Friday, August 20, 2010

We Have a Winner ...

It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.

The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,

The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,

A year ago on this very day!

--An Old Story
, Robert Browning

Our belated recognition of the winner in our
"What Is Patriotism?" contest goes to . . .

Sheerahkahn, for his thoughtful conclusion that
a patriot is "someone who is willing to move on from the old into the new."

For his recognition that true patriotism is not static and requires the patriot's evolution in order
to best accommodate the dynamics of his society, he is invited to trot over to Ranger Andy's (
here) and choose a prize. Use it in health, Sheerah -- whenever you are feeling like some solitude even whilst among the masses (of your fellow patriots.) All except the most foolhardy are guaranteed to cut you a wide berth when you don your award. [Write us in the address in the profile section with your choice.]

Runner up
is publius for: "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."

Honorable mention
goes to basilbeast and mike, who recognize flabby patriotism as a sort of clannish affiliation-by-proximity sans reason, and one which is possibly xenophobic.

Thanks to all for doing your patriotic duty.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Over the Range

Afghan Crossroads, Paresh Nath (UAE)

Let us be grateful to the mirror for
revealing to us our appearance only

, Samuel Butler

But he was not the man to go about

telling his neighbors that he was in error

--Things Fall Apart
, Chinua Achebe

There are more things in heaven and earth,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy

(I, v), Shakespeare

As I have walked among the desperate,

rejected angry men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails

and rifles would not solve their problems.

But they ask -- and rightly so --

what about Vietnam?

Wasn’t our own nation using massive doses

of violence to solve its problems?

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Riverside Church addresss


Two headlines above the fold in USA Today yesterday combined to offer a sobering commentary on the state of The State.

"Vietnam: A New Land of Opportunity" + "Are Iraqi Security Forces Ready?" tell the story of a nation's 40+ years of military history -- The U.S. -- with concision.

From the Vietnam story: "Today, some of those who left years ago now look at Vietnam as a land of opportunity. At least 500,000 Viet Kieu, as they are known, return every year to this nation of 86 million, some to stay." Vietnam -- a success story -- but a success in spite of U.S. military intervention. The Vietnamese resolved their own destiny (much as did the Chinese Communists.)

The U.S. policy wonks said that for success in Vietnam, we needed a large, aggressive Army, Air Force, police and all the trimmings. Today, they are peddling the same goods for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The truth is, Iraq and Afghanistan will also return to a homeostasis irrespective of the massive efforts of the U.S. military machine.

The question is:
Will we ever learn? The world is neither our oyster, nor our problem. The U.S. should focus on the U.S., and allow the rest of the world the same dignity. As Bob Herbert wrote in yesterday's NYT, "We are never going to build a stable, flourishing society in Afghanistan. What we desperately need is a campaign of nation-building to counteract the growing instability and deterioration in the United States" (No "Graceful Exit").

The concepts of counterinsurgency or Presidential warfare are bound to fail because we view
the other as being the problem, when in fact, it is we. American soldiers in the Republic of Vietnam used to say "This is NOWHERE!" when observing the unreality of the situation in which they were mired. Perhaps the soldiers stuck in remote outposts today feel the same, but there is a psychology to this thought which Americans miss.

Vietnam (and Iraq and Afghanistan) are not "nowhere" and unreal; they are all-too-real. We fail to understand the reality beyond our borders. We cannot control our own destiny, so why are we imposing our chaos upon others?

There are more thing in heaven and earth . . .

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Dying to Get In

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,
people will eventually come to believe it.

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State

can shield the people from the political, economic

and/or military consequences of the lie

--Joseph Goebbels

--How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?

--Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a tail

--Abraham Lincoln


[NOTE: RangerAgainstWar is on holiday
for a few weeks,
so postings will be sporadic.
Thanks -- The Staff.]

USAToday reports Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said, "All systems in the U.S. government are getting down to … 'there will be no troops (in Iraq) after 2011' ... He said an exception would be security forces to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad." 50,000 troops may be necessary.

This is a verification that the Iraqi experience has not been a success.

In the international arena, combat troops do not guard embassies. It is correct for host nation forces to guard foreign diplomatic missions on the outer and immediate security perimeters of embassies. The only troops present should be U.S. Marine Embassy internal security forces.

The admission that U.S. combat troops are needed to secure the perimeter is an admission that Iraq is not the secure isle of democracy depicted by the administration.

