August 11, 2008 archive

Wise Up and Rise Up – or Kiss It All Goodbye

I find myself, on some level, torn between my highly strained faith in American democracy and a perception that it no longer exists.  I applaud and encourage political activism and cherish the activists that I know, but for all their heroism, commitment and hard work, I see us sliding steadily backwards.  This has been my observation for the past 40 years.  We progressives have faced unremitting defeat at the hands of the ultra-conservative ‘system’, which clearly serves our super-wealthy overlords – not us.  


Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports a U.S. soldier and 17 Iraqis were killed in suicide blast.

    A suicide bomber detonated explosives Sunday amid U.S. and Iraqi troops who were investigating an earlier attack. Iraqi police said nearly 20 people died, and the U.S. military said they included one American soldier.

    It was the day’s worst attack among several that occurred across Iraq, including one at a crowded bus depot in Baghdad that left four people dead.

    The bloodshed came as U.S. and Iraqi negotiators tried to finalize details of an accord laying out the future for American troops in Iraq. The pact is needed because the United Nations mandate for the U.S. presence in Iraq expires at the end of the year.

    In comments on Iraq’s Al Hurra television, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the pact “is about to be finished” and probably would be presented to parliament when lawmakers return from their summer break next month.

    Zebari said Iraq was pressing for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, but he did not give dates. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has said he hopes American combat troops can be gone by the end of 2010, leaving behind only advisors and support troops.

  2. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports on A solar success.

    The first time you visit The Jerrys Farm – that’s what Hicks and Neff call their place – it’s easy to get a mite confused as to just what century these guys are living in.

    Those solar panels certainly say 21st century. But the draft horses and the antique mowing machine could suggest that the two Jerrys are stuck smack in the middle of the 19th.

    You can blame Neff and Hicks for the confusion. On their little farm here they’re trying hard to combine the best of the old and the best of the new.

    The story looks at the Jerrys Farm in Kentucky, where “all the various activities on the farm are designed to mesh and work together.” It may be radical to some, but these concepts are what, I think, our future in America will look like if we are to survive. The Jerrys Farm is also online. They’ve been farming since 2003.

    Farmers are not the only ones looking at solar. The NY Times reports Giant retailers look to sun for energy savings. “The nation’s biggest store chains are coming to see their immense, flat roofs as an untapped resource.” Many of the big chains “installed solar panels on roofs of their stores to generate electricity on a large scale. One reason they are racing is to beat a Dec. 31 deadline to gain tax advantages for these projects.” Most chains have only installed panels on 10 percent of their buildings.

    Of course, the roofs of big box retailers could have solar panels on them, but what also would help out their energy bills is skylights. Why not use the sun for lighting the stores too?

Four at Four continues with bicycles on college campuses and the accelerating loss of Arctic sea ice.

Sheehan Dharmathon! Run Cindy, Run!

Purity Trolls Unite! Send Money to Cindy! Send a message to Nancy! Resist! Rah Cindy! Rah democracy! Boo Pelosi and her boy George!


“All yours George, I won’t stop ya!”

However, in the interest of personal and blogging responsibility I am compelled to say….as a pretty much lifelong resident of the SF Bay Area, I can tell you that between habitual voters, “moderate liberals,” and a decades old powerful political machine backing the perfidious Pelosi…..Cindy has about as much chance of beating Pelosi as a puppy has of not being eaten if it strays to close to the ungodly maw of Dick “Cthulu” Cheney. So if you think you are sending money to elect Cindy Sheehan to Congress, I must reluctantly tell you to save your hard earned money. IF, however, you want to send money to Cindy to put pressure on Pelosi, fight for justice and the Rule of Law and against the cowardly and complicit Powers That Be and make your voice heard….then go forth and give what you can!

As any one familiar with the local politics will tell you, supporting Sheehan against Pelosi is in no way a Nader situation, no Republicans will be assisted, nor Democrats hurt by, Sheehans run. Anyone who calls this purity trolling has their head firmly up their ass. This is pure democracy and pure protest, only good can come of it. The only thing threatened is the reality bubble of the DC power structure, and that IS what we are fighting, right?

