Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
The United Auto Workers Union magazine, "Solidarity" offers some telling facts about the effects that the Bush regime has had on the hard workers of America. These are just a few of the article titles in their current issue:
"The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get..."
"Republicans Condem Bush"
"Things About John Kerry that George W. Bush Doesn't Want You To Know"
"Things Bush Wants You to Forget"
There's lots more good information here that the guys who are waging a futile war with me here don't want to know. It's about twenty against one (me) and I still haven't given up. It's the Xena in me.
Two former presidents of the UAW put in their pitch for Kerry:
Why is this election so critical? Because George W. Bush has set a radical — and we believe dangerous —course for America in both domestic and foreign policy.
George W. Bush had his chance — and he failed.
Bush’s policy choices over the past four years have created a raw deal for America’s working families. Too many are living paycheck to paycheck — or racking up crushing credit-card debt — as wages have stagnated or fallen, while health care, child care, energy and college tuition costs have soared. And too many workers have lost good-paying manufacturing jobs, and find themselves competing with their own kids for $7-an-hour jobs.
Bush’s misguided tax cuts have transformed the budget surpluses he inherited from President Clinton into record budget deficits that stall economic growth and take dollars away from education, Social Security, Medicare and other vital domestic programs.
We need more ways to share the truth with those who still can't see past the military perspective on "stay the course" and Bush's version of "strong leadership."
(Cross posted on my weblog. See this post also for my appeal to women as peacemakers.)
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Watched Paths of Glory on Turner Classic Movies the other night. This was always one of those movies I'd heard a lot about: Kubrick direction... "Really significant"... "One of the most profound anti-war message films ever made"... etc. But I never had even the smallest urge to actually see it.
Then TCM showed it last month. Even tho we only saw the last half, it was absolutely devastating. Mr. Tild even made calendar entries for this month's showing just so we wouldn't miss the opportunity to see it in its entirety.
This showing was 'hosted' by John McCain, who mouthed a smattering of things about war, 'n' ethics, 'n' junk like that. You know, the big sad truth about McCain is that in the final analysis he's just another Republican tool. In that same toolbox with Rudy Giuliani. Give up on them both, kids. They will ultimately always toe the party line, no matter how devoid of ethics and honor.
Watch Paths of Glory, a fictional story about French soldiers who are tried for cowardice for refusing to engage in a suicidal charge during WWI, and then read today's news story from Iraq about 17 US soldiers who refused to go on a mission because their damaged, faulty, inadequate vehicles and armor made their mission tantamount to suicide. See if today's life- imitating- art scenario doesn't send a chill up your spine.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said he plans to submit a congressional inquiry today on behalf of the Mississippi soldiers to launch an investigation into whether they are being treated improperly.
“I would not want any member of the military to be put in a dangerous situation ill-equipped,” said Thompson, who was contacted by families. “I have had similar complaints from military families about vehicles that weren’t armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are outdated. It concerns me because we made over $150 billion in funds available to equip our forces in Iraq.
“President Bush takes the position that the troops are well-armed, but if this situation is true, it calls into question how honest he has been with the country,” Thompson said.
What will happen to these US soldiers, who are now, at this minute, military prisoners? Will a courtmartial be severe enough punishment? Would courtmartial and dishonorable discharge send a strong enough message to the rest of the US soldiers forces in Iraq?
Will these 17 US soldiers face a firing squad?
If it should come to that, it won't be fictional French soldiers facing execution in order to 'preserve' the pride and prestige of a corrupt general; it will be actual, real-life American men and women facing execution in order to 'preserve' the glorious, tough-talkin War President image of George W Bush. Think it could never happen?
Paths of Glory. It'll be on TCM again on Saturday Oct 16th; check your local listings for times. Watch. No wonder it's #40 on the IMdb Top 250.
Also posted over here.
Friday, October 15, 2004
People die, for no reason.
People starve, 'tis the season.
A terrible blight,
Each night after night,
In the Bush and Cheney Horrorland.
Gone away is our lockbox,
And the worth of our hot stocks...
Bush & Cheney Horrorland is here with a sing-along midi link and a link to the horrific White House Holiday page.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Some think that George Dubya was wired,
While debates with John Kerry transpired.
The rest of my Wired Prez Limerick is here.
And speaking of debates, I wrote the Education President Song Parody in anticipation of all the bragging about his "education accomplishments" Bush will inevitably do during the domestic issues debate: Here's the first verse (to be sung to Barry Manilow's I Write The Songs):
Bush promised parents that he'd fix our schools.
That he'd make sure their children didn't turn out fools.
But all the teachers got were lots of rules.
Let's right his wrongs, let's right his wrongs.
