Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Some Quotes

I’ve been immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused. The hurt has become too great.

Ernie Pyle

[If you don't know who Ernie Pyle was, take the time today to look him up. A WWII war reporter who actually cared about the soldiers who were really fighting and dying, rather than the spin from their commanders]
– - -
It is not right, my fellow-countrymen, you who know very well all the crimes committed in our name. It’s not at all right that you do not breathe a word about them to anyone, not even to your own soul, for fear of having to stand in judgment of yourself. I am willing to believe that at the beginning you did not realize what was happening; later, you doubted whether such things could be true; but now you know, and still you hold your tongues.
- Jean Paul Sartre

A northern response

Not exactly the language I would allow here, but the sentiment is right on: http://shorl.com/hodydradredyru

[the real url is visible from the site]

Red State/Blue State

Interesting article from Fortune Magazine

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but an interesting point. For the most part, the Blue States pay out much more to the Federal Government than they receive back. The Red States, on the other hand, are just the opposite. In other words, those free spending stupid northern liberals are funding all the federal giveaways to the anti-tax republicans in the south. Alabama alone got $100 billion more from the Federal Government than it contributed.

The Tax Foundation, a right-leaning organization dedicated to simplifying taxes, presents the information in tabular form. For each dollar they contributed to the federal government, Alaska spent $1.82, Mississippi $1.84, Oklahoma $1.47, South Dakota $1.59, Kentucky $1.46, Montana $1.64, Louisianna $1.44, South Carolina $1.32, North Dakota $2.04 and so on. California and New York? $0.81, Connecticut? $0.64, Massachusetts? $0.79, Minnesota? $0.77, Michigan? $0.90, Delaware? $0.85, Washington? $0.91, Wisconsin? $0.87. And New Jersey? a whopping $0.62.

If you red states are so anti-tax, how about giving us back some of our money? If welfare is a dirty word, ought it to be given to states that can’t support themselves? It kind of gives a different meaning to the term “welfare state”, doesn’t it?

War crimes

An editorial in the Toronto Star suggests Bush should be arrested and indicted for war crimes when he visits Canada.

An interesting thought.

Election statistics.

I am not one of those who believe the election was stolen (this time.) I believe Bush got the majority of votes cast.

There are irregularities, though. Statistically, many of the reported results are nearly impossible.

Read this. Read it with an open mind, without the presupposition that it is just another liberal with sour grapes. I would like to read an educated, statistically correct, refutation of what is in that article, if one is possible.

Goodbye, General Powell

It should come as no surprise that Colin Powell is resigning as Secretary of State. The surprise, I suppose, is that he stayed on as long as he did. It must have been a struggle between his morality and his loyalty to the administration as to whether he should have resigned months or years ago. I really cannot fault him for whichever path he took. His was a voice of moderation and reason, respected throughout the world. In addition, he fought the chickenhawks in the administration as much as could, representing the perspective of a true military man, trying in his way to bring some sanity to Washington.

CNN reports on the respect he obtained worldwide:

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat was one of the voices who praised Powell.

“In our deliberations with him, he has gained our highest respect and appreciation,” Erakat said. “He’s a fair man and highly dignified and will indeed leave his mark on international politics.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he was “very sorry” to hear of Powell’s resignation.

“You are a very good friend of Israel, but more than that, you are a very good friend of peace,”

and more.

Condoleeza Rice, on the other hand, scares me. She is an undoubtedly bright person, with strong convictions. Two issues make me question her suitability as Secretary of State.

First, she is primarily an academic, who has specialized for her entire career in Cold War relations with the former Soviet Union. When she briefly served previous administrations it was as an advisor in that role, only. She appears to see all international relations through that prism, treating anything subtle or nuanced in foreign relations as some sort of major power confrontation. Dealing with the Soviet Union had some semblence of rationality, despite the problems there. Dealing with Islamic countries such as Pakistan, which can’t even control their own territory, or military for that matter, is an entirely different matter.

Second, her ties to industry, particularly the oil industry, is an entirely different background from Powell’s. As a military leader oversees, Powell needed to deal with and gain the respect of not only his own people, but the people in the countries where he was working. Rice comes from the much more autocratic background of academia and big business. How much will Arab countries believe someone professing a balanced American policy, when that someone has actually had an oil tanker named after her? How much can she represent a balanced policy, with her background?

Colin Powell has served as a General, and later as a Statesman, should. He had strong opinions, but when they did not agree with those of his boss, he kept them to himself for the presumed good of the of the administration. In so doing, he earned the respect of much of the world, at a time when general opinion was widely turning against the United States.

I sincerely doubt we will be able to say the same, four years from now, about Condoleeza Rice.

