Thursday, August 28, 2003

So Attorney General Ass-christ has decided that, of all the terrible shit that is going on in the world, the single greatest threat to America is Lizzie Borden and the smut she peddles.

It was a weird day yesterday. Yet another gun managed to find it's way into the hands of someone who shouldn't have one. 6 innocent people die before the gunman was shot by the cops.

Thru all of this I am only sure of one thing - NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE, at least in regards to gun laws. GA Ass-christ's priorities are so fucked up that weapons of individual destruction are of no real concern, while people having sex on tape is the threat so great to this nation that we need to expend all our efforts to fight it. The NRA has a chokehold on DC, and there is no way that there will be legislation to stop from what happened yesterday. Who has to die before someone says "maybe this is a right that America is not mature enough or sane enough to handle?".

We spend a pittance on education in the places that truly need it but we are perfectly happy to spend $20,000 on inmates who could have and would have benefited from that education. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Jail isn't even a cure, it's a temporary holding place; it's practically a quarantine.

For all the criticism of Bowling for Columbine that was handed down, so many of those very same people missed the point completely. They decided they hate Michael Moore and anything he does, and never answered the question that the movie asked.

"The United States has similar gun laws compared to Europe and Canada; Why is it that those nations don't have nearly the same problem with gun violence that we have here in the US? What is the difference between places like Canada, Britain versus the US that is responsible for all the gun violence?". I lean towards the fact that we have a shitty safety net in this country, we lack universal medical coverage, we've abandoned our inner cities. Of course I have no study or fact to back it up. It's only a theory. But it isn't a totally ridiculous conclusion.

And to top it all off the thing that capitalism does so well, produce the highest quality goods for the least amount of money, means there is an overflowing abundance of firearms. They've become practically a tool for therapy for all those who have no outlet. I have no idea what Tapalia's story is, but a little bit of anger management or something else might have prevented this. Say what you want about his lazy work ethic and tardiness, for all the rhetoric about hard work and self sufficiency as government policy an awful lot suffer for it.

Much hay is made by the NRA that they believe that the government should enforce the laws already on the books. What they won't tell you is they fight any spending to enforce the laws already on the books. And those 6 that died yesterday will have died in vain because some ex-con had little impeding him from gaining access to a firearm.

And the amazing thing is the Attorney General has violated just about every amendment in the bill of rights with the exception of the 2nd. Freedom of Speech, fughedaboudit. Cruel and unusual punishment? Long gone. What the fuck are those in charge thinking if they feel prosecuting people having sex on camera takes precedent over mass murder?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I guess the people in charge are thinking the same thing when they took the White House after losing the popular vote. Who am I kinding, these people don't give a fuck about anything but themselves and their corporate pimps.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

This post was supposed to show a picture of protestors in Alabama trying to prevent the authorities from removing the monument of the 10 Commandments. Unfortunately the photo didn't load so you'll have to do without it.

Still even after much of the hoopla is done, I can't help think of all those conservative pundits bleating how liberal anti war protesters were draining resources when they are needed elsewhere. By forcing the authorities (the police, FBI, courts) to deal with protesters exercising their freedom of speech they were taking them away from fighting terrorism. It was primarily Bill O'Reilly with a bunch of other right wing hatchet people using the same arguments.

So here are those protesters exercising their freedom of speech. It got me thinking - wasn't it Bill O'Reilly who was mouting off less about this

A guest of his even went to go as far as saying that protesters were by chance obstructing say an aumbulance and someone dies, "these individuals should be tried as accessories to murder". Bill O’Reilly summed it up: They are “doing it to terrorize the authorities…to try to break down the system. That’s terrorism.”

Okay so the old fogies aren't clogging up the streets, and I guess Alabama is not a hotbed of terrorism like a large city were all the liberals tend to hang out, but is anyone missing the irony here?

The bottom line is for all the hot air that O'Reilly and many others on the caustic right wing blow about respect for the law, they could care less. And don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with saying the law is wrong. The law has been on the wrong side an awful lot throughout history. It sends me up a wall when those who are most self righteous use the standard of the law (or the Bible) when it suits there purposes, and cast it aside when it gets in their way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

This site is for Republicans Against Bush. It's about fucking time some of the righties come to their senses. The GOP is so blind that they can't see that their beloved leader has managed to violate every statute that the Republicans are supposed to believe in. Theodore Roosevelt and Isenhower are spinning in their graves.

Monday, August 18, 2003

For the past 6 months or so I've taken the habit of calling myself a Default Democrat. I've been using the DD term in hopes in would catch on and I could take credit for it, but I have yet to hear anyone else use it just yet.

