Right About Now, Dick Cheney Is Wishing He Were A Movie Star

March 23, 2013

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Oh, to be exposed and judged. And then to say you don’t care! And then, to have to face down your own mortality with this movie being the last word? That’s got to smart.

The World According To Dick Cheney,” a Showtime movie. Although I think I already know Dick’s world, having Cheney as a tour guide sounds both horrible and interesting.

Anyway, it’s buzzing everywhere that Dick Cheney really and truly (in case you thought you were hallucinating for eight years) is an asshole. BIG confirm on that.

(Ironically, this makes Dick Cheney a movie star – or a movie’s star. Where’s the love, people? It really is like the 5 stages of grief.)

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March 22, 2013

The headline alone is worth the reblog…

Under the Mountain Bunker

Having to rely on the GOP to run our government is like having to use that dating site* for tragically desperate, lonely people.

Steve Benen laments the fact that there will be some “relief” felt over the Tea-led Congress managing to avert yet another one of its self-manufactured government shutdown crises:

For one thing, there’s a debt-ceiling crisis on the horizon, which is not only likely to be ugly, but also poses a far more significant risk.

For another, I continue to think it’s a shame that the political world considers it some kind of success story when government shutdowns are avoided.

Our expectations have been lowered to tragic depths. In April 2011, Republicans threatened a government shutdown, which was narrowly averted. In September 2011, they threatened another. In April 2012, they threatened another. In early 2013, they threatened yet another.

In each instance, we’re all…

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Yes, David Bowie, There Is Life On Mars

March 20, 2013

733481main_Blake-2pia16830-43_946-710image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ames

Ok, maybe we’ve heard it all before: scientists finding combinations of elements on Mars, and saying that maybe, MAYBE, they combine to make life in a form we Earthlings do not understand.

But this time, the elements found can make carbon-based life forms—like us!

The new discovery is that part of the Red Planet is Gray. Red comes from oxidized magnesium or iron sulfates, in acidic and super salty conditions. Recently, Curiosity drilled gray matter from the Gale Crater. The gray comes from clay minerals, which “are a product of the reaction of relatively fresh water,” rather than salty, and “[t]he presence of calcium sulfate along with the clay suggests the soil is neutral,” rather than acidic. In this gray matter, there was a mixture of oxidized and non-oxidized minerals, “providing an energy gradient of the sort many microbes on Earth exploit to live.

We may have microbes, people!

The cool NASA photos above are X-rays that show how different elements throw off different patterns. That is part of how the scientists on this planet can analyze dirt samples on Mars without actually being there. The image on the right is of the gray matter. If we were NASA scientists, we could see that the different band pattern on the right indicates lack of salt and the presence of calcium sulfates, rather than magnesium or iron sulfates. For more information on the X-ray photos, click here.

Below is David Bowie singing “Life On Mars,” because who can think of NASA without thinking of Bowie?

 

Bowie’s new release is available on vinyl! (Is there life on digital?)


Bradley Manning: His Own Voice, His Own Words

March 16, 2013

bradley-manningSilenced all these years by solitary confinement and secrecy surrounding his preliminary hearing that began in December, Bradley Manning – the Army private who has admitted to leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to Wikileaks, but has pleaded not guilty to “aiding the enemy” – can now be heard.

Someone gave the Freedom of the Press Foundation a covert recording of court proceedings made on February 28th, the day Manning read a 35-page statement to the court explaining why he made classified documents public.

He describes how he felt when he first saw the military video of Americans in a helicopter shooting at unarmed civilians and journalists in Iraq as if they were picking off moving pixels in a video game.

The clip below is Manning’s words in court heard over the army video – which changed him forever. The video revealed what really happened to those Reuters journalists killed by American military men, who then lied about it… until the video came out. They are the guilty ones.

Below the video, is the recording of Bradley Manning’s full statement to the court.

Freedom of the Press Foundation says: “We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity.”

Audio: 

If the audio arrow above won’t play, you can go here and listen right from the Freedom of the Press Foundation web site.  The same web site has the written transcripts.

Washington Post Reporter David Finkel Is A Lying Bastard

Manning: “In Mr. Finkel’s book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.

“It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as “payback” for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier.”

How can we “payback” David Finkel, who betrayed the public trust as a journalist, for publishing a cover-up as a true account of events? Finkel is an accessory to a crime. Ironically, in October he was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation as a “genius” for his book “The Good Soldiers,” the book that Manning is talking about.

Genius_Grants_04318David Finkel at work… hopefully on fiction, his true calling.


Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Was Dr. Evil?

