Saturday, November 20, 2004

American Oil

The American oil industry has been promoting outsourcing since long before it became a favorite pastime for American corporations. They have been importing foreign oil for decades because [until recently] it has always been much cheaper to buy than American oil (thus ensuring a higher profit margin for them). In the meantime, we have been led to believe that America's existing oil wells have simply gone dry -- or have been "about to go dry" for 31 years now.

While the earth's oil reserves are not limitless (personally, I wish they would all dry up as soon as possible so we could move on), there is still a lot more oil in the United States than the oil companies would like us to believe. A number of years ago, my father acquired shares of stock in seven tiny oil wells that are situated on his former property in Wyoming. Prior to the war in Iraq, he received royalty checks roughly every month which averaged about $300 each. Between January 2003 and the summer of 2004 (shortly before, during and after the invasion of Iraq), we received only four checks, amounting to about $150 each. No checks have been received in the past year [we still own the royalties]. Strange coincidence, don't you think? One year ago, the oil storage tanks on the property were full, and the wells were far from dry (I lived there for a few months last year, so I know), but the well owners told me that they could not find buyers for their oil. Of course, they also had to stop pumping oil since their storage tanks were full.

If such is the case with "our" wells, then one can imagine that it may not be an isolated incident. With the price of foreign oil at an all-time high [$67 per barrel as of 8/24/05], I find it amazing (and highly suspect) that American oil companies are still uninterested in buying American oil (at least from independent producers). In fact, we are still being told that America has no more oil -- outside of our unspoiled national parks, that is.

Invading a Crack House

This is the second of two entries on the same topic. The other is entitled "Two Birds - One Stone." Originally, they both comprised a single entry, but they grew apart during development. Each one deals with the same topic using different analogies. I like both equally. How about you?


As many of you know, in 2003 President Bush requested that Congress approve $87 billion for the war in Iraq. That was just the tip of the iceberg, of course. [Some are now (8/26/05) estimating that the total bill could be $800 billion to $1 trillion, a major portion of it being borrowed money.] However, instead of our throwing that huge sum of money down a bottomless rat hole in a foreign desert with very little return on investment, we could instead have used it to defeat terrorism for real and once and for all. How? The answer is deceptively simple: By funding the MANDATORY research and development (on a grand scale) and mass production of LOW-COST vehicles that run on alternative fuels (such as electricity and hydrogen). Mass production would ensure that there is no shortage of such vehicles in the early stages of our nationwide conversion; and their low cost (thanks to that [$800] billion grant) would ensure that millions of Americans could afford to buy them. Estimates show that a certain amount of hybrid vehicles alone (which run on a combination of both gas and electricity) would completely end our need for Middle Eastern oil.

As even the most conservative of "non-conspiracy theorists" might imagine in their most private moments, President Bush (a former oil man from an oil state who owes his soul to oil buddies, not to God, as he would have us believe) and his wealthy friends in the oil industry (including both Americans and Middle Easterners) probably do not want such a transition to occur. Instead, Bush would rather spend hundreds of billions of middle-class taxpayer dollars and also sacrifice the lives of our soldiers in order to keep us reliant on a source of cheap foreign oil [although his elective war in Iraq is playing havoc with the "cheap" part now] that will eventually run out. [Don't even begin to think that I'm saying we went to war in Iraq specifically for its oil. I have no proof of that yet, although I have my incredibly strong beliefs. We did, however, definitely go to war in the Middle East due to our addiction to oil in general. If America had absolutely no need for foreign oil, the Middle East would be about as important to our government as is the country of Bhutan. What? Never heard of Bhutan? Then you get my point.]

An Apt Analogy
Bush's expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq could be compared to a wealthy, upper-class drug addict using his family's vast wealth (and good loan credit) to invade his favorite drug dealer's crack house and hold the dealer hostage in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of drugs for himself and his relatives. He cannot see the bigger picture beyond his addiction, for it consumes his every waking moment. Not only would the wealthy addict be in constant danger while holding a drug dealer hostage in a bad part of town, but he would also be wasting his family's vast wealth merely to continue an unhealthy addiction that promises only more misery in the future. An intelligent wealthy addict would see the wisdom of using a small portion of his vast wealth to kick the habit once and for all.

Our government's addiction to foreign oil sounds pretty stupid and short-sighed when thought of in those terms, doesn't it?