An oft-repeated lie is still a lie.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Robbing Peter

I've seen all good people
Turn their heads each day

So satisfied I'm on my way

--I've Seen All Good People
, Yes

Smiling faces all around

Rushing through the busy town
Where do they go
Moving on their way
--Look Through Any Window
, The Hollies


The good, if somewhat dire-sounding recent news: Obama Signs Emergency Bill to Halt Teacher Layoffs:

"Summoned back from summer break, the House on Tuesday pushed through an emergency $26 billion jobs bill that Democrats said would save 300,000 teachers, police and others from election-year layoffs. President Barack Obama immediately signed it into law."

Thing is, money doesn't grow on trees, and what with all the other failures being propped up by the Federal government, the money has to come from somewhere. In this case, it is the Food Stamp program that will take a hit.

Nationally, 20% of Americans use food stamps. In Florida, the amount allotted for a single individual is $111. That amount won't take you very far into the month, even in today's supposedly non-inflated economy.

But the problem with taking funds from food stamps to pay for teachers is that their charges will be affected. See, one in four kids suffers from "food insufficiency", which means they're hungry. One in four kids rely on food stamps. More than half of all children between 1 and 20 will rely on food stamps at some point in their lives.

Teaching hungry kids doesn't work so well. This is robbing Peter to Pay Paul.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Does She or Doesn't She?

Living is easy with eyes closed,
misunderstanding all you see

It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out

It doesn't matter much to me

--Strawberry Fields Forever
, The Beatles

Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower

Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

I am the eggman, they are the eggmen

--I am the Walrus
, The Beatles

There is none so blind

As he who will not see

We must not close our minds

We must let our thoughts be free

--Everything is Beautiful
Ray Stevens

The man who comes back

through the Door in the Wall

will never be quite the same

as the man who went out

--The Doors of Perception
, Aldous Huxley

This article on the agrarian origins of all things repressive and succor in alcohol led me to the following riffs on a recent post on the two old druggies glad-handing in the White House, command central for the war on drugs (Just say NO!)

Mr. Obama mightn't have fit in with the boys and become the cool cuke we call President had he not found himself while chilling out under the influence. Sir Paul couldn't have done Lucy in the Sky and Sgt. Peppers without benefit of his drug-enhanced breaking through to the other side (though we might've benefited by missing out on Yellow Submarine.) Most pop musicians have probably been one toke over the line at one point or another.

This is not to advocate for drug use. Life is surreal enough sober, and transcendental understandings can come as easily to a sober mind as one under the influence. But one in five of us smoke tobacco cigarettes (American Heart Association), and the Centers for Disease Control say 443,000 people in the U.S. die prematurely from the effects of smoking or secondhand smoke. Add to that the 15,000+/- deaths per year caused by drunk driving, and the reasons for prohibiting "drugs" seem rather feeble.

In a world without drugs, would all music be of the Amy Grant-Urban Christian variety, and all writing be like Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" or Anne Bradstreet's ode to her husband? Or worse, just vapid, like "Eat, Love, Pray"?

Of course, drugs are responsible for a lot of dross in the creative fields, too.
Maybe we neither need drugs, nor need to banish them. People want what they want, and they will find a way to obtain that thing, legally or no. They don't always do right, and it is not government's role to shepherd them into the right corral.

It is government's job to stay solvent to provide for necessary services; to provide for the general welfare. To this end, they are not doing well. Perhaps this is one spot where they could staunch the bleeding and turn an "enemy" into a profit-maker.

Just a thought.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I am a camera with its shutter open,
quite passive, recording, not thinking

--I am a Camera
, Christopher Isherwood

I am the eye in the sky

Looking at you

I can read your mind

I am the maker of rules

Dealing with fools

I can cheat you blind

--Eye in the Sky
, Alan Parsons Project

Nobody naw give ya no Break,

0Police naw give you no break,

Soldier man naw give you no break,

Not even you idren naw give you no break

--Bad Boys
, Bob Marley

It is a crime to exploit patriotism
in the service of hatred, and it is, finally,
a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god,
whereas all science is toiling to achieve
the coming era of truth and justice
, Emile Zola


We in the U.S. have the right to face our accusers. (That is, if you head isn't in a sandbag and you are not in the Charleston Naval Yard Brig.) That right is the bedrock of our judicial system. But that right has been compromised with today's secret court scenarios, and we all seem to acquiesce since it is them and not us getting bested by the legal system.

