Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Punishments From God?.....Nahhhhh.

With dead bodies rotting in attics, and corpses floating in the streets of New Orleans, it's a minor miracle that some demagogue on the Radical Christian Right hasn't opened his or her mouth about God punishing the United States for some sin or transgression. Of course, Pat Robertson has already used up his Asshole-of-the-Month-Award-quota, but there are plenty of delusional crackpots out there who must know the mind of God better than the All Mighty himself.

Of course, in this case, we had one of the worst hurricanes in generations (a category five) crashing into an area of the country that's controled by Republican, Bible-thumping, racist homopobes, so the Radical Christian Really can't raise the question without having it evolve into another question: Why did God punish so many Republicans, Bible-thumpers, racists and homophobes?

It kind of makes you realize just how nutty people sound when they talk about AIDS, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and other disasters being "punishments from God." Of course, it could just be that those things are just natural and/or man made events and that the Lord God has nothing to do with them.

Of course that doesn't answer every question, does it?

Why would the Deity decide to punish the country at a time when Republicans are running all three branches of government, most of the state governorships, and a lion's share of the state legislatures? Why would God punish the United States at a time when the corrupt Houses of Congress make the bribery and graft of Gould and Fisk look amateurish? Why would The All MIghty ever send a killer hurricane at a time when our pseudo Christian president led us into an unjust war? Why would Jehovah extend his wrath when we're practicing a form of free market theivery, the likes of which Jesus would have condemned in the Temple? Of course you really have to wonder why.....

Hmmmmm. Maybe I should stop while I'm ahead. I just might convince that there's something to this divine retribution crap after all.

Divine Press Release

Author's note: I didn't write this (though I wish I had) and I've had it for years and years, so I don't know whom to give credit, either. It's basically a modern take on well-known religious stories, pitted against today's media, and how they would read, say, on MSNBC or CNN--Fox would have quite a different "spin," I'm sure--if reported. You might have seen it before but I think it bears repeating now. I'll note that I received this little writing during the Clinton administration--no doubt it would be an entirely different thing if done while Bush, Jr. occupies office. With no further ado...

Divine Press Release

Turmoil rocked Heaven this morning as allegations arose that God had an affair with a former worshipper. The scandal began when a 21-year-old woman, known only as Mary, claimed that she had given birth to God's "only son" last week in a barn in the hamlet of Bethlehem.

Sources close to Mary claim that she "had loved God for a long time," that she was constantly talking about her relationship with God, and that she was "thrilled to have had his child." In a press conference this morning, God issued a vehement denial, saying that "no sexual relationship existed," and that "the facts of this story will come out in time."

Independent counsel Kenneth Beelzebub immediately filed a brief with the Justice Department to expand his investigation to cover questions of whether any commandments may have been broken, and whether God had allegedly tunneled laundered money to his illegitimate child through three foreign operatives known as "Wise Men." Beelzebub has issued subpoenas to several angels who are rumored to have acted as go-betweens in the affair.

Critics have pointed out that these allegations have little to do with the charges that Beelzebub was originally appointed to investigate, that God created large-scale flooding in order to cover up evidence of a failed land deal.

In recent months, Beelzebub's investigation has already been expanded to cover questions surrounding the large number of locusts that plauged God's political opponents in the last election, as well as to claims that the destruction of cities Sodom and Gomorra was to divert attention away from a scandal involving whether the giveaway of a public land parcel in Promised County to a Jewish special interest group was quid pro quo for political contributions.

If these allegations prove to be true, then this could be a huge blow to God's career, much of which has been spent crusading for stricter moral standards and harsher punishments for wrongdoers. God recently outlined a "tough on crime" plan consisting of a series of ten "Commandments," which has been introduced in Congress in a bill by Rep. Moses. Critics of the bill have pointed out that it lacks any provisions for the rehabilitation of criminals, and lawyers for the ACLU are planning to fight the "Name in Vain" Commandment as being an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


The mandatory recruitment provision in No Child Left Behind is odd indeed, when you consider the fact that No Child Left Behind is supposed to be an education bill, not a military bill. I suppose part of the problem rests with the recent behavior of renegade recruiters: showing up at schools once a week or more often; harassing and bullying potential enlistees; accepting enlistees with obvious psychological and/or drug problems; intruding into home situations etc....But I still have issues with the provision itself.

