Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday Morning Sermon

I have oldwhitelady at It's Morning Somewhere to thank for this deliciously inpirational link. Head on over to Landover Baptist Church, "Where the Worthwhile Worship", to get your pray on, and don't miss getting acquainted with Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian™. I feel more holier-than-thou already, praise God!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Nyah-Nyah-Nyah...You Can't Stop Me

Geez. Why does everybody try and thwart me all the time? I'll show them. I'm gonna appoint my good buddy John Bolton to the U.N. anyhow. He's my kinda guy. And I shoould get what I want - I'm the President, ain't I, for cryin' out loud? What good is it to be President if you don't get your way? Makes me just mad as a hornet. And John's my real good friend - one of my bestest friends ever, next to Karl. He helped me so much in 2000.

And he's a tough guy. That's what the U.N. needs - a tough guy to kick a little foreign ass. He's tough all right. I sure wouldn't like to have him get mad at me. Did ya ever see him when he gets mad? Man, the veins pop out on his forehead, and he gets all red and starts shouting and throwing things...nossir, I sure don't want him mad at me. No telling what might happen.

All these wussies keep telling me not to appoint him, but, by God, nobody tells ME what to do. Except Karl. And Dick. Oh yeah, and Rummy. And Mom. But nobody else, unnerstand? And Karl said I can do what I want to. And no little piss-ant Congress is gonna tell Mr. George Bush President what to do, or my name's not - uh, my name...uh, well, my...gee, I'm tired. Sure am glad it's vacation time!

The Meaning of CAFTA

Friday, July 29, 2005

Giant Sucking Sound

Incredible. Just incredible.

Let me see if I have this straight.

Under CAFTA, following on the heels of that stunning success NAFTA, US corporations get to go to Central America, taking those jobs out of the United States, set up shop in Central America and pay sweatshop wages to the workers there. Then they put all of the local businesses out of business and destroy the economy there.

After they've destroyed the economy, then they can proceed to destroy the ecology and pollute to their black, shriveled hearts' content, with no pesky regulations to get in the way of profits. Then, if their adopted land dares to question their right to pillage, they can sue their new home for 'potential loss of profit'. And don't even think about getting medicine they can afford with the pittance they're paid; the 'intellectual property rights' of the pharmaceutical companies will prevent the locals from making generics that are affordable.

What happens next? Why, the Central Americans, with their countries taken hostage, will come to the U.S. legally or illegally, in search of work.

Let's review, shall we?

United States: big job loss

Central America: destroyed economy and ecology

U.S. corporations: unlimited profit

Sounds like Bush Heaven to me.

And do you think for a minute that they'll pass any of these incredible savings on labor and regulations on to their customers in the form of lower prices?


And I'm Ann Coulter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New! Cartoons for the Unpaid Punditry Corps!

I have been invited by the Unpaid Punditry Corps, a very fine blog-a-zine, to be one of their political cartoonists! The UPC, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is a collective of writers with viewpoints all over the political spectrum, who come togther to have, not an 'echo chamber', but serious debate between right and left, without namecalling, ad hominem attacks or circular rhetoric - what a concept. They all 'agree to disagree', and disagree they most certainly do, but in an intelligent and reasonably respectful way.

Now I'll be the first to admit that Hooterville is definitely one-sided; I started it to find a way to express the frustration I've felt ever since 2000, although the 2004 'selection' was the impetus. But I also feel that the only way we can all win is to have honest, respectful dialogue between both sides - what's the point of our side prevailing if we neutralize the other half of the country like we've been neutralized? We're all Americans and we have to find a way to do this together, and I believe the UPC has a great approach to this.

The managing editor of the UPC is Mr. M, whose own blog Left of Center inspired me to start a political blog, so I am very honored to be asked to contribute. I hope you all will check out the UPC - if it's not the future of our discourse, it should be!

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Report of Child Torture in Iraq

I can't even talk about it.

Please read this and this for yourself. Then redouble your efforts to get these monsters out of here.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Wanda Asks, Alicia Answers

(a cheap way to get another post up, but since it ties in with the theme, I thought I'd repost Wanda's comment and my answer, with a sentence or two added...)

