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By Philip Shropshire

(Some of my various message board postings)


Why do you hate America Dave Appell? Whyyyyyyy moaned the reactionary and dull simulacrum of a drear Pro Bush administration droid with blood...

I'm just kidding of course. I'm actually jealous of a lot of things the Iraqis will get. Sure would like that universal healthcare and a commitment away from fundamentalism in our public sectors. Yep. Sure would be nice.

Philip Shropshire

PS: What's your take on the Discover Story about the Miracle Waste converter that can end our energy problems. I think its cool but I'm not a scientist. Steven Den Beste, who is a scientist, thinks its poppycock, but he is an ideologue. What's your take? Remember: there is a working prototype. It's so unlike my cold fusion powered time machine as I mentioned at one of my sites...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 03:24 PM EST

Actually in many cases, the American public does own it. In fact, the government has regular auctions where leases for oil rights are sold. (Do a google for "oil lease auctions.") A minor detail, but mineral rights do not automatically belong to the person who owns the land above it. I don't know the exact percentage, but I believe most people don't own the mineral rights below their land. Which frequently comes as a surprise to the land owners when some company wants drill for the oil beneath the land. The owners have to provide access.

In any case, Bush's statement was more about convincing the world that the US wasn't going to steal Iraqi oil. As I understand it, significant portions of Iraqi oil fields are already under lease to French and Russian oil companies. Since the US claims that these leases were made under ruinous terms for the Iraqi people, I expect that these leases will be cancelled by the new Iraqi government

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 03:53 PM EST

Welp, when Bush says it--and I'm sure that you're cognizant that Bush is a lying sack of manure, in my oh so humble objective opinion--he makes it sound like more than the Iraqi people own their oil in some theoretical land lease sense, but more in The Iraqi people just went out and bought 22 million time share condos on the Riviera kind of sense. By the way, that's the way I'd like to own my American oil, enough so that my rent is paid for life. That would be different than my current American reality where corporate monopolists pay bribery money to my elected officials so that they can legally rape me. But that's just me. I have been known to hate America, especially when the policies of my country are transparently vile and evil and have that ominous Doc Doom flavor to them.

But I like what you're saying as a potential GOP talking point, no doubt to be echoed spontaneously on many a Clear Channel radio station. (See today's Prospect blog.) We tell the world it's their oil and then we procedurely take it away from them so that they don't get a cent, unless it's heavily leveraged by some IMF top down loan sharking like agreement...And after that's done, the Iraqi people will own their own oil, much in the way that I benefit from Texas crude, which is to say very very little at all...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 04:19 PM EST

My, my Steely Dan. I must have hit a sore spot. David, remember how you recently mentioned the outright hostility of the blog world. I think this is a perfect example of the problem. Let's not have rationale discourse, its far better to fling insults.

Steely Dan if you would like to actually discuss the issue. We can try. But before we do (and before you fling insults), maybe you would like to actually learn my opinion of Bush. Did I vote him? No. Do I think he is a good president? No. Do I think his domestic policy sucks? Yes. And the left wonders how they alienate so many people.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 05:33 PM EST

Did you support the war? I think that's the important question. Do you think that we're going to create anything that looks like democracy in your alleged "iraqi government"? I mean, hey, I'll play along. Feel free to discourse rationally. You haven't done it so far. By the way, I actually like the free for all style of net debate. I feel that I actually learn something when people aren't being nice to each other...But in the spirit of your Oxford debating style lineage, please tell me how the Bush regime is helping the Iraqi people or why it simply isn't, as Kofi Annan accurately called it, an occupation?

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 06:50 PM EST

Did I support the war?...

In Iraq, I felt that we had basically three options:

1) Go to war and people die.

2) Continue the sanctions and inspections, and according to the UN and other groups, thousands of children would continue to die from the lack medical supplies and food. Plus those who die from Saddam's torture chambers. So people die.

3) Say we've done all we can, and end the sanctions and inspections. Based on Saddam's history in Kuwait and Iran and against the Kurds and Shiites, people will die.

So anyway you looked at it, people would die. The question was how could we minimize the death and suffering. I voted for war. Based on the reactions of the Iraqis, I voted right.

Yes, I know about the relatively small demostrations against the US. But that is overwhelmed by the support we have received in the North, the cooperation we've received, and the lack suicide bombers or other attacks on our troops.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 07:25 PM EST

I see that you've answered the pertinent question: do you support the war. And as I've guessed that's really the important one. By the way, I'm glad you weren't around when we were making these same kinds of calculation during the cold war and Stalin. I was under the odd impression that we were able to liberate the Soviet Union and South Africa without having to "liberate" anybody. And frankly, I would've liked us to have tried your option number 3. But as I've argued in my policy (i.e. yelling match) stomping grounds American Samizdat and Warblogger Watch, that would mean nothing without a US that doesn't commit itself to a world community. That means a commitment to the UN, a commitment to the concept that global warming might be real and it would be nice to enthusiastically join the world court, with the possible caveat that American citizens be tried under American judicial rules. Our fuck you attitude about the world is frankly contrary to what I think would be far wiser and far smarter actions than unilateral invasion (plus one). We essentially changed South Africa by way of a massive organized shunning. It was slower. It took longer. It took intelligent leadership. But it's result has and probably will last longer and is seen with more legitimacy than anything that comes out of Iraq under this particular wretched crew. By the way, there is a right wing argument in support of evolution of Saddam's authoritarian regime, and that's Jeanne Kirkpatrick's classic essay comparing Authoritarianism vs. Totalitarianism. I never bought the crux of it, but I think it's right in this case. I think that Iraq would've evolved into something better...just like Cuba would if the sanctions were lifted.

As far as the stuff about our glorious victory in Iraq, I feel like Al Pacino in the Godfather asking Diane Keaton "Are you that naive?" The rallies attended by those against us and who rightly and correctly ask us to leave their country--oddly bereft of weapons of mass destruction and which haven't been found so far unless you're a propagandist and/or Fox News employee--have been massive and in full swing. And they're right. It's not our stuff. Liberation has just become another word for theft...It deeply shames me as an American. Actually, if the Bush administration and if their crony like greed about that Trillion in crude wasn't so overwhelming, and they were smart (ha!), they would leave immediately and let the international teams take over. The war isn't over by the way. In fact, now the Iraqi people, who still have a lot of their arms, will be fighting not for Saddam (an immediately depressing motivation for anybody) but for a free and democratic Iraq or more likely a closed off and theocratic Iraq if they get anything like majority rule...but this time they'll be fighting for themselves. It's a horrifying spector. This is why the reporting about the region has slowed to a crawl from the usual jingoistic Instapundits. This is something we, the anti war side, predicted by the way. The horror of the "peace". Take a very close look at what's happening in the north by the way. Which side do we choose between the Turks and the Kurds? I'm sure you've thought this out. Perhaps we should just kill them and let...well, you know the rest.

Philip Shropshire

PS: You do admit this is an occupation right? This is something that civil people don't do, right? If not, then I will be happy to come over to your house, Dean, and "liberate" you. You'll own your own stuff, but won't profit from it in any way. You might live worse than you did under the old ruler, but that's "American Democracy" for you. Fox news and Clear Channel will tell you it's all right as I rape your nubile young wife, all for America of course. I will be shocked, just shocked by your terrorist actions to remove me from your house...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 08:16 PM EST

Steelydan, what I find amazing is how much you think you know everything about me, and at the same time how totally wrong you are. I don't watch Foxnews. Rarely listen to the radio, certainly no Clear Channel stations. The few times I've watch Fox, I've found them to be so over the top, to be ridiculous. My primary news sources are the BBC, The Guardian (England), and NPR, along with reading on a regular basis about twenty to thirty foreign newspapers.

You wrongly assume because I supported one war that I support them all. If Bush tried to start another war now, I would be the first one in the street protesting. I pray for his defeat in the next election. And sincerely hope that the first act of his successor is to "repeal" Bush's preemptive strike doctrine. The stupidest concept in modern American history.

The biggest problem with someone like you is that you are a bigot but won't admit it. You fit everyone into a stereotype, and refuse to acknowledge any other possibility. But with that I will end my last conversation with you. I'll wait to debate someone who is actually mentally-equipped for it.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 09:04 PM EST

Quite frankly, if you supported this war you're not much of a leftist to begin with. And if you've been reading John Pilger or Robert Fisk and the BBC I have a hard time imagining that you think that we've won this war. Either that, or you simply can't read. And you have the gall to question my admittedly modest intellectual capacities.

And could you cease with the name calling stuff and address a point? Or are you conceding that this administration has failed to learn the lessons of the cold war and our involvement in South Africa? Are you conceding that you don't understand the Kirkpatrick argument? Are you conceding that the situation in the North is unstable and nightmarish? Are you conceding that the Iraqi people, theocratic zealots that they may be, have a right to ask the US to leave their country? Are you conceding that I can "liberate" the Dean household and put your wife in a benevolent trust fund where I frell her repeatedly? (Please email me your address so that I can begin my liberation...I find you vaguely threatening and your wife to be very hot...)And finally, and this is the weakest point on your behalf, why are you not willing to admit that this is an occupation and just plain've failed to answer this point in two consecutive posts. It's kinda glaring out here...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 09:17 PM E


From Warblogger Watch Again

(Couldn't really play with the fonts to get the effect I wanted over there but here...)

I think that Oliver Willis makes a clever strategic decision—so rare among the Warbloggers—to be pro war but anti-Bush. Quick question: Who would give you more confidence the proper pronunciation challenged resident Bush or a war veteran, or even a guy who has the magical ability to pronounce “Malfeasance” or is it really “Malfeant”…What a Frellin’ Moron.

