Sunday, January 31, 2010

31 January 2010

The above video is from the summer of 2007, when undoubtedly many people shared Lori Harfenist's sentiment that a magical political solution to all that ails us was around the corner. While it seems to me we've run out of magic I imagine for many, more corners are around the corner.

As you may know Howard Zinn died this past week. Avedon Carol notes that his Peoples' History of the US is available online, here.

One of Zinn's last public writings was a brief essay, published recently in The Nation, about the first year of the Obama administration:

"I've been searching hard for a highlight," he wrote, adding that he wasn't disappointed because he never expected a lot from Obama.

"I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president - which means, in our time, a dangerous president - unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction."

If Zinn were alive I wonder if he would be troubled by the rush to adopt Haitian kids. Undoubtedly many of them have become orphaned, but surely securing everybody's safety and health is more important right now, and fit prospective parents aren't the sort who will get bored waiting to see if infant x is really orphaned, and decide not to adopt and get new kitchen appliances instead. It's as if small children are Haiti's last natural resource to be appropriated by Americans looking to make a buck.

Sam Smith of The Progressive Review is not a new writer, but he's new to me. Here's an essay seemingly calculated to give Bob from Pacifica vertigo:

"Friends in High Places: Obama and the American Oligarchy
" Longish but worthwhile.

TV reporter/newsreader Melissa Francis of MSNBC says she's "all for small government"(video, 1:45-1:47) in this odd exchange [video link] with Judd Gregg. I thought reporters weren't supposed to weigh in like that, but I guess with Obama praising Reagan at every opportunity and generally kneeling before conservative bromides wherever they are offered, it's OK to say things like that now, and they are no longer "political."

Susie Madrak, "Balancing Budgets on the Backs of The Poor"

Over at Hugo Zoom I'm mainly posting different content nowadays, including this short documentary from UC Santa Cruz, "Dos Americas: The Reconstruction of New Orleans"

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Looking Isn't Seeing

Pundits and the news media often see many current events through the lens of how it will affect the presidency. Living in such a narcissistic culture such as ours that’s to be expected. This adds a weird perspective to the news which seems designed to divert attention from the events themselves. In effect it seems to reduce the impact. If violence in one of our far-flung imperial wars escalates inevitably the story will be framed in terms of can Obama (or whoever happens to be prez) keep support or achieve more support more than it is about the tragedy of so much death.

I see today’s NYT headlines are all about Haiti. Truly this is great, I’m glad to see Americans so adamantly committed to saving Haiti even if we aren’t sure if we are saving it or occupying it which for Americans is often the same thing. I’m deeply touched by the graphic photos of people suffering and it all makes me want to vomit. All this hype isn’t about Haiti the way it purports to be, it’s about Americans and how wonderfully special we are, tripping lightly about the globe spreading fairy dust and goodness. Again it’s that tendency towards narcissism that colors our world view turning a tragedy into a self-promotion contest.

You want to save somebody? Great, how about saving the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen (to name only a few) from Americans? Americans saving people from Americans, I like that, it makes you proud to be a narcissist. In the end we can’t even seem to save ourselves from ourselves if it comes to that. The strange disparity between our heartfelt love for all things Haitian and the millions of destroyed lives scattered about the earth like so many shards of broken glass left in the wake of our bloody and murderous rampage through the Middle East following 9/11 is nothing less than mind boggling. But that’s what narcissism is about, what’s on the surface, never the roiling insanity lurking just beneath.

I’ve read that polls show a majority of Americans believed the underwear bomber should be tortured for information that he has already given and that he should be tried in a military court rather than a civilian. The twisted logic behind this thinking is that because Americans are so special, so unique, so much more marvelous than any others, that it is a duty to our wonderfulness to torture people so that we can maintain our high moral standards, after all, what would the universe do without us?

