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Showing posts from 2007

"I hear Jesus totally rocks on Guitar Hero."

A non sequitor for anyone not in on the e-mail conversation, but it tickled my fancy:
The Jesus Christ Experience has Conquered America!By Doug Tarnopol. Published December 25, 2007
The Jesus Christ Experience, fresh from a successful tour of former Soviet republics, rocked the Mabee Center at Oral Roberts University last night.
Jesus, of course, stole the show, singing "I'll Lay My Hands on You" suspended face down from a huge lighted crucifix, flying over the crowd. But the band was tight, especially with Peter on keys, a leper on bass (they haven't had a steady bassist since Judas left the group to tour with Kiss), and Torquemada laying down the heavy beats.
Even though the stage show had to be altered -- Tulsa's a dry town, so bottled water remained water -- everyone really hit their mark. Magdalene, Bathsheba, and Mary did their usual great backup singing, and in killer outfits: they make Jane's Addiction's dancers look like a bunch of latte-sipping…

Free Rice: Play and Feed a Hungry Person

Today's FCC Ruling: Sign the Petition to Stop Big Media

Dear Doug, Millions of people stopped the FCC in 2003. Let's do it again! Sign the Open Letter to CongressIt happened. A few minutes ago, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and his two fellow GOP commissioners approved new rules that will unleash a flood of media consolidation across America. The rules will further consolidate local media markets -- taking away independent voices in cities already woefully short on local news and investigative journalism. In 2003, the FCC tried to do the same thing, but millions of people demanded that Congress reject the FCC's rules. And they did. It's time to do it again. We need 100,000 people to get Congress to reverse the FCC's rules right now.Sign Our Open Letter to Congress
Then get three of your friends to do the same.
This is about whether we will have access to the information that democracy requires. It is about whether or not we'll have real news and local voices on radio, television and in the newspaper in your town. It's…

Hillary Clinton on International Law, Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus

It ain't pretty. Bush-Lite, and the "lite" is a hope, not a fact.

She does make nice cookies, though.

One thing: Zunes is out of his mind if he thinks that "Senator Clinton’s notions of what constitutes the legitimate use of force by the United States are so extreme, she would – if elected – likely become the most aggressive-minded Democratic president since James K. Polk." Has he forgotten about Kennedy and LBJ's little war in Southeast Asia? Or the multiple coups and attempted coups engineered by the CIA under those two? Has he forgotten about Hillary's husband's totally illegal war in Kosovo? The genocidal sanctions regime in Iraq that killed a million people, half of them children, forcing two successive UN chairs of the program to quit, claiming genocide? I mean, I could go on and on.

However, Zunes' historical lacunae do not detract from his accurate warning about Hillary. I just don't know whether Obama or Edwards would be much different…

Al Gore in Bali on US Obstructionism

Sign a petition that's already gotten 164,000+ signatures; let's try to force some change today and tomorrow!

Docs: Israel Demanded 80% of Settlements in 2000-01 Peace Talks

From Democracy Now, with links by yours truly. I'm sure this new information won't change official Washington's mind (both the Democratic and Republican lobes) about who scuttled the Camp David/Taba talks, but it's useful for the people to know the truth.
The talks come as new details have been released on the breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks nearly seven years ago. Israel and the U.S. have long blamed Palestinians for rejecting what they called a generous offer to return most of the Occupied Territories. But new internal Israeli government documents reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz confirm several key Palestinian claims. The documents show Israel insisted on retaining the major West Bank settlement blocs home to 80% of the more than 220,000 settlers. The figure does not include settlements in East Jerusalem, which Israel also insisted on keeping. The documents also show Palestinians proposed an equal land swap if Israel wanted to hold onto land out…

2007 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion

From the American Jewish Committee, for whatever that's worth. Interesting:

Survey Results
A. International Affairs
B. Israel
C. National Affairs
D. Anti-Semitism
E. Jewish Identity

Note both what was asked and what wasn't asked. Glenn Greenwald on this survey.

