Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm A Fighting Liberal

by Steve Gilliard

You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.

The Founding Fathers, as flawed as they were, slaveowners and pornographers, smugglers and terrorists, understood one thing, a man's path to God needed no help from the state. Is the religion of these conservatives so fragile that they need the state to prop it up, to tell us how to pray and think? Is that what they stand for? Is that their America?

Conservatism plays on fear and thrives on lies and dishonesty. I grew up with honest, decent conservatives and those people have been replaced by the party of greed. It is one thing to want less government interference and smaller, fiscally responsible government. It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest. They are building an America which cannot be sustained. One based on the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. The indifferent boss who hires too few people and works them to death or until they break down sick. Cheap labor capitalism has replaced common sense. "Globalism" which is really guise for exploitation, replaced fair trade, which is nothing like fair for the trapped semi-slaves of the maquliadoras. In the Texas border towns, hundreds of these women have been used as sex slaves and then apparently killed,the FBI powerless to do anything as the criminals sit in Mexico untouched by law.

For the better part of a decade, the conservatives made liberal a dirty word. Well, it isn't. It represents the best and most noble nature of what America stands for: equitable government services, old age pensions, health care, education, fair trials and humane imprisonment. It is the heart and soul of what made American different and better than other countries. Not only an escape from oppression, but the opportunity to thrive in land free of tradition and the repression that can bring. We offered a democracy which didn't enshrine the rich and made them feel they had an obligation to their workers.

Bush and the people around him disdain that. They think, by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer.

Liberal does not and has not meant weak until the conservatives said it did. Was Martin Luther King weak? Bobby Kennedy? Gene McCarthy? It was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who wanted to hold on to the old ways.

It's time to regain the sprit of FDR and Truman and the people around them. People who believed in the public good over private gain. It is time to stop apologizing for being a liberal and be proud to fight for your beliefs. No more shying away or being defined by other people. Liberals believe in a strong defense and punishment for crime. But not preemption and pointless jail sentences. We believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.

It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.

Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi sattlelite state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.

It is time to stop looking for an accomodation with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Steve Gilliard

when the time comes, tell your grandchildren to read steve's archives...
that is all.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Prolegomena to any future really-soon-to-come-nuclear-holocaust

Suicide Attack on Rally May Have Killed Bhutto
--the careful Pravda-on-the-Hudson @8:50 AM EST, 27 Dec 07

Saturday, December 22, 2007

mark her words

" I dread the upcoming election year, because it’s going to speak volumes about whether or not we can salvage democracy in this environment." -- Amanda Marcotte (

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


h/t crooks&liars (yeah!)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Just one of the many many things not to say to an officer of the law

"I don't give a fuck who you are, I'm a fucking TV reporter, you fucking dyke." -- alleged retort of famed Philly newscaster Alycia Lane.

She shudda saved it for the Phillies...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Will decent Americans stand against torture, or are we already lost?

This Sunday the Washington Post ran an article that claims that Nancy Pelosi was first briefed on the harsh interrogation techniques, known as torture to non orwellian challenged people, that the CIA was (is?) using as early as September of 2002. See this link for the complete article.

Now the article clearly was written to try and absolve the CIA of wrong doing. It claims that because six maybe eight members ( the article is not clear about all of the people present) were briefed about the program and they did not object, then the program was OK'd by congress and thus legal. Now I am not a lawyer nor a constitutional scholar, but it is my understanding that it takes more than six, or eight, non votes to amend the constitution, or even nullify a treaty. The constitution clearly states that cruel and unusual punishment is not allowed, and many of the treaties that we have signed contain clauses outlawing torture. Briefing any number of people, even thousands, does not make torture legal in this country.

What do these allegations mean about Nancy Pelosi? She has not denied them, in fact she admits that she was briefed but did not see the memo. Who needs a memo when the CIA briefs you and tells you in person what they are going to do? It is like saying " yes I was in the meeting, but since I never received the minutes I am not responsible for the commitments I made in the meeting". Try that at work sometime, and see how well that works. It means that despite her public statements, she has supported torture for more than five years. I find this totally unacceptable.

Decent people in this country need to send a very clear signal about torture. We the decent people of America do not support torture. And that we will not support any politician, regardless of party affiliation or positions on other issues, that endorses the use of torture, period. Any politician, including the Speaker of the House, who endorses torture should face a primary challenge this coming year. The Democrats are not running anybody against Mrs. Pelosi because of their very twisted sense of loyalty. However, Cindy Sheehan is running as an Independent for Pelosi's seat in Congress. I urge everybody to support Ms. Sheehan, see this link for her official website.

Also, check the actions, not just rhetoric of your Congress people. Give all of your support to their opponents if they are at all unequivocal on this issue. In my opinion there is no gray area here. Either you are humane and oppose torture at all times, or you are a barbarian. It is time we worked to remove all of the barbarians from public office in this country.

Friday, December 7, 2007

not as if they were somebody's kids, somebody's spouse or parent

"Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers," Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a meeting with constituents this week.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

danny glover -- whatta country!

yeah did you see the ad too?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

randy newman -- whatta country!

-- thx to jeff fecke of the marvelous shakers...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Papa, do you REALLY think this country would vote for a woman for President of the United States?"

Chris Matthews will be damned if it does.
...not to mention all the "Bitchy Boys" of November... startin' with McCain.
and the baby Jeebus will weep, weep and weep... ask any Babtist...

It'll take more than Hillary to jerk these jerks around by their choke collars. It'll likely take a huge majority of women to vote this country away from its next deeper dive into insanity -- with Giuliani, Romney, or St. John.

The "clown car" image of the Repub nominees is less funny daily...

I don't quite see Rudy the Insane slouching toward Washington to be born quite as prominently as I saw Bush in 1999. But it grows. And the media hasn't even rolled up its sleeves yet to make that Repub-Demo contest as close as possible.

So if it's Hillary vs. Crazy Rudy, and the media has its heyday disemboweling Hillary at every opportunity (while ignoring the already documented hideousness of Rudy Giuliani and his political mob of monsters) -- then the NEW lesson learned, ramped up from the one learned by the Murikan people in rejecting Gore for Bush, will be the shameful confession of a slight taint of misogyny in the culture, leading to the close victory of Giuliani. "... and we'll all learn a lesson from this, right?"

So here's to the US political process for the presidential campaign of 2008, and its media coverage: "Fuck you." (yer makin' worms' meat of the whole planet, you dumb shits ...)

For truly I say unto you: You won't be able to get far enough away from this country if Giuliani becomes president.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Must Be The Season of the Witch

Ahhh! The Republicans came to the healing waters of the "value voters" on the Sabbath of their god, and the candidates did lay out their gifts like bread upon the waters....