Back in the day I actually voted for Pelosi. (Ducks rotten tomatoes.)  Before she became our alleged Speaker of the House (Steny apparently is the real power, and Nancy more of a toady/figurehead…. or …has just COMPLETELY abandoned nearly everything she used to stand for) Pelosi was a decent enough Progressive. Since then she has become so enmeshed in the Great Power Game of DC that she has forgotten what she USED to fight for, she has obviously has put politics above principle, and lost all sight of what a representative of The People is hired to do. She made a choice to put politics above absolutely everything….EVERYTHING. To her and he cohorts the end is all that is important, and that end is, behind all of the posturing, personal power for her and her minions. Which brings us to the essential question that all the powermongers in our political system seem to have forgotten….what good is political power if you don’t use it to do what is RIGHT?  Shame Nancy, shame on you.

Evidence, real, solid evidence, of Bushcos crime can only be discovered, developed, and pressed though one means, the investigation that goes with impeachment. Enforcement of Congress’s power to check the executive branch  has only one process when the executive openly defies Congress’s authority as they are currently effortlessly doing, to the great and grand amusement of Republicans everywhere, There is only one remedy for a rogue presidential  administration. The very remedy that Pelosi far exceeded her Constitutional authority when she preemptively  took it off the table.  

It’s Time

If there’s one thing that should have been learned by the Democratic Party over the last thirty or so years, it’s that running against the base is a recipe for failure in elections.  This lesson, however, has been repeatedly ignored by most of the party’s politicians.  When one goes over the electoral cycles since 1980, it’s clear that the DLC’s “run-to-the-right” ploy has never actually won an election.

“But,” you tell me, “Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996.”  This ignores the fact that independent candidate H. Ross Perot pulled enough votes away from the Republican nominees those years to swing the elections in the Democrat’s favor.

After Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994, the party was unable to win it back until public disgust with the GOP had grown to such proportions that their defeat in 2006 was inevitable.  Since winning back the Legislature, however, Democrats have for the most part continued to piss away any chance they might have had for shoring up their victory and securing a lasting majority.  They’ve kept funding the illegal occupation of Iraq, have continued to rubber stamp the shrub’s dismantling of the Constitution–even going so far as to protect him from impeachment for high crimes including treason, and basically let down the public on every issue of importance.

Barack Obama isn’t even trying to win vital states such as Ohio; in the heart of the state’s Democratic stronghold, the campaign hasn’t even bothered to set up telephones for phone-banking–volunteers have to use their own devices to call voters.  Furthermore, instead of going after frequently voting Democrats, Obama has his people reaching out to Republicans, most of whom have stated flat out that they have no intention of voting for him.  I know this through several Democratic volunteers who’ve put their efforts into Obama’s campaign.  They are the eyewitnesses on the ground.

There’s a reason Ohio’s GOP voters did not deign to put J. Kenneth Blackwell in the governor’s mansion: he’s technically black.  It didn’t matter to them that he supported every bug-eyed insane policy and social position they did; his skin color was darker than theirs, so he could not be allowed to become governor.  That Obama insists on trying to reach the still-strong bigot bloc, forsaking his own party’s base in the process, is absolute stupidity.  He’s going to blow it for us again, just as John Kerry and Al Gore did before him.  McCain will cheat his way to the dictatorship created by the shrub and his gargoyle, all because Obama wants to “play it safe” by running to appease the very wealthy.

How long shall Progressives continue to hold on to the fantasy that we can somehow reform the party from within?  Yesterday I happened upon a diary at you-know-where that states flat out what I’m sure a majority of Americans are thinking: that it is foolishness to continue remaining a registered Democrat as long as the party’s conservative wing controls it.  And make no mistake, Obama is very much part of that conservative wing despite whatever denials his followers choose to engage in.

Sooner or later the Progressive base of the Democratic Party has got to wake up and realize that it is pointless to remain with people who always denounce, marginalize, and campaign against its interests.  One might say that now is not the time to dump the Democratic Party, that there is too much at stake.  To that I say that it’s never going to be the “right time,” because there’s always going to be “too much at stake.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said:

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach. We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer.


