Africans? According to FrontPageMagazine one word: Malaria.

From the United Nations website:

“Malaria is by far the world's most important tropical parasitic disease, and kills more people than any other communicable disease except tuberculosis. In many developing countries, and in Africa especially, malaria exacts an enormous toll in lives, in medical costs, and in days of labour lost.

The spread of the disease is linked with activities like road building, mining, logging and new agricultural and irrigation projects, particularly in "frontier" areas like the Amazon.”

So now I am beginning to wonder if this is really about the loss of African lives or is it about money and revenues lost.

I went back to the original article and checked the sources for this expose. One of the comments, by Dr. Wenceslaus Kilama, Chairman of the Malaria Foundation International, is taken totally out of context and appears to back up Ms. Makson’s viewpoint. Two other sources are repeatedly cited, namely Dr. Harold M. Koenig and Dr. Roger Bate.

Dr. Koenig, a former Surgeon General and retired Navy vice admiral, currently is affiliated with The Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy. In their own words is “[t]he Annapolis Center is a national, non-profit educational organization that supports and promotes responsible energy, environmental, health and safety policy-making through the use of sound science. Founded by scientists, former policy-makers, and economists, The Center is committed to ensuring that public policy decisions are based on scientific facts and reasoning.”

However, between the years 1998 and 2005, The Annapolis Center received almost $700,000 from ExxonMobil. Further, “The Annapolis Center actively argues against the idea that global warming is the result of burning fossil fuels. They also advocate increased logging for better forest health and question rising mercury levels among other things. The Annapolis Center is funded primarily by the National Association of Manufacturers. The Center's founder and COO, Richard Seibert was a former National Association of Manufacturers Vice President.”

And what about Dr. Bate? Back in May of 2003, Dr. Bate gave a speech on behalf of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity (anything with “freedom” and “prosperity” in the title has to be a right-leaning organization). It was given to the Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum in the Cayman Islands, entitled: "Harmonisation of Taxes and Regulations: A European Initiative". In his speech, this proponent of DDT as a means of saving lives offers this little tidbit:

“The EU and its pressure group allies have worked at presenting fairness or egalitarian messages. You know the kind 'Its unfair that rich people can avoid tax'.

If we don't combat these messages more seriously, the world will be pushed by vested interests (primarily in Europe) towards a harmonised, homogenised global governance structure that will slow world growth to European proportions – something that the aspiring nations cannot afford (they desperately need to get out of poverty) and we shouldn't want.”

Doesn’t exactly sound like he was there for humanitarianism purposes, does it?

Finally, Ms. Makson quotes Dr. Amir Attaran, a distinguished scholar who had consulted for groups like the United Nations and Amnesty International. This guy has to be on the level… except that he is a board member of the group Africa Fighting Malaria, which is funded largely in part by the American Enterprise Institute.

And it wasn’t so very long ago that George Bush set up a new initiative to fight malaria.

This isn’t about global warming, or malaria killing African babies. It’s about capitalism and corporatism and global domination by all the republican cronies and their like. People like Ann Coulter couldn’t care less about the deaths of Africans much less whether polar bears are drowning in the Arctic or if the rain forests are totally obliterated. As long as the chemical companies can make lots of money selling DDT, land speculators can clear cut the Amazon without government interference or losing production hours to illness, and oil companies can continue to make huge profits, all is right with the world.

And who cares if a woman who died back in 1964 is vilified for wanting to save the environment? Ann Coulter has no problem calling people faggots or advocating the assassination of Supreme Court Justices, so what's the harm in a little white lie.

It's not like anyone is going to check her information.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Death of A Child

One of the greatest tragedies is the death of a child, particularly when that death was preventable.

On the front page of the February 28 issue of the Washington Post*, the lead story was of a 12 year old boy dying because of a lack of dental insurance. A combination of poor nutrition and no regular dental care, he developed an infection in his brain after getting an abscessed tooth. What followed was a series of surgeries on his brain, seizures and eventually death from meningitis.

All for the lack of dental insurance and available Medicaid dental providers.

Sadly, this happened in Maryland, not far from that bastion of hypocrisy, Washington, DC. All senators, congressmen, judicial appointees and departmental appointees receive full medical and dental coverage. And, of course, the Decider and his henchmen all receive top medical care, courtesy of the American taxpayers. The people who continue to enjoy the privilege of quality health coverage (and get to vote themselves annual pay raises), are the ones who
have slashed Medicare, Medicaid and VA benefits while cutting taxes for the very rich.

A few years ago, I got into a particularly heated argument with a troll regarding universal health care. He made the remark:

"Health care is a privilege, not a right."

I asked him what the working class was supposed to do if they couldn’t afford health care – “join the military,” I asked. Not surprisingly, he seemed to think that was a rational solution. Unfortunately for the troll, even that is no longer a viable option. Just ask any of our military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Or better still, ask veterans of World War II, Korea or Vietnam. If they hadn't applied for benefits by 2003, they are no longer eligible for health care. Likewise, returning veterans now have a window of 24 months in which to apply for benefits or risk losing them forever.

The cruel irony of the Post story is that the attempt to save this child's life has resulted in over $250,000 in medical bills. Since his mother had lost her Medicaid benefits (one of the reasons her son had not been able to see a dentist), she will probably be billed for those expenses and then will be unable to claim bankruptcy, thanks to the Bankruptcy Bill. A simple program of annual dental checkups, including education on dental health, might cost around $100 a year per child – but that cost is too great for the conservatives and others who rally against the so-called “welfare state”.

What happens to a society when the poor, the sick, the disabled, the very young and the very old are expendable?

Take a good look at America. We’re there.

*[You will need to be registered at the Washington Post to view this article, however, registration is free.]

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Color is the Sky in BushWorld?

What is Patrick Fitzgerald smoking? Is there anyone on this planet who believes for one moment that if the jury finds I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby guilty of perjury that Libby will spend one day behind bars?

The lame-duck Decider, holding the lowest ratings of any president in U.S. history, will not hesitate to grant Libby a pardon the moment a guilty verdict is announced. There is no way that Libby will be allowed the opportunity to turn evidence on his former boss, the Dark Lord, Dick Cheney. He would most likely end up in a swamp out in Virginia if he hinted of moving in that direction.

Too much time and preparation has been made well in advance of this verdict. The cloaking of all high crimes and misdemeanors committed by this White House began before September 11, 2001, and continues today. Provisions were made in the Patriot Act that allows the White House to replace federal judges without oversight. Presidential records from Reagan through Dubya have been made secret and can only be made public by their offspring because of an Executive Order signed by the chimpanator.

Even if Libby wanted to bear his soul and gain absolution, there is a darker force working in the Oval Office, and it isn’t Satan but I’m sure he could take a few tips from Cheney and Rove.