One thing I wonder about is why if conservatives strongly believe what they proclaim to, then why are they not more upset with BushCo's clear intent to involve the government in the most private aspects of our lives. If they really are people with strong morals and ethics why are they not more upset about the behavior of those in the White House?
The only conclusion I can come up with is either they aren't paying attention,or else they really don't have such high values after all.

You know, Wanda, the only reason I can come up with is in the post between these two - that finding out that what you put all your faith and trust in is completely wrong is too much for a lot of people to handle, especially those of the farmer mindset whose wiring tells them not to change; to stick with what they are doing, as would be necessary to ensure that their crops continue to grow. Because if you challenge that, everything that you believed about yourself and the world comes into question. The question is, "If I was wrong about this, what else am I wrong about? Am I right about anything?" It is a shattering of self, and most people are not prepared to go there. It's the only rationale I can think of for the curious pride that conservatives take in not seeing the other guy's point of view, and hold intolerance to be a virtue and tolerance to be a moral failing, unlike liberals, who often do try to see things from both sides.

The more I think about this, the more I see that it was a stroke of genius on Rove's - I mean, Bush's part to feed into the farmer mindset by emphasizing that he never changes - that no matter what, he 'stays the course' and all the rest of that rot. I can see now the subliminal brilliance of that message - all the crap about being a 'strong leader' and positioning himself as someone who never backs down, etc., etc.

There are some people able to make a 180 and change their complete worldview based upon the evidence in front of them. The ones that do, like Robert and Marie, impress me very much. I remember when Arianna Huffington was a conservative and starting to write columns, and I remember thinking, "God, you're so smart and thoughtful - can't you see that this is a load of crap?" And the next thing I knew, she was a liberal! Now, I don't always agree with her about everything, but I will never fail to be impressed with how she took an analytical look at the facts and changed her position accordingly. That takes cojones.

The people who are hanging on to this contradictory and illogical view of Bush and Co are like people after a shipwreck clinging to a shard of wood, trying to stay afloat. What they are trying to do is to avoid drowning their concept of themselves.

I think the only way people like that will turn around is for enough conservative leaders to condemn the actions of the White House so they will feel like they have permission. Once it is the 'official' position of enough high-profile conservatives, I believe they will jump on board, but that's what it's going to take.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Rove Rage

...I would have done this in Photoshop but I couldn't find the right photos.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Liberal or Conservative, Part 2 - The Nature of Authority, or Nature as Authority

To carry this analogy a little further, there is the question of where religion fits into the paradigm. The authority of Nature for a farmer is absolute, with specific rules that do not change, and must be scrupulously observed by the farmer for his survival. To question or attempt to circumvent these rules may mean the loss of his crop, and subsequent starvation. Therefore the trait that enables a farmer to prosper is unquestioning obedience to a higher authority, in this case Nature. Doing the same thing in the same order every year ensures his continued survival. So it might follow that a person who leans to the farmer side of the spectrum is more comfortable with an organized religion, with a specific doctrine and rules, and a leadership hierarchy.

The authority of Nature for a hunter is a little different. Hunters cannot take the same action over and over again, or they will starve. A hunter has broad guidelines to follow for catching his food, but he is mostly left to his own devices. He can say that usually the caribou are around here at this time of year, but he can't stand in this certain place and know that the caribou will show up. And he may have to fight someone else for that caribou. So he may have quite a different conception of authority than a farmer. He can't say, "If I follow the rules, I will be fed." He has to be ready to change course at any time, and he may not see accepting authority as the key to survival.

This may account in part for the differences in a liberal and conservative approach to faith.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Never Can Say 'Goodbye'

As the situation just gets worse and worse for our country and the world, it seems odd that so many people are putting their hands over their eyes and ears and are continuing to support George Bush despite the sinkhole we are falling into.

Something for all of us to think about:

Imagine how it must feel to have supported a person or a party who you truly believed to embody your most deeply-held beliefs and ideals, only to find that it was not true? To be betrayed by someone you put your full trust in is a harsh cut. But what makes it difficult to change your belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence is this:

"If I believed in this guy and I was mistaken, what does that mean about me? My judgment? Can I trust myself to know who is good or bad?"

This is a very fundamental (pardon the word) threat to the core of who you are, your ability to survive in the world. I can see that changing your mind is more than a matter of unwillingness to admit you were wrong. It is the crumbling of your worldview, the structure which supports your selfhood.

