Dissolve into Evergreens
This blog used to be about politics. Not so much anymore as I have worked through my fascination with that subject. It now seems appropriate that with a new president and the end of the Bush nightmare that I move on to new subjects that are more in line with my current interests. I may still occasionally express an opinion about political matters but for the most part I will be commenting on music, photography and personal observations. Thank you for reading.


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10.06.2003
 
There are a few posts following that are some online tests for my "personality" type. If you spend just a few minutes here, skip past those and read some of my other writings.

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Test Results:
The Big Five Personality Test
Extroverted|||||| 26%
Introverted |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Friendly |||||||||||||||||||| 84%
Aggressive |||| 16%
Orderly |||||||||||| 48%
Disorderly |||||||||||||| 52%
Relaxed |||||||||||| 42%
Emotional||||||||||||||58%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Practical || 10%
Take Free Big 5 Personality Test


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INTJ ! Tell Me What That Means to Me!

Test Results:
"Introverted (I) 84.38% Extroverted (E) 15.63%
Intuitive (N) 58.06% Sensing (S) 41.94%
Thinking (T) 64.29% Feeling (F) 35.71%
Judging (J) 51.28% Perceiving (P) 48.72%

Your type is: INTJ

INTJ - 'Scientist'. Most self-confident and pragmatic of all the types. Decisions come very easily. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 1% of the total population. "


That's what they say....

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Spot On

Emphasis Added:
"Forces today within our society are actively and explicitly opposed to secular humanism – which is to say, against the entire intellectual framework of the modern world. Bush and his crew are proud to align themselves with that side of the argument. This also means rejecting the analytical methods of inquiry and discovery that accompanied the Enlightenment revolution. When faith supplants reason, there is no need for inquiry: all answers are provided by dogma and ideology, and inquiry is a pernicious, wicked exercise whose only purpose is to challenge proper authority."


I sometimes quibble with Rob over at Emphasis Added, but when he writes like this... I have nothing more to say than BRAVO! This is a must read, especially for many of my okie blog-mates who Rob has so carefully outed.

The truth of the world is all around you, in all its messy complexity. To find it, look to the world, not to a dusty book of ancient scripture, or to a pre-baked set of ideological answers and talking points.


But the Bible made me do it seems to be the excuse I hear most often. Think for yourselves people! You were born with a brain and senses to experience the world, use them. Use reason, one of the greatest tools humanity has ever created.

If I disagree with somebody but they came to their opinions through their own reason and experience I listen to them. Occaasionally I have changed my mind. I don't consider that a weakness, I consider it a strength. When presented with a better arguement I ditch the old one. I am not so niave to assume that I have the world all figured out. If I did I wouldn't spend so much time thinking about things, reading what other people have to say, and trying to find arguements for and against what they say.

Beliefs are just your most educated opinions.


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Dogs of War

Because I think its important to remember. Last time America felt compelled to pursue a war involving power politics was during the Cold War. Then, as now, we felt that our ends justified our means. Winning, defeating the communists was priority number one. In the process we helped create Osama Bin Laden, we helped usher in the fundamentalist regime in Iran, we split North Korea into two halves, we turned Afghanistan into a warzone, we coddled Saddam Hussein, we spent thousands of young lives trying to keep a domino from falling, which it did to no consequence and we spent countless hours chasing communists.

And sure, the Soviet Union collapsed, and behind the dreaded Iron Curtain we found Russians. Russians who now seem like no threat to anyone. The dog's bark had been worse than his bite. But we had spent so long spinning such nightmarish tales of the braying hounds just over the fence that we had nearly torn down our own house and those around us in the process. Only now can we turn a critical eye on the mass hysteria that had inflicted our nation (and theirs as well).

But our respite was brief. The important lesson gleened from those noble "communist fighting" days was single; frighten people enough with tales of our enemy's cruelty, ruthlessness and cunning and people will line up behind those politicians most willing to flex muscle. So now we have the "War on Terror", brought to us by the people that brought us the Cold War. Only now instead of communists hiding behind every bush we have terrorists hiding behind every bush. We shall return to the glory days of national paranoia.

Several months ago I was in a small bookstore here in Tulsa. I happened across a fascinating book published during the height of the Cold War frenzy. At the time I had little money for unneccesary purchases so I leafed through it and put it back on the shelf. I made a mental note of where it was and I promised that once I had a few dollars I would return for it. Needless to say, when that day came, I could not find it again. But I recall the content of the book; dark, shadowy, ink-scratch clouds with menacing eyes clawing across Europe on its way to America. Bright, strong square-jawwed Americans prepared to fight for liberty. It was propaganda at it clumsiest. To my dismay it was not just some stray publication from a fringe cult of fanatics, it was an official publication of the United States government.

I recall thinking that at once I was glad not to be living in those dark days but sad that I could see darker days to come. It all comes down to whether or not we keep our cool this time and not go all nutzoid like we did back then. And since that time we have invaded Iraq and my worst fears were realized. Now we see once again that the threat that prompted us to action was false, another puppy behind the fence. But there will always be more howls in the night to feed out nightmares.


and... Dogs of Peace.


On a more personal note, a smal story, one that might explain my current pre-occupation with dogs.

Today as I sat in my bedroom at the computer with the window open I heard a clinking noise. I was unable to place it, but I thought it odd. Later I would find a dog, a small brown one with a greying muzzle standing just outside the glass of the front door. He stood there with his back legs on concrete walk and his front legs on the step. For some reason he was fascinated by the inside of the house. I found his intense stare alarming and I was at first cautious about going out the front door to meet him. I saw that he was wearing tags but I could not read the information on it from where I was inside the house. When I pushed open the glass door a bit he scooted back into the yard and began to bark. I assumed that he would soon run away, off down the street and away. But no. Not only did he stay, he worked up the courage to come stand at the door again. I watched this from around a door frame leading into the kitchen.

My initial plan was to zoom in with my little digital camera and try to take a picture of the tags so I could call the owner. That was a dumb idea and soon I decided that I would have to actually catch the dog in order to read the tags. But I know a little about skittish dogs and just how utterly frustrating they can be, I hoped this dog was not so easily frightened. I ruled out the simple method of chasing him down. I harbored no illusions that I would be able to catch the dog in a contest of speed and agility. So I set about to lure him in.

I went out onto the porch, and reassured by the small size of his jaw I sat down on the step and lowered my gaze.

Sure enough the little dog stared at me warily. He would bark, walk around the yard, mark a small bush and stare some more. Eventually he would approach a little closer, like a plane on a flyby. Then he would wander out by the street, mark the bush again and come in for another test pass.

This went on for about twenty minutes until finally, contact was made. A nose quickly touched my hands and the dog galloped away. Next he came up on the porch behind me and I was able to extend out my hand and grab his collar. Now I could read the tags. But the dog wanted rubs, so I obliged.

After calling the owners and informing them of where their dog was, we waited on the porch. After a couple of minutes the owners pulled up. The dog's weird fixation on my house was revealed. It turns out that the daughter of the current owners had lived in this house, and in fact the dog had lived here as well. They now lived down the road and the dog had escaped from the yard and had come across his old house.

We had been blessed with his visit. He was a friendly little dog. My apprehension had been unwarranted. My willingness to engage the dog with patience and diplomacy had been fruitful, he was returned home. Had I chased him away he would have returned, or worse he could have wandered off and been run over.



