Politics: June 2002 Archives

Our governement's current posture toward the rest of the world, and especially my own terrifying picture of the chaotic world which that posture will actually bring home to everyone on the planet in the very near future, looks like nothing so much as the ethos and the brutality of stone-age tribes ripping each other to pieces. The difference lies primarily in the sophistication and the destructiveness of the weaponry, and the fact that our own age knows a better way than that on which we are embarked now, led on by fools and cheered on by the "loyal (Democratic) opposition."

For this nation to claim the unilateral right to pre-emptively strike (with nuclear weapons) at its enemies, and to determine which leaders and nations are evil, points to aspirations of empire-building. Still, that's not what portends disaster for humanity. Our government seems to think that only we are capable of pre-emptive wars and covert assassinations, and that there are no consequences for such actions.

This new policy threatens to encourage belligerent parties everywhere to adopt a similar ethos that will spill over into all facets of life, including children's playgrounds. "Treat others the way you would like to be treated" will be replaced with "Get them before they get you."


That's not to say terrorism isn't a real threat. It is. However, we could eliminate every terrorist alive today and still not come close to eliminating the breeding grounds of misery and hatred that spawn them. This administration seems unable to differentiate between terrorism and insurrection.

The military implications of this new ethos are obvious. However, the fundamental shift we are talking about threatens thousands of years of our evolving civilization. Like falling dominoes, every facet of life is affected, and we become a less safe and a more indifferent and dehumanized society.

The Green Party's nominee for governor of New York should not be as exceptional as he clearly is in the midst of the current swamp of opportunistic, middle-of-the-whatever, do-as-the-Man-says, make-no-waves and make-no-difference rich boys or paid hacks of both the major parties. But he is.

Enter Stanley Aronowitz, 69, the Green Party's nominee this year for governor of New York, who, when you listen to him call for higher taxes to increase money for schools, pay for campaign finance reform and establish state-subsidized health insurance, is the anti-candidate this time around. He has set out to anger the powerful and the rich who, he says, pull the strings of the "Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush regime," stressing that the troika is listed in order of importance. And, like all of those who believe in a cause, he is willing to go down with the ship rather than compromise.
OUR democracy is in trouble," he said. "The Democratic and Republican Parties have converged. Their economic policies are not different. They believe that anything that hurts business is not a viable position."
"Dostoyevsky taught me about irony," he said. "I have great trouble with this as a would-be politician. You cannot be a successful politician and be ironic. Our slogan — tax and spend — is meant to be ironic, but people don't get it. They get upset."

And kindly permit the real Left to go about the business of trying to save the Republic (and your own integrity, where it may still survive).

As a gay man, I find it laughable that anyone could vote for the Republican party, but "they're not as bad as the GOP" is not a good enough reason for me to vote for the Democrats. They must earn my vote -- they do not have a "right" to it. Given the ways the party has acquiesced as the Bush administration has shredded the Bill of Rights since 9/11, I will not vote for a Democratic candidate again unless I see a fundamental change in their behavior.

An excerpt from an interview with Michael Newdow, the man who brought the suit which resulted in a court ruling against the use of the phrase, "under god," in the Pledge of Allegiance recited in schools.

[Interviewer]: I have some reaction here in the audience. I think Mike from Alabama wants to say something to you, Mr. Newdow.

Audience member: We are talking about the greatest flag to the greatest nation in the world, I can't believe that Americans will allow something like this to go by without voicing their opinion. This is ludicrous to me. I just can't believe that the courts would give him the time of day.

Newdow: I agree, it is the greatest nation and what has made it great is our Constitution. The framers were quite wise in recognizing what religion can do and how it can cause hatred and how it can cause death. You don't have to go far in this world, outside of our nation, to see where that has happened. It is prevalent over the entire globe and the reason we don't have it here is because we have an establishment clause ... If Mike there from Alabama wouldn't mind saying "we are one nation under Buddha" every day, or "one nation under David Koresh" or "one nation" under some religious icon that he doesn't believe in ... if he doesn't understand the difference then we have a problem.

Dahlia Lithwick, who covers the US Supreme Court for Slate, suggested on NPR this morning that she thinks the 9th Court's decision is silly, yet she muses on Slate's own web site, "I must wonder why ... all the religious groups in the country are going apoplectic. My guess is that the words "under God" do promote monotheism, and of course the effect of that isn't just 'de minimus,' as they say." So, is it really silly for the Court to protect minorities and the Constitution?

