Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Letter to the Bugle

Here's a letter I sent to the Bugle, a weekly freebie paper. They printed a letter last week with the usual "support our president" rhetoric. I figure we should never leave anything like that unanswered. It's the principle of the thing. This is my favorite kind of writing -- swoop in, lob a few zingers, and get out before you exceed the attention span of the audience.

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter by Thomas E. Fry that appeared in your July 21 issue.

The deal is, we have freedom of speech in this country. We are under no obligation to support the President, most particularly when he is wrong. Believe it or not, millions of Americans knew that the Iraq war was going to be a fiasco before it even started. The Iraq war is a tragedy that didn’t need to happen.

Saddam was never a threat to us; he could have been easily contained, just like we contained the Soviet Union for nearly 50 years.

We should have finished the job against Al Quaeda, but this isn’t the war the Bush regime wanted to fight. His Iraq fiasco has been a diversion from the war against Al Quaeda, and we will surely pay the price for his incompetence.

Sincerely yours,

Gordon Solberg

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A Simple Strategy

I'm still thinking about the Silver City censorship scandal. If I lived in Silver City, here's what I would do:

I would spend a day listening to the entire 7 hours of destroyer programming on KNFT. With a clipboard, I would write down every advertisement. At the end of the day I would add everything up and write a summary: First National Bank ran 6 one-minute ads on Limbaugh, 4 ads on Savage, 5 ads on O'Reilly, for a total of 15 ads. Ace Pizza ran 10 ads. And so forth.

Then I would type this summary up real nice. Then I would run off 1000 copies and post them on every available bulletin board, leaves piles laying around, and hand out multiple copies to everybody I know. I would mail copies to all the local and state media. And I would post the info on my blog, so the entire universe would know.

That's all there is to it. Just get the information out there. There's no need to tell people what to do. There's no need to lead a boycott. People will be outraged, or not. They will be inwardly led on an individual basis. As things stand right now, the destroyers control the critical information (who is advertising, and on what programs). Yet this information is broadcast daily on KNFT... it's just a mattter of collating it, and redirecting it. Just like a laser. Who knows what people might do, if they had the information they really needed to make intelligent choices?

Then the destroyer businessmen of Silver City would learn the true meaning of the phrase, "He who lives by the sword might get a big surprise."

But I don't live in Silver City, so I'll just have to wring my hands and fulminate.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Silver City Talk Show Cancelled

In my last post I ran a couple of quotations highlighting the Republican agenda of total annihilation of liberals and everything they stand for.  They don't want to defeat us, they want to destroy us.  There is no room in their game plan for debate or compromise.

We went to Silver City, NM this week for a short getaway and encountered a prime example of the Republican strategy when we got there.

For a couple of months, Silver City radio station KNFT had been running a liberal talk show called Radio Free Silver.  KNFT runs the usual destroyer talk shows, including Limbaugh, Savage, and O'Reilly, so RFS was intended to provide a little balance.  KNFT advertisers started to complain about RFS, so KNFT pulled all advertising from the show and required RFS supporters to pay $600 a month to continue running the program.  The supporters quickly came up the the money, and RFS continued to run -- for another week.

According to the Silver City Daily Press, 20 to 25 advertisers threatened to pull all their advertising out of KNFT unless RFS was cancelled.  The owner, Matt Runnels, caved.  He cancelled the show this Monday, July 19, while the show was on the air.    He was faced with a loss of nearly $10,000 a month in advertising revenues.  He was not pleased with canceling RFS, but as a businessman he had no choice.  "It's a shame that, in America, we can't have someone with an opposing view," he said.  "It wasn't like RFS was preaching anarchy... If you don't like what you hear, push the button.  There's a lot of programming out there."  Here's a link to the article: 

The advertisers who threatened KNFT with a boycott remain unidentified so far, but they include, according to the Daily Press, "car dealers, bankers, pizza business owners, all-terrain vehicle sellers and furniture store owners."