I just saw a clip of Tony Blair testifying about his role in the Iraq War and I’m pretty sure Blair actually believes his rationalizations that removing Saddam Hussein has helped the people of Iraq and made the world a safer place. Tony Blair is good, England is good, and they have helped make the world a safer place. So we see that the Brits are no better than Americans when it comes to narcissistic tendencies. Iraq is, of course, a total disaster now saddled with one of the most corrupt governments in the world where high unemployment and high levels of violence are the norm. Yet it is important for Blair to believe what he believes for how else could he live with himself after leading England into disaster by following an idiot madman, Bush II, on such an insane endeavor. The millions of murdered Iraqi citizens, the millions more who were swept into exile, not to mention the maimed and the wounded don’t even enter into the pretty picture that Blair and Americans alike have created in their minds. The Iraq landscape itself is peppered with unexploded cluster bombs and depleted uranium that will be killing for long years to come. Babies will be born with horrible defects like the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam yet none of this registers in many American minds. We can make all the movies we want where Americans are portrayed as just so cutesy wootsey and ever so clever but it won’t change the reality of what we are and do.-RP

see pt 2, below-JV

Friday, January 29, 2010

Looking isn't seeing, pt 2

You will note that Rob posted part one, above. I posted this later but am marking it as after in temporal order because these videos serve as a pretty good corollary to Rob's essay-JV

Stupid Americans

What do Americans think of Muslims?

this is from 2007, but still...

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recovery, What Recovery?

Bernanke, I was almost going to write that I don’t like his name (sounds like bank) and I don’t like his face either but that would be terribly immature of me and heaven forbid I should act that way. In today’s New York Times I read that Bernie (I’m calling him Bernie because I don’t like his name or the way he dresses and his beard looks stupid) has been reappointed as the head thief of the National Order of Thieves (NOT). NOT a huge surprise and the thieves would have only put another thief in charge of NOT in any case.

As usual whenever I read the Times I go through the quandary of – am I insane or are the people who publish the Times insane? I still haven’t resolved that one but I operate on the assumption that the Times is far more insane than I am. In any case the Times says Bernie was an architect of the recovery. Huh? What recovery? Maybe I’ve lost all my marbles, maybe this is just a fevered nightmare, but as far as I can tell things are getting worse. Oh yeah, now I remember, stocks are up Wall Street is doing great, problem solved, and we is recovered.


The confirmation was a victory for President Obama, who had called Mr. Bernanke an architect of the recovery, but also signaled the extent to which the Fed, once little known to the public, has become the object of populist outrage over high unemployment and Wall Street bailouts.

Public outrage, tsk, tsk. And I suppose this is a victory for Obama if you call caving into the people footing his bill a victory so let’s say it’s a victory for Wall Street and Obama and another defeat for the public. It’s of interest that Bernanke would be re-appointed after the donkey got stomped right in their own back yard, Massachusetts, because it shows very clearly that our leaders really don’t care what we think but that isn’t new, it’s not even exciting. Even the Times mentions the “populist” outrage. I like the way the Times uses the word “populist” as if the outrage is merely a passing popular fancy. Let us eat cake sayeth the Times.

But so it goes and though politics holds little interest for me I would say Obama is a very weak leader despite his phony self-assured act. He surrounded himself with the people who engineered the downfall of the economy, with people who are rabid warhawks like Hillary Clinton and it shows in everything Obama has done because these are the people Obama listens to. They are Obama’s trainer wheels because apparently the Establishment didn’t entirely trust the presidency to a Negro.

Not everything that is broken can be fixed and the nation is being led by the incompetent, by people so completely rooted in American exceptionalism that they cannot think straight, by murderers and thieves and worse. And that’s why people like Bernie get appointed even after everyone knows he is a thief because the people who put him there are thieves themselves.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

State of the Panic

I have no idea what Obama is going to say in his upcoming state of the union speech except that it is likely more of the same. I never really understood Obama’s appeal because the very first speeches of his that I read showed him to be exactly what he is, a stooge for the Establishment and indeed Wall Street was Obama’s largest backer in his election. His speeches are a conglomeration of clichés, blarney, and delusional thinking.

I still think that either not voting or voting against the democrats is an option. As Michael Hudson puts it…


At stake now is President Obama’s credibility as an agent for change. Voters see his main “change” thus far to have been favoritism to Wall Street. Jay Leno jokes that Obama has done the impossible: resurrected the seemingly dying Republican Party and given it the coveted label of the “Party of Change,” running against Wall Street.

