Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Wisdom of the Dalai Lama

More 9-11ish thoughts via

kumarp's Daily Kos diary:

Since we have a natural compassion in us, and that compassion has to manifest itself, it might be good to awaken it. Violence done to an innocent person, for example, can make us indignant, scandalize us, and in so doing help us to discover our compassion. By its very violence, television might keep us in a state of alert. However, it is very dangerous if violence leads to indifference. Thus, a central point of our teaching is how to reach nonattainment without falling into indifference.

Repost: 9-11 Means Different Things to Different People

From last year at about this time. Rings every bit as true this year as it did last year (note that I made a couple minor changes - Chile's coup is now on its 31st anniversary):

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon were a terrible tragedy. But let's not forget that September 11 marks the anniversary for numerous other events: some tragic, some inspirational.

1. We shall also remember that 30 31 years ago, the democratically elected government of Chile and its President Allende were overthrown in a US-backed coup that resulted in Allende's death. Countless thousands of people were executed or "disappeared" during Pinochet's reign of terror that subsequently followed this tragic day in history. Let's remember the victims of the coup and its aftermath.

2. On this day in 1959 the US Congress authorized food stamps for Americans living in poverty. For those congressional leaders who voted to aid those in need, let's remember them.

3. On this day in 1851, in Christiana, Pennsylvania there was a stand-off between several ex-slave families (led by William Parker) and a posse of several armed white men led by a slave owner (Edward Gorsuch). This was one with a somewhat happy ending, as Parker and the remaining ex-slaves prevailed, and Gorsuch paid for his attempt to re-enslave these families with his life. That day was a stark reminder of the struggle that lay ahead for those endeavoring to break the bonds of slavery in the U.S. Let's remember Parker and those brave families who were willing to stand up for their human rights and dignity by any means necessary.

This day marks the anniversary of numerous events, some tragic, some uplifting. But bear in mind that ultimately today is another day on the calendar. We need not be straight-jacketed by the events of the past, nor need we forget them. There are many lessons to be learned from the events mentioned above with regards to human freedom and dignity. Let's spend some time today pondering those lessons.

For me personally, September 11, 2001 will be remembered as a day when we saw the schizophrenic character of American society in sharp relief. The acts of courage and helpfulness by countless individuals, their willingness to reach out to others was truly inspiring. On the other hand, the American tendency to engage in belligerent jingoism and to immediately blame and attack people, nations, and cultures for the bombings reared its ugly head that day and in the aftermath, which to me was truly sickening. Sadly, the latter won out in the aftermath leading to an America that is on the warpath, with little regard for the consequences. Let us hope that the tide will turn soon.


Friday, September 10, 2004

A parable

Three people were standing at the edge of a river when they saw a person being carried downriver, struggling and yelling for help. They dove into the water and pulled the person to safety. A few minutes later, a second person passed them and again they dove in and pulled him to shore. In the next few minutes a third and a fourth person floated by. Two of the people on the bank began their next rescue mission, but the remaining one hesitated and started to run up the river away from the emergency. "Come back!" they yelled. "Can't you see that these people need your help? You can't quit now! Don't you care about them?" But their former friend continued to run up the river....Until she reached the bridge upstream and, as she expected, found a large hole in it, through which cars and people were falling. She quickly erected barriers at the entrances of the bridge and no more people needed to be saved.

-- Louis A. Penner (2004), attributed to Saul Alinsky.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

curiouser and curiouser

Source: Barnes contacted by Poppy Bush : from Steve Gilliard's Newsblog.

I gotta wonder what's wrong with this country

This is not America. This is not my home. Bob Harris details has tribulations while trying to board a Delta flight back to the US. If you ever wonder why I seem so pissed off, it's stories like the above plus a number of the others I've shared since I started blogging that get under my skin.

Fear and Loathing in the GOP Bunker

The sheer desperation of these folks fresh off what was supposed to be a triumphant Convention last week is fast becoming the event of the season.

Some fun:

Bush campaign is freaking out over Bush AWOL story, which prints verbatim the latest Ed Gillespie letter meant for the GOP faithful. Of course if you like reading Gillespie with editorial commentary interspersed amidst his drivel, try Steve Gilliard's take: The Gathering Storm.

Why the freakout? Bush questioned and DISOBEYED A DIRECT ORDER from a superior. The guy gets what was considered a plum military assignment during a period when many young men faced the very tangible risk of being shipped off to Nam to risk life and limb for a war that even my conservative dad would characterize as an utter waste, and then has the audacity to disobey direct orders? Wow. You gotta be high to do something like that. My friends, colleagues, and students (and former students) who have been in various branches of the service would be astounded at the suggestion of disobeying direct orders from their superiors. It simply isn't done without the expectation of some seriously unpleasant consequences. And while doing so would be understandable under circumstances in which one is ordered to engage in unethical or illegal activities, that certainly was not the situation faced by Junior.