Anyway, here’s some of Oliver’s wacky headlines:

D-Day 'Invasion' Violates French Sovereignty

Amnesty Int'l Accuses Allies of Human Rights Violations in 'Wholesale Slaughter' of Nazi Soldiers

America Vs. Japan: Why We Should Give Up The Hawaiian Islands

Oh that’s rich there Ollie. But you’re assuming that we’ll have FDR, arguably one of our greatest presidents, and a comparatively unbought off legislature. Let’s reimagine those headlines and freely ripoff the John Dos Passos Newsreel technique. (Here’s a page of other imitators by the way…), some Phil K. Dick alt history and our current Fearless Leader and away we go…


(AP): President Bush vows the Chinese will pay for this Day of Infamy. And in another development the President refused all calls for food and gas rationing, refused to rethink the nation’s industrial output in a time of war, refused to allow the hiring of women for industrial jobs, refused to initiate the temporary legalization of hemp production and refused to answer questions about his family’s involvement with the Nazis—who we are not at war with.



UPI Editorial by Helen Thomas

I can’t believe we’re not at war with the Germans. The Germans are really evil. They’re bad. True, they give a lot in campaign money and now that they’ve conquered all of the countries in the mideast (It was rumored they were going to attack Russia but they shifted their forces…) I guess we’re dependent on them. But we’re really not dependent on them. It’s as if the government chooses not to do the right thing because of certain special interest groups. Of course, the question is does the government act on behalf of the best interests of the country, of mankind even, or on behalf of American and German industrialists…It’s as if we inhabit some horrible alternate reality that would make for great Hollywood movies thirty years from now.


We find ourselves baffled by the president’s decision-making. It’s clear that we should be attacking Japan, not China. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that Hitler and his Third Reich are more of a threat to our ideals than Afghanistan. We think that our new dependency on Germany, brought about by their invasion and total conquest of the mideastern oil reserves has clouded the president’s judgment, not to mention the fact that his family has an oil background and looks to be raking in the big bucks. We just don’t get it. Plus, he seems to be a nepotistic dolt who can’t pronounce words. No wonder the stock market falls whenever he speaks. What a Frellin’ Moron. (Look, the New York Times editorialists talked that way back then…)


(AP): The proxy troops that we’re employing to fight the evildoers conquered Italy today. Oddly enough, there were very little casualties as it turned out the opposing fascist forces simply threw up their hands, shook the hands of our proxy forces and proclaimed alliance with our new transparent puppet government. The evildoers were allowed to keep their weapons, return to their villages and renew their lucrative heroin trade. “V is for Victory” gushed President Bush, hidden in an undisclosed location, but who managed to correctly pronounce victory.




This so-called “war” has been a complete disaster. Abroad it’s made us at best a mockery of our best aspects and at worst allied with the values of Fascists, who mask their power grabs and their civilian murders with the rhetoric of patriotism and national security. We fought by proxy in Italy (We can’t find Mussolini or any of his top captains…) and it’s not sure if we actually won anything other than the complete hatred of the Italian people. Clearly, the war should have been against both Japan and Germany, where there are rumors of a Jewish massacre, but the complete monied corruption of the administration only allows us to bomb Afghanistan, a small incidental pawn in this The Great Game. At home, the war has been used as a thin excuse to crush civil liberties and roundup opposition members. It’s rumored that there are more than 6 million being held secretly without the benefits of trial or defense counsel. To be frank, it’s not known if they’re alive or dead. We can certainly count on the fact that they face misery or torture. They’ll probably be coming for me soon. What’s worse, there’s this rumor that Germany is working on a super weapon. Of course, Einstein, now dead, and Leo Szilard were deported back to Germany. Was the germ of this world destroyer an idea in their heads? President Bush suspended all American research into new weapons and energy resources because it was clearly known that he thought that such research would harm the interests of the oil companies and our good friends the Germans and their indirect thralls the Saudi monarchy…What are the Germans working on? What?

At Ellison Webderland

Philip "The Official Webderland Super Villain" Shropshire <>
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Thursday, July 25 2002 12:3:56

Prologue: Yes. All is right and noble in this my wicked wicked world. Soon, there shall be a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India. This will destroy the oil fields and set the stage for a nuclear exchange involving the United States, China, Israel and one of the former Soviet Republics. The Earth will be full of vile death. Then I shall journey from the netherworld to plunge my arms into the rivers of blood, devastation and hopelessness and then I will know joy, true decadent joy. I will also make sure that Adam Sandler makes another film. For I am the Evil One, fallen from The Eternal One’s side and with my son the Antichrist as president I…Oh wait. When was the last time that I posted over at Ellison Webderland. Yessss. Must spread more of my vile evil….bhahahahah and etcetara..

Well, I’ve tried to hold my tongue—numerous times I might note--for I feel that I’ve said my piece. But I have to clarify a few points here Jimbo.

One.) When I was debating you I had no intention of doing that piece for Locus. I was enjoying the debate when Rick kinda stopped it. Had Rick not stopped it, I probably would have been content to keep the debate down here. But there were some important points I wanted to make and so I made them at what I feel was a neutral court. That’s all. When I was debating you I had no idea that someone would sort of step in and accuse me of being a troll or whatever.

Two.) I’ve listened to your arguments and I patiently rebutted them. Look, if you guys had compelling arguments then AOL would be appealing the Ninth circuit in order to overturn Harlan’s favorable $10 million summary judgment verdict. Hey, I’ll even kick Harlan’s attorney’s ass if that will you make happy. Ready to go Charles, or are you too busy putting my childhood hero onto the public streets, tincup in hand with a sign that says “Will Curmudgeon For Food” And “Damn That Internet” or whatever. High noon. Friday. If you’re up to it…Old Boy. (And yes that’s the phrase used by the Bond villain in “From Russia With Love”. I mean, that guy ruled. He had that watch wire thing and if I recall he decapitated Mr. Bond. Then he went on to make Thunderball: Another Perfect SPECTRE Operation and then it was You Don’t Really Live Twice…Yep. That blond Russian guy was a winner…)

Sincerely, from the official Ellison Webderland Board Villain,

Philip Shropshire

PS: By the way, and this probably needs to be mentioned, if I truly despised Harlan Ellison then I would encourage him in this lawsuit. For, to make a grotesque point, we’ll be lucky if Harlan can squeeze ten more years out of his body. Every second he spends on this case is a precious second that he won’t spend writing fiction or screenplays. Remember what happened to Lenny Bruce and his preoccupation with the courts during those last days…Never let it be said that you were never told, to quote the aging male psychiatrist in the Sopranos…

From Warblogger Watch

And now for something completely different: a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India.

While we're wondering what George knew and when he knew it, or whether he ever knew anything (a point open to vigorous question), you might note that there are a million troops at the borders between India and Pakistan. It looks like they're about to launch their nuclear warheads at each other. Let's all pray, even us athiests, that they choose peace and cooperation and diplomacy. However, if you look at the language of India and also Sharon you might notice that it's the same language of vile uncompromise being spouted in Washington after 9-11. Those Bush memes include, but aren't limited to: The "other" side is evil and "evil" only. Massive retaliatory force will work, even though there's much evidence to show that it won't work (And hasn't). And last but not least: diplomacy and treating these acts as criminal as opposed to problems between nation states (Except Saudi Arabia. They have oil.) is for pussies. Thanks George. It would be nice to know that the US could go to both sides in this horrifc conflict and argue how rational we were after 9-11, about how we strengthened and supported the World Court, or demanded that Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia initiate democratic reforms, or insist upon a multinational force in Israel...but no. And as the bombs fall and the massive death toll becomes obvious, it will be clear that the leaders (soon to be extinct if the weapons fall) will have in fact mirrored the very violent policy of the United States with one small difference: only pick on weaker nations that don't have nuclear arms.

Philip Shropshire

PS. I noticed that our favorite warmonger Glenn is wavering between optimism and pessimism about this situation. Here's a hint Glenn: Pessimism is the place to be my friend. Here's a quote from a story where the implications of fallout are discussed with defense analsyt Paul Beaver:

"Environmentally we don't really know, to be honest, because nobody's done it. We know what happened when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine exploded... it sent radioactive particles into the atmosphere... they came down in places like northern Finland and Norway...even here in the United Kingdom, Welsh hill farmers could no longer sell their lamb because they were contaminated by fallout... That was a nuclear reactor, that was a reasonably small escape of radioactive material. If there was an exchange of nuclear weapons...and the Indian sub-continent.. we don't know what would happen to the climate for a start...El Nino in the Pacific, and the problems that that's caused, I think would be considered to be child's play compared to what would happen. There's not only that, but the huge death toll on both sides, and the risk of bringing in other nations... it could well be something which would strat a third world war - any exchange of nuclear weapons is a doomsday scenario because we don't know how controllable it would be."

From A Retort at Amygdala (About Left Wing Paranoia)

Well, here's the rub: left paranoia about the powers and evils
of the man are quite justified. Let's just take a look at
reporters who spoke out against the war. From my last count
there were four reporters who were fired outright for daring to
speak out against the war effort and posing, what I thought,
were the kinds of questions that we allegedly pose in a
democracy. And other people who spoke out against the war,
especially professors, were either fired or threatened with
removal because of speaking out against the war. I've heard one
or two warbloggers openly ask that Chomsky be removed from his
tenured position. How American.