If you're wondering what it means, it's not a big mystery, the name says it all. Politically I'm pretty much a liberal at heart, although one who is aware of some of the shortcomings of liberal idealogy. And while I believe in the ideals that the Democratic party is supposed to believe in, the actual members of the Democratic party by and large disgusted - yeah that's the word - disgusted in the way they have handled things as of late.

And while I have no scientifc survey as proof just about everyone I know that comes from a similar politcal cloth (all my friends, the few people at work who aren't conservatives) will say the same thing when asked - "I believe in the ideals of the party, I just don't like the people who are leading tha party". The reason we all find ourselves voting Democrat is none of us can bring ourselves to vote for Republicans.

While having a political conversation one of my friend Key, when I confessed that I'd probably vote for John McCain if I lived in AZ, if only because of his personal integrity. While Key said he liked him, he coudn't acutally vote for him because he didn't think he could ever vote for a Republican under almost any circumstances. Being the open minded liberal that I was I felt ist would be worth forgoeing certain stances on issues and in return getting intergity and conviction of his beliefs. What followed out with one of the funniest lines I've heard in recent memeory;


Friend: The only way I could vote for a Republican is if the Democrat in the same elections was convicted on charges of sexual molestation of a minor or something like that.

PH: What about murder? You'd vote for a GOP candidate if the Dem was convicted of murder, wouldn't you?

Friend: No, murder can be justified. There's no excuse for sexual molestation, but with murder there's always self defense.


And so here I am, disgusted by the chance of another 4 years of the GOP dominating the White House. It is a most uncomfortable place to be in. Despitethe near unanimous total and utter disgust with our current President and a GOP led House and Senate, I don't see any end in sight. I mean this Presdent should be in fear of not being re-elected; the economy is a mess, the national deficit is ballooning out of control, our troops are being picked off at a rate of three or four a week, we've been lied to about the justification of war, we're cutting benefits for our soldiers, our infrastructure is crumbling, we just gave billions of tax dollars back to the rich and yet I sill have yet to feel confident in any Democratic contender. I know there are some who feel very strongly in Dean, but I can't get on the bandwagon just yet.

There is only one person at work who can be considered a liberal, and we have a long conversation about politics as well. While we differ on certain issues, ne thing is certain; we're all feeling low. The conservatives are in fact winning, or really have been winning for quite some time now. There is no doubt that the 2000 Presidential race was rigged based on what Greg Palast has written about it. If you were to take that victory as actual rather than theoretical, Democrats would have had a statistical majority in the senate, being the VP would be the tiebreaker, but the House would still belong to the GOP. Maybe that isn't a sign of total defeat for Dems, but I still feel something is missing.

I've been listening to Shawn Hannity on my way home during the weekday, and it is not encouraging. I listen to hear what is being said out there in GOP radio land (know thine enemy) but it isn't easy. I realize that this is not everyone in America, but it is far too many if their ratings are any indication. I know if I give up, but I can't help but feel very depressed to think that so many people take what Shawn and Rush and every other goddamn conservative's word is as fact. On the day of the blackout Foz News was having an on air debate about why it happened and they basically had a GOP strategist and some "expert" saying this is the fault of environmentalists. This would hve the tiniest bit of creedence except that the East Coast power plants were runningon 75% capacity. Another words it had nothing to do with banning the building of coal power plants. 100% bullshit. I dont have cable but someone anyone should have called them on their shit. If someone did I didn't hear about it. Palast already wrote an article as to why this thing is going to happene a lot more in the future.

I guess what I'm saying is "Does anyone feel like this is hopeless?" Bush should be taking a beating right now, but the Democrats have no balls whatsoever. The supposed "liberal" press has essentially given him a free pass, because they've hardly called him on the bullshit he has pulled, while Clinton couldn't do a thing right even if it were to scratch his nose. It is all very disheartening.

(this post is in process, it's not really a complete thought or finalized - I may add to it or put it in another post elsewhere. But please, if you have a comment post them, I'm trying to see if I'm alone here.)

