Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Written Peace:
Open Forum of April 30, 2005

Given the substantive and extensive discussion on the thread for the last Open Forum, it seems appropriate on this dark and quiet Saturday night to provide another opportunity for the commentators here to have their say on any topic of interest to them.

As food for thought, the President of the United States this past week held one of his rare, prime time news conferences. Some might say that none of the questions put to him addressed the core criticisms of his Administration, so perhaps it would do well to humbly offer the White House Press Corps some zingers for the next press conference he holds in a year or so.

Mr. President! Are you working on any initiatives to protect us from attacks by terrorists, other than ones like the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II that fundamentally compromise our civil rights and liberties? If so, can you outline some of those initiatives, focusing on the ones that have to do with firing your employees who failed so miserably in the days and months leading up to September 11, 2001?

Mr. President! Will you be testifying under oath to a grand jury regarding the nature and details of your relationship with a person who posed as a journalist here in this room?

Mr. President! Will you be submitting a bill to Congress to forbid the United States from rendering prisoners to third nations for the purpose of having them tortured?

Mr. President! Speaking of federal prosecutors, Patrick Fitzgerald claims to have hit a dead end in his investigation of who in your Administration outed CIA operative Valerie Plame. Do you plan to have him re-assigned to make an example for other prosecutors that you want results, not excuses?

Mr. President! Do you have some estimates of how much your family's friends in the House of Saud have realized in additional profits from the recent run-up in oil prices?

Mr. President! Virtually every major stock index is lower now than it was when you first took office more than four years ago. Do you have an explanation for this? As a follow-up, will you endorse a rule that stockbrokers involved in privatized Social Security accounts management disclose this fact to their clients?

Mr. President! During your Presidency, two of the world's most dangerous countries to American interests—Iran and North Korea—have come to the verge of being nuclear states. What are you going to do about these two menaces, given that most countries have no intention of letting the United States lead them into war, and given that the United States can't afford a real war now, anyway, since we've driven our armed forces into the ground with a war in Iraq started on false pretext?

Mr. President! Why are you just standing there smirking at us as we ask you one question after another that should have been asked from the get-go of your Presidency?

Thank you, Mr. President.

The Dark Wraith encourages your comments on these and other important—or perhaps not-so-important—questions of the day.

<< 28 Comments Total
 DuWayne Brayton blogged...

My surreal, paranoid time is especialy dark now as I am fourty-six hours without sleep again. I sit alone at four am melancholy voices singing with mine, mine with them. I can hear an angel telling me, I just have to believe. I can feel a lover leaving me, find my simple peace. I tried again to remember, just what is believing for. I tried again to tell myself, open up another door.

My mind wanders past my own distress, out into the world of men. My fragile psychy shatters agianst the wieght, now I put it back together again.

Just try to convince me, everything will be all right. The masters of my solitude, building bigger castles inside.

Shouting out for freedom, from the tyranny of mind. Crying in the desert, for the justices of time.

The simple peace that follows, the simple love that fills my life. Beaten down and broken, from these ashes I arise.

Sun May 01, 04:43:32 AM EDT  
 Anonymous blogged...

Treban, great free form poetry but you got to get some sleep. The world might be going to hell in a handbasket but I would find some Sleep meds to quiet your head or some Zen Meditation if you don't like drugs.

If you want to stick around in the land of the mostly sane than sleep is a must. How else can you rail against the evil machinations of the Bush Empire.

-Gary A

Sun May 01, 09:14:02 AM EDT  
 Anonymous blogged...

I wanted to see what some others around here thought of a website from Switzerland that seemed to offer some good opportunities to sock money away. I'm still a beginner at this stuff so I wanted to share it here and see what all the others had to think about it.

Switzerland's PostFinance

It seems a nice place to get some investments in CHF's instead of USD's.

-Gary A

Sun May 01, 09:17:09 AM EDT  
 SB Gypsy blogged...

Dear Dark Wraith,

The nuclear option - more I think on it, the more I want to know: Why are progressives so afraid of it? I think we have more to gain than loose. We already are in the minority, and people are getting tired of the arrogant republican over reach.

If Frist has his way: The Dems would then block all nonessential legislation. Well, I've had a look at that list, and none of it is good for the people of the US. It's all corporate driven, harmful legislation .

Instead, the Dems would highlight the legislation that they have introduced, and cannot even get a discussed. What better way to show the difference between bills that are good for the folks, and bills that screw the folks.

