Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Factor

I still haven't made up my mind about which Democratic candidate I support. I think both have issues, and I'm incredibly disappointed with the tone of this eternally ongoing campaign. But there are a few things that would tip the scales, and Obama touched on one recently:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in cover-ups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.

I still think impeachment should not be off the table. Realistically though, with the time left before the election, it ain't gonna happen. This would be second best.

Obama was a Constitutional professor, which gives one hope that he might just carry through. He's a little cautious for my taste, but maybe that will change after the election. In order for our status to begin to be restored in the world, we must prosecute those who have committed crimes. It shouldn't be that hard to demonstrate in court; Bush has admitted publicly several times to doing things that are unconstitutional, as have others.

Nobody above the law.

So, what about it, Hillary? Can you promise the same?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Oh. My. God.

This is a true sign of the Apocalypse.

Not the actual Flake itself, but the fact that in wartime, with the economy and the Constitution crumbling around our ears, someone would be willing to pay TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS for a single Frosted Flake.

The mind boggles.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Best. Comment. Ever.

Susan of Texas said, (at Sadly!No blog)
March 17, 2008 at 15:34

"Conservatives really are perpetual teenagers, raiding the refrigerator, using up all the gas in the car, taking money from your wallet, and constantly whining about how overworked and mistreated they are."

The irony of course, is that this is what's always been said of Democrats. Perhaps, sans the whining... But the state of the World today is frightening, not only for the actual realities, but because it's History Repeating.

Think Jimmy Carter.

Worst President ever, right? Somehow, he's been left with that reputation. Nice guy, but too bad he was such a LOSER.

Fact is, he had a bad situation, and because he did the "hard work" required to actually remedy it, he is reviled. Because he didn't lie to the American public to fudge numbers, as Bush has been doing for years, he's remembered for economic failures. He understood the energy crisis and did something about it. All the good he did during his term was undone by Reagan. And now we've come full circle. With Reagan's bastard child in the White House, we've moved from economic surplus to record deficits, and are now falling headlong into recession. We're more dependent on foreign oil than ever, which has gone from $27 a barrel when he took office to $110 this past week.

You know, I'm not an economist. In fact, I don't know much about economics at all. It seems to me however, that when all of your government's policies encourage American dollars to go overseas, out of our economy, without anything to show for it, it can't be good for America. Some examples?

Major corporations moving their offices overseas, to places where they won't have to pay American taxes or American wages. They pay pennies to manufacture, then sell in the US for really high markups. Which are paid to CEO's, who put the money into offshore accounts, again, untaxed by the US.

War. We supply goods and services to feed the war machine through contractors that we pay far more than market value. Those contractors pay wages to non-Americans, resulting in the money going to other countries. How much money? Well, "The Nation" reported the following estimated figures, as the government will not release actual numbers:

Estimated number of U.S.-(taxpayer)-paid private contractors in Iraq: More than 180,000, again undoubtedly an all-time high. That figure includes approximately 21,000 Americans, 43,000 non-Iraqi foreign contractors (including Chileans, Nepalese, Colombians, Indians, Fijians, El Salvadorans, and Filipinos among others), and 118,000 Iraqis, but does not include a complete count of "private security contractors who protect government officials and buildings," according to State Department and Pentagon figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

The cost in dollars? From the same article:
Typical pay of a former U.S. Special Forces soldier working for a private-security company in Iraq: $650 a day, according to Scahill, "after the company takes its cut." That rate, however, can hit $1,000 a day.

But our toops? (according to http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11551)

• Salary of U.S. soldier: $1,100 to $2,500 per month
• Salary of British commando: $3,500 per month
• Salary of Iraqi soldier: $70 per month

Aside from the numbers just being obscene, it also should be evident that all of those dollars are coming from the US and being sent permanently to other countries.

And the most frightening exit of cash; to China. See, we are borrowing MILLIONS of dollars every week from China. Which we pay interest on. And will need to pay back some day. So they take the money we're paying them to loan us money, and buy raw goods to make shoddy items at slave wages, only to sell it back to us at HUGE markups. What do we sell them to even things up? Nothing. Nor do we tax properly their imports, which leads to people buying things made in China because Wal-Mart can sell it cheap, which leads to less domestic jobs, which results in the need to buy cheap goods at Wal-Mart....

You see the difficulty.

