Friday, August 12, 2005

Systemic Failure

My computer is in the slow process of self-destructing, so posts will, unfortunately, be quite infrequent from now on.

I'm struck today by the parallels between my machine and our country's political machine. Both seem to be in a slow spiral of destruction, plagued by corruption and no longer working like they should.

Difference is, I can pick up a new computer for a few hundred bucks. I can't pick up a new legislature.

We are facing systemic failure. Corruption has become so entrenched in our system that not only is it acknowledged, it is actually ACCEPTED by the majority of us. Politicians are corrupt. Everyone knows that. Doesn't stop us from voting for them.

How many legislators actually give a damn about you? About the needs and concerns of the average citizen? How many put your concerns above their own desire for re-election?

Political service.

Ponder that phrase. Time was, once, that our political representatives were actually servants of the people. Servants who gathered in Washington to speak up for the needs of their constituency. Public servants who were there to protect our rights and answer our concerns.

Do you honestly feel that's the case now, with either major party? Sure, there are some lawmakers who still serve the public. But almost ALL put their own career above their duties to us. They spend their whole term running for re-election, and spend their whole lives looking for that break to move up the political ladder and gain another handful of power.

So what's the solution?

Damned if I know, but as long as we remain with only two viable parties, the problems are going to get worse. Neither party has an obligation to serve its base, because both know full well that their base isn't going to vote for the other party. And we're left with a damnable choice. Vote for the party, despite its failings, or toss your vote away on a minority party that doesn't stand a chance of victory, or stay at home and remove yourself from the entire apparatus.

Great fucking choices.

So sit back, drink up, and enjoy. We've got front-row seats for the fall of the Roman Republic, all over again. Next stop, empire. And then we get to see a whole new Dark Age.

Have fun while it lasts, kids. Time to stock up on supplies.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Treasonous Turdblossoms

An angry President Bush fired top advisor Karl Rove today, saying that his actions in the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame were "inexcusable," and following through on his promise to fire whoever was involved.

At least, that's what SHOULD be on the news. You know, if this administration had even a semblance of honesty or integrity. Instead, we have the entire Republican party spouting "no comment" and trying like hell to change the subject. We get Scottie McClellan stammering and sputtering, looking like one hell of an ugly deer caught in the headlights. Apparently, he forgot what a REAL press corps should act like. It's not his fault, though. The "reporters" covering the White House for the last few years have done a lot to reinforce the idea that they're spineless, servile jellyfish, afraid to dare question the official party line they're being fed. It was kind of surprising to see them badgering poor ol' Scottie over the Rove/Plame connection. I just hope it lasts.

Not gonna hold my breath, however...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

History Repeating

The right wing hates Iraq/Vietnam comparisons. They call them unfounded, pointless, disingenuous (actually, most don't know what disingenuous means, but...)

But the parallels are there, and they are troubling, no matter how much the right chooses to ignore them...

A few quotes to bolster my point:

"There is a great gulf of understanding, between that world and our world, ideological in character. They see what we think of as the real world in wholly different terms. Their very processes of logic are different. So that it's very difficult to enter into each other's minds across that great ideological gulf."

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, August, 1964, on the Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Another war of combatting ideologies, another war pitting an army trained in conventional warfare against a determined insurgency, another war where our leadership fabricated a reason to invade.

Another war that might have been averted had both sides not been so entrenched in their mindsets.

"There may be a limit beyond which many Americans and much of the world will not permit the United States to go. The picture of the world's greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1000 non-combatants a week, while trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission, on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one. It could conceivably produce a costly distortion in the American national consciousness."

Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton, May 1967

Another administration more concerned with public appearance and support for an immoral war than with the innocents being slaughtered at the hands of the US military. Another administration willing to sacrifice the youth of America and murder the civilians of a less developed country to pursue the goals of US domination. Another administration lying to its citizens about the costs and reasons for war.

Another administration destroying America's reputation to further its own self-serving goals.

"Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967

Another group of dissenters branded as unpatriotic. Another country divided on ideological lines. Another clash between liberals and conservatives.