The best thing the Dems have done in the last six years - that includes the two elections - is to stand up to the republicans, and show the people what extreamist and corporatist bull is coming at us from our one - party government.

The other question I have is, what whould happen to the Neo-Cons if the states began to capture all the taxes that the federal government has set free. Our own republican Gov. Jodi Rell said last week that we should raise the taxes on the rich to cover the grants that we are not getting from the feds to cover medicare and education - (read here No Child Left Behind).

We also have in Connecticut an estate tax already. Seems to me, we could recover in this way what the feds have discarded. The federal govt would then be left with no say over what we do in our schools.

This would leave the federal government with less power, and if the trend continued, the states would be dictating to the

Sun May 01, 09:32:41 AM EDT  
 oldwhitelady blogged...

treban I, Ambien... 1/2 a pill can give you some good sleep. How do I know? My doctor prescribed it about about 2 years ago. I was able to purchase 10 pills which he advised me to cut in half and just take half if I had trouble sleeping. The first time was MARVELOUS. I did go through the original prescription within a year. The problem with them is that you need to have the time to be able to sleep for 6 - 8 hours.

♠Dark Wraith♠ - I know I've been hassling you about Molasses Cookies, so to make up for it, I will tell you a little joke.
One fine Sunday morning, a family of moles woke up to greet the day. Daddy Mole stuck his head out of the ground and sniffed the air. "MMmmm, I smell honey", he said. Mama Mole stuck her head out and sniffed. "Mmm, I smell honey, too." Baby Mole ran over and putting his head up as close to the entrance out of the ground, sniffed. In a tiny mole voice: "I don't smell honey, all I smell is Molassess," he complained.

Sun May 01, 10:20:31 AM EDT  
 Anonymous blogged...

I read an article about peak oil that gave me the impression that running out of oil would be the least of our problems when supplies would no longer be available to the average citizen. The gist I gathered was that if people are not psychologically prepared for what is to come by now, they probably never will be. The author said he might catch flak for not trying to convince more people in his writings, but he's quite willing to cut his losses by talking to those who are already paying attention.

It's a lengthy article, but worth checking out.



Sun May 01, 05:13:50 PM EDT  
 Joseph blogged...


at least regarding North Korea and Iran someone had the guts to ask him about what measures are being taken, the nuclear problem and the military restrains, if any.
From what I could understand from is "speech" (I caught up some minutes and that part, then my stupidity meter rang the alarm and I changed channel): the US are a disaster in diplomacy so they have to gather other countries to "help" and to be caught up in the mess, so the other countries have to deal with the mess, and the US will have their work done (as if...). About Iran and the nuclear problem: there is no problem because they just want to use it for energy! About your military: he was also worried and he also asked the question (to someone, don't know who...) about having or not enough military and the answer was: all is well in La la land...

What do you think these years or generation will be known as? Denial generation and/or years? Delusional generation and/or years? La la land to the extreme generation and/or years?

I'm wondering when it will be and how will it be when reality comes biting you up in the ... (this delusional thing could be going on if it was something moderate and well applied, balanced somehow, but when it comes to extremes, things always break down...)


Sun May 01, 09:40:21 PM EDT  
 DuWayne Brayton blogged...

SB Gypsy,
I am from Michigan which at the moment is turning into a rust belt state. Unfortunately my state has needed to resort to legal action to fight the no child left behind act. Fortunatley a number of other states are picking up the slack. I am personaly fortunate to be leaving Michigan which will be spending decades struggleling to recover from former republican govaner John Engler and the "presents" he left for our current demacrat governor Jennifer Granholm.

At the federal level I am more afraid of the judicial nominees the democrats are trying to block than anything else. The only way the neo-con agenda can really be fulfilled is through a radical, activist, conservative judiciary. The republicans would like to see Roosevelt's "new deal" repealed. They can't do it legislatively because they want to get re-elected so instead they appoint activist judges to do it for them. I would also suspicion they will then in turn use such blatantly ideologicaly driven rulings to pass legislation to hold our independent judiciary accountable to congress eliminating what may be the most important "check" in our system of checks and balances. Following that line you can move to even scarier lines of reason but you get the picture. (remember Tom DeLay will probably not make it through the next election, he does Not want to relinquish his position) So the "nuclear option" is actualy extremely important.