Somehow, we got the notion during the Reagan Administration that if the Stock Market was doing well, we all were doing well. I suppose that at some point in history, that might have been true. That was before CEO's got greedy, and Reagan deregulated EVERY FUCKING THING so that CEO salaries could grow to mind numblingly high numbers that can't even be comprehended by mortal beings, while middle class salaries actually dropped. The problem is that the Stock Market is only a part of the economy. The part that makes its income through dividends and interest and mergers. The part that doesn't create jobs, or goods.

I know it's all a lot more complicated; economics is way over my head. But it seems fairly "DUH" to see that our economy is tanking because of the insane economic policies once called "Voodoo" by Daddy Bush.

So what can we do about it? And how can the next President get us out of this mess without being "Jimmy Cartered?"

Don't look at me! I am SO not that smart. I'll just get ulcers worrying about it.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Our AWOL-coward in chief addressed the men and women giving their lives in service to the United States of America today, and told them that war is romantic.

Oh. My. God.

In an attempt to give him the benefit of the doubt, I'm assuming he simply doesn't know what war is. So Mr. President, let me enlighten you.

U.S. Deaths Confirmed By The DoD: 3978
Reported U.S. Deaths Pending DoD Confirmation: 9
Total 3987

That's pretty bad. Almost four thousand dead. But wait... there's MORE!

Non Mortal Casualties
Wounded - No Medical Air Transport Required 20,416
Wounded - Medical Air Transport Required 8,904
Non-Hostile Injuries - Medical Air Transport Required 8,273
Diseases/Other Medical - Medical Air Transport Required 23,052

Barely comprehensible. And we're still not done.

Self InflictedArmyNavyMarinesAir ForceTotal
Died of Self-Inflicted wounds1184230145

Self inflicted wounds. Hello? One Hundred, Forty Five soldiers, trained to live in hellish conditions, who volunteered to serve their country, who have guns and know how to use them, know how to kill... One Hundred Forty Five of these men and women found the conditions they were forced to live in so intolerable that they took their own lives.

Not counting Iraqis, whom I still consider human, despite all efforts to dehumanize them, and not even counting the "coalition" casualties, because after all, Americans count more than anyone else, right? Not counting the impact of the deaths and injuries on the families of these soldiers, who now have to struggle financially because of the programs that our generous Republican administration have cut. Not counting the cost to the productivity of our nation because of the loss of these motivated, well trained people. Not counting the debt we've amassed, or the cost of the degradation of our reputation among the countries of the world. There's such cost involved in this mess called Iraq that isn't counted; but even without all that... the casualties alone are enough to illustrate the cost of war.

Sir, only in your warped perception of reality can war be called romantic. Most of us in the reality based community think war is obscene.

The statistics cited above can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties and should be on everyone's daily read.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This is a long one, People.

I was recently sent this essay in an email, and reading it got my blood up so much that I needed to post a point by point response. So the essay follows, with my comments highlighted in yellow.

Historical Significance

Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat. The Nazis had sunk more than 400 British ships in their convoys between England and America taking food and war materials.

At that time the US was in an isolationist, pacifist mood, and most Americans wanted nothing to do with the European or the Asian war.

Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, who had not yet attacked us. It was a dicey thing. We had few allies.

France was not an ally, as the Vichy government of France quickly aligned itself with its German occupiers. Germany was certainly not an ally, as Hitler was intent on setting up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, as it was well on its way to owning and controlling all of Asia. It had occupied Korea and China since 1910. From Wikipedia:

Original Allies

The original Allies were those states that declared war on Nazi Germany following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939.

These countries were allied to each other by a net of common defence pacts and military alliance pacts signed before the war. The Franco-British Alliance dated back to the Entente Cordiale of 1904 and the Triple Entente of 1907, active during the World War I. The Franco-Polish Alliance was signed in 1921 and then amended in 1927 and 1939. The Polish-British Common Defence Pact, signed on 25 August 1939, contained promises of mutual military assistance between the nations in the event either was attacked by Nazi Germany.

Mostly, I haven’t touched this part of his essay, as I will confess that my knowledge of WW2 history is pathetic, at best. But this one statement stuck out as just wrong. For one thing, WW2 was not America’s war. We were the allies, remember? We joined the people who were already fighting.