On top of it all, it looks like the White House may be caught in a coverup - apparently they released w/o comment two of the memos mentioned on this evening's Sixty Minutes exposé after the program had aired. These were documents that the administration had been legally obligated to produce, that have apparently instead been withheld.

All this withholding documents and the obfuscation by Bush and his various enablers leads to the rather straight-forward question: Why Did He Do It? Steve's right in noting that Bush could have avoided this whole shitstorm by being upfront from the beginning. Whatever the truth reason of Bush's refusal to complete his commitment to the Air National Guard, the action would have been much more forgivable had he handled the issue truthfully when he was first seeking public office than it will be now that he's gone out of his way to hide something - and made far worse by his consistent pattern of dissing the military records of those who have served in Nam.

Finally Atrios points to another example of Bush's past coming back to bite him on the butt: Bush Spits on Vietnam Vets which gives us this little tidbit from a 1988 Connie Chung interview:

CONNIE CHUNG: The problem, though, would be is if, indeed, made several phone calls or some people made phone calls on his behalf to get him into the National Guard. I mean, did that happen to you? Were you...

DUBYA (interrupting): No. I don't think so. But in those days, people were going into the service all different branches. And if you want to go into the National Guard, I guess sometimes people make calls. I don't see anything wrong with, a matter of fact I'm glad he served his country. And serving in the National Guard is serving in the military. They probably should have called the National Guard up in those days. Maybe we'd have done better in Vietnam.

I don't know about you, but that last comment by Junior in particular makes me wince. Wow.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

One Thousand (a poem)

one thousand

that’s the number this week

one thousand

I know what it means to me

I know what it means to some families

what does one thousand mean

to you?

how many more

one thousands will it take?

how many more

funerals and wakes?

before we wake up

to reality

what one thousand means to me

© 2004

Homeland (in)Security State Fallout

How about another taste of "The Fatherland" as Bu$hCo conceptualizes it? The reading of reports from those who were there for the protests at last week's GOP Bund Rally Convention has been striking - especially as a picture of what we in America have lost since the despots solidified their stranglehold on power in the wake of 9/11. From TomDispatch here's an article by Nick Turse on the new Homeland Security State. Makes for some disturbing reading.

I'm not sure what's going on with blogger

Whatever it is, I sure hope their tech people figure it out soon.

Some mid-week thought pieces

State of the Union, 2004, by Gore Vidal

Inverted Totalitarianism, by Sheldon Wolin

Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, by Matt Bai (via the very excellent blog, The Sideshow)

The first two pieces, by Vidal and Wolin respectively, paint a grim picture of the state of contemporary America. Vidal's is the more recent of the two and reprises his thoughts on the state of the union as of 1972 in comparison with the current year. We learn that in some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same. In other ways, things really do change, but for the worse. Wolin's piece was written and published last year (May 2003) and offers another angle, suggesting that in a weird sort of way, we're becoming a fascist state. I think his case is rather compelling and that he's summoned up some mighty words that I wish I had managed to muster. He looks ahead to this year's election as a crisis in the true sense: a critical juncture in which our collective fate will be sealed for some time to come.

The last piece offers the ray of hope regarding how we liberals and kindred spirits (what Billmon refers to as the popular front) can create the sort of intellectual and financial infrastructure that the right-wingnuts have been accustomed to - in our case exploiting the capabilities of new technologies. Definitely well worth reading. We need those ever-crucial rays of hope about now, as we live in an age in which our neoconmen in the White House keep pounding us with the message, "be afraid, shop til you drop, and vote for Bu$hCo." The groundfloor is being built for something better as we speak. In the meantime, two slogans come directly to mind. The first by old FDR himself: "there is nothing to fear but fear itself." The second was a favorite of an old friend from my college days: "never let them take you alive."

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Booze, Booga Sugar, and Panty Parties

What does this have to do with George W. Bush? Quite a bit, possibly. Digby's got the goods.

The Skinny produces this tidbit from the upcoming Kitty Kelley book about Bush:

The Elvis White Panty Parties that the teenage Bush twins would reenact for the sordid entertainment of Prince Bandhar on "Saudi Night" at the Crawford ranch.

Wow. The Bush family really knows how to entertain their guests. Some of us are probably wondering if there are any or videos. Not that there would be of course, or that these panty parties even occurred. Still, one would hope that a president who campaigns on character would come clean about such shenanigans - just to clear the air. It would also be helpful for the Bush campaign to inform the public about the potential for the Bush twins to appear on future releases of the "Girls Gone Wild" video series, given their reputation as "party girls".

