Sunday, December 31, 2006
You wanted to hear something positive for what's in store this new year, and I know that Congressional investigations aren't exactly the sort of thing that moves us to the moon, but it is a necessary part of the foundation that needs to happen to begin to repair the damage from the last six years, if not the last twenty six years.
But more than that, more than the barest sense of optimism coming from the Democratic Party, or the hope born of the reality that Bush cannot just dictate to the Congress any longer, I think there is a growing sense of empowerment by everyday Americans, that the solutions offered by capitalistic market forces and the largesse of Republicans and Big Business are not so much part of the problem, but irrelevant to the problem solving equation. Because there is this new kind of community spirit that is growing, thanks to tools like the internet and those darned blogs and bloggers, groups like MoveOn and Daily Kos where people gather to talk and discuss and strategize and work together to find real solutions, to find ways to push our power elites to actually work constructively to solve problems like the rebuilding of New Orleans, or to realistically address global warming and mitigations to reverse the trends, and improving our wasteful consumerism, and so on.
Some of the big "events" that have happened of late, the ones not really reported, or not really reported appropriately, or not really reported correctly, are the stories that show that there's a rising tide of progressivism coming from the ground up, and that progressivism is a reflection of that empowerment, I believe.
While the media talked about the horse race and the attacks and the teevee commercials in the Connecticut Senate race, the real story was that a progressive and unknown citizen essentially unseated a sitting and thoroughly entrenched in the DC Beltway United States Senator through the power of common citizens, not teevee commercials and David Broder endorsements and political party money. That he later lost in November was a testament to the toughness of the nut, the desperation of the established forces, and the cowardice of the same. But a precedent was set on August 8th, 2006 when Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Primary, and there were a bunch of victories in November, like here in California's 11th Congressional District, that were rooted in that August victory. This address is a nice speech of what the Democrats hope to do this new year from Jerry McNerny, who won pretty much with just the help of grassroots, progressives, volunteers, internet bloggers, and his own hard work and great record.
My hope is the recognition among a lot of Americans that there are new political forces and new ways of communicating, and that people are using those tools and forces to have an impact against the corporations and the Bush Republicans. People are beginning to see that there are other ways to work collectively besides through entrenched moneyed forces, but still within our political framework, and that solutions can be found when progressives, maybe even in the hinterlands of Fargo or El Cajon, can advance an idea and connect it to that framework with the new tools, that new force (that isn't really new, I know) I'll call progressive people power, and circumvent the good 'ol boys network to get things done.
That's where I see the hope, and when you combine that with a Congress more inclined to support Americans instead of Corporations, we might see some actual progress this year in getting us out of Iraq, stopping the fiscal hemorrhaging of our tax dollars to the corporations, and getting some kind of a grip on our oil addiction, and its concomitant fight against global warming.
While 2006 is soon relegated to the ash heap, and while it ends with some hope, thanks to the 11/7 election, be mindful that the work has just begun.
The cynic in me says that Hussein was hanged before he could be tried for his war crimes against the Kurds, and we all know whose hand was in the middle of that, right?
But rest assured, any wingers reading this, there's no water shed for Hussein's demise, just nasty suspicion at the circumstances and timing.
I think that next years first Friedman Unit (FU) will be critical towards any successes the left and progressives and Democrats have moving forward, and I suggest that we all remain vigilant and involved, don't parse every action that Speaker Pelosi makes and wring our hands in anguish if an outcome doesn't happen in full blown flaming liberal.
Don't forget to make your contributions to the DNC and Leadership PACs and candidates and what not, let's build the war chests now instead of at the last minute for a change. Here's a couple I plan on supporting, modestly, as much to show support for the policies as anything:
The DNC and its campaign committees
Earth Justice-Because the earth does indeed need a good lawyer
County Central Committees-here it's California but just google "[your state] county central committees" and you'll probably get something.
That's all for now, good luck, good wishes, good riddance to '06, let's make it good riddance to Bush in ought seven!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
So I checked it out, and boy, howdy, who knew! I'm reading this book, which goes far beyond the mine disaster, and into the burning issues of labor rights, stagnant wages, politics, Constitutional rights, slander and slime. If I didn't know better, I would think I was reading about the Bush Administration. Here's a brief excerpt to show what I mean:
Through the summer and fall of 1917, though, the tone of the council [Montana Council of Defense-catchy, no?] began to assume a different character. The Helena Independent, with Will Campbell [take your pick, Brooks, Goldberg, Bennett ad nauseum] as its editor, began to emerge as the councils "unofficial mouthpiece." Editorials that once focused on topics such as physical fitness... began to take a sharper edge.
Frustrated by reports of college professors questioning the war, for example, one Campbell editorial bemoaned the lack of draconian deportation law. "[I]t would be an excellent thing if he or she were escorted down to the sea shore or to the border and kicked out of the country never to return." ... "The loyal Americans are almost ready to vote Wilson a dictator and hurry congress to intern camps or old men's homes."
Frankfurters renamed Hot Dogs, sauerkraut renamed liberty cabbage, threats, business monopolies putting profit before people, war profiteering by the same, labor unions demonized for having the effrontry to demand for safer work places and better wages to keep pace with inflation and/or rising corporate profits, corporate media hawking for their corporate masters, immigration and racism as a wedge to divide workers, fear mongering by the people in charge, it's just like what we have happening today. And throughout it all, stuck in the middle again, hard working Americans paying the price with their lives.
That is what Bush/Cheney and their corporate masters want, others have said they long for the days of McKinley and this mess in Butte was part and parcel of that era, robber barons and corporate monopolies, this time Standard Oil controlling the copper industry and the State of Montana. And you thought it was the religious nutjobs that drove Bush? No, that's just another of his great legacies, by pandering to those freaks and giving them power, he's set off wars of religion all over the world including here in the US. And good luck controlling that absurd and irrational force, but that's for another post.