This is the political setting for what must certainly be a hastily rewritten State of the Union message. Instead of celebrating a Republican- and Lieberman-approved health care bill, Obama finds himself obliged to respond to voters who celebrated his first anniversary in office by choosing a Republican as their designated voice for change.

Those voters in Massachusetts last week who felt duped by Obama’s promise as a reform candidate did not really turn Republican, but obviously felt that at least they could throw out the Democrats for failing to make a credible start fixing the debt-strapped economy. The President has begged the banks to start lending again. But this means loading the economy down with yet more debt. The $13 trillion bailout was supposed to help them do this, but the banks have simply taken the money and run, paying it out in bonuses and salaries, stepping up their lobbying efforts to buy Congress, and buying out other banks to grow larger and increase their monopoly power.

Also read this piece by Hudson.


The State of the Union address is in danger of purveying the usual euphemisms. I expect Obama to brag that he has overseen a recovery. But can there be any such thing as a jobless recovery? What has recovered are stock market averages and Wall Street bonuses, not disposable personal income or discretionary spending after paying debt service.

There is a dream that what can be “recovered” is something so idyllic as to be mythical: a Bubble Economy enabling people to make money without actually working, by borrowing and riding the tide of asset-price inflation to make capital gains. Corporate Democrat Harold Ford Jr. writes nostalgically that Bill Clinton’s eight years in office created 22 million jobs, “balanced the budget and left his successor with a surplus. This can be done again,” if only Obama moves further to the right (which Ford calls the center, meaning the Bayhs and Republicans).

It can’t be done again. Pres. Clinton’s administration balanced the budget by “welfare reform” to cut back public spending. This would be lethal today. Meanwhile, his explosion of bank credit and the boom (rising stock prices and bonuses without any earnings) fueled the early stages of the Greenspan bubble. It was a debt-leveraged illusion. Instead of the government running budget deficits to expand domestic demand, Clinton left it to banks to extend interest-bearing credit-debt pollution that we are still struggling to clean up.

Again and again the democrats keep stomping on the poor after which they turn around and congratulate themselves (like Obama giving himself a B+, heh, he’ll have to rethink that after Massachusetts) and then, as has happened in the past, the liberals will be expected to hold their noses and vote for the mules. Too bad for the dems that didn’t happen in Massachusetts and the results have been panic among the democrats including Obama.

Chris Floyd, as usual, nails it…


So yes, the spending "freeze" will be the usual bungling wheeze. It will not do what it is ostensibly designed to do ("signal seriousness about cutting the budget deficit"); it will not "foster bipartisanship" in the savage, petty factional infighting that characterizes our ruling establishment (which is actually entirely bipartisan when it comes to the essentials: making war on weak, broken nations, and making money for those already bloated to bursting with money). And yes, it is a panicky move meant to shore up Obama's sagging poll numbers -- and is also a craven sop to the financial elites who were miffed by his talk about "reining in the banks" a few days ago. And it may even be, as one Salon writer noted, a "Sister Souljah" moment, designed to slap down the "left" and show everybody what a big tough centrist hombre he really is.

But the shocked and injured tone with which this move has been greeted in some quarters seems entirely misplaced. Many of the writers seem to be operating on the assumption -- or under the delusion -- that Obama actually had some kind of political-economic-social agenda that he wanted to enact as president, and that he is now "failing" to enact it, "squandering" his opportunity. There still seems to be a belief that he ran for president because he wanted to do something with all that power.

And Chris Floyd mentions something that I briefly touched on which is – there is no plan, not really.


Still, what gives with all this? Are these people that disorganized and incompetent that they cannot even present a consistent lie that they all agree upon? The way it strikes me is that Obama and his erstwhile administration are playing this all by ear, making it up as they go as it were. The news media takes the slant that somebody is very afraid that Obama may actually pull the troops out and in their addiction to war, blood, and death, are going through a different kind of withdrawal, war junkies that they are. It seems to me that if these people are going to continue lying to us the least they could do is tell the same lie or is that just asking too much? We actually saw a very early example of what I call the Obama Phenomenon when Obama was telling us how NAFTA would be rethought while one of his aides was calling the Canadians telling them that Obama’s talk on NAFTA was only campaign rhetoric. This was a clear indicator as to the sincerity of anything Obama ever said and is a pattern that we see repeatedly.

