Monday, February 23, 2004



A friend from California reports that a commentator named Travis T. Hipp on KPIG radio was speaking about Ralph and said that he could be applauded for his work 30 years ago regarding car safety and the Chevrolet Corvair.

He went on to say that Nader's run for President in 2000 was responsible for getting George Bush elected and asked if Ralph thus realized that he (Ralph) was responsible for killing more people than the Corvair did.



The article is at

I was going to just summarize it and provide the link, but it's so illustrative of the incredible hypocrisy and corruption of this administration that I decided to print the whole thing.

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York

Sunday February 22, 2004: (The Observer) Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Sunday, February 22, 2004


I know I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating, and it's one of my favorite quotes. I clipped it from a letter-to-the-editor in the Boston Globe about 10 years ago, before an off-year election when local progressive Mark Roosevelt was running for governor and Kennedy for Senate re-election. I have no idea now who the writer was.

The writer asks, "Why am I going to voter for Kennedy and Roosevelt? It has to with something my pappy used to say."

"He said, 'Son, outside of Mother Theresa, there are basically two kinds of people: those that live their lives in an essentially selfish manner and feel guilty about it. They're called liberals. And those who live their lives in an essentially selfish manner and are proud of it. They're called conservatives. The first may be capable, on occasion,of responding to an ideal higher than their own self-interest; the second don't even know that such things exist."


I'm still waiting, America.

Waiting for anyone to demonstrate how same-sex marriage will harm existing heterosexual marriages or the institution of marriage.

Or that the children of same-sex couples are any more troubled or socially maladapted than any other kid. Iin fact the data that does exist by the APA unambiguously concludes that if there is any difference, it is that these kids are better adjusted than those from opposite sex couples.

Or that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope that will lead to societal approval or legalization of polygamy or bestiality.

We're all waiting for your proof, America.

So either put up, or have a nice cup of shut-the-fuck-up.


It was reported in FHM magazine that Jackson never speaks to his daughter's dates. He doesn't want them to think it's OK to be there at all.

But one date couldn't keep quiet.

"He had come in and insisted on having a conversation with me, and I ws trying to watch a game, and he was like, 'How are you doing?' I looked at him. He was like 'I just want you to know it's really good to meet you, and we're going to the movies.' And I said, 'Don't (expletive) her!' My daughter walked in just as I said that. She said, 'Dad!' Then she grabbed him and left. That's pretty much all the conversation I had with that kid. He kind of blanched."

I would guess blanching was as close as the kid would get to any heat that night.


Well, sure, I've got a lot of passion over this movie. I've seen clips and read reams about it. It depicts Jews clamoring for Christ's crucifixion. Some who've seen the whole movie say it distinguishes between the Jewish priests and the Jewish people at large. That difference will be lost on those who seek affirmation for their overt or latent anti-Semitism.

That Gibson also portrays the historically brutal and ruthless tyrant Pontius Pilate as a man caught up in events he didn't support but had to implement is equally egregious. Pilate was not a nice guy, whereas in the movie he comes off almost sympathetic--in a scene from the Gospel of Matthew, after his final attempt to save Jesus fails, Pilate washes his hands and says to the Jewish crowd, "It is you who want to crucify him, not I. ... I am innocent of this man's blood."

Caiaphas and most Jewish authorities are clearly among the bad guys. They arrest Jesus by stealth, spit on him and have him scourged and find him guilty of blasphemy in a mock trial. In an extrabiblical cinematic touch, Jewish soldiers knock Jesus off of a wall, and it is only the chains around his body that stop his fall just before he hits the ground.

He is so badly wounded by the time he gets to Pilate that the Roman ruler says, "Do you always punish your prisoners before they're judged?" It is the Jewish leaders who incite the crowd to yell, "Crucify him, crucify him" in the face of Pilate's repeated attempts to release Jesus. The leadership at times even seems to take pleasure in the torture Jesus is forced to endure.

Gibson did cut a controversial scene that drew objections from Christian and Jewish leaders alike -- the so-called "blood curse" from the Gospel of Matthew that has been abused for centuries to hold all Jews accountable for the death of Jesus.

But he filmed it, and only cut it under pressure. And he added a few scenes that
show Jesus commanding his followers to love all people and declaring he faced death "of my own accord."

Oh, that's better.

But forget the movie for a minute. Let's look at Mad Max himself

Gibson's dad is overtly anti-Semitic, and is a Holocaust denier. The filmmaker gets prickly when asked about his father, and closes off discussion about him in interviews. Nor does he distance himself from his Dad's positions.

In an interview with Peggy Noonan, forthcoming in the March issue of Reader's Digest, he says, "My dad taught me my faith, and I believe what he taught me. The man never lied to me in his life."

Oh so? The Holocaust never happened?

Noonan offered him a chance to end any speculation about his views on the Holocaust: "You're going to have to go on record. The Holocaust happened, right?"

Gibson's reply: "I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."

Well Well Well. War is horrible. "Some of them were Jews in concentration camps." Nothing special, just part of the mix among tens of millions.

George Mason University law professor David Bernstein points out that Holocaust "revisionists" typically do not deny that Jews were killed; they simply minimize the killing, portraying it as another part of the overall death toll of World War II rather than the systematic extermination campaign that it was. In Bernstein's opinion, "Gibson is skirting pretty close" to this kind of minimization.

And Cathy Young in Reason says, "Given an opportunity to state clearly that the Holocaust happened and that it was a horrific crime, Gibson, instead, chose to hedge--to give a "yes, but" answer, to gloss over the Nazi extermination of the Jews and quickly move on to other victims of other regimes. This may not signify anti-Semitism, but it certainly signifies a frightening moral obtuseness."