Besides their usual debate strategy: A linguistic simulation of carving off large chunks of meat from the carcass of some dead mammal and throwing them into a cage full of ferocious wild beasts to rip and gobble up -- i.e., all the Republican talking points, domestic and foreign, stoked on greed, selfishness, fear and anger (What? You hadn't noticed?) Each Repub candidate tries to cut off an even larger, bloodier chunk to get the ferocious beasts to frenzy all the more -- they did a NEW THING (at least according to the way media- and blog- receptors portrayed it...)

And no, I didn't watch the debate: Gad, I can't even handle the Discovery channel. Hell, to be honest, I just can't handle the teevee at all anymore -- as they say, "teh stupid, it burns."

So the NEW THING, the new Fall rollout, was puttin' the target on the Clinton-with-cleavage -- the only Vaginal-American -- running for the prez spot. There are juicy videos elsewhere on the web: tbogg's got the one with a roomful of Hillary-haters off the FOX coverage, and holy baby jesus if they don't spread the seeds of hate all over the place. They might come off as dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers (or a bag of Sean Hannitys, as tbogg would have it) but friends: these are your neighbors -- or these are the people who will socialize with your neighbors over the next year... and guess what? We've never seen the likes of swiftboating until the anti-Vaginal-American, anti-Hillary machine starts rolling downhill, if she secures the nomination...

So we got the certifiably insane Republican presidential candidates all atwitter over The Hillary during their Jeebus-loves-me-me-me debate. And there are probably a bunch a reasons for that, though the obvious one is that she has her machine fine-tuned and humming, and the media is perkin' away at her "framed" "narrative" of inevitability. Let's get the woman, that vessel of sin, that great metaphysical Other...

So my question is: Can the Republicans 'pick' Hillary, and then go out and beat her because sexist America will never vote for a woman for president? -- particularly after the Republican machine plays the biggest pipe organ of productions in swiftboating The Hillary.

Just thinking about all the hooks they'll have in misogynist and misClintonist hatred gives me a bellyache.

And is she set up for this? Going all "third way" centrist, with the triangulation that may end up the best weakening of her own opportunity. Because being Repub-lite isn't going to get it, if whoever gets the GOP nomination goes all Eisenhower-Ford-Rockefeller and the myth of Reagan -- as Bob Moser suggests in his Nation magazine series on this year's entertain-election. It's the building "frame" for the 2008 "narrative," and according to Bob, even Romney or Giuliani could beat The Hillary if they carry off the "back to 1956" scenario...

But I've been worried about THE TOTALITY since my daughter -- insightful but too busy by far mother-of-three to pay much attention to this pre-2008 circus -- listened to my spiel for about five minutes, my unreserved optimism about the Dems shoe-in to the White House in 2008.

"Papa, you really think this country will elect a woman or a person of color to be president?" It was my daughter expressing in a matter-of-fact tone an obvious query -- as if her three year-old had said that the sky was green. She arched her eyebrows -- as though now was the time for my first early-geriatric, "base" neurological test.

My sweet, uncynical-to-the-Nth-degree, Eugene OR daughter, calling me back to earth for a reality test. I had a searingly complex feeling of embarrassment, disorientation, and terror. I stammered, stuttered, dropped the subject for awhile...

So now, I find myself able to evoke that feeling anytime I want to: In 2008, are we thinking that Hillary (or Barack) will be greeted with flowers and candy, you know, like Baghdad 2003?

Yeah, it could well be that 2008 is the gateway to the next bigger nightmare.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NAFTA Super Highway

That is the title of an article in the August 27th edition of the Nation magazine. In the article Christopher Hayes talks about a current right wing conspiracy theory about a large super highway which is supposed to run from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. You should read the article for details, here is the link .

My interest in the article is the concern on the Right about international trade which fuels the opposition to such a super highway. Opponents of the highway are concerned about US sovereignty and how making it easier to transport goods manufactured outside the United States into middle America threatens our independence. In other words, the nationalist in the GOP are becoming concerned about what the free traders of the country are doing.

The article claims the right-wingers are fixated on a supposed highway that does not exist nor is it proposed. However, the article does explain that existing highways already connect a Mexican deep water port and Toronto, Canada to Kansas City where investors are trying to promote Kansas City as a hub for international trade. I don't know if this highway is proposed or not, but I believe that if it is cheaper ( and possibly as reliable and as timely) to import goods from China through Mexico than many businesses will choose to use that route and, for the time being, existing highways will serve just fine. When the existing highways become overcrowded they will be expanded or new ones will be built.

NAFTA eliminated the tariffs which would have made this trade route impractical and clause in the NAFTA reauthorization bill permits Mexican truck drivers to drive Mexican trucks on US roads. Goods coming into the US from Mexico will have no tariffs, do not have to be transferred from Mexican to domestic trucks, and can be delivered to their destination in the US by drivers being paid Mexican labor rates. Much has been done in the last fifteen years to make the equivalent of a NAFTA superhighway more likely not less likely.

Back to the Right’s concern about international trade. The arguments made by opponents of this highway have some similarities to the Left’s concern about so called free trade and corporate globalization. The Right opposes the highway because they see it has a threat to US sovereignty. In short, they do not want foreigners to control what happens on our roads. Now this sentiment has racist overtones which anti-corporate globalization advocates reject, but it does seem to open a possible channel for dialogue. If they are concerned about foreign corporations influencing US politics, why aren’t they concerned about the influence of US corporations on our political institutions? If foreign trade decreases our independence, what about the WTO? The WTO was also created by free trade agreements and exercises control over US environmental, safety and labor regulations, but the Right rarely, if ever, includes it in their list of international conspirators.

In the past the Right has staunchly defended US corporations, free enterprise and deregulation. Perhaps this fear of the NAFTA Superhighway will allow them to see where the unfettered market leads and help them gain some understanding of why regulations are needed.
The second part of the article talks about a very real highway proposal in Texas to construct a large privately held toll road from the Mexican border up through the eastern corridor of that state. The highway will be constructed and operated by a Spanish firm. The fact that the road will be a toll road and that it will be privately controlled by a foreign firm has drawn lots of opposition in Texas from Republican activists. They are concerned that this proposal takes all the decisions about where to put the road, how much to charge etc.. out of local people’s control into the hands of a foreign entity.

[Terri] Hall soon became part of the broader anti-TTC effort, and though she originally thought she was just fighting a corrupt local government, she's come to view her battle in a much broader context. "There are big-time control issues," she said. "Someone is really jockeying around to control some things here in America. It explains the open borders, it explains our immigration
issues, it explains our free-trade issues, what it's doing to the middle class. "
The Left should oppose this type of proposal for many of the same reasons. But, I have the same concerns about the privatization of our public roads (or other public infrastructure for that matter) whether the corporation owning the road is domestic or foreign. Either way, local people have no control over how that road will be operated, yet will pay most of the cost via tolls and will be forced to live with the results.

