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 30, 2005

Liar Liar

Imagine someone in the pure White House lying.......
Who'd 'a ever thunk...??
And the funny part is the President and Vice President had no idea they did it!
Boy oh boy...
That's a tight ship they got there, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Agreement

Now here's something I can agree with:
http://kurtnimmo.com/?p=82

Monday, October 24, 2005

X

I watched CBS News this evening and was surprised to hear a new theory concerning the White House Plamegate scandal. It seems now that there are rumors circulating (source unknown and apparently unneeded) that there is a Mr. X involved in the release of Valerie Plame's name to the media, the theory being that if Mr. X isn't prosecuted, nobody else should be either. My initial response was I wonder whatever happened to responsible journalism at CBS. Perhaps this is payback for Rathergate.
But then I realized that there was a second possibility. There is a phantom operating among us. I saw his picture in the paper the other day when I was standing at the checkout counter in a store in a nearby town waiting for my wife to write a check for groceries and then be told that personal checks aren't accepted except from locals. The picture looked familiar, but then again it didn't, so I read the headline and low and behold it was the Phantom of Iraq, Zarqawi, but he had taken on a whole new look. He was westernized. He was wearing a western-style white shirt and large-framed glasses, no hat but a slightly receding hairline and strangely enough, the very same facial expression that he had on his one other ever in history picture. By the looks of it, Mr. Zarqawi must have taken a position as a respected university professor somewhere in the Western World, or at least that's what he looked like in the picture.
It wasn't until just this evening that I realized why he looked so familiar. I see his look-alike every time I log in to Juan Cole's blog at Informed Comment: http://www.juancole.com/
Putting 2 and 2 together, I realized that perhaps the Phantom of Iraq is also the Phantom of the White House, the illustrious new Mr. X and that CBS really wasn't taking a quantum leap after all since CBS is one of the primary voices for Zarqawi-hating propaganda just as the New York Times was a primary voice of pre-Iraq War propaganda regarding WMDs. It's hard to find the links sometimes, but the world really does make sense if you study all the possibilities.
I needed to get my truck inspected today so I took it to a local garage late this afternoon. While I was waiting I was watching CNN coverage of Hurricane Wilma's hit on Florida, but there was something odd about the coverage. In the end, I realized that what I had seen was a shameless ten or fifteen minute plug for Jeb Bush for President in '08! Is there no end to all this MainStream Media political propaganda nonsense??????? Is that our fate now in the media? Is reality really up for sale to the highest bidder?

Division by 2

Last night I came across a blog post about Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor for the first President Bush back during the Gulf War of 1991. Scowcroft has opposed the Bush II Middle East War from the time of the Iraq invasion. As with many others in Washington and around the world, he felt that the Iraq invasion sidetracked the War on Terror.
I almost lost this link, but here's the article referenced in the blog that I was reading:
http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001024.html
That article references an article in The New Yorker, October 31, 2005 issue, in which author Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Scowcroft. An online interview with the article's author appears here:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/051031on_onlineonly01
I find it interesting that Goldberg refers to the Pentagon's Iraq War planner Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank, this way: "Paul Wolfowitz, on the other hand, is a liberal, but a liberal who believes that transformation can be brought about by force, not just persuasion." This fact has been well documented in liberal cyberspace. Could it possibly be that conservatives are beginning to catch on? Is there any mention of this neoconservative/non-neoconservative split in the party on conservative talk radio yet?
Scowcroft's criticisms aren't new. Another article appears in the Washington Post from a year ago:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36644-2004Oct15.html
But are conservatives now beginning to listen? It must be painful in a culture dominated by loyalty to George W. Bush for conservatives to see their emperor with his pants down around his ankles. As for me, though, I'm more concerned with why Cheney and Rove and Card and Libby and Rumsfeld and Guckert and Bartlett and Gonzales and Miers and even Rice are on their knees in that metaphor... It must be something in the culture. Probably something left over from the Clinton years in the Oval Office?
Clearly there is developing a split in the Republican Party, one side still loyal to the Bush White House, the other side cautiously realizing that such loyalty almost certainly will spell political suicide. I attended a Democratic party fund-raiser this weekend at which Howard Dean was the keynote speaker. It amazes me now to see someone like Scowcroft whose views on Iraq are almost indistinguishable from those of Dean. If the Republicans do split and shed their emperor, I don't think that will bode well for the Democratic Party next year. But if they again rally around Bush, I think what I heard at this rally has a good chance of becoming true. 2006 will be an interesting year in American politics.
Rumors are flying around that Bush isn't a happy camper at the moment. I can't imagine why, can you?

