Thursday, November 04, 2004
(Thanks to By Beauty Damned for the Photo)
One final shot before I drop the whole election thing and get on with life. I just thought these two items summed up how I feel better than most. The above picture, which I found on By Beauty Damned, and the following piece, posted by Ruthie, which I found in the Forum at Any Which Way.
Most of you know Ruthie and scroff from Any Which Way. Hey, scroff's mebrudder, Ruthie's his Lady, it's family. If you don't know them, look them up, click on the link, great stuff going on over there.
I came across Maria recently, via Mad Mikey. I've been meaning to link to her for some time now but my schedule has been so brutal I barely had time to post. Anyway, she's a real Hellcat and a great read. Check her out.
And now, on to my final post (hopefully) on the 2004 Presidential Election, courtesy of Ruthie from Any Which Way!
Thursday, November 04 2004 @ 08:06 PM EST
I thought this was pretty good...ruthie
A Letter to Incredulous Friends Around the World
November 3, 2004
I'm sorry. I really am.
I know it must be impossible for you to understand the choice the American public made on November 2.
It's almost impossible for me, too, and I've lived here all 46 years of my life.
Why would Americans choose, by a margin of more than 3,500,000 votes, to return George W. Bush to office after all that he's done?
After he pulled out of the Kyoto Accords?
After he trashed the ABM Treaty?
After he ignored more than 40 warnings about the looming danger of an attack by Osama bin Laden?
After he failed to capture bin Laden?
After he circulated false information about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's alleged links to bin Laden?
After he bullied the United Nations with slurs of irrelevancy?
After he violated the U.N. Charter by launching the Iraq War?
After he bungled the occupation of Iraq and dishonored America with the Abu Ghraib scandal?
After he promised billions of dollars to fight AIDS overseas and chose to fight condom use instead?
After the ranks of the uninsured at home rose to 45 million?
After he sided with the interests of huge corporations every step of the way?
After he was the first President to lose jobs in 70 years?
And after he redistributed wealth-to the top 1 percent of Americans?
Let me try to offer you an explanation, and then, perhaps, a ray or two of hope.
First, some brutal honesty: A large chunk of the public here doesn't give a damn about what anyone else around the world thinks about the United States. In fact, for many people here, it is a point of pride to ignore the wishes of the rest of the world. Bush played on this nativism by saying, "We don't need a permission slip from anyone" before defending the United States. In the post-9/11 era, this pitch was an especially effective one.
Deep in the psyche of the American mind is the myth of exceptionalism: that we, somehow, are the greatest country on Earth, a shining beacon on a hill, placed here by God himself. This is the American superiority complex, a profound affliction that distorts our perceptions and enables manipulative Presidents to give the marching orders.
Bush himself suffers from an aggravated case of this superiority complex. In fact, he has elevated it to national policy, a policy I call messianic militarism. He actually believes that God has placed him in the Oval Office. And he believes, as he put it earlier this year, "God is speaking through me." God evidently speaks the language of war.
An illustration: According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Bush told Palestinian negotiators, in that fleeting moment when he decided to involve himself in their issue, that God had told him to go to war against Afghanistan, and God had told him to go to war against Saddam Hussein, and now God was telling him to make peace between Israel and Palestine. (God must subsequently have told him to forget about it, because that's what Bush did.)
Another illustration: In his 2004 State of the Union address and in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, Bush used variations of the line: "We are delivering the gift of freedom to the people of Iraq. But it is not America's gift. It is the gift of God Almighty." Bush is delivering that gift by the bomb load right now.
Yet his invocation of the Almighty falls on receptive ears in the United States, one of the most fundamentalist countries in the world, as Noam Chomsky has noted. About 90 percent of the American public believe in God, and about 40 percent identify themselves as born-again Christian. Three quarters of the born-again Christians tend to vote Republican. This is Bush's base, and he and his political adviser, Karl Rove, did everything they could to expand that base and bring it to the polls on November 2.
That is why, in one of the debates, Bush signaled that he would appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court. That is why he came out for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and why Rove engineered referendums in eleven states on the issue. In each state, the referendum banning same-sex marriage won by a lopsided margin.
These issues are a great distraction from the everyday concerns of working people. But it was magic for Bush, persuading people to vote against their material interests. In Ohio, Bush prevailed in the county with the greatest unemployment, even though his policies helped to create that unemployment. He was the boss who threw the workers onto the street, but the workers voted for him anyway. Their unemployment represents the revenge of empire upon its own citizens, but they saluted the emperor nonetheless.
The churches played a huge role in driving their followers to the polls. Never in modern American history have the churches intervened so blatantly in an election.
When people weren't getting the message in church, they were fed it intravenously by Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV and talk radio. This diet of misinformation was not good for the brain: A majority of Bush supporters said they still felt the war against Iraq was part of the war on terror, even after all the evidence showing no link between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
This is the geography of Bush's victory.
But despite all that, Bush won by only a small margin, with 55 million Americans voting to turn him out.
55 million Americans said no to the Iraq War.
55 million Americans said no to Abu Ghraib.
55 million Americans said no to Halliburton.
55 million Americans said yes to working with the rest of the world.
We are with you in your concern for human rights.
We are with you in your concern for the environment.
We are with you in opposing the Iraq War.
We are with you in abiding by the U.N. Charter.
And people here on the progressive side are trying to translate these commitments into power. The broadly defined liberal and leftwing community in America was more impassioned, more determined, more organized, and more united than I've ever seen it before. People here know the stakes. And as citizens of the empire, almost all progressives felt an obligation to consider the harm that Bush was doing to you, the victims and subjects of the empire, and so they redoubled their efforts.
It was not enough, not this time.
But the coalition of forces-unionists, civil rights groups, environmentalists, activists of all stripes, from the old school and from the Internet-will not disintegrate. It will continue to cohere.
And there's another good sign: The alternative media here is stronger than ever before, with "Democracy Now" and "Air America" reaching tens of millions of Americans on the airwaves.
Plus, we can now exchange our messages on commondreams.org and buzzflash and Truthout and MoveOn, thus giving us the capacity not only to communicate but organize instantaneously.
Media activism is also at an all time high, with a new mass movement tugging at the trunks of the conglomerates.
And a cultural insurrection is under way: from Michael Moore and John Sayles to Bruce Springsteen and Eminem and Margaret Cho and Jon Stewart.
We are finally getting our act together over here. We are finally getting our message out. And there is a seriousness of purpose, an urgency to regain power, that is amazing to behold.
No one is rolling over dead.
Like the Red Scare of the 1920s, like the McCarthy period of the 1950s, like the Nixon years and the Reagan years, this too will pass.
And so there will come a day when you and I alike can once again recite the line from Neruda, "America, I do not call your name without hope."
In peace and solidarity,
The Progressive magazine
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Thanks For a Hell of A Ride, Guys...
Well, America has made Her choice. Now Americans will have to live with it. Frankly, the Right beat us at our own game, quietly organizing voters and building a grass-roots "get-out-the-vote machine" from Day One. There are many lessons here for those of us on the Left to learn if we ever again want to have any significant say in the way our country is run.
To begin with, the Right always knew who their candidate would be. That is an advantage of being an incumbent with a Second Term up for grabs. As such, they were able to focus on getting their candidate re-elected from the beginning of the First Term. The Left, on the other hand, had to wade through countless primary candidates all attacking each other while the Right continued to quietly out- organize the "ultimate organizers" on the Left: Unions and Grass Roots Groups such as MoveOn and ACT.
Seems the Right learned a thing or two somewhere along the way. They aren't as stupid as we thought. At least their leaders aren't.
Their leaders have lied to the American Public all along. On Iraq. On tax Cuts. On "No Child Left Behind". On Overtime pay. On "Weapons Of Mass Destruction". On Abu Gharib. On paying for the war with Iraqi oil money. On the Coalition of The Willing. On the environment. On countless issues.
On Tuesday, November 2, 2004, the Majority of American Voters bought their lies, lock, stock and barrell.
Why? Because the Republican leadership was able to convince voters that these lies were either insignificant in the overall scheme of things or were actually true. So it wasn't the Leadership of the Right that was Stupid, it was the millions of mindless minions who bought the sound bytes. Any one of whom will tell you that "Kerry was a Flip-flopper". (It means something here to note that the three areas of the United States that have actually been attacked by terrorists, Pennsylvania, New York and Washington, D.C., all went for John Kerry!)