Two Birds - One Stone

This is the first of two entries on the same topic. The other is entitled "Invading a Crack House." Originally, they both comprised a single entry, but they grew apart during development. Each one deals with the same topic using different analogies. I like both equally. How about you?


Two birds: 1.) President Bush and 2.) wealthy oil businessmen (both American and Middle Eastern).

One stone: 1.) alternative fuels.

We are an extremely advanced, highly technological nation. I find it simply amazing that we have been unable (and completely unwilling, in the case of our government) to come up with completely reliable alternative fuels long before now. We have gotten close in recent years (no thanks to our government), but the automobile industry is receiving practically no incentive to mass produce such vehicles. Imagine that. And it has only gotten worse since we now have an oil executive as president.

If every one of my readers (especially those who aren't too keen on either of the two aforementioned birds) would make a pledge to buy a hybrid or hydrogen-powered vehicle at some point in the next four years, we could begin to put an end to our addiction to Middle Eastern oil much sooner than Bush and the oil industry would prefer. If you are incapable of making such a purchase at this time (I am certainly incapable right now), then maybe those of you with some spare dimes might make small contributions to colleges, universities and/or any other non-profit research organizations that are experimenting with vehicles that run on alternative fuels. I don't know how this is done; I've never done it myself, but there is almost certainly a way.

Petty Gratification, Too
Supporting America's conversion to alternative-fuel powered vehicles would eventually cut off all profits to a region of the world (the Middle East) that desperately deserves to face the consequences of biting the hands that have fed it for so many decades now (not that we didn't horribly mistreat that dog to begin with and turn it into what it has become). The Middle East would eventually become the irrelevant backwater that it so richly deserves (and desires) to be. Wouldn't it be extremely gratifying to watch Middle Easterners (both the despotic leaders and the terrorists) living with profound regrets a year or five down the road? "Hmmm," says Abdul Doe, "so overcharging/killing the infidel customers that bought our product wasn't too swift after all? Who came up with that stupid plan?"

No, I am not holding the citizens of the Middle East accountable, just the leaders and the terrorists. There are effective ways to protest without becoming evil. Those of limited vision and intelligence chose the path of evil.

And Another
Supporting America's conversion to vehicles that run on alternative fuels would eventually provide us with two other gratifying results also:

1.) George W. Bush and his accomplices at the top of the oil industry would get to watch their profit margins dry up significantly -- and maybe even permanently in some cases. I would definitely enjoy watching that sort of documentary on the History Channel five years from now.

2.) Bush would have fewer excuses to take his favorite Hollywood-cowboy/white knight approach to problem solving. You know the one I mean: Just leap heroically, yet blindly, into the fray -- all alone -- with fists flying, even if that is the worst possible solution to an extremely complicated problem. George W. Bush believes (thanks to his religious beliefs) that good should attack evil, no matter how dire the consequences to the attacker. Just be thankful that he wasn't in power when we were fighting the cold war with the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I Would Vote Republican - Again

[In the time since I wrote this editorial in November 2004, I have grown so totally disgusted with the republican party that even the most outstanding and capable republican presidential candidate would would not inspire me to take a chance on him, that is as long as republicans still control both houses of Congress. Even if democrats were to gain control of both houses in 2006 or 2008, it is possible that I would still not trust even the most honest republican due to their collective criminal record in the last few years. That's a sad commentary on the present state of affairs in our American "democracy," isn't it?]

At least one reader is under the false impression that I am both a sore loser and a liberal democrat. I am neither one; however, I can see how Bush lovers would get that impression of me. I was going to set the record straight several days ago, before that reader [over at my original blog] made her comment, but then I got lazy. Now I am once again inspired to get my rear in gear.

Five-Time Election Loser
I have voted for the losing presidential candidate in four elections prior to 2004, but I never lost a moment's sleep in any of those elections simply because the other guy won (I did briefly debate the possibility of losing some sleep in 2000, but then, not yet fully grasping the extent of the disaster that is Bush, I quickly fell asleep anyway). Such behavior doesn't describe someone who has a history of being a sore loser. Let's look at it in a different way: What if Americans had elected David Duke, the former head of the KKK (and a neo-Nazi) as president? Would those of us who mourned his victory and had contempt for those who voted for him be considered sore losers? I don't think so.

