Saturday, August 26, 2006

Derrick Jensen On Dealing With Despair

So what I don't do with the anger is I don't push it away. That's a really, really important thing. About 15 years ago I was undergoing this sort of collapse where I just bursting into sobs all the time over the death of the salmon or just over how horrible this culture is. I called up this American Indian friend of mine, a writer and activist, and I said to her that this thing being an activist is breaking my heart. She said, “Yeah. It'll do that”. I said, “The dominant culture just hates everything, doesn't it?” and she said “Yeah it hates even itself.” I said, “It has a death urge, doesn't it?” and she said, “Yeah, it does.” I said, “Unless it's stopped it's going to kill everything on the planet. We're not going to make it to some great new glorious tomorrow, are we?” and her response was the best response she could give and it was, “I've been waiting for you to say that.” The reason why that was just a perfect response was because it let me know that it normalised my despair and that despair is an appropriate response to a desperate situation. It let me know that my sorrow is just sorrow and my pain is just pain and that I can feel it. It's not so much my sorrow or my pain that hurts, it's my resistance to it. The other thing is it let me feel all of these things and I knew it wouldn't kill me. There's this fear that if I recognise how bad things are then I'll just die. Well no. There's even a better thing that happens. When you recognise how bad things are, it does kill you and there's a wonderful thing about being dead and that's once your dead they can't touch you any more. They can't touch you with threats, they can't touch you with promises . . . . The point is that once that rage and sorrow really started to crystallize and once it started to go through me like I said, it killed me. The “me” it killed wasn't the animal me, wasn't the human me. The “me” it killed was the socially created me. What emerged was someone who no longer relies on hope and someone who is simply an animal who is going to defend those I love.

More, here.

If You're Already Powerful, You Don't Need Anyone To Empower You.

Twisty's back and better than ever!

Discussing the "empowered woman" that corporations use to sell stuff to women, Twisty notes: She was invented for precisely that purpose by the global corporatocracy, without whose tireless sponsorship of consumer feminine consciousness real-life women might have no clue how ugly and unfeminine they are. Femininity—that set of self-absorbed, self-defeating behaviors required of women by the dominant culture to ensure a ready-steady supply of submissive sexbot availability—is central to the empowerful woman narrative. Because there was never so hideous an abomination as a woman who can’t prove, through word, deed, and sportcorset, that she has successfully internalized the patriarchal message and is conversant in fulfilling male fantasy.

Peddaling While The World Burns

Michael Moore tells us how Bush is spending his long weekend at his parents' home in Kennebunkport:

For two days in a row, the president has taken his mountain bike to the Massabesic Experimental Forest, a stretch of woods about a half-hour from the Bush home that is owned by the U.S. Agriculture Department. Accompanied by companions recruited from a bike shop and elsewhere, the president has indulged in early morning rides of about an hour.

I fucking hate this fucking fucker.

The Question That G. Felix Allen, Jr. Refuses To Answer

The News Leader reports that G. Felix Allen, Jr., (R), hid from demonstrators today, preferring to hide rather than to keep a scheduled appearance.

The last-minute change in plans came minutes after a man identifying himself as a University of Virginia law school student broke in front of reporters at an event at Staunton’s Holiday Inn, forcefully asking the senator, “Have you ever used the word n-----?” He also questioned why Allen, a one-term Republican senator and former governor, had once displayed a noose in his office.

Allen, caught off-guard but still smiling, put his hands on the man’s shoulders and offered to speak to him later, but aides quickly led the man out of the room and Allen soon boarded his bus and left.

“Once in a while you get ambushed,” Allen said before leaving the event, a luncheon attended by a nearly all-white crowd of Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce members. “That’s OK. That’s part of it.”

Sounds as if G. Felix Allen, Jr. has some explaining to do.

The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives The Flower By Dylan Thomas

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Party of the Gods

For Anne Johnson

How It's Done

Whoever is doing Bob Casey's ads is doing a good job. I hope Webb can afford them soon.

Here Comes The Sun

According to today's EEI newsletter:

Xcel Energy Says $1 Million in Solar Panels Installed Under New Program

Xcel Energy said the Solar Rewards rebate program has spent more than $1 million on solar panels for 90 homes and businesses, the Denver Business Journal reported. The Public Service Company of Colorado CEO Pat Vincent was quoted by the newspaper as saying: "We knew that customers were looking forward to the new Solar Rewards program in Colorado, but the response has been more than we could have hoped for to this point."
Denver Business Journal , Aug. 24.

"[T]he response [by consumers to solar energy] has been more than we could have hoped for to this point." I think consumers are eager to take steps to improve the environment. I think there's a shitload of money to be made by companies that sell products and services that help consumers to do that. And getting your energy provider to give you a rebate for taking sensible steps to improve the environment makes it even sweeter. Check out the webpage for your electricity company. More and more of them are providing, rebates, low-cost loans, and guaranteed buy-back of extra energy.

