Monday, September 11, 2006

September 1-10, 2006

Vote for Nothing

A few years ago a wag out here in California changed his name to “Nobody,” and tried to get on the ballot with the slogan “Vote for Nobody For President.” It was your typical California guerrilla theater politics and it went nowhere, not that it was ever intended to go anywhere else.

But now we have an entire party adopting this tactic – Democrats. Only they changed the slogan to, “Vote for Nothing.”

That's because with the ranks of Bush/GOP-haters swelling by the hour, Democrats figure all they have do is to not die between now and November to win.

Unfortunately, they are probably right about that.

But should we allow it? I mean, if you vote for someone who stands for nothing, proposes nothing, takes unambiguous positions on nothing, isn't that just what you get?

I'm as sick and tired of this batch of Republican robber baron-bastard-turd blossom-liars as the next guy. And, I have to admit, there have been days when I would have preferred nothing to the something they were up to. But the nation and world is now is such a mess, is nothing what we really want?

Will nothing provide medical coverage to the 48 million Americans who don't currently have it? Or the 8 million American children who don't have it?

Will nothing reverse a tax system that has redistributed wealth upward, forcing government to pay its bills with money borrowed from China and Japan?

Will nothing deal with the federal debt, that will have doubled to $8.5 trillion, and grows by nearly $2 billion each and every day?

Will nothing get us out of Iraq and keep us out of Iran?

Will nothing keep Iran and North Korea from developing nukes?

Will nothing force us off our dependence on oil.. and not just foreign oil, but all oil?

Will nothing institute the painful steps that will be necessary to deal with global warming?

Will nothing secure our borders, regulate imported labor and punish companies that violate those regulations?

Will nothing get the minimum wage raise and indexed to inflation so workers at the bottom are never again left behind by economic forces beyond they control.

I doubt it. But that's what the Democrats are running on – nothing. They are likely to get away with in November 2006, but shame on us if we allow them to get away with it in November 2008.

Because a vote for nothing will get us precisely that.

September 6, 2006

"Time Out!"

We need a time out. Of course, since the next two years are election years, we are not about to get a time out. But if America ever needed a time out it needs one right now.

The questions we need to time out to sort out is the most important questions a nation and its people can ponder:

* Are we at war or not.
* And if we are at war, who with?
* And, if this is not a war, then precisely what/who threatens us?
* And how do we address that threat short of war?

We need a time out, because this administration has misused the fog of war to accentuate the fog of politics. That's left those of us out here wondering just what the hell is really going on. Even Richard Nixon didn't have as long or as flexible an enemies list as this administration. Five years after 9/11 you can now throw a dart at a world map and hit a country or region that's on the Bush's enemies list – or is about to be added. Neocons have already begun describing it as “World War III.”

But is it really that serious? If so then we need to put politics behind us and go to war – for real.

But against whom? Whose beaches should we storm? Whose cities should be carpet-bombed?

America has shown it can fight and win a war against a Japan or a Germany. But can we fight and win a war against “terrorists?” We need to have that discussion. Amazingly, we have not. We just went ahead and shipped a couple of hundred thousand of Johnnys and Janes thousands of miles from home, into strange and hostile lands, to engage and vanquish “terrorists.”

There was an ad running for Comcast's new video-email feature. It showed a close up of a guy on a webcam telling his father about his vacation. The guy's face was dotted by dozens of little bandages. After explaining that he had had a wonderful vacation the hapless fellow adds, “Oh and there was this hornet's nest ... and I stuck a stick in it .... you know, to see if there were any hornets in it. ... and there were.......”

Every time I see that ad I think of George W. Bush and his Iraq “vacation.”

Yes, there were hornets in that nest, George. And don't we need a time out to discuss the wisdom of your big stick strategy? (Unfortunately in this case it's American GI's sporting the bandages rather than the guy with the stick.)

Here's another question that needs a full and thorough examination during our time out. Are we at war with a real enemy of state or a bunch of nuts Jewish nuts, Christian nuts and Muslim nuts? Are they the real Axis of Evil?

This all began when a handful of Koranically lobotomized screwballs flew planes into the World Trade Center. Neocons quickly compared that attack with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that sparked the US entry into World War II. But did they pick the wrong analogy? Maybe it was more like the 1914 assassination in Sarajevo of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Bosnian radical Gavrilo Princip that sparked World War I?

