December 10, 2009 archive

I’d Love to Change the World

1971, I was still in high school.  I’d had some rocky teen years with divorce and alcoholism invading my family.  I grew my hair long and proclaimed myself an anti-establishment hippie.  I was young of course, my ideology was far from consistent, not that it ever has been.  Life is about learning, then we die I guess.  But I took things to heart more than most.  I believed in it.  I dug up an old song recently and it made me realize my current attitude is really no different.  I’ve done grown up and I’m still in 1971.  

“Everywhere is freaks and hairies

Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity

Tax the rich, feed the poor

Till there are no rich no more?

I’d love to change the world

But I don’t know what to do

So I’ll leave it up to you

Population keeps on breeding

Nation bleeding, still more feeding economy

Life is funny, skies are sunny

Bees make honey, who needs money, Monopoly

I’d love to change the world

But I don’t know what to do

So I’ll leave it up to you

World pollution, there’s no solution

Institution, electrocution

Just black and white, rich or poor

Them and us, stop the war

I’d love to change the world

But I don’t know what to do

So I’ll leave it up to you”


Iraq War Inquiry, Day 12

First a few commentaries as this Inquiry moves along and the information and charges drip, drip, drip…………..out.


Leader: Our craven calculations in Iraq must not infect Afghanistan

The Iraq war was a ruinous mistake. The lessons from it have not yet been learned.

Two hundred and thirty-seven British troops have died in Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001 – but the name of Lance Corporal Adam Drane should never be forgotten. The 23-year-old soldier from the 1st Battalion the Royal AnglianRegiment became the 100th UK casualty this year when he was shot dead near Nad e-Ali on 7 December. It is the first time that 100 or more British soldiers have been killed in a single year since the Falklands conflict in 1982, when 255 servicemen died and, as Sir David Richards, the British army chief, has acknowledged, it reopens the debate as to whether “the sacrifice of another British soldier is worth it”. The sacrifices are not over. The number of the British dead will continue to rise. We have argued that the Afghan conflict, though its origins may have been just and necessary in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, has since become unwinnable and counterproductive, and the government should set a date for a strategic withdrawal…>>>>>

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.  47 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Europe to promise billions in climate battle aid

by Richard Ingham, AFP

1 hr 26 mins ago

COPENHAGEN (AFP) – European leaders met Thursday to discuss billions of dollars of aid for developing countries to battle global warming in a bid to increase pressure for a deal at the UN climate summit.

Europe has sought to establish itself at the forefront of the climate campaign and a summit of European Union leaders was expected to produce a promise of six billion euros (nine billion dollars) to help poorer nations between 2010-2012.

Britain has offered 800 million pounds (885 million euros) while Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, has pledged 765 million euros and Denmark, Belgium and Finland each promised between 100 and 160 million euros on Thursday.

“A Curse on Both Their Houses” – A call for national, joint protests against both D and R parties

(I will be cross-posting at OpenLeft and

I.e., a set of national demonstrations by which people will demonstrate not on any one or two particular issues which serves as a theme, but rather on any issue for which they believe that neither the Democrats nor Republicans represent them. Another way to think of this is: the protests are jointly directed at the Democratic and Republican parties, themselves. I’ve never heard of such a thing, so the novelty, alone, might make it significant.

I’ve already thought up my sign’s slogan: “Down with the Dumbos, and down with the Jackasses! (If I want clowns running things, I can go to a circus.)”

Besides the Demonstration-As-Free-Speech-Expression aspect, and the (probably vain) hope that Congressional D’s and R’s will change course, such a demonstration COULD HELP FOSTER COOPERATION BETWEEN GROUPS THAT, THOUGH HAVING UNBRIDGEABLE GAPS IN SOME OF THEIR POSITIONS, WOULD DO WELL TO COLLABORATE IN THROWING OUT CORPORATIST SCOUNDRELS, OF BOTH PARTIES.

Voting bloc technology is going to make this more practical than it is, right now, but getting rid of UNECESSARY polarization could help us get a jump start on bottom-up, collaborative processes.

Another benefit is that it’ll help Independents to realize their collective power.

Yet another benefit: I’ll bet you could make an entertaining book and movie out of the demonstrations. Hopefully including a friendly competition of skits wherein the hypocrisy and apparent incompetence of members of the government (especially Presidents) is the subject – but the audience will not be told, ahead of time, the ideological orientation of the actors (if any). Think of political skits on “Saturday Night Live”, but with more of a bite, and with an implicit motive of actually doing something about the situation. The idea here is educational as much as entertaining – instead of wallowing in the “aren’t they stupid?” mudhole, Democrats can see that Republican voters aren’t happy with Republican politicos, and vice versa, and often for some of the same reasons. Such a video and book might prove seminal as the public moves to an e-democracy.

