Monthly Archives: June 2008

American Fifth Columnists want to impose Sharia Law in American Courts!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the wingnut “screamer” title.

In a blow to the Michelle Malkin, LGF, and “true-blooded” Americans everywhere, the dreaded American fifth column that wants to make our women wear burkas and obey shari’a has been revealed to be. . . American military contractor/mercenary army Blackwater USA.

The specific “fifth columnists” I speak of aren’t the former special forces operators turned soldier of fortune hired guns, but CEO, former S.E.A.L and right wing evangelical Christian Erik Prince and his crack legal team, who want to use Shari’a law in deciding a civil case brought in American courts by the families of 3 US soldiers killed when an aircraft of the Blackwater subsidiary Presidential Airways crashed in Afghanistan under “questionable” circumstances (allegedly pilot horseplay).

From the News & Observer (via ThinkProgress):

Use of Islamic law urged in suit

Action over crash targets Prince firm

Joseph Neff and Jay Price, Staff Writers

RALEIGH – To defend itself against a lawsuit by the widows of three American soldiers who died on one of its planes in Afghanistan, a sister company of the private military firm Blackwater has asked a federal court to decide the case using Islamic law, known as Shari’a.

The lawsuit “is governed by the law of Afghanistan,” Presidential Airways argued in a Florida federal court. “Afghan law is largely religion-based and evidences a strong concern for ensuring moral responsibility, and deterring violations of obligations within its borders.”

If the judge agrees, it would essentially end the lawsuit over a botched flight supporting the U.S. military. Shari’a law does not hold a company responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their work.

Erik Prince, who owns Blackwater and Presidential Airways, briefly discussed the lawsuit in a meeting Wednesday with editors and reporters at The News & Observer. Prince was asked to justify having a case involving an American company working for the U.S. government decided by Afghan law.

“Where did the crash occur?” Prince said. “Afghanistan.

These are, supposed to be the “good guys”–and on “our” side. Someone please wake me from this nightmare.

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Just for fun–The Trons, robot band

What would we do without youtube? Besides be more productive, that is.

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Honest Abe: Labor beats Capital

From President Abraham Lincoln’s First Annual Message to Congress on December 3, 1861:

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Don’t let the ruling class tell you different. Workers drive the economy, not paper pushers. The main reason our economy is currently in the crapper is because we’ve gone from the world’s leading importer of raw materials and exporter of manufactured (finished) goods to the world’s financial services specialist. We’re just trading pieces of paper back and worth and selling our roads (see Indiana toll road, joined owned/run by Spain and Australia), ports, municipal water supply, and buildings (most recently an american company sold the landmark Chryster Building in NYC to a Abu Dhabi investment group) to foreign investors.

Today’s Republican party would do well to examine three great Republican presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, for political and moral inspiration.

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McCain’s gonna privatize Social Security, pass it on

McCain did the incredibly stupid thing of opening his mouth and saying “privatize” and “social security” in the same sentence today at the speech in NJ. While I think there are some measures that need to be taken to gently tweek social security (raising the cap so that people making over $250,000 contribute more $$$ to the fund, and possibly even means testing, if it is done correctly) , the GOP idea, call it privatization, personal accounts, or private accounts–is not the way. It just funnels massive amounts of our tax dollars to Wall Street. Large fund managers will have a field day playing with your money, all the while charging fees, skimming off the cream off your gains and giving you the big “aw gee shucks, that’s the volatility of the market” when your investments disappear in a down market.

Social Security is an incredibly popular program, and for many in this country it is the difference between life and death. McCain is foolish to open this can of worms. Any inroads made to young, naive libertarian voters who want private accounts with be more than offset by the losses in angry seniors who think McCain’s gonna rip the social safety net out from under them.

Video from TMP:

The gist of what McCain’s saying in this clip is, I’m not going to privatize social security, I’m just going to privatize ‘part’ of social security. What’s unspoken is what that means: divide and conquer. Peel off the young payers, screw the elderly by reducing their benefits for a few decades until they die off, and then terminate social security altogether. And one more piece of the New Deal goes bye-bye.

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The "Baby Mama" VS. the "Sugar Mama"

A minor storm’s been raging on the internets ever since Fox News described Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s wife Michelle as his “Baby Mama” several times on their chyron during an anti-Obama screed by Michelle Malkin.

Subsequently, Fox admitted the producer of the show, Jessica Herzberg, showed “poor judgment”.

