Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We Have the Wrong Book

My commute to work lately has gotten ugly. It's not parking lot commute, worse, traffic moves, but everybody out there seems intent on driving in my way, I'd go so far as to say they're all out there trying to kill me! And on the way home, it's worse, they all have nothing better to do than sightsee, yack on their phones, anything that keeps them on the road in my way, and not at home.

That sounds like somebody, and since I'm reading the book again, I know who. Yossarian

Early in the book, Capt. Black, bitter over the fact that Major Major was given the squadron replacing the dead Major Duluth, embarks on a power play, The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade. And here's the clincher

Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squandron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to. And to anyone who questioned the morality, he replied that "The Star-Spangled Banner" was the greatest piece of music ever composed. The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else.

We've been thinking it was an Orwellian World, in reality it's a Catch-22 World. Pessimist has a great piece there, I just googled the GLOC and that was the number one listing. It's been a while since I read Heller's book, where Orwell is more matter of fact and ironic, Heller is much more deeply insane, capricious, careless, selfish. And that seems a better fit for the Bush crowd, as we approach Katrina's 2nd anniversary it's pretty clear to me that what we have, if you just look at their operations, is no government whatsoever. Just little fiefdoms operating at the whim of whichever petty little tyro Bush has annointed to destroy the function of that particular department.


He hasn't earned the least bit of respect or admiration, he sucks as a CEO, as a leader, as a spokesman, as a cheerleader, as a judge of character, his impeachment and conviction and unceremonious kicking to the curb won't damage our American Psyche, split the nation asunder, or destroy our way of life. Au contrare, it will be the first step back to sanity and away from the insanity of Catch-22

Monday, August 27, 2007

John Edwards

I'm in. Sen. Edwards is the only candidate who wants to take on the forces that need to be brought to heel, the corporations and the top 1 percenters. And who has the chops to do it.

This speech lays it out:

[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don't stand a chance.

Can Hillary say that? Does Obama get direct like that? Does Dennis Kucinich have any sort of chance to win the nomination? Does Chris Dodd have that fire? Does Bill Richardson have the rhetorical skill and presence?

Don't get me wrong, I like all of the candidates, they all have many great qualities, strengths, values. They have experience, knowledge, and by Spaghetti Monster if we elect an idiot ever again in this country instead of somebody with an IQ higher than their blood pressure we deserve every bad thing that happens, but they also have issues. Edwards has shown to me that he is right on target, and has correctly identified the problems that face this country. And they aren't a bunch of religious manipulators trying to take control of their own part of the world. And he's willing to fight them.

And that's what I want, somebody not afraid to go after these things, these leeches and viruses destroying our freedoms and our way of life to preserve their mammon worship.

Things to Consider

Michael Vick made his statement, and the little piece they put on the teevee news showed him speaking, not reading, what he had to say. I'm going to give him some consideration for his statement, he did seem to recognize his mistakes, not sure if he recognizes the wrongness of his actions, but hopefully he will. And he should never play professional football again, as sorry and redemptive as he may be, just because he found god suddenly does not cut it, but he needs to be a role model for how money can corrupt you.

If professional sports can learn that giving these kids this kind of money is in some ways unconscionable, if they address the absurdity and warped priorities that puts so much wealth into these games, then maybe some good comes of all this.

There was a rally in support of San Diego's KLSD Air America Radio station today, a couple hundred people, maybe more, showed up to challenge Clear Channel to keep one progressive radio station in San Diego County. It was a pretty good turnout and event given the 4 days we had to prepare for it, organized, orderly, passionate.

Now, if only we owned some radio stations and wouldn't have to subject ourselves to being at the mercy of some corporation, that would be progress. Keep pushing them, sign the petition, something, call Clear Channel and tell them of your support, call or write advertisers tell them you're glad they advertise on KLSD and will look favorably on their business for doing so.

Let's see, Mike Vick gets a $130 million dollar contract, and we can't keep one lousy radio station because of what, $10-20,000 a month? A fraction of what one guy gets paid to star in the NFL.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Clear Channel Silencing Free Speech in San Diego

Rumors have been flying about San Diego's Air America station, 1360 KLSD, home to The Stacy Taylor Show and all of that liberal /progressive talk in a region of 3 million people and no liberal media save this one. Here's a link to an action page of sorts for info and things to do.

Clear Channel seems to be intent on shutting down Air America and all that liberal talk in San Diego, and many people are determined to stop them. Do what you can, contact their sponsors and nicely encourage them to put pressure on what is really a bad business decision to alienate one third of the San Diego market.

3 million people, 1/3 Dem, Indy, repub, that's a million potential customers with no radio station to listen to. Is that good business sense?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Media Hackery, West Coast Version

Via Atrios and TPM, this editorial by a journalism professor is a fine example of just what is wrong with the news media today. Because if a professor is teaching people what he's demonstrating in this editorial, the news media, as we all know, has some problems. I was suitably moved to write to the Times in response, and as The Offspring might say, "it came out sounding something like this."

That's a lovely paean to journalism, and a rather gratuitous and un-informed slap at bloggers Mr. Skube has written. For the record, I'm a blogger far down the list, but people might know my handle if they saw it. But not today.

