Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Anger on the Left

There is a lot of anger in this country. This is not a recent phenomenon. This has been one pissed off country all of my life. When I was a kid we were pissed off at the Russians, the Red Chinese, the Niggers, the Wops, the Jews, the Irish and the Labor Unions and the Boss and the Whites (not so much) and the five day work week.

If Oswald acted alone and was not framed then he must have been pretty pissed off at Kennedy. The killers at Columbine High must have been pissed off. The KKK stays pissed off.

Today Ann Coulter is pissed off with anyone left of Adolf Hitler and Ralph Nader is pissed off with Congress. (Ok, I am pissed with Congress too.)

So what do we do with this anger? On more than one occasion I have seen people on blogs say they want to kill all the fascists. Well maybe not all but at least enough to “make a difference.” Some of this I take with a grain of salt. But no more.

Folks, we can not kill people. Period. It is wrong. Not only will it attract a lot of people with badges and Glocks but it is morally and ethically indefensible. A small minority seem to be suggesting that if we are not willing to kill some people that the United States is in deep peril. Well, the United States is in deep peril but no amount of killing is going to rescue it.

If your will to change the world can not transcend the idea of killing or destroying then your imagination and your morals are not worth a hill of beans. NOT WORTH SHIT!

Let me be very clear about this. If you can not see that killing people or destroying things is a bad idea you are functionally retarded. You have no reason to read what I think or comment on this page(although you will still be welcome to.) There is no hope for the human race as long as we, as a species can not see that these “solutions” do not wash.

Yes! The world is in deep shit right now and our President is a self centered greedy bastard who has no legitimate right to do 99% of the things that he does. That does not excuse our acts and does not allow us to cut and run to the gun.

What the world desperately needs is people who are pissed off enough to reach for a gun to refuse to do so and turn their anger and frustrated energies towards a more difficult task: Using their creative talents for real solutions.

This page was set up for discussing creative responses to the Bush Administration and so far it has not gone very far. I have babbled about a lot of things and some of you have made comments, but its true purpose seems to have been lost. Folks you need to start responding or I am afraid it may come down to some really pissed off people killing and getting killed while we stand by and do just about nothing.

How about it folks? Can we start a real dialogue about what we need to do to get the media and the Congress pointed in the right direction again? Or are we going to start reading articles in the paper about local “Terrorists” dying in shootouts?

One Year Later

I lot of pretty speeches are being made on the anniversary of Katrina. A lot of ugly facts are being left out. They are still recovering bodies. There are still 1300 people missing. The 9th Ward, where all the black people used to live still has no water or electricity. Houses that have been destroyed are still waiting to be cleared. Public Housing that was not damaged at all has had steel shutters put on the doors and windows so the people who lived there may not return. The billions of dollars that were spent seem to have had little real affect. None of this seems to stop the platitudes and the false posturing that is going on.

I wish I could have seen Bush’s reaction when Karl Rove informed him he would have to go back to New Orleans and smooth over, as best he could, the disaster that followed the storm and still continues today. The end of August will haunt Bush for the rest of his term. I hope it continues to haunt him afterward.

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! has done some fine coverage.







I invite everyone to add their own stories about New Orleans and to add any links they find in the “comments” section.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Making a List

Here is a link to a must see video of how Muslim American Citizens are being treated by Homeland Security when they return from vacation overseas:

"I Was Made to Feel Like an Outsider in My Own Country" - Muslim-Americans Say Racial Profiling Led to Detention, Harassment at Airport”

AMY GOODMAN: What happened?

ARWA IBRAHIM: Well, we were arriving on Tuesday, August 15, at 4:30 p.m. from a flight from Dubai, but it was actually a transfer flight from Jordan, where we had spent our vacation. And after we went through customs and the man looked at our passports, we were told to step aside for additional questioning, rather than claiming our baggage. We arrived in a small blocked-off area, and we looked around and we saw 200 other Arabs, South Asians and Muslims with us. We were told to pass up our passports and wait until we were called for questioning. We were held there for around five hours, and then we were questioned, and afterwards our bags were searched
JUAN GONZALEZ: What kind of questions were they asking you?