Michael Punke has an interview, here, that talks about the book and the issues of the day, and gives a good flavor for it. And here's a strong article from him that hits hard at the essence of the labor/management flashpoint, appropriate to not just miners, but immigration, BP North Slope oil, and so on, While a new law represents a positive step for miners, there's a real risk that it will prove a distraction from the change that's needed most urgently -- ongoing enforcement and oversight.
Ah yes, oversight, the bane of George Bush and Friends. That's the essence of the problem, they do not want you to know what they're doing, because what they're doing is screwing you and me to their benefit. NSA wiretaps? Spying on Americans so they can control the newsmedia and silence critics. Cheney's Oil Executives meeting? Well, duh. Medicare drug plan and hiding the true costs? Big Pharma rolls in profits. Iraq invasion, it's all about the oil, but they'll never tell us that, even though the idiot President slipped and sorta did a few weeks back, that's just because he's really not that smart. And it just never stops.
I close with this last quote from Punke's article, my bold. It speaks for itself. Let me just add, that Mr Punke is a lawyer and he worked for Sen. Baucus and in the Clinton White House, including some time on the NSC working in trade areas.
Federal regulators and mine officials like to point to the broad trend toward improved safety. Last year, for example, saw the lowest number of mine fatalities, 22, in U.S. history. In 1950, by comparison, 643 U.S. miners died. And there are certainly other countries where things are worse. The calamity-ridden Chinese mining industry is on its way to yet another year in which more than 5,000 miners will die.
But surely the bar in the United States should be set higher than either 1950s America or present-day China. Mine safety, after all, is not the Manhattan Project.
But if it interferes with profits, it might as well be.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I couldn't help but think as CNBC was extolling Ford and his legacy, how putting the long national nightmare (Nixon presidency? Nixon political career? The two years we'd had of Watergate as opposed to, oh, I don't know, ten years of death and destruction in Vietnam?) behind us only served to cover up the bleeding sore of republican malfeasance, and of course, allowed it to continue to happen.
It happened during Reagan, it happened during Bush I,
Bush also deftly handled the S&L scandal, signing a bill to bail out countless fraudulent Texan savings and loan corporations, including (at a cost of $1 billion) Silverado S&L, whose board, led by brother Neil, loaned Neil's partners in JNB Exploration $132 million, which they never repaid. George denied any connection, just as he claimed to have no idea that Manuel Noriega, whom he met as early as 1976 (the year that Noriega began receiving $110,000/year from the CIA) was involved in illicit drug dealing...
It happened during the Gopper Congressional Interregnum, it certainly happened during Bush II.
So who did benefit from the pardon, exactly?
Nixon's pardon, no matter how decent the media tells us Gerald Ford was, and they'll be telling us that for a good week, but that pardon was just a cover-up, and a continuation of the business as usual that marks the parasitic relationship of the MSM and the wholly owned corporation called the Republican Party.
If Nixon had really gone to trial, all sorts or corporate "business" was in danger of being exposed during the trial and investigation, and that could not be tolerated by the Corpse, even the risk, however unrelated to Watergate and Nixon's paranoid actions, that they might be exposed in the process. And with vermin like Cheney and Rum Drunk and Bush I right in the middle of the Nixon Administration, there were plenty of people who would benefit from a pardon in the long run.
Not the American People, mind you, but the Beltway crowd, the K streeters, the Gopper insiders, the Wall Street fat cats. And benefit they have, thanks in no small measure to Ford's pardon of Nixon. So sleep well, Gerald Ford, sleep well.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I say this because after reading a couple of his columns, well, frankly, he sounds like a smaller version of George W Bush, woefully out of touch with reality in his single minded drive to wallow in the filthy lucre at all costs.
Try this one on for size:
The result: Too many elections for too many elected officials doing too many things without our knowledge, let alone consent. That is the definition of tyranny.
Because the media fails to fully inform the electorate, because people in positions that make decisions that affect everyone in a community are elected officials, and thus responsible to the people, that becomes tyranny. Okay, sure, that makes sense. But wait, we find out the problem soon enough. The real problem:
Elected and non-elected officials are hiding behind a screen of too much government in every area of our lives. To build a home requires dozens of permits from every level of government. First-time home buyers are often stunned to learn that $100,000 and more of the price of their house comes from local, state and federal government fees, regulations and delays. So when people ask why housing prices are high or traffic so congested, the blame gets passed around like a pile of hot rocks.
I'd like to see that figure substantiated, but be that as it may, now I know why he so opposed to all those elected officials. They're in the way of his developments. And let me tell you, he's got a big one going on in the East County, Fanita Ranch, and that project has had all sorts of roadblocks and changes, as developers have tried to build a huge community with no regard to densities, roads, the environment, open spaces, quality of life, roads, you name it. And out of all that fighting the developer has provided a million dollars to improve a state highway, reduced the footprint, increased the open spaces and public facilities provided, and all thanks to all those damn elected officials.
But I think he forgot to mention that anywhere in his diatribes. But this last one is even better for it's cluelessness. It's all about illegal immigration, and who's to blame. And let me assure you, it isn't the people that hire those illegal aliens, nosiree.
However, there has to be a better solution than arresting business people while letting the people who do violate our laws run free. A solution better than putting American citizens in jail while illegal aliens sleep comfortably in their Escondido rentals.
Regardless of the law, regardless of the circumstances, his real outrage is directed solely at those who interfere with his building developments. Bottom line. Pattinson is a true example of the kind of people who really back BushCo, the blind businessmen who think that their activities are of paramount importance, that what they do is superior to what other people of a different mind might do, and damn any future negative impacts, a mindset that holds no value towards anything but the short term and the particulars of the business.
The kind of mentality that allows an Alberto "Abu" Gonzalez to parse the definitions of torture to make it an acceptable activity for the United States to indulge in because that was what Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted, nevermind the laws and morality and human values that normal people hold.