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10.05.2003
 
Counter-strike

Unions See Politics in New Disclosure Rules:
"'The current financial disclosure forms that unions file provide little of value to rank-and-file members about their union's finances and operations, and they have failed as an effective deterrent against financial misconduct,' said Elaine L. Chao, the secretary of labor. 'Too many workers are being hurt by the wrongdoing of a few.'"


an analysis from DailyKos.com

The more time union officers spend reporting every finance transaction to the Department of Labor, the less time they have to tell their members about George Bush’s latest attack on their right to bargain collectively and their right to earn a decent living.


It was many years before the federal government recognized the rights of workers to organize. In the beginning the unions acted in opposition of the powerful business class and their allies, the federal, state and local government. I fear that if people start assuming that organizing is a right granted to them by the federal government they will accept limitations on that right. We should always remember that the working class earned the right to form unions only after years of struggle. Even though there is now legal protections for workers who try to organize it started out simply, as workers struck, walked out or sat down. They asked for permission from no one.



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Panda Ring

Sometimes I think I got this whole blogging thing all wrong. See, the point is to make people like you right? I am heading off in the opposite direction by alienating the core base of internet users. Unlike Rush Limbaugh who speaks for the disaffected majority that still has all the social, political and economic power in this society who are rightly paranoid that their heyday is coming to a close, I find that I come into opposition to the prevailing mindset of the internet, especially eminating from Oklahoma. More and more I think that comes from my inability to completely buy into the prevailing mythology of this part of the country. But so be it...

I could do alot better by pandering to the core constituency of the internet. But I won't. And he wont either, among others.

This is what has set me off. A love fest of, we are right, we are just, we are the little lint between God's toes when he takes his socks off at night.



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Distasteful!

Yahoo! News - Sen. Edward Kennedy to Receive Bush Award

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record) will receive the 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Former President Bush has sole discretion on who receives the award, said Penrod Thornton of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.


Thanks to Matt at Life and Deatherage for bringing this juicy tidbit to light for me. Read the following post to find out why this is so distateful.




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"I'm a Uniter, not a Divider!"

What a Difference Character Makes

Just when I thought that any sane person would see Bush for the lying fraud that he is, there comes this virtual orgasm.

Every day in every way, my esteem for this man grows and last night he said what I wanted him to say, he did what I wanted him to do and I will not forget this man is working for me. Thank you, President Bush, from the bottom of my politics-weary heart.


And what so enthralled our dear Barbara Stanley to engage in such a love fest? Why, Bush said "Jesus". Isn't that enough. All that war stuff be darned. All that hypocrisy is bygone. And the phrase "this man is working for me" is code for thank God we have a theocratic white man in the Whitehouse to protect our priviledged place in the world. Suffice it to say that "this man is working to make my life more difficult". Hence, my lack of admiration. Go read the entire article, but take a doggie bag with you, you might need it. Uck. What sheer utter nonesense.

But in the word's of candidate Bush: (for those of us that actually care about history)

I showed the people of Texas that I'm a uniter, not a divider. I refuse to play the politics of putting people into groups and pitting one group against another.


or even...

Group-thought will balkanize our society, and I have rejected the politics of pitting one group of persons against another.


and back to the article please...

How can folks who are diametrically opposed in goals duke it out (like gentlemen for the most part, on the Right side of the aisle), one wanting smaller government and lower taxes, the other, big government and all kinds of social programs, tax and spend democrats and then yuck it up at the local watering hole. It always boggled my mind and it is one of the things about politics that I find so distasteful.


oh my, we have a situation here. President Bush?

I am a pro-life candidate, but there are pro-choice governors who are my friends, and who support me, and for that I am grateful.


Go figure. It must be nice to keep two diametrically opposed point of views in your head and still bang away at a keyboard. Oh wait, I forgot... "September 11th changed everything"(tm).




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10.03.2003
 
The Boy Who Cried Liberal

Orcinus:
"'Liberal sportswriters have pushed the notion that it's unfair that there haven't been more black quarterbacks, and I agree with that. I simply said that their desire for McNabb to do well caused them to rate him a little higher than perhaps he actually is.'" - Rush Limbaugh


Just how useless has the word "liberal" actually become? I present you the phrase "liberal sportswriters". Just how out of touch with reality are people who believe in the "liberal" fantasy?

PIPA's seven polls, which included 9,611 respondents, had a margin of error from 2 to 3.5 percent.

The analysis released Thursday also correlated the misperceptions with the primary news source of the mistaken respondents. For example, 80 percent of those who said they relied on Fox News and 71 percent of those who said they relied on CBS believed at least one of the three misperceptions. - By FRANK DAVIES Knight Ridder Newspapers


And who had the lowest rate of error for their information? PBS and NPR, the so called "liberal media" bastions. So we come to the obvious conclusion that liberal = accurate and factual. Which I could have told you a long time ago.

In what might be considered the epitome of irony, an actual liberal-lefty media has indeed emerged to counter the misinformation being spewed by the right.

Careful what you wish for indeed.


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10.02.2003
 
This is ... Stale Air with Grover Norquist!

Fresh Air: Thursday - October 2, 2003

Just finished listening to Terry Gross interview Grover Norquist on Fresh Air not too long ago. It was just like I had expected, when it came time for him to explicitly state his unpopular views he would switch to demogogery and reframing of the issue.

When asked how he would expect government to shrink to accomodate the tax cuts, he basically said that we should drive to reduce wages by pitting federal jobs against private jobs in a competitive bidding process. In essense, we should expect to pay for the tilted tax cuts by driving down working class wages. Fair enough, its what you would expect from that side of the class struggle, but then he went on to compare the idea of progressive taxation to the mentality that led to the holocaust.

He also said that Medicare was finished and that Social Security was a Ponzi Scheme. But I think he was happy to gloss over the fact that in the process of switching from the current Social Security system of present generations paying for present retirees to one where present workers would pay for their own retirement, just how the current batch of retirees would get their money to live. If the workers of today stop paying for current retirees and instead put that money into their own retirement accounts will that not leave a whole generation of workers who have spent a lifetime paying in to Social Security high and dry?

Sure, but for the wealthy it won't be an issue since they don't rely on Social Security anyways. And on the up side it will infuse the Stock Market with fresh money. I am more inclined to see the Stock Market as a Ponzi Scheme.

Did you know we can get better roads by destroying unions? Neither did I.

In an amazing twist of logic that would impress the Bulgarian women's gymnastic team he explained how the government would save money by shifting jobs to the private market but then he further explained how those jobs would be better paying ones. You do the math on that one.

I urge you to listen for yourself and think critically about what he is saying. Think about this analysis offered by Paul Krugman:

If Grover Norquist is right -- and he has been right about a lot -- the coming crisis will allow conservatives to move the nation a long way back toward the kind of limited government we had before Franklin Roosevelt. Lack of revenue, he says, will make it possible for conservative politicians -- in the name of fiscal necessity -- to dismantle immensely popular government programs that would otherwise have been untouchable.

In Norquist's vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education.


This is Class Warfare.



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Tell Me What You Really Think!

The Wage Slave Journal:

Jesse at the WSJ (no, thats the Wage Slave Journal!) wonders...

"Why do (white) people support George W. Bush? Apparently it has a lot to do with 'jobs and growth,' 'honor and integrity,' 'democracy and freedom,' and 'compassion.' Funny, those sound awfully like George W. Bush for President talking points!"


