Saturday, July 29, 2006

Separation of temple and state (of Israel)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish organization, says one of its most important tenets is that the United States should separate church and state. Yet, like most American Jewish organizations, it whores itself to whatever and whoever is in power in a foreign nation known as Israel--a nation that also calls itself "the Jewish State."

Worse, too many temples in the US operate as if they were merely adjuncts of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), a registered lobbyist organization for the state of Israel. I have seen this occur at every temple, east coast and west coast, in which I have belonged. For example, at every Yom Kippur service every fall in nearly every temple, there is an "Israel Bonds" speaker relaying the latest "information" that comes from a world view straight out of AIPAC--and telling us we're not good Jews if we don't give money to the government of Israel.

I bring this up because it is well past the time for American Jews, especially those of us who belong to temples, to stop the lockstep support of whatever actions the government of Israel decides to undertake.

While I bring this up following the arrest of the nutcase (bipolar and not on enough medication), who shot people at a Jewish Federation Community Center in Seattle because he was confused between American Jews and the government leaders in Israel, I really bring this up because, too often, Jewish leaders in temples across the US act like there is no difference.

In the long term, and maybe now the short term, I strongly believe it is better for Judaism, as a religion, to separate itself from the actions of a foreign country that was set up largely by athiests or agnostics in the first fifty years of the 20th Century.

Some may ask: Why is it relevant to speak about atheists or agnostics who ushered in the creation of Israel? Because, according to Jewish rabbinic law, it is the messiah who will be the one to return the Jews to Israel and, at the same time, usher in peace on Earth. Last time I checked, Ben Gurion, often identified as an atheist, was not the Messiah. Plus, there hasn't been much peace that I've seen since Israel came into existence, especially not there.

So I implore my fellow Jews: It is time to begin the separation of temple from the state of Israel. Temples must not march in lock step behind whatever government is in power in Israel. Leave the non-stop politicizing for Israel to AIPAC. Jews in temples are better off studying and teaching the Talmud and the importance of critical thinking in our religious beliefs, which is the best reason to be or remain Jewish--something the sometimes inhumane Alan Dershowitz recognized in one of his best books ever.

Addendum: Please read this article about a Christian pastor questioning whether it is a good idea to attach Jesus to Karl Rove and the GOP slime machine, and overemphasize anti-homosexuality and anti-abortion positions to the detriment of other aspects of Christian philosophy. This strikes me as analogous to my point made above: Mainly defining Judaism, in deeds as well as thoughts, by support for a foreign nation (Israel) undermines Judaism and will eventually help lead to anti-Semitism against Jews (and a belief that "Jews" have a "dual loyalty" that is less than fully American), something that most of us want to avoid.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It should be "Thanks, Lieberman, Clinton and Biden," Not "Thanks, Ralph"

From this LA Times article about Bill "Big Dog" Clinton stumping for Boltin' Joe Lieberman:

"'No Democrat is responsible for the mistakes that have been made since the fall of Saddam Hussein,' he said. 'We're not responsible for the fact that that a lot of those kids still don't have body armor … and there's billions of dollars that have been given out in no-bid contracts and millions that are just missing. We're not responsible for that. So I say, we can fight later in the future about what do we do next, and honorable people can disagree.'"

Wrong, Big Dog. If Lieberman, or your wife, or Biden had any guts or integrity, they would have filibustered against any request by Bush for more money for the war until Bush promised to provide all necessary equipment and support for every soldier sent to fight in Iraq.

If those three Dem Senators had been consistent in filibustering ridiculous legislation or nominations for executive and judicial positions, things wouldn't be as bad as they are for our nation and our planet. And on a political party level, these three--Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, and Biden--are three reasons why the Democrats still don't have traction against an incompetent, a pathetic, lying and venal Republican Party.

Why Eric Alterman doesn't write every single day, "Thanks Lieberman" reveals the limits of Eric's understanding of the politics of our nation. Sorry, Eric. But, it's not Ralph Nader's fault that Democrats in the Senate decided to let Ashcroft and later Gonzalez become Attorney General. It's not Nader's fault that enough Democrats in the House and Senate put their names on the first and second round of tax cuts for the rich and, worse, the war for Iraq (Please don't start the parsing here that people didn't know what Bush was planning to do. Enough Dems opposed that resolution because it was well known among insiders what Bush was planning to do). And it is not Nader's fault that several leading Democrats refused to filibuster Alito, the bankruptcy bill, and a host of other bad nominees and legislation.