We need a time out to fully discuss that question. Because if that's the case then we are going about this “war” all wrong. Was 9/11 an act of war, or a crime? Albeit, a massive crime, but a crime nonetheless. The Rev. Jim Jones killed of nearly a thousand Americans – was he an enemy of state or criminal? Did we declare war on fundamentalist Christian sects after the nut case Dravidian siege in Wacko?

So I ask, are we at war with a genuine enemy of state or are we simply threatened by a criminal cult, driven, not by a lust for loot, but for ephemeral eternal rewards? It's the pivotal question, and we should put a sock in all political name calling and demagoguery and find out -- don't ya think?

I am not arguing all is well. Clearly something dangerous is afoot in the world (as there always has been at any moment in human history) But is war? That I doubt.

First, whatever it is, I don't feel terribly threatened. If the US could withstand the full and unrestrained resources of Japan and Germany 60 years ago, I assume we can weather the occasional terrorist attack. (Notice I said “occasional” because that's the key to unlocking this question of “war or not war.” )

Because, be it terrorism or just life, stuff happens even in the best of times. Planes crash on their own. Hurricanes wipe out cities. Earthquakes shake up entire regions. Bird flu, AIDS, famines, droughts and pestilence kills more humans over time than wars and terrorist acts combined – by a long shot.

So, I believe that if the US puts the right military and law enforcement resources in place to secure the US mainland most terrorist attacks will either be discouraged or discovered before they can be carried out. Occasionally one will succeed. Stuff happens. That's unfortunate. But it's not war -- or grounds on which to launch one.

We can live with the occasional terrorist attack. What we can't live with is a view of a world filled with enemies, enemies that must be tracked down by the US military and engaged in battle. Because that's a baby-out-with-the-bath-water strategy. Sure our soldiers would find a few dozen or a few hundred “terrorists.” But in the process they will kill and piss off a lot of innocent folk turning them into the next crop of “enemies of America.” (It makes you wonder if the Bushies learned their PR skills at the Leona Helmsley Academy for Pissing People Off.)

As for Iran, I agree, they shouldn't be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. No one else in the world should either, for that matter. The nuclear club is already too big and needs to get smaller, not larger. The law of averages dictates that the more folks who have nukes the more likely someone will eventually use one again, either on purpose or by accident.

But the way to stop Iran is the same way we stopped the spread of the Soviet Union – by containment, not war. Seal the little bastards off from world commerce. Render them virtual prisoners in their 12th century Islamic theme park nation until they cry “uncle” or their own people toss them out of power. (And yes, that means cutting off Iran's oil exports and higher gas prices for US consumers.)

I am not saying that the military has no role to play in this international law enforcement action, I just think deploying US troops to places like Iraq is bit like delivering live chickens directly to a wolf's den. All we accomplish is saving them the trouble and expense of flight to the US to win their Islamic nut case bones.

Instead I refer you to my “Don't Do That” defense policy. Nations like Iran and Syria possess an endless supply of folks willing to die for Allah. But valuable infrastructure is finite, is right out in the open and, if destroyed, needs to be replaced... and replaced.. and replaced. They hate that.

So I end as I began. Are we, or are we not, at war? If not, then maybe Democrats right to begin with, that that terrorism is a domestic and international law enforcement challenge -- not grounds for war. Recent law enforcement successes by Europeans suggest that is precisely the case.

If the Democrats regain control of the House in November I suggest the first thing they do is call a time out for hearings to explore that question – for the first time.

Baby Boomers
Where the Hell Art Thou?

'In this world of ours in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy."
(FDR 1936)

Memo to: Fellow Baby Boomers
From: Stephen Pizzo (1945 - clock's still ticking)

I fear my generation has lost it's groove. Maybe you remember the 60s and 70's with pride, I know I do. Man, did we know how raise hell for a good cause! But we seem to have lost that righeous fire in our (aging) guts, the fire that sent us by the millions into the streets in moral outrage nearly 40 years ago.

Maybe that's why you're not out there now -- you forgot. Yeah, I'm talking to you, you old Hippies, you old Yippies, you old Students for a Democratic Society, you old War Resister leaguers. Guess it wasn't moral outrage that drove us to the streets back in the 60's and 70's .. it was the draft. Now that we don't have a dog in the fight, there's no fight left in us either.

