...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004
      ( 7:29 PM )

We are using Napalm in Iraq. And while Bush skates free for approving its use, Tony Blair hasn't been so lucky.

On Saturday, Labor MPs have demanded that British Prime Minister confront the Commons over the use of the deadly gas in Fallujah.

Halifax Labor MP Alice Mahon said: "I am calling on Mr. Blair to make an emergency statement to the Commons to explain why this is happening. It begs the question: 'Did we know about this hideous weapon's use in Iraq?'"

Furious critics have also demanded that Blair threatens the U.S. to pullout British forces from Iraq unless the U.S. stops using the world’s deadliest weapon.

The United Nations banned the use of the napalm gas against civilians in 1980 after pictures of a naked wounded girl in Vietnam shocked the world.

The United States, which didn't endorse the convention, is the only nation in the world still using the deadly weapon.

When I heard this news, I was devastated and had no idea what to think. I went to the Internet to look into it and found that I shouldn't have been surprised. Here is a report from over a year ago:

American pilots dropped the controversial incendiary agent napalm on Iraqi troops during the advance on Baghdad. The attacks caused massive fireballs that obliterated several Iraqi positions.

The Pentagon denied using napalm at the time, but Marine pilots and their commanders have confirmed that they used an upgraded version of the weapon against dug-in positions. They said napalm, which has a distinctive smell, was used because of its psychological effect on an enemy.

A 1980 UN convention banned the use against civilian targets of napalm, a terrifying mixture of jet fuel and polystyrene that sticks to skin as it burns. The US, which did not sign the treaty, is one of the few countries that makes use of the weapon. It was employed notoriously against both civilian and military targets in the Vietnam war.

The upgraded weapon, which uses kerosene rather than petrol, was used in March and April, when dozens of napalm bombs were dropped near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris river, south of Baghdad.

Of course we didn't sign the treaty. Why would we participate in reducing the use of a weapon the use of which can only be described as an atrocity? Why wouldn't we use this horrendous concoction of kerosene mixed with polystyrene that actually causes human bodies to melt? What in God's name are we doing?

It is difficult for me to fathom the use of this weapon in my name as an American. There isn't even the "thinning out the jungle" reason to use it in Iraq. What else is there to burn there except human beings? And now we are dropping it on cities like Fallujah, with concentrated populations of people, including those who are just trying to survive this chaotic hell we've created for them. I don't really know how to feel yet because I'm both stunned and confused. I am in the generation born during Vietnam, so I have no adult memory of it. But my husband was in his late teens/early 20's at that time. So I asked him, how did he handle the use of napalm during Vietnam - how did he deal emotionally with its use against the Vietnamese? He said that they did what they could, took to the streets and tried to disrupt its production and shipment. But do people even KNOW about this? I haven't seen mention of it on any of the major blogs, and obviously, it's not in our news.

I honestly am reaching a point where I don't know what to think about our troops anymore. I want to support them because they are being forced to serve in an unjust war and are being pushed beyond their limits. But they are committing atrocities. I have no way of knowing what they are going through, the pressures and fear they face every moment, the ferocity of combat. But I have a hard time understanding how they seem to so easily resort to inhumanity - even though history shows this is the most common pattern in war. I just honestly don't know what to think anymore.

Napalm. God help us.

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      ( 7:01 PM )
Ah, Middle School!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am now into my 2nd day of my brief two-week internship/observation at a middle school. I'm in an 8th grade social studies classroom. The teacher is really great - it's his second career, and he absolutely loves the kids. He reminds me of weblacky... he knows all the tricks and personalities and stories behind the scenes, but the kids just really excite him and make him happy. It's totally obvious how much he loves being with the kids. But boy is it CRAZY! The girls and their emerging skill at manipulation, the really short boys who haven't caught their growth spurt yet (and therefore look like they are 8 years old, and it can be really disorienting for someone like me, coming from a high school where virtually every boy is a foot taller than me), and the kids who are all trying in their own way. What I notice is different about middle school right off is that, as opposed to high school, it's really personal. There is real relationship between the teacher and kids, the kids see him sort of as a stand-in parent, where they seek affection and test boundaries in the same breath. It's a lot different than the enforced institutionalized anonymity of public high school.

