Subject: Climate Change and Public Policy
Opening Letter sent: Fri 1/23/2009 11:53 PM
For those who were not there, this email is regarding a book presentation by author and former Physicians for Social Responsibility president Robert K. Musil. His new book is Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future. Dr. Musil is also Chair of 2020 Vision, teaches Global Environmental Politics and Nuclear Studies at American University and is a former award winning radio broadcaster. His book is about effective ways to organize, raise awareness, and address climate destabilization as a matter of public policy. I wanted to send him this letter that I had recently sent to my state legislators and get his reaction but of course, I was unable to contain myself from commenting further. Although I don’t have time for a blog, I sense that this could be an excellent opportunity to kick off a discussion since I know that you are all activists and that this is as good a place to start as any toward possibly coming up with some innovative organizing approaches. You are welcome to join this discussion and bring in others. I want to ask Gerri Haynes to please send email addresses for those at the event who I don’t have address for. I am proposing using the comments page on the Pirate TV website to post the submissions. I was thinking about possibly posting this and Bob’s response as an announcement for his upcoming show. This will bring input from the Pirate TV list and Fair Trade list into the conversation too as well as people who visit the website. Since Bob’s book is about organizing. Let’s get started. What do you all think? -Ed
[I found some typos in this letter so this is a slightly edited version that I sent out later -Ed]
This is the letter I sent to my state legislators that I promised to send you last night. I haven’t heard anything back. Rereading it, I realize that the tone may have been a little less cajoling than someone like you with your great lobbying experience would take. However in my defense, I will say that I’ve discussed this subject several times with all three of my state legislators over the past 3 years. The first time I gave them all a DVD copy of a show I had made about feedback dynamics. I realized later that not a one of them had taken the time to watch it because not a one had the slightest idea what that was. This doesn’t include Reuven Carlyle who just came in with whom I have discussed the subject extensively during his campaign.
One thing that I disagree with you about is that I don’t believe that we have time to experiment with false solutions to the climate crises. As you pointed out, we may be stuck with them for the time being. I understand how politics work but on the other hand, the government can move rapidly and effectively when it has to. When the US was attacked by the Japanese empire, FDR didn’t give the auto companies a choice about whether they were going to continue auto production or rapidly retool for war. He also didn’t give anybody a choice about participating in the rationing program. I’m firmly convinced that this type of action is the only chance we’ve got. However, a catalyzing event can only work to the extent that people realize that it has happened. For instance, the “attack by hurricane” on New Orleans presented an excellent opportunity for mobilizing the public for a war on climate destabilization if only we had had an administration and a media system that was ready and willing to connect the dots. Every year, more attacks of this sort can be expected with ever increasing magnitudes of ferocity and number. I vehemenently disagree with those scientists and others who are aware of the problem but decline to speak candidly because they are afraid of sounding too alarmist. They say that most people aren’t ready to accept the truth so they must downplay the seriousness and meaning of the problem lest they tune it out entirely. No doubt this is the state of denial within which many people, maybe even a majority currently reside. As we know they’ve had lots of help from the climate change denial industry. We can’t afford to wait around for them. We shouldn’t be afraid of scarring the hell out of people. That’s what motivates me, et tu? Whether or not they understand what it all means, polls do show that upwards of 70% want to protect the environment by any means necessary. This includes Democrats as well as Republicans. Therefore we can conclude that government is the root of the problem.
I think Al Gore demonstrated that he understood this when he called for civil disobedience to shut down coal fired plants. I also suspect that is one reason why he doesn’t want to run for office. I don’t believe that the normal strategies of using the slow process of lobbying, educating politicians, or even running for office has any real chance of addressing this crisis in time, if at all. This doesn’t mean that somebody shouldn’t do it –just that it is unlikely to be effective by itself. The big businesses and the powerful right wing propaganda apparatus that they have spawned must be seen for what they are: they are not just our enemies; they are the enemies of every one and every thing. They are the real “eco-terrorists”. To overcome them, I believe it’s going to take mass mobilization and militant action. This is where I think we are going to get the most bang for our buck. Militant action doesn’t mean buying a Prius. It means boycotting, it means mass demonstrations, it means occupying, shutting down, and taking over factories, power plants, mining, clear-cutting, oil-shale, and factory farming operations, even general strikes –whatever it takes to defeat the enemies. These enemies are far more dangerous than the Axes powers of our parent’s generation. Even Hitler didn’t have the capacity to kill everybody. It also follows that those who have been financing climate change denial to this point where it is now almost too late are the worst criminals in human history. They should be recognized as such.
Scientists have differing opinions on when the “critical threshold” or final “tipping point” will occur. Many believe we have already passed it. When I first met David Wasdell a few years ago, he was saying that most likely we had less than 10 years to take drastic action. The latest data has forced him to reevaluate. Maybe we have a couple years at best. In addition to the problems of lack of awareness and inaction, there is another problem which I addressed in this letter. That is the futility of aiming too low. I confronted Jay Inslee about this in September. I was invited to attend a scientific workshop as an observer. I was told that my purpose in the conference was as an expert on the media.
The workshop, organized by the Foundation for the Future included some of the best minds on the planet and was titled: Anthropogenic Climate Destabilization: A Worst-case Scenario. Participants would make their presentations, then there would be discussion with the other scientists, and then there would be further discussion where the observers could make their comments. Congressman Inslee showed up to make his presentation and then had to leave. He wasn’t there for the whole conference. I used my time to remind him of the target of cutting down 80% of 1990 atmospheric carbon emission levels in the US by 2050 that he was pushing when I recorded him at the Town Hall “Apollo’s Fire” event in Nov. of 2007. I told him that from everything that I had been hearing at that workshop, “we needed to be at net-zero yesterday and starting to implement ways to suck the carbon out.” I asked him if recent data had caused him to reevaluate his position. I was surprised by the commotion that erupted in the room. Inslee basically said that he didn’t really know what it was going to take for us to survive climate destabilization but that his purpose was to get the ball rolling. Dr. David Archer spoke up in his defense and said that the 80% by 2050 figure that Jay was citing came from climate models that were developed by him and he explained how they came up with those figures. Earlier during Archer’s presentation someone had asked him how confidant he was in the current climate models. I remember that he said “about 30%”.
Climate modeling appears not to be what it is cracked up to be. Two recent examples are the absolute failure to predict the speed with which the arctic is melting and the rapid acidification and subsequent drop in the ability of the oceans to absorb carbon. I’m not a scientist but I would guess that this has resulted from a failure to take into account the feedbacks that are operating and a lack of understanding of how these feedbacks interact with each other. No doubt there are feedbacks that have yet to be discovered. The scary part is when you realize that events are changing far faster than our ability to understand what it is that is actually happening. Nature can’t keep up with climate change. Apparently neither can science.
Producer, Pirate TV Seattle
From: Ed Mays [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 4:56 PM
To: 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'
Cc: 'Jeff Manson'
Subject: RE: 36th District Democrats: Legislative Action
Hello, Jeanne, Mary Lou, and Reuven,
Sorry about taking so long to get this to you, I hope you have time to read it before the meeting but I’ll bring it with me and you can always take the opportunity to read it later.
Thank you for inviting me to attend the upcoming meeting of the new Legislative Action Committee. I’m going to try to attend this meeting if I can but you asked for my own priorities so here are the most important ones I can think of.
Personally for me I don’t want them to cut health care and especially Basic Health. We could save a lot of money by ditching 3 strikes you’re out and stop wasting our time and money by locking up non violent drug offenders. Most of them are victims. Treatment is much cheaper. You can save some money by paroling all the ones currently serving time. Want to lock somebody up? Why not lock up some of the scum bags who just extorted us for trillions while millions are loosing their homes? It might be possible to even recover some of their ill gotten gains.
