Monthly Archives: June, 2011

Starting with Age-Old Truths

Washington is 67 square miles, about as high as the Washington monument, and surrounded on all sides by reality. ~Arthur Hoppe

Get Out of Afghanistan is Richard Reeves’s bottom line, but he borrows three “age-old truths” about Washington, Wall Street and War to make his emphatic point: It doesn’t matter when we leave, the result in Afghanistan will be the same. There are pressures we can’t relieve and internal affairs that leave us with limited options.

The remaining truths are written by Republican Joe Scarborough here, where it’s interesting to note his comment on the new sobriety being shown by conservatives calling for foreign policy restraint. He calls it “a return to the conservative principles the Republican Party tossed aside over the past decade.” I might go a half step farther and say they have ravenously devoured their principals like cannibals, infecting themselves and spreading Mad GOP Disease that continues to cause most of our ills today.  :/

In Peter Juul’s thoughtful piece, A Conservative Crack Up on Foreign Policy, “an out-and-out war over the contours of conservative foreign policy is brewing within the ranks of the conservative elite”. He attributes the cause to neoconservatives and conservative nationalists finding their differences surface under Obama’s leadership. Aggressive policing by conservative elites over “wayward behavior and statements from conservative elected officials and candidates” could exacerbate the rift, and I would say, make 2012 that much more interesting.

The soft whisper of threads moving in unison.

People often ask me about APV and why we are an “omnibus” organization, why we don’t concentrate on one issue like so many other groups do.  My answer is that there is no “one” issue, they’re all connected:  A private prison industry needs more prisoners if it’s to meet its quarterly profit estimates, those prisoners have to come from somewhere, hence the drug war (and the largely low income, non violent offenders who end up in jail), which has been militarized along the lines of the global war on terror (or whatever they’re calling it this week), which leads to ever expanding defense budgets and the use of private contractors and the ever-closer embrace of the government and big business.  One place this can be seen is the revolving door at federal agencies that are literally captured for the use of the same businesses they are supposed to regulate… for instance in regards to say, the environment… and when the environment inevitably gets polluted or destroyed it’s the poor who suffer most… but of course there’s always those private prisons to fill up…  These kinds of connections can be made with healthcare, education, immigration, energy, foreign policy, you name it.

I don’t mean to make it all sound so simple, or to point too knowingly at this or that, as if this skein of interconnections and symbiosises can be easily teased apart.  I am saying that when you pull on one thread, it is remarkable how the whole fabric of our modern world shifts, and that’s why we don’t just work on one issue.  Here for instance, David Sirota looks at trade policy in… and job losses and globalization and multi-national corporations and the collapse of the middle class and campaign finance reform (or the lack there of) and on and on.  Actually, he just talks about trade policy… the rest is just the soft whisper of threads moving in unison.

S. Price

Fracking Cheney!

This is worth your time to read, and wouldn’t you know former Vice President and Halliburton CEO  Dick Cheney was right in the middle of it.


S. Price

Go Go Gadget!

What’s not to like? It helps to empty landfills, it’s stronger than steel, it stores energy and cables and powers my house. It also pays for itself, helps break our fossil fuel addiction and it would put people to work all over the country.
So far, I like it.

About That Budget.

Dear President Obama,

About That Budget:

So Eric Cantor and Jon Kyle have run away from the negotiating table at the mere whiff of actually increasing revenue so as to reduce the massive national debt.  The same debt that was dropping precipitously  at the turn of the century, and that then skyrocketed do to the Bush tax cuts for the rich, the decade long, ruinously profligate, unfunded wars of convenience in Afghanistan and Iraq and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, caused in part by a newly unregulated banking industry that Bush then agreed to bail out… in full.  All voted for by these same, suddenly reconstructed deficit hawks, and which was turned over to you, his successor, when you entered office… who then staffed your cabinet with former Bushies and Clintonistas, all with ties to the selfsame banking institutions that caused the crash in the first place… how did that work out?   Which bring us to today’s enormous deficit and the dubious debt ceiling crisis and the kabuki theatre of Congressional negotiations and Cantor and Kyle fluttering their hands and picking up their skirts in outrage.

You see according to the radicals in Congress and all over the TV, under no circumstances can we ever raise taxes, ever.  Tax cuts for the rich, war without end… no problem, but actually raise funds to do it, no way!  Doesn’t matter if Reagan did it, doesn’t matter if Clinton did it, and to good affect, doesn’t matter can’t raise taxes.  Allowing what we were told were temporary tax cuts, easily afforded because of the gigantic surplus handed over to Bush by the Clinton administration and set to expire on schedule last year, well that’s a tax increase, can’t do it.  Doing away with tax loopholes used by the wealthy and big corporations to effectively pay no taxes at all… wait for it…  raising taxes, and therefore impossible for Cantor and the GOP to abide.  They won’t compromise, but for better or worse sir, they know you will, and that’s a problem.

What do they mean in the way of you compromising so as to reduce the debt (but no taxes, no, none, never)? Well let’s start with gutting Social Security and Medicare, the most popular government programs in the country’s history.  Then there’s selling off the national parks system, privatizing large parts of the military and the prison system, de-funding the FDA, SEC, EPA, NIH and NASA… and NPR and anything else for that matter that smacks of pointy headed intellectualism.

And they have allies.  One fears Mr. President that the national media that cares only for the potential political bloodshed from this game of chicken being played at the Capital, has already bought into the narrative that something drastic (which can only mean cutting social programs and entitlements, never the security state or corporate welfare), just has to be done right NOW, and if you sir don’t cave, I mean move to the center, we’ll all be lost.  So now we’re hearing that the Democrats just want everyone to get along and of course the best thing to do is listen to the fiscal advise of the same party that put this country’s economy in the ditch in the first place.  Don’t listen to them!

