February 26, 2004

A Big Hole in One - -

[Sabbatical Break]

I couldn't resist . . . I got an email from Worldwatch this morning. I'm posting the following in its entirety. I'm probably in violation of Fair Use laws, but I don't think they'll mind.

Number of photos in the January/ February issue of Coastal Living that showed coastal wildlife (seabirds, crustaceans, turtles, or other fauna) 1
Number of photos in the same issue showing golf courses 61

Amount of water it would take, per day, to support 4.7 billion people at the UN daily minimum 2.5 billion gallons
Amount of water used, per day, to irrigate the world’s golf courses 2.5 billion gallons

Number of golf courses in Japan before World War I 23
Number in operation or soon to open in 2004 3,030

Average amount of pesticides used per acre, per year, on golf courses 18 pounds
Average amount of pesticides used, per acre, per year, in agriculture 2.7 pounds

Amount of water used by 60,000 villagers in Thailand, on average, per day 6,500 cubic meters
Amount of water used by one golf course in Thailand, on average, per day 6,500 cubic meters

Current area of the wetlands of the Colorado River Delta, which now receives just 0.1 percent of the river water that once flowed through it 150,000 acres
Area that could be covered to a depth of 2 feet with waterdrawn from the Colorado River by the city of Las Vegas, which uses much of that allotment to water its more than 60 golf courses 150,000 acres

[I'm "officially" on sabbatical until Monday, 3/1 - so posts will be sparse. To stay informed. I recommend The Agonist, truthout, Information Clearing House, and War in Iraq for news; Axis of Logic, Dissident Voice, Democratic Underground, and Left End of the Dial for commentary. There are links to all these sites on the sidebar.]

Be at peace.

Must read! I don't know how this got by me - it's a coupla weeks old - but, hey, its been a helluva month, y'know? "The Despoiling of America: How George W. Bush became the head of the new American Dominionist Church/State" by Katherine Yurica of The Yurica Report.

[I'm "officially" on sabbatical until Monday, 3/1 - so posts will be sparse. To stay informed. I recommend The Agonist, truthout, Information Clearing House, and War in Iraq for news; Axis of Logic, Dissident Voice, Democratic Underground, and Left End of the Dial for commentary. There are links to all these sites on the sidebar.]

Be at peace.

February 23, 2004

I know when I'm (temporarily) whipped . . . I'm an amateur at this stuff and there's too much happening for me to be very lucid. So - I'm taking a one week sabbatical and will resume this nonsense on March 1.

I encourage you, however, to use the sidebar links to stay informed. I recommend The Agonist, truthout, Information Clearing House, and War in Iraq for news; Axis of Logic, Dissident Voice, Democratic Underground, and Left End of the Dial for commentary.

Don't believe anything you hear from anyone else . . . and, until March 1, keep your head down, and . . .

Be at peace.

So much for the sabbatical - I'll have to delay it a bit, 'cause this stuff is just too important . . .

A couple of pieces out of the UK this weekend might give one pause. First, a piece by Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in The Observer, "Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us" tells how Doubleduh and The Cheney Gang have suppressed a scary report on catastrophic climate change. Excerpts:

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority . . .

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated . . .
Same source, same day, different article, "Key findings of the Pentagon", gives more details. Slices:

· By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands inhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento river area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.

· Between 2010 and 2020 Europe is hardest hit by climatic change with an average annual temperature drop of 6F. Climate in Britain becomes colder and drier as weather patterns begin to resemble Siberia.

· Deaths from war and famine run into the millions until the planet's population is reduced by such an extent the Earth can cope.

· Riots and internal conflict tear apart India, South Africa and Indonesia.

· Access to water becomes a major battleground. The Nile, Danube and Amazon are all mentioned as being high risk.

· A 'significant drop' in the planet's ability to sustain its present population will become apparent over the next 20 years.
This grim news is from The Pentagon, mind you. Lends a whole new angle to the term "Reality Television", doncha think?? Now watch the Christian Right. They're gonna just eat this stuff up.

