Thursday, December 30, 2004

Popeye's Declaration

Did you ever see the movie "Popeye," starring Robin Williams? A live-action version of the old cartoon? In it, one of Popeye's defining moments is during a musical number when he asks, "What am I?" He examines himself, he reflects upon his values, and he arrives at a conclusion.
What am I? Some kind of barnacles on the dinghy of life?
I ain't no doctors but I knows when I'm losin' me patiensk
What am I? Some kind of judge, or a lawyers?
Aw, maybe not; but I knows what laws suits me
So what am I? I ain't no physciscisk, but I knows what matters
What am I? I'm Popeye, the sailor!

And I gots a lot of muskle and I only gots one eye
And I never hurts nobodys and I'll never tell a lie
Tops to me bottoms and me bottoms to me top
And that's the way it is 'till the day that I drop
What am I... What am I?

I yam what I yam!

I can open up an ockean I can take a lot of sail
I can lose a lot of waters and I'll never have to bail
I can pushk up Madagascar grab a whale by the tail
What am I... What am I?

I yam what I yam!

I'm Popeye, the sailor
I'm Popeye, the sailor
I'm Popeye, the sailor
I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam
I yam what I yam what I yam what I yam
I'm Popeye the sailor man!
Why am I telling you this? Because the coming new year brings with it the opportunity for me to reflect upon the same question that dogged Popeye. What am I... what am I?

Someone who reads what I write may think they have me pegged. After all, I've freely admited that I am a liberal, but being liberal allows me the freedom to choose liberally from all the colors in the ideological palette. I'm a lot more than just that one thing. Aren't most of us? In my next blog entry, I'll examine my own values, and if it requres inventing a new ideology for the new year, then we're off to a good start 8^)

The Tsunami

Although this weblog is mostly political, at least for now, I would be remiss if I neglected to address the horrendous tragedy of the recent disaster. The loss of life, the levels of destruction as a result of the tsunami are staggering. The incident also serves as a reminder that natural disaster can occur anywhere (meaning, here). It's not something that one can "be ready for." You can have a house full of supplies in preparation for disaster, but that only helps if all goes according to plan, which natural disasters rarely do.

Life is a calculated risk. To be alive is to be subject to the forces of nature. To be human is to have compassion toward those against whom those forces seem insurmountable. Our hope is that the worst is over. Most of us will offer what help we can. And life on this tempestuous planet will keep struggling onward... in spite of the risk.

P.S.: Amazing though, isn't it, how life seems all at once to be so delicately fragile, and at the same time tenaciously adaptable?

Monday, December 27, 2004

One Is Not Necessarily The Other, Pt.2 (extra link added)

In my archives of 11/23/04, you'll find my rap about (basically) pigeonholing liberals-conservatives-democrats-republicans-etc., and the folly of same. Now, I seem to find more information demonstrating my point that the conservatives were betrayed by the neocons, who are not true conservatives, nor do they represent conservative values or interests. I offer as an example The American Conservative. Click on their "about us" tab to see what they are about. And here is an interesting interview with their executive editor.

I might not agree with everything they have to say, but they are anti-war and anti-bush, and that marks a dramatic departure from neocon thought. Their anti-bush sentiments include both foreign and domestic policy issues. They even endorsed Kerry for president because, even though they are conservative, they are so disillusioned with Bush's failures as president. They criticize the neocon foreign policy "...where America threatens and bombs one nation after another, while the world looks on in increasing horror." They go on to state:
We believe conservatism to be the most natural political tendency, rooted in man's taste for the familiar, for family, for faith in God. We believe that true conservatism has a predisposition for the institutions and mores that exist. So much of what passes for contemporary conservatism is wedded to a kind of radicalism--fantasies of global hegemony, the hubristic notion of America as a universal nation for all the world's peoples, a hyperglobal economy. In combination with an increasingly unveiled contempt for America's long-standing allies, this is more a recipe for disaster. Against it, we take our stand.
The description of conservatism as "man's taste for the familiar" is really the textbook definition of conservatism and there's nothing wrong with that. In a live-and-let-live world, liberals like me have no problem with people who "like things the way they are," as long neither of us tries to force our beliefs on the other, or deny the other their rights. In fact, a nation of cooperating, live-and-let-live, left-and-right, checks-and-balances ideologies who respect each others' rights and opinions would be a very successful one indeed, for all concerned... even liberals like me.

And hold the phone! Here is something I never, ever, thought I would hear myself say: I actually agree with Pat Buchanan in this article, a totally great condemnation of Bush's warmongering. Who would have thought? The guy is right on the money on this one. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel...

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Oh well...

...what's a couple of million votes, more or less?

Voter Fraud in Florida and Ohio: Kerry Won the Election by at least 1.7 Million Votes by Brad Menfil.

Added Bonus track: Kerry Won by Greg Palast.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Chri-- oops!

Ho Ho Ho! Here is a fun news item for King George's pious subjects:

Bush White House's Christ-less Christmas.

While his media-mogul ministers of information are busy showing their "goodwill toward men" by spreading more of their ridiculous LIES about liberals, saying that we "hate Christmas" and that we are "taking Christ out of Christmas," and so on, their king, Hypoctrites Rex, demonstrates his will that no other king should be worshipped but him. As the Anti-Christ, Bush is careful to remove such references from his presence, similar to the way that mirrors and crucifixes are kept from Rumsfeld's sight and references to Rasputin are hushed around Cheney and Rove. Well, after all, their "base" believes that Santa Claus is the Devil!.

It's a wonderful life :)

Wassail* !

Happy whatever to everyone!

It's unusually difficult to find good concise descriptions about the holiday, but here's one I borrowed here (all credit goes to the original author):

Thousands of years before Christianity even appeared, cultures all around the world were celebrating a similar holiday, with many of the traditions that we now associate with Christmas.

What these cultures celebrated was the Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year. This usually occurs on December 21. For various reasons, ancient cultures celebrated this holiday at different times in December or early January.

Why did these many cultures celebrate the Winter Solstice? Because from here on the days will get longer and warmer. It is a holiday of optimism, that the sun will win in its battle over darkness. It is also a holiday of rebirth and fertility, for the lengthening sun will eventually allow farmers to plant their crops. Light is an intrinsic part of most of these celebrations, whether it be sunlight, candles, bonfires, Yuletide logs… or today’s Christmas lights. Not for nothing do most cultures start their New Year about this time.

The first evidence that we have of a Solstice celebration is Mesopotamia from 4,000 years ago. Solstice celebrations have been found in every part of the ancient world, from China to Native America.

The Solstice celebration that Christianity drew on was the Roman holiday Saturnalia. During these celebrations, people suspended all work and indulged in great feasts and drinking. They decorated their homes with greenery of all sorts (for greenery was the product of sunlight, of course). This ranged from wreaths made of laurel to trees adorned with candles. Gifts were sometimes exchanged, especially with small children. But the most interesting aspect of the holiday was the reversal of social order. Wars were suspended, quarrels forgotten, debts forgiven. Slaves exchanged places with their masters, and children became head of their families. In fact, the Romans went so far as to crown a mock king — "the Lord of Misrule." The holiday, needless to say, was extremely popular with the people.

