September 29, 2009


Live Disbatches from the Domestic Warfront.

Listen near the end of this video: "I don't understand why they're expending so much energy just to get fucked up by cops."

The Sequel: Those kids laughing at the protesters are trapped and brutalized, and have a sudden change of opinion.

September 26, 2009


Visit the Store RIGHT NOW!

Light green text on dark green shirt, one of the many varieties available. You pick and choose your colors.

It's an HTML joke! In Helvetica! (for those who follow those things.)

Also, seriously, end war. Not just the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the idea that forcing people in one country to kill people in another country proves something.

Since these are handmade, they are available in a near infinite number of color combinations.

Many other color combos are available. Just ask. Also, be sure to include what SIZE you want in your order.

Light green text on dark green shirt again, but in poorer lighting.
T-Shirts, as always, are $10 per each, $5 shipping and handling.

September 23, 2009

Afghanistan: Senator Bernie Sanders on Hardball with Chris Matthews

FBI: Census worker possibly murdered by anti-government extremists

My father is a census worker, so this hits especially close to home for me.
Full Story after the jump

WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating whether anti-government sentiment led to the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the word 'fed" was scrawled on the dead man's chest.

The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the death was a killing or a suicide, and if a killing, whether the motive was related to his government job or to anti-government sentiment. An autopsy report is pending.

Investigators have said little about the case. The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, said Wednesday the man was found hanging from a tree and the word "fed" was written on the dead man's chest. The official did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word.

FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is helping state police with the case.

"Our job is to determine if there was foul play involved — and that's part of the investigation — and if there was foul play involved, whether that is related to his employment as a census worker," said Beyer.

Beyer declined to confirm or discuss any details about the crime scene.

Lucindia Scurry-Johnson, assistant director of the Census Bureau's southern office in Charlotte, N.C., said law enforcement officers have told the agency the matter is "an apparent homicide" but nothing else.

'Deeply saddened'
Census employees were told Sparkman's truck was found nearby, and a computer he was using for work was found inside it, she said. He worked part-time for the Census, usually conducting interviews once or twice a month.

Sparkman has worked for the Census since 2003, spanning five counties in the surrounding area. Much of his recent work had been in Clay County, officials said.

Door-to-door operations have been suspended in Clay County pending a resolution of the investigation, Scurry-Johnson said.

The U.S. Census Bureau is overseen by the Commerce Department.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with William Sparkman's son, other family and friends."

Locke called him "a shining example of the hardworking men and women employed by the Census Bureau."

Full Story after the jump

September 18, 2009

Sexting Fail / Single Payer Insurgency

Check out this video!

We need a single payer insurgency into all the namby pamby groups out there. I explain how to do it.

September 15, 2009









Conservative chain letters from my grandfather

Normally, when I get an chain-email that's full of illogical conservative nonsense from my Glenn Beck-loving, Rush Limbaugh listening grandfather, I usually just disregard it, because it's usually petty bullshit.

But since the conservatives have taken to just plain making shit up, and since nobody is calling them on their bullshit, I think it's time we stop being passive about this, and call them out when they're full of shit. Every single time. They're like children. If you give them leeway, they will think they can get away with it. So since I did the work once, I figure you should have the benefit of using this as information ammunition should you come across the same stupidity.

Now, today I got an email about the cash for clunkers program. I want to point out that this isn't in defense of the program. It's in defense of MATH.

So here's the email I got:

A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline.

A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.

So, the average "Cash for Clunkers" transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

They claim 700,000 vehicles – so that's 224 million gallons / year.

That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.

5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day's US consumption.

And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $70/bbl.

So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $350 million.

How good a deal was that ???
They'll probably do a great job with health care though!!
Ha ha ha. Except for one thing. Somebody might want to check their math:

A barrel of oil is 42 gallons of oil.
Depending on refining efficiency, the gasoline extracted can vary, but averages about 20 gallons per barrel, in reality, it's about 19.7 gallons, but rounding up for ease of math...
(from the Dept of Energy's website)

FIRST ERROR: 224million gallons a year doesn't equate to 5 million barrels of oil.

