------Recently local congressman Gabrielle Giffords condemned the moveon.org ad before reading it. I generated this email which is circulating:
------Here's a link to a rewrite of the recent "warrantless wiretap" decision. The rewrite is designed to clarify and sharpen the argument, and remove the strongest rhetoric from it, to facilitate better discussion of the issues:
You know what? Europe and America made a big mistake in setting up a Eurocentric state in the middle of Moslem territory after WW II, and that one mistake has been the most important fact of the middle east ever since. Israel will keep shooting at its neighbors, and they will trying to get back what the Israelis have taken from them. The fighting will last as long as there's an Israel. I don't care who's right or wrong, I just want the killing to stop. That means, let Israel fight its wars without help from the United States. Pretty soon, Israel will lose. Then we can be nice and offer ocean liners for transporting the refugees to whomever wants them. But let's just have this killing end.
Things I thought about during a sleepless half hour, about two in the morning:
Considering how much more likely our actions are to be wrong than right, we should not pass laws by a bare majority of votes. Nor should we pass laws that we are nearly unanimous about, for unanimity is a mark of temporary hysteria.
In representative government, not all representatives need to determine what is to be done. We might have a legislature where one chamber decides if a situation merits a law, and which then tries to convince a second chamber to pass a law. If the second chamber is convinced, it could pass a law.
When you restrain other people from speaking, on the basis that what they say might hurt a third person, then the third person might suffer a transient insult, but the restrained speak will suffer constant harm, from the knowledge that you can restrain him. We should not make rudeness illegal.
When you wake up in the middle of the night and walk around the house without turning the lights on, you can see your shadow as you walk. The same shadows are there in the daytime, but are washed out by ambient light. In your house at night, or in some philosopher's cave, the shadow you would most likely see is your own. So to perceive yourself better, go to a place where there is less ambient light.
So are we in the desert in order to live in a dimmer place, where we can see our own shadows more, and not be swamped by the light coming from too many outside sources?
Observing doesn't always change the state of the subject of the observation. You can tell a lot about a candle, and the room you are in, by looking at the shadows you throw as you move around it, even if the candle itself doesn't flicker and the unlit parts of the room are too dark to see. But your shadows don't affect the candle. Intellect can gain information without destroying what direct experiment or observation might destroy. Not all science consists of hitting a pot with a hammer.
It's mighty discouraging -- you see lots of pictures of emergency medical workers helping victims of the carnage in the middle east. The pictures come from all sides in the conflict. The number of people who oppose the killings, and are sick of them, and are tired of having to clean up after them, and are only hurt by their consequences, must far outnumber the people who have something to gain by killing, killing, killing, killing. Yet the killers are in control, and the opposition has no power at all. As long as this keeps up, the only peace in the middle east will be the peace of the grave. If you view this war as a menace to public health, then Israel is an infection that is causing a fever. At its inception, Israel could have chosen to act differently, but Israel chose a course of violence and theft from which there is now no turning back, and now Israel has reduced the possible choices to two: perpetual war, or the defeat and destruction of the state of Israel. Israel can't avoid defeat in every war, so its destruction is inevitable. When it happens, you will see lots of pictures of emergency medical workers helping injured Israelis -- Christians, Moslems, and Jews will join in that individual rescue effort, out of common humanity. Why can't common humanity ever stop such disasters ahead of time?
An online story from Time magazine for July 16, 2006, says: "Though the current battles may have been set off, at base, by age-old hatreds between Israel and its Arab enemies, what we're seeing today is not simply a replay of hackneyed set pieces in the Middle East." What idiocy! There are no "age-old hatreds between Israel and" anybody -- Israel hasn't even existed 60 years. Israel claims it has a right to exist because of a Covenant made with God some thousands of years ago -- but as soon as the state of Israel came into existence, it began breaking specific promises in that Covenant by treating its neighbors like dirt, and it has been breaking its covenant ever since. The Arabs originally fought Israel because they didn't want to have a government imposed on them by Europe; but Israel has done its best to create new enemies every day. Here comes the whirlwind. Surprise, surprise.
I wrote in late 2005: In the late 1940s, England and America set up three religious states: Israel, India, and Pakistan. All three are still at war with the nearest convenient neighbor. India and Pakistan fight each other in Kashmir. Israel fights the Palestinians whose homes it took. India and Pakistan will probably never be at peace. Israel can have peace any time -- if it gives back the homes it took. But Israel is run by mama's boys like Sharon, dedicated to finding new ways to attract attention and work off the rage that the Nazis filled them with.
As of July 13, 2006, it looks like the Israelis are finally doing what they've really wanted to since 1947: strike out and kill everybody they can reach. Israel is founded on the insane idea that its people are victims, so deserve special privileges, including the right to show how tough they are by victimizing others. The Israelis in charge want, more than anything else, to use their nuclear bombs. The nuts in charge will finally get their chance, if the Moslems are able to finally push the Israelis to the sea. Good riddance. And maybe we can finally learn to keep religion out of government.
Novelist Octavia Butler wrote "Parable Of the Talents" in 1998, but her poetic introduction to Chapter 11 sounds like she knew Bush II was coming:
Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.
Copyright 1998 by Octavia E. Butler. Buy her book!
------Without taking sides in the big May 1 boycott in favor of illegal immigrants, I have to point out that a scientific test would not measure only how much the illegals contribute to the economy, but also how much they take out. Only one side got measured today. For instance, I didn't hear about any illegal women staying home to have their babies instead of having them at a hospital free. And I didn't hear about any illegal Mexicans not going to pick up free food from a food bank run by Anglos. So that was a bad experiment.
The Mahoundians demonstrating against the West because of Danish cartoons are scum.
The AP runs the following in February 17: Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, prayer leader at the historic Mohabat Khan mosque in the conservative northwestern city of Peshawar, announced a reward for killing the Danish cartoonist who drew the caricatures of Mahound: "Whoever has done this despicable and shameful act, he has challenged the honor of Muslims. Whoever will kill this cursed man, he will get [over] $1 million . . . and a car . . . as a reward. This is a unanimous decision of by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the prophets deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize." What a scummy guttersnipe Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi is. Let's offer a $2 million bounty for his head. Let's see -- about 200 million people who would be willing to give, so that's 100 people per dollar -- a penny a head, so to speak.
Mahoundian mobs keep burning Danish flags -- a Christian cross on a plan background. In other words, to whine because somebody didn't obey their religious rules, the Mahoundians are burning hundreds, thousands, of images of Christian crosses. The Mahoundians have no right to demand respect from other religions.
The Mahoundians are also ignorant of their own pastthe Koran does NOT prohibit images of Mahound. That prohibition has no more connection to the Koran than Santa Claus has to the Bible. Here is a link to lots of certified, genyewine cartoons of Mahound, including the Danish ones you really want to see:
and a lot more really sickening cartoons based on the facts of Mahound's life.
The Mahoundians are also fools, and it is Danish Mahoundians who are fooling others. Danish Mahoundians are drawing their own cartoons of Mahound, fakes, actually pornographic, and passing them off as what the Danes published. The Mahoundian fakes include Mahound as a child molester, Mahound with a pig snout, and a dog humping Mahound's butt as Mahound kneels toward Mecca. Apparently Mahoundians CAN draw images of Mahound, as long as the goal is to lie and incite a rioting mob.
Impeach King George now!
Bush sent his private police over to Congress, where they ransacked a Congressman's office. Congress -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- oppose this violation of the separation of powers. Bush says he will seize the documents that the FBI took, and hold them for 45 days to allow a compromise solution. In other words, the Constitution be damned, Congress must "compromise" if Bush wants to violate it. ITMFA.
Also: Bush signed the bill outlawing torture of detainees, but then he issued a ''signing statement" which says he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers. In other words, he will not obey the law he signed. Even when Congress passes an act and Bush signs it, his signature is a lie.
Also: Bush in 2004: "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, a wiretap requires a court order. . . . When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." But Bush in 2006: "I was talking about roving wiretaps, I believe, involved in the Patriot Act. This is different from the N.S.A. program." So when Bush uses a word, it means what he wants it to mean -- and Bush is notoriously stupid, famous for having a vocabulary formed at the tantrum stage of toddlerhood.
And I shouldn't have to mention Bush lying through his teeth to begin this Iraqi war.
And if you point out that he's violating the law, Bush says he has a higher Constitutional duty. If you point out that he's violating the Constitution, Bush says the Constitution "is just a goddam piece of paper."
It's time to dump this megalomaniac frat boy so that we can get back to being Americans.
There is nothing wrong with people who believe in Intelligent Design ("ID"). There is plenty wrong with people who want to teach ID in a science course.
At the trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the expert witnesses for Intelligent Design were forced to admit that ID is not science, that if the rules of science were rewritten to allow ID they would also admit astrology, and ultimately that ID rests on phenomena which are simply outside the natural universe -- i.e., supernatural explanations. ID is not science, and ID's experts admit.
It's hilarious to watch a bunch of apologists for ID contradict the trial testimony of their own experts. It is not surprising that the ID mouthpieces are a bunch of liars, because the trial judge found that the testimony of the ID bullies who crammed ID into science class showed them to be a bunch of liars too, who were afraid to admit in court what they had been blathering in public.
Here's a link to a rewrite of the judge's opinion: http://littlebigdog.net/kitzmiller.html .
It's a rewrite, not a straight copy, because the original opinion scatters facts and arguments around in a confusing way. This rewrite puts the narrative in order. Every part of it remains the judge's opinion, based on the evidence. You can use it as a resource for showing up as liars and idiots the people who think that ID is science.
Every year we hear from people complaining about how bad it was for the US to A-bomb Japan to win World War II. In particular, people complain that the US shouldn't have bombed Japanese civilians.
However, at the end of WWII, there were no Japanese civilians. Here's a quote from Wikipedia's article on the subject. By 1945, "the Japanese had organized nearly all adult civilians into the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps to perform combat support, and ultimately combat jobs. Weapons and training were generally lacking, but they were expected to make do with what they had. One mobilized high school girl, Yukiko Kasai, found herself issued an awl and told, 'Even killing one American soldier will do. . . . You must aim for the abdomen.' "
So our A-bombs killed people who were reserve soldiers training to actively kill us.
It's too bad that a lot of genetic damage was done too, but frankly, I'd rather genetically damage a hundred thousand unborn Japanese, than have a hundred thousand Americans killed in an invasion because of my delicate sensibilities. The Japanese too should be grateful that we used the A-bomb on them; imagine the aftermath if we had had to kill every Japanese adult -- the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps -- one by one.
If this opinion strikes you as callous, don't blame me; blame war. If you don't want opinions like mine around, then work to prevent war.
The Bush Regime: Kill American Soldiers But Leave the Oil Fields Alone!
Bush now supports Iraqis killing American soldiers -- but leave the oil fields alone, please!
The Iraqi politicians who just met in Egypt issued a statement that includes: "Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worship."
In other words, resistance is legitimate, but terrorism is not resistance. Terrorism means hurting Iraqis, Iraqi civilian institutions, and humanitarian aid. The implication is as clear as day: hurting American soldiers is not terrorism; it is resistance, and legitimate.
The Iraqi statement is a hunting license, declaring open season on American soldiers.
Secretary Of State Rice knows how to read, and when she was asked about the statement, she tried to rewrite it. Rice was asked: "[Their] statement . . . says that they recognize the legitimate right of Iraqi citizens to resist the occupation forces. How do you explain that to the parent or the spouse of an American serviceman or woman on the ground in Iraq, getting shot at every day, that the people they're fighting for, the people they're trying to protect to bring these elections and this democracy about, say that the people who are shooting at them have a legitimate right to do so?"
If Rice hadn't understood perfectly what the Iraqis were saying, she wouldn't have tried to cover over what they said. But Rice ignored the statement's definition of terrorism as harming Iraqis, and she answered as if Americans were mentioned in the Iraqi list of people not to kill. She simply tried to cover up the issuance of the hunting license.
Iraqis know how to read too, and while Rice can cover up things in America, she can't in Iraq. How many American troops will die because Rice has tried to cover up a statement that legitimizes killing American soldiers?
2005/11/16 -- I've been having set-tos all day on Alternet.org, with people who think that our troops shouldn't be allowed to use WP and napalm in Iraq. I have received so much vitriol it's amazing. Here we are, all opposing the war, all with a low opinion of Bush and his bosses and minions, all wanting the troops home as soon as possible -- yet because I believe that the troops should be allowed to cause death in really nasty ways from a few hundred yards away, I have even been called a Nazi! Several writers appear to be connoiseurs of death, who believe that burning to death is worse than being punctured by a bunch of shrapnel. Several people accused me of wanting to use weapons I specifically disclaimed. Apparently these people think that soldiers should have fair fights. I don't know if any of them has ever faced death, or caused death, or been trained to be around death, but I now think I understand why the Republicans have been so successful in achieving national dominance over the last 40 years: the left is largely composed of idiots, who can't read or understand a simple direct piece of writing, but prefer to say whatever makes them feel good. It's a wonder we aren't all in camps, if those are the people standing up for us.
2005/11/15 -- "The influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." That resolution was offered in Commons 225 years ago, in response to the conduct of King George III. Should not Congress now introduce such a resolution in response to the conduct of our own mad King George?
On October 19, UPI reports that our soldiers in Afghanistan took dead Taliban troops, faced them west, and burned their bodies, then got on a bullhorn and insulted any live Taliban fighters who might be hanging around: "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be. We know who you are. Your time in Afghanistan is short. You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Talibs but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are."
Apparently all this violates Islam and the Geneva Conventions. Tough. The dead don't care how their bodies are treated, and the last thing the US needs at this point is a bunch of nellies yammering that "all faiths must be respected." Those people are just plain nuts. We should respect people for what they do; what they believe is their own business, in every sense.
On the other hand: The next day, AP reports comments like this from the Afghanis: "If they continue to carry out such actions against us, our people will change their policy and react with the same policy against them," and a comparison of the US to the USSR, whom Afghanis defeated in 1991, along with a prediction that "Their future will be like the Russians." So maybe there is no happy medium in war; either you fight too hard or not hard enough. There is just no pleasing those pesky invaded people.
The best of Craig's List -- at http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/ -- if only Robert Heinlein had had this when he was writing Stranger In a Strange Land, then Valentine Michael Smith would have learned to laugh not by watching monkeys, but by reading that site.
May 2, 2003. Bush lands on an aircraft carrier safely off San Diego and his minions hang the banner reading "Mission Accomplished".
July 2, 2003. Bush says: "There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."
June 24, 2005. Bush says he's "not giving up."
October 6, 2005. Bush makes the "major speech" that was delayed by hurricanes. He merely repeats the standard eyewash that the country is already sick of, so there's nothing major about his speech. The big three networks don't even carry it live; they were burned by the same tactic at a "major speech" before, and didn't fall for it this time. Bush just insisted that he is doing everything right, always has, and always will. If he had delivered that speech on 9/12, the cheers would have ripped the roof off; but after four years of his ineptitude, the only people who still believe him are people who would believe anything he says. Nothing in his speech resembled reality. Now to watch the poll numbers.
Occasionally it becomes desirable for the United States to kill someone. The most prominent recent honoree is bin Laden.
I would hang bin Laden from a telephone pole by his own guts if they delivered him to me. That's a lot more than George Bush is trying to do.
After 9/11, instead of pursuing bin Laden, Bush pursued Iraq -- which had nothing to do with 9/11.
Actually, our big military ally in the area, Saudi Arabia, had the most ties with 9/11. But Bush couldn't go after Saudi Arabia, because that would clearly hurt his family ties to the oil industry.
And, according to Dick "you said it" Cheney, when we had bin Laden tied down, we let him go, and passed the job of catching him on to some incompetent "allies" who knew that a Moslem who captured bin Laden would live a week at most, and his family would die with him, and his cousins and his nephews and his aunts.
Bin Laden has a lot of ties to Saudi Arabia, too, so overall, it looks like we tempered our war to keep Bush's oil profits up.
Everyone now knows, whether they will admit it or not, that Bush lied to get us to invade Iraq. But I think we care only because Bush didn't win that war. Anybody who thinks we are in control of Iraq is insane.
America has had hard wars. The Civil War was a nightmare, and it was won by spilling blood up and down the mountains and the valleys. The side won which waged war the hardest; the north could have lost, but not after Grant was recognized. Then we had a bunch of Indian wars, where the Indians were obviously doomed to lose; even if they had beat the Army every time, the sheer numbers of settlers would have defeated the Indians. Then we had our jolly little war with Spain. Then we had a real war again, the Great War, which was won by spilling blood. Then we had two decades more of jolly little wars, and imposing our will on Central America. Then we had a real war again, WW II. Then we had a war which was bloody, but which we were not fighting to win, the Korean War. Then came Vietnam, which we were not fighting to win. Then came a series of minor engagements, where we were not fighting to win, and then came Iraq, where we are not fighting to win.
America knows just one way to win a war: treat the population of the enemy country as your enemy. Kill them. Do not be precise, do not respect their "rights," just -- kill them. We win our total wars; we do not win anything less. It is probably the nature of armed conflict that if you are not willing to kill without end, brutally, like crazed beasts -- then you cannot win, because your opponent will take the step you are not willing to.
If we do not declare total war, we are wasting time, reputation, lives, and money.
If Bush had declared total war on Iraq, we would not now have the problems we have, and nobody would care whether or not Bush lied to get us into this mess -- because we would be fighting a war, not sacrificing our troops to Bush's family fortunes. If you grab Americans by their guns, their hearts and minds will follow.
Lynndie England will spend three years in prison, for being rude to Iraqi prisoners.
Rumsfeld said "you go to war with the army you have," but he only meant, don't blame him when soldiers die for lack of equipment. If soldiers get into trouble for lack of training, Rummy feels free to blame them.
Now Rumsfeld is cracking down on soldiers who post pictures of dead Iraqis. Here's a link to those pix. You might want to follow that link before Rummy makes it disappear. (Be careful, though; the site is basically porn -- the troops sent the pix in to pay for access to the porn.)
One picture at that link shows the skin of a face, neatly peeled off the bone when a suicide bomber blew himself up.
If Lynndie England wasn't in the middle of scenes like that, she was in the midst of soldiers who were. Her civilian standards must soon have disappeared. She could not have thought that humiliating Iraqis amounted to much.
George Bush will never understand that, of course. He has never been anywhere near combat. He used his daddy to keep him far away from any risk. George thinks war means strutting around an aircraft carrier in a flight jacket.
George even runs from people like Cindy Sheehan. His staff is leaking that he is drinking again, and being a mean drunk, because he can't stand the pressure of having to run from so much.
But Lynndie England will spend three years in prison, for being rude to Iraqi prisoners.
If rudeness is worth three years, how many years should George spend in prison for lying us into this war?
If George doesn't pardon Lynndie, should he expect any forgiveness from the people his lies are killing?
New Orleans isn't the first or worst. Here is a worse disaster in Galveston a hundred years before:
On Sunday, September 8th, 1900, one of the greatest storms this world has ever known broke over the Texan port of Galveston. More than eight thousand human beings met their death in a few hours, perishing cruelly by wind and wave.
. . . .
. . . Galveston, be it understood, though an island some twenty-five miles in length, and varying from two to five miles in breadth, is really nothing more than a sand-bar, which only stands about five feet above the ordinary sea-level. To an outsider it seems a perfectly insane idea ever to have built a town on such a site, but this sand-bar affords the only harbour between New Orleans and Tampico in Mexico, a distance of nearly two thousand miles.
The town was all on the surface; there were no cellars in Galveston, and water was generally reached at a depth of four feet. The island was connected with the mainland by four bridges, but on that awful night those bridges were swept away; every telegraph pole was blown down, all artificial light extinguished, till at last, shrouded in darkness and swept by storm, the town -- completely cut off from communication with the outside world -- had to face destruction alone.
To the South, Galveston is washed by the mighty waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which rising as one huge wave, in a single night destroyed thousands of human dwellings.
. . . .
Think of it. The whole town submerged. In some places the water rose thirty-three feet, and actually twenty feet within the city limits. It was like the Deluge.
. . . .
If people had only realised about mid-day that the waters would not subside as they did in 1875 and 1890, and at once left their homes and gone to the higher business streets, less loss of life would have resulted; as it was, when they tried to escape in the afternoon and evening, by endeavouring to wade through four, five, six, and seven feet of water, they perished in the attempt. Thousands were drowned; but even more were stunned and killed by falling buildings, for a deadly shower of timber and tiles accompanied the gale.
. . . .
After the storm subsided on Sunday afternoon, every able-bodied man was pressed into the service of burying the dead and clearing the town. Their shrift would have been short had they refused. Some . . . who rifled the dead, were shot in the act, and that put a stop to theft. Conscription was universal. Every man obeyed the command, and performed the work alloted to him.
For the survivors the arrangements were as follows:--
In rows upon the cleared part of the beach were ranged tents provided to protect the homeless. They were quite nice tents, large and airy, with double roofs; but oh ! so sparsely furnished, for their wretched inhabitants had lost all they possessed. . . .
Within forty-eight hours of the storm the stench in the town became almost unbearable, but so ably were matters coped with that no pestilence ensued, and, all things considered, little sickness. Ozone is a great purifier. Besides, everything was under military rule and medical supervision. Carbolic and disinfectants ran down the gutters till nothing unpleasant remained except the scourge of flies.
. . . .
It would be impossible to close this chapter without mentioning that great and good woman, Mary Barton, the Florence Nightingale of America, who hurried from Washington two or three days after the storm with an army of doctors, nurses, and a corps for distributing food and clothing. America had great faith in her; her appeals were immediately responded to, and for eight weeks she organised the succour of the people.
That's from Mexico As I Saw It, by Mrs. Alec Tweedie, rev. ed. 1911, pp. 13-23 passim. Apparently, a hundred years before Bush, Americans had the spine to handle disasters better and faster.
Hooray, hooray! The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco no longer refuses to accept the jurisdiction of American courts! His Utterly Divine Holiness will honor a subpoena that he was served in San Francisco! Thank you so much, Your Sacred Majesty! By "accepting" jurisdiction of the American government, you have shown that you consider your church to be superior in power to your state. Where is Henry VIII when we need him?
CAFTA passed 217 to 215. One changed vote would have made a difference.
15 Democrats voted for CAFTA, and voted to ship more jobs out of the country.
----- Melissa L. Bean IL
----- Jim Cooper TN
----- Henry Cuellar TX
----- Norman D. Dicks WA
----- Ruben Hinojosa TX
----- William J. Jefferson LA
----- Jim Matheson UT
----- Gregory Meeks NY
----- Dennis Moore KS
----- James P. Moran Jr. VA
----- Solomon P. Ortiz TX
----- Ike Skelton MO
----- Victor F. Snyder AR
----- John S. Tanner TN
----- Edolphus Towns NY
25 Republicans voted against CAFTA, and were not tools of big capital.
----- Charles W. Boustany Jr. LA
----- Shelley Moore Capito WV
----- Howard Coble NC
----- Barbara Cubin WY
----- Virginia Foxx NC
----- Scott Garrett NJ
----- Virgil H. Goode Jr. VA
----- Gil Gutknecht MN
----- John N. Hostettler IN
----- Duncan Hunter CA
----- Bobby Jindal LA
----- Walter B. Jones Jr. NC
----- Frank LoBiondo NJ
----- Connie Mack FL
----- Thaddeus McCotter MI
----- Patrick T. McHenry NC
----- John M. McHugh NY
----- Candice S. Miller MI
----- Robert W. Ney OH
----- Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. GA
----- C.L. "Butch" Otter ID
----- Ron Paul TX
----- Dennis Rehberg MT
----- Rob Simmons CT
----- Mike Simpson ID
----- Christopher H. Smith NJ
----- Tom Tancredo CO
I personally would compliment every Republican who voted against, and work to defeat every Democrat who voted for. Yep, a litmus test is just what we need. The people getting squashed are allowed to draw a line.
Don't judge the ACLU by its Arizona chapter
The Arizona chapter of the ACLU hasn't issued any press releases about the Minuteman Project since it ended. The president of the chapter said the silence is because there are disputes about what happened during the Project. But before the Project began, the chapter issued press releases that propagated disputes.
For instance, the Minutemen promised they would not act as police, but would merely report any illegals they saw. However, Arizona ACLU press releases disputed that, and said the Minutemen would "attempt to enforce federal immigration law" and commit "unlawful imprisonment," were "vigilantes," and that illegals might "die as a result of violence." In the end, the Minutemen were telling the truth, and the ACLU was wrong; a volunteer who violated the Minuteman rules was sent home.
The Arizona ACLU tried to intimidate the Minutemen. The first press release said the ACLU would train observers "to document the activities of Minutemen," that observers "will be following these private citizens" and "document the actions of these individuals," and there were "lawyers on stand-by ready to file civil cases against these vigilantes." The second release, after saying the ACLU observers would be neutral and prevent police misconduct, returned to promising to "monitor Minuteman activity and note any abuses of migrants to determine if legal action is warranted."
The Arizona ACLU invented disputes. A press release mentioned "alleged lack of enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico Border" &ndash as if the flood of illegals were imaginary. The release said the "Minuteman sponsoring organization is alleged to have . . . intended to intimidate, harass or otherwise interfere with the rights of others" &ndash as if such anonymous slander were a fact. The release said Minutemen have a "history of abusive behavior" and should not "be dismissed as evil racists" but should be understood as symbols of "fear and misunderstanding" &ndash as if our border problems were a dispute between virtue and ignorance.
One ACLU member quoted in the press releases has been prominent in MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund) and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), a student group dedicated to forming "Aztlan," an independent nation in which Chicanos (which MEChA calls the "bronze race") will reject America's culture and borders. The ACLU press releases echoed MALDEF and MEChA language, even though a person can't reject America's culture and borders, and base politics on race, without also abandoning our Constitution. One person can't be loyal to both MEChA and the ACLU.
The ACLU's mission is to protect our Constitutional rights. The ACLU's proudest hour was defending the right of Nazis to rally in a largely Jewish suburb of Chicago. The lead ACLU attorney, David Goldberger, knew that if you let Constitutional protections be removed from people whose politics you despise, then those protections won't be available to save you when the political winds change. The Arizona ACLU took the opposite course, of acting based on politics.
I'm a life member of the ACLU, and proud to be, but I'm ashamed of the Arizona chapter for betraying the ACLU's ideals. The ACLU press releases should have announced that ACLU observers would watch all sides -- then stopped. The Arizona chapter should admit its error in playing politics, reject any future political agenda either for or against MEChA or the Minutemen, and return to the ACLU mission of protecting our Constitutional rights impartially.
Why are all the Bushies so snotty? It's not as if they have anything to be snotty about. Their record is stupidity, delusions, and failure.
Cheney said that the attacks in Iraq were simply the throes of the resistance. He condescendingly pointed out how the dictionary defined throes. Now Rumsfeld is contradicting Cheney, pointing to maybe another ten years of resistance. The Pentagon brass hats are going crazy trying to fight a war that is fubar, thanks to the politicians. The long knives are out soon. Maybe Brown Shirts always collapse this way; the Bushies don't have anybody as smart as Hitler, to keep their movement alive.
Rove accused his opponents of offering therapy. It looks like Rove is projecting; he was probably offered therapy, and declined it. As James Michener said, "Men will go mad from too much getting." We can't be surprised that Rove, who pulls the strings on a pack of miserables whose only goal is getting, acts insane. His kind of life will make you that way.
Everybody is concerned over possible infiltration of WMDs into the US through our porous borders. On the other hand, does anybody actually doubt that during the Cold War, we put hydrogen bombs into basements in Moscow, Leningrad, and other cities; that the USSR put hydrogen bombs into basements in New York, DC, and other cities; and, worst of all, that China put hydrogen bombs on the ocean floor off LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle? China would have been stupid not to do it. Delivery would have been easy, by submarine. The bombs will still be there. How are our trade relations with China?
I didn't notice any present emphasis on the fact that two of the three civil rights workers in the "Mississippi Burning" killing were white. I didn't hear that mentioned on radio or tv, so I Googled all three names. The result was horrible: I find people asserting that there is only a trial now because two of the victims were white, so that the trial proves that racism survives. I have often felt that popular culture was unfairly writing whites out of history -- the theme of the 1960s civil rights movement was black and white TOGETHER -- but I have never felt actually sickened by that cultural shift until now. Some people will do anything to keep feeling like privileged victims.
Bush is clearly, by ordinary standards, a war criminal. When he is out of office, will the US have the moral courage to let him be tried for war crimes, or will we protect him just because he is OUR war criminal?
Once again, President Pinocchio defies sense and decency in order to maximize his incumbency. As to far-right judges, he says all he wants is an "up-or-down" vote in the Senate. But when Congress votes "up" on a bill for stem cell research, Bush says he will veto it. His inconsistency is striking, but probably Bush himself doesn't see it. What a brat.
You could, every day, email Bush at email@example.com and ask "Where is bin Laden?"
From Mark Twain: "A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other. Age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities. Those they love are taken from them and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. The burden of pain, care, misery, grows heavier year by year. At length ambition is dead; pride is dead; vanity is dead; longing for release is in their place. It comes at last - the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them - and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing; where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; where they have left no sign that they existed - a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever. Then another myriad takes their place and copies all they did and goes along the same profitless road and vanishes as they vanished - to make room for another and another and a million other myriads to follow the same arid path through the same desert and accomplish what the first myriad and all the myriads that came after it accomplished - nothing!"
The Supreme Court has held that "drug dogs" may sniff your car during a routine traffic stop, because some drivers transport drugs, and a person transporting drugs has no right to privacy. In other words, invading your privacy is okay if some people like you are guilty. You have a right to privacy only if nobody has anything to hide. Sounds like the usual attack on free speech: your speech would be free if only you wouldn't say upsetting things.
Of course, good drug dogs will sniff out anybody who has even been around somebody who has used drugs -- meaning, everybody, since you are certain to have touched drugs on a dollar bill. So the police will have free rein. The "war on drugs" is an excuse for a military occupation of the US.
Having tasted unlimited power in Iraq, the fuhrer's friends want to rule their homeland subjects the same way. Heil!
Take all of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. Add another strip 100 x 300 miles long. The total is about as big as Iran. That's what Bush wants to invade next. Die, poor people!
The Israeli army hasn't been able to stop Palestinian resistance in over 50 years, and Palestinians look different from Israelis. How is the Iraqi army supposed to defeat the resistance, when members of the resistance look like every other Iraqi? The Germans couldn't stop the French resistance during WW II. We couldn't defeat the Viet Cong. How dumb must we be to try the same losing tactic time after time?
If computerized ballots were hacked for Bush, it's unprovable. At least we have, absent unprovable fraud, an elected president. Frankly, if Kerry had become president with 3 million fewer votes than Bush, I wouldn't be happy about it.
The people who voted for Kerry view themselves as more intelligent and rational. If they are right, and if being intelligent and rational leads to a better life, then Kerry supporters will create Dems by example, not argument.
Maybe it's time to keep all kinds of religion out of American public life. The amazing political campaigning by Roman Catholics, fundamentalists, and Mormons during the 2004 election should eliminate their tax exemptions.
The former Bishop Of Rome said American priests must deny communion to politicians who favor abortion rights. The new Bishop Of Rome is the guy who pushed him to that position. The Roman Catholic church is obviously violating RICO to protect child molesters. Why the media veneration of such an abomination?
It's easy to join Bush and make a fetish of being seen to pray, but such a public show of religion defies Matthew 6:5-6, which say "when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret...." Every time Bush makes a public show of religion, he is violating the plain words of the Bible.
If "faith" keeps you acting decently in public, fine. But why assume that people can't act decently every day unless they believe in three impossible things before breakfast?
In an era when multinational corporations are more powerful than many states, it is striking to see politicians respect national boundaries that were arbitrarily drawn by European empires long ago -- e.g. the boundaries of Iraq. Why does the U.S. oppose every effort by locals to make national boundaries follow cultural boundaries?
Tolerance for diversity is overrated. If Lincoln had been respectful of differences, we'd still have slavery.
Primates are contemptible. Intelligent non-primates, we like, I think because they don't tell stories. A dog is honest, and no dog has disappointed you, ever, as much as humans do, every day. But humans must tell stories. Even scientists put things in place in a story. Creationists are just lazier or stupider storytellers.
To talking heads on tv, the last noun before verbs determines whether the verbs are singular or plural. This habit by newsreaders are annoying. Why do they, with all their education, does this?
I've heard local media refer to "alleged suspects" after showing surveillance tapes of a crime being committed.
Reporters delight in noting that many Europeans look down on American customs. Are people forgetting that most Europeans came to America to get away from other Europeans?
Notice how a politician never says "I do terrible things, pass a law to stop ME," only "THEY do terrible things, let's pass a law to stop THEM"? Much evil is done by meddling politicians. How about passing a law that prohibits politicians from prohibiting other people from acting as they see proper, absent verifiable physical harm to society?
The past is another country. From a full-sized Sears catalog for 1959:
-- p. 1321, a home cigarette rolling kit. With the rolling machine including cutters, 4 packs of papers, 2 1/2 pounds of tobacco, measuring cup, cigarette case, and "dauber" -- $10.87. For 500 filters you could roll in to the cigarettes, $1.00.
-- p. 1320, chicks that were at least 50% pedigreed, 25 Rhode Island Reds, $10.25.
-- p. 1293, American flags with 48 stars, 5' x 8', $7.96. A notice says that the 48-star flag will not become obsolete after a new 49-star flag is designed, to include a star for Alaska.
-- p. 1199, wall paneling came in 5 whole different varieties, from $1.57 to $12.47 a sheet.
-- p. 1157, there was no such thing as a heat pump, and a whole-house air-conditioning system was $519 to $669.
-- pp. 1046-1121, you could buy anything, anything, for your car. If you had to replace a straight 6 engine for your 1948 Chevrolet, it cost $214.95.
-- p. 1037, a "Giant Hoop" like a hula hoop, 69 cents.
-- p. 1032, the best 26" imported lightweight bike, "chrome-rich," 1 3/8" tires, headlight with high and low beams, 3-speed gears, $56.95.
-- p. 1004, a 22' cabin cruiser Elgin boat kit, $1250.
-- p. 993 & nearby, tents came only in canvas, though nylon was used for screens.
-- p. 993, the J.C. Higgins trailer-camper, a small metal trailer with an unfolding tent, which gave a work area above the trailer and a room with a floor cloth alongside the trailer, $439.95.
-- p. 984, J.C. Higgins pistols. A Peacemaker copy in .22 caliber, $41.75.
-- p. 980, a Mauser-action .30-06, $98.50.
-- p. 978, all roller skates had 4 wheels. Cheapest sidewalk frame to jam your shoes into, $1.74.
-- p. 977, all tennis rackets were the old size, nylon strung. $3.47 up to $12.66 for the Pancho Gonzales model.
-- p. 975, Ed Furgol-endorsed golf clubs, $44.70 for five irons, $38.95 for three woods. Just for the ladies, Peggy Kirk clubs were $28.85 for five irons, $26.90 for three woods. All golf carts were "pull by hand."
-- Cooking equipment. There was no teflon, or non-stick of any kind; even the griddles were shiny. P. 961, all coffeemakers were percolators; no drip machines, or any other variety. No microwave ovens. P. 897, wood-burning ranges from $47.95 for old-fashioned look to $169.95 for a modern-looking 40" range which would burn either wood or soft coal.
-- Air conditioners: the cheapest room model, $174.95.
-- Television sets: Sears' finest "Silvertone Medalist" 24" lowboy console $279.95. 24" was the biggest screen, it and all the screens had very round corners, sometimes no straight edge at all, and Sears boasted about the "panoramic curved front" of the picture tube. This model had a shipping weight of 120 pounds. All black&white, of course. All tubes, no transistors. Remote controls had to be ordered with a tv, they weren't sold separately; and they were wired. The cheapest set was a 17" portable for $99.95; shipping weight 46 pounds. Some of the sets were available with a clock-timer, which was a regular clock which you could stick on top of the set.
-- Radios, pp. 840-844. P. 844 was Hallicrafters shortwave receivers, from an S-38E for $54.95 with 4 tubes to an SX-62A for $375 with 14 tubes. AM-only models still existed. The cheapest radio, AM with 3 tubes, was $10.50; the cheapest clock radio was $16.50. The best AM-only table radio, 5 tubes and 2 speakers, $34.95; the best AM-FM table radio, $56.95. Portable radios had transistors; cheapest AM model, $21.95 in brown, $23.95 in aquamarine, shipping weight 5 pounds. Smallest portable, 3" x 6", 1 1/2" deep, $22.95.
-- Tape recorders: reel-to-reel, the cheapest $119.95. A stereo model, $244.95.
-- Record players got 5 pages. Stereo had arrived. The top of the line was the "Medalist," 42" long, with separate AM and FM tuning dials, a roll-out record changer, a 15", 8", and 2 5" speakers, and two amps, each apparently a 14-watt model. In mahogany, $359.95; in limed oak, $369.95. Shipping weight 128 pounds. All of Sears' units were in big boxes; none of them resembles what we would call hi-fi now. Sears had a page of major-label LPs, for as low as $2.89 mono and $3.89 stereo. The selection ranged from Perry Como and Mitch Miller to Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson.
-- Photography: pp. 820-821 were 8mm movie cameras; no Super 8 yet. Most expensive camera/projector set, $259.99; cheapest, $89.95. Pp. 816-817 were 35mm cameras. The Tower SLR, a waist-level model with a tiny separate optical finder, shutter 1/25 to 1/500 second, interchangeable lenses, $64.50 with an f/3.5. Upgraded to 1/2 to 1/500 second, f/2.4 lens, $89.50. Kodak Retina IIIC, $139.95. Argus Match-matic C3 with flash unit and light meter, $59.95. A Ricoh or Fujica, maybe, 35mm with moving viewfinder frames, $65.50 with 45mm f/2.8, $88.50 with 42mm f/1.8, $94.00 with 35mm f/2. P. 814, Tower 120 TLR, $18.50. P. 815, Polaroids, $69.88 to $149.95, all black&white, of course.
-- Typewriters! No electric. Sears sold its own Tower brand, and factory reconditioned other brands. For office machines, a reconditioned Underwood Model S, looking like something from the 1930s, was $83.50. The cheapest was an L.C. Smith IA, $71.50. Sears' own office machine, $164, shipping weight 45 pounds. Portables, $62.50 to $119.50.
-- P. 799B, paint-by-number sets, two 18 x 24" pictures, $5.67.
Oh -- everyone in 1959 was white, there were no people of color. And all the women -- except the wheelchair models -- were thin and young, though it wasn't from exercise because they had no perceptible muscles. Paradoxically, there were many, many corsets, girdles, merry widows, etc. The past is a different country.
A woman takes her dog to a movie. After the show, a man says, "Your dog cried at the sad parts, fidgeted at the boring parts, and laughed at the funny parts. Don't you find it unusual?" "Yes, I do," the woman replies -- "she hated the book!"
Here is a link to my idea of good books.
And here are diversions other than books.
The Passion Of the Christ is not a two-hour torture fest, despite the parodies in such cultural beacons as South Park, and there is no way a fair-minded person could call it anti-semitic. The high priests and the mob are presented as evil, but I do think the bible presents them as the bad guys, not because of their religion but because of their acts. The individual Jew, Simon, who helps carry the cross, is presented as noble, and the Roman soldiers are worse than anybody else. And all of these pictures are isolated from modernity by the antique languages used in the picture, and the great production values; there is nothing to tie the actors to the modern world. The only reason for the campaign against the movie has to be, as near as I can see, the desire to keep people from seeing a movie that presents a Christian story without mocking it.
American IV: The Man Comes Around, by Johnny Cash. Lotta Lenya, look out.
A Knight's Tale, the movie. Very entertaining, with two unforgettable scenes: the introduction, and the dance from Gelderland. Worth buying just for those scenes.
If I Could Only Fly, a CD by Merle Haggard. New heights in Americana singing.
Shanghai Noon, the Jackie Chan movie.
Shelby Lynne, and Laura Love -- two great singers; no idea if the market will give them the success they deserve.
Little Voice, and Cookie's Fortune. Two must-see movies, neither one with a car chase.
FROM THE ROAD
Oregon. Albany -- Novak's Hungarian Restaurant. Incredibly good food, of a kind you don't find much around the country. If you are on I-5, you owe it to yourself to stop in.
Nebraska. Wilber -- the MD Bar downtown serves great food all year, and Czech food during the cold months (any time, for super Czech food, go to the Bohemian Café in Omaha, just up S. 13th from I-80. If you don't get here before you die, you'll regret it). The MD Bar has a B&B for $30 single, $40 double, including breakfast. Wilber isn't far from Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden, where the $16.95 souvenir paperback book is a tremendous bargain.
Kansas. Almena has the Antique Emporium and well-used wooden bicycle, and a cafe next door with a wonderful Senior Citizens lunch program. They took us in hand and fed us well for $3.50 each. Nice people who are weathering the withdrawal of civilization from the plains by taking care of each other.
A great guide to Kansas--the best guide I've seen to any state--is John & Susan Howell's, here .
New Mexico --
Santa Fe -- El Paradero B&B gave us shabby treatment. "Ouida" took my phoned reservation, but when I showed up, the reservation had been cancelled without notice, & no room was available. Their attempt to amend consisted of finding a costlier room for one, not two, nights, at a less convenient B&B.
-- Great beer at the Second Street Brewery, near downtown.
-- The excursion train from the old railroad station is great. When it returned to town, 8 or 10 young people tried to hustle the passengers to a "swing dance," like a Gene Autry movie, but the passengers were too tired. It was a good idea, though, and the kids were so enthusiastic, that Mr. & Mrs. Big Stuff wandered over to the dance hall a little later. The band swung well, and so did a few dozen dancers. Encouragement to all. Let the dance flourish, with an MP3 release!
-- Thoreau -- pronounced "threw," sort of -- has a wolf farm, Raised By Wolves. It's a great place that needs financial support, which is tax deductible. When you go, you could also stop at Martin Gutierrez's and Kayt Whitten's place, #22 Johnson Road, and buy some great southwestern woodworking at real person's prices.
Texas -- Archer City -- Larry McMurtry's huge store of real books. More fun than the Cadillac Ranch.
For the cellular automaton game of life, go here .
For life-size (pretty nearly) cardboard cutouts of celebrities, go here .
James Gleick, good thinker, has a page here .
To email members of congress, go here .
To look at things with non-biligana eyes, try New California Media On Line .
For the best movie site around, the Internet Movie Database, go here .
You will not see a better ensemble cast than in the Japanese movie "Shall We Dance?"
POETRY FROM FRIENDS
1. Poetry for the New Republic
Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.
2. The Reverend Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg Contemplates Global Issues
My mama used to warn me, / "Now Jerry, never play / With Mr. Tinky Winky," / And I haven't, to this day.
Oh, how Mama'd scold me; / How she used to glare / When little Jerry's fingers / Would stray too far down there.
Imagine my chagrin, then; / Consider my dismay / On learning from the TV / That Tinky Winky's gay!
The Democrats have conquered; / The culture's in decline; / Impeachment's out the window, / And Clinton won't resign.
Schuller's housed in crystal, / Robertson's mining gold, / Swaggart's been forgiven, / Yet I'm out in the cold.
My school, it goeth under, / My bankroll waxeth wee, / My congregation shrinketh-- / Lord, what asketh thou of me?
The answer comes. Eureka! / The call is loud and clear: / I'm ready to do battle / With that little purple queer.
I'll summon Christian soldiers, / Invoke Jehovah's curse! / Expose the purple faggot / And his shiny bright red purse!
Oh, Mama used to tell me / (And I still believe it's true), / "Don't touch your Tinky Winky / Or he'll shrivel and turn blue."
My AK-47! / My vorpal blade! My sword! / My Enterprise! My cutlass! / My gleaming French Concorde!
There's no doubt I can whip him / --The prancing purple fop-- / I bet he calls HIS Tinky Wink / The Good Ship Lollipop.
I'll rip off his triangle / And paste it on his face / So viewers out in TVland / Can recognize his race.
I'll tape the Teletubbies / And play it back to front; / Then Satan's bile will plainly spew / In Tinky's every grunt.
Bill Clinton won the last round / --Oh, painful tale to tell-- / with dykebitch Rodham at his side: / The tag-team straight from hell!
But TinkerHill and TinkerBill, / With all their fairy chums / Will burn in hell eternally / When Armageddon comes.
And as for Tinky Winky, / No traces will remain / Save for a red and empty purse / And a tiny purple stain.
My jowls are all aquiver; / I'm foaming at the lip. / Hoo hoo ha ha ho ho hee hee! / (I mustn't lose my grip.)
So--forward! Into battle! / With spirit bold and blithe! / Jerry will destroy the Beast: / The Purple Antichrithe!
O vengeance! You'll at last be mine-- / Drool slobber slurp tee hee! / And earth will be a finer place / For normal guys like me.
Here's a useful link to get your page indexed around the web: Add Me! - Step 0 -- give it a try.
To discuss it all, email