[NO, I am NOT comparing Bush to Duke. I am merely using Duke for the sake of my "sore-loser" scenario.]

As for my being a liberal democrat, I'm not. I'm an independent. In fact, the first time I ever voted for a president, I voted republican. I later voted for Clinton in 1992, and then against him in 1996, choosing an independent candidate instead. In 2000, I voted for an independent candidate again because Gore was a completely uninspiring, pro-special-interests, career politician; while, his chief opponent, Bush, was (still is) supremely unqualified to hold such high office (and extremely pro-special interests, too).

Any Republican
I can define my present political values as follows: For the year leading up to the recent election, I dreamed of Americans getting a chance to vote for almost any republican presidential candidate except Bush. I even imagined (briefly) a scenario in which I would actually vote for the ultra-fanatical, dark-ages conservative Pat Buchanan over President Bush (like me, Buchanan has been [now seemingly was, since Bush won reelection] extremely critical of Bush's Iraq policy, not because he is bleeding-heart, liberal dreamer, but because the invasion was a world-class strategic mistake, and even an extremist like Buchanan could see it). If I absolutely had to choose between them, I would choose Buchanan. And that, my readers, is the true, down-and-dirty, absolutely ultimate definition of the phrase: ANYBODY... BUT BUSH!

For a person such as myself to contemplate voting for a radical nut like Buchanan shows just how terrible I believe Bush and his cabinet advisors/puppet masters are.

Two Favorite Republicans
My favorite candidate in either party in 2000 was republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. I have admired him greatly for the past ten or fifteen years, and I've wanted him to run for president ever since. I was extremely disappointed when he lost in the primaries (thanks in part to dishonest and unethical attacks by the Bush campaign and also in part due to the vultures in the media).

In the 2008 election (depending on how the present republican congress has handled the economy in the meantime), I would consider voting for either Sen. McCain or Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) of Nebraska -- if either one should decide to run. Neither one plays that insane game of supporting their party 100 percent of the time with blind and reckless abandon, a procedure which is so popular these days, especially amongst repulicans. As far as I can tell, they are both ethical politicians, too (as ethical as politicians can be). With them leading the country and the republican party, I would not be as worried about the self-serving influence of the religious right as I am now (among other things).

[Update: 8/26/2005: Senator McCain appears to have "sold out" on a number of isses in the past year (supporting Bush's reelection, "Intelligent Design," etc.), seemingly in an effort to appease the man with all the power. I lose a lot of respect for people who compromise their ethics on serious issues.]

Only One Favorite Democrat
Former three-term governor from New York, Mario Cuomo, is the only democratic politician that I have ever admired without any reservations -- at least among those candidates that were still active after I reached voting age. No other politician, from either party, can compare to him in terms of common sense and intellect. Why he refused seemingly endless requests to run for president, I'll never know; but I will always sincerely regret his decision not to run. You might read his new book Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever. It is actually a commentary on today's politicians (in both parties) rather than merely a biography of Lincoln.

Unproductive Insults
Americans should keep in mind that no president is perfect, no matter what party he (or she) is from. Some presidents are worse than others. In America today, supporters of presidents from both parties hide their candidate's mistakes behind partisan bickering. In other words, any criticism of any president, NO MATTER HOW VALID, is condemned as being nothing more than the selfish whinings of "sore losers" from the other party. Not only is that an insult to thoughtful critics everywhere, it is also one heck of a convenient way for any president to be a walking disaster area without having to face the consequences of his actions. It is not wise to dismiss the criticisms of a president just because that president is from your favorite political party.

One of the benefits of being an historian (which I am) is the fact that one can see when a president should or should not cause history to repeat itself. Bush, who is anti-intellectual and plainly proud of it, clearly doesn't know his history (a bachelor's degree in history should definitely be a pre-requisite for any presidential candidate). If he had known his history, he would have realized that Iraq was a disaster waiting to happen (and on a much larger strategic scale than just being "stuck there," although that, too, will eventually become an even worse nightmare than it already is). You don't need the CIA to tell you such a thing. That's just common sense. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that Bush really did know his history, yet he was still determined to engage our military forces in that disaster anyway (practically alone, as we are now). If that were the case, then he should have at least known the best way to try to win the peace once we were there (and there were a number of ways to do that, all of which would have been far better than the way he has handled it so far). But he was completely stubborn and completely clueless on that account also. The fact that he had only one cabinet advisor (Powell) who knew the real consequences of invasion also shows that he doesn't know how to surround himself with qualified advisors.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Conservative Media, The True Danger

