Dr. Forbush Thinks

Look at the world through the eyes of Dr. Forbush. He leads you through politics, religion and science asking questions and attempting to answer them....

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Friday, March 31, 2006


At one time I was under the impression that the truth would always come to the surface. I was taught that liars could never keep their web of lies straight and they would eventually be exposed. The Bible tells us not to bear false witness. In other words don’t tell stories about what you have seen. Maybe that is still the case, but it sure is taking a long time. Maybe it is the new modern American culture, but it makes me sick to think that some people continuously lie and get away with it.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I can’t stop yammering on about the lies and deception of the Bush administration. They are more obvious than they have ever been before, and a group of radical extremists here in American are practicing Digital McCarthyism to silence the truth. There are so many examples of this practice that it makes me sick thinking about those Americans that vote blindly for the Republicans that encourage this behaviour. I don’t know what it will take to stem the tide and change the way the moderate Americans are thinking about this. After all, only the moderate Americans can fix this problem by voting out the Republicans that are responsible, but refuse to take responsibility for this anti-American behaviour.

This Digital McCarthyism has been happening for a long time, but Americans have been distracted by hand waving and discouraged into looking into the details by fear. And, every time that someone does look into these lies and deceptions they are vilified from every level, whether they deserve to be vilified or not. I wrote about the despicable behaviour of the radical extremist bloggers when Helen Thomas dared to ask the President a question. This behaviour is meant to discourage future truth seekers from exercising that right. After all, we can’t have the President defending his immoral actions to often, or the public will learn the truth.

But, Helen Thomas was not the first person to be subjected to the hatred on the Internet. Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were vilified when they revealed the selfish and illegal behaviour of George W Bush during the Vietnam War. Mary Mapes used the words Digital McCarthyism to describe the attacks that were made on her during this time. The radical extremists organized e-mail campaigns that targeted every CBS news affiliate, they libeled her in every possible way, and in the end they managed to scare CBS into firing her. And, all along they managed to distract the publics attention away from the truth. Whether or not the documents that Dan Rather and Mary Mapes used as some evidence that George W Bush didn’t fulfill his military obligation there was much more evidence that the radical right managed to shift the focus away from by concentrating on these documents. In fact, the White never denied the validity of the accusation. They didn’t have to, because the attention was shifted away from the details. The main point was that these documents existed at one time, and the Bush file had been pruned of them. The documents presented to Mary Mapes were corroborated with interviews with people in the Texas Air National Guard at the time.

So, lets get this straight, several people who know about the “Champaign Unit” in the 1968 Texas Air National Guard tell us that it was a unit made up of wealthy people dodging the draft. And, George W Bush himself admits to it. And he is treated like a Vietnam vet while John Kerry who actually went to Vietnam is vilified with seeds of doubt planted by the same radical extremists. The forged documents don’t even effect this truth, but America’s head was turned away from the truth. But, it is even worse than this. George W Bush didn’t get his physical and cheated the American people out of two and a half years of his service to our country. John Kerry finished his service and was wounded to boot. But the coordinated efforts of some radical extremists turned the American heads away from the truth. It will take future historians to demonstrate that America was duped to elect George W Bush.

I say duped, because during the election the polls told us that Americans believed that George W Bush was honest, and it sure seems to me that he has never been honest in his life. From the lies and deception to out of the Vietnam draft so he wouldn’t be shot at like a true American hero, John Kerry to the lies and deception that got us into the Iraq War, this man doesn’t seem to hold the virtue of honesty very high. But people voted for him because they believed him to be honest.

But, it is more than just George W Bush. It is the culture of the Republicans and the radical extremists who behave like a gang running around demanding respect, money and authority or they will burn your building to the ground. But here it is Digital McCarthyism where these gang members demand you accept their religion, no questions asked, or they will sic the hordes on you, libeling you with every offensive label they can think of, until you give in or you are forced out of your job. And this “new” America run by the hordes of gangs isn’t the Democracy that I signed up for, and most Americans would agree with me, but they won’t hear this argument because the media is too afraid to put it out there.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pandora’s Box

Imagine a truckload of documents from Saddam Hussein’s regime. This truckload of documents exists and it is being uploaded to the web for everyone to see. The truck contains all of the communication that Saddam had with his government bureaucrats concerning Iraqi national security. In looking over these documents one would certainly be able to prove that Saddam Hussein had collaborated with al Qaeda. And, we would certainly be able to map out the exact intentions that he had concerning Weapons of Mass Destruction. What a treasure trove for the intelligence community, and anyone wishing to prove that George W Bush was right in his preemptive strike on Iraq.

So, why haven’t we heard about the details contained in this truck? The first obvious guess is that there really isn’t much there. But that isn’t what the administration is saying. The administration is saying that these documents are so numerous that it would be impossible to go through it all of them with the few government intelligence officers could be used. But, it’s been three years and the government has gone through these documents already, that’s how they know that it’s safe to release them. For example, what if Saddam Hussein had a spy within the CIA and they were sending information back to Iraq. That information could be sensitive and certainly could jeopardize the CIA and the US government. So, it would be irresponsible to release this type of documentation without at least going through it once.

And, if the CIA has gone through this documentation at least once looking for sensitive information that they would rather not have released, they must have also looked for evidence that the administration did the right thing in invading Iraq. Right? So, we should be able to conclude safely that this documentation does not contain the smoking gun that the Bush administration would like to have the American people see for the justification for the debacle in Iraq.

So, if that were the case, then why would the Bush administration want this information out on the web?

Let us consider who will want to look at these documents. Obviously since it is impossible to prove the negative with evidence those in favor of the war are looking for justification. Those against the war aren’t likely to find anything that says, “Today we did not meet with al Qaeda. And, then we did not decide to build a chemical weapons depository.” Instead, those in favor of the War will be looking for documentation that says that someone from Saddam’s regime met with someone from North Korea or Iran in order to “prove” that they were working together in the axis of evil. But, does this kind of documentation prove anything?

Well, if there were extensive meeting and documentation of what was discussed at those meetings, then it could be the smoking gun. But if Saddam’s minion simply met with a North Korean minion that only proves that they met. And even Americans have met with those who are developing nuclear weapons in North Korea, but that doesn’t prove that those Americans were helping the North Koreans or vise versa. Instead, it proves that scientists are concerned about nuclear proliferation and they would like to control the spread of nuclear weapons.

But, the Bush administration knows that there are tons of documents that could easily be misunderstood in the context of the relationships between countries. And, if right wing bloggers with a little bit of knowledge and a determination to prove that George W Bush did the right thing in invading Iraq got a hold of them they could easily spread this misinformation around the blogosphere. It doesn’t take much to blow one meeting out of proportion and have the right wing echo chamber resonate with a false message. It happens every day. And, if one blogger uncovers something that sounds important and doesn’t understand the reality it won’t really matter if it is true or not.

