Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Where are the wartime sacrifices now?

Posters like these from World War II seem almost laughable now.

I wasn't around during WWII, obviously, and was only a wee bitty of thing during 'Nam. Desert Shield/Storm wasn't really a war in my mind - it was a total slaughter covered by the media. And none of the military conflicts or covert ops our government is involved in around the world all during the last two decades were official wars.

But, we are, unfortunately, involved in one now. And from the looks of it - even with a regime change from this one to one controlled by the Democrats - it will probably be an unending war for awhile.

I got to thinking about that last week a bit when I had a free minute to think. I was wondering about past wars and how it would be interesting to go back in time and be a fly on the wall during WWII. It would have been interesting to hear the kitchen conversations of the time period. The reason I've been thinking about how normal folks worked, lived, and acted during the last big and real war, was that I saw this Northwest University site: ["World War 2 Poster Collection"] which had an archive of all these old signs from the 1940s asking people to sacrifice for the war effort. Give up a little for our boys so they don't have to. Horde and recycle - before recycling - rags, rubber, animal fat and fuel. I mean, after all, they were fighting the dark menace of the Nazis and Hitler. Never mind that Standard Oil and IBM were helping the Nazis while our boys were dying and all.

But, the propaganda posters were used to make the American people think that they were a part of this world war, that the sacrifice of American boys and citizens mattered, and that we were all in it together, in a way. And that war did matter despite the isolationist tendencies of the time period and the rumor/fact that FDR knew that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked and let it happen - hint, hint, sound familiar? - in order to drag the American people kicking and screaming into the war against the Axis powers.

But doesn't it make you think about where is the wartime sacrifice now?

Sure, war is a racket, but there are numerous support the troop rallies and drives to come up with materials our soldiers need in Iraq and Afghanistan, like Chapstick and talc, while they are guarding trucks with cheesecake on it, while Haliburton gets billions, and while billions more are lost and unaccounted for. Imagine that.

Imagine a public service or government-sponsored ad program suggesting that Americans in 2006 save their rubber for the war effort! Imaging saving your leftover dinner fat to the local butcher to be used in explosives. Imagine even carpooling?! Imagine growing hemp for the war effort. They did that too.

More posters later ... but it is all something to think about in this day and age.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gore today; Gore yesterday, Part Whatever ...

On telecommunications consolidation, from the article ["Gore Lashes Out at Media Consolidation"], published on Monday, Aug. 28, 2006:

Former Vice President Al Gore said Sunday ever-tighter political and economic control of the media is a major threat to democracy. Gore said the goal behind his year-old "interactive" television channel Current TV was to encourage the kind of democratic dialogue that thrives online but is increasingly rare on TV. "Democracy is under attack," Gore told an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. "Democracy as a system for self-governance is facing more serious challenges now than it has faced for a long time.
"Democracy is a conversation, and the most important role of the media is to facilitate that conversation of democracy. Now the conversation is more controlled, it is more centralized."
He said that in many countries, media control was being consolidated in the hands of a few businesspeople or politicians.

And then, back in Jan. 11, 1994, when he was vice president, could really do something about it, and issued the first white paper which later became the 1996 Telecom Bill:

As I announced last month, we will soon introduce a legislative package that aggressively confronts the most pressing telecommunications issues, and is based on five principles. This Administration will: Encourage Private Investment; Provide and Protect Competition; Provide Open Access to the Network; Take Action To Avoid Creating a Society of Information "Haves" and "Have Nots"; Encourage Flexible and Responsive Governmental Action.
Many of you have our White Paper today, outlining the bill in detail. If you didn't get your copy, it's available on the Internet, right now. Let me run through the highlights with you -- and talk about how they grow out of our five principles.
We begin with two of our basic principles -- the need for private investment and fair competition. The nation needs private investment to complete the construction of the National Information Infrastructure. And competition is the single most critical means of encouraging that private investment. ...
Today, we must choose competition again and protect it against both suffocating regulation on the one hand and unfettered monopolies on the other.

Gee, wonder what he thinks now.