But let us shift this denial of rights closer to home, to something each of us may have to confront one day. We now have cameras on our stop lights, and Ranger wonders how a camera may be challenged in court.
Is a camera a person? How far away are from from the conferral of such rights upon our scanning technology? Will the human operator merge with his scanner into an inviolable voice of right?

Reader choloazul recently noted:

With a camera on every corner, and interlinked databases, I'd be more worried by the fact that there are around 3 private security employees for every sworn officer, and they are increasingly being given tactical equipment, and a heavy dose of 'us vs. them' indoctrination... inside the US of A.

This is a valid concern. Along with the warrantless and widespread wiretapping of the citizenry, this is new potential violation of our civil rights. If the courts confer personhood on a camera, do we automatically presume that the camera is correct -- especially in today's Photoshopped world?

As in The Terminator, humans are accepting the intrusion of electronic surveillance into all areas of our lives. As the economy worsens and crimes perpetrated by the desperate and criminal increase, we are happy for the guards and cameras stationed at the gates to our communities. But that same oversight can be turned on the watched for nefarious purposes.

The cameras at the stop lights are acting as proxies for the newly militarized police. The oddity of the system is that it adds to the municipality's coffers while it also allows for the reduction in the actual police force, adding to the numbers of the unemployed. But who knows -- the slack in sworn officers may be taken up by furtive eyes in some remote system room monitoring behavior.

Another great example of freedom that the troops are ostensibly fighting for in the alleys of sandbox nations.

Do we think about this stuff while watching Dancing With the Stars?

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Lost Between the Cracks

How can I go home
And not get blown away
Ain't nobody gonna
Steal this heart away
--When the War is Over,
John Farnham

PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.

Shovel them under and let me work—

I am the grass; I cover all
--Grass, Carl Sandburg

The number of soldiers being discharged from service for having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has increased almost 40% between 2005 and 2009 (Mental Illness Costing Military Soldiers). For now, these soldiers are lost between the cracks in their psyche:

Soldiers discharged for having both a mental and a physical disability increased 174% during the past five years from 1,397 in 2005 to 3,831 in 2009, according to the statistics.

Army Lt. Col. Rebecca Porter, an Army behavioral health official, says research shows "a clear relationship between multiple deployments and increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD."

In addition, 150,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have officially been diagnosed with PTSD; however, the number may be as high as 300,000. The perceived stigma attached to the diagnosis has kept many soldiers from seeking help, medical professionals say (PTSD: New Regs Will Make it Easier for Vets to Get Help.)

A recent study on violent dreams
"frequently involve episodes in which an attacker must be fought off" shows a connection with later onset of mental illness, including Alzheimers (Violent Illness May Predict Illness in Advance.) While the study did not target PTSD patients, such violent/acting out dreams are a frequent symptom of the disorder. The implications are depressing.

It is quite simple:
If our soldiers are exposed to long-term combat stress associated with stressful deployments while working for stressful organizations, then we must expect a great influx of PTSD cases. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the onset of clinical PTSD -- chronic and severe variety -- is often long-deferred, known to erupt decades after the precipitating events. So if the stats are trending up now, strap down your gear and tighten your helmet, for they will get worse as time goes on, even were the wars to stop today (which they will not.)

These men and women will be or are your co-workers, spouses and early responders. The ramifications of the damage wrought by the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) will ripple out for decades and generations. There is no tidy package in which to tie it up or armistice to hide behind for those who suffer war's lingering impact.

Sandburg wrote about the grass which would inexorably cover the earth's scars, but many humans will not regenerate so easily. Their grass is often a hard carapace of indifference or hostility -- a callous developed to protect the raw meat of the brain.

War does not end when the war is over.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Long and Winding Road

--Drugs win war on drugs (The Onion, 1.10.98)

The people in the cheaper seats clap your hands.
And the rest of you, just rattle your jewelry
--John Lennon, Royal Variety Performance

The long and winding road

That leads to your door

Will never disappear

I've seen that road before

--The Long and Winding Road, The Beatles

She goes running for the shelter

of a mother's little helper

And it helps her on her way,

gets her through her busy day

--Mother's Little Helper
, Rolling Stones

Just a little rumination: Sir Paul McCartney was recently feted at the White House by the President, in this veritable season of fetes, and Mr. Obama presented Sir Paul with the Library of Congress's Gershwin Award.