More Needed

If there is any truth to this story out of England, then it is clear that more is needed in Iraq if the Bush victory is ever to happen. In fact, it would appear that US and British troops now need to kill at least 65% of the civilian population in Iraq. Using the words of Bill Bennett, "That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but" how else can the insurgency be defeated?
Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops
How am I doing Mike? Am I walking in conservative shoes yet? Am I on the scent?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

World War

"We have to level with the American people," said Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican. "This is another world war."
From this article in the Washington Times covering Condoleezza Rice's appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week:
http://washingtontimes.com/world/20051019-095906-4805r.htm
It would appear, according to the write-up, that the US has embarked on an effort to reshape the entire Middle East.
"Unless we commit to changing the nature of the Middle East, and if we tire and decide that we are going to withdraw and leave the people of the Middle East to despair, I can assure you that the people of the United States are going to live in insecurity and fear for many, many decades to come," Miss Rice said.
"We had to make a decision that we were going to go after the root cause of what caused September 11," she said. "So what I'm describing to you, Senator, is not what you voted for in the war resolution, but the broader strategy of the administration."
To me, this would seem like an impeachable offense, to appropriate the American military into a World War without the consent of Congress. Why does it not seem that way to conservatives?

Friday, October 21, 2005

What Danger?

How often do I post a link to Michelle Malkin?
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/003749.htm
Could it possibly be that conservatives are finally waking up? After the past 5 years, that seems almost too much to hope for... But this is just a very tiny bit encouraging. Still, I fear this is orchestrated to serve some sinister purpose. Everything else in the past 5 years has been so why should anything be different now.....

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rice Mush

Last night I watched a little bit of the Condoleezza Rice debriefing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As usual, she masterfully eluded clarity presenting the Senate with a virtual rice pudding of half muddled answers. I don't know why they even bothered to waste their time on her but maybe she said something that mattered. CBS News carried a little bit of her talk while PBS covered perhaps another minute or two of the debate.
At one point she was asked if the US would perhaps be able to begin troop withdrawals sometime within the next five years and she gave no hope at all of that, so the same senator asked her the same thing but asked if it would begin within the next ten years and again she gave no sign at all that she was hopeful. Instead, she talked about the hopeful signs all over Iraq that the Iraqis were taking responsibility for their own governance.
In the television debate on PBS that followed their coverage of this event, the commentators discussed this issue, but their discussion was along the lines of when the US might be able to begin withdrawing troops. What they didn't discuss was what Ms. Rice was actually saying. In fact, I don't think I have ever, and I do mean ever, watched or listened to a news show that actually considered the real Bush plan for US troops in Iraq. It's not that the Bush Administration hasn't ever expressed themselves about this issue either. They have, and quite clearly. Rather, it's that the news shows always choose not to see what is being said.
Now I will concede that the message from the White House and the Pentagon is confusing. On the one hand, this administration knows that the American people want the war to end, want the expense of destruction to cease, and want the troops back home where it is safe. The White House has been trying to appease this sentiment by not consistently presenting their plan for the troops. Instead, the White House presents the situation as though troop withdrawals are possible at any time, but we can't talk about that since it would encourage the enemy to wait us out, to hang on until we leave.
A rational mind would see that this is a bogus argument. A rational mind would understand that if this were the case, if the Americans were actually planning to leave Iraq when things settle down, the enemy would respond by laying low until the occupiers leave, and then launch their offensive. A rational mind would see that this isn't happening because the enemy, consisting mainly of Iraq's citizens, understands that the Americans have no intention of leaving Iraq even if peace were to break out.
But the American public's mind can't comprehend this notion. Americans want to believe that the US will withdraw from Iraq some time soon, as soon as Iraq can police itself. The American mind can't begin to comprehend what Rice and Rumsfeld and Cheney and Bush and all the Neo-cons know, that the US has committed its troops to Iraq for a very very long time and no matter what happens politically in Iraq, the troops are not coming home. The Middle East is the world's current "Cold War." Iraq is the new staging ground and refueling station for America's military threat. If there are wars to be fought in the Middle East, Iraq will be America's Middle East fortress for waging those wars. That is why the enemy won't just lay low till America withdraws its troops. There is no time in the foreseeable future for withdrawing America's troops from Iraq. That is the reality and that is why Rice could give no hope at all to the Senate yesterday that we would draw down our force in Iraq within the next ten years.
So why do we keep deluding ourselves by thinking otherwise?
If you don't agree with me, then I dare you to prove me wrong. Words won't do it, either. It would take actions to prove that what I am saying is wrong.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Evolution of Torture

If you missed last night's Frontline on Public TV, it's not too late. This is something that every American needs to see, whether you agree with the program's presentation or not. Here's the link to the program online:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/torture/
This program traces the evolution of torture in the US military since 9/11, how it became Pentagon policy in Guantanamo Bay and then spread to Iraq. This was by far the most revealing presentation of the evidence that I have seen yet. Frontline interviews key members of the military including the heads of Guantanamo Bay and abu Graib, presents as evidence official Pentagon documents, and presents a convincing case of how the Pentagon itself was responsible for the torture.
Very much worth watching...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Miers

Harriet Miers is a shoe-in. I don't buy anything the Right is saying to the contrary. I especially don't buy this notion that Republicans care one hoot about her judicial philosophy. They don't. For conservatives, faith is enough. No proof is required.
When the vote comes, I predict 100% support from Republicans.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Virtue of Discretion