We already have problems with under funded schools. Cutting education is penny wise and pound foolish. It doesn’t help that schools are partially funded by clear-cutting. This is also counterproductive. What’s the point in educating our children if they have no future? Clear-cutting destroys the very forests we need to sequester the carbon in the atmosphere which according to Bill McKibben is already far past the 350ppm limit needed to avoid catastrophe. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122701942.html This 350 figure only counts carbon dioxide concentration. If I remember correctly, including the carbon equivalents [other green house gasses] takes us up around 420 or so. It’s not comforting to know that even if we were to stop dumping all carbon into the atmosphere right now it will continue to get worse for 70 years or so before it begins to get better. A simple look out the window should be enough to convince anyone with a rudimentary understanding of climate change that we are already in deep do-do.
It should be obvious by now that runaway climate destabilization is accelerating several times faster than even the worst case scenarios that climate scientists have predicted only a few years ago. Let’s see if we can connect this to what you see out your window. Global heating means accelerated evaporation which means more water vapor in the air which in itself is a green house gas -which in turn compounds the problem. Scientists call this a “feedback dynamic”. Feedback dynamics mean that the hotter it gets, the faster it gets, hotter. More water vapor means more aggressive precipitation, hence more snow if it’s cold and more rain if it’s warm, hence more flooding and increasing droughts in the more arid areas where more vapor gets sucked out leading to more wildfires which pours more carbon into the air and at the same time accelerates desertification meaning loss of even more carbon sequestering vegetation. –More feedbacks. There are 20 or 30 known positive feedbacks like this going on. All earth systems that accelerate global warming are in a state of positive (heat increasing) feedback. Washington State is vulnerable to both flooding and drought. Wiping out the groundcover by clear-cutting and development also magnifies the effects of climate destabilization since it makes flooding worse because of the increased run-off.
British feedback dynamic expert David Wasdell has compared what’s happening to trying to run up a down escalator which is accelerating exponentially. At the bottom is death, at the top is survival. The faster it goes, the faster you have to run to get to the top. When you first get on, it may be going quite slow but since it’s accelerating it’s easy to misjudge how fast you have to go to get to the top. What’s worse, you actually don’t know how fast it’s accelerating. You might get two inches from the top and find that the escalator is going faster than you can. At that point it doesn’t matter how fast you run. The smart thing would be to run like hell the instant you get on. Apparently we’re not very smart.
When you are against the wall you have to get your priorities in order. You may be under considerable pressure to go to the bathroom but the first thing you have to worry about is dodging the bullet, then figuring out a way to escape, then maybe you can find time to go to the bathroom. If you’re attempts at dodging the bullet prove to be unsuccessful, it’s absolutely certain that wetting you’re pants will be of zero concern to you.
This is the worst crisis in the history of our
species. We have to stop talking about what’s politically
feasible and start doing what’s necessary. Unfortunately,
this is the very type of crisis that our political and economic systems
are least suited to address. They may be more or less good at the
reactive, but not so good at proactive. It’s probably going
to take everything we’ve got as well as rapid action to escape
extinction. If we wait until events on the ground get so
dire that it becomes obvious to everybody, at that point our fate will
already be sealed. As Al Gore said, “We’ve got a long
way to go and little time to get there.” How far do
we have to go and how much time is there? That’s what
concerns me. Although I’ve discussed this subject
with all of you at one point or another, and although you may profess
that you or other legislators do understand the problem, I
haven’t meet any politician with the possible exception of Jay
Inslee who even comes close. Out of all three of you
possibly only Reuven could explain to me what feedback dynamics
are. That means that you don’t have the slightest idea what
we are actually facing. Climate change and the damage that it is
causing is accelerating far faster than worst case scenarios generated
by climate modelers.
It’s difficult to generalize but from my observation this is what I think you are missing:
1) You don’t understand the seriousness of the escalator effect.
2) That it’s certain that it’s going to kill us if we don’t act fast and effectively.
3) What it is that is actually driving it.
4) What it’s likely going to take to survive it.
5) And that the point of no return is coming far faster than you may think [if we haven’t already passed it].
What do I want from you? I want you all to become climate change experts and I want you to get up to speed fast. I’m not worried about you doing the right thing if you understand the problem. It’s not sufficient to claim that it’s not your issue and that there are people in the Senate or Legislature who are dealing with it. Wrong! This is everybody’s issue and it is an issue like no other. For instance, you can all sit around and debate until you come to a compromise with each other about setting carbon limits. Nature doesn’t care about human debates. Nature doesn’t compromise. It’s commendable to be the first state legislature to pass mandatory carbon limits. But it’s dangerous and foolish if you to delude yourself by thinking that you are actually dealing with the problem because the issue is not at all about carbon limits. The issue is that we are facing extinction. The carbon limits you have set do not even meet Kyoto standards. This is equivalent to spitting in the face of a hurricane. So was Kyoto. If everybody in the legislature with the quality of mind capable of following the data was up on it, there would be no need for debate.
We need to go full bore to develop and instigate innovative ways to attack this problem head on with programs that target revenue enhancing truly green technology development which have the added benefit of also cutting energy costs while creating the jobs we need to get us out of the coming second Republican great depression and not get sidetracked. One shot is all we are likely to get. It’s awful to loose your job, it’s worse to loose your home. The prospect of all of us loosing our home is a problem of far greater magnitude. Politics as usual is certain to get us killed. Nuclear power, “clean coal”, more resource wars, or any of the “solutions” that big business is trying to sell us are a nonstarter. If you are “experts” then I trust that you will have the courage and good sense to avoid the pressures that these lobbies are generating.
Response From: David Wasdell
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 2:14 AM
To: 'Ed Mays'
Subject: RE: Climate Change and Public Policy
Powerful stuff - keep up the pressure!
Have completed a major revision of my work on Radiative Forcing, Climate Sensivity and Boundary Conditions of Runaway Climate Change. The latest edition is attached. It includes most recent evaluation of strong water vapour feedback and a new section on the Boundary Conditions of Runaway Climate Change. Conclusions are presented in the Executive Summary. You will see that I am now certain we have passed the threshold of runaway behaviour in the climate system with only a narrow window left to restabilise it. You will also see the conclusion that attempting to maintain a concentration level of 440 ppm of CO2 equivalent does not lead to an eventual equilibrium of 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperature, or at any other level! The threshold of runaway behaviour is already activated at this concentration.
The current economic crisis should be seen as the canary in the coalmine of climate dynamics. The tragedy is that all investment is geared to find ways to resuscitate dead canaries rather than paying attention to the iminent danger at the coalface!
Keep up the good work,
Response from Robert Musil
From: Bob Musil [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:02 AM
To: 'Ed Mays'
Subject: RE: Climate Change and Public Policy
Glad to see urgent calls for action. I tried to make clear in my talk and my book that lobbying, voting, unelecting bad politicians, education, organizing are all essential, but not sufficient. Same in reverse is true of militant action.
But a key point for all of us, I think, is how to build action into a strategy that will influence those who don’t agree with us or don’t see the danger yet. For me, it is not so much a question of being mild or “smooth,” but rather trying to understand how to best communicate urgency about so important yet difficult and abstract subject to people who are still just discovering it and trying to understand what to do…
So onward with action and CD, but strategize constantly. Is this the best tactic now? Whom will be influence, lose, piss off, gain… ? The goal is carbon reductions and new policies and investments to build a healthy, sane, safe, sustainable economy. I’d work backwards from that goal and figure out what will get you there.
