Dec 31, 2004

Happy New Year! Who Cares?

It's been a few days since the disaster in Asia occurred. As I write this, close to 150,000 human beings have perished with more at risk from disease as a result of the incredible devastation. You may think this is an occasion where politics shouldn't play a role, yet they do; it's our elected president and his self-appointed moralist allies that are part of the problem, and definitely not part of the solution.
Bush sat in that school class, reading "My Pet Goat" for 7 minutes after being told that "America is under attack". It took him three days to come out of his ranch and pledge a pittance of $35 million to help the stricken people! We're spending some $5 billion every week in Iraq. This was an opportunity for the US to prove to the Muslim world that we care. Some wars are won without bullets or military muscle, but this ignoramus of a president doesn't grasp it. If the $200 billion spent in Iraq already were invested in the Third World, I can guarantee you that America would be a lot safer! That's moral leadership of which Bush is so fond talking about!
Some may say that not all human lives are equal. Besides, not all of them are Christians and/or vote in Florida. Thus, Bush spent $13 billion there last summer after the hurricane disaster. OK, you can't help all people, and perhaps you can start by helping those closest to you. But, can you be indifferent to the rest of human suffering? Should there be a scale of response according to the degree of the suffering?
How about "his base" of the ultra-moralists and religious conservatives? You know, the ones that gave him "a mandate"! Thank you for asking! Well, guess who's doing most of the caring, the fundraising, the contributing? It's the humanists (including the religious ones) all over the world, the secular governments of Europe and Canada, and private business. The well-funded and organized U.S. Christian fundamentalists seem to have a compassion deficit!
Omigod, you're going to have sex, or an abortion? No way! They (American Family Association, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries) are quick to organize and fight against same-sex unions. What's a couple hundred thousand dead Asians? These same organizations are not soliciting aid for the victims of the tsunami. As a matter of fact, there is no mention of this catastrophe on their web sites!
I was not fooled by the slogan "compassionate conservatism" because I knew most of the people using it (along with others who wear their religion on their sleeves) are just looking for a moral excuse not to care and not to act! Pick and choose in the convenience store of religious fundamentalism. Happy New Year!
[I'm not against happiness. On the contrary. I am going to celebrate the symbolic arrival of the new year, because I do have many reasons to be happy and I look forward to better things ahead. Yet, how can I not pause and take stock of this "xmas present"--this horrible natural disaster? I do get mad because of the inaptitude, the callousness, the short-sightness of my elected officials! Many people hate politics, but politics is what we do collectively. It does make a huge difference. Those in power were elected by Americans. I can complain, because it's my right! And, I do want to see some change soon.]

Dec 12, 2004

'Tis The Season To Celebrate The Human Spirit & Each Other

Celebrate HumanLight
From the ancient Babylonians, to the Romans, to the Pagans, the Jews, and later the Christians, laymen and those in power found many reasons to celebrate in December. What we have today is a mixed bag of folklore, fairy tales, rituals, superstition and a big dose of commercialism. Of course you can choose to believe in any myth you prefer whether you are in the majority (Christians in the US) or in the minority. Speaking of believing the ..unbelievable, check this Newsweek poll about the "Christmas Miracle." It's truly amazing.
The true "miracle" to me is that so many people hold beliefs which have profound effect on their lives and attitudes whilst those beliefs are based on misconceptions and indoctrination! Now, if you agree with the majority in the Newsweek poll, then you probably don't care about the facts, or you've chosen to believe in "something nice", like a good bed-time story. I know, it's so soothing, like warm milk and cookies! I loved being a kid too. Oh, the limitless possibilities of my imagination, sparked by all those great stories, made my childhood a fun place to be in.
For a historical perspective of how we arrived at today's xmas you might want to check the History Channel (and click on all the links of The Real Christmas Story ontop of the page). I "pray" that the minority I'm part of remains active and free of oppression, so we can continue to lead an examined life in the pursuit of happiness. Happy Holidays to all good-natured & warm-hearted people. PEACE.

Dec 11, 2004

For Security Reasons, Muslims Should Have Fewer Rights!

I hope they don't mind. Aren't you feeling safer already?
It's not only our elected government that wants to use broad strokes of security sweeps, but apparently many of our fellow Americans are willing to give up what we've been fighting for in the last 200 hundred years and change the nature of our free society. Should we be concerned about the spying on people simply because they are of a particular race, religion, or engage in a lawful political activity which is disliked by those in power?
Martin Luther King, to mention just one activist, was spied on by the FBI and got arrested for peaceful protests, while Nixon used the IRS to harass his political opponents. Is this the country we want? Are we that much afraid? Have we lost our sense and sensibilities regarding freedom and a democratic society? Benjamin Franklin said that if we were to sacrifice liberty for safety we don't deserve either!
Here's another depressing study by Cornell University that shows 44% of people favor curtailing some liberties for Muslim Americans!
Just in time for holidays! Enjoy (for as long as you can). Happy Festivus! [they can't get me for that, can they?]

