Saturday, December 31, 2005

Chalk One Up Against Christian "Subversives"

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation Magazine, posted an editorial on The Nation web site, listing a few of the year's "sweet victories" for progressives. She made an excellent list, but left out one of my favorites, so I commented on it at the end of her article. That comment, which you will find there, reads as follows:

Katrina, we should also remember the double defeat of the subversive proponents of "intelligent design" in Dover, Pennsylvania. It was incredibly encouraging to learn that voters there kicked out all eight school-board members (not just a few, but ALL OF THEM!) who were in favor of teaching "intelligent design" (aka "religion") as science in the district schools. Then, last week the icing was put on the cake (as if the vote wasn't satisfying enough): A republican, church-going judge, John E. Jones, ruled against the proponents of "intelligent design" in Dover, telling them in no uncertain terms that the concept is nothing more than religion masquerading as science. He "decried the 'breathtaking inanity' of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion."

The Dover story, therefore, is one of the most encouraging of the year for me.

A final comment: Let the proponents of "intelligent design" preach their totally non-scientifc "science" on the streets or in the incredibly vast number of churches that dot the American landscape (a number that puts the lie to the supposed "siege" on Christianity), where most people (adults, at least) have a choice of listening to them. They have no business trying also to indoctrinate young, captive audiences with their particular view of spiritual reality. Outside of public schools, government institutions and some private businesses, Christians have practically no limitations on their movements or their mouths. They always have and always will pester the hell out of us, at practically every turn, to their heart's content (pun intended). Their true goal in all of this (with "ID science" being merely a false front) is, very simply, to gain access to all those captive, impressionable young minds in our public schools. Sadly, Christians of this sort (even if they believe their intentions are "pure") will never be made to understand that they are working against the intentions of the founding fathers, not for them; and so their efforts to subvert public schools in other parts of the nation will continue for some time to come.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Red State-Blue State... Get a Clue!

Hey, people! Knock it off, already, with this red-state/blue-state name calling, especially by progressives who live in blue states! I and millions of other red-state progressives are wholeheartedly on your side, even if we do happen to live in red states. We despise the Bush Administration as much as you do. And, no, we are not all blue staters who reluctantly migrated to red states to pursue careers. Most of us (probably) were born and raised here.

Lower Your Noses a Little, Please
Blue-state progressives do not have that much room for self-righteousness. The antiquated, unfair Electoral College (with the help of modern, self-serving conservative strategists) has messed up Americans' perceptions of our nation. Burn these numbers into your brains: George W. Bush received a total of 25,132,439 votes from supposedly enlightened "blue staters." John Kerry received a total of 26,004,540 votes from supposedly backwards "red staters" (there were probably even more red-state Kerry voters than that number indicates, if you take a few stolen state elections into account). The red states are not a vast wasteland populated only by hillbillies, rednecks and evangelical christians. There are a lot of Americans "out here" who are none of those things.

A Few More Sobering Statistics
Kerry won six blue states by five (5) percent or less (actually three percent or less), as follows: New Hampshire 1%, Wisconsin 1%, Pennsylvania 2%, Michigan 3%, Minnesota 3% and Oregon 3%.

Kerry "lost" six red states by five percent or less: Iowa -1%, New Mexico -1%, Nevada -2%, Ohio -2%, Colorado -5% and Florida -5%.

In Other Words
There are six blue states that came very, very close to being labeled as "red states," which would have earned them the stigma of being viewed as states populated only by hillbillies, rednecks and evangelical christians.

On the other hand, there are six red states that came very, very close to being labeled as "blue states," which would have earned them the honor of being viewed as states populated only by progressives, democrats and enlightened peoples.

Furthermore, even those red states that voted overwhelmingly for Bush are inhabited by many millions of people who voted for Kerry.