Here's an interesting response:

7. Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons?
Support35Oppose57Not Sure8

The 401(k) Myth, By Marie Cocco

Or: don't think that this privatized version of social security -- known as a "benefit" (for whom?) -- will either be there when you need it or forms a good model for the total privatization of all social security.

401(k)s are there to enrich Wall Street investment banks. If you are enriched, eventually, that's a side benefit. You won't get bailed out; they will. Evidence? Look around you; look at recent history. Wealth takes care of wealth.

Kucinich Barred from Democratic Debate in Iowa

Oh, yeah: this is a democratic process. No one's being excluded unfairly -- and why, I ask you? Lack of popularity in polls doesn't cut it, as you can see below. Home office -- i.e., lack of money -- doesn't cut it. So, what possible explanation are we left with? I leave it to you to figure out. From Democracy Now, linked in the title above (my emphases):
In campaign news, Congressmember and Democratic hopeful Dennis Kucinich has been excluded from today’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa. Debate sponsor the Des Moines Register told Kucinich he isn’t eligible because he doesn’t meet local requirements on a local campaign office and paid staff. Kucinich’s Iowa field director works out of a home office. The most recent poll of likely Democratic voters shows Kucinich has one percent support in Iowa—the same as Senator Chris Dodd. Nationally, Kucinich has two percent support—the same as Bill Richardson and Senator Joe Biden. Dodd, Richardson and Biden are all taking part …

Max Roach 1924-2007: Thousands Pay Tribute to the Legendary Jazz Drummer, Educator, Activist

Sick of the Dem Congress Funding the War? Join the Democratic Donor Strike against the DCCC and DSCC

From a great idea. I might add that you'll want to add that you're also boycotting any company or other organization that donates to the Democrats, and that you will not lift a finger to help any Democrat win office who doesn't support an immediate funding cut-off for all operations in Iraq not related to withdrawal.
Join the Democratic Donor Strike against the DCCC and DSCC
Once again our Democratic "leaders" are betraying our troops by keeping them in Iraq forever to be murdered or maimed for no reason except the insatiable greed of Bush-Cheney's oil cronies. On Tuesday, House Democrats plan to approve $30 billion more for Afghanistan. Then Senate Democrats plan to approve $70 billion to cover Iraq as well. Then House Democrats plan to approve the full $70 billion. Why are our Democratic "leaders" betraying us? Because they want Bush to sign -- not veto -- the $522 billion omnibus spending bill to…

Analysis: Big Oil to sign Iraq deals soon

Mission (almost) accomplished. Don't like it? Then read this:
One year ago, peace voters were celebrating the election of a new Congress that promised an end to the US occupation of Iraq. Since then, Congress has done little to bring US troops home from Iraq while the Bush administration has pushed ahead with the same war agenda. Peace voters have been left with few victories-- until now.

Two months after the benchmark deadline for the Iraq oil law, the law has so far been successfully resisted. The Bush administration tried to bully their way into Iraq's oil riches by pressuring Parliament to pass a law in favor of foreign oil companies but the oil workers union protested it, international media criticized it, Iraqi Parliament refused to debate it, and Americans such as yourself denounced it.

While we should be encouraged by this success, the fight is far from over. Even as Al-Sharistani concedes that the current law will not pass anytime soon, the I…

Bush's (Very) Selective DisARMament Plan

Economist Dean Baker breaks it down: click the title to this post to see how well Daddy Bush takes care of his flock.

I assume that the newly homeless will be Raptured up to that Big Condo in the Sky (or Giant Gitmo Underground) soon enough, so why take any real action?

In any event, as Andrew Carnegie is said to have said, "During a depression, assets return to their rightful owners." Let the fire sale begin!

Top Democrats Were Fine with Waterboarding...Supposedly

If the neocon WaPo's "official sources" are accurate, then those Democrats are scumbags. I don't see how the executive-branch sources can leak this stuff without breaking laws; now the Democrats' staffers, if any were present, or the lawmakers themselves, can risk prosecution by counterleaking.

