September 27th, 2007

Book Cover

William Rivers Pitt -

William Rivers Pitt comments on the Dan Rather lawsuit and its validity and what it reveals as to manipulation of the press and why the Bush administration continues to get away with so much.  I chose some excerpts  from his article.

    "The only security of all," wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1823, "is in a free press."

   Today's "free press," however, bears little resemblance to the conceived constitutional bulwark cherished by the Founders.

    In its place, we now have a tightly-woven confederation of profit-seeking businesses that own virtually every print and broadcast news outlet of significance in the country. There is but scant allegiance to the truth found within these outlets, because their foremost priority when reporting on most issues of national consequence is to protect the interests of those parent companies and their advertisers.

    If a parent company is heavily involved in the manufacture and sale of weaponry to the Pentagon, for example, that company's pet news outlet will skew its coverage to cast the most favorable light on a war - and on the politicians and political parties who support it - because that is money in the bank for that parent. There is nothing theoretical in this; NBC, MSNBC and CNBC all championed both the Iraq war and its architects, because they are owned by huge defense contractor General Electric, which has profited enormously from the war.

    Media conglomerates like Time-Warner - whose massive holdings include CNN, HBO, Warner Bros., AOL, Time magazine, People magazine, dozens of other periodicals, film production companies, book publishers and television networks - are utterly incapable of providing objective reports to the American people regarding a broad constellation of significant and pressing issues. CNN is inescapably connected to all of Time-Warner's myriad subsidiaries and affiliates, and to the political affiliations, which guarantee the biggest profits for these entities.

     - William Rivers Pitt

    It is sobering to me to realize that we have lost news sources that we used to trust.  We have to work a little harder now to find out what is going on, and that is okay.  It is part of the responsibility of being a citizen.  We just need to recognize and be aware of the change.
Book Cover

Good Morning!

It is a beautiful day and I comb two newspapers looking for something positive to say to match the glorious swing of light in the leaves.  I am not finding it today.   My echo-location is not producing a laugh.  If anything, I am shocked at how deep the issues go that we need to protest.  

Here is a section of Jon Carroll's column today.   It is not light, but is a small enough issue to handle.  We can do this.  Rumsfield has been offered a one-year appointment at the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tank associated with Stanford University in a way no one understands.  

I place you in the middle of Jon Carroll's column in the San Francisco Chronicle today.

Jon Carroll:

But all of this is beside the point. Donald Rumsfeld is not some guy who opposes sex education in schools, or believes that abortion should be illegal, or thinks that women should just stay home and make babies. He's a guy who ordered bombing runs on helpless civilians. He's a guy who sent American soldiers to their death. He's a guy who displaced 2 million Iraqi citizens. If the phrase "war criminal" means anything any more, then Donald Rumsfeld is a war criminal.

All war involves senseless slaughter, but that slaughter is often in defense of a comprehensible goal. If someone attacks you, you attack back. That's why the initial war in Afghanistan was a good idea. (Now the war in Afghanistan is underfunded and ignored - another Rumsfeld legacy.) But the war in Iraq had no comprehensible rationale. The rationales presented turned out to be exaggerations or lies. The prosecution of the war was carried out according to Rumsfeld theories about the utility of small armies, and those theories were not changed even as the death toll mounted.

Rumsfeld never let the facts interfere with his grand visions. Even when he resigned, he exhibited no remorse. Now other people, better people, will be left to sort out the grotesque mess he left, and America will carry the burden of his stupid invasion for the next 50 years. If he's not the worst person in the world, he's in the top 10.

I skip a bit of Jon and then continue with his words:

There is no necessity to be polite to Donald Rumsfeld.

Indeed, I think that Donald Rumsfeld should be shunned. I think people should turn their faces away from him when he comes near. I think people should avoid him on the street. I think people who come into accidental contact with him should say, "I shun thee." He deserves social discomfort; he deserves to realize that actions have consequences, and that the hermetic world inside the Bush administration is not the only world in the world.

Shunning is one of the first punishments and still used in small societies,  it works.  I think anyone with a conscience can approve this as the right punishment for Rumsfield since we are unlikely to do anything more to him.  Let's let him know we don't approve of what he has done in our name and with our tax dollars.

Check out the whole column at:

Book Cover

skunk -

I began to walk up my driveway, when I saw  running down toward me a skunk, a nice, fluffly, healthy-looking skunk.  As quickly as I scampered into the garage,  it darted into the vinca.  No damage was done on either side, but I decided to google skunks because I thought they were noctural.

They are noctural and come out at sunset.  It is unusual that they be out in the day and could mean rabies, but this guy seemed as afraid of me as I was of him or her.  I saw no frothing at the mouth, and suspect it is a youngster, newly grown, and maybe confused on when it is the best time to be out.

Skunks are beneficial,  gentle animals, and they can dig under fences and seem quite clever in finding a warm, safe place to live.  If one is sprayed, the clothes involved will probably have to be thrown away.  The stench is that pungent.  

