Saturday, November 11, 2006

Twenty Premises. What If They're All True? What Will You Do Differently?

Derrick Jensen. If you can prove that he's wrong, I'd be delighted to hear it. If not, how will you change the way that you live?

Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Premise Two: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Premise Six: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

Premise Seven: The longer we wait for civilization to crash—or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier will be the crash, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.
Another way to put premise Eight: Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.

Premise Nine: Although there will clearly some day be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population could occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some of these ways would be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence required, and caused by, the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich, and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps longterm shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Premise Fourteen: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen: Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from these will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

Premise Twenty: Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.

Modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: If you dig to the heart of it—if there were any heart left—you would find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.

Habeas Corpus, Byothces!!

That's what I'm talking about, bitches!. Go, Patrick. Go, Patrick. Go, go, go, go.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is expected to become chairman, confirmed Thursday that he is drafting a bill to undo portions of a recently passed law that prevent terrorism detainees from going to federal court to challenge the government's right to hold them indefinitely.

For Runnymeade!!!!

hat tip to dave at Eschaton.

Veteran's Day 2006 -- Plus C'est La Meme Chose, Plus Ca Change


Crippled for life at seventeen,
His great eyes seem to question why:
With both legs smashed it might have been
Better in that grim trench to die
Than drag maimed years out helplessly.

A child – so wasted and so white,
He told a lie to get his way,
To march, a man with men, and fight
While other boys are still at play.
A gallant lie your heart will say.

So broke with pain, he shrinks in dread
To see the 'dresser' drawing near;
And winds the clothes about his head
That none may see his heart-sick fear.
His shaking, strangled sobs you hear.

But when the dreaded moment's there
He'll face us all, a soldier yet,
Watch his bared wounds with unmoved air,
(Though tell-tale lashes still are wet),
And smoke his woodbine cigarette.

Eva Dobell


Loreena McKennit's new album, An Ancient Muse gets released on Nov. 21st.

Samples here, here, and here. A perfect album for late Autumn.

Saturday Goddess Blogging

Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting abode and highest honor: glorious is your portion and your right. For without you mortals hold no banquet, - where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first and last.
~Homeric Hymn to Hestia~

My moon is in Taurus, so I've always been devoted to Hestia (known to the Romans as Vesta, served by the Vestal Virgins). Encyclopedia Mythica explains that: Hestia is the Greek goddess of the hearth fire, hence presiding over domestic life. She is the eldest sister of Zeus and the oldest daughter of Rhea and Cronus.

She was a virgin-goddess, and when wooed by Poseidon and Apollo, swore by the head of Zeus to remain a virgin. She had no throne, but tended the sacred fire in the hall on the Olympus and every hearth on Earth was her altar. She is the gentlest of all the Olympians.

Hestia is the gentle goddess of the home and hearth, the goddess of hospitality, the goddess of those who love to decorate, garden, entertain, cocoon. She represents continuity, the lighting of the hearth in the new home with an ember from the hearth of the old home. Several modern systems of personality classification based upon archetypes recognize a Hestia personality type: The source of Hestia’s sacred fire was believed to be the molten lava that burns at the center of the earth, connected by an “umbilical cord” called the Oomphalos to the city of Delphi, a place of great wisdom and spiritual energy.

The town hall, a meeting place for citizens to discuss the community's affairs (a forerunner of western democracy), was built around a hearth that honored Hestia.

The living flame of Hestia was tended constantly and never allowed to die out, for it represented the energy of all life and to let the flame extinguish was to invite a cold and barren existence. When new “subdivisions” were developed, fire was carried from the town’s hearth to light the fire of the new community, assuring its prosperity.

The Olympic Torch is just one example of the living flame that has survived to modern times, though it is seldom recalled that it originally honored the Greek goddess Hestia.

The ritual of a bride and groom lighting a candle together from the flames of two candelabra to symbolize the creation of the “new” family from their two “old” families derived from the ancient practice of bringing Hestia’s flame from the bride’s mother’s home in order to assure Hestia’s blessing on the union.

Here's a lovely invocation of Hestia:

Elsa Gidlows "Chains of Fire"

Touching the match, waiting for creeping flame,
I know myself linked by chains of fires
To every woman who has kept a hearth ...
I see mothers, grandmothers back to beginnings,
Huddled beside holes in the earth ...
Guarding the magic no other being has learned,
Awed, reverent, before the sacred fire
Sharing live coals with the tribe.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oh, And I Want Habeas Corpus Back. Now.