If you don’t believe me you should consider whom we are dealing with. These right wing zealots for the war in Iraq cut their teeth on finding the “truth” in the Bible. Deciding what you want to prove, then looking through the Bible to find support for your claim is the modus operandi of these people. Imagine what they can find in a truckload of documents written in Arabic. The first hurdle is to prove whether the translation is right. Then the context of the document needs to be understood. By the time this is done the American people have already chosen to accept the document as fact and they don’t care to understand the details. So, releasing these documents is a win-win opportunity for the Bush administration. I ask you how can they loose? How can truth prevail?

If I believed in conspiracy theories I might suggest that the Bush administration seeded these documents with lies that they expect the bloggers looking through them to “discover.” How could anyone prove them wrong? After all, if there was anything worthwhile in this truckload of documents they Bush administration would have been jumping around yelling, “We told you so.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

The Big Picture

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing as often as I have in the past. This is mainly because I have taken some time to think about what I have been writing and determine if I should continue down this same path, or look for other things to write about. I try to do this often, but on occasion I find myself looking at the minutia and forgetting about the point of my writing. As I normally do when I realize this is happening, I like to take a step back and look at the BIG PICTURE.

Of course this isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes I have my nose to the grindstone, trying to “get the job done.” However, it isn’t always clear what the job is until you take that step back and look at the Big Picture. Imagine yourself as an artist painting a mural on a huge building. Part of this mural depicts a tree with some birds in the tree. You begin to think about the birds and you realize that the heron doesn’t belong in the tree but by the pond. And, the owl should be asleep, or maybe it shouldn’t even be in the painting. And the hummingbird should be poised in front of more conical shaped flower. And, these little details that didn’t seem to be important begin to weigh on the truth of the painting. As the numerous problems begin to emerge you decide to walk across the street and look at the entire mural. You then realize that the little problems with the birds doesn’t seem to matter any more, because the picture is actually a picture of a bulldozer steaming forward to knock that tree down.

It is certainly true that some of those birds were not being shown in their true habitat. And, it was certainly true that some of those birds could be painted in better ways to show off their freedom and wildness. But, the point of the painting is to shown the damage man does to his environment in the name of progress. If the artist puts a heron in the tree, he doesn’t change the message of the destruction of our environment.

Similarly I have been writing about the destruction of our political environment. Each little entry that I have made is meant to be one little corner of the vast destruction that is taking place. Lately this destruction has been the responsibility of Bush administration and the Republican Party. They are the guys out there with their chain saws finding trees to cut down. They are out there with their kerosene pouring it on the grass and setting it on fire. But, the problem is that the Democrats are sitting in the corner of the field or hiding in their bedrooms hoping that after all the destruction is over they can come out and say they warned us all.

The media likes to shoot video of the guys causing the destruction, but they don’t usually spend much time talking about inactivity. “If it bleeds it leads,” is the media mantra, but those who sit there and watch someone burn a building are accomplices in the arson being done to our political environment. I feel that I too am guilty of spending more time to the detail of the destruction being done by the Republicans while I ignore the ambivalence of the Democrats who just watch the havoc.

Then again, when there is an emergency isn’t it my duty to take responsibility when no one else will? Maybe I don’t have the time to criticize those who stand around when I am busy putting out fires. Those who stand around and let this melee get out of control will eventually answer to their irresponsibility. My job here isn’t done and I will continue to comment on the destructive actions of the Republicans until our political environment is safe again.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Free Markets

Everyone wants cash and that’s why markets work. If everyone could get more cash, then their life would be better, because they can buy all the crap any American who watches TV has been convinced that they need. We have all been told that America is a consumer economy because we consume more per person than any other country on Earth. Except maybe for some small countries that only have homes for wealthy monarchs and their kin. But, the desire for wealth drives the capitalistic drive to make distribution of goods more efficient. The drive for wealth drives innovation. The drive for wealth makes people work to feed and house themselves if nothing else…

Maybe the distribution of goods is not as fair as Jesus would like, but the drive to make money powers the industries with people who need money to buy food, goods and services which supplies these industries with the money needed to produce more goods and services and jobs. That is the magic of the free markets.

The truth is that people need food and shelter. They could go out into a forest and set up a tent and live there if they chose not to be part of our society. (Well, actually they would need to own some land to do that. And that would require money. And once we are talking money we are talking society again. Unless you are able to get to some remote piece of land that no one has claimed yet.) For modern man, money is the only way that people can live in our society. This means that people need to acquire money in some way to buy the things they need to survive. Removing yourself from that need for money is impossible in America.

For most people money is acquired by working. Someone with capital and a grand idea will use their capital to hire labor to pay people to do what they want done in order to realize their dream. Some people have no ideas and lots of capital, and they use their capital to invest in someone that has some ideas and no capital. The person with the capital therefore buys the ideas and is able to exploit those ideas to make more capital for himself or herself. Similarly the person with the ideas hopes that the person with the capital isn’t smart enough to realize the full potential for an idea, so that the person with the idea can make more money than the person with the capital. And, so it goes. America was built on these interactions one billionaire at a time.

So, the system works. People who need food and housing are able to make minimal amounts of money to survive. People with ideas are able to get those ideas realized. And, people with money are able to make more money.

So, why can’t we create another type of market that could benefit all of us? This market takes care of basic needs of food and shelter. However, it encourages waste and pollution. If someone has an idea to dig a hole in the ground and burn the coal he found there to make energy the idea wins if it is cheaper to do this than to make solar cells and get the energy from the sun. If the guy believes that throwing all the ashes from the burnt coal in the river is cheaper than burying them in the ground in a land fill, then throwing them in the river wins. If someone thinks taking Uranium and putting it in a pile creates energy more cheaply than building wind turbines, then the nuclear energy plan wins, even if they don’t consider what to do with the waste afterward. But, the problem with pollution is that it effects everyone. So, if one guy has a cheap idea that causes lots of pollution everyone who is effected by that pollution pays a price in a deteriorated environment. The guy who is polluting is “stealing cleanliness” from those who once had nice clean places to live and work.

Pollution is a fact of life. Every time we use the toilet we pollute the environment. So, just like the capitalist market that rewards people for having ideas and money we need a market that reward people for polluting less. A free market that rewards people for not destroying our environment would drive people to pollute less and find the means to pollute more efficiently. For example, nuclear energy could be cleaner if new processes to use the nuclear fuel were carefully studied. But, power companies were spooked in the past when their innovation in using nuclear energy resulted in Three Mile Island. The extraordinary safety measures triggered by this failure made nuclear energy expensive and scared the energy industry away from future investigations. But, if some type of low pollution rewards market were created new innovators could be driven to investigate their dreams. Other forms of energy would also be rewarded for being clean while dirty coal and oil would be less desirable.

