Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

January 15, 2009



Negative, negative, negative. How much better positive, positive, positive?

And stop expecting miracles, and impossibilities. We aren't giving an angel wings on the 20th, just getting relief from GWB & Co.

Truth yes. but some slack as well, at least for a couple of weeks. Let's keep eyes open but hearts hopeful.

Oh yeah. and symbols are important. especially when they're meant to uplift not power wash. you may be lincolned out, but most everybody else isn't.

We've got a new day. Let's think the best will come. even in the shadow of imperfection seeds can take root.

How about reality, reality, reality? 7 If you're sick of negativity, think how much the rest of us are fed up with illusions. Keep your eyes open for them as well.

Thank you, I will keep my eyes open for illusions. Perhaps you need to as well? The illusion that we are bound into the same scenario over and over, that all that's truly bad or wrong is destined to overtake the huge amount of good (potential, in reserve and actual) and leave us dangling . . .

We've been so used to getting nothing but the bad these last eight years, it's difficult to put our heads up for a little air without the expectation the toxicity will choke us dead.

I want the ideal just, caring, compassionate nation that has never yet been realized. Under the people now leaving Washington that ideal was trampled. Under the people arriving, we all need to expect the ideal will have some cause to be revived. The alternative is hopelessness, and that cannot be an option for any of us any longer.

This is just one moment in time that could tip the balance. personally, i don't choose to miss it.


Speaking of telephone calls with offers that can't be refused, recall Dershowitz's call to Obama that threatened adverse consequences from the Isreal lobby if President Carter were allowed to speak at the Democratic convention. Carter was only allowed to appear at the podium, without speaking, quite contrary to all tradition. Some votes are clearly worth much more than others. - Tony Vodvarka


Let's get this straight: this program will not create many technical jobs (programmers, designers, etc). It will, however, create legions more clerical workers, i.e. bureaucracy. Last I checked, neither technologists nor clerical workers actually deliver health care services, except perhaps in the abstract. This sounds like an expensive solution to a non-problem.

This is something that is needed - eventually. It could conceivably help decrease the number of medical mistakes. My clinic has it and it helps the doctors a lot. However, it certainly isn't the most critical issue the medical profession faces, not by a long shot. Single-payer healthcare would easily give a much bigger bang for the buck. And, yes, if health companies are like other companies they would hire ten "business analysts" for every technologist, thereby slowing and complicating the effort. - Dave


I take vehement exception to calling the policies Summers and Geithner pushed down other countries throats as "free market."

Neo liberal elites like to refer to their corporatist, state capitalism as the "free market." But then Stalin liked to refer to his system as "socialism." In both cases, the language and symbolism of a movement were misappropriated to legitimize a system of statist control.

Corporate globalization depends on massive state intervention, subsidy and protection at every stage of its existence.

The truth is, Big Business hates genuine free markets as much as Stalin hated genuine socialism. If there were even a remote threat of a genuine free market, the Fortune 500 would launch a coup to forestall it. A genuine free market society, without any subsidies or special protections to Big Business, would be decentralized and relocalized beyond our wildest imagination. - Kevin Carson to UNDERNEWS at January 13, 2009 10:30 PM


It's only idiots
who've been claiming Obama's admin will have 'magic powers', as far as I've noticed. Most of the people I've spoken with (most of whom voted for him) seem to be pretty aware that the mess GWB left behind is going to take a lot more than four years or even eight years for that matter, to fix.

Of course, claiming that Bush's messes will take "a lot more than 8 years to fix" conveniently absolves Obama of any blame or responsibility when he fails to make things any better. (and fail he will.)

How would progressives have reacted to a Bush claim that "cleaning up the Clinton's mess was such a huge job that nothing that happened in 2001-2008 is his fault!?" Might they have been skeptical? So why is obama different?


While this may be true -- it's certainly true, for example, that the primary reason Israel is supported by the U.S. is its usefulness as a strategic outpost and garrison in an energy-rich region -- shame on you Mr. Smith for using the easily debunked conspiradroid, Michel Chossudovsky, as a reference.

