Year of the Rat

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"I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world, not only for its strength, but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.
I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty."- JFK 10/26/63 Amherst College

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The Price of Power

Important Open Letter to Hillary Regarding the Clintons and Monsanto Corp.

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This is a beautifully written book, full of humanity. I can't recommend it highly enough. -SM
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Mar 20 2008

Gov. Richardson Endorses Obama
"I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America's moral leadership in the world," Richardson said in a statement obtained by the AP. "As a presidential candidate, I know full well Sen. Obama's unique moral ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation." Richardson praised Hillary Clinton as a "distinguished leader with vast experience." But the governor said Obama "will be a historic and great president, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad." (ref: Santa Fe New Mexican)

A couple years back I wrote about the public's and the media's appetite for "attitude" rather than knowledge and judgement (see below the fold).
Seeing the effect of Obama's "race" speech last week, I think he succeeded in taking the steam out of all the attitude mongering, and set people, a little dazed, on a path of knowledge. This is something new for us Americans, and gives us pause, and perhaps the Hope that we might begin to get past the obsession with "attitude" over knowledge and judgement.
I think this speech, and it's effect on people, is basically what has turned the invisible tide in the last week, marked particularly by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's courageous and compelling endorsement of Senator Obama.
This ability of Obama to change the consciousness from the attitude-fetish to compassionate thinking is the real key to bringing about the change we want.
I hope he will give another speech of this importance every month from now until the November election- this would go a long way to preparing fertile ground for the changes we want to see, and would make for an inspiring campaign. (-Ed.)

Attitude (2006)
Maybe it's a symptom of the age of information overload; most people these days apparently don't care to be burdened with endless facts and the weighing of contradictory claims... the short cut is attitude. So instead of learning about something and forming a judgement, they consider other peoples' attitudes and choose the one they identify with. Right-wing punditry is all about attitude. So is FOX News. So is Bushian foreign policy. So is the Republican national election narrative. (The Democrats simply don't have an attitude of any kind.) Try a Google search for 'Bush + "my attitude"'.
By this point we find ourselves so steeped in delusional attitude - 'we are the greatest country on earth, you're a traitor if you don't agree, and anyone who obstructs us is bad', that even opposition party leaders believe they stray from this puerile mantra at their own peril. And Americans have fallen for it in vast numbers it seems; maybe its the media, the constant drumbeat of fear and silliness; maybe it's the collapsed education system that's spawned such gullibility. Thus a great country withdraws into a bubble of delusion; it is pathetic to see the nation that midwifed the United Nations, launched the Peace Corps, and put men on the moon, so shamed by it's political leadership as to have become a pariah in the community of nations, a feared and tiresome bully, not a respected leader. I've posted a sampling of the national discussions I think we should be having (Notes Toward an American Renaissance); but I'm pretty sanguine on whether we as a nation, at the rate we're going, will ever get around to such advanced considerations.

Watch Obama's Principal Speeches Here

The Crisis Has Begun
And when it will end nobody knows... Consider: Oil above 100 dollars, the dollar below 100 yen, gold over 1000 dollars, food basics rising at 50% a year, and huge investment houses disappearing overnight. My guess is The Crisis will last for the rest of our lives. But count on the corporate media to manage the illusory narrative in even more creative ways... throwing up smoke and mirrors, distractions and fantasy themes to keep the hamsters running on their wheels while the Powers move Offshore, and the mega-rich make off with the loot. One day sometime in the future, the hamsters will get off their wheels, venture outside, and discover that the whole system was an illusion, a contraption, running on remote, and the Owners have all moved on to Mars. (ref WaPo) (ref AFSC)

More Bush, Cheney Antics
President Bush opines that the Occupation is good for the economy; the problem is 'they built too many houses'. (ref) Georgie is eager to get back to his "ranch". Here he is singing a farewell song
Meanwhile ABC's Martha Radditz interrupted our Vice- Commander in Chief's mellifluous narration of our wonderful success in Iraq: 'But what about the fact that 2/3rds of Americans 'think the war is not worth it'? "So?" deadpanned Cheney. "You can't be blown off course by polls". (ref)

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Feb 14 2008

Valentine's Day Elections Update
The Republican ruling coalition fully unravelled in early 2008, separating into it's three strands: the war party, the corporatists, and the 'religious right'. All three had overstayed their welcome in the public's mind, and were already fraying; still, in 2007 there had been some hope in the party that the three strands could be attached, however clumsily, to Rudy Giuliani, but this proved a mirage. In early 2008, the corporatist favorite, the unconvincing Mitt Romney, withdrew following several defeats. That left the evangelicals (though not necessarily the 'religious right') represented by Gov. Mike Huckabee, while the war party regrouped with John McCain. And like the GOP itself, which when at ebb tide reverts to the fear/security frame to frighten folk back to the fold, the consensus quickly pointed to McCain, the war hero, the oldest guy, the commander, to 'keep us secure'. McCain took to muttering in public, "There will be more wars, my friends". And as for Iraq, he jokes about a thousand-year occupation.
But McCain gathers only 1/3rd of the ruling formula, and is utterly uninterested in, and uninteresting to, either the corporatists or the evangelicals. There will be no cohesive force to re-attach the strands through the current personalities.

Huckabee, for his part, is more than the candidate of evangelical voters. As Republicans go, he's a maverick populist insurgent, a celebrated governor and a man of genuine wit and charm who talks calmly of getting rid of the IRS and helping the middle-class. He apparently does believe the earth was created 6000 years ago, though he seems easy with the knowledge that most of us don't. His enduring appeal is a measure not only of the evangelical constituency, but also of the dissatisfaction among rank and file Republicans with the contrivance of their other options. I suspect that after McCain flames out in November with a derisory percentage of the vote, down-home Republicans are going to see Huckabee as their leader during the coming years out of power.