Here in North Carolina, the I-85 bridge across the Yadkin river needs to be replaced. This is a major bridge. I-85 connects Charlotte to Greensboro & Raleigh and on a larger scale Atlanta & New Orleans to Washington DC and the rest of the Northeastern seaboard. In addition to that there are only six bridges that cross the Yadkin between Winston Salem and the South Carolina border. Someone going from Greensboro to Charlotte would add 30 to 40 miles and 45 minutes to their trip if they wanted to avoid the I-85 bridge. This is a trip that tens of thousands of North Carolinians make every day. Yet some politicians in North Carolina want to solicit proposals for private companies to replace the bridge and operate it as a toll bridge. Proponents of the privately owned toll bridge claim that North Carolina cant afford to replace the bridge and that private capital will be required. This is a cop out of the largest degree. Of course the State can afford to build this bridge, but it will most likely require federal subsidy and additional local taxes, advocating for either of these things requires real leadership, something that is in real short supply these days. Instead corrupt politicians see it as a way to enrich their friends on the public dole, and lazy ones just see it as an easy way out.

The push to privatize our public assets has supporters in both political parties in this country. To defeat this dangerous trend, we need opponents from both the Right and the Left side of the political spectrum. We, on the Left, should engage with opponents of this superhighway and ask about their concerns and then talk to them of our concerns about privatization and unfettered capitalism in general. Because if you take away the underlying racism of the Right’s concerns, there is much common ground that we can find on this issue.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Prophetic witness

According to Cornel West in Democracy Matters:

Prophetic witness consist of human deeds of justice and kindness that attend to the unjust sources of human hurt and misery. It calls attention to the causes of the unjustified suffering and unnecessary social misery and highlights personal and institutional evil. The especial aim of the prophetic utterance is to shatter deliberate ignorance and willful blindness to the suffering of others and to expose the clever forms of evasion and escape we devise in order to hide and conceal injustices.
This definition seems to fit the beliefs and actions of a great many activist on the left. I agree with it's premise that if all mankind strove to be prophetic witnesses and acted accordingly than suffering in the world would be reduced. However, I am concerned that being actively conscious of all the injustice in the world is hard. Not that it is too hard on me personally. I am mearly pointing out that my life would be easier if I choose to ignore injustice and pretend it doesn't exist. Or better yet I could blame the victim for their ill fate and my
conscience would be clean.

In my opinion the Right has done a very good job of building a culture that blames the victim. To change this culture will be extremely difficult because it requires people to do something which is much harder on them personally. We want them to take responsibility for their part in creating and/or exacerbating the suffering in the world, and to change they way they live.

The Right tells the middle class and wealthier people that they are innocent, the poor are responsible for their own stake in life. Then the Right plays to the wealthy's pride in achieving their status, "You are a responsible citizen and look at how you have succeeded, if only they worked hard, like you, they too would be wealthy." The Right says you are just fine the way you are. The Left says you are part of the problem and you must change to make the world a better place.

You can see why the Right's message is appealing to many people and why the people who agree with the Right just want those pesky leftist to shut up and go back to wherever they came from. (Note: pesky leftist are always from someplace else, but that is another post.)

Around the Left blogosphere people are writing about creating a progressive culture. We realize that we can not reverse the long term political rightward trend in this country, if we do not replace the culture of "individual responsibility" with a culture of "caring and community." A culture where it is not "every person for themselves" but one where "we are all in this together." I applaud this effort and think it is absolutely essential.

But we must recognize that we are asking people to choose the harder road. Individuals have to sacrifice some of their wants and desires in order to build community. If we do not offer people some reward for their sacrifice then I fear our efforts will be in vain. No, I don't know how to describe the reward, but a better world is not a sufficient reward. It has to be something personal which rewards each individual for their sacrifice.

To live in community is more fulfilling than to live in isolation. We each try to build a circle of friends whom we trust, but we ignore those outside our circle. When we are young we have free time and our circle of friends tends to be large. As we get older, work takes more time, family takes more time, and as everyone gets busier our circle shrinks. At the extreme, people only associate with coworkers at work and their family for the rest of their time. To engage in your community to address common concerns is a way to break this cycle of isolation, to expand ones circle and thus live a more fulfilling life.

American today is a very alienated society. Americans feel isolated from their neighbors and fear people they do not know. The elite in this country benefit from our isolation and appear to reinforce our individualism constantly. They know that only in combination can we challenge their power and status. This is a challenge for the Left but it is also an opportunity. People are uneasy in their isolation. If we can convince them that not only are we stronger together we are happier and more fulfilled as individuals when we are together than we will be moving in the right direction.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Emmanuel Goldstein"

Here he comes... the Ministry of Truth is finally getting its terrorist-actor thing right...

google "al qaeda" (News)

they are ALL al qaeda
... and we are ALL bozos on this bus...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Big Dick Cheney in Weimar

I cant think of a better example of the triumph of 'truthless' postmodernism a la Lynn Cheney's nemesis (in what are her several apologetic theologies for superman-amerika -- "truth, justice and the amerikan way..." yee-haw) than her creepy evil husband's neat trick of making his office of the vice-presidency a fourth branch of the federal government.

This little coup has been spieling along for sometime now in little asides to the press -- Cheney people feigning a head-slapping Goober Pyle incredulity that the Veep is the President's right hand AND the Prez of the Senate. [Josh Marshall started remarking on it months ago.]

PoMo Civics, mofo: If he's Pres of the Senate, he's Legislative; if he's second to the President, he's Executive. So he's like: Nobody tells me what to do... You aren't the boss of me...

Golly and holy mackeral, how has anybody been able to cope with such an incongruent, and de-stable collection of descriptors of the Office of Duh Veep for, say, the last two hundred and thirty years? It makes you yearn for the days of a "pitcher of warm spit."

So Dick Cheney is my new Nietzschean hero... he knows will-to-power as the ultimate paradigm of western civilization at this historical juncture when he smells it. And he knows how to grab it, just like he knows how to shoot old men in the face with birdshot.

A'course, the Democrats are the real losers in this titanic battle beyond good and evil. They have adapted well the slave morality, the silly whimpering Christian resentiment against the snarling mad dog Republican coup d'état. The Demos have always been for "the common good" and for protecting the small from the big. But now, the small is tiny and the big is gigantic, and there aint no protecting anymore. It is impossible. The gigantic is just gonna eat up all the little tinies. You and me, Ace, and our kids, we're fucked.

The paradigm has shifted, sweet caring Demos (or older cliche: you cant put the genie or the toothpaste back in the lamp/tube). Democracy in America is moving from D'tocqueville to Gringrich, or has been. I often think these days that Amerika is only now wrestling with fascism the way Europe did a half century ago. The US only responded militarily to fascism in Europe.

Now "it can't happen here" is starting to happen in a uniquely American way, as the uniquely American institutions -- corporations, churches, public education, media -- all transform themselves into what they need to be as American fascism saturates the various cultural textures of our society. Mainly, these institutions just get stupid and crude and violent. It is the everydayness of the de-humanization that is fascism. And the police will come along soon enough.