Be at peace.

Back on sabbatical 'til 3/1. See this post for my recommendation about what to do with your brain until then.

By the way [sigh], for the record . . . I love the Cuban Revolution, but Fidel has become about as useful to the cause as (yeah, you guessed it) Ralph Nader; and Janet Jackson's right breast IS NOT part of the vast, immoral, left-wing conspiracy to enslave the minds of innocent Christian children! If we were really interested in that, we would NOT choose Janet Jackson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOW I'm on sabbatical.

Be at peace.

February 20, 2004

What's in a Word? - -

Recently I began to notice that not everyone referring to themselves as "progressives" were, in reality, Progressives. Progressive Gold, for example, a sort of "best of the Leftweb" site, tends to feature blurbs from Atrios/Eschaton and other sites and writers who, while often left-leaning, are not true progressives.

I really got a jolt when, in the same week, I heard both Ted Kennedy and John Kerry call themselves "progressives." I figured it must be open season on dictionaries. If they start calling themselves "populists", I swear I'll slap'em upside the head.

I learn as I go. It was no surprise to find that the DLC has nothing to do with democracy. However, I find myself getting pretty exercised these days about the blatant co-optation of the term "progressive" by The Progressive Policy Institute. PPI is the tweed and button-down version of PNAC. Its "Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National Security Strategy" is written to the same tune as PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century" - it's just a slightly different beat.

With that intro, today's must read is "'It's Time to Get Over It': Kerry Tells Anti-War Movement to Move On" by Mark Hand at ICH. Pieces:

The New Democrats don't begrudge the Bush administration for invading Iraq. They take issue with the Bush administration's strategy of refusing to invite key members of the international community to the invasion of Iraq until it was too late. The neocons' unilateralist approach, the New Democrats believe, will do ultimately harm U.S. political and economic dominance around the world.

"We are confident that a new Democratic strategy, grounded in the party's tradition of muscular internationalism, can keep Americans safer than the Republicans' go-it-alone policy, which has alienated our natural allies and overstretched our resources," the New Democrats say in their foreign policy manifesto. "We aim to rebuild the moral foundation of U.S. global leadership by harnessing America's awesome power to universal values of liberal democracy. A new progressive internationalism can point the way."

Proponents of "progressive internationalism" are a lock to control leadership positions at the State Department and key civilian posts at the Pentagon in a John Kerry administration. How do we know this? Because these New Democrats obviously ghostwrote Kerry's campaign book, A Call to Service: My Vision for A Better America. Place the Progressive Internationalism manifesto and Kerry's chapter on foreign policy side by side and you'll immediately notice the similarities . . .

"As a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the Vietnam protest movement, I say to both conservative and liberal misinterpretations of that war that it's time to get over it and recognize it as an exception, not as a ruling example, of the U.S. military engagements of the twentieth century. If those of us who carried the physical and emotional burdens of that conflict can regain perspective and move on, so can those whose involvement was vicarious or who knew nothing of the war other than ideology and legend."

This last passage is probably the most unsettling part of Kerry's book and one that every advocate of the Anyone-But-Bush 2004 election strategy should read before heading to the polling station in November.

In this one passage, Kerry seeks to justify the millions of people slaughtered by the U.S. military and its surrogates during the twentieth century, suggests that concern about U.S. war crimes in Vietnam is no longer necessary, and dismisses the antiwar movement as the work of know-nothings.

Kerry and his comrades in the progressive internationalist movement are as gung-ho about U.S. military action as their counterparts in the White House. The only noteworthy difference between the two groups battling for power in Washington is that the neocons are willing to pursue their imperial ambitions in full view of the international community, while the progressive internationalists prefer to keep their imperial agenda hidden behind the cloak of multilateralism.

Be at peace.