But oh my, I’ll bet the war junkies saw their life flash before them when Obama said withdrawal in 2011. I wish I could have seen their jaws drop and the sweat begin to pour out right before going into spastic fits. No more war after 2011? AHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!! Let me assure you the wars shall continue uninterrupted.

Hey c’mon, you didn’t really think there was a master plan did you? The only plan is to take the money and run and everything else is just improvised. Trust me. No? Okay, then trust in Obama, trust in Obama, trust in Obama, trust in Obama.

Not as elegant as Chris Floyd’s writing but you get the idea. And so it is, that the wars shall continue uninterrupted even in the face of deteriorating domestic conditions for the freeze that Floyd mentions does not affect military spending. Of course not! The military is our god right alongside with greed, the two are inseparable.

Who knows, perhaps what happened in Massachusetts is the last gasp from the rotting corpse of our “democracy”, a momentary but quickly fading bright spot in a world grey and cold. And perhaps it is too late for any kind of redemption as the iron fist of corporate control clenches ever tighter and tighter around the governmental throat and ours as well and choices diminish with each passing day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

David Kelly revisited

Ella discusses this item from Larisa Alexandrovna, "70-year gag on Kelly death evidence (Dr. David Kelly)". as you may already know, Kelly was a British weapons inspector who testified against his government and was found dead a few days later in the summer of 2003.

from Alexandrovna:

A Parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the planted intelligence on Iraq asked Kelly to testify, which he did.

Several days after his testimony and while preparing for a trip with his wife, Dr. Kelly was found dead in a park nearby his home, which was ruled a suicide. On the day he "committed suicide" he had sent an email to New York Times reporter Judith Miller in which he said "many dark actors playing games."

Leading physicians and first responders who arrived at the park and inspected Kelly's body did not think he committed suicide, even going so far as to sue the British government to prove their case.

David Kelly

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't Feed the Animals

Predators often target the very young, the sick, and the weak, as their prey. Politicians, like predators in the wild, are going after the poor in order to further their own agenda. The poor are an easy target as they don’t have the means to fight back and are often portrayed as being parasites or worse, all of it being their own fault due to some kind of genetic defect that makes them lazy and shiftless.

There are plenty of examples of predation that could be drawn from the recent past and today. Bill Clinton who destroyed welfare, Obama who promised health care reform and instead is now promising to fine people who don’t have health insurance though perhaps now that the mules lost their majority the health care reform will be trashed, a much better scenario than letting this perverse joke pass into law. Further down the scale we see people like Meg Whitman running for governor who now wants to destroy the state welfare system of California falsely framing California’s poor as the root cause of a once strong economy gone kaput. This has catapulted Meg to the lead amongst the republican hopefuls. It’s a tried and true method that usually works quite well. People are out of work and Meg offers them a target to blame, the poor. It’s a mixture of ignorance, unthinking prejudice and plenty of fear which is why Meg is using the fear card, people are scared and Meg knows exactly which buttons to push.

Yet California is not alone. Looking to South Carolina we see Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer who like Whitman is running for governor on the backs of the poor and helpless. Here, he refers to the poor as “animals”, which as you will see, makes Andre a charming example of humanity.

They will Breed

"Why shouldn't you have to do something?" Bauer asked of people receiving food stamps, free school lunches and public housing. "In government, we are too often giving a handout instead of a hand up."

Friday, Bauer said giving food to needy people means encouraging dependence. It also gives the recipients a license to have children who will also be dependent on public aid, he said.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told a Greenville-area crowd. "You know why? Because they breed.

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."

Brilliant! If you feed people they will reproduce like animals! I truly admire the way our governor hopeful establishes his giant intellect as compared to the dirty copulating animals who don’t “think much further than that”. And to think Andre was a product of his uneddicated grandma’s genes. I’ve personally always felt it important to curtail people from eating food, the uncouth animals. Obviously Andre doesn’t eat because then he might have a bowel movement and discover he is an animal too.

