Anti-Bush despite my dream in which I was Laura Bush and loved George and was so grateful to him for making me the First Lady that - although I knew he was really doing a bad job - I decided I was going to work for his re-election because being the First Lady was so much fun and I sure didn't want to give it up...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reality: Hillary Doesn't Have The Votes

I haven't posted on this blog for nearly a year.

Frankly, I felt: what was the point? I was getting heckled by wing-nuts with only the occasional kudo, and those were mostly ingenuous comments left by people wanting to leave links to their sites in my comments section in order to promote their businesses.

So why bother?

But the long slog of 117 million taxpayers coming to some kind of realization about how the country operates these days and what it means to have robber baron Republicans in the White House seems to be dawning. Hence the excitement over Barack Obama.

But - again - I see too many divisive comments a la the "I would have voted for Hillary, but now I'm voting for McCain" variety so that my despair over the future of this country has not yet lifted.

Yet, don't get me wrong. I'm doing okay. I am busy and happier with my own life than I've been for years. In fact, there seems to have been a reversal. I'm now ike everyone else was six to eight years ago when I tried to raise the alarm among friends about the vipers in the administration. Ha! I was spitting in the wind and left in the dust.

But times have changed. My ideas are no longer so easily dismissed. In fact, many Americans have come to the same conclusions about how toxic Bush et al has been for the nation.

And what about all those Republicans who switched coats, abandoned the president yesterday and helped democrats override his veto on the farm bill? They know which way the wind is blowing. . .

Did you read the reason why Bush vetoed it? It's hilarious. Typical NewSpeak. He says he vetoed it because it did not go far enough in eliminating subsidies for millionaire "gentlemen" farmers (who never grow anything but get paid to have homes out in the country where they can have horses for their kids.)

Right. No, Bush, we know you vetoed it because 1) the farm bill gives more nutritional aid to poor kids and 2) some of your rich buddies in Texas are no longer going to get their farm subsidies and they were probably calling you about it.

But I digress.

Back to the Hillary/Barack contest and my original impetus for writing:

On May 13, 2008 I read posts on the New York Times website in regard to an editorial published by George McGovern in which he pled for democrats to unite behind Obama who - even two weeks ago - had the electoral votes to assure him the democratic nomination, no matter what anyone else would have you think.

Yes, 8 days is like six months in Internet time. I'm writing about old news. But let me get it off my chest, would you?

Because I’m still struck by the insults leveled at Mr. McGovern for stating the obvious:

Obama has the electoral votes sewn up to win the nomination, Hillary's chance is OVER, and if the candidates don’t make peace, McCain will win the presidency.

Yes, it's deplorable how Hillary was - virtually - raped by every clever pundit in town, including Maureen Dowd. (Whose biting wit I usually enjoy.)

If Hillary cried, it was an act. If she didn't cry, she was "too cold."

Virulent sexism poisoned the campaign with the result that the woman could not do anything right.

No male candidate could have handled what was done to Hillary and it is a tribute to her immense ability and strength that she stood strong.

So, yes, I believe Hillary “should have” gotten her party’s electoral votes. But she hasn't. Count the votes. Math doesn’t lie. It's over.

So the question is: Do you want the gutting of America to continue under Republican leadership?

Do you want to continue a war that was - make no mistake - started as a business for vested interests?

Do you want no environmental plan, gutted protection laws, mountain top removal mining that’s destroying the Appalachians?

Do you want under-funded public schools and – eventually – only private schools?

Do you want PBS abolished or its integrity eroded?

Do you want the poor to bear the tax burden for running a government that takes from them, but gives nothing?

Do you want there to be only rich and poor, with no middle class?

Do you want rotting infrastructure, falling bridges (like the one in Minnesota) and the continued goosestep march toward privatization?

Do you want the U.S. to be a purely dog-eat-dog country with no compassion, no safety nets, no care for anything, but our own, personal bottom lines?

Would you sacrifice the country and the working poor for your own egoistic bruising because your candidate's chances are over?

Would you choose war within your own party to unity that might actually solve our pressing problems (including our 9 Trillion dollar deficit which represents over $80,000 in money due from each of 117 million taxpayers?)

Because it sounded like - from most of the comments I read – that the answer is, “Yes. Yes, I do.”

So be it.

Insist your candidate slug it out to the end instead of returning to the Senate as the most powerful female force for change on the planet who, under a democratic administration, could make very good things happen.

Insist you’re doing it “on principle.”

The party - and the country - you will help destroy will be your own.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The "Radical Wrong's" Philosophy: Punishment

An Ohio inmate who brought an issue of astonishing unfairness to the Supreme Court - so it could make things right - has learned that punishment has replaced fairness as a part of our highest court's agenda.

A lower court told Keith Bowles that he had until Feb. 27 to appeal his conviction. He filed the appeal on Feb. 26, and was ready to argue why he was wrongly convicted. But it turned out the district court made a mistake. The appeal should have been filed by Feb. 24.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States, now skewed with radical right-wing appointees, has given this logic - worthy of the Queen's in Alice In Wonderland - its stamp of approval.

What should have been a no-brainer decision to correct an injustice based upon a trivial clerical mistake has, instead, emerged as proof that whatever the radical right does, its actions are based in a philosophy of punishment.

It's time to realize that the mean spirited infliction of punishment has become an embedded American value. So, how long until we revisit our Puritan heritage of throwing sinners into the stocks, forcing them to remain in uncomfortable positions for hours and hours at a time in-between torturing them?

Oh, that's right. I forgot. We just call that Guantanamo now.

Seriously - the philosophy of punishment is the basis of the Radical Wrong's politics. Look at the issues:

Denial of Global Warming - the Radical Wrong has been fighting the truth on this issue for decades. Why? From the perspective of the Religious Wrong the sooner the "the end times" come - and punishes all of us for our selfish, consuming ways - the better. We all "deserve" punishment anyway - just for being born - because we are "born as sinners."

Yet the secular, profiteering branch of the Radical Wrong also relies on punishment, but for different reasons. Corporate supporters - who have never been opposed to using a big stick to smash poor people down, punishing them lest they get too uppity and want a share of the profits - have sown the belief that poverty itself is not punishing enough, but is deserving of further collective punishment through deepening.

So who cares if the poor don't have water and die like flies?

If you look around at the policies being promoted by the Radical Wrong, you quickly see that, if you are poor, you are judged unfit to live.

Punishing the poor for being poor has been programmed into us as an "American value" by Republicans for the last sixty years, as revenge for The New Deal.

Denial of Health Care - You remember, surely, why Hillary Clinton was originally demonized? She wanted the men, women and children of America to have access to doctors and medical treatment. That was her big "sin." That's what got her branded as "crazy."

Imagine, wanting the sick kids pf the working poor to have health care. What an insane idea. To paraphrase Scrooge: Are there no workhouses? Let them die, for it will reduce the surplus population.

Hillary didn't want kids - or any American - to suffer and die needlessly.

But the Radical Wrong loves punishment. And they heaped it - and are still heaping it - on Hillary's head in retribution for challenging their heartlessness.

The Rape of Mother Earth - So who cares if Mother Earth has given us a home and nurtured us? According to the Radical Wrong, it's okay to rape your mother if there's a buck in it.

They are thrilled to blow the tops off mountains, so that streams, communities, and ecosystems alike are destroyed, and seem oblivious to our steady gallows march toward killing every other animal in the world.

The proof? Bush changed 90% of environmental laws so there's more lead in the air and more mercury in the water. No doubt the Radical Wrong seeks to punish us - the impudent non-rich - as well as other "lower animals" for breathing and taking up space where condos could be built - and perhaps even for not having opposable thumbs.

Anti-Gay Rights - How dare gays aspire to be happy? How dare they want lasting relationships and families? The Radical Wrong believes they deserve to be punished.

Yet you can almost understand this one when you consider that, from an insecure, frightened woman's perspective, it's a no-brainer as to whon to hate. Male homosexuals often are better looking and offer more frequent - and exotic - sexual favors for their partners than up-tight heterosexual women.

Well, what woman wants competition like that which puts her at such a disadvantage?

Really - I sympathize. It must be hell for the ugly to average-looking woman - who has already been told by our youth driven culture that she doesn't cut it - to realize that she not only has to compete with other women for a male partner, but that she has to compete with better looking males.

