Saturday, November 20, 2004

When Greenspan Speaks Conservatives Moan

Seems like sometimes you can talk till you're blue in the face about something and to everyone else what you say is meaningless. Then someone comes around and says the exact same thing and, lo and behold, everyone pays attention.

This weekend Alan Greenspan warned America that our trade deficit cannot continue to grow forever, a warning that people such as Ralph Nader, Pat Buchannan, and Ross Perot have repeated for the last decade or so. What is it about economists that they can't recognize common sense until Greenspan mandates it in a speech? I swear some of these traders and analyst would wear their shoes on their ears if Greenspan told them to. Anyway, read up on America's future in the time of globalization:

The Worst in us All.

It was around eleven in New York City, and my friend and I were arriving at yet another bar on the Upper West Side. It was a little Irish place, relatively empty for a Friday night, but loaded with televisions overhead, half showing the Pacers-Pistons game and the other...well, in about thirty seconds no one would care what the other stations were playing.

I told my friend I needed to use the bathroom, and as I'm walking away I notice some movement out of the corner of my eye, not from the television, but from two guys on my other side. It was the movement of excitement and adrenaline, not unlike a dog on the hunt prickling up its ears. I followed their eyes to the television and, cliche or not, my jaw dropped. Ron Artest was jumping over seats followed by what seemed like half the basketball players on the court, and, at first glance, looked as if he was attacking some fans in the audience. Visions of the Bowe-Golota fight spun threw my mind, and I felt the deja vu in my stomach. Suddenly, the entire bar was enraptured by the televisions, and people I had never spoken to in my life were chatting with me, and I with them, as if we were co-workers, or long-lost high school peers.

"Do you believe that?"

"You see that punch?"

"Oh he's getting sued!"

"Are they pouring beer on them?"

It was one of those moments in time you remember because the raw emotion of the situation is infectious, and tangible. You cannot help but be trampled in its wake. It was like we were in the arena, and heaven help if the bar had been packed with guys feeling their beer muscles, and that's when something hit me. People talk about "the worst within us," well, this is it.

Laid out in front of all the world to see was the horrible truth--not just about Americans, or whites, or blacks or any group--that it only took a spark to send us back to howling animals--beasts who can smell terror, fear, and rage in the air and love it. As I watched the fans tossing their beers and sodas on a sheltered Artest, and Jermaine O'Neal I felt outrage, and a certain fear, but I also could feel the baser desire for the crowd to rend them apart, raise high the rafters and let them swing, an option that I'm sure would have been used had there not been what little security they had.

(Read up one day on lynching in the South--find out how it was a family event where after they burned, and hung the "criminal" they would rip them apart for souvenirs--and you'll see how far we've come.)

And that's what brings us to the point of this post. This drawing towards death and disorder, that we think is some province of the "3rd world" or Islamic Fundamentalism, is inherent in all of us and what's more, it may be something that we can never exterminate. When we spoke of Bush and his team, and, to some extent, Kerry appealing to our fears, it is to that beast that they are speaking of. It is to that creature that you say "Give us blood for blood, let us induce pain for pain." It is the whisper into the ear of that fan in the stands that says "Toss that beer down there, after all they really deserve it."

I say all this because in this age where we're supposed to be fighting "terror" and "terrorism" it is about time we really take a look a what these terms mean, and where they exist in the human psychology. We continue to think of this in terms of black and white, us and them, right and wrong, when this dynamic runs much more deep and contrived. It is an attribute that affects us all. Hoping to rid it from a person is futile, and the only thing you can do is try to encourage what Lincoln called "The better angels of our nature" (Who last night may have been Larry Brown and Rasheed Wallace {Yeah Rasheed Wallace}) to overcome our demons. It makes sense doesn't it, but how far have we come since Winston Churchill admonished the world with the dare to Hitler, "Let them do their worse, we shall do our best" to Bush and Kerry telling us, "Well kill all terrorists where they live."

If that's the case Bush better get started now, because there were alot of terrorists at that basketball game.

For more on the fight:

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Civil War Part II

Sometimes, as my father tells me, you can make a decision and then something later will prove you correct. This article ( is one of those wonderful "something laters."

Written by Mike Thomson, the former chairman of the Florida Conservative Union, this rant is the radical conservatives view that the country is split into the North and South, which is similar to much of the liberal babble that we (including I) spouted soon after the election. I changed my course--seeking to look for reconciliation rather than divorce, but Thomson's article is doublily nauseating because, as part of the winning team, it's not about revenge against us, but about spouting rank malice against what he perceives as Northern immorality. Take this snippet describing "Bush USA" and "Gore/ Kerry USA"

"BUSH USA is predominantly white; devoutly Christian (mostly Protestant); openly, vigorously heterosexual; an open land of single-family homes and ranches; economically sound (except for a few farms), but not drunk with cyberworld business development, and mainly English-speaking, with a predilection for respectfully uttering "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir."

GORE/KERRY USA is ethnically diverse; multi-religious, irreligious or nastily antireligious; more sexually liberated (if not in actual practice, certainly in attitude); awash with condo canyons and other high-end real estate bordered by sprawling, squalid public housing or neglected private homes, decidedly short of middle-class neighborhoods; both high tech and oddly primitive in its commerce; very artsy, and Babelesque, with abnormally loud speakers. "

And this is from the winning the way, note the not-so underlined racism. I didn't know "ethnically diverse; multi-religious" was a bad thing. Guess I have ALOT to learn.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Some interesting reading

A friend of mine fowarded me the above link to a report by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). In case you're unfamiliar with they group, they are a very influential neo-conservative brain trust with such members as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, "Scooter" Libby and its director, Paul Wolfowitz. The report, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Focus, and Resources for a New Century, written in September 2000 outlines, to put it mildly, an aggressive military buildup that will insure America's global dominance. A few quotes from the 90 page document:

"The Cold War world was a bipolar world; the 21st century world is -for the moment, at least - decidedly unipolar, with America as the world's "sole superpower." America's strategic goal used to be containment of the Soviet Union; today the taks is to preserve an international security environment conducive to American interests and ideals"


"In the coming decades, the network on social entitlement programs, particularly Social Security, will generate a further squeeze on other federal spending programs. If defense budgets remain at projected levels, America's global military preeminence will be impossible to maintain, as will the world order that is secured by that preeminence."

The frightening thing about this document is that it seems to have become the handbook for the new American foreign policy. Yet, not much of the public has a clue to its existence, or its goals. Try to take some time this week reviewing it--I'm betting that what you read will shock and scare you more than any thing Steve King could produce.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

How Bush won...and why America is still great

Ok, I think I'm returning to normal.

My last post was a bit (very) reactionary. Like many Kerry supporters, I took his loss very hard, which was made doubly difficult because of the manner in which it occurred(popular vote, Southern vote). It made us feel divided as a nation, and ostracized from our Southern brothers.

This view is one that is perpetuated by both sides of the media. The right tells us that this was a "great victory" for morals in America, while the left tells us that "It's those dammed bigoted Jesus-loving rednecks that stand in the way of progress in America." The fact is, both sides are wrong. They are wrong because neither one truly embraces the truth about what this election, and this country are about, and it's wrong because it takes the humanity out of Democracy.

Instead, this division-baiting tactic increases what we (and when I say we, I mean rational people in both parties) have been battling all along: fearmongering and preying upon the worse in people rather than the best in people. Since the election many (myself included) have fallen into a bitter hatred of what we consider "the other side." This other side, much like the "other side" when we talk about "terrorists," is some nameless, faceless entity that exists in a particular area. It excludes individuality, and thus it becomes impossible to win "the hearts and minds" of the same people you wish to erase (as in when people say such things as "If the south wants to leave--let them go! Or I wish Lincoln hadn't fought the Civil War at all--they hate us.")

While watching Real Time with Bill Maher last night I saw this method of thinking up close, and by many people who I thought might be above this type of thing. Andrew Sullivan, who I often disagree with, described the result of this tactic the best when he said: "You may not have to agree with them, you can even make fun of them, but don't get upset when they don't vote with you." And that's the issue here. By doing what the Bush administration do (ala Karl Rove): demonizing people and their beliefs, you create a separation. They do it to Middle Easterns and Homosexuals, but remember--they aren't looking for the Middle Eastern or Homosexual vote--they're looking to stoke peoples' biases and fears about that population in order to get their vote. We demonize the South, but then, we hope that the South will come to our side. In fact it does the exact opposite, it drives those in the South who might vote Democrat back to Bush.

And that is what we did wrong--instead of practicing methods that ran counter to the Rove tactic of demonization we ran the exact same method, against a large voting constituency .

The second thing we did, was become so immodest and proud of our cause that our arrogance drove people away. They say moral messages were the primary reason people voted in the South and we Northerners say "OH MY GOD HOW DARE THEY! DON'T THE REALIZE THAT THE WAR IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS!" And yes, I believe that is the truth, however, what we forget is that maybe it might be more important for us...because we live in sections that would be the terrorists' first target. We've often thought that the South and Midwest shouldn't really be fearful of terrorism because they aren't going to be attacked, but does that mean that they shouldn't vote about the president? Or have feelings regarding morals?

