Monday, August 6, 2007
Barack Obama looking to gain votes from "A little shock and awe never hurt nobody" crowd...why the attitude?
For those of you who missed it, last week Barack Obama provided additional comments that the right-wing pundits devilishly enjoyed spinning and sensationalizing. Obama's comments were the following:
"Let me make this clear...There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
How cool would it be to hear that quote come from the mouth of James Earl Jones....SWEET!
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but there was this good ol' boy from Crawford, Texas, who came on the television shortly after 9/11 and said that Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were the guilty ones. He SWORE that he would hunt them down, wherever, whenever, however. He gave that, "you're with us or against us" line. He said that anyone who harbors terrorists is as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Heck, G-Dub even said HE would invade Pakistan, with or without their permission. What? He did? When? Click here.
So why is everyone all uptight about Obama saying the same thing? I mean, Obama can't do anything. He's NOT president. Our president CAN and IS arrogant and ignorant enough TO in fact, light up another country, with or without congress and the United Nations. He's got the direct line to God. (By the way, is that line being tapped in the warrant-less, unconstitutional wiretapping program?)
So... why is everyone SOOO concerned, given that the President, back when he was at 80% approval rating...(remember that time? ...seems like two generations ago) SWORE that the perpetrators of this horrific, terrifying, tragic act of murder would be brought to justice? Is Obama not seeing that promise through when discussing what he would do if he were president? Did everyone suddenly forget why we are in this awful mess to begin with? I don't remember hearing anything about "Iraq" in the month that followed 9/11. But I do remember seeing this tall, shy fellow with a beard, speaking from a cave (and you know he got that camouflage jacket from a military second-hand store)
The right constantly beats the drum of "you scaredy-cat liberals are for cut and run!" Obama seems to be for kicking the door down and hunting for terrorists. Something the current administration has failed to perform. You see, we're in Iraq. See this map in case you forgot how far that is from Afghanistan. Well, it's far. Imagine taking a flight from New York to Los Angeles, but the plane stops in Denver and the pilot says, "Oops, my bad."
Despite Bush pleading and supplicating that you believe that the terrorists we're fighting in Iraq are those of 9/11, they're not the ones who dun it! We're fighting the pissed off Iraqis and killing them, and staying out of the way when they want to kill each other (primary job of a liberator, right?).
So, to make sure we understand the rules... When we want to stick our chest out and say "we'll fight 'em anywhere", invading a country like Pakistan, an ally with nuclear weapons, is perfectly legitimate. Right? "Yee-haw, it's fer the Global War on Terror boys...Amirca's colors don't run!" Wave a couple flags in the backdrop and play some country music in the background. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh will convince you that Bush's plan is brilliant. As soon as they procure a copy of the talking points from Tony Snow and Rupert Murdoch, the light then turns green and they begin their rhetoric. 30 minutes into it, you start believing that Musharaf is actually an old drinking buddy of Bin Laden, that they both slept with Rosie O'Donnell and then you can't wait another minute for the Hellfire missiles to start raining down on the mountains of Pakistan. As the saying goes, "If you don't come to democracy, democracy will come to you."
On the other hand, you have a presidential candidate with EXACTLY the same amount of White House experience that Bush had at the time of his first campaign (zero), saying what he would do if he were president and fighting terrorism. He's doing two things: 1) he is dispelling the "cut and run" accusations from the right that are as tired as Ann Coulter's jokes and 2) he's is attempting to gain respect and ultimately votes from those who are just right of center. Those who are perhaps NOT NRA members but are very patriotic, who don't mind a couple of missile explosions now and then, just to keep the world honest.
THIS base ladies and gentlemen, is the key voter base that is worth its weight in oil...errr...gold. These people get out and vote EVERY time. They are thinkers: doctors, lawyers, accountants, business owners, teachers, nurses, and they are not driven entirely on emotion. They could respect someone like Obama; tough on terrorism, proponent of an education bill that would actually complete its intended purpose, someone who is willing to talk out disagreements instead of sending 175,000 to troops to "offer diplomacy" and lastly, someone who is not afraid to show his religion and/or spirituality.
