Thursday, December 30, 2004

Silent Protest

I recieved this from several directions but regardless it seems like a good idea and pretty painless. There is actually nothing we can do, at this point, to derail Bushco as they have done an admirable job of jamming the sheep. We just have to roll and jab when we can.

Inauguration Day, Silent Protest

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq,
since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it,
Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime
Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," those who oppose what is happening in our
name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms
of consumer spending.

During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn
dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse
purchases. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Walmart, KMart and Target.
Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't
buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.
The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is
immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that
it is their responsibility to stop it.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the
people of the United States of America, not for the international
corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and
funnel cash into American politics.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. The politicians
put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some
estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a
plan -- a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing
agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by
doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24
hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious
leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war
in Iraq and give America back to the people

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stingy Bastard

Let me see if I get this straight the mighty and compassionate George Bush is going to lavish a whole 15 million dollars on the countries that have been virtually wiped out by the tsunamis. He is one really big hearted SOB promising that much money(hasn't paid it yet) seeing as how he has already spent 30 - 40 million dollars(not including security) on his coronation. He probably had to look under the cushions to get that much.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Holiday Travel

Across the pond for the holidays. Limited posts. Everyone have a wonderful holiday.

Down and Down We Go

The White House can't explain why for the first time in 50 years the U.S. will not register an agricultral trade surplus.

Here is the link

The dubious milestone was met with odd silence at USDA. Odd because throughout the fall presidential campaign, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman talked herself hoarse each time some farm community in a swing state dedicated a new, USDA-sponsored street light.

Now, as America is about to become a net food importer for the first time in generations, Veneman has no explanation of how Bush administration economic and trade policies have taken American agriculture from a $13.6 billion trade surplus in 2001 to a flat line in four short years.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Theology and Evolution

If you haven’t read the following article The Fundamentalist Agenda, by Davidson Loehr. Then do so. It will give you much insight into the enemy.
From 1988 to 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences sponsored an interdisciplinary study known as The Fundamentalism Project, the largest such study ever done. More than 100 scholars from all over the world took part, reporting on every imaginable kind of fundamentalism. And what they discovered was that the agenda of all fundamentalist movements in the world is virtually identical, regardless of religion or culture.

The five characteristics are

1) Men rule the roost and make the rules. Women are support staff and for reasons easy to imagine, homosexuality is intolerable.

2) all rules must apply to all people, no pluralism.

3) the rules must be precisely communicated to the next generation

4) "they spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed. (Several of the scholars observed a strong and deep resemblance between fundamentalism and fascism. Both have almost identical agendas. Men are on top, women are subservient, there is one rigid set of rules, with police and military might to enforce them, and education is tightly controlled by the state. One scholar suggested that it's helpful to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. The phrase 'overcoming the modern' is a fascist slogan dating back to at least 1941.)"

5) Fundamentalists deny history in a "radical and idiosyncratic way."

All of this is interesting and it's interesting because it crosses all religions, cultural and regional boundries. When the scientists were presenting their abstracts, "several noted that all their papers were sounding alike, reporting on 'species' when studying the 'genus' was called for, that there were strong family resemblances between all fundamentalisms, even when the religions had had no contact, no way to influence each other."

Now, evolutionary psychology theories of the moment can be awfully facile because mostly they reinforce certain social norms that can easily be explained in other ways. (No Virginia, women do not necessarily practice fidelity and men do not "need" to spread their seed far and wide because of their alleged biological programming. It's a lot more complicated than that.) Still, this explanation for fundamentalism --- and more importantly perhaps, why it rears its ugly head from time to time is very thought provoking:
The only way all fundamentalisms can have the same agenda is if the agenda preceded all the religions. And it did. Fundamentalist behaviors are familiar because we've all seen them so many times. These men are acting the role of “alpha males” who define the boundaries of their group's territory and the norms and behaviors that define members of their in-group. These are the behaviors of territorial species in which males are stronger than females. In biological terms, these are the characteristic behaviors of sexually dimorphous territorial animals. Males set and enforce the rules, females obey the males and raise the children; there is a clear separation between the in-group and the out-group. The in-group is protected; outsiders are expelled or fought.

It is easier to account for this set of behavioral biases as part of the common evolutionary heritage of our species than to argue that it is simply a monumental coincidence that the social and behavioral agendas of all fundamentalisms and fascisms are essentially identical.

What conservatives are conserving is the biological default setting of our species, which has strong family resemblances to the default setting of thousands of other species. This means that when fundamentalists say they are obeying the word of God, they have severely understated the authority for their position. The real authority behind this behavioral scheme is millions of years older than all the religions and all the gods there have ever been. It is the picture of life that gave birth to most of the gods as its projected champions.

