No, an island?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
An important notice.

We're moving, folks. The kids in this blogdrive neighbourhood are driving me nuts with their wild parties, and it seems a lot quieter over at tblogg. Plus, they let me have a MASTHEAD.

C'mon over...I've put some coffee on.

(Addendum: At present the tblogg site is not functioning...perhaps I've spoken too soon.)

Posted at 06:00 pm by leeeee
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Sunday, November 23, 2003
And on the seventh day he installed software and pontificated.

OS X (Jaguar, if you please) is actually pretty cool. I'd forgotten that as these companies develop their operating systems, they try to make them more user-friendly in addition to increased capabilties. I've successfully swapped bookmarks to Safari and address book to Mac Mail, so my world has resumed its rotation. What remains mightily weird is that much of my old software only works with the older Mac OS9, so both systems have to peacefully coexist for a while, which they seem willing to do.

I was awakened at the ungodly hour of 5:30 this morning by some very loud and squalling cat foreplay outside my window...I guess the green and blue yard lights, triggered by the motion detector, made for a stimulating and amorous environment.

Rather than fling a bunch of the usual bad news links out there today, and there are an abundance of them, I wanted to hold forth about something else as regards perspective. This may be prompted in part by the query on the message board as to whether I'm Rep or Dem. My viewpoints, obviously not shared by many Americans, are influenced by several factors:

1) Although I am a true blue American, I haven't lived there in more than twenty years. I get home once or twice a year, but it seems like a stranger place every time. What strikes me the most is that no one talks about the big issues we see discussed on blogs like this one. Instead, all the conversations I hear are about mortgage rates, kid's ballet classes, the new restaurant down the street, summer vacations, would never know the country is waging war in two countries simultaneously while rattling sabers at others. It's like an elephant in the living room that everyone seems to accept as part of their lives, and it wouldn't be right to question it, would it? Really strange.

2) I've never seen Survivor, Fear Factor, a Rocky movie, a hockey game, a boxing match, Bumfights, Faces of Death, a Friday the 13th movie, American Idol, or any of 1000 other pop culture diversions created to drag Americans down to the lowest common denominator. On the sports side, I don't see NFL football the way most people do...I see a bunch of huge knuckledragging guys dressed up like gladiators chasing an inflated piece of pigskin as if it is the most important thing on the planet. So all that "kickin ass fer "murkan freedom" crap is lost on me.

3) What I have been exposed to instead for two decades is a 95+% black culture with a LOT of issues left over from the slavery of 150 years ago, (I think for some people it was just last week) a white culture for whom abolition was more traumatic than slavery, and a distaste from both groups for an American expat who for some unknown reason has chosen to live among them. The animosity bubbles below the surface while everyone puts a friendly face on for tourism, but every once in a while it emerges full blown and hissing in your face, as it did for me this September. My friendly smile or greeting during my morning walk is often met with a hostile and icy stare, and I have no idea if it is from shyness, their social ineptness, because I am white, because I am American, or because of George Bush waging imperial war on the world. Maybe a t-shirt that just reads "I'm sorry." would help. After two decades here, I am in many ways an outsider, and will be after 50 years as well.

4) So, here I am, between the frying pan and the fire. On re-reading Herman Wouk's classic "Don't Stop the Carnival", I realize that the protagonist fled his island experience after only a few months, while I've attempted to ride it out, with mixed results. Now, divine irony being what it is, at the precise moment when I start thinking about calling it a day with the Caribbean and going back to my "homeland", said homeland begins a radical morphing into a frightening police state while a nation of Marching Morons watches the Michael Jackson coverage on Fox. If you think I'm exaggerating the police state business, try making a joke in an airport and watch what happens. Today, airports. Tomorrow, your grocery store.

5) For the benefit of Homeland Security, CIA, NSA, or any other monitors reading this blog, I'm not a terrorist...more like a Constitutionalist. I was once appropriately accused of growing up in a Norman Rockwell painting of pure Americana, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I grew up hearing about the Bill of Rights and the Founders' wisdom and Jefferson and Madison and the Battle of Bunker Hill, and it all left the enduring sense that America had the right idea and needed to share it with the world. But somehow these noble ideals have been corrupted to the extent that all that is left now are buzzwords, like "freedom" and "bringing democracy to the world", emptied of their meaning. They exist now only as an excuse to wage war.

