Friday, July 30, 2004

Random post-convention thoughts...

Kerry kicks butt on the religiosity issue:

"And let me say it plainly . . . in this campaign, we welcome people of faith," he said. "America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side.

At the moment, the IEM shows Kerry ahead by a hair.

I agree with the result, but I'm getting even more sure it's going to be a landslide.

Why Kerry doesn't need detail about Iraq

2 reasons, actually...

Gwynee Dyer gives one...

And the other's quite simple: Nixon did the same gambit successfully in Viet Nam.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Pai Chang's Fox, John Kerry, George W. Bush.

The story of Pai Chang's Fox is well known to students of Zen - or at least those who take its practices this successor of Joko Beck writes:

But there is no escape. This koan reminds us that even when we realize the oneness of all things, we mustn't lose sight of their impermanence. The spirit world, the world of enlightenment is none other than this world.

When we realize our true nature, we are not freed from the past, but we are free to make the present and future something that depends on the past, as it conditions the present.

In the political world we could say that the "true nature" of things involves, as a minimum, seeing things as they are. When we see things as they are, we can speak of things as they are. Today our media generally do not speak of things as they are in this realm. And so we run the risk that if we do not look at them skeptically, we will not be free enough to make an informed choice about the future.

Otherwise, I would submit the choice would be clear. Let's face it: it's not "bashing" the C student to refer to him as a C student; it's not bashing an A student to refer to him as an A student, and it surely isn't "imbanlance" or "unfair" to refer to the A and C students by their respective grades when talking about their mastery of schoolwork.

So, it's not "bashing" George W. Bush to say that John Kerry was indeed a War Hero, and Bush's service in the National Guard has not been fully explained to the American public.

It's not "bashing" George W. Bush to say that he misled us into a War, and that John Kerry has experience fighting in a war into which we were misled.

It's not "bashing" George W. Bush to say that John Kerry has demonstrated real heroism, and George W. Bush's mettle was demonstrated when he read "My Pet Goat."

It's not "bashing" George W. Bush to say that his violation of treaties has cost us good will arond the world.

It is not "bashing" George W. Bush to say that the poor and middle classes are worse off under him than Clinton.

It is not "bashing" George W. Bush to say that borrowing and spending to pay for a war is something that people of good conscience can oppose.

Wu-men's Comment

"Not falling under the law of cause and effect." Why should this prompt five hundred lives as a fox? "Not evading the law of cause and effect." Why should this prompt a return to human life? If you ahve the single eye of realization, you will appreciate how old Pai-chang lived five hundred lives a fox as lives of grace.

There's going to be a lot of mud thrown at Kerry from the right. Kerry showed last night that he can answer such falsehoods with the truth and that the American people can live out these last couple of fox lifetimes with grace and happiness: Help is on the way.

"Let Them Eat Prozac"


"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"

Good advice for George W. Bush?

I guess being a dictator ain't so good after all, is it?

The Culture Wars

The emergence of fundamentalism, a reaction to Enlightenment (and post-Enlightenment) is one of the things that is likely to whip up the masses into a frenzy of violence.

Note the definition:

A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

Now for some basics:

1. Some world-views are better than others.
2. Some world-views, when faithfully practiced, result in harm.
3. Religious fundamentalism, because it is inherently narcissistic (a worship of one's interpretation of a text and often one's thoughts in regard thereto), and because in its Monotheistic forms is exclusivist, promotes a lack of understanding of others, and engenders strife.
4. World views that are harmful are worse than those that are not.
5. Religious fundamentalism is therefore worse than non-fundamentalisms.

It's not surprising that there is Islamic terrorism, Jewish terrorism, and Christian terrorism in the world today. It's not surprising that Communists did their share of terrorism, too.

But clearly, out of concern for others, we must help those who are caught in this harmful lifestyle.

Al Sharpton Redeems Himself

Al Sharpton redeemed himself last night for the Tawana Brawley incident.

The Tawana Brawley affair was a stain on relations amongst various ethnic groups in New York City- and clearly Sharpton was in the wrong on that.

But last night, Sharpton showed that despite his excesses of over 15 years ago, there are crucial reasons why civil rights matter today:

Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question.