ARWA IBRAHIM: They asked us, I felt, very inappropriate questions that they seemed to be recording into their computer. I don't know for what purpose. They asked us about specifics of where we worked, what school I went to, what I majored in. And they also asked us about some of our political views. They asked my sister whether she felt that Iraq was better now or under Saddam's rule, and they were recording everything they asked us.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Overcoming Fear and Standing up to Violence.

Most people seem to get that Bush’s fear tactics are being used to manipulate the American people into willingly giving him the power to usurp our civil and Constitutional rights. Whenever things get hot for Bush the message boards on Maryland’s interstate highways light up with the message, “REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY CALL 800-942-TIPS.”

A lot of people who can see through this bullshit get nervous about being rounded up and put in detention centers somewhere down the road. Haliburton has been contracted to build them and I think it is safe to assume that they either have built them or are building them. It is reasonable to believe that these detention centers are intended to be used. It is also reasonable to believe that these centers are being built to intimidate those of us who see through the fear mongering by making us as afraid of Bush as other people seem to be afraid of “Terrorists.” (Terrorism is a tactic, not an ideology, a sect, or a racial group.)

Many discussions on Crooks&Liars that get into the possibility of suddenly becoming a police state and the government rounding up dissenters or all the Democrat Party members sooner than later have people saying they will “take as many” people who come to get them as they can.

I want to address the logic of this. Or maybe I want to point out the illogic of this.

It is our duty to make sure it never comes to that. How? By making sure we are never silent. Evil works best with tacit consent. The kind of tacit consent the Congress gave Bush after 9/11.

Evil, real evil is about power. Power over us to make us do its bidding and to sit quietly in fear or better yet disinterest while others are wronged.

We have power beyond our imaginations to change this world and strip the greedy murderers of all their power and all their “consent.” We are afraid to use it. We don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t trust each other. All that said we still have that power.

The most perfect tool in the world is the human hand. It can manipulate things in the real world. It can manipulate machines nature can not create. Those machines are made by something even more impressive than the human hand and that is the mind.

We all have minds and we are all guilty of letting our fears retard what they can do. We allow our experiences and lack there of to limit what we think we can do. We project those limitations on each other and say, “people will never get it.”

Well, maybe they won’t, but does that give us the right to stop trying? Is this what there is to life? Accepting our limitations and then giving up?

I think we are better than this. Where we are right now is in the shit hole. We are conducting wars on two continents while other wars we have a hand in are going on all over the place. Bush wants to invade Iran and as far as I can tell he will. Will this satisfy him? I doubt it.

Non violent resistance, whether it be direct and confrontational or by writing or talking to one another or reaching out to someone in need is the only way out of this. We need to listen and we need to speak. We need to be informed and we need to inform.

This world needs justice and curling up in a ball with a gun waiting for the boogey man to come and take us away to a detention center in some nebulous future that right now only our imagination can create is as unimaginative and uncreative as it gets.

Courage is not the absence of fear and nonviolence is not the absence of steadfast stubborn resistance. So look alive out there and take the opportunity given to us and think and act. Or so help me, if they do come for us we will have only ourselves to blame.



Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Carl Kerstann has Made a Video

Yet another good video expressing outrage over Iraq:


Thank you Carl.

Bush Cuts And Runs At Tora Bora, Helps Bin Laden Escapes, Now Blames America for Iraq

Someone emailed me and suggested I post this link:

Huffington Report

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Expansion of War

The recent war in Lebanon does not bode well for what lies ahead. Seymour Hersh has written that the US was pressing Israel to go after Hezbollah months ago. It would seem that they agreed. All they needed was a pretext. Iran supplies rockets for Hezbollah and we supply tanks and bulldozers and jets and on and on for Israel. Iran is our final destination but we need Hezbollah out of the way first and we may go after Syria as well.