Of course the final and most profound example can be found in the terror wars where every single nation that we are now occupying and or bombing are among the poorest nations in the world and that’s no accident. The United States federal government is a predator and subsequently acts like one preying upon the weakest nations, those that are least able to defend themselves. And just as Andre Bauer and Meg Whitman blame their victims so too does the federal government blame the victims of our terror wars.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Radio Daze

I’ve been hearing ads on the radio by Meg Whitman who is running for governor of California. She is quite disgusting on many levels. The most disgusting though is she wants to win on the backs of the poor. I haven’t checked her numbers but she claims California is a welfare state because of the number of people receiving welfare from the state of California. It’s the usual sort of thing we are used to hearing, “welfare shouldn’t be a way of life and if they don’t perform certain hoop jumping’s they will be stricken from the lists.” One hoop of course is that the no-good bums on welfare have to find jobs, this when California is one of the harder hit areas economically speaking where off shoring has pretty much destroyed what was once a thriving business for high tech manufacturing companies. So here you have god knows how many people looking for work and Peg Leg Meg wants to dump hundreds of thousands of wretched souls into what is already a market flooded with the unemployed. Great idea Meg! You’re a fucking genius! On top of this Peg Leg Meg wants to cut the amount of time recipients can receive benefits from five to two years. You’re all heart Meg and I’m certainly impressed with the way you are ready to step up to fame and fortune on the backs of the poor and outcast, what a great human being.

Speaking of great human beings I just read today how Martha Coakley propelled herself to fame after which she fell on her behind. According to Alexander Cockburn…


Obama richly deserves the rebuke from Massachusetts. Armed with a nation's fervent hopes a year ago, he spurned the unrivalled opportunity offered by economic crisis to do what he pledged: usher in substantive change. He's done exactly the opposite . Wall Street has been given the green light to continue with business as usual. The stimulus package was far too weak. The opportunity for financial reform has passed. Trillions will be wasted in Afghanistan.

A final note on Coakley. She rose to political prominence by peculiarly vicious grandstanding as a prosecutor, winning a conviction of 19-year old child minder Louise Woodward for shaking a baby to death. An outraged judge later freed Woodward, reducing her sentence to less than a year of time served. Then Coakley went after headlines in child abuse cases. Innocent people are still rotting in prison as a consequence of Coakley's misuse of her office. For this alone, regardless of the setback the Democrats richly deserved, I rejoice in her humiliation.

First, as Cockburn states, the opportunity of financial reform has passed, that, and many other things like health care reform. This will be Obama’s legacy, things that could have been won’t. As for Coakley her willingness to destroy other people’s lives to promote her own fame and fortune ranks right up there with Peg Leg Meg who would steal the very food out of the mouths of starving children to promote herself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Obama King?

Peace is the Means and the End

Arthur Silber has an excellent new essay touching on a lot of points that have been on my mind and much more. He also gives us a comparison between Martin Luther King and Obama. Make sure you check out his links to previous essays as it is well worth your time. And also the Link to Jeff Nall should be read.

Peace is the Means and the End -- read it here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Day at the Circus

The disaster in Haiti, exasperated by years of exploitation by the U.S. and French, gives Americans still reeling under the up is down, war is peace, presidency of Obama the Bloody a chance to feel good about themselves. Well you know what they say; one man’s misery is another man’s heaven. Yesterday the headlines were all about “America sends aid to Haiti” though of course you must surely realize as the “liberal” news media turns a disaster into the usual circus of huffing and puffing Obama and congressoids have been working on what they like to call health care reform. Apparently Obama has promised to travel about the countryside selling this new legislation and you have to wonder why he has to “sell” it to the public. My best guess is because it is a complete fraud and a give-away to the insurance companies because if we were actually getting the health reform we wanted Obama wouldn’t have to “sell” it to us now would he? Of course not.

