Howard Dean 2004 Call to Action  -> Visit the Official Howard Dean Weblog

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Current Weblog
Prior  Weblog

General Note to Visitors: 

In May of 2003 difficult circumstances in my personal life interrupted my daily work on this weblog.  In March of 2004 I recovered the ability to post to it, at least intermittently. 

Despite being unable to post after July 17, 2003, web surfing and some writing continued.  Material originated during that 'quiet' period will be included separately in the indexes to this weblog, even though it was not posted at the time created.   Much of the material originated as email sent to my personal mail list, but some was in the form of notes made for my own record.  This material will be indexed as opportunity permits and fortune provides, so the 'corpus' of the overall weblog will grow by backfilling, as well as at the tips of it's various branches.  

Contents of this file:  Weblogs from March 5 to March 11, 2004
This index is chronological (earliest is first), while the the postings are in reverse chronology (most recent is  first). 
Contents of Prior Weblog File (Archived)
Weblog, 2004-03-05, Freya's Day
You want to do something about gasoline prices?   Consider these options
Weblog, 2004-03-08, Moon Day
American Ayatollahs and their "jihadi" schools
The Jihadi Who Kept Asking Why
Weblog, 2004-03-09, Tiw's Day
Heinlein Society site
Weblog, 2004-03-11, Thor's Day
Recollecting February 27 to March 16, 2003
NeoCon Putsch at the DOD
Halliburton Investigations
Proven Reserves of Gas and Oil are Declining
Grassroots Kieretsu:  A future direction for grassroots campaign organizing

Weblog, 2004-03-11, Thor's Day

Indexing the Weblog  for February 27 to March 16, 2003  has been a gut wrenching experience for me.  In that short period of 18 days, the last days befor the beginning of the war on Iraq,  all of the issues that are finally seeing the light of day in the news today were already known, already being discussed. 

Deja vu all over again is too mild an expression.   The smell of smoke, blood, torn flesh, gunpowder and bombs, broken bodies and shattered buildings - all that I could not get out of my nostrils, awake or dreaming in those days recalls itself to me.   Rereading my own notes, others  appeals to reason, the disclosures of the  corruption and lying at the highest levels of the Bush and Blair governments - which were already known then - is like some nightmarish "Groundhog Day".
  • Yes, we knew then about both governments' spying on and blackmail of other nations at the UN, and about spying on the UN itself.
  • We knew then that the "evidence" of weapons of mass distruction used by the DOD, the Vice President, the President, and by Powell was weak, was supplied by interested parties, was not being vetted according to sound intelligence procedures - and that this was being done because the Bush regime wanted war, and did not care a whit about what it had to do to get war.
  • We knew then that the descriptions of close coordination and contact between arrogant secular Baathists in Baghdad, and arrogant fundamentalist Wahhabists in Al Qaeda hideouts was so improbable as to be laughable - and that these lies were to justify a war desired for other reasons than were being disclosed.
  • We knew then that there was no realistic plan for Iraq once Saddam was gone.  And that what plans did exist involved the imposition of non, even anti-democratic governance by a US installed regency,
  • We knew that one DOD selected Iraqi individual, Chalabi, (wanted for bank fraud in Jordan) was slated to take a leading role in our redesign of Iraqi governance and society, even though he had little credibility or following there.
  • We knew that there were many other anti Saddam individuals and groups of far greater credibility and influence within the country, and that these had been cooperating with one another in planning for a federal, pluralist and democratic government in Iraq - and that the DOD NeoCons planned to cut these people out of the process.
  • We knew that Halliburton was being cut into the deal of the new Century.  
  • But most of all, we knew, or could have known, that the only justification for the war was its benefit to accomplishment of an ideologically driven political program, in the US and across the planet.

The list of lies seems endless.  Rereading it, knowing that the US major media organizations totally suppressed and pretended to be ignorant of these plain facts for over a year is painful.   Realizing that only now - courtesy of plain speaking and "unelectable" Howard Dean and a few others, Claire Short in England among them, who never stopped insisting on the truth - are these long known truths being addressed, ever so gingerly, by the media is frankly revolting.

Revolting.  Revulsion.  The feeling you get in your throat and belly when you have eaten bad food, and your body is rejecting it.  It is incredible to me that the people of this country are not now engaged in a massive 'hurl'; a spasmodic disgorgement, a projectile vomiting up of the Bush administration the people and institutions who allied themselve with it in originating and propagating those lies.

