Monday, September 20, 2004

Random thoughts from this week...

You know it's bad out there when...

...Martha Stewart asks to go to prison.

* * *

In this era of the housing bubble, fueled by record personal debt and marred by unprecedented numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures, the idea of an Ownership Society is as Orwellian as Mr. Bush's Clear Skies and Healthy Forest initiatives.

* * *

Questioning the validity of polls is coming into fashion. The ubiquitous Daily Kos has compiled a list of talking points. The Left Coaster is also on it, quoting from John Zogby and also linking back to another Daily Kos bit about Gallup's CEO being a Republican donor.

* * *

The NYTimes has recently dangled some phrases that reinforce common GuvWurld refrains:
Thursday's editorial frowned upon Porter Goss's nomination as CIA Director, calling it "cosmetic gamesmanship." This is materially similar to the simulated competition cited here.

Paul Krugman recently wrote Taking On The Myth though it only goes so far as encouraging Kerry to challenge Bush on national security, rather than detailing myriad ways democracy, capitalism, free speech and freedom of the press have become myths in America today.

* * *

Finally, equal parts absurd and surreal, terms of any potential Bush/Kerry debates are still unresolved, a great example of the simulated competition that perpetuates the myth of democracy.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Thursday, September 16, 2004

US Military Leaders Assess Iraq As Unprecedented Disaster

From the Guardian UK:
Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me [author Sidney Blumenthal]: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

This is the general idea of self sabotage. When you recognize the frame you'll see examples everywhere, including the many listed in the so-named section of the GuvWurld News Archive.

More excerpts:
Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.

And finally, the quote that really prompted this entry:
Terrill believes that any sustained US military offensive against the no-go areas "could become so controversial that members of the Iraqi government would feel compelled to resign". Thus, an attempted military solution would destroy the slightest remaining political legitimacy. "If we leave and there's no civil war, that's a victory."

The only "reason" ever given for not focusing on withdrawal plans is the prospect of Iraqi civil war erupting in the void. Yet the US trains Iraqis for police and military duties that require them to fight other Iraqis - the very definition of civil war. This particular example of sabotage is as Orwellian as they come. Meanwhile, this isn't just those pesky, disloyal military generals shooting their mouths off as usual (yeah, right). The NYTimes reports the US State Department has requested diversion of $3.4 billion from Iraq reconstruction to security. Senators from both sides of the aisle have said this indicates "deep trouble" for the war effort, in the words of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Monday, September 13, 2004

Seven Minutes To Midnight

Tim O'Dell has given me permission to post Seven Minutes To Midnight (.rtf/.pdf) in the GuvWurld archive. This is only the second work of fiction in the entire archive, a definite indication of its stature. I first read SMTM in draft form last April. I cried. And I cried with each revision Tim showed me. And I cried again when I read it tonight. This short story will stay with you a long time. Please forward it widely.

Other important reads today:

Maureen Farrell at BuzzFlash discusses Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here in the context of current events. Tim O'Dell gave me this book two years ago and I'm sure I haven't been the same since.

BBC - Birth Control Pill Propelled Into Abortion Debate
Common Dreams - House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
Decatur (AL) Daily News - Worker Fired For Kerry Bumper Sticker
Black Box Voting Consumer Report - Riverside impedes court-ordered observation

For the latest additions to the GuvWurld archive, you can always click the Today's News link found in both the archive and the GuvWurld blog.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

More Suggested Reading

A while back I wrote that opinion polls should be among the collection of No Confidence skepticism targets (along with elections, election machines, election machine manufacturers, the Bush administration, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the consolidated corporate media). At the time I noted that I hadn't yet seen the same degree of justification with polls and would therefore exclude them from the campaign until evidence went beyond the universal gut. We're still not there and likely won't be until the inevitable poll-related scandal. Nonetheless, TruthOut has some observations about Bush's post-convention bounce.

Not so much for reading, but more for the interactive learning experience, visit They Rule, a site showing the six degrees of separation connections among the global elite.

This site also led me to the National Budget Simulation, a site allowing visitors to adjust percentages for various aspects of the federal budget. It then calculates your effect on the deficit. This is very close to the The People's Budget idea I've written about. I had hoped to see this happen through The National Priorities Project but I will now contact Mr. Newman at NBS with this idea.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Election News and Other Suggested Reading

During the recent GuvWurld hiatus, James at Cities For Peace sent a few items that I only just now added to the GuvWurld News Archive. Chief among these is the Building Confidence Resolution passed by the Arcata City Council as a means of sidestepping the No Confidence Resolution developed here. I can't find any other copies of this online. What does this say about whether this resolution was lip service?

Also added: a Hamtramck, MI City Council resolution insisting there be no delay in the 2004 presidential election, and a press release about the Ferndale, MI City Council approving a referendum on IRV.

Those two are not the most exciting news but they are an important part of the record that the GuvWurld archive aspires to be. Of the more headline variety, see:

How can these stories do anything but reinforce the idea that there is NO BASIS for confidence in the legitimacy of US elections?

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Letter to NYTimes >> re: The Public Knowledge of 9/11

The following letter was sent to the editors of the New York Times ( as well as the paper's "reader's representative," the Public Editor (, in response to Saturday's editorial. This is an opportunity for all skeptics of the "official" 9/11 story to hold the Times accountable for calling for more disclosure.

Dear NYTimes Editors:

I could not agree more with the editorial you published on the third anniversary of 9/11. Indeed, we must "press hard to learn everything that can be learned" about 9/11 and its myriad unanswered questions. I'll list just a few so your public editor can have an easier job holding you to this task:

You will not offset admitted pre-war failings by calling for investigations that you do not conduct and report yourselves.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Monday, September 06, 2004

Is 1984 Taught In Schools Anymore?

When I was in high school, George Orwell's 1984 was required reading. I can't help but wonder how common this is in American schools today? Wherever it is being taught, it is difficult to imagine that a class now reading 1984 could have a meaningful learning experience without discussing the eerily similar context of current events, especially since teachers have been suspended or otherwise disciplined for benign free speech about war in the past two years.

So is 1984 being taught in 2004? It is a macabre irony to say taught, yes, the hard way. Recently the Eureka Times-Standard printed an editorial criticizing Shaye Harty for wanting to remove the statue of President McKinley from the Arcata Plaza. Harty questioned the appropriateness of celebrating a man of such dubious accomplishments. In rejecting Harty's proposal, the Times-Standard editors did not challenge her facts, interpretations or judgments about McKinley.

Had the paper limited its objection to the consideration of aesthetic and tradition, I would call it a reasonable difference of opinion. I could even forgive the demeaning tone that "downsized" the idea into perspective with other current concerns. But the editorial likened Harty's campaign to the rewriting of history seen in 1984. And thus we learn our lessons the hard way: the keepers of the status quo often defend their position with accusations that more appropriately apply to themselves.

This is a peculiar flavor of Orwell's doublespeak that I call Black Kettles. The greatest example may be George W. Bush saying America was attacked because terrorists hate our freedoms. This would be true if we were to properly define terrorists. After all, those who conspired to take away the rights of Americans are the Congressmembers who passed the Patriot Act; the Justice Department operating outside the parameters of an already dangerously expanded purview; the Supreme Court that has permitted wanton lawlessness in the Executive branch; and the administration that detains citizens indefinitely without charges.

It must be made plain by now that America is no longer a democratic, capitalist nation with freedoms of the press and of speech. These pretexts are maintained as a facade shielding recognition that fascism is in effect. Yes you will still find examples of capitalism or an uneroded freedom. But this is consistent with maintaining the illusion and perpetuating the myth that our country is still how we've always known it. It is not. This is not alarmist or extreme. It is sober and rational and millions of others have already realized it.

It is becoming increasingly easy to expose the charade. Mr. Bush has repeatedly said we are winning the war on terror, we will win the war on terror and that he has a strategy to win the war on terror. Last week Mr. Bush said that he doesn't think the war on terror can be won. Should such a contradiction be discussed in a class reading 1984 today?

The thinking reader has known since the beginning that a war on terror is like a war on violence and cannot possibly eradicate its supposed target. With millions awakening to the recognition of fascism, and myths being laid bare before the world, there is no reason to continue pretending that America is what it is not.

Imagine watching a magician perform. After the show you are asked to name your favorite trick. You say it was the one where he cut the lovely assistant in half. You know it was a trick and you know he didn't really saw the woman in two. In the context of recreation, entertainment and fantasy, suspension of disbelief is a prerequisite. Yet in casual conversation, your language would reflexively reinforce the illusion. This is what happens all the time from the war on terror to free speech (zones) to elections.

As headlines routinely leave reality a toss-up between the stories of two so-called national leaders, the net effect is many people now find it impossible to know what to believe. This is what the Times-Standard should be referring to when writing about 1984. Bashing Harty was, as it has come to be known, Orwellian.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Dennis Kyne Legal Defense Fund

I have written previously about my friend Dennis Kyne, a Gulf War I vet dealing proactively with the repercussions of depleted uranium (DU). He has written a self-published book called Support The Truth and is touring the country on zero budget in order to educate the masses that the US government has been routinely using nuclear weapons in the field, contaminating large tracts of foreign countries with radiation, and debilitating our own forces who then receive nothing but the back of the hand when and if they get home. Below, Dennis describes the patriot's welcome he received from NYC for the Republican convention.

Hello All

I was arrested in New York during the massive sweeps of the RNC. I am scheduled to reappear in court on October 25th to challenge 8 different counts and I promise all, I was the loudest person there, but I surely didn't need to be cited for acting violently, they buried me into the system and kept me locked up in the TOMBS, the Manhattan Detention Center. This system has no white people incarcerated, however the African Americans in the system loved what was happening on the streets and taught me how to use the phones and got my ass back out of jail as fast as the MAN tried to put me in. Inmates said they appreciated the work of the protesters, fed me anything around that didn't have meat and said that because of the work we had done, the Jail system was free of cockroaches and the dehumanization that we all know goes on in the prisons of America, I experienced no racism in this facility after being warned by police my number was up. So, I currently need to raise money for travel expenses back to New York and private counsel since I am represented by over worked Legal Aid Society attorneys.

Below is a list of the work I Have done in the past couple of months, I have taken a vow of non violence and am insulted that the police are insinuating that because I am a combat Veteran I MUST be violent, that is the stigma we veterans live with for our entire post combat lives, and it is not only unfair, as most of you know it is untrue. I fight for equality and justice, and most of all truth, and as a lot of you know, I operate as somewhat of a Lone Wolf because of the intensity under which I function. I watched as police were ordered to drop young women, detain 16 year old boys, and round up Chinese food delivery people with the only qualification for detention "being on a bike" while the critical mass folks rode by. It was Martial Law, it is not what I almost died in Combat for. I watched as people became unhealthy in a bus terminal used to detain people, and I stayed with an oppressed majority in the TOMBS and learned that we are all in this together. I hope you consider yourself in this with us. I am asking anyone who can help me with a donation of any amount so I can fly to New York and contest this inappropriate madness, as you can see my court date is one week before the election, and I am hoping New York remembers why we were there.

If you see it as within your means please use:

PO Box 720254
San Jose, CA
Dennis Kyne

Please forward this to anyone or all
In Peace
and gratitude







Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The GuvWurld Blog is Back

Well it has been a month since I last published GuvWurld. Thanks to a few of you who encouraged me to take a break. I was wound pretty tight. I didn't intend to stop writing for so long but once I stopped, I admit it was very tough to get started again.

I do have a few new essays in the works and I'm promising to complete at least one by the end of this long weekend. I'm also going to add a new section to the GuvWurld news archive called "Black Kettles." This refers to those particularly confounding statements that would be more true if the speaker was referring to himself. Here is an example from Friday's NYTimes:

"It is true that a handful of people have tried to destroy our city by going up and yelling at visitors here because they don't agree with their views," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Think about what that says. This is America, New York, cradle of liberty, the city for free speech if there ever was one and some people think that we shouldn't allow people to express themselves. That's exactly what the terrorists did, if you think about it, on 9/11. Now this is not the same kind of terrorism but there's no question that these anarchists are afraid to let people speak out."

Who is suppressing whose free speech here? The mother of all Black Kettles is Mr. Bush saying "they hate our freedom." Neither Saddam nor Osama had a vote in taking away our rights with the Patriot Act. Who hates our freedom, Mr. Bush? Who has done so much to limit Americans' freedoms?

Please send me examples you find. I'll also promise to set up this new Archive category by the end of the weekend.

Finally, a brief No Confidence Movement update. I think there needs to be a planned response to the inevitable election uncertainty. We have disaster contingencies for all sorts of emergencies so why not a Constitutional crisis? It behooves us to know what we'll be calling for and that we have some harmonized voices in a chorus. I think it also makes sense to encourage elected officials to pledge a response. They must be held accountable for their responsibility to hold others accountable. During my writing hiatus I also laid low from media outreach and other networking. I did, however, have a meeting with Humboldt County Elections Supervisor Lindsey McWilliams. By far, the single most noteworthy thing he said to me is that he thinks we need a Constitutional Convention. I've resisted saying this for many months but now I am hoping that Mr. McWilliams has identified a way he can join our chorus. I like his tenor.

Top of Page / GuvWurld Blog Home Page

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?