Friday, February 25, 2005

"Coalition" forces

There are currently 155,000 US Troops in Iraq. 1,527 of Our soldiers have died since the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003.
January had the highest number of accidental or other non-hostile deaths for any month of the war, with 51.

A President's Day sale on Liberty and Freedom

"Patriotic" sales week is here, and you know what that means........ The selling of Our icons and heroes for corporate profit!The Statue of Liberty shown here smiling and giving her image to the Norwegian Cruise Liner as it passes by. Former presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln reduced to cartoon car salesmen selling the latest Honda. Liberty has become an airport in Newark, NJ and a WNBA team, and freedom.... Freedom is just another Jeep Grand Cherokee. Freedom is a side order to a hamburger for those stuck in the ignorance of early 2003. Not to mention the countless advertisements using Our flag, a disrespect far greater than burning, in my opinion. How can we maintain respect for the institutions and ideals Our "fore-fathers" and the countrymen before and after them "brought forth", when their images and ideas are used by corporations to sell products and make profits with no respect for the historic significance of the words and images they use? Isn't it enough that our stadiums, events, and streets have the names of corporations plastered all over them? Do we really have to yield everything we believe in for the bottom line of some company, foreign or domestic?

"Disillusioned words like bullets bark, to flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark, that not much is really sacred. Advertising signs that con you. You suddenly find you got nothing to fear when a trembling distant voice, unclear, they really found you." -Bob Dylan from It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson

The world has lost another visionary. A once drug addled "sports" writer for Rolling Stone magazine, whose ramblings tore at the fabric of our culture instead of the sheets of scores and statistics. A poet who wrote and lived (way) outside of the box. Not worried about politically correct wording or what is deemed appropriate for mass consumption by some governmental automaton . Hunter S. Thompson was one of the last in a dying breed. Grown, if not born, out of the sixties counter culture and the beatnik scene before that, Thompson, continued to throw his fists at the establishment. Destroying those that bet against him, like so many gas canisters on his Colorado estate, using the many weapons in his arsenal. He believed and professed freedom. Freedom from those who dampen, curtail, surpress, numb and dumb down a public willing to eat whatever it is fed as long as it's cheaper, more convenient and comes in a new, fresh flavor. We may never know what lead to the bullet that killed him. It's as though we've lost a collosal bet. A wager where the stakes were way to high. The world will miss you Dr. Gonzo. Well, at the very least, i will. So long and Mahalo, Hunter.

"Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ''the rat race'' is not yet final."
- Hunter S. Thompson

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Kyoto Treaty

On February 16, 2005 the Kyoto Protocol went into effect for the 141 countries that signed it. The coalition of the willing to ratify the protocol agreed reduce greenhouse gases 5.2% below their 1990 levels over the next decade. The coalition does not include the world's largest consumer of energy from fossil fuels and worst polluter, Us. Australian Prime Minister John Howard put it this way in Canberra. "Until such time as the major polluters of the world including the United States and China are made part of the Kyoto regime, it is next to useless and indeed harmful for a country such as Australia to sign up," I'm not sure which we should be ashamed of more, being called one of the "major polluters in the world" or being lumped in with China in our un-environmental stance.

Aside from the fact that this is yet another blemish on the United States's image in the world because of this administration's "you're either with us or against" foriegn policy (see also Human Rights), it may also set back some of the very industries that opponents of the "treaty" say it would negatively affect. Remember the jump that the Japanese auto industry had on US auto makers when it came to fuel efficient cars during and right after the oil embargo of 1973? Well, the same thing may happen now (despite Bill Ford's efforts) when it comes to new technologies in the automotive industry necessary to comply with the emmission reductions of the protocol.

I understand that the protocol is not a sole solution to global warming. I personally don't see how China and India are considered developing nations and Botswana is not. But the administration saying that the Kyoto Protocal would cost "millions of jobs" sounds a little grave, unless of course we are so stuck in our ways that we can not progress at the same rate as most of the rest of the industrialized world. Maybe this "loss" could be more of a change in millions of jobs from the assembly lines of the fossil fuel dependent to those of alternative energy and/or hybrid technologies. It will have to happen someday, even if the United States occupies the entire "Middle East". Why turn our nose on yet another International agreement?

Funny that this picture of Our Secretary of the Interior riding a snow mobilein Yellowstone National Park made it to the NY Times home page the day after the Protocol was enacted.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Star Wars fails.... again.

On February 7, 2005, the president said ""The taxpayers of America don't want us spending our money into something that's not achieving results." when speaking about his budget. I wonder if Star Wars: the national missile defense system is on the chopping block for failing to achieve results yet again.

As reported by the New York Times February 15, 2005:
"The nation's fledgling missile defense system suffered its third straight test failure when an interceptor rocket failed to launch Sunday night from its base on an island, leaving the target rocket to splash into the Pacific Ocean, the Pentagon said Monday."

"Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?" Han Solo 1977

Congratulations Dr. Dean.

