Fila this, Buster
Am I the only person out here amazed by the continual re-writing of history, and the shape-shifting politicians?
President Bush has had a total of 10 nominees blocked, whilst 208 have been confirmed. President Clinton had over 40 blocked with 200 confirmed. Bush has a 95% confirmation ratio to Clinton's 81%. Many 0f the remaining 10 are those previously blocked and now being put forth once again. President Bush has had overwhelming ease in gaining confirmation for NINETY-FIVE percent of his nominees, the "obstructionist" chanting just doesn't ring so true in light of these figures, does it?
However, Mr. Frist, by all means utilize the "nuclear option". The public is sick of Mr. Bush and his cronies' dictatorial tactics. In 2008 - when your time has past - will you still be happy with your decision for a "simple majority"? I think not. I purpose that when democrats are once again in the majority in office, and we all realize that the pendulum is always swinging in one direction or another, there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth over the decision to utilize that option much talked about at this moment in history.
What then, Mr./Dr. "I'm not sure if you can catch AIDS from saliva" Frist? Enjoy your power-tripping while it lasts, methinks it won't last long. I suggest you bend your ear towards your constituients (not just your congregation) and abide by the will of the people. The same people who told you in an overwhelming majority to keep your collective noses out of the fate of Terri Schiavo, apparently the same public who understands the constitution better than those of you who are avowed to uphold it. For shame.
Sip your champagne now, as you prison-rape the country, because those of us who live in the real world are paying attention and have long memories. Munch your caviar now, because you may not have the chance to do so later.
I am still waiting for another country to grow a set large enough act upon their realization that many Americans feel like we need them to come and liberate us from the out of control government. I'll make a deal with you - you can run Arnold, if we can run Bill again.....
ElectionPalooza 2008! Both sides would spontaneously climax at the opportunity to see that happen and for one grand moment in this little country called America, there would be peace.
Perhaps I'm clueless, there are so many things that just do not make sense to me. Peace through war - there's one. You know, the 'blossoms of freedom' that exude that sweet smell of bullshit through the middle east. Strikes me that the best way to spread freedom and liberty to folks is the lead by example.
If you want to help the poor, hungry souls in the third world then help them tangibly with potable water, medicine, sewage systems. How about we teach them instead of bomb them, gee maybe then they wouldn't hate us. Maybe then they would not think we were a greedy, careless, heartless nation who only thinks about ourselves. It's possible.
Water, electricity, modern medicine vs. shock and awe? Hmmmmmmm perhaps I am crazy, how would that ever work? And where's the money in it for us. Nevermind, obviously I'm delusional.
For over a week now the nation has been subjected to the every movement of the "runaway bride", as if one woman's cold feet, mental illness, or irrational behavior truly meritted several days of national news. Perhaps I'm becoming a wee bit too conspiratorial, however I can't help but wonder what kind of bullshit the government is pulling while a plethora of non-issue stories are being shoved down our throats by the news media.
For days the whole town of Duluth, GA was praying and searching, for days the mantra was 'just let her be safe, Lord'. Now that she's back the compassion is gone, safe though she be, and the town wants restitution, their ounce of flesh. I in no way defend what this woman did, however have you taken a look at her? Every picture has this loony-eyed woman smiling insanely in it, and perhaps the fact that she had previously left a man almost at the altar should have been a clue that this woman might possibly be in an unstable place days before her wedding? When everyone at my office was discussing the boyfriend's possible guilt, I was discussing the media frenzy that occurred oh-too-quickly, (and her crazy eyes).
With the genocide in the Sudan, the war in Iraq, the economic instability of this country, and the buffet of other issues that should be on the table, we, as a society, prefer to hear about this goofy eyed woman who hopped a bus to New Mexico. What does that say for our priorities? Our intelligence? Our attention span?