The bottom line is that the Big Dog is dead wrong to have to come to the aid of a jerk like Joe Lieberman who, as is well known, provided support to the Republicans' personal attacks on Clinton. And double shame on Barbara Boxer, who, as Firedoglake points out, lied yesterday when confronted about Lieberman's recent infamous statement about his support for hospitals which refuse to provide abortion services for women.

Finally, when one considers the fact that Ned Lamont has largely the same views as most Democrats in Connecticut, Lieberman's announcement that he will not support anyone other than himself is the highest act of party betrayal and selfishness. Big Dog and Boxer should be, again, ashamed of themselves for stumping for Lieberman.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The high cost of being poor

Barbara Ehrenreich and Troubled Times report on a new study from the Brookings Institution showing how people who are poor pay more for lots of things than those of us in more affulent neighborhoods.

As one goes up the ladder, this is even more pronounced. For example, from my own personal knowledge and experience in corporate America, many officers of corporations have their entire medical insurance paid for them, receive company cars (which they often get to keep post-employment) and have special, and often generous, pension programs separate from that of the "regular" employees. These special pensions are often protected and funded despite bankruptcy filings, unlike regular employee pension programs.

Derek Bok once remarked that perhaps the most interesting, yet disappointing aspect of wealth distribution in America may be the fact that the best paying jobs are the most presitigous jobs, while the least-paying jobs, e.g. changing bed pans at hospitals, have the lowest status. Bok recognized the economic logic of it, but reminds us that there is more to "logic" than economics.

To posit one example, I never understood why Michael Eisner, at Disney, was paid tens of millions of dollars each year to watch animated films before they were released (his taste was often terrible), be a jerk to his fellow execs and employees, and yet failed to significantly increase shareholder value (particularly after he chased away Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells died in a plane crash). Isn't the status of being the head of Disney something so awesome that it should lessen the need for excessive income and perks?* This is not a plea for equality, but a plea for some limits in a time when regular employees are constantly told there's not enough money or perks for "everyone."

* The way things work in the US, if I used a rock star or a ball player as an example, everyone would immediately get the point. For some reason, this particular class analysis doesn't get applied very much to CEOs, does it?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dershowitz Agonistes

Digby reveals the depths of political depravity to which Alan Dershowitz has been reduced in his too often "Israel right or wrong" attitude.

How a brilliant mind such as Dershowitz's can turn to vicious hackery on behalf of whatever government is in power in Israel is a mystery that is ultimately inexplicable.

What is truly amazing about Dershowitz is that his wonderful book about the religious challenges Jews face in the modern world, "The Vanishing American Jew," called for a Judaism based not on Israel or chest-beating about the Holocaust, but about studying the complexities of the Talmudic commentaries for the wisdom of the ages. And his brilliant dissection of the top 10 Old Testament stories should be required reading for any person interested in the meaning of these Biblical stories. The books contain a voice that even those who truly detest Dershowitz would find enlightening and compelling if they simply blocked the name of the writer on the book covers.

Yet, there Dershowitz is, devaluing the lives of Lebanese in ways that the voice Dershowitz uses in the linked-to books would find appalling. Dershowitz offers us an example of how an excessively aggressive defense of the conduct of the Israeli government toward Arabs can lead to a betrayal of our nation's political values that favor open government and justice--and has, in the recent past, led Dershowitz to seek to find a way to legalize torture, instead of requiring it to remain outside official legal support. This ironically put Dershowitz to the right of John McCain, who explained why there are practical as well as moral reasons for a legal sanction against torture.

Those who defend Dershowitz's aggressive attitudes regarding Israel note his statements where he says he is critical of Israeli settlement policies. However, Dershowitz's statements in this regard lack any force because they are stated in a passive voice and have not, in any substantive sense, been tied to a particular solution to stop the continued building of those Israeli settlements. It is therefore a vacuous sort of criticism.

As for Dershowitz's "intellectual" wars Dershowitz has had to fight with Norman Finkelstein, I am inclined to award Finkelstein some points in his charges. However, overall, the more one reads the point-counterpoint, the more one feels...soiled and that is because Finkelstein is almost Coulteresque in the tone of his denunciations.

Note: The title of this post comes from Garry Wills' magisterial book, "Nixon Agonistes."


Not enough US troops for more war? Just ship more arms to the Israelis

Bush and Company are just chomping at the bit to expand war in the Middle East. Since they realize they don't have the troops to do so, they have sped up delivery of bombs to Israel. If any Americans still believe the US government wants a cease-fire, such persons are delusional.

This article by Zeev Schiff in Haaretz, which shows how Iran is continuing to supply rockets and ammunition to Hezbollah, also reveals that (a) Israel has destroyed much of those supplies and (b) Iran is more motivated by the fear that Hezbollah will be routed. Surely this should be an opening for the US to call on all nations to stop arming Israel and Hezbollah and state that the US will stop shipment of new materials for 72 hours if Iran will do the same. If that doesn't work, that would be one thing. But Bush's decision only invites more war and bloodshed.

It is imperative to remark upon the silence in official Washington among leaders in the Democratic Party and the few remaining reasonable Republican leaders at Bush's conduct in promoting more war in the Middle East. This silence is sadly based upon an irrational fear of being perceived as anti-Israel or worse, anti-Semitic. This is why it is vital for opinion makers and leaders to read Haaretz every day during such times--in order to recognize that in Israel itself, there is more debate on the Israeli government's conduct these past several months. And it is equally vital for Americans who are Jewish to speak out against the overreaction of the Israeli government and the Israeli government's refusal to support policies that would have promoted peace and reconciliation instead of war.


Vetoing stem cell research and why conservatives can't govern...

Via Crooks and Liars, Jon Stewart deftly exposes the sickening hypocrisy of the particular Republican leaders, from the president to Senator Brownback, who oppose stem-cell research.

Meanwhile, Alan Wolfe, in his best essay in many years, patiently explores a general truism: People who say they hate "government" usually can't run a government with any effectiveness or humanity.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The odor of vengeance is strong in the air of the Middle East

In my opinion, Haaretz, Israel's most respected newspaper, is the best source for those Americans wanting to understand what is happening between Israel and Hamas/Hezbollah.

Here is a thoughtful piece in its opinion section today. I admit to saying it is thoughtful because it is somewhat similar to my view of both the Islamacists and Israeli sides in this continuing conflict.

Another article worth reading, one in which I believe is too optimistic in terms of Israel's military campaign, is from Ze'ev Schiff. Schiff, one of Israel's most respected military reporters, was highly critical of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (see his co-authored book on the subject, which remains the best book one can read regarding Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon). Schiff has endorsed the Israeli government's actions from the beginning of this current conflict and sets forth a reasoned opinion largely free of propaganda. However, where I disagree with Schiff is that, had the Israeli government, over the past several months, engaged with Palestinian Authority President Abbas in exploiting Hamas' split regarding peace with Israel, and had Israel's government given even tacit support to the Palestinian referendum, it could have withstood the Hamas militants' attempts to undermine peace and avoided invading Gaza--which would have avoided Hezbollah making the move to open a second front against Israel (as the first linked article writer would agree).

From a different perspective, here is an article critical of Israel's actions. However, this article, in my view, is also overly optimistic in suggesting a more immediate and comprehensive diplomatic solution could have been been achieved in terms of disarming Hezbollah. Hezbollah could only be forced to lay down its arms as part of a larger movement toward peace between Palestinians and Israelis, in my view. Still, there is interesting information in the piece regarding the military in Israel and how it sought to provide Israel's current and previous governments with political solutions to consider--and not simply military actions.

Concluding thoughts:

At this point, our nation's president has been clear that he will allow Israel to continue to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure, well beyond Hezbollah holdings. In the short run, Hezbollah is going to be destroyed as an active military force--which, it must be said, is a good thing. But with the Israeli invasion killing far more civilians than Hezbollah militias, and playing a major role in the destruction of Lebanon as a viable nation, Israel is now going to reoccupy south Lebanon. This will lead to a guerrilla "resistance" in that area and in central and eastern Lebanon against Israel, and new recruits in Lebanon (and elsewhere) for Hezbollah--or other new terrorist groups against Israel and possibly the US. Recall that the first invasion of Lebanon gave Israel and the world the Hezbollah.

If the Palestinian people still get to vote for the referendum--and pass that referendum saying they support a two state solution for Palestinians and Israelis--enough people might wake up in the region and a smart international diplomatic effort might lead to a cease-fire and commencement of peace talks. But dead civilians abound on all sides, much more on the Arab side, and the odor of vengeance is likely to prove more resistant against the winds of peace.

(Slight editing)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dear God, sorry to disturb you but...

I saw these two photos at a couple of different web sites and had to track them down to the Yahoo! photo news section to be sure they were what is represented.

And yes, these are photos of Israeli girls writing messages on rockets to be dropped on people in Lebanon.

Near the end of her life, Golda Meir reportedly said that peace would come when Arabs love their children more than they hate Jews. And how many times have we been told how the Arabs teach their children to hate Israel and its Jewish inhabitants?* Well, these two photos chillingly show how far the hate has reached inside the Israeli people.

I must say, though, as I have said often before, that before we Americans get too haughty, let's take a look at this photo for starters. And note that photo was of a lynching in Indiana, not Alabama.

We're all about three consecutive missing paychecks, plus a bombing in our neighborhood, from this sort of behavior. That's why international diplomacy and an honest mediator leadership from the US is vital. However, so far, we've not seen anything from the Bush administration that meets those criteria.

* For an article about Palestinian textbooks not being hateful, especially compared to say, the Syrian textbooks for Arab students, see here.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israeli government making friends and influencing people

This is not quite what Dale Carneige had in mind. But if someone wanted to further drive Hamas and Hezbollah together, and ignite a regional war that the Busheviks want so desparately to join, then I guess the Israeli government is showing us how that is done.

Oy. Vey.

(Corrected link)

"Stabbed in the Back" article finally on line

Harper's has graciously placed on the web Kevin Baker's masterful essay as to the continuity or patterns of right wingers creating and blaming "internal" enemies for the badly planned or badly executed wars the right wingers support.

The point of the essay has a strong resonance in the right wing* denunciations of the NY Times publishing an article about Congress not being in the loop with regard to a White House instigated financial tracing program. Funny, though, how the right wing was joyful about the NY Daily News reporting about an on-going investigation against Al Queda (because that was good news for the Bush administration?). See this Media Matters article for specifics on the right wing's failure to issue charges of treason against, nor call for the death of, the reporters at the NY Daily News.**

As I wrote in a previous post, the right wing in the USA is less interested in fighting Al Queda or Sunni Iraqis than they are about finding or creating "internal" enemies to oppress. Plus, the fact that Bush-Rove-Cheney play to this base while the three of them continue to support the building of an apparatus of oppression is what should have most Republicans as well as Democrats very, very concerned.

* You want names? See here (most of the links on this subject are from Glenn Greenwald)

** Another issue to raise is why the NY Times was the focus of right wing outrage when the story was reported by other newspapers, including the LA Times and even the Wall Street Journal.


Bush to Chavez: Only real dictators get invited to the Bush White House

I finally figured out Hugo Chavez's problem. See, he's democratically elected as president of oil rich Venezuela, but he's not as corrupt or dictatorial as the dictators from other oil rich nations such as Equatorial Guinea or Kazakhstan, who each were given recent receptions at the Bush White House.

That's why Bush (and his cronies in his administration) and the corporate owned media worry about Chavez being a dictator. They are saying, "Geez, if he becomes a real dictator, he'll have to be invited to the White House for tea and crumpets--and receive US military or economic aid."

Here is an interview with Chavez from The Progressive (the interviewer is Greg Palast, who may be the George Seldes of our time). Yeah, Chavez talks tough about Bush, but look how the corporate media and Bush treated him up through and after the failed coup that the New York Times' editorial page and the Bush administration had cheered on (Note the irony of that last link, with a NY Times reporter finding out two years later what the Bushies were up to). Overall, the real reason the elitist pro-corporate media and this recklessly dangerous White House dislike and want to overthrow Chavez is because Chavez has the "audacity" to use oil revenue to help his people secure better schools, health care and infrastructure, and pay for land reform. Otherwise, someone had better explain the invites to these real dictators. And quick.


Time's up. Bush is a hypocrite and a liar.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Solutions to the Middle East problems are not direct solutions

With the Israeli government intent on playing along with the violence of Arab terrorist groups and Arab governments, it is imperative that the US begin the following:

1. Research & development of alternative fuels and promoting of electric vehicles. This will eventually end our need for Middle East oil and stop the distortion of the politics of Arab nations, which has been going on for the past 60 years.

2. Drop DVDs, CDs, and players, GameBoys, jeans, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc. instead of bombs over Arab lands. The lure of our consumer goods is what caused the Russian system to collapse. Why not here?

3. Stop giving in to every demand of the Israeli government for new bombs and military goods. Put that military equipment and stuff on a slow boat to Tel Aviv and Haifa--or delay it out of our nation's ports. The current Israeli government clearly stoked the fire of war against Palestinians, which only emboldened the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. This latest conflation of warring tribes in Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon has allowed the yahoo element in our nation who desire more war to conclude--without evidence--that this is all an Iranian and Syrian "plot" against America and Israel. And if anyone thinks the Israeli government really wants a dialogue of peace, then they are only ingesting propaganda. Last month, Olmert made it clear he had no interest in forming any dialogue or developing better relations with the people in Gaza or the West Bank. But, again, the Hamas and Hezbollah are even worse in my view as they know only the language of suicide bombers and home made bombs and rockets.

The Armageddon people appear to be in charge in the US, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and increasingly Iraq. While they won't usher in the distopic future they long for, at least this time, they will make things worse before things get better. And again, too many people will die for more war and hatred.

Final thoughts: While the yahoo element in the US wants to readily blame Iran and Syria for Hezbollah's actions, will these same people consider the notion that the Israelis are doing the work of Rummy, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Hadley in expanding war into Iran and Syria--or are there only selective conspiracy theories allowed to be considered in our corporate-owned media? Personally, I see smaller nations having their own motives above that of their patrons. But of course, that point of view is then ridiculed by the yahoo element as too "nuanced."

Instead of wringing our hands, however, we must set our course on hope and push for the alternative policies I initially discussed, as opposed to continued war and retribution. Yes, the policy proposals outlined above are optimistic at best. But at least the solutions recognize and confront the real problems the Middle East and our nation face--unlike those who push for Armageddon solutions based upon a belief that their "side" is completely and morally right--and supported by God. In the meantime, as the bloodshed continues, my prayers are with the innocents who continue to suffer from the hubris and hatred exhibited by the leaders throughout our planet.

(Big edit)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barrett: Shine on you crazy diamond

Syd Barrett has died at the age of 60. He was a founder of Pink Floyd and responsible for the development of a psychadelic sound that is still amazing to hear almost 40 years on.

You Tube has some amazing videos of early Pink Floyd (circa 1967) with songs such as:

Arnold Layne (a song about a then infamous cross-dresser)

See Emily Play

Jugland Blues (with fun rhythm changes)

Bike (Released in February 1967, it anticipated "I Am The Walrus" by the Beatles much later in the year)

Barrett's infamous nervous breakdown took him away from Floyd in 1969, a few years before the band broke through with its classic "Dark Side of the Moon" album in 1973. In 1974, the Floyd released "Wish You Were Here" which was a tribute to Barrett, especially the song "Shine On You Crazy Dimaond."

Barrett did release a couple of solo works post-Floyd, including "The Madcap Laughs" (1970).

Barrett was one of the great British eccentric rockers, along with his spiritual co-hort with the "strange-for-a-boy" name, the also sadly departed Vivian Stanshall--most famous for being one of the leads in the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (I highly recommend this CD!) and a rather significant appearance in "The Magical Mystery Tour" film. A tribute page on Stanshall is here.

I'll miss Syd as I continue to miss Viv. Shine on you crazy diamonds.

Update on Mexico's presidential elections

Two articles worth reading:

1. Obrador's evidence of fraud is discussed here.

2. Calderon seeking alliances, hoping to create a climate where enough people will say "move on" and not have a ballot-by-ballot recount, is discussed here. Note the bias in the article in describing those who are pro-corporate as being for "modernization." The elitist biases of these reporters and editors is non-stop, isn't it?

I am sure there will be more developments, but I must also note the lack of interest from American pundits on this subject. They too want Calderon quickly put into power so corporate trade deals can continue to be made, which of course, will continue to help the truly rich and powerful over the less rich and weak. That's my bias, I guess, but at least this blog is obviously devoted to commentary and opinion.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Culturally liberal small party candidate is part of reason for close presidential election in Mexico

According to a blog from the San Francisco Chronicle, the vote tally for a culturally liberal-left small party candidate, Patricia Mercado, was over 1 million votes, while Calderon's (pre-recount) victory vote over Lopez Obrador was only about a third of that amount of votes. Can you say "spoiler"?

Ms. Mercado and her splinter party campaigned on a platfrom of being pro-abortion, pro-homosexual rights and anti-death penalty. Ms. Mercado herself has a background as a Trotskyist, which makes her a dilettante in the worst way. She was also trained as an economist, which shows she is an idiot about nation building and nation sustaining (pardons to renegade economists such as Robert Pollin, Dean Baker and MaxSpeak aka Max Sawicky and very few others, who do understand nation building and sustaining). With regard to substantive issues, then, Ms. Mercado is far different from Nader. In the US presidential election in 2000, Nader sought to promote a far more pro-labor and pro-environmental approach to nation building and nation sustaining for the United States of America. Nader stood four square against corporate trade deals when both leading US candidates for president, Gore and Bush, were in the pockets of the corporate global elite. Unlike Nader's issues, Ms. Mercado's issues were, relatively speaking, frivolous for a nation such as Mexico.

Also, if the Ross Report at the SF Chronicle (first link) is correct that Ms. Mercado is considering joining the Calderon government, when Calderon and his party oppose both birth control and abortion, then she will reveal herself as a shameless self-promoter, a la Joe Lieberman.

Hopefully, when the recount is completed, the razor thin victory will belong to Lopez Obrador. If Lopez Obrador does prevail, I hope he will reach out to someone in Mercado's party for a cabinet position--but not Mercado. Mercado should simply be shunned. And then, it's on to the Mexico version of the New Deal.

Final comments:

1. The fact that some culturally right wing Catholics may have supported Calderon precisely on the grounds that Calderon opposes homosexual rights and aboriton, shows that the "What's the matter with Kansas?" effect may also have tilted the balance against Obrador to Calderon.

2. In the latest news I've found on the web, Lopez Obrador is leading in a polling place re-tally, which is not the same as a ballot by ballot re-count. Obrador, in my view, is doing the correct thing by standing strong for a full recount (which shows he learned something from Al Gore's relative passivity in the weeks following the 2000 election).

3. Calderon's post-election day call for a coalition government, which would include Obrador in his cabinet, is propaganda. Calderon had called for a coalition government before the election, too. When pressed before the election, however, Calderon said the coalition would not include any cabinet post for interior, finance or foreign relations cabinet posts, which would go to his right wing corporate dominated party. These are the key posts in any Mexican government. Therefore, Obador is correct not to join in any coalition with Calderon and again, Mercado's consideration shows her to be a phony.

4. One of my parents' neighbors is from Mexico. She said her brother was ready to vote for Obrador, but wound up voting for Calderon because he was told that if Obrador won, he would be forced to have homeless persons live in his home. Such are the challenges Obrador and his political party, the PRD, will continue to have in trying to help working people and peasants who are not able to withstand the effects of propaganda, political dirty tricks and appeals to their own selfishness and clannishness. Oh, and before we Americans get too haughty about that fellow, let's recall the run up to the Iraq War II in 2002 and 2003, or more historically, the 1934 California governor's race--where rich businessmen in and around Hollywood produced films, shown in theaters throughout the state, that claimed "bums" were ready to come to California if Upton Sinclair won the election for governor. It is never easy for true community values to prevail over selfishness, clannishness and greed.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Politics waits for no Boy Scout Camp

I'm at Boy Scout camp with my son this week.

But I want to say one thing about the razor thin win by Calderon of the Corporate Whore PAN Party: The current Mexican governments (state and federal)have the burden of proof as to whether there was significant fraud in the latest presidential election. Considering the chicanery and sometimes violent acts that occurred before, during and after the 1988 election, there is no reason to simply conclude Calderon in fact won this race.

Every poll, while in the margin of error, had Calderon losing. With Mexico's history, this is more than enough for a recount and further investigation.

I could comment on other things, but I'm off to watch my son canoeing. I love the Boy Scouts program because it has taught my son and me things we could not do on own. Yes, I know its policies on atheists and homosexuals. However, having been through Cub Scouts and Boy Scout troops with different troops in different areas of California, I can safely say that if someone identified himself as an atheist or homosexual, I do not believe such a person would be kicked out of the troops to which I have belonged or continue to belong. Maybe there is less human tolerance in other troops, but it is not even a topic of discussion in the troops in which I have been involved. Meanwhile, my son is having a great time, learning to camp and take care of himself and I too have found it a rewarding experience.

Having said the above, I am the resident Chomsky compared to the other Dads (though one of the other Dads, a retired military guy, has an affinty for Marcuse).

Sorry, no links today!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Finally, some economic truth from the corporate-owned media

It is wonderful to see the LA Times Business section lay out the analysis and factual information so consisely on the human toll of the NAFTA. The NAFTA was bad for peasants and workers on both sides of the border--and many of us who were critical of the NAFTA from the start, including some well known persons and groups quoted in the article, correctly predicted these results,

This article is must reading for all persons who want to understand how a poorly drafted trade pact can adversely affect so many aspects of our society. I just wish it was a front page article, instead of being relatively hidden in the business section. On the web though maybe it will break through and be read more widely.