Check it out:
20/1 = 224,000,000/x

224 million gallons would come from 11.2 million barrels of oil.
That's more than twice the figure given.

SECOND ERROR: 5 million is NOT 1/4 of our daily petroleum consumption.

The USA uses 8,989,000 barrels of oil a day in transportation.

So even if the savings was 5million, it would be more than half of our daily consumption, not a fourth.

What's more, 11.2 million barrels (the actual savings in this hypothetical) is not 1/4 of 8.989 million either-- 11.2 million is roughly 120% of 8.989 million.

THIRD ERROR: 11.2 million barrels would cost $784 million at $70/bbl.

FOURTH ERROR: The average car has a lifespan of 20 years. Over twenty years, a savings of $784 million/yr = $15.68 billion
If all cars swapped out in the Cash for Clunkers deal were a swap of 15 to 25mpg, that means we spent less than $3 billion to save $15.68 billion dollars.

FIFTH ERROR: The most popular car purchased in the Cash for Clunkers program was the Toyota Camery, which gets 31mpg.
At 12,000 miles a year, that's 387 gallons a year, a fuel savings of 412 gallons over the 15 mpg car, per year.
If everybody bought a Camery, that's 288million gallons saved a year. That's $14.4 million barrels of oil. That's a little over one billion dollars a year.

And $20.16 billion dollars saved over the course of the lifetime of those vehicles.

A legitimate argument would have been that we're removing between $15-20 billion dollars from our GDP in petroleum sales.

September 12, 2009

The Defiling of tragedy

While cynics will say 9/11 has been used primarily to justify a trillion-dollar occupation and destruction of a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, optimists will point out that 9/11 could also get you a “free” 99-cent sack of grease fries down at the Burger King, in Hilltop Plaza:

A list of more crimes against decency you might want to look at.

September 11, 2009

Where were you on 9-11-01?

I remember waking up, getting ready for English class. It was my second week of my freshman year of college. Before leaving to catch the bus to the other campus, I was checking the bullitan board, as was my habit at the time. There were several posts about the "airline accident" in NYC, and then suddenly, there were posts of a second plane hitting. It was probably a few minutes after 9am. My class didn't start until 10:30am.

I ran downstairs to see what was going on on the news. I sat there watching in disbeleif. I had become friends with the RD of the dorm, and I ran and got her, because I figured she ought to know.

She and I sat there watching transfixed as the towers burned. As the first tower fell, I was in total disbelief. I knew at that time that a steel structure building had never collapsed due to fire. Cookie was concerned that the buildings might burn down, and I mentioned that to her. Time was static, so I don't know how many minutes after that I was proven wrong. I imagined all the people's lives inside being extinguished in a horrible instant, and my could feel my heart, and my soul, fall to the floor with the tower. Felt completely empty.

Cookie, the RD turned to me and said, "I would hate to be president right now." I looked at her, and asked if she was kidding. I looked back at the television and said, looking into the smoke, "for at least a year after something like this, you could pass whatever laws you wanted to. If he wants to the Senate to declare war, he can declare war on whomever he wants. Nobody will question the President during a crisis like this."

Looking back, I don't know why I said that, or how I knew that's what would happen. I'm not a Machiavellian person. It was what little American history I'd studied, probably; knowing how we interned the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. Knowing how we had the Red Scare during the 1950s. During the Gulf War I was too young to understand what was going on, but I knew enough by the time Clinton was in office that I was against Clinton bombing Iraqi aspirin factories during the Monica Lewinsky scandal as a distraction. I had followed the 2000 election quite closely as a Senior in high school, watched as it was stolen, and was convinced that G.W. Bush would, like his father before him, declare war on somebody. I even have a letter I was assigned to write myself in High School by myself as a College Sophomore writing to my self as a High School Senior about what the future holds for me. It scares me a little now, but I said in that letter, half joking, "with George W Bush in office, we're sure to be at war with somebody by now, for no good reason." There was an inevitability I felt about it. Perhaps I was just jaded.