Ideally, it should have been passed separately or as a part of a military bill, preferably the former, rather than burying it in legislation which is designed to create over-testing and unfunded mandates for states while depriving local school boards of the right to local control. (Just what Ted Kennedy was thinking when he signed on to this monster of a bill is beyond me, but I lost a lot of respect for him after supported this imbecility.)

In a perfect universe there would be no financial penalty--no threat of lost federal funding by any school if that school refused to enforce this provision. And yet there is. Again, just why the government would resort to financial black mail in an effort top intrude into the private lives of parents and children is beyond me--maybe it's a strange form of family values from the far right--I don't know. But I do get a chuckle when I listen to anti-big government Republicans who support this fine example of big government intruding into the lives of parents and their abilities to parent. So much for getting government off our backs. Maybe it's an example of getting government off our backs and into our personal lives? Personally, I believe recruiters DO have a place in our schools, but that place should be on the same level as other career opportunities. No more nor less. There should be assigned times and places for recruitment efforts with strict penalties against both the recruiters and other business representatives who fail to obey the school's local standards. (The military being the financially secure institution that it is, I would suggest that individual fines be leveled against offending recruiters. The individual fines would range between $500 and $1000 per offense depending on the severity of the offense, but I would also zap the branch of the military that the recruiter represents at the rate of $100,000 to $500,000 per offense. Possibly more, again depending on the severity of the offense or offenses. Short of more openly revealing the fact that parents have a right to go to the school and demand that their children's personal information NOT be shared with the military (as No Child Left Behind stipulates), I would suggest a version of the DO NOT CALL LIST which is being used against tele-marketers in some states, be imposed at the federal level. Parents could put their children's name on the "DO NOT RECRUIT" list and after that there would be stiff fines the school, the recruiter, and the particular branch of the military in question when the terms of the DO NOT RECRUIT list are violated. I see this as a viable position since it places responsibilities on everyone involved. My only concern is that it might be used as a CALL list, but again, that would include strict penalties. Perhaps the best way to counter this is by enacting the provision as we do in DO NOT CALL provisions here in Wisconsin--just a name and a phone number with no personal information. And if you move you have a right and an obligation to contact the government to inform them of your new phone number (assuming you're one of the few who still have a land based phone.) Concerned parents would be responsible for placing their children's names on the DO NOT RECRUIT LIST; the military would have to obey, and after that it becomes a matter of each side playing by the rules and taking responsibility for its own actions. I realize my above suggestions come at a time when we are in the middle of an unpopular war; and I love to hear Republicans raise the idea of a draft when they defend the kind of underhanded tactics that are currently being employed by renegade recruiters. But there is another way to look at this. I support neither the draft nor heavy-handed recruitment efforts: merely honest, open recruiting techniques in proper places and proper times.

It all comes down to a matter of addictive behavior on the part of the military industrial complex and this administration in particular. If you give them a weapon the time will come when the craving will simply be too strong. They will want to use it. Deprive them of the weapon (in this case, potential targets in wars of choice) and they'll be a lot more selective in the kinds of wars they start in the future.

Friday, August 26, 2005




by Rachel Steffes-MacKenzie

I assume you have already heard about the delusional band of abusive and neglectful parents who are slithering their way down to the Anti-Christ's lair in Crawford, Texas to harass Gold Star Mom, Cindy Sheehan? No, that is not a typographical error, no misprint. I wrote the words abusive and neglectful and I make no apologies. I stand by them because they were the words I had intended to use.

As far as I am concerned, those individuals who did not make an attempt to discourage their children from joining the military after this travesty of a "leader" was appointed as president were just plain neglectful. Those individuals who are either too stupid or too cruel to not want an end to the futile blood bath in Iraq are advocating a policy which puts their children and other parents' children in harm's way--and if that doesn't qualify as abusive then I don't know what does. (On a side note, you really don't want to know what I think of the proverbial psychopaths who would actively encourage their children to join the military now that the Bush War has turned sour the way we had said it would all along.)

Be honest. Wouldn't you like to make your own bumper sticker that reads: "We love the troops so much that we want to bring them home right now?" Wouldn't you like to vomit when you hear psychotic nonsense about how the troops knew what they were getting into because they volunteered? Wouldn't you just love to scream back that most Americans, including volunteer soldiers, trusted their President to actually avoid unnecessary wars as opposed to blundering into them? Aren't you getting just a little sick and tired of empty, irrelevant rhetoric about how we'll hurt the troops' moral if we don't support their Bush-given right to commit suicide? Don't you feel just a little nauseated when you hear right wing lunacy about our soldiers efforts being for nothing if we don't leave them in a dangerous war zone until the Bush reime's misbegotten policies finally erupt in an Iraqi Civil War?

