Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On Reading a Review of Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure

Lynndie England is America and America is Lynndie England.
This writer has seen and tasted her originating dust,
driven through twisting hills and endless fields
to drink water of pure and dusty rejection. Most
Americans know exactly who Lynndie England is,
besides those who simply and unalterably are her,
you have those who grew up around her
loving and fearing and desiring and pitying her.
Because America is the struggle between domination
and vulnerability, the soft forbidden vulnerability
beneath a shell of burlesque domination, itself
beneath a veneer of ideological justification.
You see the tear fall from her eye as she grits her teeth
and you think, this must have been how she handled
the ritualistic Ohio River beatings, American humiliations
born, rolled in soil, punished and laid to rest.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Racism update revisited

This is getting ridiculous, monotonous, and fleterifinditionous (that last one might be a made-up word ala Dr. Seuss). Fox News refers to Michelle Obama as Barack's "baby mama." Horribly, horribly ignorant, racist as all get out, and not at all surprising.

As my friend Andy Ellis says, "Why don't they just start calling him Balack Obama?"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A New Wave of Scathing Analysis on the Occupation

The invasion and occupation of Iraq constitutes one of the longest-running military operations in U.S. history. After such a long occupation, you might think that competent ruling classes might figure out a way to sweep things under the rug, cut off channels of public criticism, or lull citizens into sonambulism. But ours is not a competent ruling class. Despite occasionally giving way, say, to national elections or scandals de jour, for brief minutes, the war's wrongness continues to reassert itself as, in consistent waves, protesters, pundits, candidates and soldiers publicly condemn it. The periodic revelations of mismanagement and fraud chime in, resulting in a discordant symphony of condemnations, denials, humiliations, and tragedy. The tragedy part overwhelms the solidly underwhelming logistical arguments about how the surge is "working." It is as if the nation actually possesses a sense of right and wrong, perhaps a Christian cultural sense that the ends don't justify the means, and that our intentions--what is in our hearts--defines our moral culpability for our actions.

Chris Hedges cuts to the chase in "The War in Iraq Is Pure Murder," arguing that the war has damaged our souls. That's the difference between the suicide statistics, which are absolutely shocking, and other types of stats on the war. Think about what it takes to commit suicide, the unspeakable pain, and what such an individual action ultimately says about soldiers' relationship to the military.

Jim Lobe of IPS News writes about the report released last Thursday, a Senate Intelligence Committee report concluding that the Bush administration made claims unsupported by evidence concerning Iraq's WMD and al Qaeda ties. While this is generally an axiom on the left, and even among moderates now, the significance of the report, in my opinion, is that, for Bush's few remaining supporters. there exist elaborate explanations as to why the WMD and al Qaeda stories were actually true all along.

That Intelligence Committee report has also resurrected calls for impeachment. The always smiling, cheerful, and relentless Dennis Kucinich spent four hours on Monday night reading into the Congressional Record 35 articles of impeachment. Kucinich ran the gambit; emptied the trash if you will: signing statements, lying about Iraq, illegally spying on citizens and even election tampering.

And all this occurs against a startling new backdrop: A majority in the Iraqi parliament wants the U.S. out of Iraq.
A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday. Rep. William Delahunt...released excerpts from a letter he was handed by Iraqi parliamentarians laying down conditions for the security pact that the Bush administration seeks with Iraq. The proposed pact has become increasingly controversial in Iraq, where there have been protests against it..."The majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq," the letter to the leaders of Congress said.

One member of the Iraqi Parliament, Nadeem Al-Jaberi, even added "We are capable of solving our own problems." Granted, Al-Jaberi belongs to a Shi'ite political party, implying that the way of solving those problems is to scapegoat and murder Sunnis. But that outcome was inevitable the moment Bush, who didn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shia, started making his feltboard case for the invasion. The paradoxical and impossible situation, and the death and misery both past and future, needs to be pinned where it belongs. Even if we can't throw Bush in jail after he leaves office, I'll be happy to see the relentless complications he faces with thousands of legal documents pending against him, floating around the international legal arena like paper airplanes in a jetstream. Maybe it will drive up his blood pressure, just be a thorn, an inconvenience. Well, something's better than nothing.

Don't let anyone fool you or take advantage of your good conscience to make you hate yourself for opposing this war. Every piece of genuinely convincing evidence on every major point goes our way. The invasion and occupation were wrong: strategically, pragmatically, morally, ideologically, in violation of good sense and good faith. By remaining persistent, and consistent, in the face of name-calling and more lying, we have won a victory even if we haven't stopped this atrocity. That victory is in momentum. In addition to using that momentum to get our troops home soon, we can use it the next time around too. And if we're really smart and self-reflective, we can use it to help us envision a world without war.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's not Nader's fault...

The latest AP Poll has Ralph Nader at 6% -- after virtually no mainstream media coverage whatsoever. The anti-Nader screeds are already emerging from the liberal blogosphere, trying to warn us of impending nuclear war and stuff.

