Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Axis of Evil Awaits

Forget the one at the post office. This selective service registration form is the real thing.

UPDATE: I just clicked on the thing about registering as a concientious objector... [snicker]

Enough Already

Last night I sat down to watch Bill Maher's Real Time and turned it off after about 10 minutes. The introduction was funny, the interview with Cuomo about the new Pope was one of the most boring 10 minutes of television I have endured. Following that I thought I'd see what Russert had planned for this morning's edition of Meet the Press. I was sure between the horrific week in Iraq, the Bolton nomination and continued bad news for DeLay, he'd have someone interesting on the show. But no, it was all about the Pope.

Last week found something religious to have on it's site the entire week. When the Pope's head wasn't on the main page it was replaced by photo of an underpass with a water stain that some group of completely insane people claimed was an impression of the Virgin Mary. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.

Then there's that new series "Revelations". Has anyone seen it? I watched a few minutes of the first episode. I think it's about a scientist that is convinced by a nun to help her find Jesus before we all die. The scientist almost immediately dropped his ridiculous scientific ideas because the nun was so compelling, or hot, I'm not sure. Aptly, Dateline had a special called "Secrets Behind the Da Vinci Code", that preceded "Revelations".

I understand the Pope is an semi-important guy. I must have heard a thousand times in the past few weeks that, "he is the spiritual leader of a billion people". Big deal. The President of China is the leader of more than a billion people and I remember one day of media attention when Hu became leader in 2003.

By all accounts, the majority of American Catholics differ on the Vatican's stance on abortion, celibacy and contraception. Even though the Pope is the spiritual leader most people in the US don't listen to what he has to say. So when this new Pope dies let's drop the media coverage down to something more palatable, perhaps an article when he dies and an article when the new Pope is elected. Sound reasonable?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Another Round of Bush vs. Bush

Bush says he lacks power to control rising gas prices, admission is an about-face from his rhetoric in 2000

Are you shocked, or what?

Back in 2000:
Bush promised as a candidate in 2000 to pressure oil producers to increase supply and drive down prices. "I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply," Bush said outside of Detroit in June 2000.
And, here is what he says today:
"I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow; I'd do that."
Yeah, right.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A flat tax...

An idea:

- Abolish the current tax system.
- Apply a 10% flat tax to individuals earning more than per capita GDP ($37,800 in 2004).
* Currently $5.4 trillion of taxable income.
- Apply a 10% flat tax to revenue of corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships, irrespective of profit/loss.
*Currently $23.6 trillion of taxable revenue

This would result in $2.9 trillion of tax revenue.

Budget 2006 is 2.57 trillion. That leaves us with $400 billion to start paying down the national debt. Let’s not stop there. I would reduce the IRS budget from $10 billion down to $1 billion, cut NASA to $6 billion, slash the defense budget by $200 billion and increase education spending by $100 million. This realizes a total additional saving of $119 billion, also to be applied to our national debt.

I realize this is going to be a considerable burden for companies that make profit that is less than 1% of revenue. But I’m not convinced that is a bad thing. Obviously non-profit organizations are completely absolved from this new tax code.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Just when you thought it was safe to be a Catholic...

Ratzinger's election as Pope is ratification for his anti-reform policies. His comments on homosexuality, women in the church and contraception push him to the right of an extremely conservative group of men. This was an ideal opportunity for the Cardinals to elect a more moderate leader who understands societal change and can adapt the policies of the church accordingly.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


This guy is a Republican! From freakin' Texas! Wha--?!
"Protection of life and liberty must once again become the issue that drives political thought in this country. If this goal is replaced by an effort to promote world government, use force to plan the economy, regulate the people, and police the world, against the voluntary desires of the people, it can be done only with the establishment of a totalitarian state. There’s no need for that. It’s up to Congress and the American people to decide our fate, and there is still time to correct our mistakes."
A Republican who hasn't been hypnotized by the Neocons! Is he the only one? Will he be a member of a "third party" soon? Will he die in one of those mysterious "small-plane crashes"? Is he a shining example of hope for centrists who are sick of being swatted back and forth by the extremists who seem to control American politics?