Another group of determined progressive thinkers dedicated to bringing the truth to light.

How long must we repeat this history of ours? How many times must the sons pay for the sins of the father? How can we continue so blindly, ignoring all that has come before us?

How can we doom ourselves to another Vietnam so easily?

I don't know. But here we are.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Cleanup - too many bad memories

My recent resurrection has left me with many conflicting feelings about my former life, in the days before freedom was murdered by the Republican party. So, I've deleted most posts from the 2004 election run-up. The ones I've decided to keep carry a message explaining why.

This is a new fight, a new purpose, a new determination.

All fascists will fall. This is not a prediction. It is a guarantee.

Why the War On Terror can never be won

Well, other than the fact that you can't fight against a noun...

This war will never end because neither side wants it to. The Bush cabal can use the war to drum up support from the knee-jerk "patriots" that respond to terror attacks with a wave of blind, unquestioning jingoistic fervor. It conveniently wipes away those pesky and troubling investigations into administrational coverups of treasonous retaliation against whistleblowers who question our rationale for invading a sovereign nation. It bumps news of Bush's failed attempts to jeapordize millions of Americans' futures by tying their retirement funds to the whims of the stock market. It distracts people from the dismal economy and staggering unemployment. It lines the pockets of the big defense contractors that own the Republican party. Why on earth would BushCo. want the war to end? To stop the death of American soldiers?

Don't make me laugh. Bush could give a rat's ass how many soldiers die. All he sees them as is fodder for his New American Century.

And as for Al Qaida? Well, the deranged Islamic militants that attack innocent civillians may hold views that we may find objectionable, offensive, or downright ludicrous, but contrary to prevailing redneck opinion, they are NOT stupid. This is the opportunity they have sought ever since the US taxpayers paid for the CIA to bring them all together back in the '80's. We wanted to teach them Russkies a lesson so badly that we gathered militants from all over the world, armed them, funded them, and trained them in the finer arts of terrorist activity. Then we turned them loose in Afghanistan, never giving a second thought to what may happen after they won. Because, frankly, we never expected them to win. We wanted them to be a thorn in Russia's side, forcing them to commit more and more money and troops in an effort to subdue a shadowy, well-organized insurgency in hostile terrain.

Sound familiar?

So now, here we are, in virtually identical positions as the Soviets were. Al Qaida has no desire to end this war, in Iraq or anywhere else. Right now, they have a rallying point for extremists across the middle east. Anti-American sentiment is on the rise, recruitment for the insurgency is higher than ever, and we're spending billions of dollars trying to shore up the damage from our botched invasion, engaged in the impossible task of "weeding out" an insurgency that we have no idea how to defeat. Al Qaida has a way to cripple the US economy. All they need to do is keep this war going. Eventually, we're going to run out of money to keep it up. And the worse things get in Iraq, the more young men will flock to their cause. But since our Fearless Chickenhawk Leaders will never consider withdrawal as an option, we'll keep fighting. And domestic programs will suffer the consequences.

And we, and our children, and our children's children will all pay for Bush's stupid goddamn war.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

And so it goes...

The War on Terror has escalated yet again with this morning's attacks on the London Underground. Fortunately (if such a thing can be called fortunate) only 33 are confirmed dead. It's tragic, of course, but it could have been much worse. I'm sure everyone's thoughts are with the citizens of London this morning.

If there was ever a doubt that this war in Iraq has made the world more dangerous, it should have evaporated now. Unfortunately, the rhetoric has already begun, that this terrorist attack somehow shows just how important it is that we stay the course.

"The terrorists hate our freedom."

How often have we all heard that self-serving platitude? How many times has that little gem been trotted out to explain away thousands of years of conflict? If you're stupid enough to accept that at face value, then you don't deserve to voice an opinion on global affairs. No, they don't hate our freedom. They hate our arrogance. They hate our interference. They hate how we use them for their oil, but don't give a damn about their culture or their traditions. They hate how we assume that all the world's resources rightly belong to the mighty United States, and we have the right to interfere in the government of any nation we disagree with.