Liberal or Conservative? My Theory (so far)

I am really, really trying to figure out why people divide along right/left lines. What follows is an idea of mine (still taking shape)...

I think it may be linked, in a way, to ADD. There is a theory of Thom Hartmann's (which makes sense to me, having been diagnosed with ADD at 40) that people with so-called ADD are hard-wired with 'hunter' characteristics, meaning they are flexible and easily distracted, so that if an animal comes by, they can drop everything and chase it. They constantly scan their environment and are always active, alert and ready with a pump of adrenaline so that they can go after their prey (read:hyperactive). They have to be risk-takers to catch animals. They are loners, adventurous and easily bored. The other, non-ADD types are hardwired with 'farmer' characteristics, which requires a completely different type of mentality. A farmer has to be always conscious of time, schedule and routine; if they are not aware of the proper times for planting, for instance, their crops will not grow and therefore they will not survive. Steadiness, patience and concentration are key for farmers. But if they had to live in a hunter's world, the characteristics that help them survive as farmers would doom them in the hunter's world. Their animal does not come at a specific time.

The theory is that Americans are more ADD than Europe because the kind of people who would leave the only world they knew to go someplace completely unknown for a chance of something better would be the ADD or 'hunter' types; therefore we as a nation have a larger percentage of people who exhibit those traits which are labeled ADD. However, our society is structured for 'farmers'. So you have the right-wing, or conservatives (this is a very broad generalization, with plenty of gradations) who are 'farmers'; they value teamwork, organization, conservation, hierarchy, authority, dependability and structure - all necessary traits for farmer survival. Then you have the left-wing, or liberals, who often fall into the 'hunter' category; they value independence, autonomy, individualism, exploration, innovation, creativity, alternate solutions instead of the 'status quo', hyperactivity and hyper-focus when locked in on something. These are necessary traits for hunter survival.

Now, obviously very few people are completely one way or the other; most people are a mixture of the two, but people do tend to preponderate towards one or the other. That's why really ADD people have a hard time functioning in this farmer society, starting with school and going on from there.

But I think that this is one of the roots of prejudice, and the reason we tend to divide up among party lines. For instance, I was talking to a conservative friend, a very intelligent guy, the other day, hoping to get some insight into his mental processes - why he and I, who have the same access to the same basic set of facts, see things so differently. We're both in agreement about basic values - personal responsibility, family, honesty and so forth. But what was interesting was when we began to dance around the subject of welfare. I mentioned that a friend of my husband's was disabled and on Social Security. He was immediately disparaging about her being 'on the dole'. Now, we both have valid points on this issue. There are people who take advantage of welfare. There are also people for whom there is no other option. Somewhere in between is the truth, but I go to the place of the people who are needy and deserving of help, and he goes to the place of the lazy free-loader. Both are true. But statistics (or as Mark Twain put it, 'lies, damned lies, and statistics') can be so easily manipulated that finding the real ratio of free-loaders to needy recipients is next to impossible.

I think we make these judgments based on our hard-wiring, and assemble the available data to fit our worldview. The right values financial and business freedom and sees it as paramount to society, as a farmer would need to in order to survive. And the left values individual and personal freedom and does not care for authority - these are traits a hunter needs in order to survive in his environment.

When it really comes down to it, it's all a 'belief system'. Every bit of 'news' and 'information' we get is something we have to take on faith, unless we can be everywhere at once, see everything first-hand, and correlate it all. So we have to make decisions about whose pronouncements we have faith in. It's not about believing in God at all, but believing what people say, and which people are saying it, and why they are saying it. And there is such a barrage of 'information' out there that one can take one's pick of anything that suits one's own particular mindset. Even science is taken on faith; that the work of the scientists that precede us is accurate. There is simply too much information floating around for an individual to process it all.

Now, I'm not saying that all liberals have ADD, or that all conservatives are plodding farmers. But I am positing that how we interpret the world may depend on the set of filters and wiring that are a part of our innate personality types. Liberals will say that Bill Clinton was responsible for the relative peace and prosperity of his presidency. A conservative will say that it was because of the Republican Congress in place at the time. It might be neither, or both, or have nothing to do with anything political at all. But our individual filters will skew it one way or the other.