Self Discipline, Compassion, Responsibility, Friendship, Work, Courage, Perseverance, Honesty, Loyalty, Faith
Those are the ten headings listed in the "Contents" page of William J. Bennett's 1993 book The Book of Virtues: A treasury of Great Moral Stories.
Nowhere in that list, and nowhere even in the index of that book do I find the word "discretion." Why not?
Discretion - the quality of being discreet
Discretion is an interesting thing. Jeff Gannon promised to be discreet on his websites promising homosexual services in the Washington DC area for $200 an hour. Dating services that specialize in adult services including extra-marital affairs are full of ads promising discretion. This kind if discretion is merely secrecy painted with a virtuous word.
I once belonged to a Bible thumping church led by an easy-going, almost always smiling, full of humor pastor who enjoyed the confidence and the trust of his congregation up until it became apparent that he had fathered a child by the wife of a young deaf church-going man who was killed in an automobile accident. In disgrace, this pastor was made to confess what he had done to his congregation. I witnessed his confession. My impression was that he hadn't confessed to any sin. Why should he? He loved this woman and wanted her to be his wife some day. How could it have been sin? Rather, he seemed to confess to his betrayal of trust, to hurting his congregation. In other words, he asked forgiveness for the indiscretion, for allowing the truth to come out.
Donald Rumsfeld, when the abu Ghraib prison photos surfaced on the Internet and then in the news, complained about how easy it is now to get pictures like these circulated all around the world. Rather than showing concern for the abuse, his concern was over the indiscretion of the soldiers involved. I suppose that explains why only the soldiers involved in the pictures were punished.
In recent months, Americans have been asked to forgive Bill Bennett for his indiscretion in suggesting that we could reduce crime by exterminating the Black race in America. When Jeff Gannon was revealed to be a male homosexual prostitute and not a legitimate Washington journalist, we were expected to forgive the indiscretion of the White House. We have been told by Condoleeza Rice not to impugn her integrity by suggesting that she lied to us about Iraq or 9/11 or anything else that she lied to us about. To maintain respectability as a legitimate nation, we are to remain discreet about such things. The same holds true with respect to the Pentagon, Karl Rove, Bill Frist, Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, Alberto Gonzales and the abuse of war prisoners, dual-citizenship Neo-cons in high positions in the Bush government, Bill Bennett's gambling habits, and the sexual escapades of countless Republicans connected to the White House and Congress.
The problem is that the virtue expected of conservatives is discretion, secrecy. Conservatives generally concede that their leaders can be whoever they are in their private lives and even in their public lives as long as they are discreet about it. The sin is in breaking down the walls of secrecy and letting the truth escape out into the public. Indiscretion leads to embarrassment for the righteous Right. Indiscretion is the hallmark of the Left exemplified by the homosexual rights movement and the public acceptance of abortion. Conservatives are supposed to do these things in secret while publicly proclaiming the horrors of that kind of behavior.
Out of dire need, conservatives have adopted a coping mechanism which they use to overcome the effects of all these indiscretions. That coping mechanism is forgiveness. Conservatives find it in their hearts to forgive immoral conservatives. The conservative mantra in light of these indiscretions is, "Nobody is perfect." Rush Limbaugh takes drugs? Nobody is perfect. Bill Bennett has a gambling problem? Nobody is perfect. Karl Rove is involved in a high-level White House conspiracy to falsify intelligence about Iraq and in the process endangers a CIA operative? Nobody is perfect. Bill Frist makes a bundle of money by selling stock in a family-run corporation just in time before the stock value plummets? Nobody is perfect. Tom DeLay breaks every ethics rule in the book when it comes to campaign financing and influence peddling? Nobody is perfect. Why, just look at the sleazy liberal making the charges!
The thing that is hardest for me to understand, though, is why it is so easy and so natural for conservative Christians to go along with this nonsense.

PNAC

Some day I'll read this document dated September 2000:
REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES
Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century
http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf
Presumably this pre 9/11, pre Bush Neo-con document outlines the need to overthrow Saddam and secure Iraq's oil for our forward military bases in that region. But if that's in there, I have yet to discover where. Any clues, anyone?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Justice(s)

I fear that some of you (probably most of you if not even simply ALL of you) aren't going to enjoy this post. But when did that ever stop me from exercising my Constitutional Rights? Eh?
With the Supreme Court turnover this year, one has to wonder what is going on down there in DC ("down" in the Hades sense of the word) with Bush's nominations of political hacks and personal friends. First there was John Roberts with all of two years' experience on the bench, a long-time political hack for the Republicans, who virtually skated through the Senate confirmation process cleverly dodging any serious discussion about how he might go about defending the Constitution. Democrats seemed worried about his lack of a record with which to judge his ability, but it didn't seem to bother Republicans at all.
Now there is the Harriet Meiers thing and the whole notion of needing to know a Supreme Court judge nominee's philosophy is turned from one ear to the other, in this case to the Republican ear. Suddenly it is the Republicans who have a need to know.
But you know, I have a different take on this thing. You see, Harriet Meiers isn't just any old Republican hack. She is President Bush's lawyer. She is a Bush hack and Bush has a very good reason for wanting her on the Supreme Court. It is almost without doubt that if Bush has been up to anything sneaky "down" there in DC, Meiers knows about it. And Bush is beginning to see the writing on the wall. Bush knows that there's a very good chance that if somehow that mountain of classified information for which his administration is known should have a landslide such as Rovegate, not only might the public insist on impeachment, but Bush and Company could easily face big-time jail time. Who better to have on the bench in the highest court in the land than your long-time lawyer friend from Texas, the lady who already knows all about the contents of that mountain?
Just one man's opinion...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Disturbing

