29 March 2008

Sign the Freedom Pledge

Click HERE to sign the pledge.

Earth Hour 2008 is Tonight

Show you care. Turn off the power for an hour, tonight from 8 to 9 pm. There's nothing good on TV anyway

21 March 2008

Foxification of US Media Alarms Scientists

The mainstream media has taken to repeating the smears and attacks made by the rightwing thugs of Fox news and it has scientists baffled.

Dr. Giacomo Spumoni, Professor of Physics at the Keokuk Academy of Kinetic Arts, said "What was once considered a truism of settled science, 'shit flows downhill', will now have to be reexamined in the light of this clearly documented instance of uphill fecal flow. I guess 9/11 really did change everything."

Demand the media stop spreading the FOX virus!
Click here to sign the petition.

20 March 2008

Rousing Speech - Rev. Graylan Hagler

A seriously kickass speech by Reverend Graylan Hagler - National President, Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice and Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ Washington, D.C.

Here is a collection of clips of the Rev. from the film Finding Our Voices.
Also check out the short film We Will Not Be Silenced.

Dem Wimp Throws His Truth-Telling Preacher Under the Bus

Ted Rall nailed it again! In his column of March 18 he takes Obama to task for wimping out in his recent race speech, saying, "If Obama can't bring himself to speak the truth, he could at least support those who do."

Since yahoo links often disappear after a while, I re-post the full piece here.

NEW YORK--If Americans were represented by an animal, it wouldn't be an eagle. It would be a tiny shrew, nervous and paranoid and living in constant terror of being attacked by predators.

Our national prey mentality doesn't have much basis in reality. The last attack on U.S. soil took place two-thirds of a century ago; Hawaii wasn't even a state at the time. Before that, you have to go back to 1846--and we provoked that one. Whatever the historical basis--or lack thereof--for this innate fearfulness, U.S. voters look to their president as a Father Protector figure--someone who, if threatened, will ferociously defend what is now called, stupidly and horribly, das Homeland.

Republican candidates win elections in years when national security is a top concern. In 2004, it didn't matter that John Kerry volunteered for, fought in, and returned with medals from Vietnam. What mattered was that he turned the other cheek to the Swift Boat ads. He held his fire in the debates. If Kerry wasn't willing to stand up for himself, voters reasoned, how would he protect them? Bush may have been a coward during Vietnam, but his "dead or alive" cowboy movie bravado, not to mention starting a couple of wars from scratch, conveyed a comforting, if imbecilic bellicosity. The monosyllabic tough-guy act soothed a savage, terrorized electorate.

Hillary Clinton has figured this out. Her policy actions--voting for war twice, the Patriot Act, keeping silent about torture and Guantánamo--have been engineered to project Republicanesque hawkishness. She dresses butch and talks like a female prick--i.e., bitch. You don't like her. She doesn't want you to. She wants you to think that she's macho enough to deal with Them the next time They pick a fight at three in the morning.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has already given away a store he doesn't yet own. He's the new century's version of Dukakis.

"I would explicitly reach out to disaffected Republicans and remind them of some of their traditions," Obama told U.S. News & World Report. "Very rarely do you hear me talking about my opponents without giving them some credit for having good intentions and being decent people." "I think I can reach out to Republicans and independents more effectively than any other candidate," he said on "Meet the Press," citing his "ability to focus on getting the job done, as opposed to getting embroiled in ideological arguments." No wonder Republican pundits love him! Not only will he be easier to beat in November--if McCain loses, they'll get the same love from President Obama.

Obama's attempt to transform himself into the living embodiment of girly-man wimpiness led him to throw his own priest under the bus. This latest display of X-Treme wussosity came in response to demands by Rush Limbaugh, The Wall Street Journal and other braying hounds of the right who feigned offense at quotes pulled from his pastor's old sermons. Jeremiah Wright, long-time leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago, officiated at Obama's wedding and inspired the title of his book "The Audacity of Hope."

"I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue," Obama said in a statement.

First rule of politics: never apologize. It won't satisfy your critics, and it makes you look weak. If Eliot Spitzer had followed that dictate, he'd still be governor of New York.

First rule of presidential politics: fight for those near and dear to you. Michael Dukakis lost points when he was asked what he'd do if his wife got raped. (Correct answer:
"I would kill the rapist.") If a man won't stand up for his own wife--or his own pastor--how can we trust him to fight the terrorists?

Obama's Sister Souljah act may erode his base of support: African-Americans and younger whites, many of whom agree with Reverend Wright's "controversial" homilies.

