Bob's Links and Rants -- Fair and Balanced

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Be sure to check out my Post 9/11 website for links to lots of stuff I care about. I have put all of my 2002 rants into a single file.

Friday, November 15, 2002

A government lawyer argued that bird lovers benefit when the military kills birds because "bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one." -- from the LA Times via Politics in the Zeros. Your government: making nature rare so you'll appreciate it more. It's more than bad enough when the government isn't zealous in pursuing the protection of the environment and human rights. It is downright criminal when they are zealously pursuing the destruction of the environment and human rights. Maybe we can pass an initiative to have all lawyers who have been appointed by the Bushies be declared enemy combatants.

The United States currently faces as grave a threat to its founding principles of democracy, equality and justice as it has seen in more than two centuries. Al Qaeda isn't the danger, though the seeds for future terrorism are being planted today by American foreign policy. The peril derives from a remarkable coalescing of a shortsighted, ill-tempered president advised by authoritarian ideologues, a frightened, passive populace, a lazy, compliant media and the abdication of meaningful political opposition in order to temper those leaders' most extreme impulses. That lethal combination has led to a vicious right-wing power grab, curtailed civil liberties and led to the U.S. being viewed by other nations as an out-of-control rogue state which needs to be appeased because of its arsenal rather than respected for its good sense.

We survived the Civil War, so we can probably endure two more years of George W. Bush's assaults on the our way of life. But who knows how much damage a "Republican" victory in 2004 would do to core American values--make no mistake, this obscene junta isn't the patriotic, sane Republican Party of Eisenhower, Reagan or the first President Bush.
Whether a liberal or a centrist strategy is chosen isn't as important as it would be if the opponent were less dangerous. What matters is getting George W. Bush the hell out of Al Gore's house.

-- from Ted Rall

WTO and CIA are the real terrorists of the world today! -- Chant from WTO protesters in Sydney, Australia, reported in the NY Times.

Gore already was making political news. On Wednesday night, he told a New York audience he has "reluctantly come to the conclusion" that the only solution to the "impending crisis" in health care is a "single-payer national health insurance plan" for all Americans. -- from the Washington Post. Interesting development--maybe Gore is becoming a Democrat (reluctantly).

Thursday, November 14, 2002

And if, one caller queried, no weapons of mass destruction were found by U.N. weapons inspectors inside Iraq?

"What it would prove would be that the inspection process had been successfully defeated by the Iraqis," [Rumsfeld] said. "There's no question but that the Iraqi regime is clever, they've spent a lot of time hiding things, dispersing things, tunneling underground."

from CNN. There you have it. If the inspectors find weapons, we're going to war. If they don't find weapons, we're going to war. Rummy promises that it won't be World War III.

"I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that," he said in an hourlong interview for Infinity Broadcasting.

I don't know about that. Sounds like trying to do a controlled burn at a fireworks factory. Rummy also threw in a whopper, which CNN was good enough to point out:

"The president has not suggested that that is going to be needed," Rumsfeld said, although President Bush has said many times that military force will be used to make Iraq comply.

While CNN on TV is almost unwatchable these days, I'm starting to like their web site. They have a lot of stories I don't find on the NY Times, and they seem to be willing to point out when the Bushies are stretching the truth. Meanwhile, the Times is throwing in gratuitous insults at Argentina and deceptive praise of Bush ("served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War").

My niece has her own blog now! Check it out!

I'm reposting my "Night Before Baghdad" poem with a minor modification due to the honorable anti-war votes of Senators Boxer and Levin. Unfortunately, there were plenty of others to take their place. I gave the "honor" to Senators Feinstein and Schumer as their votes were probably most at odds with the desires of their constituents (Feinstein admitted as much):

The Night Before Baghdad, by Bob Goodsell

'Twas the night before Baghdad, and through the White House
Not a Bushie was thinking, not even his spouse
The war maps were hung by the table with care
In hopes that Dick Cheney soon would be there.

