Sunday, February 26, 2006

Freedom is on the march, right off the cliff's edge

Iraqi Government warns of 'endless civil war'
"Iraq's Defence Minister warned yesterday of a "civil war" that "will never end" and said he was ready to put tanks on the streets..."
That is what Bush & Cheney & their PNAC neocon vampires mean when they say "spreading democracy". They spread their "democracy" like rats spread the plague.
The gravest crisis since the US invasion in 2003 threatens Washington's hopes of withdrawing its 136,000 troops from Iraq.
That's the progress that Bush says we are making.
"If there is a civil war in this country it will never end," Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a minority Sunni Muslim in the Shiite-led interim government, told a news conference. "We are ready to fill the streets with armoured vehicles."
That's the gift of peace he as bestowed up on Iraq.

Don't you think they'll love us for it? Don't you think they'll say, "This is wonderful, what America has done for us"? They certainly won't hold any grudges, or harbor any feelings that we have done them wrong, or become so bitter that they want to lash out at the country that has turned their nation into a theatre of carnage. Who cares as long as the oil ministry is secure, right?

In an interview, Bush said, "History will judge me." In truth, history will curse him.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

An End To Tyranny?

Most of us who comment on this blog seem to be on common ground with the thinking that our government has gotten waaaaay out of control in size and scope; that more and more of our liberties are being crushed every day, and soon (in perhaps a generation or two) Americans will no longer be free. What I've been thinking a lot about lately is what, exactly, to do about it. Jack Mercer has suggested our only pragmatic recourse is to mentally prepare ourselves and our children for the inevitable time when our government becomes a completely fascist state, but is there really nothing that can be done to stop, or even slow down, this monster?

The more I think about government tyranny, the more I think campaign finance reform is the ONLY realistic way to curb it. Right now the RNC and the DNC have total control over our government. Doesn't that seem strange? Almost every single representative in every governmental branch of our nation is beholden to one of these two organizations whose sole purpose is to perpetuate their own existences. Isn't that disturbing?

Being a neoliberal, I advocate fiscal restraint and the solvency of our treasury, but the word "liberal" is still part of that moniker, and I have no problem handing my hard earned money to our government if the cause it's funding is sound. Think about this: why do political candidates declare a party at all? It's a franchise, basically, and they're going to get a lot more business as a McDonald's or a Burger King than they are as a Tom Nobody's, and Mr. Nobody simply doesn't have the resources to compete at the same level as Ronald McDonald.

If we overhauled our financial priorities as a nation and publicly funded 100% of ALL political campaigns--no individual or corporation could contribute whatsoever--then the people who ran would do it on platforms of relative truthfulness. I realize many people are pretty much just in it for the glory and the power, but they have to make decisions at some point, and if they aren't expected to return favors to businesses, cronies, lobbyists, etc. then those decisions would be a hell of a lot less tainted. At present, the first thought a politician has before making a decision is "will this help or hurt my chances of reelection," or if they're at the end of their term, "will this help or hurt the chances of another member of my party getting elected." Now, if their campaign was financed by the anonymous public, they would still ask question one, BUT (and this is a big but) the people the incumbent would be considering in the decision would be his or her CONSTITUENTS, whereas now consideration is made for the people who funded his or her campaign.

If this scenario were realized, it wouldn't take long before other parties (which would be just ideological camps) gained prominence and, eventually, it could lead to the end of partisan politics all together. The oligarchy could be toppled, representatives would actually represent the people, and we could all hold hands in a circle around the world!