And, being that it's Labor Day and all, what about you 1960's-era labor activists? You got yourselves some fine wages and benefits back then. But where the hell are you now that we really need you? Oh, retired are you? Okay, what about your kids, and your grandkids? You got yours, but will they get theirs? Sure doesn't look they will. You had real power once, and you knew how to use it. Back "in the day" rank and file labor activists would have placed Wal-Mart under siege and, in a matter of weeks, had it's executives begging for negotiations.

Today you just shop there.

And where did all the you ACLU-types go? I recall a time when legal activists elbowed one another out of the way to file civil rights actions, get restraining orders for conscientious objectors and sued members of the sitting administration left and right for unconstitutional misbehavior. And, if that didn't work, they packed up their legal tablets and hit the street and staged sit-ins of the perps offices. Back in the day a lawyer without a righteous rap sheet wasn't much of a lawyer. So, what happened to you Baby Boom legal eagles? Did you score a fat share of tobacco settlement money, or a slip and fall personal injury suit and rationaize that you could both do good AND do well? I suppose so. And if so then getting yourself arrested on principle would indeed be a bad career move. Have I got that right?

Am I pissing you off? Well, I can talk to you like this because I am one of you. I marched in the streets for civil rights and to end an unjust war. I got gassed, knocked on the head and arrested. Then the war ended, the creep in the White House got sent back to LA with his crooked tail between his legs, and things settled down for a while. And so did I. Like most of you I got married, had kids and career. I did my time in a workplace cubicle, commuted for years in bumper to bumper traffic, flew coach, made money. I got mine and retired.

So, my old friends, here we are -- together once again. Whether in Berkeley, or New York or Ohio or San Francisco, blue state resident or red, we are again on the same track, facing the same challenges. The only difference is, back then we made a difference. Oh, marketers know our power, but that's about it. Once Washington knew it too -- knew it and felt it. Back in the day we could paralyze the Pentagon for days on end. We could blockade and close Selective Service offices around the country. Once, we were revolutionaries. Once we fought and won.

Today we are conspicuous only by our absence. Things are far worse than they were 40 years ago. The folks in the White House and Congress are far more dangerous -- and far more successful -- than Richard Nixon could ever have dreamed possible. Again young Americans are fighting and dying in an unjust war thousands of miles from home. Organized labor has been systematically and purposely gutted by a series of so-call "free trade" agreements -- and by corruption from within. American workers now earn less -- adjusted for inflation -- than they did back in the 1970's, and that trend continues downward. And large corporations have more power over our lives and politics today than at any time since before the 1920s.

So where the hell are we? Why aren't we back out in the streets? We like to think we're still young. We have even coined phrases like "60 is the new 40." Then we proceed to prove it by rock climbing, kyacking, hiking and driving Harleys to make ourselves look like Brando. So it can't be lack of physical vigor keeping us in check. Eighty million of us were born so, even allowing for general wear and tear, the Vietnam War, auto accidents and drugs, I figure there must at least 40 or 50-million of us still kicking around out here. Where the hell are we? Why aren't we in the streets again ... and not in the dozens, not in the hundreds or even thousands, but by the millions... again?

I think it's because, during all those years of "settling down," we lost that fire in our guts that got us off our asses back in the day. So, here's a re-light. Listen to or read this speech. Then let's see if the old saying is true, that "Just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean the fire's out in the furnace."

Read or listen here. And be reminded of what real leadership sounds like. (Text) (Audio)

(Selected exerpts from Frankliln Roosevelt's 1936 speech)

"Governments can err, Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales. Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."

"In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy-from the eighteenth century royalists who held special privileges from the crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man's property and the average man's life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented the people."

"... out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers-the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service. ....There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things....It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.?

September 1, 2006

Weekend Edition

Have you just about given up any hope that a grassroots Democrat will emerge, one who is articulate, smart, honest and has balls?

Frankly I was very close to giving up on that dream. Then last week GW Bush addressed Veterans of Foreign wars in what he hoped was still righwing-friendly Salt Lake City, Utah. As usual he picked a friendly audience and he let tear against Americans who oppose his war in Iraq, accusing them of being closet fascist-appeasers. Normally the media and Dems let him get away with that kind of demagoguery.