Thanks for stimulating debate and thought and for video of your mild mannered lobbyist/activist/scholar… But you may want to also promote and thank Sen. Cantwell for her PEV bill while you’re at it. Then ask and vote and lobby for more… Then feel free to hold a sit-in…
Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Chairman of the Board, 2020 Vision: Environment, Energy and Security Solutions
Scholar in Residence; Adjunct Professor
Program in Global Environmental Politics and the Nuclear Studies Institute
School of International Service
8600 Irvington Avenue (Home office)
Bethesda, Maryland 20817
Robert K. Musil, Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future (Rutgers University Press, 2009) available at Rutgers University Press or Amazon.com:
From: Bob Musil
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:16 AM
To: 'Ed Mays'; 'Gerri Haynes'
Subject: FW: Final Cantwell-Hatch letter and Victory!
Here is the latest on small victories that keep us going while we also work to mobilize…
A123 Systems Inc •
Austin Energy •
Tesla Motors Inc. • 2020 Vision
January 26, 2009
The Honorable Max Baucus
Senate Finance Committee
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Charles Grassley
Senate Finance Committee
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman and Mr. Grassley:
We, the undersigned organizations and corporations supporting electric vehicles, are writing in support of the Cantwell-Hatch FREEDOM Act of 2009 to create additional incentives for Plug-in Electric Vehicles. We urge you to include the FREEDOM Act’s provisions in the Finance Committee’s mark-up of the stimulus bill scheduled for tomorrow.
Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs), both hybrids and full electrics, hold great promise for increasing energy security, reducing climate pollution, and creating green jobs.
For these reasons, President Barack Obama has set a goal of putting one million PEVs on the road by 2015, as part of his effort to save more oil than the US currently imports from the Middle East and Venezuela combined, create millions of new clean energy jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Plug-in Electric Vehicles are a key part of a broader strategy to reduce oil demand and climate pollution from the transportation sector and to rebuild the US auto industry to make the cars of the future. Increased fuel economy standards, the refinancing and retooling of vehicle manufacturers, expanded mass transit, smart growth policies, and domestic-renewable-sustainable biofuels are all key elements in this regard.
Getting PEV policy right is as important as it is challenging. To fully realize their benefits, PEVs must be mass-produced and sold by the millions—this is no time for niche vehicles. To achieve this level of consumer demand, the cars must be affordable for average Americans.
To that end, Senators Cantwell and Hatch have introduced the FREEDOM Act of 2009 focused on retooling incentives and increasing consumer tax credits for plug-in vehicles. Key provisions include:
Plug-in Electric Vehicles are a game-changing technology that can revolutionize transportation and dramatically increase energy security, reduce climate pollution, and create green jobs. We urge your support for including provisions of the 2009 FREEDOM Act.
Tom Z. Collina, Executive Director, 2020 Vision
Roger Duncan, General Manager, Austin Energy
Leslie J. Goldman, Skadden, Representing A123 Systems
Michael J. Granoff, Head of Oil Independence Policies, Better Place
Diarmuid O’Connell, V.P. Business Development, Tesla Motors Inc
Cc: The Honorable Harry Reid
The Honorable Maria Cantwell
The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
Carl wrote on 1/10/09
We met years ago when you stopped by and played some drums up the street on 88th, and you mentioned you did Pirate TV, which I have always enjoyed. I was wondering about your thoughts on the zeitgeist movies and the upcoming event march 15. Seems like it's not getting much play and I'm wondering why not. Do you know anything about their 'movement'? or have any opinions you might share.
On Jan 11, 2009, at 12:34 AM, Pirate TV Seattle wrote:
I must have missed the announcement about the event on the 15th what is it? Is this the Z-day? I guess I don't know about their movement. I thought Zeitgeist was great. I actually came across it just today. I was looking for some other video to fill out my upcoming show on torture and found those discs.
Somebody asked Thom Hartmann that same question. He said that the first section was extraordinary and right on which is funny because he considers himself a Christian. If the Christ is an amalgam of other preexisting myths and probably didn't exist historically, what does it mean to be a believer in Christ? I'll have to ask him that next time I see him. Thanks for reminding me. What was the second part again?
He said that the third part about 9/11 contained a lot of assumptions which they are stating as fact but which they can't back up with evidence. He's probably right about that. If you are going to accuse the government of either instigating or somehow participating in the mass murder of it's own citizens in order to start a war and close down democracy which I wouldn't put past them for one second then you had better be able to prove every word of it otherwise you are ultimately part of the cover-up.
By the way, I have a list serve and now a website where you can watch the shows. Have you seen it? -Ed
On Jan 11, 2009 Carl wrote:
It's been a while since I saw the first one, but I think it was religion, the Federal Reserve, then 911. Personally, I think there's plenty of evidence for them to make the claims about 911 that they do. Most relevant details about that crime have been compiled by citizens, and it's quite extensive. The government and their media consistently ignore and try to cover up relevant information on the subject. As brilliant as I think Hartman is, I don't think he has the professional independence to make a candid analysis about 911. People lose their jobs over that kind of thing.
I really enjoyed addendum, the 2nd zeitgeist movie. So I went to the z-day planning meeting the other day and was surprised to see how few people are involved. Which got me to wondering why. Are you interested in participating at any level on this thing? Garret, an event promoter who was there is attempting to reserve Westlake Center or Gasworks Park for the event on March 15th at considerable expense to himself. The problem is filling the day long agenda with content, finding speakers and what not, to generate interest and make it a meaningful day.
This isn't normally my kind of thing and don't know anybody who can help. My friends won't even watch zeitgeist let alone get involved. So I thought of you because I know you've been involved for a long time, though I don't know to what capacity. So, I thought I'd ask.
I've seen your website pirate tv but I'm a mac guy and your videos are in wmv on that site. I don't have the player installed. What do you mean by 'list serve'? Am I missing something?
Either way, thanks! I appreciate your efforts.
Ed wrote 1/11/09 8:32pm
The term "conspiracy theorist" is a derisory phrase that was coined by establishment propagandists to trash people who don't buy the "single bullet" theory, which means most of us. Thom just came out with a book about how the government took out Kennedy. Air America tried to censor Randy Rhodes for trashing Hillary Clinton in a comedy routine. She wouldn't apologize so they fired her. She just moved right over to Nova Radio and Air America lost one of its most popular hosts not to mention all that audience share that she took with her. It was a stupid mistake on Air America’s part.
If they tried to do that to Thom he would do the same exact thing or even start his own network. He's perfectly capable of doing that. But this is what I'm talking about. Somebody says something that doesn't jive with what you want to believe and instead of looking into it you immediately jump to the conclusion that it must be because he's being censored. The key here is "want to believe". Is this a religion? I went down to tape an event that the 9/11 truth movement put on at Rev. Rich's church. A guy actually asked me if I was a 9/11 "believer".
I had dinner with John Judge a while back. I had a long talk with him on the phone a month or two ago also. That's exactly what he said: “It's like a religion to them.” If the facts come out that it wasn't a missile that hit the Pentagon or that building 7 fell because of structural damage, rather than following up on it and admitting their mistake, they instantly go into denial mode and start attacking the messenger. These kinds of people will never back down. They are not trained investigators; they are religionists who want to get other people to believe like them. So for example they didn't follow up on the "pull it" thing. John DID talk to the owner of building 7. You always see the pictures of building 7 from the front and it looks like there is no damage, so why did it fall? But according to John, the other side had a third of it gone. It was also on fire. There were firefighters in there. When it became obvious that it was not structurally sound and likely to collapse, the owner said "pull it". This meant to evacuate it.
John grew up around the Pentagon. His parents used to take him there as a kid for lunch in the courtyard where the missile silos are. The Pentagon has had the capacity to defend itself from air attack since the 50s. The White House has an air defense system too. How come nobody follows up on that? John had close friends inside the Pentagon who saw the bodies and all the plane parts. How come there is not a large cut out in the Pentagon in the shape of a plane where the wings should be and huge wreckage strewn all over the ground? It's because a plane acts just like an egg when it hits a hardened surface at high speed. John showed stop action pictures of government tests of what happens to a plane under these circumstances from long before 9/11. It basically vaporizes. He says that all of what was left of the plane was inside the Pentagon.