Today I write about sex. I know, I know, dirty old man thinking about sex at my age and all that jazz... But here I go anyway. What I want to write about is the way my perspective on sex is changing and how I am discovering that I think there is a great deal about how people in this day think about sex that is disturbing to me.
My background in life is as a bit of a prude. I have heard rumors that my dad was anything but that in his first life, but I didn't get to know him until his second life as I was born when he was sixty years old. By then he was comfortably settled with his second wife, my mom, on a hillside in Maine overlooking beautiful Wilson Pond and the mountains to the east. However, as near as I can tell, my mom came from a rather prudish family, ancestors to the modern conservative Christian movement. Even though she rebelled, being among the many women commonly referred to as "Rosie the Riveter" in upstate New York during World War II and then moving to Maine on her own where she met my still-married dad, details never revealed, she still somehow managed to entrench in me a sense of prudishness that I'm sure I'll never completely free myself from no matter how I try or who I meet before I die.
Yet I was a product of the 60s and a fringe member of the sexual revolution generation. I suppose I just had a few too many hang-ups to fully appreciate the revolution. I was a virgin till I was 21. It's not that I hadn't explored my own sexuality, though. It's just that I was way too shy and ashamed to explore the sexuality of women, even though that's exactly what I wanted to do. I was never into the guy thing.
Enough of my background, now what is this post going to say?
I am disturbed about a few things I have experienced lately. I think I first realized this fact about a year ago when I went to a wedding of two young conservative Christians. I didn't know this couple well enough to know about their personal lives, whether they were virgins or not, how they thought about sex, that sort of thing. But the wedding was conducted in such a way as to present the image of them as virgins. While most weddings don't put a significant (if any) emphasis on sex, I was surprised at this wedding to find many allusions to the sexual relations these two young people would now be able to share once they had completed this marriage bond. There were giggles and murmurings from those in the church who knew this couple. At one point in the wedding the pastor, eyes bulging and a lustful smile on his face, paused and asked us all to behold this beautiful maiden, congratulating the groom on the pleasures he would soon enjoy with this young woman. To put it simply, it made me sick, disturbed, freakin' pissed off. My apologies to the couple for feeling this way, but that's the reaction I had. To be fair, it's not that the whole wedding was about sex. It's just that there was far too much subtle innuendo for comfort.
What refreshed my memory about this event was an article in the June 30 - July 14 2005 issue of Rolling Stone, page 103, titled "the YOUNG & the SEXLESS" about a modern Christian chastity movement among American singles. I'll leave it to you to read the magazine, but here's a blog from one of the people mentioned by this article:
http://www.dawneden.com/blogger.html
I think I prefer reading Dawn's blog, however, to reading young female blogs like these:
http://singleserves.blogspot.com/
or worse,
http://diaryofaliberatedwoman.blogspot.com/
Sexual liberation isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Yesterday I rented a 2003 movie called The Magdalene Sisters which is about a Catholic convent in Ireland where shamed women were committed to a life of repentance, essentially isolated and punished not for their own shame but for the shame that society would feel in their presence, shame that society and religion then forces onto these women. The movie is dark and disturbing, but again it shines a spotlight on religion's obsessions with sex.
And I think that's what I'm getting at here. Religion can and does often become obsessive about sex and when it happens, it is deeply disturbing to witness because the real obsession isn't about sex at all. It becomes an obsession about shame. Yes if somebody wishes to remain a virgin, great. That's a good choice, safe and healthy. If somebody wishes to explore sexuality, that's OK too but it is nearly impossible to do that outside of marriage without both emotional and health risks. Live and learn applies when a person takes that route in life. The disturbing part comes, though, when religion is applied to impose on society a set of rules, often breached in secrecy, which restrict and punish the innocent while liberating the cheaters. Find me a religion obsessed with sex where there are no cheaters, where the innocent and the youthful are not forced to feel shame for healthy and natural feelings. Find me a legalistic religion not darkened by the shadow of those who secretly abuse their authority.
Disturbing...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bennett is Back