The point is that Free Markets work, so why don’t we use them to preserve our world before its too late.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Banner News

Donna over at the News Hounds demonstrates how Fox News hypnotizes us into believing the lies of the Bush administration. News Hounds is a blog that watches Fox so we don’t have to.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Truth Squads in America

When we hear the term “truth squads” we think of totalitarian governments using force to quiet the opposition to their rule. Somehow the people in charge believe that using force will convince the masses to believe in the government. What generally happens is people become more resolved to oppose the government and they take their opposition underground to build support.

Governments and Religions are alike in this respect. They both want to increase the number of people who believe the rhetoric they speak to the masses. And, most of the time both have very little proof that what they say is actually based in fact or truth. The followers of either group of leaders need to put faith in the leader, the rhetoric or the ideology and hope for the best.

Neither governments nor religions need to listen to the people. Some do and some don’t. Some claim that they don’t listen, but are forced to listen. Some claim to listen, but they do what they want anyway. This classic struggle goes back to tribalism and it won’t be solved quickly. But, the fact remains that governments and religions still prefer to have the support of the people in order to demonstrate the illusion of proof of their authority.

So, when I read in the Christian Science Monitor that the religious right was organizing truth squads in advance of the release of the movie “The Da Vinci Code” I wasn’t really surprised.

Of course these religious fanatics want everyone to believe that there is only one way to look at religion, their way. The possibility that given the same facts there might be another way to look at what we know would never dawn on them. Religious scholars have already decided which facts that they wish to ignore, and which facts they put higher importance on. They have a whole hierarchy of importance given to certain facts, and that order of importance creates the differences between the religions as we know them.

For example, the Bible tells us the importance of rest on the Sabbath. Jesus, when challenged by the Pharisees about working miracles on the Sabbath, offered His view that love triumphed over the adherence to this law. The simple attitude toward the Sabbath varies widely from religion to religion, and it is mainly due to the difference in the different religions priority of this law and the other laws in the religion. Even the fact that most Christians choose Sunday for their “Sabbath,” while Jews adhere to Saturday and Muslims choose Friday. Each religion has it’s own reasons, but they all stem from different interpretations of the information given to them.

So, if a group of scholars discover “new” evidence in the so-called Gnostic Gospels that shows the history of Christianity in a different light why should we not give the “new” evidence a voice?

Well, established religions easily argue that “new” evidence will show that they are wrong and religions will do anything to defend their position. The two possible explanations for difference between a current religious doctrine and “new” evidence could be:

1) The Religious Doctrine is wrong.
2) The “new” evidence is wrong.

Which choice do you think that established religions would be likely to choose?

It isn’t very likely that established religions would say that they are wrong, and since religion requires no proof, only faith, the established religions will certainly be against any “new” evidence even without reading or understanding it. Of course, by reading it they are certainly likely to find discrepancies that they will use to dismiss the “truth” of the “new” evidence. However, this is certainly hypocritical because they defend the discrepancies in the Bible all the time.

Truth is certainly not the priority with established religions of any kind. Instead protecting the established doctrine from questioning based on “new” evidence is the highest priority. And that is why the established religions have set up “truth squads” to protect the doctrine from attack by those who are soon to be armed with “new” evidence.

The sad thing is that if a sane and rational person were to place all of the evidence on the table without any personal religious bias this person would certainly come to some completely different interpretation of both the facts of history and the doctrine that has been preached by religions through out the ages. And, if another completely different person did the same thing it would be likely that this person would not agree with the first, let alone any of the established religions. And, so if we are to believe that these revelations of religion have come down through the generations from God then those revelations mean different things to every person on this planet. And, to make matters even more complicated if the same person were to look at the evidence at 20, 30, 50 and 75 years of age they would have come to four different conclusions based on their own personal experiences as well.

So, the point is that the “truth squads” that are gathering to protect the established religions are not interested in truth at all. These so-called “truth squads” are interested in protecting the established doctrine that is based only on tradition and a small portion of selected evidence. They are interested in maintaining the status quo and not truth at all.

If anyone is interested in additional Early Christian Writings check out this web page.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Actually, I don’t want you to think that this post has anything to do with sex. Instead I was going to write about politics and marketing. But, if you got here because you googled sex, feel free to stay.

Now, that all those people are gone I can write about politics again.

The funny thing about blogging is that everyone wants readers. But, not everyone is interested in reading their blogs. But, in the free flow of information people that want to read your blog will find it and those who don’t will just pass it by. That’s why trying to trick people into reading your blog doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Since huge numbers of people are looking for “sex” on the Internet, tricking a small number of readers into clicking on your blog is sure to turn up a few. But, is that what we really want? Do we want a bunch of sex starved teenagers clicking on our blogs? Chances are that they really don’t care about what I’m writing anyway.

Actually I’d like to have ten readers interested in what I am writing instead of a thousand readers that read the headline and continue on. I can’t make them read my blog, and if they did they most likely wouldn’t really care about what I was writing.

In politics some candidates do the equivalent of calling out for readers to people who don’t really care. They certainly don’t care if people read their pamphlets if they could have the vote anyway. If the candidates can have a vote based on the headline on their pamphlet, the candidate is happy. And, since candidates know that people are generally lazy they get really good at crafting headlines, but they don’t really worry too much about the content. The content matters to the few true believers that wouldn’t vote for the other guy anyway.

In fact, TV commercials are the equivalent of short sweet headlines that attract people who don’t really care about the content of the candidate. How many people do you know that chose a candidate because of a commercial that they liked? If you don’t believe it, think about the Ronald Reagan advertisement proclaiming “Morning in America.” I still remember it even though I didn’t vote for him. This powerful headline may have been responsible for giving the most powerful job in the world to Ronald Reagan. This would be like me winning blogger of the year because I had so many people clicking on my “Sex” headline. Does this make any sense at all in a modern educated country like America?

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit


Is there any Democrat that the Bush lover Republican could possibly compliment?

The answer to that question is obviously a resounding NO!

However, the supporters of this administration, which is possibly the worst administration in US history somehow believe that by putting down those who think otherwise will somehow sway more people to their cause.

The way I see the US political spectrum as of today is illustrated by the simple Rassmussen poll of American support for President Bush that is published every day. Currently 20% of Americans strongly believe that George W Bush is doing a great job leading our country down the right path to our future. And, 43% of Americans strongly believe that George W Bush is doing a horrendous job leading our country down the wrong path. The remaining 36% of Americans are weakly divided between weakly approving and weakly disapproving of the job that George W Bush is doing. The majority of Americans clearly dislike the way this president is leading our country. But, that 20% of Americans that think he is doing a great job are not happy that they are in the minority. In fact, they turn and bash the majority at every opportunity.

