Monday, August 31, 2009

Woo Hoo! Just Got My Review Copy of David Swanson's New Book "Daybreak"!

May 3, 2005.

I read an article that floored me.

Raw Story reported that Rep. John Conyers had written a letter signed by eighty-eight members of Congress, calling for "deeper inquiry" into a secret Iraq attack plan that had been discussed by the US and the UK in 2002, long before Congress had been consulted or authorization sought, according to a document soon to be called the "Downing Street Memo", although they were technically the minutes of a meeting chaired by Tony Blair to discuss military action towards Iraq, "having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq." "A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to 'create' conditions to justify a war."

But the line that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up was "A British official 'reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.' "

'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.'

Somehow, that report just set off all my alarm bells. I could not get those words out of my head. Yet, in the mainstream media, nary a peep! It was all about the runaway googly-eyed bride and that endless, cascading fountain of infotainment dollars - a pathetic, pajama-clad Michael Jackson and his sad, humiliating trial.

But there were a few progressives that were onto the Downing Street Memo, and at the forefront of these was David Swanson and his new website, which mobilized immediately to become the center of the movement to draw attention to a document that, in any kind of a just world, would have yanked Cheney and Bush from office, hauled them into court, and clapped them into jail.

I immediately bookmarked that site as the 'go-to' place for all things Downing Street, and followed the work and activism of Swanson as he cut a mighty swath through the jungle of lies, red herrings, distractions and obfuscations thrown up around the subject.

Fast-forward to September 2008 and the release of my book The Price of Right. David Swanson gave me my first review, and though it was not uniformly glowing I thought it was fair, made some good points deserving of consideration and in general positive rather than negative. I was thrilled to have him review it.

Fast-forward another year, and now David's own book, Daybreak - Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, will be out tomorrow, September 1. He was kind enough to send me a review copy which I just got in the mail today, and am going to be staying up all night to read, so I can get my review out as soon as possible. He prefaces his book with an I.F. Stone quote that really resonates with me, because I feel the exact same way:
“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead and fight, knowing you're going to lose. You mustn't feel like a martyr. You've got to enjoy it.”

After all, what kind of a fight is it if you're guaranteed success? That's not a fight; that's the WWF. It's entertainment; it's self-indulgence; it's dilettantism. There's no valor in fighting for something when you already know you're going to prevail. The forces of entrenched wealth and entrenched power and corporatism that we are up against are so strong, so massive, and so pervasive that to think that all we have to do is wave a few signs to bring them down is ludicrous. This may well be the fight of our lives, and we have to be okay with continuing to fight even when we don't obtain our objective right when we want it and think we ought to have it.

But let's not forget that it has been done before, and it can be done again.

I'll be back as soon as I can with the 'official' review. In the meantime...David says:
If everyone buys it on Tuesday, September 1st, at, it will jump to the top of the political bestsellers there, displacing Glenn Beck. Here's the link:

Even though I already have my copy, I'm going to buy one, just for the satisfaction of kicking some Glenn Beck ass.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank You, Senator Edward Kennedy, For Your Lifetime of Service

Senator Ted Kennedy - the greatest senator this country has ever had.

I need to take some time to write about this - my heart is too full right now.

Please, everyone - let us honor Senator Kennedy's unstinting support and love for the American working man and woman by redoubling our efforts to fight for health care for all. Basic health care is a right, not a privilege for the privileged only. We are up against massively rich and powerful corporations who are battling for their own lives, but we cannot let the magnitude of the task before us stop our efforts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Playing at Netroots Nation in Second Life - Come On Down!

Ever since I first started blogging in 2004, I've wanted to go to Yearly Kos, which has now grown into Netroots Nation. I am a person whose life has been profoundly transformed by blogging and the people I've met through it, so a conference for progressive activism hosted by bloggers is one that I have longed to go to.

We are in the midst of a revolution in how information is transmitted, and bloggers have been at the forefront of it. I don't mean to wax melodramatic about it, but blogging and bloggers have changed politics in America, and given a voice to ordinary people in a way that was not possible before the Internet.

Every year I've hoped to be able to swing the Netroots conference, but never could pull it together to go. I have been fortunate enough to be invited to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State conference in DC the last 2 years, where I got to meet some of my very favorite bloggers in person - and, yes; they're all - without exception - as wonderful in person as they are online. So being able to go to the Big Kahuna of blogger meet-ups - the place where blogging meets real-world progressive activism - would be a dream come true. Because that, of course, is the goal - writing is all very wonderful, but writing that culminates in and intersects with boots-on-the-ground work is what it's really all about.

And, no, I won't be going to Pittsburgh.

But I will get to experience it through Second Life, and I'm scheduled to perform at Netroots Nation in Second Life!

I'll be doing an hour of music before Markos Moulitsas' speech on Thursday - I'll be playing from 5:45 to 6:45 PM - and after Bill Clinton gives the keynote speech at 3:00!

I am really jazzed about this - it's the next best thing to being there! Even if you're not able to be in Second Life, you can still catch the live stream. As of right now I don't know if I'll be using my server or theirs, but when I find out I will post the link here. Then you can just click on the link and listen.

But if you, like me, want to go but can't make it to Pittsburgh, I'd like to invite you to give Second Life a try - just for the conference. The NNSL team is organizing a special event for people who aren't usually Second Lifers who can't go to Pittsburgh but would like to experience Netroots Nation in 3D. Netroots Nation in Second Life will be streaming video from the conference - you'll get to see and hear the speakers, the workshops, the panels, the documentaries - plus special presentations that are just in Second Life (like my music - ha!)

Since they're expecting a large group of people who are brand-new to Second Life, there is a whole contingent of volunteers who will be there to help you get around and show you what to do. I can't think of a better time to give Second Life a try, with all the help for new folks available, and to experience the inspiration and excitement of Netroots Nation live and in 3D - for free, in the comfort of your own home! It's the best of both worlds, and I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of it.

I'm including some links that will give you some info about getting started. My friend BookemJackson Streeter (also known as SeattleTammy), a real-life independent bookseller, is the one who got me going in Second Life, and she is one of the main volunteers who are helping people get situated for NNSL. If you get in touch with her, either through her blog or in Second Life (search for BookemJackson Streeter and IM her), she will get you rolling in no time at all. These are Tammy's posts about SL.

Also, check out this link for a comprehensive overview about Second Life for Netroots Nation. Very informative!

Sewenviro (Mala Fegte) has another great diary, and Stormy does too.

Those of you that have come to my online shows with just audio, I'd like to invite you to the whole show with Idella Quandry in Second Life. It really is a cool way to share the live music experience.

Hope to see you there!