Monthly Archives: August 2006

This is why I read Stirling – he gets it

I’m a libertarian by tradition and inclination – I’m for smaller, smarter government that does things right. But part of the charge of that government is to “provide for the common welfare”, that part that Republicans don’t get in their everyone for themselves sensibilities.

Health care is THE biggest issue facing this country today. It is going to have to be addressed, by people who get it and want to make it work. Our economy is going to have to be overhauled to provide better jobs. We’re going to have to rebuild infrastructure, and this time, make it sustainable. We need a new energy base for the economy. We need to start taking better care of ourselves and everyone around us.

For all these reasons, and more, I am supporting progressive organizations right now. I’m not a “leftist”, despite having that cahrge thrown at me occassionally, I’m a realist, and the options Stirling points out in this article are exactly the two options I see for this country – either we try to hold onto the past, letting the rich take all the profits before the clock runs out on this era, or we move forward into the next era with courage and conviction – not to create endless wars overseas, but tio create a renewed America for ourselves, with different options than a huge war over the last of the remaining oil.

What if we use what’s left of the oil economy to generate the next economy? What if we create, now, with the resources of the past we have left, the basis for our new future? That’s the progressive option.

I want an America we can leave to our kids and grandkids that we are proud of, not one in ruins from struggling over dead dinosaurs. Clean, safe, walkable, sustainable, and easily traveled, without the encumbrance of ridiculous airling checks and meaningless restrictions on our shampoo bottles and toothpaste.

Let’s stop fighting over gay marrriage, the fear of having our guns taken away (my husband owns two, thanks, and is an NRA member), and whose God we should all bow down to (btw, the God of Christians, Jews and Arabs is the same God, just different traditions that go along with him) and get on with the reality of building the next ventury – not the PNAC century, but the real new American century that we are actually going to have to live in.

Enough of dreams of empire – let’s just be a great nation in a world of other great nations, already.

Reading The Calendar | TPMCafe

This clock is running out quickly, and there are two, and only two, options.

One is a nastier, poorer, sicker America. One that will fall behind rapidly, as people from around the world choose not to come here, and the people who are here will find that their human infrastructure is being passed by other nations. It will be a nation that will lose its best and its brightest, as they head to Australia or China or India for better chances, or Europe for a more comfortable and stable existence. Slashing benefits will mean drops in aggregate demand and economies of scale. It will mean other nations will no longer gear their production for our markets, and prices will rise. It will mean more people living less well. This will go on until the echo boom reaches its earning years, and there will be a chance for a neo-classically driven export revival of the American economy, but the miracle of compound interest in reverse will mean that it will live, as the Clinton years did, in the shadow of an electorate that will be desperate to cash out, rather than fix the problems.

The other road is a progressive America, one that shifts from petroleum addiction to energy creation, one that shifts from a society questing for rent, to one questing for capital, one that understands that to stay ahead, one must plan ahead. The crucial problem is this: consumer demand becomes demand for energy in the end, and that becomes demand for oil, which we import. Wages did not rise, because that was the only way that was found to increase GDP without increasing oil consumption. To give workers back their wages, we need to find a way to export, not import, from the rest of the world. Crucial in this is setting up a universal, single payer, health system, because health care is largely a non-tradeable, and creating profit incentives in non-tradeables is counter-productive and unproductive. The world must be our market place, and the era of cutthroat class civil war must come to an end.

Thus, however romantic the sensibility of being in the dusty dusk dark days before a great global conflict – the reality is that we are not there, but in another time, and another era, one that, however much it may look back on FDR and Churchill as founding fathers, must find its own path into a different darkness which was unknown to the past, and in which lies the future.

How Berkeley changed our diet

Neat article via The Ethicurian by Derrick Schneider of An Obsession with Food on the connection between Berkley and the “food revolution” movement towards a more natural diet in America. From small beginnings came much of the movement towards sustainable living, locally grown foods, organic gardening, etc, etc… as well as the beginnings of gourmet restaurants serving locally grown produce and such. Well worth a read (as I sit here eating my Cheez-its).

Edible East Bay

Berkeley’s food revolution began on a police car’s roof in Sproul Plaza on October 1, 1964. Three thousand students spontaneously trapped the cruiser that held fellow student Jack Weinberg after he deliberately violated new and capricious campus rules. The impromptu crowd listened as Mario Savio, a tall, curly-haired student with a worried look, climbed on top of the police car and spoke to the throng.

He didn’t talk about food. He didn’t talk about farmers. He talked about the university’s limits on free speech and the problems with modern education. But a new American cuisine stirred that day, built on the philosophy of Savio and his peers: You could only solve problems by going around the establishment, not by working within it.