So far, I'm really enjoying it. It's definitely VERY different. It's good, because it's helped me to overcome assumptions and fears I had about junior high. Though I think I still like the older kids and their subjects, I definitely am much more ready to entertain other options, like 8th grade.

They are learning US History, from Revolution to 1900. The teacher is after my own heart and teaches the way I have planned to teach and have so far taught in high school. He's thrown out the textbook and he teaches this timeline in 6 units - basically teaching the same history in 6 different ways: from the point of view of Native Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, Immigrants, Women and Workers. He uses Zinn liberally and the kids have really gained a lot of critical thinking skills about history. It's pretty inspiring.

I'm looking forward to the rest of my two-week stint.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
      ( 10:03 AM )

Wow, this end of the semster stuff kills me. My regular readers know that I'm currently trying to make my way through grad school - this is my second semester of it. Just like at the end of summer, this last week of the semester is just a bear. But after 36 hours of no sleep finishing my term papers and projects for various classes, I'm almost free from classes! I still continue to do my student teaching, but that is heaven compared to the grad classes.

Starting next Monday, I'll be in a middle school full time and then back to my high school full time until the winter break - so my blogging may be a bit sporadic as I figure out my schedule - probably won't get posts up till afternoons. But I'm still here, so check in with me! I have to confess I'm not as thrilled with having to do the middle school thing (I'm required to observe middle school even though I want to teach high school) - but it should be at least be interesting to be around a bunch of puberty stricken eighth graders for 40 hours a week. If you are a middle school teacher or parent, any advice is welcome!!

Okay, so that's the update. Now I'm off to scan the news about the latest corruption in Congress, lies in the white house and power plays in the pentagon. But at least we can be thankful for the small things that simply could never happen... for instance, the arctic ice cap melting so quickly that the native Inuit don't even have a name for what's happening to their habitat... Ooops...

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Thursday, November 18, 2004
      ( 11:35 AM )
Getting Down To Business

The new session of Congress isn't even in yet, but the first task of Republicans was to lower the standards yet again on ethics and morality in their ranks. Yesterday they voted to lift the rule they'd previously pushed for that denies a House leader his leadership position if he's indicted for a crime. Why? So that Tom DeLay could stay in charge once he's indicted for all the crimes he's committed relating to his PAC and the illegal redistricting in Texas.

There were a few Republicans willing to stand up to the DeLay machine. Talking Points Memo notes their small numbers and wonders how far this new rule can go:

Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut seems to be the only Republican who says he didn't support the move when it was put to a voice vote today. And he says he was one of only a "handful" of Republican House members who also spoke out against the change in today's closed door meeting.

Here's my question. And it's a genuine question since I don't know the answer. Does the Republican caucus currently have a rule which would force DeLay to relinquish his post after conviction if he remains free on appeal?

The earlier rule would have made such a rule superfluous since any leadership office had to be surrendered on indictment. But with that changed, is there such a rule? And if not, does the GOP caucus plan on imposing one?

And in the interest of completeness, is there any stage in the criminal justice process when a GOP caucus member in a leadership office has to resign his post? If the judge sentences DeLay to wearing one of those radio beacon collars around his ankle so that he doesn't leave the vicinity of the Capitol, could he continue as leader then too? Or would that be too much?

No one ever said the Republican leadership of this country was bound by ethical norms...

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
      ( 10:14 AM )

While the Bush administration continues to alienate, frustrate and mock the rest of the world. MANY Americans are reaching out (check out the gallery for thousands of pictures from across the nation, and even some responses from other countries).

Perhaps the answer is solidarity across borders against those who lord over all of us. Hey, didn't someone else already think of that?

UPDATE: While doing some studying today, I've been casually browsing the Sorry Everybody website - it would take hours to view all the thousands of pictures. But I feel really great right now. I think it is an incredible demonstration of humanity joining together, finding their commonality across borders and acknowledging love and respect for each other. The photos of people from other countries responding just makes me feel better. This is ultimately the very best thing the Internet can offer the world - connections and communication like this between human beings. It’s reassuring, to say the least.

