Tuesday, March 25, 2003

How To Take Back America

Marching in the streets is important work, but wouldn't we have greater
success if we also took control of the United States government?

It's vital to point out right-wing-slanted reporting in the corporate media,
but isn't it also important to seize enough political power in Washington to
enforce anti-trust laws to break up media monopolies?

And how are progressives - most standing on the outside of government,
looking in - to deal with oil wars, endemic corporate cronyism, slashed
environmental regulations, corporate-controlled voting machines, the
devastation of America's natural areas, the fouling of our air and waters,
and an administration that daily gives the pharma, HMO, banking, and
insurance industries whatever they want regardless of how many people are
harmed?

This lack of political power is a crisis others have faced before. We should
learn from their experience.

After the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, a similar crisis faced
a loose coalition of gun lovers, abortion foes, southern segregationists,
Ayn Rand libertarians, proto-Moonies, and those who feared immigration
within and communism without would destroy the America they loved. Each of
these various groups had tried their own "direct action" tactics, from
demonstrations to pamphleteering to organizing to fielding candidates. None
had succeeded in gaining mainstream recognition or affecting American
political processes. If anything, their efforts instead had led to their
being branded as special interest or fringe groups, which further diminished
their political power.

So the conservatives decided not to get angry, but to get power.

Led by Joseph Coors and a handful of other ultra-rich funders, they decided
the only way to seize control of the American political agenda was to
infiltrate and take over one of the two national political parties, using
their own think tanks like the Coors-funded Heritage Foundation to mold
public opinion along the way. Now they regularly get their spokespeople on
radio and television talk shows and newscasts, and write a steady stream of
daily op-ed pieces for national newspapers. They launched an aggressive
takeover of Dwight Eisenhower's "moderate" Republican Party, opening up the
"big tent" to invite in groups that had previously been considered on the
fringe. Archconservative neo-Christians who argue the Bible should replace
the Constitution even funded the startup of a corporation to manufacture
computer-controlled voting machines, which are now installed across the
nation. And Reverend Moon took over The Washington Times newspaper and UPI.

Their efforts, as we see today, have borne fruit, as Kevin Phillips
predicted they would in his prescient 1969 book "The Emerging Republican
Majority," and as David Brock so well documents in his book "Blinded By The
Right."

But the sweet victory of the neoconservatives in capturing control of the
Republican Party, and thus of American politics, has turned bitter in the
mouths of the average American and humans around the world. Soaring
deficits, the evisceration of Social Security, "voluntary" pollution
controls, war for oil, stacking federal benches with right-wing ideologues,
bellicose and nationalist foreign policy, and the handing over of much of
the infrastructure of governance to multinational corporate campaign donors
has brought a vast devastation to the nation, nearly destroyed the
entrepreneurial American dream, and caused the rest of the world to view us
with shock and horror.

Thus, many progressives are suggesting that it's time for concerned
Americans to reclaim Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Party. It may, in fact,
be our only short-term hope to avoid a final total fascistic takeover of
America and a third world war.

"But wait!" say the Greens and Progressives and left-leaning Reform Party
members. "The Democrats have just become weaker versions of the
Republicans!"

True enough, in many cases. And it isn't working for them, because, as
Democrat Harry Truman said, "When voters are given a choice between voting
for a Republican, or a Democrat who acts like a Republican, they'll vote for
the Republican every time." (And, history shows, voters are equally
uninterested in Republicans who act like Democrats.)

Alternative parties have an important place in American politics, and those
in them should continue to work for their strength and vitality. They're
essential as incubators of ideas and nexus points for activism. Those on the
right learned this lesson well, as many groups that at times in the past had
fielded their own candidates are now still intact but have also become
powerful influencers of the Republican Party. Similarly, being a Green
doesn't mean you can't also be a Democrat.

This is not a popular truth.

There's a long list of people who didn't like it - Teddy Roosevelt, H. Ross
Perot, John Anderson, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader - but nonetheless the
American constitution was written in a way that only allows for two
political parties. Whenever a third party emerges, it's guaranteed to harm
the party most closely aligned to it.

This was the result of a well-intentioned accident that most Americans fail
to understand when looking at the thriving third, fourth, and fifth parties
of democracies such as Germany, India, or Israel. How do they do it? And why
can't we have third parties here?