"Racism is how this country was founded and how it is still run," Wright said. Well, duh. The Journal's editorial page, which still thinks Iraq was the best idea ever, is particularly agitated about...this...this obvious fact. Who could say, with a straight face, that racism wasn't a founding principle of a nation with legalized slavery? Who could argue, after reading countless newspaper headlines announcing the acquittal of white cops for shooting unarmed black men, or while driving through urban slums, that we've put racism behind us?

Murdoch's right-wing rag, noted The New York Times, also criticized Wright for "accusing the United States of importing drugs, exporting guns and training murderers." These things are all true (please reference "Iran-Contra," "U.S. as top arms exporter," and "School of the Americas"). If Obama can't bring himself to speak the truth, he could at least support those who do.

Most damning of all, say Limbaugh et al., was Wright's post-9/11 sermon urging his flock not to yield to the urge "to pay back and kill" or act "holier than thou." His advice proved prescient--wars against Afghanistan and Iraq killed a million innocents, yet none of the criminals of 9/11. It also happened to be quintessentially Christian. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians [true] and black South Africans [true], and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought back to our own front yards," he continued. "America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Chalmers Johnson wrote a bestselling book in 2000 about this phenomenon. It's called "Blowback," named after CIA jargon for foreign policies that result in unexpected, negative effects. Johnson wrote that blowback "is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the U.S. government's international activities that have been kept secret from the American people."

It is well-established that the radical Islamists who launched the 9/11 attacks were motivated by their contempt for American policy in the Muslim world and their desire to bring the war, as they saw it, to the U.S. Everyone knows that Al Qaeda has its roots in the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, which the Reagan Administration funded and armed. Calling 9/11 a case of "chickens coming home to roost" isn't offensive. It's painfully, boringly obvious.

Obama found it necessary to state that "the violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification."

Wright never said otherwise. Most of the victims of September 11th were office workers. They weren't responsible for U.S. policy in the Middle East. Many were opposed to it. As Johnson wrote: "Terrorism by definition strikes at the innocent in order to draw attention to the sins of the invulnerable."

People who deny that U.S. foreign policy mishaps provoke long-term consequences are liars. People like them--people like Barack Obama--are laying the foundation for the next 9/11.


Right on, Ted!

19 March 2008

Ukiah Peace Vigil

We held a Peace Vigil in town today. There was a pretty good turnout. I counted over a hundred people. Not bad for a small town.

I took some pictures. Here's a handful. (click on pic to see full size) The full set is viewable at Flickr.

all photos ® olduncledave.com fair use policy - free for people, corporations must pay. :-)

Orwell on Eternal War

Excerpted from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

The primary aim of modern warfare … is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. … From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations. …

But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction -- indeed, in some sense was the destruction -- of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance. …

The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another.

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. [sounds like a job requirement at Fox News! -oud] In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.
Did ol' George nail it or what?

18 March 2008

In Memorium

Arthur C. Clarke
Dec 6, 1917 - Mar 18, 2008
R. I. P.

Clarke's Three Laws:

1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
from: Profiles of the Future (1962)

Everybody Sing Along!

For more great political and cultural song parodies, visit their website versusplus.com.

10 March 2008

Eat Gamma Ray Death, Earthlings!

A beautiful pinwheel in space might one day blast Earth with death rays, scientists now report.

"I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel," said researcher Peter Tuthill, an astronomer at the University of Sydney.
(From: space.com)

Since it is 8,000 light years away, that pic is of the stars as they were 8,000 years ago. The supernova could have happened already and we won't know it until we're zapped.

Sleep well.

07 March 2008

Nobody Expected The Amerikan Inquisition

An AP report says Bush will veto legislation to ban the CIA from using torture.

John 11:35

Another Crime Discovered? -- Crank Up The Fear!

Action: Court order sought in e-mail controversy
WASHINGTON (AP)- A private group told a federal court Thursday the Bush administration made apparently false and misleading statements in court about the White House e-mail controversy.

Reaction: Commander warns of al-Qaida threat to US
WASHINGTON (AP)- Al-Qaida terrorists may be plotting more urgently to attack the United States to maintain their credibility and ability to recruit followers, the U.S. military commander in charge of domestic defense said Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Bush gave a speech that could have come from a two minute hate, "...the danger to our country has not passed. Since the attacks of 9/11, the terrorists have tried to strike our homeland again and again. We've disrupted numerous planned attacks — including a plot to fly an airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast and another to blow up passenger jets headed for America across the Atlantic Ocean."

Every nation has the government it deserves.
--Joseph de Maistre

04 March 2008

And the Lord said unto Moses, "Faaar Out!"

"Was Moses high on psychedelic drugs?" - Syndey Morning Herald
"Moses was tripping at Mount Sinai" - Haaretz

Benny Shanon, a psychology professor in Jerusalem has published a new theory which makes the case Moses and the Israelites took hallucinogens.

At long last we know why they wandered around for forty years!