... in response to this page at Georgewbush.com. There is also a form on that page where you can submit your own blathering admiration of Bush's "compassion", "leadership" and "integrity". Here is what I sent to our dear leader:

" I support George W. Bush because as a rich white christian I know that I will always be a protected minority under his presidency. I can rest easy at night knowing that Bush is working to make my life easier. His administration has lowered my taxes and made it easier for me to invest and make more money with minimal amount of risk to myself. He has done little to help unemployed workers so they will feel obligated to come to me and work for less, and that means more money for luxury goods. I can feel safe knowing that my fortune can be passed on to my children with no taxes being paid. My children will also belong to a priviledged class of Americans protected by the Republican party. And that no matter how bad things get that as long as I have money I will continue to have access to the good things in life, gated communities, education for my children (with rebates), cheap labor, and direct access to the law-making process. I also know that my religion will be given undue prominence and will remain the "official" religion of this country. I feel safe knowing that the police and the courts will always give me special consideration and that the most deadly military the world has ever known will never be turned upon me but will continue to work to further my interests.

Thanks, President Bush."


Tongue in cheek of course. I am neither christian or rich and my membership to the White People of F**king America has been revoked due to "actions unbecoming an imperialist". It was a sad day when I had to turn in my f-150 and 20 foot flagpole.




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Straw Men Burning!

Eject! Eject! Eject!: POWER

How can people that proclaim the greatest admiration for Democracy then turn around and propose that the citizens of the world should accept american dominance? Because we're nice people? That's like saying "why shouldnt we let a governing council of nice people with our best interests at heart run America, this election stuff be damned!"

History is crystal clear on one point, and that is that power – the exercise of raw military and political force – is the only effective cure for dictators and fascists, whatever flag they fly. It is not only morally justified to confront such evil; it is immoral not to do so


We should note that for the rest of his essay he ignores the political component. And be warned that the "History of America" once again begins after the near total genocide of the native americans.

Reading through Whittle's wanton burning of straw man after straw man I have to remind myself that we, Americans are living on occupied territory. There are treaties signed with conquered peoples that no longer have claim to their ancestral land. America was not a shiny coin that we found on the street one day. It was a bank that we claimed as our own.

I have had innumerable discussions about threats, actions, responses, contingencies and capabilities, but I have never, not once in 44 years, met an American who advocated invasion and permanent conquest for national gain.


Why should they? They are still feeding off the feast of past conquests. "We" conquered and stole land that "we" have yet to digest.

Show me anywhere else in all the pages of history such national decency, forgiveness, and generosity. You can’t do it. It is, like so much of our history, unique.


Maybe being an okie, close to the heart of Native American anguish, causes me to find this statement myopic to say the least. Or maybe its that little bit of native blood that runs through me as well.

We do not enjoy sending our sons and daughters to die overseas. But when we have to fight we fight to win, and win quickly. “War is cruelty; you cannot refine it,” wrote Grant’s friend and subordinate, William T. Sherman. You cannot refine it, indeed. You can only do it and get it over with as quickly as possible.


On the contrary I think we do enjoy sending our sons and daughters off to fight. After Sept. 11th there was a palpable feeling of near-glee at the prospect of yet another generation of Americans going off to fight the good fight. It was blasphemous to say that any other option was considerable. Bush knew what all the flags meant, it was a national cry for battle. He merely gave us what we craved. It was our rebirth, reliving for yet another generation our genesis bathed in blood.

For those Americans that only know one side of the American legend they cannot understand that I look at the birth of this nation through the lens of my ancestry. It was birth, and it was death, and to pretend otherwise is a false picture. One that Bill Whittle is content to repaint yet again. I know that when he invokes the term "Americans" he refers not to a nation of people but to a constituency. One to which I only partially belong.



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10.01.2003
 
Didn't Scripture also Supposedly Condone Racism?

flyovercountry.blog-city.com:
"What happens when scripture, which I believe is inerrant, violates another American's human rights? Could our pastors who preach the truth be jailed? Could Christians be called upon to practice civil disobediance? Clearly, homosexuals are waging an aggressive and cleverly executed war to normalize their behavior in American culture. Gay-themed TV shows are among the highest rated shows, gay couples are putting dents in the marriage armor, and gay couples are making significant inroads in the upbringing and educating of our unwanted children: foster kids. Am I prepared to lose my job and my freedom over this? Will my children have to make that decision?"


Update: Upon further reflection I deleted most of what I had previously said. I dont feel confortable trying to make a value judgement like that. I do however still feel that bias against homosexuals masked behind the facade of merely following scriptures is a bit hard for me to take seriously. Would you go on to say that "if it wasn't for scripture I would be totally fine with gays being more acceptable in mainstream society"?

My line tends to be drawn at accepting anybody as long as they don't victimize others or deny somebody else their rights to liberty. I feel that preaching intolerance is the first step towards advocating violence. If you tell someone that you don't like their lifestyle and they refuse to change what are your options then?

I think its an easy decision. I dont have to make that decision between religious doctrine or human rights. And in reality its not all christians that feel the bible condemns homosexuality. I hope when of if that decision ever comes, you side with your heart.

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. --1 John iii. 15.



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Framing a Democratic Agenda:
"Social programs give people things they haven't earned, promoting dependency and lack of discipline, and are therefore immoral. The good people – those who have become self-reliant through discipline and pursuit of self-interest – deserve their wealth as a reward. Rewarding people who are doing the right thing is moral. Taxing them is punishment, an affliction, and is therefore immoral. "


Right? can I hear an amen?



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9.30.2003
 
Deep Breath

There has been a thought that I have been wanting to write about for a while but felt it was a little too big for me to start. I will try to take it on in a few small nibbles instead. I hope that this will, in some small measure, hindered by my inability as a writer, help you understand my positions and the purpose for this page.

I am not so vain as to entertain the idea that any of my ideas are going to be original. In the course of researching what I want to say here I have come across some nice articles that run along the same lines.

I come at politics from a relative position of ignorance. It wasn't something that was really debated at my house while I was growing up. There weren't heated debates about race or education. I was sent to a small catholic school and moved on to go to the bigger catholic high school. My education in a religious environment didn't influence my politics directly either. I never recall the priest giving sermon's about taxes, abortion or who to vote for come election day. At least not that I paid attention to anyway. I do recall hearing the same gospels over and over again to the point where I knew which one was being started after just a few words. My father was a Democrat because of his union at work and because I think he was raised as one as well, though it was never stated. I do recall at one point learning that the word Reagan was the near equivalent to a curse word that a president's name could get. This was apparently due to the way Reagan's policies led to the eventually purchase and dismantling of the company where my father had worked for some 20+ years.

This is enough biographical information for now. Suffice it to say that religion didn't directly influence my politics and I was never subjected to any direct indoctrination either. I could have come out of my upbringing with very different beliefs.

I jumped into my own political education not so very long ago, but I can tell that even the basic core beliefs that I developed outside of politics influences me. In particular I feel that my education in the scientific field has been invaluable in helping me to approach politics with a skeptical mind. In the process of learning about cells, chemical reactions and developmental process I was practicing a very open minded evidence based approach to learning. This contrasted with the "end goal" based approach that I see other people using.

What has come to baffle and intrigue me is the very bizarre alliance that has formed between fundamentalist Christianity and hard-line pro-capitalism, creating a strange ideology that centers around the god-granted system of capitalism in defiance of the Hell-spawned forces of socialism/communism.