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      ( 7:39 AM )
New Paradigm

I think Josh Marshall has nailed the new perspective in Washington:

So is Bush moving to the right or the center in term two?

Wrong metric. He's moving to exert greater control.

Look at the pattern.

Neither Ms. Rice nor Mr. Gonzales are the neo-cons' or the conservatives' choice for their respective offices-to-be.

In each case they're acceptable; but no more.

What distinguishes each is their connection to the president, their loyalty and their fealty. Neither has any base in the city or standing anywhere else absent their connection to him. And in appointing them he has placed the State Department and the Justice Department under his direct and unmediated control as surely as the various members of the White House staff already are.

Which is certainly a good thing since if there is one thing this president sorely needs it is more yes-men.

I think this is the more appropriate view of what is going on - it's not necessarily about the neocons taking over, it's about W consolidating power. This isn't so much a coup of rightists, it's the creeping insidiousness of soft fascism.

...and then the rightists will take over.

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      ( 7:36 AM )

Digby has the pictures and the testimony.

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Monday, November 15, 2004
      ( 8:17 AM )
New Bush Policy: Poison Poor Children!

The Bush administration has been eager to get its second term programs off the ground and running. The news has listed such ambitious goals as privatizing social security, a defunding of medicare and medicaid, continued defunding of NCLB and other wildly progressive ideas as among the first the Bush administration plans to enact. However, quietly lurking under the radar are some "experiments" the administration is hoping to conduct. Welcome to the new Tuskeegee - only this time it's not a secret. Oh, and this time -- it's children.

The EPA wants to test the effects of chemicals and pesticides on children. So in order to do this, they are trying to recruit families to volunteer to intentionally expose their young children to pesticides over two years. The Bush administration is offering loads of incentives, including a one-time payment of $970, a camcorder and children's clothing. Who are they targeting? Duval County, Florida, one of the poorest communities in Florida, of course with more people of color than white folks. Luckily, the administration hasn't been able to completely purge the EPA of scientists with consciences.

Several EPA scientists expressed outrage about the study, saying it unfairly targets low-income families, attempting to lure them into an agreement with high-tech gadgets when they may not fully understand the health consequences for their children. In an email obtained by the Washington Post, Troy Pierce, an EPA life scientist in Atlanta, said the study "goes against everything we recommend at EPA concerning use of [pesticides] related to children. Paying families in Florida to have their homes routinely treated with pesticides is very sad when we at EPA know that [pesticide management] should always be used to protect children."

The EPA's experiments are happily called "CHEERS" - Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study. And the agency insists that no children will be harmed... yet they are recruiting the poorest of our community to not protect their children, but just allow them to continue what exposure they are receiving. But because it is poor families that are being targeted, the fear is that there will be attempts to receive the incentives offered by further endangering children.

The selection criteria for the study requires that a participant must spray, or have pesticides sprayed, inside their homes routinely. CCE is concerned that due to the demographic of the participants, they may be easily persuaded to increase their pesticide use to receive monetary or other forms of compensation.

"It has clearly been designed to target lower income families and to endanger the health of their children, making it grossly unethical," said Maureen Dolan Program Coordinator CCE. She questioned the motives of the study which has received US$2 million from the American Chemistry Council which represents 135 companies including pesticide manufacturers.

Oh, chemical corporations are sponsoring and paying for the experiments on poor children. Wow, I'm so shocked. Thankfully, this program has been halted for now (those pesky "ethical issues"), but the industries backing the experiments are pushing for the program to get back on track. There's only good that can come out of testing exposure of chemicals on children!

This outrage is not only about the Bush administration agreeing to be paid by chemical and pesticide corporations to allow children to be poisoned - it's about us as a nation once again standing by while the most vulnerable of us - our futures - are abused and neglected because we are too busy to notice. Today it's intentionally not protecting children from chemical poisoning. Tomorrow it could be intentionally not feeding children who need the free lunches they get at school as their only daily nourishment because we'd rather spend money elsewhere. Oops... that's already happened.

The second four years hasn't even started yet.