Together, Japan and Germany with Italy had long-range plans of invading Canada and Mexico, as launching pads to get into the United States over our northern and southern borders, after they finished gaining control of Asia and Europe.

America's only allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia. That was about it. All of Europe from Norway to Italy (except Russia in the East) was already under the Nazi heel . North Africa was theirs, too. (Under the Nazi heel because we delayed too long getting into the war. See? Even I agree that there are times when war is necessary.)

The US was certainly not prepared for war. The US had drastically downgraded most of its military forces after WW I because of the depression, so that at the outbreak of WW II, Army units were training with broomsticks, because they didn't have guns, and cars with "tank" painted on the doors, because they didn't have real tanks . A huge chunk of our Navy had just been sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in gold bullion in the Bank of England (that was actually the property of Belgium ) given by Belgium to England to carry on the war, when Belgium was overrun by Hitler (a little known fact).

Actually, Belgium surrendered after one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day just to prove they could.

Britain had already been holding out for two years in the face of staggering losses and the near decimation of its Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany, only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later. Hitler, first turned his attention to Russia, in the late summer of 1940, at a time when England was on the verge of collapse.

Ironically, Russia saved America's butt by putting up a desperate fight for two years, until the US got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany .

Russia lost something like 24,000,000 people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Moscow alone . . . 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than a 1,000,000 soldiers.

Had Russia surrendered, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire war effort against the Brits, then America. If that had happened, the Nazis could possibly have won the war .

All of this has been brought out to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things. Now, we find ourselves at another one of those key moments in history.

There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has, or wants, and may soon have, the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world. How? Where? What facts to you have to assert this? Even the official US reports say no.

The Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs -- they believe that Islam, a radically conservative form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe, then the world. To them, all who do not bow to their will of thinking should be killed, enslaved, or subjugated. They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel, and purge the world of Jews. This is their mantra. (goal) Stipulated. (But then, my goal is to engineer world peace by planting flowers and easing hunger, and I think that has as likely a chance of happening)

There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East -- for the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation, but it is not yet known which side will win -- the Inquisitors, or the Reformationists. This civil war has been raging since the time of Abraham. We come along, this little infant country, and think we can fix it? What arrogance.

If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, the OPEC oil, and the US , European, and Asian economies. Uh… that oil thing strikes a cord….

The techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC -- not an OPEC dominated by the educated, rational Saudis of today, (HUH? You do remember that the terrorists that blew up the WTC were Saudis, right? That they live under Sharia law? A theocracy?) but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis. Do you want gas in your car? Do you want heating oil next winter? Do you want the dollar to be worth anything? You had better hope the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition, loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins. Right. This is why Exxon Mobile has record profits quarter after quarter. This is why we’re trying to steal the oil right out from under the Iraqi people. Look into profit sharing agreements in Iraq. When the big Oil Conglomerates own the oil, you think it’s going to be better? And no, I don’t want gas in my car. I want the big Oil companies to stop blocking development of power sources that won’t choke my children and destroy the planet. Oh, and cause wars in foreign companies where we have no right to interfere.

If the Reformation movement wins, that is, the moderate Muslims, who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions, live in peace with the rest of the world, and move out of the 10th century into the 21st, then the troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away. A moderate and prosperous Middle East will emerge. Wow. Just that easy, huh?

We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorist movements. We have to do it somewhere. We can't do it everywhere at once. We have created a focal point for the battle at a time and place of our choosing . . . in Iraq. Not in New York, not in London, or Paris or Berlin, but in Iraq, where we are doing two important things.

(1) We deposed Saddam Hussein. Whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack or not, it is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades Saddam was a terrorist! Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction, responsible for the deaths of probably more than a 1,000,000 Iraqis and 2,000,000 Iranians . We also installed Sadam Hussein, and gave him the weapons with which he killed all those people. He therefore had the ability to kill his own people but could not reach outside his local area. There were no weapons of mass destruction as the UN investigators clearly showed.

(2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in Iraq. We have focused the battle. We are killing bad people, and the ones we get there, we won't have to get here. We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is needed. We’re also killing the good people. Third party independent sources estimate that we have killed a million Iraquis, and driven millions more from their homes and into poverty. We also do not have the compassion as a country to allow these refugees we created into America. We cannot create a peaceful democratic Iraq while being an occupying presence. We cannot create stability in the Middle East by creating more militants. When your way of life and belief system is under attack, it makes more martyrs, more fanatics.