M. Macha Nightmare has a post up about the election and an awfully good list of things for the Democrats to do:

Here's to universal health care, living wages, good educational opportunities for all, improved public transportation and other infrastructure, fewer jails and inmates, a more equitable division of wealth, clean water, clean oceans, clean air, sacrosanct wilderness, alternative energy sources, nutritious food for all (preferably locally grown and organic), and peace, blessed peace.

I'd add providing free, safe, effective birth control to all and teaching real sex education in our schools again, as well as decriminalizing recreational drugs and granting statehood to D.C.

What would you add?

John McCain: Dangerous, Extreme, Out Of Touch With America

It seems to me that waaaaaaaaay too little has been said about South Dakota's repudiation of the criminalization of abortion that the South Dakota legislature passed following the appointment of Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court. My guess is that we're hearing so little about this because it doesn't fit in the meme that the Republicans and MSM are so desperate to launch: that Americans are "really" conservative and that, particularly on social issues, the Democrats better not get any liberal ideas. The South Dakota story disproves that theory so it has been swept under the carpet and, instead, we hear about the hate-on-gay measures that did pass (although, interestingly, not everywhere).

It's been true for, oh, almost forever, that the majority of Americans want abortion to be safe and legal -- a decision left to the woman involved. But you sure wouldn't know that to listen to the news. As Jamison Foser points out:

Earlier this year, McCain indicated that if he was governor of South Dakota, he would have signed that state's blanket ban on abortion. On Tuesday, South Dakota voters rejected that ban by a decisive 12-point margin.

Think about that for a moment.

South Dakota is among the most conservative states in the nation. It is one of only 11 states in which President Bush's net approval rating is better than negative 10; in 2004, Bush carried the state by 21 points.

John McCain, the media's poster child for the "sensible center," holds a position on abortion that is far to the right of that held by the people of South Dakota.

So, on what is perhaps the most widely-used ideological litmus test, John McCain is far to the right not just of the country as a whole, but of the electorate of one of the most conservative states in the nation.

How about what is arguably the biggest issue of our time: the Iraq war? McCain is a staunch supporter of the Iraq war, and has suggested sending more American troops to fight it. Polls have consistently shown - and Tuesday's results confirmed - that the American people disapprove of the war, and want to end it. McCain is, in short, far to the right of public opinion on Iraq.

The simple fact the pundits won't tell you is that the national Republican Party has veered far to the right over the past dozen years, and the national Democratic Party is quite centrist. (Whether that's a good thing, or reflective of the positions of the parties' rank-and-file voters is another question.) On issues ranging from tax and budget policy to health care to the minimum wage to abortion to the war in Iraq to the environment, so-called "far left" Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi hold positions that enjoy the support of the American people. Even on issues that Democrats have essentially stopped talking about and acting on, like universal health care and gun safety legislation, their positions are quite moderate.

So when media report that Democrats won by embracing "moderate" or "centrist" positions, that's true - but not in the way that they mean it. Democrats have long embraced centrist positions. The suggestion, however, that they won by running towards the right, or towards the center, rather than by continuing to occupy it, is as wrong as it is widespread. As Media Matters detailed this week, the Democrats who won previously-Republican seats did so largely by taking traditional Democratic positions - which is to say, centrist positions.

But when political journalists and pundits use words like "centrist" and "moderate," they aren't talking about Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin. They are -- quite bizarrely -- talking about people like the far-right John McCain.

They Didn't Exactly Reach Across The Aisle With An Olive Branch When They Had The Chance

It's good, in times such as these, when everyone is warning the Democrats not to be mean to the nice Republicans, to remember how nicely the Republicans treated the Democrats when the shoe was on the other foot. Krugman reminds us of this gem from Grover Norquist:

Democrats will only become acceptable, declared Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, once they "are comfortable in their minority status." He added, "Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they’ve been fixed, then they are happy and sedate."

It's silly to talk about any one party becoming a permanent majority. This is America. Again.

11/7 Changed Everything. We're Now Living In A Post-11/7 World. Let's Get Rid Of The Pre-11/7 Thinking!