A few additional notes on the subject which I predict [no stretch!] won't die:

1.) Yes, "under God" [proposed by the Catholic Knights of Columbus and pushed by the jingoistic Hearst newspapers of the time] was adopted during the McCarthy era to contrast our society specifically with that of atheistic communism [which incidently did not require an oath from its citizens, of any age].

2.) The Pledge itself has a quite modern history. It was the brainchild in 1892 of a radical leftist, Francis Bellamy.

The original pledge began "I pledge allegiance to my flag," but that was changed in the 1920s so immigrants would be clear on which flag they saluted [it's now "the" flag]. A stiff, one-armed salute that accompanied the pledge was dropped during World War II because it was deemed Nazi-like.
[Egaads! I remember the one-armed salute myself, long after WWII, but I suppose Catholic schools were slow to adopt the less fascist form.]

3.) Any Pledge, in any form, is authoritarian, stupid and counter-productive for the encouragement of an informed and flourishing citizenry.

4.) Our Founding Fathers were not Christians, but rather Deists, if they professed any relationship to an imaginary supreme friend.

5.) As a motto, "In God We Trust" replaced the particulary federalist and un-Republican [with a big "R"], "E Pluribus Unum" ["from many, one"], on our coins only during the Civil War, on our paper currency in the fifties, and, I believe, only then in our courts, this at the same time we put god in the Pledge and in our schools.

6.) "So Help Me God" are the final words of, I believe all, of our oaths of governmental office, and of the oath required in our courts of law [unless you want to make the kind of scene I look forward to each time I am there, whether as part of a jury or as a defendent in a civil disobedience action].

7.) Apparently somewhere around 90 percent of Americans believe in a personal god and in heaven and hell. The U.S. is the most religious of all the industrialized nations. Our current executive, legislative and judicial governmental branches are all increasingly acting as if we were officially, rather than just functionally, ruled as a theocracy.

The argument for total neutrality on god:

I do not believe there is one god or goddesses or many gods or godesses.
You [forgive me, my good readers, allow me the rhetorical "you"] believe there is or are gods or goddesses.

I do not want my government, its courts, its schools or any of its institutions to tell me there are gods or goddesses, nor to suggest that I am in agreement with that belief. You do not want your government, its courts, its schools or any of its institutions to tell you there are no gods or goddesses, nor to suggest that that you am in agreement with that belief.

The Constitution protects both of us, regardless of the actual numbers we can enlist in our ranks of disbelievers or believers.

One hope for the future:

The current hullabaloo over the Califonia-based Court's ruling is ironically sure proof against the only argument which the U.S. Supreme Court has used and could use going forward to retain "god" in our government's institutions and practices, that the phrases are protected from the Establishment Clause because their religious significance has been lost through rote repetition.

Apparently "god" still does have a religious significance. Good news for the religious, and, maybe, good news for those who are not.

For those who may have already missed this item contained within the text of an earlier link, here it is again, from a different source. Note that the proposed Federal Agency will effectively control us all, even as we are told we can't control it. Interestingly enough this link is from that bastian of often mindless conservatism, The Washington Times!

A provision in the bill seeking to create a Homeland Security Department will exempt its employees from whistleblower protection, the very law that helped expose intelligence-gathering missteps before September 11.

The legislation now before Congress contains a provision allowing the director of the proposed agency to waive all employee protections in Title V, including the Whistleblower Protection Act. The act protects government employees from retaliation or losing employment for speaking out on waste, fraud and abuse.
[In addition] The department would not be required to release information under the Freedom of Information Act. This would eliminate the agency's responsibility to answer questions from the public. Advisory committees that normally include public input would be immune, and the Cabinet secretary would have veto power over inspector general audits and investigations.

The George W. Bushies do have the "vision thing" the father's administration admitted it lacked. Unfortunately "...they are rather less interested in the reality thing."

Real problems, even really big problems, are seen by this tinkertoy administration only as opportunities for its greedy and autocratic agenda.

A slump in the economy was an opportunity to push a tax cut that provided very little stimulus in the short run, but will place huge demands on the budget in 2010. An electricity shortage in California was an opportunity to push for drilling in Alaska, which would have produced no electricity and hardly any oil until 2013 or so. An attack by lightly armed terrorist infiltrators was an opportunity to push for lots of heavy weapons and a missile defense system, just in case Al Qaeda makes a frontal assault with tank divisions or fires an ICBM next time.
For the distinctive feature of all the programs the administration has pushed in response to real problems is that they do little or nothing to address those problems. Problems are there to be used to pursue the vision. And a problem that won't serve that purpose, whether it's the collapse of confidence in corporate governance or the chaos in the Middle East, is treated as an annoyance to be ignored if possible, or at best addressed with purely cosmetic measures. Clearly, George W. Bush's people believe that real-world problems will solve themselves, or at least won't make the evening news, because by pure coincidence they will be pre-empted by terror alerts.