WW II, the war with the Japanese and German Nazis, really began with a "whimper" in 1928. It did not begin with Pearl Harbor. It began with the Japanese invasion of China. It was a war for fourteen years before the US joined it. It officially ended in 1945 -- a 17-year war -- and was followed by another decade of US occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries reconstructed and running on their own a gain . . a 27-year war. Our occupation in Germany and Japan was mostly peaceful. We did not steal their resources or their jobs by placing armed contractors with no accountability in positions that should be filled by locals. We did not place puppet politicians in place, pretending they were elected democratically.

WW II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full year's GDP -- adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars. WW II cost America more than 400,000 soldiers killed in action, and nearly 100,000 still missing in action.

The Iraq war has, so far, cost the United States about $160,000,000,000, which is roughly what the 9/11 terrorist attack cost New York. It has also cost about 3,000 American lives, which is roughly equivalent to lives that the Jihad killed (within the United States) in the 9/11 terrorist attack. According to the New York City Budget office, the cost of 9/11 and the aftermath is 95 billion. And that number includes the loss of tax revenue, jobs lost and multiple other factors. The 2 TRILLION estimate of the cost of the war to America does not take into account any cost to Iraqis, or those other associated costs. And lives? Lives are simply not comparable. Lives are not statistics. If we get more of them then they get of us do we win? Are 3000 acceptable losses because that’s how many were killed in the World Trade Center? Which once again, had NOTHING TO DO WITH IRAQ.

The cost of not fighting and winning WW II would have been unimaginably greater -- a world dominated by Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism .

This is not a 60-Minutes TV show, or a 2-hour movie in which everything comes out okay. The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly. It always has been, and probably always will be. Because us rich white guys know that’s the best way to make money and keep the masses down. Might is right, isn’t it?

The bottom line is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away if we ignore it . You can’t defeat terrorism with more terrorism. You can’t defeat terrorism by breaking our own laws. You can’t defeat an ideology with guns. Think of the history of race relations in the US. Blacks were segregated, terrorized, lynched, tortured. Did guns solve that problem? No. Education, exposure, laws, and progressive thinking over time changed the ideology that Blacks were dirty, inferior, stupid. We’re still learning.

If the US can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an ally, like England, in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East. The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates to conquer the world. What gives us the right to decide what is barbaric? Native Americans were thought to be barbarians. To me, bombing civilians and raping women and children and stealing resources we have no claim on; that’s barbaric. What gives us the right to decide for other countries how they should live? Just because we think democracy is the best form does not mean all do. Are we so paternalistic? Do we know what is best for the world, and therefore must force it down their throats at the point of a gun?

The Iraq War is merely another battle in this ancient and never ending war. Now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons. Unless somebody prevents them from getting them. Never ending war. That’s the key. The barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons? Says who? Not the NIE, who was right about Iraq.

We have four options:

1 . We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2 . We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons which may be as early as next year, if Iran's progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).

3 . We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East now; in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America.


4 . We can stand down now, and pick up the fight later, when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and possibly most of the rest of Europe. It will, of course, be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier.


5. Or we can negotiate. Catch flies with honey. Use financial and other worldwide pressures to help them see things the way we do. There are so many other ways to achieve peace. But then, that’s not the goal, is it?

If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today. Oh come on, really? You think these small groups of “barbarians” are going to take over America? Are we so weak? What is a far greater likelihood is that my children will grow up in an America like Orwell’s, where doublespeak prevails. It’s already started. “No child left behind” an education program that doesn’t teach anything of value; a “Patriot Act” that breaks fundamental rights of our Constitution.

The history of the world is the history of civilization clashes, cultural clashes. All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like, and the most determined always win. Again, really? Wars are usually about money. Sometimes coupled with ideas, to make the financial element more palatable. And the most determined aren’t always “right” and even when they are, they don’t always win.

Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win. The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them . So lets undo all those touchy feely liberal laws and become a militaristic society! That’ll be good! We need to be the most ruthless! YAY! Oh, and Jesus and Gandhi and MLK might just disagree with you that the pacifists always lose.

Remember, perspective is everything, and America's schools teach too little history for perspective to be clear, especially in the young American mind. Thus illustrating my point about No Child Left Behind. And remembering that perspective is not a one way operation. Other countries have the right to see our country and our actions from a different perspective.