In 274 A.D., the Roman Empire was still "pagan" (that is, not yet Christianized). In that year, the Emperor Aurelian proclaimed that December 25 would be the birthday of the "Invincible Sun."

In 336 A.D., Emperor Constantine Christianized this holiday, proclaiming it to be the birthday of Jesus. The date is almost certainly wrong; the Bible doesn’t say when Jesus was born. However, it was most likely in spring, the only time that ancient shepherds ever watched over their flocks by night.

It is interesting to note that as Christmas spread throughout Europe, it absorbed the Winter Solstice customs of other countries. For example, when Christianity spread to Scandinavia, it found Scandinavians celebrating the Winter Solstice with Yule logs, mistletoe, holly, legends about elves, and Yule goats who carried presents from the gods.

If I find something better, I'll let you know, but this does a pretty good job. A lot of Christians are discouraged by this sort of narrative because their religion says that they thought of everything first. On the other hand, I like it because it helps show why the holidays can include lots of people all over the world, no matter what they believe in. And doesn't that seem more consistent with the spirit of the holiday?

*Go here to learn about the wassail tradition

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Our first lady, Mrs. Bush (I still chuckle when I say that) sure knows how to put on a lip-smackin' holiday spread:

First Lady's Recipe Box

Pass the gravy!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Love It Or Leave It?

From the following links, a few kindred spirits address life in modern America:

Rude Rich

Mark T

Whatever good things used to be associated with America are rapidly being replaced by neocon horrors. Dickensian workplace standards, Taliban-style Christianity, no middle class, no labor unions, no healthcare or education for anyone who is not wealthy. Worst of all, the cult-like devotion of their dedicated followers, willing to surrender all the rights, liberties, and securities that Liberal Americans fought and died for; willing to trade those for more of the cheap crap they need to fulfill their infantile, materialistic needs. Willing to be used as cannon fodder for neocon corporate impirialism, and to hand over their children and ours to be abused as well.

I can hardly believe it has happened in my lifetime.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Follow The Path

The following is reproduced from, which created a lot of amazing and informative material relevant to the 2004 election (they are still going, don't worry). Their archives are highly recommended :). The following example is one of my favorites:

"The Tax Cut. It's All About You.

"The government gives you a tax cut. You’re happy. The government’s happy because when you’re happy, you vote for the government because, let’s face it: it’s all about you. And that’s okay. Because why shouldn’t you get money back? You pay your taxes every year, sometimes even as much as you owe. And really, what does the government need all that money for anyway? Nothing that concerns you. They’re using it for interstate highways and homeland security and health care and education programs and veteran’s benefits and... Wait a minute. If they’re using your tax money for all those things, then why are all those things broken? Did the government not really use that money for what they said? How could that be? They said they would, and yet there doesn’t seem to be enough money for the gazillion things the government needs money for. And if there’s not enough money for all those things already, then how can the government give you a tax cut?

"Wow! That’s a lot of hard questions in just the first paragraph!

"And here are some answers. You won’t like them, but here they are: The tax cuts are mumbo-jumbo, smoke-and-mirrors, a ruse, a ploy, a parlor trick. They’re pulling the wool over your eyes, pulling your leg, pulling a fast one, pulling your financial future and your children’s future and your grandchildren’s future into an endlessly spiraling whirlpool of debt.

"You see: the government is running on fumes. It has no money to spend. It’s broke. It gave you back money it didn’t have in the first place, so it had to borrow and borrow and borrow — from foreign governments (the Saudis for example) trust funds (Social Security for example), anywhere it could go to drum up the cash for your tax cut.

"Because it’s all about you, isn’t it?"

You see, so many of the people I know who voted republican in 2004 did so largely because they wanted their tax cuts. Blood money, in my opinion. That part of their vote was entirely greed-based. I feel that I made a huge mistake by not trying harder to make them understand the message that BigPath articulates here so well. I don't want to make that mistake next time.

Link-O-Rama Update

Well, disgruntled fellow citizens, I just added a whole bunch of links to the list, so linkoholics rejoice!. I gotta say, there are enough there to keep one busy for quite a while. I even alphabetized 'em, but you don't have to start at the beginning. I recommend you start in the middle and work sideways in a reverse zig-zag pattern, alternating directions according to the number of vowels in that particular day of the week.

And just to show that I am constantly adding to this list, here is one I didn't include yet but should. It isn't political (surprise!), it's the John Entwistle Foundation. Even death couldn't stop John Entwistle from being the most amazing bass player in the world, and his name lives on doing good works. Their mission statement: Dedicated to helping underprivileged children in their pursuit of originality and excellence in the field of music. Too cool.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Winning Hearts and Minds

Sometimes it's easy to forget what America is fighting for. Those who support Bush (heretofore known as the "topsoil") should have some good visual aids at their disposal to remind themselves and those whose opinions are being provided for them. So, here they are:

1. Here's Bush!
2. Our President
3. Friends and Family
4. A Bush Salute (allow a minute to load)

There you go, conservative patriots. Take these, and go "spread freedom and democracy," bring "peace and prosperity" to, and "win the hearts and minds" of...

...whoever is left alive.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Why Do They Hate Us?

One of the biggest misconceptions people seem to have is the reason that fundamentalist muslim terrorists act against America. The BushCheney regime has successfully brainwashed their followers into believing that they do so because they "hate our freedom," or are otherwise jealous of us because we have a lot of cool stuff. Wrong.

They do it because the west (us and other countries, too) have been messing with the middle east for centuries. Ever heard of the crusades? Wars have raged back and forth between east and west for a long, long time. The main reasons that, for example, Al Qaida has it in for us include A) we support Israel and B) we have troops, etc., in Saudi Arabia (their turf).

As a culture, they do not envy our freedom (fundamentalist muslims do not value the vice and decadence which goes along with it), or our stuff (they can get their own stuff if they want too, and since a lot of that stuff is made from petroleum products, they make money off of our consumption of said stuff, anyway).

I happen to like the way it is addressed in this article: Why Do they Hate Us?. If terrorists are our enemy, then it is important to remember one of the fundamental rules of war: You must understand your enemy in order to win against them. And obviously, those who are in charge of our current "war against terrorism" either don't understand their enemy, or they are lying to us all about what they are trying to achieve by invading the middle east.

Which do you prefer: Ignorance or Deception?

I'm Coming Back!

Okay, I restored some, but not all, of my incredible, amazing list o' links. I am still a linkoholic, and it is still a work in progress because the information that exists detailing the criminal occupation of our country is quite voluminous, and I think that it is vitally imporant to keep shouting it from the rooftops as loudly and as often as we can. Here's an example that will be added to the list: Bush Family Values Photo Album. It's a particular favorite of mine :) Anyway, I am overdue to submit a post of substance.