In another column he rails against California's Coastal Commission, but one of the comments pretty well argues why the CC is so often an obstacle for the developers:
Coastal Lady wrote on August 23, 2006 12:57 AM:"The Coastal Commission is a welcomed protector of our coastal resources. If it were up to Pattinson and the Building Industry of America (BIA) our coastline would be lined with 12+ story buildings along our beaches with the public trying to figure out a way to get there. San Diego's beachfront looks more like those in Hawaii and we in north county do not want that on our beachfront. As for the Malkin acceptance vs Manchester, just look at the facts. Manchester wanted our amphitheater, community center, Betty's public parking lot on the Strand as well as Pacific Street, Mission Avenue, & Pier View Way along with our future parkland at El Corazon. How much was that worth to our future needs.... The Coastal Commission backed up the Citizens for the Preservation of Parks & Beaches of Oceanside and the citizens of Oceanside in their outcry to protect our beachfront. I will support the Coastal Commission over the BIA's personal financial interest any day. As far as the Coastal Commission driving up home prices in our coasal zone, what planet do you think we were born on Mr. Pattinson. It is the basic law of supply and demand. A lot of people like to live and be close to our most precious resource, The Ocean. Have you checked the real estate market lately. Basic law of supply and demand. Housing demand is down and out and so is your article of mistruths and lies. Long live the Coastal Commission to protect the people's access and right to our California coastline."
There are more values in life than just dollars. There are many things of value, or of necessity, like clean air and water, that government provides and protects for us all, and people like Pattison and Bush and Cheney simply have no conception of how that could be. All they know, or think they know, is money and power. But without all of the intangibles or unquantifiables that make up LIFE, that money and power would be useless. Yet, these people persist with their visions and actions and wars and developments. How foolhardy that makes them, I leave to your descriptions. I think it makes them pathetic, and contemptible for the uncompromising amongst us. Just something else we need to deal with in our daily lives.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
"Rock is my life (and this is my song)"
"When we play our music, Hands are in the air"
Now they wave their cellphones in the air, a hunk of technology, divorced from the warming glow of matches or BIC lighters, removed from the connection we felt towards our Rock and Roll defiant music; now they bask in the cold and artificial electronic shine of technology.
Now the music is harder (not musically speaking), even more corporate, driven by the polarization and hatred of our times, unshaded by the loss of the revolution, of sticking it to the man, of seeking a different way forward, that was the driving force behind much of Rock Music in the 60's and 70's and early 80's.*
And I find that ineffably sad.
It's a hurried up life
But it's the life I choose
No use in asking me to slow down
Cause I got nothing to lose
But time and time is all I've got
You know I born standing up with a guitar in my hand
I'm not trying to come on like hollywood
But hollywood is what I am
When we come into a new town
When we play our music
Hands are in the air
When the music's over
You wonder where we are
I'm standing in the silence
With my old guitar
Rock is my life and this is my song
It's a crying shame
That some of us have not survived
No use in asking how it happened
But very few are left alive
I just wanna keep on makin' music
We gotta keep on keepin' on
You're only as good as your last record
I know that someday we'll be gone, gone
When we come into a new town
When we play our music
Hands are in the air
When the music's over
You wonder where we are
I'm standing in the silence
With my old guitar
Rock is my life and this is my song
When we come into a new town
When we play our music
Candles light the air
When the music's over, over
You wonder where we are
I'm standing in the silence
With my old guitar, my only friend
Rock is my life and this is my song
*I know, not all of the music of today is like that, but we've lost the sense of wonder and new found powers that we once had, and you young-uns are missing out on that.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
So when sillyparty says over at DKos,Yeah, ok, I'm sure Reagan broke laws in Iran Contra. So what happened? Some idiot took the fall. I felt bothered by that dismissal. My comment followed, below, then I posted it as a diary with added links.
Yes, some idiot took the fall then bounced back up and became:
Elliot Abrams-Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy
And then a bunch of his buddies and betters completely involved in the death of thousands in Central America fighting a dirty, filthy war of no sense, no logic, no reason that served to protect the United States or her People from any enemies or threats, also continued on to become:
John Negroponte-Director of National Intelligence
Robert Gates-Secretary of Defense
John Bolton-UN Ambassador
Dick Cheney-Vice President of the United States
Among others. The same people that broke the laws then, the same people who caused the death of thousands of innocents and fostered guerrilla war in the region to, essentially further US business interests at the expense of the people of the region, who then subsequently provide us with all sorts of cheap labor here in the US, those people are the ones running the show now. (My bolds to follow-DGR)
Twenty years later, the Iran-Contra affair continues to resonate on many levels, especially as Washington gears up for a new season of political inquiry with the pending inauguration of the 110th Congress and the seeming inevitability of hearings into a range of Bush administration policies.
For at its heart Iran-Contra was a battle over presidential power dating back directly to the Richard Nixon era of Watergate, Vietnam and CIA dirty tricks. That clash continues under the presidency of George W. Bush, which has come under frequent fire for the controversial efforts of the president, as well as Vice President Richard Cheney, to expand Executive Branch authority over numerous areas of public life.
As John Nichols said today on Mark Marron's radio show, Americans can walk and chew gum at the same time, and since Congress will be working 5 days a week instead of 2 or 3, they will have plenty of time to "do something for America" and Iraq. And in fact, impeaching Bush and Cheney will well and truly do something for America and Iraq. It will start us back onto the road of respectability, reliability, responsibility we once had on the world's stage, it will stop Bush from looting and pillaging and raping the country, hell, the world, at the bequest of his corporate masters, and it will begin to stop our ruinous slide into self destruction and self pity.
That seems fairly worthwhile to me. And all we need to do is let Henry Waxman and Russ Feingold and others conduct their investigations, while we lay the groundwork for why impeachment is needed. I say it is, I say that the only argument in all of these diaries is the WHY, not the how's or when's or what's, but why. I've laid out my reasons, and there are more, but that's enough for now.
