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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, February 28


Be Concerned - Be Very Concerned

"It's something we're very worried about and very concerned about,"
- Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell to the Senate Armed Services Committee

First, it shouldn't go unnoticed that we have a Senate armed services Committee and it's holding hearings and asking questions. In fact, we should note that there are committees in both houses of congress which are actually performing their oversight obligations, unlike in the past few, Republican majority-led years. Next, it's important to see that oversight really does work, There is a real need to make government transparent and, given the opportunity, the Bush White House, with the aid of Republicans, would have left it as opaque as it has been since 2001.

What McConnell is talking about is Pakistan. There might not be a greater powder-keg in all of the middle east (with the exception of the ones which has already blown up - Iraq and Afghanistan). There is a president (Musharraf) who has control of the nation - sort of - and keeps a tenuous peace with those militant Muslim extremists and a "friendship" with the US at the same time.

Talk about a high-wire act!

Then there is the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. If anything were to happen which would put those arms at the ready for our enemies, we would have a whole new type of problem.

Next, let's not forget, that Pakistan borders a very mountainous and porous region of Afghanistan. The area has become a open door for anyone to enter or leave either nation for any reason they choose.

And, finally, let's remember that Musharraf has given safe haven to al-Qaeda in the Wazeristan region. It's there where he can meet with his terrorist advisors and make the new plans to attack western interests throughout the world.

So McConnell is right - I'm worried, too.

Something must have happened and it happened recently. First, it appears that Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri and the rest of al-Qaeda, now free to roam around safely in Pakistan, are organizing new terror plots around the world.

And the Bushies actually told us.

Next, we find out that the Taliban, back in the thick of things in Southern Afghanistan, is plotting and planning a Spring offensive aimed at getting control back. Even the British, who just announced the removal of all their troops from Iraq, are taking this news seriously and are going to send more troops into Afghanistan.

And the Bushies actually told us.

And, finally, Dick Cheney came out of his bunker to take a photo-op with Musharraf to show Bush's "concern" with the situation in Pakistan.

Well, we knew they'd tell us about that one.

The bottom line is that we ought to be worried. Iraq and Afghanistan are blowing up in our faces; Iran is willing to "talk", but not get rid of their desire for nukes; Russia has regressed into a new type of cold war foe - again; China and India have taken over our economy; and our European allies have become more "European" and less "allies".

Maybe we ought to get rid of the Crayola Terror alert color-code system and put in a "how Bush screwed up the world and how bad is it now" system instead.

-Noah Greenberg

A Convenient Truth
From Rutgers' Daily Targum

According to The Drudge Report, Al Gore's mansion in Tennessee "consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year." This is not the first time The Drudge Report has taken aim at Gore. Another recent attack brought up Gore's use of a motorcade to a global warming event; the report criticized him for using a Dodge truck in the motorcade. In the Monday post, Drudge cites a recent report by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research that details the Gore residence energy bill over the past 2 years, and declares "Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy," making a reference to the Oscar Gore won this past Sunday for his global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Drudge is also quick to highlight the fact that Gore has a 20-room, eight-bathroom mansion with an average monthly electrical bill of just under $1,400.

What The Drudge Report conveniently fails to mention, however, is the Gore residence runs on "100 percent green power" through a program called Green Power Switch. The program, developed in association with the Tennessee Valley Authority and local power companies, provides energy to its users from renewable resources -wind, solar and methane gas power. Regardless of how high the energy bill is, the energy being used by the Gore residence is produced with minimal impact to the environment. Gore's camp has reported solar panels and other energy-saving measures have been put into place to further reduce the carbon footprint of their residence.

The idea that Gore is being hypocritical about his stance on global warming, based on the energy consumption of his residence, is fundamentally flawed. The implication of the report is that Gore is environmentally insensitive because he has a mansion, and in addition, uses a lot of electricity to run it. While there is no doubt a 20-room mansion will use a much larger amount of energy than your typical American household, what is more important is how the energy used is being produced. It is not an environmental crime to own a mansion, and given his status as a politician, it is not surprising he has one. Regardless, the energy the Gore household consumes is clean and environmentally friendly, and does not significantly contribute to global warming.

-Forwarded by Eddie Konczal (http://www.dailytargum.com/news/2007/02/28/Opinions/A.Convenient.Truth-2746807.shtml)

A History Lesson

Lest we forget--Democrats under FDR and Truman were the party that began the modern phase of US interventionism, called in my childhood "the Pax Americana" in an eerie imitation of Roman and British imperialism.

Looking back from the vantage point of 71 years, with eyes trained to analyze history, I think the Democrats made this a deliberately cynical political policy of the Karl Rove type, to rub the noses of old-fashioned Republicans and Democratic leftists in their cautious isolationism and make them look like wimps and traitors. During and after WWII--even before the Cold War--letting other nations alone and minding our own business was no longer popular. Americans enjoyed feeling their oats after winning WWII against TWO dangerous enemies. Those who made policy could take on another big enemy, kick the rest of the world's ass, and expect a loud cheering section. Some foreigners objected to being kicked and had to be put down harshly with righteous US indignation, just as the Native American resistance and Black slave revolutions had been eradicated in the American past. Oh, we had plenty of local examples of imperialism to formulate our Pax Americana foreign policy.

By cleverly euphemizing a few baldly honest words, like dumping the Department of "War" for a Department of "Defense," the Cold War itself was drummed up (by both parties) all out of proportion for the same political goals of gaining power, keeping corporate money rolling in, and getting re-elected. My father, for decades an isolationist & socialist LaFollette Progressive Republican, got pulled a long way in the direction of these new policies and I believed in them, too. Thanks to Dad, who never quite succumbed, I objected to the worst episodes, but couldn't see the extent of the horror until about 1966. (The news media and schools programmed us, although that's a rotten excuse. Face it: I was conned as a sucker.)

It took a long while for me--until the Vietnam War--to see that the perceived virtues of Cold War interventionism were actually vices wrecking our country--not to mention the rest of the world. I'm pleased that Dad grew disillusioned before his death in 1977, and gradually others have until now more than 60% are dubious about our foreign policy. However, the leaders of both parties have used military interventionism for years as a chest-thumper, and it's a favorite cash cow not only of the most entrenched elected officials but of the international cartels that fund them--and who can no longer be called "patriots" in any sense. The collusion of power with money allows them to exclude the will of the people from their decision-making.

What other choices are there?

One: A campaign to take over the leadership of the Democrats and turn them around? So far, it hasn't worked; the leaders just thumb their noses. Can it be made to work? How? No more vague assumptions. We need rational planning.

Two: An alternative political party? If so, we'd better get moving fast to build a NEW one. The Greens have shown themselves happy to take GOP money, have been caught cheating and lying, and are burdened by a narrowly-defined name. Neither would I trust the long range goals of so-called Libertarians like Lyndon LaRouche. The country needs a worthy peace, justice, and honest government party that can rapidly attract voters.

If anyone has a viable "Three" with some hope of success, I'd like to see the detailed plan.

-Jenny Hanniver

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-Noah Greenberg