In Conclusion
Let's stop this talk of wanting to split into two different nations, even if said in sarcastic jest. There are a lot of us in the red states who aren't interested in moving to the "blue states" or to Canada merely because we are outnumbered by incredibly close-minded "anti-liberal" voters (most of whom, at least here in the midwest and west, are very friendly and welcoming, in spite of their political leanings). Besides, I suspect that it won't be too long before Bush/Cheney's bungled policies and criminal acts (aided and abetted by a republican congress) come back to bite conservative voters in their rear ends. Not only will their immature political illusions be shattered (even if temporarily), but their religious illusions (as they relate to "born-again" Bush's manifest destiny) may also receive a few scratches and dents. That's when it's fun to live amongst them.

Election statistics interpreted from a November 2004, article in USA Today.

Friday, October 28, 2005

An Experienced Libby Feigns Ignorance?

This report is aimed mostly at lazy and/or intentionally misleading members of the mainstream media, not at Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald (although I would truly love to hear his uncensored opinion of what I have to say). Reporters keep trumpeting the possibility that Libby may not have realized that Valerie Plame Wilson was a classified (secret) agent with the CIA. In so doing, they seem to be trying to play down Libby's role in "outing" her (as opposed to the other charges filed against him today). Let us see if I can make my point:

Today, Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts (two perjury, two making false statements and one obstruction of justice). Regrettably (because neo-conservative hacks may now continue to make pitiful excuses for him), none of those five counts are aimed at the fact that he probably knowingly (illegally) revealed the identity of an undercover CIA agent.

Twenty-Five Years of Ignorance?
Since 1981, Libby has held positions in the State Department, the Department of Defense and as Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. In those nearly 25 years of top-level government experience, he has probably had extensive dealings with the CIA. If average Americans are aware of the operational policies of the CIA with regard to their agents' identities, then one can reasonably assume that Libby was also aware of them. In fact, one year after he entered high-level government service in the Reagan Administration, a law was passed forbidding anyone from knowingly revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent. There is no way he could not have been aware of this law (at least not without being incompetent).

To clarify, there are two types of CIA employees: undercover and not undercover. It's as simple as that. There is no gray area. Libby, a person with 25 years of high-level government experience (I'm going to continue to repeat this), must certainly have known that Valerie Plame Wilson was either undercover or not undercover. There was no in-between. In preparing for his secret meetings with journalists in 2003, one could justifiably expect such an experienced official as Libby to ask himself, "Is Plame an undercover agent, or is she not an undercover agent? Maybe I should check this out before I open my big, fat mouth to reporters. It is in my best interests, not to mention the nation's best interests, to do so."

Three Scenarios
(In which Libby receives some preliminary, albeit token, benefit of the doubt)

1.) It DID NOT OCCUR to Libby, a 25-year veteran of high-level government service, that the CIA employee he was preparing to identify to journalists MIGHT be undercover, even though the odds of her being undercover are clearly fifty-fifty. There is no way, without his being a slobbering idiot, that he could not have known the odds are fifty-fifty.

So why did he proceed to reveal her name to those journalists, anyway?

2.) It DID OCCUR to Libby, a 25-year veteran of high-level government service, that the CIA employee he was preparing to identify to journalists MIGHT be undercover. This possibility would have occurred to him because the odds of her being undercover are clearly fifty-fifty.

He just didn't care.

3.) It was DEFINITELY KNOWN to Libby, a 25-year veteran of high-level government service, that the CIA employee he was preparing to identify to journalists WAS undercover.

However, her undercover status was completely irrelevant to him and to those for whom he worked.

Why are these fifty-fifty odds never mentioned by members of the media? Are they still trying to placate both the White House and their conservative viewers? Instead of mentioning those even odds, they always act as if it was a one-in-a-million shot that Libby accidentally "outed" an undercover CIA agent. Are members of the press that stupid? Probably. Or do they think all of us are that stupid? Probably.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Double Standards & Hypocrisy

Think Progress quotes Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who said the following this morning on the powderpuff program, "Meet the Press," regarding the possible indictments of Rove, Libby, etc.:

"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars."

In Think Progress's comments section, a commenter named "Phoenix Woman" included the following quote (found here) by Senator Hutchison from a few years earlier, when she was talking about President Clinton (the "..." edits are mine):

"The perjury committed...was an attempt to impede, frustrate, and obstruct the judicial order to escape personal responsibility under the law, either civil or criminal. Such would be an impeachable offense. To say otherwise would be to severely lower the moral and legal standards of accountability that are imposed on ordinary citizens every day. The same standard should be imposed on our leaders...