And that's where we failed. We failed to recognize that their Leaders were smart enough to start their 2004 campaign the day after Bush was sworn in in 2000 and that most Americans were either too stupid or too lazy to look "behind the curtain" and see the Truth.
That Right Wing Mis-information Machine is still there and still hard at work. There has been some speculation as to who will head the Republican ticket in 2008 since it is unlikely Cheney will run due to age and health concerns.
I already know.
Possibly paired with Colin Powell. But definately Jeb. Why not? He has the same qualifications his brother had four years ago, and he's a Bush. The dynasty will continue. Who else can the Neo-cons trust with their "Project For The New American Century"?
What I don't know and need to know NOW, is who we will be running.
There's a lot of hard work to do and we need to start as soon as possible.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Like Father Like Son... One Term And Done!
Brothers & Sisters,
Is this what we really want? Four more years of lies, deceit, incompetence and bold, unabashed arrogance?
Bush talks to God. And God answers back. Not in the usual way. Not in the way most of us receive guidance from the Lord, but directly. According to Pat Robertson, God told Bush that there would be no casualties in Iraq. Who was wrong, God or Bush? Now Robertson predicts a Bush landslide victory. According to God, Bush will sweep the election. Funny, I didn't know God was a Republican.
Apparently neither does Usama Bin Laden. Bin Laden thinks God is a Muslim. Bin Laden believes that God will punish us for aiding the Jews in 1982 in Lebanaon. The Jews also think God is on their side. Not Jesus, who according to the Jews was a Rabbi went wrong, but Yahweh, the only true God, who will lead the "Chosen" to the "Promised Land". Which brings me to another point: let's do away with "dual citizenship". Either you are a Loyal American or you aren't, okay? I don't want the considerations of any other country influencing the politics of my country, and neither should you!
I think God should be left out of this. If anything, God has got to be shaking His/Her Almighty Head at the chaos being done in His/Her Name. Fact is, God doesn't take sides, folks. That's the point of "Free Will". He left us to sort it all out for ourselves, a kind of test, to see who was worthy and who was not. Anyone who claims to have God on their side, therefore, is full of shit.
So let's leave God out of the equation. Granted He's watching. He may even be keeping score. But by His own Words, He's a non-participant.
So, what does that leave us with?
A liar. A man. Only a man, who knew there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq but who persued this current fiasco anyway. A man who had no real plan other than to kill or capture Saddam Hussein for the political capital it would gain him. A man who succumbed to the greedy ambitions of others as evidenced by the fact that our troops secured only the oil fileds in our blitzkreig across Iraq, letting museums, National Treasures and Real Munition dumps stand unguarded, hence the missing 380 tons of high explosives Bush and his cronies would have you believe were gone before we got there. What did Rumsfeld say when the pictures appeared on your TV of looters raping the Iraqi people of their history and dignity? "That's what Freedom is, some folks are going to loot." Or some such nonsense. Bullshit.
Bush lied and thousands died. For nothing. This war was supposed to be about 9/11. Bush and his cronies have morphed that into "we freed the Iraqi people". Ask any ordinary Iraqi how he likes his new "freedom". So far the only "freedom" the average Iraqi has experienced is Freedom from electrical service, clean water, ample food, jobs and a hell of a lot more "security" than he has now! This war was supposed to be about Usama Bin Laden and preventing the kind of catastrophe that occurred on 9/11. A catastrophe that we are now learning could have been prevented had Bush and his Neo-con advisors listened to the evidence presented to them by the Clinton Administration. ( And Bush says, "I don't think about Bin Laden very much. He's not a priority.")
Oh, wait. Clinton got his dick sucked by an intern! Forget about the Budget Surplus. Forget about stopping the Millenium Plot. Forget about winning in Kosovo without losing one American life. Clinton got his dick sucked! Baaaaaaaaaad man! Clinton lied ! (What married man wouldn't?) Isn't that something that should have been left to Bill and Hillary to sort out? What business was it of anybody-else to "investigate" it at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars? If we spent as much time and money investigating Halliburton half of the Bush Administration would probably be brought up on criminal charges.
