horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Fight of Our Lives
Until now. I don't have to tell you that a profound transformation is occurring in America: the balance between wealth and the commonwealth is being upended. By design. Deliberately. We have been subjected to what the Commonwealth Foundation calls "a fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that have shaped public responsibility for social harms arising from the excesses of private power." From land, water and other natural resources, to media and the broadcast and digital spectrums, to scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs, and to politics itself, a broad range of the American commons is undergoing a powerful shift toward private and corporate control. And with little public debate. Indeed, what passes for 'political debate' in this country has become a cynical charade behind which the real business goes on -- the not-so-scrupulous business of getting and keeping power in order to divide up the spoils.

We could have seen this coming if we had followed the money. The veteran Washington reporter, Elizabeth Drew, says "the greatest change in Washington over the past 25 years -- in its culture, in the way it does business and the ever-burgeoning amount of business transactions that go on here -- has been in the preoccupation with money." Jeffrey Birnbaum, who covered Washington for nearly twenty years for the Wall Street Journal, put it more strongly: "[campaign cash] has flooded over the gunwales of the ship of state and threatens to sink the entire vessel. Political donations determine the course and speed of many government actions that deeply affect our daily lives." Politics is suffocating from the stranglehold of money. During his brief campaign in 2000, before he was ambushed by the dirty tricks of the religious right in South Carolina and big money from George W. Bush's wealthy elites, John McCain said elections today are nothing less than an "influence peddling scheme in which both parties compete to stay in office by selling the country to the highest bidder."

Bill Moyer in amazingly few words manages to sum up the rot that is eating away at the soul of America.

The problem for the administration's Iraq policies is not that the media is biased against them. The problem is -- to borrow from "The Daily Show" correspondent Rob Corrdry -- that the facts are biased against them.

Show Us the Proof
...Mr. Cheney said yesterday that the "evidence is overwhelming" of an Iraq-Qaeda axis and that there had been a "whole series of high-level contacts" between them. The 9/11 panel said a senior Iraqi intelligence officer made three visits to Sudan in the early 1990's, meeting with Osama bin Laden once in 1994. It said Osama bin Laden had asked for "space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded." The panel cited reports of further contacts after Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in 1996, but said there was no working relationship. As far as the public record is concerned, then, Mr. Cheney's "longstanding ties" amount to one confirmed meeting, after which the Iraq government did not help Al Qaeda. By those standards, the United States has longstanding ties to North Korea.

Friday, June 18, 2004

If a pre-emptive war in Iraq was justified based on humanitarian reasons, to save the people of Iraq. Then what does the immient demise of 350,000 people? The rights discovery of human rights seems to have come with blinders, Africa is not in their range of vision.
In Darfur, the Sudanese government is destroying African Muslim communities who have challenged the authoritarian rule of the government. Government forces and Arab militias known as the janjaweed have burned and pillaged thousands of villages, poisoned water systems, and subjected the population to large-scale rape and other atrocities.

With 30,000 people already killed, Darfur now faces the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Even if relief arrives now, 350,000 people may still die. If relief does not arrive, the toll will surely be many times higher.

At present, Secretary of State Colin Powell is deciding whether the U.S. should officially recognize the atrocities in Sudan as constituting genocide. The 1948 Genocide Convention requires the 130 countries that are parties to it, including the US, to prevent and punish these crimes against humanity.

You don't even have to get up off your ass, click to send Colin Powell a letter.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Why You Should Dump Internet Explorer

The Oversight Years
Reagan: the pol who taught us not to pay attention to what's going on

Reagan and his supporters spoke with nostalgia about FDR, while they diligently worked to reduce, shut down, or wreck every bit of the New Deal they could lay their hands on. That entailed frontal attacks on some agencies and an underground assault on the federal civil service in an attempt to end its independence. Most of all, it meant taking over and neutering Congress. The best way to do that was to get rid of the prying investigations conducted by oversight committees.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Still No To Arctic Drilling Act Now
This week, the House of Representatives will vote again on whether to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Drilling was a bad idea before, and it's still a bad idea. The preserve is one of the few remaining places in America where polar bears, caribou, wolves and migratory birds can live and reproduce in untouched natural surroundings. And the oil taken from the wildlife refuge wouldn't even make a dent in our oil problem. Join the National Resources Defense Council and contact your representative to urge them to vote no to drilling, and to push for measures that could really make a difference in our oil-dependency problem—like improving our vehicles' efficiency.

electronic voting machines and the dreaded "paper jam" from Reading A1
Authoritative voices—the recent recommendation of the chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission "that every voting jurisdiction that uses touch screens enhance their security, with either paper trails or other methods, by November," a joint report yesterday by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the National Science Foundation that endorsed paper trails for touch screen voting—get short shrift in the article (a bare two grafs), and late.

How do prioities become so corrupted that cocerns about paper feeding malfunctions override the ability to monitor and audit individual votes.The only important or relevant question is; how to local election broads make sure that every vote is counted accurately and can be verified.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go
The 26 ex-diplomats and military leaders say his foreign policy has harmed national security. Several served under Republicans
A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials, several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that President George W. Bush has damaged America's national security and should be defeated in November.

"Ever since Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. has built up alliances in order to amplify its own power," he said. "But now we have alienated many of our closest allies, we have alienated their populations. We've all been increasingly appalled at how the relationships that we worked so hard to build up have simply been shattered by the current administration in the method it has gone about things."

As mentioned in the article this all may be blouted by the fact that Bush did eventually go begging to the U.N. for their approval of the new interim government in Iraq, even though that government does not have full sovereignty.

US Offers Iraq 'Sovereignty Lite'
The United States and Britain are asking the U.N. Security Council to transfer political and administrative power to Iraq while holding back sovereign power that legitimately belongs to the Iraqi people, say critics of the move proposed Monday.

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