According to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, as well as other self-serving conservative media machines, there is a vast ultra-liberal conspiracy that is (in spite of 11/02/04) still threatening to corrupt America from shore to shore. The actual size, makeup and membership of this liberal threat is really quite vague (it is much more ominous and threatening that way). In fact, there are only three places where it has been "exposed" by Fox, etc., to public scrutiny:

1.) the liberal media (consisting of the TV news and Hollywood)
2.) far-left minority groups, and
3.) a few ultra-liberal democratic politicians (mostly those from California and Massachusetts) whose names are regularly mentioned by Fox News personalities and Rush Limbaugh.

No matter whether they are right or wrong, at least they are being honest on the few occasions that they name actual names.

Their dishonesty and truly anti-American behavior lies in their implied accusations against a fourth group: the vast majority of politicians in the democratic party. Fox News and Limbaugh have been blatantly advancing the conservative, evangelical agenda (and their own profit margins) by strongly implying that all remaining democratic politicians (who come from all over this great nation, including even the most blood-red states) are guilty of ultra-liberalism merely by association with the above three groups. If you think about it, guilt by association is the way things worked in the former Soviet Union and other repressive dictatorships (as well as in the U.S. during the "communist scare" of the early 1950s). It amazes me that half of the American population has either been fooled by or approves of such tactics. I expect the religious right to behave this way, because they will allow nothing, not even democracy, to stand in the way of their interpretation of the Bible (at least the parts of It that they approve of) because the Bible is their only law (except those parts that preach to us to give assistance to the poor).

The Demon Slayers
But Limbaugh and the personalities at Fox don't really care about the democratic process. They need demons to slay every night in front of millions of conservative viewers who are more than eager to have their preexisting beliefs stoked to a red-hot level (this is the true definition of brainwashing). And those demons are Fox's "liberal" competitors in the media market (my, how convenient for Fox).

In essence (this is a broad "in essence"), Fox, Limbaugh and others would have us believe that the "liberal" media and Hollywood (in their desire to legitimize far-left groups) are the real brains behind the democratic party, and that all democratic politicians (who were elected by voters all over this nation) are just their puppets. The subtly stated message to their conservative viewers is: Fox will defeat the puppet masters (if viewers help by tuning in to Fox and watching the commercials), while conservative viewers defeat their democratic "puppets" by voting them out of office and replacing them with conservative republicans who are pro corporate greed and/or evangelical Christianity.

Of course, conservatives could also say that the liberal media and the democratic party are two equal partners in the same conspiracy (instead of masters and puppets). It matters not, for Fox's method of getting rid of them both, as stated above, still applies.

The problem with Fox's and Limbaugh's self-serving logic is that most of our democratic politicians grew up in "traditional" America. They know their constituents' wishes just as well as republican politicians do (whether both sides respect those wishes or not is a completely separate issue). Democratic politicians weren't born yesterday. They can tell the difference between losing the next election because they voted for an ultra-liberal cause and winning the next election because they opposed it. Voting consistently for radical, far-left bills is a lot more difficult to hide from the voters than secretly receiving hefty campaign contributions from giant corporations (the latter being a favorite pastime of members of both parties).

What's in It for Fox?
Does Fox News Corporation really feel a driving moral need to protect America from the "liberal" media elite and other democratic "evildoers"? Is that the only reason they went into business? If so, that was a very selfless act on their part. Or are they just using a deviously clever tactic designed to win the ratings war? Hmmm.... Just think about it: Fox is a giant, profit-driven corporation run by a multi-millionaire foreigner who certainly didn't come to the United States all those years ago just to save us from our liberal half (he probably didn't know a liberal from a Whig when he first arrived here). Could profit be the real goal behind Fox's conservative agenda? That would be an interesting irony. Conservatives preying on the fears (nay, delirium tremors) of other conservatives in order to get rich. It would be downright humorous if it wasn't so dangerous to our democratic, two-party system.