I guess it is becoming more apparent that I am one of those who is convinced that the Bush regime did not simply manage to win the 2004 election. I believe that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are part of a greater criminal empire that is operating on a grand scale (please read the brochure What Is PNAC). The fact that it sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory is their first and best line of defense. That, and widespread ignorance and apathy.

But make no mistake about it: Just because it sounds incredible, doesn't mean it can't be true. Remember the old Monty Python line, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" Well you know what? The Spanish Inquisition was real, too.

Stay tuned, and we will explore the horrible truths together.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Oops! Damn!

For some reason, I woke up this morning and my blog was comletely blanked out... I had to rebuild it again, and now have to put my links back in (again!) Damn! Hey, never fear, because next time I'll be prepared. Until then, the best link on the web for my book is still buzzflash -- they not only have a ton o' great stuff themselves, but they have a plethora or great links, too. As for me, I'll get those links back up soon*

*Currently in progress.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Those Darn Neocons...

Okay, so you want to know what the Neocons are up to? What they're after? Well, if you go here you can see that their goal is nothing short of world domination.

What, don't believe me? Think I'm another conspiracy-theory crackpot? Dig some of their phrases: "American leadership is good both for America and for the world... such leadership requires military strength," which is another way of saying, "America should rule the entire world, and we'll bomb it back to the stone age if we have to." It is the justification for their ongoing attempt to overthrow the middle east, seize power and resources, and claim it for their own. The only thing "terrorism" has to do with America's war in Iraq is the fact that America is both encouraging terrorism and using it for it's own ends. That's right, the American government is using terrorism to achieve its goals. Make you proud?

Also, they use the extremely disturbing phrase "advocacy journalism," which is their new term for PROPAGANDA. Does anyone really think Fox "News" was just a lucky coincidence for them? No, it is their carefully crafted outlet of disinformation and propaganda designed to control the citizens whom they use alternately as wage-slaves or cannon fodder.

This is just the tip of the iceberg... the depth of their depravity and crimes against humanity will be revealed. Stay tuned.

P.S. Progressives have a satire version of the above site, called After you check out the one above, then dig this one. Especially, check out their downloads page, it has some amazing stuff. Here's a sample: What Is PNAC.

The Grand Old Party's Same Old Propaganda

Want to know why my blog is titled "Constantly amazed, yet never surprised"? It's because of the paradox where I am well aware of life's irony (thus nothing surprises me), yet I am constantly amazed by certain things. For example, the fact that people en masse swallow the ridiculous falsehoods spon-fed to them by their favorite propagandists.

One of the propaganda messages that never ceases to amaze me is that liberals and/or democrats are the "elite." This couldn't be further from the truth, yet it is embraced by legions of people who never paid attention in history class, or (more likely) were never taught history to begin with, or don't know what the word elite means, or only stop watching Jerry Springer long enough to let Rush Limbaugh "tell [them] what to think."

Simply put, the democrats are the party of the working class, of trade unions and labor, of the poor and the disenfranchised, of minorities of all kinds, of anyone not blessed to be born into priviledged circumstances. The republicans are the party of big corporations, old money, class-warfare, inheritance, greed and corruption, plutocracy, and self-righteous superiority. In other words, the "elite."

The amazing and sad thing is that the GOP has convinced the working class to vote entirely against their own interests. They've done this by using the same old tried-and-true propaganda tools used by controlling rulers for centuries to whip their minions into a frenzy and secure their allegiance by appealing to their most base fears and predjudices, along with a little greed thrown in for good measure. Sadly, my observation has been that there are as many in the working classes who are racist, materialist, etc., as there are in the neocon elite; thus the appeal.In 2004 I saw people who gladly reaped the benefits of liberal democrat policies (overtime pay, health benefits, union benefits, federal housing programs, etc.) to the point where their very lives had been not only enhanced but actually saved by those very benefits, and yet they voted republican because A) they were racists who believed the republicans would close all borders; and b) they believed that the republicans are going to give them a huge tax break. As one fellow I know who screams from the wilderness would say... IDIOTS!

Monday, December 6, 2004

Aesop Would Agree

My spouse and I lived with relatives for a few months. We have cats, and they have cats. An interesting observation we made, though, was the comparative social order the cats established for themselves.

You see, the relatives we stayed with were real right-wingers, xenophobic dittoheads, and so on. My wife and I, on the other hand, are both progressives. Interestingly, the two cat factions could be described thus:

1. Their cats: paranoid, suspicious, defensive, reactionary, violent, and ruined their environment by pissing on everything. In general, right-wing, er, paw.

2. Our cats: tolerant, respectful of diversity, friendly and outgoing, clean in their habits and gentle in manner. In general, left-paw.

Each family's respective cats were products of their environment. It told me a lot about the world the neocons are forming as we speak.


"Christmas time is here," the chorus sings as A Charlie Brown Christmas welcomes, for me, the holiday season. I've always loved the Christmas holidays. I've always loved the festivity. Even more as I have learned about it's pagan origins, which are no secret today. The fact that today's Christian holidays are a mish-mash result of a variety of cultural contributions, only serves to endear the holiday to me even more. For in spite of ancient conquerors' attempt to crush pagan religions by adapting their rituals and painting them Christian, they have only served to perpetuate pagan symbolism and turn it into an American institution. I'll bet that the opening celebrations at Stonehenge included a druid who looked just like Santa Claus, and a tree, and holly, and...

Of course, the druids may have included actual human sacrifice, which we have replaced with patronage of places like Wal-Mart, where we sacrifice our values instead. But no matter, for Wal-Mart will never have my soul, and no matter how much merchandising assaults my senses and offends my sensibilities, I will always love the holidays.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

What Am I, Some Kinda Radical!? (pt. 2)

Here's another of my radical ideas: I believe that education and healthcare should both be provided free of charge. In today's society, they are no longer something to be reserved for the privileged. They are a basic human right that should be available to all who want them.

"WHAT!?" they scream. "You commie !@#$%!"

Now that that's out of your system, let me explain. First of all, I do not advocate the elimination of private medical practitioners or educational institutions. They can do what they do and charge whatever the free market will bear. However, I beg the reader to calmly and objectively consider, what is the purpose of government? Most people immediately answer that government's first duty is to protect our borders. Okay, and after that? The consensus for priority two is usually to maintain an infrastructure that meets our needs (good roads, etc.). Priority three might include local objectives such as police and fire protection, decent schools, and public utilities.

I would like to include healthcare and education on the list. Why? Because, first of all, they are certainly as important as those things mentioned above, arguably more so. It should be obvious, regardless of ideology, that a healthy and well educated population is more desirable than a sickly, ignorant one.

Secondly, we waste millions (or billions or trillions) of dollars on things like "pork-barrel" spending, corporate welfare, and other such things, and that's just the "legitimate" stuff, without even including the corrupt payoffs to organizations like Halliburton and Enron, etc., so the cost is not really the issue (please feel free to prove me wrong about this, someone).

Thirdly, it would be so beneficial to our country to provide free healthcare and education. As an investment in the future, it would ultimately pay for itself. We could compete in the job market more effectively both at home and abroad. We could release the burden of employer-provided health insurance from businesses (as with my "radical pt. 1" entry, something that should appeal to the right as well as the left).

Finally, getting back to the purpose of government, one of the reasons it exists is to benefit our lives. Both the right and the left demonstrate their belief in that idea, no matter how loudly the right claims otherwise. Both sides use government as a means of legislating their values in order to shape society as they see fit. Why not do something that will benefit all of us?

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

What Am I, Some Kinda Radical!? (pt. 1)

Some of may opinions are considered radical, even unthinkable. So why not put 'em on dislay here? Today's radical thought from SheaNC (by the way those are my actual initials... I wouldn't want to offend North Carolina... anyway, back to business):

I think that the founders of our country made a big mistake by setting it up as a group of united separate states instead of one big country. I'm talking about no states at all. One Country.

I ask you, what's wrong with our country being one big country? Every time a crisis occurs, everyone encourages everyone else to "unite as one," they say, "united we stand," etc. It would simplify so many things. We would only have to pay federal tax instead of both state and federal taxes; no more double-taxation. And no more divisive arguments about one state receiving more federal goodies than another. No more time wasted by politicians tossing back and forth the issue of "states' rights," as one nation we would all receive equal rights and equal protection. And, those republicans who claim to support smaller government should be pleased to discover that, as one country, there would be a whole lot fewer politicians! Less beaurocracy!

The whole idea of a "united states" is obsolete. Remember, the word "state" as you learned it in school is not the word "state" as the founders knew it. Today, to most Americans, a "state" is basically a "region." But to the founders, a "state" was a country or a nation, truer to its historical definition. To them, the states were more probably defined as a group of separate countries; not unlike Europe, and probably conceived as a "New Europe" of little countries cooperating for the good of all. But all of this was happening at a time when distances were greater, population was fewer, and the world was basically limitless. But now, with the benefits of human connectivity on a grand scale, there's no need for America to be a bunch of little kingdoms.

Of course, it is too late to change what is so entrenched in power. The kings of those little kingdoms won't give them up... too much money flows in too many directions. But oh, imagine the possibilities. One nation, indivisible. Call me crazy.

Some Quotes from Thomas Jefferson

The following quotes were made by one of my favorite statesmen, Thomas Jefferson:

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. ...If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. "

Thomas Jefferson helped define the liberal ideal. A nation free from religious intolerance and oppression, free from corporate plutocracy, free from war-mongers' terror, where the advantaged care for the less-advantaged, for the good of all.

We can win this. If we don't, the worst parts of history will repeat themselves.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Some Insight from Another Author

The following is an excerpt from Andrew Tanenbaum’s website, I followed it religiously during the months leading up to the election in 2004. It contains a lot of valuable data even though the election is over. His insights in the following passage are valuable.

"…living abroad I know first hand what the world thinks of America and it is not a pretty picture at the moment. I want people to think of America as the land of freedom and democracy, not the land of arrogance and blind revenge. I want to be proud of America again. The U.S. media do a spectacularly bad job of informing Americans about what is going on in rest of the world. After Sept. 11, the U.S. could do no wrong. The entire world was on America's side. The invasion of Afghanistan was seen as completely justified. After all, the Al-Qaida leadership had to be decapitated. No one questioned that.

But Iraq was a completely different matter. Bush, Cheney, and Powell said they had conclusive proof that Saddam had WMD and could attack at any instant. The rest of the world wanted to see the proof. No proof was forthcoming. The answer was "trust us." We now know there were no WMD. There weren't even factories or labs to produce them. Saddam was an evil dictator with evil fantasies but he was no threat to America. Yet former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said that the planning to invade Iraq began the day Bush was inaugurated. The administration simply misused the horror of Sept. 11 as a convenient excuse for doing something that was already in the works.

Let me tell you a short story. When I was in elementary school, the school was plagued by a bully. He was the biggest, strongest kid around and would beat up anyone he didn't like. We were all exceedingly polite to his face, but hated his guts behind his back. One day he was chasing some poor kid and he tripped and skidded a considerable distance, scraping his face on the rough asphalt of the playground. He was bleeding and in pain, screaming for help. But nobody came to help him. We all just walked away. George Bush is the world's playground bully. The world sees him--and by inference, America--as arrogant, self-centered, and mean. I spoke to Americans from dozens of countries at the DA caucus. Everyone told the same story--the world hates America. When talking to foreigners, I can tell them about the Bill of Rights or freedom or World War II, or whatever I want, but all they see is this big, stupid, arrogant, playground bully and a stolen election... I think America deserves better. I want America to be respected in the world again...

Don't believe me that the world hates us? The Guardian, one of Britain's most respected newspapers, ran a column by Charlie Brooker… ending with this paragaph: "On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed ..." Then it gets so bad that I refuse to quote it. Maybe Brooker is a nut and maybe it was a joke, but the fact that a serious newspaper would publish this piece shows how deep the hatred of George Bush runs. And this comes from our closest ally. Imagine what people in Spain or Indonesia or the Arab world think.

Now you might be thinking: Who the hell cares if America is the world's pariah, along with, say, North Korea and Zimbabwe? Well, I care, for one, and I think most Americans want to be respected for being a democracy rather than simply being feared because we have more nuclear weapons than anybody else. You can't make the world love you by running commercials full of snarling wolves on worldwide TV.

But there are some practical matters to consider as well. If you look at British and Canadian publications, such as The BBC, The Guardian, The Economist, and The Globe and Mail, you get a picture not colored by partisan electoral considerations. You sometimes wonder if they are reporting the same war as the U.S. media. The situation in Iraq has deteriorated very badly. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the war, mostly women and children. Well over 1000 American soldiers--many of them just kids who signed up for the National Guard and never expected to go to war--have been killed there and thousands more have been maimed for life. Americans are being killed daily in increasing numbers and unless there is a radical change, this will go on for years. Reenlistment rates are way down and manpower needs are way up. With a President Kerry, there is hope that other countries might contribute serious numbers of troops to help stabilize Iraq. With a second Bush administration they will just say: "You broke it, you fix it."

If other countries won't help out, Bush is going to be faced with an unpleasant choice: accept another Vietnam-type quagmire lasting for years or reinstitute the draft. There is no way we can win in Iraq with current troop levels. Something has to change. More of the same won't work. And it is an open secret that after the election, Bush is going to ask Congress for another $70 billion down payment on Iraq. Who is going to pay for it? We are. In addition, the U.S. needs the help of other countries to gather intelligence about terrorists, cut off their funding, and track them down. Trouble is, when the playground bully comes asking for help, everyone just walks away. A new president who shows respect for the world instead of arrogance will get a lot more help. And we need help, believe me.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Nice Guys (and Gals) Finish Last

Are we liberals doomed to failure? Probably, because, simply put, we're too nice.