The reason is because in America - unlike most other modern democracies - we
have regional "winner take all" types of elections, rather than proportional
representation where the group with, say, 30 percent of the vote, would end
up with 30 percent of the seats in government. It's a critical flaw built
into our system, so well identified in Robert A. Dahl's brilliant book "How
Democratic Is the American Constitution?"

When the delegates assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 to craft a
constitution, republican democracy had never before been tried anywhere in
what was known as "the civilized world." There were also, at that moment, no
political parties, and "father of the Constitution" James Madison warned
loudly in Federalist #10 against their ever emerging.

In part, Madison issued his warning because he knew that the system they
were creating would, in the presence of political parties, rapidly become
far less democratic. In the regional winner-take-all type of elections the
Framers wrote into the Constitution, the loser in a two-party race - even if
s/he had fully 49.9 percent of the vote - would end up with no voice
whatsoever. And the combined losers in a 3- or more-party race could even be
the candidates or parties whose overall position was most closely embraced
by the majority of the people.

The best solution to this unfairness, in 1787, was to speak out against the
formation of political parties ("factions"), as Madison did at length and in
several venues. But within a decade of the Constitution's ratification,
Jefferson's split with Adams had led to the emergence of two strong
political parties, and the problems Madison foresaw began and are with us to
this day.

This is particularly problematic in presidential elections. H. Ross Perot's
participation in the 1992 election drew enough votes away from the elder
George Bush that Bill Clinton won without a true majority. Similarly, Ralph
Nader's participation in the 2000 election drew enough votes away from Al
Gore that it was easy for the Supreme Court and Jeb Bush to deflect media
notice away from Florida's illegal vote-rigging in the pre-election purging
of the voter rolls and thus select George W. Bush as President.

Conservative activists recognized this inherent flaw in the electoral system
of the United States and decided to do something about it, recruiting Ronald
Reagan and forming his infamous "kitchen cabinet." They took over the
Republican Party and then successfully seized control of the government of
the United States of America. As we can see by comparing documents from the
1990s Project For A New American Century with today's war in Iraq, these
once-marginalized conservative ideologues are the real power behind Bush's
throne.

Liberals weren't so practically minded. Instead of funding think tanks to
influence public opinion, subsidizing radio and TV talk show hosts
nationwide, and working to take over the Democratic Party, many left to
create their own parties while others gave up on mainstream politics
altogether. The remaining Democrats were caught in the awkward position of
having to try to embrace the same corporate donors as the Republicans,
although they weren't anywhere near as successful as Republicans because
they hadn't (and haven't) so fully sold out to corporate and wealthy
interests.

We see the result in races across the nation, such as my state of Vermont.
In the 2002 election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the people who
voted for the Democratic and Progressive candidates constituted a clear
majority. Nonetheless, the Republican candidates became Governor and
Lieutenant Governor with 45 percent and 41 percent of the vote respectively
because each had more votes than his Democratic or Progressive opponents
alone. (Example: Republican Brian Dubie - 41%; Democrat Peter Shumlin - 32%;
Progressive Anthony Pollina - 25%. The Republican "won.")

Similarly, Republicans have overtly used third-party participation on the
left to their advantage. In a July 12, 2002 story in the Washington Post
titled "GOP Figure Behind Greens Offer, N.M. Official Says," Post writer
Thomas B. Edsall noted that: "The chairman of the Republican Party of New
Mexico said yesterday he was approached by a GOP figure who asked him to
offer the state Green Party at least $100,000 to run candidates in two
contested congressional districts in an effort to divide the Democratic
vote."

The Republicans well understand - and carefully use - the fact that in the
American electoral system a third-party candidate will always harm the
major-party candidate with whom s/he is most closely aligned.

The Australians solved this problem in the last decade by instituting
nationwide instant run-off voting (IRV), a system that is making inroads in
communities across the United States. There are also efforts to reform our
electoral system along the lines of other democratic nations, instituting
proportional representation systems such as first proposed by John Stuart
Mill in 1861 and now adopted by virtually every democracy in the world
except the US, Australia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

These are good and important efforts for the long-term future of American
democracy. But they won't happen in time to influence the 2004 elections,
and we're facing a crisis right now. A few Democratic stalwarts survive who
may oppose Bush on the national stage, but while the rest of us fixated on
the war, neo-cons are creeping on cat's paws into the very heart of
Jefferson's Party.