Thanks for listening.
Monday, December 18, 2006
“Don’t Tread On Me”, was a bold and brazen flag of the Revolution. Well, there are those who are daring to galvanize the ire of the Progressive Movement, inside and outside of the Party by doing just that. We say, let all of the DLC plots in the mud hatch out! We are here to restore, revitalize and revive the Republic. Any attempt to block us, control our impetus forward or distort our purpose and intent is futile. Facilitation is the only path for the leadership of the Party and the country to deal with this unparalleled breakthrough of democratic consciousness. We are on the move. We are the majority of American citizens. We are the mainstream. We are Main Street. We are the principled people this nation was founded for, by and of.
From Milton's Paradise Lost:
Mammon led them on-- Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed In vision beatific.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Well, the City Council has reversed itself because they couldn't, and in a bit of civic reasonableness, realized (I hope) that they shouldn't be carrying the burden for the Federal Government. So it's back to the drawing boards for Marie Waldron and the anti-immigrant groups to ban illegal immigration.
(Note this bit from the article, and a reader comment. See any similarities to anyone we know?)
The two don't always agree, [Gallo] said. But Waldron has earned his respect, in part, because she never wavers from her stance."She's not going to do things just because people want to hear it," Gallo said. "And in her mind, she's going to do what she thinks is right."
That's a Problem wrote on Oct 17, 2006 7:06 AM:"Gallo hit the nail on the head. Marie Waldron is "going to do what she what she thinks is right". That's a Problem. Council Members are here to do what the citizens of Escondido want. Council Members are here to represent the people and listen to the voices of the people. Noone was screaming about illegal immigration until she opened up the conversation because what she believes. ... . And now, we have a huge mess! Personally, I think she is full of herself."
Illegal immigration is a problem, but you can't fix it by locking up or deporting the illegals, that's just a bandaid, as is building a stupid Halliboondoggle fence for the benefit of KBR and Co (only bigger). We need something that addresses the fact that there's some 10 million people living and working illegally in this country, and no amount of prohibition is going to stop them from coming here and working here.
Digby has the straight dope on the Swift Raids here, as usual, I agree, it's not anything but fear mongering and lies and the usual cowardice by frightened elitists and wannabe's abusing other people for their own gain. Values party indeed.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Well, I view impeachment from a different frame. I don't see it as a political proscription nor as a legal remedy, but I do see it as a remedy.
A cure, and maybe a prevention as well. Bush and Cheney are frightened, twisted men who have no morals, who share no values we recognize as truly "American," if you work through the American Mythology of our Founders; men who seek power as validation for their own insecurities and mortality, and it is a great and enduring shame that these men are the leaders of our nation, that they are the sworn protectors of our Constitution and our Rights, that these men are the face of America for the world to see, the face that all Americans look to to preserve and protect and foster the American Ideal, the truth that we are all created equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights.
As Jefferson most famously said (my bolded type),
"...that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.
It is imperative that we alter and/or abolish their governance of our country, to prove the lie to the Bush/Cheney/Republican prescription that the private sector can do all things better than the public sector, from prescription drug plans to natural disaster relief to war. As others have written, their "incompetence" masks their truer motives, devolving our government and its great Constitutional protections; and capitalistic exploitation on a grand and on a base scale the likes of which we have never seen in this country before.
They need to be impeached to stop the destruction they do to our future and our honor and our standing, all related concepts in our foreign affairs I add. And I disagree that the Congress can be a sufficient check on their greed and destructive actions, Bush has too many appointees, too many secretive deals with Corporate America to expect a Democratic controlled Congress without a veto proof majority to stop Bush and Cheney.
And perhaps more importantly, they need to be removed to demonstrate that what they represent is an aberration and a perversion of America and her values, that they do not represent Freedom and Truth and Inalienable Rights, Mom and Apple Pie, but the basest and darkest side of humanity, and that the American people will not tolerate that behavior any longer.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Not surprisingly, given that the report is at first blush a sober and damning assesment of Bush's monumental cock up, but on further review is a Readers Digest report full of truisms and assumptions presented as fact and nostrums lacking any mechanism for actually being brought to fruition. It's just like those teevee commercials, you know the ones where the girl works 5 hours a week and makes 2 grand, but we have no idea how this is accomplished, but it does happen and don't you worry about the picyune little details, just buy the book. Well, in this case, that's what we have, a book being sold by teevee and the beltway media.
That's why you have this curious campaign that seems as much focused on the stars as the recommendations. Why do they talk so much about how well the group got along, how they checked partisanship at the door, like they had this bonding kumbayah moment and must share it with the world. Since they don't really have product, since the report says the same thing I said last week, get everybody together and then have Iran and Syria get the insurgents to get along and train a bunch more police and everything will be wonderful, as if 3 years of fighting can be overcome because they wrote the script for it this time.
As if the dead and wounded, the families torn apart, the devastation, the hatred and torture and bullets and drill holes can be undone via the agency of pages from a book
Maybe that's it, they think that they can prove to the Democrats by example, that they should strive for bi-partisanship, for the "center," if they want to solve the country's problems. Or not.
Maybe it's just what it is, foma for America, or at least Bush America, while George W Bush continues to stay the course but with his left hand on the steering wheel instead of his right (no political significance, that's all we got!), and the looting of Iraq can follow to completion, and as the looting of the American Treasury can continue unabated, and the Grovers prove how useless government really is.
Perhaps the biggest irony of the Bush-is-incompetent frame is that these "failures" — Iraq, Katrina and the budget deficit — have been successes in terms of advancing the conservative agenda.
One of the goals of Conservatives is to keep people from relying on the federal government. Under Bush, FEMA was reorganized to no longer be a first responder in major natural disasters, but to provide support for local agencies. This led to the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Now citizens, as well as local and state governments, have become distrustful of the federal government's capacity to help ordinary citizens. Though Bush's popularity may have suffered, enhancing the perception of federal government as inept turned out to be a conservative victory.
