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Monday, December 31, 2007

George Bush Is A Genius!

An article on Firedoglake turned me on to this amazing video by Bremner, Bird and Fortune, a satirical British television program. It talks about the oil revenue law that the American government is forcing down the throats of the Iraqi people, which will of course give the Americans control of most of the Iraqi oil. This is a law that I read about six to eight months ago, but it is rarely covered in the American press (how surprising). Learn more at HandsOffIraqiOil.org.

Anyway, I love it when comedy can tell a story more effectively than long-winded diatribes from grumpy mid-life women like me. Enjoy! (If you are reading this post via an email feed and can't see the video, click through to my blog to view the video. Also, here are more hilarious segments of Bremner, Bird and Fortune.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Despotism Defined (1946)

In a comment by someone named Blue Buddha, at the bottom of a Sadly No article, I found this amazing video. (Sorry for the link - there was no embed code.) This video is sooooo worth watching. Please take the time to do so. You will be amazed, and hopefully angered enough to do something, at how it applies to the United States today.

Here are some of the comments about the article and the film. The first is from the anonymous commenter "commie atheist:"

"The people saying the pledge of allegiance in that film didn’t use the words 'under
god.' Damn commie bastards"

And how about this brilliant one by an anonymous commenter named "c":

"First they came round with the canapés, and I didn’t protest, because I wasn’t a canapé."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ron Paul: Legalize Drugs But Hang On To Bigotry

My friend Bill, over at Bill's Random Thoughts, had a great post on 12/18, where he unearthed a 1988 document written by Ron Paul, where he lays out his case for legalizing drugs in America. It is a great read. It also makes sense.

As I told Bill, I have been peripherally listening to the news about Ron Paul, but the thought of voting for a Republican in 2008 is so repugnant, that I have stayed away from Ron. However, his movement seems to be strong and he is raising record-breaking amounts of money. My former politician friend told me a long time ago, that getting elected is all about money. He or she with the most money, wins. I stopped by Ron Paul's campaign website a month or two ago, and something pissed me off and I haven't been back. After reading that Paul wrote something sensible about legalizing drugs, I went back to his web site, and here's what I found:

  • Immigration: This is a non-issue. The Neocons, religious right, and other xenophobes (and men who only want white men running the show) have made this an issue so they can stir up fear and hate in order to get votes. That really pisses me off. I don't get Ron Paul's punitive stance either. I believe 99.9% of the people who come to America illegally, do so because they want a better life. They aren't doing it because it's easier to be here, because it isn't. They aren't doing it with intent to harm our country or the citizens in it. They want to join us in the American life. Why don't we say, "Well thanks! We like it here too! How about if we help you to become legal so we can benefit from your direct (tax) contributions." Yessssss, they are breaking the law, but they aren't hurting anybody. Change the fucking law, ok?
  • Right To Bear Arms: First, I am undecided on this issue, but I lean towards, "what the fuck do we need guns for anyway?" I would like to do some research to find statistics on countries that have banned guns, and see what their crime stats are like. I lived in England at a time when no citizens could carry guns. Hell, cops carried little billy clubs. Secondly, there is some interesting dispute as to the meaning of the second amendment. Some say it means that all citizens have the right to bear arms, others say that the right to bear arms is only in connection with a militia. I'd like to research this some more too. Thirdly, if gun ownership is legal, I think a criminal check, at least, is required. And a waiting period is not such a bad thing either. Ron Paul's stance on quitting the United Nations is stupid. The world is getting to be a smaller and smaller place. We need to get along, as individuals, and as countries. The intent of the United Nations is a good one. It has its faults, but we should be a member, and work together with other members to make it better.
  • Health Care: Hmmm. He has some interesting ideas. I'm not big on "free market" anything. I think that when we leave things up to corporations, they will all, with only a few rare exceptions, move in the direction of greed, and not in the direction of what is best for them and the country and their customers. I want the insurance companies and the middle men out of the fucking middle, but that will never happen when the Dems get into the white house, because all of the top contenders have had their pockets filled with insurance industry and drug company money. I think that health and health security, is a human right, and therefore, our collective society needs to somehow support that right. I tend to agree with Ron that anything that is taken over and run by the government is bound to be inefficient and costly. I tend to imagine more of a national health system, managed locally. But I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about...yet. So...I am still pondering health care.
BUT...this article from Firedoglake, forever turned me off to Ron Paul:

But for my money, the funniest news of the past week was finding out that Ron Paul has picked up the cherished Vox Day endorsement.

Vox Day is the nom de plume of prominent conservative web and local radio gadfly Theodore "Ted" Beale. His father, Robert Beale, was doing his absolute best to avoid ever paying taxes, and because of this is currently in the hoosegow. (No doubt Ron Paul's pledge to abolish the IRS resonates with Young Teddy because of the recent unpleasantness.)

Vox's endorsement was posted on Ron Paul's website on December 19, which ironically enough was the day the story broke about Ron Paul taking and keeping the contribution from Don Black.

Why 'ironically'?

Because, among other things, Voxy Ted's the guy who's referred to Barack Obama as "Hussein Osama".

You see, Young Master Ted's quite fond of expressing his blatant bigotry by dipping into the white-supremacist bag of poisonous racial stereotypes. He also says that "B. Hussein Obama" can be relied on not to "break into rap" or go around "impregnating the staff". He's told the "melanin-enhanced individuals" among us that they shouldn't talk as if they had a "mouffull of collahd motha-fuckin greenz."

But he's more than just a hater of black people. Ted's bigotry is indeed inclusive, even world-embracing; it extends to cover Jews (who he says the government should encourage, along with blacks, to have lots of abortions) and Mexican immigrants and women (he really, really, really hates women) and scientists. But he's a Good Christian, he himself says so, so it's all OK!

Sorry, Ron. You might be a phenomena, but you're not my phenomena.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'Twas The Night Before Cheney

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the White House
Not a bedbug was stirring... (well, maybe one louse).
The fishnets were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Cheney soon would be there.

The twins were nestled all snug in their beds,
Out cold from the cocktails that danced in their heads.
And George in his bustier, and I with my whip,
Had just settled who'd be the first one to strip.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my harness to see what was the matter.
To the window I flew with oblige noblesse,
Tore open the shutters and whipped off my dress.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a golden lustre to the rose garden below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a pimped-out ride, and eight NeoCon reindeer.