Fox's Reckless Endangerment
Agenda- and profit-driven media outlets, like Fox, are recklessly and selfishly guiding America toward a one-party system (a system that will be populated solely by "red" republicans and "blue" republicans, the latter formerly being known as democrats) by convincing us that the liberal media elite and the democratic party are one and the same. This is pure crap (please forgive the vernacular), and they should be censured and humiliated, just as communist-hunting Joe McCarthy was eventually censured and humiliated in the 1950s.

In Conclusion
I confess that I agree, to some extent, that there are a number of liberal media personalities in this country who feature politically correct issues almost every time they go on the air, and this may influence (or coincide with the beliefs of) some moderate democratic politicians (and even some moderate republican politicians) to the extent that they are caught between a politically-correct rock and a politically-incorrect hard place. I despise those journalists as much as conservatives do (I despise political correctness, in general); however, the self-righteous conservative approach to dealing with the issue makes me sick, so I rebel against them. I am also a moral and spiritual person, but the moral and spiritual approach to life espoused by evangelical and born-again types makes me sick to a degree that is off the charts (I am surrounded by them, so don't tell me I don't understand them). Finally, I am angered almost beyond words by the methods used by the conservative media in its efforts to convince us that the liberal media and democratic politicians are really one and the same. That is a corruption of the electoral process that is going to cost us dearly down the road, if we don't wise up soon.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bush and Moral "Values"; Inseparable?

There is yet another conservative journalist who will simply not stop spouting the same self-serving, yet faulty, logic as to why President Bush won reelection (talk about people who love to rub someone's nose in something). And I simply cannot resist arguing with people who have self-serving agendas (as you read all of my future entries, I suspect you will conclude that I don't have any self-serving agendas; if you see some indication that I am wrong about this, you are welcome to enlighten me; if you're right, I will concede and then make really good excuses for myself; if you're wrong, you will have inspired a rant to end all rants :-).

Shades of Gray
For those of you who are able (or willing) to see the vast and varying shades of gray between pure black and pure white, here's a novel approach to the issue of voting for "moral values" and voting for President Bush. No, I don't mean general "moral values," but rather only those moral values held in highest esteem by conservative Christians. Do not confuse theirs with the apparently illegitimate moral values of everyone else in America. Self-serving conservative journalists are still excitedly and self-righteously telling us that we cannot have the one (moral values) without the other (Bush). If you listen to them without thinking too hard (in other words, only in terms of black or white), you might -- very reluctantly -- admit that they have a point. But don't to that. Instead, think hard. Be brave. Dive into that vast, uncharted gray area between the two extremes -- in between the twin worlds of Either and Or.

Voters Prove the Strength of States' Rights
Legislation banning gay marriage was on the ballot in eleven states in November 2004, and in every case but one, that legislation was approved by roughly 70 to 80 percent of the voters (and in the one exception, Oregon, it was also approved, but by a smaller percentage). Now, tell me: Did we really need to reelect President Bush at the same time in order to send democrats the message that we don't approve of gay marriage? Nah, we didn't need to vote for both at the same time. The voters in those states sent an extremely clear and concise message to democratic candidates everywhere (most of whom had never threatened to try to legalize gay marriage, anyway). Even John Kerry had the same position on the issue as President Bush -- they both approved of civil unions only.

But They're Still Not Satisfied
The voters' extremely clear and concise message to politicians and gays is that the people of this nation do have the power at the state level to prevent gay marriage. Nonetheless, beating a dead horse has always been a popular sport in some circles of society. In spite of their overwhelming victory, these voters still want Bush and other born-again conservatives to create a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage nationwide (phrased differently, of course). Please forgive me for descending briefly into the vernacular once again, but I must ask: What in the hell for!? (I shall now quickly re-ascend from the vernacular before I resort to name calling). Are conservative voters so incredibly blind to their own power that they still need their trembling little hands to be held by our big, moral government ("big" being the kind of government that conservatives -- and I, for that matter --, despise)?

That Document for Self-Serving Conservatives
If I am never known for anything else for the rest of my life, I want to be known as a defender of the original and traditional spirit of the United States Constitution. With only one short-lived exception that I know of (prohibition), that spirit has always been as a guarantor of a long list of freedoms, NOT OF RESTRICTIONS! If petrified religious people, who don't know (or don't want to recognize) the extent of their own local power, allow passage of even a single RESTRICTION into the Constitution to protect themselves from harmless people with biologically abnormal lifestyles, then they will have set a trend that will be impossible to stop forever after. If the original and traditional intent of the Constitution is corrupted even once, especially for something that is succeeding overwhelmingly without such help, then it will show future generations of Americans that they, too, can corrupt the Constitution in order to get what they want. And then the point of the Constitution (and, thus, of our "American experiment") is lost.