Oh, don't we wish someone would just wake us when it's over, but this is all too real, it involves us, not some people on the other side of the planet, it involves the future of this planet, and there is nowhere and no way we'll be able to sleep through it.

We were somewhere near day 600 of the Bush administration on the edge of sanity when reality began to take hold... And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the future was full of bombs and Enrons and Cheneys, all swooping and screeching and diving around the SUV, which was going about a hundred miles an hour straight into a brick wall. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! How did we get here?"
If this were simply madness it would be scary enough - but the coldly calculated method behind the madness confirms this administration is on a suicide run, taking us pedal to the metal down their dangerous dead end street.

You tell 'em, Bushie!

Insufferable arogance, especially since, regardless of what one thinks of either individual, the facts are that our executive was selected, and Arafat was elected!

And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state .... A Palestinian state will never be created by terror -- it will be built through reform. And reform must be more than cosmetic change, or veiled attempt to preserve the status quo. True reform will require entirely new political and economic institutions, based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism.
"We" have just stood in the Rose Garden to tell a people denied a place in the world for 54 years that they have to throw out their elected president and create the oh-so-perfect political and economic system that we have before we can consider letting them exist as a nation. Can one suggest that at the very least the Administration apply that criterion to our friends in the "War on Terrorism," including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, and virtually all of the nations north of Afghanistan, just for starters?

In any event, the Administration's plan for the Middle East is actually only a "vision," and that is the word it seems to prefer, with good reason. It will please the Israelis and anger the Palestinians

Normally, when you grant people statehood, you deal with the leaders those people have chosen. Not in this case.
[Bushie] asked the U.S.-friendly dictators of various Arab countries, whose statehood he doesn't dispute, to "work with Palestinian leaders to create a new constitutional framework and a working democracy for the Palestinian people."
Why is Bush's plan so vague? Because it was conceived as a pretty picture, not as a solution.
That's what the offer of a "state" with no defined borders, powers, or timetable (and no right to be represented by its present leadership) is. It isn't even a bone thrown to the Palestinians. It's a picture of a bone.

Advisory to the world [probably unnecessary]: Do not believe a word "we" say!

This alarming short comment was an introduction to an alert from FAIR about a talk* by Crispin Miller, author of "The Bush Dyslexicon."

George W. Bush's broken English and his ignorance about the world are certainly unprecedented for a U.S. chief executive. Remarks like "I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy" and "Is our children learning?" are all too typical. Yet even before September 11, the U.S. mainstream media have bent over backwards to make excuses for him.

In the newly updated "Bush Dyslexicon," media critic Mark Crispin Miller
catalogues Bush's strange and sometimes frightening utterances, along with the press's Pravda-esque portrayal of Bush as a statesman of Churchillian stature. For Miller, the media's response to Bush's mistakes isn't simply funny or embarrassing-- rather, it's a sign of how much power has been amassed by Bush's corporate sponsors. "We Americans have been tricked out of our democracy," writes Miller, "by a vast and very smart conspiracy of stupid talkers." Now more than ever, he insists, we must stop merely laughing at this dangerous president, whose errors tell us all we need to know: "We are resolved to rout out terror wherever it exists," Bush said on January 31, "to save the world from freedom!"

* Thursday, June 27, 6:30 PM
Housing Works Used Book Café
126 Crosby St (between Prince and Houston), New York
Free and Open to the Public

Telling us what they are telling us what is good for us.

[I've been trying to get a link to this for days, but while Bloggy beat me to it, I'm not going to let that discourage me] Bushie defines "down" and "up" in his own way.

It took some time before the Gay City News interview with Steve Quester, who joined the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine this past April, was put on line, so I have been unable to send this until now.

While the internationals are pledged to take only non-violent actions they do support the right of the Palestinians to use force.

"If somebody invades your town you have the right to shoot at them," Quester said. "No one element alone –– armed struggle, diplomacy, non-violent resistance –– is going to free the Palestinian people."