With a hired-gun driver, and bling laid on thick,
I knew in a moment it must be Old Dick.
More vapid than newscasters, his hangers-on came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now
Wolfowitz! now, Libby! now, Feith and Yoo!
On,
Rumsfeld! On, Perle! On, Decter, and Bolton too!
To the top of Halliburton! To the top of the World!
Now cash away! Dash away! Our flag be unfurled!"

As cockroaches before the light o' day fly,
When there's none left to steal, they mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the NeoCons flew,
With a sleigh full of flak jackets, and St. Cheney too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The slashing and clawing of each cloven hoof.
As I hiked up my garters, and then turned around,
Down the chimney St. Dick came, that snarling old hound.

Dressed in skins flayed from Dems on Congress' floors,
His camos untouched by the horrors of war.
A bundle of dirty bombs he had flung on his back,
And he grinned like an asshole while opening his pack.

His eyes – how they glittered! His dimples – how merry!
His cheeks were caved in, his nose sort of hairy!
His crooked little mouth was drawn up in a sneer,
And the jut of his chin made him look a bit queer.

A stump of an arm he held tight in his teeth,
And the stench it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a pale face and a little round belly,
His teeth they were pointed and smelled like New Delhi!

He was chubby and plump, like a war profiteer,
And I laughed when I saw him, hiding my fear!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had so much to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Assembling his wankers for a big circle jerk.
Then pressing his pecker upside of my nose,
With a nod and a growl, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his limo, to his wolves gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a newk-u-lur missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"I'll soon own the world, as you suspected I might!"


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all.
Please pass this on, with attribution. Thanks!
Copyright Lisa Wines 2007
Cross-posted at Omyword! and ThemBonez

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The New One-Gallon Coin: The Condi

This video is brilliant. (If you are receiving this post via email and there is no video for you to click on, please click through to my blog to view the video. Thanks!)

Our Government - A Bunch Of Teenage Hackers

I don't know why this pisses me off so much, but it does. I guess it's because the neocon Bush administration's disinformation program is so widespread and creepy. The fact that U.S. military or CIA or other mentally ill humans actually spend tax payer money to secretly edit Wikipedia, just makes me ill. Stephen Colbert does it for fun, and tells everybody about it. These guys do it for reals...and hide. What in the fuck is this world coming to?

According to an article on Antiwar.com, The New York Times said today that Wikileaks caught somebody at Guantanamo editing Wikipedia to put Guantanamo in a more favorable light, as well as adding old lies about Fidel Castro being a transsexual.

Well, so what if he is? He can hang out with cross-dresser Rudy Giuliani and Larry bathroom-stall-toe-tapper and be in fine company.

Here's the stuff:

Julian Assange of Wikileaks laid out evidence on the group’s web site Wednesday indicating that computers belonging to the base’s Joint Task Force-Guantánamo command were used for the suspicious online activity, including:

“deleting detainee ID numbers from Wikipedia last month, the systematic posting of unattributed ’self praise’ comments on news organization web sites in response to negative press, boosting pro-Guantánamo stories on the internet news site Digg and even modifying Fidel Castro’s encyclopedia article to describe the Cuban president as ‘an admitted transexual’ [sic].”

Mr. Assange’s report caught the attention of, among other news outlets, The Daily News of New York, which wrote about the situation on Thursday.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Government Entities Turn Money Away?

I didn't think that was possible. Doesn't everybody overspend their budget so they can demand more next year?

Fourteen states have said NO (just say no) to the Bush administration's money for abstinence-only programs. I guess those states are miraculously more interested in results than money. I'm sure you will be surprised to hear that abstinence-only programs, don't work:


“After 10 years and $1.5 billion in public funds these failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs will go down as an ideological boondoggle of historic proportions,” said James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth.
“The tragedy is not simply the waste of taxpayer dollars, it is the damage done to the young people who have been on the receiving end of distorted, inaccurate information about condoms and birth control. We have been promoting ignorance in the era of AIDS, and that’s not just bad public health policy, its bad ethics”.

So now there are 14 states turning down the money, and a couple more may fall. As William Smith of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a Washington-based advocacy and education group that opposes abstinence-only programs said. "It's a canary in the coal mine of what's to come."

Let's hope so.

Shedding Light On Government Spending

Francine Hardaway has a great post on her blog about:

Craig Newmark, the unique guy who founded Craigslist, is also involved with the Sunlight Foundation. The Sunlight Foundation was founded last year to explore how elected representatives use our money. How does it do this? Through technology, of course. Today its first major initiative was launched: a database of government spending.

What's cool about a database? The fact that the new site, USASpending.gov, which launches today, was developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in cooperation with the Foundation, and uses a database developed by the Sunlight Foundation.

I encourage you to read the entire post here, and I like what she says about using this database to get a handle on government spending, and see how it influences your vote in the 2008 presidential election.

The Rape of Iraq And Jamie Leigh

Jamie Leigh was raped in Baghdad by her fellow KBR employees. She had to call her father in America, from a borrowed cell phone, and her father had to call his Congressman, Ted Poe, in order to rescue Jamie. It has been two years, and the case has not been investigated by our government. The rape kit from Jamie's medical evaluation was GIVEN TO KBR. KBR "LOST IT." THEN THEY FOUND IT AGAIN. BUT IT HAD BEEN TAMPERED WITH. Jamie has been brave enough to come forward, and Ted Poe is bringing her case into the bright light of day.

Here is Poe's December 12th speech.

Rape is not about sex, it's about power and dominance. The current tone set by the Bush administration is one that pursues domination and control, with arrogant dismissal of the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the US Constitution. This administration has created a trickle-down effect, setting the same tone all the way down to individual soldiers, contract and government employees, both domestic and international.

If our President and his cronies can lie to, kidnap, imprison without charges, torture, "disappear," kill and displace human beings, all under the false guise of "promoting democracy," then it gives everyone permission to do the same, including those whom we call our friends, our co-workers, and those whom we call our "enemies."

I wish in no way to take away the reality, pain and horror of Jamie's and other women's rapes when I speak philosophically about them, but in addition to being illegal, immoral and despicable acts, these rapes are also symbols, a microcosmic reflection of America's overall brutish rape of Iraq and its people.

To learn more about the evolving story of Jamie Leigh and other women who are finding the courage to come forward, or to take action, please visit the Jamie Leigh Foundation website.

The Elders Call To Action: Human Rights

In a previous post in September, I wrote about The Elders. (Here is their RSS feed.) They had just announced their organization in July, and their website was in flux. But I signed up for their newsletter and received one today, written by Archbishop Tutu, that focused on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - the subject of my last post.