Yeah. I'm getting sick and tired of their excuses too.

I'm sorry, but there's a lot more to parenting that providing food, clothing, and shelter. Parents are also required to provide a moral compass--something the administration in Washington has clearly been lacking despite all its shallow double talk about family values. Sometimes a parent needs to sit down with a child and actually warn that child about the forces in society which can do that child harm. Having done so, the parent then has a moral obligation to actively dissuade the child from engaging in harmful activities. And on those occasions when the child refuses to listen or obey, the parent has a moral obligation to intervene. And if the parents refuse to intervene then the Powers That Be have a duty to step in and either correct the family dysfunction or terminate the parental rights.

If six-year-old Johnny is found playing on a busy highway, Mommy and Daddy need to get off their asses and drag him--kicking and screaming if necessary--back into the yard or house. If thirteen-year-old Jimmy is doing drugs, Mommy and Daddy have an obligation to get Jimmy into a drug treatment program. And if 24-year-old Tommy doesn't understand the fact that his support of a self-destructive, republican war of choice is both, putting him in the way of harm and causing untold grief and anxiety to his loved ones at home, then Mom and Dad have a moral obligation to speak out against the policy which is putting their sons life in jeopardy; and it doesn't matter if Tommy approves or not. No child, regardless of age, wants to be disciplined but sometimes it is necessary for the general well being of the child. Whether he or she appreciates or approves is quite frankly, irrelevant. Better a resentful child who will eventually out grow his or her resentment than a dead child with whom you can never rebuild a relationship. Or to be succinct, sometimes love requires us to take actions which the child may or may not appreciate at the time that the actions are taken, but that should not stop us from taking them.

And if the lucky individuals who have been blessed with children do not understand this; if they don't even try to dissuade their children from joining this wretched crusade; if they don't make an effort to bring their children home right away with no questions asked, then they do not deserve the title of parent unless it is preceded by the aptly descriptive terms of neglectful and abusive.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


,Editor's Note by Brandon

I'm sure this will trigger a heated discussion--not so much on the blog, but when my best friend/landlord learns that I found this and posted it without his persmission. As I told our team mates, I found this in the drawer in one of our endtables while I was looking for my wallet last night. It's a song parody written by Advocate1 in early to mid July while I was in Ireland with my fiancee, Kelli. When I asked him why he didn't post it or use it in some manner he told be that it wasn't up to his standards and that he didn't want to stir up too much trouble. Well, my man, this is a political blog. Making trouble is what we do best around here. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, but there are times when we like to take time out for a little satire. With that in mind, I offer the following song parody. It is called "OH WHAT FAITH WE HAVE IN GEORGIE and....well, I've rattled on long enough.


To be sung to the tune of "WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS."
New Lyrics by Advocate1

Oh what faith we have in Georgie
When he says he'll never lie
Make Iraq a new republic
We won't even ask him why
Stop the mushroom cloud from blooming
Bring the mighty tyrant down
Keep the Neocons in power
Give King George his bloody crown

O what faith we have in Georgie
In his roving intellect
Start a war, extend our power
We will grab what we can get
Tie it to the burning towers
And the people will forget
Never mind the preparation
Let the critics whine and fret

Oh what faith we had in Georgie
Hear the G.O.P rejoice
Read the memo out of London
Now we have a war of choice
By the road the bombs are blasting
And the blood has freely flown
Hear the widows and the orphans
Something George will never own

Oh the faith we lost in Georgie
When he says we cannot lose
Now the soldiers are a fallin'
In a war we chose to choose
Disregard the talk of failure
As the bodies pile high
One excuse will breed another
George won't care how many die

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Editor's notes by Trevor and Rachel MacKenzie.

The following posts appears courtesy our friends, Kyle and Karen Kilpatrick, who write for our sister blog, LeftWingRising. In this particular post, they explain why they have opted to home school their children. For the record, we too have made the same decision, and for many of the same reasons that Kyle and Karen have noted below. Contrary to popular belief, home schooling is no longer for the far right. As the Public School system becomes the play ground for fundamentalist Christians and a wide range of political correctness warriors from both sides of the political spectrum, we too have become increasingly disgusted with the system, and have opted to educate our children ourselves. Of course, the fact that we know Kyle and Karen well, and the fact that they only live a five minute drive away from us makes the whole matter a lot easier. Meaning, we fully intend to help when and where we can. So, with that in mind, please sit back and enoy what they have to offer.

