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Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Jesse Jackson

Jesse deserves a longer treatise than I am inclined to give at this time, so I will apologize up front.

The Rev was one of the guys at the center of the Civil Rights Movement, and was close to Doctor King. He ran for President in 1988, and was a legitimate factor in the race, impressive regardless of race. But since then, Jesse has been utterly irrelevant, and he knows it.

I remember about ten years ago when Jesse went to Baltimore to protest that the Orioles baseball team had no blacks in the front office. I couldn't help but think, there were 28 Major League Baseball teams then, employing, what, maybe 1000 people at the most in office jobs? Even if all of them were filled by blacks, that hardly makes any difference in the painfully high unemployment rates which US blacks deal with. Let him join up with organized labor and improve the conditions of workers all over, including blacks. Let him picket and shame corporations that send jobs of all colors overseas. You help blacks by helping labor, and you make yourself a hero to the working class in general.

Just this month, Jesse is praying with serial pedophile Michael Jackson (He's clergy, is this professional courtesy?), and then he injects himself upon the Terri Schiavo circus. The phrase that leaps to mind is "publicity whore."

Jesse, you used to be so much better than this! You played second or third fiddle to MLK, but you are certainly engaging and intelligent enough to inspire passion in people. Stop wasting your energies on garbage like you have this month. Terri Schiavo is going to die. Michael Jackson is going to buy freedom. And you'll be left sitting, waiting for the next baby-in-a-well story.

Stand up for principle, god dammit! The government has sent young men and women to a sovereign nation under false pretenses? Where is the outrage? The President cuts Medicare and proposes to trash Social Security? Speak the fuck up, Jesse! The Senate approves a bill that makes it harder for working people to declare bankruptcy when they are being crushed by usury from credit card companies. Nothing? NOTHING? Come on, Jesse, you're not a kid anymore, but try reading the paper beyond the front page looking for the flavor of the month, and maybe you'll find someplace decent to plant your moral outrage.

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posted at 8:19 PM


Thursday, March 24, 2005
Finally, some sympathy

I feel horrible for everybody involved in this Terry Schiavo fiasco. Her husband and parents have had to deal with a nightmarish ordeal ever since she had her heart attack and suffered brain death fifteen years ago. It's something no one would ever want to confront, a loved one essentially taken away in the prime of life. I can sympathize with the parents not wanting to let her go, but for them to drag this thing in front of dozens of judges is just wrong.

Again, their intentions are honorable, and undoubtedly stem from love for their daughter. But they allowed allegedly small-government, free-market conservatives to make political hay out of their daughter. She makes for a vivid prop for these compassionate men and women, who honor life so much by sending youth off to Asia to kill and be killed, and America's working poor to struggle with no medical insurance. As Jon Stewart pointed out this week, at least we finally know just how bad your health has to be before Congress and the president give a flying fuck about you. I hope it never comes out that Terry Schiavo had an abortion when she was 17, although I'd love to see these hypocrites try to spin it.

So, we need a scorecard to keep track of what sort of life is valuable, and what kinds aren't.

American 22 year old soldier: Fuck you, buddy.

American 22 day old fetus: Help me, Jesus!

45 year old who killed his family with an axe: Fuck you, buddy.

Elian Gonzales: Help me, Jesus!

Working mom with no insurance and appendicitis: Fuck you, buddy.

Brain dead woman from a state with a lot of electoral votes: Help me, Jesus!

African caught in tribal genocide: Fuck you, buddy.

Iraqi caught in American bombardment: Fuck you, buddy.

Mexican dying in the desert trying to emigrate: Fuck you, buddy.

Chinese suffocating in a shipping container: Fuck you, buddy.

I suppose it is callous to point out that some life is more important to our Moral Christian Cabal than certain other types of life. It's plainly the truth, though. I am American, but I cannot buy into the notion that American lives are more valuable than others. Would I rather save 9 year-old kid with liver failure than some rapist in prison? Of course! Even the death penalty makes me ambivalent. Sure, I like revenge as much as anyone, but since it isn't a deterrent to crime, what's the point? It's an uncivilized act of revenge, dressed up in pretty state-sanctioned wrapping paper. Let me say this again: I have no moral qualms about ending the lives of our worst criminals. I would like to see it extended to cases of gross white collar crime, a la Enron, Tyco, etcetera, ad nauseum. You put Ken Lay in Old Sparky down in Austin, I'll bet Wall Street falls into line in about half a fiscal year.