You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule.

That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres.

We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us.

Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats.

Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men (inaudible) soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.

This vote can't be bargained away.

This vote can't be given away.

Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale

Indeed, this is what really matters in this election, and has so since December of 2000.

Had 9/11 not happened, December 2000 would have been the defining event for all Americans. But yes, 9/11 changed everything: it made the importance of our democratic system all that much stronger.

To those who would "change the constitution" for security, I say: We have seen such gambits in history before, and such measures only weaken America.

The office of citizen, as somebody said, is the highest office of this land- and to subvert our right to change our government through the vote is morally akin to treason.

The Bush regime's actions since 1/2001 have given none of us any confidence that they have respect for the rights of citizens.

And for that, America demands regime change.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Fox News does another big mistake...,2933,127251,00.html

A rare pro-Bush group, Billionaires for Bush (search), paraded through Boston's streets, facetiously stressing what Bush had done for them.
"There has never been a better administration for billionaires. The loyalty to the super-rich is wonderful. The Bush administration is willing to completely disregard the needs of the little people," said Mimi Nottieu, a "spokesbillionaire" for the group.
Wearing an evening dress and tiara, Nottieu marched with 150 other "billionaires" all dressed to the nines in tuxedos, top hats, and other formal wear. As they chanted "We’re here, we’re rich, get used to it," they carried signs such as "Widen the Wealth Gap" and "Corporations Are People, too."

You'd think that they'd have at least Googled the story before it went up...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

It's official as it's going to get: Bush was AWOL


Bush's AWOL military records discovered
Questions over his record resurfaced this year as Bush sought, in the midst of the Iraq war, to cast himself as a "war president" in his drive to win reelection on November 2.
The documents released on Friday by the Pentagon included two faded computerised payroll sheets showing Bush was not paid during the latter part of 1972 and offer no evidence to place Bush in Alabama during the latter part of 1972

So if he wasn't paid- and the available evidence shows he wasn't- why?


And how did he get an "honorable" discharge?



The "liberal" media does it again...

Salon has a good take on the "convention coverage."

Clearly, Kerry's a shoe-in if the networks do their duty and stopped the right-wing spin.

But they probably won't.

The good news, though, is their broadcasting is dying. Alternative media is getting messages out that they don't want to hear.

Meanwhile, the local paper's David Reinhard lies (again):

"Jimmy Carter gave into unbridled Bush-bashing."

Carter's speech is here.

What did President Carter say to offend Mr. Reinhard?

What a difference these few months of extremism have made. The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of preemptive war. With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore life to the global war against terrorism. (Cheers, applause.)

In the meantime, the Middle East peace process has come to a screeching halt. From the first time since Israel became a nation, all former presidents, Democratic and Republican, have attempted to secure a comprehensive peace for Israel with hope and justice for the Palestinians. The achievements of Camp David a quarter century ago and the more recent progress made by President Bill Clinton are now in peril.

Instead, violence has gripped the Holy Land, with the region increasingly swept by anti-American passions. This must change. (Applause.)

Elsewhere, North Korea's nuclear menace, a threat far more real and immediate than any posed by Saddam Hussein, has been allowed to advance unheeded, with potentially ominous consequences for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

These are some of the prices our government has paid with this radical departure from basic American principles and values that are espoused by John Kerry. (Applause.) In repudiating -- in repudiating extremism, we need to recommit ourselves to a few common-sense principles that should transcend partisan differences.

First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what is most precious to us; namely, the centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in global affairs. (Applause.)

Second, we cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic. (Applause.)

Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country. (Applause.)

Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others.

And finally, in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead. (Cheers, applause.)

You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next -- (cheers, applause) -- depending on the latest political polls. (Cheers, applause.)

Of course, every single word is true.
You see, for people like David Reinhard, telling the truth is "unbridled Bush bashing."
Perhaps, though, what really bothers Reinhard is that Carter (to steal shamelessly from Ron Reagan) craps bigger ones than George W. Bush.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Welcome to my Blog

And this is where we start...

This blog provides a much needed counter to

Richard Bennett's blog, and provides nice things that help you get through the day...