Or perhaps I'm just naïve...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Another PR Hassle

I have to feel sorry for the administration. Cheney shooting a guy wasn't good but letting the United Arab Emirates manage our ports, that's just the worse kind of PR. It would be like giving the Japanese a shipping contract after Pearl Harbor. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE and a proportion of the funding for the attacks came from there. When only 7% of containers are inspected by the Department of Homeland Security it seems like a time for the government to invest more in our ports not outsource management responsibilities to an Arab country that is a major reason for our current predicament.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Black History Month

Thats right everyone, its February and that means its Black History Month. I do not think its coincidental that February also happens to be the shortest month of the year. Like, not a snowballs chance in hell they would make January, March or May Black History Month or anything. Ok, Im just trying to cause controversy. Anyway, back in December, one of the greatest actors ever, Morgan Freeman, had this to say. Now, this really knocked me on my ass and Ive been meaning to raise the discussion for a while.

It always irritates me how race always has to be a major factor in everyday affairs for the purpose of advancing agendas. Maybe I am biased because of the perspective Morgan Freeman gave me when he played God in Liar Liar 3, also known as Bruce Almighty (I tend to think Mr Freeman was playing himself, he is that great of an actor to me- who else could tolerate sharing a set with a has-been like Jim Carrey and a never-was like Jennifer Aniston?). Anyway, Freeman says, the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it." I love it, I really do.

Now, I absolutely hate racism when it is intended to insult or offend, but I am a sucker for racial humor. I recognize that there are differences between all people, from mannerisms to culture, and those differences are funny, but really great, when you apply them to everyday life and how we relate to one another. Like, any time I go out and see white people dancing to gangstah rap music or something, my reaction is usually, "oh shit, white people are dancing, can we go somewhere else?" I'm sorry, but white boys should not dance and girls who weigh more than me shouldnt either (Im being generous here, I weigh 170 lbs) . Im kidding and just being a wiseass- My real point is that I just dont like how race always has to be such a sensitive subject- people should be proud of who they are but at the same time recognize that we are one nation with one history of numerous origins coming together.

When I was living in Boulder, three of my good friends were black, and whenever we went out, it was always hilarious to see some rich white boy from California kissing their ass because they were, well, black. My friends never got offended, they knew that people meant well, but they didnt feel that people had to be so outgoing and nice to them just because they were black. It must have been like some guilt complex or something, we never really quite got it- but boy did we make fun of it: our group of friends would hang out- a pretty diverse crew- and our black friends would try to order us around and command respect- "hey, we're in Boulder and I'm black, get me a beer white boy." It was funny- but seriously, all my friends wanted to do was to just hang out and be part of the crowd. Same with Morgan Freeman, he just wants to hang out and not have to be treated differently or looked at in a different light because of his skin color. Why dont we just judge people or treat them a certain way based on their eye or hair color?

Now, I understand that African-Americans in this country have had a lot to overcome the past few decades, definitely more than the average White person. They have overcome enormous obstacles and have achieved. We have witnessed some of the most brilliant leaders in this nation's history, from Dr. Martin Luther King to the Reverend Al Sharpton- who I think is a brilliant man with a great spirit. At the same time though, I agree with Morgan Freeman, his history does not need to be relegated to a month. His history is my history is your history is our history. What does that accomplish when we have to call a month "Black History Month?" Everyday and every month is Black History as far as I am concerned.

The liberation of African-Americans and the abolishment of slavery was the Civil War, not the month of February. The drive for equality, civil rights, suffrage, to be a part of everyday life like anyone else is our nation's history- not the month of February. Let us recognize and respect our cultural differences and be proud of who we are and where we came from. But let us all recognize that we are in this together and decisions do not always need to be made to appease a certain race or group of people and people shouldn't be treated differently- negatively or positively- based on their skin color.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Delusional society

I was in a situation last week that left me exposed to Oprah. Her show has some weird magnetic effect on me and in the end I gave up pretending I wasn't interested and watched. It was all about families with tons of credit card debt. It's always comforting for people to know that when you think you are in a bad way there are always others much worse off. That's the only reason anyone watches those shows. As your problems increase you can go down the ranks of daytime help shows until you get down to Maurie and finally Springer. A single mother, with 5 drug addicted teens, living in a trailer, and having an affair with her best friends husband can watch Springer and say, "at least things aren't that bad."

The big story on the news tonight was the Powerball lottery drawing. It's 360 million dollars. CNN decided to interview people in a convenience store in DC. This one guy was adamant he was going to win. After all he bought 200 tickets. Pretty smart, that increased his odds from 1 in 150 million to 1 in 150 million. The guy looked like he should have spent the two hundred dollars on some new clothes and some food, but as he said he has "faith".

Tonight I was reading some news and saw this article about "cyberbeggars". An expression I hadn't heard of before. I had read about Karyn Bosnak and her plea for thousands to get her out of credit card debt. I naively hadn't realized what she started. Check out, a site for people begging for money to help them get their lives together. If true some of these stories are heart wrenching, but seriously what do these people expect?

The faith based mantra has leaked beyond the confines of religion and into the mainstream of American life. Any sense of personal responsibility seems to be lost for many people. Fiscal responsibility is the key to our future security, it's frustrating that many people don't seem to share that realization.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Roses of the Prophet Mohammed

Has the Republican party infiltrated Tehran? And I thought the concept of freedom fries was ridiculous.

Conservative "liberty"

Feds Want A Wiretap Backdoor In All Net Hardware and Software
Think the federal government is too intrusive? You ain't seen nothing yet. An FCC mandate will require that all hardware and software have a wiretap backdoor that allows the government to tap into all your communications.
Yes, leave it to our republican corporatocracy to look out for our interests. And if that is not enough:
The final problem is that if all hardware and software has a backdoor, it's an open invitation to hackers. So we may be faced with a double-whammy: The feds and hackers working their way into our systems.
A note to the republican-controlled government and those who support them: Gee, thanks for all your "less government" bullshit, you f***ing conservative hypocrites.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Two Thumbs Up!

From Leftist Grandpa, where you can always find a good read, comes this bit of cinematic brilliance.

What can I say? Perfect casting, excellent cinematography... I just hope there is never a need for a sequel!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why Children Shouldn't Play With Guns

Because everyone's okay, I can poke fun.

Cheney shoots lawyer in hunt accident

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Words of Wisdom From The President?

You have to feel like a moron when the President articulates what you really should have said.
It is wrong to be violent. Yes, Christianity has faced a cultural assault that does not inspire violent reactions. And I applaud the President for being the bigger man, not alluding to any Muslim hypocrisy, and saying the right things.

While there was disagreement with what I initially posted on this issue, this is exactly what my primary concern was, when we did absolutely nothing to provoke these violent protests.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Time to grow up...

Has anyone seen the cartoons we are talking about? seems like a lot anger over nothing. Does anyone remember this piece by Andres Serrano? Its a crucifix in urine. Nice. How many Christians held violent protests condemning Serrano?

It seems like many Muslims think the best way to protest is through violence, not discussion or debate. The newspaper had every right to publish these cartoons. Just like Muslim groups have every right to publish the beheading of western hostages. I don't agree with it, but I'm not going to burn down the Saudi embassy to protest it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

For What Reason Other Than to Offend?

The outrage over the cartoons that a Danish publication (followed by European publications) depicting the prophet Muhammad has reached immense proportions and it is hard to speak against violent reaction for a few different reasons. Firstly, if you do not know by now that Muslims are incredibly devoted to their faith and that any charicature of Muhammad is generally forbidden, especially one depicting him as a mass murderer, check your pulse. Not to say that Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Scientologists are not devoted to their faith/science fiction story turned Gospel, but it is certainly fair to say that Muslims are more thin-skinned and defensive of their faith than others. It does not help matters when Danes are already known for their "Islamophobia."
This was a senseless act of irresponsibility on the European media's part, especially the Danish. While they have the right to express what they wish, a commitment to responsibility and integrity should be maintained above all else. That we have the freedom to express ourselves and say what we please does not mean that we cannot be held accountable and reprimanded for irresponsible, hateful actions. Have some respect and some integrity. Have some cultural awareness. Let your thoughts preceed your actions.
While you may argue that Muslims are overreacting- and you can, a Muslim would tell you they are fulfilling their responsibility to their faith by condemning this depiction of their sacred prophet. And the depiction was so hateful and so bigoted and deserves to be met with scorn and outrage. What people fail to recognize is that the Muslim faith is one that has been abused by some of its followers for a long time- different 'spinoffs' of the Muslim faith have come to be, like Wahabiism for example, that misinterpret what their faith means by the term jihad. A true Muslim would tell you that a jihad is a spiritual, internal battle to better one's self, and NOT a philosophy that is oppressive and promotes death to all those who do not believe what you believe. The latter is what we are fighting against. When irresponsible European media permit such filth that equates good-natured, devout Muslims with radicals, it undermines everything we try to achieve in preventing the spread of radical Islam and promoting democracy. It puts us in a very awkward position, having to speak against this nefarious portrayal of Islam and concurrently defend freedom of speech.

Kofi Annan summarizes my perspective, "I am distressed and concerned by this whole affair," he said. "I share the distress of the Muslim friends, who feel that the cartoon offends their religion. I also respect the right of freedom of speech. But of course freedom of speech is never absolute. It entails responsibility and judgment."

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Doing our best to maintain in Riceball/Mochi's absence, I found this article interesting and it should stir debate, which will undoubtedly lead to insult, defamation and more horrible discourse in this country. But here at Neolibs, at least, we generally avoid that- except for the occasional Shea/Sean bloggerbrawl. This article compares today's events surrounding surveillance and that which went on in the 1970s. It involves the same cast of characters too. I do not have much time to formulate my thoughts on the article or rehash what I have submitted on the topic- it is Friday night, I am 24 years old, in the prime of my life, and I will leave it at that- but the article is worthy of discussion of course. Please, if you frequent the site but do not ever post much, post something- throw it out there for the people.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A few first impressions...

A few first impressions from Bush's state of the union speech.

“By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.” 1
That's what Al Gore was saying ten years ago! So, dig this: it's popular among rightwingers these days to claim that they are the true progressives, that liberals are stagnant while they have innovative ideas. And what are their ideas? To steal ideas from Al Gore, from back in the nineties? Oh, please. And you know what else? It's a great idea, but when we originated it years ago, and presented it at that time, the right condemned it. Now they claim it as their own. You see that pattern a alot from them.

“It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy,” Bush said. “We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.” 1
Bullshit. What we know now is that the Bush administration had ample warning about 9/11 and they deliberately chose to ignore those warnings. That deliberate choice was more than simple neglect. It was complicity. It was treason.

And finally, They invited Cindy Sheehan, then arrested her for wearing a shirt that had an anti-war slogan on it. This is evidence (again) that the Bush administration is comprised of either cowardly hypocrites.

First of all, conservatives are afraid of free speech. Oh, sure, they talk about free speech as if they are in favor of it, but the truth is that one of the cornerstones of conservatism is the suppression of any ideas that deviate from the establishment's party line. Conservatism is the preservation of the status quo. For Cindy Sheehan, or anyone, to be so brazen as to wear a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan on it is a thought crime. Attention, conservatives: while you contorted yourselves glee at your party's constant repetition of the word "freedom", you elected a government that arrests citizens based on words printed on their T-shirts. Do you people just love being lied to, or what? Listen, just because you enjoy it, you twisted masochists, doesn't mean the rest of us have to.

Besides, Cindy Sheehan was invited to the state of the union speech? How obvious is it that this was a set up? C'mon! We know there is no love lost between her and the Bush regime. We also know that the Bush regime pulls PR stunts to boost approval ratings. Isn't it obvious that they invited her knowing she would do something that they could pounce on, then waited for it to happen so that their base could cheer, their lapdog media could be distracted, and Sheehan could be stifled for a while.

I swear, this president and his associates are a proctologist's dream.