We respect others' right to their own opinion, and in so doing allow a platform for right-wing hate mongers, who then refuse to allow us the same courtesy.

We embrace diversity, and in so doing allow intolerant bigots to thrive.

We believe that Americans still value freedom and democracy, and in so doing we are dismissed as irrelevant by the power elite who control the republican party, who violate every last shred of ethical behavior in order to secure their power.

We believe in freedom of religion; that we are free to worship as we choose or not at all, and in so doing, allow religious zealots to enforce their religion upon the rest of us through legislation, in full opposition to the wishes of our nation's founders.

We believe in freedom of speech, and in so doing allow free reign to the venomous, hate-mongering, fear-mongering, lying, manipulative, demagogues of the radical right - the neocons - who have usurped conservative politics and replaced it with fascism.

The very definition of liberal is one who believes in liberty, in freedom, which unfortunately invites freedom for both good and evil. We welcome all to the table, and those who would subdue us take their place, and proceed to take ours as well.

The neocons, now in control of the republican party, possess the Darwinian advantage of nature's other successful predators: single-minded focus, clarity of purpose, unrelenting resolve to eliminate all competition through any means necessary. They are well aware of this advantage. To them the end justifies the means. To them, ethics are merely an annoyance requiring less and less attention. They still are inconvenienced by the need to placate their supporters by claiming exclusive ownership of “moral values,” knowing full well that it is a wildly subjective phrase. Their Christian supporters hear what they want to hear and assume their own values are being referenced, which could not be further from the truth.

The republicans are now the mighty flesh-eating dinosaurs, ruling their world without mercy. Liberals are the tiny mammals scrabbling through the underbrush, eking out a niche in the dinosaurs’ hostile environment and hoping to survive.

It took a lot of evolution, but they did survive, didn’t they? Let’s hope it doesn’t take another world-wide cataclysm to free us from their tyranny.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

How To Be A True Bush Conservative In 2004

Note to liberals: you can ignore these instructions unless you want to discover what life would be like as a republican as defined by Bush's 2004 "mandate."

1. Do not collect Social Security. You are not "paying into it," nor have you ever done so. It is not a savings account. It is a socialist redistribution of wealth. Don't accept it. If you do, you're a hypocrite.

2. Do not accept health benefits from your employer. You already condemn liberals who consider them an entitlement. Do not accept them. Take the money you save on those premiums and buy your own health insurance on the free market like a true capitalist. Otherwise, you are a socialist.

3. Do not join a trade union. They are the closest thing to communism we have in this country. If you accept the benefits provided for you by union membership, you are a traitor to conservatism. You'll have a hard enough time reconciling the fact that you enjoy benefits such as overtime pay, won for you by union workers who came before.

4. Since you voted to wage war against Iraq (and other countries in the "axis of evil"), you must join the military and serve your country. You support the war, so you should go fight unless you are disabled. Volunteer to fight terrorists. If you are too old to do so (don't worry, they’re recalling reservists in their 50’s), then send your children. To do anything less makes you a hypocrite. And, be prepared for the “war” to continue… forever.

5. Go to a Christian church and live by its teachings. Do not disobey the "ten commandments," or the commandments given by party-recognized religious leaders, such as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. And since social services are to be scrapped in favor of “faith-based initiatives,” you must either give enough to charity to support the poor or shelter someone in your own home. It’s not the taxpayers’ responsibility anymore. It’s yours.

6. If your daughter should become pregnant, or if a girl should become pregnant by your son, you must accept responsibility for the baby. If they, or you if you are a woman, or your wife if you are a man, becomes pregnant and the mother’s life is threatened by irregularities in the pregnancy, they (or you) must carry out the pregnancy, even if it kills them. It is God’s will.

7. If a hospital performs unnecessary surgery upon you; if they accidentally amputate the wrong limb, or remove the wrong organ, or sexually assault you while you are anesthetized, or overcharge you, or anything else you find disagreeable, just live with it. You are not allowed to sue them, because you agree that trial lawyers are responsible for high medical costs.

8. Do not complain because you do not earn enough money if you earn minimum wage (or more), or cannot find a job that pays a decent wage, or cannot afford health care. It’s your own fault, so accept responsibility for it. You will have a tax rebate soon (most likely in the form of a Wal-Mart voucher).

9. Do not expect “overtime” pay if you work over 40 hours a week. The “time-and-a-half” formula was devised by communist-backed labor unions to gouge honest business owners. The same goes for all the other liberal/leftist "entitlements" like "unemployment insurance," "vacation days," "sick leave," etc. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay – no work, no pay.

10. Do not complain if your health should suffer due to poisons in land, water or air. If you want all the wonderful things offered by a moral, conservative society, then you must accept the consequences.

11. If you should be thrown into jail, do not expect the “rights” that were demanded by whining liberals, such as the right to an attorney, or to be told the charges against you, or to receive any medical care while incarcerated, or to be released anytime before the government decides to do so, if at all. Know also that your government, as directed by George W. Bush, may decide to torture while you are jailed. Accept it.

12. Do not expect the news media to report “news.” The media are a function of government. News delivered by radio, television or print media is a privilege granted by the republican party. They will decide what you need to know.

More later...

Friday, November 26, 2004

Government Of The Idiots, By The Idiots, and For The Rest of Us

I know someone who is active in her union at work, and is marching soon encourage another company (same trade) to allow their workers to unionize. The irony? She voted for Bush/Cheney! That's right, she flies the flag of union representation, she lets all her coworkers think she's on their side, she claims to support the union, and she happily collects all the benefits of her membership in the union. Then, she turns around and stabs her coworkers in the back, along with union brothers and sisters everywhere, by voting against their (and her) interests. Her own union endorsed Kerry and urged her to vote democrat, she betrayed them by voting for the anti-union party. She's a die-hard republican who attends union meetings and is completely clueless about the contradiction. And everyone in her circle of friends voted republican also, even though they all reap the benefits of liberal democrat policies and often decry the injustices visited upon them by republican plutocracy. The blind leading the blind, and dragging us along with them... into oblivion.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Subjective Reality, or, The Truth Hurts

What does it mean to "support the troops"? Before you answer, consider this: have you ever asked anyone how they define it? I believe that just about everyone has a different definition of what it means to "support the troops." It is a patriotic catchphrase that inspires ideas that are never discussed. People simply state the phrase and assume that everyone else is on the same page.

During the first gulf war in the '90's, bumper stickers proclaiming "I oppose the war but I support our troops" began proliferating (yes, for those who have forgotten, that was also a very unpopular war). I immediately saw a contradiction in this. How can one oppose a war but support those who conduct the war? Doesn't it follow, logically, that one would oppose the Nazi's invasion and occupation of countries in Europe, yet still support the German soldiers who were serving their country? Or oppose the war waged by Japan but still support their troops who served their country?