Each morning as I prepare for work I watch CNN whilst I partake of my cup of caffiene, each morning I am appalled by the "question of the day" presented by the oh-so-pleased-with-myself Carol Costello and her annoying weatherman. More often than not the question is topical to the most inane thing going on like "What do you think should happen to the runaway bride?". You must be joking. Who cares? The only people who should really care about what should happen to the runaway bride are the woman and her family and possibly the town which was so affected by her antics. Who cares? Why does George in Flint, MI give a shit?
Why was a special on this morning about infidelity? My goodness, is this CNN or CBN? I was reading a February issue of NewsWeek the other morning and I saw this incredible article on allegations of CIA abuse of power and spiriting 'suspected terrorists' away on a CIA plane to other countries where they can engage in torture techniques freely. How about a special on that? Why, as someone who watches CNN daily, did I not see anything about that?
The Michael Jackson coverage is another exercise in morbid fascination. Why daily coverage? Let us know if something is really breaking like an admission of guilt, other than that tell me when it's over and what the verdict is, because I don't care if he looks 'tired' today. My personal opinion is this man is, at a minimum, guilty of 'dating' children, if not molesting them. Dating children, when you are 40-something, is as dastardly as molesting them, lock him up and shut up about it. The man admitted on national TV that he likes to sleep with little boys because he is showing them love. I don't care how big a fan you are, that's sick. I don't want my children's father sleeping with them, let along any other adult. It's wrong. Those of us with enough sense to know that - already do, those supporting him will never get it if they haven't by now, so STOP talking about it as if there is no real news to report.
Hey! Reporters! Step away from the courthouse and go find us some real news! Tell us when they are shooting down the minimum wage increase. Tell us when they are re-writing bancrupcy laws! Tell us when they are cutting medicaid and giving new tax cuts to the wealthy! Break it down for us, ask hard questions, act like a REPORTER! Tell us about ethics violations by our elected leaders! Tell us about DU in Iraq! Tell us about government corruption and abuse of power! STOP telling us about who Angelina Jolie is sleeping with - I DO NOT CARE. And perhaps if you stopped focusing on it and started focusing on hard news - the rest of the public would start caring about the horrors going on around us too, instead of the slop of the day. I don't care 'what people want' to hear about, nor should you. Your job is to report the news, not win a popularity contest. There are enough "E Entertainment"-type shows and magazines, there is an unbelievable void in news (amazing with all the 'news' channels, eh?).
I was truly amazed that the "Fallen Idol" special was so widely watched. WHO CARES? And how did this become an obsession? I have lost almost all faith in humanity, American Idol is the downfall of western civilization as well as a sign of the apocalypse, I think it's the fourth horseman. I don't care how many piills Paula is popping or which wannabee idol she is screwing - I hope she's doing them all, Simon included. I want to know more about how the middle and lower income people are getting screwed this day, this week, this month and this year. Hark, I think I can tell you how media is helping to screw them - turning them into mushrooms, fed on bullshit, in the dark.
God help those holding the power if the marginalized classes ever get tired of eating cake and wake up and mobilize. If/when they finally realize they are being gang-raped by an elite group of monied power-mongered - they will take back this country, and no Orwellian double speak re-writing of history will flatter their memories.
Priorities in Busherica
On Thursday Congress approved the 2006 budget. A budget that will give Americans, mostly wealthy Americans, 106 billion (with a B) in tax cuts. A budget that cuts 10 billion (with a B) in Medicaid costs for Americans, mostly poverty stricken. If you refer to my last post I posted that perhaps they should attack Medicaid/welfare - I didn't have any idea at that time how prophetic my post would be.
Brian Roach, a research associate at Tufts' Global Development and Environment Institute, states "The Bush tax cuts have flattened taxes. Measured as a percentage of income, the wealthy have benefited significantly more than the middle class and poor. Further, if the Bush tax cuts are made permanent - as is his intention - the tax system would flatten to the point where those in the top 1% of the income distribution would actually be paying an overall tax rate that is lower than people in the upper middle class."
"The Bush government is misrepresenting some of the effects, trying to sell it as a middle class tax cut. It worked for the first couple of years, but in the long run, approximately half of the benefits go to the top 1% - people with an average income of 938,000 per year."