That includes the major media organizations -- Jim Lehrer and Charlie Rose of the Public Babysitting Service included.  Faux News, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch - these guys I understand to be predictable ideologues.  But the betrayal of the public trust of CNN and PBS, the failure to admit to the cpublic (or perhaps to thier own consciousness) the extent and nature of the great lie of this war, I cannot accept.  When we are so failed by the that part of the media which claims the trust of the people we are in danger indeed.  As Colonel Kwiatkowski notes, "Ben Franklin's comment that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia had delivered 'a republic, madam, if you can keep it' " has come to have special meaning.

NeoCon Putsch at the DOD
Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski reprises her "The American Conservative" articles of last winter for Salon.   Colonel Kwiatkowski witnessed firsthand the distortion of intelligence, policy advice, and decision processes by NeoCon agents of influence within the Department of Defense, in a drive to war driven not by the needs of national security, but by eerily ideological personal interpretations of the geopolitical world on the part of political appointees imposed upon the DOD planning structure.
"My career started in 1978 with the smooth seduction of a full four-year ROTC scholarship. It ended with 10 months of duty in a strange new country, observing up close and personal a process of decision making for war not sanctioned by the Constitution we had all sworn to uphold. Ben Franklin's comment that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia had delivered "a republic, madam, if you can keep it" would come to have special meaning."
You can, and should read the whole thing -

Halliburton Investigations:  (Summaries provided by the NY Times DealBook newsletter) 
The Pentagon has asked the Justice Department to join an inquiry into alleged fuel overcharging by Halliburton Co. in Iraq, indicating that Pentagon officials see possible grounds for criminal charges or civil penalties. The broadening of the fuel inquiry would give the investigation considerably more heft. Justice investigators have the power to indict and to press criminal fraud charges -- abilities denied the Pentagon's civilian watchdogs.
• Go to Article from The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)
• Go to Article from Dow Jones via Yahoo News

Halliburton, the oil services company formerly headed by U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, was awarded a $1.2 billion contract in Iraq just three days after Pentagon auditors warned about "systemic" problems in its cost controls. The warning was contained in a memo the Pentagon's defense contract audit agency sent on January 13 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
• Go to Article from The Financial Times
Subscribe to the NY Times DealBook newsletter at

Proven Reserves of Gas and Oil are Declining - but by how much?
The energy industry is being shaken up by a habit of some of its major participants - especially Shell and El Paso Natural Gas - of overstating their proven reserves of their resource.   This is basically more financial shenanigans along the line of all the others, but it has an additional non financial consequence.  When companies of their size reduce their estimates of proven reserves by 30 and 40 % it significantly reduces the total proven reserves of those resources, worldwide.    So far I have not seen a statement of what the impact on the total proven reserve estimate is, or a discussion of the price and economic effects of the reduction - but I sure would like to.   If only I were more efficient, productive - or required less sleep, or something... if only...

Grassroots Kieretsu:  A future direction for grassroots campaign organizing?

The quoted paragraphs are from the website of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers.   Knowing nothing else about them, I do like their focus on the funding and creation of new businesses based on new products and technologies, which I think of as "disruptive" in the sense that they reorganize existing markets through the introduction of dramatically improved products and production technologies, which both helps to counter the effects of monopoly/oligopoly control of old markets and accelerates improvements in productivity and resource utilization. 

But I am especially intrigued by the possible application of their "Kieretsu" model to grassroots political organizing:
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is committed to helping entrepreneurs build sustainable technology businesses.

For 30 years, we have invested in hundreds of market-defining ventures. We're constantly on the lookout for ideas with the promise to invent new business categories or radically alter existing ones. Our focus is on new technologies and new applications of technology that will drive high-impact change.

Along with technology, the greatest assets businesses have are talented people. That's why our partners put all of our efforts behind strong entrepreneurs who turn concepts into companies.

We help make things happen. We know that it takes more than solid financial support to getting a company off the ground. We've long recognized that collective strength and experience are essential to building a business. We pioneered the idea 20 years ago of bringing the businesses we work with into an informal network, which we call a Keiretsu. Entrepreneurs gain access to our unmatched portfolio of companies and associations with global business leaders. These relationships are the foundations for strategic alliances, partnership opportunities, and the sharing of insights to help build new ventures faster, broader and with less risk.
After restructuring for our intentions, the last lines might read:

"an informal network, which we call a Keiretsu. (Candidates/campaigns) gain access to our unmatched portfolio of (progressive advisers and office holders) and associations with (senior progressive opinion and political) leaders. These relationships are the foundations for strategic alliances, partnership opportunities, and the sharing of insights to help build new (grassroots organizations) faster, broader and with less risk."

The Dean grassroots is in the process of attempting self organization at the level of individual atoms/enterprises/campaigns with loosely self managed information and resource exchanges.  Is there a place for a political "venture capital" organization in this picture?  Is that a need that Governor Dean's organizaton can address?  