February 19, 2004

"The Assassination of Howard Dean" by Naeem Mohaiemen at yesterday's AlterNet is just absolutely bloody perfect. It's a must read. Clips:

What happened? How could Dean's insurgent candidacy, which had energized and excited voters in every state, come to such a screeching halt?

The pundits claim Dean's "rage" undid him, that voters took a "second look," etc. etc. Nonsense really. The answer is much simpler. Howard Dean was assassinated in broad daylight. Unlike Kennedy's "grassy knoll," Dean's killers are not hiding – it was the Democratic Party itself, and more specifically the DLC, that successfully went after, and sabotaged his candidacy . . .

In the end, Dean threatened a troika of powerful institutions. He was a threat to the political parties (because he attacked Democrats' centrist drift), to media (because he criticized their cowardly reporting) and to big business (because he would roll back chummy tax-benefits for corporations). All three institutions responded with venom and destroyed Dean's candidacy. In 1968, a sniper's bullet ended Robert Kennedy's anti-establishment candidacy. In 2004, the methods used were more subtle, but just as effective.
Be at peace.


United for Peace and Justice is organizing a national protest against the egregious war profiteering by Halliburton, KBR, CSC/Dyncorp, Bechtel, and The Carlyle Group for February 24. These companies have somewhere around 300+ offices around the country, so there's probably one near you.

There's also a Global Day of Action scheduled for March 20 - the one-year anniversary of the Iraq tragedy.

Click on the link to UPJ on the sidebar for full details.

Be at peace.

At truthout today, in "The One You’ve Been Waiting For", William Rivers Pitt echos my constant and fervant push of two key progressive principles: (1) in the face of monstrous evil, progressives must unite against the evil, rather than against each other; (2) it is individual, personal action and practice which will prevail - no single man will be the perfect savior. Excerpts:

Seldom in the history of American politics has the Democratic Party fielded a more competent, patriotic, excellent group of candidates for the office of the Presidency than that which has been in the running to date. A case can be made, however, that each has bruises on their records as progressives; from voting for the Iraq War Resolution to voting for the PATRIOT Act to espousing right-leaning economic principles to questionable allegiance to a woman’s right to choose, each and every candidate has failed the purity test somewhere along the line.

Yet held against the appalling record compiled by the Bush administration to date, of which the issues raised above comprise only a damnable fraction, the truth is as self-evident as the shining sun at noontime. Each and every one of the Democratic candidates represent a quantum leap forward for America, should any of them attain that high office. Each and every one of them can be pressured, cajoled, even attacked by the progressive community to act in a manner required by the people. No amount of pressure from the progressive community has moved the Bush administration one inch away from its extremist agenda to date, and no amount of pressure will move them should Bush win the 2004 election.

Is John Kerry the one you’ve been waiting for? Is John Edwards? Howard Dean? Dennis Kucinich? Al Sharpton? Were any of the candidates who have dropped out the one you’ve been waiting for? The answer to those questions will vary from person to person. At the end of the day, however, the final answer is no.

No, none of these candidates are the one you’ve been waiting for.

The one you’ve been waiting for has always been here. The one you’ve been waiting for pressured these candidates to fight the onslaught of the Bush administration. The one you’ve been waiting for took to the streets before the Iraq invasion, worked for the campaign which most inspired, agitated against the PATRIOT Act, spoke to friend and neighbor and family about what has gone wrong.

This final truth is self-evident. You are the one you’ve been waiting for. You drive the agenda. You make or break this political season. You are the hero. You’ve been here the whole time.
And at Axis of Logic, Manuel Valenzuela discusses "The Other Superpower: Fraternity, Solidarity and the World's People". A main theme emerges as we contemplate Pitt's powerful thoughts gathering in a global tsunami. Slices:

It is obvious what the first superpower is. The United States stands unchallenged among the brotherhood of nations. It is simply the most powerful state entity, economically and militarily, that the world has ever known. At present it has no rivals, no challengers. It stands alone among world nations in sheer power, able to dominate world decisions, regions and nations. No other political superpower exists.