It was not until the nineteenth century A.D. that a man (Karl Marx) lived who so basically attacked the morality of God, as taught in the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures, that there is nothing left of the Eighth Commandment. Either Scripture is all wrong, or Marx is all wrong. Of all things, Marx was no petty quibbler. He was one of the greatest revolutionaries toward God who has ever lived. - Progressive Calvinism, April, 1957; The "Issue" Between Communism And Christianity; by Frederick Nymeyer


This idea seems to be quite a stretch to me though I will make no claims to being an expert on Marx. What it does strike me as is politically useful. I have more experience with the Bible than with Marx but from what I know of the gospels I see plenty that indicates that Jesus himself wasn't so friendly towards those that held political or economic power in his day. I recall that he asked his disciples to forego their material wealth to follow him. This seems a marked contrast to the modern day message that garnering vast material wealth is somehow a service to Christ.

I want to be extremely careful not to be misunderstood. I believe that Communism is a counterfeit that has its origins in hell. But all the pulpit-pounding and the sermon-screaming we have heard in recent years against the evils of Communism needs to be examined. Is God really as concerned about systems as much as He is about sin? - IS COMMUNISM REALLY GOD'S WORST ENEMY? By: Keith Green


Even before I started my political studies I had already determined that organized religion at least as it is practiced here in America by most Protestants had horribly strayed from the message of Christ. The messages of the bible had been cut and pasted and reassembled in ways that gave undue weight to passages that reinforced political motivations. At that point, once confronted with this religious dissonance I walked away and declared myself an atheist. Doing so was very enlightening but I have since then settled on a more nuanced but less succinct way of describing my religious beliefs. I find the practice of trying to guess God's wishes beyond our current abilities. I find people that subscribe to the notion that nearly pre-historical man 2000 years ago not only learned of the true nature of God but did so in such a definitive way that God himself has seen little need to come back and clarify anything, whatsoever, odd. I tend to think that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg regarding human existence and our place in the universe that I don't see any reason to give up looking. Otherwise why do we continue to go on. The alternative, that we are wasted generations between biblical times and the apocalypse is depressing.

So why the rush to bed for capitalism and Christianity? Well, I'll explore that in my next attempt to tackle this issue which I have tentatively titled "Reaganism or Why God is a Butterfly". Till then...


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9.29.2003
 
Lions and Tigers and Bears!

In an email I received from the Bush campaign today:

President Bush needs your help to overcome the flood of liberal dollars that will be spent to defeat him.


Liberal dollars? Aww, c'mon why don't they just say it? The heinous hordes of child eating communist agitators are coming to take your money and teach your children to be gay loving abortionists!

AHHHHHH!!!!!!

When the depth of your political conviction stems from creating a false enemy and then bleating hollow alarms of their impending threat you know that your politics are rotten and shallow.

Never mind that Bush is setting fund raising records with private $1,000 a plate dinners for his corporate cronies.

What place does reality have in the fiction of partisan politics?

Last week, I warned you that liberal special interests had pledged to spend over $400 million to defeat President Bush.

Join this campaign by making your contribution of $2,000, $1,000, $500, or even $250 or $100 today!

Since my message to you, the Washington Post has revealed that these liberal groups have already raised over $185 million of their $400 million goal. They have already begun spending it on ads to defeat our President.



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Arrogant Man's Burden

Yahoo! News - Iraq postwar insecurity began in Washington: report:
"'CPA stands for the Condescending and Patronizing Americans,' a Baghdad diplomat told Newsweek.

'So there they are, sitting in their palace: 800 people, 17 of whom speak Arabic. One is an expert on Iraq.'

What happened to the Iraq experts? According to Newsweek, Rumsfeld ordered 16 of the 20 Pentagon staffers picked to go to Baghdad be cut because they were 'Arab apologists,' had positive opinions of the United Nations (news - web sites) or other opinions not acceptable to the neo-conservatives running the US government.

Rumsfeld's interference 'got so bad that even doctors sent to restore medical services had to be anti-abortion,' a member of the original team said. "


In other words, they couldn't find and educated professionals to agree with their wrong-headed idelogically driven agenda? People who know the region and know the language are seen to be "arab apologists"? Its "White Man's Burden" all over. We're gonna go in there and bring them civilization!

Sixteen divided by twenty is eighty percent. That's how many people disagreed with Rumsfeld and his goons about how to run Iraq. That's not good news. Not when most of those were experts on the arab world.


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9.28.2003
 
Help?

Ok, I got this issue. When I try to download something with IE, like of Download.com or something similar it launches Quicktime and screws up the download.

I'm usually good at patching up these little glitches but this one has me a bit baffled. And yes, I know, I should just dump IE and use something else... well, yes I could. And well, yes, I should as well.

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New Paths

Chaotic Not Random:
"These commercials are supposed to make me want to buy beer. They don't. They make me want to shut off all the lights and huddle in the corner, rocking and weeping."


Wonderful. I like this guy.


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These laws were made for breaking, and that's just what we'll do
One of these days these laws are gonna walk all over you!


C.I.A. Seeks Inquiry Into Naming of an Operative:
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — The C.I.A. has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether senior Bush administration officials broke the law by revealing the identity of an agency operative, a government official said today."


The question is not whether these guys in the Whitehouse will self destruct but if the hard core republican foot soldiers will still feel obligated to vote for the smoldering pile of wreckage.

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9.25.2003
 
14 More Years!

WorldNetDaily: Keeping touch with reality:
"In Kyle Williams' newly released book, 'Seen and Heard,' America's youngest national columnist takes on the establishment, offering clear evidence that a leftist agenda is at work in our nation."


So clear in fact that a 14 yr old kid can see it. So if its not a vast well of work experience, global travel, or even filing taxes that gives this young child the insight that he has, what is it?

Written by a wet-behind-the-ears lad of 14, Kyle Williams, the books description drops the following bomb on us: "home schooled in rural Oklahoma, Williams brings a fresh perspective to the debate, shattering stereotypes about the apathy of young people."


oh, I see. And fuels his "driving desire to expose liberal propaganda in the nation’s schools and media," considering the fact that he never attended public schools? Geez, if you can't follow this one folks then you're gonna have to start from scratch. For those with no logical thought process, a step by step:

His parents believe that the public schools and the media are tools of liberal propaganda so they decide to homeschool their little darling, teaching him that, well, the schools and media are liberal propaganda tools. Young Kyle, in the absence of evidence to the contrary (isnt that the definition of homeschooling?) decides for himself that the schools and media are liberal propaganda tools. How very, suprising. A closed loop builds a closed mind?

Reading through Kyle's articles though I have to admit he's a bright kid and with the experience of a few years he'll have a better perspective on life. Its encouraging that he has enrolled himself in public schools to get a firsthand look at public education. Or as he likes to call it "government schooling". Its encouraging, but to be a good objective observer he will have to break down his own belief system first, not to forsake his values but to provide a clean context for his observations. Thinking like this has to go:

I am very confident that my opinions will not change; rather, they will be reinforced by the anecdotal evidence gathered daily.


But like I said, I think the kid is smart, and if if he stays on the same path of inquiry with an open mind, we might see something other than the tired ol' right wing talking points. There is hope. Good luck.


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Magic 8-Ball Says: Outlook Not So Good!

Online NewsHour: The Cost of War -- September 22, 2003:
"RICHARD PERLE: With all due respect, your sojourns in the cities of Iraq are hardly the appropriate measure of how well we have done in restoring electricity and getting water back on track. I don't think --

MEDEA BENJAMIN: You know better sitting in Washington, D.C.?"