And on that subject, let us not forget that we also can be just as fanatical about our morality than any evangelical Christian. Many of us are so crazy about gun control, including myself, that we want to ban all guns. Maybe people we consider "gun nuts" don't want assault rifles on the streets, nor want criminals to own weapons either. Most just want to have the rifle that their grandfather owned to be passed on to their child to go hunting with (A pastime that Kerry enjoys). I am extremely pro-choice, however the lines are so thickly drawn that to even question whether any limitations should be put on a woman's right is bound to draw a riot in some liberal circles. I mean, maybe-just maybe-it was right to put some limitation on partial birth abortions. Maybe it wasn't the ones that the GOP endorsed, but to have a closed mind means that even positive ideas can be lost in partisan rhetoric.

When you point a finger, three fingers point back at you. This means that for all our howling at Southerners for voting the way they did, maybe we voted the exact same way. They voted to block us, and we voted to block them. After all, what did the liberal motto seem to morph to in the last four years? "Any one but Bush." Did we vote for someone who we thought could best lead our country? No, we voted for someone who we thought could beat Bush. What? Did we think we could be so transparent and still fool those "local-yokels?" Maybe, just maybe, people still stand and stick with someone who stands for something and MAYBE(Maybe being how they see it, I personally KNOW) is wrong, then someone who stands for whatever the poll issue of the day is. This leads me to my next point.

John Kerry should not have been the Democratic nominee--it should have been Howard Dean. Dean energized the party, he got out the youth vote, he raised money through the Internet that was an untapped resource, and he also stood his ground on such issues as homosexual marriage and the Iraq war. Remember, that was what we stood for...when we were standing for it. Shame on us for not sticking with him when the media cut him to shreds. Shame on us from dropping him when all he did was get enthusiastic at a rally of his own group. I still believe that John Kerry ran the best campaign he could, but the real flip-floppers in this election wasn't the candidate, it was us.

People tell us that now is the time for healing. Some say that its time to rally around our leader. I say screw that. I say now is at time for scrutiny, and participation. Now is the time to watch our leadership more than before. Now is a time to challenge and prepare. But at the same time, now is not the time to divide or to alienate. Yes, we might feel cut off from the South, but, if anything, its a time to realize how far we have come in civil, and liberal rights in the South.

I recently told friends that I felt like I was back in 1955. I was wrong. In 1955 blacks were getting lynched for trying to vote right along with whites who were trying to help them. In 1955 mayors and congressmen were validating turning fire hoses on people, and mass arrests of demonstrators, and even if people were pissed off at what happened in NYC during the Republican National Convention, I didn't see any of them coming out with bloody heads, and broken jaws. In fact the election of Obama to the Senate (The first black since Reconstruction to sit on the Senate) shows how far we have come. We have to remember that America is great because our system does get better, and we have ways of settling problems that are non-violent.

If we truly love freedom--if that's the ideology that drives us--then we have to remember that peace and choice must co-exist side by side, even when those choices go against what we believe in.

We have a long way to go to learn this at home before we can even think of spreading it to the world, on both sides of the Mason-Dixon.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Disappointing...but loss not to be conceded.

This is truly a disappointing moment for me, and frankly I am a bit depressed. I expected it to be a close race, and I expected the usual pranks and tricks on both sides, but what I didn't expect was it to be so tilted towards Bush, and the GOP.

Bush is currently leading the popular vote by about 2 million, and with races close in about 4 "swing" states, it seems that Kerry's hopes of an electoral win hinge on Ohio where Bush is currently leading by about 150,000 votes. The Kerry team will not concede until every last vote is counted (as it should be) but unless there's some type of miracle it looks like we will have four more years.

Right now I'm too aggravated to get into the how or why of a Bush victory. I feel that Kerry and the DMC did their jobs, and though I disagree with the GOP's position, they also got out their message. No one can doubt the intensity and veracity that each candidate brought to the table. If I could say that Kerry was lax, or there was some last minute scandal, or even, as some of us thought, Bin Laden was brought to justice--the rabbit out of the hat, I could accept that. But there was no magic trick here, no slight of hand, instead this election was a referendum on our foreign policy and we, as a group, mandated it--and in larger numbers than any election in a decade.

In their Album "Hail to the Thief," Radiohead claims that America got what it deserved with Bush because we "fell asleep." This time we embraced the president with open arms, and we'll deserve all we'll get. I for one am very, very afraid. This election marks a turning point in history that lays the path for where America will go in the 21st century. The age of Imperialism is upon us and for better or worse, we want it.

And so I'd like to give some of my insights and tips on how we will live in the upcoming four years, and the following eight when we elect Jeb Bush president in 2008. And remember America, in the United States, we don't have an aristocracy.

(By the way, Kerry just conceded. Great.)

Well folks we can expect more of the "eternal war for eternal peace" foreign policy. Expect more American deaths (And come on! Aren't those the ones that REALLY matter?) in Iraq and in the Middle East, including a couple in our own borders. Keep good track of the terror colors and expect flak jackets to come into fashion (For 2008, Sean John will have them with the new logo "Vote and Die") We also have a good chance of invading Syria, Iran, and Palestine, because dammit, if the Israelis won't do it we can!

Manufacturing jobs in America will become obsolete, but that's all right because we will soon specialize in specialized jobs--that is for those who will be able to afford the education to be specialized, however since we're going to need the money from education to spend on war we'll outsourcing those jobs to India and China as well. By the way, in 2007 India will officially change their name to "Dell country."

All Homosexuals will either move to VA or MA, where if they stick their heads out of the state they will be hit on the head with wooden mallets like a gopher coming out of their tunnel. We will also begin to call them "hetro-challenged."

Illegal Immigration will reach an all time high, which is good since they will be the workforce of America.

Poor Blacks, and Latinos you may now report directly to the closest police officer who will escort you to a prison or the military recruitment center of your choice (Read: Army or Marines). Should you choose prison, you will not pass go or collect 200$. Poor whites you may also report to these prisons for guard duty, or the above recruitment centers. Oprah, Shaq, Puffy, and Ricky Martin will be exempt from this rule and will be instructed to demonstrate to the world the American Dream in action.

Any one earning over 100,000 dollars a year will not pay a cent of taxes. However because of the deflation of the dollar the Euro will be the currency of the United States. 100,000$ will be roughly equal to 1,000,000$ And lets face it, if you're not making over 1,000,000$ a year by now then dammit you deserve to be paying taxes you lazy ass!

Asians: We'll just keep on ignoring you.

For the elderly in this country, you will not be forgotten--Half of your Social Security will be used for our foreign policy (See above) However you will have the opportunity to invest your retirement funds in either: Halliburton, Enron, Worldcom, the Lotto, or Bad Boy Records. If any of these companies fail (Or as we like to call it--hit a momentary speed bump) it would have been all your fault for not spending your every waking moment investigating said companies' business practices. In fact we encourage you to walk down to these companies to check them out, exercise is good for your health, and since we cut Medicare and Medicaid you're going to need all the health you can get.

Universal health coverage: We've had that, its called potter's field.

Finally the bottom line: Get wealthy. Get wealthy now, quickly and as selfishly as possible. We really don't care how you do it, but money talks and middle class living walks. Sell Crack, Crystal Meth...whatever (Unless of course you're a minority (shouldn't you be in prison anyway?)) we don't really care. Embezzle funds from your company, lie, cheat or kill, that's fine just as long as you're not an abortion doctor...just kidding you can be that too! But seriously, get a lot of money together, that's the bottom line. If you're hoping for a return to the days of just making enough to have a nice house, and raise your family in a good environment while working a manufacturing, or a managerial job, and then retire on Social then buddy, you're in trouble, and if you don't like it well...

I hear Al-Qaeda's hiring.

Word. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Watch it live

I found this little gem on the web--if you can't wait till the end, maybe the pollsters here can help:

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Education Gap between the Parties, and Alan Keyes: Oh Brother Where art Thou?

Just a quick link I wanted to share with you. It's from the Washington Post regarding the education gap between Dems and Reps--kinda interesting, and perhaps validates my point that Conservatives don't read? Better not push that one too far.

The second is about the Republican party abandoning Alan Keyes, who is losing the Chicago race by a whopping 51 points. 51 points! I guess Obama must be happy that the GOP only has 2 blacks--what? Was J.C. Watts busy?

The Gap Between Closed Minds
By Dana Milbank

Sunday, October 24, 2004; Page A04

This past week brought confirmation that Bush and Kerry supporters live in alternate universes. The Program on International Policy Attitudes, affiliated with the University of Maryland, released a poll finding that supporters of President Bush and Democrat John F. Kerry were divided not just by their views but also by the facts:
A majority of Bush supporters, 72 percent, believed that Iraq possessed prohibited weapons or had a major weapons of mass destruction program, compared with 26 percent of Kerry supporters who held such beliefs. A majority of Bush supporters also believed experts agree that Iraq possessed banned weapons just before the war, and that U.S. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer concluded that Iraq held prohibited arms or ran major programs. In fact, Duelfer and the others who have probed the matter found neither weapons of mass destruction nor major programs for producing them.