To Noam Chomsky, however, a second superpower has emerged that may soon rival the United States. He is not referring to any one state or nation, though, which is still some years away from rivaling the US (think China). This new superpower is the growing fraternity and solidarity among the people’s of the world that are uniting in pursuit of justice, equality, nonviolence and human rights. This power is all of us, six billion humans, from all continents and walks of life, of all shades of the mutated human skin pigmentation phenomenon, having the joint potential of the greatest energy the world has ever witnessed.

We are too many, too important, too powerful. As individuals we are but mere plebeians, impotent to affect much of what goes on in the world. Fused together, however, we become that most powerful of armies that produces and consumes, that decides elections and fights in wars. We are the tools the elite and powerful need in order to continue subjugating and exploiting us. We are the battery that keeps thieves and murderers prospering. We are the bread that sustains them and the slaves that enrich them. So many of us and so few of them, yet we allow the scum of the Earth, the lowest common denominator to dictate what was, what is and what will become. Without us they become us.

Be at peace.

February 18, 2004

Now this is the sort of information we need: from Tom Paine, Laura Flanders looks under the hood at some of Kerry's machinery and finds some "suspect" parts. "Not Quite A Dream Team" discovers that folks like Richard Morningstar, Rand Beers, and William Perry are part of his foreign policy drive-train. Clip:

Morningstar, a former advisor to President Clinton on Caspian energy, was instrumental in pushing for the controversial Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The plan has strong support on both sides of the political aisle.

A consortium of oil companies are deeply invested, including Britain's BP, and the U.S. firms Unocal and Amerada Hess. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration did all it could to clear the way for BTC, including extending U.S. Export-Import Bank financing, and recruiting Dick Cheney, James Baker and others to lobby local governments. James Baker's law firm, Baker Botts, represents BP. Dick Cheney's Halliburton, an oil-industry supplier, won the contract to build refineries for several Caspian states. As a member of its Board of Directors, Condoleezza Rice helped negotiate Chevron's deal to drill the Caspian's purportedly richest field, the Tengiz.
So what about Edwards' team? Good question. It's become pretty clear that the issue/content-free "beauty pageant" atmosphere of the presidential election process, as perfected since JFK, just doesn't work. It would have been nice to know more about PNAC and The Cheney Gang before, not after, Doubleduh stole the election. We don't just elect presidents, we elect agendas and systems. Maybe we'll have to elect Kerry to get rid of Bush, but we should do it with eyes wide open. Might be a good idea to start asking who he's gonna have in his Cabinet and who the Undersecretaries, etc. are gonna be. And as I said, the same for Edwards. After all, John Edwards has ties to the Carolinas, where there's an awful lot of investment in the military-industrial complex.

Be at peace.


CNN is reporting that Howard Dean is seeking a meeting with John Edwards.

Be at peace.

More from the merry-go-round . . . couple of quotes from an IPS piece yesterday by Peyman Pejman, "Oil Fuels Record Growth - and Risks" . . .

Buoyed by the highest oil prices in years, the six countries comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are reaching some of the world's highest growth records - but it is also an achievement they might not be able to sustain . . .

Aside from declining oil revenue, the GCC countries have other problems that, unless addressed, could have adverse effects on their economies.

One is the continued overspending in defence.

In 2002, the last year for which official figures were readily available, GCC countries spent 37 billion dollars on arms purchases and other military expenditures. For the past two years, the six countries have on average spent 30 percent of their annual budget on defence, the highest percentage in the world.

Some countries like the United Arab Emirates have ordered airplanes, such as F-16 fighter jets, that are more sophisticated than the ones U.S. pilots use.

''Both through our efforts to beef up security in the Middle East and through their own love for military gadgets, the Middle East countries in general, and GCC countries in particular, have been a massive market for military and defence equipment,'' says a U.S. military official who could not be named in accordance with Pentagon rules.

Be at peace.