This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

I agree with the Kos diarist: it’s time for the Progressive base of the Democratic Party to face the unpleasant truth that we cannot and should not continue to waste our energies trying to reform from within a political party that long ago decided it wants to be something that runs contrary to everything we stand for.  The stakes are indeed high, but we have to ask ourselves if it’s worth another four to eight years of frustration as we watch our beloved country and our world fall further in the hellish pits of fascism and ruin.  If Democrats as a whole will not represent Progressives, then we need to break away and form our own party so that our movement has genuine representation.  If nothing else, it will send Democrats a wakeup call: they cannot continue to dismiss and ignore their party’s base with impunity.

Why I Like Obama

An interesting thread on the DNR discussion board this morning started in on the qualifications for President.  Talk of resumes, beliefs, and readiness ensued.  Here’s one blogger’s comment followed by my response.  It’s a pretty good summary of the reasoning behind my support of Barack Obama for President.  Read on….

Alternatives Part 1 Why Our Dependency On Oil Will Never End

This is not what you think, I believe for transportation and energy we certainly CAN and will end that dependency. What few of us think about is all the products using petroleum as part of their manufacturing process. Follow me below the fold for a partial list of the thousands of items we use everyday tying us to oil for years to come.

Mainstream Party With A ‘Real Change’ Platform?

From Jeralyn at Talkleft this morning:

I get e-mails and press releases daily from protest groups asking me to “come to Denver” and join them. Here’s the platform of one of them (I’ll tell you which one at the end):

If you think no government should be allowed to do what the Bush regime has done the past 7 years, come to Denver and join others building a movement to that end.

If you are sickened by your government waging an endless, illegitimate, immoral war and occupation in Iraq, with ominous and immediate threats on Iran, and you demand U.S. aggression in the Middle East stop now, come to Denver and say it loudly!


If you are outraged that the war crime of torture is being committed by your government in your name with the Democratic leadership’s involvement, come to Denver to say “We Won’t Live in a Torture State!”

If you don’t buy the justification of your government spying on private calls and mail, no matter which party makes it, come to Denver to repudiate the new FISA law.

If you’re tired of politics as usual selling “change” while Obama refines the Bush program from “faith-based” initiatives to 80,000 troops “stabilizing” Iraq, and refuse to settle for less and less, come to Denver make a moral and political declaration.

The group is World Can’t Wait:

World Can’t Wait, other organizations, and thousands of Denver activists will march against the war & torture, attacks on immigrants & women’s rights; gather in parks with permits, drop banners, and meet the world press with the our demand to bring the Bush program to a halt, no matter who is president!

The press release came from Revolution, “Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA.”

Walking, witnessing against war, 13 arrested at Fort McCoy

Witness Against War, a 450-mile walk from Chicago to St. Paul for the Republican convention, reached a Wisconsin Army base on Sunday, and 13 walkers were arrested when they tried to enter the base to interact with soldiers there.

Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who organized the walk, was held on an oustanding 10-year-old warrant for civil disobedience at Project ELF in northern Wisconsin.  The others were released and the walk continues today.

This report is from Jeff Leys, one of the walkers who was arrested:  

Sunday, August 10, began with breakfast at the home of Dick and Violet, our hosts. We arrived at Tunnel City, our starting point that day, at 9:30 a.m., in time to meet with Sheriff Pederson to discuss the day’s walk. We explained that we intended to walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic, as required by state traffic laws. He explained that he’d met with his officers and with officers of the Wisconsin State Highway Patrol that morning. Their intent was to ensure that the walk was able to proceed safely, and not to interfere with the walk’s progress. Indeed State Patrol and County Sheriff patrol cars accompanied the walk as it processed from Tunnel City to the edge of Fort McCoy and onward. One patrol officer turned on his vehicles flashing red and blue lights to slow traffic down along the highway (with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour and a fairly narrow shoulder), keeping a health distance form the front of the walk and backing up on an even pace with the walk.

We began walking at about 9:45 a.m. The first question mark of the day arrived three miles into the walk. At that point Highway 21, on which we were walking, enters Fort McCoy with a yellow sign informing motorists that they are “Entering a Military Area.” We were relatively certain we’d be able to proceed without any difficulty since we’d received a letter from Colonel Daniel Culver of the base advising us that normally the only time the base law enforcement would get involved along Highway 21 is if the operations of the base were being interfered with. Since we were walking on the shoulder, we were relatively certain we’d be fine. Yet, the question mark remained: would there be a change in the base’s position now that the walk had arrived? Would we be met by Fort McCoy security determined to prevent us from crossing the base?