Mr. President there is another solution, another way.  Instead of listening to the garbage passing for policy known as inside the beltway common wisdom, listen to the people.  We want job security, a fair wage that keeps pace with the cost of living, we want affordable, universal healthcare, we want a rational defense policy, and a science based, forward thinking clean energy policy, we want a lot of things that never get mentioned on the cable talk shows or in the halls of the powerful except with derision.  We want these things and we’ll campaign and we’ll work and we’ll vote for a candidate who stands up for them.  There are a lot of us Mr. President, a lot of us who helped you easily get elected in 2008, and while we’ve been kind of disappointed with the last couple years, you can still win us back.

One great way to start that rapprochement would be if you adopted as a cornerstone of your policy going forward, the People’s Budget put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Budgets are more than collections of numbers; they are a statement of our values. The Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget is a reflection of the values and priorities of working families in this country. The “People’s Budget” charts a path that keeps America exceptional in the 21st century, while addressing the most pressing problems facing the nation today. Our Budget eliminates the deficit and stabilizes the debt, puts Americans back to work, and restores our economic competitiveness.

I know the conventional wisdom says that whatever the progressives want is impossibly out of the “mainstream” and could never fly.  This is tired and counter productive thinking, and God knows it’s never applied to the harebrained schemes of the far right.  Who would have dreamt even a decade ago that people in high office could advance plans to do away with Social Security and Medicare and that these people wouldn’t be laughed out of politics.  It’s a testament to the success of the corporations and the ideologues in making such outrageous, radical demands seem feasible for consideration.   Our ideas by contrast are reasonable, they make sense and they work, they’ve worked for decades in fact, and they’re a lot more popular than putting senior citizens and the disabled at the mercy of Wall Street and the Insurance companies, all for the sake of keeping the wealthy from having to part with even a small portion of their loot.  Come on Mr. President, if you stand up for us, we’ll stand up for you in November 2012.  Support the People’s Budget.

And if you’re taking our votes for granted because you figure we won’t let the crazies on the right take over, you’re making a mistake that can only hurt your legacy and the nation as a whole.


S. Price

Physics doesn’t slowly change its mind. ~Dr. Bill Mckibben

After your drinking water has been poisoned and cancer is taking its toll on your friends and family in the community, it’s too late to prevent a catastrophe. In this video the process and result of deceit show what can happen when the people’s safety is up against “big oil” and the government. Notice the look on their faces at the town meeting when the people of Fort Chipewyan are given a scientific analysis of their drinking water, the chemicals causing the contamination, and the evident cause for the rise in cancer – in some cases, seven times the expected amount. At the meeting, one of the town’s people said,  “We’ve all stood up at the same time. That’s unity. That’s strength. Now let’s use it.”

The Alberta oilsands project is the world’s largest construction project. It is ongoing regardless of warnings from the science and medical communities. “Gripped in a Faustian pact with the American energy consumer, the Canadian government is doing everything it can to protect the dirtiest oil project ever known.”

To the Last Drop
Residents of one Canadian town are engaged in a David and Goliath-style battle over the dirtiest oil project ever known.

In 2007, WHISTLEBLOWER Dr. John O’Connor “warned of a link between dangerously high levels of carcinogens and rare forms of human cancers in a community down-river of Alberta’s oilsands mining project, Fort Chipewyan, and was harassed by the Canadian government for a year. He was eventually “cleared of three of the four professional misconduct charges Alberta Health and Wellness and Health Canada had brought against him. The fourth — a charge that he raised undue alarm in the community”, was not dropped until his findings were substantiated in 2008.

Oilsands Whistleblower MD Cleared

The best paid sideshow barkers in history.

The right wing think tank the Heritage Foundation pays Limbaugh 2 million a year and Hannity 1.3 million, you know that’s gotta chap poor old Sean.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck sell endorsements to conservative groups – Kenneth P. Vogel and Lucy McCalmont –

I know, I know, next I’ll be telling you there’s gambling in Casablanca.  But there is a point, these people aren’t journalists and they aren’t even entertainers exactly, they’re salesmen.  We regulate what advertisers can say about what they’re selling, you can’t make blatantly false claims and you can’t market dangerous products…  ok, cigarettes.. but still, at least smokes get a warning label of some kind.  What these men do is not journalism, it’s not NEWS, it’s simply hocking a product, in this case a failed political ideology as floor wax and dessert topping all in one… and it needs to be labeled as such.

Don’t hold your breath, but I’ll say it… Impeachment.

Just imagine if Thomas were a liberal, taking money from say, George Soros, vacationing with him and ruling on issues Soros funded… Imagine if his liberal wife took a half million dollars from Soros to fund her own progressive group which then paid her to lobby her husband… Imagine.  APV doesn’t have any billionaires to fund us, or pocket Supreme Court justices for that matter.  But that won’t stop us from fighting for what’s right.  And part of what’s right might well be removing this embarrassment from the bench.

A Solstice Approaches, Unnoticed ~ by James Carroll

Have we “lost our grip on the knowledge with which we became human: our familiarity with the physical universe we live in”? If so, we have this day in common and can celebrate a great opportunity to “Pay attention!”

A Solstice Approaches, Unnoticed
by James Carroll

Oh … Hell yeah! Thanks for standing up, Roy McDonald!

“I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.”

Republican NY State Senator Roy McDonald’s Awesome Defense Of Gay Marriage; Bloomberg Visits Albany