My Country 'Tis of Who?? . . . in the April 2004 edition of The Progressive, "The Ultimate Betrayal" by Howard Zinn reminds us of our history . . .

The people of the United States have been betrayed, because with the Cold War over and "the threat of communism" no longer able to justify the stealing of trillions of the public's tax dollars for the military budget, that theft of the national wealth continues. It continues at the expense of the sick, the children, the elderly, the homeless, the unemployed, wiping out the expectations after the fall of the Soviet Union that there would be a "peace dividend" to bring prosperity to all.

And yes, we come back to the ultimate betrayal, the betrayal of the young, sent to war with grandiose promises and lying words about freedom and democracy, about duty and patriotism. We are not historically literate enough to remember that these promises, those lies, started far back in the country's past.

Young men--boys, in fact (for the armies of the world, including ours, have always been made up of boys)--were enticed into the Revolutionary Army of the Founding Fathers by the grand words of the Declaration of Independence. But they found themselves mistreated, in rags and without boots, while their officers lived in luxury and merchants were making war profits. Thousands mutinied, and some were executed by order of General Washington. When, after the war, farmers in Western Massachusetts, many of them veterans, rebelled against the foreclosures of their farms, they were put down by armed force.

It is a long story, the betrayal of the very ones sent to kill and die in wars. When soldiers realize this, they rebel. Thousands deserted in the Mexican War, and in the Civil War there was deep resentment that the rich could buy their way out of service, and that financiers like J. P. Morgan were profiting as the bodies piled up on the battlefields. The black soldiers who joined the Union Army and were decisive in the victory came home to poverty and racism.

The returning soldiers of World War I, many of them crippled and shell-shocked, were hit hard, barely a dozen years after the end of the war, by the Depression. Unemployed, their families hungry, they descended on Washington, 20,000 of them from every part of the country, set up tents across the Potomac from the capital, and demanded that Congress pay the bonus it had promised. Instead, the army was called out, and they were fired on, tear-gassed, dispersed.

Be at peace.

February 17, 2004

I think Kurt Nimmo's gettin' a bit squirrely these days, but, hey . . . who'm I to say? Anyway, I think this post from yesterday on Another Day in the Empire is worth the read. He relates some thoughts on the coming apocalypse by Chalmers Johnson, an ex-spook whose book you can buy through my Amazon store. Here's a clip from the post:

"I think four sorrows inevitably accompany our current path. First is endless war... As it stands right now, since 9/11, Articles 4 and 6 of the Bill of Rights are dead letters. They are over... Second, imperial overstretch... The third thing is a tremendous rise in lying and deceit... The difficulty to believe anything that the government says any longer because they are now systematically lying to us on almost every issue. The fourth is bankruptcy. Attempting to dominate the world militarily is a very expensive proposition... The United States, for the last 15 years, has had trade deficits running at 5 percent every year. We are on the edge. If the rest of the world decides not to cooperate with us or just the rich people of East Asia decide the Euro is a better currency to put their money in than the dollar, we become a junkyard almost at once. The stock exchange would collapse and we would have a howling recession. All four of those things are likely to prevail... [The United States suffers from an] inability to reform. I think it is quite easy to imagine the defeat of George Bush as president. I do not find it easy at all that any successor to George Bush would make any difference... That leads me to the conclusion that we are probably going to reap what we have sown. That is blowback."
Yo! Kurt!! BTW!! Thanks for the link . . . take a valium . . . and come up with somethin' constructive to add to the debate, dammit!!!!

Those who regularly stop by here know that I'm more depressed than most about "stuff" these days. But it ain't over yet, folks . . . not by a long shot. This is our world, too. We can still take it back from the evil empire. Da, DAAA . . . da, da, da, DAAH dah . . .

Be at peace.