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

What A Great Idea

Environmental News Network reports on Philippine's efforts to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for planting the most trees.

Philippines Hopes to Break World Record with Mass Tree-Planting

August 25, 2006 — By Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took part Friday in a massive tree-planting campaign aimed at improving air quality in the Philippines while breaking a world record.

The "Green Philippine Highways" project initially aimed to simultaneously plant 500,000 trees on 3,439 kilometers (2,137 miles) of roads across the sprawling archipelago, but Environment Undersecretary Francisco Bravo said the figure may have been higher.

Some 620,000 seedlings were distributed to government and civic groups and nearly a million participants signed up, including members of 4,414 organizations, he said.

"This morning, we planted trees all over the archipelago, the biggest number of trees planted at one time in the history of the world," Arroyo said in a speech after launching the project. "We will probably make it to the Guinness Book of Records for that."

The current record for most number of trees planted simultaneously is listed as 300,587 in 2005 by 16,317 people at 18 sites across India's Andhra Pradesh state.

There was no immediate word from Guinness on Friday's record attempt.

Bravo said participants were given a half-hour to plant, starting at 10 a.m., with each participant asked to sign a document for every tree planted.

The documents were to be verified by village officials, sent to a computer network at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and then checked by a leading auditing company.

The environment department said a recent study showed the Philippines has the second most polluted air among eight Southeast Asian countries polled, with vehicle emissions accounting for 70 percent of the pollution.

Experts say at least 10 trees are needed to absorb the carbon emissions of a single motor vehicle.

It gives me hope.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hillary Sends E-Mails

Dear Hecate,

I want to send a personal note of thanks to all of you who joined me in our difficult fight to get the FDA to approve the use of Plan B without a prescription, at least for women over age 18.

Making Plan B available over the counter has the potential to prevent millions of unplanned pregnancies. This decision is long overdue: for years, the Bush administration and its ideological allies refused to recognize the scientific evidence that Plan B was both safe and effective.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington and I have agreed that we will lift our hold on the nomination of Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach to be FDA commissioner now that the FDA has made a decision. We hope he'll provide the strong scientific leadership the FDA needs and deserves.

But this three-year effort to make one more reproductive health option available to American women is another reminder that we have to insist that policy decisions should be made on the basis of science, not ideology.

We never would have succeeded if we had not held firm -- and if we had not been able to count on your support. This fight isn't over yet. There are questions about the age restriction and other conditions imposed by the FDA. We know that we have to keep working to support women’s reproductive health choices. Meanwhile, this decision is a victory for American women -- and that's something to celebrate!

Again, thank you so much for your invaluable support.


I'm not at all expert on Plan B, but were I a woman of child-bearing age, I'd acquire several doses NOW and put them in my medicine cabinet, assuming that they have a shelf-life of even a year. That way, I wouldn't worry about whether or not some self-appointed morals policeman working behind a drug-store cash register would give me a hard time when I (or a friend of mine) desperately needed the medicine nor that I'd have to ride a bus to several different drug stores before finding one that stocked Plan B. Good on Hillary Clinton and good on Patty Murray for keeping the pressure on the Bush junta and the FDA.
Selling One Of Our Last Wildlife Refuges For A Penny

NRDC makes it easy to take action.


Today's EEI newsletter reports that:

Op-ed Says Wind Farming Soon May Be Most Affordable Energy Source

In an op-ed published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wind Capital Group President Tom Carnahan wrote that the U.S. wind power industry has reached a "critical tipping point" in acceptance. Carnahan wrote that wind power as an alternative source of power "is beginning to make economic sense and soon may become the nation's most affordable energy source." This is linked to the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels, because "the cost of wind power remains constant over the 20-year life of a project."

Since most U.S. supplies of natural gas and oil are imported from unstable nations, and wind farms are local, "energy policy now is a national security issue." Carnahan also noted the positive impact of wind power on rural areas.

Wrote Carnahan: "Now is the time to invest in our communities and improve our national security through the development of locally-produced wind. We can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting and promoting this completely clean source of power. The winds of change are blowing."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, op-ed , Aug. 23.

Yes, the author is obviously an interested party, but I think that the points that he makes are valid. The price of wind energy doesn't suddenly go up due to world events and it's difficult to imagine us having to invade another country because we need "their" wind! As Carnahan notes, "energy policy is now a national security issue." If we'd had a sensible energy policy in place for the last thirty years, we surely wouldn't be killing people in the Middle East today. If they wanted to kill each other, well, that would be very unfortunate, but it would be their business.