The Iraq Study Group, chaired by the Bush Family Fixer, and the Democratic Chief Enabler and Blind Man, yeah, there's a prescription for a real roadmap for a solution of our illegal war and occupation of Iraq.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Show them your pay stubs, appropriately blacked out, show Congress how much we work, and how those hours are part of the sacrifice we pay to keep a roof over our beds, and food on our tables, and sanity in our heads. Send it not just to Congressman Kingston, the Vice Chair of the Republican Conference, here, but to your local Rep and Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi.
Congressmen sometimes have a hard time relating to the nuts and bolts of reality, and it would serve them well to see what it is we have to put up with in order to carve out some kind of living in this wonderful free market world the GOP has shoved down our throats.
I see this as a learning opportunity. Show them your hours, then maybe lay out a typical week or day, and ask them why it has to be this way for working Americans, people who don't lie and cheat, who don't live in some fantasy land where opportunity is there for the picking, where everybody was on the school newspaper or the football team or has some wonderful talent that makes them marketable. We have to be marketable or else we aren't worth a damn you know.
And I find that to be unacceptable.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
Not only does Barnes hate democracy, he's scared to death of it, and would welcome a dictatorship to protect him from his demons.
He offers ways the President can go unilateral and totally ignore Congress, now that they will no longer be a willing tool for his incompetence and insanity. To wit,
Stop earmarks. ... Without a line-item veto, the president can't single out earmarks for destruction. What he could do, however, is announce that he will veto any appropriations bill that contains earmarks. Congress would squeal, but it would probably back down if Bush stuck to his guns.
Why would Congress squeal, and why on earth would they back down? Quack, oy, what, because Bush is so powerful now? Quack, they give me a headache, they do!!!
Apply the Kennedy model to North Korea. ... "It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union," Kennedy declared in 1962. Bush could update this with Kim Jong Il, telling him if a rogue nuke hits the United States or its allies, the United States will hit North Korea. That should deter him.
What, Fred, we weren't going to retaliate if a "rogue" nuke hit the US or allies? Jeebus, what thinking went into this nonsense, and what moronic editor let it get printed? Oh, never mind, Barnes is the executive editor
And lastly, and most disgustingly,
A final gift to the world. [WTF??-ed] As Bush is leaving office in January 2009, he could implement the military option and take out all of Iran's nuclear facilities. The world would be aghast--but also relieved and, without admitting it, enormously grateful. The new president would have one less crisis to deal with. So would the United Nations. Terrorists might respond, but we could brace for that. Anything they did would pale next to a nuclear attack by Iran.
That's some gift to the world, Barnes. War, death, destruction, pestilence, hatred, suicide bombs, anarchy, and more death. That people like Barnes are listened to is a true indicator of how sick are country has become. That this pathetic coward writes that President Bush should bomb Iran without provocation or authorization simply defies my comprehension of how wrong one man can be. War is diplomacy by other means, or it's the failure of diplomacy; one is spin, the other ugly reality. When the purpose of a State is to preserve its people and the State itself, waging war, with its concomitant loss of life and property, is clearly a failure of some sort, and to put forth such a repugnant proposal exposes the abyss of morality that is the conservatives of the republican party.
The punditry has long told the Democrats what to do to heal themselves, they now try to spin bi-partisanship as a pancetta to salve the nations wounds, but the truth is that the Democrats are not, and were not, the sick party. Barnes should be denounced by responsible and legitimate Republicans for letting such filth see the light of day, the absense of such denunciation tells us all we need to know about the values of Republicans like McCain and Romney and Bush and Hastert and Boehner et al.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Korea and Vietnam, no matter the results, the execution, the changing emphasis, still fell back on stopping the spread of those godless red commie bastards, even though our ignorance of the people and their lands guaranteed orphan results.
Going back, I'm pretty certain that Ghengis Khan's Mongol hordes knew why they were sweeping up the world, as did Alexander Macedonians, the Romans, even the Crusaders knew why they were Crusading, to save Jeruselum from the infidels.
In short, most wars retain their initial justification for the people, even if management has a different idea along the way, an idea the people are certain not to hear about until many years later if at all. But Bush's Iraq war, defies that quaint notion. Which tells you right there how criminal the whole enterprise was from day one.
This comment from one of Josh Marshall's readers sums it up pretty clearly:
Only by grossly exaggerating the danger of Saddam and grossly downplaying the difficulty of the mission [that would be the whole building a nation and rebuilding the country mission-DGR]could they get the political support to do what they did.
They lied about the WMD's, or correctly, NBC's (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical), then they kept lying about the reason for the war as each reason fell victim to truth and reality, and they got away with it, more or less, for 4 years. They defied all the concepts of military science, and unsurprisingly, have created a bigger bloodbath than if they had left well enough alone. And somehow, Nancy Pelosi has to fix that. Before she even gets to hold the gavel. I think I'll give her a chance first, and try to help her with that monumental task, rather than criticize her every move, 24/7. How about the rest of you readers, all 5 of you?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
You could use Maslow's somewhat simplistic pyramid to place Bush somewhere between 1, the Safety level and 2, the lower rung of the Esteem level.
1 A properly-functioning society tends [to] provide [a] degree [of] security to its members. Sometimes the desire for safety outweighs the requirement to satisfy physiological needs completely.
2 The lower level is ... dependent upon other people, or someone who needs to be reassured because of lower esteem. People with low esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again are dependent on others.
Or we could delve a little more deeply, here, (well worth the read-DGR) to discuss the boy kings faults.
If we translate these qualities into the terminology of the five-factor model, a mature person from the observer’s viewpoint would be agreeable (supportive and warm), emotionally stable (consistent and positive), and conscientious (honoring commitments and
playing by the rules).