"One of the things that makes this even more unbalanced is the way incomes have been changing over the years," Roach added. "Over the last few decades, people at the lower end of the income spectrum have seen income go up little. People at the top have seen it go up very much."
"It's a double-barrel approach - the top one percent has seen huge income gains and the biggest tax cuts too," he said.
In the President's news conference on Thursday night he also addressed major cuts to Social Security benefits "for all but the low-income retirees."
And how about those gas prices? This past week when the news was spewing to me that the prices had dropped an average of (I believe they said) 4.6 cents per gallon, or some similarly unimpressive number, I paid 14 cents more than I had the week before - per gallon. Meanwhile, back at Exxon and the other major oil companies - profit margin in the first quarter of 2005 has been impressive. I'm glad someone's making money in this economy, I'm personally making 6K a year more at the job I have held for the past year than I made at the job I previously held (under 50K/per annum for those of you who wonder if I'm hypocritical) and yet my standard of living has dropped drastically and some weeks it is all I can do to keep enough back after paying cost of living expenses to actually get a week's worth of groceries for myself and my son. I'm simply ecstatic that the oil companies are making such a huge profit off of the back of low and middle class Americans. How simply delicious.
Speaking of oil, as an aside, I cannot tell you how incredibly pissed off I am on a daily basis to see these spoiled cretans who drive their SUVs and Hummers (IN ATLANTA) - because you know there are so many places to go off-roading or participate in a war IN ATLANTA. Even more aggregious in my eyes, however, is the SUVs and Hummers with "Support Our Troops" and "W" stickers on their gas-guzzling, supporting the terrorists through the miracle profits of the oil industry, idiotically un-necessary vehicles. Show me someone who really, truly needs one of these vehicles in Atlanta and I'll sell you a submachine gun that's perfect for squirrel huntin'.
Lastly, I want to address the fact that Republicans seem to think they own Christianity and Liberals tend to dismiss everything Christian. First I will speak to the conservative Christian Taliban here in America:
Not that I claim to speak for Jesus, because obviously I don't hear Him speaking 1/2 as clearly as the Infallible Bush, however I am pretty sure he would be appalled at some of the pure horseshit you have been spouting forth in His name.
1. A sin is a sin is a sin. Scripturally the ONLY sin that is singled out as different, or more grievous, than any other sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Have you lied? You are a liar. Have you ever stolen anything? You are a thief. Leave the sorting of the sheep and the goats to God. You are to love, pure and simple. Who are you to condemn a homosexual? Who are you to condemn anyone? Where is the love you have been commanded to practice? For it is easy to love someone that loves you, even the heathen can do that, your reward comes from loving what you consider unlovable. And speaking of love;
2. Love is a mandate. Look to the story of the good samaritan and judge yourself accordingly, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, should I say? Jesus did not say "love your neighbor (unless he's a fag)." Jesus said love those who hate you, do good to those who would harm you. Is stopping gay marraige more important than taking care of the poor and the hungry? For shame!
3. Remove he plank from your own eye before you presume to remove the splinter from someone else's. Oh you brood of vipers and hypocrites.
Secondarily - you liberal left: Not all Christians are the snake handling, hate spewing sheep who are incapable of stringing together a well thought-out argument, who believe in God because they have no intelligence or hope - as is a constant generalization that you spit venomously as you belittle the whole realm of religion. In fact, many of those you so disdain are those who don't truly understand "Christianity" and have been led astray by false and wicked doctrine. I am speaking to you Bill Maher, among others. I love your political views, I am dismayed when you don't understand how many people you are turning away with your vile diatribes against those who profess faith and belief in God. Not all have twisted it to their own means, not all have bought into the hate-minded nature of the "Religious Right". The "Religious Right" is wrong. Christianity is about compassion, kindness, love and forgiveness. Those who would spew hatred and bigotry are not representative of Christianity, they are just the ones who get airtime.