I felt sad and cynical in my last post. But again, The Elders turned this feeling of impotence into a feeling of hope through community and action. I'd like to share the email with you, and ask that you take action and join me in this worthwhile pursuit:

Firstly, thanks so much for taking the time to connect to the Elders website. It has been wonderful to see so many messages of hope and goodwill from people all over the world.

We “Elders” have been very busy over the last several months, so I thought that we would give you a bit of an update…..

July Announcement – in July we came together as a group to announce the existence of the Elders and we were very fortunate to have Nelson Mandela join us. You can hear his speech on our website, www.theElders.org. It was a wonderful day filled with emotion and love as Peter Gabriel sang Biko and the Elders expressed their commitment to working as a collective voice with their only agenda as that of humanity.

Start of the “Global Village” – Since July, we have had an overwhelming number of people connect to the website (thanks again!), sending their well wishes and thoughts on what the Elders should focus on. These thoughts range from helping to resolve conflict situations to supporting this next generation of leaders.

We look forward to developing this website into a place where the Elders can truly listen, connect and amplify the voices of people all over the world.

Sudan – We chose to go to Sudan for the first mission of the Elders because we could not turn our eyes from the humanitarian crisis, and we wanted to join with the many people around the world who have worked to stop the atrocities, protect the people, and contribute to peace. I was joined by fellow Elders Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel and Lakhdar Brahimi on a visit where we met with government and opposition, civil society representatives and local leaders, community leaders and the people in the displaced person’s camps in Darfur. Please visit our website to learn more about our trip, read our report , and take action to stop the needless suffering in Darfur.

Every Human Has Rights Campaign
- The Elders all felt that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be a foundation and set of principles for the Elders future work. It is incredible that almost sixty years ago, nations from all over the world agreed to uphold the rights expressed in this Universal Declaration, yet today there are still so many human rights abuses in every nation in the world.

We have brought together a group of wonderful partners and launched a campaign called “Every Human Has Rights” to get people to “sign up” to living by the principles of the Universal Declaration and to put pressure on their governments, as a result, to deliver these basic human rights. We are aiming to get one billion people to “sign up” and take responsibility for ensuring that we individually reclaim the Universal Declaration as one humanity. We are also hoping to get grassroots partners from all over the world involved. Help us get there by going to www.theElders.org/humanrights where you can sign up – and of course pass this on to all your communities.

Thanks so much once again for your support.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

But The UN? Bunch O' Pussies.

Thanks to Normon Solomon's Huffington Post article, I was able to read, for the first time, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by general assembly of the United Nations in 1948.

It broke my heart when I saw how many of those rights the United States has violated. But this administration has always hated the UN...enough to name John Bolton, a long-time UN hater, as our UN representative.

Anyway - in honor of the anniversary of the December 10th signing of this declaration, here it is in its entirety:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."
PREAMBLE

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

    (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

    (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

    (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

    (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

    (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

    (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

    (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

    Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

    Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

    (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

    (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

    (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twelve Steps of Warmongers Anonymous

(This is a work-in-progress, so helpful feedback is welcome.)

The Twelve Steps

Of Warmongers Anonymous

1. We admitted we were powerless over our warmongering; that our lives had become unmanageable.

At our intervention, we were presented with the following cold, hard facts and could no longer deny the direct impact that our warmongering, (whether we were actual perpetrators or financiers, fervent or casual supporters, or even simply participated through passive ignorance and inaction), had had upon us, our families, friends and co-workers, our country, the world at large, and the planet:

Iraq War
It was at this point that we cried "Uncle!" as we had heard enough to make us realize that our behavior had been horrendously reckless and destructive.

2. Came to believe that a Universal Power of the Greater Good, greater than ourselves as individuals, governments or countries, could restore us to sanity.

We realized that people, governments, and countries who set aside their personal agendas and focused on acts that supported the Greater Good, could make a powerful impact on our lives as individuals as well as on the lives of all peoples. We watched the nascent European Union as it struggled to find common ground, and although it had and still has challenges, it has focused in such a way that its individual countries and peoples could share a more positive and cooperative future. We saw the Euro gain strength accordingly. We realized that when committed to and driven by the Universal Power of the Greater Good, more peoples and countries and our planet can experience a better life.

We became aware that fear is a destructive force, and any people, organizations, governments, companies or countries who engender and purposely fan the flames of fear are also destructive.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Universal Power of the Greater Good as we understood it.

As we approached each new day, as individuals, governments and countries, we reminded ourselves of our commitment to the Greater Good, and with this daily reminder, we made each decision with the knowledge that each and every action we take impacts more than just our own lives. We realized that by remembering the Greater Good, we sometimes make sacrifices, but that our own individual life will be made better as a consequence. We realized that we do not give up our individual needs or rights by remembering the Greater Good, that we continue to nurture and grow ourselves and improve our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, as long as in doing so, we do not harm the Greater Good.

We realized that focusing on the Greater Good does not rob us of our individuality, nor does it trivialize our unique purpose nor the importance of the contribution we will make in this lifetime.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We boldly faced the consequences of our selfish or thoughtless actions and made a physical list of each and every action that negatively impacted ourselves, our loved ones, our co-workers, our government, our country, the world at large, and our planet.

5. Admitted to the Universal Power of the Greater Good, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

With this act of boldly naming our wrongs, we exposed them to the purifying light of day, so that they could be addressed, so that the root and cause of the behavior could be viewed, understood and ultimately healed and changed.

6. Were entirely ready to have the Universal Power of the Greater Good remove all these defects of character.

We humbled ourselves and opened completely to the possibilities of change. We accepted the love and help offered by others, and we remained open, allowing change and growth to be an ongoing process. As we healed our own lives, and observed the impact of our changed ways upon the lives of others, we felt the relief and graceful lifting of the burden of our negative thoughts and actions.

7. Humbly asked the Universal Power of the Greater Good to remove our shortcomings.

With a true and sincere desire to be a person who contributes to the Greater Good of all peoples, governments, companies, countries and to the planet, we asked the Universal Power of the Greater Good, to help us evolve and change so that our addiction to warmongering, profiteering, control, dominance and destruction could be lifted from our minds, hearts and souls.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

This being the hardest step of our spiritual evolution, we nevertheless approached it fearlessly, with the encouragement of those who have accomplished this step before us. This list was unbearably long, and included those people who were already dead, those families of the dead that grieve, those people who live in depleted or completely bereft financial circumstances (i.e. refugees) as a direct or indirect cause of our actions (or lack of action), those children who have been orphaned, those wives and mothers, husbands and fathers, sisters and brothers, who must care for their husbands, wives, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers who have returned from war, wounded in body, mind or spirit.

