Passionate Nonbelief

Printed in Washington Post Magazine, Sept 30, 2001

Since I am an atheist, I would certainly rather have people in general be indifferent to atheists than hostile, but I would prefer a more engaged approach from journalists. Stephen Bates’s “The Unfaithful” [July 29] does not touch on why some theists consider it a matter of utmost importance that the world acquire more theism, or why some atheists believe the opposite with equal passion.

I see theism as offering a weak comfort read more

Why They Hate Us

Newsweek
To the Editor:

Oct. 11, 2001

Why they hate us was the right question, but your answers leave me unsatisfied. You blame their religion, but most religions claim that death isn’t really death, that it’s a door to paradise. Most believers do not believe strongly enough to put their lives at risk for a cause, but the strength of the belief does not explain why the cause involved hatred of Americans.

Your explanation seems to be that arabs have long failed to appreciate the glories read more

On September 11, 2001

Dec. 27, 2001

My initial reaction to the disaster of September 11, 2001, (See below), included the assumption that out of all that horror at least one good thing was bound to come, that it couldn’t possibly be avoided.

Namely, I was sure that our federal government would have to recognize that what killed all those people could not have been stopped by a bigger military or a military in outer space. I honestly had no doubt that, since American buildings had been destroyed with pocketknives, read more

A Vision for 2050

Drafted in 2002

Completely publicly funded political campaigns.

No private contributions to political candidates, office holders, or parties.

Reasonable access to funding and debates for more than two political parties.

Decreased corporate welfare.

A moratorium on corporate monopolies or mergers that do not benefit competition.

Increased taxation of corporations and the super wealthy.

Decreased military spending.

Decreased spy spending.

Creation of a peace department.

A ban on discrimination due to sex, read more

Poverty in America

If poverty means the inability to obtain a decent level of food, clothing, shelter, medicine, and independence, there has always been poverty in America. There need not continue to be.

Anything can be changed, regardless of whether such a change or anything like it has occurred before. There was a time when we could say that there had always been slavery in (at least post-Columbian) America, that there had always been legal racial segregation in America, that a woman’s right to self-determination read more

Who Cares About Privacy Protections?

Privacy concerns have long been a mystery to me, and I have written about this many times. I will probably never fathom why I should give a damn if some bureaucrat knows how many bathrooms I have. The idea that “by the time the creditor has finished talking to the credit bureau, he is likely to know more about your personal life than your mother-in-law does,” strikes me as insane. Is my life reducible to a few facts and figures, even with some bits of irrelevant gossip thrown in? My read more

Guaranteeing Income

To Steven Shafarman
From David Swanson
Re “We the People”
Jan. 27, 2002:
Steve,
I have read “We the People,” and have started reading “Healing Politics.” I think you’ve done a great job of imagining a different society. You book is packed with concise and important insights into the ways we habitually view our political problems. I’ve benefited from many of your ideas. I enthusiastically support many of your proposals.

I have some doubts, however, read more

The Superbowl and the Minimum Wage

Also published on Alternet at www.alternet.org

The City of New Orleans raised its minimum wage by public referendum the day before the Superbowl. The City Council, the state legislature, and New Orleans’s monopoly newspaper (or, rather, infotainmentpaper) all fought against the increase. Front groups for hotel and restaurant owners vowed to continue the fight in court after the vote. Any public respect for democracy or even analysis of why the people had voted for a higher minimum wage was read more

I Love Grover Norquist

Also published on BuzzFlash at www.buzzflash.com and on Democratic Underground at www.democraticunderground.com and on BartCop Reader at www.genslab.com/bcreader on March 26, 2002, and on www.makethemaccountable.com.

This past week, I sat in the audience and watched two performances in Washington, D.C. The first, a debate at the National Press Club, got me laughing and cheered me up. The second, a comedy show at the Improv, depressed me deeply.

The debate, sponsored by the American Prospect magazine, read more

Can Brock See Yet?

Also published on Democratic Underground at www.democraticunderground.com

David Brock’s “Blinded By the Right” is an apolitical book, and while it denounces and apologizes for the “conservative movement” that replaced politics with sex scandals, it does not make a political apology.

Brock does not say he is sorry that people died and suffered in the richest country on the planet because they had no health insurance. He does not say he regrets seeing families booted read more