Ron Paul, whose platform was a combination of the dubious and the revolutionary, who called for the abolition of the IRS and the end of Empire, never seemed to get beyond his fervent support base of a younger generation of online supporters. His exclusion from visibility by the MSM and party leaders can only fuel the alienation of these young Libertarian/Republicans from their GOP.

On the Democratic side, Obama has won the last 8 primaries by margins of 60-40 or more, with surging support across all demographic groups. Clinton fatigue caught up with Hillary rather suddenly it seems, precipitated by Bill's street-level advocacy and less-than-presidential behavior in support of his wife following the Iowa defeat. Hillary, much loved and appreciated as the first woman candidate, running for the first female presidency, suddenly looked like something quite different: the first spouse of an ex-president running for the first spousal presidency. Family values a la Clinton. This wasn't what we'd bargained for. She wasn't so much an example of women's belated acceptance at the top, but rather some kind of dynastic nepotism.

But her emerging second-place position was not all her doing, or Bill's. It's just that Obama strikes so many of us as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... to make a jump ahead, to get beyond the lamentable political morasses of the last 2 decades, and move into the future. The more people get a chance to really think about that possibility, the more the Obama wave grows.

There's still talk of the Clintons being able to fix the convention, maybe by seating the disqualified Florida and Michigan delegations, maybe with the vote of the "superdelegates". I doubt this will be attempted at this point; it's gone too far in Obama's favor, and he is obviously the stronger candidate for November. Should the party establishment try to do that however, I suspect it would be the death-knell of the Democratic Party. And Obama could probably win the election as an independent anyway. (Chuck Hagel for VP!)

In all likelihood it will be over after Texas and Ohio; Obama will be our nominee. There will still be 8 months to go before the November vote. That's a long time to be filled with horse-race reporting and polls and gotchas and other silliness, so maybe we can fill the void with serious policy discussions on what to do about the God-awful mess George W. Bush's administration is leaving us, in every department and every level of the federal government and american policy, at home and abroad. The task will be huge, and theres's a lot of cleaning out and catching up to do. I hope we'll see Obama beginning to bring out his brain trust, this will help to stimulate thinking about remedies and correctives and help put us all in a forward-looking frame. -SM 2/14/08

Jan 28 2008

Obama winner
It's Obama!

No more Bushes, no more Clintons... Seems like a lot of people may like Hillary, but are uneasy with the idea of Bill wandering the White House getting into mischief. We want something new, no more Bushes and Clintons, something very different, and we are seeing that in Obama.
With Obama something could happen here that we long for, something that hasn't happened in 40 years in this country. We might find again our better natures, rejoin the community of nations, rejoin the future, and inspire ourselves and the world once again. Everyone can sense it around Obama, a kind of historic magnetism; let the torch pass to a new generation...

For the Record: Sen. Obama on Iraq, October, 2002 in Chicago:
"I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships born." -Barack Obama, October 2002, Chicago.

Caroline Kennedy spoke eloquently in her endorsement of Senator Obama on the Times Op-Ed page last week; here is what she said:

Caroline Kennedy for Obama A President Like My Father
by Caroline Kennedy

Over the years, I've been deeply moved by the people who've told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn't that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country - just as we did in 1960.
... I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president - not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans. (read full article)

-Caroline Kennedy, New York Times, Jan 27, 2008

Susan Eisenhower for Obama
Why I'm Backing Barack Obama
by Susan Eisenhower
(granddaughter of the president, lifelong Republican

(Washington Post, February 2, 2008)

Forty-seven years ago, my grandfather Dwight D. Eisenhower bid farewell to a nation he had served for more than five decades. In his televised address, Ike famously coined the term "military-industrial complex," and he offered advice that is still relevant today. "As we peer into society's future," he said, we "must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

... If the Democratic Party chooses Obama as its candidate, this lifelong Republican will work to get him elected and encourage him to seek strategic solutions to meet America's greatest challenges. To be successful, our president will need bipartisan help.

Given Obama's support among young people, I believe that he will be most invested in defending the interests of these rising generations and, therefore, the long-term interests of this nation as a whole. Without his leadership, our children and grandchildren are at risk of growing older in a marginalized country that is left to its anger and divisions. Such an outcome would be an unacceptable legacy for any great nation.
(read the full endorsement)

Just in:
California First Lady Maria Shriver Endorses Barack Obama in LA:

The Grateful Dead too...

Naomis Revolt

Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine
video / interview

Naomi Wolf: The End of America
video / interview

For the Record: Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's Oct 27 Address

Mayor Rocky Anderson
"Today, as we come together once again in this great city, we raise our voices in unison to say to President Bush, to Vice President Cheney, to other members of the Bush Administration (past and present), to a majority of Congress, including Utah's entire congressional delegation, and to much of the mainstream media: You have failed us miserably and we won't take it any more.

"While we had every reason to expect far more of you, you have been pompous, greedy, cruel, and incompetent as you have led this great nation to a moral, military, and national security abyss.
Read full speech

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Notes toward an
American Renaissance

One Nation Under Mars:
Selling the Fear

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Barack Obama

Watch Obama's Speeches

The Nation
Truth Out
Brave New Films
Crooks and Liars
Empire Burlesque
Greg Palast
Young Turks
Juan Cole
Dahr Jamail
Talking Points Memo
Stop Iran War
Common Dreams
The Brand New Bag
Consortium News
Baltimore Chronicle
Think Progress
Raw Story
May the Force Be With You
More links

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