While we're at it, Digby reminds us in the post He said he would bring honor and integrity to the White House, that the resurfacing of these rumors of Junior partaking of cocaine (booga sugar) at Camp David during his daddy's four year reign make it critical that he come clean as to his addiction problems past and possibly present. At bare minimum it makes voters want to re-examine the various stories of falls, slurred speech, etc., in a new light. Is he chasing that perfect high once more? Is he hitting the bottle? Has he require any detox since he started occupying the White House? Again, some sort of tangible proof from the White House, one way or the other, would be helpful. After all, the thought of an addict running one of the most powerful political offices on the planet is to say the least, disquieting.

Maybe the nose knows? Digby provides a link of a video clip where Junior is compulsively picking his nose. Not just picking - the dude is digging! Nasal problems are quite common place among cokeheads, and that video footage is from the 1990s I believe. No absolute proof, but maybe it's time for the Bush campaign to deny or confirm if there is an addiction problem.

Another damning video - again nothing terribly new to those of us in blogtopia - comes under this post: "Hates To Drink. Only In America Could A Guy Like Him Even Find Work" taken from a 1992 wedding where Junior was a guest. Check out the rambling incoherent speech and the glazed eyes and then look at those pictures of Junior with scrapes and bruises to his face from recent falls. Is the guy sober? Or, has he fallen off the wagon. Americans have a right to know.

How about this pic of Bush reaching for a beer during a G8 meeting? Again, points to some troubling questions about our preznit's sobriety.

Finally, here's a cool blog via Digby: One Simple Question which asks: "How many times have you been arrested, Mr. President?" We have a right to know.

One Thousand

The number of US soldiers killed as reported by Iraq Coalition Casualties this afternoon.

Happy? I'm sure not.

There was no damn good reason for this war. Not only was it based on lies (thanks Bu$hCo), but the war and its subsequent occupation of Iraq were poorly executed (again, thanks Bu$hCo). The White House lied and royally fucked up, and people continue to die completely unnecessarily. The whole sad spectacle is unforgivable on so many levels.

Fascist Jock Itch Part Dieux

Thanks to Patriotboy, we have a possible ID for the dude who kicked a protester after she'd been knocked to the floor during the GOP convention: Deryk Schlessinger, the son of none other than Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Let's compare and contrast pictures. First, the April 2004 pic:

And now the infamous pic of that fine pillar of society after being caught kicking the protester on video:

Some other blogs that have covered this:

Moroveus: Young Republicans: Defending Republicans' Right to Kick Women and Minorities Since 1892!

Talk Left: Young Republican Kicks Female Protester

Sisyphus Shrugged: so, anybody know this fine young Republican?

Steve Gilliard: Who is this man?

Atrios: The Hate Machine

The Ward Report: What a Melee

Better Angels: Could this be the convention kicker?

The Sideshow: In one eye - has a link to Patriotboy's post.

onegoodmove: Kicks Are For Republicans

Dr. Menlo at American Samizdat posts Some great RNC in NYC protest photos via indymedia, along with a link to Talk Left's coverage of the kicking hooligan.

Tristero: Do You Know This Guy?

Captain Normal: The REAL face of the GOP (Part One) and The True Face of the GOP (Part two)

Elsewhere, Democracy Now! reported ACT-UP Activists Face Assault & Riot Charges for Protest Inside RNC, and note that no charges have been filed against that courageous young "man" for kicking repeatedly a female protester after she had been knocked down. She (along with some other protesters), however, was arrested. asks Have You Seen This Creep?

Happy reading!

(note slightly updated 9-7-2004 at approx 1:30 pm)

Monday, September 6, 2004

Fascist Jock Itch

Via Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, we find this post: fascism is no longer creeping, it's galloping. The clip is an email from someone who was protesting the GOP convention and is disquieting, but increasingly characteristic of the right-wing in this country:

i was dragged off the floor of the rnc, just as bush began his speech, by three cops because i refused to accept and wave an american flaglet. earlier, they had already called me and art s. away from our press seats because we were wearing t-shirts with slogans, but they couldnt decipher them, and couldnt find anything "wrong" so we were allowed to go back. arts t-shirt read "pray for a secular society", mine just had chinese characters and then the word bush. i told them the chinese meant i love --bush. then when bush came, i got up, walked downstairs to the central arena, i had a permit to do so, was handed a flag, , said no thanks, and immediately felt a hand on my shoulders. two thugs and a secret service officer hauled me away.

they took away all my documents, held me for an hour, called the immigration service to check on my status as an american citizen, took away my phone after i spoke to emily in german, "you dont speak in a language we cant understand here", i was interviewed by five different cops, including a good cop, the secret service man, two immigration experts, and one real gangster. they were going to take away my purse when i persuaded the good cop to google me up on the internet before doing another thing. then he brought me my documents, and he and the original two thugs escorted me to the street, trying to make nice on the way.

emily's friends were held for 38 hours in a barbed wire cage, with concrete floor and no blankets. in there with them was an old lady handcuffed to her walker.

they've gone beserk.

the chinese characters on my shirt actually meant shit on bush and flush him away.