So being there is not an "appropriate measure" of how things are going in Iraq? Perle's mental powers of telepathy will not be questioned!

Of course this explains a few things...

"I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news," the president said. "And the best way to get the news is from objective sources, and the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."


Garbage in, Garbage out.

How do you know things are going well in Iraq? Well, you ask the recipients of the billions of dollars of reconstruction money. What do they say? "Things are going great but we need more money". Now, Imagine if you will, showing up at the site of your new house that is being built. You've already given the contractor a significant amount of money, but when you show up there is nothing more than a foundation and a few stacks of wood laying around. So you ask. "How are things going?". You get the above answer. Your conclusion is one of a few.

a) They lowballed the estimate knowing it would cost more, but did so to win the bid
b) They are dragging their feet on your project while they shop for new ones.
c) They know that once you're committed they can soak you for all they can.
d) They're incompetant but they think you're an idiot.

Your best course of action is to bring in a third party that can tell you what the project should cost and what the time frame should be. In Iraq there are couple of things that confuse the issue. Who knows just how much it should cost to rebuild a country? And there is a very heavy security component that adds to the overall cost. But I think its fair that we ask some basic accountability questions. And I think it prudent to assume that if the security concerns arise out of an American presence that a sensible course of action would be to try to minimize our visibility there. But that would mean that the American companies wouldn't reap the benefits of our war there. This would anger Wall Street. We can't have that. So bring on the money!


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Speech for Itself

Address by the President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, at the 58:
"We speak here of power in all fields of human activity, including the political, economic, military, technological, social, intellectual, and so on.

Left to its internal and autonomous impulses, the process of globalisation will inevitably result in the further enhancement of the domination of the dominant and the entrenchment of the subservience of the dominated, however much the latter might resent such domination.

Among other things, this paradigm means that, naturally, the powerful will set the agenda for all residents of the global village. Again naturally, they will do this to advance their own interests.

This will include the perpetuation of their dominant positions, to ensure the sustenance of their capacity to set the agenda of the global village, in the interest of their own neighbourhoods within this global village.

Inherent within this is, necessarily, reliance on the use of the superior power of which the dominant dispose, to achieve the objective of the perpetuation of the situation of the unequal distribution of power.

In this situation, it is inevitable that the pursuit of power in itself, will assert itself as a unique legitimate objective, apparently detached from any need to define the uses of such power. This also signifies the deification of force in all its forms, as the final arbiter in the ordering of human affairs.

However, from the point of view of the disempowered, the struggle to ensure the use of such power to address their own interests becomes a strategic objective they cannot avoid. Necessarily this means that power would have to be redistributed. This would be done to empower the disempowered, and to regulate the use of power by those who are powerful.

And yet, by definition, the disempowered should not reasonably expect that their disempowerment gives them any possibility to have a decisive influence over the powerful. Logically, they should not entertain any dreams that they have the means to oblige the powerful to regulate the use of their power to achieve results that benefit all humanity, regardless of the impact of this on what the powerful might define as their national interest.

Thus we come back to what I said earlier. Because we are poor, we are partisan activists for a strong, effective and popularly accepted United Nations.

We take these positions because there is no way in which we could advance the interests of our people, the majority of whom are poor, outside the context of a strong, effective and popularly accepted United Nations.

An autonomous process of globalisation, driven by its own internal regularities, can only result in the determination of our future within the parameters set by those who enjoy the superiority of power. The powerful will do this in their interest, which might not coincide with ours."


So, why do you think it was important that this was said? Any targets come to mind?


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9.22.2003
 
A Sinking Ship Lifts all Boats?

Democracy Now! | “The Crazies Are Back”: Bush Sr.’s CIA Briefer Discusses How Wolfowitz & Allies Falsely Led the U.S. To War:
"RAY MCGOVERN: Well, when Wolfowitz prepared that defense posture statement in 1991, where he elucidated the strategic vision that has now been implemented, Jim Baker, Secretary of State, Brent Scowcroft, security advisor to George Bush, and George Bush said hey, that thing goes right into the circular file. Suppress that thing, get rid of it. Somebody had the presence of mind to leak it and so that was suppressed. But now to see that arise out of the ashes and be implemented. while we start a war against Iraq, I wonder what Bush the first is really thinking. Because these were the same guys that all of us referred to as ‘the crazies’. "


... you can listen to the whole thing here, and its not pretty. Former CIA analysts saying point blank, "But the President was not telling the truth and everyone knew that."

Ouch! I have to wonder, the seams are coming apart on this president as he shafts the people around him to keep his polical vision intact. The intelligence community is upset, the families of the Reserve are upset, States are suffering, the terminally unemployed are peeved to say the least, and this whole messy job outsouircing thing is coming to a head.

People vote for change when they don't like what's happening. But will the Republicans continue to back Bush just to keep their power in the Whitehouse? I think they have to, and they will. If Bush does manage to win another re-election and its as divisive as this first term we could see the beginning of long dark days ahead for the Republican party.


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Pretty Colors... Pretty Shapes!

William Safire: Clintons Anoint Clark:
"What if, as Christmas nears, the economy should tank and President Bush becomes far more vulnerable? Hillary would have to announce willingness to accept a draft. Otherwise, should the maverick Dean take the nomination and win, Clinton dreams of a Restoration die. "


Here's what happens when you spend too much time drinking the tainted kool-aid folks. Its either a partisan inspired article meant to drive wedges throughout the Democratic party, or a feverish "dream journal" entry that Safire accidently sent off instead of his NYTimes op-ed. You decide!

UPDATE: What Charles Taylor at Salon had to say.

This is such a doozy that the next time I pass by the corner of West 43rd Street in Times Square, I fully expect to see that Safire has staked out a piece of pavement down the block from the Black Israelites to alert passersby to the Clintons' evil scheme. (The LaRouche people have already claimed Union Square.)



HAHA!!!


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9.21.2003
 
All Evil Eminates from Moscow... err.. I Mean, Baghdad!

ajc.com | Opinion | Jay Bookman':
"Mylroie's explanation has found no support in the intelligence community, and in 2001, her credibility was strained further when she publicly suggested that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing, might have been dupes acting at Saddam's behest. She also alleged that evidence of such a connection to Saddam had been suppressed for political reasons by President Clinton."


Mylroie's from the famed American Enterprise Institute. Now, you might think she's out there, but there are some juicy tidbits from the rest of the quoted article. (go read it!)

Namely...

Cheney was on the board of AEI when the book was published
In the reprinted version there are blurbs of support from Perle and Wolfowitz
She thanks Wolfowitz for "kind enough to listen to this work presented orally and later to read the manuscript. "
The re-issued version has a forward written by James Woolsey
She also thanks John Bolton and Lewis Libby, now both in the White House

Its like a who's who of the of the pro war hawk crowd, who seem to have believed the "Saddam is the root of all evil" theory of the Universe. As if Satan keeps re-appearing on Earth and men with bad mustaches?



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When We Hurt the Ones That Vote for Us

Index:
"We, family members and friends in support of bringing home the 129th, find this change of rules and the failure to give our soldiers the assurance that they will return home at the end of their 12 month in-country tour of duty unacceptable. The negative impact on our soldiers' morale as well as the impact on their families has already been felt."


At the next Presidential press conference (if there is one) I want to hear a reporter stand up and ask Mr. Bush, "Sir, have you ever been forced against your will from seeing your family for months at a time?"