Sitting there watching as the remaining tower burned, Cookie looked back at me after my comment with tears and bit of anger in her eyes, visibly upset by what I'd said, and understandably. She said then, what I would come to agree with in the following October, when the congress passed the USAPATRIOT act. She said then, sitting next to me, "I hope you're wrong."

I wish I had been too.


Back on the couch, watching the images of the one tower smolder, still feeling raw as I felt the souls of every person in tower two extinguished in an instant, I didn't know what the appropriate thing to do was. Everything felt out of place and inappropriate in light of recent events. At 10:00 or so, I went and got on the bus to go to the Portland campus.

English class was still held, and I thank my professor to this day for not canceling class. His example is exactly what was actually meant when they said, "If we change our ways, the terrorists have won." For an hour and a half, we did grammar and writing style, as if nothing had happened.

I don't think Mr Phillipson realized at the time exactly what was happening or how serious it was, and he apologized the following class period for not having canceled class, but several of us thanked him.

Those of us who came into class, looked around confused about what to do or feel. Then our professor came in, threw his books down on the table, and said, "so, crazy stuff going on huh? Okay, let's do grammar."

At the time it struck me as being cold and detached, but looking back, it was exactly what we needed. It was nice to leave the insanity that was going on outside and focus on "Strunk and White." That class that day was a sort of psychic haven, while people standing outside the classroom door watching the screens, talking to one another about the end of the world.


That night, there was a girl in my dorm whom like most kids in my building in the 2nd week of classes, I didn't know, she was on the phone that night in the hallway, calling over and over again, crying, trying to find out if a friend of hers was on one of those four flights.

The phone lines were still all completely jammed as everybody in the USA was calling their loved ones to find out if they were okay. I really wanted for her friend or relative not to have been on one of those planes. It turned out that her friend was indeed on one of those planes. She dropped out of school. I did not see her again after that.

Over the next couple days, as the list of names of those who were in the towers came in, I made a list, and printed it off, and hung it up in the hallway of my dorm outside my room. I made it a point to read every single one and imagine who they were, see in my minds eye the person attached to that name. Something inside of me broke, but for the better. The bubble of security that had come with being an American born in the 1980s, the end of the Cold War nothing but a fuzzy childhood memory, had been not popped but shattered. There was an entire world of people out there, and it mattered what our government did. We could die because people in our government were killing people somewhere else in the world. I hadn't been paying attention in much detail to what my government had been doing. It was time for me to start.

I remember watching over the next few days, as no clear case was built for Osama Bin Laden. They just started repeating that it was suspected to be him, and at some point, it shifted from being suspected to be him, to be unquestionably by him, without any supporting evidence to report confirming this. It was because of this that I became skeptical of the official storyline very early on. There just wasn't any evidence to support what they were saying, or if there was, they certainly weren't presenting it. They were just stating things as fact with no evidence. The Bush administration refused to investigate for nearly two years, despite the pleas of family members who had lost their loved ones. Documents released on the matter were few, and those that were were almost entirely redacted.

It seemed like the talking heads were just making it all up, and just expecting us to believe whatever they said because we were in a state of shock, and they were the NEWS.
I had become too cynical and skeptical to just believe whatever I was told. All I wanted was evidence. Apparently four women who had lost their husbands in the attacks felt the same way. The whole thing reminded me too much of George Orwell's "1984."

Later, on October 26th, 2001, I saw on the crawl at the bottom of the screen that the congress had passed a new "anti-terrorism" bill. I didn't understand the need. Terrorism was illegal already. They didn't need to pass a law against it. I wondered what it could possibly be about. With the help of and the New York Center for Constitutional Rights, I started reading through the USAPATRIOT act. Turns out it was something straight out of 1984. At that point, I became more skeptical of the official story. Especially as I then learned from the New York Center for Constitutional Rights that this bill had been prepared and drafted a year prior, but was introduced at the last minute, giving nobody a chance to read it.