(Certainly the shift, the amazing shift that has taken place in the last generation or so, the message to our youth: "We don't need you. We don't necessarily have room for you. You aren't necessarily welcome here. No guarantees." I didn't get that growing up in the 50s. I got the message that I was wanted and needed by society. But then, I'm an old white guy. And now, oh, sweet karma, even young white guys are no longer getting the message that Blacks and women probably didnt get in the 50s. Nobody is getting it. Corporate culture means all humans are interchangeable parts, except, of course, the big Daddies at the top... Care is so passé... )

So what we got kids: We got Weimar. Right now, maybe through the 2008 election -- until the big bad booger terrorists hit us in a way for which there is no appropriate response outside of "an extra-Constitutional emergency." Read about Weimar, compare what we know happened in Germany between the wars and what is happening here and now -- culturally, politically, mythically. And yes, it will be on the test...

Ha ha ha, what chumps we are...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Corporate Thieves of the World Rejoice!!!!

Today the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck another blow to the individual investor. According to the NY Times: ( )

The Supreme Court dealt a new blow today to investors suing companies over accusations of fraud when it set a higher standard to prevent the lawsuits from being dismissed.

The decision was the second this week by the court that was a defeat for shareholders and a victory for the defendant companies. On Monday, the justices ruled that securities underwriters on Wall Street are generally immune from civil antitrust lawsuits.

That's right, SCOTUS has once again signaled that a corporate "person hood" is more important than an individual person. So if you are a shiftless executive who has cooked the books to convince investors to continue to invest in your failing company, you can rest easy tonight, knowing that SCOTUS is on your side. If your a poor SOB who has had his life savings stolen by such a company, your just going to have to tough it out, quit your whining and plan to retire sometime around age 85. Or to paraphrase a friend of mine " I am making progress, now I am only going to have to work one month past the day I die."

Just remember, rob a convenience store and you go to jail. Rob thousands of people of hundreds of millions of dollars and you can retire as a successful captain of industry and our Government will protect you from prosecution.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Heck of a job, Al

It is reassuring to know that Bush has even more confidence that Alberto Gonzales is doing his job, after seeing Gonzales' testimony in front of the senate last week.

Leaving aside the fact that Bush's press secretary admitted, right after saying Bush was satisfied Gonzales' testimony, that Bush had not actually seen Al's testimony. That was last week, maybe Bush has watched the hearing since that press conference.

The real question I have is just what job did Bush hire Al to do. Maybe he was hired to lie to the American people and Congress and generally shed no light on anything the Justice Department has been involved in since he was named Attorney General. If that is his job description, I can see why Bush is so pleased with Al's performance.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

health care for the poor

Below is a statement which I lifted from Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer. It is a public statement by a group of poor rural Haitians published in 2001. I think that it raises many good points which we should all ponder. Most poignantly, it asks "is every human being not a person?", and states "The right to health is a right to life. Everyone has a right to live."

Something is very wrong with our public health systems. Miracles for those with limitless resources. Very little, or nothing, for the poor. This statement makes the case that public health and access to medical care our human rights. Perhaps if we could view access to health care as inalienable as freedom of speech we might structure our national health care system in a more equatable manner, and also work to make the global health care system more equatable.

It is we who are sick; it is therefore we who take responsibility to declare our suffering, our misery, and our pain as well as our hope. We hear many poignant statements about our circumstances, but feel compelled to say something clearer and more resounding than what we have heard from others.

[We] are fortunate to have access to medications and health care even though we do not have money to buy them. Many of our health problems have been resolved with [antiretroviral] medications. Given how dire our situation was prior to treatment, we have benefited greatly. But while we feel fortunate to have access to these services, we feel great sadness for others who don't receive the same treatment as we do.

And in addition to our health problems, we have other tribulations. Although less preoccupied with our illnesses, we still have problems paying for housing. We have trouble finding employment. We remain concerned about sending our children to school. Each day we face the distressing reality that we cannot find the means to support them. Not being able to feed our children is the greatest challenge faced by mothers and fathers across the country of Haiti. We have learned that such calamities occur also in other countries. As we reflect on all these tragedies we must ask: is every human being not a person?

Yes, all human beings are people. It is we, the afflicted, who speak now. We have come together... to discuss the great difficulties facing the sick. We've also brought some ideas of our own in our knapsacks; we would like them with you, the authorities, in the hope that you might do something to help resolve the health problems of the poor.

When we the sick, living with AIDS, speak to the subject of "health and human rights," we are aware of two rights that ought to be indivisible and inalienable. Those who are sick should have the right to health care. We who are already infected believe in prevention too. But prevention will not save those who are already ill. All people need treatment when we are sick, but for the poor there are no clinics, no doctors, no nurses, no health care.

Furthermore, the medications now available are too expensive. For HIV treatment, for example, we read in the newspapers that treatment cost less than $600 per year [in developing countries]. Although that is what is quoted in press releases, here in a poor, small country like Haiti, it costs more than twice that much.

The right to health is the right to life. Everyone has a right to live. If we were not living in misery, but rather in decent poverty, many of us would not be in this predicament today....

We have a message for the people who are here and for all those able to hear our plea. We are asking for your solidarity. The battle we're fighting - to find adequate care for those with AIDS, tuberculosis, and other illnesses - is the same as the combat that's long been waged by other oppressed people so that everyone can live as human beings.

Monday, March 26, 2007

More on the US Attorneys scandal

Just as a follow up to the last post I wanted to give some examples of the fine work being done by Josh Marshall over at .

On why these firings matter Josh writes:

So, all of this is to say that no system is perfect and
partisan affiliation may distort the justice system at the margins.

But none of what we're seeing here is at the margins. What we seem to see are repeated cases in which US Attorneys were fired for not pursuing bogus prosecutions of persons of the opposite party. Or vice versa. There's little doubt that that is why McKay and Iglesias were fired and there's mounting evidence that this was the case in other firings as well. The idea that a senator calls a US Attorney at home just weeks before a federal elections and tries to jawbone him into
indicting someone to help a friend get reelected is shocking. Think about it for
a second. It's genuinely shocking. At a minimum one would imagine such bad acts
take place with more indirection and deniability. And yet the Domenici-Iglesias
call has now been relegated to the status of a footnote in the expanding
scandal, notwithstanding the fact that there's now documentary evidence showing
that Domenici's substantial calls to the White House and Justice Department
played a direct role in getting Iglesias fired.

On the presidents continued support for Alberto Gonzales even though it has been documented that Mr. Gonzales has repeated lied about his involvement in the firing of these US attorneys, Josh writes:

And the president is fine with all of this. Fine with the fact that the
Attorney General has not only repeatedly lied to the public but has also been
exposed as repeatedly lying
to the public. He's fine with at least two US
Attorneys being fired for not giving in to pressure to file bogus charges to
help Republican candidates.