On the other side, who were the right wingers who were removed
because they supported the war effort too vocally? Who were the
reporters who were fired because they thought the president to
be a smart guy despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
Who are the reporters who were fired for referring to the
Palestinian resistance as "homocide bombers" and defended tank
rollouts over civilian habitats as "self defense"? Was there a
one? And it's not just the war effort, there was a recent book
published by muckraking reporters who took on big companies and
big advertisers. What did they have in common: They were all
removed from their jobs. Why doesn't Greg Palast work for an
American newspaper? I mean, I think that anti warblogger Eric
Blair should give his or her real name but I can understand
their hesitancy. The fear is real and tangible and littered with
the careers of folks who dared to speak out and that's not a
myth or a persecution complex...

Philip Shropshire

(There was a story about a remote controlled toy car at Tech TV. The kid wanted to attach the car
to a cellphone so he could control it anywhere in the city. I noted the pros and cons...)

I've always had that idea of using remote controlled blimps, cars, aibos and other stuff to trawl the city's roads and skyways but I'm an aspiring science fiction writer and not a tech head. Impressive. That could be so cool. I would love to attach one of those video game wheels to it and just cruise the city at night. Perhaps my vehicle could be fueled by solar or fuel cells. I wish enterprising reporters or news organizations could use off the shelf tech like this to create their own news drones, in order to go to places that they wouldn't ordinarily go.
Those would be cool uses, not necessarily lawful, but within the boundaries of legal.

On the other hand, I could also attach a gun or a pipe bomb or stalk my ex girlfriend in real time using these kinds of remote controlled devices as well...Just something to think about as these "harmless" toy cars drive by you in the night...

Good luck to that kid in bringing us the future, full of thrills and dangers...

Philip Shropshire

At Warblogger Watch Yahoo Group

I’d like to add something to that Pakistan point.. It clearly points out one of the many crazy contradictions of the war effort. One, the war isn’t about democracy or democracy building. Mike Walzer, in his Dissent article pointed out that the Left won’t recognize the wonderful reality of a freed people in Afghanistan. Well, any regime would be better than the one that they had and I might point out that it was the feminist left (the brilliant Katha Pollitt and others) who had been pointing out the evils of the Taliban theocratic patriarchy for years and years. It’s the position of the principled Left that you don’t drop bombs on people in order to save them, but we don’t look at the destruction of the Taliban as a great loss or some kind of impenetrable proof that Force is Good. By the way, Mike, a principled Left tries to think through problems not kill the guy who has a different opinion. It’s also not clear that Utopia has come to Afghanistan as it seems poised to collapse into yet another one of its wars between feuding tribal warlords, yet again. We’re also waiting for the administration to change its tune on all those Saudi women still in chains…Oh wait they have oil. Nevermind. It should be noted that the Bush administration was still looking for a way to get that Afghan pipeline—talking deals with the Taliban—up to and until the Twin Towers collapsed into swirling, dusty wisps. Oh yeah we’re the Good Guys all right…

This is where some of us find Chomsky so compelling by the way, his proofs are often found to be true. One of his proofs—at least according to my reading of his work—points out that the pattern of American involvement—from El Salvador to Indonesia to Chile (We’re still waiting for Glenn to applaud Chile for going after Kissinger by the way. Let’s all hold our collective breaths by the way waiting for that to happen…)—is in fact a Neo Imperialistic one where we generally sort of work like an International mafia, busting knees, taking payoffs and killing people who get in our way. Super journalist Greg Palast points out that the IMF does bad things to people in Argetina and elsewhere (Are we going to see that link anytime soon Glenn…that stunner of an interview with the World Bank economist Joe Stiglitz?). In fact, the whole actions of the IMF/WTO/NAFTA apparatus (We’re also waiting for Glenn to say something negative about the secret tribunals in those organizations (And no fainthearted backtracking on a Bill Moyers special isn’t enough.)…Glenn is, afterall, an alleged attorney.) seem to resemble the Tony Sopranos tactic of the Bust Out. Yet instead of sports stores we get to bankrupt whole countries…Oh yeah, we’re the Good Guys all right…

Two, in kind of a back handed agreement with the Invade Pakistan argument, it is true that Pakistan has the nuclear weapons so therefore they are the dangerous ones. It’s most likely that if a coup were to occur that’s the first place I would look for the availability of the very scary Islamic Theocratic Nuclear Bomb. That’s because we know that will be a bomb that would be detonated. So, of course, we probably shouldn’t help Pakistan with the billions we’re about to pour into their economy because they would more than likely build more nuclear weapons, which one day could fall into Khomeini like hands, right? Wrong. They’re our current “allies”—undemocratic and led by a military coup leade who is somewhat ambivalent in terms of actually “helping” (Allowing our troops to chase the bad people into Pakistan with no strings might be a start if you’re really into this war thing…)and not really committed to turning over the killers of Daniel Pearl to American authorities—and so represent the American commitment to Democracy and Freedom. It’s not unlike funding Hitler to beat Mussolini. But our alliance with Pakistan does make sense in terms of the Unocal argument put forth by seriously courageous Ted Rall—we all remember Rall right(?), the guy who actually had the guts to go to Afghanistan—Rall’s “unit” had more casualities than just about any American military unit sent in so far—and do some reporting as opposed to sitting on a comfy chair on some Knoxville campus and pontificating away, safe from harm. How brave you are Glenn, between classes.

Some of us out here are hoping that the contradictions collapse under their own weight and without horrendous blood. But we doubt it.


And here are some links: Greg Palast Interview with Stiglitz Courageous Ted Rall on Unocal Angle Kissinger and Chile

From Space Com

The person who I believed coined the term military industrial complex was the muched missed scholar and sociologist and probably socialist C. Wright Mills. I believe it's also called the Iron Triangle. I was particularly amused by this observation:

"I can't believe that CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Al Jezera, Washington Post, NY Times, AP Newswire, and a host of other are all owned by the "industrial/military" complex. If the "military/industrial" complex is powerful why do Americans have more freedom than anyone else or why are there so many news sources to begin with."

More freedom? In what way exactly? I was under the impression that Western Europeans and some of the Pacific Rim countries enjoyed the highest standards of living in the world. I suppose we have the best soccer team too. Whatever.

But here's several examples of why the media leans rightward. One big reason of course is that the media is owned by conservative multinationals, individuals and/or arms makers. General Electric sells arms and they also make nuclear plants. Fox is owned by notorious rightwinger Rupert Murdoch. ABC is owned by Disney and CBS is a conglemerate unto itself. You might say well what about public television? Well what about it? All of their political programs are hosted by conservatives or centrists. They're isn't a leftist in the bunch. Fox news could be called the right wing propaganda service. The Beltway boys are right and extreme right, respectively. In Europe, you actually have a left press. There are papers of both the left and right that openly dual from London to Paris. I link to the Guardian at my site because there is no left daily in the United States. They also have the Independent. Where are the left daily equivalents in the United States?

The other point has to do with media concentration. Seven media companies pretty much own it all. I'll give you a personal example. I make my living as a freelance writer. I went to a website and submitted my work and found that it was owned by AOL and they were in a working partnership with Microsoft. I suppose I could submit an article criticising both companies but would anybody print it? That's known as tacit self-censorship by the way. But lately, in terms of the war effort, reporters were fired outright for daring to criticize the war. Some free press. A.J. Leibling once joked that the freedom of the press belonged to the person who owned one.

There's actually a famous book about Media Monopoly, which I can promise you has never been reported by respectable news outlets, called in fact "The Media Monopoly", written by Ben Bagdikian. He introduced this idea that 10 huge media companies pretty much own everything. That has since been reduced to seven. They do updates in the Nation about all the big companies that own everything. These companies present a very rosy of the world that is incredibly distorted. They don't do foreign news to any depth because generally we do terrible things abroad. The rest of the world knows about it but we don't. So when the bad things happen we say "Why do they hate us and boy that came out of the blue..." Whatever. It's also why news is pretty much vapid anyway. The real interesting news is the examination of power and the abuses of power...but what if it power owns the media. Or here's a riddle for you: When does the emperor really have new clothes? When the networks that cover him say so...afterall, that last election was ok right? Bush isn't as dumb as they say, right? The war effort is going great, isn't it?

Whoops. I've exceeded Grok's attention span. But if you would like to learn about this perspective on the media, you could go to Google and type in: Noam Chomsky, Robert McChesney, A. J. Leibling, George Seldes and Ben Bagdikian.

Philip Shropshire

PS: I do think that the internet is a democratic medium, although there are moves afoot to change that. It's why I have two sites. I wanted to own my own press to paraphrase Leibling...

Here Are Some of My Recent Posts At My Message Board and Ellison Webderland

From the Harlan Ellison Ellison Webderland Board


Philip Shropshire <>
Pitttsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Friday, March 22 2002 7:53:41

You know the really sad thing Xan is that I’ve probably read more Harlan than you have. Just for the record, I own two sets of the Glass Teat books (Glass Teat One and the Other Glass Teat), which includes the original editions and the newer ones with the Barclay (corrected from original post) covers if memory serves me correctly. I own vintage editions of the collections I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and the Deathbird Stories. I own Edge in My Voice (correction). I own the hardcover version of Shatterday. I own Approaching Oblivion in hardback. I own two sets of the Dangerous Visions anthologies, softcover with the Dillon artwork and I also have them in hardcover, but I believe I may have given one or two of the books away. I even have the Clarion workshop anthology. (Clarion is where my parents met and married and where I went to college. Some of the English profs actually have memories of Robin, Harlan and Chip Delaney.) I own the I Robot script that he wrote. I own the Sleepless Nights anthology essays. I own Paingod and other stories”. I own Gentleman Junkie. I own the Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart of the World. I own Harlan Ellison Partners. I own Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled. I own the novel Spiderkiss. I own the massive Comics Journal interview with Harlan. I own the RBCC fanzine that had pictures of Harlan’s house. I even own the Isaac Asimov novel Murder at the ABA because the lead character is reportedly based on Harlan.