Hoo Haw!! You gotta see this one, Bubba. From USA Today/AP this morning, "Prosecutor in terror case controversy sues Ashcroft." Excerpts:

A federal prosecutor in a major terrorism case in Detroit has taken the rare step of suing Attorney General John Ashcroft, alleging the Justice Department interfered with the case, compromised a confidential informant and exaggerated results in the war on terrorism . . .

The lawsuit includes excerpts of an e-mail from another prosecutor in the case that Convertino says "identified some of the gross mismanagement which was negatively impacting the ability of the United States to obtain convictions in a major terrorist case."

The e-mail from the other prosecutor shows he complained at the time that efforts by Justice's terrorism unit in Washington to "insinuate themselves into this trial are, nothing more than a self-serving effort to justify the existence" of the unit.

"They have rendered no assistance and, are in my judgment, adversely impacting on both trial prep and trial strategy," the e-mail cited in the lawsuit states.

Convertino also accused Justice officials of intentionally divulging the name of one of his confidential terrorism informants (CI) to retaliate against him.
Isn't it interesting that the folks who say they're gonna vote for Doubleduh cite his commitment to fighting terrorism?

Be at peace.

And speaking of the War on Terror, have you been keeping up with our success story in Afghanistan? Tom Englehardt has been and in TomDispatch he quotes Ahmed Rashid and Ben Russell (scroll to 2/12) . . .

At this point, Afghanistan is certainly the forgotten war and the forgotten "nation-building" project. As Ahmed Rashid, superb reporter and author of the authoritative book Taliban, has written recently in the New York Review of Books, there's a reason why. Most of the country remains a failing non-state. Rashid recently went back to Afghanistan, essentially to retrace a trip he took in 1994-95 when he first covered the Taliban, a bizarre movement largely created by the Pakistani intelligence services and jihadis whose oppressive version of "Islam" bore little relation to anything Afghans had ever known. As he comments (The Mess in Afghanistan):

"Nearly a decade later, this past autumn, I made the same journey again. What I saw was history repeating itself -in some respects in ways that were worse than before. 'The Taliban are gathering again in the same places from where they started, it's like a rerun of an old movie,' says Ahmed Wali Karzai, the President's brother… Taliban fighters, I was told, are better equipped than they were in 1994. They are buying Thuraya satellite telephones and hundreds of Honda motorbikes to carry out guerrilla raids; they are also importing night-vision equipment from the Arab Gulf states." . . .

According to Ben Russell of the British Independent, "The United Nations warned last year that opium production was spreading like a cancer in Afghanistan, with the country producing three quarters of the world's illicit opium, from which heroin is made. The UN estimates that two thirds of all opiate users [world-wide] take drugs of Afghan origin." And this year's crop is supposed to be larger still.
So what we really get outta all this is cheap smack?? Oh, well . . . I was thinkin' 'bout gettin' back into the treatment business again.

Be at peace.

February 16, 2004

I like this story about Dennis Kucinich's campaign, from Sunday's WaPo. Clip:

"One consequence of poverty is being invisible," Kucinich said, echoing the words of Michael Harrington's 1962 book, "The Other America," which helped launch the war on poverty. "Another is drugs. Another is violence. I've said before that poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. We need to disarm it."
So why am I mentioning Kucinich, seeing as how I withdrew my support for his presidential bid a while ago? Because his ideas are still the best on the block.

If Kerry beats Bush in November, you can bet this blog will push Dennis' progressive agenda full force. Biting my tongue about Kerry is hard sometimes. I lived in Massachusetts, lost friends in 'Nam, and watched Kerry's career develop. He's a Democratic Party establishment hard-liner who's pretty much kept his head down for the last 25 years in anticipation of just such an opportunity as he has now. It is indeed sad that corporations have so much control over government that a rich hawk like this "neo-JFK" may be our next president. However, it will be much sadder if Doubleduh is still in The White House a year from now.