Fundamentalism is absolutely natural, ancient, powerful—and inadequate. It's a means of structuring relationships that evolved when we lived in troops of 150 or less. But in the modern world, it's completely incapable of the nuance or flexibility needed to structure humane societies.

Revolutionary Change

Those of you who know me know I am still disgusted with the results of the recent national elections, disgusted and amazed that so many otherwise reasonable people can vote to return the idiot to office for another four years. I have been stewing for weeks over what to do. I am beginning to realize that we are near the need for some kind of revolutionary shift in the status quo. Our current voting system is illegitimate from the get go. Before the first votes are casts or counted the guy on the street is screwed. Why do I say that? To begin you have to have an actual democratic environment before the possibility of a democratic government becomes real. We currently have a system where big business/money are the targets of all the positive political activity. They get the all the tax breaks and all the value from weakening environmental laws. They reap the profits and benefits, with none of the costs, of the current war(s) and other military actions around the globe. Who do you think is pocketing all of the profits resulting from the purchase of everything from bullets to helicopters? Who do you think is smiling as Halliburton and ilk pocket boatloads of our taxes? Who, if we are successful, will, in the end, wind up with all of the profits and resulting power from Iraqi oil. For that matter, who is probably going to wind up with most of the money from the record opium production in Afghanistan? Finally, who do you think is going to gather the windfall of money generated by the latest scheme to rob the treasury by “privatizing” social security? Who will wind up having to bear the burden of the trillion or so dollars of debt created on this unnecessary con game?
Next, you have to have a system that is meant to energize and maximize political participation and competition rather than restrict it. The electoral college, gerrymandering, and campaign financing systematically discourage participation and encourage a sense of “my vote doesn’t count”.
Lastly, you need checks and balances on corruption and waste. We need to identify and prevent government giving out contracts to corporations who in turn make political contributions to those who vote for the contracts.
All of the above is necessary and it is not going to happen within the current system. You cannot win the vote when the opposition controls the vote and the counting of ballots.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the in the Declaration of Independence:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes . . . But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security,"

While Jefferson was advocating the necessity of our separation from the British Empire, I think the concept applies in these times as well. I am afraid that the next four years of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their gang of cronies and oil merchants will give a full measure of what the yoke of despotism and yes even fascism are truly like.

We've Lost in Iraq, and That's Good

An excellent article by Robert Jensen in the Fort Worth Star-TelegramHERE. Frankly, I am wondering why this guy is still walking the streets. THis is the kind of truth that the New American Fascist Movement really dislikes and they are dead set on making people tlike this very, very quiet.

Here is a snippet.
"The United States has lost the war in Iraq, and that's a good thing.

I don't mean that the loss of American and Iraqi lives is to be celebrated. The death and destruction are numbingly tragic, and the suffering in Iraq is hard for most of us in the United States to comprehend.

The tragedy is compounded because these deaths haven't protected Americans or brought freedom to Iraqis. They have come in the quest to extend the American empire in this "new American century."

So, as a U.S. citizen, I welcome the U.S. defeat for a simple reason: It isn't the defeat of the United States - its people or their ideals - but of that empire. And it's essential that the American empire be defeated and dismantled."

Saturday, December 11, 2004

A Bigger Megaphone is a Bad Idea

Majikthise is 100% on target with her analysis regarding the attempt by the Bush administration to relax the strictures on proselytizing and discrimination when accepting government funds.
If we relax these restraints it is simply a government subsidy of hate and division and just gives these fringe organizations more weight to swing around.
There is already too much relaxation of the separation of church and state when you consider how many of the current laws are morals laws.

Only in Good Weather!

Yahoo! News - Pentagon Scrubs Missile-Defense Flight Test

AWWWWWW!! Looks like the enemy are requested to only attack us in good weather. Jeebus! What a bunch of maroons.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first flight test in nearly two years of a planned U.S. missile-defense shield has been scrapped two days in a row this week because of bad weather, the Pentagon (news - web sites) said on Friday.

Republicans and Academics

Jonathan Chait has an excellent piece on Why Academia Shuns Republicans in the L.A. Times. The entire article is worth reading but there are a couple of very good paragraphs that deserve distribution.
"The main causes of the partisan disparity on campus have little to do with anything so nefarious as discrimination. First, Republicans don't particularly want to be professors. To go into academia — a highly competitive field that does not offer great riches — you have to believe that living the life of the mind is more valuable than making a Wall Street salary. On most issues that offer a choice between having more money in your pocket and having something else — a cleaner environment, universal health insurance, etc. — conservatives tend to prefer the money and liberals tend to prefer the something else. It's not so surprising that the same thinking would extend to career choices."
"That's not just a campaign ploy. It's how Republicans govern these days. Last summer, my colleague Frank Foer wrote a cover story in the New Republic detailing the way the Bush administration had disdained the advice of experts. And not liberal experts, either. These were Republican-appointed wonks whose know-how on topics such as global warming, the national debt and occupying Iraq were systematically ignored. Bush prefers to follow his gut.

