The Real Nuclear Option

After weeks of partisan wrangling in Congress over something called "the nuclear option," many Americans who follow politics may be surprised to learn that the real nuclear option is being discussed by representatives of 180 nations in New York City, beginning today.

The ultimate weapon has slipped from consciousness.  Its immense and long-lasting destructiveness, killing and maiming for generations, doesn't seem to scare us anymore.  It's just a macho name for a political maneuver.

There has been scant mention in the U.S. press of these formal discussions on the 1970 international nuclear non-proliferation treaty.  Two events in the hours before it opens have provided some visibility: an earnest if unfocused demonstration in New York, but especially a short-range missile test by North Korea.

The U.S. would like to keep the attention on North Korea and Iran, but other nations are at least as interested in what the U.S. is and is not doing.

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Who Do You Believe: Reality, Faith and Credibility

The Schiavo case and the media feeding tube frenzy have profound relationships to deep currents in American and western politics and culture.  Those who see it in terms of the rise of populism (as in John Lukacs'new book) or as an American analogy to Germany between the world wars, or even as a symptom of the implosion of western civilization in a clearly apocalyptic age, all have good evidence here for how this fits into their theories.

But let's talk for a moment on the level of personal experience, in a way that relates this case to the whole faith-based versus reality-based model of where we in the red and blue states of America are today.

These days I have many occasions to recall my thoughts and feelings as a high school student, when I began getting involved in the theory and practice of debating.

 I've thought a lot about those days recently, but I won't complicate this diary by an attempt to fully describe the impact of those experiences.  For now, it's enough to focus on one set of emotions.

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What We'll Be Doing for the Next 50 Years:Reframing the Climate Crisis

The climate has changed dramatically.

In mid-February, while most nations solemnly bound themselves to the Kyoto Accords, scientists announced the most definitive proof yet that global heating is well underway, caused by human-sent CO2.

Doubters say the world isn't heating up significantly, and even if it is, it's a transitory natural phenomenon, and the models predicting climate change because of fossil fuels are alarmist speculation.

 But evidence was piled upon evidence at the American Association of Scientists annual meeting in February that global heating is having alarming effects on ocean water temperature, vegetation and wildlife, and human life.  

And then the final word: a study of ocean temperatures in the last 40 years showed a rise that only greenhouse gas emissions can explain.  

"We were stunned by the similarities between the observations that have been recorded at sea worldwide and the models that climatologists made," said Tim Barnett of the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "The debate is over, at least for rational people."

Of course, the debate is not over politically.  In many ways it has not really begun.

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Help California Enact Universal Health Care Now!

This Wednesday, February 23, California state Senator Sheila James Kuehl will introduce a bill to make California the first state in the U.S. to offer universal health care through a single-payer system.

This is the third time she has introduced similar legislation, and this time it has a fighting chance.  California has often been in the forefront of changes that soon swept the nation.  Help Senator Kuehl set a precedent, to address the single greatest humanitarian crisis in America, with the greatest economic and social consequences.  Let her know you support this bill.

This is a cross-post, also on Daily Kos, which I don't normally do, but this is an especially important issue to me.  

This diary contains action links, a summary of the bill and its rationale, and links to more information.

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why fundamentalists aren't reality-based

These are speculations. I am trying to understand the apparent popularity of evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity, its impact on the political process in the U.S., and what can be done to respond to it.  I invite your responses as I think my way through all this.

In this diary I address the questions: 1. How can fundamentalists ignore the "reality" of Bush policies and their effects, and therefore the celebrated question: 2. How can they---overwhelmingly middle class Americans---vote against their own economic interests?  I believe understanding this is vital in deciding what to do about it in the political realm.

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Dear Senator, about January 6

Dear Senator,
As a lifelong Democrat and an elected Kerry delegate, I urge you to join Rep. John Conyers and others in objecting to the legitimacy of the 2004 electors from Ohio, as a way of giving just prominence to the substantive allegations of wrongdoing in the 2004 election, and to support our African American fellow Democrats who believe they specifically were disenfranchised.

There is nothing more important in American political life than the integrity of the vote.  It is central to our entire society.

Any substantive allegation of abuse of that integrity requires investigation.  But unless Congress brings attention to the allegations of abuses specifically in Ohio, there is unlikely to be justice. Evidence will be destroyed, and the political will to see this through will wither.

I believe that any Senator who joins the House Democrats in this objection will by this act become a leader in the Democratic party.

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the Faith Based Missile

While global heating threatens the world, and Homeland Security can't even agree on a list of places to protect from terrorism, at least we've got a missile defense system.

Apart from no missiles it can defend against, the system has another notable flaw:

It don't work.

Yesterday there was yet another test of our Star Wars missile shield missile. It failed.

What's new about that? You might well ask, since every test has failed.

Well, those were tests of missiles in development. This was a test of a missile like the ones that are already in the ground. Yes, there are seven of them. It's part of the new strategy, probably learned from those friendly pharamaceutical companies, of putting the stuff on the market before it's tested for effectiveness or safety.

The Bushies have poured $15 billion into this so far. That's a lot of armor some guys and gals didn't get over in Iraqnam.

The test alone cost $85 million. That's your Social Security right there; yours and all your relatives.

The world's most expensive scarecrows. And they're buried in the ground.

A whole other meaning to faith-based.

a month later--looking back without rancor, looking forward

It's been a month now since election day.  As I turned over the calendar page on the first of December, I remembered turning the page to November with hope and excitement.  Tonight I want to put together my current conclusions derived from the campaign and what we've learned in the past month about what may have happened.  

My purpose is to clear my own mental and emotional air, and maybe help you clear yours, with the main object being the next steps towards the future. In particular, to stop the revisionism from becoming the history of what happened.

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of memes, schemes and common dreams

The blogosphere and those who express themselves on the Internet in general seems fond of the concept of memes. Though I can see why wingnuts would eagerly adopt this nomenclature, I am less sure why anyone else would.  As a label for a currently fashionable idea it may be mostly harmless, although I have the persistent feeling that its effect is pernicious.  As an idea it is remarkably cynical.  In its pure and original form, it is both reductionist and deterministic.  It denies freedom and independent thought, and the role of consciousness in relation to the unconscious.  

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