Sunday, August 09, 2009

I’ve learned a lot in the last several months carpooling with a guy who really likes his conservative talk radio and working for two years at a place that is by and large conservative. Now I understand the need for conservatives in the political debate. Those who want fiscal responsibility and limited government serve as our political doting mothers. They do not want to see us rush foolishly here and there and everywhere and not scrape up our knees. They want success for us but want us to be careful about it. Much like Chris Rock has said “I don’t condone it but I understand.”

In the past conservatism has brought us fine thinkers and even a few good presidents like Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt. Modern conservatism is sadly such an unholy mess of ideas that I can’t see anyone worth a damn coming out of it until conservatives and the Republican Party change. The GOP is horrible mix of plutocratic policies, religious fanaticism and thinly veiled bigotry against women, minorities, homosexuals and the poor that I have no idea if this party can even make it another decade. Sure it worked temporarily. The religious right voted en masse for the GOP and white suburban folks ate it up. Eventually however their fortress made of sand got washed into the sea. The policies of Reagan of don’t tax the rich, spend endlessly on bullets and bombs and not bread or books and let the market do as it damn well pleases have bit us in the dead square in the ass. Reagan was little more than a really good used car salesman. He sold America a Buick with a broken transmission and we loved, for a while anyway.

Most people are wising up to this ideology and are turning away. But some do however cling to it ferociously. Why the ferocity? Because conservatives are playing the only card that has worked for them recently, fear.

Vote for a Democrat and there will be another 9/11!

They will take your guns!

National Health Care will kill old people and ration health care!

Death Panels!

Gay marriage will ruin marriage and turn everyone gay!

Is this blatant fear mongering? You bethca!

Dwight David Eisenhower once said that he would rather convince a man than intimidate him because once the fear was gone the man was lost but if you convinced him he would stick with you forever. Sadly this sort of thinking is lost on the modern conservative movement and the GOP. All the noise and fear and piss and vinegar in the world will not convince the people.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I‘m sitting at work today and I overhear a conversation. This one guy starts to ask this guy about how if man and apes are related how come apes don’t have to shave, which is pretty damn funny. Then again I’m easily amused.

But anyway the other guy as soon as he hears something about apes and people being related started making snotty comments about evolution. The witty gent avoids confrontation because he’s smart like that. I avoid it in the interest of keeping my job and also keeping my blood below a low rolling boil.

But the sad fact is the anti-evolution guy doesn’t really understand his own beliefs. Let us examine shall we.

The whole argument the guy used was basically that there was no way that by sheer happenstance that simple single cell organisms could have formed into people. If I would have been feeling frisky I could have kneecapped the poor little feller. It would go something like this.

OK so you find in totally impossible that over the course of billions of years that human could have evolved from a far less complex life form but you’re willing to buy into that there is a never-ending being who is omnipotent and omniscient and that being has no beginning or end at all. You’re willing to blow off years of research and evidence but you’re willing to put your unwavering faith in something you have only one book to substantiate this being’s existence? That seems highly illogical to me.

Of course I have zero idea what reaction I would have gotten and I’m not curious to find out. I have seen enough rage in the name of religion for a million million lifetimes.

I know why lots of religious people reject science. It’s because faith is such a fragile thing and if you are not strong in your convictions it is easily fractured. I find it odd that some of the most faithful people on the planet have also been refreshingly pro-science. The last two Popes have said that evolution is fact. The Dalai Lama has written on the convergence of science and religion. Yet these people whose faith is so utterly concerned about their own salvation and nothing else always have such fragile beliefs. Any evidence that forces them to think or consider that God really does work in mysterious ways just throws them for a loop. They haven’t any real strength of conviction so they can’t afford any.

I’m not saying I am the possessor of all answers. I am however just brave and just curious enough to ask questions of everything I think and believe. Sometimes I even change my mind. It happens and it’s a good thing. If we are not receptive to new ideas and information we might as well be dead. To never challenge your own beliefs and ideas is dangerous because start to think that you have the only correct ideas and beliefs and that never works out well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things are not going well for George Bush's unholy crusade in Iraq.

First of the report set to be delivered to Congress in September by Gen. David Petraeus will not be written by him it will be written by the White House.

Tomorrow the Pentagon will release a report stating that suicide rates in the military are at their highest rate in 26 years.