The Free Speech Movement pushed Savio into the limelight, but his politics were more evolutionary than many recognized at the time. Berkeley became a magnet for left-wing activists during the early 60s. “Berkeley was where it was at if you wanted trouble,” says David Lance Goines, the activist and graphic designer who created the iconic Chez Panisse artwork and typography. The turbulent student body came to distrust the authority figures who dragged them from civil rights protests and imposed arbitrary rules on campus.

After the Free Speech Movement, students such as Alice Waters protested the government’s stance on Vietnam and civil rights. But the protests became riots when volunteers from the school and community tried to form People’s Park in 1969. Governor Reagan called in the National Guard to stop the peaceful conversion of UC land to a community park. The People’s Park protectors gushed down Telegraph Avenue, pursued by the tromp of boots, the whoosh of tear gas canisters, and the occasional bang of martyr-making gunshots. The town’s residents were outraged. Savio created 3000 activists; Reagan created ten times that many.

When the smell of tear gas dissipated from the paperbacks at Cody’s Books, and Guardsmen marched back to their homes and families, a thrumming energy filled the void. The activists had beat the establishment. The First Amendment protected political student groups on campus. The government was pulling troops from Vietnam. Trees grew in People’s Park. Anything seemed possible….

Tao and politics

I get comments from people sometimes about my views on politics conflicting with Tao. Well, it’s not like the Tao doesn’t have a lot to say about politics – many of the last third of the verses concern politics and war. War and conflict are not foreign concepts to those who have truly studied Tao, nor do they shy away from them. The monks on their hill are one part of Tao, those who live in the world and have to deal with it are yet another. Some of us can be very outspoken about what we believe, (when we are not busy knowing, of course!) and there is no distinction between this and following the principles and ideas of Tao.

As Walt Whitman would say, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” It was true of Whitman and Whitman’s America, and even truer of the Tao.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 57

Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this!

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men’s weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 60 (my favorite!)

Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish.
Approach the universe with Tao,
And evil will have no power.
Not that evil is not powerful,
But its power will not be used to harm others.
Not only will it do no harm to others,
But the sage himself will also be protected.
They do not hurt each other,
And the Virtue in each one refreshes both.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 61

A great country is like low land.
It is the meeting ground of the universe,
The mother of the universe.

The female overcomes the male with stillness,
Lying low in stillness.

Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a great country,
It can conquer the great country.

Therefore those that would conquer must yield,
And those that conquer do so because they yield.

A great nation needs more people;
A small country needs to serve.
Each gets what it wants.
It is fitting for a great nation to yield.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 69

There is a saying amongst soldiers:
I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest;
I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost lose what I value.

Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 72

When men lack a sense of awe, there will be disaster.

Do not intrude in their homes.
Do not harass them at work.
If you do not interfere, they will not weary of you.

Therefore the sage knows himself but makes no show,
Has self-respect but is not arrogant.
He lets go of that and chooses this.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)

Rush Limbaugh thinks we slaughter cows to get butter

Via This Modern World

We get this great quote on what’s wrong with giving to the poor from Rush Limbaugh today:

“We didn’t teach them how to slaughter the cow to get the butter. We gave them the butter.”

No wonder the Republicans are fucked up – they slaughter cows to get butter, and try to milk horses.

Laura Bush:

“I saw my in-laws down at the ranch over Easter. We like it down there. George didn’t know much about ranches when we bought the place. Andover and Yale don’t have a real strong ranching program. But I’m proud of George. He’s learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What’s worse, it was a male horse.”

The farce of Gitmo

Charge them, or let them go. Enough, already. This makes us look like assholes to the rest of the world.

71-year-old Gitmo detainee released – Yahoo! News

The oldest detainee at Guantanamo Bay — an Afghan man who is at least 71 and hobbled around the U.S. prison in Cuba using a walker — has been sent home, his lawyer said Monday.

Haji Nasrat Khan was among five men from Afghanistan transferred over the weekend, said attorney Peter Ryan, who received the news in an e-mail from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ryan was not told why Khan was transferred, and was trying to determine whether he would be held in custody in Afghanistan or allowed to return home.

The U.S. military did not disclose the names of the five men sent back to Afghanistan and declined to comment.

Khan was not charged with a crime and Ryan said the government never said why he was detained.

“We couldn’t figure out why he was there,” Ryan said. “He could barely walk and he could barely hear.”

Khan told his lawyers he believes he’s around 78, but doesn’t know his exact age. He is at least 71, according to military records obtained by The Associated Press.

With the latest transfers, the military now holds about 445 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban, including about 115 who the U.S. has determined are eligible for release or transfer.

To be eligible for release, the U.S. must conclude the detainee no longer poses a threat to the United Sates, has no further intelligence value and does not merit criminal prosecution, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a
Pentagon spokesman.