Of course he's fine with it. Because it comes from him. None of this is about Alberto Gonzales. This is about the president and the White House, which is where this entire plan was hatched. Gonzales was just following orders, executing the president's plans. This is about this president and this White House, which ... let's be honest, everyone on both sides of the aisle already knows.

And today he reports that most of Karl Roves emails have been sent using RNC accounts:

According to the National Journal, about 95% of Karl Rove's email traffic has been on these RNC email accounts.

Now, I don't know all the legal and constitutional ins and outs of this debate. But whatever claim the White House may have to protect everyone at the White House from congressional scrutiny by invoking executive privilege, this use of outside private email accounts may turn out to be too clever by half.

Can executive privilege even conceiveably cover emails from the Republican National Committee? By any definition, those aren't emails written or received by anyone in their capacity as a presidential advisor. They're private and have nothing to do with the president in his executive capacity.

It's good stuff, check it out.

US Attorney scandal rolls on

The scandal surrounding the firing of eight US attorneys shortly after last years election just keeps getting more interesting. If you have not been following these events, Josh Marshall and his staff at our doing an excellent job documenting these firings. I highly recommend checking out his site.

What I find interesting is that this appears to leading to a showdown between the Congress and the Bush Administration's theory of the Unitary Executive. Bush, mainly thru consultations with Cheney who has long supported this view, believes that the Executive branch is supreme and the other two branches of our government cannot constitutionally challenge the Executive, particularly in a time of war. To me, this is a patently unamerican interpretation of our Constitution. The Unitary Executive directly contradicts the concept of three equal branches of government which we have been taught since grade school.

It was only a matter of time, before the new Democratically controlled Congress challenged this concept. With so many hearings being conducted simultaneously, who knew which hearing the Bush Administration would refuse to cooperate with. But, given their history, their eventual defiance of Congressional oversight was as sure as the setting of the sun. Bush tossed the gauntlet last week when he went on national TV and announced that he would not allow members of his staff to testify under oath to Congressional judicial oversight committees. Both the senate and house judicial committees responded by voting to subpoena Harriet Miers, and Karl Rove and demand their public testimony under oath. So this is it. Is the Bush Administration above the law, or will members of the Administration have to appear in these hearings? Stay tuned, things are just beginning to heat up.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The "Surge" hits home

Some time ago I had a young man working for me. He was the proper age and inclination to get caught up in the patriotic fervor that surrounded our entry into the war in Iraq. But I thought he was safe. He had been in the army previously, and had received a medical discharge for injuries he incurred while in boot camp. A very short stint in the military, but since his discharge was medical I did not believe he could rejoin the military even if he wanted to.

He and I had talked about the war before it started. He was a fence sitter. He agreed with much of what I said against the war, but he believed if Iraq was a threat it was our duty to confront it. I tried to convince him that Iraq was not a threat and the whole story was BS. Colin Powell had more sway than I did however. He watched Powell's performance at the UN and told me the following morning that we had to deal with Iraq now.

A couple years later he called me to tell me that he had enlisted in the Navy Reserves. He knew I would not approve, but wanted me to know anyway. He told me that the Army recruiters had contacted him and insinuated that he could either "voluntarily" enlist or the Army was going to re-activate him and send him to Iraq. By this time things were not going well in Iraq and he choose to "volunteer" for the Navy reserves rather than risk being enlisted in the Army. I thought he should check with some independent people to see if the Army could re-activate his term after they had previously forced him out if the Army. It didn't matter he had already signed up, it was too late to back out now.

Now a year later comes Bush's "Surge." He called to tell me that they are sending him to Iraq for a 1-1/2 year tour of duty, which may be extended to 2-1/2 years. The Navy has declared that he enlisted into the US military not just the Navy. As such they can deploy him as they see fit. He is leaving soon to receive 30 days of combat training and then off to Iraq. He said that normally tours are between 6 and 9 months but his order were clear 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years. Not on a boat, or a port, but with combat units wherever they want to send him. He also said that Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates has changed the rules of deployment so that when his tour is over he can now be redeployed after only a one week break. As a reservist his enlistment was 6 years, he still has around 5 years left. I really fear he will not survive if most of that 5 years is spent in Iraq.

I am sure that his situation is not unique. Thousands of young men and women are being sent into the meat grinder under similar circumstances. For what? So, that commander codpiece can strut around and pretend his sorry ass is a leader. To admit that there is no military solution, and seriously begin looking for a political solution, is not manly enough for this former awol guardsmen. This war and this presidency must end, the sooner the better.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Are we not people?

Are we not people? Or are we merely units of consumption? Something that makes me sad from time to time is that many people I know simply have forgotten what a joy it is to live. They appear to be completely absorbed by how much and what they are able to consume.

Our success is judged by our consumption choices. Do we drive a nice car, live in a nice house/neighborhood, wear nice clothes, eat the best food? Now I admit that I enjoy the things I am able to afford, but I try very hard not to use consumption is a measure of my success. It is not easy. Society pressures us to constantly think of consuming, to the economy it is our reason for being, therefore for the machine to continue to grind on we must consume. If we consume beyond our means so much the better, then we become customers of our financial markets.

But what is success if it is not consumption? To me, the world would be a better place if we all used happiness as a measure for success. Both personal and collective happiness. If we merely strove to be happy and took joy in the happiness of others, then the happier we were, and the more happiness we brought to others the more successful we would be.

I know that sounds really corny and naive. But, look where our current model is taking us. We constantly strive for more, never really having enough to consider ourselves successful or make ourselves happy. Meanwhile our need to fulfill our greedy desires requires that hundreds of millions of people around the world to live in abject poverty. Just how much poverty are you willing to inflict so that you can live better than your neighbor?

Political operatives and economist talk about globalization bringing people around the globe up to western standards of living. Even if that is their goal, something I doubt, I don't see how the world can supply enough resources or the environment absorb enough pollutants to supply the whole world with the amount of plastic widgets and computer games that Americans consume. Now I am all for providing everybody in the world with the food, clothing and housing that we need to live a good life. However, our economy is not driven by providing just food, clothing and housing. If we devoted all of our resources and energy to producing and distributing just those necessities for everyone, many more of us would not need to have jobs, and those with jobs would not need to work 50 to 60 hours a week.

That is, as I see it, the dilemma. If only those with jobs are considered a success and the others are made to feel worthless by society, how is an economy that emphasises only producing the necessities function? It simply cannot function and maintain our current system of values.

That is why I think that we all need to evaluate our own values, and determine what makes us happy that does not involve consumption. There are many things in the world that could bring us joy. The sun reflecting of the dew laden grass in the morning, the smile in a friends eye, or the laugh of a child. These are things that cannot be bought or sold but they are the things that make life worth living. If we each spent more effort looking for those joyful things in life instead of going to the mall looking for satisfaction we would all be much better off.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

... while the best lack all conviction ...