What occurred to us is the eternal nature of some missions.
The U.S. is currently in the midst of The Long War (whatever) in Afghanistan, but still trudges hopefully/hopelessly on in another, even more ephemeral war: The War on Drugs. Began when Mr. McCartney was a wee lad beginning his forays into the world of psychedelics in earnest, then-president Nixon declared it a war in 1971 and thus it has ever been (forever and ever, amen.)

Yet here they were on stage -- in the White House! -- two former users and abusers of the devil's weed and then some (blow, LSD, etc.) We as a nation should not demonize drug dealers and then schmooze with their customers. Like in Afghanistan, where poppies are bad (except when they are good.) Maybe it is just those users South of the border who are problematic.

In a consistent and just universe, users like McCartney and Obama would have ended up in jail. Just as surely as say a Liverpudlian kid or one from Southside Chicago.

But let no one say decorum is entirely dead -- at least they didn't invite Phil Spector.

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wrong is Wrong

I could never forget the suffering that I received

until the day that I die

--Chum Mey, tortured under Duch

If you want to be free, there is but one way:

It is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty

to all your neighbors.

--Carl Schurz

I say father, and you say pater,

I saw mother and you say mater

Pater, mater Uncle, auntie,

let's call the whole thing off

--Let's Call the Whole Thing Off,

George and Ira Gershwin


A torturer was sentenced this week (sorry, folks, but this isn't about Mssrs. Bush or Cheney.)

Warden Duch -- The Khmer Rouge’s top jailer -- "was sentenced to 30 years in prison for overseeing the 'shocking and heinous' murder and torture of more than 12,000 inmates at the genocidal Cambodian regime’s Tuol Sleng Prison"
(Khmer Rouge Warden Sentenced to 30 Years for Cambodian Killing Fields).

"The verdict by the United Nations-backed tribunal on Kang Kek Ieu, better known as Duch, marks the first conviction in a 13-year effort to bring to book the leaders of a regime blamed for the deaths of a quarter of the population."

Though Duch is guilty, he was held for 16 years sans trial. This, too, is criminal behavior. No one should be held indefinitely without a fair and transparent trial.
The United Nations has a Bill of Rights, yet Duch sits for 16 years without trial. The U.S. has a Constitution, yet it has held prisoners almost eight years on without a trial, all while emphasizing they are not POW's.

Why are only defendants from small, poor countries ever convicted by the United Nations? Why haven't any U.S. personnel been charged or tried for torture? Is it possible that wealthy countries like the U.S. will never be called to answer for torture executed during our Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©)?

Some will argue that nothing the U.S. has done has risen to the level of the genocides in Cambodia or World War II. The
murder and torture of 12,000 may make the Bush/Cheney team seem like pikers, but how does one quantify torture and its punishment? Torture is an absolute, and piling it on does not render it any more despicable.

Torture and killing has happened in U.S. secret prisons, detention facilities and anywhere we have held prisoners. John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla -- both U.S. citizens -- were tortured and imprisoned. Though torture is either a war crime or a Crime Against Humanity (the rubric is context-dependent) their torturers were given campaign medals and promotions.

The UN tried Duch and found him guilty of torture. His actions would have been war crimes if Duch had been an operative of an opposing Army. Since he wasn't, and his crimes took place within his country's borders, then they are crimes against humanity.

This topic is rarely discussed anymore but hopefully some day, maybe 35 years from now, we will see court actions addressing the torture policies of the U.S. system. (R.I.P. Charly Gittings; Long Live your Project to Enforce the Geneva Conventions [PEGC].) That we allowed allies to torture prisoners and that we delivered those prisoners for torture are also criminal offenses.

We like to think of ourselves as freedom-loving, but our actions would indicate otherwise.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

The United States of Hypocrisy

I got a cow that's gone dry a hen that won't lay
A big stack of bills that get bigger each day

The county's gonna haul my belongings away

Cause I'm busted

, Charlie Pride

Lord, I hope this day is good

I'm feelin' empty and misunderstood

I should be thankful Lord, I know I should

But Lord, I hope this day is good

--Lord, I Hope This Day is Good
Don Williams


July is the cruelest month thus far, as it saw the highest number of American deaths in Afghanistan since the war began (
U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan Soar to Record Highs.) The 66 servicemen killed last month followed the second deadliest month in the almost nine-year conflict.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Obama is yukking it up on The View, The Clintons are feting Chelsea and her new husband to the tune of almost $2 mil, and Mrs. Obama is enjoying a week in the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain with 40 close associates (Material Girl Michelle Obama). No doubt she needed a break after the Maine holiday.