Bill Bennett is back in the news. It seems he made an appearance in Bakersfield California at a business conference where he was cheered by 4,500 people for defending his comments about aborting the entire black race in America.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051009/ap_on_re_us/bennett_race
What is there about these conservatives that they never have to admit to their mistakes? It's always the fault of the liberal this or the liberal that. It's never that a conservative shot off his or her filthy mouth and said something totally wrong and stupid.
But you know, what Bennett is quoted as saying on his radio program is very tricky. Expressing doubts to a claim in the book Freakonomics that the drop in the crime rate is related to the increase in the abortion of unwanted pregnancies, Bennett says this:
BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either, I don't think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don't know. But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
For the quote in context, go here:
http://www.freakonomics.com/2005/09/bill-bennett-and-freakonomics.html
It is worth noting that in the Freakonomics comments about Bennett in the link above, they dispute Bennett's claim, yet Bennett still holds to it, or at least hasn't corrected himself.
One might paraphrase the argument by saying that if America takes the position that abortion is morally acceptable (the liberal view) and if America wants to reduce crime, then why not just use abortion to exterminate the black race in America since the crime rate among blacks is so much higher than it is among whites. Wouldn't that be an effective liberal policy for reducing crime? The only problem is that by current conservative American standards, that would be immoral. That appeared to be Bill Bennett's argument and it's a very tricky argument.
It is clear from what he said that he personally wouldn't do what he suggested. He wouldn't abort all black babies because he is opposed to abortion. One could also argue that within Bennett's definition of "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible" lies racial genocide, although he didn't clarify that issue. The topic at hand was abortion and Bennett's position there seems clear. He is a good conservative.
But when it comes to social class, the conservative viewpoint gets fuzzy. Bennett's claim relates to blacks as a social class in America. Bennett is saying that blacks as a social class are disproportionately represented in crime. This is the claim that the Freakonomics website disclaims. Freakonomics claims that when corrected for economic conditions, blacks in America are no more likely to commit crimes than any other race. Yet Bennett hasn't seen fit to correct himself on that.
But that's only a small part of the offense taken to his remarks. What Bennett proposed under the clever disguise of moral reprehension was the eradication of the black race in America. To me, and I'm sure to many other Americans, that seemed quite Nazi. We live in an age where the Nazi regime is condemned for the Holocaust which we view as the attempted eradication of the Jews. What we conveniently ignore is that the Nazi regime promoted the concept of white Aryan supremacy, not merely over Jews but over all other races. That concept lost its home in Europe after World War II but has managed to survive elsewhere in the world including here in the US. Talk like what Bennett did feeds that concept, feeds white supremacy, and feeds the hatred that brews wherever white supremacy is stirred up. That is the offense that Bill Bennett committed and that is the reason why he needs to not only apologize but prove to all of America that the conservative movement is not giving a home to white supremacy. Conservative rhetoric proves otherwise, so that would be a tough challenge for Bennett, especially if he harbors the kinds of ideas that his comments suggest and is not willing to admit his offensive rhetoric.
It is totally wrong to blame Bennett's problems on the liberal media or on liberals in general. It is completely right to ask if the philosophy of the wealthy American families who financially backed Nazi Germany still lives on in America and if so, why and where and how. The only way we can do that is to expose this racism wherever it shows its ugly head and Bill Bennett's comment certainly was ugly.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Neocon Ideology

I was just reading the President's speech from Thursday, the one he gave for the National Endowment for Democracy.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051006-3.html
This is a deeply troubling speech, unlike anything I recall hearing from him before. It is truly a neocon document which he presented. I've wondered before just how much of a neocon Bush was, whether it was actually his philosophy or if he was simply going along with it since the neocons were in power in both the White House (Cheney) and the Pentagon (Wolfowitz and that whole Israeli group).
I suppose it's possible that Bush was merely reading a speech prepared for the occasion by neocon speechwriters, but Bush presented it with conviction enough to persuade me that he believes what he was saying. Bush definitely is a neocon.
Here's a summary of what neocons represent:
http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/neocon101.html
and here is a quiz to see if you are one!
http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/quiz/neoconQuiz.html
What troubles me the most about the president's speech is the parallel he draws between Islamic radicalism and Communism. For a long time it was claimed that Iraq was not and never would be another Vietnam, but now with this speech, the line is blurred. The president clearly illustrates the domino effect if Iraq is allowed to determine its own fate, if the US gives up the effort to establish a pro-American government there. Vietnam was fought because of the domino effect, because the American people were programmed to believe that if South Vietnam fell to the Communists from the North, all of Southeast Asia would fall, then spread west to India, and who knows where else. The president clearly outlines such a scenario if Iraq falls to this "establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom."
In the 1960s this kind of talk instilled fear into the hearts of us common Americans, fear that easily translated into hatred for Southeast Asians and fed the "military industrial establishment" that President Eisenhower warned us about. This ideology turned out to be wrong, but now it is back again under this new neoconservative guise of "Islamic radicalism and Islamo-fascism."
Do we want to hate the way we hated in the 1960s? Do we want this fear? Do we want to feel all these things that these so-called terrorists want us to feel? How long will it take us this time to realize the error of our own ways and the fruitlessness of our own hatred and fear? Iraq IS another Vietnam for America. Will we make all the same mistakes again?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thank God