The prez he was nestled all snug in his bed
While visions of 2004 danced in his head
With Condi on keyboard and Colin on bass
Rummy on vocals sang "Bush won't lose face!"

When out in the Rose Garden came such a noise
It had to be Rummy's destructive war toys
But what to our wondering noses we smelled
But a six-foot-six driver on one giant camel.

"Tell me," said Condi, "is that a llama?"
"No, token black woman! That is Osama!"
He hopped off his camel and gathered his rifle
Clearly this was someone with whom we won't trifle.

He walked to the door and went in front of us
He asked to be taken to the Oval Office
The Senate had some of its members in there
And when he arrived he gave them a scare.

"Out Daschle! Out Feinstein! Out Smiling Joe Lieberman!
Out Lott! Out Hatch! Out Schumer! Out Clinton!
You're self-serving pawns of the corporate swine
Selling your souls to the Bush-Cheney line.

"I wanted a war 'twixt Islam and West
You've given me everything! Thanks, you're the best!
Thanks Condi, thanks Rummy, and thanks Colin, too!
And when he wakes up, please thank W!"

He went to the warroom and smiled at the plans
"The hated Saddam is soon a dead man!
The world in turmoil will be fertile ground
For radical Islam to be spread around!"

And flipping a finger toward one and all
He laughed so hard that it shook down the wall
It made so much noise that the prez left his sack
And came down to ask "Is it time to attack?"

And back to the garden Osama did go
No chicken hawk stopped him as he walked out the do'
Not Rummy, not Condi, not one of the staff
Stopped Osama bin Laden or his terrible laugh.

Then George Bush the Senior entered the room
By reading his lips we all sensed the gloom
"You've tried your best, George, I'll give you that, son
But make no mistake: the terrorists have won."

Paying only the interest on the loan is not enough to avoid Argentina entering into default -- a move that relegates it to a club of debt deadbeats that includes Iraq and Zimbabwe. -- from the NY Times, showing extreme callousness to one of the largest victims of globalization to date. Argentina has repeatedly swallowed the painful medicine prescribed by the World Bank, the IMF, and the US government (pretending for the moment that there is some difference between the three), only to find itself in its worst economic crisis yet. And the supposedly liberal "newspaper of record" chides it for being a "debt deadbeat," and not on the editorial page, either. And I wonder why Iraq might have defaulted. Could it be that the world's most powerful country has bombed, blockaded and threatened it for twelve years running?

As was the case I discussed on Monday about Bush's "serving during the Vietnam war", the nasty little sentence I quoted above ended the Times' article. Were these sentences perhaps tacked on by editors? Who suffers if Argentina pays off the debt? Millions of Argentines. Who suffers if they don't? Huge transnational banks. Whose side is the Times on? Reread the quote above.

Daschle Questions Progress in War on Terrorism: A little late, Tom. The election was last week.

Thirteen members of the Security Council were opposed to this resolution or deeply skeptical, but Washington used intense pressure and eventually bent them to its will. The U.S. used hardball diplomacy of the type deployed to gain the first Gulf War resolution in 1990. The Secretary of State at that time, James Baker, later described in his autobiography how he lined up votes for resolution 678: 'I met personally with all my Security Council counterparts in an intricate process of cajoling, extracting, threatening, and occasionally buying votes. Such are the politics of diplomacy." -- a quote within a quote within a quote: James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum quoted in the Institute for Public Accuracy's critique of the latest UN resolution. Thus we have threatened and bought the votes of the Security Council to enforce the resolutions that we threatened and bought the votes for twelve years ago.

Meanwhile, back in Kabul: Afghan police shoot student protesters.