I say, let's trade him for !@%$&#$ Zell Miller!

By The Way...

April 15th: You're getting screwed. Molly Ivins tells you how. It ain't pretty.

Not All Christians Want To Kill You

Really! Here is a site operated by a Christian couple who wisely describe how their Christian values are in direct conflict with the fascist Neocon agenda. Here's how they descibe themselves:
"We are very concerned about how the Gospel and Scripture are (mis-)represented in popular culture, religious media and the churches, and how truth in general is mis-represented by the neo-conservative wealth elite in the current administration and in other key segments of our cultural and national life. These things have dreadful implications for all present and future residents of our planet."
They have some wonderful posts, like this one called "American Congress 'Grossly Wicked'? Jesus Calls Its Values 'Detestable'," and another that points out how, like Bush and his cohorts, "Hitler Defended Christian Morality & Family Values."

The site is one example of many out there which remind us that there are Christians out there who try to live by His teachings, rejecting the neocon agenda of greed, murder, hypocrisy, and evil. More power to 'em :)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Democrats showing some intestinal fortitude

Following the controversial Bush appointments of Gonzales, Wolfowitz and Goss are we finally seeing a group of Democrats with the strength to stand up against Republicans and say "no" to a nomination. Appointing John Bolton to be Ambassador to the UN is equivalent to appointing Jerry Falwell to lead the Rainbow Coalition. It’s a mistake. Hopefully after the Foreign Relations Committee hears more evidence of how Bolton fabricated evidence of a biological weapons program in Cuba he will be denied this post.

Didn’t Cheney do the same with nuclear information regarding Iraq? Maybe while we are at it we can convene a committee and get rid of him too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"Our Country Has Been Overtaken By Murderous Thugs"

It is ironic how eloquently some can describe the sheer horror of our political reality. I liked this statement too much to simply assign it to a link. It is from a speech given by by Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families For Peace
Thirty years ago, 1975, Gerald Ford was President of the United Sates. His Chief of Staff was Dick Cheney. His Secretary of Defense was Donald Rumsfeld. Paul Wolfowitz was heading-up the international arms-control end of things. All of these positions related directly to national security. While these men were looking after the nation's safety, they and President Ford concluded that Iran needed to supplement its energy system by adding nuclear power. The nuclear energy project that these men approved would have netted certain US corporations billions of dollars. Had the Shah of Iran...a blood-bought servant of US corporate interests...not soon been overthrown by his own countrymen, the big-wigs at Westinghouse or General Electric...or perhaps both...would have amassed personal fortunes from this one project, alone. Some of the stockholders would have also made bundles on the deal.

In 1975 my son had not yet been born. Today he is in his grave. Dick Cheney, on the other hand, is now Vice President of the United States, and he is materially wealthy beyond what any of us would ever pray to be. This is the same Dick Cheney who during the months leading-up to the invasion of Iraq said that Saddam Hussein not only has stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction...more than a hundred metric tons of the deadly stuff...but he also said that Saddam Hussein was well-advanced in developing nuclear weapons and that therefore the US must invade Iraq and dethrone Saddam Hussein. Clean, quick, and simple according to Dick Cheney. Yet for some time now he has changed his tune. He now if he had said it all along...that the US occupation of Iraq will require years of difficult and sometimes bloody conflict before it will be stable enough to bring our loved ones home. And too, rather than speak of Weapons of Mass Destruction, he now uses the word "democracy" a lot.

Is there yet an American who can not clearly see that Dick Cheney...whether it be 1975 or 2005...will say whatever he thinks is required to ultimately cause wealth and power to move to himself and to his friends? ...need I defile this holy place with words like "Halliburton" and "Kellog, Brown & Root" and "torture" and "US weapons industry"? Indeed, the Apostle Paul is correct in saying that, ultimately, the love of money leads to ruin and destruction.

