Just Another Day

"Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's day to day living that wears you out." - Chekhov

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Tomorrow, the Big Day Here

On Sunday, Ukraine will have its run-off vote for president between Yanukovych and Yuschenko. Yanukovych is the twice imprisoned (for violent crime in his youth) Prime Minister who is aligned with the current President, Kuchma, and is supported by Russia. He is probably also quietly supported by Bush because he has pledged to keep the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq. He is a terribly corrupt autocrat and has had the help of the Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs, the media, and the Russian president (who has visited twice in the last month). Yuschenko is supported by the West, the young, many of the old, and ostensibly by the US. The Kuchma-controlled parliament here passed a resolution banning absentee votes which means that old people, invalids, the ill, etc., will have to brave the expected cold, snowy weather somehow to vote in person. Nice, eh? Anyway, Yuschenko has promised that there will be hundreds of thousands in the streets if there appears to have been any funny business. Of course, with th criminals that are in power here and in Russia, there will be funny business. Should be an interesting week.


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Abortion Rollbacks, It's Starting


Начинается...

The white men in the Senate are trying to decide for all women what they can do with their bodies and, as usual, the GOP doesn't have the balls to face it head on, instead choosing to bury it in other legislation. I remember all too well when the roomful of people signing the rollback almost two years ago was nothing but men. Why was it all men? Because they don't understand a god-damned thing about life or freedom or what it means to be a woman. Who do they want us to be in league with by eliminating the right to choose: Sudan, Iran, Libya, the Vatican, inter alia. Nice company, eh?

At the same time, the GOP spreads fear among its idiot legions that the pro-choice lobby wants to force people to pay for abortions or, better yet, in some circles force people to have abortions. This is the same bullshit they pull in reference to homosexuals when they say that allowing homosexuals to live freely means that gays will be coming after my son or that people will be forced to engage in homosexual sex.

If you think banning abortion is a good thing, then visit the funeral of a girl who has died from a self-induced abortion and face the parent(s) and say, "Yes, losing two lives is better than one." Or visit the funeral of a woman who has died in a difficult birth because the doctors could not abort the baby and tell the husband or the children, "It's God's will." Or, best of all, TALK TO A WOMAN who is not from your small-brained, sexless circle.



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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Первый снег

Утром кот
Принёс на лапах
Первый снег!
Первый снег!

Он имеет
Вкус и запах -
Первый снег!
Первый снег!


Он кружится,
Лёгкий, новый,
У ребят
Над головой,

Он успел
Платок пуховый
Расстелить
На мостовой,

Он белеет
Вдоль забора,
Прикорнул
На фонаре, -

Значит, скоро,
Очень скоро
Полетят салазки
С горок,

Значит, можно будет
Снова
Строить крепость
Во дворе!

- Я. Аким

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Fascism Defined

From the OED:

fascism - an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

Enough said? As I have noted in this blog before, we aren't talking about Nazis when we call the GOP fascists, we are referring to their chosen political system. Fascism is of course most closely associated with the Nazis but that's not what we are talking about. As OED notes in a sidebar:

Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group...an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader and a strong demagogic approach.

Okay, now, enough said?

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Jews in America


Conservatives can't quite get their little minds around the idea that a vast majority of Jews in America continue to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats while the conservatives seem to be the loudest, proudest supporters of any policy Israel deems necessary for its survival. It's simple when you think about it but thinking is not the strong suit of most conservatives. Jews in America, after centuries of discrimination, bias, and outright hatred at times, see that America is the place with the most opportunity for them to succeed as individuals rather than as a Jewish nation. In other words, they see themselves as Americans not Israelis and all of the hardships they have faced as a people throughout history give them a solid sense of social justice that is more in line with what Democrats offer. The conservatives think defending Israel at all costs, no matter the increase in terrorist threat it brings and no matter the lack of true democracy there, i.e., as Israel sinks further into an apartheid state with regards to Palestinians, should bring the Jews into their camp. True to form, at the very least since the Dixiecrat conversion to the GOP after the Civil Rights movement supported by a Democratic administration, the conservatives prove their bigotry through this policy. They look at Jews as outsiders in America more concerned with Israel than the US whereas the Jews see America as their real homeland. This bigotry manifested itself in Bush's sham known as his Africa AIDS policy and his appointment of minority bootlickers which the administration thought would bring blacks in droves to their side. However, blacks and hispanics in America are concerned with America first and their own well being in America before what may be happening in their ancestral home. Once these problems are fixed and there is a level playing field for all and these minorities see that they have just as many opportunities to succeed as anyone else, then they may be more concerned with other countries. For now, though, they see through the racism of the GOP and want to see their true home repaired and only the Democrats can do that for them.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Are You Kidding Me?


Maybe if they stopped thinking about it so much, it wouldn't be such a problem.

John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of an Interstate 69 extension to a more moral sounding number.

There are plans to extend the interstate from Indianapolis through southwestern Indiana all the way through Texas into Mexico in the coming years. While most believe this highway will be good for the state’s economy, religious conservatives believe “I-69” sounds too risqué and want to change the interstate’s number.

Hostettler, a proponent of the interstate extension, agrees. “Every time I have been out in the public with an ‘I-69’ button on my lapel, teenagers point and snicker at it. I have had many ask me if they can have my button. I believe it is time to change the name of the highway. It is the moral thing to do.”

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Shut The Fuck Up


Was the election stolen again? I don't know and I really don't care. Even if Kerry won both the electoral vote and the popular vote, if we could recount all the votes, the margin would probably be so slim that we would continue the raging debates that the idiot GOP started in 1964 with Goldwater (and I used to be GOP! Somewhere along the line I grew up) and then ramped up with a new passion in 1994 with baseless, bullshit attacks against Clinton, the press, and liberals for the next 6 years. Only if Kerry won in an absolute landslide could we get past the rancor that currently envelopes America. As it is, too many people in our country couldn't see through the lies, distortions, and outright bad policies of the Bush administration. They couldn't see it out of ideological blindness or because we lack a press willing to work its proscribed trade in skepticism (nothing new on either count since the GOP faithful seem to be a bunch of mindless simps who will not question their leadership and since the press was willing to chase down every redneck in the Arkansas woods for salacious stories about Clinton and splash them on the front page but put lies that actually jeopardized our nation well beyond the read of most of the public somewhere on the back pages).

In any event, I am tired of the stories of stolen elections. Anyone researching this topic should line up their sources and affidavits and prepare to roll out the stories around 2007-2008 when it will matter. I want Bush for four more years so he can fuck things up so badly that people finally open their eyes and see what a bunch of hypocritical, greedy, power-mad, gasbags the GOP has become and will vote open-minded adults back into office. If Bush doesn't fuck things up and their changes make things better for all of America, I will say, "I was wrong." If we aren't living in an alternate universe and are stuck with reality, however, it will be fun to see the GOP so overreach that they expose themselves for the frauds and ideological junkies they really are.

So please, keep a lid on it. Let Bush continue his brainless activity in the Oval Office; let Condi piss off whatever allies we have left through her ignorance; let the CIA become an ideological think tank with one communal brain cell; let the FBI investigate the bedroom activities of all Americans; let the current leadership change the tax code so there is a small oligarchy controlling 90% of the wealth fearful of leaving their compounds lest the hungry masses catch them; let the companies pollute our countryside and waterways so that kids are dying from asthma, cancers, and other 'unexplainable' illnesses; let the press continue to consolidate so that it becomes even more of a GOP mouthpiece than it already is; let the military continue to dominate our economic activity and foreign policies so the terrorist threat is greater than we ever could have imagined; let hte religious right morons push us closer to some sort of Armageddon (Jesus won't help you with this one, by the way); and, let the current GOP ban medical practices and sexual behaviours they deem deviant.

All so we can say, in a few years, "We told you so." Then, if Americans are still so stupid as to continue electing Republicans who are too ignorant to handle nuance, too ideologically rigid to accept other points of view, too greedy to help anyone outside their own rich circle, too sexually prudish that they can't handle the thought that someone, somewhere might be masturbating so they set up cameras in the bedrooms of all Americans, and too isolationist to think we need democratic friends on the world stage, let them have their civil war.

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Monday, November 15, 2004

My Dad & I


In the words of George Carlin, "I tried. I really, really tried." I don't believe in god and am not sure whether I ever did, but I sure as hell tried and went along with the way my father tried to teach me. I went along with the Presbyterian churches, the evangelical churches, the Catholic churches, the non-denominational chapels on the military bases, and the Assembly of God church during high school, etc. I read the bible, I prayed, I argued with people (believers, non-believers, and those who believed differently than what I was being taught) about what I had read and what I understood. In the end, as I learned more about myself and more about the world around me, I found that I don't believe...that I can't believe. Even if god itself came down to talk to me, I wouldn't believe it, I would think it was some kind of alien from another corner of the universe. My father, I know, is disappointed in this. He is, after all, a retired Navy chaplain (25 years active duty), and has been a Presbyterian minister for almost 50 years. However, I know he isn't disappointed in the type of person I have become since, in his words, even without the belief, I at least carry myself in a more Christian manner than most self-proclaimed Christians he knows. There is a simple reason for this, what he calls Christian values, I call human values. I believe that we are nothing more than social animals and need to find a way to get along. My father looks at it from a Christian perspective and I look at it from a Constitutional perspective. Jesus laid out the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you have done unto yourself." Thomas Jefferson gave us the Constitutional angle, when referring to the inclusiveness of the US Constitution and the objections that taking religion out of our premier national framework would mean that Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, or atheists could become leaders in the US, "It neither breaks my leg, nor picks my pocket."

Laying it out, where is the intersection in our beliefs for America with current concerns:

  • Abortion - we would both love for it to not happen but making it illegal will only endanger women. There are plenty of other methods to reduce abortions such as providing easier access to comprehensive sex education, contraceptives, counseling, and reducing the stigma of kids talking about sexual matters with their parents or counselors, or teachers, or doctors, or some other adult they trust. He believes that it is a mattter between god and the woman. I believe it is a matter of what the woman wants or doesn't want. Either way, both of us believe it is a personal choice in which the state should have little say.
  • Taxes/Economics - we are both of the Teddy Roosevelt mindset that those who benefit the most from our economic system owe the most. Neither one of us wants to see punitive taxes and neither one of us believes that wealth itself is an evil. Those who really do earn it should be able to be as rich as they want from the fruits of their labors. However, those who profit without merit, e.g., winning the birth lottery or being able to cheat the system, should be taxed and made to pay more, if not sent to jail in the latter case, than those who aren't so lucky or so lacking in scruples. He looks at it from the point of view of a Depression-era kid who saw that leveling the playing field through New Deal programs is what turned our country around and made it the power it is today. I look at it from the standpoint of economic stability. If there is too wide a discrepancy in wealth and there isn't equal opportunity for all, whether or not people take advantage of the opportunity is a personal matter, chaos is inevitable as revolution is born out of severe discrepancies in the socio-economic situation of a nation.
  • Religion - both of us believe that god has no place in the political realm. My father believes that god doesn't give a damn what laws we make, how strong or wealthy we are, or how Christian we call ourselves on a national level. God doesn't care about nations. God cares about individuals. He also agrees with those who won the constitutional battle more than 200 years ago that mixing politics and religion cheapens both. I look at it from a personal choice standpoint, going back to Jefferson's quote, that the government's role is in the economic and legal well-being of the nation, making sure that individuals are able to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they choose so long as they do not infringe on the same rights of other individuals. The government has no role in shaping the moral values or playing caretaker of the souls of the individuals within the nation.
  • Foreign Policy - we both agree that wars of choice are not negotiable and our kids in the armed forces should be sent into battle to defend the country. Iraq - wrong. Afghanistan - right. Vietnam - wrong. WWII - right. Alliances go much further in protecting the well being of the nation than unilateral military action deemed unnecessary by so many of our friends who then have a diminished view of us and are less likely to be allies in the future without long, hard-thought debate within their own borders. The Iraq war has done just that damage, i.e., our allies no longer blindly see us carrying the banner of democracy and human rights. By entering into a war that was not needed for our national security, we have further endangered our national security, gotten many of our youth injured, crippled, or killed needlessly, and made it less likely that other nations will cooperate with us even if our security is truly threatened. We are now a bully who, if we think we are so right and so tough, can protect ourselves and if we can't, then the bully has gotten what it deserves. Compare that with the Le Monde headline on Sept. 12, 2001, "We Are All Americans Now."
  • Gay Rights - as with the abortion issue, it is not for the government to decide what is right for the nation based on the personal choices of individuals if it does not damage the chosen lifestyles of other individuals. As noted above, my father believes god doesn't care if the nation makes laws restricting rights of individuals. God probably does care, however, that people who are trying to speak in god's name exhibit less than love towards people who don't share their own morals. I look at it from the social perspective. What business is it of mine that someone else does something that I won't do when it does no harm to me. I even think allowing gays to marry and have the full legal rights enjoyed by my wife and me would do quite a bit of good for the country in that gays would then feel less resentment towards straights and would thus provide a better atmosphere for all. Making the socio-economic playing field apply equally to all makes for a more stable environment which means the country is in better shape to continue its existence as we know it.

Anything else? Give me a question and we'll see how it comes out. In short, my father believes that god doesn't get involved in day-to-day activities of nations but concentrates on individuals. I believe that nations shouldn't be involved in day-today activities of individuals as long as those activities do not infringe upon the rights of other individuals as our Constitution so clearly lays out.


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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Appointments

So, we have the questionable cabinet appointments (most notably Alberto 'Abu Ghraib' Gonzales), we have Federalist Society nitwits lining up for court posts, and now we'll have empty slots at the CIA. The cabinet posts are temporary. The court appointments and possibly CIA jobs are longer term, as in potential lifelong career choices. As people who actually believe that America should be for all the people retire from judgeships, and as people who believe in the non-partisan nature of the CIA quit in disgust over the abuse of the CIA and distortion of intelligence by the Dick W Rove administration, the posts will be filled by the current administration meaning much longer term destruction of our national security and judicial fabric than has already been done by 4 years of Bush, or 10 years of GOP dominance in Congress, or than any of us could imagine. Imagine an intelligence gathering apparatus that exists to serve the purpose of one party. It would highlight everything that is wrong with Republicans these days and would make even more of a mockery of an institution that has been denigrated by the right wing than its current HQ name could lend.

So, the right wing could complete the destruction of the US that they have already started by rolling back the rights of the people with judicial appointments geared to the right wing and by ensuring their permanent war by inviting more attacks on the US through a shoddy intelligence network or through intelligence gathering operations that recall the worst aspects of its operations during the cold war.

No, allowing the Gonzales appointment to go uncontested to save capital for future fights is the wrong way to go about it. Put up the fight from Day 1 and let them know that we will not back down until they start making sense and trying to do what is best for America instead of what is best for their own party and big business, i.e., until they give up on their fascist dreams.

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Yellow Bellies

I've noticed a new trend recently over at the conservative sites I sometimes visit and where I drop a comment or two. They pretend to ignore me but in their comments they write to each other about sending an email. Apparently, they have decided they don't want to face the truth of what I say or lose on a logical basis so they read the blog in question and then exchange ideas by email. I have been blocked from commenting on certain sites, as I have noted before, despite avoiding inflammatory rhetoric, for the most part. However, at those sites where I can't be blocked, they just ignore my comments. So, this is what it has come to, eh? The right wing knows they don't have the facts or truth on their side so they run from it. They sometimes, however, think they have logic on their side but when I poke holes in their arguments for sport, they clam up or ban me. Yes, indeed, we are the smarter set.

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