Twisty explains what living in a Post-11/7 world is like:

[I]n the agreeable wake of the midterm elections, I feel exactly the same way that I did when I escaped the the Gateway City and learned that life did not have to be lived beneath a subumbra of persistent personal peril. A pestilential gloom the debilitating extent of which I had only the vaguest pre-election inkling has, I am delighted and somewhat surprised to report, been ameliorated by the exceedingly pleasant turn of recent political events.

In other words, I had no idea how chapped my hide had really been for the 6 years that W and the Godbag Killers’ Coalition were the Champions of the World until I heard the words “Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives”* emerge like dewy unicorn rosepetal sundrops from my clock radio on Wednesday morning.

I’m not saying that I won’t continue to suffer post-traumatic stress. There are two more years of W, and anyway, let’s face it: if my fellow Americans ever take to nurturing — in the comforting, legislative way that honky male Christians take for granted — the interests of the radical feminist lesbian atheist spinster aunt, I’ll eat my mouldering garbage bag of sports bras. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that I sprang from the Twisty Tempurpedic and did a little whoopty-dance when I heard that the odious maggot Jim Tallent had been smushed like a slimy, oozy rotten-log-inhabiting invertebrate by Democrat Claire McCaskill in the Missouri Senate race. You go girl!
* But could you believe fucking W, in the press conference where he knifed Rumsfeld, when he made that lame “joke” about decorating tips for Pelosi’s new office? I noticed he didn’t have an opinion on interior design for Rumsfeld’s replacement. Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that Pelosi, as a woman, should first and foremost concern herself with drapes. My god, what a knob.

Well, gee, Twisty, W is the guy who goes on and on and on about the carpet in the freaking oval office that Pickles "designed."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Adicts - Ode To Joy

We won. Now let's do something with it.

Come sing a song of joy
for peace shall come,my brother.
Sing,sing a song of joy
for we shall love each other.
That day will dawn just as sure
as hearts that are pure are hearts set free.
No one must stand alone with
outstretched hands before you.

Come sing a song of joy
for peace shall come,my brother.
Sing,sing a song of joy
for we shall love each other.

Reach out and take them in yours
with love that endures for evermore.
Then sing a song of joy
for love and understanding.
Come sing a song of joy
of freedom tell the story.
Sing,sing a song of joy
for people in their glory.

One mighty voice that will bring
a sound that will ring for evermore.
Then sing a song of joy
for love and understanding.


Dear Madam Speaker,

I want my fucking habeas corpus back and i want it now.

Please save the planet. Save the oceans. Save the rivers. Save the sky. You and I both have grandchildren.

I will be praying for you every evening; lighting incense for your grandchildren and mine.

That is all.

The Real World Of Virginia

Via Miniver Cheevey come a boatload of pictures of the Webb v. Allen campaign. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Look, I don't like anything Webb has had to say about women. In the world of my dreams, he's who I'd vote against. I'm not at all sure that he even groks the most important issues of our day -- overpopulation and its result: global climate change coughpregnantwifenumberthreecough. But he's not G. Felix Allen, Jr., who has an absymal record on women's issues, who has been a rubber stamp for the boyking, and who doesn't even understand the words "climate change."

i'm proud of my state. The Old Dominion has some of the most beautiful scenery you'd ever want to see. Mountains, beaches, old cities. We tipped the balance in the Senate. When it came down to it, even the son of a beloved football coach was thrown out, partly for his racism, partly for being a Bush rubber stamp, and partly for campaigning as if Virginians were such rubes that they couldn't understand the difference between a work of fiction and the real world.

Hey, Felix! Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.


What Thers said.

It takes an English professor. Concise. To the point. Completely correct.

You Want To Drop The Sexist Language Right Now, Bub. You Can Leave It At The Door With Your Unresolved Mommy and Wife Issues.

Yesterday, I had lunch with five really smart men, moderate to serious political junkies and moderate liberals all of them. I was, as is fairly common in my work life, the only woman at the table. After doing a post mortem of the midterm election, the talk turned to the 2008 election. Hillary Clinton's name was mentioned and, with the exception of the one twenty-something guy, there was so much head shaking and groaning you couldn't believe it. "She's so political," was what it came down to. One of the nicest guys there said to me and the twenty-something, "It's not so much the gender issue . . . ." at which point I interrupted and said, "Oh yes it is. You all don't want to admit, even to yourselves, that it is the gender issue, but it is. Listen to you: 'She's so political.' WTF? She's a politician. Name me a male politician who isn't 'so political.'" Crickets. And, it IS (as my lunch partners grudgingly admitted) the gender issue. We're used to men being "political," but it still sort of upsets us when a woman is because we're not yet used enough to seeing it. Even when women are "political" they're supposed to hide it, to pretend that they're really not trying to influence things.