I hope that Burlington answers these questions in the affirmative, in some fashion at least.   Governor Dean, in my mind, is the right leader for such an effort.  Perhaps Al Gore could be interested.  

Funding might come from the investors, managers and executives of
high tech enterprises who have suffered at the hands of the NeoCons "about face" of the economy  from technology based enterprise back toward the "old exxonomy" of entrenched oligopolies (RIAA/MPA etc.) and resource intensive extractive industries (oiligopolies?).   The folks at O'Reilly may have ideas about that, among many others.

If you want to consider this kind of need further, from another vantage point, check out Robert Reich's
January 29, 2004 New York Times article "The Dead Center".   If you cannot see it at the NYTimes site try Common Dreams or Truthout or this link

Weblog, 2004-03-09, Tiw's Day

Happy Birthday, Spike!  (That's my Dad.)

Since "Libertarianism" has become in the most part an intellectual backwater and fiefdom of Corporatism it holds no enchantment for me.   In fact, it never has, really, since it always, in my lifetime, has exhibited a willing subservience to Corporatism, in denial of the Corporation's character as a replacement for the State, and in contradiction to its supposed idealization of the rights and freedom of the individual.   Individual Libertarians sometimes escape that trap however.  partly because of that, but mostly for sentimental reasons having to do with his having introduced me to a lifelong love of scence fiction, I will note and recommend the Heinlein Society site.  

Full disclosure however:  "
Joe Haldeman has been elected by unanimous vote to the board of The Heinlein Society."  Yes, that's our Joe Haldeman, of the Nixon White House, confrere of Chuck Colson, G. Gordon Liddy, and Bob Erlichman.   The outfit that gave Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld the training wheels prepping them for their current run.   See what I mean by the paragraph above?   Libertarian indeed!

Still, Robert Heinlein's science fiction is well written, and loads of fun to read, and though the philosophical content is a bithyper individualistic it is only occasionally obtrusive, and is always on the side of adventure.   (He's no Ayn Rand, at least.)   Shouldn't hurt the kids developing minds too badly, given adequate parental supervision. 

A longish post originally at this location has been moved to another location, and is not included in this archive. 
It was/is a draft, and I just wanted to get it up, even in partial form, for  everyone's enjoyment. 
I'll try to remember to keep the link (above) to the current location of that material updated.

Weblog, 2004-03-08, Moon Day

ABC's "The Note" for today somehow failed to juxtapose their Note about American Ayatollahs and their "jihadi" schools:

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick reports on the "influence" that "Christian home-schooling is having on the political right" and looks at the students who matriculate to Patrick Henry College, with its, "knack for political job placement." LINK

With this:
The Jihadi Who Kept Asking Why
Mansour al-Nogaidan has undergone a radical transformation, from ultra-Islamist to lonely liberal. Can he and other reformers bring change to the kingdom?
The parallels are inescapable, and frightening.

Weblog, 2004-03-05, Freya's Day

Understandably, we are shocked at rising gasoline prices.  Desperation is producing another round of pseudo 'consumer action' proposals for ways to force prices down.  The latest of these, likely written by marketing at Shell or Chevron, is trying to organize a boycott of Mobil and Exxon "to start a price war".   

Sorry, but gasoline price wars of the past were a product of a diverse, competitive retail market for gasoline - classical free market competition with large numbers of buyers and sellers to set a market price.  What we have now is restricted, oligopolistic competition moving into a cartel organized monopoly with no competition at all.  Prices are administered by MegaCorp, and there will be no price wars.

You want to do something about gasoline prices?   Consider these options:

  • Get on the internet, do research and find out what supply and demand factors are permitting administered gasoline prices to hold at new highs.
  1. Refiner manipulation of supply.  Refineries may have been taken off line to create the appearance of a gasoline shortage, just as electrical generation facilities were taken off line to create the appearance of an energy shortage 4 years ago.   Write and call your elected and regulatory officials to get an investigation of this and to secure prosecution of the refiners' managements for collusion in supply and price management.

  2. Failure of the US auto fuel efficiency standards regimen.  Bush/Cheney have destroyed 30 years' progress in improving the energy efficiency of the US automobile fleet, through bad tax and regulatory policy.  

    1. Support the current effort in Congress to kill the Gas Guzzler Tax Credit which was included in the Bush/Cheney tax cut. 

    2. Support the current effort by the UAW and environmental groups to prevent adoption of Bush/Cheney regulatory changes that would further weaken standards for fuel efficiency in the US auto market.

  • Learn to love high oil prices
  1. Some of the increase in price is the result of a decline in the value of the dollar (exchange rate depreciation).  This decline is good for our real economy and welfare, and should be encouraged.

    1. Depreciation of the dollar makes our exports less expensive to other countries, and increases the demand for goods produced in the US, and for labor employment in the US.  A good thing.  