Thus, the best immediate solution to advance the progressive agenda is for
progressives to join and take back the Democratic Party, in the same way
conservatives seized control of the Republican Party.

After writing the first draft of this article, just as the first 2003 attack
of Baghdad began, I thought about how the Democratic Party could change if
most of the protesters in the streets were to join the Democratic Party and
run for leadership positions in their local town or county. In short order,
it could become a powerful force for progressive principles and democracy in
America and the world, maybe even in time to influence the 2004 election.

So, I called the Democratic headquarters in my home state of Vermont.

"Sign me up!" I said to the startled young man who answered the phone.

"What?" he said, taken aback by my enthusiasm.

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore," I said, standing and
waving my arm as I talked on the phone. "We have to stop the right-wingers
from ripping up our constitution, despoiling our earth, and turning America
into a fascist state! Sign me up!"

"Are you a Democrat?" he said.

"Can I be a progressive Democrat?"

"Sure!" he said.

"Then I'm also a Democrat now!"

He chuckled, and said. "We're getting a lot of calls like this."

He took my contact information, and gave me the name of my county's Party
leader. I told him to put me on the list for future fundraising events, to
let me know how and when I could run for local Party leadership, and how I
could participate on a regular basis in the decision-making processes of
"my" local Democratic Party.

An hour after that call, I received an email characteristic of so many I get
these days.

"I've never been so depressed in my entire life," the correspondent, an
attorney and longtime progressive activist wrote. "Bush is completely
ignoring us. My nation, using the same rationale Germany did in the 1930s,
has just gone to war against a nation that did not attack it, and my
president has declared himself a military dictator. Every time we announce
peace marches, they raise the 'threat level' so they can keep us away from
government buildings or use force to prevent us from marching. I've lost all
hope."

A few minutes later, another old friend and activist wrote that her "heart
was heavy and tears came easily." A flood of other emails arrived after the
publication of my most recent article on Common Dreams, and all but one
expressed despair, fear, or panic.

So I've started answering them by saying:

"The nation I love is confronting a crisis no smaller than those faced by
Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Washington: a crisis that will determine if American
democracy survives to the next generation. So-called 'conservatives' are
turning our government inside out, trying, as they say, 'to drown it in the
bathtub,' killing off regulatory agencies, ripping up the Constitution,
cutting funding to social services, and turning pollution controls over to
industry. Government expenses in the trillions of dollars are being shifted
from us, today, to the shoulders of our children, who will certainly have to
repay the deficits Bush's so-called 'tax cuts' (which are really tax
deferrals) are racking up. War is being waged in our name and without our
consent.

"And, most disconcerting, the leadership of this administration is made up
of blatantly profiteering CEOs, former defense industry lobbyists, and
failed hack politicians so outside the mainstream that one - Ashcroft - even
lost an election in his home state against a dead guy.

"Unlike most other modern democracies, our American electoral system only
allows for two political parties, at least at the national level. So, given
that the rich, the polluters, the paranoid, and the zealot war-mongers got
to the Republicans first, we have no choice but to take back the Democratic
Party, reinvigorate it, reorient it, and lead it to success in 2004. We may
not be able to stop Bush now, but we sure as hell can throw him out of
office next year at the ballot box."

But what, some have said in response, about the corporate-controlled media?

That was the same problem faced by the Christian Right 25 years ago, when
the coverage they could get was of Tammy Faye Bakker scandals. But once
they'd taken over the Republican Party, the press could no longer ignore
them, and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are now regulars on network TV.

Another person answered my now-form-email by saying, "I want to participate
in producing a detailed plan for the future of America, rather than just
joining a corrupt and tired-out political party."

My response was that if there were enough of us in the Democratic Party, it
could become a cleaned-up and powerful activist force. It's possible: just
look at how the anti-abortion and gun-nut folks took over the once-moribund
Republican Party.

Another said, "But what about their rigged computer-controlled voting
machines?"

My answer is that only a political party as large and resourceful as the
Democrats could have the power to re-institute exit polling, and catch scams
like the voter-list purges Jeb Bush used to steal the 2000 and 2002
elections for himself and his brother.