So I think prejudice itself stems from our reactions one way or the other based upon whether we are comfortable with hierarchy and structure, or find it oppressive and confining, and that just may be a result of two very different evolutionary survival mechanisms.

Of course, that's just my opinion.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weekend Cat Blogging

Venus and Mercury clean up in preparation for the Weekend Cat Blog.
They cordially invite you to visit.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Black Bush - from Karena

I am the hugest fan of Dave Chappelle, but I haven't seen this video clip until Karena, the Queen of All Hilarity, posted this:

Thanks, Karena!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Smoke 'Em Out

The Karl Rove situation seems to be catching the attention of the hitherto-comatose press corps, but is it really all over for Rover? This ol' dog may have a few tricks left. He didn't get to where he is by being 'Mr. Nice Guy' or even 'Mr. Halfways-Decent Human Being'...

He's a wily, oily, slippery cuss; a master at operating in the shadows and behind the scenes, where, like a snake or a cockroach, he is the most comfortable. He may not be so easy to pin down as some might think.

If we are to get to the bottom of this once and for all, we need an investigator equal to the task. One with a relentless thirst for truth. One who will go to the ends of the earth to see that justice is done. An impartial, non-partisan sleuth, whose only goal is the triumph of the law, and who will not balk at spending millions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of his prey. A dogged detective who fears no man, not even the highest power in the land.

We need...

Ken Starr!

Monday, July 11, 2005

I Hate Our Freedom

That's right - I said it. I hate our freedom.

Every time I hear that word 'freedom', it is sure to be followed by something reprehensible. Just like the word 'free', which, whenever you hear it or see it on an advertisement, definitely means 'you're going to pay too much for something'. In Hooter-speak, it takes on a meaning completely opposite from what it used to be. Double-plus ungood. I've been trying to think of what 'freedoms' we have these days, and this is what I've come up with:

Freedom to agree with a pre-emptive, unnecessary war, killing not only our 'enemies' (innocent Iraqis who did not and could not threaten us) but almost 2000 of our own sons and daughters.

Freedom to accept whatever pack of lies this disgusting Administration feels like dishing out - how they must be laughing at us!

Freedom to live by a double standard so egregious that the mind boggles - no matter how damning the evidence against those in power, it simply slides off, while made-up allegations against those they wish to dispose of (Bill Clinton, Iraq, John Kerry, Max Cleland) hit home like a falling safe.

Freedom to sit on our hands while the corporatocracy robs us blind, poisons our planet, and rapes and pillages the people and resources of third-world nations with impunity.

Oh, I know we have many more fine 'freedoms', but, you know something? I'm sick and tired of 'freedom'.

In fact, I hate 'freedom' almost as much as I hate 'God'.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day!

This year, Independence Day has a new meaning and importance for me. Over the course of the last eight months of this blog's existence, I have thought about my country, my government, and my society in a way that I never had before, at least to this degree. Being able to put into words what I feel and think clarifies them for me. As I've mentioned before, I didn't go to college, and therefore did not spend the requisite hours in writing that most people do. Although I'm a voracious reader and an autodidact, I didn't realize how powerful it was to write.

As much as I enjoy writing on this blog, the best part of it for me has been the people that I have come in contact with through blogging. I have learned so much from what you all have to say, and new ways of looking at things, and support when I get discouraged. A lot of laughter, a lot of insight, and a lot of inspiration.

So I would like to dedicate my Independence Day post to my friends who come here, and who I visit regularly, and who share their wisdom and information and humor and strength and common sense and hope with me.

Happy Independence Day -

Mr M. at Left of Center and UPC
Wanda at Words On a Page
OldWhiteLady at It's Morning Somewhere
Crabletta at The Curmudgeonly Crab
Helen Wheels at Just Ain't Right
Robert at A Little Left of Centrist
Cookie Christine at It's Recess-Time Somewhere
Marie at The Right Left Story
Karena at Karena's Blog
Mud at MudHoler
kissfan at TrueSpeak
Lab Kat at Lab Kat
ae at arse poetica
Catherine at Povertybarn
Karlo at Swerve Left
G at Library Bitch
Every Seven at Every Seven

...and also to all the bloggers who are keeping the "Spirit of '76" alive and well in spite of the dearth of independent journalism we are faced with...thank you!

God Bless America!