So, just to attempt to mimic the subtle and unique stylelings of the Master, ahem: “Don’t dare talk to me about buying Harlan you clueless brain-dead sorry ass excuse for a Real Fan you motherless Fuckity Fuck. Burn in Hell. I no longer consider you a member of the Philip Shropshire Universe. Harumph.”

I might note, I’m done with the impression by the way, that I’m not suggesting a Get Rich scheme. But I’m convinced that someone could make a lot of money doing micropayments or something like it. I agree that the Postrel example probably isn’t a good one. (I was waiting to see if someone would catch that.) But Andy Sullivan reportedly makes $8,000 a month just in tips and Glenn Reynolds does pretty well with tipping as well. But they’re not attempting to “sell” content. I believe that Harlan could be the first. He could be the First Mover. What sounds better to you: a measly $2000 grand donated or $8000 a month in tipping and/or microcontent fees? Do the math. As I said before, I’ll try to explain my full views in another venue.


Philip Shropshire

Philip Shropshire <>
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Thursday, March 21 2002 19:37:52

As that I feel that I'm a bit of an unwanted presence in one particular man's universe, I'm trying to lurk peacefully. But, like Beetlejuice, if you call my name I will hideously appear from my hiding place in the attic unless you call me Shroppy or something--that's just plain silly and it's the exact term of reference used by one of my crazed chattering autistic classmates back in high school, in any event...

I don't know what to make of Paypal. It's clear that they're Invisible Bankers (That's the name of a book written by Andrew Tobias about insurers but if fits here as well...), but they don't want any of the responsibility of being a bank, not that there are any real responsibilities for big banks and multinationals these days. They clearly have some problems, but they also have some competitors. If Harlan should dip his toe into offering cheap online content, then I'd recommend allowing several choices for the consumer: Amazon, debit/credit cards, Paypal, etcetera. That way you can sort of compare and contrast. Paypal probably offers a better deal for tipping in that they take a smaller percentage of payments. (On a bizarre side note, I really like Paypal founder Elon Musk. And no he's not a Heinlein character, that's his real name. He's joined the Martian Society and is working to fund the privatized exploration of space, which I think is our best shot for seeing the stars, or at least the near planets in our lifetimes...)

Actually, I kinda wish Harlan and his pal Ben Bova would revive Galaxy Online. They had the content, just not the right price. Try that Cool Beans price of $2.95 (Not exactly Micro, but cheap enough for some of us.)or the Salon mix. Offer some content for free (Wouldn't you love to see a Harlan weblog? It would require that Harlan actually surf the web and embrace new tech (You're a science fiction writer dammit! You warn us about Future Shock not succumb to it...) but I feel that he's up to it....)Or Harlan could go it alone. Quite frankly, it should have nothing to do with the lawsuit. I actually don't support the lawsuit on its merits. The DMCA is evil and so is its successor that was recently introduced by Hollings. I just think that Harlan could get rich doing this and then spend the money as he sees fit. Please don't tell me about the slave labor or where diamonds come from. I just want my downloadable MP3 of Harlan reading The Deathbird Story. I mean, his position could very well be "Damnit. I'm an old living legend and I'll do what I please," which is all fine and good and probably quite true. I just think there are positive uses of the Internet that someone of Harlan's massive talents just isn't seeing.


Philip Shropshire

PS: By the way, this is the Cool Beans website that I think science fiction people should be ripping off. It only takes $2.95 to join and its growing.

Here are other webloggers. For those of us who are stunned by the vibrancy of Harlan's prose, nearing seventy, you may very well conclude that Harlan blows these guys away. Yet they make money on the web and are using it to their advantage. Shouldn't Harlan?

From My Own Message Board

Feb-17 11:49 pm 

Well, I still find your answer puzzling, but not if I used Postrel's theories to interpret it.
First, we know what these guys are gonna say. They're probably going to "advise" the president to say no to everything that biotech has to offer. It's a done deal. There won't be any "deliberation" or "ethical speculation" about what these technologies mean, because they've already made up their minds. One, I reach this conclusion because Postrel has decided that the Senate is better off in Democrat hands. For someone like Postrel, and I've been been reading her for awhile and she has noted her contempt for the traditional left in almost all of its forms and positions, to essentially switch to the "evil" democrat party like this is quite remarkable. I presume she's made that switch because we know what the outcome of the advisory commission will be: It will be anti-technology and anti-growth, something that I thought conservatives were against. I mean, I found it ironic that the guy in the National Review article (By the way, you're missing an opportunity here to quote left writers and thinkers with your links. Go to the Greenspeace message board or the Jeremy Rifkin homepage and you'll probably find the exact same message, which, I believe, does prove Postrel's proof) thought that there were some things that were beyond free markets...Really? Again, that's not the conservative line I'm used to hearing. Whatever corporations do at the expense of the public is just fine, according to you guys. Let's just take a look at the newest issues of Tech Central and the National Review and we find that global warming is still a myth and the free markets will do the right thing, we shouldn't let Enron destroy the plan to privatize social security (oh that's funny) because free markets are wise and good, and my favorite: DDT Saves lives over at Tech Central, if only them damn consumer laws didn't get in the way of banning DDT, then the good and honest free markets would've helped us all, rising cancer rates notwithstanding...But when it comes to Big Pharma pursuing medical research we have to ask them to stop because this is too important for free markets? Compared to what? I just don't get it...Postrel is consistent in that she consistently thinks that the will of corporations should always trump the will of government and mere "citizens" and their namby pamby stasist concerns for safety, efficiency and the centralized greater good. By the way, I might add that corporate rule is one of the primary definitions of fascism. This is also a word that I don't use lightly. I mean it. And I think that the actions of this administration reflect the rise of the corporate theocratic state.

Two, and this is the thing that scares me about Kass, is that he's pro death. As you may or may not know if you've been perusing the links at Three River Tech Review, there's a very good chance that a number of technologies--computing power, nan, biotech--will rise and take us to a Singularity level change in terms of human health. There are techs right around the bend that could extend our lives, in theory and according to some experiments, involving genetic manipulation in toads or even caloric restriction. Kass is already on record as being against this! In other words, if there's a pill that could be called a super antioxidant that could extend your life to some degree, Leon would oppose it! Postrel derisively calls Kass the leader of the Pro Death movement. I might also add that you might wish to rethink your pro life position. The same kind of rules that would prohibit a woman from getting an abortion on demand could also extend to men who wish to attain life therapies. The same principles apply. The state knows better than you do about what you can or should be doing with your own body. I can't figure out why that's conservative or even common sense. On the other hand, and I believed that I mentioned this over at Nanodot, a lot of these guys are getting up there and will be facing death pretty soon. I hope they're principled about their God's Will, Pro Death philosophy and don't use the Demon tech to survive. I hope they die when God tells them they're supposed to...There are some things beyond free markets don't you know...


Philip Shropshire


October 6, 2001

(I had some fun over at Media Whores. This is a site that I generally enjoy but they've joined the terrorists are evil and only evil school. Ignore that man behind the curtain and our failed policy in the Middle East. So I went over and pointed out that the man they despise, Christopher Hitchens, agreed with them...The guy I debated signed as anonymous so I'm sure he won't mind me pasting his/her comments here...I'm not sure if I won the argument, but I enjoyed making it...)

There's a debate between Hitchens v. Chomsky over at the Nation. I'm openly curious as to who the folks at MWO are rooting for. You see, Hitchens agrees with the MWO management team that any attempt to equate the bombings with the situation in Isreal and the general American predilection to support despots and churls is at fault. Chomsky, who was also crucified for noting the apparently scandelous opinion that the bombers weren't just crazy freedom hatin' bad people, debates Hitch on this point.

I agree with Chomsky. And certainly MWO should agree with Hitchens. Is he still a whore? Can we now thank him for his critiques about Kissinger? Can we now acknowledge that this hatred of Clinton stemmed from his hatred of the DLC and its attempt to turn the dem party into republican lite?

Just Curious.

Philip Shropshire


You don't have to a whore to be wrong October 6 2001, 4:30 PM

Hitchens is and always will be a whore and if I found myself agreeing with him on any issue I'd reexamine my response on that basis alone.

I don't think Chomsky is a whore (media or otherwise) but I also don't think he's correct. I think Chomsky, in trying to make sense of sheer evil finds comfort in the idea that if the U.S. did something to cause the terrorist attacks then we can stop doing whatever we did and the terrorists will stop attacking.

To me that argument is as invalid as trying to figure out what the Jews did to annoy the Nazis or the Muslims did to tick off the Crusaders.

Philip Shropshire

I think we have to look at history... October 6 2001, 5:01 PM

Well, if you think they're just crazy terrorists, then your solution is once their dead the terrorism
stops. I hope that's not your argument because it happens to be not true. Where if you investigate conditions, say crazy Isreal or Saudi kings or pakistan militias and chinese dictators--our new allies in this war by way--you might come up with a better answer. You know, usually these things don't bother me. I didn't like Hitch's position on Clinton but it wasn't a matter of life or death. Whereas in this case you may be ratcheting up a war where we don't win. Or at least, for the first time, the "bad people" may have tactical nukes and anthrax at their disposal...