We were overwhelmed by our inability to make amends to them all, but lest we give up, we instead made a firm commitment to stop warmongering forever, stop financing the warmongering of others, stop burying our heads in the sand or being passive about the atrocities happening in our world, become involved in our local, state and federal government, research ballot issues and candidates thoroughly and vote for those issues and candidates who support the Greater Good, participate in peaceful protest in order to bring an issue to the attention of all peoples, look for and implement peaceful resolutions when conflict arises within our personal relationships, both familial and casual, give assistance in the form of financial gifts, tangible goods or personal labor to those in need and the organizations and institutions set up to assist them...

...and, if so inclined, blog our asses off.

In this way, we cannot reverse the damage to those we have harmed in the past, but we can assure that fewer people will be harmed in the future. Our commitment to cease warmongering in all of its manifestations is the best possible form of amends that we can offer when making amends at an individual level is not possible.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Through other-focused, open dialog, we humbly make amends and when required, listen quietly to the pain and sadness of others that we have harmed, for as long as they have a need to express it. We know that each time we make an amend, no matter how small, the health of all peoples, companies, countries and the planet is healed and sustained.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

We know that warmongering has been a practice since the beginning of time, and therefore can be an ingrained habit, a belief system passed down to us from our ancestors, a way of thinking that is skilled at rationalizing the worst of human behaviors. We have been easily fooled by the false rationale of warmongering in the past, and we can be fooled again. We continue to be aware of our mistakes, yet remain kind to and forgiving of ourselves when we fail. We remain conscious and alert with all of our thoughts and actions, by continuing to take a formal, written inventory of our actions on a regular basis. We learn to make amends as soon as possible, so as to heal the consequences of our behavior and evolve towards a more continuously peaceful existence. Through our example, other people with whom we come in contact, can learn how to be focused on the Greater Good, thus multiplying the possibility of an ongoing healthy and peaceful way of life.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the Universal Power of the Greater Good, as we understood it, praying only for knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry that out.

We seek out spaces of time in our busy lives for rest and contemplation, lest our actions become thoughtless, knee-jerk reactions again, versus carefully considered and designed to add to, rather than subtract from, the Greater Good.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to warmongers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The End of an Empire Is Messy

Just tippling on the piano keys on a Sunday afternoon, Randy Newman comes up with a good line or two. Although I'm partial to...

Baby take off your dress
Yes, yes, yes
But you can leave your hat on


...I think my new favorite is...

A President once said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded

Enjoy the video below. You can read the lyrics here.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

New Law: All Americans Must Speak Hopi

I just found this amazing scientist, cartoonist, geeknoid genius. And...I love this cartoon. Immensely. Says it all. Nothing else to say. OK, I'll shut up now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Like Mike Gravel - I Really Do

Why don't you give me a chance to say what I want to say?
Power to the people.
Give peace a chance.

You go Mike.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Majority of Iraq Foreign Fighters Not From Iran

So...we better go and bomb Iran then. I mean, they need to get their shit together to live up to the lies the Bush administration is dishing out in order to justify another illegal invasion.

According to this Reuters article, which was based on this New York Times article, which details documents found at a September insurgent hideout raid that listed the names and origins of 700 foreign fighters:

Of 700 foreign militants who entered Iraq since August 2006:

  • 305, or 41 percent, were from Saudi Arabia
  • 137, or 18 percent, were Libyan
  • Yemenis were the third largest group
  • Syrians made up 8 percent
Iran wasn't even mentioned in the Reuters article. I couldn't find any mention of how many Iranians were on the list in the NY Times article.

So, the Iraqi insurgency is made up of men from countries that are, um, our allies.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just Call Me Pollyanna

As I sit here and read the news, and get disgusted about 99% of it, I think about Ebenezer Scrooge in The Christmas Carol. Boiled down, the story is about a nasty, grasping man, who is transformed when he is forced to "see" a few things, like what people have said or are saying about him, including his former business partners and his current relatives. He also gets to look directly into the lives of those who are less fortunate, specifically his long-suffering, but loyal employee and his unfortunate son, Tiny Tim.

Scrooge is easily a stereotype of today's right-wing nutter, government entity or corporate behemoth. The spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge is in the hearts of the owners of a US contracting company in Iraq who got caught duping poor laborers in 3rd-world countries and actually enslaving them and bringing them to work in Iraq to help build our engorged US Embassy. It's in the hearts of Wal-Mart owners and management as they pretend to "green" the company while in fact their carbon footprint has grown since 2006. Wal-Mart's Scrooge also actively blocks the unionizing efforts of its employees and purposely has more part-time jobs than full-time, so they can avoid giving benefits like health care coverage to the part-timers. Wal-Mart's Scrooge crushes the independent mom-and-pop retailers, the foundation of America's "land of opportunity" image. Those whose businesses have closed can rest assured that they and their children can get a job right away as a part-time cashier or stock person, with no benefits. Yay! Ebenezer exists in the hearts of Republican presidential candidates who purposely refuse to take part in Hispanic, Black or LGBT debates or political conferences, giving a clear message to those Americans that their votes are meaningless. Well, as a matter of fact, those Americans just don't exist.

It's just greed and coldheartedness with a new name and address.

Unlike the story, today's Ebenezers don't really care what people are saying about them. So, Marley in Chains would be wasting precious Christmas Eve time by dragging them to listen in on Progressive blogs or, well, a majority of American voters. If they ain't listening now, they ain't gonna listen ever.

I think the evolution of Scrooge can only occur if someone Scrooge knows personally is abused or suffers in some way. The vast majority of the current Bush administration, Congress and the Senate has never been in a war. None (or very few) of their kids are in the war either. So, when American soldiers die, it's just a statistic to them. Ebenezers laugh or sneer at the homeless, at sub-prime mortgage holders, at the unemployed, at the mentally ill. They also ignore wounded veterans. They think depression is a weakness, that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a made-up illness. "Get a job! Get over it! Survival of the Fittest!" Oh, and my favorite, "Find Jesus!"

I know people who, out of anger and frustration and not knowing any better, have said, "I think we should just drop a bomb on the entire Middle East and kill all those fucking rag heads." That's because the image of the Middle East that is painted on American TV shows a lot of sub-machine-gun-toting, dress-wearing, turbaned, angry men. Al Jazeera is blocked from American TV sets (you know, America, the land of open press and all), so Americans can't see that there are women walking around in designer clothes, there are art galleries and fine restaurants and BMWs. I was talking to my brother the other day and mentioned that there is a large population of Christians in the Middle East, in Iraq specifically. "There are?" he said. He was shocked.