It's not Nader's fault he's polling at 6%. If he dropped out of the race, some other third party Left hero would step in. Perhaps we could imprison or eliminate all third party Left candidates. That might result in the kind of election the Democratic party wants.

If Obama loses the election, it will be because he pounded fists with his wife and a stupid Faux anchor called it "terrorist fist jab" and that remark will stick to the Obamas like glue thanks to Faux news and their weak opposition. Is this the kind of system you want to defend?

If you like Obama, imagine him in the form of a real progressive candidate--the kind we will never be able to elect under the current corporate two-party system. A candidate who could elude the power of the bigoted, disproportionately powerful corporate media. Continuing the corpor-autocratic two-party system, and continuing to legitimize it by attacking third party candidates, is more harmful than a McCain presidency.

Friday, June 06, 2008

tomorrow's radio show...and daring to dream (haha)

Melvin Nimer, president of the Utah chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans will be our guest tomorrow on Shared Sacrifice. The link is on the right hand side of this page. Listen, and call in!

So this morning I received an email from the Nader/Gonzales campaign with these eloquent lines that warrant discussion:

"How do you get people to vote against their own self interest?
That's the trick.
One way is to make people believe in a dream.
That's what all of the mainstream politicians are doing - feeding that dream.
Obama is feeding a dream - a dream of change and renewal.
He's feeding a dream that the conditions that surround us - Iraq, the economy, the racial divide, the class divide in this country - that they are magically going to go away by voting for this centrist Democrat.
That is nonsense, of course.
Obama is not proposing any structural changes.
McCain is feeding us the dream, the fantasy of power and control.
That somehow the military might of the U.S. will prevail across the globe.
These are fantasies that are being fed by the politicians.
They are not so much lies, as delusions.
But we will have brought it on ourselves by supporting these politicians.
By ignoring any candidate or any ideas that might conflict with those dreams.
The Obama moment is a feel good moment.
It makes us feel good.
But the programs Obama is proposing - up and down and all around - are the same centrist Democratic positions.
The same people are going to be running the show.
All of the corporations are rapidly switching their contributions to the Democrats."
These are the words of the American novelist Russell Banks.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

latest racism update

From the inimitable Rush Limbaugh, on 21 May:
They forgot affirmative action for black guys. And because of that, every bit of their plan has gone up in smoke now, because they -- if -- they had to come out in favor of affirmative action for black guys, and that's -- see, this is one of the things that really irritates the women. And there are women all over this country fit to be tied -- trust me on this. And it's -- one of the things is affirmative action is exactly -- it's, you know, liberals eventually are going to be devoured by their own policies. And it has happened here. Because Barack Obama is an affirmative action candidate. There's no question, the way he is being treated by the drive-bys and so forth and so on. The way he's been puffed up here with the magical, messiah-type message with no criticism allowed.
So, it's just -- they just forgot that one thing: affirmative action for black guys. And if they had remembered to oppose that, then they wouldn't face the situation they face today.

schroedinger's clinton

Clinton set to concede delegate race to Obama
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 20 minutes ago
Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation's first female president.


Clinton campaign says not conceeding as race nears end

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
23 minutes ago
The Clinton campaign quickly denied a report by The Associated Press that the New York senator would say on Tuesday night that Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.

It's just time

After a great conversation with Jeff Key on the show last saturday, I am absolutely convinced (well I have been convinced for a long time and now just enhanced convinced) that DADT makes no sense anymore and the United States military needs to allow openly gay soldiers to serve now--just like other countries do. Jeff was a marine, for god's sake, around big tough hetro marine guys, he told them he was gay long before he was discharged, and they still would have fought alongside him and trusted him--they appeared on national television to say so.

It's not only time to allow gays to openly serve, but also to commit to full protection for them in every unit if there is indeed any threat to them from other soldiers; to promise automatic dishonorable discharge and prosecution for any soldier found to be violating the civil rights or safety of gay soldiers; and to make it clear to every soldier that sexual preference means absolutely nothing as far as they are concerned. To do anything less at this point in time is to continue an immoral policy, and (using, for the moment, the language and logic of the right) to risk the "national security" that proponents of the Global War on Terror constantly evoke. When Truman desegregated the military, many people, most infamously General Omar Bradley, insisted it was not yet time to do so.

I invite anyone who disagrees with this to contact Jeff Key or Gary Barkley.

Monday, June 02, 2008

quote of the year

From Peter Daniels's excellent review of Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips:
American capitalism once prided itself on the accuracy of its economic statistics. An alphabet soup of regulatory agencies carried out this work. During the decades of the Cold War, the spokesmen for big business always pointed to the mockery of economic data produced by the Stalinist regimes as one more proof of the superiority of the profit system. Today, however, the growing crisis is producing a historic reversal. Where American capitalism once required accurate data, today it requires lies.
Put that on your email signature and see if it inspires questions or conversation...