Of course there was that bombing the other day in Iraq that killed at least 250 people. As the insurgents simply moved away from where the US military is the strongest.

First off the White House is going to evaluate it's own war? The same White House that is the only source of blindly loyal support for the war? Well that just makes this report about as legitimate as a three dollar bill doesn't it? What happened to listening to the troops on the ground? Bush wants this war to continue regardless of the facts.

Now onto the 99 suicide victims who were serving in our armed forces, about a quarter of them were on duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. So not only are the “bad guys” getting our troops but also now there are those in the military that would rather die then continue to serve. Of course this number is for active duty military. It says nothing of those servicemen who returned home with PTSD and ended up dead as a result or that will someday.

The horrific bombing in Iraq the other day that killed at least 250 and maybe many more has illustrated the futility of us playing policeman in Iraq. We simply lack the manpower to do a sufficient job. It is not slight on the soldiers that they were sent in without enough troops to do the job at hand. It is the fault of leadership as is most military failure. Now our surge has led to the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis in an area that was relatively peaceful until now.

George Bush is the type of man that makes me happy I believe there is a Hell for him to fry in. Just when I think he has hit bottom he finds a way to sink even more. He has cemented his legacy as the worst president in our history so far. He is now jockeying for position in the race to be the worst leader in the history of the free world. January 20th, 2009 cannot get here fast enough.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Barrack Obama is doing something quite odd for a politician, at least in my own personal experience. The more he talks the more I like him. Usually when a big presidential race is picking up steam my faith in the candidates dwindles away into utter despair. But Obama is shocking me right and left. Of course he’s taking heat for it from the Washington establishment. But it’s a well-known fact that they suck. So no worries there.

First he says that in the first year of his presidency he wouldn’t rule out talking to leaders like Hugo Chavez. Hillary Clinton says she wouldn’t talk to leaders like Chavez in her first year. I tend to favor Obama. Our leaders are always feeding us this line about never taking options of the table militarily. So why take diplomatic options off of the table? Is our foreign policy now written on the bottom of bombs we drop on our enemies? If all options are to remain open they must include diplomacy even with those with which we may disagree. For Obama to have the courage, the honesty and the intelligence to say this is rather encouraging. Of course courage, honesty and intelligence are not encouraged in DC much anymore.

Then Obama says he wouldn’t use nuclear weapons against terrorists in the Middle East. Hooray for our team! Of course our team is minute compared to the fear-mongering jackals that just have to keep their precious nuclear option on the table. It’s sort of like the snotty little kid in elementary school who always used the threat of having his older larger brother beat the tar out of you. Only the big brother wasn’t as unthinkable as nuclear weapons. I question anyone who thinks using nuclear weapons is a good idea. Even in Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan and we knew where we were, even if he had a nuclear weapon. Would us using a nuclear weapon truly be worth it? Would all the innocents dead and poisoned and sickened be worth it? Wouldn’t be advisable and saner to use all other possible options before opening the gates to Hell ourselves? One small nuclear weapon could potentially kill millions of people. Is that ever worth it? So again Obama has shown the courage and honesty and intelligence that is so rare in our leaders anymore.

While I’m on the topic of politics let me mention that the Senate decided that the President having the power to spy without the way of any real oversight is all right. So let’s see habeas corpus is deader than Elvis in this country. The 4th Amendment is barely worth the paper it’s printed on. We have secret prisons on foreign soil. Our military budget is sacred. Our schools and infrastructure and health care system is paid no mind what so ever. So when did we turn into in the old Soviet Union? Was I out of town? Did I not get that memo?

OK, I’m joking about us turning into the old Soviet Union. But I have to crack jokes because to think about what the President is doing to my country and what the Congress is allowing him to do is far too sickening and infuriating.

I now dedicate this song to Congress and the President. I think it fits.

“Go straight to hell,
All you government personnel,
Sittin' awf'ly well
In your big, white house up on the hill.

You say now, give me a home
Where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and antelope play.
You can bet your ass we'll blow them all away.

Fuck it up until it's bent,
Then a-wonder where it went.
Thinkin' you was a-heaven sent, ha ha ha,
You're nothin' but hell!

Go straight to hell.”

