Freedom Fry

Look at that freedom fry! A collection of political hotlinks and original articles.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Never Again.

In the past two years, janjaweed militias sponsored by the Sundanse government have killed four hundred thousand civilians in Darfur, Sudan. In a March 12 article in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof reports that the genocide is spreading into Chad. [400,000 is is an estimated figure and includes 250,000 deaths by starvation and disease caused indirectly by the militias, as well as 140,000 violent deaths caused directly by the militias.]

If the role of the U.S. is truly to protect other peoples from genocide, then we must act. George W. Bush recently asked Congress to approve $514 million to aid Darfur. It’s a start but, in context, we spend $6 billion a month in Iraq.

Now is a perfect time to redeploy some of our troops from Iraq to Sudan: Now, when 71% of Iraqis view us "mostly as occupiers” (April 2004 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll). Now, when 72% of American troops in Iraq think we should leave within a year (February 2006 Zogby poll). Now, when our actions in Iraq have caused the country to begin to break apart rather than rise up as a unity.

Now, the important thing! What can you do to help? Send a card to the President supporting multinational action in Sudan at Or check for more ways to help.

Friday, March 03, 2006

What Would Happen If All the World Were America?

If All the World Was AmericaThis seems like another point that no one has raised publicly, or at least loudly: What exactly is America trying to create with Bush's doctrine of creating democratic states in the Middle East? Is his final goal to make a world that is full of little Americas?

This sounds good at first, and this, somehow is how far Bush has gotten in his reasoning: How great would it be if everyone was espousing equality, freedom of speech, the press, and religion, with the Peoples determining their governments. However, what Bush also means by democratizing the world, is a world that is dominated by American consumer culture. For some reason we have not yet divided these two aspects of our culture. And I think that reason is that Bush is a corporate person. He believes in our consumerism. In his understanding, it raises our quality of life.

However this is a very short term answer. This increasing consumer culture would be terrible for the world. Overconsumption is not something to push as a wave of the future, or a way to become wealthy and happy. It comes at the expense of our environment. It also comes at the expense of real human happiness, which arises from self-awareness. This is the spiritual search. The spiritual search comes only after the materialistic search finds nothing. It can perhaps arise on its own, but consumerism definitely will also lead to spiritualism.

Thomas Friedman, in a recent NY Times opinion said, "A majority of Americans, in a gut way, always understood the value of trying to produce a democratizing government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world. That is why there has been no big antiwar movement." If our reporters don't even take the time to reason out what the world would look like eventually if everyone was like America, it is less likely that the American people will reason this out. And it is less likely that we will have an active antiwar movement.

Friday, October 07, 2005

What Does Energy Independence Mean for the Middle East?

An Oil RigHas anyone thought about this very important question? The more the U.S. and the world become energy independent, or based on non-oil energy sources, the less the Middle East will have wealth:

  • Iran's exports are 80% petroleum, making up roughly 6% of its GDP. "Iran's economy is marked by a bloated, inefficient state sector, over reliance on the oil sector, and statist policies that create major distortions throughout."
  • Iraq's exports are 83.9% crude oil, making up roughly 15.5% of its GDP. "Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings."
  • In Saudi Arabia, "the petroleum sector accounts for roughly 75% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings."
  • "Yemen's...economic fortunes depend mostly on oil."
  • The wealth of the United Arab Emirates is based on oil and gas output (about 30% of GDP).
  • In Kuwait, "petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income."

The U.S. imports the most oil in the world. What will become of these people when either the oil dries up or demand for oil goes down significantly? Well they either adapt or die. Yet what are you going to adapt to when you are in a desert? These counties will likely be poor and more resentful of the U.S. This likely means more terrorism.

This is not in our best interests.

How about working with these countries to develop good solar power technology? We will be dependent on them but we will have established relationships with them. We will have helped the environment, and we will have reduced poverty. All the power in the world can't be the U.S.'s. Other countries need to have bargaining chips. Or else they will revolt.

Rebuilding the Fourth Estate

PBS LogoSome quick thoughts about the media (I included this in a survey I took at about where I want to focus on our media problems):

What Are the Current Problems Facing Our Media?

Our media is funded in large part by advertising. That is the main problem. The media is then beholden to the advertisers. If Bush is pro-corporation then the advertisers will be pro-Bush and then the newspapers, T.V., internet sites will be pro-Bush. As it turns out, Bush is pro-corporation.

Now I don't mean to say that I'm anti-corporation. I think that corporations are valuable things and they have built our society as it is today. However, I am against having corporations have identity and allowing them to participate in our governmental process. If you haven't seen "The Corporation" I recommend it. I am also against corporations having as much power as they do (and it is growing). No one should have that much power, even causes I believe in.

How do we then get our media apart from corporate influence?

We need to find ways to fund the media without advertising or with locked in advertising contracts over periods of years (that's a good idea). Would you pay $30 a month for a newspaper that is not advertising based? A magazine? A television network? How 'bout $30 more to get rid of all ads on your cable?

By the way, where is the public newspaper? This should be newspaper without any advertising that is publicly funded. This another pretty good way to ensure unbiased news.

And while we're at it, get rid of the ads that are creeping up NPR and PBS! We need to fund these information sources more. Maybe it's time to make the media an actual fourth estate of government: Congress, the President, the Court, and the Media.

However, I see the value of having media separate from the established government. Then it's free to fight this establishment if it should become corrupt. Best that our news not be corrupt also and a tool of propaganda.

This brings me to my next question, why don't we have any non-profit, private news, T.V. or magazines? I suppose PBS could surely become totally independent of our government.

Now you may think that I'm simply trying to replace a corporate-funded media with a media that is more "left-friendly." I'm not. I'm trying to find ways of getting the actual truth. Actual facts. Actual information that isn't spun to reflect a reality. The actual impressions people have on the ground. I hope this is what everyone in America wants.