Saturday, December 30, 2006

Still Insane After All These Years

Still Insane After All These Years

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I have seen this quote attributed to both Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. No matter its true source, it is very true. It’s time we stand up as a country and say, “STOP, THIS INSANITY!” The President has retired with his “war cabinet” to try to determine a new course in Iraq. This same group got us into the quagmire that is Iraq in the first place. Rumsfeld being gone is only a small start. The rest of these incompetents should be on the street looking for real work.

To look to this group for advice is tantamount to saying we want to stay the course. This will only continue in the needless loss of lives, American and Iraqi. Why did the president bother to have a bi-partisan commission look into Iraq, if only to ignore its recommendations? He should apologize to public servants like Sandra Day O’Connor who came out of retirement to serve on the commission. It has served as only a public relations stunt.

The new Congress faces a vital test of its backbone in January. This is not the time for timid action. It is time to inform Emperor George not only do we know he has no clothes but we know he has no clue. We can no longer permit the insane course of the Iraq War to continue.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

1984 Kool-Aid Drinkers

I have waited the past ten days for the outcry from rational conservatives, very much in vain. George W. Bush has finally lost it with, “Listen, we've never been stay the course, George (referring to George Stephanopoulos).” I keep waiting for the mass of rational people to stand up and scream, “Mr. President, we are not that stupid!” Even his political opponents seemed overwhelmed by the pure doublespeak.

It is very much like we have become a country of Winston Smith’s. The Bush regime got their torture and detain without charge bill passed with barely a whimper. Now he blatantly contradicts over three and half years of rhetoric and his interviewer is so taken aback that he doesn’t challenge the obvious absurdity of the statement.

Those Republicans and conservatives that believe this line would have been right at home with Jim Jones. He was always looking for someone to mix the Kool-Aid. Any elected officials that want to investigate this bunch would do well to remember the fate of Congressman Leo Ryan at the hands of Jim Jones. This administration has proven they value loyalty above the truth or any other principle. This election is a not just another nice time to try to win it is a necessary win. It is time to give this experiment in democracy another lease on life. Voting for a Republican at any level supports the lies, corruption and just plain evil that have been perpetrated for the last nearly six years. A vote for the current Republican status quo is the same as drinking that 1984 Kool-Aid, CHEERS!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Never Thought I Would Miss Nixon……Then Again

I saw the following bumper sticker the other day that brought a smile to my lips:

I Never Thought I Would Miss Nixon

What brought the smile was the shear amount of truth in those seven words. Yes, George W. Bush has done what I would have thought impossible. He made me miss Tricky Dick in all his ugly glory. When Nixon was in power, I was firmly convinced that there could never be another President as bad. With Georgie, I have discovered there not only could be as bad but there is worse. Nixon inherited his war, Vietnam; it was a full bore going tragedy when he took office. He also claimed, falsely, to have a secret peace plan. He got many killed needlessly, both military and civilian. Bush is the middle of a quagmire of his own making and insistence that we stay there with him. Nixon had a lust for power but it was tempered by a certain respect for the office of President that Bush rarely even bothers to pretend to have.

Nixon was swept into office on a landslide in 1972. Bush squeaked by in both 2000 and 2004. From these two statements alone, one would assume that Nixon was the one with more absolute power. And one would be wrong. What the driver of the truck with the bumper sticker and I really miss, is a Congress that keeps the system in balance. Congress during the Nixon years was controlled by the Democrats thus preventing the establishment of King Dick. The Republican Congress of the last six years has anointed King George.

I was going to an out of state college in 1972 and had to vote absentee. Absentee ballots had to be witnessed by a notary in those days so a dorm mate and I walked over to the Student Union to get our ballots notarized before mailing. He told me he was voting for Nixon because McGovern was just too radical. I tried to argue that voting for Nixon was a mistake because look at all the bad crap he had pulled during his first term. My friend said not to worry because even though he was voting for Nixon, his Congressional votes were for Democrats to keep Nixon in line. He proved to be right. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

The current Congress has nearly abdicated all their power and turned it over to the Executive branch. We now have the closest thing to a unitary Executive that we have ever had in our history. The Patriot Act and the Torture & Detainee Act are America’s first steps analogous to the 1930’s Enabling Acts of Nazi Germany. The country now exists at a critical crossroads. Elections are not football games. It is not a matter of rooting for the winner, it is a matter of if we want the Republic to endure or collapse under the weight of political expediency. Patriots, no matter what their normal political leanings, must examine objectively the actions of this President and this Congress. We don’t vote for President until 2008 but we have the chance in three weeks to decisively affect the Congress. We need a government of three branches not one. We must give up on the idea that our local guy is not as bad as the rest of them, so it doesn’t hurt to vote for him. That attitude and many similar ones is what brought us to this juncture in the first place. We must vote for a change, and the only viable choice is a Democratic Congress before it is too late.

Permanent Backlink to Post

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mark Foley, A Different View: A Misdirection Ploy

I have a different point of view on the Mark Foley scandal. I believe it is one of the greatest misdirection ploys of all time by Rove and the Republicans. Coincidences may happen but rarely do they happen with such good results. You say, “What good results?” Lost in all this discussion about Foley is the fact that Senate Bill 3930, “A bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes,” has gone to the President to sign. Even though Bush got damned near everything he wanted in the bill, his proclivity for signing statements will make up for any perceived inadequacies. Incumbents on both sides of the aisle can more easily deflect criticism about Foley’s peccadilloes than they can defend supporting this reversal of the Magna Carta.

Lost in all this discussion of how this hurts the Republican cause is no critical examination of the timing of this scandal. A month ago, most liberals and Democrats were outraged about ABC showing the crapudrama, “The Path to 9/11.” While ABC made some changes to this piece of propaganda, it still left many with the impression that 9/11 was all Bill Clinton’s fault and Bush was in the clear. Can we believe that ABC changed their stripes in one short month? I say, “NO!” ABC has a stake in remaining in the administration’s good graces. ABC would not have released the Foley story without at least the tacit approval of the White House.

I cannot believe for a moment that Rove and company would have any compunction about sacrificing Foley to pay for this integral part of consolidating Bush’s power. I mean here was a GAY Republican House member just waiting to be outed, why not kill two birds with one stone. Bird one: Deflect attention away the detainee and torture law. Those who voted for the bill are not going to be held to account for their vote as they might have. Most can easily deflect any criticisms cast their way about Foley. Bird two: The albatross that was Foley is eliminated. The Republicans have already claimed the reason Foley didn’t get in trouble earlier was they did not to appear to be “Gay Bashing.” The Republicans are such homophobes they still believe homosexual and pedophile are synonymous. This was the perfect opportunity to look good to their base and fence sitters that they were cleaning “House” of undesirables.