Fed. Up.

I think we are seeing what there is of substance to the new Democratic regime in Congress, and, sadly, the substance is just symbolic. The sniff sniff of Democratic reaction to betrayal and treason by the Republicans in the Senate -- with Warner devising a piggie-in-the-middle legislative ploy that has been around since aaron burr -- and the House Dems now putting the Iraq war on the docket... well, lets see... lots to do... we can work it in next week, perhaps.

fuck me. these people are natural born killers.

These people are not serious. The only thing serious about these people is the slightly less serious sociopathy with which they embrace the agendae that grow miasma all over the earth and all over this society. indeed in every institution of society, nothing but cronyism, decay, and "bring the money here."

how incredibly odd to watch the hissing snarling demo-cats chase and mock-fight the woof woof repub-dawgs to a clinching cat victory in november, and then turn and be the dawgs best friend, who are the BushCo pigs best friends in return. what a sad zoo in washington, upon which the turning gyre creaks and groans... or is that the shriek and moan of the dead and dying, the miserable and the suffering that these washingtonians build their careers on, from N'awlins to Baghdad, from NAFTA to Wal-Mart, from public schools to public health.

a plague on both your houses... ye supreme makers of worms' meat.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The march to war in Iran

Below are two post where the authors talk about how the Democrats need to act if we are to prevent the Bush administration from attacking Iran.

The first is a Nation article by Scott Ritter,

And the second is a blog post by Arthur Silber on this blog Once upon a time ...

both of these posts point out that the Democrats will bear equal responsibility, with the Republicans, if they do nothing to stop the Bush administration from bombing Iran. Unlike 2003 when they had no power in either house ( we should not forget that they did however have control of the Senate in 2002 and did nothing to slow down the march to war with Iraq) and claim because of their position there was nothing they could do and therefore bear little responsibility for events in Iraq. They now do have control of both houses and are in a better position to influence foreign policy. But will they? Are they?

Both posts suggest that the Congress should rescind both the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution of September 14, 2001 and the Authorization of Military Force Against Iraq resolution of October 2002 by which the Bush Administration claims the authority to invade any country they wish. Then they need to pass a resolution which strictly forbids the President from initiating military action against Iran without Congressional authorization which includes a clause which states clearly that any such unauthorized use of force against Iran is cause for immediate impeachment. The house should then follow this up by drafting articles of impeachment against the president so that they are immediately ready if they are needed. All of these actions should be done publicly and with much publicity to ensure that the public and the President know what is at stake.

But Mr. Ritter goes further and suggests that hearings by the Foreign Relations Committees of both houses should immediately start challenging the Bush Administration's justifications for war. That is they should force the Administration to back up it's claims of Nuclear Arms development and Iranian assistance to Iraqi insurgents, and any other claim they float in public. The point is that Bush's team is just replaying the 2002/2003 build up to war with Iran as it's new and current target. If they are allowed to make the same ridiculous claims with no one calling then an their lies, then the most likely will again succeed in convincing the American people that we must go to war. It is quite evident that the press is not going to call them on their lies, they are once again willingly publishing whatever talking points the White house gives them. So, it is up to Congress to fulfil it's obligations and help inform the American public.

Now the question is will the Democrats do anything? I cant say that I am too optimistic. The Democrats are as beholden to AIPAC as the Republicans and it seems that Israel wants the US to confront Iran. But, we as peace advocates need to press our representatives to do the above actions now. I particularly like the idea of the hearings. To see Condi, Dick and the gang have to substantiate their claims under oath would be well worth the price of admission whatever the outcome. Our attention is on Iraq, any many of us are doing what we can to help end that war, but the Administration appears to have turned it's attention to the next war. We must stop the war with Iran before it begins. I urge everyone to read the above two posts, they articulate the reasons these actions are necessary and to write your representative asap.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

why i got arrested at a peace protest

This is my first ever post to a blog outside of myspace. I'm pasting the following piece that i wrote and circulated after being purposefully arrested in protest of the "troop surge" announcement. I've revised it only slightly since that initial circulation (i basically corrected the typos). Here you go:

On Thursday, Jan 11, 2007, I chose to get arrested at a peaceful protest against Bush’s announcement of his plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq, which he had made the previous evening. The protest of about 100 people was organized quickly, and due to the inspired words of my friend, and the mother of my partner, who had simply reached a breaking point of frustration. She sent an email that was widely circulated, and reverberated rapidly through our community, saying that she personally planned to be at a prominent downtown intersection the day after the “troop surge”announcement, whenever that would be, bearing witness against her outrage. Later, national organizations like Move.On and UFPJ called for local demos on Thursday, when it became public that the announcement would be made Wed night. Here in Greensboro, the plans were laid well head of them.

There were 9 of us that chose to do civil disobedience that day. We stood, sat, and danced in
an intersection during rush hour around a neon orange 3 post sign that said "NO WAR! NO TROOP SURGE!" and refused to move when the cops told us to. I imagine we all had our own reasons for choosing this form of protest at this particular time, but I know there was certainly some common ground in those reasons. I’m not gonna attempt to speak for all nine of us. But I do want to explain my own reasons for stepping out of the bounds of ‘legal’ protest on that day.

For the past couple years, I’ve been closely following the bourgeoning movement of Iraq war resisters – soldiers refusing to go – and of veterans of the war speaking out against it. I’ve been deeply moved by their courage and sacracfice, and inspired bytheir commitment to getting out the truth of their experiences in Iraq and in the US military. From the high profile cases of refusers like Ehren Watada and Camilo Mejia, to quiet stories of desertions (there have been over 8000 since the war started), from watching the young organization Iraq Veterans Againstthe War (IVAW) grow into a large and powerful force onthe scene, to simply meeting people in my community who have deserted, or been there and now want to speakout against it, I’ve been increasingly convinced that these are the folx leading the movement. I’ve come to believe that it is an organized movement of military resisters and refusers that will ultimately put an end to this madness of perpetual war: when there are no longer soldiers willing to fight.

Soldiers who put themselves in this position do so at a tremendous personal price. Learning more about their risks and sacrifices, has forced me to think hard about what I am personally willing to do to make this war end. Am I willing to donate money? Am I willing to miss classes? Am I willing to hand out flyers, make phone calls, write letters? Am I willing to go to protests? Am I willing to go to jail? Without much deliberation, I found that the answers to all of these questions were YES, I am willing. And up until the 11th, I had done all of these things except go to jail. It finally felt like the right time.