Friday, August 15, 2003

Got this email from Nancy Skinner Campaign - she was a co-host of a liberal talk show in Chicago (Sundays 12-3pm on WLS Chicago, 890AM) until they let her go because she declared that she would be running for the Senate seat that Peter Fitzgerald will be vacating since he declined to run for re-election. Take note, this is why Greg Palast is the man;


POWER OUTAGE TRACED TO DIM BULB IN WHITE HOUSE

THE TALE OF THE BRITS WHO SWIPED 800 JOBS FROM NEW YORK, CARTED OFF $90 MILLION, THEN TONIGHT, TURNED OFF OUR LIGHTS

by Greg Palast

I can tell you all about the ne're-do-wells that put out our lights tonight. I came up against these characters -- the Niagara Mohawk Power Company -- some years back. You see, before I was a journalist, I worked for a living, as an investigator of corporate racketeers. In the 1980s, "NiMo" built a nuclear plant, Nine Mile Point, a brutally costly piece of hot junk for which NiMo and its partner companies charged billions to New York State's electricity ratepayers.

To pull off this grand theft by kilowatt, the NiMo-led consortium fabricated cost and schedule reports, then performed a Harry Potter job on the account books. In 1988, I showed a jury a memo from an executive from one partner, Long Island Lighting, giving a lesson to a NiMo honcho on how to lie to government regulators. The jury ordered LILCO to pay $4.3 billion and, ultimately, put them out of business.

And that's why, if you're in the Northeast, you're reading this by candlelight tonight. Here's what happened. After LILCO was hammered by the law, after government regulators slammed Niagara Mohawk and dozens of other book-cooking, document-doctoring utility companies all over America with fines and penalties totaling in the tens of billions of dollars, the industry leaders got together to swear never to break the regulations again. Their plan was not to follow the rules, but to ELIMINATE the rules. They called it "deregulation."

It was like a committee of bank robbers figuring out how to make safecracking legal.

But they dare not launch the scheme in the USA. Rather, in 1990, one devious little bunch of operators out of Texas, Houston Natural Gas, operating under the alias "Enron," talked an over-the-edge free-market fanatic, Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, into licensing the first completely deregulated power plant in the hemisphere.

And so began an economic disease called "regulatory reform" that spread faster than SARS. Notably, Enron rewarded Thatcher's Energy Minister, one Lord Wakeham, with a bushel of dollar bills for 'consulting' services and a seat on Enron's board of directors. The English experiment proved the viability of Enron's new industrial formula: that the enthusiasm of politicians for deregulation was in direct proportion to the payola provided by power companies.

The power elite first moved on England because they knew Americans wouldn't swallow the deregulation snake oil easily. The USA had gotten used to cheap power available at the flick of switch. This was the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt who, in 1933, caged the man he thought to be the last of the power pirates, Samuel Insull. Wall Street wheeler-dealer Insull creator of the Power Trust, and six decades before Ken Lay, faked account books and ripped off consumers. To frustrate Insull and his ilk, FDR gave us the Federal Power Commission and the Public Utilities Holding Company Act which told electricity companies where to stand and salute. Detailed regulations limited charges to real expenditures plus a government-set profit. The laws banned "power markets" and required companies to keep the lights on under threat of arrest -- no blackout blackmail to hike rates.

Of particular significance as I write here in the dark, regulators told utilities exactly how much they had to spend to insure the system stayed in repair and the lights stayed on. Bureaucrats crawled along the wire and, like me, crawled through the account books, to make sure the power execs spent customers' money on parts and labor. If they didn't, we'd whack'm over the head with our thick rule books. Did we get in the way of these businessmen's entrepreneurial spirit? Damn right we did.

Most important, FDR banned political contributions from utility companies -- no 'soft' money, no 'hard' money, no money PERIOD.

But then came George the First. In 1992, just prior to his departure from the White House, President Bush Senior gave the power industry one long deep-through-the-teeth kiss good-bye: federal deregulation of electricity. It was a legacy he wanted to leave for his son, the gratitude of power companies which ponied up $16 million for the Republican campaign of 2000, seven times the sum they gave Democrats.

But Poppy Bush's gift of deregulating of wholesale prices set by the feds only got the power pirates halfway to the plunder of Joe Ratepayer. For the big payday they needed deregulation at the state level. There were only two states, California and Texas, big enough and Republican enough to put the electricity market con into operation.

California fell first. The power companies spent $39 million to defeat a 1998 referendum pushed by Ralph Nader which would have blocked the de-reg scam. Another $37 million was spent on lobbying and lubricating the campaign coffers of legislators to write a lie into law: in the deregulation act's preamble, the Legislature promised that deregulation would reduce electricity bills by 20%. In fact, when San Diegans in the first California city to go "lawless" looked at their bills, the 20% savings became a 300% jump in surcharges.