Wind power will never be our only source of energy. I don't think any one magic bullet will fix our energy problems. And wind farm developers need to do lots more to ensure the safety of bird populations. But wind can be an important part of a better energy policy and a better foreign policy.
This May Be Jon Stewart's Finest Moment

Help us, Obi Wan. You're our only hope.

Black Death

There are, as I've noted on a few occasions, several ways to control the human population -- the easy way and the not so easy way. Maybe I've been wrong. Perhaps the choice is not so much between easy and not-easy so much as it's between clean and messy. Overpopulation is a huge part of the equation that is global climate change. If our population were half the current size -- which it would be in one generation if each couple would limit reproduction to one child -- we'd have far less greenhouse gas even without any conservation or shifts to green fuels. But the Bush junta is all about pushing for measures that make it almost impossible for couples to control their reproduction. So, I guess we're going for "messy." Here's what "messy" means:

BBC is reporting that:

Climatic changes could lead to more outbreaks of bubonic plague among human populations, a study suggests. Researchers found that the bacterium that caused the deadly disease became more widespread following warmer springs and wetter summers.

. . .

"The desert regions of Central Asia are known to contain natural foci of plague where the great gerbil (Rhombomys opimus) is the primary host. "Plague spread requires both a high abundance of hosts and a sufficient number of active fleas as vectors transmitting plague bacteria between hosts," the Norwegian scientist added. Fleas became active when the temperature exceeded 10C (50F), so a warm, frost-free spring led to an early start to breeding. Plague is passed to humans through flea bites The flea population continued to grow when the spring was followed by a wet, humid summer, the researcher wrote. The combination of the two seasons' climatic conditions led to an increase in the number of the insects feeding off the great gerbils, resulting in a greater transmission of plague. The study showed that just a 1C (1.8F) rise in the springtime temperature led to a 59% increase in the prevalence of the disease. The greater prevalence of plague in the region's wildlife increased the risk of local people becoming infected.

. . .

"Analyses of tree-ring proxy climate data shows that conditions during the period of the Black Death (1280-1350) were both warmer and increasingly wet.

"The same was true during the origin of the Third Pandemic (1855-1870) when the climate was wetter and underwent an increasingly warm trend," he added.
. . .

Professor Stenseth warned that recent changes to the region's climate suggested that warmer springs were becoming more frequent, increasing the risk of human infections.

Or, we could provide real sex education, free, effective birth control, abortion on demand, and incentives to have only one child. Apparently the "pro-family values" party prefers the Black Death. Go ahead and google to see how you die when you contract the Black Death. Ask yourself how "icky" abortion sounds after that.

By Any Means Necessary

You cannot be a witch of my generation and not be a bit in awe of Isaac Bonewitz, Druid though he is. i'm a member of his Spells for Democracy group. As he notes, there are (now, slightly less than) 13 Tuesdays until the election.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How We Know That Abortion Isn't Murder

This morning when I was eating breakfast, I was thinking about the fact that the fanatical level of insistence among certain members of the Bush cult that no one may dare to criticize Bush's Iraq debacle actually indicates that those who advocate this position understand how truly weak it is. No one who is sure that their position is correct is so horribly afraid of questions or criticism.

Now, along comes the Mad Melancholic Feminista to make the same point about those who run around frantically insisting that "abortion is murder." She points out that: if most people really believed that abortion was murder (which is the specific moral wrong that those who object to it from a religious standpoint assert), then abortion would quite simply be a non-issue. I mean, c'mon. No one tolerates or even likes a rapist or child pornographer. But, you can not only like, but love a woman who had an abortion. You might disagree with what she did. You might find it morally repugnant. But, except for a select few, you can't imagine people absolutely wanting to rip apart a woman who terminated a pregnancy.

. . .

Is abortion really killing? Would you need to advertise so strenuously this extreme view if most people thought it was killing? I mean, can you imagine bumper stickers on cars that said "Rapists Suck." Or "Rapists Destroy Women's Souls Every Day." No. Of course not.

I wish that I'd been half as smart as she is when I was her age. I wish that I wrote half as well as she writes. I think her insight is spot on.

Talk About Your No-Brainers!

The other week a friend and I were chatting about politics and he wondered why the environment is considered a "liberal" issue. When you think about it, there's really no clear reason, other than the fact that some big businesses (and one should emphasize the "some") fear that it will cut their profits (see, e.g., the oil companies who own the Bush junta). (Of course, other big businesses are realizing that (a) global climate change is cutting into their profits (see, e.g., insurance companies) and (b) that there's money to be made cleaning up the environment and providing green alternatives (see, e.g., producers of solar panels for homes, who literally can't produce their product fast enough to meet demand)). But beyond that, everyone suffers from, for example, air pollution and the effects of greenhouse gases and many conservatives enjoy spending time outdoors doing everything from fly fishing to sailing. So why shouldn't the environment be an issue that Democratic candidates could seize upon and generate broad support?