On al Qaeda's ties to Iraq, similarly, 75 percent of Bush supporters believed that Iraq either gave al Qaeda "substantial support" or direct involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; 30 percent of Kerry supporters held these views. A majority of Bush supporters believed the 9/11 commission backed them up on these beliefs, although the panel found no cooperation between the two, only some contacts.

The PIPA poll also found that 31 percent of Bush supporters believed the majority of people in the world opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq, compared with 74 percent of Kerry supporters. Bush supporters also believed most of the world favors Bush's reelection. PIPA, analyzing these results, found a "tendency of Bush supporters to ignore dissonant information."

Bush and Kerry supporters agreed on a couple of things. Majorities of both said the Bush administration continues to say that Iraq possessed prohibited weapons just before the war, and that the United States has found clear evidence that Saddam Hussein worked closely with al Qaeda.

Another polling outfit, SurveyUSA, has found a broad "education gap" between Bush and Kerry supporters. Nationwide, those who attended graduate school are 11 percentage points more Democratic than those who did not attend college. The gap is largest in Maryland, where it's 38 percent.

One Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Birds

Why does Mike McCurry keep reading the stage directions aloud?

The Bush campaign has a firm rule: Don't talk about "the process" of politics, because that only results in unflattering stories. But McCurry, the former Clinton press secretary and now Kerry adviser, speaks freely about the motives behind Kerry's words and actions.

"What we're trying to do in all of these speeches is follow the frame that you've been hearing in over the last several days, that there is hope for the middle class if you can look at John Kerry as the guy who's going to fight for you," McCurry volunteered last week. And: "We have got to press as hard as we can in this coming week to define that choice."

McCurry may have pulled the curtains back too far when he said that Kerry was going goose hunting on Thursday, not just for pleasure or sport but to show a "personal dimension" of Kerry, who has "likability" problems. "We want people to have a better sense of John Kerry the guy." This, naturally, produced a round of stories less about Kerry's hunting trip than about how the campaign was trying to make Kerry look like a regular guy -- and a memorable Bush quip: "He can run -- he can even run in camo -- but he cannot hide."

Giving Obama the Keyes to Victory

These have not been the best of times for Alan Keyes, the perennial presidential hopeful who is now the GOP candidate for the Senate in Illinois. The most recent poll by the Chicago Tribune shows him trailing Democrat Barack Obama by an incredible 51 percentage points. National Republicans have kept their distance, particularly since Keyes disparaged Vice President Cheney's daughter.

Now it seems even the Illinois GOP is cutting Keyes loose. The Tribune reports that he was left off a state party mailer -- "Your 2004 Republican Team" -- listing every candidate from Bush to the state legislature. The state party spokesman said no snub was intended because "the Keyes campaign is doing its own thing."

Monday, October 25, 2004

Partisan Hackery

Hey everyone.

The subject of this post is a bit dated, however I think that the topic is still relevant today and grows in importance month after month. What I'm talking about is the partisan bias in today's media.

Nowhere was this best exemplified than when Jon Stewart, the comedian host of "The Daily Show" appeared on CNN's Crossfire about two weeks ago. Stewart, who's on a promotional tour for the book "America" came on the show that he has charged many times as being "bad" in order to confront the hosts and discuss the various complaints he had about, what Stewart called, the show's, "Partisan Hackery." The result of his appearance proved his point.

One of my main criticisms with the candidates during the presidential debates, and especially with the Kerry / Edwards team, and Bush in the first debate, was their inability to change tactics, vary their arguments and even reevaluate their positions. Too many times we saw them drone their "message" no matter what conflicting situations occurred, or what the response of their opponent was. It began to look like one of those Saturday Night Live parodies. The same thing occurred when Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson faced down the cheeky Stewart. (And oh God, I only wish that James Carville, and/ or Robert Novak would have been there--Carville, who's now on Kerry's election team, and Novak...well, there's a special place in hell for him) Stewart came on the show with confrontation on his mind and sought serious discussion about the direction that the media was going. The co-hosts were caught flat footed. Begala looked pained, as if he had a case of terminal gas, while Carlson resorted to name calling. It almost seemed as if they wanted to prove Stewart's point for him.

And what exactly was the point Stewart wanted to make? That under the guise of "real" journalism (See, "fair and balanced" and the rest of that bullshit) the media, and news companies, push a partisan agenda through agents like Begala, Carlson, et al. I knew this, you most likely know this, however millions of Americans daily, turn into these types of shows expecting actual facts. People have forgotten what the news used to be, when people like Walter Cronkite was called the most trusted man in America. He wasn't trusted because he was a Republican or a Democrat, he wasn't trusted because he was a liberal or conservative, he was trusted because people could depend that what he said was fact, and with that fact people could do a strange thing--make up their own minds. Today's media repackages arguments, opinions and platforms that replace peoples' ability to think critically, and it does it in convenient "sound bites" that make absolutely no sense at all except as a psychological tool to refresh the candidate's image on the viewers consciousness. For example:

Commentators Question #1:

"There have been numerous American deaths in Iraq since the President landed on the USS Lincoln and stated "Mission Accomplished." Was the president hastily in making this statement, or are we facing a new type of war that challenges our definition of victory?"

"Fair and Balanced" Pundit response #1:

"I'm glad you asked me that question. We must stay the course and continue fighting the enemy from all fronts no matter what cost. Bush said, we should stay the course and that's exactly what we should do. Remember, STAY THE COURSE."

"Fair and Balanced" Pundit response #2:

"I'm glad you asked me that question as well. Staying the course is not the solution. We can do better. They want to stay the course, but John Kerry has said, we can do better, and that's what he's going to do. Remember, WE CAN DO BETTER."


"Thanks for this open and frank debate."

Can you guess who's the Democrat and who's the Republican?

It sounds comedic doesn't it? But yet, Hardball, Crossfire, and even Meet The Press has picked up on this dualistic fashion of delivering the news. Might over right, style over fact. Is it any wonder that more and more people tune into The Daily Show to get their news? I mean, if we are going to have this absurd theater as our method of getting information, then shouldn't people just cut the shit and go directly to comics? Hell, nowadays I can get more information and deeper insight into our political landscape by reading The Boondocks than the front page of the newspaper it's buried in.

As amusing as it was to see Tucker and Paul get beat around by Stewart, there was a tragic quality in Stewart's voice that sorta sucked the joyfulness out of it. When he said "You're hurting America." His usual stammering--that comic beat, which delivers lines with a humorous mastery--took on another flavor, and that was pleading. Pleading to at least drop the pretentiousness for a moment and be real with the public, even if just for a segment. They couldn't do it. All they could do was introduce their set questions and tell the people "Get ready to put Stewart in the rapid fire!" It was like watching a medic trying to play checkers with a man with a heart attack. It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

I wish I had a suggestion to make it better. To return the media, not to some idealistic "Good ole days," age, but rather to a moment when bias wasn't at the pandemic that it is now. The only advice I can give readers of this post is to keep your fingers on the triggers of your critical thought, and shoot long, hard and fast at all of the so called "news" that you hear, read and see. Take nothing at face value, and in the same manner we criticize our politicians we should scrutinize our anchorpeople.

Until then, we'll always have The Daily Show: a show so honest it tells you that it's fake.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The interesting thing about faith

Hi everyone,

I know you haven't seen me around in a while. I didn't even do any reporting about the third and final debate, of course if you really want to know what I thought then just read my post on the first two debates and then substitute "third" before the word debate. Though I will admit Bush did better, both candidates "stayed the course." It was repetitive, and if you're following this election, then you were bored stiff. And that was just it. I didn't write anything because one--it was dull (except on the topic of Cheney's daughter, yet another media and political distraction) and two--I was having my semi-monthly political OD. There's only so much of this BS I can take, and when I think about how "close" this race is supposed to be, with all these "swing voters" I want to take a chainsaw to my neck.

Which brings me to the topic of this. Faith.

Today, I was on my way to work when three Jehovah Witnesses accosted me with their Watchtowers. Usually this would only mildly irritate me, but today it really churned my butter. I was thinking to myself as I waved them off, that here I am, running to work so I can pay my rent, and bills and bar tab(s), and these women are, at the same time, roaming the streets hawking God and I wondered, "Who the hell is paying these women? Do they have homes? Where are they getting their money from?" Money, that's what it all comes down to. Follow the money and you'll understand the motivations, and in their case money is the price of faith. Only the most devout believers wander for naught, but these women were well dressed, and well fed-- not the standards of your wandering pilgrims. But even that didn't bother me as much as this: I met them on the streets of Harlem. Harlem, though not the Mad Max terror zone that the media makes it out to be, is a neighborhood of many social ills. Education and social programs aren't funded and operated properly. We have the highest incidences of asthma in New York City among children, and gentrification looms over most of the traditional populations head threatening to run them out of their low cost rent stabilized homes and into...who knows, maybe the Hudson River, and through all of this our political foundations are nearly non existent. I can run into these wandering bands of Watchtower bandits, but a voter registration worker or a Kerry (or Bush) campaign worker is as rare as a health food store. Why? Do people believe that God, or man will make life better for them? Is it faith, or fact?