Debate is going to save us? And too much information is a bad thing? I'm reading this in the LA Times, but discounting it as quickly as possible.

What nonsense. Given the near absolute secrecy of the Bush Administration, given the manufactured and empty debate that the news media is giving us for the past 30 years or so, you would think that a reporter might thank the bloggers for carrying on an actual debate of issues, he certainly isn't going to get it from the journalists of the news media, for the most part.

On today's politics page there's this: "Ah, those fickle Nevada Republicans" reporting on POLL Numbers, "Key is that since March, Romney has gained 24 points while Giuliani has dropped 20 points" and Oprahs Obama party instructions and something about the Supreme Court Justices and their "funny" robes, and a no doubt breathless piece on Fred Thompson's hometown getting ready to capitalize on his impending candidacy announcement.

I could go on, but do you see the debate there? Or you could go to Daily Kos and see debate on psychologists and torture, the real meaning of the Minnesota bridge collapse and the Utah mine disaster and some solutions, debates on student loans, NASA, Iraq, and of course all of the presidential candidates.

If you have paid the least bit of attention the past six years you would realize that the news media truly does need watchdogs. Reporters have been in turn uncritical of the GOP; cheerleaders and enablers of the Bush Administration; threatened, terrorized, and corporatized.

The abuses and failures at Walter Reed didn't just happen in 2005, yet until a blogger talked about it, nobody knew. If it weren't for bloggers asking questions about the firings of the United States Attorneys, we wouldn't even know about how Karl Rove has politicized the Cabinet Departments, how Gonzales tried to manipulate a sick John Ashcroft to sign off on what had been declared illegal wire-tapping, that they were decimating the ethics division of the Justice Department, and so on.

I quote here from your article, '"What democracy requires," Lasch wrote in "The Lost Art of Argument," "is vigorous public debate, not information. Of course, it needs information too, but the kind of information it needs can only be generated by debate.'

When all you get from the White House is countless legalistic variations of 'I don't remember,' 'That's under investigation so I can't tell you', 'Homeland Security,' and 'Executive Privilege,' there is no public debate. Except on the blogs, where, funny enough, the public debates. And sometimes that debate spills over into the physical world or the journalism world, and actually furthers the cause of a badly abused democracy.

And on an aside, could Mr Skube kindly either, a) identify who "Some" are who reject that label, or, b) stop using that dishonest and uninformative and meaningless argument. Last time I looked, "Some" could be anybody or any number of body's, and a professor of journalism ought to know that terminology has no business being in a piece of journalism, opinion or otherwise.

That Primary Schedule

Ms D and I were watching Rep. Oberstar try to explain why the House hadn't done anything about fixing our bridges since some bill he had passed as the chairman of the Transporation committee in 1987. Yes, 1987. Which sent Ms. D off on how the D's aren't all that either since they've had the chance but hadn't done anything, which prompted me to say that we need to primary these people, Better Democrats Please should be our refrain right alongside Impeach Bush, which got me to thinking.

Suddenly it occured to me that one of the consequences of this ridiculous primary train wreak that both parties are creating is, in reality, a massive incumbant protection plan. Think about it for 10 seconds, if you haven't already.

Incumbants already have cash on hand, but challengers do not. And all the fund raising of the campaign committees is really geared for the general election in November 2008. So who will benefit the least from a compressed election priimary schedule?

That's right, challengers of incumbants. When Oberstar proposes a damaging and regressive and oh so typical solution to the sudden bridge crisis in this country, raise gas taxes, and thereby demonstrates his uselessness to progressivism, when Steny Hoyer and company utterly fail to protect the Constitution by either gross incompetence, ignorance, or cowardice, or worse (and I haven't bought the conspiracy argument yet), and we see the need for shaking up their complacency and ineffectiveness with primary challenges, we wake up and realize it may be too late, the primary is right around the corner and reasonable challengers are hard pressed to raise funds and build name recognition in their communities, there's just not enough time, and Steny Hoyer in his $1000 suits is safe for another 2 years of bad job performance.

What can be done, I don't know, but if somebody is on the fence thinking about running a primary challenge, the time to get off the fence is now, not later.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mine Safety-The Bush Legacy

We remember the Sago Mine disaster as rescuers continue to look for the 6 trapped miners in Utah. George W Bush's MSHA is a different entity than the one of Bill Clinton's.

Consider this:

“This mine [Sago] should have been closed… the record is very clear,” says Jack Spadaro, former director of the National Mine Safety and Health Academy.

Instead, MSHA continued issuing fines and the managers at then-owner Anker Mining Co. simply wrote them off as a cost of doing business on the cheap. It made perfect sense for the corporation's bottom line; the fines for those 205 violations total about $25,000. This was a pittance to Anker, never mind International Coal Group (ICG), which bought the Sago mine last November. ICG's most recent quarterly earnings were $158 million, meaning the average fine levied in 2005 -- about $150 -- equals a few seconds of income.

Don't kid yourself that Bush putting a mining executive in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration is any better than putting Heckuva Job Brownie in charge of FEMA. Because protecting the corporate bottom line trumps all.