A new poll from Zogby indicates that my friend is probably on to something. Zogby finds that, "dramatically," concern about global climate change: is a sentiment shared by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and political independents. While many more Democrats believe in global warming (87%), 56% of Republicans concur. Among independents, 82% think we are experiencing the effects of global warming. These numbers indicate a shift in the momentum of global warming believers. Those figures are worth repeating: A majority of Republicans and an overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents believe in global warming.

Further, Zogby found that: As Americans recover from this summer's heat wave and mark the first anniversary next week of Hurricane Katrina , an overwhelming majority say they are more convinced that global warming is happening than they were two years ago, and they are also connecting intense weather events like hurricane Katrina and heat waves to global warming. . . .

Asked what influence global warming has had on specific weather events, 65% said they believe it had an influence on this summer's heat wave that baked the U.S., and 68% said they think it was a factor in development of more intense hurricanes like Katrina. Similar numbers are seen for other weather phenomenon including droughts, wildfires and snowfall.

Finally, the Zogby poll shows how easy it would be for the Democrats to run on and, one assumes, push through, environmental measures: The survey also indicated there is strong support for measures to require major industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to improve the environment without harming the economy: 72% of likely voters agreed such measures should be taken. That sentiment was consistent across a wide age spectrum of respondents, but there was some split along party lines. Among Democrats, 81% agreed major industries should be required to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while 61% of Republicans agreed. Among independents, 73% said major industries should be required to decrease certain emissions. I think, again, that those numbers bear repeating. A significant majority of Republicans and very large majorities of Democrats and independents agree that major industries should be required to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

I have trouble thinking of any other issue where I've seen such unity of opinon among Americans today. Why shouldn't the Democrats be pushing a very strong environmental agenda and, at the very least, forcing the Republicans to vote against measures that even 61% of their own party members want to see enacted?

Thank The Goddess

The NYT is reporting that a judge has put a permanent halt to Bush's plan to sell off the trees in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, "a soaring woods in central California," to logging companies.

That's right. The Bush junta has given so many tax breaks to Paris Hilton that it is now trying to sell off the trees -- many of which are hundreds of years old -- in our NATIONAL MONUMENTS to the logging companies. This will, in their bizzaro universe, fund the National Forest Service. Until, you know, there ARE NO MORE FORESTS and then, I guess, we won't need to fund a Forest Service at all.

How fucking outrageous does it have to get?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Well, he's right about one thing. The first woman president isn't going to be a witch.


Some days I wonder why I even get up out of bed. The sexism and the religious bigotry just keep on coming.


I see that the LAT has jumped on the "HURRYUPANDOFFERHERSOMETHINGELSEANYTHINGELSE" bandwagon, coyly asserting that, "It's obvious that someone wants word of this bargain to be fruitful and multiply." Yeah. Like the people who write editorials about it under horrible photos of Hillary. Those someones.

Desperately pushing John Edwards ("Many of her potential competitors score far better on likeability indices, notably John Edwards, . . . ") and practically begging Hillary to be a good girl, a nice girl, a bipartisan girl who really, really, really shouldn't want to get her hands dirty with a nasty presidential campaign, the sort much better left to the boys, the LAT ignores recent polls that show Hillary almost even with McCain in spite of incredibly different press treatment and never bother to tell us how Edwards stacks up against McCain.

I like John Edwards and I think he's done some good work since 2004. I was horribly disappointed in his debate with Dick Cheney. Cheney pantsed him and Mr. Edwards smiled sweetly and looked humiliated. Sure, as the LAT notes, Mr. Edwards is "likeable." In 2008, apparently "likeable" is the new "electable." And no powerful woman is EVER going to be "likeable" in this culture. But "likeable" is NOT what we're going to need in the upcoming mudbath, cheatfest, slime marathon politely referred to as the 2008 election. (The Republicans will NOT go gently into that goodnight and, thanks to Messers. Kerry and Edwards being too "likeable" to fight over the 2004 results, the Republicans will have had 4 MORE years to perfect their one-two punch of Rovian-Dieboldian tactics.) Ms. Clinton, on the other hand, has pretty well shown that she can take everything they throw at her and then turn around and, for example, dress Rumsfeld down like he was a red-headed three year old.

The LAT is forced to admit that: After all, Clinton is the unquestioned front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president. She commands an unmatched war chest, an unrivaled collection of political talent (headed by her legendarily adroit husband) and star power that most putative candidates can only dream of.

And, in trying to sell her the "nice" job that ANY sensible woman would take instead of that silly old pain-in-the-neck job of president, the LAT says:

So whatever the hype, Clinton's path to the presidency isn't an easy one. But the road to Senate leadership may be. Clinton possesses qualities that could turn the thankless, grueling realities of congressional preeminence into something glamorous and powerful. She's a human megaphone, for one, able to focus the press corps on whatever it is she wishes to say that morning. Such a skill would prove invaluable to a legislative leader, allowing her to set the agenda and advance her priorities even from the minority.