Those who would truly attempt to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ believe in many of the same things Democrats and/or Libertarians believe in. Scripturally we are commanded to love one another, to look after the fatherless, the widow, the poor, the prisoner. How much more Liberal can you be? The fact is that in America Christianity, the "organization" has become a gnarled arm of the political system, led by men who have their own agendas, stamping that pedal because someone says "moral values", all the while forgetting what values should be held.
The Democratic Party should realize the similarities between what they desire for the country and what Christians desire for the country, until they do - they've lost a powerful group of voters. Voters who are currently voting against their economic interest and personal interest because the Republicans are smart enough to realize the strength of that base and they play to it. They do so falsely and then vote for the very things that base should despise, while Democratic ideals are actually closer to Christian ideals but the left leaning of the country have chosen to revile them as mindless sheep who believe in a great Santa Clause of the sky and, in doing so, alienating the very base they should be courting.
Each and every time the Republican party attempts to trump that by playing the values card, a smart Democratic party would use that against them in a swift and definitive response:
Where are the moral values in cutting healthcare for the neediest of the needy? Where are the moral values in tax breaks for the rich? Where are the moral values in government sanctioned corporate greed? Where are the moral values in the death penalty? Where are the moral values in an unprovoked war? Where are the moral values in the death of thousands of Iraqis in that unprovoked war? Where are the values in using DU and harming that country for thousands of years to come? Where is the value in raping the land and ignoring the harm we are incurring to the ecosystem? And on and on, AD NAUSEUM.
For any argument they vomit out for "values" - there is a just and appropriate response. Unless and until you point out their bullshit, their bullshit will be swallowed in steaming platefuls because Americans don't like to research the truth on their own and the news media certainly isn't giving it to them. We are a fat, lazy, greedy country in oh-so-many ways, and we are STARVING for someone to bring a real hope, a goal, an ideal, so to speak, to work toward. Take 9/11, a visionary would not have said "go shopping or the terrorists win", a visionary would have utilized that opportunity to breed hope and change. Ex: "In this frightening and uncertain time we have a unique opportunity to show the world how wrong these terrorists are. I encourage you to take these coming days to search your community for the place where you are most needed, the need that most touches your heart, and give of yourself. Donate some much needed funds to a needy charity, go clean up the local park, go spend a few hours visiting with residents of the local nursing home. There are so many ways you can help, there are so many places where you are needed, now is the time to show your quality".
It would have been interesting to see what response that kind of idealism would have received, sadly we'll never know.
The bancruptcy reform has been signed. This is good news for America, because those damn poor people need a "debtor's prison". Perhaps we can wipe out welfare also, then they can live in a used refrigerator box in an alley and beg change to pay the credit card debt they ran up on gas and groceries while the economy was ripping out their throat.
George has also been running at the mouth a bit about people who can afford to pay their own medical bills using Medicaid and the dire need to stop this so Medicaid remains intact for "America's poorest". Yes, I hate when I run into Martha Stewart and Ken Lay at the food stamp office, perhaps someone could look into the abuses there?
I have nothing of wit or wisdom to impart today, I'm just pissed off at the system. The patients have the keys to the asylum, run while you still can.
Until next time.
Power Plays and Friendship
What in the world is GWB thinking? Honestly, does he only surround himself with those who would lick his boots on demand? Does he so abhor a dissenting opinion that he cannot keep company with anyone who would question his policies or idealogies? Is nepotism now the rule, rather than the exception, for appointments from the highest level of government? Is his apparent belief that the public at large is so incredibly gullible correct? He exudes contempt for any who would challenge his appointments. His egotistical smirk is his trademark.
John Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985. He supported and carried out a US-sponsored policy of human rights violations and violations of international law. During his ambassadorship, human rights violations in Honduras became systemic. He was integral to the creation of the air base where the Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US in the 1980's. This base was used as a secret detention center that was also utilized as a torture center.