In the world of academia, that's about the nastiest thing you can say about somebody. Bush's supporters consider it a compliment. "Republicans, from Reagan to Bush, admire leaders who are straight-talking men of faith. The Republican leader doesn't have to be book smart," wrote conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks a week before the election. "Democrats, on the other hand, are more apt to emphasize … being knowledgeable and thoughtful. They value leaders who see complexities, who possess the virtues of the well-educated." "

Sucking America Dry

In response to the announcement that a group of unions let by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. are going to institute a large advertising campaign to try and improve wage and benefits conditions at Wal-Mart.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman,Christi Davis Gallagher, warned that higher wages could lead to higher prices. Duh!

"It appears the unions want to take millions of dollars in dues from their members and use them to rob average Americans of their right to pay less for the basics in life," Ms. Gallagher said. "You need to ask one question: Is it fair to ask American consumers to pay higher prices to subsidize a relatively small pocket of individuals just because they are making the most noise?"

The new effort, to be announced officially in several months, will also be unusual because most union campaigns involve just one union. Because Wal-Mart is so huge, labor leaders have concluded that several unions should work with the A.F.L.-C.I.O. on the effort.

Among those participating are the Service Employees International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Many union leaders have criticized the food and commercial workers for doing too little over the past decade to unionize Wal-Mart, but the union's new president, Joseph Hansen, has vowed to do more.

Ms. Gallagher of Wal-Mart said, "One thing that the unions seem to miss is that Wal-Mart's ability to offer the lowest prices around is driven by a passion to drive costs out of our business at all levels," including information technology.

She added, "While the unions want people to believe that we drive down our costs primarily through our wages or benefits, that is simply not the case."

Here's the response to Wal-Mart's to Ms. Gallagher:

Wal-Mart's low prices are due to low quality goods manufactured at the lowest cost possible. Wal-Mart's obsession with low prices threatens hundreds of thousands of American jobs. The list of American companies raped by Wal-Mart is a who's who of American enterprise.

Wal-Mart's low prices and resulting low wages are the major the reason many Wal-Mart employees turn to state aid for health care, costing tax payers millions per year. America's largest company spends more money on advertisings than on worker's benefits.

Wal-Mart is sucking the vitality out of American wages and main street America and, in turn' provides the least value and service possible for the every dollar spent. How can Costco and Target provide decent wages and benefits for the same work? Why is Wal-Mart an exception?

Low prices alone are not a good thing. Low prices need to be accompanied by a living, decent wage and working conditions or they doing nothing for the long term benefit of the consumer.

The whole story here:

Friday, December 10, 2004

This guy had better watch his back

via corrente
Let's just deep a big breath and hold it while we wait for CNN to pick up this story--OK?

Andrew Buncombe reports that this is the testimony of a former Marine who’s testifying in, yes, Canada, for the refugee status hearing of Jeremy Hinzman:

A former US Marine has claimed that he saw American troops in Iraq routinely kill unarmed civilians, including women and children. He said he had also witnessed troops killing injured Iraqi insurgents.

Jimmy Massey, 33, a staff sergeant who served in Iraq before being honourably discharged after 12 years' service, said he had seen troops shooting civilians at road blocks and in the street. A code of silence, similar to that found in organised crime gangs, prevented troops from speaking about it.

This Really Sucks!

He lost an arm in Iraq; the Army wants money

He lost his arm serving his country in Iraq.
Now this wounded soldier is being discharged from his company in Fort Hood, Texas, without enough gas money to get home. In fact, the Army says 27-year-old Spc. Robert Loria owes it close to $2,000, and confiscated his last paycheck.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Eyer on the Ball

The administration's record of the past four years suggests a foreign policy careening out of control, driven by ideologues who want to test their theories in the laboratory of the Middle East one minute, by domestic political considerations the next, and by spiteful attempts to punish those who disagree with their methods the next.