    2. It also increases the cost of stuff we buy which is produced in other countries, and reduces the incentive for our producers to move production and jobs to those countries.  A good thing.    

    3. We are running a trade deficit which is approaching 5% of our national income, and still increasing.  All of that deficit is borrowed from other countries; all of it represents production and jobs lost to our economy.   We are borrowing an amount equivalent to 5% of our national income to pay for the privilege of exporting jobs to foreign producers! Depreciation of the value of the dollar is the best (least distorting, most efficient) way to reduce the trade deficit, and to reduce the flow of jobs out of our economy.

  2. High oil prices, expecially when stable, provide incentives to develop alternative energy sources, and provide an economic environment in which investment in new energy sources is more attractive.  Substitution of other energy sources for oil is a good thing. 

  3. High oil prices increase the incomes of oil exporting countries.  This should, properly managed, provide opportunities to increase social welfare and investment, and reduce social unrest and resentment of the US in those countries.  A very good thing.

  • Every time you hear a so called reporter or economist mention "low inflation" remember that the inflation rate they are discussing is, almost certainly,  the "Core Rate".   (Note that the full rate was 2.5 times the core rate in January!  That's .05% cf. .02% monthly.  We are used to seeing the seasonally adjusted annual rate which would be 10 to 12 times as high.)
  1. The core rate of inflation excludes the "volatile components" of food and energy!  The real rate of inflation, including food and energy is much higher, and the inflation figures given are "low" bedause of the exclusion - roughly 3 basis (%) points lower for the January figures.  For instance:

    • For January, the government reported that the consumer price index, often referred to as the cost of living, rose 0.5 percent. Much of the gain related to high fuel prices. Energy prices rocketed upward by 4.7 percent, with gasoline rising 8.1 percent. But even absent energy costs, the so-called core inflation that excludes energy and food rose 0.2 percent, or twice what experts had expected. If it continues, it would propel core inflation above 2 percent this year, compared to 1.1 in the last 12 months.

  2. Every time you hear, on TV or the radio, how low "the core rate of inflation" is call the station and the program producer, and tell them you are tired of their participation in this "lying through omission" of the facts, and you want BOTH the core and the full rates discussed in their progamming.  Like this!

But, if you are into "personal responsibility movement activism" and are above addressing  mundane politics and economics, don't give up.  You can still:
  • Sell the car, buy a 40+ mpg Toyota or Honda Hybrid, and

  • Drive less

Contents of Prior Weblog File (Archived):

Memories - The Justification for War Loses its Footing
Ruth Group and Friends - Good links
Ruth Group and Friends - More good links - Friday, May 16, 2003
Bush ally set to profit from the war on terror - James Woolsey and Paladin Capital (Have Gun, Will Travel!)
2003-05-15 - Lunar Eclipse!
Homeland Intimidation - Homeland Security Used to Track Texas Democrats
Oraibi Hopi, two factions of Hotevela Hopi, Black Mesa Navaho, Peabody Coal, Eco-politics, New Age religion
The Place of Smallpox Vaccination in Biowarfare Strategy
Behinder and behinder
Reprise of August - September 2002 Iraq War Critiques
Trade Deficit and Dollar Valuation - ref
Patrick Seale: - The United States has embarked on an imperial adventure in the Middle East
The 'Road Map' for Palestine is not flawed - It is faked
They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer -
Additional information and links
"strong enough not only to crush their mighty enemies but to ruin themselves too"
Old news, but  instructive
Iraq Reprise
Searching For Meaning In Life May Boost Immune System
Presidential Primary - Sen. Bob Graham
Hazara Students - Photo and notes
Rob Rosenberger's antihoax site
Understanding Information Warfare by the Right
Bill Bennet, Rightist Morality Czar
Rebuilding Iraq: There's only one "man" for the job - and that would be Steve Bechtel?
Howard Dean's official weblog!
Active Code and Web Services
Shrubbyist Triumph and Glory in Iraq?
"Equal Rights is the Responsibility of Every American" - Governor Howard Dean
Bush plans new nuclear weapons
A Free Press?
Embedded Reporter in Iraq Ordered Out
Confession  - Bukowski
Removing and reinstalling MS dial-up networking services (DUNS)
A War to Remake the World
Crime Against Humanity by John Pilger; April 10, 2003
Churchill's Legacy in Iraq - The Peace to End all Peace
The Rape of Baghdad
An Agent of Armageddon --Is George Bush Crazy?
Sorry Charlie, III  (Charlie Rose, that would be.)
A letter to America by Margaret Atwood    (Direct link > Here

Permanent and Draft materials are included in the current weblog, and are not archived. 

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