Education President Song Parody is here.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Someone has to fix the mistakes that have been made. First. What have those in power done to our country? Here's a short list.
1. Put the country into an incredible amount of debt. We need to raise taxes lickity split, and figure out how to revive the economy, which is farming out jobs at an incredible rate. As long as taxes are framed as a "problem," this will be hard to accomplish, but at least with a Democrat, we won't have a government that is its own worst enemy. Would you hire a CEO whose avowed purpose was to shrink the company and drive it into the ground? Nope, I wouldn't either.Okay, so those three things are important. Most candidates admit to those problems, even the Republicans, who refuse to take any blame for them. But what can Kerry do that no one else can? Why not vote for the Greens, or the Libertarians, or write in your own name?
2. Enmired us in a senseless war that is tapping our resources, both psychologically and financially, as well as disappointing the entire planet. Seems they sometimes look to the US as a ray of hope in the otherwise corrupt bleak world wrought by centuries of imperialism and capitalism. Now the US is just as bad as any other power-hungry empire. Is there no hope?
3. Sent the environment on a downward spiral to doom. This is completely flat-out frightening. We're all doomed! The fish are dying! We're breathing in poison! Our water is dirty! By any measure, it's BAD. Bad, bad, bad.
First, the obvious. He has been annointed by the Democratic Party, which means that there is probably no surprise dirt that can be dug up on the guy. He has been checked out thoroughly. Believe me, if they had any character issues on him, we would have known about it a while ago. He's clean. Therefore he has a chance to win.
(Frankly I don't care about a person's personal life when it comes to their job performance, but I think I'm alone in that sentiment. Personally, I'm sort of grudgingly happy for Bush that he used his family ties to get out of combat duty. At least he was THAT smart. He's still a complete jerk, but he did dodge the draft. You have to give him that.)
We have a two-party system in this country. It's a shame we don't have a parliamentary system whereby various parties get a percentage share of the seats according to the percentage of the population which voted for that party, but we DON'T. So to my way of thinking we have no choice but to vote for Kerry. Votes for another candidate mean that one of the two candidates garner a vote by the simple fact that it is not cancelled out by a counter-vote.
Even though voting for Kerry might be voting for someone who is more conservative than you, or who has to toe the party line and it isn't strong enough for you, or you simply want to be an iconoclast: I say whatever, suck it up. It's not so bad. If our country's two-party system really bothers you, figure out how to change it. I believe that voting for some third-party candidate will NOT show the powers-that-be that you are protesting the two-party system; actually, they are HAPPY when you do so. Or at least the wrong side is happy, generally speaking.
Kerry might just stand for most of the things you do, if you look closely. He can argue his way out of a paper bag without wearing a wire. He's smart. He has a lot of experience in politics. I think he has a chance of getting us OUT of the stupid war we're in, because he is a military man and knows how the military works, presumably. Strangely, I'm a bit leery of his heroism in the military because I spent my childhood among hippies in the Vietnam era, but I admit that it is a prejudice.
Because you know what's nice? Kerry protested that war, even after he won his purple hearts, so he probably isn't some kind of cretinous military guy in disguise! He probably sees the military as what it has the potential of being, which is a powerful deterrent, as well as an opportunity to reach out to the world with help when the powers of good are threatened. (I say "help" and I don't mean "full-scale invasion," you'll note. "Help" in the form of distributing bags of rice and flour, keeping the peace when sociopathic warlords are in power, protecting people, etc. is what I have in mind.)
And finally, the environment: here's what I know, and it isn't much. Kerry isn't entirely in the pocket of corporations. Again, he has been annointed by the Democratic machine, which means that he toes the line in terms of Democratic platform, and generally speaking, that means standing up for the little guy. It means that money is not necessarily the first consideration in any question. Conservation and preservation of nature do not make money for anyone, and it seems entirely possible to me that a man like Kerry might see past money interests to higher priorities, like the future of the human race on this planet. I hope. Oh, I hope.
(cross-posted on Spanglemonkey)
Friday, October 08, 2004
Will you vote on November 2?
It's amazing how many registered voters in this country do not vote in any given election. It's mind-boggling, in fact. I've voted in elections with a turnout of less than 50%, a pathetic number by any stretch of the imagination. Granted, presidential elections usually have a better turnout, because people care more about the outcome -- nevertheless in the 2000 election most states' turnout hovered between 60 and 70 percent.
A sizeable section of the population didn't care about the outcome, in other words. Those who opted out might have wanted to leave the voting to someone who did care. They might have thought their apathy would register as a protest.
This "protest" has never made sense to me. "I'll take my toys and go home if you don't pony up the perfect candidate?" What, you'd rather live in a totalitarian state? You'd rather not be able to vote? Yeah right, that'll show 'em. I'll just go and vote, while you're having your little protest...