Mel, you can act hurt or offended all you want when accused of anti-Semitism, but with friends like you, the Jews don't need enemies. Polls done before the release of this movie report that while six in 10 Americans believe Bible stories are literally true*, only 8% believe Jews are responsible for Jesus' death. 80% say Jews are not responsible. I'd like to see results of those polls if retaken after this movie has its run.

In some mid-eastern or Arabic countries, it's not hard to imagine that those percents would be reversed, if they even cared who killed Jesus--which fortunately they do not. But anyone want to bet that this movie won't get used by the Palestinians and Islamic extremists to support their own home-grown anti-Semitism; or that the Christian rightwing Jew-haters all over Europe won't do the same?

So, Mr. Gibson, while you fire up the passions of those who want me at best marginalized and at worst dead, here's my passion: you are persona non grata in this house and the house of the Jews. You can't escape the ignominy of your actions with a turn of phrase. I'll never be able to see you in a film--new or old--without thinking of your "moral obtuseness." Never again. So I won't see you.

*Six in 10 believe Bible stories are literally true? Jesus H. Christ!


I didn't see him on Meet The Press this morning. I am finding even listening to him distasteful, and his announcement that he is planning to run confirms that for me. There'll be lots of punditry over this, and I've said everything that needs saying in my previous post--except this:

At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency? Have you no shame?

Monday, February 02, 2004


Unbelievably, there are still many on the left who think Nader's run had no effect on the outcome of Coup 2000, including of course the megalomaniac himself. Given Nader's selfserving obstinacy about acknowledging any role, and his apparently limitless ego, it's no surprise that he's exploring another run, this time independent of the Green Party.

The Greens should be grateful. According to some observers, the Greens lost the Mayoral race in San Francisco because a number of VERY liberal Democrats have decided NEVER to vote Green again.

Some sad Nader voters, feeling guilty as they should, have come up with

Not to be outdone, the unrepentant ones have countered with Dismissive of the "blame nader" position, they continue to argue that any Democratic candidate is just "more of the same," and a progressive third party is the only honorable choice. The site founder says in a letter to Nader decrying the blame,

"I absolutely and utterly reject the contention that I bear even the slightest iota of responsibility for putting George Bush, Jr. into office, or will bear any responsibility for re-electing him. The candidate who wins my vote must EARN it, no candidate is entitled to it by merely being the lesser of two evils.

I vote FOR a candidate, not AGAINST his or her opponent."

Talk of being out of step. For those of us who accept the premise that the only honorable goal is to defeat Bush, and will indeed vote against Bush by, if necessary,picking the lesser of two weevils, this is just an insufferable self-righteous and judgmental position.

The Green party will survive their folly, but weakened and even less viable if they support this position or field a presidential candidate. Nothing, however, will change the mind of the Nader/Green zealots.

Not even this must-see video:

Sunday, February 01, 2004


Wacko Ann Coulter gets off on infuriating her audiences. That's why she likes to speak in LA, New York, college campuses. She loves it when outraged audiences jump up and scream. At one event, "they would call me 'fascist' or 'racist' or whatever. It was great." Now finding respectability at cocktail parties, she admits not so long ago she found it slightly embarrassing to be right wing. "You would go to a cocktail party and it would take 45 minutes to determine the person you were talking to was a right winger. We were like homosexuals with a scarf in the back pocket." Now she's out as a conservative and not the least bit afraid of people she infuriates for a living. "Nooo," she says, "Liberals throw punches like girls."

Phew. Well, other than delineating all that's offensive in her comments--all of it, actually--it's the last line that intrigues me, because for the most part, she's right about that, sexism aside.

As the pundits are now unanimously noting, it took Dean to get the other candidates to get to the point. While Dean's own campaign may be floundering (and the pundits are doing their best to make this happen by repeating it constantly), nonetheless his moral outrage, expressed angrily at times, has resononated with many of us. He, with no guile, speaks truth to power.

Now the other contendas are beginning to express themselves with that outrage. But they need more.

The net is filled with commentaries on why liberals and progessives won't or can't fight on the same turf as the extreme right. It's all true, and good for us. Because--we're right, and they're wrong--not just in substance, but in political demeanor.

But these are no ordinary times. Let's take the gloves off. We don't have to surrender the moral high ground, which we've always had by definition* if not action, but we do have to throw stronger punches. Dean taught us that.

*A modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in
moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification
for selfishness." -- John Kenneth Galbraith


1.5 Billion, "to promote strong, unions between low-income men and women," because "research definitely shows that marriage is the fastest route out of poverty." Below is a list of where that money could be spent that actually would make a difference in the lives of low-income people. Oh nevermind, you all know that list.

It's not the lack of relationship skills that keeps so many impoverished urban women from marrying," says the New York Times. "It's a lack or worthwhile husbands. Jobless. poorly educated, and incarcerated men don't make good mates, and women who marry them don't get the financial and social benefits that marriage provides to the middle class." Rather, spend the money on useful things like "like pregnancy prevention, health insurance, job training for single moms."

Of course, this empty gesture is really a sop to social conservatives, to remind them, as Froma Harrop says in The Providence Journal, that "Bush is their guy.

Ellis Henican in Newsday points out that the Bible Belt is hardly in any position to lecture America about marriage. Rate of divorce among
Baptists: 29%;
Nondemoninational Christians: 34%;
Five states with the highest divorce rates: Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma.

As for the rest of us:

Agnostics: 21%;
Northeast Liberals: 19%.

As Henican says, "it could be that the president and his people need a little counseling of their own."