This Amanda Knox thing has totally been bugging me.

Sometime last year, I caught a 20/20 TV program (or Dateline, or somesuch other news magazine) regarding Amanda Knox. I remember being bothered by the reporter’s tone regarding Ms. Knox (which was, at best, Nancy Grace-ish sensationalist), and I remember being bothered that nothing in this twisted story seemed to add up or make any sense.

The program was two hours long and I was way, WAY confused when it ended.

For those of you not paying attention, Amanda Knox is a 22-year-old American woman who was convicted  of murder last week, in an Italian court, for the death of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.

I’ve been minimally obsessed with this thing, and I’ve now read a metric fuckton regarding the entire situation. It doesn’t take a friggin’ rocket scientist to figure out Ms. Knox was not convicted in an Italian courtroom. They had extremely sketchy physical evidence, Holmes.

Like many other high-profile cases of this nature, Ms. Knox was convicted in the fucking press. And she was convicted because she’s a “whore”.

Open Stream


Chill Space

Hey ya’ll… is it hot in here or is it just me?  

Time for some chill.  

by jenny downing


Make sure those words don’t come back to haunt you, President Obama

“Make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies.”

Oh really?

Our armies have been looking like Hitler’s for quite a while now, and I’m starting to feel more and more inclined to do something violent about it by the day. What do you suggest that I should do about that, President Obama? Light a stick of patchouli and meditate? Have a nice cup of tea? Put on some plinking new age harps and look at the calm blue ocean? GO SHOPPING, maybe?

Maybe you’ll get all nervy like John Conyers did in the “Not Really An Impeachment Hearing” and tell me to sit down and shut up because “you’ve got this”? Oh yeah. Conyers really got a lot done THAT day, didn’t he?

Torture. Uninvestigated “suicides”, abductions, executions and murders carried out by Cheney’s death squads. Blocked investigations and coverups. Intimidation of Congress when outright bribery doesn’t work. Corruption. Theft of billions of dollars. No accountability for the war crimes of your predecessor.

My great-uncle – an American warrior, loyal to the bone, a slayer of right wing racist fascists, the man who had to endure the Nazis releasing the dogs on him and other prisoners of war in a concentration camp – is rolling in his grave.

You call this a democracy? I call it a totalitarian regime. Why the fuck are you protecting John Yoo, the man who architected this sick echo of the Nazi past as implemented by AMERICAN troops? How DARE you protect the likes of him, of Rove, of Cheney, of Bush, and pretend to us that this is somehow still a democracy?

Warrantless wiretapping implemented here and overseas. Corporate monopolies running rampant. War profiteers looting our treasury while our people suffer from hunger and cold, losing their jobs, their homes, and their health.

The American people are angry, President Obama. If you don’t listen now, you’re going to have to listen later.

There’s evil a lot closer to home than you would like to have to face. I got to see it up close and personal on 9/11/01, and guess what? I don’t think 19 guys with box cutters were the ones responsible. The fact that the US government stonewalls those inquiries and refuses to answer so many of the remaining questions about 9/11/01 is one of the reasons why.

I suggest you start by knocking on Cheney’s door. There are some people at the Hague who need to see him. He doesn’t need any more rope – there’s plenty. If the American people – assisted by people all over the world who have suffered and who CONTINUE to suffer at the hands of that monster – end up having to carry that rope to his door, Mr. President, it will be because YOU DIDN’T DO YOUR JOB.

LCD: The FAQ Lawyers, part N of an unending series

This is a Lazy Comment Diary, with reference to some points that have recently been discussed here on this site.

As I previously [ noted], I’m essayed out at the moment, but coming home after evening class on a day that I get up around 6am to be in school sometime 7:30am to 8am before 8:30am-12:30pm class, then come home to hang out before going to school around 5pm for the 6pm to 10pm class, I was groggy enough to be easily provoke-able, so firing up the Twitter machine and seeing someone with a link to the same dKos meta controversy that has fired up here, yeah, I got provoked.

Especially when its a fracking rhetorical question. God rhetorical question cheese me off sometimes. Why is that? I dunno, they just do.