This is clearly seen today in the blogosphere. If you are interested in seeing what I am talking about then you should go to Technorati and search for Helen Thomas.

The right wing blogs are full of hatred for this woman who is clearly a pioneer among women journalists. Helen Thomas has been around asking the hard questions since JFK was president. She always asked the hard questions and George W Bush knew that, which is why he hasn’t called on her at a press conference until today. And, she had a very good question for this president who tends to hide behind the façade of being questioned by the friendly reporters. So, when Helen Thomas finally got her chance to ask her question, which can easily be googled, she asked what 43% of Americans want to know but haven’t gotten a real answer for, namely - After all the lies that have been exposed, what was the real reason he chose to use the trust of the American people to invade Iraq and start that war? Of course he refused to answer the question truthfully, and he fell back on text from some old speeches that he’d been giving. But, at least the question got out there and the Americans who have their eyes open can see a president struggle to try to pull the wool over our eyes yet again.

But, the hatred in the blogosphere continues to ooze through the blogs. Bloggers are calling this distinguished journalist derogatory names that they would be offended at hearing someone call them or their grandmothers. And, these very same bloggers will be the first to tell someone criticizing George W Bush that they are “Bush Haters” or unpatriotic for doing their duty as an American to examine the facts and find the truth. These are the same bloggers who can’t see the irony in the Republicans attack on Clinton for lying about a blow job, when Bush is not being examined for all of his lies about Iraq, wiretapping, Katrina, and the money going to his friends in the oil business. But, hatred makes people do irrational things.

It seems to me that the writing is on the wall and it says that George W Bush is not a uniter.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Get Used to It!

In an interesting interview in the NY Times with the father of ex-NFL football player Pat Tillman the father expresses his frustration with not being able to get any answers about his son’s death in Afghanistan. He says, “All I asked for is what happened to my son, and it has been lie after lie after lie…” All I have to say is get used to it. This is the “new” America where truth doesn’t matter, and only perception matters. If the truth doesn’t fit neatly into the picture that the White House or the Republican majority wants you to see, then forget about it…

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Monday, March 20, 2006

The Path to War

I am not naïve; I know that the United States is in Iraq and that isn’t going to change very soon. The Republicans and the Bush administration don’t listen to anyone about anything, because they have already proclaimed to themselves that they know everything. The Dubai Ports deal illustrates how they don’t listen, even when members of their own party are telling them that it wasn’t going to happen. Newsweek magazine showed us this last week by the story written by Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey. They paint a picture of Dick Cheney asking House Speaker Dennis Hastert what it was going to take to make the ports deal work. The idea that Dick Cheney, and the White House would ignore the American people shouldn’t surprise anyone. But, the fact that he would ignore Republican politicians that are up for election in November of this year should surprise us. After all, these guys walked the Party line and talked the Party line for these guys in the White House for the last five years. Maybe this is part of the 2006 Republican campaign strategy. I wouldn’t be surprised, because these are the same people who believe that using Bush’s inability to talk in public as a political asset.

But, on the third anniversary of start of the Iraq War we should review the history of this debacle in order to learn what we should never allow to happen in the future. We are in Iraq and nothing can be done about it. However, if a neighbor kid threw his baseball through your window would you just say that the window was broken and nothing could be done about it? Even if it was an accident, shouldn't the kid who comes to claim the baseball answer for the damage? Most of us believe that actions also have responsibilities and obligations.

There was an excellent 9-minute audio review of the build up to the war and these three years broadcast this morning on NPR. The audio includes quotes of what the White House said in the build up to the war and what actually has happened.

I believe that we have all heard most of this stuff before, but it is certainly nice to have a review from time to time. In fact in this case where the Bush administration and the Republican congress seems to move the goal lines every other week we tend to forget why we actually went to Iraq in 2003 and what our goals were back then. I encourage everyone to listen to this.

There is also a new book out called “Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq” by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor that covers the Iraq War. More and more of these books will come out and show what went wrong, and what continues to go wrong in Iraq. Back in 2003 the Republican man on the street voiced his dismay at the War Protestors. And today with 20-20 hindsight we know that those War Protestors had a point.

Most people know that pacifism is not a true option in a real world. And, most Americans stand behind the operation in Afghanistan, even though it isn’t going as well as it could. But, the points that were missed at the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 mainly had to do with examination of the purpose of the Iraq War, the goals and the benefit to the American people. If we look at the last three years we should all be able to stand back and look at this. Does the cost justify the benefit to the American people?

Republicans have lost every justification for this war, except the fact that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy and Iraq is better off without him. Every claim about WMD and ties to terrorists has been shown to be false. But, what was it that persuaded the congress and the American people to support the overthrow of a sovereign nation? It was the marketing of the war as a necessary evil that Americans needed to take on to protect Americans. And Americans believed that to question this must somehow be unpatriotic. And the delay required to question this could have allowed Iraq to attack us with nuclear weapons.

However, the dishonesty of the White House used words like “Weapons of Mass Destruction” which include nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to be used to describe chemical weapons that everyone believe Iraq had. So, the administration was able to go from warning us of the dangers of Iraq’s possession of chemical weapons to warning us of imminent nuclear threat by tying these two types of weapons together by the WMD label. So, the administration was able to use the knowledge that the CIA believed that Iraq had chemical weapons to say that Iraq had WMDs. When everyone agreed that “we all know” that Iraq has WMDs, then were able to proclaim that we need to attack Iraq before the “smoking gun becomes a mushroom cloud.”

When the Vietnam War ended, common knowledge became “Vietnam could never happen again.” The common man believed that the US invasion of a sovereign nation based on selfish interest could never happen in America, because America just doesn’t do that. America believes in Democracy. But we now know that America believes in Democracy as long and the vote comes out the way we like. America’s common knowledge is in flux again. In a few years our cultural common knowledge will become established again. Hopefully it will become known that government needs to be watched and questioned at all levels. Hopefully the people will come to the conclusion that Iraq can happen again, unless the people remain vigilant.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Philosophy and Behavior

Here’s an interesting philosophical behavioral question:

If someone has broken the law and gotten away with it, then would that same person find it easier to break another law?

One could argue that breaking one law and getting away with it would embolden the person to do it again. One could argue that breaking one law demonstrates to the person how easy it would be to do it again. However, on the other side of the argument one could argue that the person could be engulfed in a sea of guilt and the mere prospect of breaking another law would be unpalatable.

Conservatives tend to argue that a person who breaks the law should be punished in order to persuade the person to learn that the law must be respected. Conservatives argue that the mere knowledge of other people breaking the law, getting caught and being punished is deterrence to other perspective lawbreakers. This is the number one reason for having the death penalty voiced by conservatives. If people know that they can be put to death for a murder, they wouldn’t dare consider it. It doesn’t matter if the murderer is put out of society for the rest of his life, that punishment may not deter others who may be contemplating a murder.