Second, she's an extraordinary fundraiser, far and away the best the Democrats have. She's raised $33 million for a Senate reelection campaign that lacks a serious opponent — partly the benefit of retaining the Clinton Rolodex, partly a function of her own magnetism.

Perhaps most important, her ability to bury enmities and forge alliances has been astonishing. She's reached out to the bitterest foes of her husband's presidency, seeking rapprochement with everyone from impeachment manager Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to bête noire Newt Gingrich. In the famously collegial Senate, where success relies on odd bedfellows and mountains of goodwill, she's that rarest of creatures, able to conjure partisan passions when elections beckon but also to resurrect constructive relationships when legislation need be passed.

Then, the LAT delivers the gee-honey-wouldn't-you-really-rather-get-a-nice-play-kitchen-than-a-silly-old-tool-set coup de grace: All those qualities would make her a superlative Senate leader, both for the health of the Democratic Party and the workings of the legislative body. Clinton, a serious policy wonk with a deep-seated drive to improve the world, could effect real change, possibly even more than the relentlessly partisan position of president would allow.

Yeah, Hil. You're smart. You've raised a shitload of cash. You're the front-runner. You would make a "superlative" leader and be good for both "the Democratic Party" and the larger government, but, really, honey, girls who are "serious policy wonk[s] with a deep-seated drive to improve the world," well, they're just not very likeable, you know, honey? But here, you take this nice consolation prize and let one of the boys be president. It's for the "good of the Democratic Party and the workings of the legislative body." Maybe a girl can be president AFTER we [free the slaves, win the War, end the war, get civil rights, . . . .pigs fly].


Obligatory post script: You want to disagree with Hillary Clinton's stand on the issues, fine. I agree with some of her stands and disagree with others -- JUST AS I DO WITH EVERY SINGLE OTHER POLITICIAN, INCLUDING EVERY SINGLE (MALE) CANDIDATE FOR WHOM I'VE CAST MY VOTE FOR PRESIDENT. What pisses me off is the sexism. Let's dig up Likeable John's positions on the war, Israel, whatever and compare them to Hil's and have the debate about who we agree with on a more frequent basis. But saying that you can't support Hillary because of her stand on issue X or on issues X,Y, and Z when you regularly support males with whom you also don't completely agree is . . . well, it's sexism. And it's sexism when it comes from women (who have grown up in a sexist culture and absorbed its tenants every bit as much as have men) just as much as when it comes from men. Successful, powerful women don't only make men in this culture uncomfortable.

Water Wars. Count On It.

More disturbing news from today's EEI newsletter:

India Faces Mounting Power Crisis as Drought Affects Fuel Supply

After New Delhi was affected by blackouts last week, Indian officials are considering ways to boost power supply, the Financial Times of London reported. The Indian government said in a Supreme Court filing that electricity "could not be increased to keep pace with the demand due to various constraints such as environmental considerations and non-availability of coal, gas" and hydro power.

Lack of fuel and water have forced plants to cut back or shut down. Delhi Transco Director of Operations S.R. Sethi was quoted by the FT as saying: "If gas terminals were not shut down, we would have been quite comfortable." The newspaper did not detail the terminals' situations, but it did say that drought has severely reduced water available for hydro power.

P Ramesh, a managing director at infrastructure consultant firm Feedback Ventures, was quoted as saying: "The future is going to be even more bleak. India is not adding adequate capacity to keep pace with demand growth."

New power plants supplying the area are not due to come online until 2010. However, Ramesh said, "electricity shortfall will worsen by 10,000 MW every five years based on present capacity additions." The government told the Supreme Court that due to "overall gas shortage in the country, even the existing gas-based stations within the country are generating only 60 percent of the installed capacity."
Financial Times, Aug. 21.

Drought, which is likely to increase as global climate change proceeds apace, will only make this situation worse.

India and China may be the canaries in the global mine when it comes to observing the effects of global climate change. Both have huge populations and appear to be getting hit pretty hard with water shortages already. Both will need to find a way to feed and water their populations in order to mainatina internal stability. Both have nuclear bombs. I'm just saying.

Knock, Knock. Who's There? Rolling. Rolling Who? Rolling Blackout.

Today's EEI newsletter reports that:

Experts Warn of Serious Power Shortages in Next Few Years

Experts gathered at a recent EEI symposium agreed that without the addition of a significant number of power plants or a larger emphasis on conservation, certain regions of the country will experience power shortages in the coming years, the Washington Times reported. Wrote the newspaper: "Another energy crisis of the magnitude seen in California in 2001, with rolling blackouts and soaring power rates, could occur before the end of the decade because the use of power is growing rapidly, but planning is inadequate for building the new plants and facilities needed to provide future power, said Ed Muller, chairman of Mirant Corp."