“Government Personnel”


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Recently I’ve heard it said a lot that religion is to blame for this problem or that war or that religion is the worst thing to ever happen to humanity. While I do agree certain people have used religion to achieve ends that are far from holy. I can’t blame religion for the world’s ills. I can’t blame religion any more than I can blame xenophobia or greed or prejudice or any of a thousand other reasons people have sought to hate and destroy one another.

I know there seems to be a growing resentment towards religion. Christopher Hitchens has made a tidy sum of money banging the drum against religion. But really you can’t blame religion.

Here’s the real problem. Religion has never really started a war or a crusade or an inquisition. Religion has never tortured anyone. Religion has never blown up an abortion clinic. The sad truth is it’s us who does that. It’s a basic fault of the human race. We have this nasty streak in us and I’m pretty sure it’s as much nature as it is nurture, if not far more.

We like the cold comfort of being led. We look for leaders. We like it when someone seems strong and confident and seemingly has all the answers. Even if we forget to ask the really important questions like “Why am I listening to this person?” or “Is this going where I really want to go?”

Humans are territorial. We like our land and our house and our possessions and our money. We sure as Hell aren’t going to share it either. It’s mine and keep your filthy hands off of it. Of course being territorial on a 4.5 billion year old planet that we get 100 years on, if we’re lucky is pretty silly actually. We exist for but a bat of an eyelash of Mother Earth we really don’t own this planet. It owns us.

We seem hardwired with this behavior. Other primates, our animal cousins, have been shown to declare wars and murder and to defend their corner of the jungle or forest. Fortunately they haven’t figured out how to make sub-machine guns and H-bombs yet.

I think we have it hardwired into our DNA to defend our stuff and gather into groups. It’s our nature no matter how inhumanely it makes us act.

So I don’t buy that religion really causes wars or hate or jihads or any other unspeakable evil unleashed on humanity. It’s us. Only us.

God has never waged a war. Jesus has never tortured a prisoner. Allah has never ignited a car bomb. Moses has never ordered genocide. The Holy Spirit has never dropped an atomic weapon. It’s us. Only us. Just because some self-important megalomaniac does something in the name of this god or that god doesn’t mean anymore than if he did it in the name of money or country or race or his favorite football team. The actions are what are evil. The evil little bastard simply chooses the path that allows him to manipulate the most people. Sadly this often is religion because too often the necessity of having faith and reason isn’t emphasized. Having faith without reason is like handing a blind man a gun. You just know someone is going to get hurt.

If you’re going to get all excited about getting rid of religion to end all the world’s ills. You jolly well better be ready to get rid of nationalism and greed and property ownership and everything else that has ever sparked a conflict. But because nationalism and greed don’t try and dictate people’s sex lives or chemical intake it seems to me that those who are so zealous to eliminate religion aren’t quite so hot to eliminate that other stuff.

Also people like Christopher Hitchens are always so excited to tell you all the bad things religion has done, but why do they never mention the good? Why do they never bring up the schools and hospitals built by religions? Or why don’t they talk about the humanitarian aid done by religions? Why don’t they talk about the people who have gotten through severe hardships because of religion? The late Kurt Vonnegut postulated that what Karl Marx really meant by “Religion is the opiate of the people” is not some dictum against religion. Rather Marx was simply comparing religion to opium, the primary painkiller of Marx’s time, which Marx had used. He was simply stating that people took comfort from religion. Selective observation is an intellectual fallacy. You’d think there people who claim to be so skeptical would know that.

So getting rid of religion will solve absolutely nothing. Wars would still go on and people would still commit atrocity upon atrocity. The reasons might change but the blood would still be red and the deaths would still be just as painful.

The real solution is for everyone to realize they have a very powerful tool. They have the power of the question. They have the power to ask why. The power to demand answers. People need to realize that they have to ask questions of those who would tell them what to do. People need to take this responsibility seriously. Even when the asking these questions makes them uneasy as they already deep sown inside know the answer and that answer makes them very uneasy. It sometimes requires that you stand alone and go against the grain and that might just not be in everyone’s nature.

I know this idea of mine won’t suit a lot of people. As they already have made up their minds and religion is evil and has caused this war and that problem or whatever. But I can’t see how religion is to blame. It’s always human behavior that starts all these problems. The National Rifle Association has a slogan that goes, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” And so it goes that, religions don’t start wars. People start wars. Religions don’t protect child molesters. People protect child molesters. Religions don’t teach people to hate. People teach people to hate.