And that right there is the interesting thing about faith in this country. The way we, as Americans, blind ourselves to the reality of a situation through a shroud of faith, rather than work on practical realistic solutions. A majority of people who are for Bush are "Born-again Christians," a group that GWB claims to belong to. These are people who choose to put their hopes and dreams primarily and firstly in the hands of God, rather than elected officials or, heaven help, their own hands. Frightening as this method seems in ordinary hands, it is even more terrifying in the hands of our chief executive who seems to rely on "faith based thinking" to create public policy. Can we even debate that our whole reasoning to go to war was anything other than "faith based thinking" rather than fact?

And this ideology turns even from religion. We have people depending on blind faith when it comes to patriotism ("my country right or wrong") and our medical industry. They are dependent on faith to maintain the status quo even when evidence points to the contrary. Right now there is a tremendous lack of a flu vaccine which endangers the lives of thousands upon thousands of Americans. Last year along roughly 31,000 Americans died of the flu--a whopping 1000 times higher (maybe more) than those that died of terrorism. Yet we spent 200 Billion, not counting the money spent on the war (if you think that's combating terrorism), but we have a flu vaccine shortage. Once again, blind faith in the medical industry, blind faith in our elected officials.

Faith is a good thing--don't get me wrong, I am not an atheist by any means. Yet my mother and grandmother, the two most religious people in my family, always taught me that "God helps those who help themselves." Faith is best utilized when joined with experience and fact. I place faith in reputation, and reputation is an ongoing process. Every day when a person wakes up they stake their reputation on their future decisions. When they mess up we should approach that mistake with as much understanding that we can muster, but yes, their reputation is tarnished. A title or a family should be no guarantee of a person's mettle, only the validity of their actions.

We have spent too long selling blind faith as a manner of decision making--it takes pressure off of us, but in the long run it will be detrimental to the nation as a whole.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Facts

If you recall I posted up some links to articles discussing the facts behind much of the charges Edwards and Cheney leveled at each other during their debate. Therefore, in the true spirit of bipartisanship, I present to you a link to a Washington Post article posted on, which discusses the "Questionable Claims" made by Bush and Kerry in their last debate. Enjoy!

I think you'll discover, in the words of that Kerry got it "mostly right." Dammit! There goes bipartisanship!

How Sweet It Is...

Picture it.

11pm, Friday night. Five fraternity brothers sitting in a room watching the presidential debate with the same intensity and expectation of the Yankee game--currently in progress. They have beers, of course, but the silence is inconsistent to their usual glee. They are hunched forward, and someone says, "This better be good."

We were not disappointed.

The debate last night was a throwdown, tensions running as high as a Mariah Carey note. They were in each other's faces, refusing to concede a point. Even the usually giddy Charlie Gibson was confrontational, demanding straight answers from the two candidates when set answers were given. Another person in the room says, "This is better than the Trinidad fight!"

On a deeper level, this debate took on a greater significance than either of the opponents. Bush and Kerry became iconic--symbols of some of the greatest ideologies that this country stands on. The idea that no man is beyond criticism and public scrutiny. I heard one of the spinsters after the debate say that Kerry was "disrespectful." I don't think he was. Kerry was direct and Kerry was forceful, and while that might be disrespectful to the King of England or Sweden, we live in a country without titles. We live in a country where a person stands on their own merits and actions, and in the office of the presidency we find no other job to stand equal to the necessity for fair and just actions. When a president cannot adequately substantiate his decisions he cannot hide behind his title to give him shield from criticism. In fact it is demanded that the population holds him accountable for his actions, otherwise we run the risk of falling into tyranny. When Kerry looked at Bush and said "The world is more dangerous today because the president didn't make the right judgments." I knew the Bush cadre's game of the Wizard of Oz was coming to a close. It was time that we all remembered that the President of the United States is still a man, who, just like the bus driver that crashes the bus, or the surgeon who does a castration instead of a vasectomy, or the business owner who embezzles money, and all the rest of us, he must also be held accountable for their actions. No more no less.

Watching Kerry do his work out there, for a moment, made me believe in Justice. And whether of not you're for Kerry (Actually another member of our group said to me "I'm actually kinda impressed by him [Kerry]--maybe he does have a spine.") Maybe even if you're for Bush, you have to realize that he has had the weird luck of having the least amount of media and internal scrutiny of perhaps any president, or at least any president in recent history. Watching the news felt like the rumor mill in the back of your 5th grade class-- "Pssst! I hear that the President stole the election--but don't say it too loudly or he might hear you." For that hour and a half watching Kerry, in front of Bush, state all of those unstated statements, say all those little things that you've been ticked off about, but could never afford to get that private audience with the president (You know, like the WAR, and the ECONOMY, and the WAR, and the WAR {Yeah--its kind of an important issue}) it felt like you were there. It felt like a politician was doing something that they always promise to do--stand up for the little guy.

As Kerry said (one of the best puns in years) "You need intelligence to fight a war..." And yesterday we saw that Bush has little of that, and a ton of stubbornness. Even though President Bush is privy to "The Internets," which leads me to believe he has more than one--his platform is one of faith. Faith to a man who appears intellectually bankrupt and fanatically religious, and his answers to the questions on abortion and stem-cell research seem to prove it.

I won't bore you with any more of my rhetoric. But I will make one parting note before I end this post. Kerry's image in the last week or so since that first debate has made a 180. Alot of it came from putting a seasoned veteran (In more ways than one) into the ring with an inept puppet. But I think Kerry has gone past that. He's actually gone past tearing down Bush's facade to show America that he might actually have some principals of his own. His response in regards to abortion:

"First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today. But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that. But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society."

In the forum of abortion, people may say you're either for it or against it--but I like the line Kerry draws here. It seems wise, and reasonable, and intelligent. I remember saying to one of guys in the room "I think he just got 5 million votes for that response." And someone responded "Yeah, well he lost 6 million in the bible belt." Well if that's the case, so be it. I said it before, and I'll say it again. I was waiting to hear what Kerry stood for and to draw that dividing line in the sand. Kerry did his part, and I think he's created a more intelligent, and reasonable platform than Bush, who's tenure has been a gigantic screw up. Yet, if these particular issues matter more to people than rationality, if your religious' beliefs supersede your belief in the constitution, and the separation of the church and state, and you use your vote to try for some pseudo-referendum on what our government stands for then by all means "vote your heart." We deserve what we get. My grandma had a saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink." Kerry's showing us the way, now it's up to us.

Until then I'm going to bask in another minor victory, and think of how sweet it is.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

An Early Christmas gift

I must have been a very good boy this year (and Santa...I have been) because this morning, lo and behold, I opened the Daily News, and the New York Times to discover, that most of what Dick Cheney said during the debate were lies and exaggerations. I could go over them one by one, but, if you're like me, you would like to go straight to the source to enjoy every one.

My personal favorite, which I have to post separately here, was from the Daily News article which says:

"Cheney made another misstep when he told voters to go to to see the truth about Edwards' charges that Cheney's old firm Halliburton illegally dealt with Libya and Iran.
Cheney actually meant Visitors to are sent to the site of billionaire George Soros, a liberal who rails against Cheney and President Bush.
The other Internet site, posted a message last night that said while Cheney and Edwards had mangled facts in their debate, "Edwards was mostly right" in his criticism of Halliburton."

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A North Carolinian in Darth Cheney's Court

Everyone knows which side of the fence I'm on. I have Democrat on my Voter's Registration card, my mom, my dad, my girlfriend and most of my friends (at least those who are human--har har) are Democrats. However, unlike some of the spin doctors, and some of the die hard, fanatical Dems in the party I cannot disregard my senses and my reasoning for the greater good of my party. I like to tell it like I see it and what I saw last night was a well intentioned, stalwart, and feisty John Edwards beaten in the 2004 Vice-presidential debate by the experienced incumbent Dick Cheney.

Many adjectives, describing the debate, have flown in the headlines in the last twelve hours. One of most popular has been 'nasty,' which was the New York Daily News' cover page headline. I'd have preferred the words 'experienced' or 'prepared,' because that really is what this debate boiled down to--'nasty' is what a vice-presidential debate is supposed to be. It's like calling a boxing match 'brutal;' if it wasn't brutal then it was borning.

Unlike his boss (if you can call GWB that) Cheney was composed, yet loose, quick to stay on topic and flexible to not only block any Edwards' thrusts, but to counter with rebuttals of his own. In fact most of the time Edwards, too set on presenting the Democratic platform, seemed grounded in delivering a speech rather than a debate. On Iraq, Edwards hung back on questions asked by the moderator, trying to hammer in the points that Saddam had no connection to 9/11 and few, if any, connections to Al-Qaeda. Cheney steamrolled over these points in a way the President couldn't, he stated facts, which though debatable, was delivered with frankness and calmness. Edwards, too stuck in his set statements was not quick enough to foil his opponent's challenges, instead repeating statements such as:

"Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people. I mean, the reality you and George Bush continue to tell people, first, that things are going well in Iraq the American people don't need us to explain this to them, they see it on their television every single day. "

After the first time, or the second time, we understand your statement--however when you continue to hark upon the same statement it begins to sound programmed, and unauthentic. Within the first five minutes of the debate you stated all that you needed to, or all that you had, regarding the connections, or lack of, between Iraq and terrorism. At that moment curtness would have been in your favor, because restating does not get you points.

