Media Needs Rowling -- The latest Harry Potter book may be getting critiques about bad language, the use of magic and death, but have people noticed what a potent political statement Ms. Rowling, the author, is making in this book? The Patriot Act is described in full action; the role of the media in blindly supporting the governing force's agenda with outright lies to subdue people's fears -- as well as to fill their own wallets -- is hilariously exemplified. I find this book to be a great political education for our youngsters, as well as a humorous but too true representation of our current political situation. But most of all, I am glad that it provides a model of how honesty and desire for truth can bring on major change.
This is where I come to my main point, namely, how the American press has been failing to provide us with accurate information about the war in Iraq. It is very distressing to me to hear that even before the war, BCC News and other European news outlets had been providing accurate information about the intelligence information that was used by President Bush to justify the war, whereas our media has been blindly passing on untrue information. No wonder there were massive demonstrations everywhere, except in the United States.
Yes, we should support the committee to investigate the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence, but we should also hold the media more accountable for its role in not verifying intelligence information before release. If we cannot rely on the media to get truthful information, how can we participate in our ideal form of government, i.e., democracy? We are not a bunch of dummies who can be led around by our noses! I am appealing to the media to fulfill their role in democracy, so that we can fulfill ours.
Democratic Backbone -- The commentary "Spine Time" (6/05/03) was great. The Democratic Party leadership is a namby-pamby, gutless disgrace. When Arianna Huffington wrote, "It's time for the Democrats to give up their broken play-it-safe politics... and start worrying about finding a presidential candidate who isn't afraid to take audacious and decisive stands on the party's core issues," one name jumped to my mind: Dennis Kucinich.
Yet the "let's not offend anyone" Democratic leadership would give us another "who cares, they're all the same" election, and most of the Democratic presidential contenders are no better. But if you want to feel hopeful about what the Democratic Party and America can be, check out Dennis Kucinich.
Kucinich is principled and courageous. If you loved the Patriot Act, forget about Kucinich -- he's the only presidential candidate who voted against it. Kucinich has a great vision and ideas, like creating a cabinet-level Department of Peace and getting out of NAFTA and the WTO.
Kucinich wants to create a separation between corporations and the state. Kucinich is that rare candidate who doesn't take corporate donations. He has a progressive view on health care, affirmative action, the environment, civil liberties, workers' rights, the death penalty and education. He doesn't mince words, but he's not mean-spirited. Kucinich is hugely spiritual and compassionate. He's not getting a lot of press yet (that may say as much about the media as it does Kucinich). But if we're going to blast the Democratic leadership, with some justification, for being spineless, let's acknowledge the one candidate who does have some "political Viagra."
Dennis Kucinich is different. He is for real -- a good, progressive liberal. And he's a vertebrate.
The Politics of Food -- Bad news came to the supporters of organic and sustainable agriculture this week. In what has all the trappings of a corporate-sponsored coup d' & eacute;tat in the leadership of WSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics (CAHE), Dr. James Cook, a vocal supporter of genetic engineering, has taken over as Interim Dean of the College, replacing Jim Zuiches.
Dean Zuiches increased funding to WSU's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, a major victory. He is also instrumental in developing the groundbreaking Bio-intensive and Organic Agriculture program at WSU. Zuiches is relatively open-minded and listens to advocates for sustainable agriculture in the state. We in the organic and sustainable agriculture community stand to lose ground very quickly with Dr. Cook taking over.
My impression of Dr. Cook was cemented into my mind several years back when he was part of a Spokane public forum on genetic engineering in agriculture. He held up two potatoes and said, "This potato is the result of traditional breeding and this potato is the result of genetic engineering. Can you tell the difference?" Dr. Cook as CAHE Dean is a giant step backwards for WSU. For over 60 years, WSU has promoted chemical-dependent, industrial model agriculture. The planet and its peoples cannot afford a repeat performance of such policies if WSU folds under the weight of corporate biotech research dollars.
Spam Suckers -- I enjoyed your article, "E-mail Invasion," (7/10/03); it was very in-depth. But I remain mystified as to who buys this stuff. As was stated, even if only a tiny percentage of people actually fall for the hype, who are these people? Why would anyone believe the spammers? There must be less hope for the country and the discernment of its citizens than I had previously thought.