But for once an opponent showed up in the opposite corner of the ring. Bush and his handlers had not counted on Salt Lake City's Democrat Mayor, Ross "Rocky" Anderson. And Anderson was in a fighting mood, landing punch after punch counter punch. Had this been a real fight Bush would in intensive care.

And, unlike the Michael Moores of the political left, Anderson can't be easily dismissed by GOP spinsters and swiftboaters as some kind of a nut. Because Rocky is the real deal:

Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson degree from (born 1951) is the current mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born in Logan and received a bachelor's degree in science from the University of Utah and a Juris DoctorGeorge Washington University. Although the office of mayor in Salt Lake City is nonpartisan, Anderson's personal party affiliation is Democratic, and much of his platform is that of a liberal Democrat. Anderson was first elected in 1999 and was reelected in 2003. (More)

Hell, he even looks normal.

Anyway, enough from me. Here's the bulk of Anderson's speech that day. (I trimmed it down a bit so you wouldn't bail out until the end. If you want to read the full speech there's a link to it on the Mayor's homepage here.)

Salt Lake City Mayor,
Ross "Rocky" Andersen

Salt Lake City, Utah
August 30, 2006

A patriot is a person who loves his or her country. Who among you loves your country so much that you have come here today to raise your voice out of deep concern for our nation - and our world?

And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that our nation's leaders tell us the truth?

So let's hear it: "Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth!" Because if we had had the truth, we wouldn't be here today.

Let no one deny we are patriots. We support our nation's troops. Let's hear it for our nation's troops! We have so many veterans here today.

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating president.

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience - a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid -afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane, regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.

We are here today to insist that those who were elected to be our leaders must tell us the truth.

We are here today to insist that our news media live up to its sacred responsibility to ascertain and report the truth, that our news media live up to its sacred responsibility to ascertain and report the truth rather than acting like nothing more than a bulletin board for the lies and propaganda of a manipulative, dishonest federal government.

We have been getting just about everything but the truth on matters of life and death, on matters upon which our nation's reputation hinges, on matters that directly relate to our nation's most fundamental values, and on matters relating to the survival of our planet.

In the process, our nation has engaged in a tragic, unnecessary war, based upon categorically false justifications. More than a hundred thousand people have been killed - and many more have been seriously maimed, brain damaged, or rendered mentally ill. Our nation's reputation throughout much of the world has been destroyed. We have many more enemies bent on our destruction than before our invasion of Iraq. And the hatred toward us has grown to the point that it will take many years, perhaps generations, to overcome the loathing created by our unjustified, illegal invasion and occupation of a Muslim nation.

Our children and later generations will pay the price of the lies, the violence, the cruelty, the incompetence, and the inhumanity of the Bush administration and the lackey Congress that has so cowardly abrogated its responsibility and authority under our checks-and-balances system
of government.

We are here to say, "We will not stand for it any more. No more lies. No more pre-emptive, illegal war, based on false information. No more God-is-on-our-side religious nonsense to justify this immoral, illegal war. We are here to say most fundamentally, no more inhumanity in the name of our nation."

Let's raise our voices, and demand to the administration and our news media, "Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth!"

Let's consider some of the most monstrous lies - lies that have led us, like a nation of sheep, to this tragic war.

Following September 11, 2001, the world knew that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were responsible for the horrific attacks on our country. Our long-time allies were sympathetic and supportive. But our president transformed that support into international disdain for the United States, choosing to illegally invade and occupy Iraq, rather than focus on and capture the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.

Why invade and occupy Iraq when it was bin Laden and al Qaeda who attacked our country and still haven't been brought to justice? Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice represented to us, without qualification, that there were strong ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

In September, 2002, President Bush made the incredible and absolutely false claim that "You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam."

President Bush represented to Congress, without any factual basis whatsoever, that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11

Our President and Vice-President, along with an unquestioning news media, repeatedly led our nation to believe that there was a working relationship between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, a relationship that threatened the United States.

Not only has there never been any evidence of any involvement by Saddam or Iraq with the attacks on 9/11, but there has never been any evidence of any operational connection whatsoever between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

The principal claim was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction - biological and chemical weapons - and was seeking to build up a nuclear weapons capability. As we now know, there was nothing - no evidence whatsoever - to support those false claims.