Michel Chossudovsky should never be given the opportunity to be seen as a reliable, intellectual reference in light of his penchant for selling (literally and figuratively) the easily debunked urban legend, "nine-eleven-was-an-inside-job," as well as other mythological products.

There simply is no excuse for lending this man of snake oil an iota of respect or credence. And by using such a questionable (to but it nicely) reference it throws a lot of doubt on the veracity of the claim. Which is to say, it makes it much easier for people to disregard the claim-in-question due to the fact that moonbat-conspiradroid Chossudovsky looms.

Sam Smith regularly links to all kinds of people, including right-wing nutsos like World Net Daily and left-wingers like the World Socialist Workers Website. It's up to readers to come to their own conclusions, and to weigh the merit of each source. To outright dismiss Chossudovsky, who regularly exposes imperial lies (in my opinion), because his questions about 9/11 just tells me you have a political axe to grind against those who question the official "conspiracy theory". And, I for one, am not buying the crap you're selling.

If you don't like what Chossudovsky says, read the Pakistan newspaper.
If you don't like what the Pakistani paper has to say - do "the google" on Gaza + Gas Reserves. There is more information out there.

What I believe is this: You don't start a war of this magnitude over a few rockets landing in someone's bean patch.

Countries start a war of this magnitude for natural resources. We did it in Iraq. Israel has done it in Gaza.

The goal of the Israel army is the complete annihilation of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and total control of billions of dollars of gas reserves --- both on the strip --- and offshore.

The snake oil may not be coming from Chossudovsky. It may indeed be coming from the Israeli government. - Elderlady


From 'Tiny Houses' to this?
What's next? A cardboard box over a heat grate?

Thanks for sharing this. Because the reality is that for renters in New York there is no bailout. It's urgent that New York elect a mayor who walks among the people rather than one who lives next door to Silvio Berlusconi in Bermuda. Craig Ferguson's map of Manhattan is accurate: it's all "DeNiroland" & "Trumpistan" now. . .

I will give the Homeless Chateau prototype to the first benefactor who will provide a safe, warm, dry space in which to park the Chateau and ensure that a homeless individual will benefit from it. Said benefactor will also need to provide transportation of the Homeless Chateau from Beacon, NY, where it is currently located. I am also considering a sponsorship program in which donors will pay $500 per Homeless Chateau, to cover materials and fabrication costs. Others will donate transportation of the Chateaux and donate spaces in which homeless people will live in the Chateaux. - Suffolk

Gee, did I say that I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a solution to the homeless problem? The solution is to get a bunch of hipster 'artists' coming up with 'solutions' like Westwater's. If we go that route we should have the problem all taken care of within about 200-300 years, easy. Best part is the government can go it's usual route of 'serving the people' by not doing jack.


You can not simply retreat towards the polar regions to replicate conditions lost in the temperate zones. More important than prevailing temperature is availability of light. Today in Fairbanks, Alaska the sun rose at 10:37 am and set at 2:24 pm, providing only three hours and forty three minutes of sunlight. Even if it could be 85 degrees in Fairbanks, Alaska, not much is going to grow with three hours and forty three minutes of sunlight.

As regards extended seasons, the same applies to the life cycles of various plant antagonists. In place of solitary or sporadic infestations, farmers can now expect multiple and even on-going outbreaks, thus necessitating greater measures for control--that generally translates into meaning we can expect crops to be bombarded by quantities of chemicals directly proportionate to the increase of the problem.

Incidentally, I grew up in California and we commonly harvested tomatoes throughout December, and often, into early January. This is something I would not expect to replicate now as the summer temperatures have become frequently too hot for a healthy crop to survive into the fall. And on it continues. . .


When I stop to think about what's going on in Israel and Palestine, I always come back to what my ancestors did to the Native Americans who had the indecency to be occupying land that my folks wanted. - John Schoonover


I've been telling people for more than a year that if Obama got in one of the first things he would do was appoint a commission to look at Social Security as a prelude to trying to do away with it. Kind of like Clinton eviscerating welfare, a republican could never have done it. Now Obama has this wonderful economic meltdown to hide behind and use as a cover for trying to kill off what's left of the New Deal. Welcome to the new Democratic Party. - Matt Carmody Cornwall, NY


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