On domestic issues Cheney once again was not authoritatively challenged. Edwards seemed to stop his attack at sound bites and political blurbs. For example when asked:

"Senator Kerry said in a recent interview that he absolutely will not raise taxes on anyone under who earns under $200,000 a year. How can he guarantee that and also cut the deficit in half, as he's promised?"

Edwards response was:

"To pay for the things that we believe need to be done... what we're going to do is roll back tax cuts.

"And I want everyone to hear this, because there have been exaggerations made on the campaign trail: Roll back tax cuts for people who make over $200,000 a year; we will do that.
We want to keep the tax cuts that are in place for people who make less than $200,000 a year and give additional tax cuts to those middle-class families, tax cuts for health care, tax cuts to help families pay for their college tuition, tax cuts for child care.

"These families are struggling and hurting, and they need more tax relief, not less tax relief.
But to help get us back on the path to a balanced budget, we also want to get rid of some of the bureaucratic spending in Washington.

"One of the amazing things that's happened is the VP actually layered on more supervisory people, people at the supervisory level, in this government.

"We also want to close some corporate loopholes.

"Now, I want to be honest with people. We can't eliminate this deficit. People have heard that over and over and over in four years. We cannot do it. We're in too deep a hole.
But we can cut the deficit in half. And if we move, we can move this country back on a path to fiscal responsibility."

Once again Edwards is feeding us soft rhetoric instead of new ideas. Yes, we all know that the Bush tax cuts, along with the insane spending on the war aren't good for America. But telling us what you think we want to hear, and telling us about "more tax relief" isn't offering us a new solution. I would have been happy if you had said more about what corporate loopholes you would close or--oh my God!--a tax hike on those who earn more than 200,000$ a year. When you play for high stakes you must ante just as high, and trying to play both sides of the issue is not going to be the way to win the election this year. A response like this isn't going to change anyone's mind to your side (remember Bush is also offering--and gave--tax cuts) but it also opened you up to an unblocked barrage from Cheney, which he deserved to get since, with all things being equal, his administration gave tax cuts, while Kerry and Edwards voted against them.

This was not the only issue Edwards tried to straddle the fence on--Gay marriage was also on that agenda. This idea that "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman--but I think they should have equal rights as partners." tells us nothing. If you are going to address the point either take a stance or do like Cheney, who...sigh...I can't believe I'm saying this, handled it with class by not addressing it--moonwalking across what could have been a significant pitfall.

And there were the openings that Edwards completely missed. For instance this comment that Cheney made regarding 'unilateral sanctions' against Iran during his tenure as the CEO of Halliberton:

"What happens when we impose unilateral sanctions is, unless there's a collective effort, then other people move in and take advantage of the situation and you don't have any impact, except to penalize American companies."

At this moment Edwards had a chance to crush Cheney--after all, what he's saying here basically is "hey, if everyone is stealing, and I don't steal, then I'm losing cash. Better to be with the rest of the world doing something unethical and profit, than doing the right thing." Which is interesting since this administration continues its unilateral sanctions against Cuba, while the rest of the world deals with the communist country. Edwards should have called Cheney out for his ethical flip flopping, and hypocrisy rather than continue to hark on the VP's connection with Halliburton, which he had previously stated. This is a good example of what I mean about flexibility in debates, and how sticking to a set plan can get you into more problems than solutions.

However, in criticizing my candidate I don't mean that I feel that Edwards performance was without merit. Edwards, through repetition, set a platform for Kerry's next debate that Bush will be hard pressed to face. That being the lack of connections between Saddam and 9/11, and Al-Qaeda, the corruption of Halliburton, and the fact that Bin Laden is still at large. These are the key strengths of the Democratic ticket, and it will have to be hammered home by Kerry. After all, as James Carvelle might say "It's the war stupid!" All us Dems can hope is that our nominee can make that point without sounding like an answering machine.

PS: Did any one notice that Edwards kept saying that they were going to kill the terrorists? I mean over and over it was kill, kill, kill! Who are we looking for? Bin Laden or Bill?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The whites of their eyes...

I forgot it was all about timing.

I forgot about patience.

I forgot that you don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

Fortunately Kerry didn't.

And whether or not you call it a tactic, the low ebb of energy, apathy and frustration of democrats was replaced with youthful enthusiasm, as we watched Kerry, at what seemed his last opportunity to show America what he was about, kick Bush's ass up and down that platform in Coral Gables. It was WONDERFUL. Nearly as good as a Paris Hilton video. Definitely better than the night-vision one.

But let me clarify how and why Kerry won the debate, since immediately afterward the spindoctors were on the job, grabbing the bread and scooping out whatever sauce Bush had left. Right after it was finished MSNBC poll had over 200,000 people scoring Kerry the winner 70 to 30, by today it was about 60 - 40. Now maybe we all didn't see the same debate, or maybe-- just maybe--the Rove team is using magic on us. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

There were three major categories to score this debate for me; major categories which were, as the pundits would say, focal points that Kerry and Bush needed to hit with the public. The first was image: did the candidate look presidential? The second was substance: did the candidate spell out, and articulate what they wanted to do? And finally there was reason and rationality: Did the candidate make sense?

In our first category I would have to say Kerry--hands down. He appeared more prepared, calm and reserved. Bush at his worse looked like a petulant 9 year old who wanted to throw a tantrum. Kerry had the image down pat, and it might have been his strongest attribute through out the entire debate. People talk of Bush's "common man quality." Well last I looked, we weren't electing Mr. America, but the President, and Bush--sadly--didn't look the part.

In the second category, I'd have to tie the debate. They both made clear their platforms. Bush rendered his usual message of "staying the course" repeatedly with statements such as:

"The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal, is to constantly stay on the offensive and, at the same time, spread liberty."

And of course, what has become Kerry's tag:

"I think that's wrong, and I think we can do better."

Finally, on the last category, Kerry utterly destroyed Bush and Kerry will continue to destroy Bush in regards to rationality because of Bush's platform of never changing his mind, or "never wavering." Rationality means reevaluating in the face of new means changing positions and means...well how about we have Kerry tell us what it means:

"It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It's another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right. What I worry about with the president is that he's not acknowledging what's on the ground, he's not acknowledging the realities of North Korea, he's not acknowledging the truth of the science of stem-cell research or of global warming and other issues.

And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble."

Regardless of the polls, Bush is in trouble. Unless he significantly changes his tactics, and becomes faster on the uptake Bush is going to continue to get humiliated. The real problem I see, and worry about, is this: should Bush continue to lose in these debates, and lose badly, yet the polls don't show Kerry pulling closer, then what does this say about the the debate system, or American participation? Do we really want a president who comes off addled, and pitiful but is excused because he has "common man quality," or do we want someone who shows extraordinary strength and intelligence. I used to complain because I felt that Kerry never gave us the opportunity for us to see that side of him. Now that he has, my worry is that America never cared about those attributes in the first place.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Swagger vs. Substance

Hey everyone,

Sorry I've been gone for so long, but I never said I could be a full time blogger. The election, which should be hotter than a North Korean atomic generator, seems to be reaching a low ebb as the press is giving Kerry even less coverage than before, and Bush seems to be coasting. Hopefully this will change after the debates, when our favorite Manchurian candidate, should (Unless the Queen of Diamonds gets added to his solitaire deck) utterly annihilate Bush on foreign policy. However even if it does happen the media will spin a Bush defeat into a Bush victory. Paul Krugman writes about this in his latest NYTimes Op-Ed piece at . Check it out, and I'll get back to you on Friday.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I don't care...

This is a rarity so listen up.

A while back, when all this debate began over Kerry and Bush's war records began I wrote a post titled: Slavemaster Obama and Cowardly Kerry. In that post I jumped into the discussion supporting Kerry's war record, and downplaying Bushes. I did so with the belief that this would be a topic that would die out. It didn't. Instead it has snowballed to a topic which has taken all important topics (Health Care, the economy, the war) off the table. Now I regret even adressing this topic, since I feel like I have only added to this snowball effect. I would just like to say that we, as a people, regardless of party affiliation, must demand for our media to focus on the most topical things in this election, and disregard the extraneous petty bickerings of flustered men. And I'm not talking as much about the candidates themselves as I am these 527 organizations that draw more attention to themselves then to the people they seem to support.

I came to this realization after looking at the blog: Http:// He really exposes much of the falsehood that has erupted from this discussion, and showing me that it now tetters on becoming one of those issues that will be lost in the obscurity of endless footnotes. Honestly, we have enough of that to delve through when it comes to the endless, diverging, and contradicting numbers and opinions on the economy to deal with. One must ask themselves, with one brain, and a limited amount of time, what is important here? I say that in regards to the specifics this military service record business, I don't care, and I don't think you should either.

