What to Make of the Peace Movement?

What to make of the peace movement? I intend that question in two senses, including this one: what can we now build out of this movement? The first thing we must do is not let it die out as the warriors pause to reload. The surest way to prevent war is to prevent the construction of a crisis that can be sold as a reason for war. The times of pause between wars are the ideal times to push that work forward, to demand with great urgency the construction of systems of understanding, of dispute resolution, read more

Positive Proposals from the Left

Left wing activists are pouring everything they have into stopping Bush’s policies, and are declaring victory when the President only gets through Congress a fraction of what he proposes. Many of them consider it na

Fenton, French's, and Fatalism

Also published at Democratic Underground at http://www.democraticunderground.com.

Two quotations first.

Washington Post, March 27, 2003:
Special interest organizations of every stripe are having trouble pushing their messages through the fog of war. It has been especially tough for the liberal activist nonprofits touting environmentalism and other causes unrelated to the dominant story. Thus the Washington-based public relations firm Fenton Communications, which has been flacking for left-leaning read more

Bush Is About as Serene as a Cat With a Can Tied to its Tail

Also published at Democratic Underground.

I don’t believe the President is at ease.

George W. Bush’s staff assures us that he is calm, serene, and confident despite massive global resistance to his policies, because he knows he is right. If this were true, the arrogance and lack of respect for popular opinion would be astounding. The lack of doubt, hesitation, or humility might even be called, as some have called it, psychopathic.

Far be it from me to suggest that our President is sane, read more

War's Not So Bad if You Lie to Your Kids

My wife, who teaches preschool, has complained to me that she’s constantly telling her kids to do things that presidents refuse to, such as “Don’t fight,” “Treat them the way you would want to be treated,” “Don’t accuse them of something, just tell them what you want them to do,” “Say you’re sorry,” “Don’t hit, use your words,” etc. She finds it frustrating that TV news is constantly depicting our “leaders” read more

Who Should Be in Congress

Who should be in Congress? Picking willing people at random would be an improvement over what we have now, but only because it would get around the legal bribery system. Short of eliminating that system, and even if we do eliminate it, there are changes that should be made to the Constitutional requirements for office holders and to the oath they affirm.

Currently representatives and senators must be at least 25 and 30 years old, respectively, U.S. citizens for 7 and 9 years, and inhabitants of read more

Game Theory Loses

Recent experiments in game theory, and specifically the finding that so many people do not behave in the way that game theory says that they “should,” shed light on the failures of economic theories, including the whole idea of the “market.”

In both academic game theory and the common idea of the economic market, people are imagined as motivated by only one goal, increasing their wealth. And they are imagined as viewing all others as competitors and rivals with the same read more

Cheverly Town Council Loses Four Spinal Cords

On the evening of February 13, the Town Council of Cheverly voted not to consider passing any resolutions on national or international issues. It did so in response to requests from citizens that it pass resolutions opposing the PATRIOT Act and the proposed war on Iraq, something that dozens of other localities have done.

Not only will the Town Council of Cheverly not take a position one way or another on either of those matters, but it has now barred itself from ever considering taking a position read more

Turning Up the Heat on Bush

Also printed at Democratic Underground at http://www.democraticunderground.com.

Yesterday afternoon three elderly women out of a group of 50 protesters were arrested in Illinois Republican Party headquarters in Chicago where they had settled in with blankets and declared that they were spending the night. These families, many without heat in their homes, were demanding that President Bush release money for energy assistance and not slash funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program read more

Where's the Harm in Fictional Political Supporters?

If you have a terrific idea for a change in public policy that you’re convinced will benefit millions of people, but you don’t personally know any of the people it will benefit, what would be the harm in inventing a fictional family and presenting them to the public as real potential beneficiaries? Wouldn’t you be promoting the idea of democracy and public citizenship, even though it was a lie? Wouldn’t real families make themselves known soon enough and your made-up one read more