President Bush asserted Saddam Hussein was trying to purchase nuclear materials from an African nation and seeking to obtain aluminum tubes for the enrichment of uranium were challenged at the time by our own intelligence agency and by our own scientists, yet President Bush failed to tell us that!

Ten days, 10 days, before the invasion of Iraq, it was proven that the documents upon which President Bush's claim about Saddam Hussein trying to obtain uranium was based were forgeries. That was found 10 days before we invaded Iraq. However, President Bush did not disclose that to the American people. By that failure, he betrayed each of us, he betrayed our country, and he betrayed the cause of world peace.

Had the American people known we were being lied to - had President Bush informed us that the documents were forged and that he had no other basis for his claim - had our nation's media done its job, rather than slavishly repeating to us the lies being fed to it by the Bush administration - our nation very well may not have allowed the commencement of this outrageous, illegal, unjustified war.

What were we told about chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction? These claims were as baseless and fraudulent as the claims about nuclear weapons.

Of course, no stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons were found. Bush Administration Weapons Inspector David Kay, appointed by the Bush administration, noted that Iraq did not have an ongoing chemical weapons program after 1991 - a conclusion remarkably similar to statements made by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice just months before the 9/11 attacks - and before they sacrificed the truth in the service of promoting the Bush administration's case for war against Iraq.

On February 24, 2001, less than 7 months before 9/11, Colin Powell said that Saddam Hussein, and these were his words, "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors," said Colin Powell, some seven months before 9/11.

In July 2001, two months before 9/11, Condoleezza Rice said, and these were her words: "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." She told us two months before

It is astounding how they changed their claims after the President decided to make a case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq!

To think that we could be lied to by so many members of the Bush administration with such impunity is frightening - chilling. Yet these imperious, arrogant, dishonest people think we should continue to
just fall in line with them and continue to take them at their word after we have been lied to time after time after time by these people. What a tragedy, leading to greater tragedy. We are fed lie after lie, our media reinforces those lies, and we are a nation that has been led to a tragic, illegal, unprovoked war.

We are here today because of our values. We love our country. We cherish the freedoms and liberties of our country. We don't call those who speak out against our nation's leaders unpatriotic or un-American
or appeasers of fascists, as we heard from our nation's secretary of defense yesterday. We have good, wholesome family values. In our families, we teach honesty, we teach kindness and compassion toward
others, we teach that violence, if ever justified, must be an absolutely last resort. In our families, we teach that our nation's constitutional values are to be upheld, and that they are worth standing up, as we are here today, and fighting for.

Our family values promote respect and equal rights toward everyone, regardless of race, regardless of ethnic origin, and regardless of sexual orientation. In our families, we teach the value of hard work and competence - and we are left to wonder about a President who, after receiving an intelligence memo about the threat posed by al Qaeda, decides to continue his month-long vacation - just before the 9/11 attacks on our country.

As we demand the truth from others, let us also face the truth. Our government all too often has not cared at all about the human rights of people in other nations - and it doesn't really care about democracy, unless it leads to the election of those who will do our bidding.

Perhaps those in the United States government who (prior to 9/11) aided and abetted Saddam Hussein to further US business interests, while he was gassing the Kurds, should be sharing his courtroom dock as he is now being tried for crimes against humanity.

No more lies, no more hiding of the truth - we can stand the truth - no more wars that more than triple the value of stock in Dick Cheney's prior employer, Halliburton - and which, as of last September, has increased the value of the Halliburton CEO's stock by $78 million.

We are patriots. We are deeply concerned. And we demand change, now.

No more lies from Condoleezza Rice about whether she and President Bush were advised before 9/11 of the possibility of planes being flown into buildings by terrorists. No more.

No more gross incompetence in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

No more torture of human beings.

No more disregard of the basic human rights enshrined in the Geneva Convention.

No more kidnapping of people and sending them off to secret prisons in nations where they will be tortured.

No more unconstitutional wiretapping of Americans.

No more proposed amendments to the United States Constitution that would, for the first time in our nation's history, limit fundamental rights and liberties for entire classes of people simply on the basis of sexual orientation.

No more federal land giveaways to developers.