Read... and you will understand that the horrid price we and the people of Iraq have paid to discover that Saddam's Weapons Of Mass Destruction had already been destroyed is not due to any failure at the U.S. intelligence agencies, it is in fact a validation of U.S. intelligence agencies... Rumsfeld was well-informed, by knowledgeable people within the Intelligence community, that Saddam had been stripped clean of such weapons, that Saddam's ability to reconstitute such weapons' programs had also been destroyed, and that any moves Saddam might have made in that direction would have been observed and stopped, forthwith.

Is there anyone in America who cannot yet see that Donald Rumsfeld is a liar...that he, as with Hitler and Stalin....will say anything so long as he thinks it will help shape the world to his own liking? Is there even one, sane adult among us who cannot see that Donald Rumsfeld is a threat to our nation's security and to peace on our beloved earth?

Paul Wolfowitz, after months of not finding any Weapons of Mass Destruction....and after hundreds of US soldiers were son amongst them....and after tens of thousands of innocent Iraq citizens were killed....this same Paul Wolfowitz casually explained....with his kindly charade and his ever so soft voice...that a decision was made to put forth "Weapons of Mass Destruction" as the need for the invasion. Essentially, Paul Wolfowitz admitted that he and his fellow conspirators had decided amongst themselves "...let's just go with the bit about Weapons of Mass Destruction. It's the one thing that will scare the American people enough so as to cause them to get behind this invasion."

As soft-spoken and sincere-sounding as Paul Wolfowitz is, is there yet any sane adult in this country who's skin does not crawl when this murderous liar opens his mouth and speaks? Am I the only person in this room who clearly sees that Paul Wolfowitz is a threat to our nation's security...and to peace on our beloved earth?"

30 years ago these 3 men gave the green light to Iran so that Iran could hire US companies to go there and build a 6.4 billion dollar nuclear power facility. doubt the final bill would have been at least three times that much. Yet Dick Cheney recently said this of Iran's current intentions to add nuclear power to their energy system: Quote...."They are already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure why they need nuclear to generate energy"....end of quote. Did these men not notice, 30 years ago, while they and their cohorts were being wined and dined by the Shah, that his opulent surroundings were bought and paid for with oil and gas that was being taken from the ground beneath their feet? Yet these men agreed, clear back then, that Iran needed to add nuclear power to their energy system. It is now 30 years and God only knows how many tens of millions of barrels of oil, later. Why should we believe these men....who we know are liars....when they now say that Iran's primary motive for wanting nuclear power is so that they can make nuclear weapons with which to destroy us and our allies? Even now, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports that there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. The Bush administrations response? They are trying to oust the agency's lead inspector, Mohammed al-Baradei. But who can forget that it was Mr. al-Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency who, during the months prior to the invasion of Iraq, reported that Saddam no longer had a nuclear weapons programs.

Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs....gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far. We've watched these thugs parade themselves before the whole world as if they are courageous advocates for Christian moral values....and for the spread of democracy. Yet we all know that they are now putting in place, all across this country, a system of voting that provides no way to validate the accuracy of the counting of the votes. Our loved ones have been buried in early graves even as these arrogant thugs parade themselves before the entire world, insisting that democracy is worth dying for, killing for, and destroying entire cities for, all the while they are busy here at home overseeing the emplacement of an electronic voting system that invites fraud at every turn, an electronic vote-counting system that provides no way to validate the votes cast, and that, by it's very design, prohibits recounting the votes.