I am really looking forward to living in a state that like yours is picking up slack from the feds though.

Sun May 01, 09:41:31 PM EDT  
 Joseph blogged...

By the way it seems you Americans have a tendency to have real fun with truth, reality and drama, and considering it something "normal" to have such a President. The MSM, and maybe the most part of America, really enjoyed Laura Bush's speach... I was wondering if ridicularizing a President by having his wife saying some of the plain truth about him would have the same effect in another country in the world...

Sun May 01, 09:45:44 PM EDT  
 DuWayne Brayton blogged...

oldwhitelady and Gary,
I have been an insomniac since birth. I slept no more than ten in twenty four hours after I left my mama's womb. After my twenty third day on this planet I didn't sleep more than eight hours, by the time I was six I didn't nap and averaged six hours a night.

It is normal for a newborn to sleep up to twenty hours in a day. It goes down from there but at a very slow rate. Believe me when I say that I have never been able to sleep. I am twenty nine years old and in the last couple of years my average hours of sleep sank to twenty hours. In the last six months it has gone down to about ten to fifteen hours a week. It seems to have leveled off but I have to, carefully, manage a variety of sleep aids and it is neccasary for me to not use anything and fall asleep naturaly on a regular basis. If one dosn't do that not only will they become dependent, they will slowly lose their mind.

I also use meditation to help keep my sanity. I go for long walks in the wee hours and find a good spot to clear my mind. In the wee hours I find everything becomes surreal and often paranoid. Sometimes I just like to go with it. I used to have a bit of a problem with LSD and while it was not the best point in my life it did have some interesting exploration points. And so when I go for my natural sleep mode I take advantage of the state I get to in my surreal hours and try to get something out of it. I realize it may seem strange to explore the maelstrom of what I like to call dis-sanity that lies beneath the upper layers of the human psychy. I believe to map and explore the depths of the psychy it becomes necesary for some people to seek what lurks below. I figure if in my natural basline I can achieve a state that promotes that exploration then I should go ahead and be one of those people.

By the by, I have had the oppertunity to try Ambien and enjoyed the results. I don't like to use overt pharmacueticls as much as natural source medications. The best I have found is 3mg of melatonin and 20mg of 5htp. I can manage as much as five hours sleep that is not due to an overt sedative. The down side is that 5htp causes some side effects that can occasionaly contraindict my ADhD triggering a somewhat manic state.

I really appreciate the advice and concern. I, and I hope others as well, am trying to stay healthy so as to be able to do what small things I can to fight the tyrrany of our neo-con regime. Love and Peace to all, I have taken my sleep aid for the evenign and will presently be retiring for the eve.

Sun May 01, 10:22:06 PM EDT  
 SB Gypsy blogged...

Dear Treban L,

Our CT Atty Gen Blumenthal is also sueing the feds over the "No Child Left Behind" fiasco -[ don't they know that some people just TEST WELL?? I am one of those fortunate few, and I'll tell you, it isn't a skill or talent that actually helps you out in the world on a daily basis. ]

I am all too aware, being a female, of how important the judgeships are, but if the democrats are negotiating a compromise on them, then we'll get them shoved down our throats anyway. I'd rather have SOME net gain out of all of this mess!

Now to go be the wage slave.....

Mon May 02, 06:41:34 AM EDT  
 Anonymous blogged...

This piece of serious snark was in the Sunday paper.

- oddjob

Mon May 02, 01:39:59 PM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, Joseph.

With respect to your question about what this American era will be known as, I propose that it be called the Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face Era.

I swear, people know better than the way they're acting right now. Unfortunately, there is no one to shame them into growing up and knocking it off with the adolescent sneer at reality. As it stands now, though, nothing has happened that has really shaken them up: the war in Iraq has been sufficiently sanitized so the bravado still far exceeds the pain; the economy has been teetering, but the blame seems to have landed for the most part on nameless, outsourcing corporations and the foreigners; and the violent tilt toward restrictions on civil rights and liberties has been justified as necessary for the preservation of "freedom."

Again, not enough pain, yet, to overcome the pleasure of feeling our knuckles dragging along the ground.

I doubt, however, that there will ever come a time when this era's supporters, motivators, and believers will\ be brought fully to task for their appalling ways. Not in this country, anyway.

It will, then, be for the rest of the world to recount for future generations just what it was that made this era so venal... and so important to the world that came after it.