And the Democratic Party can only do it if we, in massive numbers, join it,
embrace it, and ultimately gain a powerful and decisive voice in its
policy-making and selection of candidates.

Thom Hartmann (thom@thomhartmann.com) is the author of over a dozen books,
including "Unequal Protection" and "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight."
www.thomhartmann.com This article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but
permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so
long as this credit is attached.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Job Hunting

Check this out.

That guy got FIRED for losing 75% of the company's stock value, and also for getting the company investigated by the SEC on a couple fronts. And when they fired him, he got around thirty-one million dollars in severance pay.

So here's my offer. If there are any companies out there looking to be driven into the ground, and wanting to save some money, send me an email. I can guarantee that I won't do worse than that guy. And I don't want anywhere near that level of compensation.

Friday, March 21, 2003

With God on Our Side

Lyrcis by Bob Dylan.

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

It's a bit dated, but with the religious fevor coming from the White House, it fits.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Supporting Our Troops

The President and his advisors are all telling Americans to support our troops through these hard times. And it's good advice. They should follow it. While planning for this war, the Republican House Ways and Means Committee has produced a budget that, among many other cuts, cuts 15 billion dollars in veterans programs. My father is a disabled veteran, having served 2 tours in Vietnam, another war that was started with questionable reasons, helped by outright lies (in the case of Nam, the Gulf of Tonkin was the lie that started it..in this case, it's the lie that Iraq was involved in 9/11...not pushed directly by the administration, but now believed by about half the people in this country).

This is the eve of war. A war that we chose to wage. America has abandoned Afghanistan, and we've done nothing in the last two years to help bring peace to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and yet we expect the world to trust us to rebuild Iraq successfully. Right.

More later, probably....

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Elephants in the Room

There are now dozens of elephants in the room, and the press and political leadership in this country seem completely willing to ignore them (and allow each other to do the same). Hundreds of cities and towns have or are working to pass anti-war resolutions. Millions have marched in the streets the world over. The UN's weapons inspectors state that Iraq could be disarmed in a matter of months. 300,000 workers lost their jobs this past February. Inflation adjusted incomes of the bottom 3/5ths of the population are lower than they were in the 70s. There have been no real, lasting changes to the main problems that led to the allowance of the corporate "malfeasance"...which is a friendly way of saying "crimes". Poll after poll show that the people of this country support what would be termed a progressive set of policies for this country, but the President, and the media, continue to act like his loss in the popular vote constitute a mandate for his policies, many of which go against his claims. He has, repeatedly, said one thing and done another. He talks like a member of the center-right, and pushes policies that must be giving hard core right wingers fits of joy. The man who uses Sept 11th to justify nearly everything he does isn't even supported by the nation's Firefighter's Union. The president of said union told Bush, who rejected a $150 million plan for grants to state and local first responders, "don't lionize our fallen brothers in one breath, and then stab us in the back by eliminating funding for our members to fight terrorism and stay safe". The president of the Virginia firefighter's association said "The president has merely been using firefighters and their families for one big photo opportunity." And this is hardly the only issue he's pulled these stunts on. A list (which is hardly complete) can be found here.

Clinton was crucified in the press regularly for any perceived irregularity between his policies and his statements. Millions of dollars, mostly those of the tax payers of this country, were spent to investigate every questionable action he and his supporters ever took, and many that he never actually took. Bush gets a pass on everything he's ever done that wouldn't stand up to public scrutiny. He skipped out on his military service - as have most of his advisors...Cheney "had other priorities in the 60s", and most everyone he's appointed to the Department of Defense has never served. In fact, the only member of his cabinet with a real record of military service, Powell, is the closest thing we have to any insider dissent in the White House. But the press largely ignores when Powell goes out on his own and states things that retired generals all over the place are stating...that this war isn't necessary, and that the proof isn't there.

