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Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Native American Day!

From last year's Christmas bird count, some real native Americans (click to enlarge):


Obama and racism

It's obvious that the election of Barack Obama didn't end racism in the United States. Some want to call the election a "victory over racism" or a "blow to racism," and perhaps it was. However 47% of the electorate voted for John McCain, so it is entirely possible that not a single racist overcame their racism because of economic considerations and voted for Obama; the population of racists isn't that high, even though institutional racism is still endemic.

But here's the effect that I think this election will have on racism: the effect it will have on new generations of Americans. Every American now coming into some kind of political consciousness (let's say from age 8 on just to be arbitrary) will now, for the next four (and, in my opinion, quite probably eight) years, become accustomed to the idea of a Black President, and even after that, further generations will know that there was a Black President, even if the next one doesn't come along for many years afterwards. And I think that knowledge will have an effect in diminishing racism in the future. It's hard, almost impossible, to "cure" someone of racist. Once a racist, always a racist. But preventing them from becoming a racist, that's much easier. And I think the existence of a Black President will very definitely do that.


SS Free Gaza: the snowball that triggered an avalanche?

We can only hope:
The Libyan government has dispatched a boat that will try to reach the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli sea blockade, a Palestinian lawmaker said Wednesday, raising the possibility of a confrontation between Israel's navy and an Arab vessel in the Mediterranean.

The ship left the Libyan port of Zuara carrying 3,000 tons of food, medicines, blankets and powdered milk.

The Libyan ship follows three boats that have sailed to Gaza from Cyprus since August to break the Israeli blockade, imposed last year to put pressure on Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Those boats, organized by the private U.S.-based Free Gaza advocacy group, carried international activists and some aid supplies. Israel's navy let them through, with Israeli officials saying they wanted to deny the protesters the publicity they would gain from a confrontation.


Georgia: the old "U.S. green light"

When Iraq invaded Kuwait, it was just days after a meeting between U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein in which, we are told, Hussein got (or felt he got) a "green light" to invade. When Indonesia invaded East Timor, it was again just days after a meeting between Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger, and Indonesian President Suharto, in which that invasion was given a "green light" by Washington.

And so it was, evidently, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia earlier this year; this time, it was Condoleezza Rice in the role of "green light" shiner:

A former Georgian ambassador said on Wednesday that Georgia had wrongly convinced itself it had U.S. blessing for an assault on breakaway South Ossetia.

Erosi Kitsmarishvili, former envoy to Russia, told a parliamentary commission on Tuesday that Georgia had been the aggressor and triggered a war with Russia in August that proved to be disastrous for Georgia.
"Some people who attended the meeting between Condoleezza Rice and Saakashvili (in July 2008) were saying that Condoleezza Rice gave the green light for military action," he told a news conference.
By the way, I was amused by this bit of red baiting/Western arrogance/lack of self-awareness in the article:
Since his testimony, Kitsmarishvili has been vilified by senior Georgian officials, underscoring the difficulty of expressing dissent in the ex-Soviet republic since the war.
Right, and all those ex-Bush officials (Richard Clarke, Ari Fleischer Scott McClellan, Paul O'Neill) who have published tell-all books haven't been publicly scorned and ridiculed; I must have imagined that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Sean, Hugo, Raúl, and the Quote of the Day

A fascinating article by Sean Penn in The Nation describes two recent interviews with Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro, the latter the first interview given to an American journalist since he became President. We'll start with the quote of the day, from Raúl:
"You know, Sean, there was a famous picture of Fidel from the Bay of Pigs invasion. He is standing in front of a Russian tank. We did not yet know even how to put those tanks in reverse. So," he jokes, "retreat was no option!"
On a more serious note, this from the interview with Chavez, in which Christopher Hitchens (!) was also participating:
Hitchens asks, "What's the difference between you and Fidel?" Chávez says, "Fidel is a communist. I am not. I am a social democrat. Fidel is a Marxist-Leninist. I am not. Fidel is an atheist. I am not. One day we discussed God and Christ. I told Castro, I am a Christian. I believe in the Social Gospels of Christ. He doesn't. Just doesn't. More than once, Castro told me that Venezuela is not Cuba, and we are not in the 1960s.
Another interesting difference between Chávez and (Raul) Castro. When Penn asks if they'd be willing to fly to Washington to meet with President Obama, Chávez immediately answers "Yes." Castro isn't as quick to answer, and when he finally does, he notes (quite properly) that the appropriate place for such a meeting is on neutral ground. He suggests Guantanamo, and hopefully adds that when Obama leaves, he can take the U.S. flag flying over the place with him.


U.S. foreign policy: the old "I had my fingers crossed" ploy

The Iraqi parliament just delayed a vote on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). But do they even know what they're voting on? Well, they might know what it says in Arabic, but do they know how the occupiers back in Washington are reading the agreement? Apparently not:
The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation than the Iraqi government of several key provisions of the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement, U.S. officials said Tuesday — just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote.

These include a provision that bans the launch of attacks on other countries from Iraq, a requirement to notify the Iraqis in advance of U.S. military operations and the question of Iraqi legal jurisdiction over American troops and military contractors.

Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes. [Ed. note: it has nothing to do with keeping the truth from Americans.]

"There are a number of areas in here where they have agreement on the same wording but different understandings about what the words mean," said a U.S. official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
It's not that, even if the language were published in English, and included ironclad, penalty-laden clauses, that there is any reason to believe the U.S. will feel bound to honor it anyway. The demands of "national security" trump any treaty, any international law, and can always be invoked at any moment to justify any action - the invasion of a country which wasn't threatening the U.S., the bombing of a country which is pursuing it's legal rights to nuclear power under the NPT, whatever. But pretending the agreement says one thing, and then revealing after (or should we say "if") it's ratified that you take it to mean another, makes those future actions so much easier to justify.

We should start a poll or a contest to guess the number of troops plus mercenaries still in Iraq at the end of Obama's first term, as well as the number in Afghanistan. For sure the first number will be far from zero.

Rachel Maddow, bless her heart, was actually asking the question last night or the night before which I hadn't yet heard on corporate television - what is the exit strategy for Afghanistan? She hasn't yet gotten around (nor is she likely to) to talking about the violation of international law and the nature of imperialism which put U.S. troops there in the first place, but it's a start.

Update: The agreement surfaces (PDF). Whether this is the version the Iraqi parliament is actually debating I couldn't say. But don't you wish we could get the U.S. military to respect this provision inside the United States itself?

Both Parties shall implement this Agreement in a manner consistent with protecting the natural environment and human health and safety. The United States reaffirms its commitment to respecting applicable Iraqi environmental laws, regulations, and standards.
Of course, really protecting the natural environment would involve not polluting the countryside with depleted uranium, not driving tanks or Hummers and flying planes and burning gasoline and polluting the atmosphere, and protecting "human health and safety" would mean ceasing all military operations immediately. Somehow I have the idea that's not what's intended. ;-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


U.S. foreign policy costs us money

If Barack Obama really wanted to solve the economic crisis in the United States, he would start with a complete revamp of U.S. foreign policy. Everyone is aware of estimates that the cost of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq will exceed $2 trillion, and the overall military budget every year, counting everything (not just the basis DoD budget) is in excess of $1 trillion. But that's not the only aspect of U.S. foreign policy that costs us money:
According to the [US National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC)], if the US were to scrap its unilateral sanctions [against Iran] and, in turn, Iran were to ease its foreign investment rules, particularly in its oil sector, the Middle Eastern nation could boost its crude oil production by about 50 percent and lower world prices by about 10 percent. This would cut the cost of US oil imports by about $38 billion.

US non-oil trade and trade in services with Iran also would shoot up, by about $46 billion or 0.4 percent of US GDP.
That's $84 billion total benefit to the U.S. economy. Or, put another way, $84 billion the U.S. economy has lost because of the "national security" we're "gaining" by imposing sanctions on Iran. In reality, of course, those sanctions are diminishing our national security, so there's no upside whatsoever.