Why? Our government went to war despite unprecedented international outcry, it lied to us about why, and it has been committing torture, deception, and murder in our names, despite our increasing opposition, for 4 years. When Bush made this announcement of more troops to Iraq, close to 70% of the population was ALREADY against his administration’s policy and wanted the troops OUT. The announcement of a troop surge signaled a government completely out of control of its people and hell bent on achieving selfish goals no matter what the cost. It was clear to me that this was a time for extreme measures. The next day must not be another normal day, we must not go on like everything is ok,we must not allow the moment to pass without serious disruption and attention to the gravity of the situation. An escalation of the war demands an escalation of resistance.

Those are all very emotional reasons. While valid they are perhaps a bit shallow without some attention to strategy. What would getting arrested achieve? How would we do it, at what cost to others, when, where… These were all things to consider carefully. Attempting to block a major intersection at rush hour seems like quite a disconnect from stopping a war onthe other side of the world, I agree.

The time and location of the protest was chosen based on visibility: a high traffic downtown intersection at 4:30PM. It was well attended, colorful and energetic. As expected, the reactions from passing commuters were overwhelmingly positive. There were a few TV cameras and some print journalist present as well. So why push it? Why go out into the street?

1) To get more media attention. The protest may have gotten a 10 second TV blurb and an honorable mentionin the paper on its own, maybe, but with the arrests we made the top story on 2 TV stations, and the frontpage of the local section of the paper. Those of us who have been going to local peace protests for years know that this is totally unprecedented coverage.
2) To create controversy. Linked to the press attention, we knew that people would be talking about it – the war, the arrests, what to do, what to think…people would argue, debate, take sides, do research, write blogs, comment on other people’s blogs…. Thet roop surge and the war would be a hot topic, and linked to a local issue, which it should be all thetime, but mostly its not. Now it is.
3) To inject some passion back into a beaten down, tired, and frustrated peace movement. This war has dragged on a long time, and a lot of us have gotten burned out trying to stop it, especially since it feels like we’re being ignored by the war makers. This also worked. With very rare exception, all the peace advocates I know feel a sense of excited possibility again, due to the arrests and the coverage they received.

Before closing, I want to comment on two other aspectsof the event, both of which have recived some media attention. First, the fact that one of us was brought to the ground with a tazer. This was completely unnecessary. That young man was doing exactly what we all were
doing – not moving when the cops asked us to move. This was blatant excessive force on the part of the police. Second, the fire truck that suddenly appeared during our brief time in the intersection was not impeded by our presence there. In fact the truck had been parked in
front of the courthouse for the entire hour of the demo prior to our step off the curb. Our intention was to get arrested, not hold the intersection at all costs. Had there been a
real emergency, we would have moved to let it pass and then reoccupied the intersection.

Finally, I want to ask you: if you support the continued occupation of Iraq by US forces, what are you willing to do to see it succeed? Are you willing to pay more taxes? Are you willing to miss work or school? Are you willing to make phone calls, write letters, distribute flyers? Are you willing to go? Are you willing to send your kids, spouse, or parents? And if you are against the continued occupation of Iraq by US troops, what are you willing to do stop it? Are you willing to sit an extra ten minutes in traffic? Are you willing to honk your horn in supportof people holding up signs? Are you willing to hold a sign yourself? Are you willing to get out of your car and join?

* You can come to our day in court on Wednesday,February 14th, 8:30 AM, at the Greensboro Courthouse.
* You can find out more:,,,,,,
* You can plan to take part in a local demo being planned
for March 17th, the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
Stay tuned for more details.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Up in DC

Friday was a good day to schedule a business trip to Washington, and hang around for the protest march today.
I am hoping that 45 million people will march, but if 100- to 150,000 show up why that's just fine.
Staying at the Braxton Hotel, which is very nice... in an RCrumb kinda way.
But the whole idea of peace marching fits an RCrumb cartoon world. Sorry Jack Kerouac: at the end of the "Road" it aint pooh bear as gawd... but rather Mr. Natural and I actually saw him standing in line at the Whole Foods on P Street, Friday evening.

I came here with a friend in late September 2001 -- a psychotherapist who has been one of my best friends for about a decade, and i'm never quite sure when he's got the meter running -- to the first post-911 peace march.

P and I went because we wanted to express our strong belief that the imbeciles in the White House need not go all "War is the Answer" over the rage and the grief and the shock... That figuring out and telling the people what justice would look like, as in bringing-those-responsible-for-these-crimes-to, would be a smart idea and a good thing to do. P and I were fairly cognizant of what the Taliban had been doing in Afghanistan, and how they came upon power after the USSR left... and who the "freedom fighters" were who had morphed into al-Queda over the years... runnin' off the "Rooskies" and turning on the "Murikins."

Anyway, I think that first rally for a saner and wiser America had about 50K folks. And everybody went back home to organize. P was more than me instrumental in getting a bunch of people and groups to come together as the Greensboro Peace Coalition.

Now, six and a half years later, the feeling is different for me. The leaders in Washington aren't so much imbeciles as certifiable war criminals and their enablers. The sadness and hopelessness that always tinged these things has an edge to it. I dunno. Are the Dems gonna come thorugh with anything to stop this war? They need to stretch those haunches they been sittin back on.

We'll see what happens today. Time to walk on down to the Mall, in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, which is in front of the Capitol building. Which has that statue of Liberty at the very tippy top... put there by slave labor way back when...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not New, Just Blatant

That wonderful Chris Clarke sez it so well:

One of the messages I keep returning to on this blog: The outrageous, secretive, imperial Bush administration, while scandalously bereft of loyalty to the concept of democracy, is no anomaly in the last 60 years of US history. Presidents from Truman to Clinton have presided over what is, in effect, a shadow government that has interfered in the internal politics of other nations, spied on US citizens and legal residents, violated the separation of powers clauses in the Constitution, and generally arrogated to the office of the President many of the prerogatives of absolute monarchs. George W. Bush does all this more blatantly than any president in recent memory, to be sure. But he stands on the shoulders of giants. Nixon taught his successors always to destroy the evidence. We learned from Reagan that PR will cloak even worse deceptions that those for which Nixon was hounded out of the White House. Bush’s disregard for public opinion, and his consequent ineptitude at dressing up his policies in acceptable rhetoric, are the main differences between him and his predecessors.

[Read it all;
read all of Chris Clarke, too;
oh, and there's an hour and a half of Bill Moyers...]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The SOTU -- if you can stomach it

The only thing I'd be listening for in the SOTU address by the sociopathetic Bush tonight is anything and everything he has to say about Iran.

All the domestic crap is just for applause. He's not driving that anymore. He's not driving nuttin' but Iraq, and his only cover would be to just make the chaos bigger... i.e., Iran.

Already today, Nicholas Burns (the Bush administration's answer to a demonic Mr. Rogers from hell) has said that the two aircraft carrier convoys that the United States has crammed into the Persian Gulf is BushCo's way of 'negotiatin' with Iran... sendin' them a message. 'course that's the only thing the Bush administration has got... they aren't smart enough to talk to people, negotiate. Diplomacy is not for bullies. Or sociopaths of a certain ideological bent.