But, this question addresses the other side of the equation. If someone gets away with a crime will they be likely to commit another crime?

This is an important question for Republicans to ask themselves. Since Tom Delay has been indicted for behavior that is certainly questionable. It could be that he is able to get away with the charges in the indictment for technical reasons and judges that are biased toward Republican ideology. Based on what we know Tom Delay certainly pushes the laws as far as he believes that he can legally go in order to get what he wants. Pushing the law to the limits almost guarantees that the vision of different judges may yield different results. Do honest people push the law to the limits? When one pushes the law, are they truly interested in upholding the “spirit” of the law? Or, do they believe that their self-interest outweighs the common good for which the law is written?

Well, Republicans have more than Tom Delay who have has crossed to the “dark side.” In fact, Republicans have quite a few people on their team that have determined that the interest of the Republican Party is more important than the common good embodied in the law. Jack Abramoff’s confessed lawbreaking has touched a large number of lawmakers, most of which are Republicans. Scooter Libby’s indictment for lying to the Grand Jury is another case of Republican law breaking for Party ideology. And Justin Rood tells us:

Mitchell Wade, former CEO of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to several conspiracy and bribery charges a few weeks ago in connection with the Duke Cunningham scandal. But a little-noticed piece of his history goes into one of the most sensitive domestic spying operations we have heard of to date: the Pentagon's Virginia-based Counterintelligence Field Activity office (CIFA).

But, there is hope. Two years ago the Rasmussen polls of George W Bush’s job approval rating showed that those strongly disapprove of his job was at about 33%. These were the Bush haters as the rhetoric from the right repeated throughout the election. Similarly there were another 33% of Americans who strongly approved of the job he was doing. These were the folks that George W Bush would allow into his election rallies. The 34% in the middle fluctuated back and forth between somewhat approve and somewhat disapprove of the job George W Bush was doing back in 2004.

Throughout that entire year the strongly approve and the strongly disapprove groups stood unchanged. This was reported as the polarization of America in the media. In the end, the great middle third of American politics decided that George W Bush would continue to rule our country despite his incompetence. And they voted nearly equally divided.

If you go over to Rasmussen, which seems to be consistently biased in favor of George W Bush compared to other polls, you can see that those who strongly approve of George W Bush’s job has dropped to 19%. Obviously this is a good turn of events, because it means that Americans are actually beginning to see through the Republican facade. Almost half of the people who strongly approved of him during the 2004 election have most likely moved to the somewhat approve column. And, those who strongly disapprove of George W Bush, the Bush haters, have grown to 40%. The conservatives who tell us through their talk show pundits that the far left Bush haters are a small but vocal minority. But, I would say that they are a growing number of rational people who realize that George W Bush lies and can not be trusted. In the center we have 40% who are divided between somewhat approve and somewhat disapprove. At this time 24% of these people somewhat approve of the job George W Bush is doing. About half of these used to be in the strongly approve column. I certainly hope that this means that as Bush increases his rhetoric to build his case against Iran that the American people will at least question the “Bush wisdom.”

The good news is that as George W Bush continues to do exactly what he wants to do, instead of what he promised to do the American people will continue to see through his and the Republican Party’s cloak of secrecy.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Monday, March 13, 2006

Clouded Vision

Many years ago in a land called America the Republican minority sought political power. They used many techniques to seek this power, including pointing out the hypocrisy of Democrats in power. I would certainly agree that during that time there certainly existed a group of Democratic politicians that sought power above the good of the American people. Like the old line goes, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is why an opposition political party is important to balance government.

When I post my thoughts about the current state of our country I am continuously bombarded with the comments referring to the corruption of the Democrats of many years ago. Excuse me, but it really seems that even if the Democrats would like to be corrupt they don’t really have the power to do any favors for anyone who would like have a personal law passed for them. I’ve pointed out that I am a libertarian moderate many times in my posts. Before I witnessed the major incompetence of the Bush administration I was registered as a Libertarian and I did not favor either political party over the other.

I find it quite strange that this large boisterous group of bloggers who comment about the history of corruption of the Democrats can not find it within themselves to see the corruption within the Republican Party. There are many variations of this corruption that is explained away with excuses.

Republicans have been known to preach responsibility, but for some reason these same Republicans believe that making excuses for corruption within their own party is acceptable. I would certainly like to remind these people that making excuses for ones actions is also known as avoiding responsibility. In current times the deception of the Republican Party has been focused of creating phrases that make bad things sound good, and making excuses for not taking responsibility will never be uttered from the lips of any Republican politician, unless they choose to criticize the Democrats of many years ago.

For a striking example of this hypocrisy we can turn our attention to Texas. Tom DeLay ran against 3 Republicans in the Texas primary last week, and he won the nomination with 60% of the vote. Why would any Republican vote for this man, let alone 60% of Republicans in his district? If you consider the history of people who have turned to embrace the Republican Party based on the history of corrupt Democrats. Wouldn’t it make sense for the people of Tom DeLay’s district to choose another Republican to honestly represent their needs in their district? I am guessing that the Republicans in Tom DeLay’s district really don’t care whether a politician is corrupt or not. What other conclusion can we come to -- based on these results?

Let’s step back from this and try to understand the politics in this area of Texas. These people were told that Republicans cared about the people - compassionate conservatives. These people were told that Democrats were corrupt. These people were told that Republicans care about values. So, people in Tom DeLay’s district chose Tom DeLay because he represented these ideas and values. Now, Mr. DeLay went to Washington where he began to learn the system. He found that people would give him money to do favors for them. He organized the K street project that collected lobbyists together that favored corporate interests that wealthy Republicans who owned large portions of American corporations favored. These deep pocket Republicans favored doing away with protections of the American environment, and food supply. These deep pocket Republicans favored doing away with protections of the American workers, and water supply. These deep pocket Republicans favored doing away with protections of the American wildlife, and air supply. After all, those things are too expensive. Tom DeLay found ways to manipulate the laws and break them from time to time in order to get his agenda for these corporations through congress. And in return he got money to make the Republican Party grow. This looks a lot like corruption for the special interests to me, and it is exactly what Tom DeLay’s constituents had voted against years ago.

Well, of course Tom Delay isn’t the only story that illustrates the disconnection of the voters from reality. The idea that Jack Abromoff was able to pander his corruption to all levels of the Republican Party and the Republicans have only responded to say that there was some evidence that Democrats were taking money as well sounds like an excuse to me. Looking at the number of Democrats and Republicans already caught in this web already shows a disproportionate number of Republicans taking this money. Looking at the size of the bribes also suggests that the Republicans are certainly far more involved in this scandal than Democrats. Of course this would be the case, the Republicans control congress! But the Republicans control congress because they argued that they would correct the corruption problems that they exposed when the Democrats were in control. I would like to point out that this certainly has not happened. In fact, the level of corruption seems to have grown substantially over the reign of the Republicans.