Where is this going? Who is in charge? Who knows? No one ever seems to be held accountable for the blunders, the failures, the wildly inaccurate presentations and projections or the painfully ineffective initiatives. Congress cannot simply accept more of the same, keep our heads down and hope that somehow we will muddle through. The stakes are far too high. Our national security, the stability of the world that our children will inherit, our troops - even our country's honor - are on the line. Congress has an obligation, not to oppose every administration effort, but to reassert our role in helping to steer the ship of state wisely rather than recklessly. I look at our foreign policy over the past four years, and I know that America is so much better than this. via "America Is So Much Betterthan This"

Monday, December 06, 2004

Be Democratic or die

Wait a minute, Atrios is right on this.
There is a big discussion going on between Kevin Drum and Atrios over the applicability or correctness of the Peter Beinart’s assertion that the left has to get “serious” about the “Islamofascists”. The argument seems to say that if you oppose the war in Iraq or Afghanistan then you aren’t serious about the war on terror or that you are some head in the sand peacenik. Well, I’m sorry. Using force is a complete waste of time and mostly it just makes matters worse. Show me a case where “expeditionary military force” was the saving grace and I’ll listen.
Accusing the left of being “soft on terror” is absurd. The reality is the left is not convinced that democracy at the point of a gun is the best way to go about it. The left should be pointing to the results of this method of “diplomacy” for what it is and that is stupid. If you believe that Iraq will see a truly democratic state anywhere in the near future you are crazy or delusional.

Them or Us.

Western governors got together last week with the Bush administration and Congress to plan how to change the Endangered Species Act. It must be changed, they all agree, because it costs loggers and ranchers too much money.

"We have to recognize that, A, we can't protect everything, and B, whether we should try to protect everything and at what cost."

Read the above a few times just to let it sink in! Bastards!

Friday, December 03, 2004

First the Jews

There is a signifigant post over at Unfogged. We cannot let the mind killers eliminate this from our thinking.

Very, Very Dirty Pictures

The following link to the latest Mark Morford article at SFGate is pretty typical of his work and why it is always read. In it he gives us a few links for actual pictures from Fallulah. The article is worth reading and the click through to the pictures is really important.
Very, Very Dirty Pictures / You want explicit? You want raw and uncensored and free of media bias? Here you go

Here are a couple of paragraphs--

This is what you won't see in the paper.
This is what you won't see on CNN or on MSNBC or CBS News or on any major media Web site anywhere and especially no goddamn way ever in hell will you see it within a thousand miles of Fox News.

You aren't supposed to see. You aren't supposed to know. You are to remain ignorant and shielded, and, if you're like most Americans, you have been very carefully conditioned to think Bush's nasty Iraq war is merely this ugly little firecracker-like thing happening way, way over there, carefully orchestrated and somewhat messy and maybe a little bloody but mostly still patriotic and good and necessary and sponsored by none other than God his own angry Republican self.

And hence you and I both have no real idea what the hell goes on in Iraq, no real images to gnaw on and be deeply horrified and saddened by, except for maybe a tiny handful of carefully sanitized snapshots of bombed-out Iraqi cities and maybe some grainy video of U.S. soldiers enjoying a dusty game of pickup football and a turkey dinner at the posh military digs way, way outside of Baghdad.
Here is the link to the pictures:

The War on Terror is Oversold

Tom over at Corrente has some interesting input concerning Beinart and Drum's points on what the left have to do for the future.
I agree. I think the conservatives and Bush have made the same mistake with the WOT that Truman did in over selling the communist threat. What are they going to do if there is an additional attack of the same magnitude and impact of the 9/11. What are they going to do to keep the sheeple dazed and confused and more and more deaths pile up in Iraq and it becomes clear that we are wasting billions of dollars on a losing effort? One can only dance so fast. I think we need to recognize that the threat of radical muslim terrorists is for the most part a local phenomena and would be solved in a moment with some rational changes is policy with respect to Israel. This is a very good discussion and vital to getting our heads around the issues.

Trying to Dull the Senses

Is this American?

There are more and more stories appearing the the main stream media that are what I call "Camel Stories". These are stories that resemble the fable of the the camel gradually getting his nose under the tent flap and then eventually getting in the tent completely.
We are being subjected to a de-sensitization campaign on a massive scale. We are being gradually innoculated against considering torture as shocking and absolutely rejected in any form. Now we are being led to believe that the testimony resulting from torture is OK for use in justifying the continued imprisonment of "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo. We have already been cajoled into conveniently forgetting the Abu Ghraib scandal. We need to pay attention and not let the psy-ops guys continue this unopposed.
The populace is already desensitized about war casualties, the economy, the loss of freedoms and privacy, the environment and more. We are allowing them to take away our ability to experience outrage and horror. Lambs to the slaughter.

What's with these Billboards in Arizona?

These Billboards in Arizona. are pretty amazing/disgusting. Joseph Goebbels would be very proud. I think I am actually speechless! As they say--