Enron circled California and licked its lips. As the number one life-time contributor to the George W. Bush campaign, it was confident about the future. With just a half dozen other companies it controlled at times 100% of the available power capacity needed to keep the Golden State lit. Their motto, "your money or your lights." Enron and its comrades played the system like a broken ATM machine, yanking out the bills. For example, in the shamelessly fixed "auctions" for electricity held by the state, Enron bid, in one instance, to supply 500 megawatts of electricity over a 15 megawatt line. That's like pouring a gallon of gasoline into a thimble -- the lines would burn up if they attempted it. Faced with blackout because of Enron's destructive bid, the state was willing to pay anything to keep the lights on.

And the state did. According to Dr. Anjali Sheffrin, economist with the California state Independent System Operator which directed power movements, between May and November 2000, three power giants physically or "economically" withheld power from the state and concocted enough false bids to cost the California customers over $6.2 billion in excess charges.

It took until December 20, 2000, with the lights going out on the Golden Gate, for President Bill Clinton, once a deregulation booster, to find his lost Democratic soul and impose price caps in California and ban Enron from the market.

But the light-bulb buccaneers didn't have to wait long to put their hooks back into the treasure chest. Within seventy-two hours of moving into the White House, while he was still sweeping out the inaugural champagne bottles, George Bush the Second reversed Clinton's executive order and put the power pirates back in business in California. Enron, Reliant (aka Houston Industries), TXU (aka Texas Utilities) and the others who had economically snipped California's wires knew they could count on Dubya, who as governor of the Lone Star state cut them the richest deregulation deal in America.

Meanwhile, the deregulation bug made it to New York where Republican Governor George Pataki and his industry-picked utility commissioners ripped the lid off electric bills and relieved my old friends at Niagara Mohawk of the expensive obligation to properly fund the maintenance of the grid system.

And the Pataki-Bush Axis of Weasels permitted something that must have former New York governor Roosevelt spinning in his wheelchair in Heaven: They allowed a foreign company, the notoriously incompetent National Grid of England, to buy up NiMo, get rid of 800 workers and pocket most of their wages - producing a bonus for NiMo stockholders approaching $90 million.

Is tonight's black-out a surprise? Heck, no, not to us in the field who've watched Bush's buddies flick the switches across the globe. In Brazil, Houston Industries seized ownership of Rio de Janeiro's electric company. The Texans (aided by their French partners) fired workers, raised prices, cut maintenance expenditures and, CLICK! the juice went out so often the locals now call it, "Rio Dark."

So too the free-market cowboys of Niagara Mohawk raised prices, slashed staff, cut maintenance and CLICK! -- New York joins Brazil in the Dark Ages.

Californians have found the solution to the deregulation disaster: re-call the only governor in the nation with the cojones to stand up to the electricity price fixers. And unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gov. Gray Davis stood alone against the bad guys without using a body double. Davis called Reliant Corp of Houston a pack of "pirates" --and now he'll walk the plank for daring to stand up to the Texas marauders.

So where's the President? Just before he landed on the deck of the Abe Lincoln, the White House was so concerned about our brave troops facing the foe that they used the cover of war for a new push in Congress for yet more electricity deregulation. This has a certain logic: there's no sense defeating Iraq if a hostile regime remains in California.

Sitting in the dark, as my laptop battery runs low, I don't know if the truth about deregulation will ever see the light --until we change the dim bulb in the White House.

-----

Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" (Penguin USA 2003) and the worstseller, "Democracy and Regulation," a guide to electricity deregulation published by the United Nations (2003, written with T. MacGregor and J. Oppenheim). See Greg Palast's award-winning reports for BBC Television and the Guardian papers of Britain at www.gregpalast.com. Contact Palast at his New York office: media@gregpalast.com.


I believe the phrase is "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it". We have a slew of laws on the books that were created back in the Depression era to prevent another Depression. And one by one these laws seem to be picked off, falling by the wayside. It's like no one learned a goddamn thing from that whole mess.

Back when the FDR administration was in charge, they set up a "Chinese wall" was set up designed to separate investing groups from bankers. This would prevent investment groups from doling out advice that would be skewed in favor of bank's bottom line, a conflict of where their interests should lie, their investor clients. Well, that law had been deemed a reilc of the past, but it took less than 5 years for the very thing that the law was designed to prevent to happen, thank you Henry Blodget. An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Too bad were so in the hole that we cant afford the cure.