Cambridge Energy Research Associates estimated the Mid-Atlantic is two to five years away from supply problems unless immediate steps are taken. Wrote the newspaper: "A boom in construction of power plants fired by natural gas between 1995 and 2001 led to power surpluses from 2002 to 2005, but that spare cushion is rapidly dwindling in the Washington-Baltimore area, California, New York, New England and Florida, the most congested urban regions."

A Pace Global Energy Services report questioned whether new nuclear or new generation coal-based plant could be built quickly enough to head off the envisioned deficiencies. The Times said the report indicated that "if any of the planned coal or nuclear projects are delayed - which seems likely, given opposition from environmentalists and many community activists to both types of power – "the likely result is a near-term bind,"(the report) said. "Higher than expected . . . growth or abnormal weather can speed" the arrival of shortages, "as recent events in California have shown."
Washington Times , Aug. 22.

I understand that the president is (a) insane and (b) totally in the pockets of the oil companies. But, honestly, you'd think SOMEONE in our government would care about the fact that we're already seeing the beginning of the end of our electric system. As the above article makes clear, we can't build our way out of this problem -- siting, permitting, and building new nukes will take a decade or more. So the only answer, one scarcely mentioned in the article is conservation.

Aren't there a few grown-ups in Washington, D.C. who can figure out that, at the very least, rolling nationwide blackouts might not be too good for business? That national security (I'll be damned if I'll use propaganda-laden terms like "homeland") would be seriously threatened by "[a]nother energy crisis of the magnitude seen in California in 2001, with rolling blackouts and soaring power rates"? Could the grown-ups please send George McCocainBrain off to play with Saddam's pistol in the Oval Office (there's honor and dignity restored to that particular piece of real estate!) and pass some serious conservation measures RIGHT NOW?

Hillary Clinton also has some excellent longer-term suggestions.

Racheting Up The Abuse

I'm grateful to those who watch and report on the Bush junta's press conferences, since I'll admit to a physical revulsion that makes it almost impossible for me to watch or listen to Bush for more than a few seconds. Yesterday's press conference, by all accounts, provided evidence of an even further slide into insanity and incoherence than we've seen before. The WaPo's Eugene Robinson says:

I'm . . . interested in trying to understand his emotional response -- or lack of response -- to the chaos he has spawned.

According to the Iraqi government, 3,438 civilians were killed in July, making it the bloodiest month since the invasion. The president was asked yesterday whether the failure of the U.S.-backed "unity" government to stem the orgy of sectarian carnage disappoints him, and he said that no, it didn't. How, I wonder, is that possible? Does he believe it would be a sign of weakness to admit that the flowering of democracy in Iraq isn't going exactly as planned? Does he believe saying everything's just fine will make it so? Is he in denial? Or do 3,438 deaths really just roll off his back after he's had his workout and a nice bike ride?

Mr. Robinson may have thrown the final option in as rhetoric, but if I were pressed, I'd choose it as the correct option. Sociopaths truly aren't capable of feeling anyone else's pain and Bush is a sociopath. I don't think even millions of deaths would phase him the tiniest bit. I think it's important for us to realize this. It's not that he doesn't know. It's that he doesn't care. We should take that into account when we form our strategies for trying to end this insane, illegal, immoral war.

Mr. Robinson also notes that Bush said:

"What's very interesting about the violence in Lebanon and the violence in Iraq and the violence in Gaza is this: These are all groups of terrorists who are trying to stop the advance of democracy."

Now, whatever you think about George Bush's intellect, he knows full well that the Hamas government in Gaza was democratically elected. He also knows full well that Hezbollah participates in the democratically elected government of Lebanon, or what's left of Lebanon. And so he has to know full well that U.S.-backed Israeli assaults on Gaza and Lebanon -- even if you believe they were justified -- had the impact of crippling, if not crushing, two nascent democracies of the kind the Bush administration wants to cultivate throughout the Middle East. [Here's where I think Mr. Robinson is wrong. Bush does NOT want to cultivate democracy anywhere in the world.]

. . .

So when the president lauds democracy as the magic elixir that will cure the scourge of terrorism, is he really putting faith in his favorite mantra rather than his lying eyes? Is his view of the world so unchangeable that he dismisses actual events the way he dismisses mere "talk''?

Or is he just trying to hold on until January 2009, when all this will become somebody else's problem?

Actually, I think there's a different factor at work, one that Mr. Robinson fails to propose. In a recent post, I blogged about Derrick Jensen's discussion of the similarities between abusive partners and the dominant culture. Mr. Jensen says:

Abusers will use any excuse to ratchet up repression, and if no excuses are forthcoming, excuses will be fabricated. . . . Those in power will repress us no matter what we do or don't do. And if we do anything they will ratchet it up.