But what of poor Terry Schiavo? First of all, I am getting a living will now. Terry did not have one, and we are left where we are. In cases like these, the spouse makes the decision. Michael Schiavo claims his wife had commented that should she be incapacitated in such a way, that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. I just can't think of any reason why he would lie about this. Even if there was some sort of huge insurance payout, is anyone really trying to claim that he is this cold-blooded? He loved his wife. Michael Schiavo is not Scott Peterson, and it absolutely sickens me that certain groups are trying to portray him in such a light. Keeping his wife alive is a selfish decision from every angle. His wife is gone, the person who was Terry Schiavo is dead. It's tragic, and he isn't even allowed to grieve and try to gain closure, while at the same time being painted as a killer by people who should know better.

Allow Terry her dignity. Let her die, and be at peace.

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posted at 9:39 PM


Friday, March 11, 2005
Do as we say, not as we do

I can't help it, I have a hard time with hypocrisy. We're all hypocrites in some ways, but a lot of the time it doesn't amount to much, just harmless self-delusion. Of course, I'm speaking about it's effect at the personal level.

But at the state level, it's hard to moralize. At the moment, the United States government is all kazooey over some things happening in the Middle East.

"He's talking about Iraq again! BORING!"

Actually, to be specific, I'm not. Yet.

We'll start with the most recent crisis: Lebanon.

Now, the fact of the matter is that Lebanon is the country equivalent of a comatose whore. Everyone in the neighborhood has stopped by to violate her over the past 40 years. Israel, Syria, Jordan, and of course, Americans and Soviets during the Cold War.

I so miss the Cold War. I slept better at night knowing that I could be incinerated by the Soviet Union. At least if I saw a bright flash and heard a loud noise, I'd know two things:

1) I'd be dead in seconds.
2) Exactly who was responsible.

Now it could be anyone, Al Qaeda, white supremacists, Karl Rove. But I digress...

Lebanon is just helpless, and it's pretty sad. Before the country imploded, it was a prime vacation spot, and had numerous highly regarded universities. It was a crossroads, and as such, a diverse place. That was a long time ago.

These days, the Syrians pull the strings in Lebanon, and the Lebanese government is pretty much a direct instrument of Syria's will. But for some reason recently, Lebanese have been out protesting this influence, and demanded the Syrians get what is commonly known as the fuck out. It's a healthy impulse for a country to want autonomy, and no one know this better than Americans. We tossed the Brits out on their asses, so we know how it is.

The Bush Administration has demanded that Syria get it's troops out of Lebanon now. And I sit here and wonder what moral authority we have to insist on something like this while 150,000 American troops are in Iraq.

Changing the subject, Iraq's neighbor, Iran, is making us very upset, too. It turns out that they have a nuclear program, and it's not just about power plants. Apparently, they covet nuclear weapons. Certainly, when I look at Iran's fundamentalist government, I shudder to consider these fanatics with heavy-duty KaBlammo. And again, our fundamentalist government has made it very clear that we will not sit idly by while these religious fanatics (Iran's I mean), gather mastery of the atom. Atomic weapons are dangerous, and we know this because we dropped some on Japan sixty years ago. They made a hell of a mess, and we would hate to have it happen to us.

How can we have an obscenely large arsenal of nuclear weapons and insist that other nations should not have any? All governments think they are more moral than other ones, and I know Iran's believes it, just as ours does.

But it's relatively easy to see why the people in charge right now don't have any problem having things both ways. They are Baby Boomers.

They spent their youths higher and drunker than an underage visitor to Michael Jackson's house. And now they stand in pulpits all over and tell everyone else to Just Say No. These people avoided Vietnam in droves and now stand patriotic and elected to send your children off to war. Human fucking locusts, and just our luck, the largest generation in American history, in numbers and in weight. Most people fear their retirement will drain Social Security, whereas I fear they won't start dying fast enough.

The reason you people have no credibility is because you are spineless, two-faced, and soft. Syria will stay in Lebanon as we will stay in Iraq. Iran will get it's bomb, and you will hope Israel can handle the problem as they did with Iraq in 1981. You won't fuck with North Korea because a fight with them will exact a cost you are (again) unprepared to pay. Same thing with China, if they decide to take over Taiwan, all we will do is whine and cry to the UN (whose opinion we value so much), and then forget about it. America has no credibility in the world, and no moral authority to insist on a god damned thing. We are leading by example, and we are,and will continue to be, sickened and aghast at the results.

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posted at 1:44 AM

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