These are just a couple things to think about. I thought 9/11 was bogus the very day that I saw the buildings fall on TV. Even David Korten said that. Was the 9/11 commission a cover-up? Of course it was. It's so obvious that it's ludicrous to even suggest otherwise. The very first thing they did was try to install Henry Kissinger to chair it and it all went downhill from there. They are covering up something, but what? We don't know for sure. The jury is still out. Probably the government was involved. Thom has been saying it. Mike Malloy has been saying it. I've been saying it. Nobody got fired. Were there charges inside the towers? Some people say it, some don't. I don't know. I'm not afraid to say that. I'm also not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. I go back and forth about every aspect. I'm open to all points of view. If the 9/ll people bring some speakers that have some new and credible evidence, I'm open to having them on my show as long as their talk doesn't go on so long that I have to spend 10 hours editing it.
I was the first in the United States to broadcast Barrie Zwicker’s series of commentaries: The Great Deception. It took a long time for me to talk Vision TV into letting me show it back in 2002. The problem is, as John points out, the 9/11 movement gets stuck on trying to defend wild theories that they can't prove and they end up barking up the wrong trees. The trees they need to bark up are investigating the stand down, the simultaneous military exercises they were running, the refusal to heed the numerous warnings of eminent attack, why the planes were not intercepted, the FBI's infiltration of the hijackers and apparent deliberate refusal to follow up on the information from their own translators and investigators before the attack, and why the people in charge who failed dismally were promoted instead of fired, etc. etc. etc.
Barrie was very careful to stick to very obvious undeniable realities that to this very day have not been explained. I take care not to blow my credibility either. There are people who are in denial about just about any subject I cover. Back in 95 or so I was in the Citizens for Overt Action and went down to the 36th District Democrat meetings a couple times to try to pass resolutions in support of our campaigns against CIA drug trafficking, torture, etc. I had an original rare and complete copy of the Kerry Committee report that I was waving around in my hand and quoting from on one such occasion. I had studied that Kerry Committee Report back and forwards. Later after I had joined the district I continued to talk about this stuff. Some dip shit called me a "conspiracy theorist". I'm still angry about that. If that ever happened again, I'd rip them from limb to limb and I can do it because I can prove what I say. Notice that I didn't say anything about "evidence" here, I said "prove". If I should so happen to be mistaken about something, I’m not afraid to admit it.
If you read my write-up about the upcoming shows you will see that it is about the Bush administration's torture policy. There are still a lot of dim wits who want to believe Bush when he says "we don't torture". This subject is so controversial that PBS has postponed showing the documentary "Torturing Democracy" until the day after Obama's inauguration. Even more people don't have the courage to face the long history of US use of torture. The propaganda myth of American exceptionalism has been burned so strongly into the American psyche that I would say that it has been elevated to religion status. So in my write up I went into the history of US "standard operating procedure" in regards to torture over the last 50-60 years. In part two, I plan on airing a documentary from SOA Watch which shows in living color how it was propagated by US forces in Latin America.
Many people prone to deep denial can’t seem to bring themselves to face the fact that the United States has been so committed to torture as an instrument of foreign policy that they spent 20 years developing the latest innovations in torture techniques since the dark ages. I took the time to list what these are as documented in Alfred McCoy’s book: “A Question of Torture” and which form one of the themes of Naomi Klein’s book: “The Shock Doctrine”. As you probably know, this was the CIA’s MK-ULTRA Mind Control program. There’s a lot of wild eyed conspiracy theory stuff out there about that too. Maybe some of it’s true, maybe not. It’s all anecdotal. I don’t need the tin foil hat stuff. What was exposed in the Church Committee Hearings and the Rockefeller Commission Report back in the 70’s is more than most people know or want to know. I don’t invest a huge amount of time making these shows and doing all this writing for entertainment purposes. It’s political activism and I’m dead serious about it. If it’s not effective, I’m wasting my time.
Here is my “conspiracy theory”. Anybody who has studied the CIA and the military knows that rumor and disinformation campaigns are standard operating procedures of psychological warfare. They’ve been caught red handed using it on us too even though it’s illegal and nobody has been held to account. In fact the Bush gang and the Republican Party used it constantly in their political campaigns and you could even go so far as to say that almost every time they open their mouth it’s part of a disinformation war on the US public. I have long held a deep suspision that a lot of this tin foil hat stuff may origionate from or is promoted by the government. Maybe someday we will find out, maybe we’ll never know. One thing is for sure: If you consider yourself to be rational, you need to learn how to distinguish between a “belief” and a “fact”, “evidance” and “proof”.
That’s all I have to say about it. Even though we may have some minor disagreements, I want to thank you for bringing this up and giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts. It’s a very important subject. I can’t afford to get into a further give and take about it in writing. If you want to talk about this some more, maybe we can discuss it on the phone or in person. Just take it as input. It’s just a point of view. A lot of people I know take your position. They are still my friends.
Thanks also for the invite. I’m busy on the 15th so I won’t be able to come to the Z-Day event but I would like to see the second movie if you have a copy.
The Pirate Television list serve is a list of people who receive email announcements about upcoming shows and subjects of interest to viewers. I’ll put you on it if you like. Just let me know. I think this is so important that I’m going to remove your last name and send this conversaton to the list as well as post it to the Comments page on my website.
Pirate TV list member Don Rimmer sent this article in response to my write-up on the Nader program. Feel free to send your comments also. -Ed
A Political Re-evaluation
Comments by: Don Rimmer
Despite the lessons of the 2000 election, and the supposed assistance of the Help America Vote Act enacted by congress after the 200 debacle, the voting process was not ameliorated by 2004, and accusations of fraudulent practices prevail. This second experience left many reeling in disbelief. It will never be known whether this election was decided fairly. Too many electronic voting machines, absent a verifiable paper trail, were in use. What is knowable is what the election outcome of 2004 will mean for the world. United States bellicosity will continue unencumbered, and that thought is vividly sobering to many Americans. The question heard many times over is, how do we change direction?
Since the 2004 election, a number of forums, lectures, and discussions have been held. The common thread was confusion over how to effect political change. Watching participants stand one-by-one to voice their concerns revealed a sense of helplessness pervading the halls and lecture sites. Many felt a need to become active in order to seek change, but were at a loss at what they should do. Repeatedly, the discussions turned toward what could be done to pull the Democratic Party in a more favorable direction. This seemed like the obvious and easiest action to solving the conundrum. Unfortunately, that notion is misdirected.
Directly moving the Democratic Party in any direction represents a hopeless endeavor. What imparts change, in any party, is the loss of votes. As much as we may wish Democrats to focus on important issues, we have no direct influence over their actions. Collectively, we have much potential influence, but this power can only be realized when that strength is leveraged. That leverage comes from strategic, informed, and honest voting.
What causes frustration is our acceptance of a two party restriction. This acquiescence seemingly leaves us no viable option. However, nothing limits our political system to two parties. Considering the two major parties as the only acceptable options closes the door on change by usurping our collective power. There is design to promoting general disregard for alternative parties, as it serves both Democrats and Republicans alike. To change the direction of the government, we should be looking for positive alternatives. This means paying attention to every candidate, especially those outside the two major parties, who are willing to address important issues.