More bad news from the NY Times article on the Homeland Security bill:

  • The bill, approved 299 to 121, would reverse an earlier measure and allow American companies that have moved offshore in order to evade taxes to contract with the Homeland Security Department. It would also extend protection against liability suits for airline screening companies and many other businesses that contract with the department, and adds a similar provision protecting the makers of smallpox vaccines. Great. After the government gives me a near-lethal injection, I won't be able to sue the drug company that made it.
  • Republican House members elected Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, formerly the majority whip, to the new post of majority leader in the next session. The Exterminator, the most evil man in Congress, gets promoted.
  • Senate Democrats also held their leadership elections today, unanimously choosing Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota as chairman of the caucus. Thanks for helping W get us into this mess, Tom. Here's two more years to see how much more of the world you can flush down the toilet.
  • Senators also voted 58 to 36 not to block their annual pay raise, which would increase their salaries by 3.1 percent to $154,700 to $150,000 next year. They'll probably pay for it with new tax cuts for the rich.
  • In one last-minute addition, Representative Dick Armey, Republican of Texas, inserted a provision that was apparently intended to protect Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant, from lawsuits over thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine preservative that some parents contend has caused autism in their children. An Armey of one. Government should be protecting people from the giant corporations, not the other way around.

Yup. All of that crap in one article.

Can't pull the wool over Kofi's eyes: Annan said the United States is "seen to have a lower threshold" for determining what constitutes a material breach, something that he warned could be interpreted as "a flimsy or hasty attempt to go to war." Concern that the United States would be quick to attack was among the reasons it took so long to get a resolution approved by the council, he said. -- from CNN.

To me, the scariest part of Clinton's Lewinsky affair was the lengths to which he appeared willing to go to deny it. He was the perfect target for blackmail: the most powerful man in the world with a secret he doesn't want to get out. Who knows what deals he may have made during the year he tried to cover it up. Our current situation is even scarier: W appears willing to do just about anything to get his war with Iraq. We may not know for 25 years, if we ever do, what he gave away to get the votes of Russia, China, France, Mexico, and Syria(!!) for the latest Iraq resolution. We do know that he has basically sold out the hopes of rebels in Chechnya and in China's western provinces for support from the US. W's fanatical devotion would be scary even if it were for an honorable cause; one should never want anything this badly. That it is for a criminal and incomprehensible cause such as war with Iraq just boggles the mind.

Why are these men smiling?

They have just sold us down the river by helping "President" Bush create a Department of Homeland Security, our very own Gestapo. The bill has already passed the House, and is expected to pass the Senate by tomorrow. Here are some of the lowlights, from CNN:
  • Creates a Cabinet-level department out of all or parts of 22 agencies -- including Customs, INS and the Transportation Security Administration -- with about 170,000 workers and a $37 billion budget.
  • Grants the president flexibility to hire and fire workers, but gives unions a chance to challenge new rules.
  • Approves a plan to allow pilots to carry guns in cockpits.
  • Drops a provision to create an independent commission to investigate intelligence surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

And read what William Safire has to say about the worst part of the bill:

Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S. citizen.

And this from Richard Nixon's old speechwriter. Imagine what Paul Wellstone would say. Basically, the bill says that we'll never really know what went wrong that allowed 9/11 to happen, since that would make most of the other fascist provisions of the bill unnecessary. Perhaps an independent investigation would have discovered that the Bush administration knew what was coming and ignored it since it would give them the green light they needed to grab Afghanistan, Iraq, and who knows where else. The recommendation might have been that impeachment was the only step needed to improve our security. To amend an old saying: Truth is the first casualty of Bush. And the next time you fly across the country, the government may be reviewing your travel plans and everything else you've ever done and decide to arrest you at the arrival gate. That is if your pilot hasn't shot you first.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Lest we have any hope that Saddam's acceptance of the UN resolution means there won't be a war: U.S. Scoffs at Iraq Claim of No Weapons of Mass Destruction. I'm starting to wonder if the "inspectors" might actually smuggle WMD's into Iraq, just like a redneck cop "finding" a bag of pot in a hippie's car. "Well, lookie here! Does that look like a chem-ee-cal weapon to you, Fred?" "It shore 'nough does, Elroy. I think we done caught us a cheater, un huh. Ol George 'll sho be innersted in seeing this, yessiree."