However, this post isn't really about Hillary; I'm using my lunch conversation for illustration. This post is about the fact that men, even many liberal men who would decry sex discrimination sincerely and loudly, really don't like to listen to women be forceful and assertive.

Take, for example, today's David Broder column in the WaPo. Broder, after spending most of his column attempting to convince everyone that he knew this Democratic victory was coming (imagine how it would sound if a woman did that!), really shows his colors when he turns to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi's performance at her debut as leader of a congressional majority was pitch-perfect, calm, confident and blessedly free of the screeching tone of some of her stump speeches. Ever been damned with faint praise? Every single powerful woman has. Geez, Nancy, could you not, you know, "screech" so much? You sound all "shrill" and "strident" when you do that. It's so much nicer if you'll play the woman's role and be "conciliatory."

Lest you think that Broder's is an isolated example or perhaps just made a poor word choice, consider this from Chris Matthews, whose id is always under much less control than almost anyone else's: Discussing the victory speeches of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) during MSNBC's special election coverage on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews told Republican pollster Frank Luntz that Clinton gave a "barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it -- fingernails on a blackboard." Matthews then noted that Pelosi, who will likely be elected House speaker now that the Democrats have gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, will "have to do the good fight with the president over issues" such as the minimum wage and prescription drugs. He then asked: "How does she do it without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?" Matthews later returned to criticizing Clinton, when, during a conversation with co-anchor Keith Olbermann and with a clip of Clinton's victory event playing in the background, Matthews stated that Clinton's "clapping" was "not appealing" and that "it's Chinese or something," as's weblog The War Room noted. Matthews added that former President Bill Clinton, who was standing behind Sen. Clinton at the podium, was a "gigantic guy behind her and he's just there," adding: "It's a strange sight." Media Matters has the transcript.

Look, men. We get it. You really, on some primal level, don't like to hear women talk. You wish we'd shut up and just look pretty. And you REALLY don't like to hear us talk about important issues because you grew up believing that those were YOUR affairs. And you REALLY, REALLY don't like powerful women and you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY don't like it when powerful women give powerful speeches and deliver them with force. We know.

And you know what? We don't fucking care. You'd better get fucking used to it.

Anybody Who Feuds With Mr. I-Hate-Science Barton Can't Be All Bad

More from EEI:
Rep. Waxman Likely to Become Chairman of House Government Reform Panel

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., will become the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee under a Democratic-run U.S. House, Environment and Energy Daily reported, switching jobs with Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who'll assume the job of ranking minority member. The newsletter said that Waxman could be expected to intensify his approach to examining the issues associated with climate change "dramatically," the newsletter reported.

Wrote the newsletter: "A member of the Democrats' 1974 post-Watergate freshman class, Waxman is known for an aggressive questioning style and prying letters. The 67-year-old congressman has been forced to yell from his ranking member perch throughout the Bush administration, taking aim at White House ties to Enron Corp., contract controversy in Iraq and regulatory revisions to air and water pollution laws. While many of Waxman's demands have gone unmet, much would change if he gained subpoena power and the ability to call witnesses."

Other Democrats who will assume more responsibility and control on the panel with their newly-won majority, the newsletter pointed out, include Reps. Tom Lantos (Calif.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) and Dennis Kucinich (Ohio).
Environment and Energy Daily, Nov. 7.

Rep. Gordon Ready to Take Chairmanship of House Science Committee

Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., appears ready to replace Rep. Sherwood W. Boehlert, R-N.Y., as chairman of the House Science Committee as a result of the Democrats' take-over of the U.S. House. It's not clear who will be Gordon's opposite: The top candidates are Rep. Vern Ehlers, R-Mich., now chairman of the panel's subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards, and Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Ralph Hall, R-Texas. Ehlers and Boehlert share a view on climate change that leans toward a more aggressive involvement, while Rohrabacher and Hall are viewed as less aggressive in that area.