A full-scale attack by the Hard Left on whoever the Dem candidate turns out to be will be sheer, self-destructive narcissism. One of the main roadblocks to the successful ascendancy of a progressive program is the Left's historic inability to identify the enemy. The Left just don't like nobody. And we still don't have a strategy for winning. Until there is organization, cooperation, communication, humility, and clarity among progressives, we better support Kerry or Edwards or both, if that's the ticket.

By the way . . . we progressives do have some control over what gets in the media. Howzabout some folks analyzing what it took to saturate the waves with the gay marriage stuff this past week. Bottle whatever it was and use it on the real issues. Am I anti-gay marriage? Of course not! But timing is everything. Maybe I'm just downright unamerican, but I think I'd rather we concentrate on issues more important to all the living things on the planet at the present time.

Be at peace.

February 13, 2004

Maybe I'm not one to talk, given some of the diatribes, rants, and howls I've published, but it occurs to me that we writers on the Left are less effective (at best) when we resort to some of the near-literate and adolescent name-calling appearing on some of the popular news/blog/websites lately. Personally, I'm more likely to read a piece that's introduced with a mature and respectful headline than one which calls someone "lower than pond scum."

Let me give you an example: as with several authors and organizations I link to on the sidebar, I often disagree with Josh Marshall. But I keep the link alive and read him frequently because his work is respectful and well-reasoned. If a particular opinion or analysis of his upsets me, it is because of the content, not the level of language.

If Kerry is tagged (I'm not predicting it, seeing as how my endorsements have already been the kiss of death for Kucinich and Dean) and boots Doubleduh, we will have much work ahead of us. He is the epitomy of Dumbopublican-establishment power. An enormous amount of his financial support comes from the same "special interest" firms and job-exporting corporations he's stumping against these days. Yeah, he's a neo-liberal hawk, but probably is the best we're gonna do.

What's my point? As I've said so often, our job will be to keep people's interest alive, keep pushing the truth, lead coalition-building, and driving change. In order to gain back the respect squandered by the Left during the past half-century, we'll have to do a little better than referring to the opposition as fecal matter.

Be at peace.

Today's must read is from River of Baghdad Burning. You think you got problems?

Be at peace.

February 12, 2004

Well, just maybe they're listening. Reagan, Bush the Elder, and Clinton couldn't do it! But . . . could it be . . . Doubleduh may have been successful in doing what no Democrat has done since FDR - unite the Democratic Party!!! This, from the Christian Science Monitor: "Democrats' kid-glove campaign" by Liz Marlantes. Clips:

The lack of conflict is highly unusual for an out party, which tends to be far less united than the party in the White House and often faces deep ideological splits during the primary season. Analysts attribute it to a number of factors, from the frontloaded calendar - which has greatly magnified the impact of Kerry's momentum from contest to contest and left his opponents little time to recover - to dwindling resources among Kerry's rivals.

It also reflects a consensus among all the campaigns that this year, more than ever, intraparty attacks are likely to backfire. With Democratic voters focused on beating President Bush, most say they do not want to see the candidates tearing each other apart, but instead focusing their fire on the White House - a factor that has undoubtedly worked to Kerry's benefit.
Maybe we should make the prez an honorary (or is that "ornery"?) member of the Democratic Party.

Be at peace.

Please note the party affiliation in the following clip from "Defense Contractors Owe Billions in Unpaid Taxes, Investigation Finds" by Mary Dalrymple of The Associated Press in this morning's TBO:

"The Pentagon needs to start targeting more firepower on the management side on fraud and abuse in the system and go after the thousands of defense contractors that routinely renege on paying their taxes," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's investigations subcommittee reviewed the findings Thursday and members asked why the contractors hadn't been held accountable.

"Why is the Department of Defense, which is among the most sophisticated purchasers of goods and services of all federal departments, continuing to do business with these companies?" asked Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Heh, heh! I think Susan knows the answer to that question, but I think there might be more rats deserting our sinking ship of state as November approaches.

This, and so many other stories, got bumped from major media news by Janet Jackson's right breast and the investigation that is now being conducted about how Janet Jackson's right bre . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhfuggedaboudit!!!!