And then this, also from Skippy: beyond galloping fascism into brownshirt land. Includes a link to video footage of some young Repub goon who had been caught on tape kicking a female protester.

Here's his picture:

I don't know if any effort has been made to press charges against this dude (above) for disorderly conduct, but if anyone who reads this by some miracle knows who this kid is, please let the NYPD know.

The GOP convention should be viewed as a wakeup call to any of us who still give a damn about a constitutional republic that has worked more or less well for over two hundred years: it was a call for the brownshirts to be unleashed. The next roughly two months are critical.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

via The Independent UK:

Bush By the Numbers

On the lighter side:

Also a wealth of Zell Miller links that inspired the above cartoon:

First Miller's own flip-flopping documented in Zell Miller, then and now.

Andrew Sullivan's also blogged a bit about Miller: scroll down for the segment titled The Miller Moment. I gave up trying to figure Sully out a long time ago, but I will give him props for coming to his senses with regard to the monstrosity that is the current GOP.

Of course there's this blurb on Zell Miller's own website: Introduction of Senator John Kerry, from a speech Miller gave at a 2001 dinner. I'm sure that'll go down the memory hole before too long, but it is rather amusing to see the sheer scope of Miller's flip-flopping ways.

The bit about Miller practically challenges Hardball host Chris Matthews to a duel. Gotta wonder what Miller's been smoking lately.

Pretty much sums it up:

GOP Hypocrite of the Week: Republican National Convention Participants

Welcome back to the GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

Today, we honor all the Republicans at the Republican National Convention, from George W. Bush down to the alternate delegates from the bluest of states.

Being a Republican nowadays must be a bit like being the child of an abusive, philandering confidence man. You know that your daddy is a hurtful, pathological liar, but you hang on tight to his pants leg because believing the lies is safer than the insecurity of admitting the truth.

And in their grand attempt at distracting the nation from the truth, this week the Republicans lathered themselves in layer after layer of hateful vitriol. The Madison Square Garden was filled with the acrid smell of vile, venom, crassness and hypocrisy as the wealthy Kool-Aid drinkers paraded out their best liars for the world to see.

Mark Twain wrote in “Huckleberry Finn” that “you can’t pray a lie.” But the Republican Party closes their eyes, bows their unified head and sure tries.

Nothing stops Bush, Cheney, Miller, and their band of frothing comrades from practicing a mendacity so resistant to the truth –- and so morally repugnant –- that it is beyond comprehension.

Even as Bush claims to stand next to God -– and asserts that God's word was behind his reckless adventures and failures –- the GOP conclave in NYC proved Mark Twain right once again.

"You can’t pray a lie," George W. Bush.

God, we are certain, has found you out. We can only hope that a majority of Americans awaken from this delusion in time to save our great nation from the Republican ship of fools and the con men at its helm.

Otherwise, democracy -- for those individuals once privileged enough to enjoy its joyous freedom -- will be nothing more than a distant memory.

To every Republican who celebrated in the big convention lie this week, we crown you the GOP Hypocrites of the Week.

Until next week, remember our motto at So many Republican hypocrites, so little time.

Shorter George W. Bush at the GOP Convention

"I know I really fucked up these last four years. But please give me another four years so I can fuck up even more."

(Inspired by Atrios' post, Do-Over)

GOP Hatefest Fallout Roundup

Four Harsh Years, pretty much sums up the first (and hopefully last) Bu$hCo term.

A two-fer: The Republican Convention: Another Catastrophic Success? and The I[raq] of the Storm: Voices from the Convention Floor both cover the convention from different angles. The first examines the view from the top (i.e., the speakers at the convention). The second examines the view from the convention floor by recording the mindset of the actual delegates. If you ever wanted to see a bunch of "true believers", the GOP 2004 convention was the perfect place to be, apparently.

John McCain thinks that Miller's attack on Kerry could hurt Bush. Miller likely provided this year's "Pat Buchanan moment." Maybe he was even too much for the Bush campaign. Hmmm.

In Feel the Hate, Paul Krugman likens the GOP hatefest to something more fitting of Larouchies and other bizarre anti-Semitic and xenophobic conspiracy theorists than that of a gathering of a major political party.

And on the protest end of things, we find that Protest Groups 'Empowered' by Large Turnout (apparently the largest ever at a US political convention), and that Crashing the Party was Surprisingly Easy for those protesters interested in disrupting the convention's proceedings.

Michael Moore offers some words of calm and sanity in the wake of the convention with his column Why Democrats Shouldn't Be Scared.

Must-reads can sometimes (though not very often) be found in one location. Props to Truthout.