Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day

The name of the holiday is "Independence Day"

Its not, "the Fourth of July".  Yet, that's what's blasted at each of us out of the corporate media boxes.  Everything says 'Fourth of July".  You very rarely see "Independence Day."

Is there something that they want us to forget?

How would Bill O'Reily and friends react if someone tried to take the "Christ" out of "Christmas" by just calling the holiday "the Twenty-Fifth of December"?

This holiday celebrates all that was and is great about America.  It celebrates that once in this land there were people willing to stand up to governments, armies and corporations and declare their INDEPENDENCE!  It celebrates that they were willing to fight for years to win it. 

And it should serve as a reminder that we are a free people in a free land.

Why do they want us to forget this?

Call the holiday by its proper name ....  "INDEPENDENCE DAY!"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

War Funding Vote today.

The House votes today on the extra special off-budget 'emergency' funding for the Afghan war.

What really should be happening is that we should be gathered around the Capital in our millions, demanding that these billions be spent instead on unemployment benefits and economic stimulus that would benefit American citizens.

But since we're not that smart or that active, we should at least be bombarding every Congresspersons office with our phone calls and emails. Here's a link to a site begging 21 so-called 'progressive' Congresspeople to actually vote like they talk. And contact your own Representative. The Capital Hill switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

And, don't be fooled by the Democrats' trickery with fake votes and half votes and the like. Just wait until the dust is settled, then look to see if the war is funded or not funded. If at the end of the day the war is funded, then you know the Democrats support this war (again). That will be the clear sign that this is the Democrat's war and that a vote this fall for the Democrats is a vote for more and more and more war.

You've seen the Collateral Murder video (if not, scroll down to embedded player below).  Today you get to find out if the Democratic majority in the House spends more of your money to keep that happening again and again.   Or if they stand and say no more by stopping the money that pays for the war.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Judge owned stock in drilling firm directly affected by moratorium he overturned from Yahoo News.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who overturned an offshore-drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration in the wake of the Gulf-spill crisis, owned stock in a drilling corporation that was, in the company's own words, "suffer[ing]" because of the ban.

C'mon man.  You got to be kidding me.

Should be interesting to watch.  Does this crooked ban that's endangering American security and safety get overturned?  Does the judge get any sort of penalty for his conflict of interest in this case?  Wouldn't bet in favor of either one in today's corrupt America.  Instead, this just sounds like business as usual.

Surely the name of the judge should have raised a few eyebrows during his confirmation?

The Images Israel Didn’t Want Seen: Video and Photographs from the Gaza-Bound Aid Flotilla

The Images Israel Didn’t Want Seen: Video and Photographs from the Gaza-Bound Aid Flotilla from Democracy Now!

15 minutes of video shot from onboard the Gaza Flotilla ships and smuggled somehow past the Israelis who've confiscated the film from all the other cameras you see in the video. Follow the link above to more, including a 5 min version of this footage, images taken from the ships, and interviews with the people who took this images and video.

Police lies versus reality at G-20 summit

Also, a Democracy Now! interview with this journalist.

More random West

Since picking a page at random from Dr. West's writings worked so well yesterday, I thought I'd try it again. In this section, he's talking about Du Bois' idea of a 'talented tenth'.

Regarding the intellectual defects of Du Bois' noble endeavor: First, he assumes that highbrow culture is inherently humanizing, and that exposure and immersion in great works produce good people. Yet, we have little reason to believe that people who delight in the works of geniuses like Mozart and Beethoven or Goethe or Wordsworth are any more or less humane than those who dance in the barnyards to the banjo plucking of nameless rural folk in Tennessee.

Well, this writer started off dancing to banjo picking in Tennessee. And in fact, when I lived back east, my favorite way to spend a weekend was to go back up to the mountains and find a bluegrass festival. And I did it not only for the fine music, which was very fine indeed, especially if one accepts American improvisational concepts that come from jazz and blues as being as fine an art form as the prepared playing of the classics by an orchestra.

But mostly, I went for the people. Go to a bluegrass festival, especially the ones the hippy kids hang out at, and you are likely to meet the kindest, gentlest and most peaceful people you'll ever meet. You could pick a random spot to plop a tent down for the weekend, and almost always be camping near kind people who would become great friends before the weekend was done.

If the people dancing to banjo plucking at these music festivals ran the world, we'd have no wars, and we'd all live in a much kinder and just world.

Is Advice From the IMF Better Than Advice From a Drunk on the Street?

Is Advice From the IMF Better Than Advice From a Drunk on the Street? by Dean Baker.

If a track record of accurate predictions is a guide to the usefulness of a writer, then Dean Baker is one of the more useful economists around. He was predicting the collapse of the housing bubble and the resulting economic problems while the CNN and CNBC cheerleaders were telling us all how wonderful the economy was.

Oh, and while the IMF wasn't predicting this either ...
Where was the IMF when the housing bubble in the United States and elsewhere was inflating to ever more dangerous levels? Was it frantically yelling at governments to rein in the bubbles before they burst with disastrous consequences? After all, what could possibly have been more important than warning of the dangers of these bubbles?

It was easy to both recognize the housing bubbles and that their collapse would have devastating consequences for the economy. Economies don’t adjust easily to a loss of wealth that in some cases exceeded 50 percent of GDP.

Real economists know this, but apparently the folks at the IMF did not, or if they did, they didn’t think it was worth saying anything. One will look in vain through IMF publications during the buildup of the housing bubble for serious warnings of the potential dangers.

And as to the question Mr. Baker poses today, I think I'd gladly prefer the advice of a drunk off the street. After all, the drunk off the street is far more likely to be aware of the problems that us non-bankers might be experiencing, while the IMF is certain to be pushing whatever the bankers want today.

The impact of most of its proposals will be to reduce the benefits received by ordinary workers. The proposed changes in labor market regulations will likely also weaken workers’ bargaining power, leading to cuts in wages. Furthermore, the reduction in demand caused by the turn to austerity will leave millions more out of work, both depriving these workers of income and further weakening the bargaining power of those who still have jobs.

Yep, the drunk on the street is definitely going to have better ideas than that.

Oh, and for those who don't know what the kids in the street of Toronto are protesting, this is it. They are protesting these austerity measures. They are the ones trying to convince the world that these 'austerity' measures are a very bad idea for most of us.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Honduras, One year after the coup

Honduras, After Democracy by Bill Quigley.

Since what's been going on in Honduras after the coup is largely blacked out in America, this is a useful article to read.

I do think Mr. Quigley goes too lightly on Obama when he says ....
A leadership vacuum in the Obama Administration regarding Honduras has led to extreme right-wing ideologues directing US policy there. These people are hell bent on stopping the growing populist movements throughout Latin America from gaining more influence and power. Some, such as Otto Reich and Roger Noriega, have moved from positions in the State Department and United Nations into private lobbying firms or conservative think tanks. Others, such as Robert Carmona-Borjas, who was granted asylum in the US after his involvement in the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez, are working for so-called NGOs that use vague missions such as “anti-corruption” to mask the foreign policy work they do.

From the American left, there seems to be a fundamental unwillingness to accept Obama's real role in the coup. There is not some mysterious 'leadership vacuum' that's mysteriously allowed right-wingers to control US foreign policy. The very best you can say about Obama is that he's deliberately created this 'vaccum' because he wants right-wing policies in effect. But even that is letting Obama off lightly, because in my opinion he's supported and backed this coup from the beginning. There's only one statement from his administration right after the coup to the contrary. And by now, surely everyone is learning not to trust what Obama says.

First, the left apparently was never willing to acknowledge that Obama has constantly attacked Chavez just like the rest of right-wing rhetoric. A quick google search found this item from Talk Left. This is an Obama quote from 2008.

[D]emagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum [of a failed US Latin America policy.] His predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric, authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy offers the same false promise as the tried and failed ideologies of the past.

Note carefully also the way Obama characterized Bush's 'failure' south of the border. This was a constant Obama campaign theme, and it essentially said that the growing signs of independent democracies in South America was a sign of a foreign policy failure by Bush. And the unspoken part of this is that he's saying in 2008 that he'll fix Bush's 'failures' in South America. Presumably by trying to roll back this democracy movement that we see in places like Venezuela and Bolivia.

Then, in Obama's first year, a democratically elected President who's somewhat allied with Chavez gets overthrown in a coup. Yet, the lefties in the US still have such blinders on about who Obama is and what he's really doing that they write these bizarre theories about mysterious "leadership vacuums" that somehow let the American right wing mysteriously do exactly what Obama was saying that he'd do before the election. The left seems incapable of realizing that this was really Obama's policy.

The first step towards solving a problem is to correctly understand the problem. The fact that the left in this country can not see that it was Obama who approved and staged the coup against Honduras' democratically elected President is quite worrying. Because it means there's no solution to this anytime soon when people go to such great lengths to see mysterious vacuums instead of the real problems.

I hope the people of Honduras aren't waiting for help from us. Because even the people who should be their supporters in America have such blinders on concerning Obama that they simply can't see that its their great progressive leader who is the problem.

The American left could maybe ask Honduras' deposed president what he thinks.

"What we suspected at the beginning has now been confirmed. The United States was behind the coup."

See Also: Democracy Now! segment One Year After Coup, Honduras Repression Continues

Pragmatic pragmatism

Picked up a book, and flipped to a random page, and thus was reading this from Dr. Cornell West, from 1989 ...

"Prophetic pragmatism worships at no ideological alters. It condemns oppression anywhere and everywhere, be it the brutal butchery of Third World dictators, the regimentation and repressions of peoples in the Soviet Union, or the racism, patriarchy, homophobia and economic injustice of the First World capitalist nations.

In this way, the precious ideals of individuality and democracy of prophetic pragmatism oppose all those power structures that lack public accountability, be they headed by military generals, bureaucratic party bosses, or corporate tycoons.

Nor is prophetic pragmatism confined to any preordained historical agent, such as the working class, black people, or women. Rather, it invites all people of goodwill, both here and abroad to fight for an Emersonian culture of creative democracy in which the plight of the wretched of the earth is alleviated."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kinsey for Senate

In Colorado, we are lucky to have a voice for peace and real change on the ballot for US Senator ... Bob Kinsey.

This is Bob speaking at the Hands Across the Sands event in Denver on June 26.

If you live in Colorado, support Bob. Visit his website at

If you don't live in Colorado, find out who's on your ballot. Since we will only win with grassroots power, you can't wait until election day. You have to get involved now if you want real change.