That sorta leaves George out in the cold, doesn't it? Because his behavior since the election especially, is anything but mature, not that it was before mind you, but it seems clear to me that he's lost interest since his job no longer can feed his need for recognition and accolades and approval.
And brings me to the title of this post. He's abdicated his duties as President. He's proving himself, yet again, unfit for the job in a myriad of ways. that incident with Senator elect Webb? He wasn't asking about his kid, he was reminding the Senator that the kids fate rests in George's hands. No wonder he wanted to slug him.
This meeting with al Maliki, his trip to Riga for the NATO summit, his empty rhetoric to stay the course with adjustments demonstrate his irrelevence. Even as his people tried to prop him up, events pass him by.
We have 2 courses we can take in Iraq. Leave and let the Iraqi's and the region sort it out, or lead with a diplomatic effort that includes all of the parties in the region, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Israel, Palastine, Sunni, Shia, Kurd, all of the outside parties, USA, UK, France, NATO, Russia, China, Japan, some less interested states like Sweden and Brazil, and others.
And led by someone with gravitas, with some understanding of the region, and some chutzpah, such a conference, if you will, would have to focus on getting the Iraqi's to recognize that their current path is a road to failure for all sides, something Yitzhak Rabin came to realize, at great cost. A real American President like they show in the movies and teevee could maybe pull it off, Clinton maybe, but Bush? Not a chance. Too immature, ignorant, selfish, weak, unprepared, manipulated by Cheney and Rove, he instead seems to be moving in an opposite course altogether, towards more death and destruction, like some tinpot dicatator sending out urgent orders to an army no longer in existence.
For that, the Congress needs to watch him very carefully. Impeachment may come not for all the countless valid and serious reasons we already know about, but because of his abdication of his responsibilities, of his duty, of his office. Like I said earlier, he's broken the compact between the People and the State, it's up to our Representatives to make sure that's all he breaks.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
But here's the story I really like, it's something I've been talking about for a long time, the under managed, unprofessional, oftentimes dysfunctional, fractured environmental movement. It needs help, and it's good that there are people out there willing to put not just their money, but their time into supporting environmental groups with grants and seed money and a volunteer network and policy papers and activism. So long as they don't try to co-opt the agenda with one of their own.
A trip to the local Sierra Club "bookstore" tells you all you need to know. There are a lot of members in San Diego, and a bookstore would be a great resource for members, a way to make and spread information, to provide educational opportunities, as well as raise funds for operations, but 3 shelves with a dozen books displayed, a few boxes of gift cards does not a cash cow make.
Having an umbrella organization to earmark funds for worthy causes is all to the good, and I wish them well. But beware those corporate sponsors, and a no thanks to the corporate board member notion, that's the just asking for trouble down the road. Just like PBS has succumbed to the corporate dollars, just like the Democratic Party was and is seduced by the big donors at the expense of a national network on the ground that actually produces results, money comes with strings, and big money usually has big strings. But it all depends on the make-up and character of the people involved, to make sure that the focus is kept on the mission. So for now, right on dudes, if I had $200 grand to spare I'd be right there with ya!
Monday, November 27, 2006
He pooh poohed her concern, missing the point entirely, as has been known to happen with the big lug. She was concerned about the thought of the military messing with people’s memories, the Manchurian Candidate and all, while he was trying to convince her it was for a good cause. She didn't say it, maybe didn't really know it herself, the fact is that her unease is based on one thing. She doesn’t trust her government. It’s as simple and tragic as that, the American People just do not trust their government. This is what Bush has wrought.
We thought our phone records were private, we thought you couldn’t search our home without us being served a search warrant, we thought our right to peaceably assemble without the FBI spying on us-like the Quakers and Anti-War groups-was guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, we thought we could read what we chose without being questioned, we thought that the President would uphold his oath of office and protect the Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic. But we thought wrong, because the Bush crowd has broken the compact with the People.
That compact is an alien concept to George W Bush, given his wastrel life, it's a sign of personal weakness to Cheney, it's irrelevent to Rove, yet it is the most basic of foundation timbers of ours, or any, society, the deal we make whereby we cede power with the expectation that power will be used to benefit the society as a whole.
I’m not an enemy to the Constitution simply because I want Bush and Friends to follow the letter and the intent of our laws, yet I get labeled traitor and terrorist lover. And that labeling gives Bush and Abu Gonzalez carte blanch, so they assume, to go ahead and violate my rights because they deem me a threat, not to the Constitution, but to their continued criminal enterprises and un, profoundly un, Constitutional activities.
That's what the Centrists, the conservatives, definitely the republicans, fail to understand. This isn't a political or a policy issue that needs to be addressed by changing the deck chairs on the Titanic, this isn't a game or a race. It's not business as usual, it's tectonic, and Nancy Pelosi can only do so much. People need to step up and take responsibility for their actions, one way or another. Not just the Pols and Leaders and Pundits, but the American People too, for getting distracted by Survivor and Britney and Lady Di and SUV's and greed and comfort and our own little Private Idaho's.
Grocery chains resist opening stores where sales of high-markup gourmet products can't be guaranteed, and they often close existing supermarkets in poor areas. For residents of these neighborhoods, the choice comes down to traveling long distances to buy groceries or shopping at expensive corner stores that sell high-fat, high-sugar convenience food and little or no fresh produce. The consequences are the wages of poverty: diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
And save me the lucky duckie serenade, please. Life is more than money and accumulated wealth, it gives no sensory input, no life, no emotional warmth. It buys things. Yes, it can be used to help with the other values of life, but it, by itself, does not.
Imagine you go to work today and there's nobody to talk to about the exciting Charger victory over the Raiders, no friends to share a high five, talk about how stupid Jackson was throwing that ball down, how good LT is, and so on. Spoils some of the fun doesn't it?