I am now going to ask any that read this to step through the fog of Republican misdirection. It is time to ask this Congress, why what little you did do, was so dismal. I have researched the final roll call votes on the detainee and torture bill. Most members of Congress voted along party lines as might be expected. Many Republicans voting for the bill said they expected reversal by the courts and voted for the bill out political expediency. I guess I am a minority of one that believes this is a violation of their oath of office to defend and support the Constitution. Those who did not vote along party lines deserve special recognition and consideration in three categories:

These Republicans had the convictions of their beliefs to vote against this step to tyranny.
In the Senate, 1 Senator:
Chafee (RI)
In the House, 7 Representatives:
Bartlett (MD-6)
Gilchrest (MD-1)
Jones (NC-3)
LaTourette (OH-14)
Leach (IA-2)
Moran (KS-1)
Paul (TX-14)

These Democrats supported this step to tyranny. I would assume from political expediency, with many using the same excuse as Republicans, it would be reversed by the courts. The 12 from the Senate are particularly troubling, since this many defections made any chance of a filibuster nil.
In the Senate, 12 Senators:
Carper (DE)
Johnson (SD)
Landrieu (LA)
Lautenberg (NJ)
Lieberman (CT)
Menendez (NJ)
Nelson (FL)
Nelson (NE)
Pryor (AR)
Rockefeller (WV)
Salazar (CO)
Stabenow (MI)
In the House, 34 Representatives:
Andrews (NJ-1)
Barrow (GA-12)
Bean (IL-8)
Bishop (GA-2)
Boren (OK-2)
Boswell (IA-3)
Boyd (FL-2)
Brown (OH-13)
Chandler (KY-6)
Cramer (AL-5)
Cuellar (TX-28)
Davis (AL-7)
Davis (TN-4)
Edwards (TX-17)
Etheridge (NC-2)
Ford (TN-9)
Gordon (TN-6)
Herseth (SD-At Large)
Higgins (NY-27)
Holden (PA-17)
Marshall (GA-23)
Matheson (UT-2)
McIntyre (NC-7)
Melancon (LA-3)
Michaud (ME-2)
Moore (KS-3)
Peterson (MN-7)
Pomeroy (ND-At Large)
Ross (AR-4)
Salazar (CO-3)
Scott (GA-13)
Spratt (SC-5)
Tanner (TN-8)
Taylor (MS-4)

These lawmakers come from both sides of the aisle. They couldn’t be bothered with voting on this step to tyranny.
In the Senate, 1 Senator:
Snowe (R-ME)
In the House, 12 Representatives:
Castle (R-DE-At Large)
Cleaver (D-MI-5)
Davis (D-FL-11)
Davis (R-VA-11)
Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18)
Keller (R-FL-8)
Lewis (D-GA-5)
Meehan (D-MA-5)
Millender-McDonald (D-CA-37)
Ney (R-OH-18)
Radanovich (R-CA-19)
Strickland (D-OH-6)

Please examine these “Halls” and give special attention to any of them that represent you. Encourage those in the Hall of Bravery and hold feet to the fire from the other two. I am especially troubled by the 46 Democrats in the Hall of Shame. Even if they win reelection and the Democrats take numerical control of the Congress, are these 46 reliable enough not to cross party lines and give the Republicans the majority on a whim.

Monday, October 09, 2006


In the days before cable news, there was a term for election year tax cuts. It was “Priming the Pump.” The thinking was very simple; give the people a taste of their own hard-earned money, and tell them if they want it to continue they must return the incumbents to office. That particular ploy would not be effective with this regime however, since all their tax breaks have been for the limited numbers of the very rich.

Today’s version of this carries a completely new literal meaning. Prices for gasoline have dropped over a dollar from their highest point in the last year. Gas pumps are literally being primed for the upcoming elections. It appears the thinking goes something like this: If the voter only pays $2.159/gal when he was paying $3.199/gal, he will figure he needs to keep the incumbent in office in order to keep the price low. The problem with the voter thinking that is, he is very liable to find a new meaning to the term “November Surprise.” There are really no guarantees or even promises the prices will stay low.

This downward trend defies the rules of supply and demand. The Alaskan Pipeline in the last 9 weeks has had major problems and the supply of oil from this domestic (meaning cheaper) source has been severely restricted. If anything the price of oil should be going up not down, if it were truly a matter of supply and demand. When this subject first occurred to me, I went and checked to see if we were dumping oil onto the market from the country’s strategic reserve. If their website is to be believed, we are not doing that. The other possibility is that the oil companies and their cartel, OPEC, have decided they could afford to forego their obscene profit levels for a short period to ensure the continuing of the current single party rule.

In my research, I found protestations that the oil industry was just too large for such manipulations. All these protests of impotence came from incumbent Republicans. There is a reason we call OPEC a cartel, they can do whatever they damn well please. If any single member decides to get greedy, the others can flood the market and ruin the renegade’s profit level. If a member decides to undercut his fellow cartel members, he could well find himself without spare parts or transportation. This is not a play nice group. The United States represent their largest single market. It is in their self interest to keep oil friendly politicians in power, even it means not making a billion or two for a couple of months. They can always make up for it in spades on the other side of the election.

I found an alternate theory at

I would like to “restate” what Mr. King said: What this means folks, is that hedge funds and institutional money that “TRACKS THE INDEX” were FORCED TO SELL 75% of their gasoline futures to conform with the reconstituted GSCI. And if anyone hasn’t noticed the timing of the price of the gasoline price collapse…just in time for November’s Mid Term Elections!

So don’t be fooled into believing that potential energy shortages have “magically been solved.” In all likelihood – much of the recent decline in the price of gasoline we have all “welcomed” has been the result of paper tricks being played on what amounts to a wealthy flock of sheep.

No matter who is doing the manipulating;
Voting for the incumbents that have screwed us and lied to us in the past only allows them to do it again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20, 1187 - Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem

September 20, 1187 - Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem.


At the end of September, Balian rode out with an embassy to meet with the sultan, offering the surrender that he had initially refused. Saladin would not accept this, seeing that as they spoke, his men had scaled the walls and planted their banners. Soon, however, the crusaders repelled their attack. Saladin acquiesced, and the two agreed that the city would be handed over to Saladin peacefully. The sultan allowed a ransom of twenty bezants for men, ten for women, and five for children, but those who could not pay were to be sold into slavery. Balian argued in vain that there were far more people who could not pay, as there were perhaps as many as 20000 refugees from elsewhere in the kingdom.

After returning to Jerusalem, it was decided that seven thousand of the poor inhabitants could be ransomed from money drawn from the treasury that Henry II of England had established there, which was being guarded by the Hospitallers. This money was meant to be used by Henry on a pilgrimage or a crusade, in penance for the murder of Thomas Becket, but the king never arrived, and his treasury had already been used to pay mercenaries for the Battle of Hattin.

