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:

LabPixies TV