Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Reading Arthur Silber's take on the Newt Gingrich free speech fiasco...

Silber points out that we've been told that "they hate us because of our freedoms." Silber correctly points out that this is utter nonsense and that "they hate us because we kill them."

I have long argued that we need to bring the frightened sheep in this country to the realization of the true cause of terrorism, which is simply other nations' or peoples' grievances against us, whether real or perceived. The cause of terrorism is not jealousy or hatred of our "freedom."

But when the popular perception is that we must give up our freedoms so that terrorism will stop, we have people like Newt Gingrich and George Bush who will gladly sacrifice those freedoms. And they have done and will do so in vain, because their terrorizing of us won't stop until we stop our terrorizing of them.

Gingrich's remarks remind us that we have to make sure our fellow citizens understand why people would want to hurt us. Instead of trying to score political points with Christofascists and their sympathizers by expressing a desire to end free speech as we know it, Gingrich should be advocating the end of imperialistic impulses and our attempts to control the rest of the world to our benefit and the world's detriment.

If You Think About It

Because if you think about it, from the very beginning, the history of the United States is the history of oppression and overthrow, naked agression and plundering. All of which is cleverly done under the guise of being dedicated to freedom and equality.

Howard Zinn does a good rundown of this history in an interview with (shudder) Dennis Prager:

HZ: Well, probably more bad than good. We’ve done some good, of course; there’s no doubt about that. But we have done too many bad things in the world. You know, if you look at the way we have used our armed force throughout our history: first destroying the Indian communities of this continent and annihilating Indian tribes, then going into the Caribbean in the Spanish-American War, going to the Philippines, taking over other countries, not establishing democracy but in many cases establishing dictatorship, holding up dictatorships in Latin America and giving them arms, and you know, Vietnam, killing several million people for no good reason at all, certainly not for democracy or liberty, and continuing down to the present day with the War in Iraq—we’re not bringing democracy to Iraq, we’re not bringing security to Iraq, and we’re responsible for the deaths of very large numbers of people, I mean, 2500 Americans, tens of thousands of Iraqis....

Just sayin'...

Sunday, November 26, 2006


And by "they" and "it" I mean, respectively, the neocon corporatists and the fact that they don't want Russia to trade oil in rubles. Just like they didn't like the fact that Iraq traded oil in euros (consequently invaded), and they don't want Iran to trade oil in euros (much talk of bombing or invasion).

This whole spy-poisoning story is debunked pretty well by Raimondo at, and I want to quote him here, as he cites all the reasons (except the one above) why the "powers that be" want to mix it up with Russia:

"The attempt to portray the Russians as mad poisoners intent on assassinating their political opponents no matter where they try to find refuge is a powerful propagandistic theme that, although unsupported by any facts, winds its way through the media narrative on the wings of pure supposition. These people don't care about facts: it's all speculation, unsupported by evidence that passes the most perfunctory smell test...

Here is yet another link in the long chain of manufactured incidents meant to provoke a confrontation with Russia. An aggressive propaganda campaign aimed at the Russians has been in high gear for quite some time, and it appears to be reaching a crescendo with this Litvinenko nonsense...

U.S. intervention in Russia's internal affairs is deeply resented by most Russians, i.e., those not on the American payroll, but this matters little to the Russia-haters in our midst. Their message is not directed at the Russian people, who support Putin and his policies overwhelmingly: it is aimed at Western elites, who can be prodded into taking a harder line against those resurgent Russkies, flush with oil money and failing to toe the American line when it comes to Iran and Syria."

Achilles Heel of the U.S.

Our dependence on the dollar as the reserve currency of the world because the dollar is the international standard for oil purchases is our Achilles heel. All oil-producing countries--i.e., Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, etc.--have to do is set up their own oil bourses and exchange their precious natural resources for their own (or a non-U.S.) currency, and suddenly the U.S. is in a world of hurt--just look at the news today--"US fears spark dollar sell-off":

"The dollar suffered a steep sell-off this week amid expectations of a further slowdown in the US economy.

The greenback fell most sharply against the euro as the prospect of rising European interest rates contrasted with forecasts of easing US monetary policy...

