September 4, 2007 archive

Not Funding The Iraq Debacle

Direct from the The Great Orange Satan:

Heck, I'd be happy if just the Democrats would follow their words with action this Magical September. We don't need Republicans to follow suit.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to pass any funding bills, while Democrats can single-handedly squash any efforts in the House. If Republicans don't compromise on a withdrawal timetable, there's no impetus to pass a funding bill.

And without funding, there's no war.

Way to make me look dumb, Kos. And shut me up quick. I thank you for it.


How to win the defunding debate (a cross-post with a left jab)

This place has had far too little contentiousness since it’s inception, so in honor of Armando’s FP diary promoting defunding I’m cross-posting a DKos diary I wrote on the topic the week before last, to which I add this preface:

I think that couching opposition to defunding as craven bellywriggling on the part of the netroots is ridiculous.  In trying to drum up netroots support for defunding, Armando is being every bit as much a “leader” as Kos or Bowers and Stoller.  And, as usual, there’s a psychosexual aspect to his attack, such that anyone who doesn’t agree with him is a weak punk without the guts for exert “people power” — as if agreeing with him on this issue is people-power’s sine qua non.

I explain below why I don’t think defunding — while a good idea in principle — is going to work.  If it won’t, then we’re simply setting up a situation where we’re going to howl at the Democrats because they can’t control the Bush Dogs.  (In fact, I think that the leadership already knows that there is too much support for continued funding — based on fears of a GOP Dolchstoss strategy for defunding to work, which is why they’re trying to make the best of a bad hand right now.)  That will feel really goooood for those of us who like to be able to say we told you so, but it won’t do a damn thing to stop the war, and by weakening the Democratic Party, may prolong it.

But as (and if) we debate the merits of defunding, let’s not pretend that this is part of any acid test for the netroots.  Armando does not equal “people-power,” despite his claims; he’s just another netroots leader with a different policy idea, which he and several friends have been hammering in a manner that is not readily distinguishable from the putative “top-down” approach of kos, Bowers, and Stoller.  It’s all about persuasion over what tactic to use to tackle a difficult issue; let’s not pretend it’s about something grander than that.

Oh, and if you wonder why I don’t raise this in Armando’s diary itself: he asked me to keep out of his diaries, which I usually (but not inevitably) do as a courtesy, and so far as I know there’s no exception for this site.

Four at Four

  1. Hurricane Felix has weakened some, but is still deadly. Reuters has the details as Felix hits Central America. “The highly dangerous Hurricane Felix ripped into Central America on Tuesday, smashing up a port on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast and threatening deadly mudslides in Honduras and Guatemala… ¶ Felix struck the coast as a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm… The area where Felix hit is sparsely populated and dotted with lagoons and marshes, but the storm threatened many poor Honduran and Guatemalan villages further inland that are perched on hillsides and vulnerable to mudslides… ¶ Felix weakened to a Category 3 hurricane as it crashed through northern Nicaragua but was still very dangerous.” There have been two fatalities.

  2. The Los Angeles Times gives this bleak assessment of the Iraq occupation and summer ‘surge’. “The U.S. military buildup that was supposed to calm Baghdad and other trouble spots has failed to usher in national reconciliation, as the capital’s neighborhoods rupture even further along sectarian lines, violence shifts elsewhere and Iraq’s government remains mired in political infighting… ¶ The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has increased, not decreased… ¶ Military officials say sectarian killings in Baghdad are down more than 51% and attacks on civilians and security forces across Iraq have decreased. But this has not translated into a substantial drop in civilian deaths as insurgents take their lethal trade to more remote regions… ¶ At best, analysts, military officers and ordinary Iraqis portray the country as in a holding pattern, dependent on U.S. troops to keep the lid on violence.”

  3. The Financial Times is reporting that the Chinese military hacked into the Pentagon this past June. “The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack.” While off the record, the fingers are pointing to China’s People’s Liberation Army and Beijing, of course, has declined to comment. “Hackers from numerous locations in China spent several months probing the Pentagon system before overcoming its defences… The Pentagon is still investigating how much data was downloaded, but one person with knowledge of the attack said most of the information was probably ‘unclassified’.” The operative word is probably, meaning they don’t really know.

  4. The switch to biofuels can have negative impacts. In The Independent, Last refuge of the orang-utan, the sad fate of the orangutans is examined. “The orang-utan, one of our closest animal relatives and the largest tree-living mammal on the planet, is in deep crisis. A once-mighty orange army of 300,000 that swung through the dense forests of much of south-east Asia has dwindled to fewer than 25,000 concentrated on the two Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, conservationists say. There, they cling precariously to life on government-protected nature reserves that are under siege by developers of one of the world’s most lucrative commodities: palm oil. ¶ Illegal logging, fires and clearances have decimated the tropical rainforest that is the exclusive home of the primates, who nest high above the forest floor.

So, what else is happening?

Just checking in…..and launch date

Howdy folks!

The good news (?) is that hurricane henritetta is supoosed to hit today or tonight….possibly as a Category One. No real safety issues, but it is messing with getting me hooked up, as I mentioned, I am starting to feel guilty for holding things up!


Not much else to say, except it shore don’t look like you guys are missing me….which is a GOOD thing!…the blog she is a chugging along just fine, it looks like!

So as officious people everywhere say when they realize they are not really needed….carry on, then!

