Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Security theater

This guy does what I would do if I weren't chicken.  He tests and routinely skirts airport security to demonstrate that it is flawed.  Now when can we go back to the days of easier flying?


Thursday, October 2, 2008

A shattering moment in America's fall from power

The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over. [more...]

So says John Gray of the Observer. It reminds me plainly of words I heard from a Mexican friend living in Taxco, Gro. shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "Your empire will fall," he said. I pondered those words. Empire? Yes, and nothing could be more demonstrative of our hubris than our invasion of Iraq on false pretenses without global support.

Gray says, "Meltdowns on the scale we are seeing are not slow-motion events," particularly regarding the financial sector falling apart, but as he points out, this meltdown has been in development for the last two decades as regulation has become unfashionable and the corporations have bought the government.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a McCain Victory Would Mean


"In judging the shape of a future John McCain presidency, there are already plenty of dots that are easy to connect. They reveal an image of a war-like Empire so full of hubris that it could take the world into a cascade of crises, while extinguishing what is left of the noble American Republic."

"...[W]hile Bush and McCain rushed off to war against Iraq over the distant possibility that Iraq might some day have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb, they allowed disorder to spread in Pakistan, a country that already possesses nuclear weapons."

Ready for King McCain? Let him appoint a few justices to the Supreme Court who will agree with the right-wing justices already there who are of the opinion that the President should have unchecked powers in wartime and wartime will never end.

This nonsense must stop!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Reagan Legacy


Deficit spending with a smile, and it all works out... for a while. Bush is going by the same play book (as been for 8 years), and it will be our undoing unless we're very clever about fixing things.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

McCain: More wars

Can we afford anything but an Obama vote?

Can we afford anything but an Obama vote?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Israel to bomb Iran

Word by way of Pakistan is that Israel (blue on the map at left) is very interested in attacking Iran (red) to stop the latter's nuclear ambitions. Writes the Daily Times, "...time is running out and ... if Israel is to attack Iran, it should be now when Bush is in office. [Isreal's war hawks] stress that there is now a 'favorable window of opportunity' that will close with the US presidential election in November, and that Israel can only depend on American support for as long as current US President George W. Bush is still in charge in Washington."

Now forgive me, but this actually makes a modicum of sense. Israel is literally up in arms over the Iranian nuclear ambitions, and Israel has some guns to make an assault. The United States has little motivation to embark on such a mission unilaterally, even with the precedent of attacking Iraq to stave off the fictitious WMD, but if Israel does it with the backing of the United States, well then we have a war on our hands! And what a conflagration it can be. Israel can use the United States' precedent of a preemptive strike as justification for their strike against Iran, and Iran will take up arms against Isreal. If this should somehow become a land war, guess who's in between! When will the insanity end? Once again, bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.

Time to impeach.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Microbes making petrolium

A Silicon Valley company called LS9 is fermenting waste plant matter and getting petroleum out of it. "Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol," says The Times Online. This goes quite nicely with I, Cringley's column calling for a change of our "platform" for energy. October 2007 National Geographic Magazine suggested such a breakthrough wasn't far away.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Impeachment is imperative for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is exercise of the authority of the legislative branch which has heretofore been usurped by the White House and a litany of signing statements, wiretapping, and other violations of the will of the people as expressed by Congress. This is a test of our Constitution, and if we fail to impeach in this case, we have demonstrated that the chief executive must do something truly extraordinary - far worse than a regular citizen's felony, to be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors."

I will be the first to agree that impeachment of Clinton was a mistake. He was impeached for lying under oath about a tawdry affair. Bush's crimes have had a much larger impact on our nation, our world, our economy, and our general well being than a tabloid sex scandal and they deserve to be investigated. That is the purpose of impeachment. Do not delay. Do your utmost to get Bush out as soon as possible so that he may not wage war against Iran or make other horrendous mistakes.

Sign the latest petition to support Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment!

War with Iran or no?

The Times reports on Bush: "President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran."

And then there's this from The Guardian: "President Bush on Wednesday raised unprompted the possibility of a military strike against Tehran's presumed nuclear weapons ambitions, speaking bullishly on Iran even as he admitted having been unwise to do so previously about Iraq."

The Guardian goes on to point out that an attack on Iran is tactically "extremely difficult", but one might point out that maintaining peace on the ground in Iraq with a force far less than 20 per thousand Iraqis is tactically "extremely difficult," too.

Is it me, or is this guy a politician in the extreme, saber rattling on one hand and claiming to be less than really anxious for war on the other.