Now, corruption may be a major reason that the new Republicans switched parties. But, another major reason was the size of government. The Republicans spread the propaganda that if they got into power they would cut the size of government. They promised to give tax cuts to everyone as a benefit of the smaller size of government. And, once again the Republicans that now control every branch of government have not made the size of government smaller. They have no excuse, because they have complete control, but government has actually grown over the last five years at a greater rate than under Bill Clinton. Of course everyone got their tax cuts in the mail when the Republicans bought their political capital. However, every American should know that the Republicans borrowed money to make up for those checks. In fact, they have borrowed thousands of dollars per person on your behalf to pay corporations and the wealthy for tax cuts. It will take years to pay off these debts and at some point we won’t be able to borrow any more money.

If you add all of this hypocrisy to the incompetence of the Republicans in the White House every American should question the direction of our country and consider the proper solution to this problem.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Thursday, March 09, 2006


When I run or swim I find that I must focus on the activity if I am pushing myself to my limits. When I run on the treadmill at the club, there is a TV dead ahead of me. I can watch the TV and read the subtitles, or I can listen to a radio tuned to the TV for the audio. But, when I push myself I find that I can’t really listen to the TV or read the subtitles any more. This is because it takes focus to keep going.

The Republican Party had this focus back in 1994 when they had the objective to take over the House of Representatives. They created their contract on America and they used that message Universally across the country. The radio talk show hosts used the contract to stay on message. And, by staying on message they made it nearly impossible for the Democrats to make any point at all. Democrats had multiple reasons for why the contract on America was bad for America, but your average voter couldn’t remember them, because they had never latched onto any particular message.

The Republican Party learned from their success and they resolved to stay on message to continue their success. As a result, the Republicans have followed the lead of the leaders of their Party no matter what their personal feelings about these ideas were. The members of congress would take their direction from the leaders of the Republican Party. A sign of this cohesion is the fact that President Bush has never vetoed a bill in his entire 5 years in office. In a truly representative democracy some members within a political party are bound to disagree on one issue or another because Republicans from different areas of the country are bound to disagree with Republicans from other areas of the country. However, by keeping focus on the power of the Republican Party and not the needs of the American people Republicans have been able to maintain control of the US government.

But, like my experience at the club I could place my focus on my running, or I could place my focus on the TV. For the good of my body I choose to focus on my running. Since the objective of running the government is to lead the American people in a way that benefits the American people the government should focus on the American people. When a political party takes control of government and focuses on the needs of the political party at the expense of the whole country the country suffers. This would be like concentrating on my needs for entertainment and not working out to the best of my ability. Sure, I would get some benefits, but I would not be doing my best. Similarly, when the Republicans act in congress with the needs of the Republican Party in mind they might get some positive results for some of the American people. They might cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and those Americans benefit. But, doing this we neglect the needs of the least of our brothers and sisters.

Focus is obviously the key. If government is ever going to work for the people, then we need to focus on the needs of all Americans. Americans need to realize that America works best when Americans work together.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Heroes and Demons

Yesterday whenever I turned on the radio I heard about a new book that details the use of steroids by Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds. The book is called "Game of Shadows," written by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams and will be published March 27.

My first thought was “How is this news?” If you look at photos of Barry Bonds through the 1990s it is quite obvious that he was bulking up quite a bit. Since that would typically mean that the man was in the gym non-stop without time for games or anything else, it couldn’t have been done by any normal human. The only obvious conclusion was that Barry Bonds was doing something outside the realm of reality or he was taking steroids.

But, from experience I know that people want to pin their star on a hero. Maybe they can’t be a superman or a superstar, but they can root for one anyway. For example, O.J. Simpson got away with murder, literally, because of his hero status among the jury selected for his trial. There is no other rational explanation. Once someone becomes a hero there are two things that can happen. The hero acquires a mythology or the hero is brought back down to earth by scandal. As the mythology grows around the hero it becomes more and more difficult for scandal to bring him back down to earth.

Why this happens is based on the human need for a hero. In real life we each face difficulties in everything from raising children, getting a good job and networking with the right people. Sometimes having a story about a hero that overcame even worse circumstances to rise even higher gives us the motivation to keep going. We have hero stories that go back to times before writing was invented. People sat around fires and told these stories and passed them down to their children and their children’s children. Heroes come in all varieties, from real people who won the lottery to superheroes of comic book lore. People have a special place in their psyche for heroes. And when a hero faces the worst the fans of this hero find it within themselves to root even harder for that hero to succeed.

This is why there are still so many people who support Barry Bonds, even after it is clear that he cheated to acquire his Home Run record. Some people have faith in their heart that he didn’t cheat. Some people believe he was bitten by a radioactive spider and acquired superhuman powers. But, anyone who has thought about this for a few minutes knows that Barry Bonds cheated. Does it really matter?

I listened to Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco, being interviewed this morning. Among other things he was asked about Barry Bonds’ steroid use. The Mayor pointed out what I said, “where’s the news here?” But, after the interview, the reporter pointed out that every child in San Francisco looks up to Barry Bonds. The point being that we can not allow Barry Bonds to stand as a hero to the future generations of San Franciscans. Gavin Newsom doesn’t understand the hero mythology. When someone cheats they should not be entitled to hero status or people will believe that the cheating was an honorable part of the story. Hero stories tell us how we should aspire to our goals.

This actually makes a lot of sense. And, it should be applied to other areas of our life as well. For example, our president George W Bush is considered a hero in many respects. Many people look at the presidency as something that we should aspire to. If the office of the president is considered an aspiration, then it will attract the best and the brightest. We need to best and the brightest to lead our country, especially in difficult times when leadership is difficult to find.

I was listening to another radio program yesterday where a reporter interviewed some of the remaining George W Bush supporters. Even though these people are difficult to find they still exist. This particular group was found in a women’s church group. The entire group had universal support for the president. These women were asked the pointed questions about George W Bush’s failures with Katrina, the War in Iraq, and general direction of our country. And, the universal response was that George W Bush was a man of God, he had Jesus in his heart, so he could not do wrong. In other words, these women had ascribed George W Bush hero status. They had hitched their wagon to his star, and there was nothing that he could do that would change their minds. (Except, perhaps he could invoke the Devil in a public speech on TV with the cameras rolling. But even if he did this, a large number would still claim that there was some explanation for his action.)