Your Morning Commute: The Backyard

While most Americans are commuting in the morning to work, I am coming home from work. I get home in time for the morning shows and while they seem to offer a friendly, perky start for many people, I am not one of them. Morning shows make me cringe and start grinding my teeth. Grinding my teeth has cost me some extra money at the dentist. He’s happy about it because he has kids in college.

Self Promotion

I wrote this for the Guardian site today:

Today the netroots faces a new challenge of avoiding being seen as a top-down driven movement. This month is a pivotal time in the fight to end the Iraq debacle. Yet organizations like MoveOn and netroots “leaders” like Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers are more interested in launching campaigns for the 2008 elections than in organizing to pressure today’s Democrat-controlled congress to do all it can to end the Iraq war now, during the Bush presidency. I think that does not reflect the views of the “people power” the netroots is said to represent.

A real acid test is now before the netroots: will it be what Bai describes – a top-down group who take direction from its self-appointed leaders? Or will it be a people-powered movement, which fights for issues it cares about? September may very well tell the tale.

Blatant Editorializing

Here’s the piece that causes problems. Disconnects the blox. I think it’s Mr. <Li> and Mr. <⁄Li>. This wouldn’t publish except under NO_FORMAT.

So, get your tit signed yet?  Well then why are you wasting your time here?

You thought you got answers?  Here answers got you.

As we contemplate the power a president of the United States possesses and the criminal uses to which it can be put it only becomes more and more apparent how very important it is to keep continuous unrelenting pressure on our elected Representatives, our Congressional leadership, and our Corporate media.

You know, blogging.

It’s been immensely gratifying to count our successes.  I was pretty depressed, thought things looked bleak.  Congress had just flown back from vacation to keep poor Terri Schiavo sucking up oxygen, a solid majority of Americans had recently proven that they were venal hypocrites or brain dead morons, and they were trying undo The New Deal not just The Great Society setting back our country over 70 YEARS!

It offended the patriot in me.

Since then we have had triumphs, but also some things that can only be regarded as defeats.  Some of these are unilateral diktats of an executive out of control, but in others Congress has been complicit.  Their actions, whatever else you call them, are not Representative of majority centrist opinion in the United States of America.  Neither are the typical offerings of Traditional Corporate Media as evidenced by their breathtaking decline in market share.

Membership in blogs the other hand goes up and up.  I like to think we are training a generation of community activists who are no longer content to sit passively in front of a screen to be spoon fed pandering propaganda.

A community that knows how to take action!

One thing I miss from election season is the Action Diaries where people would come back all breathless and sweaty with pictures and blurt out how they’d spent their day away.

I’m not suggesting more diaries, heaven forfend.  Not only would it lower the tone of the joint, it would entirely miss the point which is this-

  • It is well past time to take action.
  • It is well past time to take some personal responsibility for the direction of this country and make your voice heard.

You know, icebergs.

I’m certainly in favor of establishing a committee to prepare a draft of a polite suggestion that can be relayed through proper channels.

So we can put it up to a vote.

But if you want to rearrange the deck chairs for easy access to the lifeboats I suppose that’s productive too.  I’m really not that particular.

Today’s quote-

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us.  But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it.

I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid.


Because I believe something you do not?  No, I stand here without fear because I remember.

I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me.

I remember that for over 200 years we have fought these machines.  I remember that for over 200 years they have sent their armies to destroy us, and after two centuries of war I remember that which matters most… We are still here!

Today, let us send a message to that army.  Today, let us shake this cave.  Today, let us tremble these halls of earth, steel, and stone, let us be heard from red core to black sky.

Today, let us make them remember, THIS IS AMERICA AND WE ARE NOT AFRAID!

I want you

Midnight Cowboying – Frontier Populism and Hope for America

A Labor Day Special, a real political essay by yours truly.

Posted early because it was a long Labor Day weekend and I gotta turn in early.


Frontier Populism is relatively new school of thought, mostly being hammered into a political philosophy by young Texans. The aim is to create a society without systems for political, economic and social hierarchies controlled by the few, while still keeping true to the rugged individualism that is rampant in the Lone Star Republic. It is an answer to our years of displaced wealth in the arenas of politics, culture and economics.

The basis of this new society is that all citizens will have true and equal access to the tools of information and production, allowing for a realistic chance at the American dream. And if that fails to take hold across the nation, at least create a brand spanking new Texas one. It is basically time to end the nightmare that is imperialism cloaked as a capitalistic democracy.

Scheduling (Reloaded)

I’m not sure there’s any need to promote this, but I’ll leave it up to you.

Well we’ll get to the details but I can already tell we’re not morning people, unless you mean by that “Aw shit, sun’s coming up.  I gotta go to bed.”

Magnifico has already started making his marks with 4 at 4 and while it’s exactly the kind of feature I would have loved to see at 3…

I’ll think about dropping the 3 pm slot instead (though I’m leaving it available for now).

Why?  Well because exmearden is available for 3 pm (and also 3 am) on a semi regular basis, but can only tend for an hour at 3 pm, so it could all work out very nicely.

Other conflicts with 4 at 4- Fridays with Robyn and Sundays with LithiumCola.

pinche tejano has already started making the mark too with Midnight Cowboy.  Ride ’em, yee haw.

As you look at the rest of the schedule I don’t want you to be discouraged by the empty spaces because the bulk of it will hopefully get filled by promotion.  If you commit to a time you don’t commit to original content necessarily.  You do commit to tend your promotion, 90 minutes (with mulligans).  So Say We All.