And for insecure, testosterone drive men - who refuse to acknowledge that they have an inner female - they'd rather bash heads than get in touch with their own feelings.

Who can blame them? After all, it's so much quicker.

Thus they "dis" every man who exhibits feelings and sensitivity - and a different sexual preference - as "unnatural." {Right. Homosexuality's been with us since the species began, but it's "unnatural.")

It's all part of the old story. When people are threatened, they like to dole out punishment to those by whom they feel threatened.

That is, after all, what got Jesus crucified.

Those who threaten a person's sense of his or her own self, values, morality, ethics, life style and - yes - sexuality will be punished by those scared of their own selves. Yet - and here's the rub - it's always projection, and of the person's own shadow. And who brings up issues of sexual identity faster than a homosexual?

Naturally, if you don't want to deal with your own issues - your own lack of love for yourself, your own sexual fears, your own self-doubts - then you'll punish everyone - and anyone - who brings up things you just don't want to deal with in yourself.

Iraq - Pure punishment heaped upon Saddam - and the Middle-East - for controlling the oil wanted by western oil corporations. Despite the rhetoric, this wasn't revenge for 9/11 because neither Iraq nor Saddam had anything to do with this "New Pearl Harbor."

Instead, 9/11 was an excuse - welcomed by the Radical Wrong - to channel America's entire economy toward feeding the maw of corporate America, to include Halliburton and global arms manufacturers.

The irony here, of course, is that it's no longer just the Middle-East that's being punished. Ask the families of the soldiers who have been killed and maimed. Ask them if they feel blessed or punished by the war.

Anti-abortion movement: not so much a "right to life" movement (since the mother's life is expendable and anti-abortionists tend to be in favor of the death penalty) this is revenge for the women's movement, revenge against the audacity of women controlling their own reproductive lives.

Those who would decide their own fates by using birth control and, yes, abortion - if they cannot tolerate the idea of sacrificing their own lives to pregnancy and parenthood - are shamed and manipulated with punishing strategies.

Remember, the practice was to bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors, but being outright terrorists has become less practical for those who want to punish others since they began to be sued in civil court for damages and found themselves bankrupted.

Yet, more than punishing women for the right to choose to have a child or not, the movement embodies a principle of punishing others for thinking, for raising awareness that the world is already overpopulated and that, to have a child, may well be an irresponsible act that threatens habitats, people and animals that already exist.

Regardless of the realities of living in a finite space, on a finite planet with a finite amount of soil and natural resources, we still have an expansionist policy promoted by those who seek to promote religious and corporation interests.

Popes have always wanted more Catholics in order to amass even more power and money. Is it co-incidence that their religious dogma (which the Church has had no scruple in changing over the years when changes suited its agenda) would punish those who would promote a decreased or stable population?

Since their power is likely to diminish with a declining Catholic population, does it not make sense that shaming and threats of excommunication for the use of contraception or abortion might simply - as crude as it sounds or as disguised as it might be behind lofty words - be part of the business plan?

Corporations are always looking for more and more consumers - and more and more growth no matter how unsustainable and impossible that is the long run.

Yet stock market profits depend on the illusion that growth can continue forever without coming up against a wall.

Large corporations have funded the Republican party - and thus fueled the culture wars so a global movement doesn't actually gain enough power to achieve economic equality and policies of sustainability. This, in itself, is punishment enough in that people are spending their lives hating and arguing with each other over political abstractions instead of learning how to compromise and live in harmony.

Worse, megacorporations have a history of punishing the poor with everything from funding anti-worker armies in third worlds to making the collection of rainwater illegal, as Bechtel did in Peru.

Bottom line, if you examine all the issues raised and promoted by the radical "right" - which is more correctly named the Radical Wrong - it becomes evident that punishment is the connecting factor.

It is punishment that guides this wrong-wing government as a guiding principle, and which translates to an utter lack of regard for the lives and rights and suffering of not only the people that it governs, but the people of the world.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

1/3 of Female Troops Victimized

According to a story by the AP, a soldier who filed for conscientious objector status, Robert Zabala, "...said he was troubled during boot camp in 2003 when a fellow recruit committed suicide and a superior used profanities to belittle the recruit. Zabala said he was "abhorred by the blood lust (the superior) seemed to possess," according to a 2006 court petition for conscientious-objector status."

"Another boot camp instructor showed recruits a "motivational clip" showing Iraqi corpses, explosions, gun fights and rockets set to a heavy metal song that included the lyrics, "Let the bodies hit the floor," the petition said. Zabala said he cried, while other recruits nodded their heads in time with the beat."

This is the inhumanity - the perpetrator mentality - that is cultivated to fight the war in Iraq. God help us - and these guys - when they all come home with no one to kill. Killing is probably the ultimate high for those who "enjoy" it.

Certainly the high alert under which they all live is the ultimate stimulus for the human nervous system and withdrawal symptoms from that "stimulus" - not to mention post traumatic stress syndrome - will make it difficult for all who fought in Iraq to adjust to peace.

As for women soldiers, add this on to their psychological burden: nearly 1/3 of females troops have been victims of rape or attempted rape by male American troops. Some have died of dehydration rather than risk venturing out of their barracks for water at night.

Rape of female troops is the ugliest elephant in the room that no one bothers to mention.

This debacle has gone on too long and has decimated too many lives. Just bring the troops home.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ex-Aide Says He’s Lost Faith in Bush

There may be a temptation to sneer at Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd for his "born again" ideas about creating a political campaign that "appeals to more than 51% of the people" and his statement, now that his enlisted son is going to Iraq, in which he says he feels "a calling of trying to re-establish a level of gentleness in the world."

Surely many are thinking that his loss of faith in President Bush comes a bit late considering the nation has been decimated by partisan politics and destructive leadership for over six years.

So what did it take for this about face?

A few personal tragedies and the probably that his own son will, at the very least, be traumatized by what he experiences in Iraq, if not mutilated or killed there. This combination of personal events has managed to wake him up to the callous inhumanity he helped foist upon us and the world.

But, at least, he has seen the light.

Unlike Karl Rove or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Bush himself, not to mention the multitude of the selfish and the brain dead who remain encrusted in the Bush camp, he has seen that things have gone downhill very fast and that the nation is hemorrhaging as a result of the Republican agenda.

In truth, the mishmash of ideologies which the American public was sold as a patriotic and conservative "platform" proved to be a schizophrenic misanthrope - something that has worked to divide citizen against citizen even as it has indebted us beyond belief, shackled us like slaves to corporate desire, worked to eliminate institutions and agencies created for the public good such as public schools, social security, PBS and FEMA, enmeshed us in an unwinnable war and continues to destroy our dollar.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have increased the size of government, spied upon us, shredded our Constitution and put us on Amnesty International's list of nations that employ torture.

Of course we know that the list of all Bush has wreaked upon us goes on and on and on, not the least of which is the 90% of our environmental regulations that have been changed - with just a flourish of Bush's pen - with just one result being the ongoing destruction of the Appalachian Mountains and, so far, about 1000 miles of streams below them.

Forget the increase in the amount of mercury that is being released in the air which has resulted in warnings that most of our fish are too toxic to eat.

Maybe, in the final analysis, Bush will prove to have been the disease that almost killed us, but which woke us up to how we better start living our lives and running our politics.

Raise a glass with me in sincere hope that Matthew Dowd will not be the first, nor the last Republican strategist to decide that dividing the nation to win an election, for the purpose of plundering the nation, isn't quite all it's cracked up to be.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Does Globalization Really Mean?

From an article by the international Trades Union Congress:

"Globalisation is a term that is frequently used but seldom defined. It refers to the rapid increase in the share of economic activity taking place across national boundaries. This goes beyond the international trade in goods and includes the way those goods are produced, the delivery and sale of services, and the movement of capital."

Is that good or bad?

"Globalisation can be a force for good. It has the potential to generate wealth and improve living standards. But it isn't doing that very well at the moment. The benefits from increased trade, investment, and technological innovation are not fairly distributed.

The experience of the international trade union movement suggests that the reality for the majority of the world's population is that things are getting worse.

Globalisation as we know it is increasing the gap between rich and poor. This is because the policies that drive the globalisation process are largely focused on the needs of business.

The relentless drive to remove trade barriers, promote privatisation, and reduce regulation (including legal protection for workers), has had a negative impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.