For these men to not see to it that our own system of voting and vote-counting is accurate, understandable and verifiable... all the while sending our loved ones to kill and to die so as to establish a democracy in some far away place... this is just one more staggering piece of evidence that the US government is now ruled by murderous hypocrites...criminals who should be arrested, charged appropriately, confined behind bars, and then tried in a court of law... not only here in our own country, but also in all the other countries which have suffered their incomprehensible greed. In their secret hiding places, while celebrating newly won fortunes with their fellow brass, these men must surely congratulate themselves with orgies of carnal pleasure as they mock the multitudes who are yet so blind as to mistake them for God's devoted servants.
You know what? The best place for evil to hide is in plain sight.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

GOP Fractures

An article in the Boston Globe describes a rift emerging in the Republican party between the conservatives and the neo-cons. While it's interesting, and even occasionally entertaining, to watch the GOP battle it out, I'm hesitant to believe this will benefit the Democrats. If the election was being held next year, I don't think any fewer right-wingers would vote for Bush. Both sides of the GOP (non-intrusive government and fiscal conservativeness vs. strong religious beliefs) still have more in common with Bush's version of democracy than they do with the Democrats.

If these fractures become more severe over time, this could work in favor of the Democrats when it comes time for the GOP to choose their candidates. Even then, however, it seems more likely that all Republican versions will close their mouths when push comes to shove and toe the party line. Until then, however, the rising voices of dissent can only be positive; it means the government will not necessarily be limited to a single party's agenda.

Can TSA screeners read?

Returning home from my trip to Seattle I had an experience that underlines the inadequacy of the current screening methods. Two people arrived at the same seat on the same plane at the same time. The flight attendant took their boarding passes and immediately announced that they both had the same name and that was the reason for the confusion. But they didn't have the same name, the two people had just been issued identical boarding passes. Even though one of the passengers names differed from their boarding pass they moved through the TSA security line without issue.

I asked the flight attendant how that could of happened. The flight attendant shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Wanting to get home without having to deplane and re-pass security I didn't mention it further, but it did worry me. How could someone possibly look at a name on a boarding pass and a name on a license and consider them to be the same? They weren't even close to matching. The woman who checked my identification barely spoke English, I wondered whether she may have had a problem reading...

I couldn't find much on TSA job requirements but I'm hoping a lot of the testing is in written English. Maybe I'm wrong and the TSA allows employees to be tested in their language of choice, then tested on oral English communication skills. I'd be interested to know whether anyone could find more on this.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Blogging hiatus

Since I'm traveling this week, I don't plan to write a blog until Sunday. Between the Pope's funeral, the marriage of Charles and Camilla, the death of Prince Rainier, the Michael Jackson trial and Peter Jennings lung cancer, political news seems to be taking a back seat anyway. One observation; I am in Seattle and I don't remember a time other than maybe the train stations of Osaka, where I have seen so many homeless people. Ironic that in the home of the world's richest man there is so much poverty. Maybe Bill and Melinda Gates should consider investing some of their money in their own backyard. I realize their foundation is exceedingly benevolent but I wonder whether the money they are spending to motivate change in the high school systems of America could be better spent elsewhere.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

American Media

Click here to read an excellent analysis of American media from a different point of view -- an Iraqi young woman. It's fascinating to read a different perspective on our media, which she describes as "like hospital food. It's all organized and disinfected."

River, the blogger, lends voice to what a legitimate problem in America -- our desensitization to overseas atrocities. When violence and "offensive" images are banned from our news programs, we lose perspective on our actions and the events in the world. It's easy to ignore problems when we are not faced with real images of them, rather just the washed-down versions.

Support the...

Veterans for Peace has a great idea: they're calling for the impeachment of George Bush. These are veterans who are fed up with a commander-in-chief who, along with his cohorts in the administration and throughout congress, has used them as pawns toward their own diabolical ends.

By the way, they are not the only group of veterans who oppose this war. There are also these:
Operation Truth
Military Families Speak Out
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Veterans Against the Iraq War
Veterans for Common Sense
Dipomats and Military Commanders for Change
Bring Them Home Now

Now, that's what I call supporting the troops.

Friday, April 01, 2005

A culture of life

Following Terri Schiavo’s death Bush made the following comment, "I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected."

I guess that excludes the 152 people he executed while being Governor of Texas.

I resent the inference that people who support abortion and the right to die foster a culture of death. I like to think that we are responsible for fostering a higher quality culture of life.

We're Back

Sorry for the outage I managed to annoy my ISP enough that they stopped hosting my site. Anyway we are back in business...