And look what's happened. More miners die. And add on to the men trapped below, this tragedy utterly preventable. It sounds as if this mine was even more recklessly operated than the Sago Mine, and the mine owner as care less to the safety of his miners as they were back in the 10's and 20's and 30's.

What I understand is that the miners leave pillars of ore to support the roof, and as a mine plays out they start mining the pillars on the way out the door, as it were. This sounds incredibly dangerous, a mining practice that should exercise the highest level of operational safety actions. Yet that doesn't appear to bethe case, and for this big time Bush supporter, people die because of his failure to place the safety of his employees above the profits from his mine.

That's the Bush Way, my friends. Ms. Duckman was telling me that somebody said, I think it was on Kudlow and Cramer this afternoon regarding the stock market correction, that the best solution (as if there is something wrong with a stock market correction) for this market volatility was, yes, to do away with all regulations.

Well, that's what we've pretty much had for the past 6.5 years, how's that working out for us all? Do you think that guy has the guts to ask the family of that rescue worker? Or some Iraqi family brutalized by some Blackwater Mercenaries? And I could go on and on. The Bush Legacy-Death and No Taxes for the Rich.

Jon Stewart Shames the Press-Again

While Broder is whining about how bad partisanship has been, I guess he means that since the GOP has been stuffing partisanship down the country's throat as one of their many legacy's that makes the GOP bad for the country, right? Well, whatever, while that's going on in the Preserve OUR Corporate Cash press, Jon Stewart shows us yet again how an honest interviewer could approach a topic, and even with his obvious bias, still do his job.

Stephen Hayes was on talking about his book about Dick Cheney, and Jon had just gotten done, ala Timmeh Russert, showing old clips of Dick Cheney from 1994 talking about why we didn't go into Baghdad after Desert Storm.

Because it would be chaotic and deadly and would not end up with any kind of clear resolution that would advance American interests in the region.

Stewart hit on the clearest point, not that Cheney lied us into the war, not that Hussein wasn't a threat to the US or that he didn't have WMD's, not that 9/11 changed the world view or situation that faced our interests in the region. No, he stuck to what Dick had said, to demonstrate the essential truth of Bush/Cheney's actions after 9/11.

"Given all of that, given that he knew that in 1991 removing Hussein would lead to chaos and unforseen consequences in Iraq and the Middle East regardless of the circumstances at that time, why would they not plan for what they knew would happen if we 'took out' Saddam Hussein?" [I'm paraphrasing here-DGR]

And when the author tried to defend Cheney, Stewart would have none of it, and kept repeating that point, if they knew bad things would happen, why is there a total absense of any kind of effort to plan for and act accordingly? And Cheney's admission of miscalculation and mistake does not qualify as a satisfactory answer in any way.

Their failure to do so tells you everything you need to know about what their intentions were/are in Iraq. How they few human life, Muslims, Iraqi's, geo-politics. Like Josh Marshall keeps saying bout Romney and Guiliani, they don't have the least bit of comprehension about the area, and the White House doesn't have one either, nor do they care.

Such callous ignorance makes you wonder what the hell they're doing over there in the first place. And like I told Ms. Duckman this evening, they're there for the oil, in one way or another. And that is an impeachable offense, and contrary to the Geneva Convention.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Barry Bonds and Bud Selig, Rummy and Saddam

I can't help it, but when I see Barry Bonds getting snubbed by Bud Selig, I see and hear Donald Rumsfeld raving against Hussein. Then I see this picture and see the hypocrisy and complicity of the Republicans in this nightmarish facade of lies and greed.

Just like Barry Bonds is getting denigrated by Official Major League Baseball, not Henry Aaron who is perfectly well within his rights to snub Bonds, but the greedy owners and their Executive Committee, you need to remember that once upon a time Bud Selig and company turned a blind eye to the destructive actions of some of their players, to save their precious toys and their even more precious investments.

Because it’s high time, too, for the suits running baseball to come forward and admit complicity in a scandal they did little to stop and everything to profit from.

Maybe Bud is doing it because George W Bush wants to get tough on steroids. Maybe because he doesn't like a cheater. Maybe because he has no way of reconciling his past actions with the present situation created by those actions. I think that's what they call cognitive dissonance.

I realize that the crimes aren't the same, baseball being a game slowly having the life squeezed out of it by people like Selig and Sandy Alderson and the Corporations and ESPN, while the lives being squeezed in Iraq are real, once living and breathing, now dead at the hands of George Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and all the rest of the enablers, Bremer and Kristol and Kagen and Limbaugh and Drudge and all the rest.

Yeah, Bonds cheated. But his bosses told him too, one way or another. He'll get the record, for how long is debatable, but at a personal cost way out of proportion to that deserved by his arrogant and sometimes churlish behavior. Ken Caminiti paid for it with his life, Manuel Noriega rots in a Miami prison, Iraq is ripped to shreds, it's all a matter of scale, but the motivations seem pretty much the same.

We're just tools to be used, abused, and tossed onto the garbage heap when they're through with us. Because they have the power.

We need to take that power away. Every way and every day.