In addition, many of the poorer countries have been pressured to orientate their economies towards producing exports and to reduce already inadequate spending on public services such as health and education so that they can repay their foreign debt. This has forced even more people into a life of poverty and uncertainty."

The article states that, although globalization is being promoted as some inevitable force, the truth is that governments are making the rules that allow globalization, in its current exploitative form, to grow so it infects every transaction on the globe.

Globalization could be a good thing, but under current laws, it is not.

But laws can be changed.

E-mail the link above to your representatives. Ask that the laws governing globalization be made fairer so that they do not further impoverish the poor of the world. And watch who you do business with. Shop free trade whenever you can. Compose a short letter based upon the article above and, once a week or once a month pick out one of the companies whose products you buy and send a personalized copy of your letter to that company.

If we let corporations abuse the most vulnerable and powerless in the world, it won't be long before those same corporations reduce our standards of living. In fact, we are seeing the results of their actions now.

Remember, we're all linked. Ultimately, what happens to one of us must affect all of us.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Get Involved In Your Local Party

Here's a joke most of us have heard, in which the two main political parties in this country are, cynically, compared:

The Republican party screws you.

The Democratic party screws you, but tells you it loves you first.

I am concerned about the rhetoric being thrown around by young (and, yes, passionate) voters who are just discovering that Democratic Congresses and Presidents have supported wars and the same kind of human rights violations in Third World Countries as have their Republican counterparts. They are criticizing the Democrats mercilessly even as they are trying to get the Republicans out of office.

While they have a valid point and, in a quick and dirty comparison, the two parties can seem very much the same, their philosophies - and their current platforms - are very different.

Certainly if you care about domestic issues and the betterment of the U.S. as a whole, then a careful scrutiny will show you that the Republican party is, by far, the worst of the two.

The GOP is for the privatization of virtually everything and seems to make profit its sole measure for action. Thus its work to enhance corporate profits translates into the elimination of good jobs, social security, public television, environmental regulations and so forth.

Republicans don't support unions and have lulled the middle class into believing unions are, somehow, bad. It doesn't believe in equal rights and has done its best to ignite a backlash among white males against helping anyone who is disadvantaged. It certainly has fought women's rights by calling women who simply want equal pay and equal opportunity "femi-nazis" (one of Rush Limbaugh's favorite terms.) Yes, God forbid corporations should have to pay women equal wages. Also, let us not forget that the "Republican Wrong" continues to fight all effots to recognize climate change an issue or promote any kind of conservation.

Sadly, even the Christian Wrong, which was, at long last, about to get something right by championing responsible stewardship of the earth, has now sent out a message to the faithful to shut up about climate change.

Here's a Times Select article on the issue.

In 2000, just after Bush was elected, I happened to sit near some influential democratic campaign planners while waiting for a film to begin in a theater in St. Petersburg, Florida. I overheard their conversation and asked a question. During that brief conversation we had, one of the strategists told me "Bush will ruin this country."

I laughed and said one man couldn't ruin a country this big. They all just smiled. They knew I had no idea what I was talking about and that I would see they were right. That's because Bush is just the apex of a vast army of powerful policy makers. He is the leader of an army of rich and influential people who want - and can pay - to assure the U.S. follows the course they want, which is to give them unfettered ability to tap markets and exploit everyone and everything for profit. They tell Americans that this gives them a high standard of living, but they work tirelessly to keep the extra profits for themselves.

Obviously, the democrats I spoke with were right. With trillions in debt, habeas corpus suspended, torture justified, 90% of environmental protections rolled back & the government justifying everything it does based upon an unwinnable "war on terror," the nation is in dreadful shape.

The list of changes the Bush administration has made to this nation is huge and growing in regard to how the country is being turned back from the progressive progress we had made toward social justice and moral issues.

But let me go back to the biggest strike against the democratic party according to the perceptions of young voters: the democrats support wars.

Anyone who criticizes the democrats for supporting wars in the past has to realize that the U.S. is an imperialist country, with an imperialist doctrine at its core. In other words, the U.S. has wages war as a strategy to advance its agendas. In fact, the U.S. has been waging war in some country, somewhere, to advance corporate and strategic interests, in every year since WWII.

The democrats have, for the last sixty years, simply reflected the goals built into our national plan; the most basic tenets that the country has adopted. The U.S. was built on slavery, built on military aggression and expansionism. It is the philosophy of the country as a whole, and the psychology of its populace, that supports these actions. Therefore, in order to get elected, both parties adopt a hawkish attitude to get votes or risk being branded as "weak" on defense and patriotism.

The problem is not with the parties, per se, but with the mindset of the people in our nation.

The fact is, that a nation gets the leaders it deserves. Just as Germany got Hitler, we have gotten Bush. If we got him due to ignorance as to what he stood for, that is no excuse. As they say: "Ignorance is no excuse under the law."

The least productive thing any voter can do is to say the two parties are the same. This discourages voting. The rich who want to keep the Republicans in power are going to vote.

The poor who think that the parties are the same will not bother to vote. Certainly they see that the Republican party could care less about their needs. If they believe that the Democrats are the same, then what is their motivation to vote?

In fact, that belief, is the reason we have George Bush at the helm. If the poor had voted in their own interests, he would never have been elected.

But they didn't vote. Yet that is normal. We had something like a 49% turn out rate in this country during federal elections, which virtually assures that the rich stay in power and get richer while the poor (and now, surprise, surprise the middle class) is getting poorer.

Ironically, the middle-class votes for the Republicans because they want to have more money and tend to identify with the concerns of wealthy people more than those of the poor. And, because nothing is done about violence and guns, they don't feel safe, so they vote for law and order candidate which misses the point. Handguns are what makes America unsafe.

But Republicans have convinced people otherwise. And since they have more money, more think-tanks, more ads and more effective spin, they have an advantage beause, unfortunately, most people make their voting decisions based upon very little information. Sound bites tend to determine an election and the Republican machine is a master at creating them.

People tend to vote based upon fear rather than hope. Since the Republicans are masters at generating fear of taxes, change, civil rights, loose morals, etc., they have a real psychological advantage in ad preparation

So, to all those who would see real change in this country, I would give this advice:

The difference between the parties must be first emphasized and then expanded upon.

There are big differences and if people want the differences to be even greater, then they must work to raise consciousness both outside and inside the party itself.

Because until the consciousness of the country starts to shift away from arrogance and "might makes right," and heads toward cooperation and peaceful co-existence, the party that gains power will reflect the consciousness of the majority of American people who, you will remember, were very gung-ho to go to war against Iraq.

So - if you really want to see change, don't just criticize from the outside, but get involved inside the party itself at the local level. Join your county's democratic party. Be a peacemaker. Create goals for what you want your country and your party to stand for (justice, peace, education, human rights) and work for them. Either that or join the Green Party or some party you can support.

Also, check out:

Dennis Kucinich (a democrat) and Marianne Williamson are working to establish a U.S. Department of Peace. It's the responsibility of each of us to decide to become part of the solution. If we don't, we are just going to keep getting more of the same.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

America Needs Citizen Leaders

Bob Herbert wrote an elegant and accurate piece on the lack of leadership in this country. Entitled Long On Rhetoric, Short On Sorrow it really hits home not only on the bankruptcy of Bush politics, but on the timidity of Democrats in speaking up and forging radically different and necessary policy.

Admittedly, Senator Webb's response was a bright spot after the president's dismal "business as usual" State of the Union speech.

But Webb is only one man of moderate opinions, whereas we need a nation full of vocal activists. It will take a national movement to reclaim our higher ideals and create real solutions in regard to Global Warming, energy independence, restoring the financial strength of the middle class, alleviating the poverty of fifty million Americans, effecting election reform and restructuring corporate law so that we may stem the tide of corporatism and the threat of fascism (the merging of corporate and government power) which, if this merger continues unchecked, will control every aspect of our lives including ownership of our DNA.

Mr. Herbert suggests that the empty hole in our nation - which should be filled by educated, intelligent, enlightened and socially progressive leaders - must now be filled by her citizens. He believes each citizen must now rise to the occasion, get involved, become informed, run for local office, etc.

I agree that we lack leadership and that it is past time for the average citizen to educate him or herself and take the reins.

Yet, given our national addiction to escapist entertainment of all kinds - television, pornography, alcohol, gambling, shopping and video games - I'm not sure we have the time to devote to politics. After all, was it not our topsy-turvy priorities that allowed a man like George Bush to be elected?

The fact is that, as an electorate, we prefer to be convinced by sound bites instead of facts and prefer the immediate satisfaction of attacking science as opposed to the sustained effort needed to understand it.

Likewise, instead of thoroughly researching the positions of candidates and contemplating the gray areas of issues, we prefer quick and easy, black and white answers such as "voting makes no difference."

Why? Because becoming well-informed takes so much time. Because it is so humbling - and makes us feel so insecure - to realize our deficiencies in critical thinking. It can feel overwhelming when we first begin to sort through the enormous amounts of information (and misinformation) that abound and determine the truth about a person or an issue.

Yet developing critical thinking - being able to separate allegation from truth and supposition from fact, and then acting through our knowledge to bring about the highest good - this is what growing up is all about.

America is, sadly, a nation filled with adult children who refuse to grow up.

A growing percentage of our younger citizens - predominantly males - are remaining in adolescence far beyond their twenties or thirties. Many are living at home, have never had what we consider a "real" job and spend their lives in imaginary worlds such as those created by video games. They do not take responsibility for their familes or the fate of their nation, much less the world. Yet this is not just an American phenomena. Rehab centers for video games addicts – mostly males – are popping up all over Europe.

I suppose we can blame corporations for moving jobs overseas so "real" jobs don't exist. We can also blame corporations for creating all these "entertainment" distractions for ourselves and our youth. We can certainly blame the corporations that control media for “dumbing down” our nation and misinforming us but, really, that will hardly help us in the long run.

We must understand that the buck stops with each of us, with the choices each person and each family makes. It is our responsibility to understand when we are being manipulated, betrayed and sold down the river, and to object.

It is our responsibility to realize that injustice anywhere is, as Martin Luther King said, “a threat to justice anywhere.” If we are unwilling to look up long enough to see the big picture, if we insist on remaining narcissistic, if we prefer apathy and cynicism, well, as the saying goes: a nation gets the leaders it deserves.

It seems to be a characteristic of Americans that we seek to be entertained above all else. Contrast this with the idea that being an adult means – above all - taking political and moral responsibility for one's family, nation and the state of world.

The tale is told in this statistic: only 41% of us bother to vote. Within this group is the 5% that controls the wealth of this nation and which votes to maintain its own political power. Aided by religious fundamentalists (who vote in droves for socially oppressive policies) and upper class wannabes, this group of voters - approximately 21% of those eligible to vote - has worked to elect Republicans who have implemented extreme political and economic policies that oppress the poor (not just in the U.S. but around the world), extol imperialism, create war, erode civil liberties and contribute to the degradation of the planet.

20% vote against these policies.

The other 59% who do not vote - many of whom are poor and disadvantaged - may well be noticing that that their quality of life is deteriorating even futher and may be disgusted. But unless significant numbers of them are ready to rise up out of indifference to make a difference in the real world, then nothing much is going to change for the better.

To educate oneself about what is going on takes time and effort, the reward for which comes in the long, not the short term.

Can the majority of Americans change from short term to long term thinking? Mr. Herbert thinks so. I hope he's right, otherwise those who insist on escaping from the pain of responsibility now will be caught - along with the rest of us - by the pain of consequences yet to come.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush: Still In A Dangerous Fog

Anyone want a peace sticker?

How about this one, specifically for Iraq?

Nice thought, but it's a bit late for that second one. Frankly, I don't see where peace was ever on the Bush/Cheney drawing board.

The New York Times published an editorial, finally, that pulls no punches.

The Real Disaster states what is likely the truth: there is no disaster to be avoided in Iraq by withdrawing because Iraq is already a disaster.

It's Bush's disaster (and Cheney's and Rumsfeld's and Rice's and Wolfowitz's, et all as well, but since the President sold the country on it, it is primarily his failure) and he is not going to make it better by menacing Syria and Iran.

I hope we - and Congress - have learned that Bush has no concept of the Pandora's Box he unleashes when going with his "judgment."

Case in point: having failed in Iraq, please tell me how sending U.S. troops over the borders of Iran and Syria in search of "terrorists" - essentially invading Iran and Syria - is going to lead to anything but confrontations with both those countries and a dangerous escalation of this war?

Just as the U.S. invaded Cambodia as an excuse to protect servicemen in Vietnam, now Bush is going to justify invading Iran and Syria as part of the war in Iraq.

Do you ever wonder if Bush isn't one of those "born agains" who are hoping for the 'second coming' and actively trying to create doomsday? That might explain his fiasco of a foreign policy.

And, yes, accuse me of hyperbole, but isn't invading when you're losing what Hitler did? These kinds of doomed policies are usually the brainchildren of megalomaniacs and fascists.

For those who have not seen The Fog of War, the film interview of Robert McNamara who served as Secretary of Defense under JFK and LBJ, rent it. A must see, it's an education in which he shares the lessons he learned.

Meanwhile, here's another eye opener. David Brooks, who usually writes editorials (at least the ones I've read) criticizing Democrats, defending Bush and supporting the War In Iraq has now reached that place where so many of us have been for so long.

He is perplexed by Bush. He says Bush's new plan makes no sense and the President is being dishonest and unclear.

For him to come out with this analysis of Bush's "plan" is telling.

The truth is, Bush is playing "Calvinball." He's always made it up as he went, while spinning and lying about it, as has Cheney, as did Rumsfeld. Too bad people die as a result.

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel appeared on Charlie Rose tonight and said Bush has "squandered" another opportunity. (What else is new?) He had the opportunity to start over with the recommendations from the bi-partisan committee, unite the nation and bring this thing to an end.

But Bush doesn't want to bring it to an end. He's still itching to attack Iran and Syria. He's like General Curtis LeMay. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, LeMay wanted to attack Cuba even if it meant nuclear warheads would be fired at the U.S. and some of our cities destroyed.

Bush, with his plans to invade Syria and Iran even as our army is being destroyed in Iraq seems to have the same mentality.

But who really expected such a black and white thinker like Bush - who is insulated and supremely stubborn - to do anything different?

Not I. How about you?

Here are excerpts from David Brook's Times Select column:

January 11, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

The Fog Over Iraq

"The Democrats have been fecund with criticisms of the war, but when it comes to alternative proposals, a common approach is social Darwinism on stilts: We failed them, now they’re on their own."

[Note: I find it incongruous that Brooks is criticizing social Darwinism. I thought one had to subscribe to that ideology to even be a Republican.]

"So we are stuck with the Bush proposal as the only serious plan on offer. The question is, what exactly did President Bush propose last night? The policy rollout has been befogged by so much spin and misdirection it’s nearly impossible to figure out what the president is proposing.

Nonetheless, here’s my reconstruction of how this policy evolved:

On Nov. 30, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki presented Bush with a new security plan for Baghdad. It called for U.S. troops to move out of Baghdad to the periphery, where they would chase down Sunni terrorists. Iraqi Shiite and Kurdish troops, meanwhile, would flood into the city to establish order, at least as they define it.

Maliki essentially wanted the American troops protecting his flank but out of his hair. He didn’t want U.S. soldiers embedded with his own. He didn’t want American generals hovering over his shoulder. His government didn’t want any restraints on Shiite might.

Over the next weeks, Bush rejected the plan and opted for the opposite approach. Instead of handing counterinsurgency over to the Iraqis/Shiites, he decided to throw roughly 20,000 U.S. troops — everything he had available — into Baghdad. He and his advisers negotiated new rules of engagement to make it easier to go after Shiites as well as Sunnis. He selected two aggressive counterinsurgency commanders, David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno, to lead the effort. Odierno recently told John Burns of The Times that American forces would remain in cleared areas of Baghdad “24/7,” suggesting a heavy U.S. presence.

Then came the job of selling the plan. The administration could not go before the world and say that the president had decided to overrule the sovereign nation of Iraq. Officials could not tell wavering Republicans that the president was proposing a heavy, U.S.-led approach.

Thus, administration officials are saying that they have adopted the Maliki plan, just with a few minor tweaks. In briefings and in the president’s speech, officials claimed that this was an Iraqi-designed plan, that Iraqi troops would take on all the primary roles in clearing and holding neighborhoods, that Iraqis in mixed neighborhoods would scarcely see any additional Americans.

All of this is designed to soothe the wounded pride of the Maliki government, and to make the U.S. offensive seem less arduous at home. It’s the opposite of the truth.

Yesterday, administration officials were praising Maliki lavishly. He wants the same things we want, they claimed. He has resolved to lead a nonsectarian government. He is reworking his governing coalitions and marginalizing the extremists. “We’ve seen the nascent rise of a moderate political bloc,” one senior administration official said yesterday.

But the selling of the plan illustrates that this is not the whole story. The Iraqi government wants a unified non-sectarian solution in high-minded statements and in some distant, ideal world. But in the short term, and in the deepest reptilian folds of their brains, the Shiites are maneuvering amid the sectarian bloodbath all around.

This is not a function of the character of Maliki or this or that official. It’s a function of the core dynamic now afflicting Iraqi society.

The enemy in Iraq is not some discrete group of killers. It’s the maelstrom of violence and hatred that infects every institution, including the government and the military. Instead of facing up to this core reality, the Bush administration has papered it over with salesmanship and spin.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

On Tasting Saddam's Blood

Saddam Hussein has been hung. The chalice containing his blood is being held to our lips and, at least for this blogger, the taste is acrid.

This has been a day of sober reflection, a day in which my American soul felt sick with shame over what has been done in my name. There was no energy in my step as I walked while wondering: Who believes this one death was worth the destruction of an entire nation?

Who believes it was worth the life of Abir al-Janabi, the young girl who was gang raped and killed by U.S. troops? Was the horror she endured - was her life or the lives of her family members - worth this?

In regard to the impact on U.S. families: Who believes that securing this one death was worth the deaths of 3000 and the maiming of 22,000 [and some say 40,000] recruits?

My god, I hope the answer is not many; not many believe this single dismal end justifies the pox we have unleashed.

There is one uncomfortable truth that many are expressing: if we would attempt to rid the world of murderers like Saddam Hussein, then none of us can be one.

Yet, that is exactly what this administration has made the U.S. as a nation and each of us by proxy: a mass murderer.

Depending upon whose statistics you believe, between 52,139 and 600,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion. Anyone who thinks atrocities like Haditha or the rape of Abir are isolated incidents is lying to himself, showing ignorance of both statistics and human nature.

Hawks and the "empathy-challenged" are fond of bad-mouthing the compassionate. But they lack the insight to realize what the world would be like if every single compassionate person was eliminated and those who remained were "empathy-free."

That "eye for an eye" strike-first mentality that the fearful, power hungry and rapacious advocate would soon result in universal blindness, if not outright extinction.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Of JD, Nikes, Ipods, RF and... WE WON!

I am delighted that I was WRONG WRONG WRONG! Hooray and yippie! The election was not stolen. There were too many precincts and it would have taken too many frauds to keep Congress in Republican hands. It couldn't have been hidden. Thus - oh joy - the Democrats have the House and Senate.

Let's just work to keep the momentum building through 2008 so we can throw out more of the bums. Once we get a progressive president we can turn this country to solving problems instead of fighting over wedge issues while sitting in the Stone Age.

So does this mean I need to stop being a negative, depressed "Eyore," stop pointing out all the corruption and start focusing on positives?

I suppose so - although we still have problems with apportionment and the way democracy has been subverted by corrupted processes - so please let me have just one more flameout of sarcastic, negative comment that is completely barren of any solutions:

John McCain said that he would "commit suicide" if Democrats took the Senate. I cut him a lot of slack before that but, really, where was the man's mind? Why does he keep supporting a party that, long ago, turned against his most cherished ideals? Yet, at least he has an excuse for being a screwed up authoritarian follower: he was tortured as a prisoner of war.

Okay, okay, I'll quit.

Negativity's addictive you know. That why all those authoritarian Republicans love to hate. When that angry and self-righteous adrenaline surges through your blood, boy-oh-boy it's addictive.

But Republican smear tactics don't work nearly as well when Liberals try them because the tactics are authoritarian by nature and Liberals aren't, typically, authoritarian. (Duh.) So they aren't turned on by that mindset and approach.

If you wonder why not, read John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience. What a great and informative book.

I put off reading it because I thought it would be just another listing of all the corruption and meanspirited dirty tricks Republicans have engaged in since 1994.

I don't need to go over it all again because - trust me - after five years of being glued to the Internet watching this trainwreck of an administration in action, I pretty much know the laundry list of debacles by heart.

But Dean explains the modern Republican psyche in psychological and social terms. He sites a cornucopia of academic studies of the authoritarian personality and puts the puzzle pieces together as to why these people are so - there's no other word for it - nasty.

Now I've said some pretty inflamatory things such as "the new breed of Republican is a mental defective without a heart," but I'm such a lightweight in the nastiness department that it's laughable. Secretly, I don't feel good about saying such things and I'm never out to destroy anyone. Also, I know perfectly well that most readers know the problems backwards and forwards by now and really tire of the hyperbole.

But apparently the authoritarian psyche never does. Also, apparently, they really are not mental defectives (dang I knew that was too simplistic an explanation) but they simply lack self-reflection.

Blinded to their own faults to a more extreme extent than the average person (and let's face it, we're all pretty darned good at ignoring our own warts) Dean says that those authoritarians who can be made to see what they are doing and the psychological reasons why they are doing it are capable of change. A few have experienced a reawakening of conscience and have become human beings again.

So I stand corrected, chastened - and dare I say - a little more optimistic?

But I digress. Get the book out of the library and arm yourself with understanding.

Next time I promise to wax optimistic on our opportunties to solve some of our most critical national problems - solutions apparently exist - but for now I simply must point out these stories:

Mandatory RFID chips in our ID's and in products we purchase may well give us problems similar to this story about nikes, ipods and radio frequencies. I don't think anyone has thought of all the ramifications that radio frequency technology can and will have.

Likewise, hundreds in Colorado cannot open their garage doors thanks to air force transmissions. Of course each homeowner can just get a new opener for around $250 US.


It looks like the government of Iraq is now embracing censorship of the media. Apparently the dangers of being in that country have not quite been sufficient to stop all reporting despite the fact that 107 journalists have died in Iraq since 2003.

It wasn't enough that they've been putting their lives on the line by being there.

Now it looks like they'll be facing jail time if the Iraqi government doesn't like a story it deems "too negative."

Yeah, we invaded Iraq to promote democracy.

And to anyone who still believes that load of horse manure: I have twenty-five million dollars I want to share with you if you'll just give me your bank account and social security numbers. Please note that those with a net savings of less than five thousand dollars need not apply.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Election Will Be Stolen

I've voted via absentee ballot since 2000. I've wanted to make sure, in the event of a recount, that there was a record.

This year I've voted via absentee ballot again, this time, to make sure that some voting machine doesn't switch my vote, as I stand there watching with my mouth hanging open.

That's what happened to a lot of voters during the 2004 election. According to a Rolling Stone article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., they saw their votes for Kerry turn into votes for Bush. These changes were then reflected in the discrepancies between exit polls and the official counts.

Sadly, the networks retracted their initial statements questioning how the official results could differ so much from the exit polls (used by the U.S. to determine if elections in other nations are fair) and announced that the exit polls had to be wrong.

So what do you think the chances are that we are going to see a repeat of that whole debacle next week?

Consider the predictions by Bush, Cheney and other G.O.P. talking heads who are predicting that it's going to be "a good day for Republicans" - despite all the polls projecting otherwise - and that they are going to hang onto Congress.

Another clue: Bush has barely campaigned on behalf of his fellow Republicans.

You may think that's because he's been recognized as an albatross around their necks and they've shunned him.

I don't think that's it. I think he knows he needn't bother to do more than make a cursory show of it.

Otherwise how can he be so confident that Republicans are going to maintain control of the House and Senate, despite all the polls that show they will, at the very least, lose control of the House?

Is it braggadocio?

Is it an effort to convince the public they are unbeatable so people get depressed, stay home and don't vote?

Is it more of BushCo's inability to see reality?

Or do they have the election fixed?

I think the answer is "E" - All of the above.

It's documented that there was a vulnerability in the Diebold machines that could have allowed votes to be tampered with.

If you read the article by Kennedy it becomes shockingly clear that those in power fixed the 2004 election. So why on earth wouldn't they fix this one, given how crucial it is to their maintaining power?

Also, it should be easy. The same voting machine corporations are in charge of the election - which was, basically, privatized in 2004.

Also, given that if this cadre loses control of the government now it may never get it back again, do you think they'll stop at anything to maintain it?

I don't.

Look for exit polls to show Democratic victories while the "official counts" show a razor thin victory by Republicans. They'll have to make it close, if they hope to fool the nation once again into thinking the vote was legitimate.

If the Administration was willing to take us into a war on lies and if - as the evidence overwhelmingly suggests - 9/11 was an inside job, then why on earth would they stop now?

Our only hope is that the technicians in charge of the voting machines will figure out what those chip changes mean and won't go along with them.

But, if the machines are tampered with, then Americans may awaken on November 8th to the realization that our nation bears no resemblance to the America we were all taught to believe in.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

JFK's 9-11 Doodle

This from an article today about Presidential doodles:

"President Kennedy, known for separating his life into compartments, would enclose words and numbers inside circles and boxes. Events long after his death give one doodle an unintended chill: A small circle with the numbers '9-11' contained within. Just to the lower left on the page, the word 'conspiracy' is underlined."

Since the 1980's physicists have postulated that there are not just 3 but 11 dimensions.

Einstein proved that matter is composed of energy and that time and space are malleable, not fixed. The illusion they are both fixed is based upon how we are constructed and perceive.

Today scientists are postulating that we are made of "space-time" and that there is no such thing as "space" as we know it.

This would certainly explain a myriad of unexplained phenomena such as Edgar Cayce's ability to fall into trance and receive information that could heal people - which then healed them.

Bottom line, physics has proved that we live in an energy Universe. Everything is related energetically. Everything breaks down to infinitesimal packets of energy. And if you have missed it: the packets can be in two places at once, appearing in one place and in another simultaneously, without having to get from point A to point B.

Thought is, likewise, an energy.

So did Kennedy's subconscious get a signal? Was his "deeper" and subconscious self trying to alert him to the fact that there was a conspiracy that would kill him and involve the dialing of 9-11?

More than that, was his subconscious tapping simultaneously into something else? Was the Universe pulling a double entrendre and alerting us, even then, about our own 9-11?

Those of you who know what I'm talking about will see this as confirmation of what the evidence points to.

Those of you still based in a material world and who only believe what you see, you think I'm - no wait - you know I'm nuts for bringing this possibility up and will accuse me of "furthering the dumbing down of America."

Sorry, Poppet. That's the risk I have to take in trying to smarten her up.

A word to the wise, Poppet: listen to your intuition. It can cut through lies with amazing accuracy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Annoying Bloggers Equal Felons

Are you an anonymous blogger?

Are you "annoying?"

Well, you can now be charged with a felony.

This is no joke.

In January President Bush signed a bill into law that has the potential to make any anonymous blogger who "annoys" anyone (and the definition of "annoy" is slippery) a felon.

The law, originally intended to punish those who stalk others anonymously via phone calls has morphed into an entirely different beast that now has jurisdiction over Internet communications, blogs and websites.

Considering how this administration uses every means to attain its ends, it is only realistic to face that this legislation could be used to stifle liberal free speech and rant that "annoys" those who still support the Bush regime.

Couple this with Republicans killing Net Neutrality and I'd say that liberal blogs will go the way of India's blogs which were banned from the Internet by India's government.

While India's ban seems to have been reversed, don't count on that happening for U.S. bloggers. Yet, perhaps there is a way around bans. This from refWrite:

The ban on accessing blogspot blogs seems to have brought Pakistani and Indian bloggers a little closer. says “In light of the recent blogspot ban in India, the blogging community in Pakistan would like to present as a gift to the Indian blogging community a small script that can be inserted into their websites which converts all Blogspot links into a URL utilizing the proxy servers of

On another topic, I can't pass this up:

In her July 26th column, Maureen Dowd informs us that 300 garbage collectors have been killed in Iraq in the last six months and gives us this quote from President Bush:

"That's what leaders do..." "They see problems, they address problems, and they lay out a plan to solve the problems."

Ergo, by his own definition, he is not a leader. He doesn't see problems. He manufactures problems. He creates, instead of solves, problems.

Bush is the Unleader.

(And regarding those 300 dead garbage collectors: Can you imagine the hell Iraqis are living in? They live without clean water, food electricity, jobs or security. Bodies are being blown up every day and virtually everyone has lost someone. Yet, that's not enough. With garbage collectors being killed at such an astonishing rate the garbage must be piled high. How do we live with ourselves considering what we have allowed to happen to them in our name?)

BTW, did you notice that Israel stopped bombing Lebanon "in deference" to Condolezza Rice when she was in Beruit? I'm sure someone said: "Hey, if we kill Condi, Bush will be pissed so we better stop bombing and not risk it."

So: what does that mean?

It means that the most effective use of our Secretary of State would be to have her MOVE PERMANENTLY TO BERUIT.

Let her set up permanent residence there where her presence would actually be accomplishing something, for a change.

Another insult added to injury:

Remember the story about Bush using government resources and lawyers to block medical suits brought by persons harmed by pharmaceutical companies?

Just like firing half the IRS lawyers who dealt with the tax returns of the very wealthy in order to circumvent the Estate Tax, fighting the consumer in court is just part of an overall plan to maximize corporate profits and consolidate wealth and power in the hands of the ultra rich.

This from a story by Gardiner Harris:

A 15-month inquiry by a top House Democrat has found that enforcement of the nation's food and drug laws declined sharply during the first five years of the Bush administration.

For instance, the investigation found, the number of warning letters that the Food and Drug Administration issued to drug companies, medical device makers and others dropped 54 percent, to 535 in 2005 from 1,154 in 2000.

The seizure of mislabeled, defective or dangerous products dipped 44 percent, according to the inquiry, pursued by Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee.

The research found no evidence that such declines could be attributed to increased compliance with regulations. Investigators at the F.D.A. continued to uncover about the same number of problems at drug and device companies as before, Mr. Waxman's inquiry found, but top officials of the agency increasingly overruled the investigators' enforcement recommendations.

Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at the watchdog organization Public Citizen, noted that the agency now received about $380 million a year in fees from drug makers.

"The public," Dr. Wolfe said, "is getting the kind of F.D.A. that the industry is paying for them to get."

Want another little gem?

On February 17, 2005 U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer introduced legislation to appeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution which would lift limits and allow a President to serve more than two terms in office.

It hasn't gotten anywhere - yet - but can you imagine if Bush could be elected to a third term?

Steny is a democrat so I don't know what he's thinking - unless he's hoping to resurrect Bill Clinton and get him back in office. Still young, Clinton might be able to bail us out of the incredible mess Bush has created. But it would probably take him about twenty years.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

U.S. And Indian Blogs Censored

The Indian government has blocked all bloggers including

Officials are answering no questions as to why all blogs have been blocked. There is no estimate in regard to when or if blogs will be allowed and freedom of opinion on the Internet restored.

When the New York Times called India's secretary for telecommunications, D. S. Mathur, he hung up the phone.

The Indian government is citing "security" reasons and alluding to the possibility that something in one of the blogs could be used by terrorists. For that they blocked them all.

Tell me this couldn't happen in the United States and I have a bridge you can buy.

Notably, the United States government just fired Christine Axsmith on Monday after C.I.A. officials objected to a message she posted - on an internal blog - that criticized the interrogation technique called "waterboarding.

[This from an anonymous post: "The modern practice of waterboarding involves tying the victim to a board with the head lower than the feet so that he or she is unable to move. A piece of cloth is held tightly over the face, and water is poured onto the cloth. Breathing is extremely difficult and the victim will be in fear of imminent death by asphyxiation."]

In March 2005 J. Porter Goss - the incompetent flack Bush appointed to head the C.I.A. - described waterboarding as a "professional interrogation technique."

Ms. Axsmith expressed the opinion on an interdepartmental C.I.A. blog - not accessible by the public or news media - that "waterboarding is torture and torture is wrong."

She is of the opinion that the majority of C.I.A. employees are against torture. She also believes that if they are allowed to express their frustrations on the blog - since C.I.A. workers are often prohibited from discussing their work (and their opinions about their work) even with other agency officials - they may have less desire to go public with their concerns.

[Imagine not being able to talk about things that bother you at work. That's the pressure employees of the C.I.A. are under.]

"The blogs are a safety valve for people to discuss controversial topics," she said. "It reduces the chances that people may leak to the press."

I'm sure she's sincere in that opinion. However, there is always the possibility that they could realize they are, virtually, of one mind and decide they are not going to be puppets of a government that is acting immorally.

They might unite and rebel and threaten to walk out en mass. What would BushCo do? Fire them all? They might be able to exert power and say: stop the torture or we're walking out; we're going to the media.

After all, these people are highly educated, experienced and they see the inside picture. They know what's going on. They have high morals and no one can question their loyalty. They went into the C.I.A. to protect their country.

Yet all these people are faced with a moral question of how do I keep quiet and how do I allow myself to be used by an immoral administration? Yet they know they have to, not just to keep their jobs but to get any job after they're fired.

Like Ms. Axsmith, they can - acting individually - have their careers and security clearances erased in a nanosecond. That is a horrible dilemna and one, I'm sure, that this government doesn't want them acknowledging or discussing among themselves.

BushCo and his puppets at the C.I.A. want to keep people divided, uncertain, cowed.

Bottom line, these two examples just add evidence to why Net Neutrality is so important. Censorship is just waiting to happen. And once this Bush loving Congress sells us out, telecos will be able to block blogs, news, sites - anything they don't like or which doesn't pay them enough.

By the way, Ms. Axsmith has a public blog here on entitled Econo-Girl.

She says she guesses she has too big a mouth to be affiliated with the C.I.A. I say the mouths of the others are too small.

When we are judged as a nation - as Germany was for the Holocaust - Bush isn't the only one who is going to be held accountable for the war in Iraq, torture, etc. Our entire nation - and all of us - will be indicted by history, that is if there is any history after Global Warming sets in.

Which creates a segueway for the last story.

Bush ordered a change in NASA's mission statement.

He had "to protect and understand our home planet" deleted in order to stop NASA's involvement in gathering information on Global Warming, among other environmental concerns. He obviously intends to continue destroying Earth - and us - full speed ahead.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Friedman: Talking About Us?

Thomas Friedman wrote about the Kidnapping of Democracy in Lebanon and Israel on July 14th, in the New York Times.

A few quotes:

What we are seeing in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon is an effort by Islamist parties to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of Islamizing the Arab-Muslim world.

The tiny militant wing of Hamas today is pulling all the strings of Palestinian politics, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Shiite Islamic party is doing the same in Lebanon...

As a result, the...democracy experiment in the Arab-Muslim world is being hijacked.

Yes, basically free and fair elections were held...[yet] they refuse to be accountable to international law

Then why do parties like Hamas and Hezbollah get elected? Often because they effectively run against the corruption of the old secular state-controlled parties...But once these Islamists are in office they revert to serving their own factional interests, not those of the broad community.

Why don’t the silent majorities punish these elected Islamist parties for working against the real interests of their people? Because those who speak against Hamas or Hezbollah are either delegitimized as “American lackeys’’...

Friedman then laments that the flower of democracy may wither and die in the Mid-East.

Okay, let's back up, this time substituting a few words:

What we are seeing in the U.S. is an effort by Christian extremists to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of changing the U.S. from a secular and religiously tolerant nation to one of Christian fundamentalism.

The...militant Christian right aligned with Republican extremists today are pulling all the strings of American politics...

As a result, the...democracy experiment in the United States is being hijacked.

Yes, basically free and fair elections were held...[yet] the Bush Administration refuses to be accountable to international law...

Then why do parties like the G.O.P. and Grover Norquist's neo-cons get elected? Often because they effectively run against the corruption in government under the secular Democratic party. But once these extremists are in office they revert to serving their own factional interests, not those of the broad community.

Why don’t the silent majorities punish these elected right wing parties for working against the real interests of their people? Because those who speak against the Christian right or the Bush administration are either delegitimized as “liberal lackeys" and lose their jobs or...

My point is this:

What’s happening in Israel and Lebanon is part of a bigger picture, a trend toward backward thinking and aggression. Anyone aware of U.S. politics knows that we in the U.S. are also under the control of an aggressive and hostile minority that has used elections to kidnap democracy.

Let’s review:

Voting districts have been reapportioned by Republicans to include individual streets and houses in order to assure election results. Both of our presidential elections were hijacked, our Constitution is ignored, our populace spied upon and investigations into government’s role subverted.

Protesters have been blocked from protesting, jailed and beaten. Fake news has been generated and widely disseminated at government cost. Legitimate media has been cowed, threatened with lawsuits or bought. A covert CIA operative was exposed in retaliation over her husband’s attempts to tell the truth about government machinations.

Based upon lies and false pretenses, Iraq was attacked and virtually destroyed, with tens of thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of civilians killed as a result. Torture has become U.S. policy. To no one’s surprise, Amnesty International has found the U.S. to be a human rights violator.

Meanwhile, 80% of all environmental regulations have been rolled back and cuts made to all social services. Real progress has been made in drying up funding for public schools, Medicare, the VA and PBS. Every law and institution, from affirmative action to the National Direct Loan, from the Freedom of Information Act to Social Security, from the EPA to FEMA, (all created to promote democracy, justice and the collective welfare of the American people) has been assaulted if not damaged, dismantled or destroyed.

How could this happen? To quote Friedmann, "…the roots of democracy are so shallow" and our own "moderate majorities so weak and intimidated that we are getting the worst of all worlds" right here in the United States.

Witness our domestic policies, national debt, outsourced jobs, shrinking American dream, gutted social services, lack of health care, abandoned poor, etc.

Friedmann asks: "So why did this party get elected?...Why don’t the silent majorities punish these elected...parties for working against the real interests of their people?”

Although he asks this about the Israelis and Lebanese, he could, as easily, ask the same questions about the American people.

It’s time to face that Americans have wanted simple answers and simpler politicians. We have allowed our ideals to be sold out from under us in exchange for cheap goods at Wal-Mart. Now our youth is exchanging their intellects for an expanded choice of cell phones.

Truth be told, we find it all too convenient to shop for politicians as we do for consumer goods — looking at the ads — and lumping all government corruption together with the intellectually lazy claim that the parties are “all alike.”

The parties are not alike. And anyone who seriously bothered to research George Bush's record along with the Republican agenda could have predicted the destruction visited upon us by this administration. Yet most Americans didn’t. They preferred voting for a man who made the world seem simple.

His message was, basically: “Us right, them wrong. Cut taxes. Grog be okay.”

Well, the super rich are okay, but the country isn't doing so well.

By surrendering our responsibility to read, analyze, think logically and turn our attention from entertainment to reality, Americans have allowed their government to be hijacked by billionaires, corporate lobbyists, the religious wrong and warmongers.

Unaware that we are being swung toward fascism and feudalism, we are sinking into the morass from which we once fought to escape: primitive thinking. So given that this is happening to us, can we really expect Israel and Lebanon to overcome what we cannot?

One thing's for certain: we in the U.S. no longer have the credibility to preach at others - with any effectiveness - or convince them to embrace democracy. After all, we’ve virtually discarded ours.

Frankly, I think this is a worldwide trend and, based upon how democracy is withering in the U.S., there's zero hope that democracy will take root in the Middle-East. At best, with super human effort, we Americans might realize we need to resurrect it here at home.

Monday, July 03, 2006

4th Of July

July 4th is the anniversary of the birth of our nation, a nation founded on principles of justice, equality and freedom.

Yet, as we prepare to celebrate - if we are honest - we must admit that our nation has strayed from these principles. If you want to know how far, consider that 77% of the people in Great Britain - one of our staunchest allies - have a very bad opinion of us and "...disagree with the statement that the US is 'a beacon of hope for the world'".

"A massive 83 percent of those questioned said that the United States doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks. More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination. And 81 per cent of those who took a view said President George W Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of American self-interests."

Although it is, generally, unreported by corporate media, more and more people we respect are speaking up about what has happened - and is happening - to our national character and values. Yet we don't hear about it.

For instance, NBA player Etan Thomas of the Washington Wizards delivered an impassioned speech to 30,000 people on this issue during an anti-war protest in Washington D.C., yet it was never reported in any of our major media outlets or papers, including the Washington Post.

