Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting anxiety

This morning, I went to vote in another critical election, just like the 2000 and 2004 elections. In past elections, we've gotten a little card which we insert into a book, then we punch the card for our choices. In 2004, I experienced some anxiety while aligning the card correctly--the last thing I wanted to do was fall into the trap of mis-aligning the card and voting for some idiot republican. I felt pretty confident, after checking and double-checking in an almost obsessive-compulsive fashion, then placed my paper punch card in the ballot box. A little scary, but I felt confident that my vote would count. Pennsylvania went blue for Kerry, so my confidence in the paper ballot grew.

This morning, then, I was expecting to see paper ballots again. Wrong.

My little paper punchcard from last time has now been replaced by an "I-tronic" (or something like that) touch-screen machine. That totally disoriented me; I wasn't expecting a machine at all. So in my frightened state, I found it really difficult to read and understand the instructions. Let me give you a little perspective: I have a master's degree in English. I've taught composition and literature at the college level. I'm 42, and I've voted at least twenty times. However, I was just so disoriented and paranoid about this touch-screen machine, I could barely even read the instructions.

So finally I made it out of there after "touching" my way through the ballot, praying the whole time that indeed my votes are recorded, and that they are recorded the way the screen showed them before I touched the "confirm" button. I wrote down the number of my machine on my little stub (my partner Kat told me to). I pray to god the votes are accurately counted this time around. It was really nerve-wracking.

You know, voting in a democracy really shouldn't be that scary. It makes me sad to think I was so intimidated by a stupid computer---but it was what I know about those computers that intimidated me. I can't imagine what people of lower reading and educational levels must think when confronted by those machines. At one point, when you've finally made your selections, this red "VOTE" button at the top of the machine, completely off the screen surface, flashes and beeps at you--loudly. Well, the whole time, I've been touching the screen to indicate my choices, so I'm thinking "what the hell? where's the button on the screen?" Finally, it dawns on me--the flashing button. So I press that. Why wasn't it on the screen?

At the beginning of this process, when I signed in, I was given a card. I kept thinking that somehow this card would be inserted into a slot on the voting machine and something would print or punch-out on it or something--my votes, or some code, or whatever. I kept thinking that this card must have some purpose here in relation to the machine. It did not--at least not that I could see. There was no slot, no nothing. The card had a perforation on it, and I was allowed to keep the top half and had to give the bottom half to the poll helpers. I don't even know what they did with the card; in my panicked and disoriented state I didn't even watch what the lady did with my card. She could've thrown it in the garbage for all I know. At that point, I just had to trust that my "electronic ballot" was flying along a fiber optic network and being counted. Right now, being counted is the most important thing in the world to me.

It's going to be a very long day.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another bailout?

When GW was an "oilman" (he never actually struck much oil) in Midland, TX, he started up and was employed by several different companies--Arbusto, Harken Energy, etc. Each time, he'd basically drill a bunch of dry holes, suck up salary, then get bailed out of the business by his father or his father's friends (like the Bin Laden family). This was a pattern that has been noted by many people, including Craig Unger in House of Bush, House of Saud, the brilliant book on Bush and Rove Bush's Brain, and other sources. In short, like many spoiled rich kids, whenever GW would get into trouble, Daddy would bail him out.

I've been watching with interest this whole business of the James Baker-led Iraq Study Group, and something about it is ringing a bell with me. Simply put, GW has gotten himself into a REAL big pile of shit--way worse than the dry holes and failed businesses of his youth--and now Daddy's key henchman Baker seems to be trying to step in and get Junior out of the mess he's gotten himself into.

Can Daddy fix things this time? Can Baker save Junior again, like it did when Baker rammed through the 2000 "election" of GW in the first place? Or will GW continue his "stay the course" idiocy? He always let Daddy buy him out of trouble back in his younger days. Let's see if GW's grown up stupid, or just plain grown up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Word for the Dear Departed

In Brown v. Vasquez, the U.S. Supreme Court stated, "The writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action." (thanks to www.lectlaw.com for that piece of the ruling)

Where will we go now? Who or what will protect our freedom? How long until the gulag archipelago described by Solzhenitzyn is put into place here?

All those documents in the National Archives are now just very old pieces of paper--worth something to an antiques dealer, I suppose, but not to the government that was supposed to uphold the words and ideas written on them.