To effect change, a different mindset is required, punctuated by a willingness to challenge the ideas we are blindly expected to accept, some of which are self-defeating. One of the most nefarious notions is that of a “wasted vote.” The portrayal is, if you do not vote for either the Democratic or Republican candidates, you will be throwing your vote away, because no one else has a chance of winning. Of course, if we believe this to be true it will be true, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The problem with this dogma is that it ensures the status quo, which is the basis for the described frustration above. When you fall victim to this rhetoric, you end up voting for someone who does not portray your values, and is instead the “least worst” option. That, by my estimation, is a wasted vote. This should be the act of desperation, left to someone with no other option; but this is not the case for Americans. In the election of 2004, there were Third Party candidates who reflected the precise concerns voiced by those who stood to express their dissatisfaction at the course of our government. Those alternative candidates were simply not heard, taken seriously, or were ignored completely. This needs to change. To be tenable, more voters need to know where these office seekers stand on the issues. If given a voice and visibility, alternative party candidates would force both Democratic and Republican representatives to speak about important concerns and issues, something woefully absent in our last elections. Hearing these alternative voices is difficult for voters, however, because Third Party candidates are virtually invisible. Make no mistake, this is by design.
There currently exists a cozy relationship between the Republican and Democratic parties. This relationship is demonstrated poignantly by the Presidential Debate process, specifically through the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). This is ostensibly a non-partisan agency designed to oversee the political debate process. In reality, it is a bipartisan organization, controlled by appointees of the two parties who simply follow instructions. Control of the presidential debates permits candidates of the two major parties to avoid important issues, hard questions, and squaring off with candidates holding substantially different ideas, by dictating who is allowed to debate. Since the CPD took control of the presidential debates from the League of Women Voters, there has been precisely one Third Party candidate allowed into the debate area. Ross Perot was given a permission slip in 1992. Reportedly, his ratings went from approximately 7% to 18% in just over one week. Not only did people have a chance to hear his views, he forced the other candidates into uncomfortable territory. That mistake was not made again by the CPD, however. Neither major party would tolerate such amplification of support. Ironically, by reaching 5% of the votes in 1992, Mr. Perot qualified for Federal Campaign Funds in 1996. Despite this, he was kept out of the 1996 debates by agreement between the Republican and Democratic parties, through the CPD. While taxpayers were helping pay for Mr. Perot’s campaign, they were not permitted to see him debate the other candidates. This should have been an outrage to all taxpayers and voters.
It is easy to understand the value of having the chance to be seen, and to convey divergent ideas. This is, after all, one of the aspirations of democracy. To assure this broader scope of alternative thought, the debate process must be opened up to more participants with varying voices. This will lend credibility to more candidates by giving face and voice to their ideals, ideas, and stances on issues important to many Americans. Alternative candidates will become generally viable only when they are allowed to become conspicuous. For this to happen, we must transfer debate control to an organization that will steward the process in a manner best suited for the voters, not the two major parties. Objection from the CPD, to such change, will undoubtedly be vociferous, but that must not be a deterrent. Third Party candidates will only truly become credible when we collectively become courageous enough to listen to them seriously. We must then be willing to vote for them when they represent our beliefs and desires, whether they win the election or not. Anything less is truly a “wasted vote,” and will stymie progressive change. The process can be tempered with the adoption of instant run-off voting, but that is a different subject.
To understand the conditions of the current debate process, the book No Debate by George Farah covers the subject in detail. The book clearly outlines what is transpiring under our noses. He also has a website, http://www.opendebates.org that provides information about the book and his efforts to bring change to the current structure. Suggested change to the current system could lead to debates that are more robust with more participants. This makes possible open discussion of important and controversial issues, currently skirted by the two main parties. Simply put, voters will have more choices. Votes cast in accord with concerns truly important to Americans will indirectly cause change in all parties. Talking about what we would like the Democratic Party to do differently will not net the change we seek. Voting for the candidate that speaks to your concerns and issues will beget change; indeed, it is the only real way to change the direction of any party.
Rush Limbaugh stated, they have been building the conservative movement for 30 years. That considered, it is wise to have realistic expectations, and realize progressive change will be a protracted struggle. Despite intense desire, immediate change has unrealistic probability. It takes time to break down old beliefs. Perseverance is a requirement if we are to avert a dire future. Nothing replaces consistent concerted effort. Voting for one person just to keep another out of office is a poor long-term strategy for positive change.
Work to hear the message of all candidates, regardless of party or affiliation. Find the one who best represents your ideals and beliefs. Have the courage to vote for that person whatever his or her association. Anything less is that “wasted vote.” This can be the beginning of regaining credibility as a nation, reducing the suffering at home and abroad, restoring national pride, and truly making us all safer.
Pat wrote in regard to Ralph Nader’s article [Eight More Years?]: Sorry Ed - I totally disagree and totally have no respect for Ralph Nader in the first place...pat
The way I see it, whether you like or respect the source has nothing to do with anything. What counts is what’s real and what’s not. What I’ve learned over many decades is that people like Nader don’t say anything unless they have the facts behind them and if you had actually read his article you would know that the facts he is stating point to the obvious reality that the Clintons represent the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. After all, it was Bill Clinton who organized and won election funded by the Democratic Leadership Council which is a vehicle for funneling corporate money [and control] into the Democratic Party. This may be an excellent strategy for winning elections since Reagan virtually eliminated Labor as a factor in the 70s, but it is a piss poor way to accomplish social progress. Eight years of Bill Clinton is adequate testimony to that as Ralph correctly points out –by stating facts. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: the real action is in the battle to take back the Democratic Party. This battle is going on right now and grass roots activists and corporatists alike are well aware of it. Are you?
If you had been paying attention you would be noticing while the corporate regime through illegitimate consolidated media power [bestowed by Bill Clinton and the Newt Gingrich Congress] are deciding for us who will be our next president. Kucinich who was the only bona fide candidate to voice a real challenge to corporate rule [which after all is the only real issue] can’t even get on the debates while on the other side, every whack-o from the 13th century seems to have no problem irregardless of their chances. Edwards is next. Unless we stop it, he will go the way of Howard Dean who disappeared 3 days after he foolishly spouted off on MSNBC about the necessity to break up the big media conglomerates.
You may think that corporate shills like Clinton or Obama are going to give us something other than more Milton Freedman style “shock therapy”. As much as he is trying to back pedal, it’s not an accident what Obama said about Reagan. That was an unmistakable signal to Wall Street that he is willing to play ball. Who knows, maybe you think corporate rule is just hunky-dory. Maybe you think that somehow because we elect a corporatist Democrat that it miraculously adds up to single payer health care, a restoration of Habeas Corpus, an end to endless war, a return to support for public education, or a restoration of rule by the people through public financing of elections, media deconsolidation, etc. Maybe you actually think that corporatists in the White House just because they call themselves Democrats will be likely to save us from runaway climate change by actually doing something before it’s too late. Maybe you think that it means restoration of the rule of law, an end to torture as foreign policy and that the current occupants will be held to account for their treasonous crimes. -Crimes which call for long prison sentences if not worse. Maybe you think that they will do something to restore the middle class. Maybe you think that happy days will be here again –that somehow these are the same type of folks that brought us the New Deal.
Dream on Pat. How many
elections have you been through? All you have to do is look no
than the actions of that worthless Democratic Congress we fought so
hard to elect
to get an excellent vision of what the Democratic Party as it is now is
to accomplish in the next 8 years. But this all didn’t just
dawn on me
yesterday, I lived through 8 years of Bill Clinton and apparently
unlike you, I
was actually paying attention. I’ll say it one more
time: We’re in
the 3rd and most destructive corporate regime in
I sent out that article not because it was from Ralph Nader but because he took the words out of my own mouth. It could have been Ralph Nader or any number of progressive writers who have been pointing out the very same obvious facts for more than a decade. I watched as all those things Ralph was talking about in that article happened and was so angry about the in-your-face betrayal that I didn’t even vote for Clinton the second time and I swallowed a lot of tear gas fighting on the streets of Seattle to stop the Bush/Clinton Neo-Con WTO enterprise.