Being left of center, I have to admit that the right-wing tends to get its voters to polls with much higher frequency. Sadly. My little skateboarders and goth monsters are not pulling their weight in terms of civic duty. No one has shown them that they can be who they want to be AND go to the voting booth one day a year.
Obama and his team understand the importance of this demographic. But instead of threatening them or offering them bribes (cough George Allen cough-sneeze) for their votes, Obama is offering a return to those days following 9/11: when so many of us wanted to catch those parties responsible for the largest terrorist attack ever on American soil. Or, as our president so eloquently called them, "the folks who did this."
Friday, August 3, 2007
This post is dedicated to the thoughtful, compassionate and moral side of the Iraq debate. Remember the party that once said they would return "morals and values to Washington"(Mark Foley, Tom Delay, Dennis Hastert, David Vitter, Scooter Libby, Ted Haggard...ZZZZzzzzz)
As I stated in my very first blog entry, the right encounters enormous difficulty when attempting to debate the Iraq question. When confronted with annoying issues like facts and data, the right typically resorts to ad hominem attacks, suggestions of violence and vulgar insults that make me warm and fuzzy with nostalgia for my days in middle-school.
Compassion knows no boundaries. Sean Hannity is an expert hate-monger. His daily talk show consists of twisting the truth in such a manner that some of his listeners would believe that Al-Qaeda actually created Hurricane Katrina. His followers now congregate in the venues of the Freedom Concert Series, which is terribly ironic when you realize that "freedom" is exactly what Bush is taking away from American citizens in the way of recent executive orders. The trickle-down effect of his rhetoric has manifested itself in so many of the common right-wing citizens that, despite factual evidence and widely-accepted truths, his followers generally cling to the following items:
1) There is no such thing as Global Warming. These two words were invented by Al Gore. He is a democrat. He is evil and wants America to be taken over by Islamic extremists. There was no Global Warming when Jesus was driving his Ford Expedition around. There ain't none now either!
2) The Global War on Terror is completely justified. If you're not with us, then you're against us. We are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. If we weren't in Iraq right now, the terrorists would be arriving by the thousands daily. We would be attacked right here on our own soil! You liberal loonies don't get it! And Jesus told Bush to invade Iraq anyway. How can you be wrong when JC has your back?
(Despite the declaration of war on a mere concept, for instance, I could make a Global War on Daylight, the right believes this war is necessary for the fight for survival for the planet. It's like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and we can't let the machines win.)
3) We are also under attack by Mexicans who are poor, hungry and have 2 changes of clothing. They are all violent heathens and speak that damn Spanish. This is going to be problematic because we can't tell them apart from the Al-Qaeda terrorists, who are due to land on our shores in a matter of days (if a democrat is elected president!)
4) All Democrats are for the Islamic extremists. They actually want them to win. The Democrats want everyone to convert to Islam, hand over ALL of their possessions to the new socialist regime and make everyone take a humanities course in college to become more civil.
These are only a few of the strong talking points that are originating from the right-wing pundits. Sean Hannity, encyclopedic arrogance, once had his lunch handed to him by the mayor of Salt Lake City in a debate over the Iraq conflict. While Mayor Rocky was serving up unemotional, intellectual facts, Sean resulted in name-calling, various insults and an emotional plea to the crowd as he started out with footage from a recent funeral of a fallen soldier. You would have made Lincoln kick his dog with that performance Sean.
Here are the youtube.com links to parts of that debate. Click Here.
Individuals like Hannity (Coulter, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Melanie Morgan) do absolutely nothing for healthy debate in this country, especially on an issue so critically important as Iraq. Instead of searching for information to dissect the situation, Hannity and others simply gather audio clips of Democrats speaking, taking only bits of the clip in order to bash, ridicule, judge and hate. Brilliant. Melanie Morgan did this piece on Nancy Pelosi while on Hannity and Colmes. Click Here.