Let's recall what President Chimp said about the Constitution in December 2005:

"It's just a goddamned piece of paper."

I guess the man is finally right about something.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More unholy shit from ABC and the radical wrong

I've been hearing a ton about this upcoming "documentary" from ABC, "The Path to 9/11," and I've been awakened from my birdwatching slumber to write on this blog today. Sorry I've been remiss and have been ignoring Impeachment and other dreams to play around on my bird site, beginning to bird.

Okay--first off, I realize that the idiots who made and are airing this film think they have a valid point when they answer critics with the "watch the movie first!" line of bs. The thing is, once the movie is out on their national airwaves, it'll be too late to criticize it! Many Americans will believe ANYTHING they see on TV! They'll take all this as fact and before you know it, the Chimp's poll ratings will be up.

Just yesterday, I listened as a co-worker claimed to be a Clinton supporter, then proceeded to parrot some of the EXACT POINTS argued in the film (courtesy of the Blue State blog) that "too bad Clinton didn't go after Bin Laden when he had the chance" and "I didn't vote for him second term, because I thought he was too distracted by the Lewinsky thing to do his job." I couldn't believe that an intelligent person could buy into this bullshit. The film hasn't even aired yet, but people already know the talking points of the right. Ridiculous.

The only hope is that there are enough Americans who are tired of this campaign of fear, tired of the lies, tired of the imperialistic actions of this regime. Enough Americans who will NOT buy into the bullshit. Otherwise, it's another November of stolen elections, republican "victories," and perpetual war.

Do what you can to get the truth out about this film and its messages. Hit the blogs, especially the rethuglican ones, and make your voices heard. Make sure people know the film offers a patently FALSE version of history, masquerading as truth.

We've got to get this country back, folks. VOTE! Speak truth to power! Speak truth.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


from The Seattle Times' David Postman:

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says America is in World War III and President Bush should say so. In an interview in Bellevue this morning Gingrich said Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September and talk about global military conflicts in much starker terms than have been heard from the president.

"We need to have the militancy that says 'We're not going to lose a city,' " Gingrich said. He talks about the need to recognize World War III as important for military strategy and political strategy.

Great. Yeah. Let's have MORE militancy. That's what we need, all right. And of course, talking about these wars and declaring that we are "not going to lose a city" will DEFINITELY make it all better! Just like saying "mission accomplished!" did, right?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Is WWIII starting?

It's possible that this conflict between Lebanon and Israel will eventually become World War III. It wouldn't surprise me, as the Chimp has successfully bankrupted and ruined every company he ever ran, the formerly great state of Texas, and the once-decent United States, that the Chimp would kick it up another notch and just go ahead and work his "magic" on the whole freakin' world. Why not? If there's one thing GW knows how to do, it's fucking things up royally.

I don't believe in god. As such, I don't believe in an "anti-christ." But if I did, and if there were an anti-christ, I think we all know who'd emerge in that role. Though I always got the sense from those "Omen" movies that he'd be sexier. And smarter.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Why Oedipus stabbed his eyes out

Sometimes, when I've gotten bleary-eyed from looking at web site after web site---truthout, common dreams, liberal oasis, daily kos, project for the old american century---you know the sites we liberals feed on---sometimes when I've been reading everything I possibly can for the last few hours, I get this desire to just shut it all out. I see people around me at work, all happily going to walmart, buying their SUVs, voting republican, ignorantly and blissfully talking about how they're glad GW's up there "talking tough to them Iran people." I sometimes wish I could be so blissfully ignorant. But alas, having a brain precludes me from floating around in a little bubble of ignorance. Being aware of the truth, seeking the truth, needing the truth, even though it makes me miserable.

I read that Bobby Kennedy said, "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

I just hope he's right. But I haven't felt any hope since about November 2000. We're an empire in decline. I learned in history that every empire falls--the Sumerians, the Greeks, the Romans, the British. What will it be like when the American Empire falls? Will it come down in a crashing heap, crushing us all? Or will it continue as it has, sinking slowly like a dead fish in the water, until it finally hits the bottom?