At this point in history, the only people who can stop America's march to fascist totalitarianism are not the bloggers or the protestors or certainly not the spineless Tom Daschle will be the CIA agents recognizing the perversion of their resources, or the military men who see just what worthless cannon fodder they are to the Elite who control the government. Once you've trained your cannons on the White House and removed this gang of thieves, America could put its money where its mouth is, and foster geniune Democracy and Freedom throughout the world by providing food, water, sanitation, shelter, and education instead of shredding children with cluster bombs on behalf of Halliburton and General Dynamics.

6) To tie some kind of ribbon on this rambling perspective, I guess it comes down to this: I'm not your average American, but not a Caribbean man either. By choosing the road less travelled, I've run into a cul-de-sac.

And I would probably come back home.

If only home was still there.

Posted at 01:49 pm by leeeee
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Saturday, November 22, 2003
Boldly going where several have gone before.

Today I have done something frightening for someone of my limited tech abilities....just installed OS X on my Mac, which is a strange and unfamiliar world.
The big test at present is how this blogger site works with Safari, which so far appears to be pretty well. I'm going to attempt complete avoidance of Microsoft, if it's at all possible. (Sorry, Bill.)

The acid test is to try....a link

It works. I love it. Will love it even more when I figure out how to import bookmarks and address books.

Posted at 06:46 pm by leeeee
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Friday, November 21, 2003
I read the news today, oh god.

To my legions of devoted readers (slight sarcasm alert), I offer apologies for neglecting the blog. I guess it comes with being a little more productive elsewhere, although it's not a time-intensive task to fling in a little something every day.

For starters, consider the Great American Media. They can't be bothered with the massive demonstrations in the U.K., returning body bags (oops...I mean "transfer tubes"), the current Congressional travesties, the plummeting economy, or any of that other trivia. They've got a BIG story to cover.
Jeb Bush is just champing at the bit down there in Florida...he has police and equipment all set to crack heads if there's trouble, and provoke it if there isn't.
And you thought Congress was going to rescind portions of the draconian Patriot Act? Nahhh...they're now looking to expand it.
And now, a few words from Rolling Stone about the many achievements of the Environmental AntiChrist. (Guess who?)

A mystery of sorts....why would the head of the powerful American Association of Retired People sell out his organization to the powerful drug industry? It might have something to do with said AARP leader, Bill Novelli. In a not-too-distant past, he was head of the massive PR firm Porter Novelli, the architects of the "Harry and Louise" bullshit TV campaign that managed to derail Clinton's health care plan by convincing Americans that universal, affordable health care would be a bad thing. Another fox in charge of another Bush administration henhouse. I guess having 750 full-time lobbyists in Washington wasn't enough.

Posted at 08:12 am by leeeee
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Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Today's tidbits...

How very far we have come in only 40 years. Here's a user-friendly look at "Operation Northwoods".

Ever seen street painting? Not yet, you haven't...check out the amazing 3-D creations of Kurt Wenner.

Here's a tidy little report on just what kind of reception Britain is expected to give the Toxic Texan, and why the visit is Tony Blair's worst nightmare.

What does the assassination of John Kennedy 40 years ago have to do with Sept. 11th? Quite a lot.

Posted at 08:38 pm by leeeee
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Monday, November 17, 2003
I read the news today, oh boy.

We may in fact have to abandon the concept of offering happy news once in a while. Can't seem to find any.

Instead, I read articles like this one that shine a light on America's most shameful problem.

Or this one outlining the new U.S. approach to world politics.

Then, there's Online Journal's ambitious 10-part series attempting to unravel the labyrinthine intrigue of Sept. 11th, which shows us how very little we know. The first three parts can be found here, here, and here.

Too much foreign intrigue? One can always read about the new Republican enthusiasm for welfare...once it's directed at the richest companies in the world.

Then, there's this very good piece showing that the GOP's ability to shut down a mediocre Reagan TV movie because it wasn't reverent enough was just the beginning of something pretty scary.

And if you're still not nervous, there's always David Icke.

Have a happy day.

Posted at 08:09 pm by leeeee
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Thursday, November 13, 2003
As the ratchet turns.

Know how a ratchet works? It's like a gear that can only move in one direction, with a catch that locks into place whenever it moves forward and keeps it from moving backward. If I were a proper animator, that ratchet would be my visual representation of the advance of creeping inexorable progression you can almost hear clicking away if you pay attention. Click. Democrats no longer have the right to question Congressional spending. Click. Bush can designate anyone as a "terrorist" and throw away the Bill of Rights as regards that unlucky soul. Click. New York is considering legislation to label environmental and animal rights activists as terrorists. Click. No one knows if Guantanamo Bay prisoners are being tortured because the Red Cross and media are not allowed to view the premises. Click. Click.
Orcinus obviously agrees.