My own se'f, I can't listen to the SOTU. Oh, I can handle, probably, the headache and the stomachache. But I can't deal with the anxiety attack he provokes when I must listen to him and look at him for more than about 90 seconds. I mean shortness of breath, dry mouth, blurring of vision and accelerated pulse. Yoga and meditation has helped a little... but not enough...

Boys and girls, when they drag me down to hdqrs and order me to talk... well, all i can say is if they pop one of those video tapes in and force me to listen and look... Well, none a'you revolutionaries'll be safe...

In the meantime, if you're tuning in, listen and look real careful when his little babble mentions Iran...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blaming Iraq?

There is something wrong with how the debate of pulling out of Iraq is being framed? A good example of what I am referring to is this statement from Mel Watt's website.
At some point we’ve got to make Iraq assume responsibility for itself and its
own people.

This example comes from an old press release (June 2006) but as far as I know Mr. Watt has not made any public statement revising his previous position. Besides we have all heard similar statements being made by other people who are advocating withdrawing from Iraq. My point is not to slam Mr. Watt but to talk about the sentiment behind that kind of statement.

The statement implies that Iraqis alone are responsible for the current unrest in Iraq. That if only Iraqis would accept our well intentioned help and assistance then all would be well. No one in the US or Britain has the right to blame Iraqis for the breakdown of society in Iraq. The US and Britain invaded Iraq, disassembled the existing political order, and implemented policies there that were designed to benefit foreign (US & Britain) interest, not Iraqi interest. We have continued to this day to interfere in domestic affairs in Iraq and the current unrest there is the direct result of our actions.

To blame the people of Iraq is simply a cop out. It removes all blame from the US, and as such is unjust.

The US must pull out of Iraq so that the Iraqis with the aid of some honest broker can heal the divisions currently tearing the country apart. The US is not an honest broker in this case. We are the belligerent force which invaded their country and have a vested interest in how the new political order is established. We simply can not broker the best deal for Iraqis while we constantly are working to broker the best deal for US interest. Many Iraqis understand this, and they are fighting to oppose the US occupation.

Peace will only come when the US gives up it's ambitions in Iraq and pulls out of Iraq. How long before enough Congressmen are willing to publicly accept responsibility for our actions and demand that we completely (militarily and commercially) pull out of Iraq?

Only time will answer that question, but the sooner we begin to start to honestly discuss how we are responsible, the sooner the war will end.

Surging into the Massacre Masquerade

.... New details also emerged about clashes on Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, which left five Americans dead. Lt. Col. Scott R. Bleichwehl, an American military spokesman, said the gunmen who stormed the provincial governor’s office during a meeting between American and local officials were wearing what appeared to be American military uniforms in an effort to impersonate United States soldiers.

The sophisticated attack hinted at what could be a new threat for American troops as they start a fresh security plan centered on small bases in Baghdad’s bloodiest neighborhoods, where troops will live and work with Iraqi forces. One of the American military’s greatest concerns, military officials have said, is that troops will be vulnerable to attack from killers who appear to be colleagues.

It is not uncommon for gunmen to impersonate Iraqi security forces, but this appears to be the first time that attackers have portrayed themselves as Americans. ...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I always get melancholy Sunday afternoon... so, "Hi, Y'all"

So, a blog to blog on. I'm for now happy to be here -- happy in that loyal WAAGNFN way (referring of course to the "We are all giant nuclear fireball now" political party sprung from the head or perhaps the thigh of the late great Michael Bérubé dot com).

So... To blog on things political, philosophical and of course the everyday mundane crap of which North Carolina is fully loaded. We got it all: home of Jessie Helms, Liddy Dole, Duke lacrosse, Reynolds Tobacco, Smithfield Pork.

'Course closer to left field is the newly-packaged John Edwards... of whom I will say not much right now, except that the machinery is still clanking a little too loud, and his new car smell is a little soiled by the stench of ALL THE DEAD IN IRAQ. I'm not sure how John's gonna git that smell out... (I wrote you 3 times before the war, John, 3 goddam times... an' the big shiny new crocodile tears for the po' folks just don't make up for the robotic nature of your senatorial career.)

Which is also why I'm not un-funked yet by the Democrats' big victory and the January takeover of Congress. I guess if Cheney and Bush and their gang of borderline sociopaths are under indictment before Spring, and scads of troops are mercifully being redeployed... I could start feeling a little chipper. Cautiously.

So that's me... that's how far out of the main stream I am... I think most of what is going on in this country is batshit insane. The idiots have taken over religion. The insatiably greedy have taken over the economy. And the elected leaders who are spoze to watch out for, continually renew a vision of, and empower the common good, have "other priorities."

"We are all giant nuclear fireball now -- please." (with apologies to Henny Youngman)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Hello, Hello, is there any body out there?

This is my first post on this blog. So, I thought I would just start with a brief explanation of why I created The View From Left Field. I have been reading blogs for a couple of years now and I find them to be a very interesting and potentially powerful media. They give people, any people, an opportunity to shout out into the void. And by doing this allow people to be as creative and experimental in their expression as they chose to be.

I am hoping that this blog becomes a place where the authors, including myself, can fully examine their ideas and refine them in such a way that they become fruitful ideas leading to a better future.

The conventional media has become a self congratulating, some might say masturbating, group of conservative gasbags which are not only uninformative but are boring to boot. Blogs have begun to break up this logjam on constructive dialog. I say more power to them. There simply cannot be enough voices discussing the problem we collectively face.

But, I have also seen many fine blogger burn out and give up writing. This is understandable, because the burden of always producing new content must strain even the most prolific writers, and moderating the comments section of blogs looks like a time consuming task with little reward. But, single author blogs without comments become isolated sounding boards with little way to tell if the ideas expressed are striking a cord, or if they even deserve to.

This blog will have a moderated comment section. Readers who would like to comment will have to register with the Blog, and I, or the other authors, reserve the right to boot anybody who we feel only wishes to disrupt the conversation, not engage in thoughtful dialog.

This blog will also have multiple authors. All of the authors are from North Carolina and reside in the Triad. I have invited them to write here because I think that they are all good writers, have interesting perspectives on the problems we face and on life in general. I hope that you as readers will also enjoy what we have to say. We write about local, national and international issues and any other idea which strikes our fancy.

I have unilaterally selected the name. I picked it because we often hear some left wing idea which is beyond the imagination of the profits of conventional wisdom being condemned as "coming from left field." That is where I would like to reside, someplace beyond the wildest dreams of the profit's imagination. Someplace where people are respected for who they are, not for how much they can consume. Besides, I do not believe that the profits of conventional wisdom have any solutions for our lives. We must look for some way beyond our current consumption driven economy. To find it we need to look in left field. So that is where I will be. Sending back post to you, dear reader, expounding on the view from left field.

Perhaps, someday you can join me.