Thank God for leaders like these:
Cheney:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4314234.stm
Bush:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051006-3.html
The result? Note the clever punctuation by terrorist threats:
http://www.dhonline.com/articles/2005/10/07/news/nation/nation01.txt
Speaking of God, word has it that the White House is confirming that there was no conspiring with God when it came time to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. Rumors had been spreading around that Bush had claimed that God told him to do it, but I've always wondered about that ever since I heard it way back then. I mean, would that make God out to be a liar since if anyone had really known that Iraq had no WMDs, it would certainly have been God. So it seemed obvious to me that Bush hadn't consulted with God about that. Thank God that the White House finally cleared up this matter. BBC reports:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4317498.stm

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Coke

I probably shouldn't say this in public.....
so I guess I won't.............
I'll let someone else say it. But it pertains to the news videos that I saw this evening of Bush's speech where he basically told us that we're now in a perpetual war. Was it Bush or did someone else mention the "domino effect" today? Someone did... Remember the night the Iraq War began when Bush first assured us the troops would come home as soon as the job was done? Well if you can believe what he said today, that just ain't gonna happen any time in the foreseeable future.
But anyway, while he was giving his speech, I couldn't help but notice that Bush seemed to be in a particularly good mood, acting like he was having a pretty good time giving his speech, and appearing like he was just moments away from breaking into his cocky smile even while issuing dire warnings about the threat posed by these nasty terrorists. He even managed to link bin Laden to both Iraq and the Lebanon bombing back in the Reagan years when the US CIA was busy training "the list."
Well anyway, let's let someone else give some suggestions as to why Bush may have been in such a good mood today:
http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/10/why-is-bushs-jaw-suddenly-spasming.html

Liberal Media

After reading Al Gore's speech, my mind has been on this notion that the American media is liberal in bias. Conservatives don't trust the media because for years it's been drilled into their heads that the media is liberal. Propaganda has a strange way of altering our perceptions so once you believe the media is liberal, that's what you see when you watch TV. On the other hand, liberals don't trust the media either. They don't think the media is liberal. They look at the corporate ownership issue and the corporate sponsorship issue and the way the media is for the most part ignoring the concerns of liberals and puppeting the concerns of the Bush administration and promoting the Neo-Con agenda and they say the media is not liberal.
I was thinking about this debate this morning and had a few new ideas run through my head. One is this conservative tactic that has become the norm in conservative/liberal debate where the conservative "goes for the jugular" by trying to discredit the character of the liberal opponent. By this, I don't mean a conservative in a debate with me about, let's say, Al Gore would defame Al Gore. I mean an opponent would defame me personally rather than focusing on the issue being debated. It's one thing to point to my support for a liberal issue and question that support. But it's another thing entirely to criticize my education or my intelligence or my mother or my service record or my loyalty to my country or my generation or anything else that characterizes in general who I am. Defacing your opponent in a debate isn't good debate, yet is has become a mainstay in conservative thinking and technique. Intimidating critics by defacing their character is done literally all the time on conservative talk radio and has become the norm for conservative/liberal debate.
I'm not suggesting that such debates should leave out the origins of the debaters' opinions. That's fair game as far as I am concerned. If I seem liberal, by all means point to the sources of the liberal ideas that I throw out. Criticize those ideas all you want. But that's not how the game is played anymore. The game now is a sophist game of destroying your opponent by whatever means works. Whether your criticism is based in truth or not doesn't matter anymore. What matters in debate now is how skilled you are at defacing your opponent. Listen to conservative talk radio with this idea in mind and see if what I'm saying isn't true.
So how does this apply to the notion of "liberal media?"
I think there's a new definition of political correctness at play now in American political debate. Conservatives have almost completely convinced America that it is not OK to criticize conservatives. It is fine to criticize liberals. That's no problem at all. In fact, criticizing liberals is normal, common, happens all the time. Listen to talk radio for a few minutes and you'll hear it. But it is not OK anymore to criticize conservatives. It's unpatriotic. It's sacrilege. And why is that so? Because the Right is right and anybody who criticizes what is right is evil. You're either with us or you're with the terrorists.
Conservatives have an agenda of eliminating liberalism from American politics, eradicating it. If you're a conservative and you don't believe what I just said, you haven't been listening to your own people. Pay attention to conservative rhetoric. Listen to Rush Limbaugh or any of the other hate radio hosts. Liberals are the enemy. Liberals are wrong. Liberals are atheists. Liberals are homo. Liberals are baby killers. Liberals think man evolved from the apes. Liberals want to steal your money and give it to the poor to buy their votes. Liberals want to destroy capitalism. Liberals are in bed with the Communists. Liberals are in bed with the terrorists. Liberals are all on drugs.
On the other hand, conservatives defend God. Conservatives defend your money. Conservatives support the fight against the terrorists who threaten our way of life. Conservatives defend freedom.
Conservatives are right. Liberals are wrong. And conservatives know that the best way to silence the media is to criticize them, call them names, call them "liberal" whenever they report anything that opposes or hinders the conservative agenda. And it works very effectively. And that's what Al Gore was talking about when he said that the American media can no longer be trusted to report the news. The American media has been intimidated by conservatives to the point where they are now afraid to accurately and openly report anything critical of conservatives.
The problem is, the media openly reports conservative propaganda. The media has embedded itself in the current American conservative government. The result is that what we see in the media seems to be representing the middle of the road politically. That is our perception. We perceive that the mainstream media is covering both sides of the political spectrum. We live in a surreal world where Fox News is "fair and balanced." We live in a world where CBS News is "liberal."
But what we don't live in is a world where any mainstream news is actually liberal, not CBS, not NBC, not ABC, not CNN, not even PBS. No mainstream American news network is actually liberal. The liberals have no free voice in America. The way to prove this is to actually find a liberal voice and compare it with the mainstream media. I'm not going to tell you how to do this or where to go to find it, but I assure you that it is possible to find truly liberal news still in this country and when you do, you will immediately be able to tell the difference between that and the mainstream American media.
As for me, well I just don't believe very much of what I see on TV. I look around. I have taken off the blinders and opened my mind to alternative perceptions. I have come to realize that the conservative agenda isn't for me. It simply isn't genuine. But then again, the liberal agenda doesn't seem all that genuine to me either. I am just as much afraid of Communism as I am of right-wing fascism. To me, they are two peas of different colors in the same pod. I fear government secrecy. I fear propaganda in the media. And I fear the results of uncontrolled psychological abuse which is exactly what I see going on now in America. I fear what those who listen to and believe conservative hate radio will do to our country. It's time to start listening to the other side, but in reality it's time to start thinking outside the box, color outside the lines, advance beyond the old boundaries of synthesizing "conservative" and "liberal" and find something more meaningful, more promising, more open, and more truthful.