The Dark Wraith regrets that this time in which we live will be seen as such a turning point.

Tue May 03, 01:13:15 AM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Treban, for God's sake man, you need to read more books about economics. If ever there were a subject about which so much has been written to the virtually expressed purpose of symptomatic relief for insomnia, economics is that subject.

Now, about New Zealand. I have, on several occasions, looked into emigrating from this nation to New Zealand. What bothers me the most, Treban, about leaving this land is that I am of this land. I was born an American, I fought as an American, and I benefited greatly from being an American.

In the end, if need be, I would die to keep this nation from being taken from me by treacherous and treasonous men who hide from duty while posing with piety to God and loyalty to this country.

It is, in my judgment, a fight I cannot win, certainly not alone. At the same time, though, it is a fight worth fighting.

That doesn't mean I won't one day leave, never to return. If I do, it will mean that I will have seen that the nation for which I would once have shed blood no longer exists, and in its place has arrived a brutal and unworthy state for which it is simply not worth my life.

I don't see it that way yet; but it worries me that I sometimes almost do.

The Dark Wraith does not look forward to a time when a decision has to be made.

Tue May 03, 01:25:43 AM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, SB Gypsy.

Although I want the Democrats to fight tooth and nail to retain the right of parliamentary filibuster, I am morbidly excited about its demise for two reasons: first, it just about seals shut any door whatsoever that the neo-cons could use as an excuse for the domestic and international catastrophes that are their legacy. Remove the right of filibuster, and the Republicans have nothing—abolutely nothing—they can blame on anybody but themselves.

The second reaon it would be exciting is that, if the Democrats can eventually regain control of the legislature, the Republicans will rue the day they produced a stockpile of "nuclear weapons" that ended up in the hands of opponents with some serious payback needs.

The part would be terrific entertainment.

The Dark Wraith prepares for the worst, but looks forward to a great show.

Tue May 03, 01:33:01 AM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, Old White Lady.

I suppose I should have seen that mole joke coming a mile away.

Nevertheless, I plan this weekend to make some blackstrap molasses cookies. I was planning to make one of my raspberry white chocolate cheescakes, but I think I'll put that project off until the semester is completed. The cookies take less than an hour; the cheesecake takes more than a full day from start to finish, at least the way I do it.

And the Dark Wraith always makes his desserts properly, of course.

Tue May 03, 01:46:32 AM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, Gary.

A short-term solution to your interest in international investments might be ADRs.

My concern, however, is that it appears to me that the global economy is beginning to slip noticeably, in no small part due to the erosion of the U.S. economy. I am not certain at this point whether or not we'll see a world-wide recession, but the U.S. could become something like a vortex pulling in other economies.

That does not mean, however, that a globalized investment strategy is not wise. Regardless of whether or not the entire developed world experiences lessened or perhaps even negative growth in the next several years, the diversification of risk obtained from a balanced portfolio of securities spanning the world still makes for good money management.

In plain English, investing in companies of many countries will lessen—but not necessarily eliminate—the shocks that could happen to any single country's stocks and bonds.

Of course, another means of investing internationally is merely to invest in large, multi-national and trans-national companies domiciled here in the States. Even though such companies are "American," their operations are so globalized that, in essence, by investing in those companies, you are investing in the economic opportunities of the nations where those companies actually carry out the bulk of their production and revenue generation.

And of course, don't forget to invest in the military/industrial complex companies. Good times or bad times, the business of war and empire is always a growth sector... provided the neo-cons are running the show, which they are now and will be for the foreseeable future.

The Dark Wraith wishes it were otherwise, but it is not.

Tue May 03, 01:59:35 AM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, Wise Guy.

That was, to say the least, an interest piece for which you provided the link.

As an economist, I would dispute the idea that people will not eventually come to grips with depleting oil reserves. They will, and they will force the political landscape to address the matter. Currently, politicians are moving on their own, but their solutions are exactly as I predicted they would be: first, scorch the Earth's wildernesses to exploit every last bit of oil. But beyond that, the oil companies will scorch the Earth in places that are not beautiful and precious to future generations. The oil companies will go wherever there is money to be extracted from the ground, whether it be in the ecologically pristine and fragile parts of Alaska or in the miserable and God-forsaken backwaters of Asia Minor. As the price of oil rises, the opportunity cost of leaving land unexploited rises in synchrony.