I recently heard on Democracy Now! that the Bush administration is considering alternatives to Democracy in Iraq if things get any worse. Considering the fact that things will only get worse it will be interesting to see how Bush tap dances his way into an overt dictatorship in a country we supposedly invaded to liberate. It is late August so the push for war with Iran will wait until everyone is back from vacation. It may even wait until after the elections. It depends on how bold our fearless leaders are.

Was Lebanon a testing ground for what they will attempt to do in Iran? Will they carry out a massive air war with limited ground forces? It seems likely considering the size of our military. It may also be in their plans to have us in a major crises come election time in 2008 and I can hear the cries of “Stay the Course” and “Don’t change horses in midstream” already. Would they carry out the threat to suspend elections here if they deemed them to be “too dangerous?”

So far, Bush has gotten away with almost every outrage he has committed. He has the press and the money and military might on his side. Will we continue to allow him to do as he pleases? The recent ruling by a Federal Judge that his NSA wiretapping is unconstitutional has not dissuaded him. Innocents dying in Iraq and Lebanon has not even given him pause.

People will look back at this time in history and wonder why we allowed this to happen. My question to them and to you and to me is, “What are we to do?” There is an almost universal opposition to what Bush is doing in the Middle East and yet the only question about the recent war in Lebanon on NPR that I heard was, “What should we call this war?”

With a press like that who needs ignorance?

"Violence is the last resort of the incompetent."
-Issac Assimov

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I have this amazing boss. In October of 2005 he was sitting at a red light and was rear ended at 70 miles per hour. His neck was broken in three places. He lived. He came back to work in a contraption doctors call a “hallo.” He plays the base in a damned good cover band.

I have another boss. He went to the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He plays a damned good jazz guitar.

In my profession everyone is my boss. Our customers are my boss. The people who direct me to do my job are my boss. I really don’t mind, it takes some of the heat off of me. We all work together and do our best.

I have to say, though, that as a team of people we kick ass. We really do. We look out for each other and we care. That is why I like my job and that is why I have been busy at it and have not had the energy to write as much as I would like to for this blog.

If the world were a more congenial place none of you would have read a word I ever wrote. I would not have had a reason to write in the first place.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Jesus Christ Wants YOU!"

Yesterday I went to a funeral so bizarre in nature I had to take a day to write about it. As I wrote earlier my boss was killed in a motorcycle accident. It turns out that for the past two years he has been involved with a Baptist Church so it makes sense that his funeral would be there.

As anyone following this site knows, I am an atheist. That does not mean that I have any disrespect for religion or people who are religious. I quietly hope that someday people will realize that some aspects of religion are really good (“Love Thy Neighbor as thyself”) some aspects are mere ritual (eating only fish on Friday) and some are very harmful (“homosexuality is a sin.”) I think religion had its place before science to provide some acceptable way to explain the world. It is time to move on.

I am certain that most of Pat’s friends are not born again Christians or Baptists but we all went to the service to honor his life. I have been to several funerals. I don’t know about the ones any of you have been to but there is usually an acknowledgement of more than just, “He went to this school, he married this person, had three kids, and worked at such and such a job.” But that is what we got in the eulogy from his mother who, I suspect, was a bit shell shocked.

That irritated me a bit but it was later that I got angry.

The service started off with everyone singing Amazing Grace. A song I happen to love. But it was delivered in a rather flat-bland sort of way. This despite two soloists that came later. Then a preacher stood up and read to us from a script. First a prayer, then a scripture reading. He was just above a monotone. This guy knew Patrick but there was no feeling in his voice.

The first soloist came next and this over produced flowery recording came on. She sang and sang and sang this long song about the greater glory of God until I was convinced the only reason she was up there singing was for the greater inflation of her ego.