It’s all our fault. God help us all.

Monday, July 02, 2007

President Bush,

I know in the past I have called for your resignation. I meant those times in the past and I mean it now. For the sake of the nation and maybe even the world you must resign.

Today the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby was commuted. He will spend not even a millisecond in jail for obstructing justice. Even though he was convicted in a court of law. Libby is now essentially a free man. The fine and community service will hardly impede him in getting some comfy cozy lobbyist job or sitting on the board of some ivory tower think tank. Libby for all intents and purposes has gotten off Scot-free.

Need I remind you of your job President Bush? The job of the executive branch is to enforce the law. How is commuting the sentence of convicted man who has neither set foot in jail or exhausted his appeals enforcing the law? How are you fulfilling your duties as President of the United States of America by commuting the sentence of man the nation as a whole wanted to see go to jail? The nation did not favor a pardon or commutation. Only the most hardcore of the Republican base favored a pardon or commutation. The rest of the nation wanted to see justice served.

You spoke today of Libby’s sentence being harsh.

Need I remind you the God only knows how many men and even boys you have detained at the prison at Guantanamo Bay without the benefit of even a trial?

Need I remind you of how the Military Commissions Act suspended habeas corpus for so-called enemy combatants?

Need I remind you of America’s use of water boarding and sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation with the detainees at Guantanamo Bay?

Need I remind you of how the Constitution was violated to wiretap American’s phone calls without warrant and go through their bank records?

What is more severe President Bush, two and a half years for being a convicted criminal or ignoring international law and denying people their God given human rights and their Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms?

This whole incident reeks of putrid politics. Instead of letting justice take its course you instead protected your lackeys and coddled your dwindling political base. There was no intention on your part to ever uphold the law was there President Bush? You instead played politics to protect your crony and ultimately yourself.

You also played the coward today. You released a press release on the Monday of an unusually long 4th of July weekend. Congress is not in session. So you tried to slip this one under the radar, so to speak. You didn’t even have the courage to speak the words aloud. You just released a written statement. At least when Ford pardoned Nixon he said it in front of a camera.

President Bush your presidency has been a miserable failure both domestically and internationally. You have read children’s books while America was under attack and eaten cake and played guitar while thousands were abandon in hurricane ravage New Orleans. You started a war in Iraq that we should have never fought to begin with. All the while you allowed veteran’s to lose their benefits. You have dragged your feet in stopping pollution to protect the profits of your corporate allies. You have borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 presidents combined. Now you have let a convicted criminal walk away a free man for your own political well-being.

President Bush please resign and resign now. The damage you have done to this county’s reputation and psyche and future is immense. We can ill afford another year and a half of you as our president. Please resign and let America start trying to repair the damage you have done now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Senator Lieberman,

Recently you said that it might be necessary to use air strikes against Iran whom you say is arming Iraqi insurgents. While I can understand but not condone the use of this tough talk rhetoric. I don’t think now is the best time for the United States to rattle its sabers.

I know there is a very real possibility that Iran is in fact arming Iraqi insurgent groups. Of course the United States has recently suggested that it should arm Sunni insurgent groups to aid in the fight against Al Qaeda. So I’m not totally positive that we have much of a moral high ground to take here. Certainly Iran is far from helping calm the violence in Iraq but given our own stance of arming insurgent groups I’m not sure we’re doing enough to calm violence either.

Also do you really think that bombing Iran will solve anything? If there is one clear fact about the Middle East it is that they do not cower in the face of violence, even violence from a far more technologically advanced enemy. So I fail to see how bombing Iran would do anything but fan the flames of violence and hatred that already burn far too brightly in the Middle East.

If we were to bomb Iran and if the Iranian military was to retaliate is our military have the capacity to fight back? Our military by most estimates is already stretched dangerously thin, if were to engage Iran would we have the manpower necessary to fight them?

I know I do not reside in your state but I feel it important to voice my opinion. As a member of the US Senate you have tremendous power and it must be use wisely and in the best interest of the American people. What you are doing know seems to ring more of empty tough talk rather then deliberate reason.

Please reconsider your words Senator Lieberman. I know you’re steadfast in your support of the war in Iraq. But escalating the conflict to include Iran isn’t the way to make the situation in Iraq any better and will do nothing but increase the body count and further damage the United States’ already considerable damaged international reputation.