Balian met with Saladin again and the sultan agreed to lower the ransom to ten bezants for men, five for women, and one for children. Balian argued that this would still be too great, and Saladin suggested a ransom of 100 000 bezants for all the inhabitants. Balian thought this was impossible, and Saladin said he would ransom seven thousand people for no lower than 50 000 bezants. Finally it was decided that Saladin would free the seven thousand for 30 000 bezants; two women or ten children would be permitted to take the place of one man for the same price.

Surrender of the city

Balian handed over the keys to the Tower of David, the citadel, on October 2. It was announced that every inhabitant had about a month to pay their ransom, if they could (the length of time was perhaps 30 to 50 days, depending on the source). Saladin was generous and freed some of those who were forced into slavery; his brother Saphadin did the same, and both Balian and Heraclius, not wishing to be seen less generous than their enemies, freed many others with their own money. Saladin also allowed for an orderly march away from Jerusalem and prevented the sort of massacre that had occurred when the crusaders captured the city in 1099. Even Heraclius, who disgusted the Muslim chronicler Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani by hoarding all his wealth and the treasures of the church instead of contributing to the ransom of the poor, was escorted
from the city unmolested. The ransomed inhabitants marched away in three columns; the Templars and Hospitallers led the first two, with Balian and the Patriarch leading the third. Balian and his family were permitted to flee to Tripoli.

I note for the sake of those screaming conservatives that say Islam is a violent religion that almost all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were freed without conversion, sold into slavery or death. Saladin is one of the greatest heroes of Islam, wouldn’t it make sense that if the religion required the sword he would have been one to use it?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Rockey Who?

I am sure almost everyone reading this knows the name Spike Lee. Lee has been twice nominated for an Oscar. His latest project is "When the Levees Broke,” a documentary on the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and the government's response to the crisis. It is presented as "A Requiem in Four Acts.” The documentary is airing on HBO. Spike Lee is no stranger to controversy and many of his films have caused a stir even before their release. Despite the subject matter of this newest project, the Main Stream Media (MSM) virtually ignored Lee in preference to a man named Rockey Vaccarella. Or as I like to call him, Rockey Who? The Bush administration had once again diverted attention away from their monumental mismanagement of the Katrina aftermath with a White House lawn photo op.

Bush spoke on the South Lawn of the White House after meeting in the Oval Office with a New Orleans-area man who lost his home in the storm. Rockey Vaccarella, 41, of Meraux in St. Bernard Parish, has been traveling the Gulf Coast region to mark the Katrina anniversary.
"I told Rockey the first obligation of the federal government is to write a check big enough to help the people down there," Bush said. "And I told him that to the extent that there's still bureaucratic hurdles, and the need for the federal government to help eradicate those hurdles, we want to do that."

I wanted to know who this guy was. Here is some of the information I found:


In fact, we had a hunch -- that maybe, just maybe, Rockey Vaccarella had a background himself in GOP politics.

And, whaddya know? Turns out that the earthy Vaccarella -- a highly successful businessman in the fast-food industry -- is indeed a Republican pol, having run unsuccessfully under the GOP banner for a seat on the St. Bernard Parish commission back in 1999. We don't have a good link, but here (via Nexis) is part of his bio that ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Oct. 15, 1999:

35. Born in New Orleans. Grew up in Arabi and Chalmette. Lived 11 years in Meraux.
Married, two children.
Graduated from Chalmette High, 1982. Attended St. Bernard Community College.
Director of operations, Lundy Enterprises, as manager of 31 Pizza Hut restaurants and 450 employees. Former general restaurant manager of Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits on East Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette

One of things that Rockey did during his visit to Bush was tell the press he wished Bush could have a third term. A suggestion that Bush feigned embarrassment when made. The MSM never reported anything on Rockey’s past except that “he had lost everything to Katrina.” Many of those 31 Pizza Huts survived Katrina since they were spread over a wide range in the south. He was back at work in a relatively short period.

So you say what the harm is with Rockey having his fifteen minutes of fame. Nothing except it was at the expense of filmmaker Lee. Documentaries are not the big budget productions that dramatic films are. Almost all HBO’s entire promotion budget was spent on plugging “When the Levees Broke” on the HBO networks themselves. The news cycles that would have normally highlighted Lee’s film were supplanted by coverage of Rockey. The film debuted on HBO without the publicity it would have normally had. Yes, the film was critical of the administration’s response to Katrina but instead of trying to correct the mismanagement of the response, the administration instead chose to stifle criticism. Bush and his administration gave a lot of lip service to rebuilding New Orleans last week during the one-year anniversary of Katrina then went about business as normal after leaving town.

Last week during that anniversary, New Orleans had a visitor from one of the countries that suffered from the tsunami. He said he did not understand how his country was able to recover faster and better than the United States. In addition, how the United States helped in his country’s recovery but it looked like America couldn’t help itself. Remember when the Iraq vote took place, remote voting stations were setup over the U.S. for Iraqis living here to vote. When New Orleans had elections, no such accommodations were made for the approximately 400,000 displaced American citizens from New Orleans. If I were more cynical, I might think this is being done on purpose.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

American Exceptionalism = H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y

American Exceptionalism = H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y

When I was in school, I was told that a hypocrite was someone who told you not do something but did it himself anyway. A hypocrite functioned under the “do as I say NOT as I do” philosophy. Jesus is said to have condemned the Pharisees for being hypocrites. Hypocrites practice hypocrisy. I was taught this was one of the Earth’s lower moral life forms.

Hypocrisy is the pretension to qualities which one does not possess, or, more cognately to the scope of this article, the putting forward of a false appearance of virtue or religion.

Essentially its malice is identical with that of lying; in both cases there is discordance between what a man has in his mind and the simultaneous manifestation of himself. So far as the morality of the act goes, it is unimportant that this difference between the interior and the exterior be set out in words, as happens in formal lies, or be acted out in one's demeanor, as is true of simulation.

Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to have morals or virtues that one does not truly possess or practice. … A classic example of a hypocritical act is to criticize others for carrying out some action while carrying out the same action oneself.

American Exceptionalism is the philosophy that states no one else can do something EXCEPT America and those we have chosen. American Exceptionalism is hypocrisy because at its core there is a belief that we can do whatever we want and others must be restricted from similar actions. Under the Bush regime, American Exceptionalism has been taken to new lows.