Of course, wealthy people are entitled to enjoy their dough. However, it is all just a bit egregious coming as it did in such a somber month. Aren't leaders expected to show some restraint in a bid for solidarity with the governed? That means more than lip service to bite the bullet and hoe a row.
Oh, and not flying to your fun in the sun on the taxpayer's dime (Michelle Obama flew on Air Force 2.)

It's a given that politics is the last outpost for America's regency, but men like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the missus made every effort to not flaunt the Bono lifestyle. In fact, since they were not arrivistes, there was no chance of such jeopardy.

The Democratic party used to represent the interests of the working class. Even if they weren't all Trumans, they at least understood the concept of
noblesse oblige. Today there are no such pretensions. It all seems pretty declasse, if you ask us.

These people do not lead nor do they produce anything of value. (The last Democratic president who did was peanut farmer Carter, himself a millionaire.) But they sure do sit in the catbird's seat and skim off the cream from those that actually do work and produce. Republicans are exactly the same, but they do not pretend to advocate for the Little Man.

While our New Brahmins throw their opulence in our face, another world hangs on by a thread.
Here in Tallahassee it was reported this week that a patent was awarded to the inventors of the "Cradle of Hope" -- a collapsible, mobile cradle to be used for those without a permanent shelter.

These are the two Americas: One where air-conditioned tents are set up for celebrities, and one where tents cover grave sites at Arlington burial events.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bust a Cap

And he smote them hip and thigh
with a great slaughter: and he went down

and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam

--Judges 15:8

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

--The Tyger,
William Blake

After all, we are not children.
It's time we planned our life.

--Moshe Dayan


These are frightful times, we are told. Apocalyptical, for some. How to survive? Hunker down and trust those in power have got your six is the answer for most people. And the power we seem to most trust is delivered by those who co-opt the posture and jargon of the military. Militarism has infiltrated almost every sphere of activity today.

The "Houlihan" olive drab fatigues are the woman's best-selling pants this season (Reporting for Duty, the Houlihan), and everything red-white-and-blue is always a good seller. It seems like most t.v. shows revolve around the police or military hunting down the relentless menace.

And look at the above images from the latest Brownell's Police catalog. Behold the Darth Vadar look-alike with his tricked-out black rifle and the assault team gracing the cover -- the only friendly character is the dog.

The police shifted a while back from the old "protect-and-serve" paradigm to being paramilitary organizations. In some cases, their role has been further removed to performance art, as in the case of the Detroit Special Reaction Team team which partnered with a television crew to film their May dynamic entry gone wrong, in which
a 7-year-old girl was killed after a flashbang grenade landed on the sofa where she was sleeping.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, supervisor of the Gulf oil spill, has been speaking of the hopeful moment when the "well is killed"
(BP aims to deal well a death blow.) What -- is everyone a Samurai today? An oil well is an inanimate object, foundering or not. One cannot "kill" that which does not live.

Perhaps this is the result of too much Twilight, vampires and zombies. Since these creations walk and talk on-screen, that must mean their menace lurks amongst us. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was the penultimate trope, for who is to say they do not walk among us? We all have to sleep sometime, and who hasn't wondered precisely who is that person sleeping next to us?

Yesterday we were told the oil has gone "rogue", as in
the rogue oil will be "bullheaded" back down into its source rock (bad oil). Sorry --elephants may go rogue, but oil cannot. Oil is a blob, a slick -- it covers and smothers passively, and gets pumped into tanks -- but it cannot go rogue. Going rogue may be the prerogative of Sarah Palin, but never an animate chemical, which is a life form several layers below that of La Palin.

Early reports of the gusher said it had gone "asymmetric", implying that the oil in its well-behaved state had a symmetric structure. In fact, the media was borrowing from the military jargon, and we all know (if we don't understand) that asymmetry has something to do with terrorism and warfare.

We should get a grip, and that begins which reifying our terms. Not everything is out to get us, despite the magazine articles which trumpet the killer microbes on our kitchen countertops, killer fat and killer obsessive-compulsions.