I'm sure some of you are also thinking that there are other moral values on the table, such as abortion and stem-cell research. As the majority spoke with regard to gay marriage, so the majority has spoken with regard to their right to choose (for over 30 years now). The majority of Americans do not want abortion made illegal. Just as Americans are bound to respect the will of the majority that voted against gay marriage, they are equally bound to respect the will of the majority that supports legalized abortion.

As for stem-cell research, I believe the vast majority of voters on both sides are still not well informed on this relatively new matter, including me. From what I've heard of both sides, though, I suspect that conservative Christians may be slightly less well informed than proponents of research (call it instinct). As it is with children, so it seems to be with religious people: They absolutely love to anthropomorphize non-sentient matter, even going so far as to ascribe to it conscious human thoughts and emotions, two conditions which are impossible to achieve without having had actual worldly human experience. They also attribute a soul to this non-sentient matter. This is, without a doubt, a religious view, not a political one. If abortion is banned on the presumption that a fetus (or even a recently fertilized cell) has a soul, then we are truly bending democracy to the will of theocracy. Never mind the will of those who may have a different religious view on this matter. Only the conservative Christian view is valid according to conservative Christians, as well as the self-serving conservative media and now (probably) the ratings-driving mainstream media.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Facing Exinction? Hogwash.

The "WordNet X" dictionary defines the word egotistical as: having an exaggerated sense of self-importance; "an attitude of self-conceited arrogance..."; "so swollen by victory that he was unfit for normal duty..." (among other things).

Conservatives, as a group, have an exaggerated sense of self-importance these days.

Long-Term Memory Loss
Many conservative commentators have been saying (in essence) that democrats must connect with the nation's mainstream or face extinction. I beg to differ (or, in the vernacular, "Hogwash!"). There must not be that much of a disconnect, since the republicans won the presidency by a margin of three measly percent of the popular vote! Yes, they also gained a few extra seats in congress, but fewer seats, I might add, than the democrats have controlled at various times since 1932. Using their ridiculously wishful logic, the same thing (possible extinction) could have been said of the republicans in 1992, 1976 (especially 1976), 1964 (especially 1964), 1944, 1940, 1936 and 1932 (especially 1932). For that matter, the democrats should have become extinct in 1980, 1984 and 1988, when republicans won convincingly -- but they didn't.

I guess shortsighted logic and long-term memory loss are the results when giddy conservatives are "swollen by victory."

History of a Smear Campaign
In 1980, or shortly before, conservative republicans began a campaign of slander against the democrats that soon took on a life of its own and has continued unabated to this day. Somehow, they managed to convince a large portion of the American public that all democrats are closet liberals and that, in turn, to be "liberal" is to be evil. In fact, they implied that all liberals were really communists (not the Soviet kind, but the wimpy, "bleeding-heart" American kind) who were hell bent on imposing their evil socialist, morals-free agenda on the United States. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, it is no longer practical to imply the communist label when referring to liberals, but the residue of that evil is still overtly implied from pulpits and radio studios all over America.

Inexplicably, democrats never fought back against this slander, which only allowed it to become deeply entrenched in the American psyche, especially after the advent of conservative-rant-and-froth-at-the-mouth radio. Democrats, at least those living in conservative areas, have spent two decades feeling intimidated and have frequently remained silent, while conservatives have become more and more convinced of their own infallibility with regard to every opinion they have (we'll see just how flawless they are during these next four years). Even worse, they have been engaged in this campaign of deceit for so many years now that many of them have actually begun to believe their own propaganda, right along with that portion of the electorate that they've actually fooled (or whose beliefs they've only reinforced).

Results of the Smear Campaign
For now (but not forever), thanks to this deceitful propaganda, it is nearly impossible for traditional democrats to be elected in certain portions of this country if their platforms are ever so slightly less conservative than those of their republican colleagues. It is now said, at least by the self-serving conservative media and the ratings-driven mainstream media, that if democrats don't adopt and prominently display their opponents' born-again religion on their own sleeves and believe in exactly the same version of God and exactly the same set of "moral values," then they will be labeled as "liberals" (shiver visibly as you read that word) and thrown into a virtual dungeon with other evil bogeymen, such as communists, socialists and far-left radicals (the latter being the true troublemakers -- a quick note: Radical far-left groups in this country, in their never-ending zeal to rub America's collective noses in their causes -- because two decades of peaceful coexistence just isn't enough for them --, have contributed greatly to the conservative smear tacticians' successful efforts to demonize all democrats).