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Friday, November 12, 2004
      ( 4:38 PM )
Better Dead than Red

Lots of the blogs over the last week have been quoting various pundits and columnists about what happened in the election and then arguing with them or praising them. I thought I'd join the crowd - but the article I like best is by Dan Savage this week. His view of the election is one I can jive with:

Look at our famously blue West Coast. But for the cities--Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego--the West Coast would be a deep, dark red. The same is true for other nominally blue states. Illinois is almost entirely red--Chicago turns the state blue. Michigan is almost entirely red--its cities turn it blue. And on and on. What tips these states into the blue column? Their urban areas do, their big, populous counties.

It's time for the Democrats to face reality: They are the heart of urban America. If the cities elected our president, if urban voters determined the outcome, John F. Kerry would have won by a landslide.

Urban voters are the Democratic base.


It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states, too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map. Denver and Boulder are our islands in Colorado; Las Vegas is our island in Nevada; Miami and Fort Lauderdale are our islands in Florida. Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans. They--rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs--are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers.

All is not lost, oh urbane progressives!!

The Republicans have the federal government--for now. But we've got Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City (Bloomberg is a Republican in name only), and every college town in the country. We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan.

Dan has the answers... read on, you won't regret it. This article will give your heart a lift, perhaps a smile will alight upon your face, and you too, my progressive friend, will have hope once again.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004
      ( 9:21 AM )
Thank You's

Dear Daddy,

Thank you. There should not be only one day a year when people recognize those who have given part or all of their lives to serve us, to protect us, to fight on our behalf. But since today is that day, this is my chance to publicly say to you thank you for the roles you have taken in defense of this country, for 30 years of active duty in the military abroad and here at home, and these last years for the voice you have given to veterans and active duty servicemembers. You entered the military at a time when people thought they were facing the height of our government's hubris, horrific planning and wanton sacrifice of our sons and daughters. And here we are now, replaying a tune that sounds so hollow, one that accompanies the hundreds of returning coffins, the halls of military hospitals and echoes in the heads of so many parents, spouses and children left alone by this administration's grotesque manipulation of human lives. Thank you for showing how it's possible to live an honorable and true life, in service of this country and its citizens, and as a father and husband and grandfather that lives as an example of wisdom, patience, consideration and meaningful contribution to our world. I am so glad my son has a grandpa like you.

Today, veterans are honored more in word than in deed. I pray that in the days and weeks and years to come, that those words will turn into action that will truly assist our veterans to have homes, healthcare, physical and psychological comfort, and the honor they deserve. I'm doing my part today by donating a few of my small amount of dollars to Operation Truth in your name. If anyone is going to change the way those who have sacrificed for us are treated, it has to be us.

Thank you, Daddy, for what you have done and what you continue to do to preserve a democracy that we all hold dear.

your daughter.


Dear Brother,

Thank you. Thank you for continuing to serve this country after 8 years of traveling to almost every major war zone this country has participated in or initiated. You operate often in obscurity, with most Americans not knowing how much their protection and safety can depend on you and your mates. I want you to know that I appreciate you and honor you for what you do every day. Even the mundane days when you feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall. Even the days when you've been flying so long you forgot what solid ground feels like. And on that day last week when you wore your uniform to your polling place and voted against the man who has so far wreaked so much destruction on your comrades. You are my hero and I am so proud you are my brother. No matter what you decided to do with the rest of your life, you will have invested the best of your youth in the lives of people who don't even know you exist. And that is the truest and most amazing part of what you and the thousands like you do every day. Thank you - you are a person I would like my son to be like.

your sister


Dear Husband,

When you were young, you were suspended from school for wearing a black armband in protest of the Vietnam War. You saw some of your closest friends go to that place and either never come back or come back so dramatically changed that their lives were forever damaged. Yet you were ready to go. If your number had been called, you wouldn't have let someone else take your place. Later, even after growing up, you joined up anyway and served this country in places a lot of people don't want to live. You allowed yourself to be yourself while doing the intricate and important work that kept thousands of others flying and working for this country. You didn't agree with your commander in chief, you were distressed at the ways the military was being used, yet you served for many years in thankless loyalty. You have a unique perspective, and you have worked your whole life for causes of justice and liberty and the rights of the most vulnerable and the most forgotten of this land. You have stood up for the First Nations of this country, whose own veterans are left forgotten in the dirt and spilt blood of Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge. You are full of hope and yet able to honestly engage in the struggle with the dark side in our own nation that so many Americans are unable to even face, much less wrestle with.