Getting back to Haiti the American news media which has pretty much avoided showing the dismembered and horribly mangled bodies resulting from the terror wars is actually showing Haitians that were hurt or killed in the earthquake. The end result is that many people who aren’t really paying attention will get the impression that America is doing good things in the world coming to the rescue of Haiti (and it is a good thing). This is a perfect example of how the news media not only erases history but promotes a false image by merely omitting half of the truth leaving, of course, half truths, the news media stock in trade. Some claim that it was the graphic pictures of the Vietnam War that helped turn public opinion against it which I tend to agree with. Come to think of it that is the only thing our government learned from the Vietnam War – don’t show pictures of dead civilians. Who says we don’t learn from experience?

Meanwhile over in Yemen their government claims to have killed some members of al Qaida. I can imagine in their rush to placate the monster breathing down their necks they weren’t all that particular who they killed. I wonder if they were really al Qaida or just some unfortunates who were offered up as sacrifice to the American Gods. So which is the real America, the America that sends help to Haiti or the bully boy America who forces governments to slaughter their own in order to keep American troops off their soil. The answer is both yet the terror wars have been ongoing for years and Haiti is just a punctuation mark in this story.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

regarding drone porn

55ella2007k writes:

"have decided NOT to post a link to the article since it leads you directly to these YT vids by the Defense Dept. No thanks! Instead, I will leave you with a comment, posted by somebody who watched this shit, with which I fully agree:

I have seen young kids watching this stuff on their mobile phones and sharing with friends, like it's all some big game. Of course, that's the target audience though. Get them desensitized to death, all seen in an imaging virtual world, and they'll make good little recruits to operate their remotely piloted vehicles. They never get to see the aftermath and the bloody mess, that would likely have them puking their guts up and the images staying with them to death. It also means they never get to see any colatteral damage, the innocent people, just like them and their families, torn apart while they whoop it up and marvel at it all.

I bet the same people who give it the old "YEEHAR" on viewing this stuff would then call someone watching a snuff movie a sicko. After all, this is good viewing and you don't really get to see anything really gruesome and besides, those dead people really are ALL bad guys...aren't they?
Feels great doesn't it? Seeing the soft core imagines. Until you are in 'theatre', scared shitless, seeing your buddy blown to bits (close up!) or having to shoot somebody else, because you don't know who they are, as that vehicle approaches your checkpoint, with some poor chap and his family in the shoot first and deal with it later...or maybe, later, you can't deal with it ? Because it doesn't make sense, afterwards..."

addendum, Wednesday the 13th, from Russia Today:

(Thomson seems rattled by the interviewer, as if he just expected softball questions and an opportunity to promote his novel.)

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Spreading Democracy: Chomsky on Obama and Honduras


President Barack Obama separated the United States from almost all of Latin America and Europe by accepting the military coup that overthrew Honduran democracy last June.

The coup reflected a "yawning political and socioeconomic divide," The New York Times reported. For the "small upper class," Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was becoming a threat to what they call "democracy," namely, the rule of "the most powerful business and political forces in the country."

Zelaya was initiating such dangerous measures as a rise in the minimum wage in a country where 60 percent live in poverty. He had to go.

Virtually alone, the United States recognized the November elections (with Pepe Lobo the victor) held under military rule -- "a great celebration of democracy," according to Hugo Llorens, Obama's ambassador.

The endorsement also preserved the use of Honduras' Palmerola air base, increasingly valuable as the U. S. military is being driven out of most of Latin America.

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the real news and 'false market value'

"James Crotty: The creation of speculative bubbles creates false values which leads to huge bonuses"

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

some links for a saturday afternoon

via jay taber-

An interview with Cindy Sheehan

Cindy: “The ones that upset me the most are the so-called leaders of the “progressive” movement like Tom Hayden, CODEPINK and Michael Moore who very enthusiastically endorsed, worked for, voted for, and raised money for Obama, and NOW are beginning to speak out against his carnage, when in fact, Obama has always been very pro-war. Once the horse is out of the barn, it’s hard to get him back in.”

Ian Welsh: Nice country you have there, be a shame if anything happened to it

FBI Unbound: How National Security Letters Violate Our Privacy (2008) [video link 25:18 min]

from wikinews: Turkmenistan gains a new route to export its natural gas production to Iran with the opening of the Dauletabad–Sarakhs–Khangiran pipeline.