Sean Hannity even has his own website. No, it's not www.spreadhate.com. But here's a link to the forum on his website, full of loving, compassionate comments by his SS soldiers.
Click here to read some of the posts left by Hannity followers...wow!
Perhaps I'm giving these individuals more credit than they deserve. I tend to forget that they are, after all, entertainers. They are capitalizing on this situation just as some of the government officials are doing, as I mentioned in my previous post.
Despite the hate that some have for my views and possibly your views as well, I continue to focus instead on love and tolerance. Maybe the terrorists don't hate us for our freedom, but rather because most of us choose to love instead of hate. Piss off a neo-con and fight the right-wing pundit's agenda, do something kind for someone today, and don't tell anyone you did it!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
By now most Americans understand that our initial reasons for invading Iraq were completely false. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I mean, come on. Don't you think if there had been Bush would have jumped at that photo op? A picture of him sitting on top of a can of yellow cake or on top of a missile, with that Crawford grin and the big thumbs up? There was no meeting between Mohammed Atta and a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Prague in April 2001. The supposedly "high-quality aluminum tubes" would certainly have made Lt. Columbo say, "Ummm...sorry to bother again, it's all a bit confusing, but just one more question..."
Bush finally admitted in 2006, "my bad, Iraq didn't have any weapons of mass destruction. Okay, let's eat." But he quickly added that he and the rest of the world believed that Iraq was better off without a brutal dictator like Saddam...so, that is now the reason why we invaded. No, wait a second. He was a state sponsor of terror. Hold up...I got it! Saddam was illegally downloading music on his iPod. Gotta keep up people. The reasons change every six months.
The problem with maintaining a national defense is that at some point weapons became stale. Yes, they have a shelf life. And when the shelf life nears you can either a) destroy them or b) destroy them AND some humans. The United States opted for "b". Shock and awe cleaned out the inventory and allowed for the manufacturing of new military toys. And you can only imagine that if you had played your cards right, that is to say that if you had been prescient and predicted the Iraq conflict, then you could have invested beforehand in companies like Boeing, Haliburton, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and made a frightening amount of money. Buying low and then cashing in later when stock is high is a sweet deal. Ask Martha and those over at Enron.
These companies, among others, produce the military gadgets that cost huge amounts of money.
I mean, do you know what an Apache Helicopter goes for these days? And what if you could make lots of them for the conflict in Iraq and sell some to Israel, Netherlands and Greece?
Well, take 18 million dollars a pop and multiply that by roughly 500. For starters. Point being that there are some individuals that are making serious coin off of this war business. Who are these lucky bastards and how did they know ahead of time to put their chips on that horse?
Some call them government officials. I call them the Axis of Evil.
See for yourself. Perpetual War Portfolio
Now, the names of the members of congress in the last column made their cash on political contributions from these companies, contributions that range from $2,000 to nearly $36,000. Don't get me wrong, I find those contributions to be pretty slimy. But that is pretty common for members of congress. And individually they don't have a direct effect on foreign policy like those of the Axis of Evil.
But let's take a look at those individuals in the third column from the left.
Lynne Cheney (wife of Darth Vader) served as the Director of the Board of Lockheed Martin, the largest national defense contractor until January 2001. Are you freaking kidding me? Yeah, okay, let's see if I can get my arms around this. While dining over pot roast, Lynne, speaking on behalf of the old chums at Lockheed, and the VP can discuss how to prolong this conflict in order to manufacture thousands more Hellfire Missiles. Conflict of interest? Nah.
Richard Armitage, leaker of Valerie Plame (Wilson) the CIA agent. When Joe Wilson returned from Niger and said, "Geez guys, I know you want to see a link between Iraq and Niger in the purchase of uranium...I simply can't find the link. I don't think there is one." Armitage said to Scooter (I love saying that name, sounds like someone off of Dukes of Hazzard) Libby, "Tell the NY Times that his wife is a covert CIA agent. That'll teach him." Armitage was a major architect for the invasion of Iraq.