Freedom of Religion

What it seems is that our so-called “Freedom of Religion” applies only to the conservative view of religion. My faith teaches equality and love for all, but the Boy Scouts, who encourage me to do my duty to God, do not allow me to treat, as I should, a homosexual as a valuable and important part of my community. My “Duty to God” is defined by the Mormon or Roman Catholic church, not my own. Views on abortion, homosexual rights, and science are only moral or faith based if they correspond to the blighted world view of the religious right and snake handlers of the country.

Quakers have always been in the forefront of scientific research. On the whole, we believe that what God reveals to us about the universe is a better way to understand Him, never in conflict with His truth. However, I must allow my children to be exposed to the idiocy of creationism, at least in some states.

I AM A CHRISTIAN!!!!
I AM A LIBERAL!!!

I do not buy the self-righteous bullshit of Billy Graham, Tammy Fay Baker, or Robert Schuller. God is not represented by hypocritical fakir’s in shiney suits on television, begging for money!!!

If God did not want me to use it and reason, why would he give me a brain?

God is not in the words of the bible. He is in the sacrifices and efforts of those who strive to show His love for others, and make the world a better place.

I’m ranting, and I know it. It’s been a generally bad day.

Deep shit.

The conservative’s are finding Arlen Specter way too liberal for them, A Wisconsin district will allow teaching of creationism, and Texans are pushing to have highschool textbooks specifically state that marriage is between a man and a woman.

We have opened the floodgates of religious bigotry and stupidity, and we may never be able to close them.

Personally, I feel anyone who honestly advocates creationism should be barred from voting on the basis of stupidity, but I doubt that could be adopted as a constitutional amendment.

Demagoguery trumps issues.

Recovering. I spent yesterday in a haze, hardly believing how the election had turned out, feeling disconnected from the world.

I believed, and still believe, that the current administration is both the most corrupt, and the most incompetent, of the 20th century. The damage they have already done to this country will take decades to repair, and the potential for more damage is real and appalling.

A Friend reminded me yesterday, though, that Nixon had been reelected also. We have survived bad administrations before (though Nixon, while bad, was nowhere near as bad as Bush) and we will survive them again.

What I think hurts most about this election is something CNN kept repeating during the day. Their exit polls asked both Bush and Kerry voters what their most important issues were. Kerry voters’ top priorities by a wide margin were the economy, and the Iraq war, in that order. Something of the order of 40% of the Kerry voters had had someone in their family lose a job in the current economy.

Bush voters, on the other hand, cited a different set of concerns: terrorism and “moral values.” Some 70% of them still believed that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. That despite all the evidence people still believe this is inconceivable.

On the issue of terrorism, I don’t see how the voters could believe that Bush had made this better. Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq prior to our invasion, but they certainly are now. The war has done nothing but make this situation worse. Every picture on the TV or in a newspaper is another recruiting poster for the terrorists. Meanwhile, the taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden is appearing on TV taunting the US, and terrorist attacks are a daily occurrence in Iraq, the country we supposedly liberated. Bush has somehow successfully played on the fears of the people to get them to ignore what their own eyes and ears tell them. This has been a successful strategy for every despot, tyrant, or demagogue in history. Bush is not (yet) a tyrant, but his and his campaign’s skill at demagoguery are unrivaled.

Perhaps what troubled me most the last few days, though, was the issue of “moral values.” How did an election which should have turned on the war, the economy, and the environment become a referendum on Gay Marriage and abortion? Getting gay marriage referendums on the ballot in 10 states was a masterful stroke, ensuring that supporters would come to the polls for that reason, if no other. In the issue of abortion, the two candidates are actually very close, but the fact that Kerry was not willing to force his religious beliefs on the nation was somehow turned into a radical pro-abortion stance.

That no president can actually change abortion laws, or that marriages are and always have been a state’s concerns, was ignored.

That “moral values” could become an issue in peoples minds is amazing, and evidence of the power to distract and persuade voters. It is frightening. That concern over whether someone might be able to have a legal abortion, or that two gay men might have the same property rights available to a straight couple, could somehow trump the issue of the war for many voters stuns me. That someone can argue against abortion, but ignore the unnecessary deaths of more than 100,000 innocent civilians, and consider this a “moral values” stance is staggering.

We are an easily led, and poorly educated populace on the whole. As Richard Hofstadter’s “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” pointed out decades ago, we distrust anyone who appears to be concerned about facts, research, or critical thought. We don’t trust “thinkers”, and that was the fundamental perceived difference between Bush and Kerry.

This is the most damning indictment of american society and an invitation to rule by demagogues; an invitation that has been accepted.

We deserve what we will get.

“In a democracy, people usually get the kind of government they deserve, and they deserve what they get.”

- attributed to Adlai Stevenson, Hunter Thompson,
and even Thomas Jefferson

God help us all.