As far as the Nazis analogy, well, let's think about this for a moment. What caused the Nazis? Were they bad people or was it punitive sanctions that they received after world war 1 that allowed nazism to flourish? Personally, I think it was the sanctions and not that they were bad people. What can we learn from this? Well, maybe the sanctions against Iraq aren't such a good move...Maybe arabs don't like our policy on Isreal. Perhaps people, even freedom hatin' arabs,look at our support of dictators throughout the globe and have decided that we talk a good game but don't support democracy.We have to look at the motivations behind these people so that we can prevent them from doing it again. That's all I'm saying.

What's your solution? Genocide in Afghanistan? Without thinking about the underlying conditions?

By the way, just to respond to the guy who called me a republican, I'm a former DSA member, I run a Bush watch page and completely believe our current resident is a moron, and I'm a registered democrat who hates the DLC...Do I sound like a republican to you? I might add that the republican position (they are just bad people who hate freedom) mirrors MWO's. Why? Because no self-respecting repub would want an investigation into our bloody foreign policy patterns, where we prop up dictators who support multinationals and the permanent slave labor third world economy...

Philip Shropshire


Evil October 6 2001, 5:54 PM

I didn't say the terrorists were crazy I said they were evil. Craziness might be cured or controlled or possibly even ignored - evil kills, slaughters, maims and hurts because that is the nature of evil.

Mankind has spent millennia trying to explain evil because if we can find a rational explanation we can hope to find a rational solution.

I certainly don't agree with all U.S. foreign or domestic policy (for that matter I don't agree with all of any nation's foreign policy). I think the ever growing gap between rich and poor is atrocious. I think in this nation and all nations there is far too little respect for the rights of the powerless and far too much willingness to exploit them. I deplore prejudice and bigotry based on race, gender, religion or anything else.

And I don't think any of those factors motivates or explains Osama bin Laden any more than I think the conditions imposed on Germany after World War I motivated or explained Hitler or the government's action at Ruby Ridge or Waco motivated or explained McVeigh. They were merely excuses society gave to try to explain why megalomaniacs did what megalomaniacs do - destroy whatever the don't control and eventually even what they do control simply because they can.

They are evil, we didn't make them evil, we can't stop them from being evil and I don't think we can construct a policy to respond to terrorist threats without keeping that firmly in mind.

Philip Shropshire

The Marshall Plans Were Wrong? October 6 2001, 6:55 PM

Well, let's just go back to Germany again. You say that you don't think that punitive sanctions had anything to do with the rise of Nazism. Well, first, it's a well regarded historical fact that punitive sanctions did cause the rise of Nazism. You might also note that our government in 1945 acknowledged this as well and that's why they initiated the Marshall Plans that rebuilt Europe and Japan. If you were right, and history means nothing, then why did they do this. They could have just put their heads in the sand and concluded that the economic prosperity of Europe has nothing to do with the creation of fascist regimes. Thank god they didn't come to the same conclusion that you have.

They initiated the Marshall plans because they didn't want to make the same mistakes twice.

But okay: What does it mean to understand underlying conditions? How should that affect our policies? Okay. I have to admit that I didn't have an answer for that a few weeks ago, but I think I have them now. Here are some solutions:

We should change our New War on Terrorism into a War on Global poverty. That means Marshall Plans for the world. We need to give everyone a reason--that means material goods, hope for their children, getting laid, whatever--to prevent them from thinking that guiding a plane into a building is the best option they have.

We should also declare a war on despotic regimes. That means we don't cut deals with the Pakistan militia or Saudi kings or Chinese dictators. We should only align ourselves with countries that have democratic institutions or have made commitments toward same. That means a free press, that means elections, that means a free speech amendment. You might then say how we can fight war against evil? Well, to me, Pakistan with its two dozen or so tactical nukes is more of a threat to me than terrorists...Why build an economy that isn't committed to democracy? That like's funding Hitler to beat Mussolini… Furthermore, I don't think that a military approach will work. I don't think a targeted approach would work and I don't believe a crazy approach would work. Its clear that Bin Laden wants us to attack, either because he has something up his sleeve (tactical nukes, anthrax, pick your poison) or he wants to spark a holy war...Either way we play into his hands.

Under my plan, we create wealth around the world. That means, by the way, of thinking of things like decertifying corporations that don’t pay the American minimum wage abroad, or at least a wage that is above poverty level. So that’s my plan: pro democracy, pro wealth creation (Obviously, we need to rethink the WTO, NAFTA, the IMF, etcetera…)

You might say, well what about the 6000? I want blood you're probably screaming. Well, why don't we forgive. Actually, considering the millions that have died in East Timor, Vietnam and Latin American I'll take 6000 karmically. It would also be a great lesson for Isreal and one that they need. When you answer the policy request in my next point, keep in mind would you like to be as safe as the average Isreali? Does eye for an eye work? Let's call off the war and determine these to be criminal acts....

So what is your plan? You have brilliantly concluded that they are evil. Well so what. What’s your policy and who do you kill? Expound freely here..

Philip Shropshire


Read My Lips (or at least my post) October 6 2001, 11:58 PM

I can only conclude that you keep putting your words in my mouth and attributing thoughts to me I never expressed because you find it more convenient to debate a straw man you've created.

"You say that you don't think that punitive sanctions had anything to do with the rise of Nazism."

I never said any such thing - I said I didn't think the conditions imposed on Germany after World War I motivated or explained Hitler. (You know, this is Phil here and I'm kind of cheating, but he says that I never said that he said punitive sanctions caused the rise of Hitler and then he goes on to say that "I didn't think the conditions imposed on Germany after WWI motivated or explained Hitler." Okay right...)

As you so condescendingly point out the punitive conditions imposed on Germany after the first world war caused economic hardship and political unrest. The Nazis used that unrest as an excuse, had the punitive conditions not been imposed the Nazis would have concocted a different excuse.

Hitler, who is the individual I said was evil, didn't need an excuse, he wanted to control and/or destroy the world because he was evil. Osama bin Laden doesn't need an excuse, he is evil. If the U.S. pulled out of Saudi Arabia tonight Osama bin Laden would immediately shift to a different "grievance" and continue to murder people.

You are like the those people who encourage a battered woman to stay with her abuser and tell her to make sure she keeps the house cleaner and has his dinner ready on time and dresses up before he comes home and...and...and... They refuse to acknowledge that nothing she does or doesn't do will stop him from battering her because he isn't battering her as a result of anything she does or doesn't do.

Jim Jones didn't lead a mass suicide because a Congressman visited his camp, Vlad didn't impale thousands of his own people because they laughed too loudly, Hitler didn't exterminate millions of Jews because the German economy was bad, Tourquemada didn't burn thousands of souls at the stake because they were heretics. These men did these things because they were evil and there was nothing any of their victims could have done or not done to change their evil actions.

There are undoubtedly many things that can and should be done to make the world a fairer, healthier and safer place. But if the United States and the United Nations created a paradise on earth creatures like bin Laden would try to destroy it.

You talk about a War on Global Poverty, Osama bin Laden is a Saudi millionaire from a family of Saudi millionaires. Should we help the poor - yes. Will doing so stop bin Laden - no. You talk about giving people something to live for - bin Laden's suicide bombers rejected the many reasons they had to live because of their overwhelming reason to die - they believed they would achieve a guaranteed and immediate afterlife in paradise.

I agree with you about the despotic regimes even though talk about our own free press and elections rings rather hollow right now.

"Furthermore, I don't think that a military approach will work. I don't think a targeted approach would work and I don't believe a crazy approach would work. Its clear that Bin Laden wants us to attack, either because he has something up his sleeve (tactical nukes, anthrax, pick your poison) or he wants to spark a holy war...Either way we play into his hands."

Osama bin Laden wants us to die. He wants us to believe he controls whether we live or die. He wants us to feel terror.

"Under my plan, we create wealth around the world. That means, by the way, of thinking of things like decertifying corporations that don’t pay the American minimum wage abroad, or at least a wage that is above poverty level. So that’s my plan: pro democracy, pro wealth creation (Obviously, we need to rethink the WTO, NAFTA, the IMF, etcetera…)"

A lovely plan which will not do one single thing to stop bin Laden.

"You might say, well what about the 6000? I want blood you're probably screaming."

I might say that but I didn't so stop making dramatic assumptions about what I'm screaming. At the moment I'm more likely paraphrasing a reminder to Clinton during his campaign.

It's the evil stupid.

"Well, why don't we forgive. Actually, considering the millions that have died in East Timor, Vietnam and Latin American I'll take 6000 karmically."

I'm sure the 6,000 and their families are pleased your karma can accept their death. How many more can you accept - another 6,000 ... 60,000 ... 600,000 ... 6,000,000 ... what's the magic number at which bin Laden crosses your line? (Incidentally why should we base national policy on your karma?) (Actually, I kind of thought anonymous got me on this point...)

"So what is your plan? You have brilliantly concluded that they are evil. Well so what. What’s your policy and who do you kill? Expound freely here.."

Neutralize Osama bin Laden and whoever acts under Osama bin Laden's instructions or kills in his name, and whoever harbors him, finances him or enables him to continue his evil. If that menas killing him - well my karma can accept that but personally I'd prefer to see him captured given sex change surgery and returned to live under the Taliban as a woman.