California Coastal Records Project -- Aerial Photographs of the California Coastline -- from Polizeros.

F.C.C. Approves Merger of Comcast and AT&T -- just in case anyone still doubts for whom the government works. This is seriously bad stuff. More of our money goes to a tiny number of extremely rich people who will continue to limit our access to information. That Colin Powell's son Michael is the FCC Chairman is beyond scary. It's only a matter of time before our Internet access is limited to approved sites: maybe just a few dozen channels owned by three or four corporations, just like cable TV. Read my blog while you still can! I have begun planning my "message in a bottle" blog for the future.

As I said yesterday about the proposed CNN-ABC News merger, there is already way too much media consolidation. The only debate that should be going on now is how quickly and into how many thousands of pieces these monsters should be broken up.

Iraq accepts UN resolution. Sorry, George. Maybe you can enjoy that PlayStation 2 those guys bought for you in the meantime. I'm sure Dick and the gang will come up with some excuse for you to pulverize Iraq soon.

Automakers ecstatic over Republican Congress. No need to worry about fuel economy or pollution now. Just get rich while destroying the planet.

Bad news overload:

Don't worry about OBL, though. Our military leaders are hot on his trail:

Speaking today in West Palm Beach, Fla., Gen. Tommy R. Franks, chief of the U.S. Central Command, said he did not know where bin Laden was, but was sure the al Qaeda leader was "having a bad year." Even his 5-year-old granddaughter asks him about bin Laden's whereabouts, Franks said. "I tell her, I don't know," he said. "But if he's alive, we'll certainly get him." Of course, it will have to wait until we're done killing 5-year-old granddaughters in Iraq in the name of peace. The world is "having a bad year."

Gestapo go-ahead: Congressional "leaders" have worked out a deal so that the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security ("Ministry of Love" or "Miniluv" in Newspeak) can proceed, possibly as soon as Friday. Always a tower of principled strength, "Senator Tom Daschle, the majority leader, said he disagreed with the plan but would not block its passage. His staff released a schedule showing how the bill could be approved as soon as Friday." Way to stand up for our freedoms, Tom.

The agreement gives the Bush administration a free hand to jettison Civil Service rules in promoting and firing workers in the new agency and allows the president to exempt unionized workers from collective-bargaining agreements in the name of national security.

Wonderful. Not only are unions flushed further down the toilet, it looks as though the Bushies will have full power to hire and fire agency employees. So some border cop or Coast Guard officer who takes the Constitution a little too seriously can be out of work on a moment's notice, and good luck finding another decent job in this economy. Doubleplusungood! (Reminder: Orwell's "1984" is pretty much required reading for understanding this blog. It is also required reading for understanding what the Bushies are doing. You can probably still buy a copy at a used book store that won't show up on an FBI computer somewhere.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Viagra lockdown: I work in a building on the edge of the University of Michigan's North Campus in Ann Arbor. Most of the buildings in the immediate neighborhood are a part of Pfizer's world headquarters and research facilities. As you are probably aware, Pfizer is one of the world's largest drug companies, and its most famous product is Viagra. (They are in the process of merging with Pharmacia, makers of Rogaine, so they will soon have the aging men market cornered.) Anyhow, there has been a big increase in security at Pfizer's buildings recently, especially the big one across the street. Two or three months ago armed guards showed up at every driveway, and now they have put big steel sliding gates across at least one driveway. I wonder what's up over there. Doesn't exactly give me that warm, fuzzy feeling; it's more that cold, clammy one. The place already looks like the compound of a Bond villain.

Also, if you saw any of Liddy Dole's victory speech in North Carolina, you'll realize why Bob Dole needs Pfizer's most famous product, and lots of it. Just think--in one house, a senator-elect and a senator-erect.

Vigilante Vegetarian: He's famous for his subway connection, but he's no Jared. "I think a quarter of the world's problems would be solved if most people would become vegetarians," he says. Still, he's not the ideal veggie spokesperson, since he's Bernard Goetz, the infamous subway vigilante.

