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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