Steve, who is a dear friend, had written the following note at the time the article first appeared, about a week ago, and it should be included here, together with the Frederick Douglas quote he appended:

The issue of Gay City News that came out today
includes a profile of me on the front page. It's long
on me and short on Palestinians, despite my best
efforts. It also completely ignores the role of women
activists--see my response, below.


To the editors:

I was glad to have an opportunity to speak with Duncan
Osborne about the dire situation faced by Palestinians
today, and their heroic resistance to oppression
("Zionism to Palestine, via ACT UP", Gay City News,
June 7-20, 2002). I was disappointed, though, that
the (mostly male) editors of Gay City News chose not
to include information from Mr. Osborne's interview
with a lesbian who was in Palestine with me. As I
noted in my correspondence with Mr. Osborne, the
movement for freedom and justice for Palestinians is
led by women, many of them lesbians, in Palestine,
Israel, and the U.S. Men in the movement, like
myself, are too often forefronted to the exclusion of
the women doing the work.

I hope Gay City News will do features in the future on
queer women and the struggle for Palestine.

Steve Quester
Jews Against the Occupation (JATO),
Palestine Activist Forum of New York (PAFNY),
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

===== Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Frederick Douglass

Henry Siegman has credentials. He should be able to participate in the argument, but he has been more than marginalized by those who dominate the discussion in the U.S. of the fate of Palestinians and Israelis. Henry Siegman is a pariah.

The Korean War [where he served with combat troops as a chaplain], coupled with his own childhood experiences in Europe, inclined him to those in Jewish life who saw social justice as central to faith. He went on to become the head of the American Jewish Congress for 16 years, before joining the council [the Council on Foreign Relations].

But for many Jews, he says, there came to be new definitions of faith, ones that he says turned the ideology of the Jewish state into "a surrogate religion."

"The support for Israel fills a spiritual vacuum," he said in his corner office on Park Avenue. "If you do not support the government of Israel then your Jewishness, not your political judgment, is in question."

Fortunately, it only takes a few good words to totally destroy any "rationale" offered by the current intellectually-challenged Administration for its insufferable deeds, attacks on the environment no less than any other crimes.

Our understanding of what affects global warming far exceeds our knowledge about the consequence of the president's so-called war on terrorism, his trillion-dollar tax gift to the wealthy or his "Star Wars" defense system. Ideology rather than knowledge or science is what drives the policies of this administration.

Unfortunately, intelligent words don't stop thugs.

So, if everything the Administration is doing is not going to protect us from terrorists, why do we accept what the Administration is doing to protect us from terrorists?

Three weeks have passed since government officials unleashed dire warnings that the United States is destined to suffer future terrorist attacks and, incredibly, there has been little public outcry.

Perhaps the full meaning of the doomsday rhetoric emanating from Washington is not clear: our national leaders have said we are bound to lose the struggle against terrorism. Imagine Franklin Roosevelt saying that there was no way of turning back the Japanese navy, or Winston Churchill proclaiming that the British would not be able to stop the Nazi onslaught.

I can't remember more exciting times! Every day brings such extraordinary treasures in the form of simply incredible news. It's all so stimulating.

But some people are just spoilsports. They would like to tell us that things are really not going all that well, in fact they want to tell us that we are all going to hell in a handbasket.

And sure you could see how this new attack-first policy provides a beautiful and even poetic, circular excuse for us to enrage more nations and spawn more terrorist factions, who will then make ugly noises against America that will then give the Cheney war machine a fresh excuse to blow them up and build more missiles and thus create more terrorists and keep the whole machine rolling along as long as possible. Do you see it? The brilliant self-regenerating loop? This is the plan.

The author [Mark Morford, SFGate Columnist] is really the choicest antidote I've stumbled across yet for our daily poisonous doses of the news. Read it all, and while you are at it, sample this tidbit from another of his accounts:


Four in five apparently very gullible Americans would give up some freedoms to gain security and four in 10 worry terrorists will harm them or their family, a new Gallup poll shows, causing much cheering and champagne-cork popping in the John Ashcroft Civil Liberties Sodomization and Rampant Homophobia Lounge in Hell, which is only a short jog from the new Robert C. Fleming Jr. Sub-Sub-Basement and Utter Jackass Emporium, as they realized the incessant wave of ongoing disinformation, false terrorist warnings, and general sniveling alarmist fear tactics aimed at the US populace are working beautifully. About one-third of those polled favor making it easier for authorities to access private e-mail and phone conversations. More than 70 percent are in favor of requiring U.S. citizens to carry ID cards with fingerprints. 57 percent have pretty much given up hope and don't really care anymore that GW Bush has the intellectual acumen of a garage door, 37 percent actually believe Carrot Top is "sorta funny," and a very horrifying 19 percent actually think Celine Dion is charming and way talented.