'The current euro rally/dollar sell-off . . . is unlikely to end in the short term as the fundamentals and market flows are increasingly stacked up against the US currency,' said Ashraf Laidi, analyst at CMC Markets US."

The corporatists and the neocons would say that the answer to this problem is to "Bomb Iran" and to bring "peace and stability" (read as "death and domination") to the Middle East.

And speaking of oil and dollars, this AP story was a real shocker--"AP Analysis: Firms Crimping Oil Supplies." But the headline chosen by my local paper for the same story is, in my view, more accurate: "Study: Oil companies drive up gas prices."

And this is how they manipulate prices:

"Whatever the truth in Bakersfield, an Associated Press analysis suggests that big oil companies have been crimping supplies in subtler ways across the country for years. And tighter supplies tend to drive up prices.

The analysis, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, indicates that the industry slacked off supplying oil and gasoline during the prolonged price boom between early 1999 and last summer, when prices began to fall."

They close down refineries or don't build new ones under the pretense that "market pressures" and "business judgments" are causing them to do so. Whether or not the companies' intentions are to manipulate prices (and you'd have to be a fool to believe otherwise), the effect is, as the story says, that "tighter supplies tend to drive up prices."

Oh, and another neat by-product of closing down refineries or only using existing ones no matter the volume of demand--when the huge profits from the supply "crimp" come rolling in, they're not reduced by having to pay for facilities that might allow the supply to increase to meet the demand and thereby reduce monstrous profits.

Good night and good show, jolly good show!

Heard about the Action DVR today on XM Radio...

I used to say that people could get along so much better if everyone had cameras mounted on their heads, recording every interaction and conversation. Not for spying purposes or anything devious, but so that confusion about the intricacies of human interaction could perhaps be resolved.

For instance, I find that when I'm in an argument with someone and my heart rate is up and my adrenaline is flowing, I sometimes have a hard time keeping straight the exact words of my opponent. Then I will say something like--"well, you said x, y, and z." My opponent will protest, "I never said that; I said a, b, and c."

Now, what I said my opponent said usually gets the gist of what they said, but not the exact words, and that's what the opponent protests. I always thought that if I had been able to record my every interaction, I could simply rewind to the point where my opponent made his/her statement, and either prove them wrong, or remind myself of exactly what was said.

A life-recording camera would also be useful in those instances where one gets admonished for not doing something that a friend insists he/she told you to do. You could rewind to the earlier point (that day or even weeks ago) where the friend says you were told to do whatever it was, and either prove them (or yourself) wrong.

My point is, I always thought that recording one's interactions with even friends and family would keep everyone honest, cut way down on misunderstandings, and generally improve relationships (provided everyone agreed to use their recordings in an open and honest way).

And now that day is here...but I can't yet afford the Action DVR. I never thought that such a system would be feasible, let alone available in my lifetime.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


From Charley Reese, as good an explanation as any of why "terrorism" exists, whether the Christofascist superpatriots want to admit it or not:

"Terrorism is a product of politics and of injustice, real or perceived. Since human beings have no choice but to act on their perceptions, whether the injustice is real or perceived doesn't matter. An injustice will stick in a man's craw more painfully and longer than poverty or unemployment."

"They" don't hate us because of Islam.

"They" don't hate us because of freedom.

They hate us because we're imperialists and they're the latest people we've tried to subjugate. End of story. If we stop our imperialism and stop trying to subjugate people for the sake of exploiting their resources with little or no benefit to "them," terrorism will decline and end much sooner than later.

Just a thought...

Monday, November 20, 2006


Of the three options, I like the last one the best and always have:

"The Pentagon's closely guarded review of how to improve the situation in Iraq has outlined three basic options: Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out, according to senior defense officials.

Insiders have dubbed the options "Go Big," "Go Long" and "Go Home." The group conducting the review is likely to recommend a combination of a small, short-term increase in U.S. troops and a long-term commitment to stepped-up training and advising of Iraqi forces, the officials said."

And people are now openly saying in national newspapers that we should bomb Iran?

You should read the words "bomb Iran" as "kill innocent people." This kind of bullshit is despicable--I spit on this vile, disgusting hatemongering. Bombing doesn't stop terrorism--bombing is terrorism.