Philip Shropshire
I'll Read Your Lips When You Sign Your Name

October 7 2001, 2:31 AM

Well, first, you have mischaracterized my argument—focusing on semantics and not intent—and you have missed the major argument and question, spending your shot so to speak on a minor point. Just for the record: You call them conditions and I call them punitive sanctions. For the record, it’s considered a historical fact, if you want I’ll go on the net and get you some evidence, that the poverty and the misery of the German people led to the rise of Hitler. If the Marshall Plans were wrong, then the neo nazis in Germany should have overrun the country because they are just patently evil and evil doesn’t feed off of poverty. So come on, rebut the main point. I might add that General Marshall made this point in favor of wealth creation. He was of the opinion that we’re less likely to fight with people that are well fed and that we’re trading with. I guess it has to do with this concept that countries that have McDonalds don’t get into fights with each other. I’m guessing that there aren’t too many McDonalds in Afghanistan. Its also why we’re not quaking in fear of Japanese and German terrorists. Thank god you weren’t running things in 1947 anonymous, whoever you are.

As far as you getting Bin Laden, your prescription doesn’t make me feel any safer. For example, the doctor who treats Bin Laden is probably just as important. The doctor is also a master of disguise and uses plastic surgery. He’ll probably look Japanese when he comes over here. But remember that this organization has roots in over 60 countries worldwide. It’s also fueled by nationalist Moslem movements from Chechnya, China to Indonesia, not to mention the whole of the Middle East. You’re telling me, with an anonymous straight face, that if you get one guy all this stops and you can just relax. Forgive me if I don’t share your level of comfort. The organization will still be intact and it will have the fuel of mideastern poverty, Palestinian genocide, and our contradictory alliances with despots and churls in the name of fighting of despots and churls. Perhaps you can buy this argument, but I doubt if you can sell it to the impoverished Muslim youth who Bin Laden wants to recruit. I might note that left leaders in Germany and France have stated the same thing. We have to address poverty issues. I mean, that’s when I’ll feel safe. When everybody in the world can be as fat and comfortable as Americans. With my plan, you get to root causes and you also get to fight on principle. In your plan, which resembles the Bush plan by the way, you support the evil Saudi, Kuwait, Pakistan governments in order to get the Taliban (Keep in mind which country has the nukes by the way...) I think the Marshall Plans worked before and they'll work again. Keep in mind that it doesn't matter that Bin Laden is rich, the majority of his followers aren't.

It's the underlying conditions stupid...

There’s also the problem with our new found friends, the Saudi kings, who may or may not let us land planes, the Pakistani military, who may or may not hold off a takeover by Islamic fundies, and the Chinese, well known for the high regard for civil liberties. And of course we won’t do any thing about that whole Isreali situation. You combine all this with a forced sex change of Osama and this renders your sleep peaceful, comfortable in the knowledge that you won’t be breathing any anthrax spores…Well, I hope you’re right. You’re probably going to get your war and your blood. Forgive me if I don’t feel any safer and start focusing my efforts on space exploration…

Philip Shropshire

Philip Shropshire
Would Say 6000 is my Karmic limit... October 7 2001, 3:01 AM

By the way, I was very saddened by what happened Septermber 11th. But if you value life, truly value life, you have to think about what solution preserves life the most. I think that we have to take out the network. But the value of terrorist cells is that you never take them out. Did Britain ever take out the IRA?

You could kill Bin Laden, kill everyone in Afghanistan, wipe out cells in all 60 countries and this problem still wouldn't go away and you won't be any safer. Trust me on this. We have to address root causes. True, evil is evil, but poverty and injustice fuels it and makes it blossom...

We need some new solutions. Oh, and as far as the point about who are we to lecture people about freedom of press and fair elections with our fired journalists and our broken machinery I think you're right. So we would have to change here as well and who knows? Maybe the guy with the most votes will win...

Philip Shropshire

Sooooooo Lame!

October 7 2001, 12:36 PM

Your response to my arguments is to tell me to sign my name. Your response to Osama bin Laden killing thousands of innocent people is to forgive him and send everybody in the world who might be annoyed at the U.S. or western civilization for whatever reason lots and lots of money. You talk about the Marshall Plan - it was implemented after Hitler was defeated. Since you're such a historian I'm sure you know what happened with the efforts to appease Hitler before World War II.


(Posted over at Smirking Chimp in response to yet another rightward move by Lieberman on Colombia...)

Let's face it: The DLC is a problem. They give the Green Party so much more credibility. What do I say to your angry Green. Gee, I guess the conversation would go something like this...

Entrenched Dem: Hey there, evil Green I see that you're gearing up to run candidates in 2002 and 2004? If you do that the evil republicans will win and things will be terrible...?

Green: On what issues exactly?

ED: Uh, taxes for example! If you let the Republicans in they'll screw the rest of us and give the surplus away to the rich...

Green: Well, that's already happened and had members of the Democratic Party in the senate showed some spine they could have halved that cut
or at least put some triggers on the cut. True, it was mostly DLC members who caved in, but what kind of real opposition allows its opponents to start a group within its own party that works against the interest of its base..There's no Republican Leadership Council. They wouldn't stand for it.

ED: All right, you got me there. But what about the environment? Isn't Bush terrible? Why strengthen his hand?

Green: Personally, the real threat to the environment is globalization. And again, with the DLC and the republicans that will go right on schedule. The democratic party just isn't much of an opposition party. In fact, its clear that at least half of the party, or the DLC, clearly wants to be as bought off as the republicans are currently. You also get this evil idea that they're constantly selling out their trad base and whispering into the ears of their big contributors "Look, the majority of us will vote against the latest evil republican tax/arctic drilling/whatever bill, but don't worry the DLC will always tip it into your corner...that way we can go back to our nagging base (nag nag nag) and show them that we voted as a majority against it but give you the victory...And keep that money rollin' in and of course public financing of elections is a bad idea.." I mean, that's what I think as a Green.

EDem: Okay, you got me there...uh, but aren't the republicans evil sons of bitches and aren't the dems our best chance..

Green: Look, I believed in Clinton and never cared about who he slept with. But he backed NAFTA and GATT, those terrible trade agreements. These are agreements where the public can't even watch the judicial proceedings, these are kangaroo courts, these are,let's call them what they are, fascist pro corporate arrangements. The democratic party establishment backs those agreements...I can't in good faith support the party anymore no matter how evil the republicans are...

EDem: I'm still voting Gore Lieberman in 2004. or whatever DLC guy they put up there..

Green: But do you know why?

EDem: I guess the courts, but a lot of the Clinton appointees were pretty bad. Look at how the dem court appointees acted in Florida, they were centrist and by the book while the GOP appointees were partisan...had the black judge thrown out those votes the Supreme Court would've had a harder time intervening and in fact the Supreme Court would've allowed the vote to continue because that would've been bush's best shot to win. Those are the courts now: Republican judges are partisan and dems are principled losers...what am I voting for?

Green: My point exactly..Makes that whole Colombian Lieberman thing seem kind of small don't it (They shake hands and EDEm starts weeping about his horrible choices...)

The End

Brought to you by Very Bad Playwright Productions
Our Motto: Hey we're political and we don't do dialogue that well..

(Posted Over at Smirking Chimp in Response that CNN May Be Moving Rightward.)

Back when I worked for evil Scripps-Howard (Hilariously described by Nicholas Von Hoffman as a chain that was “Dead Above the Neck”) as an intern reporter, I had an interesting discussion with my then mentor. Back in the eighties we had two dailies in Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Press. The PG was so left back then it kind of felt like the Village Voice and the Press represented some kind of mediocre sentimental Republicanism, as another friend would describe it. Anyway, SH had just brought in new management and the thought was that they were going to push the paper in a leftward or more moderate position. By doing this, my mentor gently explained, this would push the PG even further left into something he described as the “untenable position”. I had to roll my head around that one for awhile. I finally figured out that what he meant is that if the PG moved leftward, it would do things that papers usually don’t do very well: investigate the abuses of supermarket chains, the slavery of foreign labor that produces so many of our products, your city’s usual allotment of suspiciously murdered black men by the police, etcetara. The “untenable position” here of course is that if a communications medium actually did stories like that its advertising base—composed mostly of big money GOP leanin’ multinationals—would dry up and go away.

After years to ponder this dilemma, I have concluded that it might well indeed be “untenable” for a broadbased communications medium to move leftward. You do risk your advertising base when you move leftward. There was a recent story out of New York where one of the papers out there did that expose on area supermarkets and guess what: They lost all their supermarket ads! If you’ve ever looked at how many market ads are in your daily paper you would realize that’s real money.

So, to bring the point back around, the only direction that CNN can go is rightward. If they were to choose any other direction, then it might be called “untenable”. That actually might not be true because this is a national network afterall. But I’m sure that’s what the suits who run the big multinatiional that is CNN think. And don’t get me wrong, I would never move CNN rightward if I was running it. I would dump Larry King for somebody more interesting, or just plain younger. And I would look closely at shows like Politically Incorrect and Mike Moore’s TV Nation just to see how shows with a perspective could be done in an interesting way. I would step up my science and tech coverage. Get rid of all those meaningless Chandra stories and do the real story about the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters by antiquated voting machines…And then I would wish upon a Star and become King of the World and me and Nicole Kidman would go away to someplace quiet…Oh, sorry about that.

I’m just saying that the people who run CNN would never conclude that offering a left version of Fox was viable. The only viable answer for them is to turn CNN into Fox. I don’t condone it. I just think that’s just the way they think.