Media Speech

I just finished reading a speech given by Al Gore recently regarding the American media and his new venture into television. Here is a link to the transcript of his speech:
http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/10/5/14301/6133
I have been loosely following Josh Marshal's coverage of the Jack Abramoff investigation and scandal. I think it was yesterday morning that I was watching the CBS morning "news" show and the late breaking news was another of the serial murder cases that the networks grab and maintain coverage of whenever they need to divert our attention for long periods of time from something important. This one was of the murder of a man by his wife who was seeking a divorce.
This is an interesting speech if you can get past the image of Gore imprinted in our brains by the conservative media. Perhaps Al and his friend will give us a peek into what TV media would be if it really were liberal? Unfortunately, I neither get cable nor dish so I won't be watching. That's OK. I still have WERU.

Operation Eden

If you haven't been to this blog, go there.
http://operationeden.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Black Gold

http://www.blackgold.com/
I haven't read much recently about the recent rise in the price of gasoline, but on signing out of Hotmail Tuesday evening I found a link to this site:
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/extra/P131145.asp
One very interesting point in that article was that world crude oil prices which now average $58.20 a barrel were on average $22.74 just six years ago last month.
I've been noticing the increase. I don't own any serious gas-guzzlers, but I know people who do, people who way back last spring noticed that they were paying $65 to $75 every time they stopped to fill up their tanks. Let's do some math. Suppose gasoline costs $3.00 a gallon at the pump. Using MSN statistics, a 2003 Ford Expedition 4WD with the 232 hp V-8 (original retail price of nearly $32,000) gets 14 mpg city, 18 mpg highway (13 and 17 for the larger V-8). Let's assume that a semi-aggressive driver doing mainly city-type driving averages 15 mpg. Let's also assume that this person drives this rig 300 miles per week on average, 15, 600 miles in a year. Actually those assumptions are low by the standards of most modern suburban commuters, but in any case, let's go with these figures. This driver would average 1,300 miles per month and at 15 mpg, average 86 2/3 gallons of gasoline each month. Each month, this driver would consume $260.00 worth of gasoline. If this driver filled up the tank weekly, each fill-up would average $60.00.
Such a vehicle when used for business commuting or heavy suburban commuting might see triple this use. Three times each week, this driver would face a $60.00 fill-up with a yearly gasoline expense of $9,360.
Luckily I don't own a Ford Expedition. I own an old Ford Ranger pickup with a 3.0 liter V-6 and a 5-speed. My wife has been going through some grief, though. Her Saab turbo which averaged 28 mpg for her needed replacing when the odometer went past the 200,000 mile mark. We made the mistake of replacing it with a 4-cylinder Dodge Caravan which simply drank gasoline with her foot on the gas pedal. Our interim fix is an older Ford Escort 5-speed. I estimate that at today's prices, the Escort will save her about $1,500 per year in gasoline over the 4-cylinder Caravan. Granted I would much rather see her driving a safer car like the Toyota Prius. At $3.00 per gallon, a Prius would save her roughly $2,200 per year over the Caravan.
Over the Ford Expedition, the Prius would save $6,435 per year off the $9,360 figure calculated above. Imagine that.
But here's the thing. If everybody saved money on gas that way, the demand for gasoline would fall, forcing the oil companies to drop their prices. Lower fuel prices mean reduced savings when comparing gas guzzlers with economical cars. So fuel economy is an incentive only if fuel prices remain high and they will remain high only if Americans insist on wasting fuel. That's sort of a Catch-22 isn't it?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mainline Mom

It seems that somebody with a considerable amount of experience and expertise has been commenting intelligently here in my blog. Needless to say, I am truly flattered, even though she and I seem to have some philosophical differences including some religious differences and some significant political differences. I first contacted her through her weblog, Water water everywhere...
http://waterwatereverywhere.blogspot.com/
She entered two significant comments recently in my Christian Environmentalism post from this past Friday, September 30.
http://edenhill.blogspot.com/2005/09/christian-environmentalism.html
If she is willing, I would like to open up a dialog here with her regarding this very topic, since the notion of conservative Christian environmentalists is a bit, shall I say, novel to me?... I haven't forgotten her name but I have noticed that her name doesn't appear that often now in her blog so I will give her the name "MM" (for Mainline Mom) here in my blog.
MM, I accept that I made assumptions about you that certainly don't seem to be true. By your latest comment, it would appear that you are well aware of ongoing and past environmental pollution.
Your comment that you would drink the discharge from some wastewater treatment plants made me smile. That very thing was the claim here in my small town a few decades ago when the town built its first multimillion dollar wastewater treatment plant. I can still picture in my mind when that claim was made at town meeting back in the 1970s. By design, the effluent would be so clean that a person could drink it and a glass of it would be indistinguishable in appearance from a glass of drinking water. Under that assurance, the town of Greenville and the State of Maine decided that the effluent should be discharged through a large pipe directly into Moosehead Lake one mile north of downtown Greenville. You can find Moosehead Lake on any map of Maine. It is Maine's largest lake.
That plant was built and operated against the wishes of a considerable number of people who were convinced that it was a very bad idea. Finally, after the effluent continually failed to meet the standards claimed, it was discovered that the engineers somehow had managed to slip a decimal point somewhere along the way and it would be virtually impossible for their design to produce the claimed results. Greenville wound up building a second treatment plant in the late 1970s, completely abandoning the first one which eventually was remodeled into a hardware store. I even think someone eventually pulled up the mile of pipe from Moosehead Lake.
But that's ancient history. I'm sure things like that don't happen in this day and age. But your comment put an old familiar smirk back on my face.
Back to the topic at hand...
I would like to give MM the opportunity to educate me concerning the Republican environmental agenda. If, as she says, she doesn't vote Republican merely on one issue, abortion, and if her scientific specialty is the environment, then it seems she must understand the Republican agenda. Since almost any non-Republican that I can think of is convinced that the Bush agenda is anti-environment, then if that is not the case, it would seem to me that someone like MM should stand up and educate us fools who don't understand Bush's goals.
Are you up to it, MM? Feel free to use my space if you wish, or your own, and take your time. I'm a rather patient man and you are a busy woman. I can't make promises, but as long as you write reasonably and avoid the political spin, I'll try to curb my attack instincts as best I can.
Oh, and back on that topic of "EPA wastewater bypass fiasco" that you have mentioned, Googling it doesn't seem to help me find what you are referring to. Could you point me somewhere to get me started, a web address or something?

Monday, October 03, 2005

All Roads

There was an article in this weekend's Bangor Daily News about the Pentagon's secret "Able Danger" program which had identified some of the 9/11 terrorists in the US before 2001 but for some reason wasn't noticed by the 9/11 Commission. I found the story online at the Boston Globe. It seems that the Pentagon has been harassing the chief Able Danger whistleblower Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/09/30/able_danger_officers_clearance_revoked/
Say what you will about 9/11, but the only way it all makes any sense at all is if 9/11 was exactly what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called it in public while testifying at the 9/11 hearings, a "blessing in disguise." The blessing, of course, was the kick in the pants that the American public so sorely needed to motivate them into supporting this Middle East War that we've had ever since 9/11. I don't think there were many people who didn't understand Rumsfeld's meaning there. That meaning was reinforced by several other key White House figures during the 9/11 hearings.
The disguise......... Well let's just say that would make a lot of sense if that kick in the pants was disguised as a Middle Eastern Arab Muslim fundamentalist terrorist attack on US soil, which is what by all appearance it was.
So now we have someone who says that he was involved in a military intelligence gathering project which had secretly identified the ringleader of the 9/11 attacks along with a few of his co-conspirators and were tracking them here in the US a year or more before 9/11 happened. The 9/11 Commission apparently has turned a blind eye to this revelation and now, just to make it crystal clear that no such whistleblowing will be tolerated in the future, the military is harassing this individual with every petty infraction they can find in his records over the past twenty or more years. To any career officer or NCO in the military, that is a sobering threat.
All roads lead to a cover-up, but a cover-up of what?
Considering the crimes and lies now surfacing in top Republican leadership in this country combined with what nearly all of us will admit was the sleaze of the Clinton White House, I'd say that anything at all is possible and most things are even likely.