We all share this planet, like it or not. And we're all fouling our nest, all eating a hole in the bottom before we're ready to fly, some more than others. It's up to all of us to start taking actions that change our course. We don't have to become self sustained hermits living off the land, but we all need to do something more than we're doing now. That Sierra Magazine has some good ideas, really good ideas that work on many levels, educating kids and adults, keeping some pesticides out of the earth, getting people healthy food, building community bonds, and so on. Well worth a look see.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Leach in particular bothered me the most, downcast eyes as he lamented the loss of comity, and along with the others, the increase in the polarization of our politics. Well Jim, I'm pretty sure you need only look at your party for that loss, as it was the thuggery of Lee Atwater, and the gang of cutthroats born of Nixon, and fathered by Reagan, that started the GOP down that road.
It wasn't the stupid Democrats that started this particular brand of polarization, no it was the GOP and their immaturity and greed that turned the key, an immaturity that was unable to grasp the reality of hardball politcs and conflated it into some sort of persecution complex, a persecution that could only be explained as an attack against their essence, which strengthened the bonds of their groupthink, which built The Wall(sans responsibility and thus redemption, George...George?) to protect them against further attack. Remember Gingrich whining about how President Clinton made him get off the back of Air Force One, and the vanity that led to the disastrous government shutdown? Disastrous for the GOP anyway.
Well, there was Jim Leach, moderate, respected, reasonable even, bemoaning his fate, the loss of a "center" in the body politic, and all I could offer him was, well gee, Jim, whose fault was that?
The hapless Democrats rolling over for "Bankruptcy Protection," "Repealing the Death Tax," "Class Action Reform?" Was it their fault, Jim? Did Minority Leader Daschle campaign for the defeat of the guy he would need to work with in the Senate, Majority Leader Frist? No, Jim, that was Frist doing that unprecedented act. Was that John Conyers banishing James Sensenbrenner to a dank basement to hold a hearing, then barging in after it had started and unceremoniously gaveling it to a close? Nope again, that was James in action. Was it Democrats who called the Capital Police out to break up a Bill Thomas meeting? Gosh no, that was cryin Bill calling the cops out.
You want comity Jim, you should have worked for it, instead of saying and doing nothing about it while the GOP systematically conducted an 8 year witch hunt against the Clinton Administration, and completely shut out the Democratic Party from any legislative role in the House, and disenfranchising half the country in the process. That would have been the time to speak up Jim, not now, after you've been shown the door.
If Republicans like Leach and Shays and Snowe and Specter had embraced the principles they claim to have, instead of embracing the delusions and stupidity and greed of Bush and Cheney and Rove and Robertson, then maybe, just maybe, I could feel some sympathy for Jim Leach. But really, I can't. You want comity Jim? Purge your party of hatemongers like Marilyn Musgrave, crooks like Jerry Lewis, amoral dirtbags like Karl Rove, greedy, grasping, selfish men like Newt Gingrich, criminally insane men like Rick Santorum and both of OK's Senators.
Don't come crying to me Jim, I'm busy looking for a bigger anvil to toss.
The Duck household had a nice day, a small gathering at my place, with all the fixings, prepared by yours truly, oven roasted turkey, BBQ turkey, breaded and stuffed turkey tenderloins, mashed pots, bread stuffing, organic salad, pies (bought from Mama's Kitchen), no poor brutalized duck on this menu, I'll tell ya!
I did much of the prep work all week, making stock from turkey thighs, chopping celery and onions, drying and chopping bread for the stuffing, making some salad dressing, washing the china and so on, so that all I had to do on Thursday was put stuff in the oven, make the gravy, and set the table.
But that was yesterday, nothing left but the leftovers, now it's time to get back on the progressive train and root out the darkness at the heart of the gop, one seat at a time.
For too long the Democratic Party operated in defiance of its basic charter, using trickle down economics, big donors at the top spreading their largesse like a Yosemite waterfall (the dream or the reality), to the detriment of the foundation of the party. November 7th put that stupid idea to rest for the moment. Now is the time to continue to build and support the local grassroots, like East County United, local Democratic Clubs like the East County Democratic Club, your County Central Committee, because just like my Thanksgiving, dollars spent now go a lot farther than dollars spent two weeks before an election on another stinking teevee ad.
We had unprecedented action in the East County thanks to these groups, from volunteers to run against Duncan Hunter, to school board races, to increased Democratic turnout. Here's an e-mail I received from ECU, with my highlights, to illustrate the point.
Dear East County United Members & Friends:
This Thanksgiving, we are grateful to more than 100 donors who helped East County United attain success in our first few months in operation—including several generous donations that enabled us to produce radio ads and staff an office with an army of volunteers who called voters and walked precincts in the final weeks before the election. Your efforts helped turn the tide by getting progressive voters to the polls, sweeping some statewide candidates into office by narrow margins – including Debra Bowen, our new Secretary of State who has vowed to clean up California elections, and John Garamendi, newly elected Lieutenant Governor.
So when you're doing your Seasonal Shopping, do a little for your community, send an equivalent cup of Starbucks or something to your local grassroot groups, it'll last more than a day, and truly help you and yours.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I refer to the growing income gap in this country, nicely laid out in this article by Don Bauder. It's something I've talked about a bit over at the old homestead, it's something I've argued in comments about, that sure, the economy may be doing great, that wealth may be on the rise, but it's not any where near equitable or uniform. What are those stats cited in the article,
- Chief execs of the largest corps make 500 times what the avg worker makes.
- Forty years ago it was 80 times.
- The top 1 percent of Americans has 34.4 percent of the wealth.
- The top 5 percent has 58.9 percent.
- The bottom 80 percent has 15.3 percent.
Oh yes, the economy is doing fantabulously. But not just for everyone. In fact not for most everyone. Sure, we have more material stuff, hell it was our patriotic duty to consume more, right, but having more stuff doesn't pay for a serious medical illness, put the kids through college, or move your good retirement date any closer.