Paul Wolfowitz, recently asked to resign from president of World Bank. Previously he was Donnie Rumsfeld's Deputy Secretary of Defense. I wouldn't ask this guy to manage the money from the ashtray in my car. This guy jets off to a neighborhood in suburban Detroit and polls 100 super-wealthy Iraqis, asking if they feel that Iraq would be better off without Saddam AND if they think there would be any difficult in unifying the country in reconstruction efforts. They all responded with a resounding "NO" and so, the complex post-war Iraq plans were a done deal. How'd that little insurgency turn out for ya Paulie?
Then there's Stephen "the war is going great" Hadley. Deputy National Security Adviser. He is the one who said that Iraq is NOT in a civil war. Definition of a civil war: A war between factions or regions of the same country. I know what you're thinking, lawyers say the craziest things.
Lastly, it's the evil warlock Karl Rove, Bush's right-hand villain. The man who lives in the shadows, the one who jumps with joy when Bush rattles off 3-4 long, compound sentences without making a mistake. Karl is a shareholder in Boeing and is probably going to cash that in when he rides back to Sleepy Hollow in January of 2009.
What is tragic about this episode is that, despite the dead bodies coming home for the neocon money machine, the president is still able to find humor in the loss of young lives.
(See this clip)
I believe the word for it is "sociopath". But don't forget: "we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight 'em here."
Sounds to me like we should be fighting THEM here so we don't have to fight anyone THERE.
(Perpetual War Portfolio link provided by Dack Ragus 2002-2003.)
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. -- Joseph Goebbels
Okay, so you have to be wondering by now, how is it that George Bush can continue to make the claim that the Al-Qaeda we are fighting in Iraq is the Al-Qaeda that executed the terrorist attack on 9/11? It is simply not true. Al-Qaeda did not exist in Iraq prior to our invasion. Moreover, the Al-Qaeda that is in Iraq now, due entirely to our removal of Saddam Hussein and lack of a plan to secure the peace, is a collection of sectarian groups who have attempted to align themselves with Al-Qaeda in hopes of gaining control of Iraq, naturally through violent means. But hey, last time I checked, 17% of the population still thinks Saddam was behind 9/11...
The title of this blog is a quote by one of the greatest propagandistic minds of all-time. Joseph Goebbels was propaganda chief for Hitler and the Nazi Regime. His success stemmed from his ability to mobilize the press, radio and the visual arts to create a national fervor for a large military conflict. The overall success for Germany's war plans depended almost entirely on the nation as a whole to offer itself either in the form of labor or as a soldier in the military (or as a fertile woman to make lots of little Nazis). Intellectual and scholastic achievements, if they were not for furthering Nazi propaganda, were simply stifled.
I find some striking similarities between the Nazi regime of Germany in the late 1930's and the current Bush Administration. It's important to always be precise when using these examples. Not everyone in Germany was a Nazi and certainly not everyone in America supports Bush.
Dr. Laurence Britt supports this theory in this video clip
So why does Bush still make the claim of a connection between
If this base, which is fiercely loyal, were willing and open to look at the factual evidence then perhaps the support would dissipate very quickly. But to possess the willingness is problematic when you are fearful that you may have been misled. The fear is reinforced by the image of the young boy or girl stomping their feet, hands over their ears, screaming, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU, I’M NOT LISTENING! BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!”
I continue to support any who is in combat in this conflict and their respective families and friends, that they stay safe and return home as soon as possible.
I turned 36 this morning at 7:58AM. I figured it is time to align myself with my contemporaries and begin to publish some of my thoughts.