Bechtel (boo!!!) vs Bolivia (yay!!!). Bechtel is suing Bolivia for $25 million it claims it lost in its effort to privatize the water system of Cochabamba, Bolivia's third largest city. The case goes before a secret World Bank court, somewhere, sometime. Top secret, you know. Can't let anyone know who is responsible for stealing their water and selling it to the highest bidder. Globalization along the lines of NAFTA, the World Bank, the WTO, and the proposed FTAA is a crime of immense proportions against humanity.

A year later, still no explanation, except "it wasn't terrorism." American Airlines Flight 587 crashed one year ago today shortly after taking off from JFK Airport in New York. Although several witnesses saw what looked like explosions or fires on the wings, the official line so far is: The crash was caused by large movements in the rudder. Probably the pilot's fault. We'll let you know. Sometime. Maybe. For sure we'll let you know before we tell you why Wellstone's plane crashed. Don't hold your breath. I'll repeat my suggestion that I made months ago: The timing and conclusions of the crash investigation have much more to do with politics and propaganda than they do with the evidence. A second terror attack in New York two months after 9/11 might have made the Bushies appear more incompetent than resolute. By failing to issue a report on this crash, they can use it to support their next war. Well, what do you know? Turns out it was a missile after all. Launched by terrorists from (take your pick) Iraq/Iran/North Korea/Cuba/Colombia/Saudi Arabia/Syria/China. This shall not stand. Huff. Puff.

Oh joy. It is now apparently up to Saddam Hussein whether World War III starts this week. Of course, even Saddam's most abject capitulation to Bush's demands is unlikely to prevent Bush from finding some excuse for war. And while capitulation at this point would probably save the lives of many Iraqis, it is probably at least as dangerous to Saddam personally as letting the war happen. Once the well-armed "inspectors" authorized by the UN resolution go into Iraq, chances are good that they will be searching for Saddam at least as much as they are for weapons. If they find him, he will be either arrested or, more likely, assassinated. I may be wrong about that, but I'm pretty sure that is how Saddam sees it. If so, will he put the well-being of the Iraqi people ahead of his own? As I said yesterday, there doesn't seem to be much of a chance for anything good to come out of this.

From the WSWS: The commentators fail to ask the obvious question: who and what has made it possible for a president who lost the popular vote and was undemocratically installed in office, and who is widely derided as ignorant and inarticulate, to exercise such supposed power?

Monday, November 11, 2002

Not that there was much hope for peace left, but it looks like the last faint glimmer is fast disappearing: Iraqi parliament condemns U.N. resolution on weapons inspectors. Anything left to hope for? How about minimal casualties on both sides, combined with a major disruption in oil supplies leading to price increases and shortages, causing major political damage to the Bushies? About the best I can come up with at this point. There really seems to be no desirable outcome possible now.

The Senate is planning to quickly pass the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security. Unfortunately, we probably don't have much chance of stopping this domestic gestapo now that the Republitrons are in charge, but we should still put up a fight. Write, call, or e-mail your senators today and let them know that you don't want America to be a police state.

Bush served as a Texas Air National Guard pilot during the Vietnam War. -- The NY Times ends its article with this single sentence, with no explanation that Bush never went to Vietnam, and that he was AWOL from the Air National Guard for a year. The Times' quote implies that W actually fought in Vietnam. My sister got married in 1967, and I brought snacks to guests at the reception. So I guess I can say that I served during the Vietnam War, too. Oh liberal media, wherefore art thou?

Bush said a new regime "would bring deliverance" for Iraq's citizens. "We have no territorial ambitions. We don't seek an empire. Our nation is committed to freedom, for ourselves and for others. We and our allies have fought evil regimes and left in place self-governing and prosperous nations," he said.