Dec 7, 2004

The Future's So Bright--I've Got To Wear Shades (Not In Alabama!)

"Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race."
This is yet another example of the mindset of many Americans--and I'm not talking about a few bigots here and there. The mainstream media won't talk about it, because it's unpleasant, gives a "black eye" to our myopic country, and it doesn't fit within the tranquilized view of our "moral-values America." But, sadly, it's true: There are too many of them amongst us. Call them racist or segregationist, they do play a major role in US politics. They voted for Bush by the droves, and voted to send their message to the world and their kin to represent them in government. How can we respect those who are in favor of white supremacy, bigotry, and theocracy?!! How can we find a middle ground with them? Sometimes it's just not possible.

Many Americans and whole sections of this country move towards progressive social change at a glacial speed if at all. Social changes sometimes have been achieved by the action of the federal government or through the courts. This, by the way, is another reminder of the devastating effect of the Bush administration will have on civil rights and democracy, especially after Dubya's probable appointments to the Supreme Court.

In the 1950s and '60s, the Supreme Court and the Johnson administration made null and void the "Jim Crow" laws in the South. Of course, this by itself didn't change the minds and hearts of many Americans. Yeah, but it's all in the past, you might say. Not really. In the last election, the majority of the Alabama voters rejected the removal of the statute providing for racial segregation from their state constitution! They did not approve Amendment 2 which would have removed the language that says the state's schoolchildren do not have an equal right to public education! That says a lot about "The Heart of Dixie", does it not? It is no accident that after president Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 the South moved over to the Republican side.
Another bigot, Tom Coburn was just elected to the US Senate by the majority of Oklahomans. He advocates the death penalty of all doctors who perform abortions for any reason at any stage of pregnancy. He got the support of the Dixiecrats, theocrats, and of hundreds of thousands of voters who want to keep their favorite past-time (cockfighting!) legal in Oklahoma! [Apparently this is a big issue there... Still legal in Louisiana!]

So, you want to remain inactive thinking that there is no cultural divide and that we should extend an olive branch to the other side? [I'm not talking about the traditional conservatives, who only have 3 or 4 "moderate" Republicans in the Senate and a handful of Congressmen who are powerless and disappearing fast] Hell, no! Are you ready to surrender our civil rights and allow them to turn this country back to medieval times? I am not. What can you do? Stay informed and engaged in the political process. Vote! Speak out! Participate locally. Organize to make your state blue(r), more liberal, more in step with the rest of the other advanced countries.

Dec 2, 2004

Oh, The Land Of The Free & The Home Of The Brave.

Is your road leading to Room 101? It depends on your actions (or inaction) today. Under the guise of protection from terrorism, our government is using its power to spy on people. So what? If you're not doing anything illegal, why worry, you ask? Those crazy pinkos, the ACLU, launched a campaign to expose and limit the government's spying on people and groups for practicing their freedom of speech and exercising their faith. Well, calm down now! They're doing this to protect us! Sometimes you have to limit your freedom to be safe! Right on, brother! How does this apply to you? Click here if you dare!

"The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live - did live, from habit that became instinct - in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." Excerpt from George Orwell's, 1984.

This just in, from the Ministry of Truth: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Nov 30, 2004

Another Important Lesson In "Compassionate Conservatism": Let Them Suffer And Die In Pain!

They don't like what you do; you do what they like.
Why should the federal administration and the Supreme Court allow Angel McClary Raich (click on the link to read her story) to use medicinal marijuana when such an act is in clear violation of conservative values? Just Say No To Drugs. Under any circumstances. Even if this is the only medical way to alleviate suffering, and, in the case of Angel, to make her life a bit more bearable.

The good thing is that she resides in California which allows the medicinal use of marijuana. The bad news is that she lives in the United States under conservative government that believes its moral authority supersedes pain and suffering. Besides, what kind of message are they sending if they allow ..marijuana to be used? My god, such a moral decrepitude! Not here in this (dis)United States of America! No, those "drug addicts" should suffer. Angel's inoperable cancer and a dozen other diseases mustn't get in their way of a sound moral policy.

The sky is the limit for "compassionate conservatism". Besides, who needs science--a faulty and imprecise tool? Science doesn't have all the answers, look, there are gaps in the theory of evolution. They can fill in the gaps, or, better yet, offer another "theory", that of creationism. Yeap, they want to promote Dabya's kinda intelligence in our schools! They've got all the answers by divine right. Stem-cell research, you ask? We don't need that!

Never mind that we live past 30 and in better health because of science! By they way, Canada de-criminalized the use of marijuana, like many European countries have done already. Are they going to hell? All I know is that many more Americans will be going to Canada, more often! Like I said earlier, Bush won the Armageddon election--prepare to be stoned (however you take this)!