March 7, 2013

VenezuelanHugoChavezOilFight030613

The President of Venezuela died on Tuesday, and every major media outlet has jumped on the idea that Hugo Chávez was the #1 enemy of the United States.

Their evidence? He nationalized Venezuelan oil, and gave the money to the poor. “Nationalized” meant that big oil companies got to keep 70% of the profits from the oil pumped out of Venezuela. Chávez upped the royalties paid by big oil companies BP, EXXON, Shell, and Chevron to 16.6% rather than 1%. Chávez took that money and “showered the poor” with jobs and social programs, such as allowing them to buy land.

The rich and powerful didn’t like Robin Hood, either.

I’m reminded that these same “credible” news sources – NYT, CNN, ABC, FOX, etc. — that we rely on for information also said that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (a term the Bush Administration invented), that they were working on developing a nuclear bomb, and that the leader was just like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, etc.

After a while, all the hysteria just sounds like background noise. Why buy the hype?

If you’d like another view of the Chavez Presidency and legacy, a great place to start is with this excellent article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a non-profit news watchdog who has never fallen victim to a White House press release or a CIA stunt.

Not only is it a clear-eyed assessment of Chavez’s rule, but also beautifully breaks down the corporate media bias – and each example has links to back it up.

Another good article is by the renowned journalist, Greg Palast, who reports for the BBC and the Guardian.

Right now, Palast is offering his investigative report on Hugo Chavez as a free download. Check it out!

What is now a post script, because the announcement came hours before Chavez’s death, Venezuela’s Vice President announced on Tuesday that two U.S. Embassy workers were being expelled from Venezuela for meeting with the military to plan a coup. Only one Embassy worker has been identified: David DelMonaco.

And, here’s video from Venezuela.


The Pope Is Gone

March 1, 2013

back of pope on final day

 photo: Gabriel Bouts AFP/Getty Images

Today was the last day on the job for Pope Benedict XVI, although a Vatican spokesperson said the former pontiff will be called “his holiness” rather than going back to being called Joseph Ratzinger.

A heap of reporters got to go to Rome to watch him leave. Then, they reported on every detail of his final address, his helicopter flight out of Vatican City, his car ride to the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, a small village built in the 5th century, were he will live for 2 months.

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photo: one of the gardens at the ApostolicPalace at Castel Goldolfo, Alessandro Di Meo / EPA

During that time, living quarters are being prepared for him back at the Vatican, where he will return to live out his days. As one reporter (probably many) said, “As Benedict said, the Pope doesn’t have a private life. Now his private life will return.”

Ah, the poetry of it all: he will slowly fade away and meet his Maker.

However, there is another version of this story: the Pope took one look at a special investigative report on Church corruption and said: “Ach! I’m way too old for this. Let the next guy deal with the coming scandal.”

That’s the opinion of former Catholic Priest Matthew Fox. True, he was kicked out of the Catholic Church by Ratzinger himself, so perhaps this is sour grapes. (According to Fox, 104 priests were expelled by Ratzinger.)

Fox says a set of complaints were given to him in writing when he was defrocked:

Number one was that I was a feminist theologian, he [Razinger] said. I didn’t know that was a heresy.

Number two, I called God “Mother.” Well, I proved that all kinds of medieval mystics called God “Mother,” and so does the Bible, although not often enough.

Number three, I prefer “original blessing” to “original sin.” I wrote a book called Original Blessing, in which I prove that original sin—Jesus never heard of it; no Jews ever heard of it. How can you build a church in the name of Jesus on a concept which is fourth century A.D.—that is, original sin? You know what else happened in the fourth century besides original sin ideas is the church inheriting the empire. If you’re going to run an empire, original sin is a real fine dogma to promote, because it makes everyone confused about why they’re here, and so they get in line much more efficiently.

And they accused me of not condemning homosexuals, which of course I do not. Obviously, God intends homosexuals, or there wouldn’t be 8 to 10 percent of our population all over the world with this special grace.

They said I work too closely with Native Americans. Well, I do work closely with Native Americans. I’ve learned so much from Native American teachers and rituals, such as sweat lodges, sun dances, vision quests. I don’t know that that’s a heresy to—I don’t know what working too closely means.

So, those were some of the objections. And really, none of them hold water. They’re really Rorschach tests about what really freaks out the Vatican. And, of course, above all, it’s women and sex. …

Fox says documents show that Ratzinger, and the Pope before him, chose to protect the institution of the Church over protecting the children of the Church. Fox predicts that this was a fatal mistake. Plainly stated, “Will the next Pope side with the pedophiles?”

This video might be too incendiary for some people to watch. Go forth at your own risk. It’s just under 20 minutes. If you like, here’s the transcript.

This interview originally aired on Democracy Now on February 28, 2013.

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