In their fanatical pursuit of their own Jihad, America's fundamentalist Christians have been blinded into killing and displacing Iraqis as if they are on some sacred mission, as if those they kill or those whose lives they ruin forever, are just animals, and not worthy of a single thought. Onward, you fucking Christian soldiers.

I want so much for every Scrooge in the world, to be dragged by the ghost of Marley, through the past, present and future of each human being that they have ignored, laughed at or derided. I want them to be transformed by the experience. I want them to deeply know what that guy named Jesus supposedly said, according to some other guy named Mathew (keeping in mind that these were just guys, and guys have been known to be unreliable.): As you did it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me.

Maybe then the world would change. Maybe then the energy and focus would shift towards activities of peace and preservation, kindness and cooperation, versus war, and destruction, coldheartedness and dominance.

Just call me Pollyanna.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fundamentalist Nutcases Take Over The US Military

I used to work at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. I was a staff artist for an audio-visual training program to train pilots how to fly the F-4 Phantom Jet. Yes, that's me in the picture and no, I don't look that good anymore.

I remember all of those military guys. And I liked them very much. From the pilots all the way up to the top brass. I didn't just work with them, I hung out with them on the base. I've always liked straight shooters and people who don't have time for bullshit. I was raised in the construction industry, and that was another place full of straight shooters. Until you got to the architects...then you ran into the bullshit. In America, I always figured that the politicians were like the architects in the construction industry, and the military were like the construction workers.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, this little fantasy, this little naive generalization that I have carried around with me for umpteen years, this hopeful trust in the common sense of the military guys and gals, has finally crumbled. It started long before Petreus. I kept hanging on, waiting for the voice of reason to rise up against the Commander In Chief, but Bush would fire the guys who disagreed with him. He calls that "listening to the commanders on the ground." Some of the fired generals have begun to speak out against the administration. That has been encouraging too. But my fantasy died a sad and final death when I read this TruthDig article.

It's written by David Antoon, a retired Air Force Colonel and Vietnam Vet. His son wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, which made Dad proud. His son was invited to attend the Air Force Academy. So David and his son went to the orientation and were changed forever from the experience. They discovered that the US military is being run by religious fundamentalists. That's all we need. Give a religious fanatic a gun and well, you have, um, Al Queda. Mr. Antoon's son, with much regret, decided not to attend the Air Force Academy.

I live in France now. A while back, I was talking to my Dad on the phone and I told him that it was Sunday, so everything was closed. He asked me why. I said, "Probably because France was originally a Catholic country." Politically, I guess you could say it's a socialist country. But it's culture and history is steeped in Catholicism. My Dad, one of those Latin Mass goers (that's a nice way of putting it), guffawed. It was hard for him to understand that those bloody socialists could be practicing Catholics too.

But France is secular, politically. They have managed to keep religion OUT of politics. And no lightening has struck, that I know of. I can see the dome of Sacre Coeur out of my window and it has yet to burst into flames. This church, at the top of the hill at Montmartre, is too busy frowning down upon the Moulin Rouge and all the flesh spots in Pigalle, nestled at the base of the hill. The two opposites have managed to live together in harmony all these many years.

I seriously doubt that part of France's military training regime includes hand-holding prayer circles and Monday night bible study groups. You can push the ejection button if I'm wrong.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Naming Those Dirty Little (and big) Wars

You know, if it wasn't so damn funny, it would be depressing as hell. George Bush casually on purpose invoking the specter of World War What-The-Fuck-Ever. Cheney doing a follow-up. Then Podhoretz publishing (and making money from - for shame) a book called World War IV. And this wasn't done in unison? buhahaha! Meanwhile, some buhwheat named Max Boot writes the goofiest shit about Podhoretz' book and the correct naming scheme for all the wars. In the process, he chases his tail 'round many a corner.

When the absurdity of it all becomes just too much, one gets comic relief from the old standby of computer and Star Trek nerds. It's reminiscent of my days at Sandbox.com (was that during the first or second ickthinian war of the worlds between fantasy football or hockey? I can't remember.), watching the IRC explode with nerdificatious commentary and laughing until my face hurt.

Just read this post over at CrookedTimber, but please, please, please read every single one of the comments. It will restore your faith in our future as a human race. If, and only if, we can get these guys out from behind their custom-built Linux machines and out into the glaring light where they can fix shit. They'll stay up for three nights in a row, drink copious amounts of Doctor Pepper from liter bottles and consume boxcar loads of pepperoni pizzas in the process, but they'll save the world. Swear to God they will.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bush Bumper Stickers

I've done a load of advertising copy writing in my career, and one of the exercises I like to put myself through when first encountering a product, is to see how many bumper stickers I can come up with that tell the product's story. If you can state a story in that short little slab of paper, then you are way ahead of the game.

So...I admire people when they can do bumper stickers well, especially when it's about George Bush. I found this list over at the Eden Lunch blog, on this post. Evidently this list has been making the email rounds but I've never seen it. So to preserve it in all of its short-n-sweet perfection, I offer it to you now (with my favorite in bold):

  1. Bush: End of an Error

  2. That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

  3. Let's Fix Democracy in this Country First

  4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran

  5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber

  6. If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

  7. At Least Nixon Resigned

  8. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight

  9. Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blow jobs Anymore

  10. America: One Nation, Under Surveillance

  11. They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

  12. Jail to the Chief

  13. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq??

  14. Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

  15. Bad President! No Banana

  16. We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language

  17. We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

  18. Is It Vietnam Yet??

  19. Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

  20. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Hand basket??

  21. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46

  22. Pray For Impeachment

  23. What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?

  24. 2004: Embarrassed, 2005: Horrified, 2006: Terrified

  25. Bush Never Exhaled

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Robert Miley: Release The Fear

In September, BlogCatalog invited bloggers to Blog Against Abuse. BlogCatalog, in association with Copywrite, Ink., also invited any blogger who participated in this campaign to submit their post for consideration in a Blog For Hope Post Competition.

Well, my post about Robert Miley, a Phoenix artist who uses art to help abused and at-risk children, won first place in the competition!

I sincerely hope that, as a result of this post, Robert Miley will be asked by more schools and institutions to implement his Release The Fear workshops. Congratulations to Robert for the years of effort he has invested in this program and in helping to heal the wounds caused by abuse.

Important Links: Robert Miley's Website, Release The Fear Website

Cross-posted at Omyword.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is it Possible? Another Positive Development?