Be at peace.

February 09, 2004

Had a touch of the flu this weekend, friends. Hope I'll be back full steam in a coupla daze.

Meanwhile . . . my friend Jim sent me a heads up for the Economic Policy Institute, so I pass it along. Here is a quote from the February 4 "Economic Snapshot":

In the 25 months since the recession ended, total wage and salary income is up only 0.4%. It should be emphasized that this is growth after the recession ended and does not include income losses incurred while the economy was contracting. This is the slowest wage and salary growth of any recession since 1959, the first year in which monthly data on total wage and salary income is consistently available.
Now that I think about it, I'm not better off than I was 40 years ago. Hmmmmmmmmmm . . .

Be at peace.

The latest rationale for invading Iraq:

Laura Bush revealed today that she had a vision in which Saddam Hussein was considering buying a radioactive watch.

Be at peace.

From AP yesterday, by way of Newsday and The News Insider - "Feds Win Right to War Protesters Records" by Ryan Foley. Clips:

what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.

In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served this past week on four of the activists who attended a Nov. 15 forum at the school, ordering them to appear before a grand jury Tuesday, the protesters said . . .

Those served subpoenas include the leader of the Catholic Peace Ministry, the former coordinator of the Iowa Peace Network, a member of the Catholic Worker House, and an anti-war activist who visited Iraq in 2002.

They say the subpoenas are intended to stifle dissent.

"This is exactly what people feared would happen," said Brian Terrell of the peace ministry, one of those subpoenaed. "The civil liberties of everyone in this country are in danger. How we handle that here in Iowa is very important on how things are going to happen in this country from now on."
How is it so much easier to criminalize war protest than it is to criminalize war mongering?

Be at peace.

From AP yesterday, by way of Newsday and The News Insider - "Feds Win Right to War Protesters Records" by Ryan Foley. Clips:

what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.

In addition to the subpoena of Drake University, subpoenas were served this past week on four of the activists who attended a Nov. 15 forum at the school, ordering them to appear before a grand jury Tuesday, the protesters said . . .

Those served subpoenas include the leader of the Catholic Peace Ministry, the former coordinator of the Iowa Peace Network, a member of the Catholic Worker House, and an anti-war activist who visited Iraq in 2002.

They say the subpoenas are intended to stifle dissent.

"This is exactly what people feared would happen," said Brian Terrell of the peace ministry, one of those subpoenaed. "The civil liberties of everyone in this country are in danger. How we handle that here in Iowa is very important on how things are going to happen in this country from now on."
How is it so much easier to criminalize war protest than it is to criminalize war mongering?

Be at peace.

Hey!! For you Righties that shudder and swoon at the prospect of voting for a [choke] [stutter] Democrat, but realize that Doubleduh and The Cheney Gang are giving conservatism a bad name . . . you do have a choice. James at The Left End of the Dial points us gleefully at the Republican presidential primary campaign of Bill Wyatt. As James points out, Wyatt got 10% of the Republican primary vote in Oklahoma. Here are a couple of items from Wyatt's platform:

7) Abort the Zealot: Stop running the government like it is a religous/corporate cult. Creating fantasy based distractions to avoid our real problems is a continuation of the bait and switch politics of Bush. Expanding our borders to Mars is just that. The same goes for constitutional amendment relating to banning gay marriage and additional legislation regarding abortion. God was not elected to run our government and George W. Bush has proven that he does not have a separation between church and state.

8) Fix the Infrastructure: Consumerism is not going to support our economy in the long run, refocus the driving force of our economy to modern and sustainable business models that will grow into the future.
Heh . . . hate to say it, but this guy sounds better than most of the Dumbopublican opposition.

One more thing . . . if the hard-core Lefties insist on trashing Kerry or whichever establishment Dem gets the nod, and Bush wins, I want Socialist Workers and Social Democrats to take up a collection to pay for my boat ticket outtaheah!

Be at peace