Kyle Johnson, RFS host, called the action "Economic Terrorism."   The Grant County Peace Coalition published a statement on their website: 

It's ironic -- for years Silver City has successfully marketed itself as a highly diverse and tolerant town, ranging from Hispanic copper miners to newly-arrived upscale artsy-craftsy retirees.  Silver City has a thriving alternative community -- food coop, herb stores, art galleries, natural restaurants.  In the 2002 gubernatorial election, Grant County (of which Silver City is county seat) had the third-highest percentage of people voting Green in the state. 

The next step, I would imagine, would be to find out who the offending advertisers are and organize a boycott.  If my bank had pulled that stunt, I would pull every penny out in a heartbeat.  Not to mention finding a new pizza supplier, etc.  "He who lives by the sword might be in for a big surprise."  In the long run, it might be necessary for Silver City progressives to start their own community radio station.  A true community station, unlike the PBS monoliths. 

I bet nationwide, dozens of these little incidents happen every day.  The destroyers are ruthless and, as we already know, don't believe in diversity or democracy.  I'm glad we're finally starting to fight back.   

Monday, July 19, 2004

Misc. Topics

I didn't write anything for the last two issues of Grassroots Press . I thought I would just kick back and let events play out for awhile, see what developed.  What sticks in my mind from the past few months is the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.  What can I say?  The Bushistas are barbarians.  They have the distinction of being both war criminals and common criminals.  Double life sentences all around, I say.   

My favorite bloggers this time:
Billmon Consistently brilliant, but has burned out of late and doesn't post as often as his fans would like.
Digby Also brilliant.
Kos As usual, the best political blog. 
Steve Gilliard Writes with a lot of passion and typos; has a wider range of subject matter.   I disagree with many of his thoughts about food and relationships, but he's always been dead-on about Iraq.
Rude Pundit Warning:  he can be really crude but when he nails it, hoo baby!
I finally got my own blog on Sunday.  Now I have no excuse for not spouting off all the time.  Here's the address: . As an ex-magazine publisher I've wanted to put out New Earth Times for years, but print publishing is a form of madness I'm reluctant to jump back into.  Doing a blog seems like a painless way of getting a lot of good info out there.  One nice thing about blogs is readers can post comments.  I've received so much incredible feedback over the years and have often thought, "Too bad everybody can't see that."  Now, they can.  So keep those comments coming!  I'll try to post often enough to keep things interesting.  Your positive feedback keeps me going.     
One thing I want to talk about at more length is the degraded state of public discourse. You cannot have meaningful discourse if the words themselves don't actually mean what they claim to mean.  For example, consider the bogus terms "liberal" and "conservative".  It would be more accurate to say "preservers" and "destroyers."  There is nothing "conservative" about conservatives -- they are consciously out to destroy civil society, and in the process are destroying the planet.
Here's a quote I saved from that sums up the Republican agenda very well:
"We live in a time when liberal values are under sustained and merciless attack. Our opponents are not interested in reasoning with us or compromising. They don?t give a damn what anyone to the left of Colin Powell (if that) thinks about anything and are so convinced of their own rightness that they seize every opportunity to cut opponents out of the conversation. They lie, mislead, withhold important information, shout down and belittle critics rather than engage their ideas, and respond with dark threats when their authority is challenged. If it takes someone like Michael Moore to answer fire with fire, so be it. This is not the time to be splitting intellectual hairs, when the entire conception of the liberal state is at risk."
Rob Salkowitz
Here's another quote, in a similar vein, from Digby's blog:

There really is only one issue in this election. Since the Extended Florida Unpleasantness, this has been an Adminstration utterly unconcerned with any restraints, constitutional or otherwise, on its power. It has been contemptuous of the idea of self-government, and particularly of the notion that an informed populace is necessary to that idea. It recognizes neither parliamentary rules nor constitutional barriers. (Just for fun, imagine that the Senate had not authorized force in Iraq. Do you think for one moment that C-Plus Augustus wouldn't have launched the war anyway, and on some pretext that we'd only now be discovering was counterfeit?) It does not accept the concept of principled opposition, either inside the administration or outside of it. It refuses to be bound by anything more than its political appetites. It wants what it wants, and it does what it wants. It is, at its heart, and in the strictest definition of the word, lawless. It has the perfect front men: a president unable to admit a mistake because he's spent his entire life being insulated from even the most minor of consequences, and a vice-president who is viscerally furious at the notion that he is accountable to anyone at all. They are abetted by a congressional majority in which all of these un-American traits are amplified to an overwhelming din.

So, now we are faced with the question: Do you want to live in a country where these people no longer feel even the vaporous restraints of having another election to win?

BUSH-CHENEY UNLEASHED. Up or down? Yes or no?

Charles Pierce
My review of Fahrenheit 9/11:
Michael Moore rocks!  I saw F9/11 twice -- at the local art theater and a week later when the megaplex finally got around to showing it.  The art theater audience applauded -- which I expected -- but there was actually more audience reaction during the movie at the megaplex, with loud applause at the end.  This is unheard of in a mainstream theater around these parts.  The point is -- F9/11 is more than a movie -- it's a phenomenon.  Moore has succeeded amazingly well -- both financially, and at rousing the rabble.  I have noticed that when liberals review F9/11, they tend to quibble about different aspects of the movie while ignoring the fact that Moore has succeeded in his purpose beyond his wildest dreams.  (Whether or not this results in more votes for Kerry remains to be seen.)  BTW, not having live TV, I had never seen so much footage of Bush in my life.  What a nasty guy.  This is the brilliance of Moore's strategy -- let Bush speak for himself whenever possible.  Especially damning was the segment in the schoolroom, where Bush awaited orders after the Twin Towers were attacked.  What a lost little man -- not the kind of person you'd ever want to entrust with power. 
Another subject I want to tackle on the blog is the War Christians; such a fascinating phenomenon they are.  I wonder what Jesus would have thought of them?  Christianity got on the wrong track as soon as Jesus died, which allowed his closest disciples to become top dogs in the Christ-follower status hierarchy.  Within a few generations, the actuality of Jesus' spiritual power was replaced by blind faith.  Stupid, blind faith.  Belief in God rather than the direct experience of God.  Ideology replaced mysticism. It's ironic -- reality itself is magic, yet humans manage to screw it up almost without fail.  There is no doubt that fundamentalist Christians can sometimes manifest spiritual power (because they are fanatical and therefore tightly focused). There is also no doubt that if Satan really exists (as the fundies believe), then his obvious first target would be to co-opt Christianity itself.  Especially the Christians who know a little bit about the spiritual power that Jesus was pointing the way toward.  Change the thrust of Chrisitianity from love to hate, from peace to war, and Jesus' true message is negated.  Imagine -- our very own War of Armageddon, played out between insane Christians and insane Muslims, with the rest of us serving as unwilling spectator/participants.  (Of course, I'm not saying that all Christians and Muslims are insane -- just enough to keep things interesting.  Also, I don't mean to neglect the insane Jews, Hindus, athiests etc.)  I don't know what to do about this, except to say that we all need to be speaking out against the madness whenever we can.  Mass insanity is not an acceptable option.  And it never hurts to share as much love as possible. 
May we succeed in removing Bush and his idiot enablers from power.  This business of "whoever lies the loudest, wins" has got to stop.
Best wishes to us all; we will need them. 

Vote Wisely, Or Whatever

Here's my latest column for Grassroots Press.

I want to respond to Carolyn Baker’s article, "Why I choose not to vote in the 2004 election," that appeared in the last issue of Grassroots Press. First off, it’s her vote, and she can use it or not use it in any way she wants. She’s in good company -- during the 2000 presidential election, 49% of Americans didn’t vote, and in 2002, which threw both houses of Congress to the Republicans, 61% didn’t vote.

Yes, the game is rigged -- traditionally the choice has been between "corporate lite" (Democrats) and "corporate heavy-duty" (Republicans). Now, with the rightward shift of our once-great nation, the choice is between total corporate control (Democrats) and no-holds-barred fascism (Republicans).

We are experiencing an unprecedented emergency in this country. Not only are the barbarians inside the gates, they have taken control of our government. The upcoming election is probably our last chance to save civilization, as imperfect as it is. (When I use the word "civilization" I am referring to such niceties as the rule of law, and the fact that civilized people acknowledge that there actually exists an objective, verifiable reality, and that accurate information about this reality is as close to Truth as we will ever get.) Not only will I be voting for Kerry (the only candidate capable of beating Bush), I am actually sending him money. For the first time ever, along with millions of other Americans, I am viewing politics as a necessary investment in the future of myself and my children. My pocketbook is open like never before.

I have always considered myself an Ecotopian -- which is to say, I have the idealistic desire to live in harmony with the Earth and all my fellow creatures. As an Ecotopian, I have never been represented by any so-called "representative" of either major party, and doubt if I ever will. Yet the choice this year is so stark, I will without hesitation choose the lesser evil. The greater evil is simply unacceptable.

This country consistently displays such heartbreaking stupidity, it’s hard for me to get enthused about the so-called possibilities America claims to offer. If Kerry gets elected (hopefully along with a Democratic Senate), at least we will have some slight maneuvering room, though it’s hard to imagine Americans making the hard choices necessary to avoid economic and environmental catastrophe. But making such choices is our only hope.

I’m a skeptic about many things, but there’s one thing I know with serene certainty: our present culture of insane consumerism will not last. It will, inevitably, come to a final and definite end. Sooner or later, the global exploitation economy will run out of oil, and debts will come due that can never be repaid. These debts include, first and foremost, our debt to the Earth, our one and only life support system.

It’s easy to focus exclusively on immediate issues, such as "Will Kerry win" or "Will America become a dictatorship." But I have always taken a wider view, and the question that intrigues me most is, "Will the global exploitation economy crash before, or after, the Gulf Stream shuts down?" If the global economy crashes relatively soon, some discipline might be imposed on us, and we might still possibly avoid a lethal cascade of environmental and ecological catastrophes. (This is how the Earth will claim her debt from us.) But once the Gulf Stream shuts down, civilization as we once preferred to imagine it will come to an end.

We are confronted by two main choices:

The first, or stupid option, which now controls our society at the consumer, corporate, and governmental levels, is to live as if there’s no tomorrow. Our national slogan should be "What, Me Worry?" Reason has been replaced by the triumvirate of faith, ideology, and wishful thinking. Like all rich people, we Americans are insulated – (temporarily, as it will turn out) -- by our wealth. "Consequences, shmonsequences! We don’t need to think about no steenkin’ consequences! We’re Americans!" We can buy ourselves out of any situation, or so we like to think. As the tragic, unnecessary, and totally screwed up Iraq War demonstrates, Americans (and especially Republicans) have lost the ability to think things through. We have lost our bearings. We are adrift, lost in the timeless television moment. But like a young child sticking his hand into a fire only to learn that it hurts, Americans will someday learn that there are natural consequences to our behavior. The piper awaits payment at the exit gate. But hey, consequences are in the future, and as we know from our study of metaphysics, the future doesn’t exist! It’s always Now! What a relief! So rock on, dudes, may the party continue!

The second, or intelligent option, would require Americans to actually plan for the future and live within our means. We need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and onto renewable energy sources pronto, like 20 years ago. We need to transform our rapacious, planet-destroying, war economy into something less embarrassing. As skeptical as I am about this actually happening, this scenario has always been my sentimental favorite. More power to the idealists; may they prosper beyond their wildest dreams.
These are exciting times, and the excitement, along with the irony, is already becoming unbearable. Vote wisely -- or not -- as the case may be; it may be your last chance. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Well here we are!

This is my first post.  In addition to my usual political and sociological ramblings, I intend to get seriously into sustainable living and intentional community.  Doing something different.  Something hopefully better, or at least more satisfying than consumerism.  But first, gotta post this and see what happens...