So, it smells fishy, although it would be in keeping with the general acquiescence of the Democrats in 2002 to just about anything the Junta wanted.

Climate Change Performance Index 2008

2007 Nobel Peace Prize Lectures

Videos not yet up, but on the way. You can read the transcripts now, if you like. The title of this post has the presentation ceremony and both lectures. If you want to watch individual acceptance lectures, click the links below.
Al GoreIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Here's the ceremony on CSPAN. There's a killer Indo-European jam (guitar and tabla), by the way.

Here (and here) are the relevant posts on this blog on the IPCC's work this past year.

The Story of Stuff

Click the title of this post to see a great 20-minute film on stuff: where it comes from, what it costs (those pesky "externalities"), and what it does to people and to the earth.

It's great, uh, stuff.

PS: Download the movie (50 MB) by right-clicking on the image below and saving the link (not the image) to your computer (i.e., desktop):

Scott Ritter on the NIE, Anti-War Radio, KAOS, Texas, 12/6/07

Good point, if true: the sneaky, little point that Iran "used to have" a nuclear weapons program up to 2003 is apparently also untrue. This leaves the door open for the current propaganda. Cause and effect is difficult to divine in propaganda -- the admin may simply be making the best of the NIE by claiming that Iran could restart its alleged program -- but it's worth noting that the one laptop from which the notion of a weapons program arose is apparently a sole source. Curveball, the laptop version, in other words.

Look, it's pretty clear that the US wants to hit Iran. Not because of Iran, of course. We didn't drop atomic bombs on Japan because of Japan (yes, dear, I know it's amazing to contemplate). Hitting Iran is yet another shot across the bow against the EU, Russia, China, and India (and anyone else): we, the US, are the top military dog, and we can not only hit anyone at any time, but we will also continue to aim at unilateral domination over the foun…

John Lennon, RIP

The Seventh Decade – Jonathan Schell on “The New Shape of Nuclear Danger”

So, are you really concerned about nuclear weapons? Or just when it's the enemy-of-the-month that has them, or is acquiring them, or has knowledge of how to make them...or, uh, could acquire that knowledge...I mean, it's dangerous, right? Uh -- BOMB THEM!

Well, if you are, give Schell a listen, pull your head out of the sand, and start working on what you can actually, possibly affect: US policy.

Bob Dylan, "Cold Irons Bound"

I may have posted this before, but who cares? It kicks serious ass. From the much under-rated film, Masked & Anonymous. Looking forward to I'm Not There...hope I'm not disappointed.

I'm beginning to hear voices and there's no one around
Well, I'm all used up and the fields have turned brown
I went to church on Sunday and she passed by
My love for her is taking such a long time to die

I'm waist deep, waist deep in the mist
It's almost like, almost like I don't exist
I'm twenty miles out of town, in cold irons bound

The walls of pride are high and wide
Can't see over to the other side
It's such a sad thing to see beauty decay
It's sadder still, to feel your heart torn away

One look at you and I'm out of control
Like the universe has swallowed me whole
I'm twenty miles out of town in Cold irons bound

There's too many people, too many to recall
I thought some of 'm were friends of mine; I was wrong about 'm all
Well, the road is rocky…

The Massive Change Annapolis Wrought

Israel to Build New Homes in Jerusalem SettlementIsrael has announced plans to build more than three hundred homes in a Jewish-only settlement in East Jerusalem. The new homes would be built in Har Homa, a settlement of more than 200,000 people occupied since 1967. Palestinians have called for sovereignty over East Jerusalem as part of final peace deal. The move comes just one week after Israel made the latest of several pledges to freeze settlement construction at the U.S.-brokered summit in Annapolis. But on Tuesday, Israeli officials said the Road Map does not apply to Jerusalem but only the West Bank. In a letter of protest, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the settlements the "single greatest threat" to a final peace deal. And what's been going on for the past decade, colonialization-wise?
Study: Israel Demolished 3% of Illegal OutpostsMeanwhile a new study shows the Israeli government has carried out just three percent of its pledges to demolish unauthorized…

Amnesty International's Times Ad on the 2006 Military Commissions Act

Click the image to enlarge and read it. More info here and here; the Supreme Court will hear a case on the MCA.