So, for 34% of Americans George W Bush has attained hero status that can either grow mythologically, or be torn down with a scandal. For those who see him as a hero, they are rooting for him to overcome his setbacks, because he is their hero and for no other reason. For the rest of us, he is our demon that must be torn down. He is our Barry Bonds who cheated to acquire his hero status. He cheated by lying to us about a war that didn’t need to be fought. He cheated by raising the fear of terrorism to get reelected. He cheated by his lack of honesty in the way he presented himself after Hurricane Katrina. He cheated by using the corrupt political machine of the Republican Party to launder money had hide illegal contributions. But all that cheating doesn’t matter to those who still hold him in hero status; like the people who still hold OJ Simpson as a football hero even after he killed his wife; like the people who still hold Barry Bonds as a Homerun King even after most of us know that he used steroids to build those muscles.

What can we do if we are chasing demons that some people see as heroes? Of course this is the age old question that sticks it head up again and again. Who are the demons and who are the heroes? Some people see Osma bin Laden as a hero and some people see George W Bush as a hero. I see them both as demons, just opposite sides of the same coin. Both cheat, in ways a true hero wouldn’t. True heroes are harder to find in the real world. True heroes fight for truth and justice without cheating.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

One vivid memory of our family’s travels through Europe was our visit to Rome. We arrived in the train station pushing my eight-month-old son in a German Baby Buggy and my two-year-old daughter in a rickety stroller. As first time visitors we had no idea what we should expect to see, but we were young and adventurous and we had already been through quite a bit of Europe already.

When we got off the train our first objective was to find a hotel. We weren’t wealthy and we didn’t need much, just a place to put our stuff while we toured the town and sleep when we got back from the touring. These places are certainly easy to find. We still remembered one man at the information desk in the train station in Venice tell us how to find a hotel. He said, “You go outside and you look up. You see the signs that say hotel, and you go there.” He was right, there were plenty of places, but it also feels nice to have someone recommend a place, even though I’m sure that that doesn’t really make a difference either.

Like airports, train stations have little shops where you can buy snacks and souvenirs. And, just at the exit of the train station was a little shop, similar to a Mrs. Fields cookie shop selling biscotti. A couple of the people working there were talking to a couple of people on the other side of the counter when I heard one say something in Italian mixed with the word “Americano.” I knew that they were directing their comment toward us, and suddenly a ball of biscotti dough came flying through the air and hit one of our suitcases that I was dragging behind me. I looked back, and they all feigned innocence. Of course, I questioned whether this visit was going to turn out well after that incident, but we soldiered on.

We had been warned by other Americans who had visited Italy that there was more crime the further south that you went in the country. Based on this information we opted not to visit Pompeii during our first trip to this country. Maybe with more experience we would feel more emboldened, but with two young children in strollers we could be viewed as easy marks.

We found a very nice room in an old building relatively near the train station. It was a good price for a large room high enough that we had a nice view of the city. We could also look out the window and watch the activity in the street below. While we watched out the window we noticed that the owner of the hotel and the owner of the restaurant across the street were buddies. We began to make up stories about these two men and there connection with the Mafia. It was fun to pretend, and as we watched their interactions with the other people in the street our story grew. But, after we had rested and planned our first walk around Rome we left the building and visited some of the famous Tourist attractions.

When we returned, it was dark and we were tired and hungry. We decided that we would eat at the “Mafia Restaurant” across from our hotel. The owner went out of his way to move tables and make room for our baby buggy and stroller. He paid attention to both our children and offered suggestions for the children that weren’t on the menu. In fact, we could certainly see a general trend that the further south we went in Europe the friendlier the restaurant waiters became toward our children. Perhaps if we had gone to Pompeii someone would have decided to take them off our hands.

We spent 4 days in Rome casually walking to churches, museums, the Forum, and the Vatican. We stopped and ate randomly around the city and we made no effort to rush from place to place. After all, with two young kids rushing them around will certainly result in no one having a good time.

On one of our little walks we were on a little elevated area across the street from the Coliseum and the Forum. We were looking at all the cats that called this place home. My son was asleep in his buggy and my wife was pointing to a cat for my daughter to admire. I began to look at a map to see where we should go next when my wife started yelling at me. I looked at her trying to understand what she was saying as she grew more hysterical. And I looked down the hill where I saw the baby buggy rolling ahead of me toward the busy street at the bottom of the hill. I ran as fast as I could and I caught that buggy a good ten feet before the street and saved my son from being on the front page of the paper. The headlines would surely have read, “Stupid Americans Kill Their Kid,” or whatever that translates into Italian.

But maybe it wouldn’t have ended that way. One thing about Italian drivers is that they drive fast and they stop on a dime when you use a pedestrian crosswalk. In fact, at one of the busiest streets we wanted to use a crosswalk, but we worried that the drivers wouldn’t stop for us. The crosswalk didn’t have a light associated with it, so we stood on the curb looking at the drivers as they sped by. I thought to myself that I should step into the street and that would make the driver stop, but would he? Well, I could push the buggy out first, nah. Since it didn’t look like anyone was going to voluntarily stop we decided to just go for it, and to our amazement all four lanes of traffic stopped as we made our way across the street.

On our final day in Rome we decided to do make one last adventure. We were beginning to feel like we were old hands at Rome. Maybe we let our guard down slightly, or maybe we were just too excited about all the wonderful things we were seeing but when I felt a newspaper touch my arm I reacted just a bit too slow. I reached down and grabbed for whatever I could find and to my surprise and my wife’s as well I found myself holding two teenage girls by the front of their shirts. I was yelling at them in English and my wife was yelling at me to let them go.

What had happened in the flash of an instant was these two girls had picked my pocket. My wallet was in my front trouser pocket in an effort to avoid this problem, but these two girls had managed to get my wallet and I wanted it back. Well, as I became aware of the what had happened I was yelling at these girls to return my wallet and their mother was standing at the side of the way holding a little baby wrapped in a blanket. The girls tried to make me let go by lifting up their shirts saying “you want to see?” But, that didn’t work, I just kept saying that I wanted my wallet back. A crowd gathered around, and some of the people in the crowd began to ask the mother to give the wallet back. One member of the Italian Navy was able to persuade the mother who somehow tossed the wallet on to the street and pointed. She said that she didn’t have the wallet, she pointed to it saying, “it’s over there.” I let the girls go, and I picked up the wallet. After being through this ordeal I wasn’t thinking straight and I thought it was over, but my wife wisely said that I should check the contents. The credit cards were there, but the cash was missing. Since it was the last day we had checked our luggage at the train station and the claim check was also missing. The crowd hadn’t moved very far, so I started yelling at the mother again, saying that I wanted my money back. The crowd that had begun walking off turned around and the naval officer said something to the woman. Suddenly a wad of money appeared in the same location that the wallet had appeared. The crowd turned again and I counted the money and saw the claim check. About ten US dollars worth of money was missing, but that was OK with me. It wasn’t worth fighting for those last ten bucks. I was happy, because this could have been much worse.