Perfect example of the manipulation of the media in order to manipulate Congress in order to manipulate the public into thinking they are being made safe.

The White House dismissed as "outlandish" on Wednesday suggestions that it disclosed the capture [JAW---over a month ago] of a man suspected of planning a "dirty bomb" attack in order to help President Bush's homeland security plan and to deflect criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Ashcroft raised eyebrows at the White House and elsewhere by his decision to announce Padilla's capture in a television appearance on Monday from Moscow, where he was on unrelated business, and his claim that U.S. officials had disrupted an "unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States."

We want to solve the [crime], but not ask why it was done.

The answer would cancel out the entire illusory campaign.

But Bushie has assured us, "This guy Padilla is a bad guy."

So there you are. No more questions.

Note that Mr. Padilla is an American citizen, that he was picked up as a material witness only, that he has not been charged with any crime, that he is not known to have gotten beyond the discussion stage of any alleged wrongdoing (no dirty bomb in his backpack or under his bed, in spite of the hysterical headlines), but the Administration needs him in it continuing war on the Constitution, and on the America that is not it.

Their real enemy is us.

I have a horrifically beautiful Sue Coe print, created just prior to our first Gulf war, which bears the text, "The enemy is here, not in Kuwait!" It's sad, but in a more innocent time, I really thought the piece would quickly become dated.

The Bushies are at it again. They just can't shut up, can they?

"The free societies we love face unprecedented threats," Bush told the International Democrat Union, a worldwide association of moderate to conservative politicians. "We face cold-blooded killers that hate the freedoms we cherish."
"Grave threats are accumulating against us, and inaction will only bring them closer," Cheney said. "We will not wait until it is too late."

The Govament's up to something big, perhaps real soon. Grab the flintlock and stock the cellar, Mother!

It looks like Afghan women will not let themselves be shut out, in spite of the way the cards have been dealt for the Loya Jirga. The New York Daily News manages a report of its own today, scooping and shaming the more high brow "Grey Lady."

"If there is any obstacle, we will definitely boycott the loya jirga," threatened 47-year-old Zia Karkar of Laghman province.

She and five other women took center stage yesterday, warning their male counterparts that despite coming from different tribes, they are united in their demand for a greater role in government and society.


Topping the women's list of demands is a seat on the panel that will write Afghanistan's version of the Bill of Rights for its 30 million people.

So, The NYTimes takes the men of Afghanistan at their word that "the Afghan people are being given some say in their future." In a long article explaining the process and makeup of the Loya Jirga, not a word is said about the fact that women are almost ignored as participants or candidates in the voting which selected the delegates. You have to look in a separate fact box, or in other news sources, to find that women constitute only somewhere between 10 to 14 percent of the delegates, and most of those numbers are the result of "selection" not election, therefore something like a gift from the men.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has made painstaking efforts to work out a power-sharing deal that would be widely acceptable to the different ethnic groups and factions around the country.

That is, male ethnic groups and factions.

Remember that The United States Constitution recognized that blacks were to be counted as 3/5ths of whites, even as they were counted as slaves. What does it say that our own media today has no problem with counting the significance of women as somewhere between nothing and 1/4th that of men?

In Brussels wednesday, our oh so brilliant secretary of war, er, defense, attempted to defend the Bushie administration's position that we cannot wait for proof before acting against other countries and groups who are suspected of copying our own posession and employment of weapons of mass destruction. I don't think he made himself quite clear however:

"The message is that there are no knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns, that is to say there are things we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- things we do not know we don't know.

"So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say 'well, that's basically what we see as the situation', that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns."

And then we go in and bomb the hell out of, whomever or whatever.

Did our insane obsession with a "war on drugs" cost us September 11, and will it continue to compromise our defense against repeat attacks, even after the Bureau's vaunted reorganization plans?

While Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida minions were diligently preparing for their murderous mission, the FBI was looking the other way with equal determination. More than twice as many FBI agents were assigned to fighting drugs (2,500) than fighting terrorism (1,151). And a far greater amount of the FBI's financial resources was dedicated to the war on drugs.

And this pathological prioritization of the drug war extended well beyond the allocation of money and manpower. It was ingrained in the culture. Counterterrorism units were treated like the bureau's ugly stepchildren, looked down upon by FBI management because they weren't making the kind of high-profile arrests that spruce up a supervisor's resume and make the evening news.

The Washington regime is not disappointing those who expected the worst. [Sad, didn't we once think that "the worst" was what they would do to mess us up at home?]

White House talk of never-ending-war to "make peace" is being actualized . Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense and civilian head of U.S. armed forces (formerly known as the Secretary of War), has been dispatched to make "peace" between India and Pakistan. George Tenet, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the war-abetting organization of spooks that has an indelible image of fomenting division, distrust and mortal combat around the globe, has been dispatched to the Middle East to "make peace". And we wonder "why do they hate us?"

In a note with an argument both succinct and timely, a NYTimes reader suggests how we can end the hostilities in at least one "war."

Maybe there's still hope. If William Safire says he's worried about the Bushies' assault on the Constitution, we may yet see a bipartisan movement in its defense---and the beginning of the end of this dark night of the Republic?

To fabricate an alibi for his nonfeasance, and to cover up his department's embarrassing cut of the counterterrorism budget last year, Attorney General John Ashcroft — working with his hand-picked aide, F.B.I. Director "J. Edgar" Mueller III — has gutted guidelines put in place a generation ago to prevent the abuse of police power by the federal government.
Some sunshine libertarians are willing to suffer this loss of personal freedom in the hope that the Ashcroft-Mueller rules of intrusion may prevent a terror attack. They won't because they're a fraud.

Out of "concern for the world's Jews, for the supporters of Jews, and for peace in general," Israel is asked to remove its semimilitary colonies from the West Bank, Gaza and Golan.

As far as I'm concerned, the flawed idealism of Zionism has run up against a wall. Even if I accepted the biblical premise that Jews are entitled to that piece of Levantine real estate - and I don't - the political reality is that you cannot find peace by pursuing your current objectives. And you threaten more than yourselves and your immediate neighbors; you are threatening those of us who contributed so heavily to your existence.
In fact, if Israel insists on maintaining the occupation, I will take action. I will demand my trees back. You owe me.

Bloggy has a fresh take on arguments about the distinction between "certain knowledge" (conspiracy treason?) and "reasonable suspicion" (cowardice treason?) as they relate to the Bushies and September 11.

If administration officials felt that the warnings they had were enough to warrant changes in travel plans for the President and members of the cabinet, and failed to warn the American people, I think it's fair to say their behavior was treasonous.

[I think.]

Buchanan makes more sense than anything we see in the mainstream media!

The darling of the discontented Right says we are being attacked because of our imperial foreign policy, and not because "we are democratic and free and good."

[One caution: While he gets it, as far as he goes in this piece, I would wager that his ultimate conclusions would be unlikely to please the progressive Left.]

Before, not after, the next terror attack on this country, America's leaders should start telling the truth: Evil though they may be, Islamic killers are over here because we are over there. They are not trying to kill us because they dislike our domestic politics, but because they detest our foreign policy.
Is the empire worth it? French, Brits, even Soviets said no. They went home. And nothing over there – not oil, not bases in Saudi Arabia, not global hegemony – is worth risking nuclear terror over here. I may be the only right-winger in America who loves D.C., but then I grew up here. Washington is my hometown. It comes first, and empire isn't even a close second.

Climate changes, Bushes don't.

The Bushies admitted last week, in a quiet report intended not to make the headlines, that we are indeed destroying our climate and our environment with the production of poisonous gases, but they say there will be no policy change.

Rather, we are told, we must adapt to the "inevitability" of our national policy of not reducing these emissions. Huh?

But while the report says the United States will be substantially changed in the next few decades — "very likely" seeing the disruption of snow-fed water supplies, more stifling heat waves and the permanent disappearance of Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal marshes, for example — it does not propose any major shift in the administration's policy on greenhouse gases.

Iceland is on the way to full energy independence, and it does not involve fossil fuels. If we could only widely duplicate some of that country's natural advantages and ecological enthusiasms, we could eliminate much of the planet's pollution and make our current fuel-driven domestic and foreign policy totally obsolete.

Iceland, with its steaming geothermal power stations, already knows plenty about alternative energy.

Now this island of lava on the edge of the Arctic plans to become the world's first society to ditch fossil fuels entirely, relying instead on hydrogen made using the power of its roaring rivers and volcanoes.

Enthusiasts even talk about it one day becoming the "Kuwait of the North" as an exporter of the new, green fuel to markets in Europe.

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from June 2002.

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