Personally, and I’ll say it again. We need to do what we can to hurry broadband along. Mix clips of Chomsky in with videos of music bands. Once broadband kicks in the Smirking Chimpster will have the proven advertising model of television to live off of and he can produce his own programming. That’s really the left’s best shot of owning a news network (Even though it seems as if there’s a concentrated effort to slow down broadband deployment. I suppose if I was paranoid I could conclude this might be done to actually prevent the Smirking Chimpster from owning his own tv network, but no. That can’t happen here. This is America.)…Meanwhile, we have to watch the appalling conundrum of our political system played out between media networks: CNN might decide that the only tenable thing to do is move rightward, just like the Democratic Leadership Council did. And what if the DLC is right? What if it turns out that if the Democratic Party became a real opposition party funding would dry up and then the Republicans would just buy everything…

What horrible choices we have in networks and parties. These are very dark times indeed…

(Posted in response to what the left needs to do to gain its own Media)

I guess I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, so forgive me if I prattle on.

I think that it is necessary for left and progressive forces to create their own media. Whenever I think about the things that are wrong with the country and that need to be addressed it always come back to the problem with the corporate media establishment. How can you talk about antiquated voting machines or the problems of big money influence on politicians or the media emphasis on meaningless stories if the same people who own the media benefit from the currently corrupt and bankrupt system? It’s pretty tough.

The only way that the left can influence Big Media is to become Big Media. The problem with this is that buying a network is probably beyond the means of even a Barbara Streisand. However, a coalition of 100 people in that same Striesand tax bracket might be able to make some pretty big purchases. The next time an ABC or an NBC or even a UPN is on the block someone should put in a bid. Its about time that artists owned something anyway. I might add that the Hollywood Left needs a voice not only to fight the incredibly blatant evils of the republicans, but the dopey morals assault led by DLCer Leiberman of all people.

The other hope, and I think that this is more immediate, is the fruition of a democratic broadband. If it’s concentrated broadband in the hands of a few people, then there will be the same problems.

(One thing that Streisand or others on the wealthy left might be interested in is investing in broadband that apparently doesn’t require heavy infrastructure investment by either ATT or the baby bells or the cable companies. There are two companies that can deliver broadband speeds over by way of electrical outlets. Here are the links in case anyone rich is reading this. The trick is getting this technology into the country as fast as possible. Once, broadband becomes affordable to the masses then it will be much cheaper to create your own channel.

Here’s the story about the Canadian firm.

Here’s the link to the Canadian’s firm’s website. This company is looking for investors, Barbara.

Here’s the link to the American firm

If I was a rich, liberal person then I would buy these firms, not with the idea of being a monopolist, but with the idea that once this tech gets out then the barriers put up by the baby bells to broadband will start to fade.)

One thing the Hollywood left can do immediately is buy out Salon, which, quite frankly, is the only national publication that even allows the left perspective a fair hearing. You could then make Salon the basis for more investigative and cultural reporting. And once broadband happens, you could slowly turn Salon into something more visual. By the way, the kind of left television reporting that is both entertaining and interesting is already being done by Mike Moore. If CNN let Mike Moore run the network, then they would be very competitive with Faux news, which, to give the station some credit, does exude passion and heat, even if it’s in the service of a fascist agenda. Of course, they would never hire Mike Moore, even though he's kind of what they need. So we’ll have the pleasure of watching Faux news probably become the number one news network in the country. Yet another reason we need those wealthy liberals to step forward and buy some media.

Yet getting back to that Mike Moore point, I really think the way to go is to create an entertainment network which does news. Personally, if accessible broadband became a reality and someone handed the Smirking Chimpster about $10 million dollars to create a left network then I think the way to go is to do music videos mixed in with news. Ten minute blocks just before the hour and a one hour show daily that focuses on the arts and music and politics. And since we’re dreaming here, let’s give the public some really good music. How about Portishead and Bjork and old Gil Scott Heron on heavy rotation and no boy bands! In other words, you would be serving the very much underserviced over 30 music listener. The reason why I think that you need music is that would be the way that you draw in people to your politics. With that kind of money you could also finance your own record labels and give musicians a much much better deal than they have now. (Please read the Courtney Love statement on how she’s getting screwed out of her music royalties in that past issue of the Nation…) Then again, a Mike Moore approach to television news would be so entertaining and so funny I could probably watch that all day long without music. Of course, with broadband, you could start several streams of services at one, in the hopes of drawing in as diverse a crowd as possible. You could do documentaries, films, sitcoms even. You could even do flash media style stuff, everything from South Park to unabridged adaptations of novels. The potentials are endless. The idea though is to draw people in through art.

On a final note, the other folks who have the money and resources to do this kind of thing, and they could do it now, is big labor. There are some very progressive unions out there—I’m thinking the Communications Workers and the Electrical workers—who might be interested in starting there own network. I would, again, recommend that they buy out Salon and real quick. There's also the potential that these could become money makers for the unions. Last I heard, tv networks were pretty profitable...And I strongly that Mike Moore hire as creative consultant/president.


Philip Shropshire


(I posted this over at Plastic in response to the assertion by Ted Rall that violence is a nessary factor in any revolution.)

I've always been a big fan of Ted Rall (I even link to him on my sites) but keep in mind that Rall's whole childhood was one tortuous eye for an eye experience called "My War With Brian", which is a funny read if you're really into violence and vengeance fantasies.

Yet I must say he has a point about the nature of violence in political change. Personally, I think his argument is that both peaceful and not quite so peaceful tactics have to be used. For example, the writer above used the example of Martin Luther King vs. Malcolm X, when, if the truth be stated, their movements complimented each other. Take heed of the nice minister from the south otherwise you will deal with the spector of a violent ethnic war. I believe that's currently the strategy of the prolife movement...Ignore our constitutional bans eh? How about a pro-life bullet of Love between your eyes...? (I'm pro-choice but I understand the tactics..)

The other point that makes me sympathetic to the Rall argument is the fact that you can't do much legally to change things in the United States without a lot of money, which most of us don't have. Your vote doesn't really mean that much anymore. The last election was proof of that. And even if you get your guy in so what? He's more beholden to the special interest money that talks to him every day and that contributes to his campaign. The courts are shot and again the last election proved that. You're probably right that you're being gouged by the utility industry but go ahead just try and prove it in an "impartial" court of law. Our civil liberties are slowly being eaten away and what can you do? You have the choice between the completely bought off party and the somewhat bought off party and a system that makes it almost impossible to create viable third parties. Personally, my choice is to create a new libertarian/progressive community on Mars and stop trying to move the immovable force, but maybe you don't want to leave and the rate that the space program is going you probably won't be able to leave even if you wanted to.

So, will you see me blowing up buildings adorned with ski mask and righteous anger? Probably not. But I will understand those people that do.

Philip Shropshire

PS: Oops! Forgot about Carnivore! Uhhh...Let me say that I would never intellectually defend the use of violence in order to attain any political goal. Anyone who would do that is a bad person. Who I hate. Long live George Bush! The Smartest Man in America...


(posted over at Plastic in response to Europe becoming more like the United States)

I read the piece and thought the stereotype of Bush as "A shallow, arrogant, abortion-hating, Christian-fundamentalist buffoon" is not only funny, but probably on the mark. But I hope that she's wrong about Europe converging with the United States. Frankly, I think a United Europe is the world's best hope.

I think these are dark times for the world, which is about to exist under a reality where the power of multinationals often usurp national interests and boundaries. Here in the United States, ground zero for private greed and rights trumping even the faint whispered notion of individual rights and public health (greatest good for greatest number, yeah, right), we live in what might affectionately be termed as the "corporate theocracy". A society whose only high function is to consume stuff and pray, presumably to the Orwellian Money God who will bless you with the right to acquire more cool stuff. As one of my favorite writers once said through the lips of his best creation Howard the Duck: "If a guy doesn't want to spend all of his time buyin' and consumin' stuff, there's nothin' for im to do. The United States is nothing but one big dateless Saturday night!" (quote might be a bit off, can't find HTD 7 at the moment...)

Europe, I think, offers a more humane future for people. I thought that the whole motivation behind the European Union was not only to offer an alternative to American hegemony--getting grosser and dumber by the picosecond--but to also be a kind of foil against the rising power of multinationals. For example, in the article it states that Microsoft software is pervasive in Europe, but I believe that the EU is also investigating Microsoft for using anti-competitive practices. I don't think that's possible without an EU. Microsoft vs. Italy sounds about as promising as Tyson against a journeyman lightweight.

I just think they're more humane over there in Europe. I think there are many cases where its clear that Europe encourages art and not rapacious commerce(think: European investment in the arts compared to the US), clear that they favor human fights over the rights of multinationals (think: health care, shortened work weeks and generally a higher standard of living) and subsequently, a better and more humane future. Over at space com, I make the argument that I hope that the Europeans beat us to space. I'd like to live in a European settlement where somebody cares about my health and won't just throw me out of an airlock when I'm fired and work tirelessly to undermine my social safety net.

So, hey, Europe: Keep up the good work. Maintain your own identity and aim your higher standards toward Mars and beyond.


(Posted in Plastic. Submitted in response to syrupy nice essay on the virtues of Oilmen.)

There are some things that Greg says that make sense and are thoughtfully argued. Then there are things that Greg says that reminds me why I no longer buy or peruse the New Republic and its not the fact that your nonfiction writers have occasionally engaged in elaborate fiction, it’s just that there’s something intellectually dishonest about the whole, neocon, Nuevo-liberal (whatever you guys call yourselves now) movement. The reason why people refer to oilmen in such a disparaging way is that they’re oilmen: greedy, slick, profit at any cost kind of folks. The kind of people who would sell out not only their own people at home to make a buck (Cheney and Bush I think are kind of an American Junta-like regime that the oil barons abroad use much in the way that we use puppet governments in El Salvador or Honduras…), but would certainly go to war in the mideast to protect their investments…To hear Greg tell it these “heroes” were much more interested in Democracy in Kuwait. Yeah, right.