You are the father I would have picked for my son before I knew you, and know that you are that father, I feel more blessed than I can say. Our son, no matter what kind of world he must grow up in, will be able to face it with truth, honesty and courage because of you.



If you are wondering what you can do today to help veterans, go to Operation Truth and learn about what's going on and hear the voices of those who are serving us now. Then give. Give your money, your time, your words, your prayers and your actions to make sure that none of these come home, whether with broken or whole bodies, broken or whole spirits, to face a country that does not take care of them. The Veterans administration is woefully underfunded and mismanaged. Though fully funding and outfitting the VA hospitals in this country would be a good step, why not simply fight for and win universal health care for this nation? Then veterans and their families would have no cause to fear the cost of health care or be unable to find quality help for themselves and their families. What is good for humanity is good for our veterans - now is not the time to give up on the very things that would return the soul to this nation, like health care and living wages. Honor our veterans by showing that they are valued as citizens just as much as they are valued in the warzones.

And while you're considering the service members and veterans today, please consider their families. If you read one thing today, please read these letters from the homefront.

In my personal opinion (which is what this blog is about, after all), the best way to support servicemembers and veterans is to STOP WAR. War is about those with the money putting those without in front of bullets in order to secure more money. Stop War - humanity cannot survive unless we do.

It's not a happy day for Veterans. So I will conclude with, "Thankful Veterans Day" to you and yours.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004
      ( 8:17 AM )
How We Talk

George Lakoff has been getting a lot of attention lately. He is with the Rockridge Institute and he is all about FRAMING THE MESSAGE. He feels that the thing that liberals have done wrong is allow the Radical Right to not only frame all the political debates, but also command the lingo of the news machine. I haven't yet read his highly recommended Don't Think of an Elephant!, but every review says it's worth the time.

So I've been thinking about the oncoming four years of soft fascism that we're all about to face - and I mostly think about it in the context of raising a son whom I would like to see grow up with a hope in humanity, a desire to change things for the most vulnerable and a driving energy to resist the message that he must conform to certain belief systems or he is left out. So I'm thinking about the things Lakoff says about how we frame our message - how we talk about things. This is really relevant for parents like me - I would like to think I'm raising the Leader of the Resistance. But in order for him to grow into someone who can resist effectively, he needs the tools. And this is the same for the students I teach - the kids who get left behind, who are written off because they aren't in the dominant race, the dominant class or know how to navigate a culture that seeks to silence them and keep them from thinking critically. So the tools that I as a Mama and a teacher need to pass on are largely language tools.

And not just the skill of code switching, which allows kids to enter into the power structure with the language tools they need, while still maintaining their own identities - but also an entirely new way of framing the concepts and ideas we must talk about as participants in dissent against this government.

So all this is to say that I'm thinking about new ways of talking about things. The first one I have heard that I really like and am going to start using frequently is "family rights." This is how I believe people need to see the civil rights of gay Americans to enjoy the same legal protections that heterosexual married couples don't even have to think about. Because this isn't about whether homosexuality is wrong or not (that is your personal issue if you feel that way), it's about families. It's about children getting health care, it's about parents getting parental rights, it's about spouses getting hospital visits and estate rights. It's about families.

So that's how I will frame this message in conversation, as my son grows up and with my students. I now talk about Family Rights. If we all start echoing the truth but in better framed messages, then soon we might see those small percentage losses for progressive ideas become majority wins. Just a thought.

Can you think of any other new ways to frame the truth?

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Monday, November 08, 2004
      ( 8:37 AM )
Tough Choices

Rev. Fred posts today about a tough choice he's made.

Yesterday I got a direct mail solicitation from Angel Tree, an annual program by Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship that collects and distributes Christmas toys for the children of prisoners.