Daily Kos has been taken over by the other side provoked, of course, the usual fight between Administration critics and Obama loyalists, including this steaming pile of organic fertilizer (NB: note that what is contained in the blockquote is an ASSERTION that I have just insulted – any kossack that believes they are immune to the general human tendency to say bullshit now and again and are therefore insulted to learn that someone thinks something they said was bullshit is, of course, welcome to feel insulted, because they are in the very best case too naive to be allowed at in the Internets without supervision):

Actually, this website was founded under the (36+ / 0-)

NB:Recommended by: Ray Radlein, askew, burrow owl, TLS66, walthamricke49, Iberian, Urizen, jaywillie, GN1927, blueyedace2, leftynyc, SocioSam, xanthippe2, edwardssl, Triscula, happy camper, GoldnI, lordcopper, Patricia Bruner, luckylizard, A Man Called Gloom, MKSinSA, Bull Schmitt, Otherday, stegro, iRobert, nickrud, indubitably, Reetz, Jane Lew, soothsayer99, notwisconsin, I said GOOD DAY sir, randomfacts, James Robinson, wolfie1818

the distinct banner of all Democrats, whether we agree with it or not, let’s not fudge the truth with your distortion. This is specifically re iterated currently as NOT a progressive site.

… and I will pull one strand of the follow-up to where I jumped in.

Fucking Meta

This is a very long somewhat meta essay and I am not happy to post it.  I have become less and less interested in what does not work.  But I invested a lot of years at Daily Kos and at blogs, and I can’t simply walk away and turn to embrace something better without getting these feelings out of me.

I have been reading and thinking about the many comments and essays on the Obamabot controversy and the ideas on how to deal with it.

Meteor Blades has given the green light to hide rate anyone who uses the word “Obamabot” or “Obama hater.”

I think this is a big mistake.

I also think Turkana is mistaken when he makes equivalencies between the two groups by saying there’s many diaries on the rec list which are critical of Obama, so in effect no one is being censored, etc., etc., etc.

This is not about STFU or literal censorship.  This is also not about who is driven off the site or burned out by the dynamic going on at the site.

This isn’t even about Daily Kos, imo.  I don’t for one minute believe Docudharma or any other website is somehow superior or that we are smarter or more honest, prettier, have better taste, or all of the other ego hedges we build to avoid our interdependence, our knowledge that no one is superior or inferior to anyone else, that we are all important, necessary and equal in our existence.

The dynamic we are all grappling with did not begin with the election of Barack Obama.

Tiger Woods and the Thorny Matter of Racial Identity

I thought I’d never be the next person to write about Tiger Woods.   That is, until today, when the sensationalist aspects of this incredibly bizarre story gave way to more substantive critiques.  In a different time, where concerns about the economy, the passage of health care reform, the uncertainty of a war in Afghanistan, and a variety of matters that collectively form the winter of our discontent, following glorious summer, this would have been endlessly digested and discussed.   Woods is at least fortunate that his great fall happened when the rest of the country and the news media was too distracted with other things.   If only in future we could give soft news its rightful place in a profoundly subordinate role behind serious matters, but this may be asking too much.    

As for Tiger Woods, when a revealing racial dynamic begins to enter the picture after an interested public and tabloid media, desperately churn up wild rumor after wild rumor regarding the scandal, then I have something to work with after all.   The New York Daily News, itself at times a scandal sheet, does at least outline something very interesting.    

When three white women were said to be romantically involved with Woods in addition to his blonde, Swedish wife, blogs, airwaves and barbershops started humming, and Woods’ already tenuous standing among many blacks took a beating.

On the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner radio show, Woods was the butt of jokes all week.

“Thankfully, Tiger, you didn’t marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas,” one parody suggests in song, she would have castrated him.

In addition to re-emphasizing a stereotypical portrayal of the sassy, no-nonsense Black woman, offensive in and of itself, the unveiled implication behind it as plain as the eye on one’s face.  Within the Black community, dating or marrying a white woman was seen as a form of social mobility.   Or, if you prefer, moving on up to the East Side.   Indeed, it still is.   Though the comparison may be a bit of a stretch, do also contemplate that both of Michael Jackson’s wives were white, as was the mother of his children.   The early Twentieth Century boxer Jack Johnson, an undisputed heavyweight titan of his time, broached social mores with abandon, and in so doing surrounded himself with white women.  That many of these women were considered of low moral standard, low social class, and often inclined to toil in the service of the world’s oldest profession did nothing to decrease the ire of both Whites and Blacks during his career.

Another figure who was very much front and center in the public eye in his day and also had a particular fondness for white women was Richard Pryor, who addressed the matter in his classic 1974 comedy album, That Ni**er’s Crazy.

Sisters look at you like you killed your mother when they see you with white women.

A sense of sticking to one’s place and staying with one’s own kind,  though it has decreased with the passage of time, still lives within the minds of many.  If it were merely a one-sided assumption, then it could be more easily fixed, but issues this large rarely are.  

As one blogger, Robert Paul Reyes, wrote: “If Tiger Woods had cheated on his gorgeous white wife with black women, the golfing great’s accident would have been barely a blip in the blogosphere.”