The answer was “No”. Fort McCoy’s command would not block the progress of the walk. We would keep on walking forward, never turning back.

Platform Fight: Activists Win Commitment to Guaranteed Care

If you are anything like me, you vacillate between: Yes, we can, I hope we can, and who the hell are we kidding.  

While I’ve always “sort of” been interested in politics, I fell in love with the good rebel, Dr. Dean in 04.  It was the first time in my life that I felt “we the people” had any power, let alone “the power”.   After all, who can ever forget the What I Want to Know speech by our internet interloper.

Like Obama today for so many, Dean lead me to dailykos, activism, and the belief that we could make a difference; and then, he/we lost with the help of the corporate media and our very own Democratic Party.  With that loss, Kerry’s 04 capitulation, and the on-going dismal performance of the minority and majority Dems in the House and Senate, I really began to doubt that we had any power at all.

So, you ask, what the hell does any of this have to do with health care?  The simple answer is sometimes we can make a difference.  (more)

Best Pony Party

Paying For It

Our friend and ally Alexa wrote a piece called Late For The Sky on her blog, NION. She expressed her frustration with John Edwards, understandable that many people feel this way.

Now I have maintained (for the most part) radio silence on this whole non-issue, while most of the blogoshpere drools over it, while saying it is an issue because, get this: People drool over it.

I decided to expand on my answer to Alexa’s essay, and then answer the rest of the blogoshpere’s babble about it below.

Truth be told, the reaction of the Left (in general, not you Alexa) frustrates and disappoints me more than his actions.

Docudharma Times Monday August 11

Throwing Wet Sand At The


Vladamir Thinks The

Soviet Union Is On A

Reunion Tour  

Monday’s Headlines:

U.S. may not be in recession, but 170 metro areas could be

Eleven people dead after suicide attacks in western China

Ousted Thai PM flees into exile again

Minister fights Spanish military secrecy

Rebellion in Sardinia: Italians shower rich ‘louts’ with water and sand in beach uproar after Briatore’s dinghies alarm swimmers

Hope springs for Zimbabwe regime change as Mugabe and Tsvangirai talk

Many Thousands Of Children Mining For Gold In West Africa

After setbacks, Sadr redirects Mahdi Army

Iraq private sector falters; rolls of government soar

Bolivia’s Morales hails poll win

Russians Push Past Separatist Area to Assault Central Georgia

This article was reported by Andrew E. Kramer, Anne Barnard and C. J. Chivers, and written by Ms. Barnard.


Published: August 10, 2008

TBILISI, Georgia – Russia expanded its attacks on Georgia on Sunday, moving tanks and troops through the separatist enclave of South Ossetia and advancing toward the city of Gori in central Georgia, in its first direct assault on a Georgian city with ground forces during three days of heavy fighting, Georgian officials said.

The maneuver – along with bombing of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi – seemed to suggest that Russia’s aims in the conflict had gone beyond securing the pro-Russian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to weakening the armed forces of Georgia, a former Soviet republic and an ally of the United States whose Western leanings have long irritated the Kremlin.

Kitajima Leaves Hansen and Rivalry Behind


Published: August 11, 2008  

BEIJING – One of swimming’s finest rivalries is now looking lopsided. For the past five years, Kosuke Kitajima of Japan and Brendan Hansen of the United States have pushed each other, developing mutual respect and lower numbers across the language barrier.

But Kitajima is firmly in command at these Olympics, and on Monday, he roared back on the second lap of the 100-meter breaststroke to win the gold medal in 58.91 seconds, taking Hansen’s world record of 59.13 seconds with him.

Hansen, who has struggled in the lead-up to these Games and failed to qualify in the 200 breaststroke, swam a strong first lap but faded to fourth in 59.57 seconds.


For Those Once Behind Bars, A Nudge to the Voting Booth

By Krissah Williams Thompson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, August 11, 2008; Page A01

TALLAHASSEE — Herbert Pompey had gone through rehab, stayed sober, held a job, married and started a landscaping business in the two years since he walked out of Taylor Correctional Institution. But what Pompey hadn’t done — and what he assumed a string of felony drug and DUI convictions would keep him from ever doing again — was vote.

So his pulse quickened when civil rights lawyer Reggie Mitchell called to tell him that his rights had been restored.

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