And now this - deregulation in the energy market has created more lecherous vampires, all enabled by "free market capitalism", which is a joke because all those power companies were established through public funds. The taxpaying citizens establish the infrastructure of our electrical grid, and somehow it is sold wholesale to a handful of thieves for cheap. And then the bastards manipulate that very same resource as a way to milk the people who paid to build it in the first place. FDR must be spinning in his grave. I don’t own a house, but if I did I'd find a way to hook it up with solar or anything to keep myself from being a pawn of the energy barons. After cutting education for all those years it has finally paid off for the GOP. No one understands a goddamn thing about how we wound up in the situation of Black Tuesday, and I'm afraid nothing short of a full blown Depression can prevent even more damage being done.

I hate to sound like the stereotypical the "end is near, gloom and doom" liberal, but it's not so preposterious to think it could happen again.

Both Bush and Rove have said many a time that they hope to re-establish the Republican dominance that first took a chokehold on Washington starting in 1894, and lasted for more than 30 years. Do the math; 1894 + 35 = The Great Depression. How many years of Bush/Rove/GOP and all those corporate whores that contribute to their campaign till we end up back in the place that forced our politicians to establish "Big Government" in the first place. I dont want to see something like that, but I can't help but think we're headed in that direction. I truly hope I'm wrong........

Thursday, August 14, 2003

For every person who called you a fool for switching to solar or off grid power, this one's for you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The economy is really getting better? Get real.....

Acutally I'm not sure. I still doubt it. But it is conceivable that the economy will show some signs of short term life. What makes me scared is there is a chance that Bush has done just enough so that when Nov 2004 comes around the economy is positive enough to gets him re-elected.

Politicians are notoriously short sighted and don't think much about the future, at least the part of the future when they won't be in office and therefore be held responsible for whatever happened. When the real consequences of the tax cuts and terrible foreign policy finally do come around, Bush and Rove will be at very least finishing their last year or two in office if Dubya's re-elected. At worst they'll be long gone, and the new President forced to clean up their mess. He'll (or She'll) be blamed and whoever controls the WH will be out on their ass. I've said it before, I for one am glad that Dukakis lost in 1988. The problems in the early 90's were coming no matter who was in the White House.

If you think about it the economic problems we had back in 1991 they were not the fault of the elder Bush, but rather the saintly Reagan (and to be fair a deficit spending Dem congress). I'm not saying I feel bad for Bush Sr; he was after all the VP, not to mention the fact that he was guilty of quite a bit of underhanded foreign policy charades while in office. It's just that he lost the election not because of all the underhanded dirty stuff he did while he was head of the CIA and VP. It was domestic issues that sent him packing.

Still I think history has been misjudged; Bush Sr. is seen as weak and unprinicpled, while Reagan's reputation is completely untarnished, which is a real joke. The GOP has not been just in it's assesment of the Reagan era. Hey, when you're on top and everyone loves you who cares right? Win one for the Gipper, and make every prospective GOP Presidential hopefull jump thru the Reagan hoop for all enternity.

Between Iran Contra, the Drug War, South America and anything else I forgot to mention, if I were partly responsible for all the dirty shenanigans that went on during the Reagan era, I'd probably want to get Alzheimers just so I could forget what a scumbag I was.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Disappointed in Howard Dean



Recently Tom Rob, one of the more politically active DJs at WZRD Chicago, tried to get an interview with Howard Dean. Actually it never got that far; I think he only got as far as the Students for Howard Dean chapter at Northeastern Illinois University. I emailed him to get the skinny after I heard some rumors about what had happened.

To be perfectly honest I am not sold on any of the Democratic candidates. In fact the only guy I lean towards is Kerry, and it isn't even based on his political beliefs or voting record. By all accounts Kerry has waffled on more than a few issues. The only reason I want to see Kerry got the nod is because I want to see him go head to head against Bush in a debate and say "I went to Vietnam, where were you?". Rove and his henchmen can cook up any number of stupid stereotypes of the Classic "Out of Touch" Massachusetts Liberal with private prestige school education. If the fact that Bush managed to go AWOL for nearly two years while the under privileged and politically unconnected were shipped off to die fighting Charlie was ever to really reach critical mass Bush would be a'hurtin big time.

Gephart is boring, even if he does have a couple of good ideas. Sharpton is completely unqualified having never served a single elected office. I grew up in NYC area, so the first time I had ever heard of the Reverend was the Twana Brawley case. I heard a Kucinich interview on NPR and all I could do was groan and moan. I felt like I was hearing a battery of preprogrammed peacenik liberal arguments. While I am a self-identified liberal, I am sick and tired of the "US exists in a vacuum-everything is our fault" worldview. Kucinich definitely sounds that way. If he won the nomination he'd make McGovern's campaign look like a close finish.

