April 29, 2010

GDAE Podcast - Episode 30

Left Right Populist Unity II

  • Bill Clinton mea culpa: On corporate globalization & Haiti

  • Humor: Pope's visit to Britain from "Falling on a Bruise" blog

  • Bush war-crimes-Prosecution Theater: A Play called "In the Loop", by Armando Iannucci

  • MUSIC: "Meet me in the Hills" by Baltimore's Dirty Mothers

  • Right & Left: "Power in numbers" through coordination on advocacy for common goals

  • Taxes: The Pros and Cons

  • Book review: Shari S. Tepper's "The Gate to Women's Country"

  • The Mail Bag: Comments on Episode 28

  • MUSIC: Jeb Loy Nichols: "Dark Hollow."

April 28, 2010

May 8 - Washington Protest for Jobs

The 75th Anniversary of FDR's Works Progress Administration (WPA) is approaching and what better way to honor it than going to the streets?

On May 6, 1935, Pres. Roosevelt signed executive order 7034 creating the largest public works program in history. The Works Progress Administration created 8.5 million jobs during the Depression of the 1930s.

Bail Out The People is organizing around a principle for which Martin Luther King, Jr. organized in the last years of his life; the notion that a job is a fundamental right.

One can argue with that principle, but it's hard to argue that the recent bailout of Wall Street wasn't a corporate welfare give-away at the expense of better uses of tax-payer money. We hear about the Treasury Department TARP money, about $700 billion, but that was the tip of the iceberg; trillions were given directly and as tax-payer-backed guarantees by the Federal Reserve without any public oversight.[1]

You can ENDORSE the May 8 Rally to Bail out the People not the Banks. You can also Check Out More Information and consider donating to the cause if you can't make it to the rally in Washington, DC.


1. Bloomberg News, U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit, Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry, November 29, 2008.


April 27, 2010

Pressure Pentagon for Investigation

Time to quickly raise our voices...

AFP reports,

"The Committee to Protect Journalists has urged the Pentagon to investigate the death of journalists in Iraq at the hands of US forces in that country."

The straw that broke the camel's back was the Wikileaks release of US helicopter gun ship videos showing the calculated unleashing of massive fire power on a group of Iraqis, killing around 12 people including Reuters photographer and his driver, and wounding two children in a van that came to the aid of those who were shot.

Help call for an independent investigation of the long series of journalists killed in Iraq.

For Your Convenience:Sources:

AFP, Pentagon pressured to probe journalists' deaths, April 27, 2010.


April 20, 2010

Global Warming and Snow in April

A more descriptive term than "global warming" is global climate change. It just so happens that, on average spatially, the "change" is toward warming.

Global climate change... Starts with climate turbulence as masses of warmer air around the world rises. It causes the waves in the jet streams to gyrate more northerly & southerly and along with it more extremes in warm and cold climate both up in Canada and down here in the lower 48.

In addition to understanding that warming causes turbulence in the global atmospheric system, the "on average" thing is critical to understanding why we can have cold weather, particularly snow, at a time of year when it's typically warm.

The best mental picture I have about the concept of "averages" is a joke:

A man is standing with one foot in a bucket of boiling water and the other foot a in bucket of ice water.

The man is asked, "How's the water?" To which he replies,

"On average it's comfortable."

You know the one about statisticians out deer hunting; one shoots and misses to the left. The other shoots and misses to the right, at which point the third guy says, "On Average you Got 'em!"

So now, back to the man with his feet in the buckets. Lets say the boiling water stays boiling, and the ice water melts and warms very slightly... still really cold. On average, the water has warmed, right? If the two buckets represented the Earth, one area hot and one cold, you could still say the "Earth" was, on average, warming, regardless of the extremes.

Now, with the jet stream fluctuating, those "extremes" move around, making it a little more complicated than a couple of buckets. It's just a little more complicated than the small minds on Fox News Corporation seem to be able to comprehend... either that, or they have ulterior motives for misleading the public.


April 18, 2010

This Date in 2004 - Iraq War Plan

On April 18, 2004, Bob Woodward wrote that on November 21, 2001 Bush collared Rumsfeld physically and asked him:

What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.


Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 2006, "Chronicle of a War Foretold," Tim Dickinson & Jonathan Stein.


April 14, 2010

The Tea Party, the tea party and the "tea party"

Happy Tea Party Day!

OK, I'll admit a more succinct title would have been "The Many Faces of the Tea Party."