And, yes, they have no problem slaughtering innocent people to make their point. But neither do we. We use smart-bombs instead of car-bombs. We kill tens or hundreds of thousands instead of 33 or 330 or 3300. We call it collateral damage, and pretend that the greater good outweighs the death of innocents, but the families of those victims see only uncaring US arrogance, and respond accordingly. Violence breeds violence, hatred breeds hatred, and right now this War on Terror is in a downward spiral that will only end in more bloodshed.

Right now, there are two equally obstinate, equally closed-minded fanatic groups at war with each other. Neither side is willing to bend, neither side is willing to try and understand the other's point of view. We call them cold-blooded, freedom-hating murderers, and they call us infidels out to destroy Islam. And we both vow each others' destruction.

And so it goes...

As long as neither side is willing to find a common ground, we will reap nothing but death.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Death is just a new beginning...

November 3rd, 2004.

John Kerry betrayed us all by rolling over and accepting defeat, letting massive voter fraud in Ohio go unchallenged. His rhetoric from the night before about making sure every vote counted was revealed for what it was: hollow, empty rhetoric from another career politician too consumed with maintaining his political position to give a damn about the voters who had just watched the election stolen by the right-wing cabal currently barricaded inside the White House, hidden behind razor-wire fences and armed stormtroopers. I learned on that day that the Democratic leadership was every bit as vacuous and self-servingly dismissive of the concerns of working-class Americans as the right-wing neo-American fascists I despise.

Some might call it a loss of innocence. Some might call it a shattering of illusions. Some might say I was naive in expecting the Democrats to fight for the rights of us lower-class working stiffs, trying to scrape out a living. Some might say I deserved the stab I felt on hearing Kerry's betrayal. But none of us deserved that. And, though some may have seen it coming, I was caught blindsided. Some wept that day. Some raged. Some just sat there, numb to the world. The blind, fascist thugs of the right wing crowed and cheered, too stupid or uncaring to realize that they cheered the death of democracy and freedom. And on that bleak, hopeless day, I put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger.

And so I died. And as my blood dripped from the walls of my tiny studio apartment, I passed out of recorded history, into the void that lies beyond this corporeal world. I passed into the realm of the dead. Time and space lose meaning in that drifting chasm beyond the stars. A century passes in the span of each second, lasting longer than the vast eons stretching back through time, yet gone in the blink of an eye. In this place, the spirits dwell. And there, with no further reason to survive, and no further recourse to take, I lay down amidst the darkness and let it wash over me. I surrendered to the void, determined to vanish into its numbing depths. And, as my eyes shut for what I thought would be forever, I felt as though I was finally gone.

But when I awoke, the world was fire.

I screamed in pain as the flames devoured me, consumed me, destroyed me. The cold numbness of that barren November day evaporated before the raging, molten blaze that surrounded me. Agony beyond belief, a fire so hot it could consume the very coldness of death itself. And as I felt the flames surge through my lifeless veins, I knew that my time here was not yet over.

As the phoenix rises from the ashes of its own immolation, so too have I returned. My mandate is clear, my path is set. Enemies of the People, no matter what party they claim allegiance to, will meet their destruction. Politicians are no longer safe because they keep a (D) by their name. If you put corporate interests above social equality, if you put the desires of the greedy and powerful over the needs of the poor and destitute, if you look to your own re-election before the needs of your constituency, I will be coming for you.

And I will NOT suffer another stolen election in silence.

You want a war, you've got one.

I've already died. Nothing you can do can stop me now.

Monday, October 04, 2004

American Fascism...

EDIT 07/08/05: I've kept this one because it's really an important read. Don't discount it. THINK about it...

I've tossed the phrase around before, and it most likely gets discounted as fiery left-wing rhetoric. But look closer, and I guarantee you won't be able to sleep tonight.

The following is an excerpt from an article by Lawrence W. Britt on the basic characteristics of all fascist governments, first published in Free Inquiry magazine, reprinted here.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Any of that sound familiar?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE THIS ELECTION!!!