They have a territory of five to ten miles, though I wonder if that is true here where food is so readily available.  Today was garbage day, always a treat in the animal world, though we do have our new strong, hefty containers.  Skunks have two enemies,  automobiles and Great Horned Owls.  I will hope for a Great Horned Owl to come my way.  I am realizing we had one for awhile, but I haven't heard him/her lately.  Perhaps that is why we have a brazen skunk who is confused on the time of day.  On the other hand, owls sleep in the day, though cars do not.

This one was cute, and I think of Flower and Bambi, and I really prefer not to get sprayed.
Book Cover

Bill Maher -

Bill Maher points out in his column on the Huffington Post that Iraq is not another Vietnam.  It is another Enron.   Bush has cooked the books and those who violate the laws and rules are not punished.

Check it out:

I see now why my neighborhood skunk looked so friendly.  

Compared to Bush, the scent is heaven and a skunk only sprays when there is a threat and a need to defend and the skunk does the job that needs to be done.

Read the following from Bill Maher and as he says, try not to vomit.  We keep wondering why people don't speak out.  Well, they do speak out and then they are punished and silenced.  I made bold I find most offensive.

Excerpt from Bill Maher's column:

Donald Vance, a Navy veteran, was working for an Iraqi-owned outfit called the Shield Group Security Company. Vance said he witnessed Shield Group selling guns, land mines, and rocket-launchers to Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry workers. Vance described Shield Groups as "a Wal-Mart for guns." Vance reported this to the FBI, and instead of a pat on the back, he got 97 days at Camp Cropper, a military prison outside of Baghdad. In fact, Saddam's Hussein's old crib. Vance was placed in solitary confinement, subjected to head-banging music blaring from dawn to dusk, and interrogators screaming the same questions over and over again in his face.

Also testifying at the hearing along with Vance was Barry Godfrey, a former KBR employee (KBR+Halliburton=Cheney) who claimed that he was fired after complaining to his supervisors about fraudulent overcharges.

Also testifying was Bunnatine Greenhouse. Greenhouse is the former highest-ranking civilian contracting official at the Army Corps of Engineers, so I'll dispense with the "Greenhouse having gas" joke. But Greenhouse was removed from her position when she tried to crack down on "casual and clubby contracting practices" at the Army Corps of Engineers.

Also testifying was Robert Isakson who was a co-plaintiff in a "qui tam" lawsuit (a whistleblower lawsuit) against Custer Battles. No, "qui tam" is not that stuff that Chinese people do in the park, it's shorthand for the Latin Phrase "qui tam pro domino quam pro seipso," which dates back to 13th century England, and means, "He who is as much for the King as for himself." Today, a "qui tam" lawsuit is one brought under the False Claims Act by a private plaintiff on behalf of the Federal or State Government. Isakson won the first civil verdict for Iraq reconstruction fraud against Custer Battles. However, the verdict was overturned by the judge, who ruled that because the CPA was not part of the US government, the "qui tam" statute did not apply.

Meanwhile the Bush administration has not litigated a single case against a contractor alleged to have defrauded the US Government in Iraq. Apparently, like terrorism, this isn't a law enforcement issue either.

Book Cover

Afternoon -

The fog is blowing in and pouring over the hills.  The temperature has dropped.  Our natural air conditioning is back.

It is likely the full moon will have some privacy in its rise this evening.  

I had time today to read various columns and catch up on the news, to read more about the war now so obviously about oil, and then, to realize how "they"  probably will "get away" with it.  .  It is hard not to feel discouraged and I don't.  I may take a few days off from the news, but I do believe the individual has a voice in the long run, that "good" does trump "evil," and that the children of these people who seem to have no conscience, will.

For now, I am prepared to use cooking as a way to heal and meditate.  I have purchased food and plan to chop, stir, bake.  More than nutrients come forth in the cooking of food.  Preparation medicates.

Here is Hafiz.


        No one is looking

    I swallow deserts and clouds.
And chew on mountains knowing
            They are sweet

When no one is looking and I want
                    To kiss

        I just lift my own hand



                                - Hafiz

May your evening be peace and ease!

Book Cover

I love this!!


One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:

"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

Book Cover


A young woman I know mentioned she is a Pollyanna and then I realized she looks like Pollyanna, and I got an urge to see the original version of the movie, Pollyanna,  with Hayley Mills.  I watched it tonight, and somehow in true Pollyanna fashion, I only remembered the prisms and joy, and forgot the fall from the tree and the dropped doll.  I cried and cried.   I also cried when the children stood up on the stage, dressed as  the flag and sang about America.  I am a patriot.  I love this country and that is why all of this is so hard.  If I didn't care and believe that we have stood for something, it wouldn't bother me to see it thrown away.  I loved the book The Greatest Generation, and I have always felt proud of my own, and I am proud now.   We will return to the constitution.   It's never too late.   The movie pivots on seeing the best in people, and rejoices in the over 800 joyful passages in the Bible.  It works for me!

We are enclosed in fog on this full moon night, and I am grateful  that some "old" movies do withstand  the test of time. At least this one did for me, and I'm sure I enjoyed it differently than when I saw it as a child. 

Happy Childhood Dreams, and finding reasons to be glad!!