$84 billion might be chump change compared to the $1 trillion that's being wasted on the military budget, but it's real money. To most of us whose address isn't Wall Street, anyway.


Quote of the Day

I can't find it online, but on Democracy Now! this morning, someone quoted the President of the Steelworkers Union (I believe) saying:
"If you take a shower before you go to work, the government's got money to help you out. If you take a shower after you come home from work, they don't."
Of course it's not literally true - there are plenty of people, be they computer programmers or teachers or bank tellers, who don't get sweaty or dirty while working and who may well take a shower before they go to work, but who are still very much part of the working class. Nevertheless, it's a nice way to sum up the very real, ongoing class war in the United States (and capitalist countries in general).

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Quote of the Day

Harvey Milk:


Obama is a leftist!

Who knew?

Oh wait, that should be "lefty", not "leftist". My bad.


The employment news is grim

Although what caught my eye was the headline:
Jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 16-year high
Unexpectedly? Yeah, who could have seen that coming, with layoffs of thousands, or even tens of thousands, from one company after another, day after day.

Headline aside, however, the news is indeed grim, with not the slightest time for schadenfreude about how it's all Bush's fault (but plenty of time for actual truth about the nature of capitalism and its recurring crises):

The government said new applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 from a downwardly revised figure of 515,000 in the previous week.
The tendency of the media to report only "new applications" is somewhat understandable (it is important to understand trends), but, atypically, this particular article also gives us the actual totals:
The number of people continuing to claim unemployment insurance rose sharply for the third straight week to more than 4 million, the highest since December 1982.
And, although predictions from economists are only slightly more useful than predictions from astrologers, I have to note:
The figures likely will cause some economists to increase their projections for the unemployment rate this year. Many already expect unemployment to reach 7 percent by early next year and 8 percent by the end of 2009.
And those are the "official" figures, which we all know represent a serious undercount of the actual number of people who would be working full-time if there was work available.

It's time to get rid of this outmoded system called capitalism. Long past time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The unthinkable auto bailout

$25 billion to save (maybe) the American automobile industry? "Unthinkable" according to many, if not most, in Washington and on the airwaves. $57 billion to continue the wars against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan through 2009? Also "unthinkable," although in a different sense of the word. Unthinkable in that no one in Washington (outside of Dennis Kucinich and a handful of others) will give it a second (or even a first) thought. Nor will they give much, if any, thought, to the overall war budget of $581 billion. Challenging that is also "unthinkable."

As far as the auto bailout, I suspect I'm actually opposed to it too. Not because I don't think saving jobs is a good idea, but because I have the sneaking suspicion that what this is really about is breaking the UAW, and taking the money out of the hide (and the pockets) and the autoworkers.


U.S. intervention in Iran: an update

The fact that the United States pays no attention whatsoever to treaties that it signs is hardly news. Nor is the fact that the U.S. is busy intervening covertly (on top of the overt intervention of its economic warfare) in Iran; we all could have guessed that without Seymour Hersh telling us so, or the former Iranian ambassador to the U.N. saying:
A former senior Iranian diplomat says the White House is making strenuous efforts to orchestrate a "Velvet Revolution" in Iran.

Mohammad-Javad Zarif, the former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, claimed on Tuesday that Washington is conspiring to foment discord among Iranians in order to topple the Tehran government.

"The concept of a velvet revolution in Iran should not be considered as groundless fear," said the Iranian scholar.
But I was unaware that, over and above international law in general, that that intervention was actually a specific violation of an actual treaty. It is:
Under the 1981 Algiers Accords signed between the US and Iran in the aftermath of US embassy takeover in Tehran, the White House is obliged to refrain from interfering in Iran's 'internal affairs'.

"The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs," reads Point 1 of the accords, which led to the release of American hostages.

Despite its obligations under the 1981 treaty, the US opened an Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) in the State Department and tasked the unit with drawing up plans to overthrow the Iranian government.

With the help of Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, the office launched the 'Democracy Program' initiative, which has been shrouded in the cloth of secrecy since its inception.

Elizabeth Cheney launched the Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) in direct violation of Washington's obligations under the 1981 Algiers Accords.

The US Congress has reportedly appropriated more than $120 million to fund the project.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in July that US Congressional leaders had secretly agreed to President George W. Bush's $400-million funding request for a major escalation in covert operations inside Iran.


The latest on the McCain shootdown

You might have missed this:
A retired Red Army Lieutenant has confessed to downing the plane of defeated US presidential candidate, John McCain, in the Vietnam War.

Trushechkin, in a St. Petersburg hospital, said he still hated John McCain and he was very happy that McCain did not make it to the White House.

"He always hated the Russians. He knew that it was our rocket that downed his plane," he said.

The veteran says he was 28 years old when he went to join Soviet forces in Vietnam, where they fought against the US together with local soldiers.

Yuriy Trushechkin said that McCain got lucky because ejected US pilots were usually beaten to death with pickaxes.


Obama's "inclusiveness"

Barack Obama wants us to think he's into "inclusiveness" and reaching out to all sorts of people. Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Rahm Emanuel, etc. Notice any names missing from the list? How about Ralph Nader, one of the most competent people in the United States, easily the most qualified person for a number of Cabinet positions? How about Dennis Kucinich?

I think I could take him in a basketball game of one-on-one easily, because he makes it rather clear his "reach" extends only to his right.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


SOFA: Corporate media buries the lead

The Iraqi Cabinet (not yet the Iraqi Parliament, although it is asserted that that is likely) today approved a new "Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)" with the U.S. What did that agreement call for? Withdrawal of U.S. forces to their bases by summer, 2009 and complete withdrawal by the end of 2011, with fixed, not "conditional", deadlines. And how did the corporate media treat this development?

The New York Times headlines it "Iraqi Cabinet Approves Security Pact With U.S," and not until the sixth paragraph do they note its status as a "date certain" withdrawal from Iraq. Similarly the Washington Post headlines "Iraqi Cabinet Approves Security Pact With U.S." and doesn't mention the withdrawal of troops to their bases until paragraph five. Neither emphasizes the momentous, albeit not to be taken as definitive, nature of this vote, or the substantial defeat for the Bush Administration and the U.S. that it represents. Consider, for example, the subhead in the Times:

The Iraqi cabinet voted overwhelmingly Sunday to approve the security agreement that sets the conditions for the Americans' continued presence in Iraq from Jan. 1 until the end of 2011.
How about "The Iraqi cabinet voted overwhelmingly Sunday to approve the security agreement that forces American troops to end combat operations by next summer, and leave Iraq completely by the end of 2011"? Wouldn't that convey just a little more accurately the nature of what happened?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


No on H8 - San Jose, CA, Nov. 15

Several thousand people marched in San Jose, California, today, to call for a repeal of the newly-passed Proposition 8 and respect for the equality of gays and lesbians. The crowd was a wonderful blend of humanity - gay, straight, white, Asian, Latino, Black (not many of the latter but that's a reflection of the population of San Jose), and overwhelmingly young. The future is ours!

Here's some video (with a few stills mixed in) I took:

Click here to watch in high quality.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Obama says: Left I readers not wanted

Well, not exactly. But if you were thinking of applying for a job with the Obama Administration, and I just know many of you had that in mind, be aware that you need to answer this question:
(10) Writings: Please list and, if readily available, provide a copy of each book, article, column or publication (including but not limited to any posts or comments on blogs or other websites) you have authored, individually or with others.
You have been saving copies of all your blog comments, haven't you?

There are some other interesting questions as well. Consider this one, especially in light of the recent campaign and the "Bill Ayers" attack against Obama:

(61) Have you had any association with any person, group, or business venture that could be used – even unfairly – to impugn or attack your character or qualifications for government service?
Even unfairly? Are you kidding me? Why not just ask "have you ever 'palled around' with a 'domestic terrorist', or has anyone ever claimed you have?

And you have been recording your entire life, haven't you?

(12) Speeches: Please identify all speeches you have given. If available please provide the text or recordings of each such speech or identify any recordings of speeches of which you are aware.
Curiously, no "are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" although some might say that falls under question 61 above.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Thanks to ANSWER, you can protest at the inauguration

Do you think the government is giving too much financial help to rich bankers, and little or nothing to people who have been forced out of their homes? Are you worried that Obama will not keep his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, or that he will keep his promise to send more troops to Afghanistan? Do you think Obama needs to go much further on improving U.S. relations with Cuba than just taking U.S. policy back to the first George W. Bush administration. Or maybe you're a big Obama supporter, but just outraged that the Democrats, apparently with the full support of Obama himself, are preparing to welcome the traitorous Joe Lieberman into their ranks? Or maybe you want to express your support for Obama and all of his policies, but can't afford a seat in the bleachers.

If so, a lawsuit filed by the ANSWER Coalition four years ago, and finally (swift American justice!) decided, is the answer to your prayers (or your hopes, if you're not the praying sort). As outlined in this press release from the Partnership for Civil Justice, who fought the suit on behalf of ANSWER, and in this article from today's Washington Post, the amount of sidewalk space along Pennsylvania Avenue that has been protected from "privatization" and made available to the public will be substantially greater in 2009 than it was in 2005.

ANSWER's protests will be focused on the foreclosure issue this year, but thanks to their lawsuit, there will be room for everyone to have their say on Inauguration Day.

The Partnership for Civil Justice welcomes contributions for their work on behalf of civil and free speech rights.


Bush defends capitalism

It's another one of those speeches if I were doing this full-time I could spend a lot of time dissecting, but primarily I'll just point readers to Bush's vigorous defense today of free-market capitalism, which I heard over lunch. I'm unclear on who exactly the audience was, but the applause lines were telling (and complete bullshit, but that's where a much longer analysis than I've got time to give would be nice). The applause lines really stood out, because there weren't many of them, and in general it was a fairly dry speech. But when these lines came, the audience whooped and hollered enthusiastically:
"History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, it is too much government involvement in the market."

"The record is unmistakable: If you seek economic growth, if you seek opportunity, if you seek social justice and human dignity, the free market system is the way to go."
The closing line didn't get applause, but it was perhaps the most amusing one of all:
"And we will continue to lead the world toward prosperity and peace."
Yeah, how's that goin'?

P.S. - A friend says she's going to send this to all her friends. Since they all believe that everything Bush says is a lie, maybe this will be the speech that converts them to socialism.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Syria: Point-Counterpoint

Samples taken from a Syrian site bombed by Israel on suspicion it was a covert nuclear reactor contain traces of uranium combined with other elements that merit further investigation, diplomats said Monday.
Syria's foreign minister suggested Wednesday that Israeli bombs [containing depleted uranium, DU] may be the source of uranium traces that diplomats at the U.N. nuclear agency said were found at a suspected nuclear site.
Not that we should even take the claim that there was uranium found all that seriously. Case in point - the 1998 U.S. bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, based on similar bogus "evidence" later discredited. It is, of course, also possible (and probably nearly impossible to disprove) that the Israelis, even had they been using "regular" (non-DU-containing) bombs, could have easily dropped some small amounts of uranium at the same time, to provide a convenient post-facto justification for their attack.


Bill Ayers - why can't the media get it right?

Gary Leupp had a very good article the other day, including reiterating the basic facts of his "terrorist" days:
Ayers by his own admission participated in a bombing of a New York City police station, and went on to bomb the Capitol and Pentagon in the next two years. Each action came in response to a specific escalation of the Vietnam War. There were no casualties, and Ayers was never convicted of a crime. He denies that the bombings were acts of terrorism and points out instead that the war in Vietnam was a war of terror.
An even better article, by Beth Massey at pslweb, went even more extensively into the history of the Weathermen and the comparison of the real terrorist John McCain and the supposed terrorist Bill Ayers:
Unlike McCain, Ayers and the Weather Underground killed no one. Three of their members were killed when a bomb exploded accidentally in a townhouse in Greenwich Village while they were in the process of assembling it.

In the documentary film "The Weather Underground," Ayers said: "We were very careful from the moment of the townhouse on to be sure we weren’t going to hurt anybody, and we never did hurt anybody. Whenever we put a bomb in a public space, we had figured out all kinds of ways to put checks and balances on the thing and also to get people away from it, and we were remarkably successful."
Now obviously, I don't expect Wolf Blitzer or others in the corporate media to embrace the idea that Bill Ayers was a hero and John McCain a terrorist. But don't the basic facts matter? I'm referring to the latest interview with (sigh!) Sarah Palin, but what bothers me isn't what the eminently ignorable Palin had to say, but Blitzer's response. Palin:
"Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if anybody still wants to talk about it, I will, because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up, to destroy our Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol. That's an association that still bothers me."
And Blitzer's response to the absurd claim that Ayers was attempting to "destroy" the Pentagon and the Capitol? Nothing, of course. He just lets that pass, as he and every other "mainstream" newsperson did during the campaign, never once questioning the rewriting of history attempted by McCain, Palin, and their supporters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Iran: now they tell us

More shocking news you knew a long time ago if you read this blog or the left press in general:
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has obtained evidence suggesting that documents which have been described as technical studies for a secret Iranian nuclear weapons-related research program may have been fabricated.

The documents in question were acquired by U.S. intelligence in 2004 from a still unknown source -- most of them in the form of electronic files allegedly stolen from a laptop computer belonging to an Iranian researcher. The US has based much of its push for sanctions against Iran on these documents.
Will this change anything about Obama's position on Iran? Not a chance, since that opinion never had anything to do with facts or evidence anyway.


Again with Sarah Palin?

Sorry, can't help myself. Maybe this will be the last. Here's the latest from Palin:
"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door ... And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."
And my response, which would work so much better if I were an editorial cartoonist, but I'm not, so anyway, here goes:

Monday, November 10, 2008


Sarah Palin and Tom Joad

OK, this isn't really about Sarah Palin, but it's about something she said in her "exit interview" with CNN:
"I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit [for having lost the election], that I would trump an economic time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me."
Yes, the crisis just "occurred" about two months ago, a veritable act of God like a hurricane or an earthquake. America just "found itself" in this crisis "a couple of months ago."

No, as I wrote last month, contrary to Palin's claim and John McCain's "the fundamentals of the economy are sound" pronouncement, what is happening in the United States didn't just "happen" "a couple of months ago." Rather, there is a severe, long-term crisis of manufacturing in the United States, from which, fundamentally, everything else flows. Nor is this in any way new. Here's Bruce Springsteen singing about the very same problem is his 1995 masterpiece "Youngstown" from "The Ghost of Tom Joad" album:

Indeed, Bruce was singing about precisely the same thing a decade earlier, in another song I consider a masterpiece, 1984's "My Hometown" (from his "Born in the USA" album).

Tom Joad and his ilk did in fact arise, in part, from real "acts of God" (to use a legal, not a scientific, term) - the prolonged drought which brought about the Dust Bowl (aided and abetted, of course, by capitalism, in the form of bankers foreclosing on homeowners, just as today). Today's generation of Tom Joads, however, are strictly a man-made phenomenon. Or, should I say, a capitalist-made phenomenon.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Georgia: now they tell us

A week ago it was the BBC; today it's the New York Times finally revealing to the world what those who read the left press were well aware of from day one - events in South Ossetia and Georgia were not a "Russian invasion of Georgia," but a Russian reaction to a brutal assault on South Ossetia by Georgian forces.

