SocraticGadfly: 1/16/05 - 1/23/05

January 22, 2005

Wildlife groups are bush league on bush meat

American and international conservation organizations may be doing little more than feel-good guilt assuaging with many of their slick magazine glossy photos, while ignoring a huge elephant right in front of the world’s faces and refusing to show readers the problem.

So says Dale Peterson, author of the challenging and disturbing book “Eating Apes.”

Peterson writes about the hunting for bushmeat in Central Africa, specifically hunting great apes – gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. He accuses the Wildlife Conservation Society of doing little more than giving PR flak to a German logging concern in the Congo, CIB, a decade ago, just at the time public pressure was starting to ratchet up on the issue, in large part due to photographer Karl Ammann.

He also accuses Wildlife Conservation, the magazine of WCS, along with National Geographic and other such magazines and The New York Times and other media for generally downplaying or even spiking the issue. Ammann, as interviewed in the book, is even blunter, noting how several wildlife conservation magazines said they didn’t want his pictures specifically because they were too controversial and, in not so many words, too guilt-provoking while showing that the modern western-nation wildlife preservation industry wasn’t wearing any clothes on this issue.

Read “Eating Apes”. Then rethink your donations to wildlife groups, at least without some strong letters to the editor.

January 21, 2005

Like rats deserting a sinking ship

The list of countries willing to stick around to assist in the ongoing “liberation” of Iraq keeps dwindling.

So, the White House has now scrapped “the coalition of the willing” and trimmed the original list of 45 countries down to 28.

We suggest some alternatives, such as:

1. The Support Group for Iraq Suckers
2. The Waiting List to Get Out of the Former Coalition of the Willing
3. Tony Blair and 27 Junior Lapdogs
4. Twenty-eight heads of state groomsmen for Condi Rice’s pending nuptials with George W. Bush
5. Dumb “new” Europe and some tagalongs

Doorknobs bless Tammy Baldwin, but isn't it a bit early ...

To be campaigning for Congress' 2006 elections in January of 2005? And, to be doing so not only out of district, but out of state, at least in soliciting funds?

TheWisconsin Democrat has many good things going for her, including being a solid progressive and having the courage to have run her first successful election in 1998 as an open lesbian.

But, I’m in Dallas, not Madison, Wisc. (And, running from there, Baldwin’s open lesbianism would not be quite the handicap as it would be in, say, Des Moines, Iowa, either.)

I’m sure you’ll win your primary battle, Tammy, so save your postage for now and maybe look me up again in the summer of 2006.

What the U.S. media won't show about Iraq

Why do I oppose the war on Iraq? Why did I oppose it in the first place?

From Steve Gillard, see these BBC pictures.

Be alert for BushCo to talk "Social Security fairness"

Rep. Jim McCrery, after indicating he’s glad Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas has proclaimed Bush’s Social Security plan is wearing no clothes, goes on to think maybe privatization should remain on the boards, perhaps as part of Bush’s tax code revamping.

Knowing how “on message” Bush was about taxes in his first term, and just how much Democratic leadership did not fully grasp this, to their peril, this is important. Whether McCrery’s idea was his own from the start or prompted from somewhere else, it’s easy to see how the White House could run with this one.

Making privatization part of a larger “tax fairness” bill would ratchet up the issue massively.

Be alert for phrases like "tax fairness" to be associated with Social Security, or given that the administration is already spouting the falsehood that minorities actually get less out of the system, we could even see that Orwellian phrase:

"Social Security fairness."

Updated, Jan. 21

Try these other possible BushCo slogans on for size:
2. "Personalized accounts";
3. "Account ownership";
4. "Individualized accounts";
5. "Ownership accounts";
6. "Flexible accounts";
7. "Account fairness."

January 16, 2005

Clarence Thomas is OK with theocracy of judges

Clarence Thomas got religion. That’s fine for him.

Unfortunately, he apparently doesn’t have time to read the Constitution during breaks from Supreme Court cases, because he reportedly thinks an “oath to God” is more important to a judge or justice than an oath to uphold the Constitution.

So, Clarence, if we put a black turban on you, you could pose as a Christian version of an Iranian mullah. And, we'll just ignore that little old First Amendment.

Oh, besides the First Amendment, let's not forget Article VI of the Constitution:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;
but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
(Emphasis added.)