Ever since the days of “duck and cover,” I wondered why it was okay for America to spend billions on a nuclear arsenal that could destroy the Earth many times over while insisting that other countries should have no nuclear weapons. I was told it was because only the U.S. and its allies could be trusted with such dangerous weapons, despite the fact that we are the only country in history to use such weapons in an attack, twice. The two times nuclear weapons have been used it was on essentially civilian targets. This was a deliberate choice. Some of the scientist involved wanted the bombs exploded over a relatively flat area with a population, so they could quantify the destruction of the bombs. Purely military targets in the mountains and hills were rejected because the chances the data would not be a useful.

This particular group of people preaches about how great it is for our young people to fight in the war. You will not catch them or their children doing the fighting however. It isn’t the fighting man in Iraq that is getting rich, it is those who send them and would never go themselves.

The only WMDs found in Iraq were the inert remnants of poison gas. This has been used by some regime shills to justify our invasion and occupation. The U.S. has recently started to produce chemical and biological weapons again, saying they are needed for defensive purposes. Are they needed so we can sell them to the next Saddam that comes down the pike? If we need them for defense, why don’t other countries?

Our government in the last five plus years has illegally wiretapped phones, held prisoners without charge for years, has started a preventive (not even preemptive) war, and so on. They have done these things saying they are in the defense of freedom. How can one defend freedom at the same time as restricting freedom?

This is how Harry Truman dealt with war profiteers. From
When he heard rumors of such profiteering, Truman got into his Dodge and, during a Congressional recess, drove 30,000 miles paying unannounced visits to corporate offices and worksites. The Senate committee he chaired launched aggressive investigations into shady wartime business practices and found "waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and profiteering," according to Truman, who argued that such behavior was unpatriotic. Urged on by Truman and others in Congress, President Roosevelt supported broad increases in the corporate income tax, raised the excess-profits tax to 90 percent and charged the Office of War Mobilization with the task of eliminating illegal profits. Truman, who became a national hero for his fight against the profiteers, was tapped to be FDR's running mate in 1944.
He believed the worst offenders had committed treason. The climate of the current administration would bring investigations into the people who would dare to speak out. They say we fighting for democracy and freedom in Iraq. The sad truth is profit is the major motivation.

The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the civil rights code has dramatically decreased under Bush to the point of near extinction. If a designated enemy is seen as being racist, swift and total condemnation follows. Profiling based on race instead of actions is now the new push. Looking Muslim is considered reason enough for the abuses that used to be visited on African Americans. Trouble is how does one look Muslim?

When the invasion of Iraq started, there was period of thirty days called “Shock and Awe.”

to awe, (transitive verb) To inspire with fear and reverence.

The majority of shells and bombs used on Iraq during these days were not “smart” bombs. They killed babies as well as Republican Guard troops. This indiscriminate killing was designed to bring fear to the entire country. We gave lip service to “winning the hearts and minds” of Iraqis but our intentions were anything but. This attitude has been carried on through the duration, American troops have broken discipline, and the indiscriminate killing continues.

This is the most glaring cases of hypocrisy. The Bush regime talks about exporting democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, when it does not exist here at home. Additionally, the democracy in Iraq is a façade; candidates during the elections there were not allowed to advocate the withdrawal of American troops, despite nearly 90% of the population favoring just such a move.

This is the most tragic of my points. This includes the dead of the war. This includes the injured of the war, many that come home to find their benefits are non-existent. Soldiers recovering in Army hospitals have been asked to pay for their own food. Those mentally affected find their treatment to be lacking if it exists at all. However, the most tragic part of all this is how the Bush regime uses these young people to garner support for their immoral and illegal war. They have equated support for the troops with support for the war. People do not want to appear to be not supporting the troops so they feel compelled to support the war.

A quick summary:

Having nuclear weapons
Yellow-bellied Chickenhawks
Producing more WMDs
Oppression at home and abroad
Cashing in on war and people’s suffering
Racism is condoned
Indiscriminate killing
Stealing elections
Young lives wasted

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Who is the most fascist like, al Qaeda or the Bush Administration?

The motivation for this article is very simple. George Bush has a new term for our terrorist enemies. The term takes the two forms of “Islamofascist” or "Islamic fascists.” In an effort to critically analysis the validity of these terms, I decided to determine just what a fascist is. I had seen this first article before and it immediately sounded like the Bush administration. It seemed to me the only fair thing to do was to compare the administration to al Qaeda and see just who the fascist is.

The following comes from
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry magazine

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Copyright © 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

The following is quoted from

By Maggie Gallagher

When the news broke that a gang of terrorists planned to blow up six airplanes, killing thousands of innocent passengers, President Bush took the opportunity for the first time to name our enemy "Islamic fascists." Sen. Rick Santorum R-Pa., among others, has been urging this strategic shift. Terrorism is only a tactic. Would we call World War II the "war on blitzkrieg"? By naming our enemy "Islamofascism," the president suggests our current war is the equivalent of our long, triumphant fights against Nazism and communism.

This made me wonder if I heard correctly. I have heard the term “fascist” many times. In most cases, it was used wrongly to describe almost any dictator. The two terms are NOT interchangeable. Stalin was a dictator but most definitely not a fascist. This “strategic shift” puts the billion and half followers of Islam in a very uncomfortable defensive position. If one were to apply this logic to the situation during WWII, then they would have been Christian fascists. I do not think all the world’s Christians should have been on the defensive because of the actions of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco. Is this “strategic shift” just a strategy for the upcoming elections? Is it going to cause a dramatic shift in the way we fight the war?

The methodology for my comparison is simple. With each of the fourteen characteristics, I have given al Qaeda and the Bush Administration one of two point values, 0, or 1. Zero means there is little or no similarity. One means there is preponderance of similarities. Each time it will be expressed in the following form: (points this characteristic, running sub-total).

Comparing the adaptation of the 14 Characteristics of Fascism by al Qaeda and the Bus Administration:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Al Qaeda (0, 0); Bush Administration (1, 1)
Al Qaeda is an organization without national identity. The Taliban would have scored much higher, but receiving support from the Taliban does mean that you are the Taliban. I am unaware of any patriotic paraphernalia used by al Qaeda.

The Bush Administration has constantly made use of patriotic paraphernalia. Mottoes like “Fight them there, so won’t have to fight them here.” The American flag is treated with religious fervor. The flag burning amendment is the prefect example of this.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Al Qaeda (1, 1); Bush Administration (1, 2)
Al Qaeda is an organization that cares little about innocent human life, the ultimate human right.

The Bush Administration has justified many of their violations of the rule of law by citing the need for security. I see nowhere in the Constitution where the guaranteed rights can be suspended because of security needs. The wiretapping that has occurred without warrants and the holding of detainees without charge are prime examples.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
Al Qaeda (1, 2); Bush Administration (1, 3)
Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization that can only justify its actions by blaming its victims. They also do so by attacking their enemies for their own questionable actions.