And here is Ralph Nader, who got it right at the time and on Aug. 23, 2000, when this text was read:

There is indeed another major area that the two major candidates won’t touch and that is the big media. It is the mass media concentrated in six media conglomerates: Disney, General Electric, Time-Warner, the Murdock chain, etc., which Professor Ben Bagdikian, over there at Berkeley, says now control the bulk of the audiences and the circulation of newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV. Well, it was William Jefferson Clinton who signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed corporations to buy up more and more TV and radio stations.
Before 1996, no company could own more than 12 radio stations. Now, one company owns 800 radio stations. They are laying off reporters. They are not covering local news. They’re giving you homogenized syndicated pap like Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh. Indeed, Gore and Bush will never raise this in the campaign. They are afraid of the big media. They are afraid that they might unleash a storm of challenge among the American people who would become aware that they, as a commonwealth legal right, own the public airwaves. They are the landlords!
It’s not Bush and Gore who are going to say to the American people that if they become President, they will make sure that some of those public airwaves will be transformed into your own TV and radio stations and cable channels, funded by a fee imposed on the broadcasters who for 65 years have gotten our property, free of charge, without paying any rent to we, the people, who are the landlords.

We've all seen the ill-effects of this bill but it is important to remember some of them. It deregulated most cable TV rates - and we are now all paying huge bills ... it eliminated the rule barring a single company from owning more than 12 TV stations - and now these same stations bar anti-war ads they don't like from the airwaves ... $70 billion in digital spectrum given away for free ... it also allowed radio stations to be consolidated into a few corporate hands and many other deregulations which have led to the pathetic state of media these days.

It is also important to remember that it sailed through the Senate [91-5] and the Congress [414-16] meaning that it was a bipartisan mistake - like most - and all those Democrats now who bitch about it and continue to reelect their corrupt representatives are a bunch of hypocrites.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Buchanan right on immigration

No pun intended. I haven't read Patrick J. Buchanan's new book, "State of Emergency," but if it is anything like his previous books "The Great Betrayal," "The Death of the West," or "A Republic, Not an Empire," he won't have any trouble convincing me of his theory that illegal immigration has reached the emergency point in this nation.
This may upset my more liberal friends and readers, but the simple fact is that Pat Buchanan, no matter what we may think about him, is correct on many issues, like international trade, the invasion of Iraq, gun ownership, and immigration.
In the past, Buchanan has talked about the issue of illegal immigration from the standpoint of depressed wages and culture.
Frankly, I don't get into the concept that illegals are lazy and collecting welfare and crap like that, some of the ideals espoused by Howie Carr and others. Sure, that might be true in some cases. But, in most cases, it is a rarity. Many illegals are breaking their backs to build our country. The problem is that they are often working for less than the minimum or prevailing wage which then depresses wages for everyone else, especially those folks who were born here, pay taxes here, and have no other choice but to live here.
What they should be doing is breaking their backs to build their country. And, if we didn't have a corrupt foreign policy, our nation would be trying to bring their standard up - and not dragging it down via NAFTA and other policies - which only encourages them to come the United States to work. But, that wouldn't make cheap goods for consumer markets here, now would it?
Illegals are also sending their money back to Mexico by the billions and billions - essentially taking huge swathes of cash out of our economy and putting it into their home economy. This money, had it been earned by native born and legals, would be spent here, boosting our economy, and not that of Mexico and other countries, whether from the south, north, east or west of the border.
Just as an aside, here in the state of New Hampshire, prison costs for illegals costs millions of dollars, with more than 15 percent of prisoners being illegal immigrants; money that is otherwise not being spent on other things, like roads, bridges, and health care for poor kids; cells which would otherwise be filled by other criminals who should probably be in jail too.
This doesn't even get to the issue of future potential terrorism issues and the fact that while our borders are not secure, we are more in danger of attack than anything going on with Iran or North Korea.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

September Top 30 Chart

The Noise of Boston, September Top 30 Chart

Reporting stations: WAAF, WFNX, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC, WZBC

1. Mission of Burma – The Obliterati

2. Frank Black – Fastman/Raiderman

3. Damone – Out Here All Night

4. Be Your Own Pet – Be Your Own Pet

5. Baby Ray – Low Rises

6. Neptune – Patterns

7. Aberdeen City – Another Seven Years EP

8. Matt & Shannon Heaton – Blue Skies Above

9. Mr. Lif – Mo Mega

10. Analog Planet – Analog Planet

11. Hanneke Cassel – Silver

12. Adja the Turkish Queen – EP

13. Black Helicopter – Invisible Jet

14. Francine – Airshow

15. Antje Duvekot – Big Dream Boulevard

16. Kudgel – Sea Monkee + 7

17. The Motion Sick – Her Brilliant Fifteen

18. Paper Thin Stages – Progress Towards Ranks EP

19. Ponies in the Surf – Ponies in the Surf

20. The Radio Knives – Cursed

21. Sister Suvi – Leaf EP

22. Magic People – Keen Whips I’d Wear as Rubies

23. Major Stars – Syntoptikon

24. Blood Money – Axis of Blood

25. The Larkin Brigade – Paddy Keys for Mayor

26. Mittens – Fools on a Holiday

27. Night Rally – Preston Family Crest

28. Alex K Redfern & The Eyesores – The Smother Party

29. Seekonk – Pinkwood

30. The Speed of Things – You Are What You Do

Monday, August 21, 2006

Doesn't this say it all?