Bush exists in such a worry-free bubble of screened information and access, it's doubtful whether he's ever seen a single protestor at any of his public appearances. Anyone who is critical of Dubya is herded into what is called a "first amendment zone", far from Bush's view. Nor is he exposed to critical opinions through the media, although his admitting he doesn't read newspapers makes that a moot point in any case. He is surrounded by "yes men" (and women) who have made careers out of telling the Little Emperor what he wants to hear.
Bush may actually have no idea how much the world hates him. But perhaps next week he and his diehard supporters will find out.

Gore Vidal rocks.

So does Mark Morford.
(best enjoyed with a cold glass of Slim-Fast)

On the positive's weather was pretty nice.

Posted at 08:12 pm by leeeee
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Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Life is a Carnival.

How do you make your voice of dissent heard when the mainstream media functions in unison like Bush's own supercharged version of Pravda? You take it to the streets. (special commendation here for the blue dress reference.)

Today is Veteran's Day in the US, and blogger Spadehammer has compiled a lovely list of ways the Bushies are "supporting the troops".

What do people really care about? Hunger? Poverty? World economies? Globalization? Creeping (marching) Fascism? Terrorism, State or otherwise? Nah.

Try the friggin Royal Family.

A friend with a political commentary web site posted an article concerning The Great Prince Charles Sex Scandal, and got so many hits (11,000 an hour, to be exact) it crashed his US server. It was an eye-opening experience for him, and tells him that people would rather search Google for juicy tidbits of Royal Gossip than pay attention to what's happening in the real world.

The Roman emperors provided bread and circuses to entertain and distract the masses while they did as they pleased. We, on the other hand, have the Royals, Governor Gropenfuhrer, Be-a-porn-star reality TV, Survivor (previously known as Lord of the Flies), WWF and Nascar, Rush Limbaugh and O'Reilly, J-Lo and Ben, Grand Theft Auto, JonBenet, Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy, South Park, Beavis and Butthead, Ken Starr, etc. etc.

It's not about integrity or the other noble values anymore. It's about sleaze and money and sensationalism.

A prediction: America's Last Election next year will re-elect the disastrous George W. Bush.

And we deserve it for allowing this nightmarish world to unfold without protest.

P.S. I forgot to mention that Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, says he has purchased nude photos of Jessica Lynch, but does not intend to publish them. He says he bought them in order to protect her, and today's new version of reality has the GOP looking to smear her credibility any way they can.

Which makes America's champion pornographer more moral than her government.

Did a coup take place in America in the 2000 selection? Here's someone who makes a compelling case.

Posted at 07:42 pm by leeeee
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Monday, November 10, 2003
Today's random neural firings.

Sitting here wondering if any Democrats have the cojones to take on Bush for his ultra-right wing policies, and lo and behold, one pops up to hit several nails on the head. It is one helluva speech, and I implore you to read it all. His name? In a just world, it would be prefaced by "President."
Al Gore.

Damn that Private Lynch, say the wingnuts. She gets in a jeep accident and captured by the Iraqis, the US military does a stunning made-for-TV rescue complete with shouted orders, Betacam recorders whirring, shots fired despite a virtually empty hospital and no Iraqi troops...we take all that great stuff and invent a legend around it. The brave, plucky blonde heroine, wounded, emptying her M-16 at the attacking Iraqis. God, motherhood, patriotism, and apple pie all in one tv-ready package.

Now, she turns out to be really courageous, saying that the military had no need to film her non-rescue, that they've made too much of her role, that she didn't really go down firing, and that Iraqi medical personnel treated her with dignity and compassion.

Dirty liberal commie bitch. Some people have no appreciation for being turned into a jingoistic cartoon.

A random observation....(aren't they all?) Remember last spring when the US was threatening to wage war against Iraq, for no apparent reason? Remember when something like 10 million people worldwide took to the streets to protest and try and stop it from happening? (Even a little candlelight vigil here on Gilligan's Island.)

Well, what's happened since then?

They defied world opinion, went ahead and did it anyway.

They've killed thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of American soldiers.

They haven't found Saddam, OR ANY "weapons of mass destruction."