Nov 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving. The Humanist Approach

It is indeed a time to give thanks for all the goodness we have in our lives, but it is also a time to remember the others who have very little or nothing at all. Those fellow humans who, at the dawn of the 21st century, don't have enough to eat, no secure shelter, and whose basic human rights are denied. Many Americans have been generous, but we haven't done enough. One needn't to travel far to see real suffering taking place. Unfortunately, our government doesn't seem to realize that you don't need bullets to fight some battles, and that some wars are not won by military muscle but by kindness and generosity. Putting the true meaning into ThanksGIVING and helping others to self-fulfillment is a moral value worth upholding.

Nov 23, 2004

The Tyranny of the Majority: Republicans in the Congress

George Orwell's "1984" Revisited in 2004
A new poll came out today showing that Americans chose Bush over Kerry because they found him "more likeable", although they remain ambivalent about Bush's agenda and his performance thus far! I thought that we were voting on the issues and the better manager to get us out of this mess! Ah, well, I guess it's politics of the lowest common denominator.

I expect a revival of Newspeak under the one-party government we're establishing here. The House Republicans, especially House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his Republican Whip, Tom Delay, under the newly acquired "mandate rules" are expected to rule with an iron f(r)ist. This fist doesn't feel too painful you say? Well, not if you're numb enough already. Just follow the movements of the snake charmers and you'll be all right. Trust them... Relax, relax! They've done it before, trust them. Now, close your eyes, this won't hurt!

Bills are decided in advance before put to a floor vote in our U.S. Congress. The committees meet in secrecy, no debate is allowed and the bills come out so quickly that "our" elected officials don't even know what's in the bill they're voting for. Those bills that manage to get bi-partisan support, like the one about the voting machine's paper trail, and the overhauling of our national intelligence agencies, never see the light of day as they are not allowed to come to a vote!

It was about values, they said. I agree, it was about values as in m-o-n-e-y! Accenture, the technology company that received $10 billion in contracts from Homeland Security, is a proud member of the ultra-patriotic community which asks you and me for sacrifices in the name of our national interest. Its lobbyists, who wear the American flag on their lapels, spent $2 billion, for ..lobbying. Meanwhile, the company has a P.O. Box and a fax machine in ..Bermuda where its "headquarters" sans personnel is located! Cool!
The House Appropriation Committee voted 35-17 (in a bi-partisan attempt to close some of the corporate loopholes like this) to strip Accenture of the $10 billion contract, but, oh-my-g-o-d what happened?.. The wise gatekeepers (DeLayed corruption charges) never allowed our Congressmen to vote on the bill! Heil to the chiefs! Com'on now, salute; extend your hand straight out!

The millions of people who voted for Mr. Bush have to accept responsibility for re-electing him and for all the goodies that we'll receive under his reign . He had a 4-year record and a message of what he wanted to do in the next 4 years; he got re-elected, unfortunately. So, those who "broke it", now own it! Deal with it! Don't blame me; I voted for Kerry.

Nov 20, 2004

Harry Reid To Succeed Daschle

Harry Reid of Nevada * is going to be the new Dem chief in the Senate after the defeat of Tom Daschle who narrowly lost his re-election in the red state of South Dakota. He, along with the other 43 Dems in the US Senate, will try to withstand the ultra-conservative tide to be unleashed by Bush in the next 4 years.

Reid, described as a populist liberal, stands at odds with most people in his party by opposing the woman's right to reproductive choice.
NARAL gave him a 29% rating in 2003. He also in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Ok, so he's not the big liberal we'd like to see. The ACLU gave him only a 40% rating in 2002. I just hope that the Demos don't try to become more conservative. Instead, they should move the center back where it was, to the!

For more detailed information on Harry Reid's Senate record, You be the judge. Reid has voted right (read: correctly) on a host of other issues. Check it out.

Now, both sides in the Senate are talking reconciliation and willing to work for "the common good"! Really? Apart from a sound-bite, what does this mean? I ask, what common ground can you have with someone who wants to limit your civil rights? Just give him some of your rights?
How about that bigot who just got elected to the US Senate from Oklahoma--who wants the death penalty for all doctors performing abortions for any reason at any stage of pregnacy?!!!! Should we compromise and kill only those doctors operating after the first trimester? You be the judge.

Of course, life and politics is about compromise, but not a compromise on fundamental human rights. Remind me, who said, "extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice"?...

* A very interesting article on Why Bush Scored in Nevada, by Sasha Abramsky, is published in The Nation. Read it on line, but this is a great weekly magazine to subscribe.

Nov 15, 2004

The Future Begins Today

Get active, for your sake, and for the sake of the next generations!
photo by GP

The period of mourning may not be over for the progressives, but it's time we face reality and move on. There is plenty of time to analyze the results and the causes that led to the win of the "evil forces". Yet, there is no time to waste. Not only we have the obligation to stay true to our beliefs but we have to establish a long-term strategy. We can become the dominate force in the Democratic Party and not allow it to "move to the center", but rather move the "center" closer to us!

We have to start controlling the language of the debate, and re-define the terms liberal and conservative. It may take longer than we'd like, but changing the minds & hearts of Americans requires effort and time. It's an investment for the public good.
We can become the "fundamental Americans" by reinforcing the role of the political progressives, especially at the local/state level.