And that's really when everything began to change. Our libraries were (and still are) subject to search at any time by federal agents, and librarians who spoke out were slapped with law suits and detaining orders, telling them that they could not speak to anybody not even a lawyer. The librarians started putting up signs saying that federal agents had NOT searched their records yet. Over time those signs disappeared, and the librarians couldn't talk about it, by law.

I checked to find out who'd voted against the USAPATRIOT act. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. They became my heroes, even though I didn't know who they were at the time.

I became urgently interested in foreign affairs, history, and policy. I asked the questions that everybody was discouraged from asking, like, "why do they hate us?" I didn't want to go to the mall or go shopping or go to Disneyland, like Bush advised. I didn't want to "soak up the sun, and tell everyone to lighten up" as Sherly Crow's song, released just barely a year after, suggested. This was serious, and the responsibility was personal.

I researched our CIA's and Military's history in the Middle East and all around the world. It became clear to me through study why the USA was hated. 9-11 was, as Ron Paul said, "blowback."

For me, 9-11 was a wake up call, an alarm going off, calling me to civic responsibility. To personal responsibility. It seemed to me that most of the country hit the snooze button.

Don't forget.


September 9, 2009

Obama's Speech: pros, cons, the nitty gritty of the public option

And now for something I NEVER do, an actual blog entry. Hey, videos take time.


The details of the Public Option are not new, if you've done any research on your own, but since most Americans haven't, it was nice to see the details laid out in Obama's speech-- though I think that with some of the new compromises, such as the trigger mechanisms to cut spending if cost savings aren't realized, if adopted, would pretty much doom the plan to fail. Which I think is the point. Private insurance is scared shitless right now, and they are doing everything they can to kill this thing (just like they do with 12% their customers every year).

The details of the plan, more or less, are as follows: The Public Option will be a non-profit insurance company, like the Postal Service is for mail, and will NOT be subsidized by the tax payer-- directly. If you can't afford the plan, then you will get a voucher to assist you to buy one, either from a private insurance company, or from the public option. While that sounds nice, it's a contrived way of routing government money into private insurance subsidies via the consumer. It wouldn't be so bad if the government simply subsidized people who could not afford insurance, or if they just gave anybody who wanted to sign up for Medicare, a Medicare card.

But with the mandate on the individual to purchase health insurance, (which the Republicans also support), everybody has to buy a plan, and so every citizen effectively becomes a way for the government to funnel federal money, through your forced purchase of a plan, to the insurance companies. This is supposed to drive down costs by increasing the market and spreading the risk across the whole of society, but I'm highly skeptical that it will have any effect. Afterall, the profit motive in insurance IS the problem, which thankfully Obama recognized, when he talked about the former CEO of an insurance company who talked about how insurance companies are rewarded for denying claims and denying care to the ill. But without pushing for Medicare for All, it's just a rhetorical victory on the part of progressives, not anything useful as far as policy goes.

The key reforms sought by Obama are as follows:

1) Make it illegal to deny claims based on pre-existing conditions.
2) Make it illegal to change the terms of the plan you purchase.
3) Create a health insurance exchange, through which Americans can do what Wal*Mart and Sam's Club does, which is use collective purchasing power at large volume to reduce costs to the individual.

Obama hedged on the cost, rather than saying one trillion, over the course of ten years, he said "over 900 billion" which sounds less scary, but means the same thing, which also isn't scary.
It is, as Obama was smart to point out, less than we've spent in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I thought it was sad that, even though the President dispelled the myths and disinformation that the Republicans have been spreading, the Republican response speech held afterward was to repeat the very lies and disinformation that were dispelled not ten minutes prior. Claims like "Medicare is going to be cut by $200 billion."

While it is factually true that within Medicare there will be a cut of $200 billion dollars, the cuts are coming from subsidies to insurance companies, which is wasted money. Medicare doesn't need to hire an insurance company to pay out doctor's bills. Medicare can pay doctor's bills on it's own, without losing money to an insurance company skimming corporate profits off the top on the way there.
What's more, is that this cut money is then being redistributed and then spent within the medicare program, so that the net effect is that there is no cut, and that rather than going to corporate profits, more money is going to medical expenses-- which is what Medicare is designed to do. So it's not actually a cut, but a reallocation of funds.