In response to the monopolistic power of the East India Company, incorporated by Britain, Bostonians took matters into their own hands... a foreshadowing of the American Revolution. As Thom Hartmann likes to say, the 1773 Boston Tea Party was a strike against the Wal-Mart of the colonial era.

Today, the "tea party" term has been adopted by anti-tax proponents. But the title of this post uses the term "tea party" three times. That's because the modern day "tea party" movement is of two faces. One face is of sincere, frustrated ordinary people who are looking for answers to explain why hard working people who play by the rules are suffering economic woes.

The other face of the "movemment", call it Tea Party 2, is summed up by "Americans for Prosperity (AFP)," the corporate-funded group that has been leading the cross-country tea party bus tour. Historically, AFP's "grass roots" organizing has been are paid for by cigarette corporations, climate change denying corporations and most recently by health industry corporations.

The relationship between Tea Party 1, the sincere Americans concerned with a corrupted government, and Tea Party 2, the corporate-sponsored part, is simple on one level, complex on another. It's simple in as much as I've just laid it out; corporations pay organizations like AFP to generate "grass roots" pressure on the Washington bureaucracy to maintain their interests.

But it's also complex. Tea Party 1 (the people), for the most part, is not aware of the role of Tea Party 2 (AFP). Many, I'd guess most, of the people of the movement don't realize that AFP, a Washington-based lobbying firm, is cut from the cloth of the Washington corruption they despise (click on the link to AFP above). Further, the people in Tea Party 1 don't realize that it was corporate abuse of power in 1773, as it is today, that is the root of the problem today; the movement's goal should not be so much about "less government," but more about "less corporate power." True, we want to maintain our privacy from prying government eyes, and other abuses of power, but if we could elect a government that represents we the people, rather than the corporate interests, we could make a more perfect union.

Of course, that goal is at odds with the interests of Tea Party 2 which operates on behalf of the corporations. So, part of the solution is for the "Tea Party" movement to evolve and attain its freedom from the corporate masters; the movement needs to secure it's independence as a movement of, by and for the people.


April 11, 2010

April 10, 2001 - Iraq Aluminum Tubes

April 10, 2001 - Lone CIA analyst known only as "Joe" tells top Bush brass that aluminum tubes bought by Iraq can only be used for nuclear centrifuges. The public became aware of this in August 2003.

What Wiki has to say about Iraq Aluminum Tubes.


Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 2006, "Chronicle of a War Foretold" Tim Dickinson & Jonathan Stein.


April 10, 2010

We All Knew that Kissinger is a Murderer

We all knew that Kissinger is a Murderer. Now we have another piece of evidence.

According to AP:

"On Sept. 21, 1976, agents of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet planted a car bomb and exploded it on a Washington, D.C., street, killing both former Ambassador Orlando Letelier, and an American colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Letelier was one of the most outspoken critics of the Pinochet government."

Before this event the CIA and State Department officials were aware of the assassination aims of Chile against enemies of General Augusto Pinochet. Concerned, State Department staff sought to send a clear warning against conducting assassinations. They presented the proposal to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for his decision.

Newly released State Department documents include a cable dated September 16, 1976. Under the SUBJECT: ACTIONS TAKEN, Subheading of "Operation Condor," AP reports:

The cable states that "secretary declined to approve message to Montevideo" Uruguay "and has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter."

The American silence, made official by Kissinger, was a green light.


April 8, 2010

Are we Stuck in Status Quo Due to Insanity?

We all gripe about the two-party system that caters to the establishment, thereby entrenching the status quo. That is, we gripe about our pathetic system that we're told is a "democracy," or a "republic" by purists, yet the "viable" candidates are shills for the corporate establishment, regardless of Party.

I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, a definition of insanity:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein, (attributed)

It's with these thoughts that, back in 2009, I started another blog entitled, "Challenge the Establishment".

More recently, on GDAE Podcast Episode 29, and in a blog post entitled, "A New Politics", I've begun exploring the question, stated in several ways,

Can principled people on the left and right unite to recapture our democratic institutions from the minority establishment?

Many people react to this with a rolling of the eyes, and thoughts of Sarah Palin in mind... but she's not "principled."

I'm not talking about "uniting" in terms electoral party politics, e.g., a third party. Rather, uniting on issue advocacy, with the result that law makers, and administrations, that don't heed the unified voice of the people will pay a steep price.