Soon the phrase was shortened to "support the troops" because, I suppose, it was a given that most people didn't support the war but were afraid of being called unpatriotic if they didn't support the troops. Yet there was still no consensus on what it actually meant. Did it mean that they supported them financially? Those of us who pay taxes had to do so whether we wanted to or not (and let's not forget that it is the Bush administration who claims to support the troops one minute and then takes away veterans' benefits the next). Did it mean that they supported them emotionally; cheering them on to victory because they do their nation's bidding and carry out their orders? Shades of the Nuremburg Trial defense "Just Following Orders".

In the end, the only definition that seemed to stick was the notion that Vietnam veterans had not treated well enough upon their return home, and the resulting problems made people decide that any soldiers who fought in a war were always to be considered heroic good guys. No matter what they might have done during their tour of duty; it was okay, none of it was their fault, they were sent by politicians and had to kill people because they were told to do so. Ultimately, "support the troops" meant "I hold the troops blameless and free from responsibility because they were only following orders. They'll do anything they're told, no matter what, to anyone for any reason we want, and we love them for it."

Well, I think that is an ignorant, destructive, and just plain stupid way to think. Sorry, to all those who have loved ones in the military.

Here's what I believe: Soldiers are responsible for war, not the other way around.

Consider this: if a charismatic friend or loved one, whom you respected and admired, told you to go kill your neighbor and claim all their property on their behalf (and promised to share it with you), would you do it? No? What if they managed to persuade you with absolute conviction that you were absolutely correct to take over your neighbor's property because neighbor was evil, he deserved it, he was scheming against you, already causing no end of problems and certainly responsible for the bad things that have been happening lately at your house? Not only that, but he could "prove" that the neighbor was already planning to light fires all over your property until you consent to do whatever it is they want. Would you carry out your orders then? Don't say you'd want to see the proof - would you unquestioningly carry out your orders to kill your neighbor and take his property simply on the strength of being ordered to do so?

Imagine what would have happened if, when Hitler or Hirohito ordered people to invade and conquer other countries, those people simply refused. Imagine what would have happened if the people simply refused to destroy another country simply because they were told to do so. Imagine what would have happened if, when Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to invade Kuwait, they refused. No invasion, no war, just a despot throwing a tantrum in the palace, alone.

The scenarios go on and on. Throughout history, there have been raving lunatics on every corner, spewing madness and hate-speech. Tell me who is crazier: the lunatic on the corner or the idiot who does what the lunatic tells him? Which one would you rather be? Or, would you rather walk on by the lunatic and ignore him?

The way to completely end war forever is outrageously simple. The way to completely end war forever is for people to simply decide to stop fighting wars.

Now, I realize that you're saying "That's the stupidest, most unrealistic pie-in-the-sky peacenik fantasy crap I've ever heard." But the fact is, my statement is absolutely true. I have proven it through personal experience. I have been told to do stupid destructive things; I refused to do them; and thus the stupid destructive things did not happen. Theory tested, applied in practice, and proven correct. If I can do it, and others too, why can't everyone? It's certainly easy to do. They say war is hell. It stands to reason that it would be easier not to fight one.

By the way, I understand that by having this opinion I am among the tiniest minority on the planet. So be it. I'm not divorced from reality. If our troops are defending our nation from foreign invaders, then I support the troops. If our troops are the foreign invaders, then I most certainly do not.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I cannot believe the hypocrisy of the Bush administration! Get a load of this statement, by Colin Powell, in reference to the Russian election:

"We have been following developments very closely and are deeply disturbed by the extensive and credible reports of fraud in the election. We call for a full review of the conduct of the election and the tallying of election results... We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse."

This, from the Bush administration!? The lying, cheating, hypocritical, two-faced, anti-democracy, anti-American, plutocratic, backstabbing, traitors have the unmitigated gall to criticize someone else for voter fraud!? AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!

And another thing... what is this reference he makes to "international standards"? Oh my God -- are they saying that it DOESN'T PASS THE GLOBAL TEST!?

How in all the universe can anyone support such a gang of lying hypocrites!? They condemn another country for doing what they themselves have done without remorse! THEY DO THIS ALL THE TIME! THEY GET AWAY WITH IT ALL THE TIME! AND THEIR FOLLOWERS LOVE THEM FOR IT! Why won't the republicans allow the citizens of the United States to enjoy the same rights and freedoms they claim other countries should have? If Afghanistan and Russia deserves free and open democratic elections, why don't we? If they can use my tax money to "spread freedom and democracy" around the globe, why won't they allow us to have some? Oh, of course: because the republican party is wholly and entirely opposed to freedom and democracy. They are terrified of a fair election in our own country because they know they would lose.

I'll tell you something: I started out my adult life convinced that most of the adult population of this country were idiots. Yes, I am aware that this is a common misconception among those idiots at that age. As years passed, I tried to convince myself that I was just being pretentious and egotistical. I forced myself to give them the benefit of the doubt, until I reached a point where I was willing to accept that they simply had different values, and those were still valid. Not anymore, damn it! I swear, anyone who willingly ingests the stinking poison that is the Bush administrations' policies, is a either a complete moron, or a traitor, a vile scheming plutocrat manipulator, or any combination of the three.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Note About This Blog

It's like this: I am hopelessly behind in my blogging, etc., so this blog is goint to bounce back and forth between contempory commentary and reflections upon past events (most specifically during the last 4-5 years, where politics are concerned). I hope to write about more than politics, but where passions lie, fingers follow. There's a loaded statement for you. Anyway, off we go...

One Is Not Necessarily The Other

reposted from November because it still seems relevant; slightly edited

I often find myself explaining to people that the words republican, democrat, liberal, and conservative describe four different things, not two. Too many people are under the misconception that republican is synonymous with conservative, and democrat is synonymous with liberal. They use the words interchangeably, but that is an inaccurate portrayal.

The truth is, not all members of the "big two" parties can be defined according to the stereotypes. A few examples:

Liberals are perceived as anti-war, yet Democrats presided over WWII, the Korean war, Vietnam, Bosnia, and ran their 2004 presidential candidate as a war veteran. At the same time, Republicans portray themselves as the hawk's party, when in fact many republican proponents of war did not serve any military duty, some being actual draft dodgers, while many anti-war democrats actually did serve in the military. Conservatism defines itself as the standard-bearer of fiscal restraint, yet Republicans outspend democrats and run up astronomical debts. Democrats are regarded as creators of bigger government, yet the Clinton administration reduced the size of government while the Reagan administration expanded it. And at one time, the Democrats were the southern-state, "state's rights" party, while the Republicans placed federal authority over the states; a situation that reversed in later years. Republicans proclaim themselves to be the party of Christian values and accuse Democrats of being opposed to them, when in fact, republican values (pro-execution, pro-war, opposed to social programs) are decidedly anti-Christian, while democratic values (generally anti-death-penalty, anti-war, pro-social-programs) seem truer to Christian ones.