It's a nice program, well conceived and well run. The toys are collected from church or business groups, just like with Toys for Tots, and then are distributed to the children through their parents. Lately, Angel Tree has expanded to include mentoring and camping programs for these children. Like child-sponsorship programs, Angel Tree recognizes that its easier to get people to give to help the needy by making them feel warm and fuzzy about it, and the program cannily harnesses that sentiment for a good cause.

I used to plug Angel Tree every year back when I worked for the "alternative evangelical" Prism magazine. But I'm reluctant to do so this year. That reluctance, in part, is because Colson has spent the past year as an outspoken campaigner for George W. Bush.

We need to start making difficult choices, but we also need to fill the gaps. If we choose not to support things like Angel Tree because of the hypocrisy of its founder, then we must step in and provide other avenues for those children. But sometimes we need to step back and look at everything we're feeding simply by not choosing. Progressive voices get lost in the noise, but it is time to do as much as we talk. Making good choices for our community, setting an example for our children, raising our kids to know what it means to actually help someone, rather than sit in a pew and listen to someone declare who and who isn't righteous. These are the ways we need to change, not just how we campaign politically.

Who can be our example? Why not Jimmy Carter, for a start. He is a statesman who is unashamedly devoted to God, but what does he do with that devotion? Preach about the sin of gay people? Command folks to spank their kids to keep them in line? Celebrate "God in the White House?" No. He builds houses for poor people. He tries to stop wars. He steps in to help guarantee democracies can function. He heals with his hands and his feet. It's time for us to start making enough difference for our communities and our country that Republicans and Conservatives' empty promises and speeches about "morality" fall on deaf ears because too many people are seeing us actually change things for the better.

Let's get to work.

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      ( 7:46 AM )

I don't know why I keep reading the letters to the editor in our local paper - they just make me distraught at the depth of ignorance and bigotry that actually exists in Oregon. But I keep reading. I think it's because some small part of me wants to understand how someone could actually conclude :

"With President Bush again in the White House, I am reminded of the corner cop keeping the neighborhood safe.

"Corporate scandal that thrived in the 1990's was brought to account. North Korea, in its nuclear secrecy, was brought to account. Al-Qaida, with its murderous plans, was brought to account. Libya came clean.

"Eastern European countries are eager to show their new embrace of democracy and show us their friendship. Great Britain stands steadfastly with us. Pakistan is a better ally.

"France, Germany and russia have had to squelch their secret financial dealings with Saddam Hussein. Our honorable, courageous soldiers are fighting the terrorists in Iraq instead of in our homeland.

"The recession has been turned around. Most citizens are proud of our country and understand we need to believe in who we are, not bowing to what others think of us.

Thank you, Cop on the Corner." --Mary Fazio Rigert


Dear Ms. Rigert:

What country have you been living in the last four years? What news exactly have you been watching? Never mind, I know the answer to that second question. That people actually believe the above ideas, which are completely detached from reality, is what really worries me about the future of this country.

Corporate scandal has not in any way been brought to account. What changes have you seen made in how corporations must be accountable to their shareholders? In fact, Congress just passed the biggest corporate tax giveaway in history. The people who run the worst of these corporations are the closest friends and biggest donors to this administration, and have even had a hand in determining public policy. That is not "bringing them to account."

North Korea? Where have you been, Ms. Rigert? The Bush administration has completely screwed with North Korea. It pulled out of the talks started by the Clinton administration that put North Korea's missle production on hold. But because of Bush's hubris and unwillingness to work through diplomacy and realistic efforts, North Korea has built even MORE nuclear weapons since he took office. Is this bringing North Korea "to account"??

Al-Qaida? So who was that on that nicely taped video two Fridays ago? Excuse me if I'm wrong, but not only are Al-Qaida's main leaders still alive, well and in charge, more Al-Qaida attacks have occurred since Bush was elected than at any other time. Think you're safer? Why not check those container ships coming in to the Port of Portland every day to reassure yourself.

Libya? The Bush administration loves to take credit for this, but in fact, the Brits and other western countries had been working with and negotiating with Libya for years. The Bush administration had nothing to do with that except to take the credit.