The "liberal" media has shown time and again in the last decade and a half to, in fact, be heavily conservative. And the need to always have the story first is pushing the standards of journalism farther and farther towards outride tabloidism. Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, and other leaders of the conservative vanguard, are at best playing loosely with the facts, and at worst, outright liars. Coulter went so far as to suggest that democrats not clapping when Bush stated that he had begun deploying "a shield that will protect us from" ballistic missiles is equivalent to treason. If, perhaps, this shield worked reliably, or wasn't insanely expensive, there would be reason to clap. But the serious number of faults (which the journal Science will no longer cover, since they are censoring themselves in case terrorists are reading and happen to have ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US), and the huge cost overruns of the program, have shown it to be a controversial issue, at best. In fact, Donald Rumsfield has asked that it be approved and deployed without being submitted to the testing process that every single military project has been subject to. Why? He claims it's because the program is so important to US security that it can not be postponed. But maybe it's because there have been several reports that the positive results reported by the program are, in fact, false.

The best example of the willingness of the press to roll over for the President was his "press conference" last week. In it, he worked off of a seating chart, only took questions from people who his team had approved, and didn't allow any follow-ups. He mentioned Sept 11th time and again as an excuse to tell the people of this country the possible costs of the war he plans to force on us, and the world. Almost half of people in America think Saddam helped mastermind the attacks, and the number keeps going up. Do the press do something about this by pointing out to Bush that the two aren't related in any documented way? No, because to ask a hard or critical question will just get you treated as a persona non grata.

Journalists alone can not be blamed. The American people have shown a shocking distaste for actual, issues based political journalism. Instead, we're more worried about how "stiff" Al Gore seems, or how personable Bush seems. They were treated as if they had similar platforms by most of the media, when in fact they had very little in common. Gore would have continued many of Clinton's policies, while Bush has gone after just about every Clinton policy he could, going so far as to reversing a Clinton executive order that would have lowered the amount of arsenic allowable in drinking water. That would have been the first lowering of arsenic levels since the 40s.

Then there's the right wing idea that "Terrorists hate us because we have freedoms". Some say they're jealous, others say they hate everything freedom stands for. The media largely repeats this, without looking for more in depth explanations. While I don't doubt that Osama Bin Laden hates us because we aren't governed by a strict definition of Islam, the majority of the members of al Qaida and other terrorist groups do not hate us because we have freedoms. They hate us because they see us as preventing them or other Muslims from getting those same freedoms. From our abandoning of the group that was going to start a revolution in Iraq, to the support we give to dictators throughout the middle east and central Asia, to our treatment of the Palestinians, it is hard to argue with this point. And this war with Iraq is only more likely to prove that position right, as we murder thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of Iraqis, and install a government that may or may not represent the wants of the people of Iraq.

And that doesn't even get into the argument of the nasty, nasty precedent this war will set. Now, China will be free to attack Taiwan, and point to our reasoning as their own. The same could happen with Pakistan and India...and those two nations have nukes. And North Korea or Iran could justify attacking us by saying that we pose a threat to them, having listed them as members of the "axis of evil", and having already attacked one of the members of said axis.

But on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, these topics are largely ignored. Shows like CNN's "Showdown Iraq" and MSNBC's "Countdown Iraq" treat this coming war as a ratings bonanza, not the morally and diplomatically questionable adventure of a dishonest administration. Because the people seem to want hi-tech graphics and simple, "bomb the bad guy" answers, not complex discussions and debates on what got us here and what's really going to help us repair relations with the middle east.

I could go on, but this has been a long enough post, I think. More soon.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Time to Post

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled this past week that it's illegal for state agencies to allow flags to be hung in public places, but not other banners. Their reasoning was that the flag is indeed speech, and state bodies are barred from limiting one type of speech while allowing another, thanks to the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit said that "honoring the principles for which the flag stands extends beyond waving it in tribute." I couldn't have said it better myself. Censorship in the name of patriotism is wrong. It goes against the best parts of this country's heritage.

In another interesting development, the city of Dallas is trying to decide what to do with an old marble fountain that has the words "Whites Only" on it. The only way to remove the words would be to tear out all the marble. Until recently, the marble was covered by a piece of metal. The options are to leave it covered, to tear out the marble, or to uncover it, and put up a plaque that explains it's historical context. The NAACP wants the sign removed, and possibly placed in a museum. I think that's wrong. Important history should be left where it can be seen by the most people. The sign, plus an explanation of it's historical context, seem like the best answer to me. Segregation isn't old news...it was ended less than 40 years ago. This was endemic until the 60s, and it touched the lives of many people who are still alive today. To destroy or hide that history should be a crime. People need to know the mistakes of the past, and learn why they were mistakes, or the possibility of them being repeated will grow, and that's not acceptable.

One more thing. A recent survey of Americans showed that 19% of people in this country think they are in the top 1%, income wise. That's obviously pretty wrong. And that might not even include the entire top 1%, considering that some people may be just above that level, and not think they are. Some people use statistics like "50% of this tax cut would benefit the top 1% of Americans" or something like that, but the media rarely explains what it takes to be in that little bracket. To be in the top 1% of incomes in America, you have to make $330,000 a year. That group is almost 3 million people. You learn something new every day.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

The President Speaks

President Bush gave a press conference just now, and made several statements that were completely accepted by the journalists there. These need some rebuttals.

When asked about the anti-war protests, Bush stated that he'd had many policies protested, including one on "trade". By this he meant free trade, something he claimed to support. Which is odd, since he worked to pass tarriffs on lumber and steel. The tarriff on lumber was attacked by Canada as being a breach of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

When asked about the costs of the war, his simple response was "The costs of doing nothing far out weigh the costs of this conflict." Then he went and pointed at the costs of Sept 11th. Which is odd, since Sept 11th didn't involve Iraq at all. And the people responsible for 9/11 are still out there.

Oh, he also asked "What if he lobs a weapon of mass destruction into Isreal?" Excpet that Iraq has no weapons that can reach Isreal. The Al Sammoud 2 missiles he's destroying now (which Powell says he's building more of, but he has shown no proof) couldn't reach Isreal...not by a longshot. And, like I said, the Iraqis are destroying them.

These are all points that the journalists there should have raised. None of them did. This is a faliure of journalism at a basic level. Journalists are supposed to get to the truth, not accept whatever they're told. These are obvious questions. They need to be asked.
Bullet Points!

Five things you should know about the Bush administration's justification for war with Iraq:

  • Saddam got his weapons of mass destruction from the US. We sold them to him back during the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s. Reagan and Bush the first were both involved in these sales. In fact, Donald Rumsfeld was the head US liason to Iraq during Reagan's presidency.

  • Colin Powell isn't the most trustworthy guy: In the build up for the first Gulf War, Powell used falsified intelligence to help build his coalition. He had pictures of Iraqi troops amassing near the Saudi border, making it seems as if there was an imminent threat to Saudi Arabia. When coalition forces got there, the troops were no where to be found.

  • Isreal is in violation of over a dozen UN resolutions, and has been for decades. And that isn't counting the 30 or so resolutions the US has vetoed on Isreal's behalf. One of those resolutions involves keeping the Middle East nuclear-free...a policy that we helped Isreal defy by arming them decades ago.

  • "Regime Change" in Afghanistan is turning into a massive failure. US troops are not helping keep the piece, and the US is severly underfunding the government that we helped form. Outside of Kabul, warlords are back in power, and some of them are so brutal that some people have voiced a longing for the days of the Taliban.

  • Iraq != al Qaida. != is geek-speak for does not equal. The Bin Laden tape that Colin Powell said would show that al Qaida supports Iraq involved Bin Laden railing against Saddam, who he calls a socialist pig and other such things. They ties that Powell explained in the UN were based on the reporting of one journalist, who got his info from one source..a man that's in jail in Kurdish-controled Iraq, and who is reported to be willing to say anything to get his freedom.

New Name Time

You'll note that I changed the name of my little blog. Well, if anyone's reading. Anyway, I felt that the old title was a bit unwieldy. Apathy, Inc has a nice ring to it. Plus, apathy is such a nationwide thing right now that I can't be the only one who can claim it as my own. Heck, apathy.blogspot.com was taken, probably a long time ago.

So, anyway. I went to the Bruins - Canucks game this past Monday, and watched the home town team get beat, 6-4. It was a pretty good game, and we had good seats..nosebleeds, but right over the redline. If only the B's could have played some more consistent D.

I'm almost done with my C book, and I don't really want to keep going. The last few parts have been kinda hard, and I'm not picking it up as well as I had been earlier.

So, I've been pointed to a fairly local game company that's hiring...I may drop off a resume, try to get a QA tester position. It'd be cool, but also a ton of hours and only 3-4 months...but it beats nothing.

I think that's about it for this entry.