At the grassroots, some Democrats and Republicans are openly critical of their own parties or of politicians presented to them as their only choice on voting day. My observation is that most voters' values are blended from left- and right-, more or less according to what is appropriate in their lives. Once they were called moderate, although that term was saddled with a derogatory connotation of indecisiveness (wrongly so, in my opinion). In any event, I maintain that not all republicans are conservative, not all democrats are liberal, and to lump them all together paints a picture that just isn't true.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Real Threat of Republican Fascism

The following excerpts are from the article Fascism Anyone? by Laurence W. Britt, published in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. The author considered the common methods of several fascist regimes (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia). Those common methods of fascist regimes are:

"1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia."

"2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation."

"3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice, relentless propaganda and disinformation, were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite spontaneous acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and terrorists. Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly."

"4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite."

"5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses."

"6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes' excesses."

"7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting national security, and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous."

"8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the godless. A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion."

"9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens."

"10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice."

"11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist."

"12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Normal and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or traitors was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power."

"13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population."

"14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite."

Reads like the republican party platform, doesn't it? Sounds like stories taken right from today's headlines, doesn't it? Or more accurately, from the campaign diary of Carl Rove - Dick Cheney - George Bush.

To "conservatives" I say this: you've been duped. You've been used as the machinery to put yet another fascist regime into power, and they don't give a damn about you. They're not Christians. They posess no lofty "moral values". They're not looking out for your interests. They have no intention of employing any fiscal responsibility with public funds (that's our tax money). The only national security they are concerned with is the security of their own corporate revenue...they're simply out to secure their own bottom line. Oh, sure, they'll continue to tell you what you want to hear; they're expert at that. They'll even convince you to sacrifice your children for them and their interests by sending them off to be used as cannon fodder in foreign wars which have no bearing whatsoever on our national defense (while their own children won't have to go).

I hope you're all happy with yourselves now. Thanks to you, America will soon be ranked with Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Worst Thing Ever

Okay, here is the worst thing ever that any political party has ever done, ever, to the American people: THEY TOOK AWAY OUR RIGHT TO VOTE.

Oh, sure, they let us go through the motions, under the misguided notion that we are actually voting. But guess what? This time, it didn't make any difference. The republican party had their machinery in place long before the 2004 election. They knew their plan would work and there was nothing we could do about it.

Throughout American history, the one thing we had going for us was our power of self-government through voting. Now matter how much you disagreed with government policy, you were reassured that your voice could be heard through your vote. Now, that's all gone. I cannot overemphasized the significance of this loss. Our right to vote was the most important legacy of our nation's founders; all our other rights were subject to it... until now. That is why I was literally sickened by the outcome of this election. Results from a fair vote, I can live with. Results based on dirty tricks played by the corrupt, lying, cheating republican party, I cannot.

I beleive this is an impotant step in the neocons' plan to eradicate democracy from the face of the earth and replace it with a plutocracy ripped from the dark ages. Unless they are stopped, it signals the end of democracy in the United States.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Me Too!

Practically everyone else seems to have posted this (all credit to the author), so I will do so also... Because it is great and deserves to be considered.

A Day In The Life Of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joy's bacon is safe to eat because some girl-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalism wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joy's employer pays these standards because joy's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joy's deposit is federally insured by the FOSSILS because some godless liberal wanted to protect joy's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fanny Mae-underwriter mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Friday, November 5, 2004

What th' -- !?

Remember the story about Johnny Rotten asking a Sex Pistols audience, "Did you ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

When John Kerry conceded the election, there were still hundreds of thousands of votes to be counted. Why did he concede so soon? I feel betrayed. I don't know if the decision was his, or the party's, or his campaign manager's, or whomever. It was an insult to all of us who invested so much in this election; emotionally, financially, and otherwise. We deserved to know that our votes, at least the ones that were not stolen by the Diebold machines, would be counted. Anything less is a betrayal of one of our most precious rights. Quite disturbing, too, is the notion that soldiers' votes will never be counted. Shouldn't their votes have been considered important during wartime?

I've hear the reasons and conjecture, but I'll always wonder, with a sick feeling, why John Kerry conceded the election before the votes were counted.

(ps: even so, I still believe Kerry would be a better president than Bush or Cheney)

Monday, November 1, 2004

One More Thing

Okay, I just have one thing I wanted to say before the election which I was not able to post due to unforeseen circumstances. It is this:

Osama Bin Laden sends a new video message to America... AUGH! Why don't the followers of George Bush realize that GEORGE BUSH DELIBERATELY ALLOWED OSAMA BIN LADEN TO GO FREE!? Bush assured us he would pursue Bin Laden until he was brought to justice. He lied! He soon said he did not care about capturing the real villain behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He never cared about it! He might as well have spit on the graves of the victims of the attack. Of all the terrible things George Bush and his administration have done, this is one of the two most vile (the other I'll save for another post).

George W. Bush's and Osama Bin Laden's actions serve to compliment each other so well. The 9/11 attack ensured Bush's popularity and gave him a pretense for expansion of his corporate-religious-plutocratic empire into the middle east. At the same time, Bush's immoral and unnecessary invasion of Iraq ensured a wave of popularity for Osama Bin Laden's cause, inspiring countless followers to join him in holy war against the United States of America. Both men exchanged with each other gifts of incredible power. They seem to care not a whit for the thousands of men, women and children who die horribly as a result of their actions, or that the whole world has been made to suffer for what they have done, and will continue to suffer as long as it continues and well after it has ended.

The Bushes and the Bin Ladens. Old business partners. George and Osama: best friends.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bush and Cheney are...

...terrorists. Why? Because terrorism is the use of fear to manipulate public opinion and thus affect public policy. This is the Bush administration's method.

Monday, October 11, 2004

It's Never Too Late to Speak for Change

It's too close to the election for this blog to be considered one of the insightful, hard-hitting blogs full of brilliant and original political analysis. If I had started earlier, maybe, then I could have jumped on that trolley. But, oh well. It's not too late to ask the question, "Why do I despise the Bush administration so much?"

Well, for all the reasons we have now heard so many times. Except that now, I can give you my take on them.

I knew the worst case scenario had come true when the neocons stole the 2000 election. Not satisfied with citizens' choice and incapable of winning a fair election, the republican party resorted to cheating so blatantly that it was allowed to happen because the electorate and the media stood aghast at the audacity. Stealing citizens' right to vote in order to rig a presidential election! Who would have thought that it could actually happen? We all know political parties are corrupt, and everyone seems to have a level of acceptance of that. But to usurp the presidential election... I must be naive. I never thought it would happen in the USA. And now, the unthinkable has become routine, as more evidence mounts that the republican party is guilty of tampering with voter registration forms, voter fraud, intimidation, tampering with ballots, etc., it is obvious the neocons will do anything to remain in power, even if it means destroying everything America holds dear.