Wrote Environment and Energy Daily: "Considered a moderate Republican, Boehlert has presided over several hearings explicitly on climate change, but of the late the lawmaker's real impact on the climate front has been as an outspoken advocate for scientific freedom. Last year, Boehlert publicly feuded with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) over Barton's decision to seek decades of personal, scientific and financial records from three scientists who authored a controversial climate change study."
Environment and Energy Daily, Nov. 7.

It's A Start

I'm not at all convinced that the incoming Congress really understands how important an issue climate change is and the urgent need for really serious measures. But things have got to be better than when the Republican Party, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Exxon-Mobile, was running things. Today's EEI newsletter indicates that there's hope:

Rep. Dingell Signals Intent to Consider Renewables, Climate Change
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said he plans to promote energy efficiency and renewables while advancing policies to deal with climate change when he becomes chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Dingell added that House Democrats intend to investigate the workings of the energy task force assembled by Vice President Dick Cheney early in the Bush administration.

Bill Wicker, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., the likely new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Senate Democrats would probably not seek to investigate or overturn provisions in the energy bill.

Meanwhile, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy predicted that renewables and energy efficiency measures are expected to be a focus for the next Congress. Steven Nadel, executive director of the council, was quoted as saying: "The new House leadership will advance energy policies that did not get airtime in the last Congress, and some of these have shown support in the Senate. We could therefore see progress on key energy efficiency issues that have not moved in the past."
Dow Jones Newswires , Nov. 8; Washington Post , Nov. 9.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Webb v.Allen.

How Did This Happen?

1. Terry Schiavo

2. New Orleans

3. Republicans having teh gay sex.

4. The oceans are dying. No more spice. The spice must flow. CHOAM knows this.

This has been another in our series of simple answers to simple questions.

Spells For Virginia-- Yes.

I've taken the liberty of re-printing below the message that Isaac Bonewitz sent to the Spells for Democracy Group. I think it's spot on:

Sometimes democracy really works! With the American House of Representatives being swept by progressive and other Democratic candidates, an important step towards restoring sanity has been taken. It looks like control of the Senate will be in limbo for a while as the suddenly fond-of-recounting Republican Party insists on recounting the votes in Virginia.

(Our most immediate magical need now is to saturate the state of Virginia with spells to make sure every single vote is counted correctly and that any illegal activities are quickly exposed.)

I have to admit to be really surprised that there were so few problems with the electronic voting machines and the new election laws in so many states (only a few thousand reports instead of a few million). Perhaps the Republicans just decided that the polls were so indicative of a landslide that they didn't want to get caught stealing another election -- especially with tens of thousands of self-appointed journalists showing up at the polls with cameras -- but I'd like to credit our spellcastingof protection and justice around the polls as having played a role as well.

This is not the end of the job, however, since there is plenty of work remaining for American progressives. The House and Senate are still going to be full of people in both political parties who have enabled the Administration's vile, unamerican, and treasonous policies. People who voted for an unending "war" against a military tactic, who voted to allow the invasion of Iraq for the benefit of Exxon-Mobile and Halliburton, who voted to gut the Constitution, who voted for kidnapping and torture of suspected "terrorists," who voted to avoid investigating war profiteering and corruption...

Spells for Democracy will still need to be cast in the months and years to come. Progressives within the various political parties will need to find new candidates to run against the enablers in 2008's primary and general elections. We will be able to assist by doing more revelation spells to expose more crime and corruption in the White House and Congress. Prime targets for these spells should be corporate lackeys
enslaved by lobbiest bribes -- beginning with those who come from states with progressive governors who could replace them with honest progressives.

We can also work on spells to support real election, campaign, and lobbying reforms that will open up the political process to multiple political parties and make the entire process as transparent and open as possible. This will require us to keep track of such issues on a regular basis by reading right-wing, left-wing, and middle-of-the-bird political blogs and websites, plus doing our our research into the complexities involved in true reforms. We will need to set up databases to keep track of all the info.

. . .

bright blessings,

Hey! G. Felix Allen, Jr! Yeah, You In The Fake Cowboy Boots!

Welcome to America, and the real world of Virginia!

How's That War Preznit Shit Working Out For You, You Lame Duck?

Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer
by Russ Baker

HOUSTON -- Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.

"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade·.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."

