Saturday, October 08, 2005


From "A Less Fasionable War"
"...Thirty years ago Gore Vidal noted that “roughly 80% of police work in the United States has to do with the regulation of our private morals…controlling what we drink, eat, smoke, put into our veins…with whom and how we have sex or gamble.” Then there were roughly 250,000 prisoners in the nation. Today there is more than 2 million, with another million in county jails awaiting trial or sentencing, and another roughly 3 million under “correctional supervision” on probation or parole. The total national cost of incarceration then was $4 billion annually; today it’s $64 billion, with another $20 billion in federal money and $22-24 billion in money from state governments earmarked for waging the so-called “War on Drugs.” Nationally, around 60% or more of these prisoners are drug criminals. Yet, throughout all this time and expense there has not been the slightest decrease in either drug use or supply.

And amidst all the talk of race as a factor in the Katrina disaster let us not forget a bigger disaster: One in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in prison compared to 1 in 180 White men. Despite African Americans comprising only 12% of the total population, in five states, including Illinois, the ratio of Black to White prisoners is 13 to 1. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that Blacks comprise 56.7% of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons while Whites comprise only 23.3% (in my Illinois prison—one of 28 in the State—of the 1,076 inmates, 689 were Black, 251 were White, and 123 were Latino). Based upon these numbers, a full 30% of African-Americans will see time in prison during their life, compared with only 5% of White Americans, even though White drug users outnumber Blacks by a five-to-one margin....

Via 3 Quarks Daily

Friday, October 07, 2005

Plame game

I’ve been quiet for a couple of days because I’ve been transfixed by the latest Plame Gate developments and feeling a little stirring of hope. If I did post, anything I would have to say would boil down to writing "I hope they nail these bastards" over and over again.

Josh Marshall and America Blog are offering the best coverage of the Fitzgerald investigation, in my opinion. Both, compared to me at least, are insiders receiving and passing on information otherwise not available to others. Kos is close behind. So, if you want to keep up with developments as they unfold visit their sites. On this subject, if it hasn’t been posted on their sites, it isn’t happening. When it comes to reliability, Marshall is especially cautious, or responsible and trustworthy, depending on how you look at it. The bolder America Blog might be a step or two ahead of everyone.

As for bird flu, I have joined the stampede and purchased and stashed Tamiflu and have urged my daughter to do the same. It's not a perfect solution, but it is a small edge. My wife got prescriptions for both of us from our family doctor.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bird flu

Deadly 1918 Epidemic Linked to Bird Flu, Scientists Say

Published: October 5, 2005
Two teams of federal and university scientists announced today that they had resurrected the 1918 influenza virus, the cause of one of history's most deadly epidemics, and had found that unlike the viruses that caused more recent flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the 1918 virus was actually a bird flu that jumped directly to humans.

From the NYT, Link

What was so special about the 1918 flu epidemic? It killed between 20 and 40 million people.
It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster.

For a complete introduction, go here Link

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fascist dream 2

From the AP: "Bush Considers Military Role in Flu Fight"

...Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and director of its National Center for Disaster Preparedness, called the president's suggestion an "extraordinarily draconian measure" that would be unnecessary if the nation had built the capability for rapid vaccine production, ensured a large supply of anti-virals like Tamiflu, and not allowed the degradation of the public health system.

"The translation of this is martial law in the United States," Redlener said. ...
AP Link


Soldiers everywhere. That's the answer.

A fascist dream

So, what is this shit bag's answer to the threat of avian flu? Is it increase vaccine and treatment reasearch? Is it a committment to do our best to ensure all Americans are protected? Nope. None of those. It's a U.S. military enforced quaratine of part of the country. Who do you think are going to be in the most protected part of the country and who are going to be left to handle their own sickness alone?

Avian bird flu.
Bush said he was considering whether the U.S. military should be used to help quarantine part of the country in the event of a pandemic of Avian bird flu. “I’m not predicting an outbreak,” he said. “I’m just suggesting to you that we need to be thinking about it. ... I think the president should have all ... assets on the table to deal with something this significant.”

From MSNBC, link here.

Not only is this scheme designed to save the rich plutocrats and let the poor die safely, alone somewhere on the other side of the concertina wire, but it is useful cover for other applications. Just think about this and while you are, ask yourself whether you would trust Bush to use this power judiciously and not, say, to make sure an election went the way he wanted it. A military enforced quarantine of Florida or Ohio in the last elections, during vote counting, would have made the process go so much more smoothly.

Not to mention how terrifying it would be to have U.S. troops standing between you and your children and keeping you from reaching them in a time of crisis.

The Bush/Cheney process is an inch by inch strangulation of freedom. This is just another inch.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Why Miers?

Digby's answer is that she is the "machine justice" in place to help ensure continuation of power for the Bush crime family machine and not necessarily to advance any conservative ideological agenda.

Digby's analysis makes perfect sense to me. My first thought was that she was nominated to make sure Bush never went to jail. I was close, but too simple. She's part of the grand neo-corporate-fascist scheme to control the country forever and gain complete control of the world's energy resources. She's a trusted soldier who will be a certain Bush vote on every issue that comes before the court.

Here's a paragraph from Digby:

Harriet Miers is the official machine justice, a made woman, the one whose only committment and loyalty will be to Karl Rove and George Bush. I'm sure they would have preferred Alberto Gonzales but he is too much of a known quantity to easily finesse the varying political requirements within the base. She will do just fine. She is their creature. Her purpose on the court is to assist the Republican party in any way necessary, not to advance conservatism.

So, while Democrats examine Miers's and Roberts's ideologies and are delighted to find they are not quite right wing wackos, it turns out they are looking in the wrong place for the wrong evidence and at the wrong issues. What really matters is that the two, Roberts and Miers are trusted Bush/Cheney insiders, placed on the court to protect the regime.

Bush doesn’t give a shit about ideology and when it suits him he changes positions. The issue is not ideology; it is how best to cement the coup that occurred in 2000.

Digby's got it right, I'm afraid. The only real joy for any of us lefties is in watching the slow dawn of awareness spread over the conservatives, awareness that they have been had, that Bush is not the figurehead of a conservative movement, but of a criminal gang. It's a small joy, but it is worth savoring for the moment.

Go read the rest from Digby here.

Billmon, Miers and the right

Billmon is putting up some entertaining posts on the Miers nomination, including some evidence that many on the right are not pleased.

Check it out here: link

Another Brownie

This quote from right winger David Frum may be all you need to know about Harriet Miers.
In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.

From here, via Yglesias, via Josh Marshall

(Edit: Atrios reports in "Wanker of the Day" that sometime this morning Frum removed the paragaph from which the above was quoted.)

Workers' paradise

Average number of vacation days in France 39, Germany 27, Netherlands 25, Great Britain 23, Canada 20, U.S. 12. (According to MSN)

We live in a great country as long as we don't consider people who work for wages and the poor.