Now I don't dislike Dean, but I'm not sold on him. After reading this little story I can’t say I feel better about it either. Now granted it's a student group, not Dean himself, but taken in context considering what happened at the AFL-CIO situation, where Dean didn't answer the question about the Israeli \ Palestinian conflict because of "insufficient time", it makes me wonder if Dean is trying to avoid the issue altogether. These little student groups take their orders from the top. I guess their modus operandi is "don’t fuck this up". They'd probably rather have Students for Dean do nothing rather than do something wrong.

Anyway, I hope this little story is worth your while. This is the email correspondence I had with one of the DJs at WZRD;

*****************************
On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 14:35:48 -0700 (PDT), Palmer Haas wrote Tom Rob:

Dear Tom,

Hey, this is Palmer from the radio station. I spoke to Bob about the interview. I'd really like to get some more details about the story, even get the list of the questions you sent to his people. I'd like to write a synopsis and put it on the net. I have a group of friends who I think it might be in their interest to spread this thing across the net. I'm not big on Dean but it is conceivable that this list of q's never got to him and his people are just trying to protect him. I'd really like the opportunity to post this on the net and show some of his supporters in the chance that they can change his mind. It's a bit naive; I know but please give me the chance. Thanks!

Palmer

*******************************
To: palmerhaas@yahoo.com
From: "Tom Robb"
Subject: Re: Interview with Howard Dean
On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 19:38:25 -0700 (PDT)

The following are my questions and the Dean Camp's response, they were sent to the students for Dean on June 11th and I was sent their response on July 1st for a scheduled July 2nd interview.

Questions for the interview sent 6/11/03 by Tom Robb to Students For Dean

Governor Dean has stated he is running for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. What does he mean by that?

Which Democrats in the field are not part of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party and why?

What are your thoughts on the War in Iraq?

How would you shape foreign policy?

(Follow up) The Israeli Palestinian conflict is the issue in the mid east. Many presidents have tried to solve that conflict and failed. What is Governor Deans plan.

What are Governor Dean’s thoughts on The USA PATRIOT Act?

Other Democratic candidates have called for an end to NAFTA and The World Trade Organization. What is Governor Dean’s stance on these institutions and their affects both in the United States and the world?

Switching to the domestic front, what is Governor Dean’s plan to fix the economy?

Does Governor Dean have a message for the Students here at Northeastern Illinois University and other students in our listening area?

About a week later I posted another question "Dean has not spoken about the war in Iraq lately why"

This was their response on July 1st


Tom,

I shared your list of questions with the press and policy departments. After careful review, they have decided that we (the "students" department) are not the rights ones to answer such difficult policy questions. For that reason, we need to cancel tomorrow's interview.

If, in the future, you would like to speak to us about our experiences as student organizers, then we will gladly accept a spot in your show. Thank you very much for your time,

Amanda Michel
DFA


I requested someone who would be able to answer the questions and requested they tell me by July 2, the date for the canceled interview, they did not call or email me to respond.

I did have a very good interview with Jeff Cohen the National Communications Director for the Kucinich camp. He answered all my questions and did not ask for questions in advance.

************************************************

On Mon, 11 Aug 2003 10:09:57 -0700 (PDT), Palmer Haas wrote to Tom Robb

So let me get this straight - the interview you had lined up was with Students for Dean, not Howard Dean himself. Please correct me if I'm wrong. And the Kucinich student group gave you all the info without consulting with anyone?

I'm just going on what Bob Goode gave me and clearly there is some information that Bob wasn't clear on. I just wanted to get the story straight from the horse’s mouth.

Palmer

****************************************************

On Mon, 11 Aug 2003 11:16:13 -0700 (PDT) Tom Robb wrote to Palmer Haas

No, I contacted the Dean for America campaign, since we were a college radio station they gave me to a rep from Students for Dean. I then gave them questions several weeks in advance so they could review the questions with their policy people. They then contacted me a day before the interview and said the questions were too difficult.

With Kucinich I contacted their campaign, they gave me to their national communications director, Mr. Jeff Cohen. Mr Cohen and I agreed on a date and time for the interview and he answered all my questions and did not require any questions in advance as Dean's people did.

At the AFL CIO Candidates forum last week I asked Dean a question directly about Israel and Palestine, which he sidestepped stating that it was, too complicated a question for a two minute answer.

Tom Robb
********************
I have to get all the answers that Kucinich gave. I'm still not all that thrilled with him BUT the fact that they were straight forward with a simple college radio interview is a step in the right direction. This doesn't sway me in any direction, it just merely re-enforces how I already feel.