There are efforts that started before this election and there are progressive groups that will continue their activism for the years to come. Get involved. If you have such an organization, please email me and I'll post it here. I listed Howard Dean's organization which has local presence and it's expanding. Here's another starting point in New York , to get you going.

In New York, finally, we see some positive change at the state level. The monolithic, "strong leadership" (read: authoritarian) politics are being successfully transformed by progressive politicians like Eric Snhneiderman [NYS Senator], despite the punitive resistance of both the Republican and Democratic parties in Albany. We must recruit progressive candidates like Eric, thus shifting the balance of power and the debate. It's not easy, but it's not as hard as you think. Entrenched power survives on the apathy of the people.

We are in a cultural divide, but we can't give in to the politics of regression and to a vision of the past. The blue states can indeed become a safe heaven for openness, a tolerant society, where fundamental rights to privacy, education & healthcare are promoted. The change can begin in our backyard and spread to all America. As liberals who uphold the value of caring about our "neighbor" will share our successes with the rest of the world. Our cosmopolitan attitude, our liberal ways, and our support of the scientific method have already produced envied results. History is on our side!

Nov 11, 2004

Our Moral Values: We Fight For Humanism, More Freedom & Democracy!

In This Cultural Divide Our Values Will Transcend This Election

This is a re-posting of a reply I wrote after being criticized for being too harsh on "the opposition." I feel that we are in a great cultural divide right now, and this is no time to surrender our principles in the spirit of unity. What we're fighting for is for more civil rights, more openness, more democracy, and for our country to remain a beacon of hope, an envied & admired leader in the world community. The powerlogs claim a mandate to radically transform our society, while the theologs make assertions that cannot be proven. We will not stand for such.

The progressive community suffered a blow, and it's OK to stand up and fight! Why is not OK to fight for more personal freedoms, for a more equitable distribution of the nation's wealth, for separation of church and state, for our country to be a respected leader in the world community?.... These values are good not just for the liberals, but for all people. Why should we make truce with those who want to make us pray to their god, follow their religious practices in our private lives, don't want us to love and sleep with whomever we like, and, for goodness sake, are opposed to science?! All those people ( perhaps as much as 30% of the electorate) indeed voted for Bush! Did they not? Today the Evangelicals declared that Bush rode on their coat tails! They argue that their religious agenda must be implemented now.

No, not all Republicans or those who voted for Bush are "bad people." I do think that most are well-meaning Americans, and even if we disagree with each other they accept that disagreement is allowed and it's healthy for our political system. They, and all the fiscal conservatives who voted for Bush, should re-examine the partner they're going to be sleeping with, and, how their vote empowered the fundamentalists, the totalitarians, and those with apocalyptic views.

We are going to fight, and we are going to fight hard for our rights, for the rights of all Americans, because even those " bigots, the anti-intellectuals, the selfish rich who vote their pocketbooks, those intolerant theocrats, the simpletons who care more about their guns than their children's healthcare, the arrogant morons with a microscopic worldview" would not like it if they were a minority in a Moslem theocratic state! Would they? That's why they fail to see that an open, liberal society is better for them too. Unless, it's their way or the highway!

America is a conservative nation. When Lyndon Johnson signed The Civil Rights laws said that the Democrats would lose the South for a generation.... Well, it turned out to be much longer than that. Simply put, giving rights to Blacks was resented in the South, was it not? Can anyone dispute that there is still racism in the 21st century America? Can anyone dispute that millions of our fellow citizens are bigots, narrow-minded, and intolerant? Can anyone dispute the fact that overtly-racist politicians (like David Duke) garner huge amounts of votes?! Can anyone dispute that if you don't go to church, are not a devout Christian you are considered "un-American" by those "pious and moral" citizens of ours?

No, unfortunately, they are not just a few of them here and there. Who elected to the US Senate that bigot from Oklahoma--who wants the death penalty for all doctors who perform any abortion at any stage? The answer is, the majority of Oklahomans who voted on November 2nd, that's who!

Please let's be realistic. If you don't attack those who want to limit personal freedoms, those who want to impose a theocratic state, those who want a closed society and are against science.... Then , we better pack up and leave for Canada or Europe. Surrendering our country without a fight is not recommended. There is still hope. At the very least we must do all we can. It's the right thing. Our values are worth fighting for.

Why not call on those hypocrites who wear their religion on their sleeves but use it only for selfish reasons? Why not call on those who wear the American flag on their lapels, while they spill American blood to enrich themselves? Why not call on those "uber-patriots" who talk about sacrifice when themselves sacrifice nothing?

I want my kids to grow up in a country where people are judged by their actions not by the color of their skin. Where love is love. Where they realize that there is a world outside our borders. Where they are taught history and true science. Where, even though they may not come from a wealthy family, they'll be given the opportunity through access to free education and healthcare to advance their lot. I don't care if you call this left or right, up or down, east or west.... I want my kids to promote freedoms, scientific inquiry, and lead a happy life through personal responsibility and real choices!
Let's do it the "Jesus way": Teach tolerance, love thy neighbors different as they may be, and help the sick and less fortunate of our society! Jesus didn't have just a personal relationship with God. He also acted! And, he taught that your faith means nothing if you don't actively care about and for your fellow humans.

Nov 10, 2004

Clinton For Chairman Of The Democratic Party

I know many of you are promoting Howard Dean for the next leader of the Democratic Party, and I agree he'd be a good choice, but let's think about this for a moment. Howard can be more useful to us, the progressives, if he stays un-attached, and un-hindered by the obligations and the delicate balances the party chairman has to play with.

However, the Big Bubba, is the best choice. He loves politics, he has a high profile, he can raise tons of money, he can organize the party--yes, I know, it's like herding cats in the Democratic party--and he knows how to speak plainly to those who found Kerry too snub, too intellectual, and too confusing. Oh, and Bill knows how to win elections.

As for Howard, I propose that he keeps working with his progressive organization, Democracy For America , (this is a good thing that you may want to be involved with) and, why not, run for Senator. Gosh, we do need more US Senators like him.

What you ask, how about Hillary 2008?....

Nov 4, 2004

Apocalypse Now...and Later!

Prepared To Be Stoned (however you take this!) Bush Wins The Armageddon Election!

If only we had a little more to paint Ohio blue.... Time for the Blues now?.

Today I came home from Cleveland, Ohio. The drive back was the longest, toughest, and most disheartening I've taken in my life. I had to listen to the biggest Dick Cheney's boasting about them having a mandate, and control of all branches of government.

I gave it all to affect change and turn this country around from the destructive path Bush has chosen. I drove thousands of miles, gave up thousands of dollars in paid work, slept on the floor & in my car, soaked by rain, dried up by the wind, and rode an emotional roller coaster. I don't regret it; I'm just very tired and devastated, because I take this defeat personally.

What I was predicting as the "October Surprise", that is, the Jesus factor--what Jesus would vote--turned out to be the November surprise! The religious fundamentalists flooded the polls and voted for their "moral values".

We in the reality-based community have to accept reality despite it being quite unpleasant now.The euphoria of de-throning the neo-cons and amidst the incredible mobilization of the progressive forces, we came to believe that change was finally at hand. We broke down the numbers, examined historical trends, we hoped those things would bear out our hopes. It didn't happen. Bush trumped historical currents, and tradition. Unless, of course, the election was stolen--and I'm not making this argument now, because I don't have the proof for such.

Numbers are just a tool, interpreting numbers and people's opinions is as much as art as science. I was wrong along with many others, much smarter than me, who made an educated prediction that this election was to bring change and Kerry into the White House. Zogby, Harris polls and others called this election for Kerry as well.

Unfortunately, this America is much more conservative than we'd like or even expect. Even had we won this election, the undercurrents reveal that this country remains a conservative stronghold. Clinton (no big liberal) never got more than 50% of the popular vote. Yes, we could have won it this time too, but only if the "other side" was disinterested and unmotivated. When the stakes were high, we saw the result.

Howard Dean got it right. Much of the country is mainly concerned about the three "Gs"... god, guns, and gays! The Republicans are pushing the right buttons, and get millions of Evangelicals, god/hell-fearing fundamentalists to vote against their own economic interests. The most brilliant move by the Republicans was to put the anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballots, in all swing states! It was shocking to see that Bush had more support from the lowest economic strata than Kerry!

I guess that a lot of people are happy that Tom and Harry cannot walk down the aisle. I mean burning in hell should be avoided at all costs--besides all the good rewards come after you die, right?!!! So, vote away...

The Democratic party has been losing ground in the last 15 years, becoming a minority national party. If it were to bounce back, it would have to become more conservative. Otherwise, if it sticks to its more liberal, even secular proposals, and try to change the hearts and minds of the electorate, then it will have to accept the minority status for a long time to come. The other alternative is to find someone who speaks in plain terms (hense avoid complicated matters), has the image and basically appeals to the hearts not the minds of the voters.

More bad news are to come for us liberals who are concerned not only about the economic standing of the poor and the middle class, but are concerned about social values and a progressive path. Bush will most likely get to appoint several justices to the Supreme Court. He will leave office in 4 years, but they will remain on the bench, shaping the social agenda for generations.

It's easier to undo or form anew an economic policy, but it's much harder to bring about social and legal change. Many of the important steps that this country has taken were achieved first through the courts. For example, it was the Court that decided desegregation was illegal, and women had a reproductive choice.

Our only hope is , gasp, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Spector, who said today that he would oppose Bush's appointments of justices with are "too conservative"--whatever this means. Spector who barely beat his Democratic opponent, will be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. We'll see. Our only other hope is the 44 Democratic senators who may put up a fight on civil rights issues and to block radicals from being appointed to the Supreme Court. On this we should work very hard to gain seats in the Senate 2 years from now.

Basically, we don't have many good choices available to us. Some liberals have threaten to live the country, or have proposed ..secession of the northeastern, west-coast states, or to leave politics forever, and other desperate acts. I don't think these are good choices.

We happen to be in the minority, but true liberals, especially the secular ones, have always been in the minority in these United States. Get used to it, because it will not change in our lifetime.

I admit that I'm not in the best of spirits these days, but after I got past the initial shock and caught up on some much needed sleep, I decided to keep on fighting. What else can I do? Paul Wellstone used to say that life belongs to those who are prepared and willing to fight for it!

I'm going to keep on fighting to bring about new ideas in the political discourse, to promote reforms for more democracy and personal freedoms, support science in schools and the scientific inquiry The more you keep your head out of the water the more of a fighting chance you've got. The alternative to me is to sink to the bottom and die, something I'm not prepared to do.

Lastly, there is some good news! We have each other. Even our minority has strength in numbers. Yeah, gaddamit! There are millions of Americans like us who have similar aspirations about a just and free society, millions more who are politically moderate.

The bigots, the anti-intellectuals, the selfish rich who vote their pocketbooks, those intolerant theocrats, the simpletons who care more about their guns than their children's healthcare, the arrogant morons with a microscopic worldview, well, they can have their; we can never be under the same tent with them.

Of course, there are common threads across this beautiful land of ours--a land that belongs to ALL of us--that unite us all. But, dissent is healthy even though it is labeled unpatriotic by the small-minded. Through a civilized debate and an exchange of ideas society moves forward. We will keep being a pain-in-the-ass. What we seek it's good for them too!

So gather your strength and join in. It's going to be a hell of a ride. Do not drink apathy's poison. I like the smell of armageddon in the morning!

Nov 2, 2004


Often, As In Getting Your Friends & Family To Vote Too!

I just wanted to keep you updated with news from the "front lines", more specifically, Cleveland, Ohio, where things are hot but looking very good for Kerry. I got the chance to observe the campaign up close, and to go to the Election Eve Rally in downtown Cleveland, where the crowds were delirious for Kerry. Yet, most importantly, I've seen such enthusiasm in the Buckeye state that is unprecedented, at least in recent memory. Four years ago, Al Gore pulled out in mid October, and the state went to Bush. This year we're taking it back.

I've seen people from far away states and even Canada converging here to volunteer for the Kerry campaign. This commitment to ged rid of the neo-cons and turn the country around is intensively strong. As of now, early on election day, there are signs of a massive turnout of voters, many of whom are "new" voters. The mobilization is amazing too, and this time every voting place is being monitored by Voting Rights teams, lawyers, and other people who are going to make sure that our vote will count! This is grass-roots effort and being smart about it too.

Now, take pride in your activism and joy in the fact that this time your efforts will be rewards with a win of the progressive forces. Let me give you da facts why this is a done deal.

No incumbent president has ever won re-election with such low numbers (and I won't go into details here--they readily available) on Wrong/Right direction of the country, consumer confidence, polling under 50%, economy, etc. Also, (a fun factoid) when the Redskins lose the Sunday before the election, the incumbent loses too! Ohio has voted for the winner all but 2 times (last time Ohio got it wrong was way back), and no Republican has won without Ohio!

Boy, I can't wait for January 20th, 2005. Today we're telling the Bushies that are sitting ducks!

Thank you for being a member of the reality-based community and for supporting the progressive forces. HOPE IS ON THE WAY!

Oct 30, 2004

Happy Halloween. It's Really Scary!

The Ghouls Have Had Their Run.
Everyone wants to be safe, but the question is to what extend should we go giving the government powers to keep us safe? Anything it needs, you say? Think again. Suppose someone just told you that the government has a plan to keep you absolutely safe. Would you readily accept this?

It can put you in jail and keep you there for as long as it deems necessary, you can't contact anyone, and once you give your government this power, with no jucidical review by the way, then we are not talking about our beloved America--the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Do you think this is not happening here? You're wrong then. Which brings us to another important issue being decided in this election: safeguarding our civil liberties! The authors of the Patriot Act want to increase its power in order to keep us safe. Of course, safety with a price of an unfree society is not worth it, not to any liberal, any person who believes that this life is a journey of examination, with responsibility but with freedom to pursue his own happiness.

Check this article by Dan Kennedy on how the Bush administration has presided over the implementation of the Patriot act and an unprecedented rise in government secrecy and a severe attack on our civil liberties. It is scary indeed. Even if think that you haven't been affected, think again. And, when they come for you, who's is going to defend your rights, especially when the FBI tells you that you cannot tell anyone about their visit upon you?

Let's make sure they only have a few months of sitting duck time left. Get out, vote, and give those ghouls their proper "treat".

Oct 27, 2004

"It's The Incompetence, Stupid" Al Franken (I hope He's Right)

Hiring A Competent President In These Difficult Times Is A Must

I can't help but ask, why. Why so many Americans support a president whose incompetence is undeniable. He has fumbled the ball on so many occasions and in repeated fashion. The economy, jobs, foreign policy, the environment, the war in Iraq, on terrorism, just to name a few items.

Foreign policy? Forget it! This guy has divided our friends and united our enemies. Didn't know much about the rest of the world, and hadn't even been outside the country prior to becoming president. Iraq? The war may be controversial, but there is an agreement in the intelligence/military community that this war has been a disaster. Bush lied, people died! It's that simple.

Incompetence still rules in the White House, where the president, by his own admission, doesn't read the news, is not interested in anything long or complicated. Those who have his ear are instructed to make it as simple (simplistic?) as possible. At least his father was much smarter when he started the first campaign against Iraq. He got the active support of the international community which even paid for most of the costs of that war. Bush W. using Clinton's military machine won an easy battle against Saddam's forces, but Rummie, Wolf, Condi, Dick, and Dabya had no plan on how to win the peace!

It frustrates me to hear that so many Americans think Bush is strong on national defense and national security. Excuse me, but despite numerous and serious warning about "Bin Laden intent on striking in the US... using high-jacked airplanes" the White House did not think this rose to the level of a high-rank intelligence meeting and a course of action. Bush was caught like "a deer in the headlights" on September 11th, when he sat in the classroom for seven long minutes being read "My Pet Goat."

A small-minded, rather parochial politician suddenly became the leader around whom Americans and the whole world coalesced. Bush had at his disposal an immense capital of good will, sympathy, and support from all the good people on this planet who felt our pain, wanted us to punish the those responsible for such a horror. Promptly, Bush wasted such a precious commodity by showing the worst traits of an arrogant superpower. Want to be a world leader? Can't do it by using the long stick policy.

Such a person is dangerous, especially because he's got so much power available to him. His stubbornness, his fanaticism, and his misguided ultra-fundamentalist religious conviction is not suited for our American democracy, our vision for a brighter future, and a freer society. Why should we re-hire someone with a proven track of incompetence?

People in the real world lose their jobs for a lot less serious mistakes. Bush has the audacity to ask us for another term as the CEO of the United States? Come on, let's be serious here. If this administration isn't incompetent, then I don't know what is. No sir, you don't get to do it again. YOU'RE FIRED!

Oct 24, 2004

The Progressive Forces Will Win! (Hopefully)

A few days before this extremely critical election, amidst the conflicting polls, the conflicted people, and the media's infatuation with the "horse-race" aspect--but not with the substance of the issues--I've seen the light! No, God doesn't speak to me as He apparently speaks (with conflicting remarks) to Bush, Pat, Jerry, and all the lucky ones with a direct connection. I'm a mere human, who is looking at the numbers and examines the electoral trends. I do understand that there's a big segment of the population that is socially conservative and politically vote for the GOP, but this election will judge our ..judgment as a country. With all the incompetence of this administration and the wrong choices, I can't see why the majority of Americans will continue to support a government that doesn't deserve it.

And, there will be no excuses if we give the keys to the White House, again, because our country is not at peace with prosperity as president Clinton left it for us. We will own the future failings of another Bush presidency. This man and his cohorts are not to be trusted! I fear that more and greater disasters will follow if he gets a second term. He's pompous and ignorant and will harm America's interests without being restrained by another election or Congress (controlled by the Repubs). But, this won't happen, as Kerry will win.

I'm planning to have a short election night on Tuesday, November 2nd, and start the party early. Results will show Kerry winning big, anywhere from 294 to 311 and upwards in the electoral vote count. Needless to say, I believe that Bush will be RE-DEFEATED again in 2004, but by such a margin that Scalia and the Supremes won't be able to help him steal this election again. Is this wishful thinking? It is to some extend, because there's going to be a close call. Hopefully all the votes will be counted accurately and we won't have a repeat of 2004.

As for the road ahead, it's promising, that is, if we remain vigilant and don't go back to our villages after the election. The new Kerry administration will need our support, because I see another war (like the relentless and stupid attacks on Clinton) from the cons and neo-cons. Conspiracy theorists get ready! We, in the reality-based community, must also make sure that Kerry keeps his promises and advances the progressive politics. The United States must move FORWARD! The GOP will have enough power in the Congress to cause lots of problems.

I'm in Ohio to pound the pavement and ..whatever else comes between us and winning that state. VOTE, goddamit! It'll come down to this state, so there's not much time to waste or be complacent.

Oct 22, 2004

Parallel Universes Right In This Country

To follow up on a recent post about voters confusing the issues and the candidates, I came upon a new study today done by the University of Maryland, which study basically says that a great number of Bush supporters live in a different universe. They're so out of touch with reality that's not even funny.

In line with their great leader's articulated positions, they believe, for example, that Saddam had "nukelar" weapons, was involved in attacking the US on 9-11-01 and was linked to Al-Queda, and that most of the world [yeah, that world outside the US] is in favor of our war in Iraq.

Kerry supporters, on the other hand, don't hold these views. We liberals are much more informed, have a greater world view, and live in a reality-based world.