So once again, I could care less whether you respect Ralph Nader or what you totally agree or disagree about. I don’t know about Ralph but if you want to make a point with me, make sure you bring some ammunition to back it up. Otherwise don’t waste my time. Because I just have to assume you are one of those people who believe what they want to believe and for whom facts don’t matter. The polite way to describe this is “cognitive dissonance”.
Claire wrote Sun 1/27/2008
Right on Ed ! I wonder who this Pat is, with such empty words...
Yes, watching the candidates
circus, even on Dem. Now, I get sick to my stomach. How can people not
Yes, the movers and shakers views, the few who question the regime, is part of what can help, thank you for bringing it to our attention with passion and courage
Noemie wrote Sun 1/27/2008
I have hope, maybe it's vain, that we'll get something a little bit different if Obama's elected. Yeah, we'll get the corporate crap. But if there's the political will in the "electorate" at large, we may get some good results as well -- particularly in dealing with the emergencies almost sure to be coming with climate change, economic instability, and violence we've ignited against us. I hope, I hope -- and I have some cause to hope at least -- that Obama's not hellbent on doing nothing but causing more pain and that, if there's some opening for him to do it, he'll get some things right. After all, we've had better and worse presidents.
What I fear is that
Dreams from my Father - Obama's book -- not bogus. I think he's probably a real human being.
We all get our hopes up every
election cycle but I fear that real power no longer resides in
office. It’s revolution that we are talking about. I
Christmas break reading Naomi Klein’s “The Shock
Doctrine”. I was getting
very depressed by the time I got to the part about what happened to the
The deck is definitely
stacked for Hillary. I learned in the Caucus training that I
think it is
49% of the delegates are so called “Super Delegates”
–party hacks and officials
a third of which [according to Geov Parrish] are already pledged to
Hillary. She is the hand picked next president of the corporate
establishment. Obama could upset the applecart because it will
for him to come to the convention with a commanding lead in delegates
the party hacks throw it to
Jim wrote Sun 1/27/2008 :
While you're my hero and all, you missed with this last letter.
Sure, Hillary is a belt high fast ball for the powers that be. But that statement about Obama and his riff on Reagan you're simply wrong (IMHO).
He introduced Reagan as a transformational figure. Dead right. He let the other guys call it praise, then stated, without any malice whatever, that Reagan transformed the nation in a direction that he disapproved of.
By this he did a few things at the same time. One, he showed that he can play the game; suckered them into characterizing his statement then nailed them for it. Two, he brought Reagan, into play and thereby opened the door for looking at the Nation as it was before that transformation. This was a necessary step because the Publicans have held him up as a demi diety. Of course they'd have to, being the only hero they had after the disgraces like Nixon and the elder Bush.
What we as We the People have to do is raise the ground swell so much that reopening the 9/11 Commission becomes a viable thing for McDermott and Inslee to shame Pelosi into. My path on this has been to distribute 9/11 movies around with the promise, with each of the disks I distribute, that the recipient will further share them with five others.
Something I'd like to see if for people in other parts of the country to do what you're doing as far as Public TV goes. But then, that's why you're my hero, man!
Don’t get the idea that Reagan is a demi diety for any other reason than that the media created it. He was an awful president and most of the public sees it that way. Same as George Bush is president only because the media refused to expose what an obvious looser he is and then covered up the fact that he stole both elections. I read what Obama said before he clarified himself (after he was attacked by Hillary). Lots of other people attacked him too. It sounded like praise to me at the time. Your theory sounds too far fetched for me. I don’t think these strategists are all that smart, but who knows. Maybe they did plan it.
Here is another theory. Let’s say Obama really is the real thing. He realizes he has a real chance after his first win. He’s playing chess. You can’t blame him for playing it smart. He doesn’t want to be the victim of corporate media assassination like Dean, Kucinich or Edwards by risking sounding too populist, anti-corporate or even “black”. He’s walking a fine line because he’s savvy enough to know who really runs things. Let’s face it, they are all way ahead of us on this account, because they know who feeds their account. So he tossed the Freedmanites a bone in code. He clarified himself later but the fascists are mollified. –He’s not a threat. Whether he has threat in his heart is not of any real significance. No president has the power to get us out of this mess even if it was Kucinich or Nader unless we the people force it. If all the prestige and moral power of a Nelson Mandela couldn’t stop gangster capitalism from ruling his own country, what makes you think they could? I’ll be glad to see the Bush crime family gone but I have no faith in Presidential elections. The whole thing has been rigged from top to bottom. The only way we are going to get out of the corporate regime without a lot of blood is if we all rise up at once and shut the country down and then some. -Ed
Don wrote Sun 1/27/2008 11:34 PM
Pat's laconic response is telling. He doesn't agree with the original statement but does not refute specifics or qualify his position. He merely states he doesn't agree or like Ralph (who knows why). It is impossible to deliberate with callowness. Contrast this with the childhood Noam Chomsky describes where polictics were discussed daily at the local newsstand. You can see the affects of the dumbing down of America.
I wanted to comment on a statement you made, "the real action is in the battle to take back the Democratic Party" and offer my two cents worth. It was when I spent time researching the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) that I came to realize just how far down this "democracy" had fallen.
I came to realize that recapturing the Democratic Party is folly. Perhaps progress can be made at the lower echelons, but meaningful control at the higher perches is impossible. It will take time, but I now believe any real change will have to come from alternative parties. Of course, this is also impossible until control of the debate process can be recaptured. Never mind third party candidates, as you mentioned Kucinich couldn't even get in the debates from within the Democratic Party. And which of the other candidates remonstrated, only a brief comment from Obama, that was it. Until the debates open up, there is no real hope of making the progress you describe, as I see it. I hope I'm wrong, but I am dubious.
For any who may be interested in the CPD and the history of the debate process, George Farah's book, No Debate provides some provocative details. Also, here is a link to a video about Nader's fiasco over the debate process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VRd3YzOXpI
Maybe if he watches this, Pat can explain why he doesn't like Ralph but doesn't seem to mind those that corrupt the very democracy he is trying to restore.
Thanks for your thoughtful letter. It’s not going to be easy but as the famed political scientist Charles Derber points out in his book: “Regime Change Begins at Home, Freeing America from Corporate Rule”, this is how regime change traditionally happened in US history. He’s the one who got me on this kick. He points out as we all know that the US has always been stuck in this two party system, something that the founders never envisioned. They never even expected political parties to congeal and thought that it would trash the system if they did. The winner take all system and the collusion of the two parties made sure that third parties are not politically viable. But that does not mean that third parties are not important. Often new ideas that originate in third parties end up influencing and even becoming the new paradigm.
The two previous corporate regimes in the gilded age and the twenties prior to the great crash were ended when populist forces took over the Democratic Party. But populism originated in the prairie populist movement of the late 19th century. This party lost the election but the next time around took over the Democratic Party and ran their candidate –William Jennings Bryan as the Democrat. He lost again but the sea change in consciousness led to the election of the populist Teddy Roosevelt –as a Republican and temporarily restored balance which was undone by the resurgence of corporate power and political repression during WWI and the roaring twenties ensued. The corporatists finally wore out their welcome when their excesses ran the economy into the ground once again and brought on the Great Depression. Once again the threat presented by third parties such as Eugene Debs’ Socialists and other organizers played a key role in forcing the New Deal.