There are a lot of things I'm looking for in a candidate to run against Bush, but one thing trumps all other issues. The first Democrat who has the balls to speak up about our twisted and sickly symbiotic relationship with Saudi Arabia, the first Democrat who has the guts to call oil what it is (a drug), the first Democrat who lays it all on the line and spills the truth to the American People that we are in this mess because of cheap petroleum and SUV's, that person will get my vote. Until then I'm holding out.

So far, I got no takers.

Monday, August 11, 2003

While trying to clean my apartment this weekend I started perusing thru an older issue of The Reader, Chicago's weekly arts/alternative newspaper, in fear that I'd miss something important if I tossed it out without checking it out first. I am really glad I took the time to do just that.

One of my favorite parts of The Reader is a section called The City File by Harold Henderson. It's a weekly segment featuring all kinds of weird, wacky and sometimes disturbing news bites. Unfortunately The Reader does not post their articles online, so I can't link you to the site. However this one was so jaw-droppingly significant I took the time to copy it verbatim.

While this isn't necessarily old news, I can swear I thought I heard this before somewhere. Maybe it's deja vu? Maybe it's just the lefty wacko at the radio station that recounted it to me while on one of his political diatribes. Even so, it still feels like a big flaming arrow right between the eyes when it's referenced like this in print. Enjoy it.... or be outraged, whatever does it for you;

From the Reader City File from sometime in July;
Maybe this will help you remember what the American Enterprise Institute is all about; Michael Ledeen, holder of the Freedom Chair at AEI quoted in Sam Smith's Undernews Extra (May 5) "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."


And just in case you doubt this, because quite frankly I had to do a net search just to prove to myself that this wasn't some left wing nut conjuring false evidence so they can justify to themselves and everyone else what they already believe, here's yet more proof. You can thank Jonah Goldberg, the crackpot editor for The National Review for committing this idea to print so no one can disavow it later.

This is from an online Goldberg entry found in the National Review Online from April, before the war;
So how does all this, or the humble attempt at a history lesson of my last column, justify tearing down the Baghdad regime? Well, I've long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the "Ledeen Doctrine." I'm not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." That's at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago (Ledeen is one of the most entertaining public speakers I've ever heard, by the way).


While I read this I could not help but think about all those on the left that said something that ruffled the feathers of those on the right. Last time I checked Susan Sontag, Bill Maher, and a host of other liberals were, at bare minimum, publicly torched after they opened their mouth for saying a number of things that were deemed "Un-American". I can't help but think of that guy from Texas, the newspaper editorialist who lost his job when he accused the President of (a)running in fear during that horrific day in September and then (b) trying to cover it up as if Al Qaeda had some sort of secret code for Air Force One. All in all, I remember agreeing with some of the sentiments and disagreeing others, but honestly I can't tell you exactly who said what during that hellacious and chaotic period of time. What I do remember was the anger and resentment I had for how some of those people were treated when some of those aforementioned individuals when they exercised their freedom of speech. No, the government didn't shut them up, but the manner in which so many were driven out of the public forum was extremely aggravating.

Susan Sontag was, as I recall (though I could be wrong) relieved of her duties as a columnist for some publication. She now wields her enormous influence over the American public by giving a couple of speeches, usually to college students at their graduation. Bill Maher lost his weekday nightly network show. Yeah, he has gotten a new one but now it's on cable, once a week. I have no idea what happened to that editorialist.

And while what he said wasn't right after 9.11, that wacky Professor from Columbia University, Nicholas De Genova also comes to mind. If you recall he was excoriated in the press for what really was an incredibly despicable comment. What I could not understand was why that guy deserved any news coverage anywhere. No one knew who that guy was until his little speech at the anti-war rally. It's not like he was the featured speaker. Hell their was a public gasp from the crowd after he said what he said.

To my knowledge he still teaches there. The Professor wasn't in the public forum before, and no one had even heard of the guy until Fox News brought it up during their Sunday news show. I guess they needed a liberal as a punching bag for all the conservatives to go thru their weekly ritual. They and many others were in essence excommunicated from the public forum.

And yet, on the other hand, let’s take a good look at a couple of righties and the consequences they have paid for their outrageous statements;

Mr Ledeen said something that is stunning in it’s brutality, not to mention cowardly, since he works behind a desk while a bunch of grunts from the lower classes of this country carry out is doctrine while being told they are fighting for freedom. How is he being punished? Why by writing for the NRO, and holding monthly meetings with Machiavellian Presidential advisor Karl Rove. He might still have his chair at the American Enterprise Union, but I don’t know for sure. As a matter of fact I haven’t heard one word of public outcry over this.