As you can see by the elections listed above, politics works in cycles. Always has, always will. Keep that fact in mind while you consider the following two reasons that democrats are probably not doomed to extinction just yet: 1.) By far, the largest group of people to vote for Bush and his republican allies in congress in 2004 (according to the media) consists of people over the age of 60. They and their voting tendencies won't be around forever (yes, I know; the baby-boomers will be reaching 60 soon -- and for a long time to come --, but most of them grew up in a somewhat less conservative era). As for the near future (meaning 2008 or 2012), today's seniors may soon be severely disillusioned if the Social Security system has been broken due to neglect or due to ill-advised tampering by Bush and other conservative, free-market ideologues. Also, the negative consequences of that prescription-drug bill may start to hit home in the not-too-distant future. 2.) As I wrote in my first editorial, the republicans, now led by ultra conservatives, have control of the presidency and congress. Keep in mind that they are politicians, and most politicians eventually bungle something or other up. The conservatives now have four years in which to do just that (and they've already proven themselves to be somewhat imperfect in the past two/four years). Excepting the anomalous reelection of the biggest bungler in presidential history in 2004 (other than possibly Ulysses Grant), the voters generally do not like reelecting bunglers.

In Conclusion
Whether there ever was (or is) any merit to the republicans' claim that democrats/liberals are of questionable character, doesn't matter in the end. Such methods of demonizing the other side in a democracy that runs predominantly on a two-party system is extremely counterproductive to the efficient workings of democracy. When one side succeeds in demonizing the other side to the extent that conservatives have demonized all democrats, then democracy is in jeopardy; and the conservative media, drunk with self-righteous glee, refuses to see it. We are now, thanks to those conservative propagandists, much closer to a one-party system than was ever the case when democrats and republicans received equal respect in every state in this nation.

Such are the opinions of an independent voter.
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Saturday, November 06, 2004

There Is a Bright Side

[Dear readers: I think I am starting to see some of my predictions in this editorial already starting to come true. What do you think?]

If this editorial makes me seem excessively angry, keep in mind that it's nothing compared to how I felt in the two or three days after the 2004 election, not to mention the previous year and a half. I reserve my truly angry language for those times that I am alone and shouting at the TV news (most of the time).

No Sympathy
I have no sympathy for voters who make incredibly unintelligent and/or self-righteous decisions when there is extremely compelling evidence warning them not to do so. On November 2, 2004, half of my fellow Americans voted to reelect a pyromaniac as CEO of this giant fireworks factory that we live in. I am very happy to say that I will not feel even the slightest bit of sympathy for them when their decision blows up in their faces (and their simple-minded illusions are shattered). Of course, their decision will blow up in my face too, but I cannot help that.

Even though Bush (the aforementioned pyromaniac) will definitely be out of office by January 2009 (at the very latest), his meddling with the environment, the Supreme Court and the Constitution will be felt for decades (or even centuries?) to come. Sadly, those are disasters that cannot be fixed as soon as he leaves office (and will endure even longer if one of his evil clones replaces him in office).

For those of us who recognize insanity, incompetence and deceitfulness when we see them, there are several bright sides to this nightmare -- if you can bring yourself to look at it in certain ways. I know it isn't easy, but it is better than total doom and gloom. Consider them for yourselves:

Certain Way 1; The Scene of the Crime
If a criminal remains at the scene of the crime for too long, there is a much greater likelihood that he is going to get caught "in the act" (take your pick of "acts"). Eight years is one heck of a long time for such a deceitful and incompetent president and his accomplices to remain at the scene of this particular crime without bungling at least once and getting caught in a way that leaves no doubt as to their guilt, a guilt that cannot be covered up or ignored by a republican congress and a lazy, petrified/complicit mainstream media. I don't know about the rest of you, but thoughts like that are better than motivational tapes for me (actually, I hate motivational tapes).