Just curious what the answer would be, considering the man has had more vacations in the last two years than I have had in my lifetime.



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9.18.2003
 
Cancun, Where the Predictable Becomes Possible

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | George Monbiot: A threat to the rich:

"For something else is now beginning to shake itself awake. The developing countries, for the first time in some 20 years, are beginning to unite and to move as a body.
That they have not done so before is testament first to the corrosive effects of the cold war, and second to the continued ability of the rich and powerful nations to bribe, blackmail and bully the poor ones. Whenever there has been a prospect of solidarity among the weak, the strong - and in particular the US - have successfully divided and ruled them, by promising concessions to those who split and threatening sanctions against those who stay. But now the rich have become victims of their own power. "


Wow, reading through the hundreds of articles written about the Cancun "failure" it was hard finding a thought that best summerized what I see happening. It is quite amazing to see just how little issues of global trade get discussed here in the states. Its just not that big of an issue, or it wasn't until we saw our manufacturing based sucked dry faster than a hemophiliac at a mosquito farm.

I used to work in this little shopping complex in one of the richest areas of Dallas (Median household income: $149,389 Median house value: $685,700). Every once in a while I would walk about fifty yards down to the corner gas station, to get some fresh air and usually a drink. My favorite times visiting there were the days that an african man from Zambia (I think I remember that correctly) was working. He was studying business here in the states and would head back to his home to work. It was nice to speak to somebody that had heard of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, austerity programs and structural adjustment programs. He saw the United States very differently and verified many things that I had only been able to assume. In the developing world they see the west more as landlords and we're looking more and more like slumlords that even refuse to return the deposit for cooked up reasons. When we got you over a barrel why not steal your pants?

... and if you needed any more reason to love Radiohead (besides the genius of their music... ) there's Thom Yorke:

Increasingly the effects of such globalisation make it clear the only ones benefiting are the multinational corporations, who have the ear of our governments and are having their free trade cake and eating it. They make sure any rules affecting their "freedoms" are first on the agenda at the WTO.

Poor countries are told this is free trade - this is the way we succeeded, this is how we built our great capitalist system.

The amnesia and hypocrisy is breathtaking.


And predictably there are a few people out there floating the idea that the WTO as an organization may be seeing the end of its usefulness... amazingly about the same time that the developing world is banding together to put the screws to the rich nations. Next time they show up to negotiate there may just be a sign on the sign: Sorry, Closed.


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9.17.2003
 
You Guess is as Good as Mine?

An Undiplomatic Display (washingtonpost.com):
"State Department types were taken aback last week to find that a longtime diplomatic photo exhibit along a busy corridor to the cafeteria had been taken down. The two dozen mostly grainy black and white shots were a historic progression of great diplomatic moments, sources recalled."


And they were replaced with?

a) This Modern World Cartoons
b) Photos of Bill Clinton
c) Bush family photos
d) Photos of Ground Zero
e) Photos of US Labor History
f) Looted treasure from Iraq

another hint...

It's part of an effort to "spruce up the building . . . liven up the halls," one official said. There are other similar photos on other floors, we were told. The old photos are to be re-hung in that other corridor once it's painted.


answer in the comments.


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9.16.2003
 
Suprise, Its the Obvious!

Yahoo! News - New Terror Laws Used Vs. Common Criminals:
"PHILADELPHIA - In the two years since law enforcement agencies gained fresh powers to help them track down and punish terrorists, police and prosecutors have increasingly turned the force of the new laws not on al-Qaida cells but on people charged with common crimes."


Anyone see that one coming? what... everyone? Yeah, I guess it was prety obvious huh?

We have a close race now.... bigger threat to liberty? War on Terrorism or War on Drugs?



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Inhofe Watch!

This week's Inhofe Watch is brought to us by Mike over at the incredibly versatile Okiedoke.

Okiedoke.com:
"Sen. Inhofe had plenty to say about Iraq at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week. And when Inhofe speaks, the media listens. They love to quote him, even when being attacked themselves. "


I've had quite a few customers at my store that have husbands serving in Iraq. I always ask about how long they plan on being away. The answer is always "we dont know". Sometimes there are babies, young, a few months old, growing up while their father's are overseas baking in the desert to make sure that Bush gets re-elected in November on a strong National Defense strategy.

Meanwhile I enjoy talking to the groups of Indians that visit Tulsa as they train to do accounting for IBM. They enjoy the shopping here in the States. They usually only stay a few weeks to a month. Invariably I enjoy meeting them and interacting with people that don't take things for granted like the average American. I automatically switch into my "ambassador of goodwill" personality. In the back of my minds I think "They are going to take American jobs, but they are good people, its not about us/them, workers in India versus workers in the United States, its about us, workers, being pitted against one another by forces that control both out destinies."

Tonight's blog soundtrack just happens to be The Postal Service. Damn you YAR!





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9.15.2003
 
Man the Tuxedos

Opus the Penguin Back In the Funny Business (washingtonpost.com):
"After eight years away from newspapers, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is creating a new comic strip called 'Opus,' starring his beloved penguin of the same name. "


That's right, the comic artist that brought us Outland and Bloom Country is coming back. You have to wonder why...

"It was painful to sit through the war without a public voice."


oh yeah... that's why.

Now, if we could just get Bill Watterson to come back... (sigh)



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The Philadelphia Daily News - The People Paper - WHY DON'T WE HAVE ANSWERS TO THESE 9/11 QUESTIONS?


I'm not familiar with this paper or its integrity. But what I think is most important to keep asking questions about what happened on Sept. 11th. I think its too easy to sketch a quick, politically useful story and leave it at that. We should keep looking for as much information as we can so the picture becomes clearer. If nothing else it will give us better insight into How? Why? and What can we do to stop it from ever happening again?

I feel though that this event may become another Kennedy Assasination, a mess of conspiracy theories and half truths.


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No!!! Not the List!?

Kiss it, pal!: "Here's the list of organizations and people who can smooch my bum:"

Jim, at Unix, Music and Politics has started a "List" of people who, well... he said it best. So far we have ELF, Planned Parenthood and the RIAA. Two of those three groups can kiss my keisteras well. I'll let you figure out which ones.



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9.14.2003
9.13.2003
 
Pop Quiz

The U.S.A. does not horde the wealth of numerous nations. Free enterprise created our wealth. We are the best country there is and that is how we got our wealth and power.


would you say that:

5 - I wholeheartedly agree with this statement
4 - Its true, for the most part
3 - I don't know, we're not the best, but we're not bad either.
2 - This is a overly simplistic view of the reality
1 - What a load of *$%^


Just curious.


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Time for Some Rule Changes

Forbes.com: Poorest nations form new bloc at WTO talks:
"CANCUN, Mexico, (Reuters) - A group of 90 African, Asian and other poor nations formed a bloc on Friday to demand wide concessions on farm reform, adding pressure on rich nations at global trade talks.

Their alliance came days after a more powerful group of 21 developing nations, including India and Brazil, went on the offensive against the European Union and the United States at World Trade Organization talks in this Mexican resort town."


This is a story worth following. In short, what's at stake is the entire notion of free trade. Will it fulfill its idealogical promise of opening doors that swing in both directions or will the the developing nations find themselves on teh outside looking in?

I know where the smart money will be.