Next post will be on the subject of God's involvement in our politics and his regular conversations with Pat Robertson and Dabya--the only problem is that we have to take their word on what he has told them. There seems to be some confusion as to who said what, but as soon as I clear this out I'll keep you posted.

Oct 20, 2004

The Future Of Our Democracy Depends On Us!

Hope Is On The Way! As the presidential race is drawing to a close, it is our hope that a new era of American progressive politics will emerge. The short and failed experiment of George W. Bush's neo-conservatism will hopefully be defeated along with him on November 2nd, 2004. The work will not be over after the election, by no means. We should remain active, vocal, interested in the social discourse, and push our America towards modernity. Let's bring back civility in our political arena, create an environment of more tolerance, support science, provide our citizens with free education and universal health care, and be a true leader in the world community. A leader who's has the moral authority, the ability to forge alliances, be a progressive catalyst in the rest of the world, and become a leader whose qualities are envied not despised.

We cannot allow the Bush administration to continue its destructive foreign policy. The president acts in our name. We cannot afford the neo-conservatives and the belligerent hawks in the White House to divide our friends and unite our enemies!

We should also look beyond the smoke screens and the cheap tricks of the flag-waving pillagers of our national treasures. Most of us are true patriots who will sacrifice for our country, so we should chase out of power those who wear the American flag on their lapels, but at the same time transfer our wealth to big corporations and burden us and our children with huge debts. A strong leader, by the way, is not one who owes trillions of dollars to foreign agents. We support our troops, but the troops belong to all of America. Our blood cannot be shed without an imperative national cause. Those of us who have read history know that many empires died because of their arrogance. Hopefully, we can do better, because we have a democracy with choices presented to us, and no election in recent history has presented us with such clear choices--one, to move forward toward modernity, the other toward a microscopic world view.

Yet, choices are meaningless if not exercised. But with rights comes responsibility! In ancient Athens, all the citizens participated in the common affairs of the polis. A politis was an active citizen. The idiotes (the root of the word "idiot") were ridiculed as those persons who only cared about their private affairs.

If you are an informed and engaged citizen, it is your privilege and duty to vote in this and all future elections. If you're not, then you should think whether your apathy has made things better or worse for you, or simply it hasn't made any difference at all. If you decided that it doesn't really matter, then please don't cast your vote and let the rest of us decide. You won't hear this argument in many a places, but we are here to prod, criticize, chastise, motivate, inform, and learn along the way.

We hope you join us in this journey. Let's broaden our horizons.

Best regards,


Oct 18, 2004

Vote For Bush You Have No Choice

I know this isn't exactly news, but in light of the Florida electoral experience I thought you might want to vote in Florida, electronically anyway. Click on this link and exercise your vote.

Oh, don't worry, the people who have set up the machines re-assured the public that there won't be any problems--like there never have been any problems with computers. It is always a "human error". Therefore, no need for a paper trail. We don't need no receipt. Funny thing, during an actual election were 300 people voted using those computerized ballots (with no paper receipt of votes cast), some 50 people decided to go into the voting booth but decided not to vote! At least, that was the explanation given by the "experts"! Anyone wants to buy a bridge?

Oct 17, 2004

Check Out Their Military Records

For all their fanfare about being uber-patriots, most of the Republicans in public office have not served in the US armed forces! In comparison, more Democrats have served, many with distinction, and many volunteered to go to a combat zone.

Check this post and draw your own conclusion.

It's sickening to hear those people who have not been in the military accusing those who risked their lives for America as being "soft on national defense" and even unpatriotic!

I admire John Kerry's courage, and honor. Not only because he served with distinction, but because having done that, he had the guts to stand up and protest against the failing policy of the US administration.

Dissent is important and necessary in the democratic process. A patriot is one who cares about the policies of his government. Having seen the horrors of the war, and the failing military intervention in Vietnam, the young Kerry sought to save lives by helping to end the war sooner than later.

The country-club Republicans and all the other privileged members of the power elite can talk freely about sacrifices as long as they don't have to make any. Sadly, this is not something new. Unfortunately, too many Americans have failed to see the hypocrisy.

Voters Confuse Issues And Candidates

OK, I wouldn't expect the average Joe/Jane to know all the details about the candidates' stance on issues, but, come on, if this latest study/poll done by the Middle Tennessee State University is accurate, then I think it's a waste of time to try to inform these people. Read the whole report. You'll be amazed!

I suppose these are the ones who can't make up their minds, don't see big differences between Bush and Kerry, and can go back and forth depending on impressions--yeah, this guy looked better on TV!

In this poll, people were asked about the positions of the two candidates on important issues central to the campaign, like taxing the rich and school vouchers. It's a shame that people will vote for Bush because they believe that he'll tax the rich (we won't), or vote for Kerry because they want vouchers for religious schools (he isn't in favor of).

I suspect that similar results would ensue in other states too. I don't mind if people exercise their preferences, but, please, know what you're voting for!