The Bush Administration had the entire country unified on September 12, 2001. Muslim Americans were condemning the attacks just like any other American. Since then there has been a push for racial profiling. Our enemy is not dumb if racial profiling was put in place ways of circumventing it would be found. This administration has declared illegal immigrants from Mexico terrorists. This is just absurd. These are desperate people looking for a better way of life.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Al Qaeda (0, 2); Bush Administration (1, 4)
Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization that has no military structure. This is one the reasons that defeating them with military force is an impossible task.

The Bush Administration has ignored domestic issues to concentrate on the war in Iraq. They have made use of the military by equating support for the troops with support for war. Once the soldiers have completed their service and have returned to civilian life, they fall into the pit of being ignored by the government that used them.

5. Rampant Sexism
Al Qaeda (1, 3); Bush Administration (1, 5)
Al Qaeda treats women as mere possessions and chattel.

The Bush Administration gives lip service to women’s rights and turns around to condemn abortion. Enforcement of discrimination laws have virtually disappeared. Women in the administration are paraded out like the old Southern racists declaring some of his best friends were colored. This administration is highly homophobic.

6. Controlled Mass Media
Al Qaeda (0, 3); Bush Administration (1, 6)
Al Qaeda has no mass media to control. Their mode of operation depends on the secrecy that comes in operating in cells and in the shadows.

The Bush Administration will tell you that the media has a liberal bias. The facts of the situation are quite the opposite. Bias on radio runs very conservative with the number of conservative talk stations out numbering liberal stations by a factor of four or more. Bias in the print media runs at least 2 to 1 in a conservative bias. The bias on cable is even worse, when some network there tries to give a truly balanced report; the pundits are ready and willing to attack their liberalism. This has been done so often that impartial reporting is nearly non-existent.

7. Obsession with National Security
Al Qaeda (0, 3); Bush Administration (1, 7)
Al Qaeda has no nation to obsess about national security.

The Bush Administration are masters of fear. The raising of the terror alert status in order gain political advantage is just one example. This constant implication that the Democrats would be incapable protecting the country is another.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Al Qaeda (1, 4); Bush Administration (1, 8)
I will concede al Qaeda this point even though they have no nation. Religious fundamentalism is their reason for existence.

The Bush Administration is in office thanks in large part to the pandering to fundamentalist Christians. Their office for Faith Based Initiatives is under staffed and severely under funded. God bless American is used for political purposes not out of heart felt meaning.

9. Corporate Power is Protected
Al Qaeda (0, 4); Bush Administration (1, 9)
Corporate power is the antithesis of al Qaeda. The attack on the WTC was an attack on corporate power.

The Bush Administration has essentially established a government of the corporations, for the corporations and by the corporations. The tax and spend policies of this administration benefits friends of the administration not the people of the country.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Al Qaeda (0, 4); Bush Administration (1, 10)
Al Qaeda gets a zero here because they are in a no position to effect labor either positively or negatively.

The Bush Administration has been very successful in keeping the working poor person poor. The middle class labor pool is shrinking away to become part of working poor. Those who make their money through the manipulation of money not through productive labor are the most successful. The administration has been very successful in defining unions as either liberal, socialist, or communist. The most successful union in the country is prison guards.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Al Qaeda (1, 5); Bush Administration (1, 11)
Al Qaeda gets a one here because the truth and reality that would come with education and the arts would destroy their operation.

The Bush Administration is anti-science. Bush himself has said the jury is still out on evolution and Intelligent Design. Funding for higher education is eroding instead of increasing. Educators who dare to speak out have been dismissed. The attitude expressed to the Arts is dismal. There is an emphasis on the negative minority in the Arts and no acknowledgement of the positive majority.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Al Qaeda (1, 6); Bush Administration (1, 12)
Al Qaeda gets a one here because their view of an eye for an eye without trial.

The Bush Administration has taken police power that is unconstitutional and illegal. Warrantless wiretapping and rendering are the top two examples. Condoning torture is another.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Al Qaeda (0, 6); Bush Administration (1, 13)
Al Qaeda gets a zero here because if they were to discover corruption among the ranks execution would be the least that would happen.

The Bush Administration has taken these two characteristics to new heights. “Heck of a job you’re doing Brownie,” ring a bell? Corruption in the form of no bid contracts in Iraq that are not completed and over billed. Many cases of the fox guarding the hen house. There is currently an attempt to retroactively exempt the administration from prosecution for wrongdoing as severe as war crimes.

14. Fraudulent Elections
Al Qaeda (0, 6); Bush Administration (1, 14)
Al Qaeda gets a zero here because if they do not participate in elections since their power is supposedly God given.

The Bush Administration is so good with smear campaigns that a new term has been coined, swiftboating. The current gerrymandering of districts may no matter what keep control of Congress in Republican hands. In 2000, there was unprecedented involvement by the Supreme Court that ended with Bush essentially being appointed President. In both the 2000 and 2004 elections highly reliable exit polls were inaccurate only when the polls showed Democratic victories then to have the vote count say the Republicans won.

Al Qaeda 6/14
Bush Administration 14/14

I am well aware that Bush apologists will attack my motivations rather than my analysis. All I am asking for the sake of the country is to look at each point with an open mind.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bush Administration: Cries Wolf, Fires Police, and Hires Army; End Result More Terrorists and Less Security

Today the British proved the most effect way to fight terrorism is through police work not invasion. To fight terrorism one must concentrate on individuals not whole countries. It takes a scalpel not a sledgehammer. When Clinton was in power they fought terrorism by conventional means, after the first World Trade Center bombing, the perpetrators were arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. The same was true of the Oklahoma City bombing with the exception execution took place instead of imprisonment. The Clinton administration put counter terrorism agencies in place. The number and severity of attacks decreased afterwards. In other words, police enforcement and prevention actions worked.

The Clinton administration warned the Bush people, their single greatest threat was al Qaeda. The NeoCons in the Bush regime hated Clinton so blindly that these warnings were ignored. When the Intelligence community tried to brief Cheney on al Qaeda, he said all he wanted to hear about was Iraq. These people had a score to settle and nothing was going to stop them. Even though thoroughly debunked the administration and its shills continue to constantly connect Iraq with 9/11. Had the administration concentrated on al Qaeda and bin Laden from the beginning the twin towers might still be standing.

Before and after 9/11 the Bush administration defanged the counter terrorism entities within the government. Especially after 9/11, intelligence agencies were “encouraged” to tilt reports to fit political points of view. In Bush and Rumsfeld’s post 9/11 world the military intelligence groups are supreme, as is the use of military force. Police enforcement actions like those in England today have been few and far between. Some we have been told about only later to find they were either exaggerated or totally fabricated. The most famous one in Miami appears to have been a pure case of the FBI agent involved creating the terrorist cell and plot, even to the point administrating an al Qaeda oath to the group.

Today Bush spent a lot time thanking and praising the British for their fine work, meanwhile his former head of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, admitted that the terror alert level was raised multiple times for political reasons.


Ridge said he wanted to "debunk the myth" that his agency was responsible for repeatedly raising the alert under a color-coded system he unveiled in 2002. “More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it,” Ridge told reporters. “Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, ‘For that?’ ”

The level is raised if a majority on the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council favors it and President Bush concurs. Among those on the council with Ridge were Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI chief Robert Mueller, CIA director George Tenet, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Ridge and Ashcroft publicly clashed over how to communicate threat information to the public. But Ridge has never before discussed internal dissention over the threat level.

The cry of wolf went up so often that the 2004 election was close enough that it could appear legitimate. Here we are two years later and the credibility of the whole Federal government is in the trash. The quagmire in Iraq only deepens and Israel is again at war. All of this is the greatest recruiting tools that the terrorists have ever possessed. I would not be surprised to find the terrorists arrested in England today were recruited since the invasion of Iraq.

I hope and pray that these were legitimate arrests and not a ploy to boost sagging poll numbers. We as citizens need to remain vigilant that actions concerning threat levels are real not inventions for the upcoming elections. I also hope and pray that the country will not become like the townsfolk in the Boy Who Cried Wolf, when the threat is real, that we can and will believe.

Bush Says No to Supreme Court -- An ACLU Call to Action

I received the following letter as a call to action against a Bush administration proposal that appears to look an awful lot like "Enabling Acts." This is no time for us to be timid. If we value our Constitution and the rights it guarantees, we must stand up now. Remember the Constitution does not grant the rights it merely defines and guarantees them. I have added the letter in its entirety.

Dear Friend,

Only weeks after the Supreme Court declared illegal the Bush Administration's military commissions -- which were set up to try and convict detainees held indefinitely without basic due process protections -- the White House and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are pushing Congress on an illegal proposal that violates the Supreme Court's decision and abandons the rule of law.

The Bush plan would ask Congress to rubber-stamp these illegal commissions, effectively reversing the Supreme Court decision. It would also violate the Geneva Conventions, which were ratified by Congress, taking away the most basic process protections from detainees who are being held indefinitely. Don't let the White House strong-arm Congress and the Supreme Court.

Go to http: // to send a message to your Senators and Representative that the United States must abide by the Geneva Conventions and uphold American values of due process.

Specifically, the White House proposal would:

  • Gut the enforceability of important Geneva Convention protections
  • Allow the use of evidence obtained through coercion, including horrific abuse
  • Sanction convictions based on secret evidence
  • Bar a defendant from being present at his or her own trial
  • Allow the use of hearsay evidence

During Senate hearings yesterday, even the Pentagon's top military lawyers agreed that no one should be convicted based on secret evidence and that every defendant has the right to be present at his own trial. They also made clear that coerced evidence -- such as "confessions" beaten out of witnesses -- has no place in any trial.

Your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you that Americans want the rule of law restored. Tell them that any legislation on criminal trials of detainees being held indefinitely must protect the Geneva Conventions and maintain basic due process protections respected by all Americans.

Take action now at http: //

Tell Congress that it should not take away the protections of the Geneva Conventions and basic American values like due process when trying detainees being held indefinitely by the federal government.

Thank you for taking action today.


Caroline Fredrickson
Director, Washington Legislative Office
American Civil Liberties Union

P.S. To read more about the White House proposal before taking action,
go here.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

And the Killing Keeps Going On

And I walked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the psychiatrist, room 604."

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

  • Click to Hear Song Clip

  • Alice's Restaurant Massacre
    Words and Music by Arlo Guthrie
    ©1966, 1967 (Renewed) by Appleseed Music Inc.
    All Rights Reserved.

    I feel like the White House must be full sycophants just like this, only they’re for real not just trying to get out of the draft. The Bush regime continues it nonsensical and lethal course in the Israel versus everybody Middle East conflict. Unlike Secretaries of State in the past that practiced shuttle diplomacy between the sides involved, Condoleezza Rice appears more as an agent for the Israelis. Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright, even if personally and in private felt a bias for one side or the other, always tried to maintain public neutrality. They also had a sense of urgency that Rice is noticeably lacking.

    Quoting from (an Israeli news service):
    "It is very important to establish conditions under which a ceasefire can take place. We believe that a ceasefire is urgent. It is important to have conditions that will make it also sustainable," said Rice before a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland.

    Bush has so far resisted calling for an immediate ceasefire, saying Israel has a right to defend itself and a cessation of hostilities must address the root causes of the conflict.

    After pressure from the Saudis, Rice seemed to take a softer line than last Friday when she said an immediate ceasefire would be a "false promise" that would let Hezbollah reemerge to attack Israel.

    The result of this double talk has been the continuing civilian deaths in region, on both sides, including 4 unarmed U.N. observers. Also from, “Many Arab nations believe the United States has not put enough pressure on Israel to avoid civilian casualties in Lebanon, where more than 369 people have been killed since Hezbollah captured two IDF soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12. Thirty-seven Israelis have been killed.”

    I have stated before that I believe behind this inaction/crazy action is the hidden agenda to start the so called end times. You would figure after all this time I would stop trying to find rational reasons for the actions of the Bush regime. I try to give them the benefit of doubt by not saying it just a total disregard for human life that is not white, upper class American. But the evidence says otherwise. The collateral damage in Iraq and Afghanistan is surely over 100,000. The sectarian violence in Iraq is just a euphemism for civil war. Not since the Vichy government of WWII France has a government been so obviously a puppet of foreign country. The situation in Darfur in the Sudan has approached or surpassed the genocide in Rwanda. At the end of World War II the hue and cry was, “Never Again!” Time has dimmed this memory and fervor, most disappointedly in Israel, where many of the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust settled.

    Once again the United States and Israel stand alone among the international community.

    Russkis and Saudis Call For Cease-Fire
    Saudi Arabia and Russia agree on the need for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and the expansion of the Lebanese government's power, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said July 25 after a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    Saudi Arabia: War Could Result
    Saudi King Abdullah said a regional war could result from continued Israeli military offensives in Lebanon and against Palestinians, Saudi state television reported July 25. The channel also said Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million to Lebanon and $250 million for the Palestinians.

    Both the Lebanese and the Palestinians held free elections that had undesired results for Israel and the United States. The Lebanese elected Hezbollah members to their Parliament. When the Palestinians held elections Hamas won power. The voters in both cases dared to elect someone other than those approved by the Israelis and Americans.

    Now that Israel did not get the quick decisive victory over Hezbollah that had been planned for the last three years, it appears that Rice’s role is to delay with her smoke and mirrors so Israel has more time to destroy Hezbollah and Hamas. Civilian casualties be damned. What harm can come from an immediate cease-fire? If it saves one unnecessary death then it is more than worth it.

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    In First Veto Bush Once Again Shuns Science

    George W. Bush exercised his first official veto this last week amid much fanfare. His veto was on a bill that would allow the expenditure of federal funds for stem cell research. The reason this was his first veto is simple, bills he didn’t want in past, he signed into law and issued signing statements declaring his intention to ignore the new law. As reported by Charlie Savage, in the Boston Globe on April 30, 2006, “President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.” He did not use a signing statement this time because he wanted to pander to the religious right that believes that even in-vitro fertilized human eggs rate the status of a full human life. This same crowd would make murderers out of all pregnant women having abortions and their physicians. He believes the publicity generated by his veto will help during the upcoming mid-term elections.

    We should not forget that this issue was why Bush was asleep at the switch prior to 9/11 attacks. He had retired to his Crawford, Texas ranch that summer to study the embryonic stem cell issue. On August 9, 2001 (33 days before 9/11), Bush announced his decision to limit federal funding to already established research lines. A number he set at 64 when in reality it turned out to be 19 or 20, now all so contaminated as to be of little scientific use. During his press conference of the veto, he touted the viability of adult stem cells, a view held by a small minority of scientists in the field. He also had numerous children that were adopted after being abandoned in vitro only to be implanted in surrogates for the purpose of adoption. He did not explain why these ‘caring parents’ did not adopt any of the many children (mostly children of color) put up for adoption or the many older children needing homes.

    With this veto, Bush has once again shown total contempt for rational scientific thought. He prefers theology to the scientific method. He has done this before in his support of so-called Intelligent Design (a thinly veiled form of Creationism). This is a truly synergistic relationship between Bush and the religious right as reported by Peter Slevin of the Washington Post on March 14, 2005, “They are acting now because they feel emboldened by the country's conservative currents and by President Bush, who angered many scientists and teachers by declaring that the jury is still out on evolution. Sharing strong convictions, deep pockets, and impressive political credentials -- if not always the same goals -- the activists are building a sizable network.”

    Each side will continue to re-enforce the other unless rational thinking people standup and say “ENOUGH!”

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    The (Un?)intended Effects of the "War on Drugs"

    Whenever an administration declares renewed efforts on their "War on Drugs,” there is the usual list of platitudes; “Drugs are a scourge on the country.” “The worst threat our young people face.” The newest of these is: "Drugs are a major source of funding for the terrorists.” This last has been so debunked that the ads featuring this premise have virtually disappeared. It was not debunked to the point that conservatives don't believe that the average joint smoker is bin Laden's greatest supporter. This also ignores the fact that Afghanistan has become the largest supplier of heroin in world, a country funded by narcotics because of our war on terror. History has shown the real reason for the "War" is distraction. Starting with the Johnson administration and continuing with administrations from both parties it has been considered a "safe" issue that no one would oppose, lest they be called moral degenerates or worse. The "War" is not emphasized until an administration's other policies and poll numbers are in the toilet. This distraction ploy is so well recognized as to be non-controversial and always used as an argument against spending more money and resources on a "War" we can never win.

    These are the outward and visible signs of discussion. I believe that there are two less obvious but much more insidious motivations behind the "War" and its associated laws and law enforcement efforts. Both involve keeping the poor and people of color ‘in their place.’ The first is stopping higher education in its tracks. Anyone convicted of a drug related offense has a lifetime ban on receiving Federal funds for education, including both grants and loan guarantees. Many states have followed suit with similar restrictions. Both levels of government restrict public assistance after conviction of a crime, especially drug related. With the poor and minorities much more likely to be convicted of these crimes, this virtually assures that that the cycle of poverty and ignorance will continue unabated. This is race and class discrimination at its ugliest.

    For all their anti-union rhetoric, the Conservatives have a favorite union. This is the prison guard unions and associations, with their extremely well funded PACs. In California, these PACs are the single largest contributor to political campaigns. A union’s primary function is to ensure the continued existence of jobs for its members, closely followed by creating new ones. Well over half of the prison population is there for drug related crimes. The need for prisons and prison guards is driven by the number of prisoners. The politicians get two benefits, looking tough on crime by supporting new prison construction and contributions from the PACs. Many states disenfranchise convicts, again favoring Conservatives. The added nasty fact is that prison guard is the employment haven for the sadists and racists among us.

    So the next time you hear about the “War on Drugs,” fully consider just what you may be supporting.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    The Current Generation Gap

    When I was coming of age in the late sixties, the term “Generation Gap” was used widely. It was an attempt on the part of both sides of the Gap to reconcile the strong emotions involved. The biggest issues of the day were the Vietnam War and the military draft. The older generation generally did not understand the abhorrence of the younger generation. The older generation had fought the good fight of World War II and looked at Vietnam as a continuation of the same fight. Vietnam was the first war to be televised on a daily basis; the horrors of that war were in our living rooms everyday. There was no avoiding the flag-draped coffins coming back. The entire population was asked to make sacrifices. Families were ripped apart over these issues.

    Middle and lower class America were where the Generation Gap occurred. Upper class America had methods at their disposal that any of them wishing to avoid service in Vietnam, was able to do so (i.e. Bush’s Air National Guard enlistment). Many sons were disowned when they decided to avoid the draft by going underground or moving to Canada. Many families still feel guilt over encouraging their sons to go fight in the war only to have them return dead, maimed, or emotionally crippled for life. In the best of cases reconciliation occurred. The end of the Vietnam War brought the end of the draft. America has since operated with all-volunteer Armed Forces.

    It should be noted that in Vietnam unlike the Gulf Wars, there were NO reservists or National Guard troops called up to duty in country. This is because neither Johnson nor Nixon felt they had the political capital necessary to make such a move. The mainstream media would not have let them get away with doing so. Not only is the Bush regime allowed doing so with impunity, many reservists and Guard members have now served multiple tours in Iraq. The Generation Gap of today occurs not just because of age but also because of experiential knowledge. Those of my age and older remember the sacrifices of Vietnam. We are well aware of our peers and siblings that will never be the same. In the end Vietnam was a huge tragedy with its unneeded loss of human life and potential, no matter what high ideals were the motivation.

    To be sure, only the most gullible still believe there are similar high ideals for the war in Iraq. The Generation Gap that exists today is one of ignorance and apathy. Most young people have no strong feelings either way about the Iraqi war. This is exactly what Bush wants. The country is not asked to make any wartime sacrifices. There is a subtle but definite dismissal of any concerns for the troops, “They all knew what they were getting into when they volunteered.” The middle and lower classes are so busy trying to make a living and eat; there is no time to be concerned about how they’re being shafted by the Bush regime.

