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