You Assmunch

George Bush, Nov. 4, 2004:

And it's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Go Read The RedHead

I had to work all fucking day and I'm too fucking nervous to post.

Go read what the Redhead says about football.

Let America be America again. Please, please, please Sweet Mother of the Gods. Let America be America again. I have a Grandson, the hostage to fortune to beat all hostages to fortune. Let America be America again. Let muscadel beat back frost. Let a people turn from war and decide a stranger should not go hungry. Our planet is dying. It needs help. Let America be America again.

Go vote if you haven't and I'll read a Tarot card for you with pleasure in e-mail. Two if you have to stand in the rain.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Plan B --Gather At The Highest Point In Your City On November 12th.

What the Agonist said:

I've heard people asking, "what do we do if the Democrats don't take back the House?"

Here's the brutual truth. If that happens, the US is no longer a functioning Democracy. There is no scenario under which that can happen, given the polls, without massive fraud. At that point you have three choices. You can take to the streets. You can emigrate; or you can get used to living in a one-party bannana republic without civil rights or democracy.
I don't expect that to happen - but let's not mince words here; there is no scenario under which the Republicans can hold the House with these sorts of numbers which does not amount to fraud on a massive scale.

That said, odds are you're going to wake up Wednesday morning to a Democratic House, with decent odds (slightly over 50%) of a Democratic senate. In the meantime, get out and vote, and take your cell phone camera or a video recorder with you. And if something dubious is going on, get a recording, call the election protection people at 1-866-OUR-VOTE, send the pictures and video to your local news organization and every blogger you know, and get ready to fight for your country as hard as you can. Because in the end, you have exactly, and only, the rights you are willing to fight for.

Hat tip to 1 watt at Eschaton

Another Prayer On Election Eve

Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--

Hungry yet today despite the dream.

Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream

In the Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That's made America the land it has become.

O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home--

For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,

And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa's strand I came

To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?

Surely not me? The millions on relief today?

The millions shot down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we've dreamed

And all the songs we've sung

And all the hopes we've held

And all the flags we've hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay--

Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--

The land that never has been yet--

And yet must be--the land where every man is free.

The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,

We must take back our land again,


O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath--

America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain--

All, all the stretch of these great green states--

And make America again!

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes.

Just For Atrios

What Echinde Said

Echindne says just about everything that there is to say about "Pastor Ted" and his idiot wife.

Although the following, from Wolcott, is pretty damn good, as well:

The humid mind of the male evangelical can be a hotbed of homoeroticism and gushy sentiment. Blogger Steve Schalchlin writes [hat tip: David Ehrenstein]:

One of the aspects I find among those who "follow the ex-gay path" is how erotically they speak of Jesus. Jesus, in effect, becomes their new gay lover who holds them in His arms. They constantly write about how they no longer "need" gay sex because they are too busy "loving Jesus" in ways they usually describe that are more erotic that the most steamy novel you can buy at the cut-out bin at Wal-Mart.
Another thing to note is that evangelicals, for the most part, do not believe that homosexuality, as an orientation, actually exists. For them, ALL "homosexuals" are actually heterosexuals who've been either seduced into gay sex or fallen into it because they got demasculinized by women (or driven to it by a desire for eternal boyhood)...

Their total denial of the FACT of homosexual persons is what drives men like Ted Haggard into a marriage, and then, subsequently, into the arms of a male hustler. The drugs, IMO, were not only about enhancing the sex act itself, but they also enabled him, in those hours alone with the muscle guy, to forget the wife and kids and career as a gay-hatin' leading light of the evangelical movement.

The magnetic hold that the born-again Bush has on certain susceptible men (Tony Blair) is a man crush masquerading as spiritual affinity. Consider the opening graf of Alan Wolfe's brilliant dissection in The New Republic of David Kuo's naive, noodly memoir Tempting Faith:

Tempting Faith is the story of how David Kuo, an unassuming if ambitious young man, discovered the wonder-filled joy flowing from devotion to a force more powerful than himself. I don't mean that he found God, although Kuo, by his own account, first encountered Jesus in high school. When Kuo tells us how he got "hooked," the object of his reverence lived not in Nazareth, but in Austin. "He seemed not just charming, but weighty, seductive yet pure, likeable but mysterious," he writes of his first meeting with then-governor George W. Bush. "I couldn't tell whether his disclosures were private revelations to someone he liked or just part of a pitch to someone he might need. I didn't much care. I loved him."

"Seductive yet pure"--such a potent combo, a heady, musky perfume for evangelical men suffering a cognitive disorder about the nature of their own sexuality. Kuo's love of Bush was just his love of Jesus given a deeper tan.

The cult of masculinity to which too many evangelical men subscribe can never bring happiness or peace because it doesn't resolve the inner conflicts and forces them to inhabit a public shell that can easily crack. Steven Schalchlin suggests that such men lighten up on themselves, shed their false armor, take a cue from some of the rest of us.

The most manly heterosexual men I know embrace a strong woman, love their gay friends, and delight at the prospect of being a human among equals. [That sounds like me to a T!] They aren't afraid of having lost their manliness because the woman they married might actually have some brains. [It's as if he's got me in his viewfinder!] They feel empowered when they are able to talk to their gay friends about intimate male issues. [I don't know know about that. Let's not go crazy here.] I have a straight friend now who asks me about male grooming and other intimate areas because he feels he can't discuss these things with any straight men). [Oh, grooming tips. That's different. Carry on.]

A Prayer For My Country On Election Eve

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

-- Sheenagh Pugh, “Sometimes”

Of Course They Intend To Steal It

We now have confirmed a voter suppression telephone effort, at least in Arlington. It is essential that anyone who learns of such an incident capture relevant details and report them IMMEDIATELY.

We have confirmed at least one instance in NOVA where a person has called a registered voter who has voted consistently in Arlington since 1998, telling him that he will be criminally prosecuted if he tries to vote in Virginia
this year.

If you, or anyone you know, receives such a call, please do the following:

1. Request the name, telephone number and email address of the caller.
2. Carefully take down the facts--what happened, what was said.
3. If the caller reports a telephone call or message, try to obtain the
phone number from which the call was made to the caller. Urge the caller to preserve any recorded version of the call. Let him/her know that an attorney from
the Democratic Party will be calling them back shortly.
4. If the caller received a writing, have the caller fax or email a copy of
the writing. Also, please find out if it was mailed or hand-delivered. Urge the caller to preserve the writing. Let him/her know that an attorney from
the Democratic Party will be calling them back shortly.
5. IMMEDIATELY contact me if you have a confirmed incident of attempts at
voter suppression. Contact number: 571 283 3116 (c). Email:
_electlaw@aol.com_ ( Thank you.

Jay Myerson
General Counsel
Democratic Party of Virginia
Jay B. Myerson
The Law Offices of Jay B. Myerson
11860 Sunrise Valley Drive
Suite 100
Reston, VA 20191
Phone:(703) 715-9600

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Black Oaks By Mary Oliver

Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,

or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
and comfort.

Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.

But to tell the truth after a while I'm pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen

and you can't keep me from the woods, from the tonnage

of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.

Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.

Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another -- why don't you get going?

For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.

And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money,

I don't even want to come in out of the rain.

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

In Memory of M. B.
by Anna Akhmatova
Translated by Max Hayward and Stanley Kunitz

Here is my gift, not roses on your grave,
not sticks of burning incense.
You lived aloof, maintaining to the end
your magnificent disdain.
You drank wine, and told the wittiest jokes,
and suffocated inside stifling walls.
Alone you let the terrible stranger in,
and stayed with her alone.

Now you're gone, and nobody says a word
about your troubled and exalted life.
Only my voice, like a flute, will mourn
at your dumb funeral feast.
Oh, who would have dared believe that half-crazed I,
I, sick with grief for the buried past,
I, smoldering on a slow fire,
having lost everything and forgotten all,
would be fated to commemorate a man
so full of strength and will and bright inventions,
who only yesterday it seems, chatted with me,
hiding the tremor of his mortal pain.

From Poems of Akhmatova, translated and introduced by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward, published by Little, Brown & Co. © 1973 Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward.


I love the lines: "Alone you let the terrible stranger in, /and stayed with her alone. " They can be read so many different ways.

You alone let the terrible stranger in?

You were alone when you let the terrible stranger in and you alone lived with her?

Even after you let in the terrible stranger and lived with her, you were still alone?

You let the terrible stranger in, but you didn't let in the others who came with her?

Each reading is, in its own way, the "correct" one, I suspect.