I can't believe it, actually. Here I am, all mopey-like, believing that the world is coming to an end, that the neocons will have it all to themselves, that the rest of us bloody puffters who care about stupid shit like people being killed and countries being occupied, will just melt into oblivion, that run-on sentences will go unpunished...

Oh, I'm sorry. Got a little carried away.

Here is my Second Positive Post in a Row. A freakin' record for me.

The city of Philadelphia, where I was born, where I first got felt up, where I first tried semi-dangerous drugs, the city my parents left behind when they went to "God's Country" (Arizona), yes, that city...has had the best idea ever: 10,000 Men. They are recruiting 10,000 men, mostly African-American, to create a presence on every street in the city, as a deterrent to crime. Holy Shit that's a good idea.

In corporate America, we called it "Getting buy-in." Or some shit like that. I'm surprised we didn't give it an acronym, like GBI. Basically, if you get your customer, or your team members, or your employees, or your neighbors, to personally buy in to whatever you are promoting (um, like peace), then you will be successful. If not, you're fucked.

Read about it HERE.
Visit the website HERE.

You just don't know how happy this makes me.

"When we're together, we have power. And when we have power, we can make decisions."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Do They Have Sniffer Dogs to Handle This Kind of Threat?

Just when I've given up, just when I've decided that the little guy (or girl) will never vanquish the big guy, I read something like this.

Now, what are our American brand of warmongering, neocon fascists afraid of, hmmmm? Spiders? Bill O'Reilly's Butt Vibrator? Liberal Bloggers? Oh yeah, that's right, Teh Gay People. They are afraid to touch Teh Gay People. Shall we mail every member of the Bush administration his/her very own Gay Person?

No. Many of them might like that.

Condoms? Dutch Farm Animal Porn Mags? What? What can we send them?

Can we fake the second coming? Can we have Jesus show up according to some scripture we flog out of that poor raggedy-ass abused book, Teh Bible? We know he has to be white, and have stigmata, and all that. Maybe have him descend from the sky down into the Senate chambers?

Aw hell, help me here. We have to be as creative as those women from Thailand and their panties.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Outrage Fatigue: What a Great Term

The first time I heard the term "outrage fatigue" on this great post on the SuicideGirls website, I jumped up and down yelling, "Yes! Yes! That's how I feel! I am FUCKING OUTRAGED and TIRED of being that way!

But when I clicked through on the link, it was to this Onion story, which I enjoyed immensely. But their definition of outrage fatigue is more like, "I'm tired of being outraged, so I'm not going to be outraged anymore."

Man, If only I were that lucky. If only I could just let go of my anger and shrug my shoulders and watch my country (and other people's countries) going down in flames. Unfortunately, I am that proverbial water barrel under the roof drain. I'm so full of anger, brimming to the edges with it, that it takes only one drop for me to overflow, to spew my rage all over the petunias one more time.

What do I mean by one drop? Oh, one more little bending over routine by the Democrats in Congress, or, um, one more time that we actually give Bush more money to continue this freakin' war, or maybe that recent article about how many dollars Hillary has accepted in campaign contributions from the oil industry and Wall Street, which means when she gets elected we'll be in Iraq for FUCKING EVER!!!!!!!!!! Those kinds of little droplets.

Friday, October 19, 2007

French Rail Strike - My Experiences

Some of you have probably heard about the "big strike" here in France, of the rail workers, and other unions sympathetic to the strikers, such as the electrical workers. The issue is in regards to a special retirement feature for only these workers, which allows them to retire around 55, versus having to wait until they are 60 like the workers in the public sector. I was aware that the strike would be happening and since I don't commute to work and since the grocery store is downstairs, I didn't pay much attention. There's a protest about one thing or another happening regularly in Paris so I've begun to tune them out.

But this week I've had a friend visiting me from New York who is here in Paris on business. He's staying at the Hotel Beaugrenelle, where I stayed more than 16 years ago when I was working on a joint marketing agreement between Honeywell Bull in Paris, my company near Washington DC, and an Israeli company. The hotel still has a teeny weenie lobby, which looks like a grand ballroom on the hotel's website. I had to smile at that. They must have used quite the wide-angle lens for those photos.

If you look at the map of Paris, I live in the top right-hand corner of the city and the hotel Beaugrenelle is in the bottom left, so it's a two-train Metro ride, with many stops, probably a half hour trip altogether.

On Wednesday afternoon I offered to go to my friend's hotel, pick him up and bring him back to my neighborhood via the Metro. Then we could eat at my favorite little secret restaurant, where Antoine, the owner, treats us like kings and queens. I had no trouble getting over to the hotel around 5:30 PM, even though it was rush hour and the trains were pretty packed.

We had a wonderful dinner. Then at around 9PM, I wrote down both the train line numbers, the direction my friend needed to take for each train, and the stops where he had to exit, and walked him to the Metro station and waved goodbye and then walked home. When I got home I opened my news reader and saw that the strike that was supposed to be only on Thursday, had started Wednesday night at 8PM. I worried that I had thrown my friend to the wolves and that he wouldn't know how to get home. Here's the interesting thing...he made it home just fine. Two main cross-town Metro lines were running on schedule. He didn't have a problem.

The next day was the official strike but I stayed home because I had lots of blogging work to do. But my friend Karl went out in the afternoon and said the Metro was open and people were going in and out of the station. Later that evening he went out again and was able to take Metro trains everywhere. The only thing that he noticed was that the trains ran every half hour rather than every 5 minutes.

This morning, I was supposed to go back over to my friend's hotel and meet him for lunch before he caught his plane home. In my feedreader, I read that the rail strike "shut down France" and I wondered which part of France they were talking about. I also read that the unions had decided to continue the strike into today. I shrugged my shoulders and went out the door.

My first train was in the station within 2 minutes and I noticed on the board that the next train would be arriving 3 minutes after mine. Everything was running fine. My next train was the same. My return trip at 2PM was uneventful.

Soooooooo....I'm not sure what effect the strike actually had?

Meanwhile, Sarkozy, to whom the strike was directed, was out of town. Plus, he and his wife announced their separation. So, it seems like this strike thing was just a little gnat that he flicked off his shoulder while focusing on other things. We shall see.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bonnie Raitt and No Nukes

Please sign the petition here.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Amazing Graphical Representation of Mind Boggling Facts

Many thanks to Arthur for sending this to me. I spent quite a bit of time on this website before I actually was able to absorb what I was looking at. I've copied one example below. There are many more that will blow your mind.

Depicts nine million wooden ABC blocks, equal to the number of American children with no health insurance coverage in 2007.


With figures drawn for scale reference:


Partial zoom:


Zoomed closer:


Detail at actual size:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

From Anger To The Elders: Can I Make The Leap?

I have struggled at certain times with this blog. But it has been and continues to be a great learning experience, and a means of expression that has helped me immensely in learning mostly about myself and how I encounter and respond to the world.

It's forced me to take a look at the prejudices and assumptions I carry around with me, look for their source, but most importantly, examine them for their truth in the face of reality. Although truth and reality can be subjective, I am grateful to my boyfriend, a lifelong journalist, who regularly reminds me not to jump to any conclusions until I've rounded up as many pieces of the tale from every possible source. Technology, travel and encountering people from all over the world have helped to bring information together very quickly. My opinions are still forming and will probably continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Anger is what brought me to this blogging effort. Anger about corporate America, about America's politics, about religious fanaticism, about a paternalistic warmongering controlling authoritarian approach to the management of our country and our relationships with our global neighbors. But I was mostly angry about the fallout and victims of these entities and practices, like the suffering of many people that is ignored, brushed aside or purposely hidden away by a pampered, self-indulgent and ignorant elite.

But I have my own anger, deep inside of me. About rape, and abuse, and being victimized and marginalized as a woman, employee, person. Anger that is not expressed, manifests itself in depression, paralysis, self-abuse or uncontrollable rage. If all of us were honest, we would admit to having this kernel of anger in our bellies. Statistically, one in six American women, and one in 33 American men have been sexually assaulted, and 44% of those victims are under the age of 18. This doesn't count the crimes that have not been reported. So if I have 13 readers, it's safe to say that at least 2 of you are angry too.

There have been times when I believed that this anger I carry is SO BIG that it can bring a plane down, crash a car, kill people. I've spent half a lifetime trying to be "nice" and dress accordingly, so that nobody would know the horrible, festering, dark anger that I kept in its correct place at all times. This was not healthy. But neither was standing naked on top of a building and screaming bloody murder for three days until all the tortured ghouls and goblins were exorcised from my body.

Instead, I took up blogging. Which is the electronic format of standing naked on top of a building and screaming bloody murder for three days until all the tortured ghouls and goblins were exorcised from my body.

So I approached this blog with trepidation, on tiptoes, and with every strongly-worded post, I ducked under my covers and waited for the fallout. With a total of 13 subscribers, you can imagine that there hasn't been much of a fallout. Not even one Troll comment from a right-wing nut case. The only fallout so far is that I recently lost a subscriber, a friend of ours who I used to spar with since he is Republican and also Christian. But I am ok with his choice to opt out. We all get to pick the people, things and issues with which we spend our precious time. It's our right as human beings. He was nice enough to humor me by reading my blog for a little while.

It was actually this friend that just unsubscribed that said something to me early in my blogging, which stopped me in my tracks for a while. He said, "You are so angry in your blog." And because I have always feared my anger so much, I swallowed that simple sentence as a poison pill and stopped writing altogether for a while. But over time, I realized that my blog tag line was "It's never too late to be pissed off." So, yes, I AM angry. That's the theme of my blog. For better or worse. So I started writing again, except this time I pulled out the stops and let the anger go forth and, well, multiply.

I think anger has its place in our lives. It's pretty much ok, even admired, when men get angry. But women? Not so much. Look at that guy called Jesus, in that book that a whole bunch of old men wrote called The Bible. He got REALLY pissed off at the vendors in the temple and flew into enough of a rage to upend the vendors' tables. I think The Mens (those in charge of The Churches) called what he did "righteous wrath." An unfortunate term that is also used and abused by people today who have nasty intentions.

It's all hearsay, I know. But this guy Jesus is revered worldwide as the son of some supreme being called God, and evidently he came down to earth to help all of us blundering fools be better human beings by offering himself as an example of LOVE. Or at least I think that was his message. Sometimes his message is a bit skewed by people who want to use it to promote something much more nefarious, like hatred of gays and Muslims, and, and, and.

So that guy who had the message of LOVE could also get awfully pissed off. Which qualifies him as a former (now dead, but some people insist he's still alive, like Elvis) human being. Inside one person, there are many contradicting forces, which drive us in different directions, until we learn our way. So, me and Jesus are alike. (The Christian fundamentalists are now purple with apoplexy) I just spend more time right now tossing tables around the temple than teaching the power of love.

And I'll tell you one thing I know for sure. When Jesus knocked over all those tables and threw a hissie fit, he was and still is respected. If a woman did that? She'd be hauled off to the loony bin or at best, deeply medicated.

Which brings me, in a long and roundabout way, to the subject of this post. I am saddened by the direction our country is going, and deeply depressed as I now face the fact that what I suspected all along, that the Democrats don't have the fucking gonads to effect this "change" they've all been yammering about, is now, or will soon be, confirmed. Those bastards are going to fund the continuance of the Iraq occupation, and if we aren't careful, Lieberman and Kyl will slip the declaration of war against Iran into a bill so that Darth Cheney can have his way with the Middle East.

It doesn't matter anymore how angry I am. I can't say fuck enough, or stamp my feet enough, to make a difference. And I have no hope that the American people will get angry with me and put down their fucking gameboys or turn off Star Search long enough to get out in front of their local government buildings and protest loudly against the genocide that our government is continuing to perpetrate against the Iraqi people, funded by our very own tax dollars.

So I am considering a change in direction. I have shitloads of energy. I can write like a banshee. I can do voice over and on-camera work and produce videos. I understand the concepts of marketing and PR and have practiced them for years, for shithole corporate fear products like insurance. I would like to somehow put all of this skill and energy towards effecting positive change in the world. I want to roll my sleeves up and work hard for something useful. I'm tired, frankly, of just bitching.

So, a while back I read this article and then today I found their new website, so I wrote to these guys to see if they needed any help. Meanwhile, because I think they have the best idea since sliced bread, one that transcends global, religious and political boundaries to solve problems, I am going to begin to research and tell their story, and the stories of the people that make up their group, and keep track of where they go and what they do.

Stay tuned. And if you miss my anger, I'm sure I can muster some up along the way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Colors of Death

Yellow: Dead Iraqi Security Forces
Green: Dead Iraqi Civilians
Blue: Dead Coalition Forces

Courtesy of the Pentagon via this ThinkProgress article.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Political Spillage Over at my Other Blog

I have been trying, with a good measure of success until just recently, to separate the teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling, rabid, slobbering angry venting of this political blog ... from my perverse, slutty, self-absorbed and delightfully nasty essays on my life at my other blog.

So, early on I decided to separate church and state and have a "Lives and Times" blog and a separate "I Hate The Patriarchal, War-Mongering, Right-Wing, Dick-Wanking, Corporate American Life" blog.

Well it turns out, 7 months later, and much to your amazement, I'm sure, very few people in my family and a tiny few of my friends actually bother reading anything I write so, my blogging friends, total strangers whom I've had the pleasure of meeting while actually being myself for the first time in my life, the coast is fucking clear.

I'm not sure why, but in the beginning (before God created the bugs and trees), I had this hilarious notion that my family would read my main blog and disown me if I said anything political beyond "I will obey the patriarchy." So I started this blog to vent my political outrage. Only one niece has subscribed, for which I give her credit, because the family scorn can be quite terrible. She's a sensible girl, even though she used to get excited about living in DC and watching Dick Cheney's limo convoy going off to work each morning ... with Scooty Libby in the back seat plotting the outing of Valerie Plame. But who's paying attention to details, ya know?

I also thought that if I included my political views in my main blog, some of my friends back in Arizona would be offended and harrumph off to their nice little consumer-driven, SUV- and Harley-driving Disneyland lives and nod to each other over $50 bottles of wine and illegal Cuban cigars, after paying cash to the illegal aliens who clean their house and whom they hope their right-wing votes will eventually deport, because those fuckers have the nerve to suck us Americans dry of all our social services, and are filling up the rooms of all our hospitals and doctor's office waiting rooms. (I've had to wait in line behind them hundreds of times, haven't you?) We need to get rid of all the brown people, you know, because they sure do clutter things up. But hopefully they'll get the yard and the house clean before they go back to their homelands. And maybe we can get a bunch of pasty white "real" Americans to work in the kitchens of our $35-per-plate hip and trendy restaurants, muck out the toilets, or definitely wash the dishes in those taco joints that we love so much when we're in the mood for "slummin' it."

Meanwhile, in between tokes of their illegal Mexican sinsemilla designer pot, (I'm still talking about my friends here; not their Mexican laborers), they never ever discuss the BILLIONS of their own tax dollars that have fueled an illegal and totally fucking worthless war that has killed thousands of US soldiers (oh well, they were poor and it was a risk those kids took to better their lives by joining the military. We're grateful that those hillbillies joined up because our own kids were too busy fucking off in college to join up for this war that we completely support.) and killed over a million Iraqis and put another 2 million Iraqis out of their homes.

No. They just talk about how whacked that Lisa Wines has become - moving off to France with her rock n' roll journalist boyfriend and selling everything she owns for a pittance so she can become a writer.

But I'm not bitter. Not at all.

I don't think I'll have any friends or family left after this post, but what the heck, who's paying attention to details anyway?

Here are the two recent posts over at my other blog with some political snarky talk, in case you aren't subscribed to both of my blogs:


Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. It is entitled Enraged Macaroni and depicts a woman fish vendor holding fish in the face of a dandy who is pulling a knife from a sheath, as another woman, in the window behind him, cuts his hair. What attracted me was my name over the top of the door: Wines.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't Watch This Debauched and Depraved Video...More Than Once

This made me burst out laughing. This is a pretty mild French music video, but some right-wing nutter Brownback blog declared Why France Is Our Enemy because of it.

Here's a little snippet from the blog (so you won't have to go there - but actually, the comments are fucking hilarious):

This is the pinnacle of French culture- a debauched and depraved temptress cavorting about for the tittilation of the vilest and most sinful instincts within us. (I must warn you, please do not allow your children to watch this video.)
First of all, he needs to learn to spell tit-illation. Secondly, when someone tells you NOT to watch something, isn't it the FIRST thing you want to do? So...DON'T watch this video, and when you're done (and disappointed by the tameness), please read more hilarity below the video.




So, this freak of a website led to my boyfriend clicking around on it (because I was too busy spewing to do so) and he was rolling around laughing. Here's one of the comments on one of the blogs:
Pastor Tobin Maker Says:
June 17th, 2007 at 7:41 am

Mrs Taffy Gaines-Crockett! Is that you? Oh, happy day! It’s been years since we praised Baby Jesus together and smote heathens on the old message board.
Oh please let me be on the message board so you can smote me too! OOH OOH!

Then this, if I may be so sinful as to use the devil's language, French, is the coup de grâce:

Welcome to Christian Domestic Discipline
Loving Wife Spanking in a Christian Marriage


If we are talking about depravity then exactly who is depraved? I'm sooooo confused.

Now, the next abomination (oh I love these words) was the Baptists for Brownback website that has decided to call "Rape" by a different name, U.S.E or Unplanned Sexual Event. These people are freaks of nature and laughable, until you realize a) how many of them there are out there and b) Sam Brownback is a freaking presidential hopeful. Man I am glad I am in the devil's land of France. You just don't know how happy I am to be here. Anyway, here's some of their insanity:

Sam Brownback is was the inspiration for this grassroots campaign called, “Cry USE not RAPE”. We have concluded that the acronym U.S.E. (Unplanned Sexual Event), when used regularly to replace the word “rape”, will remove the stigma associated with this sometimes unpleasant situation. It is our mission to protect the innocent lives of the babies that are part of His plan and eliminate the excuses given by many women when a precious baby just isn’t convienient.

...

Mrs. Billy Ray "Suzzanna Beth" Simpkins Says:
June 18th, 2007 at 3:23 pm Frank Lee, I done know how some of these harlots can claim with a strate face that ANY sexual activitiy was UNPLANNED when you look under their too-short skirts and find that they have shaved and carefully groomed there lady areas! If you ask me and Jesus, those tramps are UP FOR ANYTHING! EVEN BLACK MEN!...

Lynelle - Editor Says:
June 18th, 2007 at 9:34 pm Amen Kristine. The Bible says “Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to
uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness (Aunt Flow visiting).” (Leviticus 18:19 KJV) “Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.” (Leviticus 15:26 KJV) When Aunt Flow visits I just stay in the pool house until the Biblical time has passed. I will not submit my husband to my time of uncleanliness. During this week I don’t take any chances when it comes to my family. They can call me on my cell phone and I leave them casseroles in the freezer but I do not have phyiscal contact with any of them. I have my body trained so that by Saturday my visitor leaves and come Sunday I cam clean and can return to my family and church. PTL! Thank you so much for adding your comments. I know that Sam Brownback comes by here and I hope he will see what the Christian people want from our next president. God Bless!