And the only thing Iran has done to provoke our corporate masters is to threaten to diversify their currency holdings (and I hate linking to WorldNet, but ya gotta do whatcha gotta do), shifting more toward the euro. Hmmm...didn't another Middle Eastern country that has "I-R-A" as the first three letters of its name do something with euros before we decided to kill their innocent people in an illegal, immoral war of aggression?

William Clark has been on this for a while now, and it wouldn't hurt to read his words again:

"In 2005-2006, The Tehran government has a developed a plan to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades - using a euro-denominated international oil-trading mechanism. This means that without some form of US intervention, the euro is going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade. Given U.S. debt levels and the stated neoconservative project for U.S. global domination, Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on U.S. dollar supremacy in the international oil market."

We don't hold all the cards, you see. In fact, as we spend more and more on our stupid, unnecessary, indefensible war in Iraq, we get deeper and deeper in debt and consequently more and more susceptible to the kinds of things Clark is talking about.

Way to go, neocons!

Why War Fails

Don't forget, not only is war a racket, but it doesn't even work:

"The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations. Even though the United States dropped more bombs in the Vietnam War than in all of World War II, it was still forced to withdraw. The Soviet Union, trying for a decade to conquer Afghanistan, in a war that caused a million deaths, became bogged down and also finally withdrew.

Even the supposed triumphs of great military powers turn out to be elusive. After attacking and invading Afghanistan, President Bush boasted that the Taliban were defeated. But five years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country. Last May, there were riots in Kabul, after a runaway American military truck killed five Afghans. When U.S. soldiers fired into the crowd, four more people were killed."

War is terrorism, and terrorism is big business, and big business is only concerned with profit, not people's lives.

Good night.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


“Don’t go in there! There’s monsters in there that eat babies!”

That’s what a mother said to her approximately one and a half year old son today to get him to stay in the waiting room. She clapped her hand over her mouth and looked around to see if any of the other kids heard her say it. My son seemed oblivious to it, as did the few other kids that were in there.

The kid turned around and came crying back to his mother. It occurred to me that maybe parenting like that is a big part of the reason some people are so susceptible to manipulation by fear. And not fear of something real, even. Fear of something made-up.

Using fear to produce obedience--they start 'em young down here, I guess...

...but probably won't get:

1. Impeachment-To not impeach this president and vice-president is to excuse the behavior in which they've engaged since even before 9/11. It is to excuse it for this president as well as for future presidents.

2. Withdrawal from Iraq-Should've never invaded that country in the first place.

3. Economic Populism-tax fairness, help for the poor, ending the middle class squeeze, and so forth

4. End to illegal NSA wiretapping-which may have begun before 9/11 and is too terrible a power for any one person to have

5. Repeal of anti-civil liberties legislation-specifically, the Patriot Act and especially the abhorrent Military Commissions Act.

The only way the Democrats will not succeed for the next two years is if they fail to hold the Bush administration accountable for the horrendous policies they've pursued while in power. That's the only way the Democrats can lose power--by pledging not to impeach, not getting out of Iraq, not ending the warrantless wiretapping, not reversing the tax cuts, not reining in corporate power, not creating disincentives for outsourcing, etc.

If there were ever going to be a time to do all of these things, it's now. These are not partisan proposals--they are pro-American, pro-freedom, pro-humanity policies. We must strike while the iron is hot. We can't dance around the issues and try to please a deluded minority of the country that still loves Rush Limbaugh and Bush.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


"under oath."

Get Bush and Cheney and the rest of 'em and put 'em under oath--about Iraq, 9/11, Katrina, profiteering, etc. Holy shit I can't wait...

The Democrats win the Senate! I can't believe it!

Rumsfeld's gone, the public hates the Iraq war, and the Democrats are in complete control of Congress!

Hot damn!

My only regret is that it took so long for a majority of the population to figure out what was going on. I mean, for fuck's sake, we've been barrelling down the road to fascism at breakneck speed, seemingly cheered on by a majority of the public. We've come so close to losing our democracy, even just in the last couple of months, not to mention the last five years.

But hellfire and damnation, even a late victory is still a victory!

Get rid of the Military Commissions Act! Please! Dismantle the NSA wiretapping program! Investigate 9/11!

Although with the Dems now in power, I feel slightly less apprehensive about speaking my mind on this blog and I don't think I'll worry quite as much about being carted off to a FEMA prison camp in the middle of the night just for being the left-handed leftist...

A few things leapt out at me through the day:

1) Bush told a questioner at a press conference that he’d only said Rumsfeld and Cheney would stay because he was trying to get the reporter to go on to another question


2) Novak said in an email today (hat tip AmericaBlog) that

a) “the real fault lies with the GOP's Washington establishment, which played its hand at Republican governance so disastrously that by Election Day Republicans could hardly get a cab ride anywhere in middle America;”

b) “the private reaction by Republicans was anger at President Bush and his political team”


3) Rush Limbaugh (hat tip Jim Derych at HuffPo) admits to supporting people–“carrying their water”–when he didn’t want to and didn’t believe in them

These things all reveal one of the main problems with politics today, especially as played by Republicans and conservatives. They’re only concerned with “their side” winning and will say anything, even if it’s contrary to their beliefs and feelings to see to it that power is maintained.

And that has been the problem with our country the last few years–people can’t or won’t admit they’re wrong even when it’s obvious to themselves and everyone else that they are. That’s why we’ve been in Iraq so long–Bush feels it’s weak and lowly to admit he made a mistake and that maybe he’s changed his mind, so he bears down and says “by God we’re gonna stay so I look strong” even though that really means he’ weak and he’s weakening the country, and he ended up fucking up his party’s hold on power.

And that’s what ends up happening when you won’t admit to the truth–the truth smacks you upside the head.


So we have to somehow convince people that really we’re all on the same side–the Constitution’s side,say, or the side of common decency. This my-side’s-better-than-your-side bullshit is not only juvenile, it’s deadly and dangerous. We have to be able to admit when we’re wrong and those of us who were right should not throw “told you so” like stones.

And I realize that what I’m calling “side-ism” is merely a cutesy word for “partisanism.” And that a lot of people, like LarryG in the comments, will argue that the country shouldn’t go too far left or too far right. I think that idea is a good one, especially if one thinks of the “center” as “the Constitution” and/or the founding principles of our country.

It’s like the whole thing about obedience–we shouldn’t be taught blind obedience to authority or lack of authority. The only thing we should maintain blind obedience to is morality and conscience. Similarly, in an ideal situation, Americans would only maintain blind obedience to the Constitution and our founding principles, not to the so-called left or the so-called right.

And if and when we ever get to that place, it would be nice if all Americans would display that obedience to the Constitution in public pronouncements as well as in private conversations and musings.

Even though I'm still elated about the Democratic (big and little d) victory last night, I think it needs to be said that we have to fix our voting system. The issues raised by Black Box Voting and the "Hacking Democracy" documentary still need to be addressed.

Private companies managing the most important element of our democracy--i.e., the franchise--is unacceptable. If nothing else, Diebold and the other companies must be forced to allow their proprietary software to be open to vigorous scrutiny by the people who are paying good money to use it.

Because '08 will be here before we know it, and we can't have the kinds of things that happened this time happening then--or any time. Not that I think we lucked out this time. We obviously overwhelmed any diabolical scheme about vote rigging with sheer numbers. But until we make election days national holidays, we can't always count on overwhelming numbers. But we should always be able to count on the reliability of the vote-taking and especially the vote-counting.

I should point out, though, that my voting experinece on a Diebold touch screen machine (with paper trail!) couldn't have gone more smoothly--no glitches, no flipping, no discrepancies between onscreen display and printout. But still...

Bush just said that he and Rumsfeld agreed that Rumsfeld should step down. I thought Bush said just the other day that Rumsfeld and Cheney would stay until 2009. Whoops! I guess the American people whooping your ass'll do that to ya...

And it looks like the Dems will also take the Senate, thanks to Tester being declared the winner...

Will wonders never cease? Will Cheney please retire next so that when we impeach Bush we won't have to have a Cheney presidency?

I'm so happy yet flabbergasted...

The Democrats take the House, and probably the Senate as well? This is the best news for America in some time!! Maybe we can now get to the bottom of some of the questions that Bush and company have refused to answer.