What is an appropriate punishment for someone who supported torture and death squads? I know, first let's not indict him, but rather appoint him to the post of UN ambassador and then later we can appoint him as the Director of National Intelligence, over all US spy agencies! Does this new post belie a switch in governmental strategy from invasions to covert ops?
John Bolton is GWB's appointment as ambassador to the United Nations. A decade ago Mr. Bolton announced "There is no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. Secretariat Building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." Could there be an appointment to this position that would better showcase GWB's contempt for the UN.? Bolton has also states "It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so - because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrain the United States."This man who has virulently opposed the institution of the United Nations will now be posted at the United Nations?
Why do they hate us? 'They hate us for our freedom.'
No, they hate us for our obvious disdain for any humanity not American. They hate us because we are arrogant. They hate us because we throw away more food from one dinner table after one good family meal than many of them eat in two weeks and we have forgotten that we are blessed. We have "eating disorders". While some women shove their fingers down their throat to attempt to purge, they have nothing in their stomache to purge. They hate us because we've forgotten that in many ways we only have what we have because of the randomness of where we happened to be born. They hate us because even our poorest citizens aren't as poor as some of their average citizens, but mostly because we take all of this for granted. They hate us because they cannot vote and we are too lazy to do so. They hate us because they have no transparency in government and that to the extent we do have it, we don't pay attention or care. They hate us because they protest under threat of death, we have a freedom to protest and are too lacksadaisical and uninformed (or just plain lazy or uncaring) to do so.
Perhaps it isn't as simple as all of that, but it also isn't that complex. The United States has a long history of setting up tin pot dictators that are good to us, but not so good to their own citizenry. We supported Saddam Hussein, for example. He was our ally back when he was using chemical weapons on his own people, now part of the reasoning for removing him from power. It does not matter how many voices GWB is hearing in his head telling him it's God speaking to him, it isn't. If God were talking to GWB, He would be telling him to break the bonds of oppression off the people, to give debt relief to third world countries, to build up instead of tear down, and to stop killing people in His name. When David Koresh said God was talking to him and started stock-piling weapons in Waco - the government intervened. Now it's the government that is hearing God and stockpiling weapons, heaven help us all and don't drink the grape koolaid.
Come on people, use that brain you were born with. Don't let someone else think for you, I promise you that their brain isn't any bigger than yours. Wake up, tune in, and turn off Fox news (all propaganda, all the time). There is a wealth of information out there, if you are reading this you obviously have an internet connection - use it. Read. Think. Discern.
Until next time.
"People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism." Herman Goering
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar." Julius Caesar
"There ought to be limits to freedom." George Walker Bush
Free Flowing Rant #1
Somewhere between Vietnam and Iraq our ability to think has been lost, our ability to distinguish truth from fiction has absconded, and our ability to understand the difference between right and wrong is curiously absent. Our ability and, it seems, our desire to hold our leaders accountable is inabsentia. Our innate understanding that with great privilege comes great responsibility has morphed into the belief that with great privilege comes great entitlement.
These insidious alterations to the very core of the American belief system are not only dangerous to those of us who live here, in America, but also to the whole of humanity. Might does not equal right, dissent does not equal treason, telling a lie a thousand times does not make it the truth. Now we protest from "Free Speech Zones"? I thought our country was a free speech zone! We are in Iraq fighting for (reason #4 or 5) freedom, yet we've given it up at home? I thought part of our job, as citizens, was to hold our leaders to some level of accountability. I thought they were accountable to us, and we seated them in a place of privilege to represent us, our will. Once upon a time this country believed in protecting the weak from the strong, now it appears we are about the business of protecting the strong from the weak. Then there's always the thought - " hey, if you are supposed to be representing me, even if you ultimately disagree, should you not at least know what I represent?"