I happen to believe the American people are good people. But we can't make good decisions when the hard information is kept from us. We can't make good decisions when a perpetual war is started to distract us from pressing domestic problems such as the inability of millions to earn a decent wage.

Why does our nation no longer value work? If it did we would respect the immigrants who are performing so much of it.

Why does our nation no longer believe that working at a job should keep a person out of poverty, not trap one inside it?

Why is it out of fashion to talk about a worker being paid a fair wage for a day’s work?

And why is our current federal minimum wage still at $5.15 an hour?

This is a disgraceful pittance, a wage that forces families to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.

A person who works a 40-hour week earns $10,712 for a 52-week year. That's six thousand dollars below the poverty line.

We all know the cost of rent, gas, food, clothing. Could any of us live on just over ten thousand dollars a year? If you have a child, could you care for and raise that child on that amount?

You know the answer.

Therefore, I urge you to support Senator Ted Kennedy’s amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

As the number of Americans living in poverty continues to increase at an alarming rate, now is the time to take action to prevent this desperate spiral of unreasonable choices and despair. Increasing the federal minimum wage is an important step toward slowing the poverty growth rate in America.

Bear in mind that, even as Congress sells out the American people to corporate interests and has received record low approval ratings for doing so, House lawmakers gave themselves a $3,300 pay raise on Tuesday, June 13, 2006, that will increase their salaries to $168,500. They have full medical and dental plus countless perks that a simple working man or woman earning minimum wage never has.

These inequities are not right. Write to your Senators and Congressional Representatives today.

For more on the minimum wage issue, visit Living Wage Campaign.

For more on economic justice issues, such as the inequities in the 2007 Federal budget, the need for labor unions, and the move by 18 billionaires to repeal the estate tax, visit this highly informative Take Action Page.

I've written before that if Americans want a dose of reality then, instead of watching "reality" TV, let them paint their faces brown and go live in the ghetto where they'll never get voted out. Here's an excerpt from the transcript of Etan Thomas' speech regarding the politicians and pundits who dominate the news and are shaping our values and policies today. He says it better than I ever could:

I'd like to take some of these cats on a field trip. I want to get big yellow buses with no air conditioner and no seatbelts and round up Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr., John Ashcroft, Giuliani, Ed Gillespie, Katherine Harris, that little bow-tied Tucker Carlson and any other right-wing conservative Republicans I can think of, and take them all on a trip to the ‘hood. Not to do no 30-minute documentary. I mean, I want to drop them off and leave them there, let them become one with the other side of the tracks, get them four mouths to feed and no welfare, have scare tactics run through them like a laxative, criticizing them for needing assistance.

I’d show them working families that make too much to receive welfare but not enough to make ends meet. I’d employ them with jobs with little security, let them know how it feels to be an employee at will, able to be fired at the drop of a hat. I’d take away their opportunities, then try their children as adults, sending their 13-year-old babies to life in prison. I’d sell them dreams of hopelessness while spoon-feeding their young with a daily dose of inferior education. I’d tell them no child shall be left behind, then take more money out of their schools, tell them to show and prove themselves on standardized exams testing their knowledge on things that they haven’t been taught, and then I’d call them inferior.

I’d soak into their interior notions of endless possibilities. I’d paint pictures of assisted productivity if they only agreed to be all they can be, dress them up with fatigues and boots with promises of pots of gold at the end of rainbows, free education to waste terrain on those who finish their bid. Then I’d close the lid on that barrel of fool’s gold by starting a war, sending their children into the midst of a hostile situation, and while they're worried about their babies being murdered and slain in foreign lands, I’d grace them with the pain of being sick and unable to get medicine.

Give them health benefits that barely cover the common cold. John Q. would become their reality as HMOs introduce them to the world of inferior care, filling their lungs with inadequate air, penny pinching at the expense of patients, doctors practicing medicine in an intricate web of rationing and regulations. Patients wander the maze of managed bureaucracy, costs rise and quality quickly deteriorates, but they say that managed care is cheaper. They’ll say that free choice in medicine will defeat the overall productivity, and as co-payments are steadily rising, I'll make their grandparents have to choose between buying their medicine and paying their rent.

Then I'd feed them hypocritical lines of being pro-life as the only Christian way to be. Then very contradictingly, I’d fight for the spread of the death penalty, as if thou shall not kill applies to babies but not to criminals.

Then I’d introduce them to those sworn to protect and serve, creating a curb in their trust in the law. I’d show them the nightsticks and plungers, the pepper spray and stun guns, the mace and magnums that they’d soon become acquainted with, the shakedowns and illegal search and seizures, the planted evidence, being stopped for no reason. Harassment ain’t even the half of it. Forty-one shots to two raised hands, cell phones and wallets that are confused with illegal contrabands. I’d introduce them to pigs who love making their guns click like wine glasses. Everlasting targets surrounded by bullets, making them a walking bull's eye, a living piñata, held at the mercy of police brutality, and then we’ll see if they finally weren’t aware of the truth, if their eyes weren’t finally open like a box of Pandora.

I’d show them how the other side of the tracks carries the weight of the world on our shoulders and how society seems to be holding us down with the force of a boulder. The bird of democracy flew the coop back in Florida. See, for some, and justice comes in packs like wolves in sheep's clothing. T.K.O.d by the right hooks of life, many are left staggering under the weight of the day, leaning against the ropes of hope. When your dreams have fallen on barren ground, it becomes difficult to keep pushing yourself forward like a train, administering pain like a doctor with a needle, their sequels continue more lethal than injections.

They keep telling us all is equal. I’d tell them that instead of giving tax breaks to the rich, financing corporate mergers and leading us into unnecessary wars and under-table dealings with Enron and Halliburton, maybe they can work on making society more peaceful. Instead, they take more and more money out of inner city schools, give up on the idea of rehabilitation and build more prisons for poor people. With unemployment continuing to rise like a deficit, it's no wonder why so many think that crime pays.

Maybe this trip will make them see the error of their ways. Or maybe next time, we'll just all get out and vote. And as far as their stay in the White House, tell them that numbered are their days.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Save The Internet NOW

"The Internet can't be free." - A.T. & T. CEO Ed Whitacre

I am proud to join Bloggers For Net Neutrality.

Unfettered access to information is key to self-determination. You cannot make good decisions if the facts are kept from you or if you have trouble accessing them.

And make no mistake, the THREAT TO YOUR FREEDOM is real.

Therefore, it is vital that freedom and truth triumph now in regard to Internet freedom. Big corporations are deliberately funding campaigns to lull you into complacency so they may take over the Internet and insure only the content they want is accessible while gaining unnecessary profits at your expense.

Congress is a revolving door for corporate lobbyists. Those Senators who mean well and have good values, like Bill Nelson of Florida, are still uninformed about the bigger picture. They want to do what their constituents want them to do and, unfortunately, THEY HAVEN'T HEARD FROM YOU.

Please take a moment to see if your Senator is on the Senate Commerce Committee. If he is, CALL AND WRITE him NOW and demand that he support U.S. Senator Ron Wyden's “hold” on major telecommunications legislation recently approved by the Senate Commerce Committee until clear language is included in the legislation that prevents discrimination in Internet access.

Unless Senator Wyden gets the support of your Senator and succeeds, if you have a blog or a small internet business, you will not only have to PAY to get anyone to see it, you will never be able to compete with the big corporations as you can now.

Here's a list of the Senators who hold the fate of the Internet - and your ability to make good decisions and have equal access - in their hands:

Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)
Phone: 202-224-3004

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Phone: 202 -224-2235

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
Phone: 202-224-2353

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
Phone: 202-224-5274

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Phone: 202 224 3224

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Phone: 202 224-4623

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
Phone: 202-224-6253

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)
Phone: 202-224-2644

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Phone: 202-224-6551

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)
Phone: 202-224-6244

Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.)
Phone: 202-224-2841

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.)
Phone: 202-224-3753

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
Phone: 202 224-6121

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
Phone: 202-224-5922

Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)
Phone: 202-224-4024

Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Phone: 202-224-6472

Your phone calls actually make a difference. Please call now and urge your senators to support the bipartisan Snowe-Dorgan Internet Freedom amendment in the Commerce Committee. The free and open Internet as we know it is on the line.

Make the call today.

Save the Internet: Click here

Website Counter