Monday, July 26, 2004

Radio Factor

I hear Bill O'Reilly this morning talking about the Florida panhandle and implying that those Republicans didn't vote because they thought the race was called (they are in the Central time zone). If they had voted, he conjectured, then Bush would have won by even a greater number in 2000. He called anyone who would question the Florida election a "bombthrower." He conveniently didn't bring up the disenfranchising of tens of thousands of black American voters.

It's unbelievable that he doesn't mention the voter rolls, and I even suspect that his panhandle theory is bull so I'm going to check it out.

He delivered this theory and then treated Kerry fairly, so he must have really raked Theresa Heinz over the coals, but I missed that...

Funny how the popular debate in this election is not about national security or pork spending--or even our problematic voting issues. Democrats are complaining that even Kerry isn't dealing with fair voting issues. Ugh!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Double Think, Double Hate

In George Orwell's 1984 there is a political dissenter called, "Goldstein" that Big Brother has demonized and encourages the party faithful to actively hate.  Every day "two minutes of hate" occurs when the party members scream and yell and growl at a projected picture of Goldstein.  They shout things like "traitor!"  The book is ambiguous about whether Goldstein really exists, or whether he was created by Big Brother.

Today, liberals, gays and lesbians, political dissenters, feminists, poor blacks and anybody else who challenges the authority of George Bush and his cronies become the Republican party's "Goldstein."  Along with liberals, Kerry is often treated like Goldstein by conservative radio and TV hosts--they try to get us to hate every aspect of his life and that for which he stands. 

The other day I was again listening to AM 740's Kathy Bruce again (I know, why do I torture myself?).  Bruce believes she is morally superior to liberals.  She stated that "the left has no values...the left is all about moral relativism...the left cares more about blacks than white cops..." and on and on.  She didn't make any exceptions, she blanketed the left with these and more condemning and outrageous condemnations. 

Of course there are moral relativists on the left AND right.  All this means is that our moralities come from our cultural biases and knowledge--no two groups have absolutely the same morals.  Even within morals, situational ethics  are built-in.  Already as children we learn that some lies are okay in some situations (trivial lies that keep people we love from being hurt, e.g.  When Mom says, "How do you like my new dress?")  and other lies aren't okay, like lying about an affair, a plot, theft, hurting someone, etc.  It's not easy, but the degree of moral foul of a lie does depend on the situation.   What is Bruce, a moral absolutist?!  Moral absolutists have one set of rules that are expected to be followed by everyone in the society--not taking into account ethical or religious differences.  Hmm, who gets to pick those rules, Bruce?
In Kathy Bruce's world, moral relativism is always bad (it happens to be the dominant and popular philosophical state of our country), the left is always wrong, and the right is always right (she conceded that it's not yet powerful enough).  

Many conservative worldviews dismiss context, cause and affect, and the historical record; elements that come with experience, education and take ideas out of the realm of black and white and "with us or against us" bullying.  Quite simply, context and history get in the way of narcisistic dictators and nations.

The simple mindedness of generalizations like Bruce's should be shocking and alarming, however, this "with us or against us" approach seems to be working based on the popularity of similar radio shows, and Bush's climb in the polls (albeit slight).  The bump also seems to be the result of his ads' relentless negative attacks on Kerry and the drumbeat of conservative Kerry bashing. 

The sad truth is that Bruce and many of Bush's supporters are advocating a totalitarian mindset, just like the Nazis did to a prejudiced German and European public.  In totalitarianism, fascists advocate duty to the nation above and beyond the rights (or thoughts) of any individual.  There is no dissent, there is no debate, there is no appreciation for history, there is a suppression of progress (OIL ENERGY), competition is stifled, and life becomes only what the government wants.   Everybody must be in perfect agreement.

Today the conservative press and massive corporations seem like Big Brother.  Bill O'Reilly tells his liberal guests to "shut-up," and a Las Vegas hotel throws Linda Ronstandt out of both her room and her contract because she divulged her liberal opinion during a concert, and CBS journalist Dan Rather says that he and others are afraid to ask politicians tough questions (and boy is he a target of the right).