Yours truly,

Trevor and Rachel MacKenzie


by Kyle and Karen Kilpatrick

It is now official. We are going to home school our children. We don’t know about you, but we have finally reached the point where we no longer trust the public school system. Our children are only four, one,, and newly born, but with our oldest looking at junior kindergarten, we have come to the conclusion that we do not want to contaminate our children in the public school system. And if you knew the liberal qualifications of the parents making this statement you would not be inclined to suggest that we are a couple of right wing kooks.

Why have we decided to home school?

It might be easier to ask "why not?" We ourselves have degrees, and we are surrounded by "degreed" people of various ages who will be able-- perhaps even more than able--to provide our children with a proper education, minus the extra expenses and the "dumbed down" lunacy which has become the American Public School system under George W. Bush, Ted Kennedy, and the increasingly vocal but ever ignorant Christian Right. In other words, we want our children to be prepared for the Twenty-first Century, not 1692 Salem.

Our reasons are as follows:

1. The American Public School system is no longer designed to produce intelligent, thinking citizens. Nor is it even interested in critical thought and open debate. Never mind the issue of political correctness from all bands of the political spectrum. The American Public School system is now more interested in churning out gullible consumers who will buy whatever needless piece of garbage that the commercial medium tells them that they are subhuman without. Moreover, the American Public School System has now been rigged to produce obedient soldiers for the military, not free thinking, rational minded individuals who will actually question the policies of their government. Sorry, but as parents we see it as our duty to produce good citizens, and the last we knew good citizens ask questions. To don't blindly follow the dictates of big government, big business, and big religion. Representtative government is a participatory activity and that's what we want our children to do--participate.

2. We refuse to send our children to indoctrination centers where the pseudo scientific delusion of intelligent design is passed off as viable scientific theory. This is little more than a back door attempt to set the stage for Creationism, which is nothing more than a means by which the Radical Christian Right can stick its foot in the door. Contrary to the imbecilic State Board of Education in Kansas, we do not want our children raised in a bona fide superstition factory where the great scientific axioms are replaced by congenital idiocy, ignorance and superstition. Better we educate our own children than to trust that education to crackpots who may well decide that we need to embrace the theories of a flat earth or demonic possession as the basic causes of all diseases.

3. We do not want our children to be subjected to the No Child Goes Un-harassed in the No Child Gets Left Behind Military Recruitment Act. If ever there were a provision that should be written on indigestible canvas and physically shoved down the throats of the pseudo family values people who voted for it, it is this provision. We don’t know abut you, but we do not want personal information being shared with the United States Military without our permission, and yet the No Child Goes Un-Recruited provision mandates that personal information on High School Juniors and Seniors be shared with the United States Military to help in the task of military recruitment. Well, this may come as a shock to the individuals who wrote and approved this provision—which by the way has NOTHING to do with education—but we, as the parents will decide what information we want to share and with whom we want to share that information. Nor are we especially happy about the fact that the same clowns who so hypocritically talk about family values are the same people who are undermining parental authority by distrubuting information on our children to recruitment officers. This may come as a shock to the Democrats and Republicans who supported this anti-family provision, but WE will be the guiding force in our children’s lives. Not George W. Bush, not Ted Kennedy, nor the Military Industrial Complex. In other words, we tend to think that we know our children a lot better from individuals who bilk the United States government for $500 hammers and toilet seats