Oh yeah? Where? Is he going back to World War II with Germany and Japan? Have any of our many military interventions since resulted in "self-governing and prosperous nations?" In many of them, we fought WITH evil regimes (Vietnam, El Salvador, Afghanistan). The truth is, Bush probably doesn't know the history, and he doesn't care. Worst president ever.

A thrilling first-person action game. Become a member of the world's premier land force; trained and equipped to achieve decisive victory—anywhere. Earn the right to call yourself a Soldier, letting the enemies of freedom know that America's Army has arrived...

That's right, you can download a free first-person shoot-em-up game, "America's Army," from the US Army website.

Whitewater in Arkansas again! Subsidized rice farmers in Arkansas want the Federal government to pay for diverting water from the White River to irrigate their crops, since they have almost completely drained the large aquifer under their farms. Arkansas gets about 50 inches of rain per year, enough for decent crop yields without irrigation. Sustainability without further attacks on the environment is the only reasonable option, one unlikely to get consideration from our current "government."

As I've ranted about before, water is the BIG ISSUE for the 21st century. Corporations are already grabbing up as much as they can, while more and more fresh water is polluted by chemicals and animal feed lots or depleted by irrigation and global warming. While we can live without oil, and in many ways life would be more pleasant, we can't live without water, and there are shortages occurring throughout the world, including within the US. A responsible government, something we haven't had for a long time, would put an immediate stop to frivolous and wasteful uses of water: golf courses, suburban lawns, feed lots, and many others.

The "Politics in the Zeros" weblog has an ongoing page of water-related stories and links.

Somehow this one slipped under my radar until now, but...


Still more media consolidation? CNN and ABC?The implications are staggering. This Week with Wolf and Cokie? Puff the Media Dragon, sung by Peter, Paula and Barbara? Christiane Amanpour and Mickey Mouse live on location at George H.W. Bush Air Force Base in suburban Baghdad? And there are already ties between Disney (ABC) and GE (NBC) through MSN (Microsoft). The Soviet Union had Tass and Pravda; soon we will have only CNN-ABC-MSNBC and CBS-Fox to choose from, each trying to outdo the other in crime and war coverage.

Media consolidation is one of the main problems in the country and world today, but instead of taking steps to reverse it, it is being allowed, even encouraged, to continue.

Ain't no stoppin' us now:
By February or March, the U.S. media will likely be flooded with dire warnings about the threat to the world from Iran. Israel's American lobby will turn its guns from Iraq to Iran. "Links" will surely be "discovered" between Iran and al-Qaida. The cookie-cutter pattern that worked for whipping up war psychosis against Iraq should work just as well against Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia - and win the next national election. -- Eric Margolis from Toronto says that Iran is the real target of the Iraq war for both the US and Israel. The case against Iran should be easier to make than that against Iraq, since there will actually be some truth to the "supports terrorism" charges and since Iran's weapons of mass destruction program is further along than Iraq's, not having been hampered by 11 years of inspections, sanctions and bombing. While targeting Iran doesn't make sense to me, having it as the main target provides a better explanation for the first two W wars, especially Afghanistan. Of course, 9/11 provided the excuse for Afghanistan, although 9/11 could have been used with at least as much justification as a reason to attack Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, or Florida. These would have been politically more difficult, since of these only Florida has leadership as evil as the Taliban, but lots of Americans have parents and grandparents living there, so bombing Tampa instead of Kandahar would have been a tough sell. The fact that Afghanistan had no military with a chance of competing with the Pentagon also contributed to the decision. But seen in the light of creating an Iran on Afghan-Iraqi bread sandwich, the choices of Afghanistan and Iraq as the first two W wars makes more sense. Sure don't make it right, though.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

One small break from the doom and gloom: Nigeria says it won't allow the stoning of women accused of adultery.