I am taken aback almost daily by the actions of our government, but also by the actions of the people around me. I am currently living in a country whose president states he is for a "culture of life", but in the same week that Terri Schiavo lay dying with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, a little African American child of five months named Sun Hudson was removed from life saving medical apparatus in Texas by a law that then governor George W. Bush signed into place in 1999. Then governor George W. Bush also had 100+ executions on his watch, though statistically 7% of all death row inmates are innocent. He mocked Karla Tucker's pleas for her life as a born again Christian on death row, this from a man professing his "born-again status". This is his "culture of life"? Yet this information was surprisingly absent in the newspapers and on the news. I didn't see any news stories or 24 hour news coverage about little Sun Hudson, and I didn't see Congress rushing in on their white horse trying to write a law specifically to protect that child's life. It is convenient that those who are for a "culture of life" get to choose which lives are important to defend and protect and which are not. If all life is sacred, then do not make one life 'more sacred' than another.
Speaking of the federal government riding in on their white horse and playing savior, the Constitution states that the Congress will make no Bill of Attainder, which means it shall not make a law that targets one key person, as they attempted to do in the Terri Schiavo case. No matter how you felt about this case, no matter which side of it you were on, our Congress seriously overstepped their boundaries when they took up this cause. Then, just to overstep their boundaries a little more, several came back and made half-veiled threats to the judiciary who disagreed with them. Our government was specifically set up with checks and balances, that was not an afterthought or something minor to the founders of this country. The checks and balances were put there for a reason, but then why start upholding the constitution now? When the impeachment of Bill Clinton was ongoing the Republican mantra was "rule of law". Where is the "rule of law" now? There's only something wrong with absolute power when you are not the one in power, eh? Oft I wonder how serious President Bush was when he made the statement, "things would be a heckuva lot easier if this were a dictatorship."
I am personally disgusted with our news media and the lack of news we actually get. One has to go to alternative news media to seek out truth that goes beyond the propaganda. I believe this is a product of the news media adapting to a changing culture who no longer questions, no longer cares, no longer demands to know what is actually going on in the world around them. A culture that only cares about the news when it affects them, personally. It's the NIMBY (not in my backyard!) syndrome that's prevalent in America today. Then there are those times when I believe it is some idiotic loop of reasoning, the people don't care because they don't know and the news doesn't inform because they perceive that the people don't care. It's as frightening as it is amusing that you can actually get more truth from Comedy Central's 'Daily Show with John Stewart' than you can get from CNN or Fox.
There is always the fallacy of the "liberal media" to make every Bush loving American feel better about the kind of news they get, make it easier to explain why they listen to Rush Limbaugh spew forth his endless stream of hatred and half-truthes, or they can turn on the Fox Network. Perhaps if there was hard-hitting news focusing on some of the things our government is doing "in our name", people would begin to critically think again and begin to care. If this were to happen, perhaps there could be some effective discourse between the vastly split Democrats and Republicans once again, because that is sorely missing right now. There is such a polarization right now of idealogies, there is no civil discourse or intelligent conversation between those with different viewpoints. Neither side can see past partisanship and hatred long enough to hear a voice of reason or to see things as they really are. Perhaps that is why the news media spends their hours vomiting up new stories on what Michael Jackson wore to court today.
I am personally disturbed by some of the things I have seen and heard from those who think themselves patriots. I have heard protestors called traitors, because we now live in a time in America where you aren't patriotic if you have a dissenting opinion. I believe a lot of this comes from the administrations mantra post-September 11th of "you are either with us or you are against us". When it was reported that their were celebrations within our borders after the attack on the World Trade Center the general consensus was "lock 'em all up, they are as bad as the terrorists", our constitution, however, says that we have free speech in America. Ergo, they have the right to have their opinion and/or voice it under our founding premise. When the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke a common thought on the message boards was "they're all animals, who cares if we torture them, they deserve it", however this is contradictory to the agenda of showing them we have a better way, bringing them freedom, and freeing them from the bonds of a dictator whom we descried for employing methods of torture. Let's get real about what those people were saying, it strikes me that what is being said is "We are Americans and therefore always right, always better than, always more important than..." Who do we think we are, really?
The Patriot Act is in the news again, because our library records are truly a matter of national security, I mean did you see Conspiracy Theory when they tracked Mel buying a copy of Catcher in the Rye? Of course, it's extremely important that Joe Anyman's emails, voicemails and medical records be available to the government also, and that they can search his belongings if they wish and notify him later that they've done so. I've heard so many people say things like, "well if you've got nothing to hide than it wouldn't affect you, so why are you worried about it?" or "I'm willing to give up some freedom for safety". To you I repeat the classic, yet ever appropo, statement 'those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it'. As much as I hate the saying "slippery slope", we are poised on the acme of one now and it's a fast track to the bottom of it, if you can avoid colliding with a tree on the way down. Either way you end up in a pile. Do we want to live in a society where privacy is a wistful memory and you dare not voice a differing opinion? A society where you could, technically, be locked up for writing something like this if it happened to hit the radar of the powers that be?
Furthermore there are those who have paid the price, unjustly, for this new tool called the "Patriot Act". A veteran was arrested in front of his family and and jailed for "harassing" by Homeland Security for the offense of calling the VA too many times to complain. A Denver photographer was arrested for taking pictures of the city when VP Dick Cheney was in town. A British journalist was detained and harassed on a trip to L.A., deemed a threat to security. Webmaster Sherman Austin was arrested, sentenced and imprisoned because of percieved "intent" - his website had a link on it to a site on the same server which was a protest guide containing a section on explosives. Though dessiminating information on explosives isn't illegal, per se, the "intent" of your use of it is - which translates into a thoughtcrime, and how can you prove or disprove that?
President Bush has perfected the art of propaganda. He is perhaps the ultimate politician. He says morals and values and map of America begins to glow a perfect hue of red, everyone likes morals and values and now the republicans own them. Where are the morals and values he speaks of though? Is it moral to pre-emptively strike a sovereign nation based upon a lie? Whether you agree or disagree with what we've done and continue to do in Iraq, whether you agree or disagree with the end result, the ends do not justify the means. Fact: President Bush gave 20+ seperate rationales for the war in Iraq and then sent our young men and women in with inadequate body armor. Fact: There is no evidence of bio, chemical or nuclear WMDs. Fact: There is more evidence to suggest Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the September 11 terror attacks than evidence suggesting Iraqi responsibility. Yet the polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Iraq was involved and utilize that as a justification for our involvement in the war. My how effective the dumbing-down of America has been, we are a politicians wet-dream, we believe anything they shove down our throats.
The economy and tax cuts. Fact: Most of the Bush tax cut went to the top 10%. Fact: Tax relief fueled spending, but not job growth. Fact: the claims that every taxpayer would get relief were untrue. 2,193,000 private sector jobs have been lost since GWB took office. 2, 447,000 people have become unemployed since GWB took office. A 37% increase in the unemployment rate has been incurred since GWB took office. Average tax cut for the top 1% of taxpayers under Bush Growth plan was $30,127. Average tax cut for the middle 20% of tax payers under the Bush Growth plan was $289. There has been a 10% increase in the filing of bancruptcy since GWB took office, of course that was before the rules changed in the last weeks.
Bush's proposed budgets have broken his promise to fully fund No Child Left Behind, falling short by $33.2 billion, including $22.4 billion less for Title 1 programs for low-income children.
The National Governnors Association has unanimously voted to label No Child Left Behind an unfunded mandate. If that isn't enough, Bush wants shift Head Start funding and move it to state programs with lower standards and accountability. Bush's 2005 budget freezes enrollment in the programs, meaning 40% of children eligible for Head Start who are not currently enrolled won't be.
Bush has weakened the Clean Air Act at every turn. The Clean Air Task Force noted that 51 power plants helped caused the premature deaths of up to 9,000 people each year, this is helped along by weakened regulations - from the cast who brought you the "culture of life". Bush proposed weakening mercury regulations in the Clean Air Act, approximately 630,000 babies are born each year in the US to mothers who have been exposed to unsafe mercury levels.
All this being said, what morals and values do we, as a country, exhibit - in light of this. Where are our priorities? What do we value? An anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage stance? Hey let's bancrupt the poor (and take away the protection of bancruptcy), help the wealthy get wealthier and destroy the environment - as long as the ones involved in the bancrupting, enriching and destruction are straight and married with a bunch of kids! Now I'm am not a fan of abortion, however I do think there are other values to consider beyond the two that seem to get the sheep all herded to the voting booths. While we were about the business of the Schiavo's and Schindler's - the minimum wage raise was trounced, recently overtime law was changed. Do you realize that if you have healthcare with your employer it is governed by ERISA. What this means, to put it at it's most basic, is if your insurance chooses to deny benefits to you the only recourse you have is to go ahead and pay it yourself and appeal them or sue them to pay it back. You can sue them, but only for repayment of the benefit you yourself had to pay, you cannot inflict upon them any punitive damages. Please explain to me why, then, your insurance would pay any benefits? Under ERISA there is no lesson to be taught, no punishment to occur because there really is no recourse. And if you happen to die because you cannot afford to pay it yourself and you do not live through the appeal and/or court battle - tough, your kids can't sue for recourse either.
Martha Stewart did time, Ken Lay is a wealthy man who is walking about free. I'm not sure how this works logically, and I say this as someone who doesn't even like Martha Stewart, she annoys me. Dick Cheney used to work for Haliburton, Dick Cheney is the Vice President during an invasion, er war, with Iraq. Haliburton gets contracts in the rebuilding effort that were never opened for bidding. I'm not sure how this works legally or morally, but it sure works financially, doesn't it? What can one have possibly accomplished in their life that we value them to the tune of millions of dollars? Did Dick Cheney, Ken Lay, Julia Roberts, Madonna, or one of our various sports figures find a cure for cancer or HIV/AIDS and I missed that newscast? Did the Olsen twins discover a time/space continuum? Where are our priorities? Who are our heroes?
How can we say that nurses, firemen, policemen and soldiers are our "heroes" when we don't pay them enough to insure they can raise a family without public assistance? I don't understand what you could possibly ever do with 5 million dollars, let alone 35. How does one with that much money sleep at night knowing their are families that are homeless, children who are hungry, people dying without access to appropriate life-saving medications? I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask that you morals and value people put your money where your mouth is - actions speak louder than words, what are your values? And the funniest thing is that these folks, these sports stars and CEO's and movie stars and pop stars - why they have actually come to believe that what they do is worth that kind of payola. Look, for a glaring example, at the lack of NHL this year because of the monetary issue. They stop being logical, stop being grateful, and began to have an entitlement mentality. George W Bush ran every business he was a part of into the ground and someone always bailed him out, no wonder he isn't worried about the deficit he's building and the legacy he's leaving - he's probably still waiting on someone to come and write a check to get him out the trouble he's brought on. People do what they know.
On a final note, Jesus wasn't a republican. (He wouldn't have been a democrat either). Yes, I am going there, I am going there because the Republican party has hijacked Christianity (in the form of the religious right for it's own benefit - however how "right" is the religious right?) You tell me -
Jesus was a ready friend to the downtrodden, which enraged the conservative religious and political leaders of his day (so much so that they killed him).
Jesus put forth that the more riches one possesses the harder it is to choose salvation, the pursuit of one is incompatible with the pursuit of the other.
In my reading of the New Testament it seems unlikely that Jesus would wage a war of choice, support the death penalty or participate in the demoralization of entire groups of our population. Jesus was a friend to the disenfranchised, he hung out with prostitutes and lepers, the very dregs of society. Who would he be hanging out with today? My bet is the homeless, people living with HIV/AIDS, the hungry, and the homosexual. Heaven help the republicans if the Christian base wakes up to the fact that they've been had, that they've voted for a word rather than the definition of that word and in doing so have handed the keys out of their cell back to the jailer. In voting for "moral values" - they are voting against their own interests, in many ways morally and economically.