Avedon Carol:

I listened to yesterday's episode on Who’s Better Organized Post-Obama: the Left or the Right? - which only barely scratched the surface of why the right is so much better organized, but made the point I've been trying to stress that with nowhere to go on the left, an awful lot of people are connecting with the right because the right-wing is the only place they find disaffection with the obvious wrongness in the country being given any kind of voice. Meanwhile, the "organized left", by which we mean people who can still bring themselves to support Obama, thinks they are part of a grassroots movement because they get listened to on their ideas - as long as their ideas are about how to support Obama's agenda.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

The future's so bright

photo: University of North Dakota/USAF

From the University of North Dakota's Aviation Department has recently started offering a bachelor's degree in piloting unmanned aerial vehicles, often called UAV's. UAVS are also called "unmanned drones" and you hear about them in the news because they are often used to kill people in Afghanistan and other places. (via Gizmodo and Xymphora.)

from UND: 2008 press release, degree description, and course offerings.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Best We Can Do?

Economically, politically, and philosophically, the election of Obama has signaled the complete conversion of the United States into a military state. This was reflected in Obama’s war speech which he made before the marines not the American public. This seemed a clear message from Obama that he considered the military to be above all else in importance. And it seems to me that in abrogating the responsibility for “health care reform” (wink, nod) to a thoroughly corrupt congress he chose to concentrate on his foreign policy or in other words his continuation of the war on terror which says to me that for Obama what is more important than anything going down on the home front is the war on terror.

I’d love to see a list of the members of congress who are heavily invested in defense industry stocks. I understand that Pelosi’s husband has been making a killing in the defense industry. No wonder Pelosi who speaks against escalation in Afghanistan always votes to fund the wars there and elsewhere. With the huge cost of the terror wars there is no money to help kick-start our collapsing economy. The only people who are allowed to run for president are those who are willing and enthusiastic about continuing our military adventurism. But what is ultimately worse, at least from my view, is that Americans meekly accept what our government does as “normal.” And why not? America has been at war constantly somewhere in the world for the last one hundred years. We are born into it; we grow up hearing and reading about it or seeing it on the television and all through our adulthood. No wonder it seems normal even if it isn’t.

The very same people who say that Obama is doing realistic things, things that can only be realistically done in the face of a republican resurgence, which is bound to happen at some point, whatever the democrats do, are investing in pure fantasy. This is part of the alarming acceptance of a dreary and particularly frightening variety. We really should not accept these wars of choice or meekly accept that Wall Street has stolen our money with the government’s blessing but that’s what many Americans do. It’s the realistic view, just like Obama was the “realistic” candidate for the donkeys. It’s what we hear time and again, that the people in charge are making the best possible decisions based on political realities that we laypeople know nothing about and is just too complex for us dopes to understand. In other nations people hit the streets big time when their government does the wrong thing (which is almost always). In contrast when our government does the wrong thing Americans are just completely understanding and brimming with empathy. We say “well it may not be great but it is the best we can do.” The problem with that is that I really don’t believe that it is the best we can do because if it is we might as well curl up in a ball and die.

However all that may be what is most telling is that the military has become sacred in eyes of Americans. People love to dwell on the honor and duty of the military even if the reality is that honor and duty have nothing to do with the business of war. We are in effect being socially engineered to be reconciled with the fact that we must get used to the idea that we are an underclass to the privileged few who incite war and that if our standard of life, indeed our very liberty, is destroyed in the pursuit of those wars why it is the best we can do.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Walter Bortz on FORA TV

This was posted very recently, although as far as I know Bob Graham is retired from the senate. The rest of Bortz's comments are posted here at the FORA website.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

CBS News and American optimism

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Happy new year. this story, ''Concerns About U.S. Future'', was on Monday night's CBS News broadcast, and if you watch it through to the end it suggests that Americans have a mostly sunny view of the future. I won't pretend I know otherwise, because obviously I don't. All the same the report seems a bit glib and I wonder, as I have before, about the editorial aspect of the particular selections of 'man on the street' clips.

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