The Cold War lasted from about 1947, at least until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989; forty-two years! And it came down why? Financial pressures from other societies, treaties, education, exposure to other cultures. Not at the point of a gun.

Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting Germany! Thus proving what? It’s okay to have a war last hundreds of years? As long as your ass isn’t in the country that’s actually getting the bombs.

World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten year occupation, and the US still has troops in Germany and Japan . World War II resulted in the death of more than 50,000,000 people, maybe more than 100,000,000 people, depending on which estimates you accept.

The US has taken more than 3,000 killed in action in Iraq.. The US took more than 4,000 killed in action on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism.

In WW II, the US averaged 2,000 KIA a week -- for four years. Most of the individual battles of WW II lost more Americans than the entire Iraq war has done so far.

The stakes are at least as high. A world dominated by representative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms . . or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia (Islamic law). And there it is. World Domination. That’s what these people really want. World Domination with the rich white guys even richer and definitely untouchable at the top. This is the real motive, do NOT be mistaken.

It's difficult to understand why the average American does not grasp this. They favor human rights, civil rights, liberty and freedom, but evidently not for Iraqis. Uh, civil rights means being bombed into the dark ages, with no electricity, no safety. Forced to elect people your occupiers won’t let lead? Democracy whether you want it or not? This is freedom? And for the women, being forced into burkas and having no say whatsoever in your government? This is your idea of civil rights? Now that I think of it, that is what you’re trying to do in this country too. At least you’re consistent.

"Peace Activists" always seem to demonstrate here in America, where it's safe. Really? Is that so? It’s safe in America? A quick google search shows not so much; Results 1 - 10 of about 261,000 for protesters arrested. If you add “peaceful” you still get 90,000. People die from taserings that result from nothing more than peaceful protest.

Why don't we see Peace Activist demonstrating in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, in the places that really need peace activism the most? I'll tell you why! They would be killed!

The liberal mentality is supposed to favor human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc., but if the Jihad wins, wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc. And the Jihad is winning where? Only where we’re fighting them.

Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy! Liberation of Iraq from whom? And why is war the only option for liberating it? There are other methods. Jesus knew that fighting doesn’t win hearts and minds. Jesus fed the people when they were hungry. He healed them when they were sick. He showed them kindness and love and changed the way people think; changed the world forever. Was Jesus weak? Was Jesus in collusion with the enemy? I don’t think so. How about Gandhi? Weak? Because he wanted peace? I don’t think so. Guns may win the battle, but the war is won by changing “hearts and minds”, as our illegally appointed President says. Lets try that for a while, shall we?


Raymond S . Kraft is a writer and an attorney living in Northern California that has studied the Middle Eastern culture and

(the rest was truncated in the email I received. I'm sure that if you want to hear more of his spew, you can google him. I'm not inclined to bother.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

I've been away

a very very long time. I've mostly been posting to my other blog and not posting about politics much at all. Frankly, it's too damn depressing.

This election cycle has lasted a decade, hasn't it? It's interminable. And it's hard to have any hope, even with the big hope candidate, Barak Obama. Is anything really going to change? We had such high hopes when we elected a Democratic congress. After almost two years, there's not really much to show for it. They've had a few minor victories, but the most depressing, demoralizing, heartbreaking thing is that on the really serious issues, the ones that stem from violation of the Constitution; on those we've had nothing. I mean, nothing. I could still have hope if the Dems had fought tooth and nail and lost... then there's hope for the future, if we can get enough Dems in power. But they've bent over and puckered up for every important vote, and given Bush just what he wants. There's been no accountability, no change in policy, no transparency. No oversight. And that is horrific. If the Dems can't stand up and do what is right now, how can we believe things will be any different if they're elected?

And now we've allowed the media to select our nominees. Anyone with a backbone or a voice has been ignored, marginalized, and forced out of the race. Goodbye, Dennis. Goodbye, John. We're left with Republican light. The media focuses on Hillary's tears and Obama's charisma and John McCain's age, and Ron Paul's groupies. Bill Clinton's antics. Talk on the issues, when it does occur, is mostly limited to what the opposing candidate said inaccurately about the policy.