Getting back to this problem of "endless footnotes" though. I encourage all of you to see these issues dogmatically, just as I believe that one of the main problems in Kerry's campaign is that they don't present their side dogmatically or clearly, not to mention intensely. You want safety from terrorism--then Bin Laden needs to be captured, and Bush has not done that. You want universal health insurance, then I, Kerry, will give it to you. If you want safer borders and a larger budget for homeland security, then I, Kerry, will give you more than our opponent. And when asked to look at figures, send them to the website. I cannot stress to you enough that everyone should look on and to find the specifics of their programs. But its up to them, in fact its their job as political leaders, to make the foundations of their programs clear to the public. And God help me, while I disagree with Bush's war, war, war, tax-cuts, anti-gay marriage platform, at least I, and I believe most Americans, know what it is.

It's Kerry's job to hammer his message home, and it's the media's job to keep both of them on the right path.

Friday, September 03, 2004

And you could almost hear 3,000 collective moans...

Somedays I really wish I was rich.

I'd like to be rich to pay off my debts, or get a car, or buy new clothes, or get my girlfriend something nice. Then there are days like yesterday when, as I watched George W. Bush speak at the Republican National Convention, I wish I was rich so I could afford to throw my television out the window and buy a new one.

Unbelievable. That's really all I can say.

It was unbelievable the balls that it took for Bush's campaign team to create a presentation that was nearly totally based on the events and subsequent deaths of 9/11. It was unbelievable the sheer tonnage of testicles that it took for Bush to deliver that speech without dropping dead of embarassment. And finally it must have been an unbelievable Herculean effort for Bush Sr. Not to rise from his chair, climb down to the stage and pimp slap his son for having the audacity to drag the memory of the victims of 9/11 into the dregs of his empire-dreaming unilateral fantasies.

Kerry's presentation (Narrated powerfully by Morgan Freeman) gave a complete image of the senators birth, military resume, and subsequent activism following his service, his rise in the senate and his vision of the future. GWB's presentation was a collection of sound bytes around and at Ground Zero, with Disney images of him hugging every black person he could wrap his arms around. Then with nothing left, his team chose the one image they could find to sum up his perseverance, endurance and leadership...Tossing the first pitch at a Yankee game.

Yes, Bush was going to throw from the bottom of the mound, but Derek Jeter (I wonder how much he likes having his name dragged at the bottom of the Bush propaganda motorcade?) told him, "At Yankee Stadium, you throw from the top of the mound." Faced with this challenge, and burdened down with the weight of body armor, George W. Bush made his way to the top of the mound, and overcoming all odds he threw...A perfect pitch to Roger Clemens. George W. Bush: The right man, the right pitch, the right president.

Are you kidding me?

Unbelievable. And this is the campaign that questions whether Kerry is ready to lead?

Kerry today fought back against the RNC virulent attacks with a barrage of his own, saying: "I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve." Good for you John.

The Kerry campaign has got to come at Bush hard and draw decisive lines in the ground between himself and his opponent. Last night, when Bush wasn't trying to make us sob over 9/11, he re-pushed the conservative line against abortion and gay marriage, and renewed his commitment to tax cuts. Sure I'm against it, but at least he made his stand. Kerry must now use that stance as his fuel to attack Bush and to focus his offense, instead of trying to rally around Republican foundations.

Let them assume their pro-life, homophobia, warmongering stance--You retaliate with a pro-choice, equal rights, homeland protection attack. They are the champs and as such you don't go to sleep in the 7th and hope you have enough points for the win, you get out there and knock their head off. Ask De La Hoya about that, and he'll tell you how that strategy cost him the title with Trindad.

Kerry was lucky that Bushhawk trashed his Vietnam record, now Kerry can take the high ground, but Kerry needs to continue up that hill. Every time I saw an image of 9/11 I thought "Where is Bin Laden?" "Where is Bin Laden?" "Where is Bin Laden?" Kerry needs to hammer the unanswered question home, with authority and with righteous indignation.

Ok, that last "righteous indignation" might have been a bit over the top. That's one of those phrases that seem to be the providence of the Pat Robinsons and Bin Ladens of the world. Yet, I now see why those who hate so much, find words that echo the Bible. I see that when you rage that much the only way you can verbalize it is to use apocalyptic and omnipotent phrases. Last night I raged. I raged at 9/11 and at George W. Bush for using those sacred images as much as he did. Like most of you, seeing that stirs up the harshest and most painful memories we can imagine. It blinds us, and makes us react with our hearts without the tempers of our minds. It's the cheapest marketing tool possible, because while it is on we will buy into anything to take those visions away. It is not the kind of image that convinces--it is the image that coerces. Its a dirty, dirty trick.

And Bush should be ashamed.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Conservatives don't read

It's either that or they only read what fits their worldview.

Yes I know this is a pretty far reaching, but I begin to wonder.

I have a few friends who are conservative (That is to say, New Yorker Twenty-something conservative--either they are in-the-closet-Republicans who can't come out because it's not NY vogue, or Democrats who are too busy worrying about making money to concern themselves with issues like civil rights and the war because, well, they don't see it as factoring in to their end of the year wage statements.) but, when they do speak up, which is rarely, they rarely can quote anything other than states they hear on the Fox news channel, Business Week, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal Op-ed page. I now wonder where this lack of curiosity comes from.

Perhaps it is trickle-down ignorance. I mean after all we have a president who revels in his ignorance. He says he doesn't read newspapers, and prides himself on becoming the commander-and-chief while only being a C student in Yale. And then there's Dick Cheney who says he gets most of his information from the Fox News Channel. You know, the station that's run by Bush's cousin? And we wonder why our leaders seem out of touch with America. How can one be curious about the inner workings of the government and foreign policy when our policy makers don't seem to care.

But to me it goes further than that. I look at the TV or talk to my few conservative friends, who I consider extremely intelligent about many issues, who seem either apathetic about politics, or ignorant. They are lawyers, doctors, computer scientists, and technies who can tell you the inner workings of a Pentium 4 PC but couldn't tell you who Karl Rove is. (By the way, Karl Rove is Bush's brain. Just kidding...kinda).

For instance, I was talking with one of my conservative friends about the Enron scandal and corporate malfeasance (I've been wanting to use that word for a while) and he tells me that "[i]ts a shame, but we have to put it behind ourselves, correct the mistakes, and proscute the criminals-which is what Bush is doing." Yes, that is what he said.

I say, "But Bush cut the SEC nearly same time with the discovery of the Enron scandal. Look it up."

He responds, "Well I don't know about that, but I trust him, and hey--you haven't heard about any other scandals since then right?"

As Kyle's mom would say on South Park: What! What! What!

No this person is not crazy, nor mentally retarded. This is a person who has no idea of the facts, nor curiosity to find out anything more. He is willing to give this part of his mind to Bush, in order to free up his mind to focus on more important things, like where to invest his 1,000 tax cut that Bush gave him, and not the 5,000 he lost on corporate scandals that he and his children will have to pay off. Not that he wouldn't care if he knew, but hey, that info doesn't come to in the mail from the US treasury department.

These are the kind of people who will tell you that they don't vote because, regardless of party, politics is corrupt to begin with--but then tell you it's because people don't care.

These are the kind of people who want better treatment for workers, but not if it messes up their commute to work.

They are the kind of people who are luke-warm against the war in Iraq, because they still believe that Saddam had WMDs and links to Bin Laden.

These are the kind of people who believe that pollution is a serious concern and that we should conserve our resources, but think that Global Warming is tree-hugger bunk, created by hippies who are trying to deny them their right to drive a gas guzzling car, that gets them 10 miles to the gallon--but at the same time think that this countries dependence on foreign oil is a problem, and that we should research "new energy solutions" instead of conserving our resources.

As my father says, it would be funny if it wasn't so dammed serious.

To my conservative friends, let me invite you to read a book. Reading is not just fundamental for children you know, but it can help adults as well. You might want to start with the Constitution of the United States. It's the Supreme Law of the United States, a fact which you may not know...Unless you read it.

You may want to read the Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison and Jay, who were, by the way, founders of our country. It may give you some insight as to why civil liberties are important to our country. And finally pick up some history books. If you're pro-choice, or pro-life, pick up a copy of the Supreme Courts decision on Roe V Wade, or if your passionate for or against affirmative action read up on it. That way, you can stop saying "You know, I'm for it or against it because (a) Bush is for or against it, b) my Mom/ Dad is for or against it or c) I'm for or against it because my boss is.

Reading empowers and strengthens us. It's good for the soul, it exercises your brain and its more economical than a movie. Maybe its time we started doing ourselves what we recommend to our children.

PS: Oh yeah, and here's one final piece of logic that might win you over. Reading will help make you smarter, and when you're smarter...(Lewis Black pause)...YOU MAKE MORE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Importance of Being Barry

I never realized till today what a talent Dave Barry is.

For those of you who know Barry, congrats on being up on him before I was. For those who don't know him, Dave is a syndicated columnist heralding from The Miami Herald, who, for those who may not be able to put two and two together, is a newspaper in Miami, Florida. Barry considers himself a Humor Columnist and not a real Journalist (He says so in the introduction of his book Boogers are my Beat, which I am currently reading) and his topics cover everything from town fairs to politics--something that I have a slight interest in. I have to admit, after years of trying to get his gist, I think I finally found it. But before I tell you how I found it, and what it is we have to go back in time a couple of days.

I was walking down the street with a good friend of mine, and we were both slightly inebriated so of course of conversation turned from women to politics. That's when my friend said something that ticked me off. He called me preachy. Do you think I'm preachy?


Seriously, I was upset then, but today, after thinking about it for a while, I realize that he had made a valid statement. Not that I consider myself preachy, but I can see how my passion for certain subjects (and yes...I suppose my tendency to dominate conversations as well...God I hate honesty!) can be interpreted as preachiness (Is that even a word?) I'll admit that.

But the things we're talking about are important. Discussing American foreign policy, tax reform, civil rights, the law, so forth and so on, rate, I feel, a bit more talk than who the hell Britney Spears is dating, or what the new fall fashions are this year. Imagine--more people, about three times more actually, voted for the 1st American Idol than the 2000 presidential election. It sounds amazing to me that people choose to remain ignorant about the things that affect them the most. And when I think about it, when I get a chance to get these ideas out there (and unfortunately, it usually happens when I get drunk--that seems to be the only time people want to discuss politics nowadays), I get angry, and well...preachy.

Fast forward to now.

So I'm thinking about my preachiness and reading Dave Barry when the gist of his work hit me like a shotgun blast. I take the political thing extremely seriously, and true enough it is people's lives were dealing with here, and--to me--life is the most valuable resource in the universe, but--and here's the gist--people, as bright and beautiful, as evil and malicious as we can be, are also inherently funny.

Think about it. People are really really, humorous creatures, up there with the Dodo bird or the platypus. Farting is funny. Even children laugh at farts. Love making is sorta funny (As well as sorta hot). Some of those faces we make look like something out of a Jim Carey skit.

But what about our advanced intelligence? You may ask. What about the brains that gave us bridges, and automobiles, and the space shuttle, and the atomic bomb? What about all the greatness of the mind? Well, I believe in the greatness of the mind, and I believe that as a tool, it is quite wonderful. However that doesn't stop it from being a ton of laughs. Look at stutters and lisps that arise from our power of language. Elmer Fudd is a household name. Then there's silly putty (see, the silliness is in the name) the pet rock (although God may have to get the credit for that one, the packaging was us), play-doh and Republicans (just kidding...sorta).

And the things we say and do! The hypocrisy that seems to infect us all, is absolutely hysterical. In fact it's so funny that there are some comedians that do nothing but point out this hypocrisy and wave it in our faces. (Really that's all George Carlin does, the man hasn't told an original joke since 1901. Just kidding--Carlin wasn't born then.) How funny is it that we have this whole political race--millions of dollars spent, and people's names dragged through the mud for a job that only pays 300,000 a year. For the 2000 election the two parties combined raised something like 26 trillion dollars! (Ok, I'm joking--it was more like 13 trillion) Which would mean that for Bush to have broken even, money wise that is, he'd have to work for the next 12 centuries to repay his election supports. (And yes, I know it wouldn't be that long, but you wanna do the math on that?)

And not to be fully partisan, remember when John Kerry rode that dumb ass bike on to the set of the Tonight Show and nearly drove over Jay Leno's chin? I mean seriously, unless you're the Fonz, that shit only makes you look like a dork. Or what about when Kerry went to Vietnam, only to come back and PROTEST the war! That was so...ok maybe that wasn't so funny.

The gist that I got from Barry is that sometimes, even in the most serious situations, we have to learn to poke fun at ourselves and others. We may feel that what we believe in may be the most important, vital and interesting idea ever in the history of the universe, but while creativity and imagination is a segment of our lives, so is the humor that we are all subject. It will surely be a great man who will be able to temper their passions with laughter, for they will truly know the human condition. That is except for me of course...I really do have the most perfect ideas on Earth, and every one should listen to me.

So I tip my hat off to Mr. Barry(...well I'm not wearing a hat, but you get my drift) and thank him for lightening up the situation for me. I suggest to you all to check out Boogers Are My Beat. It really is perfect reading when the weight of the world seems too much to bear.

Or you can drink heavily, I suggest that as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Back again...

Greetings Everyone,

My vacation was spectacular. The Pacific Ocean was tremendous, and many of the images of the water, the sunsets, and the lush mountains I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. If you have the opportunity I really would encourage you to travel outside of your country. It will help to remind you of your place in the universe while giving you the chance to witness the store house of the Earth's beauty. I loved it there, but I have to admit that there was much I missed about America. I am very happy to return.

It's even better that it seems that nothing much has erupted in the world of politics in the US. There still is the debate over the anti-Kerry ads (See my post on Cowardly Kerry) that Bush and his cadre addressed yesterday.

Did anyone see that news conference? Good lord! The way the Bush team walked out of Bush's Crawford Ranch--Rice, Rumsfeld, Chaney, and Bush--it looked like the movie poster for Reservoir Dogs. All they needed were cigarettes and black suits (I'm guessing Rumsfeld would be Mr. Pink).

Of course Bush's response to the attack ads were just as pre-arranged as his entrance looked. He said that the 527 ads (These are ads by independent groups that raise money in unlimited amounts--illegal under McCain-Feingold bill{Don't worry, I didn't know what 527s were either}) are "...They're bad for the system...“That means that ad, every other ad...I can’t be more plain about it. And I wish — I hope my opponent joins me in saying — condemning these activities of the 527s. It’s — I think they’re bad for the system. That’s why I signed the bill, McCain-Feingold.” " But offered no apology to Kerry for the blantant lies that those ads made against the Democratic canididate. In fact when we study the rhetoric of Bush's statement we see that in his "criticism" he takes no guilt on himself or his team, but instead seeks to disperse the blame.

Not to say...sigh, I hate doing this...that the Democrats haven't used the 527s commercials. After further research I have found that the Demos maybe even have the lead in the 527 ad war through such organizations at However I believe that here we don't find the blame in the existence of the 527 ads, but it the validity of the ad. I mean, when a newspaper or a magazine endorses a canidate do we call that a 527? Should Americans be denied a right to endorse or advertise a canidate, with their own money, if they choose? Sounds to me like a denial of freedom of speech.

No, the idea of the 527 ad doesn't really bother me, so much as the question of honesty and the unbridled capacity for fundraising as they have. The government shouldn't seek to dispose of the 527 as they should limit the amount of money they the 527 organization should take in. The individual canidate must also bear some burden as to what the message of the 527 entails. It should either be endorsed by the canidate or denied. If a 527 is a lie, then don't allow the lie to remain unchallenged if the lie is spoken in your name. That is the really issue that is at hand. Bush seeks to hide behind a law that he was relunctant to sign in the first place, and uses that wall to continue to distort the truth and avoid any admittance of guilt.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Going away...

Well my friends, I'll be on vacation far, far away for about nine days, so I'll be away from the desk of Word of the People. I have to tell you, I realized that I was ready for this time out yesterday when I started going over the economic plans for Kerry and Bush and nearly went into a Wolverine berserker rampage. Feel free to check them out for yourself at and, if you have the time and the energy.

Not saying that you shouldn't, just be prepared to, in Bush's case, wade through alot of denial and BS, and in Kerry's case, be prepared for tons of numbers and a extremely detailed plan. To give you an example, Bush's economic plan was about 5 pages long--Kerry's was about 30 pages. Bush's seems to be more reader friendly, but he doesn't seem to say much. He darts around issues, while Kerry rips them to shreds with an intellectual Uzi. They're conflicting methods, but I'd rather take the one that treats me intelligently than the one that speaks to me like a hermit child, who hasn't picked up a newspaper in 4 years. Check out their sites and see what you think.
Well that's it for me. Have fun!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Terrorists Top Target: November Elections

“The goal of the next attack is twofold: to damage the U.S. economy and to undermine the U.S. election,”

This is a quote from a unnamed US intelligence official (And what the hell does that mean? That he has intelligence, or that he works for a intelligence agency? And if they do work for an agency, then what the hell is their position? I'd hate to think a janitor is leaking information, after all I think Scooter Libby and Robert Novak have the monopoly on that.) to the Washington Post. This is just another example of the preparation that the Bush cadre is making just in case, as it was in 2000, the race between him and his opponent is too close to call, or to steal.

I will give Bush credit where credit is due though, when it comes to rigging an election he, and his team, show Machiavellian brilliance. First was the "three point, follow the Katherine Harris ploy," and now we are being shown the foundations for the "The terrorists hate our country so much that they want Kerry to win." scenario. It is the best game of poker I've ever seen because he can show us his cards, then show us how he'd dealt off the bottom, and meanwhile all the public does is look on in disbelief. After all, could the government be THAT shady?