The kind of Norman Rockwell language that Greg uses to describe these slick and greasy guys is appalling. His one line where he describes gluttonous oil folks as “keeping children's bedrooms warm and keeping their milk cold”, as if they were a multinational version of Santa Claus, and not the rapacious, ruthless machines who aid and abet the murder of Nigerian activists whenever it suits their interests… As if they weren’t in it to make a buck and making a buck only...

The other problem, and this goes to my one man jihad to fight the hideous Virginia Postrel meme that states “Multinationals is Good People” (I will fight the meme wherever it sprouts…) is that the oil industry has interests that directly conflict with the greater good of the American People. This seems to be missing from the argument’s equations. It may be that oil companies drill better and smarter, but, quite frankly, they could care less about the caribou if it got in the way of a good buck (no pun intended). That would explain the administration’s almost unreal position against conservation. They are against conservation, which, I might add, probably would mean we wouldn’t have to take a “rational look” at nuclear or drill in the arctic, because it means less money. A big gas guzzling America means more profit for the oil industry. I don’t know why this motive would shock Greg, these gallant oilmen who feed his kids and keep them warm, but just everything that the administration has done and has tried to do is tied to some kind of corporate payoff. They’ve shown a contempt for renewables, proven by their tying the funding for aforesaid renewables to oil drilling in the arctic. Of course, to your average oilmen, a future of biofuels, solar, wind, conservation and clean air is a nightmare that must be stopped. This is something that evil oilmen do. They’re evil. That is their wont. That is their way. To pretend otherwise, well, that’s worse than naivete, that’s a kind of an articulated stupidity, a refusal to look at the evil oilmen, with their dripping fangs and thinly concealed profit motives, and to define them as what they are: The living embodiment of corrupt American capitalism.



(I posted this over at Plastic in response to Colin Powell's trip abroad to Africa and the absurd contention that the country could really help Africa by changing the rules on textile exports, which only the evil "unions" support...)

Well, I see that Virginia Postrels hideous meme has already infected the elite punditry: Multinationals are the Poor's Friends. Tell that to AIDS victims in Brazil. To be frank, I could think of some other things that might be used to help the poor, both here and abroad. I'll stop typing when I get tired.

1.Well, the first thing that you could do is shift the administration's position on drug aid for AIDS victims in Brazil. It's a completely indefensible position, even Virginia Postrel hasn't defended it so far, and it shows quite graphically the evil that multinationals do and show that they aren't in fact in favor of helping poor people. In fact, I thought the whole reason that multinationals go abroad is to exploit poor people...In the Postrel worldview the Maquiladoras are just wonderful places to work.

2. Another way that Colin Powell and the administration could help the poor is to withdraw from the WTO until stronger protections for workers are included and, here's a thought, opening up the process to the public so that we could find out how they deliberate on cases like Brazil blatantly acting on the behalf of its own people and public health.

3. Instead of attacking a textile union which ostensibly works to protect American workers from joining the working poor, how about talking openly about laws that would force American multinationals to pay the American minimum wage abroad. Is that too high? Or the enforcement of the 40 hour week? I know, it's kind of crazy.

4. You don't have to look abroad for your huddled masses. If Bush is really interested in helping the poor, then he could do something to help the Californian working classes who will be creamed by the rise in energy prices. He could tap into the reserve, muscle the oil barons whoses asses his dad saved, or even do simple things like increase fuel efficiency for vehicles.

5. Or here's my favorite: "I, Colin Powell, as I sit by my friend and inspiration Nelson Mandela, am taking this opportunity to make a personal choice based not on politics, but conviction.

"I am resigning my post effective immediately. I thought that I could work within to change the most corrupt and evil party the Earth has ever known but I see now that I'm being used. When the admininstration passes laws that hurt black people, it will be my face that they present. When the administration backs the slaugher of people of color in the Third World (many of whom I have killed myself in Grenada and Panama), it will be my face as the token symbolic salve for the increasingly bloody drug war. I have finally determined that I am contributing to what Bertram Gross called the friendly, multicultural face of fascism.

"Oh...God. I simply can't continue the big lie anymore. I resign. Let white men represent the evil that they themselves do. And...resist! Resist I say!"

Well, a guy has to have dreams...

Philip Shropshire


Months after the coup, I’m still debating the merits of the Ralph Nader presidential run. On the Ralph screwed us big time side is Katha Pollitt at the Nation and Todd Gitlin and Sean Wilentz at Dissent. On the other side supporting Saint Ralph is Mike Moore and Ellen Willis over at Dissent. (Dissent, allegedly a “left” outfit, makes it very difficult for me to link directly to the very fine Gitlin/Wilentz vs. Willis debate over there. So you have to go to the main page and search it out for yourselves.) Personally, I took a pragmatic view and voted for Gore, although I’m a huge Nader fan and in fact probably owe him my life in that I have survived a number of car crashes and breathe much better without second hand smoke.

After reading through all the briefs I have come to the conclusion that perhaps there was merit to the Nader run. Willis points out that as a leftist I’m playing a losing game that I have to watch being played in front of my horrified eyes. She makes the point that when the Republicans win, they fight relentlessly and ruthlessly for their loathsome, swinelike base. That, by the way, makes tactical sense. You want to give your base a reason to go to the polls. Where, during the long eight year reign of the DLC Clintonistas the left got nothing or we got stuff that we really didn’t want. He didn’t even do little things like fully funding public television. We got welfare reform, aspiring trillionaires and NAFTA, which might as well be called a corporation rights bill. I might add that all of these things undermine the Democratic Party base. Clinton didn’t even fight for the courts. We’ve seen where that led us. Tactically, this makes no sense. Why would you pursue policies that undermines your base? But there’s a point in the Willis argument that sheds some light on this where she states:

“Conservative Republicans hang together, stand up for their beliefs, and police the “moderates” in their ranks, while the Democrats’ every impulse is toward compromise and appeasement. If anything, their behavior suggests that they are threatened by the potential power of such mass constituencies as labor, blacks, and women, and would rather lose than risk unleashing it.”

This brings up a point that no one has thought about or at least brought up in public, but that someone should bring up: If you were a white man and you represented a party whose constituency represented parties that for better or worse believed in a future that lessens the power of the white man, would you enthusiastically support that party? Especially if it turns out that your opposition party foes are for the white man’s privilege, the whole white man’s privilege and nothing but the white man’s privilege. You might say that you’re open minded about sharing power consciously, but what about unconsciously? Maybe, secretly, you really want the other side to win.

Right now, the last remnants of the Great Society are in the hands of the 50 or so Dem senators, many of whom like Breaux and Miller seem to be Republicans in drag, in the US Senate. So far, they haven’t used the filibuster once. If the situation was reversed, the Republicans would be using their filibuster powers every, oh, four seconds or so. I can only conclude, being that they’ve totally “bought” into the Tony Coelho We Can Be Republicans To Big Money mantra, that they want the other side to win. Let’s give Bush a big tax cut. Let’s rollover on those judges. I think Willis uses the word “supine”. How appropriate. (Actually, the Dems haven’t rolled over just yet. I sure hope they get some spine…)

Yet another salient point that Willis brings up is that we’re kind of in a no-win situation. We lose slowly with Gore and quicker with Bush. And even though I agree with many of the practical points put forth by Gitlin/Wilentz everything revolves around globalization, which Gore supports. He would have been better than Bush on many issues, but economically those trade agreements undermine the union base, arguably the most powerful arm of the Dems, and everything else we stand for. Again, why do that unless you want the other side to win.

Just to add to that, I might point out that it’s the structure of the winner take all system that makes any kind of progressive change almost impossible. The lack of a progressive, left-wing media makes this difficult as well. Part of the problem revolves around the conundrum presented by the old Orwell quote: “They can’t be conscious until they’re free and they can’t be free until they’re conscious.” Likewise, we can’t have freedom until we have modern working democratic institutions, but you can’t have working democratic institutions until you have freedom. I don’t see how we win the puzzle.

Frankly, I don’t think the left will win in the United States. In fact, we might not even win on Earth. That’s why I think I’m the only leftist on Earth who is not only pro technology, but pro space exploration. Instead of playing this game on Earth, where the Casino has decided for us to lose, we should think about playing some new games here, in either artificially created nations like Sealand or offworld. My personal preference is Mars. More on this when I finally complete A Left Argument for Technology.


The always compelling Katha Pollitt takes apart every argument that the Greens made for the Nader presidency. There is a difference between the bad and the worse. I do have this dark thought, however, that Gore could have more effectively pushed the globalization agenda because he wouldn’t have touched choice and he could have been pretty good for the courts. But, in that sense, the Nader argument makes sense: globalization is the worst thing that could happen to world. It would allow multinationals not only to ignore what’s left of the public safety net in the United States but to increase their rapidly escalating attempt to eradicate those safety provisions in other countries. Ralph may have made the choice that defeating the DLC and helping to elect our doofus president might be the best longterm strategy. Where Bush is such an inarticulate clod, his inadequacies undermine any stance that he takes. Or as the Canadian Prime Minister noted recently, our president doesn’t seem to know anything. What a great environment for world leaders. Let’s wait until the president leaves the room so that we can actually talk about issues.