These things all happened because of facts on the ground which brought about organizing and a change in consciousness in the masses of the people who forced change, not so much because of organizing within the Democratic Party itself. That said, it is the only real avenue for social progress because Greens, Socialists, Wobblies, etc. don’t have representation in Congress and as we all know the Republican Party in this era is not an option. When I say: “the real action is in the battle to take back the Democratic Party”, I mean to point out that we are witnessing this struggle going on again right now. It doesn’t matter how corrupt the party is, at some point, the “party within a party” as Nader calls it will be replaced or become irrelevant because things are only going to get worse and the people will inevitably force change. Will it come too late? Looks like it, but that only means we have to fight harder while there is still a chance of saving our habitat. I’ve been saying that the notion that some Democrat like Obama or even Kucinich is going to save us is an illusion. No President is powerful enough to get us out of the corporate regime. It is we who will have to force change, we can elect progressives to political office but real change comes from massive upheaval. Revolution doesn’t come by asking politely. Voting usually isn’t enough. Witness recent events in Latin America; the people voted but they had to shut the country down -repeatedly in most cases because real power does not reside in political office during times of corporate rule. -Ed
Ed! This is interesting to read.
Politicians aren't going to save us. Some will make it harder for people to work for change. Obama, I hope, will be less obstructive and -- dare I hope -- it's possible he may do more good than harm.
I'm seeing a rough ride ahead with climate change in the next 8 years - and I'm hoping I'm not right. I am pretty sure there will be some real challenges.
The question is how many of these will take place, how intensely, how close together, how will they strain our already fragile ecosystem and economic system? With events like the ones I list below, I feel that panic on the part of the population at large - and the impositiion of martial law and further civil rights lockdown -- are our greatest dangers. Here are some things I forsee as possible....
Coastal sections of the US inundated; the insurance industry faltering; farms flooded out; food and fuel supplies disrupted; communications increasingly disrupted/unreliable; typhoons, etc. with loss of life and property; heatwaves killing the vulnerable in the inner cities; water shortages affecting farms, energy production, and even consumer water supplies; increasingly expensive gasoline affecting the ability of the poor and even middle class to drive to work, etc; forests burning; homes and businesses burning with them; streets and bridges collapsing; more virulent forms of diseases spreading among people, farm animals, forests.... and also migration of pests /weeds/ species where we don't know how to handle them.
With events like this, our biggest challenge is not to panic. Will we have a government in place that will lock down remaining resources and impose martial law, brutalize the population? Will we see what we saw with the police power used during Katrina to deny people the right to walk over a bridge into an area where it was safe -- so that some of them subsequently died?
Or can someone with Obama's background of sensitivity to human and civil rights -- and his positive spirit and charisma be more likely to keep from imposing martial law except where temporarily and where absolutely necessary -- is he more likely to have the personal resources to help people to feel united, help people see this as a challenge to meet, to stave off panic?
This is my vision of our potential future. With the
Jim writes Mon 1/28/2008 :
Let me walk you through this, one step at a time.
Don’t get the idea that Reagan is a demi diety for any other reason than that the media created it.
Reason be damned. Reagan is celebrated. It is the celebration which, brought up incessantly, should show us how it's done. Let's say we talk about the NeoCons as Publicans at each turn of the cards. What then? Lefties will hardly notice but the Pat Robertson crowd will howl. So why do it? First it is to hear them howl, after all how could they defend themselves? 'How dare you call me a Publican while I've (or I've not) called you the Democrat Party?'
He was an awful president and most of the public sees it that way. Same as George Bush is president only because the media refused to expose what an obvious looser he is and then covered up the fact that he stole both elections.
By constantly praising Reagan, those who actually remember are marginalized. By keeping silent on the subject of Reagan, Dems perpetuate the deification. Obama broke the silence, illuminating this stupidity. I've been all about this but didn't know how to break the log jam.
I read what Obama said before he clarified himself (after he was attacked by Hillary). Lots of other people attacked him too. It sounded like praise to me at the time.
What Obama did was to say "Reagan was transformational in changing the direction of the nation in a way that Nixon and Clinton were not." Perfect. He didn't do it on a major stage, also perfect. He made them 'dig it out' of his remarks - as if it were some kind of an admission that he privately admired Reagan. Perfect.
Your theory sounds too far fetched for me. I don’t think these strategists are all that smart, but who knows. Maybe they did plan it.
Obama came out of
Here is another theory. Let’s say Obama really is the real thing. He realizes he has a real chance after his first win. He’s playing chess. You can’t blame him for playing it smart. He doesn’t want to be the victim of corporate media assignation like Dean, Kucinich or Edwards by risking sounding too populist, anti-corporate or even “black”. He’s walking a fine line because he’s savvy enough to know who really runs things. Let’s face it, they are all way ahead of us on this account, because they know who feeds their account. So he tossed the Freedmanites a bone in code. He clarified himself later but the fascists are mollified. –He’s not a threat. Whether he has threat in his heart is not of any real significance. No president has the power to get us out of this mess even if it was Kucinich or Nader unless we the people force it. If all the prestige and moral power of a Nelson Mandela couldn’t stop gangster capitalism from ruling his own country, what makes you think they could? I’ll be glad to see the Bush crime family gone but I have no faith in Presidential elections. The whole thing has been rigged from top to bottom. The only way we are going to get out of the corporate regime without a lot of blood is if we all rise up at once and shut the country down and then some. -Ed
Yes it's rigged.
Right. What we've had to this point is a leadership invested in
rigging. On the other side, we have laws. The real question
point is are we about killing the King. If you're about killing
make sure that you kill the king.
Part of this whole thing is about framing. I say let's frame
ourselves as the diligent cop. Nothing more than simple
law, even handed and fair. Engage in international manipulation
supplies to accomplish a given market price and you get appropriate
in the courts. Simple. Invade a nation such as
And on it goes. But for Obama, he has to do it as little steps that the people who are vested in the rigging will see it as a cheer for their side. I'm looking for a line like 'those who have a powerful voice in the trajectory of our nation' coming in somewhere, 'opening the discussion of the trajectory our nation is to take in our near future' and so on. The notion that our nation has a trajectory. Brilliant.
(oh, that's a command, by the way.)
I’m in total agreement with you except that I think that although Obama is a brilliant man, after reviewing what he actually said about the “excesses of the 60s” etc. it still makes me very nervous. Clearly the excess of the 60s were on behalf of the establishment as always: the Viet Nam War, the assignations of all the country’s most promising leaders, The Cointellpro program, the bloodbath at the Democratic Convention… etc. He could be brilliant but it’s not unthinkable that he could also be very clueless, or just kissing the necessary asses. I’m not buying his explanation; your theory that this was a plan still seems to be a stretch. We all want to believe, but I don’t trust any one who could be allowed get within an inch of the White House. I’m convinced it was either a faux pas or a signal to Wall Street as I said. Here are his actual words; it’s hard not to interpret it to be anything other than what it says. I reiterate that I prefer him to Hilary and when it comes down to it, it’s going to be up to us no matter who wins the White House. Presidents have the power to kill millions of people overseas but it’s only us who can force social progress here at home. I think that’s what Gore realized.
Senator Barack Obama: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people—he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
I don’t have time to write any more on this, I’m trying to dig my way out of a computer crash. If you need more discussion there is some excellent commentary on Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/01/17/6445/
Carol forwarded this correspondence from Michael Parenti Mon 1/28/2008 :
I wonder where I got the idea. Recollection was point was that Edwards was only candidate that had show consistency in his capacity as a trial lawyer in taking on corporate abuse 7 over-reaching.
From: Michael Parenti [mailto:email@example.com]
Subject: Re: John Edwards
actually, Carol, my support was for Kucinich. I did not write an
on behalf of Edwards. But I am voting for him in the
primary because K is bowing out if I understand correctly. Edwards would
probably be the best candidate to defeat the Republicans. That's what
the polls showed. But in the primaries, as with Kucinich, he has been
shut out by the media, rather ruthlessly that.
Carol OConnell wrote:
>Happy New Year Michael!