You're going to see this theme more now that those nasty Democrats have control of Congress, and State legislatures, and Governors (don't even say it, muck. Grrrrrrr!)
But will they call it the way it is?
Tax the Rich!! Feed the Poor!! Medical Insurance for All!! Make the Rich Pay!!
That strange rumbling sound you just heard was the shudder of the GOP wealthy. People are starting to get a sense of what has really been happening while they've been looking at the death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, peering under their beds for Terrorists, duct taping their windows, all the scaremongering and terrorizing done by their own government.
As Democrats start their oversight, as Henry Waxman gets some answers, as the Democratic Staffers, as the Whistleblowers, as the wronged in this country get heard, that shudder is going to turn into squeeling and whining like nothing we've heard, as the gopper corporatists try desperately to hold onto that wealth, and as everyday Americans realize that wealth was unfairly earned at their expense, there's going to be some serious dues paying, and it will get ugly.
But it must be done, if we're to have any say in the future, any pull with China and the tremendous threat their billions of consumers pose to this planet if they don't manage their growth with intelligence and foresight, if we don't want to plunge the world into another world wide depression and world war, a real one, fought for control of the planets resources, oil, fresh water, food.
And I'm an optimist!!
Friday, November 17, 2006
My Valero station on the corner was at $2.29 from about Nov 1 thru Nov 7. I remarked to Ms. Duckman that guaranteed, after the election the prices would go up.
On Tuesday, glorious Tuesday 11/7/06, it was $2.29. On Wednesday morning, 8 hours later, it was $2.39, by Friday, $2.43. Today, a week later, $2.49.
I don't think so. You can read a long discussion over at DKos refuting the conspiracy theory, how they couldn't move that much crude around, NYMEX, shorts, yada yada. All overlooking this stark price at the pump. If the big dealers push their prices at the pump down, everybody else follows. And who controls the big dealers? Big Oil. Explain why the prices didn't go up Tuesday, or the Thursday before, a day that prices very commonly change? Why the day after the election, where there was no corresponding change in crude prices, no natural disaster, no winter formulation crisis, nothing. Just the failure of the GOP to keep their houses, despite the best efforts of our Corporate Masters.
They threw everything at the Democrats, and lost. Democracy still lives, but the forces opposing it aren't resting on their profits. The fight continues. Next up, Schwarzenegger.
I know, complicated, potentially divisive, don't invest with family members, who's going to run it, who makes decisions, and so on. But there's another area where the News Media fails miserably, competence.
Take this AP article, not just the headline, but the lede as well.
Senators sat down Friday with Robert Gates for the first time since President Bush selected him to become the next defense secretary, and said they would push for him to be confirmed by the end of the year.But it's not "Senators" now is it? No, it's Republican Senators. And that makes a huge difference in meaning. One implies bipartisan acceptence, the other partisanship. And I say that this is the failure of the reporter as much as the editor to do their stinking job and report the news accurately and factually.
While it may be true, likely really, that the Democrats will continue to fail in their understanding of the lessons of 11/7, that's outside the scope of this article. So send AP a note calling for accuracy in reporting. Here's their e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, the article is by Anne Plummer Flaherty, and titled "Senators to push for Gates confirmation"
Thursday, November 9, 2006
That's why I clicked on this ad on DKos for the Blue Fund, a mutual fund that invests responsibly and requires that the companies and top three officers donate to Democrats. I'm not promoting or advocating this fund per se, I'm not an investment advisor and i don't play one on teevee either. But it's worth thinking about, if not this fund, then something else, buying Blue at the least, but it does point out one strategy we can take to further the progressive agenda. I mean, why give your money to companies that turn around and give that money to republicans? How many of the mutual funds you own have Exxon and Dell and Wal Mart in their portfolios?
This is a new fund, they don't as yet have a trading symbol, there's a $5,000 buy in, and there are real economic questions, about their rate of return, costs, etc. But that's an investment issue, not a political issue, and that's what I'm talking about.
Consider this discussion over at the charming Jane Galt blog I found while verifying the veracity of the Blue Fund, it's very illuminating.
It seems that tthe free marketers, the privatize Social Security crowd, don't have much respect for mutual funds or mutual fund investors. Yet they want to privatize Social Security in order to replicate what mutual funds do. How very, shall we say, inconsistant?
"I went to the University of Chicago, which means I am legally barred from believing that mutual fund managers can beat the market over the long run"
Which sums it up pretty clearly. Mutual funds are for losers, unless, maybe, you invest in index funds alone.
But what these geniuses miss is the whole point of the Blue Fund. It's the notion that profit cannot be measured by a dollar sign alone, that there's more to this then just beating some arbitrary, well reasoned as it may be, benchmark. It's a small pushback against the greed of the gop and their appalling lack of vision or strategic thinking. Yes, looked at as a purely financial, short term investment, it's risky, but looked at in the larger, longer term context of wresting our country from the grasping embrace of the "Corporation," then it takes on a slightly different purpose.
Suddenly, it's about values, about respect and sanity, of substantive solutions to problems in the real world, not the Bush/GOP bubble fanatasy world. It's now an investment in the future where businesses aren't just driven by the next quarter profits, but by improving the market as a whole to the benefit of everybody, including themselves. It's worth looking into, maybe the Blue Fund isn't the one for everybody, but it certainly has the right idea
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Okay, today is my first post. It'll be short and sweet.
Victory goes to the NETROOTS, not to CW, DLC, Mods and Sods, not to Rahm or Billary or Art Torres or the liberal media, not to money, not to calculation or triangulation or any myriad of bullshit slogans designed to marginalize progressives and grassroots.
Nope, the PEOPLE made this happen, people sick of the games and lies and thuggery and preening and self promotion.This is a victory for America. And the work has just begun. No vacations to savor a primary victory, or to wait until we get our people sworn in, no, the work starts RFN!!!