In deference to the U.S. ruling class, the Times is still hedging its bets ("The accounts are neither fully conclusive nor broad enough to settle the many lingering disputes over blame"), but it's quite clear that the contemporary reaction of the entire U.S. ruling class, from Bush to McCain to Obama to the corporate media, was never based on a rational interpretation of the facts, but was instead entirely predicated on U.S. desire to isolate Russia in the world, not to mention a desire to fan the dying embers of anti-Communism as a "force that gives us meaning" (to steal from Chris Hedges).

Once again, as with the truth before the invasion of Iraq and so many other incidents throughout history, score one for the left and progressive media and zero for the corporate media (and minus a million or more for the people of the world who suffer the consequences).

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Things you might not know about Rahm Emanuel

Barack Obama's first appointment:The latter two facts are claimed to be "false charges" by Wikipedia, but were just reported by a CNN (or was in MSNBC?) reporter from Israel who had just interviewed Emanuel's father, so I'll take that as a "true."

As far as what this says about Barack Obama - sadly, nothing we didn't already know. His hardline stance in support of Israel couldn't get much harder.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


There's $ and there's $$$$

The California Nurses Association, a fine progressive organization, wants us to go to this website where you can play a silly game and see what the country could have bought (e.g., more uniforms for nurses) with the $150,000 that the Republicans spent on clothing Sarah Palin and her brood. $150,000? Chump change. How about thinking about what the obscene $1.5 billion spent on the election as a whole could have bought? Sadly, still chump change, in the face of the $1 trillion being spent every year on waging war and occupation in countries around the world.

$150,000 once in four years? It was good for a laugh. $1 trillion on the military every year? It's enough to make you cry. More than enough.


Obama wins, terrorism continues

US terrorism, of course:
A deadly US-led strike on a wedding party in southern Afghanistan has left at least 36 civilians killed and several others injured.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Online polls

Online polls are meaningless as polls, but the poll questions themselves can be interesting. Here's the question that's up right now at Iran's (independent) Press TV. I guarantee you will never see this poll at CNN or FOX or MSNBC:
In your opinion why is it that apart from Republican and Democratic candidates, the nominees of other parties are marginalized in the US presidential race? Because:
  • Only these two parties are qualified to run the country
  • The Dems and Reps have better financial resources
  • The US electoral system is undemocratic and flawed
I'm also really sure that, when hell freezes over and you do see that poll at CNN, you won't see the current result, which are, respectively, 4%, 19%, and 77%.


It's Freedom Day!

Freedom from all those inane sound-bite ads for politicians and ballot measures, freedom from the endless broadcasting of the same exact Obama/McCain/Biden/Palin speech day after day after day on CNN/FOX/MSNBC/C-SPAN, all the while ignoring the very existence of other candidates. As the "fake third-party candidates" put it in the "Mock the Vote" show I went to this weekend put it (in song, of course):
It's tough to get elected
When we're always disrespected,
When the media united
Thinks we are not there.
The experience is rotten
To be on the whole forgotten
It's a wrong that must be righted
'Cause it is not fair!
Well, it isn't going to be righted without a lot of effort and money and some major changes. Today is the perfect day to donate money, or to decide to dedicate more of your time, to a cause that will really bring change to this world, be it the Green Party, ANSWER, FAIR, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Democracy Now!, or whatever other movement or organization arouses your passion. Don't just vote.

Although do that too. Because even if you know, as I do, that you won't be voting for the "winning" candidate for President or Senator or Representative, there are almost certainly important ballot issues (like voting No on 4, 6, 8, and 9 and Yes on 2 and 5 in California) on which your vote might, just might, make a difference.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Pro-life Palin

I suspect that every reader of this blog has heard about the prank call that got through to Sarah Palin a couple days ago, with a French-Canadian radio host pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. There were dozens of things in the interview that shed light on the mental "competence" of Sarah Palin, but one thing in particular that really struck a chord with me on a serious note. During my Sunday morning run, I had a close encounter with this handsome fellow and more than a dozen of his associates. Listen to Palin's reaction to a statement from "Sarkozy" during the call, and you'll get a real understanding of the mentality of a "pro-life" person:


Hope you can believe in


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