But at the same time, the Democrats in their current incarnation are not "the answer." They are still too compromised by lobbyists and still too timid about getting out of Iraq. It may be that the high hopes that those of us on the left have about impeachment and withdrawal from Iraq and investigations and convictions of high officials and what not will be dashed.

But at least with the Democrats getting an obvious mandate and a sweeping victory, we're in a much better position for that kind of thing to happen than we were at this time yesterday. And the public has obviously caught on to the Bush/Rove/Cheney ruse of the ol' smear and fear.

So I'll take a wait-and-see approach regarding the chastening of the Bushies, but at least we can be assured that Social Security will remain, well, secure and that the minimum wage will be raised and so forth. If we could get rid of the Military Commissions Act, have a real investigation of 9/11, get out of Iraq, and impeach the rat bastards--well, that'd be awesome but I don't wanna ask for too much...

Let today be a day of celebration!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Of power, that is? It's beginning to look like we may get our wish--finally, a check on the Bush adminstration.

As I was watching TV, looking at, etc., this thought occurred to me--before they off Saddam, could somebody let him say whether or not he had any links to al Qaida or whether he had any nuclear weapons? Wouldn't he be honest about it now that he has nothing left to lose? Just a thought...

Monday, November 06, 2006


Oh please oh please oh please oh please...the Dems have got to win!

Let us note that most polls, even those of Fox News, show that the Dems are on the upswing and expected to take back control of either (if not both) houses of Congress.

So when the elections are stolen by the black boxes, we will know that the will of the people has been subverted. Gotta vote, to be sure, but also gotta be sure that the votes are counted accurately...

There's a lot I want to get to, but my son's been sick for a few days now and everything's hectic. Since he's been sick, he's laid on the couch watching a lot of TV and we enjoy watching "Avatar: The Last Airbender." I always thought it was stupid before, but now I think it's completely awesome.

Come to think of it, if I think I'll really hate something without even giving it a fair try, that likely means that I'll actually be really into it once I give the thing in question a good try. Kind of like when people get way into gay-bashing, a la Ted Haggard--they're gay themselves.

And I just wanted to say--thank you, Mike Jones. As a friend of mine said this morning, I hope a rich celebrity with a big gay fanbase is helping you with whatever legal hassles the 'Pubes may try to throw your way (Barb? Liza? Brad Pitt?)...

Friday, November 03, 2006


Janeane Garofalo knew, and she also predicted the mess we'd make for ourselves if we invaded and told Fox News that back in February 2003:

SNOW: Do you think he is eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction?

GAROFALO: Yes, I think lots of people are eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction. But there's no evidence that he has weapons of mass destruction. There's been no evidence of him testing nuclear weapons.

We have people that are in our face with nuclear weapons. We've got Iran and North Korea. We've got a problem with Pakistan. You know, I don't know what to say about that.

There's a whole lot of people that are going nuclear. And I think that Saddam Hussein is actually, with the evidence, the least able to use nuclear weapons and the least obvious offender in that area at this moment....

SNOW: I'm happy I've been able to get you so passionate about this.

GAROFALO: You've gotten me all flumoxed.

But I also resent Rick -- you know, Senator Santorum's assertions that this won't be particularly costly or lengthy. This is going to be economically devastating for us.

And also, the assertion that inaction breeds terrorist strikes, that is ridiculous. Action in Iraq will make us decidedly less safer.

I didn't find this own my own, of course--her former radio partner Sam Seder pointed this out on his show two days ago. And he made an excellent point, i.e., how come an actress/comedienne can have this much prescience and this much knowledge about foreign affairs and the PNAC guys and the rest of the dirty neocons couldn't?

Ah, but there's the rub--of course they knew what Janeane knew. Their idea was to get in there, somehow, some way. And now they argue that we can never leave, because we have to help fix what we broke. That was their point--just get our foot in the door--that's all we need for hegemony, for profit, for power.

The neocons knew all of what Janeane knew, but they didn't care...they wanted that money. Because war is a racket!

How She Knew

Here's Janeane on how she was able to figure out that the neocons were lying (from the same link as above):

GAROFALO: What are you -- I know as much for a fact as you guys know for a fact. I know as much as anybody who has access to information on the Internet, a library, satellite dish, international news.