4. We do not want our children exposed to rote learning and testing for the sake of testing. That isn’t to say that memorization and testing aren’t important, but from our point of view the proverbial “Three Rs” (reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmateic) are important, but so are science, technology, computers, art, music, drama, theater, and psychological health—aspects of education which are almost invariably cut when school budgets come under attack or when too much time is spent teaching to the damned tests. At the same time we want to produce children, who will question authority; who will back up their arguments and opinions with empirical evidence. We genuinely believe that this will not be achieved if they are merely taught to regurgitate unrelated facts and never taught how to put those facts into a given context.—or for that matter, into any context at all. There’s a lot more to education than memorization and the repetition of facts on standardized tests. Yes, we could teach to the tests as is now being done in so many public schools, and we might well turn out young adults who will be good at taking tests, but we believe that it is more important to install in them a life time love of learning and a curiosity about everything.
5. We touched on the disappearance of art, music, and drama from our public school curriculum, but the point needs to be repeated. It never ceases to amaze us. The same people who complain because American culture is going down the toilet; the same people who don’t like the music, videos, TV programs, and cinematic releases that young people consume, are the same people who are either cutting the funding for the above mentioned programs or who are cutting out the required time in which they can be taught. In other words, if you create a vacuum that vacuum will almost invariably be filled with crap. So if your children aren’t listening to Beethoven or Shakespeare, and if you're worried about multiple body piercings or split tongues (we kid you not!) you might want to take a look at the programs that might me missing in your local schools.
6. We want our children to be children while they are still young enough to acquire some good memories. We’re sorry, but children need time to play. And by play we mean unstructured time--moments when they aren't’t required to score points or live up to some prewritten standard in an already over-crowded schedule. You might have heard about this shocking new concept. It’s called “having fun.” Those of you who were raised in the 60s and 70s might have heard another word. It was called recess, another little ditty which has been cut in many schools simply because they need to over-test and over-structure our children’s lives.
7. The previous point dovetails into this one. We simply do not appreciate the fact that competition is the only value being taught in many school systems today. These kids are competing for grades, and they’re competing for status, and they’re competing for scholarships. Competition is all well and good, but in recent years it has become an all consuming passion. We want our children to both, compete and cooperate, and to know the appropriate times and places for both.
8. At the risk of returning to the topic of political correctness, we really want the right to introduce our children to a curriculum that contains some intellectual vitamins and minerals—not the anemic drivel which is currently being passed off by the educational community as “adequate.” We’re sorry, but we want our children to read about controversial topics, controversial topics being something that you will seldom find in a contemporary, watered down text or "dumbed down" curriculum
9. Athletics are important, but we don't want them to overshadow adacemics. Do we really need to say more about this?
10. In addition to reducing the chances that our children might be exposed to drugs and alcohol by their peers, we also do not want our children exposed to the daily bastardizations of of Constitutional rights which stem from the current war on the Bill of Rights--otherwise known as The War on Drugs. The intellectual atmosphere in our public schools has become increasingly repressive as school administrators are given more and more power to clamp down on student news papers while police conduct random searches of both students and lockers. We believe that such practices are at best contradictory. One day a public school may tell the youth to stand up and fend for themselves, and then, when they write something embarrassing about a school official, or write something controversial, or question policies, that same school will then tell them to sit down and shut up. We want children who will mature into thinking adults who will question authority, especially the repressive varieties. We do not want mindless robots.
Our decision has nothing to do with control issues, or forcing our children to believe as we do. Just the opposite. When we asked some of the locals about home schooling we quickly discovered that they were more interested in promoting control over independent thought; more interested in promoting their narrow religious views over the views of others. We learned very quickly that many of the home schoolers in our neck of the woods were worried about devils, witches, demonic possession; and paranoid, Satanic conspiracy theories which included anyone who disagreed with their very paranoid interpretations of the Bible and current events.
Far from the delusional view of the far right, we still recognize a certain value in public schools. We know that teachers and administrators have a difficult task to perform. We do not and have never believed that the entire system is the Devil's playground. We recognize the fact that there are indeed very good public schools out there.
But in our opinion, we can do at least as well or better than the public or private alternatives in our immediate area. We looked at the local culture, and have decided that for all the well-meant intentions, the local institutions of learning will never be as dynamic nor as creative, nor as extensive as anything we might have to offer on our own--simplybecause they have to answer to a fundamentalist segment of the population which exerts too much control over the local political structures. (Think Salem circa 1692.)
We do not ask to be taken off the public tax dollars (unlike our conservative counterparts), nor do we ask for special tax breaks (again, unlike our conservative counterparts). All we want is the right to raise children who will appreciate a life time love of learning and a willingness to question everything and everything no matter how sacred nor popular that everything may be. And perhaps more importantly, to use facts and empirical data to support their ideas.

Kyle Alexander James Kilpatrick


Karen Fitzgerald-Kilpatrick

Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Moronic Quote of the Week

I'd just like to continue our new little tradition of "Moronic Quote of the Week." I saw this on Yahoo and I just couldn't resist posting it here. It comes from one of the perennially-favored assholes, Pat Robertson. Here's the text of what I read on Yahoo:

Evangelist backs off Chavez assassination call

WASHINGTON - Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson, who called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said on Wednesday he was misinterpreted and there were a number of ways to "take him out" including kidnapping. "I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping," Robertson said on his "The 700 Club" television program. "There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted," Robertson added.

Oh...because THAT makes it all better. I'm sure that Chavez's death was exactly what Robertson had in mind. Now, I admit that I don't know what Chavez did and I certainly don't trust my government to tell me properly. But, on the other hand, calling for the assassination isn't what made me deem this an asshole comment. It was the fact that he tried to BS his way out of it--and completely failed. That and the fact that I just don't believe his little recant. Bear in mind, ladies and gentlemen, that this is the same man who blamed Americans for 9/11, saying "God let it happen," because we're such sinful, awful, horrible, tree-huggers. AKA we don't embrace Pat Robertson's personal brand of conservatism. If that doesn't make for an asshole comment, then I don't know what does...

Saturday, August 20, 2005


To my fellow team members and our valued readers.

I want this above board so that everyone, both our team members and our readers, will know what's going on around here. As some of you know, we have been receiving commercial spam in our commentary forum. This is annoying and frankly, we don't want to create the impression that we are encouraging certain businesses as opposed to others to run ads for free here.

I am therefore asking my fellow team mates to delete comments which read something like:

"Wonderful post, we like what yu are doing here, maybe youd like to take a look at the AcmeCoffincompany."


"A very nice comment, maybe you would be interested in visiting the UpYourShaftUsedCarCompany."

This does not apply to legitimate comments from genuine readers, no matter how outrageous they may appear. As we were all told when we signed up for the fine art of blogging, we aren't supposed to be using these blogs for personal gain, and to that end I feel that it is best that these spam ads, which make a mockery of that position, be deleted as quickly as possible.

Our purpose here is to promote and discuss political, philosophical and ecnomomic ideas, not to sell mortages, products or services.

I thank my fellow team members with their help in this regard and our readers for their patience with this situation.



I suspect that the reason that demagogues of any stripe can gain so much popularity is because of two basic factors. The first is the rise of political correctness and the second is the resulting disappearance of civics courses from our public schools system. Don't get me wrong. When Brandon asked me to join this blog I was a creature of the right who had evolved into a creature of the left, and I am still the same individual who accepted the invitation. But I must say that there is a part of me that deplores the idea of any kind of censorship for virtually any reason what so ever, and that part of me tends to exist beyond the confines of the left to right spectrum.

Before I write another word, I want to specify that I am not talking about Brandon, nor his siblings, nor his friends and team mates here. In the time that I have known them they have proven to be intelligent, well-read individuals who are making an effort to support their beliefs with cold hard facts. So, what I’m about to say is in no way intended to reflect upon them. But I must also say that there are many, many young people out there who haven’t a clue as to what this country is about, or how it was formed, or as to who the founding fathers were. And if you want the truth, I worry about a country in which the upcoming generation doesn’t have a sense of where they came from, when they don’t understand the basic premises on which their government and liberties are based. I find it very difficult to talk to younger people today. If I mention names like Jefferson, Hamilton, Lafayette, Tocqueville etc so many of them haven’t a clue as to who or what I am talking about. Words like federalism, confederacy, states rights, the New Deal, etc produce confused looks and glassy eyes. Am I the only person out here who thinks that this is a bad thing? And it isn’t only the young people. I find significant segments of the older population who have no idea as to how issues interrelate and cross reference; seemingly educated people who are functionally illiterate when it comes to the history of this country. Again, I ask the question. Am I the only person out here who thinks this is a bad thing for the future of our nation?

Before writing this I asked Brandon for permission to use him as an example as to what can happen when political correctness is carried to an extreme. I’ve known this young man for the better part of five years. The fact that he was a bright, curious, inquisitive, and (at times) headstrong young man did not surprise me I the least. He was after all, my best friend’s son. But to be honest, I had not been at all impressed by his high school experience with literature. He seemed to have the facts but there was an obvious void when it came to the classics. Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984, Age of Reason, Stranger In A Strange Land, Frankenstein, The Grapes of Wrath, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex: Those were just a few of the titles which his English, science, and history high school teachers had considered too “controversial” to discuss in a high school setting. The reasons were obvious—left and right wing political correctness. No one wanted to upset anyone. Indeed, the degree to which people are offended by ANY opinion which difference in only the SLIGHTEST degree from their own is truly frightening. Luckily, Brandon’s dad and I both have extensive, private libraries, so we’ve been able to fill in the gaps which had been created by past restrictions. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are still millions of young men and women in our society who will never know the wit of Mark Twain, or the prophetically accurate dystopias that we might find in works by Aldous Huxley or George Orwell; not to mention large stretches of American History and the important political/philosophical debates which took place during the Constitutional debate of 1787 and ever since.