Anne Coulter called for the conquering and converting of the Arab world at large. She subsequently lost her job at the National Review. I'd say to those creeps at the N.R. "Way to take a stand!" except for the fact that Editor Jonah Goldberg later explained that Coulter wasn't fired for her over-the-top warmongering but rather because "She behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty." Anne now endures her public humiliation by collecting royalty checks from the two best selling books she wrote afterwards, including her most recent one, which hails Senator McCarthy as her patron Saint. And oh yeah, I almost forgot she joined the Vice President on stage at a going away party for our troops off to 'liberate' the Iraqi people.

Another NRO weasel Rich Lowry called for the nuking of Mecca. He's still got his job last time I heard. At least Mr. Lowry understands the line that the NR has; if you threaten to conquer and convert you're out, but threaten nuclear Armageddon, well just say your sorry and let bygones be bygones.

You decide who's a greater threat to this country - perennial college graduation speaker Susan Sontag or "bomb the shit out of some little country while my ass is behind a desk managing my 401K online" Michael Ledeen? How the fuck does some two bit no name professor get a weeks worth of press, while this asshole Ledeen is having tea with the guy that gives the orders to the fucking President!!!!!!!

This must be hell, because I have no other explanation.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

You know, after seeing this posted I hope the silly idea known as the National Missle Defense Sheild will die. I mean for god sakes the Pentagon says it aint gonna work. And then I remember that the Pentagon had evidence disputing that Iraq had WMD but the President ignored it. The Pentagon had disputed the supposed connection between Saddam and Osama and 9.11 (even after Osama called Saddam an infidel) but this has not stopped the White House from repeatedly propagating that they are in cahoots. The Pentagon disputed the Yellow Cake Uranium / Niger sale to Iraq but The White House continues to claim that even though everyone knows the report was fake that accusation is still true.

This gets me thinking - Mr. President, considering we have a budget shortfall in the hundreds of billions and your party loves to cut spending, I got an idea; Just cut out the Intelligence part of the Pentagon! I mean, it's not like you're using all that work they are doing anyway, am I right?


Shooting Down Missile Defense - Even the Pentagon admits the program is in trouble.
By Fred Kaplan. Posted Thursday, August 7, 2003, at 12:53 PM PT

If the generals in charge of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency followed the wispiest trail of logic, they would have slashed the program and moved on to more promising pursuits long ago. This month brings yet another bit of news (for earlier bits, click here and here) indicating not only that the program has scant chance of producing a workable missile-defense system, but that its managers know of its dim prospects.

The latest flash, from the Aug. 1 edition of the trade journal Defense News, is that the agency has suspended one of the program's most crucial components on the grounds that the technology it involves is "not mature enough" to fund.

Friday, August 01, 2003

I'm way behind - all these people with blogs were kind enough to link to me but I have yet to update my own. Here's a very incomplete list of people I should be thanking;

Barry at Rush Limbaughtomy

Kahlil at Reach Em High

Lilith of A Rational Animal

Joe F of Apathy Inc.

Emma Goldman of Notes on the Atrocities

Major Barbara of Arms And The Man

Sam of Blunted on Reality

Don Waller of Blah3

Jo of Democratic Veteran

Jeremy Puma of Frog n' Blog

Jay Bullock of Folkbum's Rambles and Rants

Shawn Montague of Genfoods

Patriot Gen. JC Christian

Paul Heller of Heller Mountain

George Partington of High Water

Sam Heldman of Ignatz

Loren of In A Dark Time

Mark A.R. Kleiman

Ray Sweatman's Live Your Life As If It's Real

Marla of Nurse Ratched's Notebook and Medicine Cabinet

Prometheus 6

Jesse of Pandagon

Fred Henning of Rantavation

Guy Andrew Hall of Rook's Rant

Cobalt (BJ) of Resource.full

Seb of Sadly, No!

Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla

Kenneth Quinnell of T.Rex

Tom of The Funny Farm

Patrick Taylor of The Poison Kitchen

Alina Stefanescu of Totalitarianism Today

Al-Muhajabah of Veiled4Allah

I swear I'll get my template updated when I have the time! Looking forward to working with all of you!

Here are the links for all of them, plus some other noteworthy internet stuff.

Intervention Mag

The Truth Laid Bear

Crooked Timber

blogrolling page for Open Source Politics