Ryan had been scheduled to visit Guantanamo this week to meet with Khan and Khan’s adult son — who was captured with Khan and remains in custody — along with other Afghan prisoners represented by his law firm, Dechert LLP.

U.S. forces captured the elderly detainee’s son, Hiztullah Nasrat Yar, in a compound with some 700 weapons, including small arms and rockets, according to military records.

Khan and his son told the military panel that the younger man was guarding the weapons for the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The father had said he was arrested while complaining about his son’s capture several days later.

The military said both father and son had links to the Taliban — a notion Khan once ridiculed at a military hearing.

“How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up?” he asked, according to transcripts released to the AP.

Even Oregon is still damaged by Katrina

skippy the bush kangaroo

the oregon national guard says it’s in bad financial shape because the federal government and louisiana have not paid the $2.7 million they owe the guard for relief and law enforcement work last year after hurricane katrina.

if the guard doesn’t receive the money soon, it will have to appeal to the legislature’s emergency board for more cash or be forced to close its 41 armories located throughout the state and possibly even two air bases, capt. mike braibish, an oregon national guard spokesman, said monday.

the oregon guard would still have federal money to pay for training and activities. but it would run out of state money budgeted for maintenance and operations by december, braibish said.

Ned Lamont for Senate

This is why I support Ned Lamont – he gets it. He’s a rich man, and he doesn’t have to care, but he does care, and he does want to change this country and its government that no longer works for the people, but for themselves and for the wealthy. We need change, and Ned knows this. That’s why I support Ned, and all the other candidates like him who get it.

Show me you get it, you’ll get my support and my money. Otherwise, I might call you a bitch or a bastard or whatever else strikes my fancy of the day. ;^)

Go read the whole thing. It’s worth a read. My favorite excerpts below.

Ned Lamont for Senate | Read Ned’s Op-Ed In Sunday’s Hartford Courant and Forward it to Your Friends Below

At first, we were offering simply a choice and a chance for debate. It’s exactly what people wanted. Since we launched our campaign last January, I have met thousands of you. You have stopped me on the street to talk about the rising cost of health care, the loss of good-paying jobs and your kids’ education. You know America is weakened when we are too dependent upon foreign oil and capital – and our troops are stretched thin because of our decisions in Iraq, leaving us less ready to respond and protect ourselves.

And we’ve agreed that in this dangerous time, President Bush and his supporters like Sen. Lieberman have weakened America’s security and moral standing in the world by fighting an unprovoked war in Iraq instead of a real war against terrorism.

It begins with changing Washington. The people of Connecticut are tired of a Congress that has 63 lobbyists for every elected representative – spending more than $400,000 per month per member of Congress.

Changing Washington also means changing our national priorities. We’re spending more than $250 million a day in Iraq while our deficit explodes and our domestic agenda is starved for funds. Today in Connecticut, 400,000 people lack health insurance and schools close early because we don’t have the resources for after-school programs that aid academic achievement and give kids a place to study before their parents come home to dinner.

Changing Washington means fighting to restore American values. This administration, supported by Sen. Lieberman, is bringing the government into our private lives in ways the Founding Fathers never intended – in the Schiavo family’s private medical decisions, with warrantless wiretaps and judicial appointees that jeopardize a woman’s reproductive rights. Government has gotten too big and too intrusive, and we need to change that.

Finally and most urgently, we need to change Washington to replace a national security policy of weakness with one of strength. Our costly and counterproductive decision to go to war in Iraq has weakened America – by taking our eye off the ball in Afghanistan, by overstretching our military, by failing to invest in homeland security, by putting Israel’s security at risk and by alienating our allies and further angering our adversaries. We need to change course, in order to restore America’s strength and place in the world.

With a few more like Ned, we can take our country back and restore it to what we all want – a strong, respected nation that takes care of its own people, and helps the entire world instead of being a threat and a pariah. Isn’t that what we all really want? At least, those of us that aren’t getting rich on oil and useless wars and obscene profit-taking. I think America ought to work for all of us, not just the privileged few.

And I have to add this great quote I just got in the email of the day:

As progressives, we don’t believe in a sink or swim nation-we believe we’re all in this together. And Katrina’s a terrible reminder of why that basic idea is so important. Together, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I think people like Lamont get that. And people like Barbara Bush and her son Georgie don’t.

Things you have to believe to be a Republican

In an email I got today that’s going around – thought I would share it here.

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with
China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest
national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but
multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches,
while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then
demand their cooperation and money.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health
care to all Americans is socialism.

HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but
creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense,
but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is
solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution,
which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary’s cattle trades, but George
Bush’s driving record is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a
conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for
your recovery.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what
Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.