. . .

Everyone who has ever in any way been associated with perpetrators of abuse will probably agree with this analysis by psychologist and writer Arno Gruen of why abusers must continue to ratchet up their exploitation: "[C]atharsis does not work for those people whose anger and rage are fueled by self-hatred, for if it is projected onto an external object, self-hatred is only intensified and is aggravated by actions that are unconsciously perceived deep within as further forms of self-betrayal. Thus, with every additional act of destruction, destructive rage raises its stakes."

George Bush hates the principles of democracy with every fiber of his being. The more he talks about bringing "democracy" to the Middle East, the harder he tries to ensure its absence. He does, however, think that it's a good word to use to fool the rubes. And he will rachet up his abuse of democracy every chance that he gets. I don't know about you, but I can just look at the man and see that he is desperate to get his finger on the nuclear button. Saddam's pistol just isn't doing it for him any more. Mr. Robinson, 2009 is way too far away.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why I Drink

I have just about had it with these people. Fifty-four fucking years.

Hakuna Macaca, With Apologies to Tim Rice

Hakuna Macaca!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Macaca!
Ain't no passing craze

It means no worries
For the rest of Virginia's days
It's our George Allen-free philosophy
Hakuna Macaca!

When he was a young racist,
(When I was a young racist)
He wore the confederate flag;
Kept a noose on a tree in his office and thought he was quite a wag!
He's as dumb as George Bush,
With a face like a tush!

And, though Webb was behind,
Allen piped up and chimed:
"Welcome to America, Macaca!"
Hey, not in front of the Kids
(Oh, sorry.)
Hakuna Macaca!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Macaca!
Ain't no passing craze

It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It's our George Allen-free philosophy

Hakuna Macaca! means no worries
For the rest of your days
It's our George Allen-free philosophy

Subjects To Be Communed With, Not Objects To Be Exploited

Derrick Jensen in A Language Older Than Words

"I could not have learned to listen to coyotes without having first learned to listen to my unwillingness to sell my hours, then to listen to the signals of my body, then to listen to the disease that has made my insides its home, and thus become a part of me. And I could not have learned to listen to coyotes without having talked to other people courageous enough to validate my perception of an animate world. I talked to the writer Christoper Manes, who said, 'For most cultures through history--including our own in preliterate times--the entire world used to speak. Anthropologists call this animism, the most pervasive worldview in human history. Animistic cultures listen to the natural world. For them, birds have something to say. So do worms, wolves, and waterfalls.' Later the philosopher Thomas Berry told me, 'The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees--all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.'"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Athena Was A Goddess Of Wisdom And Strategy. Just Saying.

Athenae (to whom I'm linking through Atrios because I can not for the life of me figure out how to link to a specific post at FirstDraft) is an amazing writer and, in the piece she's written today, manages to do a better job than I have of expressing something that I've been trying to write about for some time.

Writing about the politicians, pundits, and bloggers who would rather swear that the emperor is SO wearing clothes than admit that they were had by the Bush junta, Athena says, inter alia:

And people do want to be part of something, that's the tragic part of it. An awful lot of people, good people, nice people, people living what you'd call normal lives, are just sort of ambling around trying to figure out what the fuck they're doing here. They have jobs they hate and families that drive them nuts and leisure time that feels more like work than work does, what with travel indignities and the rush and bustle of theme parks. They're miserable in a low-level kind of way, quiet desperation and all, and church isn't doing it for them, and drugs are too destructive, and most of them aren't living the lives they wanted to live. Not at all.

A lot of them feel, and rightly, not that their lives ask too much of them but too little. They feel, and rightly, that this country's a little too easy, that you don't have to work or scrimp or save or worry for your citizenship anymore, than you just sit back in your recliner and you're done for the day. They feel, and rightly, a need to be called to something greater, but there is no unifying voice issuing that kind of call anymore, no Kennedy, no King. They wait for that kind of leadership, and even when they seem to have found it they say, maybe next time, when the time is right, when I'm ready, when the world is ready, when something so horrific I can't ignore it any more jolts me out of this Barcalounger and onto my feet, then I'll follow. Then I'll act.

And so, when George W. Bush came along and made a good speech (it was a good speech, read it so you don't have to hear or see him say it and you'll realize it was a good speech and given sincerely might have been great), they jumped on the bandwagon because really, any bandwagon would have done. It had nothing to do with George Bush and nothing really to do with Sept. 11. It had everything to do with a hunger in suburbia for the kind of purpose their parents had as young people in the 1960s, the kind of purpose America had when it was led by real men and not hucksters and thieves. The kind of purpose World War II necessitated (just look at the commenters over at BlackFive the other day, on and on about the clash of civilizations) and the civil rights movement engendered, back when the people writing editorials today sincerely believed they could change the world.