Despite multiple studies from independent groups illustrating the extent to which we have been lied to, manipulated, used, abused, and violated, that barely makes a dent in the wall to wall 24 hour news coverage. Sure, it gets reported, for a day or two, then forgotten. Forgotten partly because anyone in a position to do anything about it refuses to. What's the point in reporting it if there aren't any consequences? Especially when there's Brittany Spears lurking in the background to grab headlines, or another pregnant white woman missing.

It's a closed cycle. The Dems don't fear being voted out of office because the Reps have screwed up so insurmountably badly that they figure they're a shoo-in. We have no choice other than Dem or Rep because third party candidates are marginalized and portrayed as crackpots. We are told over and over they have no chance of winning and so are defeated before they start. They get no funding; who wants to back a losing candidate? So we're left with uber rich politicos who can raise funding near the national debt.

Does anyone besides me find that obscene? I mean, people kvetch about the cost of the war (in dollars of course, not lives; lives are expendable). A trillion dollars that could have been spent on schools and infrastructure and poverty! The problem is, that trillion dollars isn't real. Its imaginary. It's debt in loans to China and who else knows where that we someday will have to pay back. So it's not like well, we have this money, we can spend it on war, or on education. It's fictitious. But the money given to political candidates? That's real money. Cold hard cash. Millions and millions a month. A MONTH. Given to pay for print ads, and TV ads and robocalling and push polling. Can you imagine what could be done with all that money? What really pisses me off about it is that these same people who give huge donations to political parties and candidates will recoil in horror at paying a fraction of that amount in more taxes to give health care to children.

The founding fathers were amazingly foresighted, and built some wonderful checks and balances into our government. The only things they couldn't protect us against were systemic corruption of our public servants and apathy of the people. They've become a deadly combination, and I fear for the survival of our Republic if something doesn't change soon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Just when you think it can't get any worse...

As depressing as it is, I suppose that I should be glad that these issues are getting more attention. There is no joy in any of this though, despite the high pitched wailings of many on the right, ie, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter. None of this, not one second of any of it, could possibly make any caring, thinking person "gleeful."

First up - The article written by RFK for Rolling Stone Magazine, illustrating the many ways that Republicans stole the elections in 2004. With detailed footnotes of the many incidents of election fraud, where people have been actually tried and convicted in several cases, perhaps people will listen now. I doubt it, of course.

I'm entirely discouraged. RFK Jr. will be written off as just another bitter liberal whiner, and hey, after all, it's in "Rolling Stone," not a REAL paper.

Second issue of the day - This report from the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank which prefers the label "libertarian." This 31 page report recounts the ways in which the Bush Administration has violated the Constitution. It's long but written in everyday language and is worth a read.

Third up - Iran. No news to most of us, but Mr. Bush really has no desire to talk to Iran. They're all liars anyway and it's far more rewarding to the masculinity to just bomb the hell out of em. So we'll offer to talk on conditions they'll never meet, and that way it can be all their fault when the bombs drop. Axis of evil, dontcha know? Weapons of mass destruction. Over there so not over here. Terraists! BOO!

Fourth - Haditha. It's too painful to even go there. We know this script already, don't we? An unethical incident. Massive coverup. Long investigation. White House had NO idea, imagine! Some poor soldier goes to jail as scapegoat to soothe everyone's troubled mind, end of story. Just like Abu Ghraib, and all I can think is where did these grunts get dog collars? Not something a soldier is likely to pack from home, is it? Are dog collars a big thing in Iraq? Just wondering.

I could go on and on. Unitary executive. Nepotism. Insider trading. Tax cuts and record deficits. Apathy. Greed. Misdirection. Racism. Misogyny. There's so much material it defies comprehension.

None of this is news. It's all been around for anyone to see since the first election was stolen. There will be no outcry, little coverage, and what coverage there is will be spun to make the story and the storyteller ridiculous.

And it will happen again, in small towns in Iraq, in Iran, in Afghanistan. More incompetent cronies will be appointed to positions of importance, and perhaps, people will die. Americans will die. The middle class will fade away, and America will be left with a ruling class and a slave class. In November the elections will be rigged, and again in 2008 because these people are evil and relentless and powerful and monied.

It makes me sick. The machinery of fascism will roll over the country and the good ole American people won't even realize it til they wake up one day and it's the Fourth Reich.

I'm literally sick to my stomach. God, I hope I"m wrong, please, God?