We are the U.S. and we will not do anything that will harm our intersts in the least bit whatsoever. These countries who have worked the system to their advantage expect to get a concession out of America. It won't happen. Once there is any threat that an international organization works for anyone's advantage but the United States that organization will be abandoned and declared irrelavant.

Looking at the U.S. economy you see at least two glaring roadblocks to "globalized free trade" at least in the way it is being promoted. One is the issue of sovereignty, the other is the very mechanisms by which the U.S. regulates its own economy, farm subsidies and miltary contracts.

It should be beyond debate that the United States government has a very active role in the nation's economy. Think bankruptcy courts and federal deposit insurance for banks. In fact our presidential nominees go to great lengths to promote their economic policies. I laugh when anybody hurls the accusations of "wealth redistribution" at anyone. For indeed that is the very process that we undergo on a daily basis. We spend massive amounts to keep agriculture solvent and prices low. We rightly think that allowing food prices to fluctuate wildly would be detrimental to a stable economy. We also pour billions into military spending that serves two "beneficial" purposes. First, it employs thousands of people in what would be called a middle class status either directly or through contractors. Second, it provides a constant and growing market for technology and hardware.

Without this foundation, the nature of the U.S. economy will undergo radical changes, and I doubt most people would welcome those changes.


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9.12.2003
 
Why Does Krugman Hate the U.S. (aka George W. Bush)?

Exploiting the Atrocity

Yet it's almost certainly wrong to think that the political exploitation of 9/11 and, more broadly, the administration's campaign to label critics as unpatriotic are past their peak. It may be harder for the administration to wrap itself in the flag, but it has more incentive to do so now than ever before. Where once the administration was motivated by greed, now it's driven by fear.


Here's a little game we can play, its called "How to become a raging alcoholic in one election year". The rules are simple, take a shot every time Bush uses 9-11 to justify his policy du jour. If you're a part time player and just imbibe on the weekends it might be next years Republican National Convention hosted in New York a few days before the next anniversary before you have a full blown Betty Ford. Otherwise you'll be waking up with hangovers almost every day for the next year.

Now mind you, I dont recommend this, I was just trying to illustrate a point. In fact, an even better game to play would be to donate a dollar to a local charity each time Bush invokes 9-11 for political gains. It just might help make up for the bush economy we are suffering through. (oh wait... the RNC wanted me to remind you all that technically the recession started before Bush took office, thanks Ed.)

on a completely unrelated but not worth an entire new blog entry....

I visited a blog today that I found kinda annoying, mainly because the only thing that it did was reprint entire articles from various newspapers, mostly the NYT and the WashPo. Now, I can understand quoting a few lines to give your comments context, which is what I try to do, but really... dont reprint the whole article already!

ok, enough nagging, now go study your grammer.


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9.11.2003
 
Strife of Riley

Demagogue:
"Yesterday, by a 2-to-1 margin, Alabama voters decisively rejected a tax reform package that Gov. Riley had endorsed.

A few days before the vote, a USA Today news article offered this assessment of the state’s tax code: 'Alabama's tax code, enshrined in the 1901 state constitution, was written to protect the interests of wealthy property owners.' In other words, the deck has been stacked against low-income Alabamians for more than a century. Yet it was only after he was saddled with the responsibility of resolving the state’s fiscal crisis that newly elected Gov. Riley suddenly decided that Alabama’s tax structure was inequitable and needed to be changed."


The anti-tax juggernaut was victorious in Alabama while seemingly defeated in Oklahoma. My advice to Gov. Riley, next time make sure you have huge corporate handouts as the core of your tax increases. I mean even if they don't ever come to pass you can pass all the needed tax stuff under the cover of corporate welfare.

Try this:

10 BILLION DOLLAR TAX INCREASE TO INDUCE MICROSOFT TO MOVE HEADQUARTERS TO ALABAMA!

in fine print...
In the event that Microsoft decides not to pick up and move, we'll only collect 1 Billion Dollars for education and other needed projects, namely the "staying out of bankruptcy fund".

in finer print...
Oh by the way, we'll be raising the limits of income tax exemption to the poverty line as dictated by common decency.

in even finer print...
So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

That's how its done in these here red states.


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Sino the Times?

China and Major Powers Post-9/11::
"Prior to 9/11, relations between the world’s most powerful country and its most populous one were heading towards confrontation over a whole range of issues. As soon as President George W. Bush took office in January 2001, he telephoned every major world leader except President Jiang Zemin, a clear signal of how the Bush Administration felt about China, the “strategic competitor”."


For some reason I thought it was important to remind everybody that prior to the events of two year ago the Bush Administration was pushing hard to create friction and conflict with China. In my memory I remember clearly thinking it was a bad idea to pick a fight with China.

Sino-U.S. relations hit their lowest point in April 2001 when a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pilot was killed after his jet fighter and an American navy EP-3 spy plane collided near Hainan Island. With talks on Chinese nuclear and missile proliferation to “rogue states” stalled, disputes over U.S. support for Taiwan persisting, and U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia despite China’s objections, the anti-terrorism campaign emerged as the only bright spot in relations.


Oh yeah, I remember now. There was a big standoff with lots of posturing! But that all came to and end once "things went haywire in NY" and now we have some weird relationship with China were both sides smile alot and try to make nice despite a long list of unresolved disputes.



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Foreign Views of U.S. Darken Since Sept. 11:
"A Frenchman, Jean-Charles Pogram, 45, a computer technician, said: 'Everyone agrees on the principles of democracy and freedom, but the problem is that we don't agree with the means to achieve those ends. The United States can't see beyond the axiom that force can solve everything, but Europe, because of two world wars, knows the price of blood.' "


But what does he know right? The french... blah blah blah...

For many people, the issue is not so much the United States as it is the Bush administration, and what is seen as its arrogance. In this view, a different set of policies and a different set of public statements from Washington could have resulted in a different set of attitudes.

"The point I would make is that with the best will in the world, President Bush is a very poor salesman for the United States, and I say that as someone who has no animus against him or the United States," said Philip Gawaith, a financial communications consultant in London. "Whether it's Al Qaeda or Afghanistan, people have just felt that he's a silly man, and therefore they are not obliged to think any harder about his position."


You can stick your head in the sand but American's have got to realize that when it comes to our standing in the world, we are slipping, and there's a reason, Bush. Its not just the man, who is a poor representative for the free world with his simple minded black and white rendering of the world that most people find remarkably short sighted but his administration, who are quite open about their imperial ambitions.

This next election we will not only be choosing our direction as a nation, but we will choose whether or not we will start to heal the wounds of the last four years.


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Even Broken Clocks

Breaking Death's Grip: Thomas Friedman:
"But message to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: Palestinians are not leaving either, and your iron fist will not make them accept Israeli settlements or a truncated Palestinian state. If you think Oslo was a failure, look at your alternative. In three years, some 850 Israelis have been killed under your strategy. Yours and Hamas's are two failed strategies that add up to a human meat grinder. You want Israelis to believe they have no other choice, but they do. It is to use Israel's amazing inner strength to take a different set of Israeli actions, like really uprooting settlements, to stimulate a different set of Palestinian reactions, like controlling suicide bombers."


Really Tom? That sounds amazingly like common sense.



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Amazon.com: A Glance: John Mayer

I picked up the latest John Mayer cd. I only just within the last few weeks started listening to him. I was very impressed with Room for Squares, a solid cd with great songwriting. I heard a small interview on All Things Considered where he played a few acoustic versons of songs off his latest. They announced that his new cd was coming out the next day, I was there to get it, and I haven't regretted this purchase one bit. Great songwriting, wonderful lyrics and singing, sweet guitar work, who could ask for more? Life is good when Heavier Things spins in the cd player....