In their minds, it was a lack of conviction and purpose that lost the Vietnam War. It wasn't shitty military strategy and lousy leadership, it was that we just didn't feel it enough.

. . .

The real trouble was, it was bullshit from the start. If this truly had been a great cause, Bush would have called for enlistments and conservation, not spending and travel. If this truly had been the transformation of our country, Bush would have called for charity to alleviate the desperation and poverty that makes hatred of America seem like a solution. If Sept. 11 had been the wakeup call that everybody said it was, five years ago, we'd have rededicated ourselves to making this country, truly, the richest and most prosperous and free nation on earth, so that if somebody wanted to hate us for our freedoms, at least we'd deserve it.

If Sept. 11 had been the making of us, we'd be painting schools in Afghanistan, not in Iraq. And Osama would be swinging from a tall tree.

Instead, it was "go shopping" and "don't change a thing" and "loose lips sink ships" and "Islamofascism," and it was bewildering to those people Atrios cites who thought this was their moment and got completely and utterly hosed.

Once you've jumped on a bandwagon, you can't just get off. You've publicly declared that this is now a new day, that we are a new country, that you are a New Man Made Of Moonbeams or something, and you've dedicated yourself to a president you thought was providing leadership. Leadership of the sort you've craved since you were a kid hearing your parents' stories about FDR and Kennedy. Leadership of the sort you got into media and politics to provide, and now look at you, falling for the first snake oil salesman who comes along promising national greatness in an amber apothecary vial.

It takes a big bag of stones to climb out of the pool after you've gotten yourself into that deep end. And if our politicians and the leadership of our press had those stones they'd have recognized Bush's insincerity the moment he started to talk about Iraq. They'd never have bought destroying a country to make it free, they'd never have listened to talk about weapons of mass destruction, they'd have laughed Condi Rice off the set of Tweety's show. But this wasn't about the facts anymore.

This was about the story they were telling themselves in their heads. And it couldn't end with an apology.

Athenae's right that people long for meaning in their lives and that many people in middle-class and the upper lower-class portions of American just can't find it. TV tells them that if they'd just take this pill, drink this beer, drive this SUV, dance to this iPod, they'd be happy and that's bullshit. Their fire and brimstone preacher tells them that if they just give all their money to him, hate the gays, and never look at porn, they'll be saved, if not happy, and that's bullshit. So, as Athenae notes when an event occurs that the media completely overhypes (and she is soooo spot on about Americans now believing that feeling something = participating in something. Why wouldn't they? How many weepy times does Diane Sawyer have to look right into their eyes and invite them to "Be there with us as we talk to these brave [insert whatever interview she's scored this week]"????) and that they "feel a part of" and then Bush comes along with some jingoism and propaganda and stands in front of a stageset and acts macho, yeah, between that the the delicious thrill of fear that people get imagining that IT COULD HAPPEN TO ME!, lots of folks fall for it. Fell for it. Continue to fall for it. And they're not going to give it up for cold, hard, logic any sooner than any addict gives up the thing that makes him or her feel ok for at least a part of every day.

That's why the Democrats need more than policy wonks, need more than John Kerry's cool-reasoned, multi-prepositioned, logical sentences. Americans knew when they watched the debates that Kerry was smart and that Bush was a moron. But Kerry was the smart guy who was going to take away the thing that they're addicted to and Bush was the idiot dealer. ("And the dealer wants you thinking that it's either black or white. Thank God it's not that simple, in my secret life. " Cohen). And they did what addicts do. They voted for their dumb dealer.

The Democrats have to touch people's emotions. They need to show people a way to find meaning in their life that revolves around saving the planet or healing the sick or taking care of old people or any of the hundreds of other things that need to be done, rather than around "defeating the Islamofascists."

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

Requiem, Akhmatova's poem-cycle, was a literary monument to the victims of Stalin's Terror. The earliest poem dates from 1935 and the remainder w[ere] apparently written in 1938-40. The prose foreword was added in 1957. The work was first published in 1963 in Munich and in Russia it appeared in 1987. The central core of Requiem consists of ten short, numbered poems. The first originally reflected the arrest of her husband Nikolai Punin in 1935 and other close friends, but primarily the poems deal with the author's experiences and her agony following the arrest of her son Lev Gumilyov in 1938. Lev had been arrested [for the] first time in 1935 and released after Akhmatova wrote a letter to Stalin, ending with the words, "Help, Iosif Vissarionovich!" The tenth poem switches from contemporary Russia to the scene of the Crucifixion. The wails of grief reflect the voice of others who had suffered loss during the terror.

No foreign sky protected me,
no stranger's wing shielded my face.
I stand as witness to the common lot,
survivor of that time, that place.
(from Requiem)

More here.