    It is our duty to close the current Generation Gap. Education is necessary to replace the ignorance propagated by the current administration. We must make those in ignorance realize the number of deaths occurring, both American and Iraqi. The only way to truly support the troops is to bring them home now. Apathy may be the end of the grand experiment that is democracy in America.

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Bush Gives Middle East Peace the Middle Finger

    Yes this picture is real and unedited.

    The headline read:
    Bush Rejects Lebanon's Call for Cease-Fire

    This made me wonder what it was mad George was suffering from this time. Yes, the war Iraq is uniquely Bush’s but why he would want to escalate the violence in the area? Does he have so little empathy that killing more innocents does not bother him? Answering the second question first is easy. It does not bother him anymore than 100,000 plus Iraqi civilian deaths. The over 2,500 American deaths can be ignored because these deaths come from a part of society that Bush ignores anyway. His attitude is definitely one that if these troops were not smart enough (or rich enough) to stay out of harm’s way then their deaths are okay.

    The first question is not so easy but even more insidious. Quoting the AP article, “President Bush rejected Lebanon's calls for a cease-fire in escalating Mideast violence on Friday, saying only that Israel should try to limit civilian casualties as it steps up attacks on its neighbor. -- “The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.” Bush has unique ideas of sovereignty. Israel has sovereign rights but Lebanon does not! The president wants to make military decisions for Lebanon, Iran, and North Korea but not for Israel. The best case for this attitude is not good. Bush is merely pacifying some of his core supporters who I describe as end-time crazies. Violence in and by Israel is required to start the rapture and final battles. The worst case is Bush is one of these crazies himself. During the first Gulf War, the elder Bush was able to convince the Israelis to have restraint and this was with Saddam lobbing SCUD missiles their way. The current President Bush will not repeat restraining the Israelis for some reason, none of which appears good or rational.

    I get the majority of my news online, most notably through Truthout and Buzzflash. Living in the Phoenix area means there is no print or television media that I feel that are even close to balanced and fair. Their idea of fair means not calling for the summary execution by firing squad of any liberal, progressive or Democrat that might express a contrary opinion. The Air America station provides the only relief on the radio airwaves in this land of ditto-heads. Local media outlets have viewed the current Israeli response to the situation as totally justified. Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” The apathy I observe to this is extremely disheartening and sad. Christ was the most peace-loving prophet in history; can we really believe that these things should be carried out in his name? I think not, but there is too few who think similarly.
    Original AP Story: Bush Rejects Lebanon's Call for Cease-Fire
    Original Story on Truthout: Bush Rejects Lebanon's Call for Cease-Fire

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Living Blue in a Red State

    I recently moved back to Arizona after living in Southern California for 17 years. I had forgotten just what it meant to be a blue person in a red state. Suddenly having long hair in a ponytail was exotic and subject to throwback reactions of “that damn Hippie.” I am a native of Arizona. I got all my elementary and secondary education here. The state has doubled its Electoral College votes from 5 to 10 since then. Either the time away dimmed my memory or I had hoped Arizona had grown up. Either way, Arizona has more than its 23% share of blind Bush followers. That is the percentage of the U.S. population that long term surveys show could easily support a new authoritarian state (read new fascist state here). Arizona is one those states with an above average number (more unquestioning people) to offset those with a below average number (more thinking and discerning people).

    This means I can still see many “W in 04” bumper stickers. The most insulting one I have seen says, “Re-elect George W Bush, One Good Term Deserves Another.” Like Bush was elected in the first place! Right after returning to Phoenix we went shopping for school supplies and I overheard the following remark from a mother to her son, “There is no way you’re getting a pink pencil box. No son of mine is queer. What would people think?” I have since prayed that that boy is not gay because his mother will keep him in the closet for years or cause another teen suicide if he were.

    I was spoiled in Southern California. Not only did we have NPR and Air America, we had Pacifica Radio, specifically KPFK. We lost Air America here locally for the month of March and I nearly went nuts trying to find a thinking person’s radio station. Their return has brought the peace of mind no amount of medications could bring.

    My father-in-law is a member of the local Republican Committee. I tell him to have fun at his Bund meeting when he goes to one of their meetings. Nothing fazes him since your credit rating is his first method of judgment. So, I continue living blue in a red state.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    What is a Proud Liberal?

    I was a child in the sixties
    When dreams could be held through TV
    We had Disney, and Cronkite, and Martin Luther
    And, I believed, I believed . . . I BELIEVED

  • Click to Hear Song Clip

  • It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go
    Words & Music by Nanci Griffith
    © 1989 Ponder Heart Music/Irving Music Inc. (BMI)

    Whenever I hear the above song and those lyrics in particular, I reaffirm my belief in Liberal ideals. Not only did I believe in the sixties, I continue to believe to this day. If you have similar feelings, then welcome brother or sister because you are a proud Liberal in your heart. The Conservatives of today have been able to frame the issues of today through inference instead of fact. Any ideas or thoughts that run counter to their extreme views are labeled “Liberal.” This labeling is no better than the red baiting of the fifties and sixties where labeling something “Communist” was the preferred method. We must examine the meat of issues not just the exterior. We cannot allow our body politic to become so A.D.D. that everything is boiled down to 5 or 10 second sound clips.

    At the top of this blog, there is an excerpt of a speech that then Senator John F. Kennedy gave to the New York state convention of the Liberal Party. It was his acceptance of their nomination for President. This was in the days when Ronald Reagan was just a grade B movie star hosting “Death Valley Days.” The word and title “Liberal” was NOT something that politicians felt they had to avoid at all costs, as they do today.

    Politicians like Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry may have been better served by embracing their Liberal roots. Instead, they chose to disguise themselves behind a smoke screen. This allowed their opponents to energize the anti-Liberal vote without giving the Liberals a chance to bring out the vote from their base. Clinton succeeded so well in being the least Liberal Democrat in recent memory; one might wonder why the Neo-Cons were so hell bent on destroying him. That is only until we examine the current administration. The current regime is so far to the right that Abby Hoffman and Barry Goldwater would appear to be political clones. Clinton represented a moderate force that the Republicans had little chance of using their smear campaign of “He’s a Liberal,” with any efficacy. Clinton could and did straddle the middle better than anybody around.

    Here in unabridged form is the part of JFK’s speech where he addressed being labeled “Liberal.”

    What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label, “Liberal”? If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But, if by a “Liberal,” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I'm proud to say that I'm a “Liberal.”
  • Click Here to Hear Audio Clip of JFK's Speech