Anyway, this year, with one of the most contentious elections in our country's history, voter registration has boomed. It's likely that many of those newly registered voters will turn up on election day, and I hope you will too.
Whether you approve of Bush's foreign policy or not, you can't have missed one of the central arguments made on behalf of the war itself; that the US would bring "democracy" to the Middle East, and that the Iraqi individuals would be better off with a say, however small, in the formation of their own government. Whether democracy has any potential to flourish in such a place is a thorny question; my point in bringing it up is that an underlying assumption of "bringing democracy" to a place is that democracy is desirable. It's not perfect, as a system; there's the distinct possibility that a majority of a voting population will be misled into voting against their own best interests. But as a system it's the best thing humans have come up with yet. It utilizes a collective decision-making process, and as long as citizens have free and unfettered access to information with which to make their choices, it is likely to result in fairly good government.
Or at least government whose mistakes can be reviewed every four years or so. *ahem.*
It's not a perfect system, and yeah, it would be great if our individual votes were more powerful than they are. It's a collective endeavor, voting, and there's little that compares to the humbling sensation of being a tiny grain of sand in a huge dune. And if statistical insignificance is what bothers you most about voting, if that's what is keeping you away from the polls, can I make a suggestion please?
Run for office yourself. See, the reason we elect representatives to do the work of government is that it would be absolutely unwieldy to hold a vote for every single decision it would take to run a city, a state, or a country. They're called representatives for a reason. They represent the majority of their constituency. They're the ones who make decisions for large groups of people. That's how it works.
So here's why you should vote on November 2nd: because you can. You are immensely fortunate in living in the place you do, at the time in history you do. You don't live in China, or North Korea, or a country whose dictatorship might hold mock elections to cement its lock on one-party power; no, you live in the United States of America, and it's about time you started to act like an American. You have more power in the mark on your ballot than most people in the history of the world ever had in their lifetimes. It's time to choose the representation in your government, and I would take that seriously if I were you.
Don't be lame!
(essay also posted on Spanglemonkey)
Democratic Underground has the hook-up. Follow this link toward the end of the debates tonight and vote for Kerry. It may seem a small thing to vote in online polls, but Kerry is gaining momentum and a good showing will add to that. Get your friends involved, too! Thanks!
Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister, is the first black African woman to win a Nobel Prize in any category since the awards were first handed out in 1901. She gained recent acclaim for a campaign planting 30 million trees to stave off deforestation.
Maathai, 64, learned about the award, which includes $1.3 million, while campaigning to protect forests and distributing food to hungry constituents suffering from drought near her hometown of Nyeri in central Kenya. ...
In her first speech after winning the award, she spoke in her native Kikuyu language to an audience of 200 people, mostly poor women who had gathered to collect government food aid.
"Don't farm in forests ... because we will lose our forests," she said. "We have been given the responsibility of caring for future generations, and the younger ones, so that they may have water."
This is the first time the peace prize has recognized environmental work. What makes Matthai so worthy of the honor is that she sees the connection between saving the planet and preventing war. "Many of the wars in Africa are fought over natural resources," she told The Associated Press. "Ensuring they are not destroyed is a way of ensuring there is no conflict."
Former US President Jimmy Carter, who won the award in 2002, hailed the selection of Matthai: "I have known her for many years as a heroine in Kenya and throughout Africa," he said in an e-mail to the AP. "She has fought courageously to protect the environment and human rights, in the face of severe governmental pressures to silence her often lonely voice."
It appears the Nobel committee has made a wise and honorable selection. The prize will be awarded officially on Dec. 10 in Oslo, Norway.
from all facts and opinions
There once was a Veep named Dick,
Whose actions made liberals sick.
He took us to war...
The rest is here.
There once was a Veep named Dick Cheney,
Who conducted himself inhumanely.
He debated John Edwards...
The rest is here.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Thanks to Jared at Worshipping at the Altar of Mediocrity for the heads up. The Evil Empire is at it again, and this time they are endangering abused women. Please Act now, and spread the word.
Taking the virtual podia: For the Libertarians, Mike Kole of Kole Hard Facts, who is secretary of the Indiana Libertarian Party, chair of the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County, and candidate for Secretary of State 2006. For the Greens and Independents, me.
Moderator Dawn Olsen has the details at Blogcritics.
Join us, won't you? There are more than Dems and Repubs involved in the upcoming election -- take stock of other viewpoints.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
The study, called the Women's Health Initiative, found that women taking estrogen plus progestin at the strength once commonly in use had a doubled risk of venous blood clots, which can travel to the lungs and cause death.