It was downhill from there. Civil rights, environmental protection, fair taxation, prudent economic policy, freedom and opportunity for American citizens, jobs, healthcare, domestic security, all chewed up and excreted as fertilizer for the neocon garden of souls. The neocons managed to convince the electorate that neocon interests were the same as the public interest... Lies! All Lies! In the end, it turned out that all they wanted to do was steal our money, eliminate the middle class, remove opportunities for education and employment, and create an America populated by a few very rich and the hordes of under educated, uninsured wage-slave servants who live and die at their mercy.

Outside our borders, the neocons' great achievement is the war in Iraq: A hopeless quagmire of death and destruction from which we may never fully extricate ourselves, at least not in my lifetime. Even if the carnage comes to an end, and we rescind our occupation of Iraq, the repercussions of the Bush administration's actions will be felt for decades to come, both at home and abroad. Where once we had the sympathy and support of the world, we now face scorn and derision as the Bush administration pissed away this century's greatest opportunity for a global alliance against terrorism. And to crush dissent at home, they enact the "patriot act" to ensure that no one question their diabolical activity. And Iraq, as the neocons admit, is only the first step in their conquest of world resources.

At home and abroad, the neocons are trying to destroy American values, crush us beneath the boots of their tyranny and corporatize the world. To whomever is reading this: Please vote against the Bush regime November 2004.

Sunday, October 3, 2004

The (Off-)Road To Oblivion

I have a real problem with some people who drive SUV's. SUV's are off-road vehicles. It is a waste for people to own SUV's only to drive around on paved city streets, in moderate weather, back-and-forth to work or school or the grocery store. I'll bet most of these suburban commandos have never seen an unpaved street, let alone driven over anything more hazardous than a speed bump (I wish I had a nickel for every time I've seen a big, overblown SUV gingerly tiptoeing over a parking-lot speed bump). I'll also wager that most SUV owners today are completely clueless about what 4-wheel-drive is, what it is for, and that it is actually a part of their vehicle.

My bias is partly due to the fact that I am from a comparatively remote, isolated rural area where people used four-wheel-drive vehicles because they had to... many couldn't get out of their driveways in winter without it. By the same token, those who did not own 4-wheel-drive vehicles (like me) routinely took the average sedan through terrain and weather that would terrify today's urban SUV owner. Snow two feet deep, mud like a lake of quicksand, rocks likes basketballs and ruts like sewer trenches were not unusual. These hazards were negotiated by regular passenger cars on a daily basis. I'd like to see today's SUV owner try that.

Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed SUV's. They have their purpose. I wanted one when I lived in an environment where it would be useful, and I even own one of the auto industry's first true SUV's, a Volkswagen bus, which I have always used for utilitarian purposes as well as daily driving. What bothers me is the unecessary use of off-road, four-wheel-drive vehicles, by people who own them for status or because it is a fad. It seems inappropriate to own a vehicle which results in such a tremendous waste of resources, without a reason to do so. It's an insult to those of us, world-wide, to whom the world's resources, and their preservation, are important. They require more steel, plastic, rubber, etc., to produce (not to mention all the biohazards produced as a consequence), and they consume more fuel to drag their bloated hulks across town and along the freeway.

Many SUV owners claim they own them for safety reasons. Is that so they won't have to pay attention to their surroundings as they carelessly zig-zag through traffic while talking on their @$#%&^! cellphone!? What a selfish, thoughtless position to take. Safe driving conditions are achieved through awareness and skill, not by amouring yourself and careening obliviously into smaller cars (yes, on three occations SUV's have driven into me). Who care about anyone else in the world as long as they can drive like idiots in their bloated, chromed, status symbols (by the way, "Luxury SUV" is an oxymoron to those of us who remember riding in an old International Scout). And what about America's dependence on foreign oil? How many soldiers did your SUV kill today? Energy industry fat-cats love your infatuatuation with SUV's. In fact, I think every SUV with an American flag on it should replace that symbol with the that of OPEC.

I live in a major city now, and it never ceases to amaze me (as my blog title says) how many big four-wheel-drive vehicles I see, their only purpose being to skip daintily back and forth between the WalMart superstores and their homes with too much square footage in housing developments with names like Rio Verde Vista Del Norte, where all the other houses look just the same, including the SUV parked in the driveway.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Why Am I Here?

The initial reason I decided to enter the blogosphere is that our current political environment has inspired me to express myself... Not that I don't have other things to talk about. But the past four years have restored a political conciousness in me that had grown almost dormant in the 1990’s. With too much faith in Americans’ ability to discern between truth and lies, between the good of the country (and indeed the whole planet) and the undisguised avarice of a handful of over-privileged corporate royalty, I have watched our political climate transform into a storm of divisiveness by a self-proclaimed "uniter." The most important election of my lifetime has arrived.

I naively assumed that those right-wing extremist hate-mongers, the neocons, could not possibly come to absolute power. I watched as neocon leaders duped their followers into surrendering themselves, using the same tried-and-true formulae as so many who had come before… nazi-like propaganda designed to inflame the base passions of Jerry Springer Show-wannabe’s who can’t be bothered to imagine life outside the warm incubator of the spoon-fed neocon vision of “Us vs. Them” (“them” being anyone who does not contribute to the neocons’ money and/or power).

Even under the Reagan administration, the neocons seemed like they were still a fringe group. Not anymore. Power has been seized by those who seek only to feed their own greedy self-interest, the rest of humanity be damned. Calling themselves “conservative” in order to capture the demographics of the 1980’s Republican constituency, they have revealed themselves to be no such thing. Conservatism used to mean fiscal restraint and moral temperance. The modern leadership of the Republican party seems to believe “conservative” means spending money you don’t have (and lots of it), giving special favors to rich Republican plutocrats while snatching food, money and civil rights from lower-income people, and insulting the world by telling them that their opinions, rights, and very lives don’t matter to Americans. They damage they have done is horrific. If I had voted for any of them, I would be ashamed. I am embarrassed to be represented by them.

I live in a neighborhood where I am surrounded by right-wing “ditto-heads” whose political worldview is shaped by their irrational fear of cultural diversity, sneering contempt for “intellectuals,” and suburban materialism. Their rebuttal in a political argument? “Love it or leave it” (that is, love neocon republicanism or move to France). Sorry, but I love what the Constitution and Bill of Rights stand for too much to hand over the country to those who would replace those documents with dilbertesque corporate mission statements.

No man is an island, it is said, but my wife and I represent an island of liberalism in a sea of worshippers at the golden trough of neocon slop. We try forge ahead as friends’ and relatives’ regard for us changes from acceptance into undisguised derision, because of our audacious claim of the right to express an opinion.

So here I am. I hope to expand upon my ideas and offer opinions on everyday realities. Thanks for listening, I hope you'll return here.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hello, Big Picture

It's pronounced "Shea N C." Simple enough when you know how. This is my eMind, and welcome to it.

Desperate times call for increased self expression. I'll populate this space with the results of bioelectrochemical processes as often as possible. As long as it can last. I see the big picture, and I want to scribble little bits on it here and there. It's not like it hasn't been defaced already.