That you take solace in the "friendship" of Eastern European countries (most of whom, if they had any, are now withdrawing their troops from Iraq), or the "steadfastness" of Britan (where Tony Blair is about to lose his job and 90% of the citizens of that country hate George Bush and are against the war in Iraq), or that Pakistan is a "better ally" (who has provided aid and comfort to the Taliban as its rebuilt its forces and has continued to foment its nuclear power in conflict with India) shows that you are clinging to straws that are not only based on falsity, but will provide you no real safety if you depend on them.

As for the recession, I'll be curious to see how you feel about it once China completely disinvests and the dollar crashes against the euro.

Ms. Rigert, you are indeed happy and comfortable in your safe little world where Fox News tells you how good things are going. I don't know how long people like you can live on a stack of lies, but one thing is for sure. Our country can't sustain them for long. No empire can sustain democracy, and no democracy can sustain a rickety foundation of lies. I'd rather you join us in the reality-based community than continue to believe these lies. But meanwhile, I will be redoubling my efforts to make sure the truth is out there somewhere, for those of us who prefer it.

The Mama

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      ( 6:48 AM )
Poetry Monday

I'm lifting this from mikefromtexas in the comments last week, who got it from Apostropher, because it's just so beautiful:

The election is over
The results are known
The will of the people
Has been clearly shown
So let's all get together
And let bitterness pass
I'll hug your elephant
and you can kiss my ass

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Friday, November 05, 2004
      ( 11:08 AM )
DO NOT Turn Right

One thing that progressives MUST do now is exert the pressure on the party that they had a taste of with the Dean campaign. We must put true liberal values back into play. Liberal = Liberty. We believe in freedom and we believe in truth. The time now is NOT for Clinton (Bill or Hillary), Kerry, Gore or McAuliffe. Their days are over, their strategies and values bankrupt. We must turn back left, we must regain our hold on the real morals that matter: feeding the poor, not bombing them, helping the elderly, not robbing them, educating children, not sweatshopping them, taking care of working people, not abusing them. I am absolutely done with the Democratic party if it swings back to the DLC/Clinton leadership and tries to go more right again. That Hillary Clinton even spoke this week about working with Bush and trying to get things done with him signals to me that I was right - there is no Wellstone for us now. And it's a Wellstone that we need.

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      ( 10:31 AM )
Outside the Echo Chamber

We're all so busy talking about this thin percentage win, that Bush doesn't have a mandate, that the red states really are much more purple than anything, that the kids did come out and vote... it may make some people feel better, but it is meaningless.

I just spoke with one of my dearest friends, born and raised in northern Ireland. She's seen and felt the boot of oppressive government, militarized police, the lack of voting rights or homeowning rights, she's felt the pain living in a country where she is not represented or counted as a valuable citizen. I didn't know who else would understand how I'm feeling. We're not as bad as that yet, but we are now on our way, full speed ahead. And Bush is making no bones about his plan to do what he wants, and with gusto. I asked my friend to please tell everyone she knows that not all America wanted this, in fact half of it didn't. Her reply? "But enough of your people did want it, and that's what the rest of the world sees. We don't understand. We don't know why so many Americans want to keep killing people and keep hurting themselves." The thin margin doesn't matter to those who see us from outside this echo chamber and often feel the brunt of our negative power. "But worse," she said, "is I really fear for you now because he's really opened you up for attack - you are not safe any longer because your country has shown you don't care."

In other words....

(thanks to Dad for the picture). Oh by the way, our troops are still being killed and maimed. What is Bush going to do about it? He hasn't thought about it. Did you expect things to change?

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Thursday, November 04, 2004
      ( 5:40 AM )
Reconciliation & Retreat are Not an Option

Some thoughts...because it's my blog, and I can.

I am stunned at the breadth of willful ignorance in this country. There is no possible way to bridge a gap between people who think and people who simply believe lies and are okay with that. I had an incredibly busy day yesterday and so I sort of went through the motions and then finally on my way home in the car and when I got home around 9pm last night, I just sobbed. I think I may be moving past my grief stage right in to my pissed-off stage. I'm still in some shock though - I want to understand why this happened, but I know there is no understanding people who are confidently ignorant and happily biggoted, who choose fear and hatred over understanding and humanity. There is no reconciliation with ignorance. Retreat is not an option.