No more increases in mercury emissions from old, dirty, dangerous coalburning power plants.

No more backroom deals that deprive protection for millions of acres of wild lands in our nation.

No more attacks on immigrants who work so hard to build better lives in this nation.

No more inaction by Congress on fixing our hypocritical and inconsistent immigration laws and practices.

No more reliance on fiction rather than the science of global warming.

No more manipulation of our media with false propaganda.

No more disastrous cuts in funding for those most in need.

No more federal cuts in community policing and local law enforcement grant programs for our cities.

No more inaction on stopping the tragic genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

No more of the Patriot Acts.

No more killing.

No more supposedly pre-emptive wars.

No more contempt for our long-time allies around the world.

No more dependence on foreign oil.

No more failure to impose increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles manufactured in this country.

No more energy policies developed in secret meetings between Dick Cheney and his energy company cronies.

No more excuses for failing to aggressively cut global warming pollutant emissions.

No more tragically incompetent federal responses to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

No more tax cuts for the wealthiest, while the middle class and those who are economically disadvantaged continue to struggle more and more each year.

No more reckless spending and massive tax cuts, resulting in historic deficits and historic accumulated national debt.

No more purchasing of elections by the wealthiest corporations and individuals in our country.

No more phony, ineffective, inhumane so-called war on drugs.

No more failure to pass an increase in the minimum wage.

No more silence by the American people.

If we can do this in Salt Lake City, we can do this throughout the entire country, and the world is going to hear us.

This is a new day. We will not be silent. We will continue to raise our voices. We will bring others with us. We will grow and grow, regardless of political party - unified in our insistence upon the truth, upon
peace-making, upon more humane treatment of our brothers and sisters around the world.

We will be ever cognizant of our moral responsibility to speak up in the face of wrongdoing, and to work as we can for a better, safer, more just community, nation, and world.

So we won't let down. We won't be quiet. We will continue to resist the lies, the deception, the outrages of the Bush administration and this complacent, complicit, go-along Congress. We will insist that peace be pursued, and that, as a nation, we help those in need. We must break the cycle of hatred, of intolerance, of exploitation. We must pursue peace as vigorously as the Bush administration has pursued war. It's up to every single one of us to do our part.

Let us keep in mind the injunction by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

(Pizzo dropping: If this guy can get elected to public office is Salt Lake Friggin' City, Utah, what's that say to national Democrats? You know... the ones like Hillary et al, who continue mincing their words and testing different "messages," to voters. I want 100 more Rocky Andersons to stand up and purge the rot and dead wood out of the DNC -- then do the same in DC.)

Thinking Outside the Box

Any one who's read my blog for long knows my take on things tend toward the eclectic, (or as George W. Bush pronounces it – “ec-a-lective.”) Which can mean one of two things; I am wrong, or I am just able to see truth, even if it comes out the mouths of folks I don't like.

While I would prefer to belief it's the latter, the laws of probability dictate that it's likely 50/50.

Which brings me this.

As the old sayng goes, even a broken clock is 100% correct twice a day. Which is why I think we need to admit that the character currently running Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hit the nail right on the head the other day with his criticism of the United Nations:

“The Iranian president criticized the decision-making process of the U.N. Security Council and challenged the power of the five permanent Security Council members -- among them the U.S. and Britain. "The U.S. and Britain are using such a privilege as if they were the owners of the world. How many years should they enjoy this privilege?" he asked. " (More)

I'm not one of those “blame America firsters,” that the Bushites like to blame whenever anyone criticizes their actions. But don't you agree the little Iranian guy was right?

Isn't it time for the UN haters on the right and the UN-lovers on the left to agree that the UN, as it is currently constituted, is nothing more than a freeze-frame of the post WW-II geopolitical pecking order? And that the UN Security Council – which really rules the roost – is the world's power structure, circa 1945, preserved in amber?

If we had set out to create an ineffective institution we could not have done better than UN.

First you put the Kings of the Hill DeJur' in charge assuring that nothing gets approved unless all of them agree.

Then you invite every other nation on earth to become members of a mash-pit called the General Assembly, where they can pontificate until the cows come home, but have no power whatsoever.

Then you set up shop in the richest city on earth, where ambassadors from around the world can spend their country's money living big in return for pretending they are making a difference.

