The Friends of California Libre...

25 July 2004

My Kind of Loyalty

Greetings, friends,
With the Democratic Convention starting this week, my politically-active associates have been wondering aloud, "Who cares?" Their only passion is a negative one, "Anyone But BUSH". How jaded you are...I'm prepared to quit your country, but not merely over the government. It's the destruction of the land and the sky and the ocean that I feel at my back. The Kerry/Edwards ticket is a dream compared to Dukakis/Bentsen, Mondale/Ferraro, Carter/Mondale...and yes, even compared to Clinton/Gore. You should be EXCITED.

The title of this screed comes from this apt quote, from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark Twain:
"You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags -- that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it."

Our government has the trappings of a monarchy now; a latter-day Christian oligarchy of oil and Jesus and money. No wonder it's hard to laugh at, but these guys are trying (thanks, Mike, Geri and Mom):
Access click on New: parody.

You'd think we could find better things to worry about; I mean, look at this list of additives in cigarettes, which I smoked for 24 years. YEEECCHH!
Additives Found in American Cigarettes
This 1998 document lists "599 ingredients [that] have been identified in tobacco industry documents as being added to tobacco in the manufacturing of cigarettes by the five major American cigarette manufacturing companies. While some of these chemicals, such as sugars, vanilla extract, prune juice, and vinegar, are generally recognized as safe when used in food products, all produce numerous additional chemical compounds when burned." From the Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC) at Indiana University.

Yeah, at the heart of American Democracy, you find the crass winner-take-all psychology of the Corporation. I know my friends in the Great White North saw this documentary about corporate psychology; it's playing right now at the Nuart for those in LA interested:

And Fox News is exposed in another documentary, which I believe is still making the circuit on DVD:
Fox News in Cross Hairs of a New Documentary By Elizabeth Jensen Los Angeles Times A dogged hunt for evidence of GOP-tilted bias results in the latest salvo from the left.

Fox, of course, does not sit still; they fight back, and they fight back hard. Here's what they had to say about Michael Moore (thanks, Trish):
Michael Moore and His Real Voice
By John Gibson,2933,125174,00.html

And with good reason; Moore could very well have an effect on November's election:
'Fahrenheit 9/11' Making GOP Nervous By Mike Glover The Associated Press

The Republicans should worry less about Moore (ha ha) and more about their own candidate:
Republicans Blast President Bush on Environment By Erik Stetson The Associated Press

And how about this wild story from Capitol Hill, which looks pretty bad for both parties (thanks, David):
> Moonie leader 'crowned' in Senate> Republicans and Democrats attend cult blessing ceremony> Julian Borger in Washington> Thursday June 24, 2004> The Guardian> The US Senate was used for a bizarre ritual in which the Rev Sun Myung Moon,> the head of the Unification church, was "crowned" and declared himself the> messiah in the presence of more than a dozen Republican and Democratic> members of Congress, it was reported yesterday.> "Emperors, kings and presidents ... have declared to all heaven and Earth> that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's saviour, messiah,> returning Lord and true parent," the 85-year-old Korean "Moonie" cult leader> told several hundred guests at the meeting in one of the Senate's office> buildings on March 23, according to the Washington Post.>> He also claimed endorsement from Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, who had all> been reformed and reborn through his church's teachings - an idiosyncratic> version of Christianity which rejects the use of the cross as a symbol and> denounces homosexuals as "dirty dung-eating dogs".>> An account of the ceremony was first published by a Washington investigative> journalist, John Gorenfeld.>> According to a transcript of the event, Mr Moon declared: "I am God's> ambassador, sent to Earth with his full authority. I am sent to accomplish> his command to save the world's six billion people, restoring them to Heaven> with the original goodness in which they were created.">> The glittering event in the Senate's Dirksen building reflected Mr Moon's> extraordinary influence in US politics. He owns the conservative newspaper> the Washington Times and the US news agency United Press International.>> His fiercely conservative attitudes towards homosexuality and pre-marital> sex have won him the endorsement of leading Republicans, including the> president's father, George Bush, and John Ashcroft, the attorney general,> who participated in one of Mr Moon's "prayer luncheons" days before the> president's inauguration in January 2001.>> Leading black Democrats also played a prominent role in the March ceremony.>> An Illinois congressman, Danny Davis, wore white gloves and carried a purple> cushion bearing a medieval-style "international crown of peace", which was> placed on Mr Moon's head, at an event at which 100 Americans from 50 states> were also given lesser "national" and "state" peace awards.>> The event was an "innocent ceremony," Mr Davis told the Guardian. "It was a> banquet to give out awards. I didn't have any way of knowing Reverend Moon> would say he was the messiah, or whatever he said.">> Mr Davis acknowledged that "three or four individuals directly related to> Rev Moon" took part in a fund-raiser for his primary campaign in Illinois> earlier this year, but said small sums of money were involved.>> Other members of Congress who attended the event said they had been fooled> into going by being told only that people from their constituencies would be> honoured at the ceremony.>> A spokeswoman for a Democratic senator from Minnesota, Mark Dayton, said:> "We fell victim to it. We were duped.">> It was unclear who gave permission for the Senate office building to be> used.>> During the ceremony Mr Moon invoked the blessing of all America's past> presidents. He also claimed to have communed with other big names in> history.>> He told his audience: "The five great saints and other leaders in the spirit> world, including communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin, who committed all> manner of barbarity, and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found> strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons.">> It is not the first time he has claimed posthumous backing. His followers> recently took out a two-page advertisement in the Washington Times to run a> testimonial to him, quoting 36 former presidents "from the vantage point of> heaven".

Oh, COME were DUPED? How stupid are these people running the government? Even the "old soldiers" of WWII are smarter than that:
Dissent at the War Memorial By Howard Zinn The Progressive As I write this, the sounds of the World War II Memorial celebration in Washington, D.C., are still in my head. I was invited by the Smithsonian Institution to be on one of the panels, and the person who called to invite me said that the theme would be "War Stories." I told him that I would come, but not to tell "war stories," rather to talk about World War II and its meaning for us today. Fine, he said.

As I've always believed, the past is the door to the future. Almost everything that will happen, amazingly, has already happened, and more than once.
Iraq, 1917 By Robert Fisk Independent U.K. They came as liberators but were met by fierce resistance outside Baghdad. Humiliating treatment of prisoners and heavy-handed action in Najaf and Fallujah further alienated the local population. A planned handover of power proved unworkable. Britain's 1917 occupation of Iraq holds uncanny parallels with today - and if we want to know what will happen there next, we need only turn to our history books...

Sadly, we have fools in our government who barely read the morning papers, forget any history:
U.S. Edicts Curb Power Of Iraq's Leadership By Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Walter Pincus Washington Post Baghdad - U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer has issued a raft of edicts revising Iraq's legal code and has appointed at least two dozen Iraqis to government jobs with multi-year terms in an attempt to promote his concepts of governance long after the planned handover of political authority on Wednesday.

They sell weapons which, like Afghanistan, will undoubtedly kill other Americans:Arms Suppliers Scramble into Iraq By Thalif Deen Inter Press Service

They can't see the approach of danger, no matter how obvious:Iraq Insurgency Larger Than Thought The Associated Press Baghdad - Contrary to U.S. government claims, the insurgency in Iraq is led by well-armed Sunnis angry about losing power, not foreign fighters, and is far larger than previously thought, American military officials say.

They lie to cover up their mistakes:U.S. Casualty Rate High Since Handover By Bryan Bender Boston Globe

Iraq Is Not Improving, it's a Disaster Oliver Miles The Guardian

And lying to us...well, they've had 228 years of practice at that:
Abuzz about the draftBrian Knowlton/IHT IHTThursday, July 01, 2004Rumors that the military draft might be reinstated have surged across the U.S. in recent months.

Don't think they'd ever restart the draft? What about in states where there's not even enough National Guard left to control a wildfire or, God help us, another riot?,12271,1265665,00.html

War call-up cuts US ability to fight disastersJulian Borger in WashingtonWednesday July 21 2004The GuardianAmerica's state governors have complained to the Bush administration that the high number of national guard volunteers serving in Iraq has hobbled their ability to fight wildfires or other disasters, it was reported yesterday. And either way, we're running out of money to pay for anything, schools, wars, or even George Bush's mineral mines on the Moon:U.S. Treasury Says Likely to Hit Debt Limit in October By Laura MacInnis and Jonathan Nicholson Reuters Washington - The U.S. government will likely reach its federal debt limit in early October, a top Treasury official said in written remarks, giving fresh details on when the politically sensitive ceiling will need to be raised. The $7.384 trillion debt limit may need attention before the November election, Timothy Bitsberger, Treasury's nominee for assistant secretary for financial markets, said in a document obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

So if you were President, what would do? How about piss off one of the largest non-aligned (and in its people, the most pro-American) countries in the world, with over 70 million citizens, right between two countries we occupy, soon to have nuclear weapons, and which has stood up to us successfully for 25 years?
Regime Change in Iran Now in Bush's Sights By Jenifer Johnston Sunday Herald
Headline: Anti-Iran sentiment hardening fastByline: Howard LaFranchi Staff writer of The Christian Science MonitorDate: 07/22/2004(WASHINGTON) Iran's governing mullahs may feel uneasy at the prominent attention they are attracting in the US as the 9/11 investigations conclude. But a bigger worry for them may well be the growing signs that the US Congress - even without the 9/11 reports of Iran's ties to Al Qaeda - is pressing for a tougher approach toward Tehran.

And finally, in the spirit of combat, here's an online 'zine which speculates: what if the 20th century's most famous alcoholics (i.e. Jackie Gleason, Dorothy Parker, Orson Welles, Ernest Hemingway) got to square off in a drinking contest? Absolutely hilarious (WARNING; Spoiler: The page with the hotlinks is the "Finals", so if you want to start at the beginning, go straight to the bottom of the page and click on "Hemingway vs. Poe".)

I apologize if you're offended by this screed's enclosed photo...too bad!
Vive le Screed!

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