Surely I'm not alone in this thinking. There is evidence of the left & right uniting, to greater or lesser success:
  • Challenging Clinton's 1995 Anti-terrorism legislation on civil liberties grounds.
  • Turning back 2003 media regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would have allowed more consolidation of ownership (and power).
  • Challenging the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United? Surveys show vast majorities of the general public, left and right, oppose the decision*.
So, in an effort to break from the path of insanity, I'm engaging in this exploration. I invite others to join me, and point me to people who might be further along this path.

* A February poll by ABC News/Washington Post found that 80 percent of Americans oppose the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, including 73 percent of self-described conservatives. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, at 80-years of age, hit the speaking circuit to denounce the decision due in great part to concern about it's effect on State judicial elections.


ABC News poll on Citizens United, Summary & Link to Poll Questions & Results.

Art: Break the Mould by lex-strat


April 7, 2010

Riots in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Thanks to Shockfront Blog...

While CNN frets over Tiger Woods, a major political upheaval is well underway in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan... Note the footage showing the riot police running away from the onslaught of pissed off Kyrgyzs

According to Shockfront Blog:

one of the issues involved is the US military air base in Manas (sorry, the "Transit Center at Manas," as the US Air Force likes to call it now), newly regained by Obama, and apparently at the behest of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, after the Bush administration had lost the base under likely pressure from Moscow.

... and the Empire crumbles.


April 6, 2010

Tea Party and AFP

OK. I'm trying to find common ground with the right wing... civil liberties are good issues.

But, then there is this healthcare thing.

Granted, being forced to buy private health care, and enrich the insurance corporations rubs me the wrong way... there's some common ground. (Forget insurance pool size issues... like it doesn't work if the pool is too small).... Should probably have a single-payer system (cut out the corporate middleman... keep the money among we the people)... or turn people away from hospitals if they don't have insurance (they have the "individual right" not to be insured and not get treated... never mind the hippocratic oath... of course, sick people can spread their illness... ah, never mind... making it too complicated!!).

None of what follows deters from my original thesis about the great potential of principled people on the right and left working together on important issues.

The Tea Parties, in many cases, take their lead on healthcare from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and it's president Tim Phillips? Not sure he fits the term "principled" when it comes to conservatives. He's more of a hired gun for corporations.

AFP got its start working for the cigarette corporations ... one can argue that cigarette smoking indoors is an "individual right," and maybe the rules shouldn't be set by government. But, one can also argue that breathing fresh air without someone's smoke in it is also an individual right... Fortunately, we have a representative democracy... we can vote to determine the outcome of such differences. It could be done in the work place if we don't want government involved, but it IS a government of, for and by the people... except when the corporate-sponsored AFP comes along it becomes of, for and by the corporations too; the smoker's "rights" become corporate sponsored "rights". Surely, AFP's involvement had nothing to do with corporate profits... right? It's all about "individual liberties"... or so the AFP pitch goes... personally, I don't believe AFP's pitch is sincere.. they're hired guns.

Aside: State governments realized they were paying health care for uninsured smokers' health problems, which justified the states getting involved in the smoking ban movement. Maybe states had an image problem with turning people away from hospitals. *shrug*

Before joining AFP, Phillips worked for Century Strategies. According to Phillips' Century Strategies biography, "Tim joined Ralph Reed in founding Century Strategies, parent company of Millennium Marketing, in 1997."

I presume you know Ralph Reed was Executive Director of the Christian Coalition 1989-1997 and is seriously tainted by the Jack Abramoff lobbying affair (not exactly principled IMNSHO). Phillip's relationship with Reed wasn't casual. They worked together for ten years before Phillips went to AFP; Reed is still at Century Strategies.

This isn't mere "guilt by association." These people operate at a sophisticated level in Washington and can't claim ignorance about what they and their associates are doing. Although AFP doesn't disclose its funding sources, it's pretty clear they are working for the health industry. I feel that this type of Washington operation is part of the problem. Principled people on the right should know in whose name they are speaking when asked to call their representatives and say they are members of AFP.

What you see is a modest salary (kinda looks "grass roots"):
Tim Phillips, AFP President - paid $60,646 in 2007

What you might not see:
Tim Phillips - AFP Foundation paid $185,843 in salary and $17,236 in benefits in 2007

Grand Total: $263,700 (who knows what he makes in speaking fees, etc.)

No law against making money. I just wonder how many people at the ground level realize exactly who and what is behind AFP?


April 5, 2010

Collateral Murder Video

The following 17-min video speaks for itself, tho I've included the WikiLeaks narrative below. I know everyone else is posting this, but I want the web statistics to go through the roof.


5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.

For Your Convenience:


WikiLeaks, Collateral Murder site.