From the prologue to The Post-Corporate World by David Korten:

In the Post-Corporate World I refine the analysis to argue that the problem is not the market as such but more specifically capitalism, which is to a healthy market economy what cancer is to a healthy body. Cancer occurs when genetic damage causes a cell to forget that it is part of a larger body, the healthy function of which is essential to its own survival. The cell begins to seek its own growth without regard to the consequences for the whole, and ultimately destroys the body that feeds it. As I learned more about the course of cancer's development within the body, I came to realize that the reference to capitalism as a cancer is less a metaphor than a clinical diagnosis of a pathology to which market economies are prone in the absence of adequate citizen and governmental oversight. Our hope for the future is to restore the health of our democracies and market economies by purging them of the pathology.

When dealing with a cancer of the body, containment is rarely an adequate strategy. To become healthy, one needs a curative regime designed to remove or kill the defective cells. Some combination of surgical removal with measures to weaken the cancer cells and strengthen the body's natural defenses is likely to be appropriate. There is a strong parallel to the task now before us. Curing the capitalist cancer to restore democracy, the market, and our human rights and freedoms will require virtually eliminating the institution of the limited-liability for-profit public corporation as we know it to create a post-corporate world through actions such as the following:

  • End the legal fiction that corporations are entitled to the rights of persons and exclude corporations from political participation;
  • Implement serious political campaign reform to reduce the influence of money on politics;
  • Eliminate corporate welfare by eliminating direct subsidies and recovering other externalized costs through fees and taxes;
  • Implement mechanisms to regulate international corporations and finance; and
  • Use fiscal and regulatory policy to make financial speculation unprofitable and to give an economic advantage to human-scale, stakeholder-owned enterprises.

I have no illusions that removal of the capitalist cancer will be easily accomplished. Rarely is cancer in any of its manifestations easily cured.
On the other hand, I see no realistic prospect for the amicable coexistence of life and capitalism. They represent ways of being and valuing as antithetical to one another as the coexistence of cancer cells and healthy cells. Any seeming accomodation between them is inherently unstable and most likely to be resolved in favor of the cancer. On a small and crowded planet with a finite life-support system, our choice as a species is basically between life after capitalism and severe global-scale social and environmental collapse.

Oh Boy More Fear And Gluttony / Darkness falls across the land, flowers wilt, the GOP takes full, and frightening, control -- from Mark Morford, SF Gate.

As noted crusty and ruthless and largely unpleasant former Clinton adviser James Carville observed just after the election, "The American people just don't have a clue as to what's coming."

If you are female, gay, bisexual, atheist, black, immigrant, poor, progressive, intellectual, open minded, open hearted, if you hold alternative views, dress funny, dance, enjoy sex, read seditious literature, believe in peace and funky spirituality and don't particularly care for a sneering angry self-righteous well-armed anti-everything deity, you are about to find out. The hard way. And so is everyone else.

If that's not depressing enough, you can read the whole article.

Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans: Headed up by convicted Iran-Contra conspirator Admiral John Poindexter, "The Pentagon is constructing a computer system that could create a vast electronic dragnet, searching for personal information as part of the hunt for terrorists around the globe — including the United States." Well, I'll make it easy for you, Poindexter. I'm a member of the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and the League of American Bicyclists. I voted for McCain and Nader in 2000, I supported numerous Democrats in the 2002 elections, and not only do I believe that George W. Bush is our worst president ever, I write about it incessantly on the web. These activities are not illegal, Poindexter, unlike your Iran-Contra shenanigans. But right now I'm a lot more afraid of dying in prison, uncharged and unrepresented, than I am of being killed by any terrorist (except maybe Bush).

How is it that Jeb Bush and Florida won't let convicts who have served their time (five years for a few ounces of marijuana, for instance) even vote, while his brother George allows convicts like Poindexter, Elliot Abrams (director of the National Security Council’s office for democracy, human rights and international operations), and John Negroponte (ambassador to the UN) to have high positions in government? Poindexter, by the way, didn't go to prison because he testified against the other two, who didn't go to prison because Poppy Bush pardoned them.

BTW, read what a Canadian Member of Parliament had to say about W's appointment of Abrams last year.