Unrealistic, you say? Maybe. But remember that President Nixon was reelected in a landslide in 1972, carrying 49 of 50 states. Less than two years later, he was forced to resign in disgrace. Bush was barely reelected in 2004 with (as many validly believe) the help of Diebold and some dishonest Ohio republicans.

Oh yeah... Luckily, Vice President Agnew was forced to resign a year before President Nixon. History would definitely have to repeat itself here too; otherwise, none of these bright sides will be worth the powder to blow them up.

Certain Way 2; Living With His Own Disasters
Bush now has four more years in which to face the consequences of the disasters he has wrought in Iraq, in taxation, in the budget and trade deficits, in supporting outsourcing, etc. If Kerry had won the election, then those consequences would have been blamed on him. Evangelical "hill folk" and other self-righteous conservatives would have shouted, "If Bush hadn't been defeated, everything would have worked according to plan!!" As a result, in 2008, they would have caused history to repeat itself again by electing another Bush-like conservative (maybe even Bush himself again, since the Constitution has been rendered meaningless) to replace Kerry; and democrats would have been in even greater disfavor than they are now. In short, we need to let those people who voted for Bush (especially those seemingly amoral moderates who probably helped to put him over the top) experience him to full effect, so that they can get him out of their systems, once and for all. Taking him away from them before they have grown disillusioned with him would only have made them want him (or someone like him) even more than they do now.

An analogy: All of us know at least one young person who has fallen in love with the most worthless person that he or she could ever have found. No amount of parental reasoning will convince him or her not to marry that worthless person. At some point, those parents realize that their child is going to have to learn the truth the hard way, by living it; so they back off, painful as that may be, and let fate run its course. And, true to form, their child almost always wises up, but only after having survived under the most trying of circumstances.

I strongly hope that in 2008 (and well beyond), the majority of those moderate Bush voters (those amoral people who rewarded this self-righteous, incompetent person with a second term) will think a lot harder and longer before they ever trust another Bush-like republican again. I, for one, will revel in their disillusionment, even as I rub their noses in it (yes, I believe in civil, courteous behavior -- far more than most people -- but not with people who gave the green light to such a terrible president).

Wishful thinking? I have no idea; but that's what looking on the bright side is all about.

Certain Way 3; Conservative Utopians Unchecked
As stated above, there is now an even greater republican majority in congress. For the past two years, the combination of a republican president and a republican congress has resulted in unchecked spending, combined with big tax breaks for the wealthy and insignificant tax breaks for the middle class (the government is spending more, even though it is earning less). Can you imagine what all those greedy republican "kids" are going to do in the government candy store now that they have received "a mandate" from the American people? In addition, they will now get a rare opportunity to put their conservative, utopian economic theories to the test. Those theories will most likely leave tens of millions of Americans (especially the seniors, who voted for Bush in the greatest numbers) without adequate social-security and medical benefits, and the rest of us with a severely weakened infrastructure. The Bush administration, contrary to popular thought, has already weakened our military infrastructure by privatizing large portions of it (Haliburton is doing what would originally have been done by the military itself, and doing it with less-than-stellar results; but Cheney's company is sure getting rich, eh?).

If the government's bills come due in the next four years, and there is no money left to pay them off, our fearless leader will have to consider either bankrupting the government or else taxing low- and middle-income Americans to death (he will never tax his wealthy friends, since he owes his political soul, as well as that giant federal debt, to them).

Some of the evangelical "hill folk" might ask, "Where are those 'liberal, overspending' democrats in all of this? I'll bet they're to blame."

Clearer minds will reply to them, "Why, they're sitting safely on the sidelines, watching the liberal-bashing conservatives spending borrowed money like there is no tomorrow! Can you believe that? And, what's more, you and your wealthy, conservative allies cannot blame them for any of this mess you voted for! Congratulations."

And the conservatives' economic utopian theory will finally be disproven, once and for all (or at least for one or two generations). We may have to suffer in the meantime, but it will be worth it.

In Conclusion
See? There you have at least three different bright sides to this nightmare. And to think that people have always told me I'm a pessimist (actually, I am a pessimist -- in some ways --, but I think it's genetic, not voluntary).

Will any or all of my predictions come to pass? I don't know, but I do know that I accurately predicted all of the mistakes made by Bush in his first four years in office (no, that's not bragging, since predicting his mistakes doesn't require a degree in rocket science).
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