At this point my eyes were glazing over and it occurred to me that this ceremony was the most sterile and plastic I had ever been to. Pat’s casket was here and I am certain his body was inside it but it could have been anyone. They would have done the exact same service. There was absolutely nothing pertaining to the deceased at all outside of the eulogy of facts and figures which followed.

Looking at the program I can see that at this point there were supposed to be some comments. None were asked for and none were given. This apparently was not the point of this ceremony. Neither was Patrick.

Then we were asked to sing, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.”

I remained in respectful silence, (Interesting to note here that I was flanked by my roommate on one side and a coworker on the other, both of whom are also atheists.) We had our own little service going.
Another Soloist, not quite as irritating as the first and then came the clincher.

Another preacher came to the stage. No script and a great speaking voice. At first I was relieved. Finally someone would talk with feeling and with his own words. That relief lasted for a few moments. He actually did speak a bit about Pat for a little while but then he launched into the rhapsody which he mentioned four times. Then he got into this weird bit about how when it came all who had believed in Jesus would be resurrected in the perfect body of Jesus Christ at the “perfect” age of 33.

Then it became a recruiting seminar. This diatribe went on and on and on. By the time he asked us to bow our heads in prayer, which out of respect for those who believe I usually do, I just stared at him. Then he asked people to raise their hands if we wanted him to pray for us. There was something i wanted to raise, but believe it or not i am a fairly polite person. To me this was like taking a poll. My best guess was he had about an 18% support rate.

Then he announced that there would be a funeral procession to the grave site followed by a return to the church for refreshments and conversation. Half the attendees got into their cars and sped away at this point.

I was really angry and wanted to go to the cemetery but skipped the procession. The nice thing about the cemetery was it was not wired for sound and I could stand just far enough away without hearing a word he said.

Needless to say I did not return to the church.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor

I woke up this morning at 5 and dragged myself out of bed after a very long day yesterday to find that there may have been another plot to blow up jet liners and that we are either on Code Red or Code Orange. (It seems to depend on who you listen to.)

I was happy to note that we were not being bombed into the Stone Age, as Lebanon is, with our help and full support. But then, perhaps that is why there is another plot to do us harm.

We have too much power. We sit back and call the bombing of civilians “birth pains” but go absolutely ape shit if someone gets pissed off enough to take exception to that and plot some form of retaliation.

We are an arrogant and ignorant nation of fools being directed by self centered ideologues and “informed” by cynical sleight of hand charlatans who have the nerve to call themselves a “free press.”

We have an energy problem. We have health care crises. We have a military industrial complex and a prison industrial complex that are out of control. We also seem to have an empathy deficit.

Once again; or maybe I should say, as always; we are killing people in other countries either directly and/or indirectly and we all go on about our business and barely skip a beat. There are bills to pay and things to buy and whatnot we need to do.

That’s what we do, we go about our business. So what is a pissed off victim of US policy to do? There is no doubt he has no voice in this country. We barely acknowledge his existence let alone listen to his cries of grief and anger. With little power or voice one of the options is to visit the violence we foisted on him and his people on us. We in turn make that as difficult as we can.

The victims of US policy will find a way to retaliate. I am not saying this is a good thing but I think it is inevitable. Selfish consumerism, lack of empathy and, in too many cases naked greed have led us to this new world of armed fortress mentality combined with armed military invasion.

Nothing good will come from this unless there is a major sea change. All of this violence is the natural result of over a century of American expansionism driven by corporate greed. It is actually hard to imagine America as anything else but a selfish bully.

We've had predecessors. What King Leopold did to the Congo is just one example. Some of these European countries changed their policies. I wonder if we can. I doubt it.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Today I lost my boss. He died in a motorcycle accident. I have other bosses and I have bosses who are closer to me than this boss was. But, today I lost my boss. He was a good man. He had a family who survives him. No, he has two families who survive him. His wife and kids who loved him dearly and his family at work who loved him dearly. He was a serious hard working man who looked out for the people he worked with. He cared. Although I have only worked at the company I now work for a very short time I found out very quickly that he cared about me. This is a rare and beautiful thing in the business world. What is even more rare is to know that all my other bosses care about me as well. I care about them too. How often do you hear that?

Today I lost a new friend even before I got to know how precious he was.

I don’t take that lightly.

The people I work with are devastated. I can’t blame them. We will come together and celebrate his life and mourn his death.

Pat had more of an impact on people than he knew.

All of us know.

We will not forget him.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mosh Pit

Open Thread....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Where Fear and Power Meet

When I was 17 after a very violent childhood I decided to try to become non violent. This was not an easy decision for me and I still have trouble controlling my anger. I have struggled with the issue all my adult life. I intend to keep up the struggle.

The very first thing that happened to me when I made this sea change was that my fear left me. I was no longer a victim because victimizers look for “victims.” That is, people who have been beaten down and have decided to accept it as their lot in life. At some point in my teen years I began to realize that adults did not go around beating each other up and that when I became an adult the bullies, the abusers, and the predators would leave me alone. It took me a little longer to just go ahead and become an adult. I think that happened the day I chose non violence. I became an adult and the fear left me and the victimizers went looking elsewhere.

I bring this up because of the fear that was so prevalent in this country after 9/11. Obviously some people are still living in fear and sadly for many 9/11 might not ever have had to happen for them to be living in fear anyway.

So who are the victimizers? Why are so many Americans afraid and of what?

If Al Queda is all it has been touted as and is responsible for 9/11 then certainly it is one of the victimizers. Then again the same can be said for the Bush Administration but especially for Bush himself. I have read that when his father was President he used to walk into the White House and tell people to, “Work harder!” His staff has been rumored to live in fear of his bad days.

I really don’t want to make a list of all the victimizers out there in this writing, so I won’t.

Americans live in fear. This “Land of the Brave” is afraid of its own shadow. What do we fear? We fear for our family first and foremost. Then we fear for our friends. The list continues from there: jobs, property, social standing, etc. Some of us live in fear of our spouses. Some of us live in fear of our parents or our children.

Too many of us are living in fear of our Government. This is not the country I grew up in. I will give the caveat that I did not grow up black knowing people were occasionally being lynched or gay knowing that if anyone found out I would be ostracized. I grew up in fear for other reasons. Sexual and physical abuse were my demons. But I was not afraid of the United States. I was not afraid of what it might do to Americans. Now I think a lot of us are. The very first thought that came into my head when I saw the towers fall on 9/11 was, “Shit! What are we going to do and to who?” My fears were more than realized. There seems to be more to come.

There is draft legislation to take more of our rights away if we somehow end up on a “suspect” list. The question I have for myself and for you is this: Should we empower these people who would make our Constitution null and void by fearing them? That, my friends, is where they get all their power. Or should we refuse to fear them and strip them of their ability to further erode our rights?

If we make the right choice we take the power out of their hands and place it firmly in our own.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hate Filled Left?

"This is no exaggeration: The soul of the Democratic Party - and possibly the future of civility in American politics - is on the line in the Aug. 8 Senate primary in Connecticut."

So starts out a story in The Black Hills Pioneer today.

Turns out Leiberman is, " ... being targeted for defeat by an emergent new left that's using savage, Internet-based attacks to push moderation out of politics."

As a hate group, folks, our reputation not only preceeds us, it precceds the acts themselves.

If you can handle the savage attack on us attacking savages you will find the story here: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1300&dept_id=374730&newsid=16988997&PAG=461&rfi=9

I have to go to work, I am urging everyone not to string up any love filled commentators like Coulter or Savage while I am gone.

Torture Awareness Month
Join Us!

Join Us!

Powered by Blogger

Find a Meetup near you