Here's the Center for Constitutional Rights on this case. Sign their petition here. Send a copy of the Constitution to George W. Bush here (no pictures, but maybe someone will read it to him; perhaps animate it with hand puppets).

Sign Amnesty International-USA's petition here. Visit Tear It Down (Gitmo, that is) here.

Democracy Now on opening arguments: Attorneys Ask Supreme Court to Restore the Right to Habeas Corpus for Guantanamo Prisoners.

Fact-Checking Dobbs: CNN Anchor Lou Dobbs Challenged on Immigration Issues

An hour of Dobbs on Democracy Now. Worth watching, especially on the right-wing populism tip. Some more on the divide-and-rule phenomenon of right-wing "populism," also known as "proto-fascism."

I might add that a re-viewing of Bowling for Columbine would reinforce the point of this and other recent posts. As the economy tanks and intelligence estimates are brushed aside in favor of totalitarian fear-mongering, expect not a left-wing populist uprising but yet further consolidation and deployment of citizens' fury on anyone but those who deserve it, our rulers, the owners of the country.

Here's Amy Goodman's column on Dobbs. And here's another DN! report: FBI Statistics Show Anti-Latino Hate Crimes on the Rise.

U.S. intelligence: Iran apparently halted nuclear weapons drive in 2003

Will this NIE stop Bush-Cheney? (More here, by Ray McGovern.)

Looks like the answer is very possibly, "hell, no -- how could you be so silly?" Some larger context here. You don't hear Giuliani, for example, reining in the stop-Iran talk, do ya? How about Huckabee or any of the other candidates on the Rethug side, Paul excepted? To say nothing of Hillary...but maybe she'll change her tune.

Frankly, I think impeachment is the only thing that will rein these lunatics in (the current lunatic-residents of the White House Asylum). The key question is: What Did Bush Know on Iran, and When Did He Know It? Furthermore, if Bush-Cheney aren't stopped now, then no future president of any party will feel the slightest bit constrained. That is a bipartisan issue, no?

Bombs away? An Interview with Scott Ritter on Iran

Key quote:
MT: But it is now clearer than ever that our invasion of Iraq has been a disaster. How do you explain the lack of opposition?Ritter: It's difficult to explain. First of all you have to note, from the public side, that very few Americans actually function as citizens anymore. What I mean by that are people who invest themselves in this country, people who care, who give a damn. Americans are primarily consumers today, and so long as they continue to wrap themselves in the cocoon of comfort, and the system keeps them walking down a road to the perceived path of prosperity, they don't want to rock the boat. If it doesn't have a direct impact on their day-to-day existence, they simply don't care.There's a minority of people who do, but the majority of Americans don't. And if the people don't care — and remember, the people are the constituents — if the constituents don't care, then those they elect to higher office won't feel the pressure to c…

Venezuela's referendum: What's at stake?

The article linked above injects a little balance and reality into the get-Chavez media/administration/bipartisan frenzy. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with the lake of oil Venezuela sits on, nor with the different, albeit imperfect, socioeconomic model Chavez's Venezuela embodies, and which it is exporting all over Latin America, and perhaps beyond. That is, a non-neoliberal, non-neoconservative, anti-"Washington Consensus" model of development and government.

Nope, I'm not naive enough to worship everything Chavez says and does. I am, however, results-oriented, and Chavez's party still seems to be positioning itself to get yet more real results for the majority of its citizens. Do you see any such development in either of the two parties in this Greatest Democracy on the Face of the Earth? You know, the one that has cancelled habeas corpus and engages in unilateral wars of aggression, the supreme international crime?