Republicans claim that there were many misstatements in Obama's speech. On that point I can agree. Obama said, "health insurance CEOs aren't bad people."
That is false. To run such a business, and to know that your decisions to increase your profits would kill 18,000 people every year, would require a total divorce with any human decency or sense of morality. Such a person would not be a good person by any standard I can think of. A good person would have a sense of human decency and a sense of morals, of right and wrong.

Another thing that upset me quite a bit, was when Obama mentioned that young healthy people choose not to purchase health insurance because they are willing to take the risk. FUCK THAT-- I don't have insurance because it's fucking expensive, and I'm broke as shit. I would LOVE to have health insurance. Sign me up for Medicare right now! Just don't criminalize my poverty, because I won't be able to afford to purchase one. My car just died, and I can barely afford to fix that, let alone make additional monthly payments on some private plan that is going to overcharge me, and then won't even provide any benefits when I need them. And the individual mandate, in effect, criminalizes poverty. That really sucks.

Obama said that he intends to be the last president to take up the issue of health care reform. I don't know what that is supposed to mean. These reforms are timid, the mandates are wrong-headed, and what's been put forth so far is certainly a far cry from actually fixing what's wrong with our health insurance market here in America.

I know that this isn't an important part of the speech, but it was thrilling to see the joint session erupt with protests from the Republican members of congress when Obama addressed head on the lies that have been propagated. I think the president should be required to speak at the joint session more often, like once a month, so that it would be more like the British House of parliament.
It was certainly a stark contrast between the Republicans protesting the lies being confronted head-on and dismissed tonight, versus the joint sessions that the Bush administration held after September 11th, and then leading up to the Iraq war, where everybody in Congress was silent. The Democrats sat idly by and were very quiet. No boos or disruptions. And that was when we were talking about killing people. Now we are trying to save lives, and the Republicans are hooting and hollering in protest, with one Republican from South Carolina yelling and calling the president a liar. An interesting contrast to note.

Republicans also held up pieces of paper, which I thought was a stupid form of protest, if indeed that's what it was. It made no sense whatsoever on the home TV. I'm sure THEY knew what the significance of those papers were, but nobody at home on their couches did. With the protesting and the hooting and hollering, they came across as having totally lost it, which they probably have. They were from the House, after all. There was one congressperson with a sheet of paper in his lap with the words written, "What Bill?" in large black ink letters. This one protest I thought was valid and does bring up a good point; there are currently something like six different bills, one of which is HR 676, another-- and the one that Democrats are usually talking about, is HR 3200. There are others as well, but they propose the creating of small co-opts that wouldn't have the bargaining power to lower costs like the health insurance exchange proposed in HR 3200.

Obama did a great thing with the last ten minutes of his speech, calling into question the idea that government itself is somehow un-American. It was a rebuttal to the anarcho-capitalist philosophy of Reagan and Goldwater that though meek, has been LONG overdue. There once was a time when Republicans ran on a platform increasing welfare spending, like Richard Nixon, or Dwight Eisenhower, for instance. Obama made an emotional and philosophical appeal, but I think it's one that is much needed for the sake of the public debate. If those sound-bytes are the one that end up being repeated over and over in the 24 hour news cycle, health insurance reform will be a cinch, and it will hopefully mark the turn of the tide away from that anarcho-capitalist, nonsense. Or as Evo Morales calls it, "Barbarian Capitalism."

September 4, 2009

Sexting FAIL / Single Payer INSURGENTS

BLOG: (that's here)








Mad As Hell Doctors- Don't Support the Public Option, unless it's SINGLE PAYER

Army Strong

This was originally posted on Cindy Sheehans channel. It is re- poster here by request and with full permission. Visit her channel and tell her I sent you!

Rev Billy Talen for Mayor video voter guide

If you know a New Yorker-- show them this video.