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

Death Toll

The US Military death toll in Iraq just hit 1500. This does not include the approximately 200 “Contractors” killed, some legitimate, some simply mercenaries, the 172 coalition soldier deaths, the 10000 or so crippled US soldiers or the approximately 100,000 dead Iraqi’s due to this war.

Dollars spent: $157,000,000,000
Ties to 9/11: 0
Ties to Al Qaeda discovered: 0
Weapons of Mass Destruction Found: 0

Let me put this simply:

If you voted for Bush, you are an Accessory to Murder.

Characteristics of Fascism

**The 14 Characteristics of Fascism**
by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry magazine

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine’s policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

**1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism**
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

**2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights**
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

**3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause**
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

**4. Supremacy of the Military**
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

**5. Rampant Sexism**
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

**6. Controlled Mass Media**
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

**7. Obsession with National Security**
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

**8. Religion and Government are Intertwined**
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

**9. Corporate Power is Protected**
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

**10. Labor Power is Suppressed**
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

**11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts**
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

**12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment**
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

**13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption**
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

**14. Fraudulent Elections**
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Copyright 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

__Now__ I understand his plan

From the transcript of a presidential news conference as reported by the whitehouse:

\Because the all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I’ll keep working on it.\

I’m glad he cleared that up. Good to know he’s got such a clear understanding of the issues.

What some people consider fun

From CNN:

\Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded Marine expeditions in Afghanistan and Iraq, made the comments Tuesday during a panel discussion in San Diego, California.

“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot,” Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the audience. “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”\

I have nothing but respect for those who serve in the military out of a sense of duty or honor or patriotism. I may not agree with their decisions, but I respect and honor them for living their convictions. Having said that, I think there is a name for people who “think it’s a hell of a hoot” to shoot people.

We call them psychopaths.

John Quincy Adams quote

“Whenever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America’s heart, her benedictions and her prayers. But she does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the wellwisher to freedom and independence for all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She well knows that by once enlisting other banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extridition, in all wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom….She might become the dictress of the world but would no longer be ruler of her own spirit….Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy.”\

__John Quincy Adams__ As Secretary of State

Oklahoma is OK

The state of Oklahoma ranks as the 5th worst in the country for the percentage of people living without health insurance, 7th worst for percentage of teenage parents, 10th worst for people living below the poverty level, 10th worst for burglary rates, and 10th worst for larceny rates.

Given this, what interests the Oklahoma Politicians? What laws do they address? What are their pressing issues? Why, it’s putting little boxing gloves on roosters so they revive cockfighting.

And to prove it must be something in the red state air, not just limited to the Grand Old Party, this yahoo calls himself a democrat.

Christians issue gay warning on SpongeBob video

I never __did__ like this annoying little twerp.
Now I know why

Darth Tater

Finally, a completely non-political post.

Personally, I feel one of the greatest toys went way down hill when Mr. Potato (Not ‘potatoe’ — I guess I just had to say that) Head started shipping with a plastic potato rather than having you stick decorations in real ones. I mean, come on, we were __supposed__ to play with our food!

Having gotten that off my chest, I may just have to get me one of these when they come out in a month.

I mean, how cool is that?!