"I will not compromise this simple but high moral principle in order to avoid serious consequences to a successor President who may choose to ignore it."

In the same comments section, immediately after Phoenix Woman, I made the following comment (#40):

My make-believe interview with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (or William Kristol, etc.):

Me: In the end, if the grand jury is only able to indict Libby, Rove, etc., on mere perjury charges, then, in your view, does that imply that there were never any real crimes committed?

Hutchison: "...You are correct..." [Please forgive my literary license in interpreting and abbreviating a politician's usual long-winded answer.]

Me: I see... So..., if there were no real crimes committed, then why on earth would such astute political operatives be so utterly foolish as to perjure themselves before a grand jury?

Hutchison: "What kind of question is that? How did you get a job with the mainstream media?"

Me: I "technically" perjured myself on my resume. I told them I was a partisan republican hack.

Hutchison: "Guards! Have that man arrested!"

Monday, August 22, 2005

Make Sure the Losers Take the Blame

I think conservative voters will never fully comprehend the mistake of invading Iraq unless we allow the moral and intellectual disasters known as Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc., to complete their deadly mistake there (whatever "complete" means in their withered minds; personally, I think they never intended to leave, as 14 permanent, newly built American bases will attest). Please understand now that I am speaking incredibly sarcastically. I don't want this to be the case.

We cannot win in Iraq if we stay for fifty years, and we cannot win in Iraq if we leave tomorrow. It's a no-win situation. It's the Iraqis' country, and their "liberating" rebels/terrorists are not going anywhere. No matter how "noble" our cause, IT'S THEIR COUNTRY (just the same as it would be our country if someone invaded us). They have nothing better to do than to fight us for as long as we are there, especially since Bush and Cheney gave most of our tax money to Cheney's Haliburton instead of to those Iraqis who were more than willing to use it to rebuild their country and maybe not hate us as much. As a student of history, I can tell you that the Marshall Plan (1948) did more to promote all that is good with the United States than any other thing we ever did (besides helping to defeat the evil tyrants that DECLARED WAR ON US in 1941).

In March 2003, as a student of history, I screamed with wild-eyed sincerity at the stupidity of starting a war that could never be won, even before we invaded Iraq. In fact, I'm sure the neighbors heard me five houses away when I screamed it -- every day for several weeks (even for months and years now).

If we pull out now (which I support fully), and Iraq falls apart (meaning it descends into civil war) or is taken over by the violent Saddam-loving Iraqis -- EITHER OF WHICH IS PROBABLY A FOREGONE CONCLUSION -- then the conservative, loudmouth, ignorant, uneducated, John Wayne-admiring, simpleton American conservatives will have the luxury of blaming the democrats and liberals for the "loss" of Iraq; and they will then feel free to make the same mistake in the future in some other country (when they inevitably fool just barely enough born-again Americans to vote for them), which will cost us even more American lives.

The fact is that Iraq was lost the second the conservative, loudmouth oil-loving, greedy jerks invaded it (using patriotic young Americans to do their dirty work for them); however, the knowledge of that fact will be lost for decades to come because the conservative, loudmouth, oil-loving, greedy jerks aren't allowed to sacrifice more American lives to prove to us that they are wrong.

Any questions?

You know I'm playing devil's advocate here, right? Even though I totally mean it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Truly Baffling

Let's say the board of a giant corporation, such as Wal-Mart, hired as their CEO someone who has the brains, business acumen and speaking skills of your average redneck. How long do you think that corporation would stay in business?

Right. Not very long.

Yet the American people (mostly republicans) hired a president based on those very same "qualities." In fact, they hired him precisely because he has those "qualities." With our present CEO, I'm wondering just how long the United States will manage to stay in business.

How come Americans (mostly republicans) treat our nation with less respect than they treat their own businesses? I'm beginning to think that the average redneck American (mostly republicans) should never be allowed to sit on the board of any major corporation.

Well, except for Wal-Mart and all of the oil companies. Then it would be more than OK.