Thursday, July 31, 2008

Open Letter to Obama

In the face of recent positions expressed by Senator Obama, I encourage you to read and sign an open letter that asks the candidate to hold strong to the positions that won him support in the primaries. Here's an excerpt:

"Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance–including, most notably, your vote for the FISA legislation granting telecom companies immunity from prosecution for illegal wiretapping, which angered and dismayed so many of your supporters."

The letter is signed by many of the people I most respect in the United States. Among them are Howard Zinn, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gore Vidal, Jonathan Schell and Studs Terkel.

You can read the letter and add your signature on the Common Dreams website.

Since I vote in Arizona, a state famous for electing numbskulls, I'll vote for Cynthia McKinney. The Green Party has to start somewhere.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bea for President

I was going to vote for Cynthia or Ralph, but Bea's got my vote now.

You can send campaign donations (up to $10 each) to

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Change?

The Center for Media and Democracy just published an interview with David Sirota that I recommend highly. Sirota, who writes about populism, points out the significant problems with and Obama. Here's an excerpt:

SIROTA: "Obama's latest flip-flops are not moves to the "center" or the "mainstream" - by the empirical public opinion data on major issues, his moves are ones away from the center and from the mainstream. That's not surprising - he has surrounded himself by Washington insiders whose definition of "the center" is radically different from where the actual center of American public opinion is. If he continues down this path, he will hurt his chances of winning the election. I would advise him to remember where mainstream public opinion is on issues like trade, the war and civil liberties is - and instead of going to the center of a corrupt Washington, go there."

You can read the entire interview here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ecuador's Bankers

Yesterday Ecuador's government seized around 200 companies, including TV stations, associated with the now defunct Filanbanco. In the 1990s, bankers in Ecuador formed hundreds of companies (ghosts in many cases), wrote loans to the new companies from the banks they managed, sent the money off shore, and let the ghost companies go bankrupt. Nearly half of the banks collapsed after the money was stolen and the bankers fled the country to enjoy their stolen millions as Ecuadorian account holders suffered the loss of their savings. The theft was far too much for deposit insurance to cover.

For the last few years, the Ecuadorian government has pushed to recover the assets that guaranteed the false loans, but, as is the S&L crisis in the US, they discovered that the assets were wildly overvalued or protected by transfers to new owners who claim to have no connection with the bank thieves whom the country has not been able to extradite.

Critics of yesterday's seizures are claiming that the Correa government seized the TV stations in an attempt to control the media, yet even most journalists support the seizures.

The issue is yet another example of the failure of contemporary "democracy." Only the very wealthy or their surrogates can afford to get elected and once elected they buy the news media and control the wealth of nations. For many years, the bankers in Ecuador controlled the government just as the weapons makers have taken control in the US. President Correa is perhaps the only president who is trying to give control back to the people and effect justice. Yet the odds of rebuilding a system of government in a country with one of the worst systems of public education in the new world are very slim. Populist candidates here have bought votes by throwing around five-dollar bills and making absurd promises.

Correa promised to sell the seized companies at auction, but only a handful of Ecuadorians can afford to buy a Television company. What if Rupert Murdoch shows up at the auction?

See today's BBC story Ecuador head defends TV seizures

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Collapse of Tower Seven

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is about to publish its findings on the collapse of World Trade Tower Seven, which fell the day after the Twin Towers. The official story will present evidence that the building just got hot and melted, defying all laws of physics. Witnesses described a controlled demolition, but the government, apparently unaware of the melting temperature of steel, will claim that the tower melted.

The tower, located across the street from the Twin Towers, was occupied by the Secret Service, the CIA, the Department of Defence and the Office of Emergency Management, which would co-ordinate any response to a disaster or a terrorist attack. Since all the steel and rubbish from the building was immediately hauled away and melted, it's hard to know what the experts actually studied.

Here's the BBC article about the explanation.

And here's a film of what is clearly a controlled demolition.