The darts reflect blacks’ resistance to interracial romance. They also are a reflection of discomfort with a man who has smashed barriers in one of America’s whitest sports and assumed the mantle of the world’s most famous athlete, once worn by Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

Regarding the highlighted sentence above, I take some liberty with the author of this column.  It’s just not that simple, though the AP seems to always wish that it were.   Blacks aren’t so much resistant to interracial romance, but they are frequently disappointed and dismayed when African-Americans who attain some degree of fame make a concerted effort to exclusively date and then marry Caucasian women, particularly those who are the epitome and definition of what this society deems beautiful.   Our culture still pushes the blonde-haired, thin-waisted, Barbie doll look in almost every conceivable fashion, which relegates attractiveness and desirability to a very specific and very discriminatory standard, leaving out a good 90% of the rest of womanhood in the process.   This is particular true for women of color.  For any minority group, assimilation with the majority has been the quickest way to achieve “respectability”, though the resentment it creates in those left behind never subsides.        

Regarding a desire for African-Americans to date and marry other African-Americans, the column deems it “loyalty”, but this is an inexact qualifier at best.   It is a sort of racial pride, but comedian Sheryl Underwood advances the notion a bit farther.

“Would we question when a Jewish person wants to marry other Jewish people?” she said in an interview. “It’s not racist. It’s not bigotry. It’s cultural pride.”

“The issue comes in when you choose something white because you think it’s better,” Underwood said. “And then you never date a black woman or a woman of color or you never sample the greatness of the international buffet of human beings. If you never do that, we got a problem.”

Years after Loving v. Virginia, the shock of interracial relationships has subsided.   The film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, deeply controversial in its time, produces smiles when viewed in our age because of how dated its subject matter appears to today’s audience.  Perceiving matters through a strictly racial prism, particularly one with only two settings can only take us so far towards understanding.   The irony is that while everyone seems to find no fault in interracial relationships, many are still reluctant to push past their own discomfort or date outside of their own racial group.   And I must admit, in all fairness, that I myself am guilty of that as much as anyone else.    

So to conclude, we should not summarily assume that with Tiger Woods being proven to be utterly human and wholly flawed that some part of our trusting innocence needs to perish alongside his indiscretions.   One of the deepest hypocrisies we continue to advance is holding our heroes to a moral and ethical standard that we feel incapable of achieving ourselves.   In a way, it’s a bit of a cop-out when we transpose this crusade for perfection felt deep within ourselves onto those whom we idolize.   They end up having to do the heavy lifting for our sins and when they fail, pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.   Even so, shelving this instinctive impulse that assumes any being will reach some Nirvana-like state before our very eyes based on accomplishment alone might be the best thing we, as a body of people, can do for ourselves.   This doesn’t mean anything goes or that extramarital affairs should be permissible or that mistakes should always be rationalized away, but it does mean that we ought to consider keeping our indignation at a responsible volume and tempered by responsible expectations.    

As it stands, USA Today posits,

So it won’t matter that Woods won’t be getting that Congressional gold medal and we won’t care that the future of his business empire remains steady.

Columnist Christine Brennan writes about it being a long road back but it is a road back.

Still, Woods was an athlete we trusted. We feel a bit foolish with all those claims that he was the one athlete whose only interest was winning. That while others were pursuing outside interests, Woods was beating golf balls and figuring out ways to win.

Former president Ronald Reagan used to say “trust but verify.”

Sometimes we are more angry and the bitterness lingers when we didn’t see it coming.

So, has Woods spoiled it for other guys?

Does the fact that we got fooled by this guy now make us less trusting of all athletes?

Ronald Reagan quote aside, I don’t think trust is the matter at hand here.   Or if it is, trust ought to be applied to ourselves first before we place it in the hands of some arbitrarily appointed industry, entity, or agency who has based its entire focus and revenue around a single person who happens to be notable based on a high degree of achievement.   This is true in sports, it is true in politics, and it is true in life.   Be the change.  Above all, be the change.  Don’t lay the change on someone else’s shoulders, no matter how broad you think them to be.   That road leads to ruin.    

Afghanistan Transparent

Paul Jay of The Real News interviews F. William Engdahl, economist and author of the best selling book “A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order” who explains US Geopolitical objectives in Afghanistan, in terms clear and simple enough even for US mainstream network television audiences – which is probably why you never see him on television.

Based in Germany, Engdahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s, and is a regular contributor to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Asia, Inc, Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine, and Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland.

Real News Network – December 9, 2009 – 14 min 35 sec

Why is the USA in Afghanistan?

Engdahl: Key objective is a permanent military presence in Asia

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