Free speech is actually free and unpunished in a liberal society, but free speech is suffocated out of existence in a fascist society. 

Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed: “A totalitarian regime crushes all autonomous institutions in its drive to seize the human soul” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.). 

often Fascism
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
Oppressive, dictatorial control.

Bruce made an interesting point that the political correctness on the left can accuse people of being racist or sexist or somehow prejudiced with a flip of the tongue.  But in the context of totalitarianism this comment is simply about individual behavior.  Political correctness advocates respect for individuals, not the suppression of individual's opinions.  Being called politically incorrect doesn't feel good but is generally just a lack of understanding.  This is much less damning than when the right calls liberals national traitors, or unpatriotic, or al-Queda supporters. 

Who's got no values again?

Well, my principles tell me that it's worse to call a person who disagrees with your President a traitor, than to call a guy a sexist when he says women can't drive.  When Ann Coulter calls liberals "traitors," she is accusing them of felonious criminal activity!  There's no chance that a so-called sexist will, nor should be, tried as a felon.  

Who's extreme?  Who's advocating hate? 

Today Joe Scarborough was on a local political show, a radio and Fox conservative who called Michael Moore a "wacko" right before he said that it's actually the left who is advocating hate! 


I think liberals, gays, blacks, and a lot of women would beg to differ about which side of the political fence is using hate, fear and prejudice as part of their campaign strategy.  I'm not saying the left never hates, there are plenty of ranting blogs, but they don't appear to be acting on it or using hate or social intolerance for political advantage.  

I think some conservatives find social tolerance a weakness!   After 9/11, why doesn't the left want to imprison every Muslim?  Well, we happen to think Muslims are innocent until proven guilty, like any other human being.  Although it should be, it's not easy to take this rational position--and it's much easier to act out of fear and say, "Round 'em all up!."   This is what Roosevelt meant when he said, "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself." 

In today's fear mongering culture, it takes strength to say that every human being deserves dignity and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law (this is a proud American value!).   It involves courage to stand up to a wave of understandable anger and reactive hatred.  It takes responsibility to call a crime against humanity a crime (instead of a fraternity prank).  This is what I see as American patriotism--principles of human dignity and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. 

Politicians should adamantly try to avoid using fear and prejudice to govern because doing so puts them in the company of some very infamous murderous fascists and dictators--leaders who have found it disturbingly easy to round up millions of citizens and put them to death.

Conservatives are obviously nervous about Democrats and liberals asserting values, and they have been shockingly quick to dismiss liberals as lacking values.  I'm not about to assert that the right has no values, or even that right's values are wrong.  We just have different values. 

Why is it that the left is generally okay with the concept of difference and the right generally isn't? 

When different becomes wrong just because it's different, we have slipped down the slope into hellfire and condemnation.  This is when abortionists get murdered, pissed off Americans start bombing federal buildings, or shooting down black, white, Asian or Jewish innocent civilians, including children, or beating up gays.  This is extreme social intolerance and it's already happening.   We should also never make the mistake that different is better, either.

Are people now going to be targeted by armed thugs just because they are liberal or disagree with our government?  I bet even conservatives are chilled by this, they can't all be happy with the spending spree our government is having, are they scared of criticizing our government's policies?  Is that what Ann Coulter wants? 

Probably purposefully, a liberal values vs. conservative values fight doesn't even matter politically.  Republican and Democratic values in D.C. look about the same right now...they are all eager to spend tax payer money on nearly every lobbyist's interests. 

The other day, the Republican controlled Congress also had no intention of canceling congressional vacations to put immediate reforms in place based on the 9/11 commission's findings.  Aren't we expecting an attack soon?  And don't they care that we're ill prepared for one?   Our President presents no moral example to Congress to sacrifice their vacation in order to care for the Nation's business. 

This is not what Kennedy meant by, "Ask not what your country can do for you," but it is certainly a question of what must we do to make our country a more responsible government.  VOTE!  Kick the irresponsible bums out!  Check to see who you can vote for and who will take responsibility for our communites!  Patriots vote.

This is all so infuriating when we consider the Americans who sacrificed their lives over Pennsylvania on 9/11 in order to keep the White House and the Congress from being targeted.  They came together as a random assortment of Republicans, Democrats and Independents to become heroes for our Nation.

A few years later, the populace is left to become polarized by the press while debating which side has the moral high ground on gay lifestyles?  What a very convenient distraction for every politician who is not interested in the greater good for our time--or our future.  

Our communities deserve more from our government and more from each other. 

We particularly need to take care of our youth and teach them to respect themselves (if you are an adult and don't respect yourself, start now and show children how) and especially live with tolerance and a deeper understanding of others.


Monday, July 19, 2004

The Compassionate Patriot

An inspiring statment from a Democratic e-mail list (sorry about the spacing errors; receive the e-mails from your own Congressperson by visiting
Mr. President, after today, we have 27 legislative days untiladjournment – 27 legislative days to deal with the mostpressing issues facing this country.
We should be passing the Port Security bill and the Rail Security bill, both of which were approved by the Commerce Committee unanimously in April.  We should be passing the Transit Security bill, which was approved by the Banking Committee in May.  We should be passing the Nuclear Plant Security bill, the Chemical Plant Security bill, and the First Responders bill, all of which were approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee last year.  We could be working on those bills to improve our safety instead of worrying about two people of the same gender who have decided to care about each other. 
So there you have it.  In the face of all this, what does this Administration want us to do?  A constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage – a constitutional amendment that deniesmillions of Americans equal rights because, even if it does notsay so explicitly, it will mean those in domestic partnershipsor civil unions will not get equal rights or equal responsibilities.
An analysis by David Remes, a partner and legal expert at awell-respected law firm here in Washington, has concluded that this Constitutional amendment will guarantee legal challenges to civil unions and domestic partnerships.  And many have noted, including the American Bar Association, that the language of the Constitutional amendment is so vague that the amendment could be interpreted to ban civil unions and domestic partnerships and the benefits that come with them.
This constitutional amendment is divisive to this country.  It is completely unnecessary.  And it enshrines discrimination in the constitution – the constitution – a document meant to expand rights.  We have never amended the Constitution to deny rights and to deny equality.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, University of Chicago Law School Professor Cass Sunstein noted that all of the amendments to the Constitution are either expansions of individual rights or attempts to remedy problems in the structure of government.  The sole exception was the18th Amendment that established Prohibition – and that attemptto write social policy into the Constitution was such a disaster that it was repealed less than 15 years later.
The list of adopted Constitutional amendments is short – but impressive.  There are the first ten amendments – the Bill of Rights – that guarantee important liberties to the American people from freedom of speech and the press to the right to besecure in our homes to the freedom of religion. There are the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that undo the terrible injustices of slavery, ensure African-Americans theright to vote, and guarantee everyone the equal protection ofthe laws.  There is the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote – the 24th amendment that banned poll taxes to further ensure minorities the right to vote – and the 26th amendment that gave 18 year olds the right to vote.  Quite an impressive list – a list that seeks to expand freedom and equality. 
The Constitution is a gift we have inherited from those giants among men who wrote it 217 years ago.  As written, it was not perfect and we have had to amend the Constitution from time to time.  But, it should never be used to take away rights from decent, loyal Americans.  It should never be used to make agroup of Americans permanent second-class citizens.
This amendment would make it impossible for states to say to two people who love each other, care for each other, and are willing to die for each other that they have equal inheritance rights, equal hospital visitation rights, equal benefits under the law.  That’s outrageous.
My state has a domestic partnership law.  California’s law is, I believe, a start.  It gives same-sex couples many of the samerights and responsibilities as married couples.  It is notperfect, and we need to do more.  But even this imperfect lawhas meant so much to so many people in California.  And forthis Congress to take that away from them by amending the Constitution is wrong and mean spirited.
One of my colleagues says that marriage is under assault from gay relationships.  Well I must tell you straight from my heart– not one married couple has ever come up to me and said their marriage was under assault because two people of the same gender down the street care about each other.  If we were truly concerned about strengthening marriages and strengthening families in this country, we would pass an increase in the minimum wage.  We would pass a bill to make sure people had the same health insurance that members of Congress have.  We would pass a bill to make sure that all children have a high quality education.  And instead of freezing the number of kids in afterschool programs, we would allow them to partake in programs that keep them safe until mom or dad comes home from work.
What is really going on here – the real motive here – is crass, cold, hard politics.  This is being done to distract attention from the real issues facing this country.  This constitutional amendment is being used as a weapon of mass distraction.  And this constitutional amendment is being used as a tool for the upcoming political campaigns.  Shame on us. The Constitution should never be used as a political football or as an applause meter before an election.  It truly is a disgrace on the Senate to play politics with the Constitution, and I hope and pray that the American people see this for what it is. 
Mr. President, we are all God’s children.  No two of us are alike – we have different color eyes; we have different colorhair; we have different color skin; we are different genders;and yes, we have different sexual orientations.  We are all different, and yet we are all united behind the common cause of freedom, justice, and equality. This Constitutional amendment is an attempt to appeal to our prejudice instead of our compassion – our hate instead of our hopes – our fears instead of our dreams.  This Constitutional amendment is an appeal to what is the worst in us instead of anappeal to what is the best in us.
In his first Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln appealed to“the better angels of our nature.”  This amendment flies in the face of these words.  So regardless of what you think about gay marriage – regardless of whether you are for or against domestic partnerships and civil unions, which I support strongly – regardless of whether you support or oppose the law in your state – this Constitutional amendment should be soundly defeated. 
I urge my colleagues to do the right thing.  I urge my colleagues to put the Constitution above any possible political gain.  I urge my colleagues to put the Constitution above their own political well-being.  That is the measure of a true patriot.  Voting against this Constitutional amendment is the right thing to do.  And turning our attention to the awesome, challenging and difficult issues facing America’s families is what we must do –for the good of the Senate, for the good of our constituents, for the good of our country.
For more information on Senator Boxer's record and otherinformation, please go to:

Artificially Splendid?

The L.A. Times reports today that the new sweetener made from suger called Splenda is seen as safe by most nutritionists.  It was kind of frightening how this article implied that the other sweeteners have problems, yet didn't explain what those problems are. 
I noted one nutritionist who has the same sensibility as me, so although she thinks Splenda's safe she will not eat it because she has an aversion to "fake foods."  Seemingly without this aversion, this article lists the myriad companies who are already incorporating Splenda into their low carb products. 
I read an article long ago that asserts:  when the body consumes artificial sweeteners it doesn't get its expected sugar/calories and reacts badly.  I've forgotten the exact mechanisms that involve the regulation and/or production of insulin--but I believe the article stated that sweeteners cause an overproduction of insulin which can bring on diabetes over time. 
The end of the L.A. Times article points out the same issue without mentioning insulin or diabetes--that artificial sweeteners fool the body into expecting sugar.  Susan Swithers, a psychological scientist at Purdue University recently tested two groups of rats for 10 days.  One group ate sugar, the other had sugar solution as well the artificial sweetener saccharin.  When the "diet" was over, the rats were permitted to eat what the wanted.  The artificially sweetened rats (-: binged on three times as many calories as the rats that had consumed just sugar.   Swithers explains her findings, "Because artificially sweetened foods don't deliver the calories our bodies expect, they interfere with the body's natural ability to predict caloric content based on taste."  Bingo.  Our bodies get mixed up when we "fake" them out.  The concern in the article is dieters' behavior and binging (dieters using artificial sweeteners may actually consume more calories, such as two pieces of low-carb cake, rather than one full caloried piece of cake).  But my biological concern is that faking out our bodies' digestive systems just doesn't seem like a good idea.  Definitely not in sinc, balance, or even trust with the mind and body! 

I've also had friends tell me about friends they've had that have found cancer growths (big tumors easily removed) that they believe were grown by the chemicals in diet drinks.  

I have no way of proving the diabetic/cancer theories, it's all hearsay.  But I take this hearsay and my own instincts into account when I'm tasting something that has an odd, unpleasant aftertaste.  My own body is telling me, "if this tastes bad, it's probably not good for you." That is a simple, physical aversion which I see as a healthy evolutionary gift worth using.
Kelly, Alice Lesch, "Dieters will have another option." Los Angeles Times, Health section, F1 - F4.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Blog Crash

I spent more than an hour analyzing today's politics and it got lost in internet ether when I tried to publish it.  I wonder if it was because I mentioned George Orwell's 1984.  My husband is reading it and it is amazing how that author understood the way power can corrupt leaders and how The People can be manipulated.   I said in that blog that we are closer to Orwell's vision than we have ever been because of our press.  It is so difficult to know the truth anymore.
The other point I made in that blog is that attacks on John Kerry's wealth (and John Edwards) only points out how immune he is from the influence of Saudi investors and other highly paying corporate interests! 

The Power of NBC

Dear NBC News,

I watched your Saturday night news and the story on John Kerry's preparation for the Democratic convention was so one-sided it was shocking. All the "independent" commentary was provided by Republican pollsters and the reporting itself constituted most of this week's conservative radio host Republican talking points. Republican operatives have spent the week attacking John Kerry for his wealth, which your report also did in pictures and inuendo. Your reporter also STATED that Kerry is not connecting with the people as a set up to these images. This "observation" was said completely without context or explanation. The last word in the report was from a Republican pollster predicting that the Republican convention would reveal the "true Kerry" rather than the "new Kerry."

How does your network even pretend to uphold an ideal of responsible journalism when such a simple report is both so stilted and anti-educational?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Bush permits more logging in National Forests

Bush just overturned a rule by Clinton that disallowed loggers from building roads into more that 1/3 of National Forests. State Governors may prevent loggers from doing this, but only by petitioning someone or something (I have to investigate this more). Lucky for those trees (that we collectively steward)who wish to be sold as paper--most of America's governors are Republican and in the pocket of loggers who would rather plunder public lands than invest (any or more) in their own. How does this happen? It's like people receiving government milk and selling it to Wal-Mart. And that's ridiculous without even getting into environmental concerns.

The Power of and

Generally, Democrats are "and;" Republicans are "or."

A person is good and bad vs. A person is good or bad

Let's remember this when we're analyzing their respective policies involving people and moral behavior (and Constitutional Amendments).

The truth is not partisan / Florida

Greg Palast exposes the money, the networks and the numbers behind some of the past few years' serious political blunders. Finally, someone is reporting and remembering our recent history. This is the closest to George Orwell's 1984 we've ever been, and you can tell because not one network journalist has the nerve to say that. Check out Dan Rather's fear of being called unpatriotic...

Republicans are basically saying, "You're with Bush on every step or you're anti-American." Me, and the other liberals I know, are not anti-American. We are patriotic and have deep reverence for America's institutions. In fact, despite the improvements we long for, we think this is the best country in which to live in the world. And we say that in comparison to the experience of many others.

To paraphrase Kerry's wife on 60 Minutes last night, to declare that someone's values are skewed based solely on their income or their race IS un-American. Thank you, but George Bush is not our America.

For one thing, Bush just gave the finger to a powerful organization that generally represents 15% of our population; he has declined an invitation to speak before the NAACP. If this isn't race bating, little is. That's a really "uniter" idea after his party illegally disenfranchised over 50,000 Americans in Florida in 2000 (the majority of those kicked off the voter rolls by Jeb Bush & Katherine Harris were black). This is an action that easily explains why black and white people jeered Bush at MLK's grave in Atlanta last year.

Also, improving education for minorities is something both the NAACP and National Urban League put as their No. 1 priority. I am considering volunteering for the NUL because I have a hard time living with the huge inequities that exist between minority and caucasian education in L.A. And even caucasian education isn't where it should be. No matter what the reasons for low achievement may be, we're not tackling any of them. In many ways, Bush, and other politicians, have no problem living with this social inequity.

This so-called leader is a chef that can't take the heat in his own corrupted kitchen (this can be taken literally, see his FDA below) and he's never explained Florida, and no one's ever paid for it. Like it or not, he is the U.S. President for those who didn't vote for him, and even those he actually prevented from voting against him. Where is the outrage in "white" America?! I assume that it's being censored.