This is the latest of "The terrorist hate..."plan, or Plan Beta as I like to call it. Look at this opening paragraph from an article from posted on July 12, 2004:

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. officials have discussed the idea of postponing Election Day in the event of a terrorist attack on or about that day, a Homeland Security Department spokesman said Sunday."

"On or about?" so when is "about?" a day before? Two days before? And what type of attack would it have to be? An attack on a voting booth, or an attack against Wall Street? You may think I'm being petty, but I would like to know what the exact criteria would be to shut down Democracy.

After 9/11, Bush told us not to change our way of life. He told us the terrorists could not stop the "workforce" of America. He told us it would be important for the country to run as normal, and that the best thing we could do to fight the terrorists was to go shopping, and keep the American economic machine running. But now, these Homeland Security Dept. guys and "US intelligence officials," all of whom answer to Bush, tell us that just the threat of terrorism "on or about that day" is enough to shut down the MOST important event in America. The act of voting establishes, displays, and proves, not only to us, but to the rest of the world, that we in fact (when its not stolen from us) are the controlling power in this country, and not the corporations, or the media. It proves that America is truly a country of the people, for the people.

If what the right-wing says is true, and perhaps in some way it might be, then the terrorists that wish to hurt us are fearful, angry and jealous of our way of life, and this way of life isn't your ablilty to go to Old Navy and buy a pair of cheap cargo shorts. There is nothing more American then the ability to vote for your leaders. It is one of the fundamenal reasons for many of the strongest movements in this country, and the blood of all races, and creeds and genders has been shed in its name.

Let us all maintain our focus on what are the real important issues and rights in America. To close a mall would be an inconvenience. To shut down Wall Street might cost the public a couple of dollars out of our pockets (Much like the billions we have to pay for the Enron/ Worldcom/ S&L scandals of the past) but to close down elections sacrifices the soul and spirit of America.

President Bush--if after 9/11 the American public was brave enough to drive our SUVs to the malls to buy a Playstation, then we are brave enough to make our way to the voting booths across the country to get you out of office.

Don't sell us short.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Slave Master Obama and Cowardly Kerry

Few people can raise my anger like Alan Keyes can. He is a perfect example of a man willing to prostitute his intellect for political gain and the hope to keep company with the Republican "movers and shakers" in Washington. As one of the few Black Republicans out there, he has ran for the senate seat in his home state of Maryland twice and lost, and also lost his bid for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Perhaps one of the reasons he lost was that his ideology is like the Republican parties mission statement: Lower taxes on the wealthy, anti-abortion, anti-birthcontrol, privatized health care and Social Security, etc etc...In fact his one, if not exactly original at least different, policy was the repeal of the income tax. A policy that ,while I may not exactly agree with it, I believe we could use more discussion on the possibility of tax reform.


Keyes hypocrisy has stunk to high heaven. Personally, I find a Black Republican a disdainful person whom I usually suspect of self-loathing. The party of Lincoln in the last hundred or so years has done little for the plight of minorities, the disfranchised or the poor. FDR, a Democrat, had the new deal, LBJ, a Democrat, the civil rights amendment, and Bill Clinton, yes a Democrat, had the longest era of economic prosperity and growth then any president before him. To me it seems that for minorities to affiliate themselves with a group that does damage and harm to them shows some sort of pathological dysfunction, or they are political mercenaries getting paid to be token members, or in Keyes' case, I think its a mix of both.

Now this Merc has been chosen by the RNC to run against Barack Obama in the Illinois senate race now that the incumbent Rep senator, Jack Ryan, had to drop out because a sex scandal. Of course the RNC had to chose a black canidate since the popular Obama, who made the DNC's keynote address this year, has now insured--through this popularity--that this seat will be taken by an African-American. (This would be the 5th time an Afro-American has held a senate position.)

Of course with SO many Black Republicans to choose from its no wonder that the RNC would choose Keyes: an habitual election loser, with the vision of a myoptic bat.

Prepare for an election full of hypocrisy and lies stemming from the Keyes campaign. For starters Keyes, who's home state is Maryland, will have to move his residency to Illinois, and is working on doing that as I write. However in a statement Keyes gave to Pat Buchanan in a 2000 Fox News Channel interview, he says of Hillary Clinton's move to New York from Arkansas to seek senate office there:

"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it,"

Now this week Keyes' parallels Obama to a "slaveholder," because Obama voted against a bill that would have outlawed late terms abortions. It is days into this election, Keyes still hasn't gained Illinois residency, and already he is setting a tone of racially inspired negativity. This comment is incredibly ironic since they are both black Americans, and Keyes is the party of former Rep Senate leader Trent Lott who showed a real "slaveholder's" position when he commented that the United States would have been better off had Strom Thurmond been elected president in 1948. Thurmond, if you haven't heard by now, didn't really like blacks--except for those black women who worked for him--and ran on a pro-segregationist platform.

Another thing that tics me off to no end has been this smear campaign against John Kerry's war record from the Bush campaign. These types of tactics should be of no surprise to us though. These are the same people who ran ads against Max Cleland, a Vietnam vet who lost two legs and an arm in the war, featuring him with Saddam and Bin Laden, and who did push-polling against John McCain in the 2000 election, asking voters would they be more or less likely to vote for McCain if he fathered an illigament black child. A totally unfounded charge, with tremendous racial undertones. (The calls went to southern white males--is it no wonder Keyes is a Republican!) No amount of bleach could ever get out the grime that the RNC has proven time and time again that they're willing to sling.

The latest in the parade of turds is a series of attack ads against Kerry featuring men who "served" with Kerry that say that he has embellished and lied about his war record. One of these men, Lt. Cmdr. George Elliott, retired, who had recommended Kerry for his Silver Star, defended Kerry in his 1996 Senate re-election campaign saying, "The fact that he chased an armed enemy down is something not to be looked down upon, but it was an act of courage." Then two days ago he signed an affidavit recanting that previous statement saying that Kerry earned the medal by shooting a fleeing, wounded Viet Cong in the back.

Wait for it...wait for it...

When questioned about this recanting by the Boston Globe Elliot says, "I still don't think he shot the guy in the back...It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words."

This guy does more waffling then an IHOP.

The danger in all of this goes beyond the fact that people, who may hear the charge and never the recant (of the recant?) may base their voting decision either fully on something like this or partially on something like this. Recently I've even heard rumors of people saying that he shot himself to get out of Vietnam and received a Purple Heart for it. (Actually he earned three...does that mean he shot himself three times? Boy, he must have sucked at target practice!) We need to wise up to the tactics of the media and the RNC right now. It seems that there's no limit to the level they will stoop to, and the as long was we keep entertaining these falsehood their will continue to be told, and construed as fact.

Monday, August 09, 2004

1st Post

Greetings to all my readers,

As you can see from my title this is the first post of my new blog, Word of the People. Since I've never done this before, I'm sorta making it up as I go. I'll be posting up the usual stuff: personal opinions and reflections on life and the such, but the general focus of this blog is politics.

I've found that we've reached a turning, or maybe it's a tipping point, in American politics. As Globalization becomes a reality, we find that we can approach it from two different paths-as conqueror or ally. America will take the lead, but unless we find a way to amend and correct the mistakes of the past, our fallacies will corrupt the rose that this world can possible bloom into.

I find that many of the policies of the Bush administration exacerbate this already tense situation towards the negative. Preemptive 'defense,' aggressive posturing towards the rest of the world, including our own historically closest allies, his exiting from treaties which have maintained the peace for years, and his domestic policies which favor the few over the many, has lead me, among many others, to feel a sense of acute apprehension for the future.

Yet in the midst of this fear I choose not to panic but to instead to see this moment as an opportunity for great change, not only to get Bush outta office (vote Kerry/Edwards!) but as a time in which we can make great intellectual, cultural and humanitarian advances. It has always been my theory that the dropping of the A-bomb came too soon for our world. It was like dropping a gun in the middle of a pack of monkeys who couldn't appreciate or value the weapon's destructive power. Now is the time for us to rally together and to have a revolution of sorts. Not one of violence, but one of communication and unity. This is the time to demand the changes that we have put off for too long, changes that I see as a redistribution, not of wealth, but of opportunity in this country. We ask for the chance to fulfill this American dream for all of our citizens regardless of class, gender, race and sexuality. This is not a handout, or a giveaway. Instead it is the union of individual prosperity, national prosperity and global prosperity. I submit that the good of the person is the good of the world.

Abraham Lincoln said that the role of government is to "Do for the people what they either cannot do, or do well, for themselves." This is what we demand.

I hope to hear back from those who both agree and disagree with what I have said. Only through an active dialogue between us can any goal be met. I only ask that those who do post here, write from their hearts and not from their minds. Please no "Devil's advocate" writing. As an intellectual exercise that might be entertaining, but if you want that I suggest you watch the Fox News Channel.

The time for playing is over, the time for real change is now.

PS: I just copped the new Roots album, and listened to the first three tracks. It's pretty hot so far. More to come...

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