This is John DeRosier's latest cartoon from the Albany Times-Union.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lamont Shows Majority Still Has a Voice
I'm too busy thinking right now to write so I will post this guest perspective by my old bud Ralph Lopez who has a pretty good take on things right now:

Now that the train to restore America's long-abused middle-class has resoundingly left the station, the test of how Democrats have matured politically will be how well they attack Republican hypocrisy while staying on-message with the Six for '06 Agenda, which was stolen from this website by the Democratic leadership, thank you very much.
Make no mistake, the Hillary-Billary-Rahmmanuel-Reid Axis didn't suddenly decide to do the right thing. It was FORCED on them, not least by the writing on the wall represented by the Lamont tidal wave that peaked last Tuesday.
Almost a year ago we and other Americans called for primary challengers to the "Lame Democrats," and our prayers were answered. Lamont in CT, Tasini against Billary Inc. And now we have the greatest bunch of straight-talking, ass-kicking candidates poised to take over congress that this country has seen in a long time, patriot-FBI-whistleblower Colleen Rowley, Bob Bowen, Eric Massa, Tammy Duckworth, and the rest of the blunt, war veteran, take-no-shit-from-these-NeoCon-bastards crew, the Band of Brothers (bandofbrothers2006.org).
The Loser "Centrists," and the lawyer-DLC-consultant-strategists who deep down don't care who wins as long as their millions are safe, talk as if a winning campaign isn't supposed to talk and chew gum at the same time. You don't attack because - oooo! - they call us angry and negative, no ideas! You don't get specific on issues because - oooo! - they say we are going to raise taxes! Until now, the Democratic party has been one masterly exercise in how to lose elections without looking like you are trying to. Who cares? It's not their kids bleeding in the sand. And the corporate money contributions keep rolling in to both sides just the same. The most important constituent to these fat, amoral slugs is their Beamer mechanic.
To Ned and Jon Tasini and the Band of Brothers. You guys have made me proud to be an American again. You can't even know what that means.
The Joe Lieberman-Hillary Axis isn't the "center," because WE are. That's a fiction whose lifespan is about up. Bill Clinton took over the party by jerking the wheel hard to the right while fishtailing left on social issues, making the NARAL SUV surburban soccer moms the center of gravity. With a deft move from the podium Bill kicked half the country over the ledge so he'd only have to worry about the other half. The half with money. Some more, some less. But some. And since reporters love to bandy about labels like "centrist,"
"moderate," and "left-wing" because it saves them from doing real work so they can get to the bars and start the serious drinking that much sooner, the only way to counter the spin will be to repeat the positions, exactly as Lamont has been doing.
Stop waste and fraud in healthcare so more people can be insured? That's "left-wing?" Make top colleges affordable for everyone? That's the radical fringe?
Well, I reckon you better mark me down as one, what a kick in the head.
"The Six for '06 agenda is a carbon copy of my New Contract for America, which I have been emailing to Democratic honchos for years. Ask Tom Vallely, Kerry's Dog Soldier campaign buddy over at the Kennedy School.
And a real nice guy. The high point for any activist is to get his ideas stolen. That's what you work for; that's the measure of success. And you, my small but influential audience, have done it again, whatever you are doing.
Ever since John Kerry decided to go with calling Iraq a "distraction" from the real war on terror in the first presidential debate, splitting Iraq off from the "central front" status the Republicans badly need it to have in peoples' minds, you have been shaping the debate.
It's too bad Kerry waited until two months before the election to take a position on the war. Like I said in my book, while George Bush spent a year honing his attack to a razor's edge, Kerry spent a year coming up with one.
The Six for '06 puts national security where it belongs: First. During '04 Bill Clinton advised Kerry to focus on the party's "strengths" on domestic issues. Knowing full well, as anything but a dumb politician, that nothing matters until you are out front on national security. Wiley Old Bill helped set Kerry up, I think, because he drools at the chance for all that Washington nightlife all over again, likker and wimmin, and this time Hillary too busy to care. YEEHAW!
The Republican-"Centrist" Fear Machine lost no time tarring Lamont's democratic victory as a danger to the nation, with a good old fashioned August, pre-election terror alert thrown in. Dick Cheney, (Joe Lieberman's new best buddy! Take note, ad-makers!) said Lamont's win reflects a "pre-9/11 mindset." He said Al Qaeda "clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task." In other words, the same old shit.
George Bush is right. We DO live in a dangerous world, contrary to "those" naive enough to believe there aren't people out to hurt us. I don't know anyone who says that, but they must be out there, because George keeps saying they are.