The good news is that, as the price of oil skyrockets over the next several decades, alternative sources of energy will become not just economically viable, but darned profitable, especially for large companies to start fielding to consumers and businesses.

The transitional period is going to happen in our lifetimes, so we will have the honor of bearing the economic suffering that we could have, at least to some extent, avoided had we been more pro-active during the past several decades.

One way or the other, Americans will eventually come to understand that things are not going to be the way they once were. But then again, they never really were.

The Dark Wraith needs to get a motor scooter.
[But, GOD! will I look stupid on one of those contraptions.]

Tue May 03, 02:14:29 AM EDT  
 DuWayne Brayton blogged...

Dark Wraith,
I will try as you suggest with regards to reading economics texts. I actually am interested in pursuing an education combining econ and poly sci anyway. It will have to be seen whether it will help with insomnia but I'm sure if you could recomend some particularly boring texts I would have a better shot.

Four years ago I would have said the same thing about fighting for my country (which I love passionately) but now I have a three year old son. I would like to raise him somewhere that is less discrimanatory than this great nation is becoming.

Off to work, peace and love.

Tue May 03, 07:44:20 AM EDT  
 Joseph blogged...

Sarcastic comment ahead...

I'm amazed, CNN had this news in it's frontpage:
Iraq, Afghan wars reportedly strain U.S. fighting ability (at the very moment I write this comment it is now in a sandwich between, surprise: "Al Qaeda 'still a threat' to U.S.", and a Video link)
Since last week your President told to the US and the World that he was informed that there was no strain... is it possible that he was not well informed or is it possible that you have a liar as a President? Surprise, surprise...

Tue May 03, 10:55:43 PM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Oh, now, Joseph, that word "liar" is awfully strong.



stretcher of the truth

creative alterer of facts

innocent repeater of bad information

producer of alternatives to accuracy


prolific producer of bull

clarion of hogwash

Pinnochio with a nose as long as Texas


See, Joseph? With so many more diplomatic ways of describing the man, there really isn't any need to use the word "liar" to described the liar... er, the prevaricator.

The Dark Wraith, for his own part, would never call the President of the United States a you-know-what.

Wed May 04, 12:03:33 AM EDT  
 Joseph blogged...

Ok ok, the poor man is just a leader that came from an alternate reality and that hasn't adjusted yet to this one, or then a martian desperately wanting to go back home...

By the way, regarding another issue he addressed last week:
Iran vows to chase nuke technology
So, electricity anyone?

(By the way have you been noticing that North Korea as been firing some missiles, and that, surprisingly [!?] South Korea and Japan are downplaying the fact while Rice is cooking up?)

Wed May 04, 12:40:51 AM EDT  
 My Pet Goat blogged...

The Dark Wraith, for his own part, would never call the President of the United States a you-know-what.

No, but I will. Bush is the perfect ABC president:

A is for Assclown,
B is for Bozo,
C is for Conniver,
D is for Dickwad,
E is for etc., etc., etc.

Wed May 04, 01:10:58 AM EDT  
 Anonymous blogged...

This comic was in today's Boston Globe. It speaks for itself!

- oddjob

Wed May 04, 01:50:02 PM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, OddJob.

I am getting the crap kicked out of my server by that stupid Sober-N virus. I would say maybe four people who have in their e-mail address books have been responsible over the past 18 hours for close to two thousand e-mail messages pounding through my Inbox.

I finally broke down tonight and put a couple of policy filters on my server to quiet the nonsense, but I'll have to go back in and put some more on as the virus changes its sucker messages.

So help me God, I've had it just about up to my muzzle with this one. If I ever get my hands on the fool that wrote this little sweetheart, I'm going to give that little twit a nuclear wedgie he'll never forget.

The Dark Wraith is steamed.

Wed May 04, 10:49:21 PM EDT  
 My Pet Goat blogged...

Feeling blogged down? Have a snort of tequila, or two.

Wed May 04, 11:15:15 PM EDT  
 Dark Wraith blogged...

Good evening, Mr. Goat.

It feels more like I've had a round blogging by a cat-o'-nine-tails.

I've been yelling so much I feel like I've got a blog in my throat.

The Dark Wraith shouldn't make pun of his misery.

Wed May 04, 11:24:35 PM EDT  
 Anonymous blogged...

The Dark Wraith puns the lot of his unlife.

- oddjob

Wed May 04, 11:54:52 PM EDT