I will be making conscious decisions from now on to resist and refuse at every opportunity and to raise my child with an oppositional viewpoint. He will be nearly 7 by the time we get a new regime, if we aren't in for 12 years of this (which is highly possible, depending on what fascist rules are enforced). I am done with giving the benefit of the doubt to anyone who supports these people. Half of this nation chose to vote against their own human interests, the rights of their fellow citizens and the very lives of innocent people around the world. They told the rest of the world to f!#k off and sent the message that it's okay with a majority of this country if millions of people are murdered in our name. I feel so incredibly marginalized by my own country. I am not represented by any branch of the government, and I and my family will only be hurt by its laws. I am willing to stay and fight these next four years, but if it continues on and this nation is willing to continue under these people's rule, I will not allow my son to be drafted or educated by a system whose only purpose is to kill him to make themselves richer.

I was willing to support John Kerry while he was the only option. But I will not agree to his hollow calls for "unity" and I will not support his generation of democrats any longer, no matter what. Progressives of this country are not about trying to please those who are stuck in the middle ages in their world view and prejudices. Progressives are about change, are about moving this nation forward into a more humane and more equitable future for everyone. If even one democrat in congress goes along with any of the Bush gang's schemes, they are dead to me. No second chances anymore, no more working along to get along. There is nothing this regime will do to help the working people of this country, and we know it. There is nothing this regime will do to help the children of this country or the hungry or the poor or those who dissent. This is no longer a cooperation game. This is an opposition game. Choose your side now. Either we move forward and become humane leaders of this world, or we sink into an isolated, biggoted soft fascism that feeds upon its own hollow hungers until it destroys itself.

I've made my choice.

UPDATE: Oh, someone actually agrees with me.

Katrina vanden Heuvel says it too: Stand and Fight.

Open your eyes to reality. It's time for you to choose.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004
      ( 5:48 AM )
The Morning After

This is my long day away (work and classes from 7am to 9pm) so I won't be home to monitor what's going on. So I just wanted to say that I think all the votes should be counted, and I'm glad that Kerry isn't conceding until that happens. This country won't fall into some disarray because of it, so I think it's worth waiting. I'm very confused as to why the exit polling in Florida and Ohio was SO different from the votes (as compared to other states), which makes me think that there really may be something wrong with the black box voting. I suspect we'll start hearing a lot of stories about votes. Depending on a system that is not auditable and where we are unable to prove what votes were made is lunacy.

For today, since I won't be here, I'll share some words from Meteor Blades. It's a bit of a pep talk, but needed and good to think about as the days go on. I don't agree that we've lost, but it's worth reading the rest of it for some "pep."

Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future.

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats should make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions.

Not a few people have spoken in the past few hours about an Americanist authoritarianism emerging out of the country’s current leadership. I think that’s not far-fetched. Fighting this requires that we stick together, not bashing each other, not fleeing or hiding or yielding to the temptation of behaving as if “what’s the use?”

It’s tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.

I don't know how we'll make it through the destruction another four years of these people will wreak on us, but we have to. We can't give up. It's our country and it's still worth fighting for.

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Monday, November 01, 2004
      ( 3:40 PM )
I'm Feeling Very, Very...

Good. I'm gonna say it: LANDSLIDE!!! And when I hear republicans start whining, I can't wait to say "get over it." ahhhhh...

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      ( 7:48 AM )
Suppression in Full Swing

Oh for crying out loud!!!

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      ( 7:40 AM )
A Win For the Side of Good

Pack your bags, Ohio Republican thugs. You can't intimidate Ohio voters this year.

(thanks to Atrios for the link)

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      ( 7:38 AM )
Sinking Ship

Big pile of poopy to deal with. Even Powell can't avoid it. Thanks, W.

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      ( 7:28 AM )

Scaring the hell out of people is what it's all about. Check out Josh Marshall today for the latest incredibly horrible and stupid scare tactic that republicans are sending out in the mail to Floridians. I can't wait till this is over.

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