But let’s be honest. Fox’s anti-democrat bias is legendary, and the GOP plan to attack Obama has always involved smearing his wife. She’s already been labeled as unpatriotic and unamerican and an elitist. One republican operative said Michelle Obama’s past and present statements present a “target-rich environment”.

Fine. Go forward with the below the belt, cowardly smears on Obama’s “baby mama”. Attack Michelle Obama a la Teresa Heinz Kerry in 2004. Just remember that in this election, the GOP candidate’s wife isn’t squeeky clean school teacher turned house wife Laura Bush. No sir, this year the candidate’s wife is a different animal entirely. I’m sure Cindy McCain is a fine and decent person, but let’s look at her with the same lens being pointed at Michelle Obama and see what we can see. To a political operative doing opposition research,

1. Cindy McCain is a “Sugar Mama”. She is the heir to a beer distribution empire and has a net worth of over $100 million and she used her money to finance McCain’s first run for elected office. She also used her daddy’s political and business connections in Arizona to swing votes John’s way.

2. Cindy McCain is a”Trophy Wife”. McCain courted the lovely, much younger Cindy while still married to his first wife, Carol. McCain “fell out of love” with Carol soon after returning from Vietnam and discovering she was disfigured in a horrible car accident that occurred during his captivity. Carol had significant plastic surgery, walked with a limp and was six inches shorter due to shattered bones, and had gained a significant amount of weight while recovering from her ordeal. (Before the accident Carol McCain was a fit an attractive former swimsuit model.) McCain married Cindy exactly one month after his divorce from Carol was final.

3. Cindy McCain is a “Thieving Junky”. Cindy McCain stole prescription painkillers from a charity, AmericanVoluntary Medical Team, she managed to feel her addition. She was investigated by the DEA and admitted her guilt. Her “punishment” was a 90-day stay in a posh rehab facility.

If I was FOX and the GOP attack machine, I’d lay the hell off of Michelle Obama before someone in the Obama camp decides enough is enough and takes off the gloves.

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Answers blowin’ in the wind?

I have wind power on my mind for several reasons. First, I want wind turbines and/or to be off the grid SO bad. I’ve finally convinced the wife that our next house will be small, green, energy-efficient, and powered by some combination of wind, solar, and/or geothermal.

The guys at FloDesign Wind are making the local free paper every so often–most recently in an article showcasing their efforts to raise capitol for a working prototype of their second-gen wind turbine. EcoGeek website has Flodesign Wind’s company promo video and an interview with CEO Stanley Kowalski here.

Looks like very promising technology and they claim they will be able to bring it the market in under 2 years! Superior design (their wind turbine is based on a jet engine) allows for greater energy production at lower wind speeds, ability to function at higher wind speeds, lower manufacturing and shipping costs, reduced maintenance costs, and the ability to place more turbines on a smaller footprint of land.

This design isn’t a pipe dream. In May of 2008 FloDesign Wind won the MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneur competition. From Steve Boneberger (via Energy Daily):

The FloDesign Wind Turbine has been named the winner of the MIT Clean Energy Entrepreneurship competition. The breakthrough wind turbine design is geared to perform efficiently in a wide range of wind conditions – particularly in areas with lower wind speeds – which current wind turbines are not effectively designed for.

The novel design incorporates a mature aerospace propulsion technology that outperforms existing turbines by a factor of two to three. It has also been found to be less noisy and safer for wildlife than existing turbine systems.

Big D and I drive by the FloDesign shop just about every Monday afternoon after we get out of play group. Every time we do I dream about what I think these guys will be able to accomplish–and how rich I hope they get for their efforts. I plan on being one of their first customers.

On a related note, in my work as a Postal employee I see newspapers from all of the world (but mostly the U.S.) as they move through the “mail stream”. I’m always pleased at the number of headlines touting wind power projects and innovations around the country. Just last night I saw a revolutionary new wind power design called the Wind Wing. While it doesn’t seem to be as far along design-wise as the FloDesign Wind project, the Wind Wing looks promising to me.

Gene Kelley, above, shows off his WindWing, which he and fellow W2 Energy partners believe can replace current propeller-driven wind turbines. According to Kelley, the WindWing can produce much more energy at a fraction of the cost. Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg

From a VenturaCountyStar (8/5/07) article by Allison Bruce:

While most wind turbines these days are built as propellers, Gene Kelley is convinced that wings are a better answer for capturing wind energy. Though the physics and work that has gone into his invention can get complex, the underlying concept of his “WindWing” is basic enough for a child to understand.

Anyone who has stuck a hand out of a car window has felt how the WindWing works. As the hand is tilted upward, the wind pushes the hand up. As it tilts downward, the wind pushes it down.

The resulting up-and-down motion, or oscillation, is what gives the WindWing its power.

I’m more skeptical on the Wind Wing than the FloDesign, but that just might be me routing harder for the hometown team.

Get more info on the Wind Wing at W2 Energy Development Corp. (here) and FloDesign Wind (here –Note: as of 6/9/08 at 1:36 AM EST the FloDesign Wind site is temporarily down)

P.S. Also, due to this post title, I think it’s only fair to mention that Mr. Bob Dylan more-or-less endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as his choice for president of the USA. Go Bob!

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Long Time Gone

Should’ve known my 1 post per day pledge would expire about the time Spring “sprang” around here. The toddler wanted to toddle outside with the nice weather, and there was always something that needed cutting, trimming, pruning, weeding, etc.

Without further ado, here’s a free-form burp-puke of some of my thoughts of the last month, in no particular order.

1. In a couple of months–or even in a couple of days, Obama and Clinton partisans will wonder why they acted so silly and/or crazy of the last months of the primary campaign and wonder just what the hell they were thinking when they breathlessly exclaimed they’d vote for McCain if their guy/gal didn’t win. Let the healing begin my brothers and sisters!

2. I still think Barack Obama is right in echoing JFK/Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s diplomatic mantra of “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Despite right wing bloviating, keeping ALL options on the table, and exhausting all diplomatic solutions before resolving to drop bombs and/or put “boots on the ground” really is just common sense and the best policy. The Kennedy/Khrushchev summit in Vienna led to the Berlin Wall and the Cuban missile crisis, but tough rhetoric and action after Vienna–and keeping diplomatic channels open throughout–won Kennedy respect and a position of strength at the bargaining table with the soviets–at least in my humble opinion.

3. If somehow the RNC, Karl Rove dirty trick machine, and Swiftboat Vets for McCain 2008 edition “win” the election for McCain, the missus is with me that we’ll repatriating in the great white north and learning to enjoy hockey. Next goal, convince her to just flat-out move to Canada now and start and hemp farm.

4. I’m constantly under a barrage of straw-men arguments, republican talking points and often just plain crazy talk at work and at the dinner table (my mother and brother-in-law are born-again Christians and self-titled “social conservatives”). Daily Kos had a diary a while back about getting out in the right wing blogosphere and “water cooler” dittohead indoctrination centers to confront the half-truths, distortions and lies they peddle as gospel. Well, brothers and sisters, I’ve been out there for some time now, with all the facts and logic my little brain and hold and produce on-demand, and IT AIN’T EASY!

Just this week I had to face down a born-again at work who was peddling the scurrilous allegation that Barack Obama snorted coke* and got a BJ from some dude in a Limo in the 90’s. Mr. Born Again didn’t know names, dates, specifics, or of any conclusive evidence of the escapade, but he was more than happy to “air the dirty laundry” anyway. He got real mad real quick when I said that Jesus Christ put himself between a prostitute and a mob of stone-wielding people with murderous intent. JC said “let he without sin cast the first stone”. The so-called Christian at work said “I heard from a guy who heard from a guy who got an email from some guy who heard that Barack Obama did some coke* and got some gay oral–snicker snicker snicker”. Man, I love Jesus, but sometimes his “followers” drive me bonkers.

5. Everytime some moron tells me we can’t pull out of Iraq because “Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror” I’m going to shout back at them “No, you moron, Afghanistan is the central front on the War on Terror! Somewhere in Waziristan, just over the Afghan border with Pakistan, is Al Qaeda and the Taliban’s new Pakistani-approved safe haven–and just possibly evil-incarnate himself: Osama bin Laden!”

6. Nuclear v. Sustainable Alternative Energy debate with Artur ongoing. Artur is one stubborn Armenian. Unmoved by the fact that nuclear waste is a target for terrorists and remains deadly to lifeforms for half-a-million years! Also, where do you store the shit? Also, if nuke power is so awesome, why the need for Price/Anderson act (means U.S. taxpayers pick up the tab for any accidents, nuke plant owner has zero liability) and MASSIVE subsidies? (if passed, Lieberman/Warner act might have up to $400 billion in nuclear power give-aways) Why not peel off some subsidies for wake/tidal, geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, hydrogen. Check out beyond nuclear (dot) org for more info.

7. Termites guts may hold the secret to cheap, clean hydrogen fuel.

That’s all we have time for.

*Obama freely admitted to briefly experimenting with pot and coke in college in one of his books, probably Dreams from My Father.

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