Ahhhhhh....!

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Fresh Air: Paul Krugman

I heard someone say recently that we all believe that we perceive the world objectively, which got me thinking. Objective reality invariably gets filtered through our perceptions. I question my own ability to see the world clearly, without bias, which despite what people might think, is my ultimate goal.

It comforts me that Paul Krugman is out there trying hard to see the world in an objective way as well. He really strikes me as the last sane voice in the media. He speaks plainly. He has been attacked by all sides for his criticisms, and he harbors a deep disdain for the sacred cows that roam free in the political landscape. And that's why I trust him. I don't see him as a political operative like Franken or even Michael Moore. He doesnt receive his marching orders from anybody. He just hates it when people lie and cheat. That's not partisan folks!


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9.09.2003
 
Oklahoma's Newschannel 8 - American Airlines Thanks Tulsans For Vision 2025 PassageThis link may die soon...

In other words, Hey thanks for the free money!

It's hoped that the passage of Vision 2025 will help retain American Airlines' jobs in Tulsa as well as attract new ones as the airline seeks to close one of three maintenance bases.

Tulsa is in direct competition with maintenance facilities in Kansas City and Fort Worth. Tulsa has more than nine thousand employees at its facility.


So if I get this straight, they still might leave? And even if they do stay people in either KC or FW are going to lose their jobs? Oh well.

Pennies in the wind.


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9.08.2003
 
Cautionary Tales

Newsday.com - Text of Bush Speech:
"And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September the 11th, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength -- they are invited by the perception of weakness."


No NO NO!!! Wrong. This my friends is at the heart of this administrations failures after Sept. 11th. We need not look any further than Isreal to see why this policy will backfire. Sharon's government has escalated the number of incursions and assasinations in its attempt to use strength to end violence. Have the suicide bombings stopped? Hardly. What happens instead is that you create further resolve amongst your adversaries. Despite our animalistic preference for brute physical force, it tends to be the worst response to most situations. Our mythologies are full of tales about underdogs overcoming insurmountable odds to succeed. Browse through the videos next time you're out. Rent braveheart. A band of scrappy fighters take on and defeat an evil power greater than themselves? Carried forward to victory by their own conviction of righteousness? Sound familiar? It should. Its a grand tradition that has been a staple of stories for centuries. Frodo, of Lord of the Rings marches across Mordor, not because he feels that Sauron is weak. In fact every sign points towards his inevitable defeat at the hands of Sauron's massive armies and overwhelming magic. But he marches on, believing that his decision rests not on whether he will succeed but whether the cause is right.

At what point will we rest in building our perception of strength? Apparently having the most powerful and well equipped miltary on the planet failed as a deterrent. So now we must be even more powerful and run around the globe toppling governments to prove our strength? But as we learn from the morality tales, no amount of opposition is too large for a foe that is fueled by his own sense of righteousness. And when that sense of righteousness is fueled by the perception of American aggression and dominance, our escalation of violence will only add to their convictions.

In fact, I seem to recall a particular religion that thrived despite being repressed by what was in that day and age the most powerful empire to have ever existed. But the early christians banded together in their sense of solidarity and perservered. The Roman Empire crumbled.

Changing Lanes Trailer

Human behavior has been well documented in plays, books, fables and artwork. I believe that its that study of human behavior that fuels human civilization and imparts on us collective wisdom.

Note: I have updated this post to delete a sentence in which I refer to "liberals". I broke one of my unofficial blogging rules by using that term. As I mentioned in my comments and I will repeat here, I have decided that the terms "liberal" and "conservative" have lost any and all usefulness. They have become so loaded that their very presence invites partisan vitriol. They have the affect of blinding the reader to all else mentioned and are therefore a distraction I will avoid as much as possible in the future. Thank you.


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9.07.2003
 
Boing!

OkiePundit:
"Companies like Boeing, CITGO, AA etc create a vortex of economic development that reaches deep into all of our lives. Are they worth attracting, even with calculated incentives? Yes."


A vortex is an apt allusion, but I doubt we forsee the same kind of all-consuming maelstrom. I don't normally think Alfalfa Bill is off the mark, but I have to quibble (I quibble, therfore I blog?) with Bill on the benefits of an economic system based on large corporate employers as anchors. As is exemplified by the American shakedown, these big employers can be a fickle bunch, eager to use their pull on desperate cities to milk what they can. Do we really want to put our necks even further into this noose or do we dare to think beyond this shrinking loop? I don't think Tulsa will ever be equipped with the kind of money, infrastructure or natural advantage to play this game with bigger richer cities. And even if we succeed in creating this extensive web of small businesses that depend on the big corporate employer, what we would end up with is a city full of people that embody a protective mentality towards that industry, even when faced with the inevitablity of its failure.

What I fear most about this process is that once we become dependent on an industry like Boeing for our livelyhoods, we will fall in line with any proposals that seek to extend their reach. In the case of Boeing that would mean any increases in military spending that might positively affect Boeing's financial health. We would become a voting block motivated to expanding the wealth and power of corporations, an illness I think America at large already suffers from. Ourselves be damned, our communities be damned, for we have our own necks to think about if that means unchecked corporate power, so be it?

In general I was appalled that our Vision process has been hijacked by these corporate beggers with their hands out. And I've been turned off by the constant bleating by the "say yes" crowd that handing the keys of the city over to some greedy corporate interests is somehow "for our kids".

For what its worth, the other half of the vision 2025 plan is darn good, and seeing how we stand a slim to none chance of enticing Boeing, I'd say its almost worth appeasing American for the other projects that will see funding...

so, yes.. I'd vote for it. But I hope Boeing goes to hell, their execs would fit right in.


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No Really, Its Good for You!

What was known about post-9/11 air:
"Tinsley’s report charges, in the crucial days after 9/11, the White House changed EPA press releases to “add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.”"


Patterns of behavior?

Why all these changes? Tinsley said, “We were told that a desire to reopen Wall Street and national security concerns were the reasons for changing the press releases.”


A desire to reopen Wall Street?

I know I'm a little late seeing this.. but sheesh, I had to say something, and give this a little more play, because to my point of view this is consistent with the Bush administration's constant pandering to the elites at the expense of ordinary americans. And for all the mileage Bush is getting out of 9-11 (alternative energy source anyone?) it seems odd that he would take this risk and inflict even more suffering on the victims. But then again, people (the disposable kind, ie. the working class) never matter as actual humans but only as symbols in the battle for political power.

Now Entering Laboville has a few choice words on the subject, take it away..
While I am somewhat critical of the EPA for not standing its ground, I am livid at the White House, which played with MY health in the weeks after 9/11. As some of you know, I worked in the WTC and, after 9/11, was relocated to another office nearby. In part, my comfort in returning to the Wall Street area was based on reports from my own government that things were safe. But now it appears that cynical politicians in the White House, afraid of admitting that things were pretty bad (the report said that the desire to reopen Wall Street, and "national security concerns" were factors in the revisions), decided that I didn't need fundamental information about my own health.


Welcome to the meat grinder.


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camedwards.com

I had heard his site was hacked, and on the off-chance that there might be something worth reading posted there now, I visited. Unfortunately, he seems to be back, and so is the same recycled content.

Mars has numerous enormous vulcanos.




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About Me

bruce
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