What he doesn't say is the danger is a direct result of his policies. Before the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan was well on the way toward stabilization, with all of NATO onboard. Al Qaeda was on the run, even if Bush did let top leadership escape at Tora Bora. Then came the invasion that proved to Muslims that we were not out to avenge 9/11, but to steal oil, build permanent bases, and humiliate Muslim men.
If I read in the paper that foreigners were occupying my country, and killing and raping American women, I guarantee you I'd be planting IEDs in the middle of the night too.
The blunder of Iraq is on the magnitude, militarily, of Hitler opening the second front in the East against the Russians. We'd all be speaking German right now if Hitler had contented himself with half the world instead of all of it at once [Ed. note: In the 1700s, the United States voted English the nation language over German by just one vote].
Even if you agree with the disgusting, un-American proposition of unprovoked, "pre-emptive" war, just as Hitler's war was lost the minute he took on the Russian winter, our war on terror is lost as long as we stay in Iraq, which prevents redeploying to the Afghan-Paki border to hunt down the people who, um, actually attacked us.
Democrats give aid and comfort to the enemy? Uh, Dick? Joe? George? Betraying (not "outing", this is not about gender) Intelligence Officer Valerie Plame and her covert networks tracking WMD is what gave aid and comfort to the enemy, as did losing 300 tons of HMX explosives in Iraq (remember that one?) As did fighting against the establishment of a 9/11 Commission, as does fighting its recommendations now.
The Bushies do everything they can to keep us safe, except for one thing: the work. (SEE THE LOPEZ 12 STEPS FOR WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR.)
There will always be conventional war. It will start and it will stop. What George Bush's Amazing Invisible Enemy can do to my Constitution is my main concern.
Once you give up a right, you never get it back, except by force. I'm still hoping this country can avoid that kind of trouble. The best start is for us to agree that if there is another wave of terror attacks, it will be George Bush's fault. No one opened up that second front but him. He did it against the advice of absolutely everyone, including his own father and James Baker III. SIGN THE THE IMPEACH BUSH IN THE EVENT OF ANOTHER ATTACK PETITION
And now, here is my original New Contract for America.
Compare it to the Six for '06 Agenda. The key is to get away from the endless litany of politicians promising everyone everything welfare workfare car-care affordable housing ad naseum that is the usual Democratic spiel. Folks can't remember all that.
And accomplishing even a few of the Six for '06 would put the country way ahead of where it is now.
Ralph's New Contract for America (abridged, full post from last year here)
-Distinguish Iraq from Real War on Terror - We are properly at war in Afghanistan and in the mountainous border regions of Pakistan, and Iraq is exactly the quagmire bin Laden wanted. It draws resources away from the hunt for Al Qaeda and from the critical stablization of Afghanistan. Redeploy to Afghanistan and the Paki border. Then we mop up, make peace with the Muslim world (an apology for the Shah of Iran might go over well,) and put the genie back in the bottle. Get back to the good old days when armies fought each other and left civilians mostly out of it. Hell, some guys just LIKE to fight.
-Save American Retirement Security - Time Magazine says more and more people who worked 20 or 30 years for the same company are losing their pensions. Recently-passed laws allow corporations to renege on their pension promises.
-Restore college opportunity, by enabling students to go to any college they an get into on a need-blind basis. Yes, I'll take credit for this idea, which I've been pushing since my first days as a candidate in the early 90s.
-Environment - A "Marshall Plan" within the first 100 days of a non-Republican majority to start down the path of clean, sustainable energy independence.
-Be the Pro-Constitution Party. Again, if Bush can't give us safety without shredding the Constitution, we'll find someone who can.
-Worker training and re-training to smooth job transitions after layoffs. We are the only Western industrialized nation without it. Why?
-Don't Get Bogged Down on Health Insurance. Sure, progressives are for it, and the Bush Faction is against it, but the details should be kept to, if you are working full-time, you get health insurance, and you start paying for it by recovering the $10-$20 billion wasted on Medicare and Medicaid by over-billing. Then you start rewarding doctors for preventing as well as curing. You'll see a lot of docs getting their patients into olive oil and alfalfa sprouts.
-IMPORTANT: All of the Above Means NOTHING without a paper voting trail in every American precinct. - a no brainer.
Ralph Lopez is the author of numerous books including his latest, "The Elephant in the Room." His blog is http://ralphlopezworld.com/.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

A Sore Loserman again ...

This artwork was posted on Daily Kos tonight and I thought it would be nice to steal. :-)
Sen. Joseph Lieberman is going down to defeat tonight and is refusing to quit. Instead, he will run as an independent.
Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with an independent run by Lieberman or anyone else. I like indies, have worked for them and supported them. I'm one myself.
I watched his speech on C-Span and the guy is a Sore Loserman again, like he was in 2000, after the debacle in Florida. Like he was in 2004, when he claimed a third place finish in the New Hampshire primary even though he came in fifth.
Sore Loserman is the epitome of what is wrong with everything going on in our political process. Thankfully, there was a female heckler in the audience at least trying to taunt him on the war stuff. The stones on this man are too much. Does he have no shame?
And what about Lamont’s campaign? Didn’t they learn anything about momentum? He should have pulled a Clinton - and gotten right on TV and claimed victory and let Sore Loserman stew. Lamont needed to be on at 11:01 … not Sore Loserman. It is important to get the live shot right at 11 p.m. which is exactly what Sore Loserman got from Connecticut television.
Although, Lamont's speech was good and he had the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rep. Maxine Waters there, which should shore up some of the urban vote for the final election.
Now is the time to see what the establishment Democrats do. It's pony up time. Now is the time for all the elected Democrats of national stature to fly to Hartford and stand all together beside Ned Lamont. Let's see if they have the stones to do what is right ... or will they drive us all back to Ralph Nader again?
Rep. Cynthia McKinney, one of the only pols in Washington to challenge the "official" 9/11 story, also lost her primary, 58-41. In her case, it is sad to see her lose.
What an exciting night.
Lamont leads at 94 percent ...
Ned Lamont is safely not declaring a win yet. He is 9,100 votes up with 94 percent in.
Lieberman sinking fast ...
All eyes are on the Connecticut Democratic primary as Sen. Joe Lieberman, the party's 2000 vice presidential nominee, is going down to defeat.
Both the Drudge Report and Daily Kos are reporting challenger business Ned Lamont getting 52 percent and a difference of about 6,000 votes, with 74 percent of the votes tallied. This means, it is pretty close to over at this point. Traditionally, Democratic primaries get around 25 percent turnout. Today, as many as 50 percent of registered Democrats are expected to vote.
Lieberman has been threatening to run as an independent and has told aides and media reps that he will not accept defeat.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Old rockers ...

Old and new friends belt out a rendition of Elvis Costello's - or Midnight Oil's, depending on how you look at it - classic "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding."
Old musicians never die, they just decompose, as the saying goes.
It was a meeting of old Boston rockers the other day when I had a little gathering at my house and asked George Belli, formerly of The Real and Shattered Silence, to entertain attendees.
By strange coincidence, George lives in New Hampshire now, after years of slugging it out in the Boston music scene just like yours truly. George was nice enough to bring his songwriting partner Michael [last name is slipping me at the moment] and his better half, Louise. A fun time was had by all and the old guys got to prove that they still got it. In fact, you can see that George still has it - around some of Concord's better restaurants and music establishments.
Now, I just have to find the time to play out a bit more and the circle will be complete.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Catching up on headlines
Here are some things you may have missed which are worth another looksie.

* Why biometrics may not be all it is cracked up to be: ["Computer hackers get lesson on cloning passport, cash card tags"]. And why some cops can't be trusted: ["Pulido's club offered sex, drugs, prosecutors say"].

* Novak on Murtha, Romney, and Guliani: ["Bolton's new backers"]. Here is Adam Reilly on Mitt's gaffes: ["Romney's greatest gaffes - 'tar baby' update"].

* Eh, why is this not surprising?: ["Book: Sept. 11 Panel Doubted Officials"]. It's interesting that they didn't say this before the 2004 election. I wonder if the results would have been slightly different had they said these things beforehand. And then there is this too: ["Pentagon's Version of 9/11 Far from Truth, Panel Found"]. And now, it looks like, after this new Vanity Fair blockbuster which will hit newstands any day, we may see those investigations.

* It was only a matter of time before we saw this headline: ["OSAMA'S EVIL SPAWN IN LEB"]. Ditto this: ["Hagel calls Iraq 'replay of Vietnam"].