Once again i find myself nodding my head to Paul Krugman. In his latest, Krugman ends with the lines "For a while, Mr. Dean will be the public face of the Democrats, and the Republicans will try to portray him as the leftist he isn't. But Deanism isn't about turning to the left: it's about making a stand." Howard Dean has been pegged a "leftist", because of the stand he took against the president's rush to war in Iraq. Gay marriage being allowed in Vermont may have also helped this image along, though i find that more Libertarian (but that's for another day). It was Governor Dean that balanced his state's budget without being required to. Where's the liberal spending we've all heard so much about?

Dr. Dean is not afraid of taking a stand and holding firm to it. He is the first nationally publicized Democrat with teeth that we have seen in a long time. Our only examples, since the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, have been men old enough not to worry about repricussions or re-elections and officials in a House of Representatives that was sadly neglected by the previous leader of the DNC . The republicans have their "attack dogs" and those that tout their "contract with (on) america". It's about time a leader was elected in the Democratic Party that had some fight in him.

Go Dean Go!

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Power of the Blog

The mounting power of the "blog-o-sphere" has been demonstrated by world o crap, americablog, and dailykos's investigation and subsequent outing of Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, a "GOPUSA"-er that got into the White House press room and actually asked questions of the president and his press secretary under a fake name. How he received press passes with a fake name and a "news" organization that has zero distribution we may never know. Even the administration's press secretary scott mcclellan played along calling the "reporter" by his pseudonym "Jeff". This latest propagandist/softball pitcher has quit his position with the made up news agency talon, after wiping its website and gopusa's clean (the paper shredder truly is dead). Gannon/guckert and karl rove shared a mentor in morton blackwell. Blackwell was the one handing out the purple heart band aids at the rnc. He holds two day seminars on "journalism" that gannon/guckert and rove have both attended. But this scandal doesn't stop there. Turns out gannon/guckert may have been in on the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, one of this administration's many scandals (all of which concern national affairs as opposed to extra-marital). In addition, gannon/guckert was very involved in the gop's 2004 campaign against former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota under the same fake name. All this news making headlines as karl rove is made an official policy advisor with an appointment to deputy chief of staff, in addition to his advisor status of course. The gannon/guckert scandal is just the latest in a list of people spouting the administration's talking points under the guise of credentialed journalism (some "journalists" were even paid for these services). All the more reason to help Senators Kennedy and Lautenberg get their Stop Government Propaganda Act passed through the Senate.

The breaking of this story shows the focus of web loggers that seem to be uniting in a variety of different forms and forums on the net. A meshing and consolidating of ideas, ideals, and message seems to be occurring. This is a very positive step in the right (as opposed to wrong) direction. It seems that those of us who find ourselves in the "sphere" and overwhelmed with interest tend to do more or at least don't mind doing the research that seems to be sadly lacking in the mainstream media and the mainstream populace for that matter. It's always good to get information through multiple sources and to know the history and possible biases of those sources. When the story breaks and two to three days later the subject resigns and websites are scrubbed clean and/or shut down you know you have something.

McClellan's defense:
"I don't think it's the role of the press secretary to get into being a media critic or to get into the role of picking or choosing who gets press credentials."

I guess the press secretary of the United States doesn't care who is asking questions of the greatest office in all the land. I didn't realize the press room was open to anyone with a website.

"In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it's not an easy issue to decide or try to pick and choose who is a journalist. It gets into the issue of advocacy journalism," McClellan said.

"Where do you draw the line? There are a number of people who cross that line in the briefing room.

"There are a number of people in that room that express their points of view, and there are people in that room that represent traditional media, they represent talk radio, they're columnists, and they represent online news organizations."

Hey scott, when i go to a bar they check my ID at the door. Maybe you guys should start checking ID of people that will be in the same room as the president of the United States of America. Or did you just let this one slide, because of what he was asking and saying.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The right's race card.

The "debate" in the Senate concerning the appointment of alberto gonzales to top defender and enforcer of law (Attorney General) in the United States of America despite his work legitimizing the circumvention of international law while White House legal counsel has shown that the president's "mandate" has brought out the teeth in what has been a quiet, bush-lite Senate minority. Though a filibuster is not likely, it would be nice if alberto gonzales beat john ashcroft's record number of "No" votes (42).

The republican defense of gonzales's appointment seems to be that he is "hispanic", and would be the first of his ethnicity to hold the position. This is an interesting defense from the opponents of affirmative action (except when it pertains to colin powell). A position from former friends and allies of strom thurmond, the man that holds the record for the longest filibuster (against a civil rights law, of course). Cheney and friends, who voted against Martin Luther King Jr. Day, now can't seem to stop talking about the "races" of their appointments.

First they take fiscal irreponsibility from the democrats, now they're taking the race cards. What will the "reds" pigeonhole democrats as in two years?

"Every Hispanic American is watching," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

"Mr. Gonzales is at the center of a torture policy that has run roughshod over the values that Americans hold so dear," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)