In other words, we have just about politically corrected ourselves to death, and with that in mind I offer the following reasons for scrapping this God awful concept and going back to what has historically worked best: intense and often furious debate over real issues.

1. By silencing opposing view points you actually lose the ability to make effective arguments against them.

2. Imposing political correctness (i.e. censorship) onto individuals will only make them craftier and cagier when they present old ideas in new garb.

3. Political Correctness makes a mockery out of the basic philosophy that the solutions to bad ideas are better ideas, that the remedy for bad speech is better speech. .

4. It has a tendency to shut down debate by demonizing the person making the argument rather than the ideas themselves.

5. There may or may not be a constitutional basis for civility but there certainly is NOT a constitutional right to harmony. In other words, where in the Constitution does it say that there is a right to never be offended? The answer, very simply, is that such a right does not exist.

6. As bad as some speech may be there are cases when hearing it in the public square is actually useful. In other words, if racist or sexist or homophobic bigots want to make themselves look like fools, then LET THEM. At the risk of using a cliché, if you give them enough rope the damned fools in this world will almost inevitably hang themselves. The American people may be overworked and struggling just to keep their heads above water, and they may not have a lot of time to follow the details, but that doesn't mean the American people are idiots--far from it. If exposed to moronic ideas and a superior counter argument I suspect that they will invariably reject bigotry and embrace the superior argument.

7. Attempts at censorship in the name of political correctness invariably blow back in unexpected ways. We may attempt to penalize the local racist for offending people of a racist group but if we do so it will only be a matter of time before misanthropic (read fanatical) college students can take a college professor to court because he offended their religious beliefs by discussing the theory of evolution. Someone should tell the proponents of both, left wing and right wing political correctness about the old saying: “What goes around comes around.”

8. Political Correctness is an attack on the right to freedom of thought and conscience. And if I need to explain that then we’re in worse condition than I ever might have imagined.

9. Political Correctness stifles creativity by re-classifying a wide variety of speech and expression as histile acts. Only under the narrowest of circumstances should speech or freedom of expression be considered as forms of action. Perhaps shouting "fire" in a crowded theater or using speech to provoke physical violence might be considered actions, but that said, the frequency with with speech has been redifined as action itself is both repressive and frightening.

10. Political correctness runs contrary to our First Amendment Free Speech Rights. Need I say more?

I don’t know if the political climate would allow us to create an effective civics course, but I suspect that the job might become a lot easier if we could get past the idea that political correctness is in any way correct and learn to celebrate the fact that we have a right to be offended.

That may sound contradictory, but it is also true.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Editor's note The following post comes from our good friend, Katie, who writes for our sister blog, LeftWingRising. The following essay is a sequel to our recent post about historical revision, World War II and the nature of fascism and communism. My coauthors, Brandon and Kyle, found her remarks both enlightening and informative, and we trust that our readers will too.

Advocate 1 (AKA Jeffrey)


By Katie from LeftWingRising

It's always an interesting (aka hitting one's head repeatedly against a brick wall) discussion when the far right claims that Nazis and facism are leftist ideals. Socialism, at least, has smatterings of left leanings (well, perhaps not Hitler's kind), of course, but to assert that fascism has anything to do with the left at all is ludicrous. Hitler made it well-known that he had no use for communism or socialism. Let's all remember that communism and fascism are mutually exclusive. A totalitarian dictatorship doesn't work so well if it's a collective.

Interesting that you mention not recognizing Hitler as a threat to the U.S. President Bush called Saddam Hussein an "imminent threat" to our country...and yet, Hussein did not have political interests outside Iraq. He did not control the Middle East like Hitler controlled Europe. He didn't even seem to have any weapons with which to fight. How, then, is this a threat? Oh, it must be that famous Bush logic: of COURSE you can fight a war without allies, other political interests or weapons. Sometimes, I have to wonder if our commander-in-chief honestly believes that "God makes all the bad men go away." It does seem to be the base of all the foreign policy we've seen in the last five years. Hell, it seems to be the base of any policy we've seen in the past five years. There are some stunning historical parallels between Hitler and our own little Georgie and yet, nothing is being done. Have the free-thinking people of this nation really given up to the Insanity Party (aka any sort of radical right-wing anything)? My history teachers always taught me that the reason Hitler was so effective--and therefore so dangerous--was that for the most part, he came to power through the proper political means. He staged no coups and overthrew no governments. He was elected. George Bush was elected at least once. He seems to move further and further to the right with every passing day. In fact, he's moving so far right, he just might end up in Germany soon. Truly, has no one noticed the echoes of a supremely treacherous government? All the promised (and yet-to-be-delivered) economic reforms? The emphasis on military strength? Less and less tolerance for individuality and beliefs other than the leader's? The founding of policies based on one man's opinion of religion (Hitler's being a backlash against, Bush's being ultimate faith in)? The xenophobic tendencies of a nationalist obsession? Need I go on?

