Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 3, 2009


Excerpts from reader comments:


The bottom line is: Obama's the new Bill Clinton. - Walter Wouk


"By forced eradication we are often pushing farmers into the Taliban hands," Mr Holbrooke said.

Using Predator drones against wedding parties has the same effect, Mr. Holbrooke.


I am a retired cop with 15 years service. Is the war on drugs working. No. Will it work? No. Smoking pot leads you to harder drugs? No. Peer pressure leads to harder drugs or experimenting does though. Not to mention the fact that some parents don't know where or what their kids are doing. The cost of arresting pot heads is to costly to continue. It cost approximately 24 thousand dollars to house one pot head a year. Think of the savings and the room for hard core criminals. Myself along with thousands of my fellow law enforcement agree. There are bigger criminals to be caught. Legalize it and tax it and fine those dumb enough to bring it outside into the public.


I wonder if Republicans were this concerned when the Patriot Act was rammed through Congress in even less time. Somehow I think they'd sing a different tune if congress members declared their intent to read the whole thing before they voted on it. But, hey, it was just legislation toying with the Constitution. . . no big deal. I'm not defending this practice, but let's face it: very few members of congress read the legislation they're voting on. Takes too much time out of campaigning. - robbie

An organization called Downsize DC has been pushing a "read the bills act" mandating congresspersons read the crap before they vote. You don't have to agree with them on gun control to support that (they're against it). I'll note in passing that our new prez has already reneged several times on his promise to post bills on the internet five days before a vote.


It is not just that the medical records will be wide open to law enforcement, it is that these records will be open to anyone who is willing to pay $20-100 to get the scoop on their neighbors. Just as cell phone records are today.


How can holocausts be described inhumane if they're repeated time and time again by humans? I don't agree in anyway with holocausts, but i also don't think you can describe it with words such as inhumanity, and then say it is being repeated even today. - Dr. Artit


"All these things have been supported by Nader who in 2004 spent a lot of time and money defending "Green" challenges to his ballot inclusion."

It was the Democrats who spent millions trying to keep Nader off the ballot in 2004. Some of Nader's more sectarian supporters are willing to say anything about the Greens.


Maybe now that Obama is in the big chair and has a view of what is going on from the inside he's saying that some of the measures that the Bush administration took were justified?

Maybe now that Obama is in the big chair, he is showing us he is just another sleazy opportunistic politician. There is no justification for torture. Many people will buckle under torture and tell the torturer anything, or confess to any crime, just to make it stop. An innocent person confessing to a crime they didn't commit and know nothing about does not yield useful information, and extracting information is such a way is a crime against humanity. Look it up in the Geneva conventions.


Art tells the truth in ways that politicians and businessmen cannot control. But part of the answer is to show that art is not a touchy-feely, non-profit pastime. It is the entire world of industrial and aesthetic design, fashion, communications, architecture, advertising and promotion. There isn't a single item humans make that isn't designed. There is not a process or procedure in manufacturing or shipping that is not designed. There are no buildings, vehicles, furniture, roads, bridges, dams, or anything else that is not designed. There is nothing sold or promoted without advertising, instruction books, sales sheets, invoices, or paid for with cheques or cash - all designed. Art & design are the central human activity. We just need to brag about it more.

Real art doesn't need their fucking money. I don't support poor people's tax money paying for art so that rich people's kids can not suffer at work and make bullshit. I've seen it a million times, some over-pampered rich kid gets to do nothing and make crap and call it art because everyone wipes their ass for them because of their daddy's buildings.

Millions have to suffer and die in misery because of these rich spoiled jerks who call themselves progressives. All you know how to do is sit in Starbucks, mocking those who you think are inferior and being fashionistas or recessionistas. If you care about poor people, hang out with them. Hang out with people who can't afford a car, or don't look good.

The WPA was the beginning of disaster for the arts; it taught people that it was more important to please the government art czars than to make things people will pay to look at or hear or otherwise experience. It was part of the Autobahn theory of government which put power in the hands of a few at the top, who would decide what the public wanted.

The academic arts system is made to create deluded graduate students who pay into the system but almost never get a payout. The museums are there with government arts to prop up the investments of the super-rich when they buy an artist low. They also engage in tax-dodging rackets for the ultra-rich by accepting donations of pieces artificially inflated in price at auction.

Finally art is a good target not because art is powerful, but because it's so weak and cannot justify the place it has. Artists became postmodernists and gave up believing in truth, after all, why spend time learning when you could just do a conceptual piece? Theory was good for the lazy. It's impossible to make the case that art schools should take money while the homeless or public schools are not fully supported. - wellbasically


It also appears the times of migration are also shifting. The on-line reports of this year's purple martin and monarch butterfly migrations seem to indicate arrivals two to three weeks earlier than typically expected. With the exception of the the ice storm plagued year of 2007, this new pattern is becoming the rule rather than the exception.


