Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Announcing: March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm

This March 19th marks the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. That's five years too many! To mark the occasion, fellow blogger Godless Liberal Homo has set up March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm. To give you some idea of what it's all about, here's the mission statement:
This blogswarm will promote blog postings opposing the war in Iraq and calling for a full withdrawal of foreign occupying forces in Iraq. Five years of an illegal and catastrophic war is five years too many. On the March 19 anniversary of the conquest of Iraq by the Bush Administration, there needs to be a loud volume of voices countering the pro-war propaganda from far too many politicians and corporate media outlets.
If you wish to participate, there are plenty of topics to tackle. If you're going to an anti-war demonstration, you could offer a first-hand report. You could interview an Iraq War veteran or a military family. The war has certainly laid bare any of a number of human rights abuses at the hands of the US, such as torture (does Abu Ghraib ring a bell?) and genocide (whether it's the estimated million deaths caused by the war or the mass displacement of millions of civilians - including the wholesale elimination of whole cultures). You could examine issues that otherwise are overlooked by the corporate media (how about the environmental contamination caused by the use of depleted uranium bombs, or the effects of Friedmanesque neoliberal economic policies that have been imposed on the Iraqis), or look at the positions that various political candidates and parties have taken regarding withdrawing the US military from Iraq - this is, in the US, an election year. If you know of an action alert that would be relevant to your readers, by all means make sure to spread the word. In other words, the possibilities to mark the atrocious Iraq War are many.

What else do you need to do? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Go to March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm, and leave a comment with your blog's name and URL. Those who've signed up by February 15 (the fifth anniversary of the mass actions held around the globe against the then-impending war) will be listed as Charter Blogs. Of course, there will be updated listings of any blog that joins the blogswarm even after that deadline.

2. Add one of the kewl badges to your blog (if you wish), or if you're more artistic than I am, create your own badge.

3. Spread the word. Ultimately, blogswarms succeed with a bit of good old fashioned elbow grease. In this case, that means not only mentioning this blogswarm on your own blog, but also in comments on other relevant blogs. Say it; say it out loud; say it often.

Finally, of course, around March 19, make sure to let March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm know about what you've written in the comments.

Obviously, blogging is not a substitute for actual activism, but rather as a supplement. If you're planning to go to one of the many demonstrations that will likely be held in the US or elsewhere, by all means go. Through words and deeds, hopefully we can prevent the need for a sixth, tenth, or hundredth anniversary blogswarm in opposition to the Iraq War.

For more info, go to March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm or RickB at Ten Percent.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Daily Kos, Chevron, Bill Clinton, and Kazahkstan

Follow the bouncing ball:

So, I popped into dkos late Thursday nite and discovered a front page post by (Mr Environment/Tree Hugger Extraordinaire) Meteor Blades about massive oil company profits.

Noticeably absent: any mention of Chevron.

Now, those of you who are familiar with the history of the controversy of Chevron ads appearing at dkos may also remember kos'"it's all about the money I make" response to the fact that Chevron has abused the human rights of thousands around the world.

Running an ad doesn't imply endorsement. But, if I start rejecting ads, THEN every ad that DOES run has an implied endorsement.

And you guys aren't idiots. The advertising purity trolls seem to think that site readers are moron automatons easily manipulated by advertising. I have a higher opinion of you guys. I actually think you're quite intelligent and capable of independent evaluation of the advertising you consume here and elsewhere.

Finally, I'm not afraid of money, and I'm putting it to good use -- the abandonment of Scoop and a massive ground-up redevelopment of Daily Kos to be the ultimate blogging platform in the world, and the establishment of a corps of "fellows" to do great activism.

More details on those projects will emerge in December, but [sic] bottom line is that I won't cry if Chevron or anyone else wants to help fund the rise of a professional netroots activist class.

(I'll wait while you laugh about that "professional netroots activist class" bit.)

So, is it any wonder MB didn't mention that Chevron'a profits are up 29% more than they were a year ago. You just can't bring that up at dkos without being told one of at least 3 things by the Mighty Defenders of kos brigade:

1. This is kos' site and he has the right to make money (and who cares if he makes it by accepting major cash from big oil?)

2. We're actually fooling Chevron by taking their money (while at the same time, we're not boycotting their products or doing anything like "activism" to bring them down).

3. If you don't want to see the ads, buy a subscription to block them (ie. pay kos so you won't have to be reminded what a sell-out he is to his so-called "progressive" principles.

And what does this have to do with Bill Clinton and Kazakhstan, you ask?

Keep reading...

When "Borat-Gate" broke on dkos earlier this week, alleging that Clinton may have had a role in Canadian Frank Giustra's uranium mining deal with Kazakhstan, kossacks were outraged - outraged that Bill was dealing with a dictator from a country that had such a poor human rights record.

And that's where Chevron and kossack hypocrisy comes in yet again because this week this story also came out: Chevron venture boosts Kazakhstan oil production.

A Chevron Corp. joint venture has boosted production of oil at a field in Kazakhstan using new technology.

San Ramon-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX) has a 50 percent stake in Tengizchevroil LLP, the company doing the work in the Tengiz oil field, located on the northeast shore of the Caspian Sea in Central Asia. Chevron's partners in the venture are ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Ventures Inc., which holds a 25 percent stake; a Russian oil company, LukArco, which holds 5 percent; and the government of Kazakhstan, which owns 20 percent through its state oil company, KazMunaiGas.

Don't expect to see any outrage about that over at dkos though. That would be tantamount to blasphemy as I noted above and, as we know, kos doesn't care anyway. Just like the big oil companies, kos' concerns about human rights come second (or third or fourth) to blatant capitalist exploitation so just STFU.

To top it all off, I accidentally discovered that the city of Berkeley (where kos lives) passed a resolution last week to boycott Chevron products citing the company's "ecological destruction and involvement in human rights abuses in Angola, Burma, Ecuador and Nigeria, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area".

Oh, the irony.

You can't buy a subscription to make those facts go away, kossacks.

(crossposted at Political Fleshfeast)