As the people walked off they told us that we should be more careful of the gypsies. One woman undid her shirt to show us the secret place in her bra where she kept her money. The naval officer told us to be more careful as well. They seemed to think that it was our fault that we let the Gypsies steal our money. We finished our last tour, and got back to the train station with my wallet stuffed at the bottom of my son’s baby buggy, because my wife didn’t have a bra with a secret compartment.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Thursday, March 02, 2006


The problem with a one party system is that there is no accountability. During the Cold War the argument about the evils of Socialism or Communism were always tied to the fact that they only allowed one political party. The problem with a one party system was that there was a litmus test that one needed to pass in order to become a member of the party. However, members of the party could vote in Democratic elections for candidates that were all members of that party.

Well, America’s great experiment with one party politics is underway. The same people that fought tooth and nail against Communism because of “the lack of Democracy” are in power in essentially a one party system. And, thanks to Tom Delay and other Republican operatives they are using their power to make their stronghold on power stronger. When Tom Delay drew up his redistricting plans in Texas his objective was to create six new Republican seats in congress. This is obviously a blatant power grab. But not all these political actions are as obvious.

It should be recognized that the objective of any political party is to obtain and retain political power. The more political power the better off the party is from the perspective of the political party. But, this is certainly not the case from the perspective of the American citizen. When two groups have different perspectives but near equal power in the process the average American will benefit from the clash of ideas. And, the best ideas win out as each side is accountable to the other. But as the Cold Warriors told us repeatedly, “There is no accountability in a one party system.” Why would America be any different?

Republicans are currently in control of Congress, the Executive Branch and the Supreme Court. They certainly have their chance to demonstrate what a Republican one-party system is like. They can create laws that won’t be struck down or vetoed. And, over the last few months they have shown us what this dream world of Republican idealism is like.

The first thing that they did was to create a wall of secrecy. This is important, because if the people find out what the Republicans are really up to they could loose the one-party rule that they have worked so hard to gain. From behind this wall the real strategy is planned, and the sound bites for general consumption are created. It is interesting that the Soviet Union did the same thing, because even with total control the Soviet Union feared that if the truth got out the people would revolt. By hiding the truth behind this wall accountability is denied to the American people, just like the Republicans like it.

But, there have been laws that were passed under previous congresses that were modified by the two-party system that we once had. One of these laws is the “Freedom of Information Act.” (FOIA) This law allows people to discover what their government is doing. But, it isn’t that easy, because you need to know what information you are seeking in order to ask for it. If the wall of secrecy is tight enough people won’t even know what to ask for. And, if the government can argue that the information would effect national security the request will not be granted. So, even with the FOIA the government can still hide things, like the planning of a war, or negotiations with a foreign power.

Since the major objections to the Bush administration before Katrina had to do with foreign policy and wars there wasn’t much that could be found out about the way the Bush administration operates and the wall of secrecy stayed in place. But, Katrina is a window into the administration. The Associated Press was able to find out about the planning for Katrina, because there wasn’t a national security issue involved. Katrina happened here in America. But, what the Associated Press found was not a pretty picture. They found a president who sat there and was told about the dangers of the coming hurricane. Whether he actually listened or not - we may never know, because he didn’t ask questions. So, perhaps he has plausible deniability when we told us that no one could have known that the levees could break. If he wasn’t engaged maybe he just didn’t remember that he was told about this. But, if this is the case, do we really want this guy running our country? Well, we can't do anything about that now, we are stuck with this guy.

But, there is one thing that Americans can do. We can vote to change the party in control of congress in November. If the Democrats can win one house of congress they will be able to force the one-party Republican controlled government to answer questions. This is called accountability, and this was a major reason we fought the Cold War. When we heard that we were fighting for Democracy we were fighting for different voices to ask the hard questions in government. We were fighting for government to be accountable to the people. After all, isn’t that what America is all about?

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bush Caught in Another Lie

We now know that Bush told one whopper of a lie, when he said four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"

The Associated Press obtained video footage and seven days of transcripts detailing the lack of response of George W Bush. At least with the Katrina disaster Bush can’t claim National Security to cover up his ineptitude. But, it is likely that this is pair for the course in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Bush budget cuts to the National Guard were the subject of the 50 state governors over the weekend.

How many more of these things will it take before the remaining 34% of the Bush supporters will realize what an idiot he is?

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

What Should We Call It?

Does it really matter what we call the violence in Iraq? Is it a civil war? Is it sectarian violence? Is it fundamentalist jihadism?

In a Black and White world definitions tell us how we react to a situation. "Freedom Fighters" or "Insurgents" tell us which side we should be rooting for. "Civil War" or "Sectarian Violence" tells us if we have the situation under control.

In the gray world of reality the definitions are less important than the complicated interactions of everyone involved. The people want security and they see their security eroding. The US has taken responsibility, and the erosion of security is the fault of the US, at least in the eyes of the average Iraqi. As the security erodes the people will begin to take up arms to protect themselves. What 2nd amendment conservative can fault the Iraqi people for doing this?

So, we have armed Iraqis that see the Americans as being responsible for their insecurity. Can anyone guess what is going to happen?

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Relay for Life

Coming from a competitive sports background I have to admit that the concept of Relay for Life is a bit odd. “Let me get this straight. You get a bunch of people together and you spend 24 four hours taking turns walking around a track? What’s the point?” I asked my wife when she suggested that we walk in the Relay for Life a couple of years ago. “Does any one win? Do you keep track of the number of laps walked?” I pushed a bit harder.

“No, you walk around the track, and sponsors give you stuff,” she told me. “The relay tries to raise money for cancer research,” she also told me. I had to agree with her that raising money was certainly a good objective.

So, my wife, my kids and several groups that we belong to all showed up bright and early one Saturday morning and began to walk around the track. But, it was more than just the walking. There were speeches from people who survived cancer. There was an emotionally heart wrenching candle light hour just after sunset. Each candle represented a friend or family member of a person participating who had fought cancer. There were games during the day for the kids while they waited for their turn to walk around the track. There were times when almost everyone was walking. There were times when very few people were walking. The struggle to keep the relay going at 3:00 AM seemed to represent the struggle to keep the research going even when cancer is no longer on the front pages with new treatments.

The experience was terrific, and I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you have a friend or family member who is fighting cancer or you have lost a friend or family member to this disease. But, since the main point of the relay is to raise money, donating to the effort is an even better way to support the Relay for Life. Mulligan, a member of the Bring It On blog is participating in this event the weekend of March 25th. So, please check out her blog and contribute what you can.

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit