Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Will It Be in Heaven?

Moral judgment, knowing what is good and what is bad, comes easy for some people. Not for me. I tend to not see things in black and white but rather to see color in life, variety. Things that are clearly wrong to some don't really look wrong to me. Things that are clearly right to some don't really look right to me.
But recently I have been working on developing a philosophy about this problem of trying to judge what is right and what is wrong. I look at it from a futuristic perspective. I look at the world from the perspective of the angels, or more precisely from the perspective of the inhabitants of Heaven.
We all know that many of the world's people simply don't believe in Heaven. Of those who do, many if not most just don't see Heaven as having anything much to do with earth's future. Heaven is someplace else, not here on earth, in the minds of most of the Christians I have ever known. But in my perspective, Heaven is a hoped for state of life right here on earth, a future condition of earth in which all of the inhabitants live in mutual respect and love and with an enlightened awareness of truth, God, and reality, and from that perspective understand what is needed for not just the survival but also the enjoyment of life on earth.
Our world isn't like that now because we haven't chosen it. The potential is there but we haven't chosen to make it happen. Instead, we have chosen the pursuit of wealth, power, and greed - self-interest. We haven't chosen to make our world a place where we do to others that which we would have them do to us.
But back to my main topic. How can I know what is right and what is wrong? I have a new test. Whenever I wonder if something is good or bad, I ask myself if it is something I hope will exist in heaven. Usually it becomes quite clear right away when I use that measure. One good example is whether I imagine Heaven to be inhabited by right-wing legalistic war-mongering religious zealots. These days it is those people who imagine themselves inhabiting a Heaven far above this earth while God burns this place to hell.
I don't envision people like that in Heaven!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The snow-dusted trail at the top of Big Moose Mountain (Big Squaw) east of Greenville. It was late afternoon on October 28 with a winter-like wind mildly driving the below-freezing air. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 29, 2004

Maggot Infested

Yesterday afternoon I was driving home after two long nights of work. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh for entertainment. He made some interesting claims. Mind you my mind was blurred and I didn't record his talk so I may not have these memories exactly right, but from what I recall...
Some high school is encouraging students to get out and vote. Like all public schools, this is a liberal effort to undermine the election of the President. Limbaugh pictured long-haired maggot infested teenagers going to the home of vulnerable old ladies who would happily let these scumbag kids into their houses where the kids would case the place for liquor and whatever else they may wish to remove at some later date. I was thinking as I listened to this that this doesn't sound like the civic-minded high school kids that I have known. Are public high school kids who participate in after-school civic activities really like that? Where did Limbaugh get that image?
Then there was his little talk about the UN. It seems that Rush thinks the UN is a breeding ground for anti-Semitism. They consistently vote against Israel.
One of Rush's listeners messaged him to ask him why he seems a little depressed as the election approaches. Rush denied it.
Rush did confirm, though, that this whole New York Times story about the missing explosives was just totally bogus. The place was looted by Saddam long before any US soldiers got there. That's sure comforting to know.
Oh, and Arafat? He looks chipper and well, certainly not on the verge of death as the liberal media would have us think.
And these high explosives missing (or not) in Iraq... they are "weapons of mass destruction" according to Rush, chief spokesperson of the "Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies" broadcast on the "Excellence in Broadcasting" network.
How many conservatives does it take to spin this many circles and not have any of them overlap in conflict? Or are the circles something like smoke rings. Overlapping circles don't conflict if the previous smoke rings have had time to fade, something like the memory of the typical conservative American. It seems to me that there are two different kinds of conservatives involved here. One group is smart enough to spin all these circles and still maintain control. The other are forgetful enough and trusting enough to not even see the circles spinning. I'm beginning to think there is a third group as well, those who maybe aren't quite clever enough to create the spin but can see the spin and think it is necessary to keep the American mob under control.

Al Cuckoo

You sure don't need to stray very far from the right to dispel the notion that the Bush administration is genuine about wanting to discover and reveal to us the truth about the al Qaqaa explosives. I was just reading one Fox report dated today, Friday October 29, titled "U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions"
That article included this interesting little tidbit. "The bunker with the trucks parked next to it in the Pentagon's image is not one known to have contained any of the missing explosives, and Defense spokesman Di Rita said Thursday the image only shows that there was some Iraqi activity at the base on March 17."
Anyone who saw that single surveillance picture would have thought that the Pentagon photo was at least showing one of the bunkers in question. But no, it wasn't showing that at all. Go figure.
So then today the Pentagon brings forward Maj. Austin Pearson who was there April 13, three days after the date which the the Administration had claimed earlier this week that the explosives were not to be found, and this major's team removed or destroyed 250 tons of munitions from this site, presumably including some or all of the missing explosives that weren't even there three days prior to today October 29, 2004, not to mention three days prior to the major's visit on April 13, 2003. This despite the fact that there are now available for public consumption videos of those explosives in a sealed bunker at this same facility on April 18, presumably around five days after this major's team discovered and removed them.
Bush says he wants to get to the bottom of this controversy. Guess what? Bush is commander in chief of the US military. Every Army unit to visit this facility was led by people who would presumably write reports of what they did and what they saw and what they found and didn't find at these bunkers. Not only that but it would seem reasonable to conclude that the leaders of these Army units are still in the Army and could speak directly to top brass in the Pentagon or even to the President himself if that is what it would take to discover the truth. If the President can't come up with the truth in the two weeks between October 15 when he claims he first found out about this till today, then who can find it? If the President of the United States needs 14 hours to get to the bottom of something like this, the whole US government is in deep doodoo. If it takes 14 days and they still have no real clue...
Either Kerry is right and the President is incompetent or else Kerry is wrong and Bush is deliberately putting up a smoke screen to hide the truth from us for as long as he can keep it hidden. Which is it?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Qa Qaa

For those of you following the debate about the plastic explosives missing from al Qa Qaa, take a look at this Fox News story dated April 4, 2003, nearly a week before today's conservative news is saying the first US troops arrived at this site:

"Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said troops found thousands of 2-by-5-inch boxes, each containing three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.
"Initial reports suggest the powder is an explosive, but tests are still being done, a senior U.S. official said. If confirmed, it would be consistent with what the Iraqis say is the plant's purpose, producing explosives and propellants."

Networking XP

I had a fun day yesterday. The public library here in town was awarded a grant for four new Dell computers which arrived Friday. Since I am the computer guru, I went in yesterday to see if I could set them up on the network. Should be a piece of cake, right?
But I am not familiar with Windows XP and these new computers have XP Professional. I read somewhere that XP Home Edition is not meant to be networked on a domain. I believe it! By the end of the day yesterday, you could easily have convinced me that XP Professional wasn't either! I looked everywhere (almost) to see where I could make this new version of Windows submit to a domain controller and I just couldn't find it. I looked in the control panels, particularly the network and users control panels. I tried network wizards. I looked through the help system. I went online to Microsoft's support system. Nothing. Not even a clue.
By the end of the day I had managed to get XP to request a password at login and then access network resources, but it wasn't actually logged on to the domain. From the XP end of things, they appeared to be on the network, but from the Server perspective, they weren't. I discovered this when I tried to "push" the Symantec AntiVirus client onto the XP computers.
I came home after this miserable day with my tail between my legs. The day would have been better spent if I had driven to a bookstore and tried to find a book about networking XP. It's a long drive from here to the nearest bookstore containing such a book, but I still would have been better off. But I think I found the answer online last night. It would appear that there is a "Computer Name" tab in the System Properties dialog box. I guess this is the dialog box that opens when you right-click My Computer in the Start Menu? Also it is in the Performance and Maintenance Control Panel under System?
Anyway, I'll give this a shot today.
Is it my imagination or is each new version of Windows just a little less friendly? Personally, I despise XP!

Monday, October 25, 2004

350 Tons

What would life be without explosive stories like this one:
"Tons of Iraqi explosives missing"
OK so sometime around April 9, 2003, three-hundred and fifty tons of highly explosive plastic explosives vanish in Iraq. The UN knew about this material and had it under seal before the war, but because the "coalition forces" wouldn't allow the UN into Iraq during the invasion or the looting period following the invasion, enough plastic explosives to fill a dozen or more tractor trailers vanishes from a known weapons storage site?
The Pentagon and the interim Iraqi government knew about this but didn't report it till now?
That BBC site in the link above said this: "The paper claims US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was told about the missing explosives only in the past month... It is not yet known whether US President George W Bush has been informed."
Shouldn't someone in the Pentagon get fired if they are keeping these kinds of secrets from Condy and Dubya? Or are our leaders simply too busy to worry themselves with the little things? National Security Advisor???
Imagine how much safer we are now that these explosives are in the hands of unknown potential terrorists rather than the hands of Saddam.
Personally, I think they are what the Iraqi Phantom (alias Zarqawi, alias Wolfowitz) has been using to keep this war going but that's just one man's opinion, isn't it?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

What the Bleep

My daughter and I went to see a movie Thursday evening that had been running for several weeks at the Railroad Square Cinemas in Waterville. That is where we go to see movies that just don't run in the mainline movie houses. We went to see a movie called What the Bleep Do We Know?
See that movie!

October 21 Post...

Hard Frosts
It's 7:00 in the morning on this October 21st. I can't believe it'll be November in just a little over one week! But to help me adjust to that fact, there have been heavy frosts for the past two mornings, the kind of frosts where you look out the window before dawn and see the white coating and wonder if it snowed in the night. But it isn't snow, just heavy frost on the grass and the cars making both appear white.
Can you believe that Boston won last night's game? I am so amazed! I wish I had my daughter's enthusiasm for the Red Sox. I am, of course, a Red Sox fan by virtue of my birth. My dad used to watch every televised Red Sox game when I was growing up and being in northern New England, you just don't root for anyone else but the Red Sox. But I never had the level of enthusiasm that my daughter now has. In the hours before the game last night, she became progressively nervous, apprehensive. The first three games of the best of seven series for the American League Pennant were quite handily won by the Yankees and there had never in baseball history been a team which took a best of seven series after losing the first three games. But there had never in baseball history been a team which won even the sixth game in such a situation, so the Red Sox last night were already on new ground. What was so unbelievable to me was that after three very hard home games in Boston, the Red Sox made these last two away-game victories in New York seem so easy.
But anyway, it's on to the World Series! Go Red Sox!!
I haven't been online since Friday when my ISP disconnected me for being a month behind on my bill. I've been thinking about switching to Verizon DSL but procrastinating till now, but on Monday I decided to make the leap. Actually it seems like a pretty good deal, faster Internet at a lower price than regular modem access with a second phone line. So the do-it-yourself installation kit is in the mail to me and I will, with any luck, be back online next Monday. I am on the verge of having withdrawal symptoms already, though. It's been nearly a week now since I checked my email, chatted, or read my usual blogs.
To compensate for this isolation, I've been listening to conservative talk radio, what I call hate radio. It is absolutely amazing to hear how those people spin reality. Yesterday, Howie Carr had Andy Card on his show. Card was the guy who whispered in President Bush's ear on the morning of 9/11 to inform him of the second plane crash in New York City and to inform him that the US was under attack. That was when President Bush simply sat there in front of the cameras doing nothing at all for at least seven minutes, a point brought out in the Michael Moore film Farenheit 9/11. Carr referred to this seven to twenty minute silence as a "moment" rather than hinting that it was a significant period of time. Carr and Card worked together to spin this as the appropriate response from the president, both to save these young children from any fear and to alert the terrorists that they hadn't frightened the President of the United States.
Can you imagine that, though? I mean, let's analyze this for a moment. Put yourself in the President's shoes. You had no idea that the terrorists were going to attack America. Here you are in front of a dozen or more cameras at a photo-op in a second grade (mostly black) classroom in Florida. Your Chief of Staff whispers in your ear that your country is under attack by terrorists. So you wonder to yourself, "Oh, I wonder what I should do." You are the President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the US military and you just discovered that terrorists were hijacking airliners and crashing them into New York City. You know that it is your duty to lead the entire United States. So you look around and see a bunch of seven or eight year old children and think to yourself, "I certainly don't want to give these children any reason to feel afraid. After all, this is a terrorist attack on New York City, not on Florida. I'll sit here so they know nothing serious is happening." And then it dawns on you, "Oh, and if I do get up and excuse myself and go make contact with the rest of my administration, that will be a sign of weakness in the eyes of these terrorists, whoever they are. I certainly wouldn't want to make them think that they had interrupted a presidential photo-op. I'll sit right here and fiddle with myself and see if I can look unfazed until this photo-op gig is over. That way, these terrorists will know they can't terrorize me."
Conservative talk radio is good when you need a good laugh, but if I try to listen to it when I need strength do do hard work, I find my strength drained after an hour or so of this frustrating babble.
I broke down and bought - had my wife buy, actually - Kitty Kelly's new biography of the Bush clan, The Family. I read Chapter Nine this morning where she covers Senator Prescott Bush's early years in the Senate when Dwight Eisenhower was elected President and Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy was on his anti-red rampage. McCarthy's anti-communist rantings remind me of our own age's anti-liberal rantings. Prescott Bush, according to the book, wrestled with his own disdain for McCarthy's techniques. Bush's integrity clashed with McCarthy's popularity even back home in Connecticut, so Bush struggled with his response. According to the book, Maine's Senator Margaret Chase Smith had made her "Declaration of Conscience" speech in 1950 where she said, "I do not want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny - fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear."
Oh how appropriate those words are to today! I grew up thinking that McCarthy had been disgraced and that the Republican Party represented principles reflected by the integrity of people Like Maine's Margaret Chase Smith. That illusion, for me, was shattered by Nixon, but to think that we have back-slid all the way back to McCarty, using fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear to gain conservative political victory over liberal ideology simply makes me sick.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Middle East Futures

Juan Cole has an interesting post today titled " Bush v. Kerry: The Persian Gulf Empire and Perpetual War" in which he discusses the difference between Kerry's likely Middle East policy and Bush's. In his post, he discusses the likelihood under Bush of permanent military bases in Iraq against the wishes of 80% of Iraq's population.
Yesterday I read an article in The Nation titled "When Presidents Lie" posted October 7 by Eric Alterman.
This article goes a long way toward explaining why Bush hasn't been accurately informing either the people of the US or the people of the world about the real reasons for the Iraq War and the future plans for US involvement in the Middle East.

Third Presidential Debate

I watched the third presidential debate last night. I actually stayed in front of the TV and watched the whole thing. I give myself a congratulatory pat on the back for that accomplishment!
As usual, there is a media debate today about who won. Thinking back on it, I have to conclude that I can't see a winner. But what I do see is two clear losers!
Did anyone notice the matching suits? As far as I could tell, they even wore matching ties. My wife noticed that the ties seemed to match the carpet on the stage. Considering that the entire debate was carefully planned by the two political parties, what would this signify, that both men crawl on their bellies? That would seem an appropriate conclusion considering the debate.
Bush certainly came out crawling with his denial that he ever said what Kerry reported him as saying, that six months after 9/11 President Bush had said that he wasn't concerned about bin Laden. Bush did say that and his denial at the debate last night was at best disingenuous.
But Kerry's remark about Cheney's daughter was a low blow too. I would characterize that as belly crawling.
I was disappointed about the discussion over the division in US politics and public opinion. Clearly to me, this division is something that Conservatives have actively been pursuing for decades. The fact that there is now such a deep rift reflects the success of that conservative agenda. The seeds of mistrust of "liberals" and the so-called "liberal media" sewn over the years by conservatives have finally shown fruit during the Bush administration. Kerry had the perfect opportunity to point that out, but he didn't. Instead, he just fumbled with the question.
But Bush's half spoken attack on the media fell flat. I thought that made him look a bit foolish and divisive.
All in all, I think that debate was quite clearly a debate between two losers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Depressing News

I couldn't take it! It was just too much truth for one hour!
No, I didn't listen to the Rush Limbaugh show again today. I just got up from an afternoon rest with Amy Goodman's Democracy Now program on the radio keeping me company. If you ever really want to hear the flip side of conservative talk radio, this has got to be it!
Today, Amy featured Naomi Klein who has a current article in The Nation titled "James Baker's Double Life" posted yesterday, October 12.
In it, Ms Klein informs her readers of the huge apparent conflict of interest involving President Bush's Special Presidential Envoy James Baker, former Secretary of State under the first President Bush. Baker was given the task by the current President Bush to negotiate debt reduction for Iraq, but according to this article, Baker also has a "relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake."
It seems that the Carlyle Group together with the Albright Group (yes, headed by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright) and others has made a secret offer to the nation of Kuwait to help Kuwait collect the $57 billion owed to them by Iraq. In exchange, Kuwait, if they accept this help, would pay this consortium $2 billion, half of which would go to the Carlyle Group. It appears that Kuwait is considering this offer while at the same time Baker is conducting now stalled negotiations for Iraqi debt reductions.
This is almost sick enough to make me want to puke. I mean, does the word "extortion" come to mind here? Is Baker in a position to hurt the financial interests of Kuwait if that government doesn't agree to pay this billion dollars to the Carlyle Group? Not that he would ever do a thing like that, mind you. He is, after all, a man of integrity like President Bush and his daddy, right? These are guys we can trust, right?

What If He Really Means It?

For a long time I have been wondering what it would men if George Bush really means the things he says. What if when he says things are going well in Iraq, he really means it? I mean, here is John Edwards spreading the word that Bush is "out of touch" with America, how can anyone fix a problem if he denies that there even is a problem, all that kind of thing. And here are the Bush supporters silently, secretly, believing that Bush didn't anticipate the extent of the post-war problems in Iraq but also believing that everything possible is being done to advance stability and democracy over there.
But what nobody is considering is the possibility that the continued and escalating opposition to the US military presence is actually something that Bush considers to be positive, good for the future of American interests in the Middle East. I can see at least two different ways that this could be possible. One of those ways has become common rhetoric for the Bush administration. The other way, if it is true, is still a secret.
The first way this could be possible is the "bring it on" mentality. We all know that Bush used this phrase in 2003, well after the US occupation of Iraq was accomplished, to invite Islamic militants to come to Iraq to fight their war. In the 2004 campaign, Bush is spreading an illusion of security by pointing out that Americans are safer if we wage the war on terror over there as opposed to fighting terrorists here at home. From that, I would conclude that military action, killing "terrorists" and anyone who either does or might in the future harbor terrorists, is a good thing. Bush is right. Things are going as planned in Iraq. Bush isn't "out of touch," as Edwards and Kerry claim, he is merely operating under a different set of values. War and killing in the name of national security is a positive thing in the Bush value system. It is a sign of "good" to kill "evil."
That mentality may win votes in America, but it won't win the purse strings of those who are financing the war. I think there is a much more practical way of justifying the escalating violence in Iraq.
I think the United States is standing at a crossroads in its history. We are facing the need to make a difficult and potentially very painful choice. Several things have delivered us to this crossroads. One is that we have used, and to a large extent squandered, our domestic petroleum supply. We have become heavily dependent on foreign oil. The second, and just as serious, problem is that year after year, we are exposing ourselves to a balance of trade deficit. We are selling our souls for cheap foreign goods. And as if that weren't enough, we are shipping our own manufacturing capacity overseas in the name of free trade. And we are doing this with no solution in sight with respect to jobs for American workers or the means to balance foreign trade.
I tend to link the Iraq War and the occupation that has followed with this economic world trade problem. I think there are people of influence, American capitalists, bankers, politicians, and planners, who believe that in order for the US to remain economically viable in the new global economy, we need to dominate the energy industry. Capturing Iraq's resources and establishing a strong military presence in the Middle East is key to accomplishing that goal.
Bush knows this. He knows how important it is for the US to have military bases in Iraq. He knows how central Iraq is to the supply of oil and gas to Asia and Europe. He knows that Iraq lies close enough to the Gulf and to the Caspian Basin to provide air superiority support to both regions and to any regions where pipelines could deliver this energy to either Asia or Europe. He also knows how important it is for US corporations to access that oil. He understands both military and economic hegemony. He understands the balance of trade problem and how important it is for the US to establish dominance in the world energy supply.
If there was peace in Iraq now, the American public and the world would expect the US to bring its military home from Iraq. The world would not consider it appropriate for the US to maintain a strong military presence in a peaceful Iraq.
Bush knows this. So when Bush says things are going well in Iraq, is he "out of touch" or does he know and has he accepted that which we have not yet accepted as a nation, that the US needs to continue this war in Iraq, that war, not peace, is a good thing?
Four more years? You tell me...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


For those among us suffering from paranoia... or is this about another kind of paranoia?:
US seizes independent media sites

Monday, October 11, 2004

A summer home in "downeast" Maine. This is in the town of Perry and overlooks Passamaquoddy Bay looking east toward New Brunswick, Canada. This is almost as far east as you can get in the US. Posted by Hello

Here is an interesting pattern formed by nature along the downeast Maine coast. Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 07, 2004

After take-off from the Greenville airport today. Jets are rare here but this one had lots of runway to spare. Posted by Hello

A moose welcomed me this morning to the yard where I am salvaging firewood. Posted by Hello


I am so relieved!!
I spent part of today smoking cigarettes and listening to conservative talk radio, mainly the Rush Limbaugh show but also a little bit of Howie Carr, on my truck radio while I was out in the woods cutting firewood. I can't even begin to tell you how many incredible things I learned just in one day! I listened to Limbaugh on the EIB - that's "Excellence In Broadcasting" - network. I learned so much it's no wonder Limbaugh has coined his thing the "Rush Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies."
Where do I even begin!
I learned that everything is now OK since the thousand page report on Iraq's WMDs (or lack thereof) has confirmed what the Bush administration has been saying all along, that Saddam had every intention of immediately rebuilding his WMD stockpile as soon as the UN was duped by the crafty Germans, Russians, and Chinese among others into lifting the sanctions, and that he almost certainly wasn't just interested in defense but would have used those weapons on us. What a relief to know that! I've only heard a few things in the media, specifically the totally untrustworthy NPR network, about that report, the media being what the Limbaugh show refers to as the media wing of the Democratic Party, or something like that. I guess that means anyone not representing the media wing of the Republican Party?
Correct me if I'm mistaken, but did I hear somewhere that this information confirming the need for the war was based on confessions of top-level former Iraqi officials now in Iraqi prisons? Ummm.... No no, I shouldn't go there. That is one dark corner for sure and today was such an enlightening day! Why spoil it!!
I also learned that what appeared as Cheney lies in this week's debate were simply innocent mistakes. Wow, I was so relieved to hear that!
And then there was the knowledge that shoe-shining strangers are hanging around American schools and we need to be very wary about them so we can help prevent a repeat of the school terrorism incident in Russia.
What else... It all came so fast and furious it's hard for me to remember it all. Let me think on this awhile...
Afghanistan is undergoing a major economic boom now that they are free enough to run war lords in the race for their president.
Oh, there was a new book that documents Bush's successes in the War on Terror. What was the name of that book.....? Hmmmmm.... A terrorist with an aircraft mechanic's license for Kennedy International caught in Africa somewhere... the naval aspect of the terror war... how bin Laden escaped in Afghanistan... the Russians couldn't manage Tora Bora so how were we supposed to... Good book!
Oh, there was so much more too. I just can't recall it all at the moment. But I am so relieved now to know all these facts! Now I can finally get some rest knowing that we're in good hands with George Bush at the helm! 4 More Years! 4 More Years! Pass the opium... The good stuff... You know, the Afghan stuff?
Insect bites!! Ouch!! I feel as though I was naked out in the Maine woods without bug repellent in early June shaking the blackflies out of the trees. The pain comes from a thousand tiny places, not just one place like a broken leg. God Bless Conservatives. 4 More Years!!!!
Maybe I should just quit smoking instead...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Baker Mountain east of Greenville, taken from the shore of Baker Pond on Sunday October 3. Many of the maples have already shed their leaves. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 04, 2004

Will the Real Condoleezza Please Stand

So Condi Rice, that's Doctor Rice to anyone wishing to show this lady some respect, is still standing behind her pre-war claim that Saddam was preparing to arm Iraq for a nuclear strike against the US. Do you suppose it has ever occurred to her that touting known lies is a good way to lose credibility?
Rice: Iraqi nuclear plans unclear
'People are still debating this,' she says

Inverted Reality

I am reading a book by David Brock called The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. It's slow reading for me. My daughter read it first. She is an excellent reader but even she complained about how hard it was to read and especially how hard it was to get started, to get into it. I'm only on page 70 and I've been at it for at least a couple of weeks.
The first 69 pages are spent introducing a dizzying flood of names of conservative politicians, media celebrities, think tanks, and wealthy financiers. But I just came across an interesting term, a concept that I have been framing for over a year but didn't know what to name it. Brock is writing about the Heritage Foundation and other conservative "spin-offs" and how they were meant to mirror more mainstream "liberalism." Speaking of the so-called liberal groups, he writes:
As small-d democrats, they rarely acted in top-down unison and were for the most part organized around single issues, not around broader ideological work or sustained critiques of conservatism. Many of them, like consumer advocate Ralph Nader, had immense media flair, especially in the 1970s. Yet because they did not conduct their issue advocacy behind the walls of think tanks, the liberals stood accused by the Right of representing "special interests" over the public interest, in a complete inversion of reality.
The suggestion of inverting reality is what caught my eye here. It seems to me that this is a technique very frequently used by conservatives when they point fingers at their foes. For instance, one conservative thinker who reads some of my stuff recently suggested that I "stop trying to claim a moral high ground that you will never possess." This from a man who associates his own political thinking with the "Right" with a capital "R." Accusing me of attempting to be moral is about as funny as it gets. The "Moral Majority," as you may recall, left me standing in the dust many years ago when it transformed the Right.
Or there is the one where the Bush war hawks like to speak of the Iraqi resistance fighters as "terrorists" as though "shock and awe" aren't terrorism.
I'll have to keep my eyes open now that I have a name for this practice. Inverted reality... That's a good one...

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A Cesspool of Lies

To a bacteria living in a cesspool, the smell probably doesn't seem like a stench at all. More than likely, it seems quite normal, quite healthy.
Along the same vein, a Republican living in the cesspool of lies that constitute American conservative philosophy must perceive the stench of those lies as quite normal, quite healthy.