Too harsh? You think? Well, let's see:

* Genocide in Sudan... how long's that been going on? And it still is going on.
* Hey, and how about those UN “peacekeepers” in southern Lebanon ... they were a big help, huh?
* And, can we ever forget the Iraq Oil for Food scam!!? Momma mia, that was beaut.

Right wingers fear the UN because they see it as a step towards one-world government. Ha! Fat chance.

Left wingers are critical of the UN because it is powerless when the US is in the wrong – you know, like sending Colin Powell up there with a pack of lies then attacking Iraq without so much as a howdy do to ya. Well, whatya expect. When the US, France, Great Britain, Russia and China created the UN back in 1945 they divvied up the earth to suit them and made damn sure no one could re-divvy it up anytime soon.

To make sure the Peanut Gallery (AKA: the rest of the world) didn't feel left out, they created the “Gestalt Assembly,” a place where the other nations on earth could engage in all the diplomatic puffery that goes along with being “ambassadors,”and letting them strut around with the real movers and shakers – but denying them the right or power to do any shaking themselves.

Needless to say, relegated to seats in the powerless General Assembly, nations have seen the main use for the UN as a place to send sycophants to reward them for their loyal services, a place of chauffeured limos and catered diners, free booze and even freer women, where they never have to say they're sorry (to a judge) or pay a parking ticket.

The UN is worse than an anachronism – it's a fraud. And it's been a fraud since the day it was created. Hell, it wasn't the UN that coordinated, financed and rebuilt western Europe after WW-II, it was the US Marshall Plan.

The only time the UN did anything bold was by accident, when Russia was asleep at the switch and let the Security Council approve the “police action” that became the Korean War.

On June 27th 1950, America called on the United Nations to use force to get the North Koreans out as they had ignored the Security Council’s resolution of June 25th. This was also voted for and once again the Russians could not use their veto as they were still boycotting the United Nations. (More)

That was it. Since then no member of the Security Council has dared miss a vote and, consequently, nothing of consequence has happened since.

Need more?

Who was it that finally stopped the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia? The UN? Nope. The US and NATO finally had to step in and stop it. Who stopped the genocide in Rawanda? The UN? No. Nope.

So, as Iran and the UN lock horns over nukes it's a good time to ask what good can come of it. The UN will not impose real sanctions against Iran. The US will try to impose it's own sanctions, but with oil scarce and in high demand, George will find few takers for his “shun Iran” plan.

That leaves the nations of the world with precisely the same choices they faced before the UN was created; to either capitulate to the misbehavior of other nations, or go to war against them. Some choice!

But despair not, I have a plan. As Bill Clinton would put it, “Don't end it, mend it.” The UN needs some industrial strength mending, and though they won't like my plan, here it is:

1)Relocate the UN to Ely, Nevada.

2)Every member will be required to wear a Century 21 Realtor's style sports coat, with UN logo and his/her name tag during all official duties.

3)Each ambassador will receive a coupon book each year containing 52, 50% off coupons redeemable at the “All you can eat buffet” at the Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall.

4)The Security Council would be eliminated and replaced with the Council for Making Sure Citizens of Earth Don't End Up Choking to Death on Their Own Waste. (better known as the CMSCEDEUCDTOW.)

5)New UN house rules would include:
1.Ambassadors would be banned from eating at any restaurant or diner during unresolved famines. (This ban includes Chinese and pizza delivery)
2.Ambassadors would be confined to their offices, rooms and meeting halls during unresolved genocides.
3.Ambassadors of nations that violate UN resolutions will be required to turn in any unused Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall coupons and relinquish their pass keys to the hotel pool and exercise room, neither of which they get back until they can prove their nation is in full compliance.
4.The UN limo service would be replaced by a fleet of mini-vans driven by chatty volunteers from the Ely Chapter of the Daughters of Rebecca.
5.Ambassadorial staff for each nation will be limited to one secretary and one sycophant/gofer/assistant.

That should about do it. I understand it's not a prefect plan but, be honest, could it really make things worse? I don't think so.

Okay, so I jest.. well about everything except moving the UN to some place with fewer distractions and creature comforts than the Big Apple. At least in Ely ambassadors would have to choose between work and another scrumptious trip down the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Hotel Nevada.

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