We may all be vying for limited resources and our little niche, but the confrontational military model might not be the one most likely to ensure survival.

--Jim & Lisa

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Primitives Are Us

It is better to offer no excuse
than a bad one

--George Washington

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear

--The Walrus and the Carpenter,

Lewis Carroll

It takes some cheek to go and use a sunflower

logo when your business is dirty oil

--Ben Stewart, Greenpeace activist


Sunday homily: Totemism

Yesterday and today there was a heavy haze over Tallahassee, and I am not the only one who thought there was a faint whiff of petroleum in the air. We are only 30 miles from the coast. But of course, such group sensory phenomena are known to happen.

But now word comes that Tony Hayward, that uppity Brit, will step down in October due to his monstrous handling of the debacle. And that will slake some of our anger, as though his being had anything to do with the catastrophic event. While non-Californians laugh at Burning Man, Mr. Hayward will be our Burning Man.

Why do these simplistic, symbolic gestures seem so comforting and necessary to people? It is like the razing of the Amish school post school-shooting or Abu Ghraib, or the current demands for the resignation of the Duisburg mayor following the deaths at the Love Festival: These people or structures are not the cause of the problems; how can their removal effect their repair? Resources and manpower are finite quantities. Every demolition or firing is a loss of materiel.

Last week a study on the dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico (Corexit = "corrects it" -- the arrogance!) claims they "do not seem to disrupt marine life." Of course, the tests were done on a cells in a petri dish vs. real, live animals, so the results should be taken with a heaping serving of caution.

But we like to be told things will be well. People are esp. sympathetic to the plights of helpless animals, so it plays well to lessen their mental anguish, such as it is.

Estimates of how much petroleum has poured into the Gulf vary widely. BP's party line escalated slowly from 1,000 barrels per day to 5,000, then ten thousand or more, as other agencies began to surveil the flow. Using
private scientific estimates, the rate of flow ranged from 20,000 to 80,000+ barrels per day. Internal BP documents estimate as much as 100,000 barrels per day.

Using 50,000 barrels per day as a mean, this would indicate
4,300,000 barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf over the almost 3 month span of the incident.
"The Gulf of Mexico has been inundated with the equivalent of more than an Exxon Valdez-size spill each week" (Research on Gulf oil spill shouldn't take a backseat to litigation) and the 1989 Valdez spill has devastated Prince William Sound for decades.

Three months of living in the newly-toxic Gulf is not enough time to claim no effects from dispersants.
Is anyone that gullible?
There is one thing I do not like, and that is an outright lie. Corexit was banned in Britain for killing the limpet population. Do not tell me this toxin, dispersed with protective suits, is benign.

I lived in Central Florida, where a major lake (Apopka) was slowly killed due to pesticide and fertilizer runoff from the surrounding muck farms.

Lake Apopka was once a fisherman's paradise in the mid-20th century, but no more. The lake is the subject of much research, as it is here the androgynous frogs live. Two-headed frogs; male frogs with female reproductive systems. The ramifications are broad, as Lake Apopka was the headwaters of the Chain of Lakes, so many other lakes were also poisoned as well.

Yesterday congressional investigators"railed" against the Coast Guard and BP
for their over-use of the dispersants:

"The investigators said the U.S. Coast Guard routinely approved BP requests to use thousands of gallons of the chemical per day to break up the oil in the Gulf, despite a federal directive to use the dispersant rarely. The Coast Guard approved 74 waivers over a 48-day period after the Environmental Protection Agency order, according to documents reviewed by the investigators. Only in a few cases did the government scale back BP's request.

"Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., released a letter Saturday that said instead of complying with the EPA restriction, 'BP often carpet bombed the ocean with these chemicals and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it'" (Congressmen: Too Much Dispersant Used in Oil Spill).

Of course,
we are told the Gulf of Mexico Has Long Been Dumping Site, and other stories to mitigate our concern. We have heard the routine before from other chemical giants like Dow and Monsanto.

But it turned out the stuff in the orange barrels used in Vietnam wasn't that benign, after all.


There's still time to make an entry in the "Define Patriotism" contest! Win nifty prizes by saying what patriotism means to you. Yer a bunch of military guys (mostly), so you ought to have an idea, right?

Play HERE.

[Co-posted @ Big Brass Blog]

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