>I could not find the email I got from you on why your money was on
>Edwards. Would you please send again or update me if you have an
>expanded or changed view. Like to forward to Ed Mays of Pirate TV in
>To: Ed Mays (firstname.lastname@example.org)
>Subject: Thanks!FW: Why not to vote for Hillary
>I am forwarding also Parenti article re Edwards. In Joy, Carol
>Subject: FW: Why not to vote for Hillary
>I like the “good cop” characterization reminding how much is staged.
> I’d like to think we have a chance to have some decisions that are not
>owned by the Lords of corporate rule with Edwards. Perhaps naïve to
>think that anyone can exist in the Presidency if not largely doing
>their bidding especially with the degradation of the Office that Geo II
>has brought to
>I think Obama helps though in making people hope that things can be
>different, that their choice will be heard and acted upon. For me, it
>is very important that we give up the childish dependency on thinking a
>specific leader or party is going to make things “right”. Geo II has
>side-stepping our individual responsibility to build the society we
>want from our own behavior and work within our communities.
>My wish is that there is a balance in people realizing that they cannot
>on leadership but that the focusing of the goals of a society that is
>ready to operate from a foundation of social justice and recognition,
>if not respect for the living system in which all our creating is
>nested (as contrasted to the increasing manifestation of the Lords
>“Just Us” skewing of the dynamics of how we exchange energy, regulate
>participation, and relate to Nature) and Americans taking hope in a
>leader that is sharing that agenda.
>I am curios and excited about how this is unfolding!
Claire writes Mon 1/28/2008 :
Ok Ed, having read comments below I'll add this :
- I DON'T EXPECT ANY PRESIDENT TO SAVE ME, SAVE US.
WE THE PEOPLE HAVE TO SAVE OURSELVES. From the grass root, or forget it.
M. Moore says it SO well in the excellent interview by D.B on NOW this last friday, about doc Sicko. 2 sharp and courageous men talking, right on! Check out the video clip before it's gone from their e-newsletters.
I am bracing myself for the possibility of the next Pdt to
* either be assassinated, physically or otherwise
* or else, out of survival instinct/greed, to repeat the same old corrupted words and deeds, just a question of new name, color, etc.
In this context, see the doc by investigative journalist Norman Solomon: War Made Easy. It makes crystal-clear how over the past 50 yrs (and right after the unspeakable unimaginable enormous atrocities of WWII, o surprise!), ALL presidents that didn't get assassinated kept talking us into wedging AND continuing the next war, and the next one and the next one, with the same old tricks of gross FEAR inducing lies, combined with blocked information replaced by PROPAGANDA. And particularly in this country, where the tradition of questioning authorities has nearly completely disappeared, what's left is a great majority of blind followers focusing on saving their asses by gathering as much money as possible before the boat sinks. I keep hearing :"but I didn't vote for him" and "oh, things will change once we have a democrat" and other irresponsible illusions. People are waiting for the corrupt boss to do it for them. That ain't gonna work. Do you remember that 2 presidents, brothers on top of it, plus 1 inspired Black Leader = 3 leaders got assassinated within 6 years ! 6 years!
- Hillary is just another corrupt money fueled opportunist and her raison d'etre has become to win at all costs. Listen to her forced vocal "enthusiasm"! Unfortunately, Kucinich doesn't have the charisma/radiance and the shining gold that should support his sane ideas
- Read book "3 cups of tea" like many around me, it helps to see the light twice (= see the truth, and get inspired).
So what's left? For me:
* keep connected with inspiring truth-tellers (see www.yesmagazine.org , go to Americans Who Tell The Truth, Portraits by Robert Shetterly) for without truthful information/freedom to know, there is no democracy. By the way how dare we preach democracy to the world and fail to shamefully here! But of course it's about oil and other resources, money, domination.
* keep hooked with the people who connect us with them and alternative actions, to face the darkness and look for a candle... (Alternative Radio, Democracy Now, Ed Mays, even Steve Scher and G. Keillor on KUOW, and definitively Yes Magazine)
* keep track of how far we have slipped into Naomi Kleins' list of steps to dictatorship (her book End of Democracy): We have already arrived, the rest is detail.
* keep dialogue alive,
which is a challenge in this
country (I come from
yes, let's be the change we want to see.
And how come we are
getting used to the statement
"Obama is black". I say he is an American Citizen and a world
citizen, half Kenyan half Swede, half empty half full, either way and
the hell with the color of his skin anyway. His passionate heart,
strength, dignity, authenticity is what matters. Amazing he got so far
considering the deep
Enough for today. Good day to you! Cheers!
I am in total agreement
with you, Ed.
I'm sick of holding my nose and campaigning for and voting for the "lesser of the evils" and then stupidly being surprised when I end up with "evil".
I'll go a few steps further. I find it very disingenuous for progressives and Democrats to fall in step with the DNC's vilification of Ralph Nader because he had the guts to run for President and as they complain that there were illegal things done by the Republicans to tamper with the electionS. The DNC then have used Ralph's candidacy as a scapegoat to crush the hopes of any potential third party challenges INSTEAD of attacking the Republicans for their election rigging crimes.
Nader "lost the election for them"? What a joke. The Democratic Party let both elections be taken from them. The people that voted for Bush, the people who voted for Buchanon, the people that didn't vote at all and the DNC refusing to insist that the votes in Florida be counted were the reasons that Gore "lost". Running Kerry, a weak lukewarm mealy-mouthed corporate hack was also a major factor in his losing the election.
The Supreme (activist) Court's picking of Bush was one thing. (Remember the Supremes explanation why the votes had to stop being counted was because if they were continued to be counted "it might do irreparable harm to the Bush candidacy".) But when Kerry let them get away with "swift-boating" him and then when he (against Edwards strong disagreements) rolled over and peed on himself as he capitulated BEFORE all of the votes had even been counted..... well that was enough "evil" for me to say "screw these phony hacks". I knew in my heart all along that they were elitist blowhards and liars but I was just in denial out of desperation.
A vote for Hillary or Obama is a VOTE FOR MORE NANCY PELOSI, HARRY REID, CHUCK SCHUMER AND THE OTHER DNC SPINELESS ARSE LICKERS! They couldn't even stand up to Joe Leiberman! No thanks.
While I'm at it... Another thing that is astonishing to me about people's voting choices, is this. Somewhere along the line the notion came along that voting for a candidate is supposed to be like choosing a lottery ticket. You know, everyone tries to pick the winner. Wrong folks. That isn't what democracy is about. You are suppose to vote for the person that reflects your values, ideas and wishes. Duh!
As far as I'm concerned, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney are 500% tougher and 500% more honest than Kerry, Hillary, Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the corporate Democrats rolled up together. History will prove them to be the REAL PATRIOTS. It also looks like John Edwards means to join their honored ranks.
What they allowed to happen to Kucinich is criminal and it was the DNC and the corporate Dems that allowed it to happen without saying peep. They were probably totally responsible for it happening as well.
Support Edwards loudly now!
1/4/08 -The "Democracy" Sham **********************
Once again the world’s most powerful corporations are picking our presidential candidates and what issues if any will be discussed right before our very noses. Contrary to what the corporate media would like us to believe, elections are supposed to provide us with a rare opportunity to discuss the most important issues and decide what direction we want our country to go. They are not supposed to be a beauty contest between candidates selected by who can raise the most corporate money to circulate back to big media through multimillion dollar media buys and phony debates where who is allowed to appear and what questions are allowed are chosen not by us. This circle is too tight for me and I have chosen to do something about it.
So in addition to a $25 contribution to Dennis
Kucinich to help him purchase an add to run during tomorrow
night’s ABC “debate” and an email to ABC through
IndependentPrimary.Com, I am passing the opportunity on to you by
forwarding these emails. [The other emails was from the Kucinich
Producer, Pirate Television