And that's what really scares them. If they lose and the Democrats take over there will be Hell to pay. A lot of folks may end up in prison. They need to win by any means possible to clean up their mess and destroy the evidence of their crimes. But, then, if they win, we will be on a road that will negate any possibility of that ever happening.
Aside from all of this, their assault on the average American has been decimating. They will boldly stand in front of a TV camera and swear that they are for the Middle Class while at the same time they abolish overtime pay, give no-bid contracts to drug companies, raise the cost of Medicare the day after they finish their Convention, give Corporations another large tax break only days ago, reward companies for off--shoring work - all the while smiling at you and telling you how much better things are!
They will stop at nothing to win. Even John McCain called their tatics dishonorable. He should know, he was a victim of the Bush Machine himself. They will crow that John Kerry only served four months in Viet Nam and earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. They will say this is laughable in such a short period of time. What they will not say is how much time they spent in Viet Nam. I would like to ask these Chickenhawks how much time in combat is required to earn their undeserving respect. Jerry McGuire was "in-country" six weeks when a sniper shot him in the head. Try telling his family he was a poser and a fake.
They will tell you they are for "Family Values", yet seek a Constitutional Amendment to prevent Gay Marriage. (If you don't like the idea of Gay Marriage- don't marry one!) They will howl like hyenas' if someone mentions Dick Cheney's Gay daughter while protesting that being Gay is nothing to be ashamed of, (provided the friggin' queers don't seek the same protections offerred straight couples!).
They will tell you to "support our troops" while they close VA Hospials and cutback combat pay and send troops into combat ill-equipped and insufficiently trained. They will promise you they will not re-institute the draft while they employ a "back-door draft" by executing "stop-loss" orders and ignoring the completion of contractual obligations by those serving. Where, prey tell, will they get the man-power to replace the troops currently in action? Recruiters haven't been exactly overwhelmed by new recruits anxious to sign up for duty in Iraq in spite of the many loud mouthed Protest Warriors who claim to be serving their country here at home, (read "safe". Isn't it so much easier to stay here and run your mouth while others do your fighting and dying for you?) At one point we had 500,000 troops in Viet Nam fighting the same kind of war with what results? Bush would have you believe we can achieve success with the same 138,000 who were part of the initial invasion!
They will tell you that John Kerry and the "Liberals" in Congress are weak on Defense while it was their Guru, Ronald Ray-gun, who denied the United States Marine Corps a chance to even the score with Islamo-terrorists after the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut kelled 243 United States Marines by pulling them out immediately and five days later sending them off to invade Grenada, a "real" threat to the security of the United States.
They will tell you that they are strong on "Homeland Security" yet 98% of all containers entering our ports are uninspected and could easily house terrorist weapons. Our chemical and nuclear plants remain easily accesible and our airlines constantly load uninspected, un-exrayed luggage into the bellies of the planes we fly on. Illegal immigrants flood across our borders daily, some 3,000,000 a year! - who's to say at least some of them aren't coming here to do us ill? Do you feel more secure?
They will tell you that abortion is wrong and immoral yet how many of these righteous, Right Wing Men have ever been pregnant?
This Tuesday I am going to ask you to look at the facts. The real facts. Look in your hearts. Ask yourselves, "Can we really afford four more years of regression, oppression, and suppression of reality? Are we really better off now than we were four years ago?
Do we really have anything to lose by giving John Kerry a chance to restore this great Republic to it's former glory?
Vote on November 2, 2004. Vote your conscience. Vote for John Kerry and John Edwards.
Go now, and take your places at the Table of Warriors with the Blessings of The All Father, Odin, One-eye, for you have, by your blood and steel, earned nothing less than Eternal Honor amongst the Heroes of Valhalla.
The Final Inspection
The Marine stood and faced his God
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.
Step forward now, O' Devil-Dog,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?
The Marine squared his shoulders,
said, No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence 'round the throne
Where saints had often trod
As the Marine awaited quietly,
The judgment of his God,
Step forward now, My Fine Marine,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk your post on Heaven's streets,
You've served your time in hell.
Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas