August 18, 2005


it is a word I love to say. It just rolls off the tongue and pulls at your gut as it emits forth the feeling with which it is imbued.

Righteous is a righteous word!

It is time that all Americans begin thinking and behaving in a righteous manner. Being righteous is not a partisan issue. Being righteous takes courage because it requires the admission of reality. The reality now is such that we can no longer say, with a straight face, that what we've done in and to Iraq is the result of a righteous pursuit of evil; we are and continue to be the evil. And we are not righteous.

When America issued forth her mighty military fist, it was attached to a vile body filled with lies. Lies that created fear and panic amongst citizens who had become blinded by patriotic but unrighteous speeches emboldening us to commit war upon a people that represented no threat. Lies that claimed we were but minutes from annihilation from a far off enemy with made up capabilites. Lies that many of us continue to believe because it is easier to believe than it is to be righteous.

For those of you who serve the President but not your duties as citizens, I ask you, where is your righteousness when asked to serve your country? Where is your decency when supporting the occupation of a foreign land by your neighbors when you yourself have not served a day. Any response that doesn't include, "I just went to the US Army recruiting office" is only an excuse and lacks righteous devotion to your so-called patriotism. Go ahead, continue to "support" the troops, but really, what have you done but support their continued slaughter for nothing but lies?

This adventure that has wasted countless lives and billions of dollars that could have been spent in truly righteous pursuits, will haunt us for generations to come. It pains me every day to think of what we've done to our own country by dividing ourselves into red and blue; aren't we all citizens of the same constitution? Apparently, even something as inflammatory as white crosses dedicated to those who've committed the ultimate sacrifice appears to be treasonous to those who would serve their President but not their country.

America can no longer claim to be righteous, for we are not without guilt nor sin.

August 11, 2005

You Don't Get A Free Ride

I was over reading Doc Alterman's blog and came across Siva Vaidhyanathan's post regarding the recent terrorism over in London. Blah, blah, we've heard it all before...or have we?

"Any country that is going to march around the world with guns (or checkbooks) drawn has got to expect someone to bring the fight home these days. Weapons are small and cheap. People, money, and propaganda move freely. And there is really nothing a powerful country can do to ensure that every subway, federal office building, school, bridge, or tunnel will be safe. There are violent extremists everywhere. If we are going to do some stuff in the world, we are going to have to expect stuff to blow up here at home. And a world in which powerful nations do nothing is simply not realistic nor desirable. No president or prime minister is going to admit that to you, of course. Which is why we need the occasional poet, priest, or professor to say it."

Is this such a hard concept for our non-conservative, Republican brethren on the other side of American life to understand? Let me put it a different way, perhaps one that doesn't deal with such abstractions.

If you shit on your neighbors lawn, chances are he's going to come shit on yours, or even worse, leave his shit in a burning bag on your doorstep just after he rang the bell.

August 04, 2005

Comparison of George to Tony

As posted by Steven Hart of Highland Park, NJ:

One of the things that redeemed the second season of "The Sopranos," which had gone all wobbly after a good start, was the unblinkingly cruel subplot about David Scatino, a boyhood friend of mobster Tony Soprano, who talks his way into one of Tony's high-stakes poker games and almost instantly buries himself under an unpayable mountain of debts. It quickly turns out that Tony knew about Scatino's compulsive gambling problem, but let him into the game anyway because Scatino and his wife own a successful sporting-goods store. What follows is more frightening than any monster movie. After siphoning out Scatino's bank account (including his son's college fund), Tony and his cronies gorge themselves on the store's credit lines, buying up easily resold big-ticket merchandise and leaving the store awash in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills. The business dissolves into bankruptcy, taking with it Scatino's marriage (his wife divorces him), his family (his son, cheated out of an Ivy League future, hates him) and a good portion of his sanity. In the end, as he prepares to embark on his new life as a drifter and day-laborer, Scatino asks Tony why he let him destroy himself. After all, haven't they known each other since childhood? Tony replies with the story of the frog and the scorpion. "This is what I am," Tony says. "This is what I do."

What we've just seen is a variation on an old con called a bust-out. Usually it involves con men offering to buy a business, making a partial payment to gain access to the firm's credit and name, and then hollowing out the company's finances by running up the existing credit lines and opening new ones, all of which are maxed out to buy electronic gear and anything else that can be resold quickly at a fraction of its value. For the con men involved in the bust-out, it's all gravy. The phony buyer -- usually a shell company with no discernible assets -- defaults and the business reverts to its original owner, by which time the once-thriving firm has been turned into a rotting hulk ready to have its bones picked clean by creditors.

The Bush family has often been referred to as the WASP version of the Corleones, but the Soprano clan makes for a much better comparison. At its best, "The Sopranos" is an acid mockery of the phony gravitas of the three "Godfather" movies. Where Michael Corleone is heroically evil, an international player who consorts with statesmen and the Vatican before succumbing to his tragic flaw, Tony Soprano is a sewer rat engaged in the grubby business of preying on human weakness and fear — when his fall comes, it will be tragic only to himself. Until then, however, he's going to make as much money as he can for himself and his buddies, and leave the rest of the world holding the bill. I'm not just using hyperbole here. I do think that when honest historians assess the Bush administration, they will find it more useful to treat George II and his Republican cronies as a criminal organization rather than a political party.

The best tool for analyzing Bush's policies is not historiography, but the procedures used by federal agents as they pursue a RICO investigation into a mobbed-up business. Take the money and run. As long as Republicans are in power, that phrase should replace "E Pluribus Unum" on the national seal. It's the natural outcome of a quarter-century of rhetoric about how government is the problem, not the solution; how government doesn't work; how deregulation is the only way to build the economy. If government is nothing but a taxpayer-funded scam, then why not use it to enrich yourself and your buddies? If the very idea of public service as an idealistic calling has been turned into a mealymouthed joke, then where's the shame in abusing power and running the country into the ground? As long as you can convince just over 50 percent of the suckers to vote your way, you can throw yourself a party and leave the world holding the bill. This is what they are. This is what they do.

Didn't they tell you? The recess appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is all of a piece with this scenario. Even many Republicans find this loudmouthed dolt hard to take; certainly no foreign leader will be able to take him seriously as a player on the world stage. Bolton will face a building full of career diplomats who know his nomination was dead in the Senate, that he had to be smuggled into office under cover of darkness, that the best they can expect is three years of low-down entertainment until the Bushies pack up their swag and head for the hills. If you despise the very idea of the United Nations -- and if your core voting bloc cherishes Satanic conspiracy fantasies about the UN being the Antichrist's method for achieving one-world government -- then an ambassador capable of effective diplomacy is unnecessary. The important thing is that a plum job went to a crony. Sure, he may very well be implicated in the Valerie Plame case, but after a couple of years on the government sugar tit he'll be able to lawyer himself up and hold the prosecutors at bay for a long time.

Insane tax cuts for the wealthy. Delusional military ventures abroad. From the minute the Bushies took power, their biggest concern has been to break open the cash registers, empty the shelves and open the bank vaults. Stewardship is a joke to them. What we are witnessing may very well be the biggest bust-out in human history. And if you, good citizen, are wondering where you fit into this picture, just cast your mind back to the last episode of the second season of "The Sopranos." One of the closing shots shows us David Scatino in an empty parking lot, tying some gear to the top of his car as he prepares to leave his ruined life behind him. He wanted to play poker with the big boys, so you can say he brought his troubles on himself. A majority of Americans voted for Bush in at least one of the last two elections, so you can say we brought this on ourselves. In Scatino's case, human weakness created a business opportunity for Tony Soprano. America's weakness created a business opportunity for the Republicans. With the national press at a historic low ebb, the Democratic Party flat on its back and the airwaves humming with wingnut propaganda, the pickings couldn't be any richer. They saw their chance and they took it. That's what they are. That's what they do.

From My Mother

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah" said the son.

"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:
"I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us! , they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing?

It makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

August 03, 2005

How Is This Possible?

I am disillusioned.

What the fuck is wrong with half of America? I mean really, how, can any Constitution loving, democracy protecting American vote Republican? Has our sense of right and wrong been so overwhelmed by ideology that it is acceptable to vote for a clearly disingenuous liar and thief such as Jean Schmidt? Her opponent, Paul Hackett, SERVED in Iraq...VOLUNTEERED despite his wife and children. What did she do during that time? Well, she took illegal contributions from a company that resulted in her sponsoring of a bill that directly...DIRECTLY benefitted that same company just months later!! Can you say quid-pro-quo!!?? Here's a link to the explicit charges for which she is being investigated.

What the fuck is wrong with Republicans?!! I can't be more outraged...a man who laid his life and the livelihood of his family on the line for his country was beat in the last few minutes of this election by some bitch who couldn't give a fuck about her constituents or their problems.

Even worse, there's serious talk, yet again about voting problems in OH-2 that occurred, literally, in the last couple hours of the counting....system crashes, that when brought back up, had good ol' Jean up by 4% instead of down by 2% at the end of the count. Check out how many votes go her way in the last 22 minutes of the election. I mean, it's not like Ohio has had problems in the past...oh wait, yes they have!!

I don't's possible that there isn't anything here...but the fact that so many people no longer trust the voting process bodes dark times ahead.

Anger and disenfranchisement will lead to revolution.