I say we should impeach him before he has an opportunity to order an Iran strike in late October. Sign up at WexlerWantsHearings.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bush Did His Best

I'm reasonably certain that George W. Bush has done what he though was best for the country at most if not all opportunities. I just don't think he was very smart about quite a few huge items on the domestic and international stages. I imagine this is for a variety of reasons: 1) I don't think he is very accepting of opinions differing from his once he's made up his mind. 2) I suspect several of his advisers are acting in self-interest (consider the Cheney-Haliburton connection, for one, and see the amount of money being funneled into political campaigns and lobbying in Washington for another source of corruption) 3) I expect he gets much of his input from those advisers before making up his mind and 4) I'm not convinced that he is especially smart, given his C grades at Yale. None of this says he's a bad person or in any way unpatriotic, just misinformed, resolute, and ill-suited to his present job.

Domestically, the only complaints I have with him are regarding logging old-growth forests that had previously been protected and an energy policy that focuses on increased consumption of non-renewable resources and research into inefficient renewables like ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells to the exclusion of other, more urgent needs like improving vehicle fuel efficiency and our railroad system. I also don't like his warrantless wiretapping on U.S. citizens, which you might say is justified, but I would point out that there is a court in place to authorize such things, and the court was not consulted. "No Child Left Behind" has proven to be aimed at getting students out of public schools and into private ones, because its requirements are impossible to meet. How are English as a second language (ESL) students going to improve their test scores as a group when the group is always rotating because they are the ones who are new to the country? I'm also disappointed in various political appointments, such as Michael Brown as FEMA head, who had no relevant experience when he took the job. There are a few other issues, but those are the biggest in my mind today.

Politicians favoring cronies has cost many countries much livelihood. I imagine it is mostly corruption that Mexicans have to thank for their present economic state. In every administration, and especially in the most recent, we have a fine example of our President returning political favors by making appointments of unqualified people to various positions and then wondering why things didn't work out. If I were President, I would hire a staffing firm to find some qualified cabinet members!

Internationally, Bush got off on the wrong foot at the start of his administration when he as much as said, "The Middle East is not my problem. Let the Middle Easterners sort it out." It didn't take him long to change his tune. The war with Iraq was a colossal blunder and should not have been undertaken. It was a presented as a conflation of two events that were unrelated (9/11 hijackings were clearly linked to Al Quida and Afghanistan, but not to Iraq). The Iraq reconstruction was undertaken with all the foresight of a fifth grader. We learned much in the reconstruction of Japan and West Germany that could have been useful in Iraq, but history was disregarded because we supposedly had new methods that would make troops more efficient. When Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki suggested in a Congressional Briefing that it might take "several hundred thousand soldiers," more troops than the White House wanted, he was sidelined within four months of that accurate assessment because it was not politically expedient. Guantanamo Bay is a national disgrace. How can we claim to be fighting terrorism when we take innocent civilians off the streets in foreign countries and imprison them halfway around the globe? Ah, "But they're not innocent", you might say. And I ask how you would know that, since they haven't been tried in 5 years, they haven't had access to courts, and everything related to the camp has been a fiasco. These people have been held against their will and without any recourse whatsoever. What's more, a number of them have been tortured. It is only this White House that would try to coerce information from a prisoner who hasn't been in the loop for 5 years. Imagine the furious families those political prisoners left behind. Unfortunately, the nearly solo invasion and continued occupation of Iraq has cost this country dearly in terms of international clout. (If you doubt this, try discussing our President with any foreigner, or better yet, travel abroad and discuss our politics.) You don't have to take my word for it, either. Just look at the performance of the U.S. Dollar for his term. It has been on a steady decline.

In summary, I suppose if Bush had been specifically determined to ruin our country, he would have been more efficient about it, but he has fairly effectively ruined the economy by spending money we didn't have for a war we didn't need, taken our freedoms by listening to our communications, spent our international political capital to zero, and done his best to see that the public school system is ineffective. In all, he has done a fantastic job of wrecking things in spite of his best efforts.

U.S. Dollar at Record Lows

The U.S. Dollar has been going down against other currencies since April, 2002. Whomever touts parity with the Canadian Dollar as news hasn't been watching as we got ourselves into this mess. You have to go back more than 35 years to find a time when the Dollar was worth less than it is now.

Now we need to turn it around and make the greenback worth something. One way to do help is by not spending so much overseas. Just a thought.

Source: Federal Reserve

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Resist in March

Resist in March

March 19 marks the 5th Anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Peace and justice organizations will hold actions around the country and in Washington, DC to demand an end to the funding of the occupation, along with the impeachment of the president and vice president who launched it. For the full range of activities, see http://resistinmarch.org

The timing of these efforts could not be better, with Congress considering another $105 billion for the occupation of Iraq, with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz putting the true costs of the occupation over $3 trillion, and with awareness growing that Congress can simply stop voting on additional funds. Here's what we want our Representatives to do:


MARCH 10-12 in Washington DC: Stop-Loss Congress

While Congress plans a vacation from March 15th to 30th, Bush's stop-loss policy requires soldiers to involuntarily extend their tours and prolong the occupation. It is time to Stop-Loss Congress!

On Monday March 10, and Tuesday March 11, we will deliver "official" stop-loss notices to all members of Congress to notify them that all of their LEAVES, VACATIONS and HOME VISITS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED until every soldier and mercenary is home from Iraq. On Wednesday March 12, we will take nonviolent action on Capitol Hill.



MARCH 13-16, 2008 (Thursday-Sunday): Winter Soldier

Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War will testify in Silver Spring, Maryland to crimes witnessed and committed in Iraq. Audio and video of panels will be available live online, on satelite TV, and on Pacifica radio.


Local events supporting Winter Soldier, and other events for peace, justice, and impeachment:



MARCH 16 to 18, 2008 (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) in Washington, D.C.: Training, Lobbying, Restoring the Constitution

March 17th and 18th All day trainings & workshop at the Warehouse Theatre in preparation for March 19th

March 18th, Tuesday: CODEPINK Action Day to Take Back the Constitution:

Events are also planned around the country on March 17-18, including events in support of impeachment and demanding an end to funding the occupation. See: http://resistinmarch.org

Impeachment advocates are using this opportunity to advance a new strategy modeled on what achieved the resignation of Richard Nixon: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/31481

A reborn Students for a Democratic Society has planned campus events on March 17 to 21.


MARCH 19, 2008 (Wednesday) Nonviolent Civil Resistance in All 435 Congressional Districts and in the Nation's Capital on the Fifth Anniversary of the Occupation of Iraq

Locations in each congressional district, to be determined locally, will include congressional offices (Congress Members and Senators will be in their districts on this day), federal buildings, military recruiters, weapons makers, war profiteers, or corporate media outlets. In Washington, with Congress out of town, the focus will be on war profiteers in the military industrial disaster-capitalism complex. Events will include roles for people not wanting to risk arrest.


LOCAL EVENTS: Post Yours! Update it.

FIND LOCAL EVENTS AT http://5yearstoomany.org AND IN A SEPARATE LIST AT http://worldagainstwar.org


Resources for nonviolent activism: HERE.
Resources for promoting your event in the media:
Flyers and posters with room for local info:
Ideas for local actions:

DETAILS ON DC EVENTS: http://www.5yearstoomany.org

World Can't Wait Events in DC on 19th

Join in acts of creative non-violent civil resistance: http://resistinmarch.org


Sick of It Day

Something else that anyone anywhere can do on the 19th:


Student Involvement and Leadership


March 20 SDS Campus Protests

Students for a Democratic Society Campus Events


March 22 Teach In at American University in Washington DC


March 20-23 Split This Rock Poetry Festival

Stick around to TALK about what you've been doing, with Split This Rock in Washington, D.C.

Friday, February 15, 2008

FISA and Protecting America from enemies within

President Bush said today, "At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning new attacks on our country. Their goal is to bring destruction to our shores that will make September 11 pale by comparison."

First, why should we believe this President? He has lied to us on a number of counts, especially drumming up fear when there was nothing to fear.

Second, should we sacrifice our privacy to gain security? I think not.

Third, the FISA courts have been established to allow for surveillance. If, as the President claims, it is necessary to watch every bit of information as it travels the globe, then let the President subject the program to judicial monitoring. If a judge hasn't approved of it, it is illegal.

Fourth, if we would quit making a mess of our international affairs, terrorists would not be so eager to destroy our country. Remind me again why we invaded Iraq?

The Senate offered immunity to the telecom companies. The House has stood firm that we might retain our rights. Tell the House of Representatives: "Keep standing up to the fear-mongering!"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Why I Believe Bush Must Go

George McGovern writes an editorial in Sunday's Washington Post: Why I Believe Bush Must Go. I appreciate his pragmatism and his thorough enumeration of the faults of this administration. I appreciate the comparison with the Nixon administration.