The small businessman is capable of thinking concretely about how to help people directly, while the politicians are mired in their abstract notions about "helping the economy." They seem to be incapable of understanding that "the economy" starts with real people, and lots of us real people are struggling to pay our bills.

Guaranteed income was a mainstream, moderate idea in the 1960s, with supporters from the left and the right, George McGovern and Richard Nixon, Martin Luther King and Milton Friedman. It's an idea we ought to revive and update - Steven Shafarman


I think Obama should keep on nominating tax evaders. At least the government is recovering some back taxes.


Bipartisanship = I'll hug your Elephant if you'll kiss my Ass.

It wouldn't be so bad if the so called "centrism" was only a matter of economic policies. The destructive, indeed suicidal tax cuts are insanity. But these are issues on which people can disagree. The opinions may be foolish, self serving, even pathological, but they are not criminal.

But there is criminal, and incredibly heinous behavior that is called "centrism" and "bipartisianism". One of the most flagrant is over torture. Obama has announced his thankfulness that the British government is keeping its secrets about what was done to British citizens in Guantanamo. His administration has said that no CIA agents will be prosecuted for torture. It is pretty clear that none of those who ordered the tortures are going to be prosecuted. Now, less than a week after these announcements, we learn that the tortures were not limited to waterboarding, but included other interrogation techniques like genital mutilation.

"The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, 'is very far down the list of things they did,' the official said," Tim Shipman and Melissa Kite, report for The Telegraph.

How could he have ever excused such behavior? How could he have ever thought that this information would not come out? This is not just criminal, it is idiotic. Obama has earned the appellation Bush44. His behavior has come to the level of covering up gross criminal acts, some of which have quite apparently led to death. Bush44 is now a criminal. - m


You only need to use logic to come to the conclusion that American politicians and drug money are connected. Why are there illegal narcotics? Take marijuana, for example. There is no medical, health, safety, or moral reason for marijuana to be illegal. The only reason for the illegal status is financial. Illegal substances are worth more money. Any politician who is against legalizing marijuana has only one reason for their position, and that is financial. Logic proves that any politician against the legalization of marijuana has taken that position because they are paid to do so. Drug cartels are no different from any other big business; they want to protect the value of their goods. The bribes (whoops, I mean "campaign contributions") they make to politicians are miniscule compared to the profit they make. Thus politicians accept money from drug cartels to keep narcotics illegal.


Anonymous leadership of the Green Party had been hi-jacked by Democratic loyalists said...

the Green Party, the supposed banner of peace, justice and environmentalism, has settled on a plan of inaction that supports the perpetuation of the war and the corporate contamination of the American political system. That's the real import of the party's decision to support David Cobb, the stealth candidate, and his safe state's presidential strategy.
...In any event, the mantle of peacemaker won't be shouldered by the patrician warrior John Kerry or his stiff proxy David Cobb.

The Greens have rendered themselves irrelevant as anything more than a feel-good subaltern to the Democratic Party, a kind of decompression tank for thumb-sucking progressive malcontents. Cobb and his gang say that the safe state's approach permits them to engage in party-building from the ground up by recruiting fidgety progressive Democrats without scaring them off with the prospect that the party might actually do some damage in the fall elections...
The Green convention that anointed Cobb was rigged--in multiple ways to ensure one result. There's little doubt of that now. The Cobb backers employed smear tactics against Nader and Camejo that were as vile as those lobbed by Democrats. Nader was denounced as an autocrat, an egomaniac, a racist, a sexist and, get this, a "millionaire."

Green celebs, such as Medea Benjamin, the boho diva of Global Exchange, were recruited to inveigh against Nader and Camejo. Who knows if Medea swayed any votes. Her home state of California didn't seem to pay much attention to her shrill alarums, because Peter Camejo won about 75 percent of the vote. Remember, this was Medea's second swipe at Camejo. Last fall, she also infamously weighed in against the recall of the insufferable Gray Davis, perhaps the worst governor in the history of California, including Reagan and George Deukmejiean.

In many state conventions and in the run up to Milwaukee, Cobb's mercenaries tried to suppress the vote. In several cases, they allowed frothing Democrats to intimidate voters as they tried to enter the convention buildings, while Cobbites continued the harangue on the floor itself. How do you build a grassroots movement, when you spend most of your time driving people away from your party? Ridiculous.

Even with all this slimy electioneering, Nader and Camejo still had more than enough actual votes to trounce Cobb and his know-nothing running mate, Pat LaMarche. But this Green junta doesn't count actual votes. It's electoral process seems to have been devised by Baby Doc Duvalier, where only the votes that have been pre-determined to count actually count.

Knowing that the Green electoral process was irredeemably flawed, Nader was right to reject the Greens early this year...

April 3, 2009 7:32 PM  

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