It's been a while since I've posted; I've been trying to just stay positive, keep hope alive that things will change in November. We'll see. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"The Case for Impeachment" by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky

I will soon be posting a review of this book, but I wanted to hype it already because anything Dave Lindorff writes is bound to be good.

Greg Palast's new book---Buy it!

Greg says:
Just wanted to let you know my new book hits the street on June 6, Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal 2008, No Child's Behind Left and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War, the longest subtitle in publishing history. It's out July 7 in the UK. Do me a favor -- buy it right now. You can order it on my site, through Amazon, at www.GregPalast.com <http://www.GregPalast.com>, your local book store, whatever.

Anne Coulter's out that day too, 06-06-06, in honor of her father's birthday, and I'll be damned if she takes our spot on the Times list.

This is my best journalism yet, worst jokes, a full-color Secret History of the War over Oil in Iraq, Republican Party caging lists (say what?) and a killer recipe for shrimp curry.

It launches in NYC on June 13 at Ethical Culture Society 7pm -- joined by Amy Goodman, Paul Krugman and Randi Rhodes. Find another 20 US/UK cities at my website.

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy helped kick off a national discussion of the racial jiggering of elections. Maybe this book can bust the media omerta over The Topic which dare not speak its name: Class War.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Why are rich people rich?

Dave the Nazi (from my work) told me that it's unfair to tax rich people more than poor people. He said that they're rich because they "worked harder and made smarter decisions."

I had two words for him: Paris Hilton.

The sad part is that, as well off as Dave the Nazi may be as he approaches early retirement, the new tax cuts are not even going to touch him. He's not THAT rich. And yet, in his tiny little republican heart, he really believes this shit. Amazing.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Gross me out, totally, to the max

From a speech Bush made in CA to some "business leaders," courtesy of Editor & Publisher:

Bush said he'd sat in a California church on Sunday near a mother and stepfather grieving for their son who had been killed in Iraq. "I also want to let you know that before you commit troops that you must do everything that you can to solve the problem diplomatically," he commented. "And I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing what I know today."

Well, hey, as long as he tried diplomacy "to the max"--I know I feel better.

Why does he even PRETEND to know what the hell he's saying? I mean, just read the cue cards, listen to what Cheney is telling you to say through your hidden earpiece, and then get the hell out. Is that so f-ing hard? Do you really HAVE to show the world what a freaking moron you are, every single time you open your mouth???

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The spread of democracy

Remember, kids: "Freedom is on the march!"
. . . only it's wearing big black jack-boots and it's goose-stepping along and you'd better get the hell out of its way or it'll crush you.

courtesy of truthout.org and The New York Times:

Editor's Note: One stated objective that Mr. Bush has repeatedly pointed to, in justifying the continued US occupation of Iraq, is helping Iraq to become a "Democracy." Today Mr. Bush asked the man who - US authorities say - was duly elected by the Iraqi people as their prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, to resign. To date, 2,315 US soldiers and Marines and an estimated fifty to one hundred thousand Iraqis have died as a result of the Bush administration's decision to invade and occupy Iraq. -- ma/TO

Shiites Say US Is Pressuring Iraqi Leader to Step Aside
By Edward Wong
The New York Times
Tuesday 28 March 2006
Senior Shiite politicians said today that the American ambassador has told Shiite officials to inform the Iraqi prime minister that President Bush does not want him to remain the country's leader in the next government.
It is the first time the Americans have directly intervened in the furious debate over the country's top job, the politicians said, and it is inflaming tensions between the Americans and some Shiite leaders.
The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a "personal message from President Bush" on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting.
Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first "clear and direct message" from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.

So let me see if I've got this straight: First we get to hear all about how great it was that they had elections in Iraq---but now those elections shouldn't count because the Iraqis voted for someone that Baby Hitler doesn't like.
Holy shit. This guy really IS the antichrist.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

News of the Day

Iraq Told To Rebuild Itself
By William Fisher
28 March, 2006
Last week’s announcement that Iraq will now have to pay for its own reconstruction has left some observers wondering whether the yet-to-be-formed government there will be up to the task.
Iraq's deputy finance minister, Kamal Field al-Basri, said it was "reasonable" for the United States to sharply cut back its reconstruction efforts after spending about $21 billion. "We should be very much dependent on ourselves," al-Basri said in an interview the American newspaper, USA Today.