The fact that it is past/present instead of future doesn't make it any more moral.

And the "war" has proved to be disastrous on every conceivable level.

So why is everyone so quiet now???????????

It's a done deal? Everything's ok now?

Somehow, I think we should be screaming louder instead of quietly accepting it.

Posted at 06:03 pm by leeeee
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Saturday, November 08, 2003
What the Democrats are missing.

Remember Gulliver and the Lilliputians? Remember how those little guys surrounded Gulliver while he was sleeping, and trussed him up with a thousand little ropes?

That's what's happening with American Democracy, folks, and the time is running out to do something about it. By this time next year, Democracy may be nothing but a fond memory.

The Bush machine continues to gather sweeping new powers (even more, that is) to wage war with a vague and unsubstantiated threat called "terror"...the biggest scam in world history.

Not content with the draconian PATRIOT act, which was passed into law without even being read by many Congressmen, they are gathering power by playing on America's fears.

While America trembles from faceless enemies, the administration cries wolf for the umpteenth time since 911 and demands more and more power:

They need to authorize domestic use of the military.
They need tighter control of citizens.
They need to stifle dissent.
They need to reduce Congressional authority.
They need to be able to hold Citizens indefinitely without trial.
They need to read your email and monitor your websurfing.
They need to search your houses.
They need to know what books you read.

Oh yes… they also need to load the courts with right-wing ideologues. Quickly!

The American Taliban known as the Bush Administration is in a race against time, and they know it. Before America wises up to their sinister and pervasive agenda, they have to have all their little ropes in place.

Democracy's best hope, unfortunately, are those spineless souls known as the Democratic Opposition, who have a golden opportunity to reinvent themselves as The Voice Of The People instead of being Republican Lite.

Just think of the issues that could be part of a strong Democratic platform:

• Let's say no to Fascism. (It should go without saying, shouldn't it?)

•Let's get money out of politics, with public financing of elections and equal media time for candidates. No soft money. No hard money. At this point, even the Republicans will vote for you on that one.

• Let's implement corporate reform, and make corporations worry about something other than stock value. Like being responsible to the community.

• Let's set corporate lobbyists in concrete and use them for traffic dividers. Why should the pharmaceutical industry be entitled to 750 people in Washington shaping public policy?

• Let's consider preserving the environment instead of handing it over to the coal, oil, and chemical industries.

• Let's stand up for an equal shot at a quality life for all citizens of the world.

• Let's not wage war on the rest of the world for the benefit of Lockheed, Bechtel, Halliburton, General Dynamics, and all the other feeders at the government trough.

• Let's stand for peace, human kindness, fair play, etc., etc.

Instead, what are our Democratic heroes saying? Bold statements like "although I fully support the president, this administration may not be doing all it could" and other lukewarm zingers.

Here's a thought.
It's not an original idea, but whoever originated the concept, hats off…I think all of us should embrace it forthwith.

If you'd like to make an eloquent statement to the spineless Democratic leadership who are allowing Dubya and Co. to run roughshod over American Democracy and the Constitution, pop down to your nearest toy store and pick up a few dozen cheap rubber balls.

Then, find a box and send two of them to Tom Daschle. No explanation should be required, except perhaps to say: "I think you may need these."
Send another pair of balls to Dick Gephardt.
Send a pair of big ones to Al Gore. (do they make cast iron ones?)
Send one to Russ Feingold. (after all, he did vote against the heinous PATRIOT act)

Send a pair to Harry Reid.
Send a pair to John Kerry.
Send a pair to John Breaux and any other Democrats In Name Only you can think of.
Send a pair to John Edwards.
Send a pair to Dennis Kucinich. (another large pair, since he does seem to have the Right Stuff)

Send a pair of balls to Charles Rangel.
Don't send any to Joe Lieberman…he would only hand his over to the Republicans anyway. (and God knows they already have theirs.)
If you still have some left over, send them to your Democratic congressman or send some to the few reporters who can still report the truth.

Who knows? Maybe if they receive a few thousand balls from Democrats desperately in need of a True American Hero, they may get the idea.

The Opposition Party may even start opposing.

Posted at 10:53 pm by leeeee
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A cordial welcome to No Man's Island...greeting Armageddon with a song, a smile, and a smidgeon of sarcasm.

Today's Harmless Diversion:
The Industrious Clock

Today's Quote:

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
Mahatma Gandhi

Black Box Voting...
please read this!!

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