I've been interested in doing this for some time now. My lovely wife (fortheloveofperfume.blogspot.com) has encouraged me for months now to funnel my political thoughts and ideas in places other than her ears. Nevertheless, as with most men it takes a lot of time for reasonable suggestions to sink in. I do believe though that some of my perspectives have rubbed off on her :)
I'm not exactly sure how or when I became so passionate about the current political situation here in the U.S. Prior to 9/11 I suppose I was like many of you; just trying to find my way and find my place in the world. I wouldn't say that I was terribly selfish or self-absorbed but I had a child-like faith that men and women in government generally had our best interests in mind, and more often than not, steered clear of deceit and corruption. I thought that if I worked hard and remained persistent that I could realize my dreams like anyone else. I wouldn't say that belief was or is naive whatsoever. After all, I grew up in the Midwest, played Wiffle Ball every day in the summer, followed the baseball box scores, collected sports cards and rode my Big Wheel around town like I owned the place.
Growing up I was presented the same sloppy version of U.S. history that every other white kid my age got: England was mean so we fought back and won, our forefathers all agreed on the constitution, we kindly asked our good friends, the "Indians", if they would let us have some more land, we helped out Europe,...errrr...won WWI and WWII and the Soviet Union wanted to blow up the planet as many times as possible. Generally speaking, white Americans kicked a lot of ass and never had to say they were sorry. Does it get better than that?
A higher education (those wily liberals!) is a wonderful thing, as it allows one to study things like The Federalist Papers, the systematic genocide of the Native American people, the Scottsboro Nine, Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, the atrocities of the conflict in Vietnam, Operation Northwoods and the U.S. support for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the 80's and 90's. I felt pretty foolish when asked what I knew about these things. History is, in fact, told by the winners...at least in Smalltown, USA.
I guess for my generation (30-40?) you could say that we classify our lives into two distinct categories: pre-9/11 and now. I was living in Tallahassee, Florida when 9/11 happened. I was a Master's degree student/teaching assistant at Florida State University. I reacted like many that day: shock, terror, sadness, doubt, fear, anger, and worry. For a while in the "now" period, I would say from September 12, 2001 until about May of 2003, I was a regular consumer of the Bush Administration's kool-aid. I have to admit: during those 20 months I was a bit apprehensive about even being in an elevator with anyone who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent. I wouldn't classify it as a resentment, most likely due to the fact that I worked in a very culturally diverse environment, but I can't deny that I had prejudice thoughts constantly swimming in my head.
Looking back on that I can see how the media, mainly Fox News, and the Bush rhetoric nearly converted me to this narrow-minded and intellectually surrendering type of thinking. "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists" quit working for me.
Not until I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin in the summer of 2003 to begin doctoral work did I begin to feel some sense of freedom from this oppressive and suffocating neo-conservative propaganda. (Thank you Melody and Eugenia!) I tell people that I was face-to-face with the dark side, and somehow was fortunate enough to turn and head in the direction of truth and reason. I know that I have always been a truth-seeker. Since my adolescent years I have always sought to gather information that would lead me to the truth. Moreover, my years in graduate school afforded me serious intellectual and scholastic growth. An education of this sort, mostly in the area of humanities, furnished me with the tools and knowledge that I believe are fundamental in forming a logical and syllogistic argument. I discovered early on that in order to present a solid paper it was necessary to place intellect over emotion.
And I guess that is why I am here, sort of. I find that the current political situation has become so incredibly emotional that it is hard to sit down and have a discussion with someone about, for instance, the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
My goal is to launch some of my thoughts and ideas about the current political landscape and to solicit feedback and dialog, all in a non-threatening way and without the ad hominem attacks. I simply cannot be unique in my thoughts.
Does anyone question our government? Did you stop questioning after 9/11 because you feel in doing so you are a traitor? Do you ever feel that terrorists must not like us for reasons OTHER than, "they hate us for our freedom"? Did anyone else feel that even if Saddam had had weapons of mass destruction and had surrendered them to the Bush regime that we were going to invade Iraq anyway? Do you ever wonder why we aren't looking for Osama Bin Laden?
There must be many others out there who are as bewildered as I am, scratching their heads and asking, "how did we get here and why hasn't anyone gotten upset about it?"
(photo is of James Madison 1751-1809, the fourth U.S. president and co-author of "The Federalist Papers")