"REASONABLE"????? How deep in Bush's pockets is THIS guy?!

Now I guess Bush will just wash his hands of the whole mess and think he can come out smelling like a rose. The sad part is that these idiot bush-backers will probably be all for cutting funding---wouldn't want to throw good money after bad, of course!--without a thought to what will happen when the Iraqis say 'enough is enough--you can't come in here, wreck the place, then leave and expect us to fix it.' Bush's popularity will surge upward again, because he's so "tough" and "fiscally responsible."

I feel like a really bad time is coming--where Iraq will simply implode under its own weight. I mean, no one over there even has reliable electricity, water, etc.--how in the world are they supposed to make all this happen? Of course we can't keep pouring money in there, but why did we pay Halliburton/KBR all those millions? They couldn't even get clean water for our own soldiers, for pete's sake, much less for the whole country! And they've rebuilt NOTHING. I think all they did was build our new military bases. Obviously, William Rivers Pitt was right--mission accomplished--permanent bases completed.

A really bad time is coming. Bush is just going to begin pulling out and saying they've got to stand on their own---"oh, what a smart guy, showing them some 'tough love'! way to go, georgie!" --and the whole area will succumb to radical theocracy in no time. God knows what that will do to oil prices--but Bush et al. won't care, as they'll be making record profits from now on. As for the anger we've fomented with this war, I fear every day will be like 9/11.

Man, I'm so sick to my stomach I could puke.

Monday, March 27, 2006

News of the Absurd

From carpetbaggerreport.com:

Tying immigration to abortion
Posted 10:40 am Printer Friendly
The award for the most bizarre policy connection of the day goes to Georgia State Sen. Nancy Schaefer (R), who connected immigration and abortion in a way I hadn't thought possible. (thanks to Carpetbagger regular J.C. for the tip)
"Guest-worker amnesty must be defeated in Washington, too. If it is not defeated, millions of illegal aliens who violated our laws will remain in American and bring their families here.
"Big employers may get the benefit of cheap labor, but the U.S. taxpayer will pay for their health care, food stamps, schooling for children, and income tax credits.
"I am convinced it is a consequence [of] the almost 50 million children we have put to death in their mother's womb through abortion. The large, unfilled job market in Georgia would not be a problem if the almost 50 million Americans were here, filling many of those jobs."
I'm trying to wrap my head around the logic, but it's too early on a Monday for such absurdity.
- - - -

I don't know why anyone with a brain supports these "pro-life" people. I mean, it's one thing to have the opinion that abortion is not for you. That's fine--it's your body, it's your call. However, it's a whole other idea to think that you can force this opinion on other people and make it the law of the land--that's just insanity.

I don't know why in the world people are so intent on legislating their own version of morality. And yet, they don't ever seem to get around legislating the morality of raising the freaking minimum wage so people can actually FEED their kids! How about legislating the morality of HELPING the Katrina victims in a meaningful way, instead of just paying your pals billions of dollars to do nothing?
Yeah, those "moralities" just never seem to get to the top of the priorities list. Guess they're too busy allowing the president to spy on all of us and stopping abortions that eliminate our future minimum-wage workers. Nice.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Our Top National Priority

Just read the transcript of Russ Feingold's speech to the Senate re the president's lies and lawbreaking with the wiretaps. I was reading along, nodding my head in agreement, and then I came to this line:

Defeating the terrorists should be our top national priority. . . .

Why? Why should that misguided impossibility be our "top national priority"? What about education? Ending hunger? Lowering the deficit? Creating new jobs? Assuring equal rights for ALL Americans? Why isn't any of these critical issues our "top national priority"?

Since when did we buy this republican-driven campaign of fear so completely that even an outspoken opponent of the war is parroting lines from the republican propanganda machines? Since when did anyone of sound mind believe that it's even possible to defeat every person on the planet who's practicing terrorist tactics, let alone pondering doing so?

When defense/war spending is increasing but programs to directly help all Americans are being cut, there's something wrong. This isn't Sparta. This isn't the Roman Empire. The hundreds of billions of dollars we're spending in Iraq (so that people can steal it out of unlocked file cabinets or gamble it away in the Phillipines, and so that Halliburton/KBR can reap huge profits) should be spent here--on causes that directly affect every American, every day.

That should be our top national priority.