I could have told you that 16 years ago. In February of 1988 my mother died of a pulmonary embolism [ a massive blood clot travelled up from her lower extremities and lodged in the major artery serving her lungs and heart]. Death occurred within 5 minutes. She was 64 years old. She had taken Premarin for 20 years. ...Coincidence?
Unsurprisingly, I decided to do without HRT when I entered perimenopause a few years back. I've never regretted that decision for even a second. Right now, today, I can truthfully say:
Believe that it can be done.
Your skin will not shrivel up and flake away.
Your nails will not shatter like sheets of micah.
Your hair will not fall out or get all goofy looking. Or at least not any more goofy looking than it might be right now.
The hot flashes and nightsweats can be managed [invest in a blowdryer with a cool-air setting.]
Calcium supplements stave off osteoporosis at least as well as estrogen replacement.
You can enjoy sex without having to sit in a tub of K-Y jelly beforehand. Of course, if you want to sit in a tub of K-Y jelly beforehand, that could be ...interesting, too.
Got a headache? Ibuprofen and acetominophen and aspirin still work.
If you feel inordinately cranky and argumentative, don't worry about it, and especially DON'T FEEL GUILTY! Savor the joys of being a crankpot. I say you've earned it.
All will even out eventually, and you will get back your energy and your calm disposition and a full night's sleep.
For more resources on going HRT-free, go here. And here. And here.
Cross-posted at Tild~.
I am dwelling briefly on a forwarded email from my hapless friend with the orange-county-style Republican parents, who sometimes forwards these missives to us, her friends, in a "Can I Get a Witness!?" manner.
This one asked the offhand question: "Where would we have been if Gore had been president!" a question meant to be rhetorical, implying "Oh dear lord, with a big fat liberal at the helm we'd all be Islamic and forced to marry people of the same sex by now!" (Dibs on Catherine Zeta-Jones, I say...)
I have often thought of that particular question. What would Gore have done? (WWGHD?)
With his interest in the environment (the place where we live, you'll recall) I can imagine a response something along the lines of a more direct correlation between cause and effect. Where did the "terrorists" come from? They came from Saudi Arabia. What is our connection with Saudi?
We put refined oil into our cars. We depend on oil to support our infrastructure in such an intricate way that we can't really imagine life without it. In fact, the thought of life without it scares the bejeepers out of us. Will we be reduced to some kind of stone-age looting and pillaging? Will Bibles lie in smoldering piles in every intersection? Will we have to marry people of the same sex?!
I imagine that Gore would have had the nuts to address this connection to the "terrorists" head-on, and to draw it into the public discourse. He might even have been able to take on the oil lobby, since he wasn't actually IN the oil lobby in the first place, or count on members of same to be best men for his children's weddings and such. Certainly I imagine that he wouldn't have used the general fear and collective Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to advance the interests of the oil lobby.
Nope, I can picture Gore making a connection between our own oil usage, and the savage anger of a disenfranchised and brainwashed group of religious fundamentalists who are, well, "resentful" is one word for what they see as a life-threatening intrusion on their culture and society.
Perhaps by now we'd see a reassessment of our priorities as a nation, in terms of our energy usage. Perhaps we could have channeled some of our collective shock and surge in patriotism (remember the blood drives?) into a Plan. A Plan like building trolleys in medium to large cities with little or no good public transportation (Bakersfield. Las Vegas. Phoenix. Heck, Deadwood City, my own burg.) A plan to investigate hybrid fuels and alternative sources of energy to heat houses.
We might, in other words, have found a way to strengthen the people we are at our best: innovative, forward-thinking, filled with trust and optimism, yes, perhaps naive. Perhaps we wouldn't be spending all of our collective energy making excuses for the knee-jerk violence and doubletalk of an administration with no earthly idea of the beauty of the system that put them in power in the first place.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Saturday, October 02, 2004
The rocking chair in my sidebar links to Granny Voter, an effort to rally us grannies to use our voting power and our potential power to influence younger voters. Go Grannies!
A new website, Women and Girls Unite for Freedom ,developed by another activist grandmother has the following as its mission:
To encourage informed and enlightened women and girls (men, also) to help raise the consciousness of other women so that they, too, will TAKE ACTION through their VOTE on November 2 to remove from office George W. Bush and his right wing conservative supporters in the U.S. Congress, and elect John Kerry for President along with other pro-choice candidates for Congress, thereby, greatly increasing the possibility of Equality, Justice and Freedom for all women and girls.
When I have a chance, I'll add a link to that site in my sidebar. It's got a great overview of the ways that the rights of women in America not only have been kept at a minimum, but how that minimum continues to be eroded by the Bush administration.
Hey -- girls, women. Think about this:
How many laws can you list that control what a man can and cannot do, personally, with HIS body???
Think about what kind of kick-ass old lady you want the right to be someday.