Yes, it is always possible that Chavez wi…

Hands Off Iran, by Chris Hedges

[from the December 10, 2007 issue of The Nation] I will not pay my income tax if we go to war with Iran. I realize this is a desperate and perhaps futile gesture. But an attack on Iran--which appears increasingly likely before the coming presidential election--will unleash a regional conflict of catastrophic proportions. This war, and especially Iranian retaliatory strikes on American targets, will be used to silence domestic dissent and abolish what is left of our civil liberties. It will solidify the slow-motion coup d'état that has been under way since the 9/11 attacks. It could mean the death of the Republic. Let us hope sanity prevails. But sanity is a rare commodity in a White House that has twisted Trotsky's concept of permanent revolution into a policy of permanent war with nefarious aims--to intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents, to create permanent instability and fear and to strip citizens of their constitutional rights. A war with …

Dennis Kucinich, by Gore Vidal in The Nation

[from the November 26, 2007 issue]If the Democratic presidential primary were held today in your state, whom would you support? Cast your vote in the Nation Poll. For the past two years I've been crisscrossing the United States speaking to crowds of people about our history and politics. At the same time, would-be Presidents of the greatest nation in the country, as silver-tongued Spiro Agnew used to say, have been crowding the trail, while TV journalists sadly shake their heads at how savage the politicos have become in their language. But then, it is the task of TV journalists to foment quarrels where often none properly exist. As I pass through the stage door of one auditorium after another, I now hear the ominous name of Darth Vader, as edgy audiences shudder at the horrible direction our political discourse has taken. Ever eager as I am to shed light, I sometimes drop the name of the least publicized applicant to the creaky throne of the West: Dennis Kucinich. It takes a m…

Foreclosures in Black and White

From the NYT; linked above:
As the newspaper headlines have made clear for some time, we are in a mortgage crisis and a foreclosure explosion.A recent Times editorial, “Subprime in Black and White,” dealt with evidence that during the housing boom, African-American and Hispanic borrowers were far more likely than other borrowers to be steered into high cost loans — even after controlling for factors like borrower income and loan size.The maps [to the right] illustrate the effects of such racial disparities in New York City. The first map shows the neighborhoods where subprime loans were concentrated. The second, nearly identical, map shows where foreclosures have occurred. Note those gray diagonal lines in the maps. They indicate areas where racial and ethnic groups that are minorities in society as a whole are local majorities. Those diagonal lines also overlap extraordinarily with where the high cost subprime loans were given out — and where the foreclosures are occurring.The foreclo…

Get to Know Dennis Kucinich...

Commonwealth Club of California
San Francisco, CA
Aug 10th, 2007

Get to Know the Candidate: 2008 U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich in a conversation with Joseph Epstein hosted by The Commonwealth Club of California.

Ohio Congressman Kucinich engages in a wide-ranging conversation about his political views and background.

ALL of Dennis Kucinich's replies @ 11-15-07 Dem. debate

“The End of America”: Feminist Social Critic Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Facism

"Slow"? I'd say we're pretty much there. Wolf is a little superficial in her analysis, but she's basically right.

Click the title of this post for the Democracy Now interview. Listen to the part about the no-fly list, and what's coming up in February. 20,000 American citizens added per day.

The American Freedom Campaign: sign the petition(s)!

Talk by Naomi Wolf:

A recent interview:

Article in The Guardian. The book:

Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States

Some relevant history (one hour; launches in Real Player). Parsi's been on Democracy Now, too.

From the C-SPAN Book TV page:

About the ProgramTrita Parsi discusses the past and present relationship between the U.S., Iran and Israel. The talk was hosted by the World Affairs Council of Northern California. About the AuthorTrita Parsi is the co-founder and current president of the National Iranian American Council. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Nation, The Wall Street Journal, The American Conservative, the Jerusalem Post and other sources. For more, visit

Here's the info from the Yale University Press website on this book:
Click here to listen to an interview with the author on the Yale Press Podcast.Visit Trita Parsi's webpage featuring appearances, press events and interviews with the author. Listen in on the author's recent appearance and interview on The Diane Rehm Show. Downloand this segment using Real Audio or Windows Media Pl…