I'm fairly certain I don't need to point out eerie and ominious similarities to the members here. What about the common public? Thomas Paine incited a revolution with one pamphlet...why aren't we trying harder when one tactic fails? Why are we letting anyone bulldoze our lives with ideas of, "My vote doesn't count" (well, that's a bad example...sometimes, as Florida has shown us, it doesn't) and "I only have one vote." There are close to 300 million people in this country. I'm willing to bet at least half of that are voting-age. 150 million people. If we can gauge a vote by public opinion, it seems like an overwhelming majority are not in support of right-wing ideals. Let's say that 3/5 of that would vote for a more liberal candidate, ideology, whatever they're voting for. 3/5 is 90 million people. That's 90 million votes, or 60% of the estimated total voting population. Last time I checked, 60% wins an election. A whopping 9% (8.1 million) of those votes could be declared useless and the liberal candidate would still win. That's roughly the population of New York City. One city has the power to change an entire election. And yet...

Nothing happens. We've still got Adolf Jr. in office. Why? Because of mindless propaganda like "Fascism and socialism are leftist ideals." Remember all those propaganda posters from WWII? Sometimes, I feel like I'm going to wake up some morning and see a big sign that says "Don't get involved, it's bad for your health!" There are obvious and blatant commonalities between Hitler's regime and Bush's regime. Doesn't that tell us something about which side of the political spectrum they reside? Though it's rather like preaching to the choir at this point, I leave you all with two words:

Question everything.

Friday, August 05, 2005


What Brandon, Jeff, and Kyle might have added is that so much of the historical revision surrounding World War II seems to be coming from the shrinking number of people who support the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq. Ovioulsy, not every pro-war hawk is a Holocuast denier, but there was a VERY popular email which made the rounds about two years ago which claimed that Germany had not attacked the United States prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This of course is factually untrue. As for revisionism in general, some of the worst examples that we have encoutered are as follows:

1. Franklin Roosevelt knew exactly when and where the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor. This is just as insane as the idea that George W. Bush planned 911, Both ideas may appeal to paranoiacs and conspiracy freaks on the far left and right, but the ideas themselves are so insane that no one in their right mind would take them seriously.

2. We shouldn't have accepted Stalin as an ally. This is a unique twist on the idea that we should have extended World War II by morphing the successful war against fascism into a military conflict with the Soviet Union, either with or without nuclear weapons, depending on which revisionist you are talking too.

3. The Holocaust never happened. Yeah. The right winger who came up with this pile of dung clearly forgot to take his daily doses of lithium.

4. Germany posed no real threat to the the United States. In this loopy pipe dream, England and the Soviet Union could have handled Germany while the United States handled Japan, the Pacific, and Asia. This of course is dovetails into...

5. Germany had not attacked the United States when Franklin Roosevelt declared war in December 1941. There's just one problem with this one. IT IS FACTUALLY INACCURATE. There was an undeclared war between Germany and the United States BEFORE December 7, 1941. In September 1941, a German U-Boat fired two torpedoes at the American destroyer GREER, which had been tracking said U boat for several hours. In October, 1941, German U-boats fired on and badly damaged the American destroyer KEARNY, killing eleven Navy men. The worst incident involved the sinking of the American destroyer REUBEN JAMES with a loss of one hundred-some men. Of course, you might argue that the United States had been aiding Britain's war effort against Germany through the Lend Lease Act, but that doesn't change the fact that the first shots had been fired by Germany. Ironically, Point Five has been made repeatedly by pro war hawks who insist that Hitler is a proper analogy for Saddam Hussein. The reasoning (or rather lack thereof) being that we went to war against Hitler when Hitler had not attacked the United States (not true), therefore we somehow had a moral right to attack Iraq, even though Iraq had not attacked us first.

Until Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, no one had done a thing to stop Nazi aggression. But if the British and French had shown just a little courage in 1936, when the Germans marched into the Rhineland, Germany (at the time) would have been no match for the military superiority of England and France. Hitler would have been removed from power--either by the victors or by his own people and/or generals, and the Second World War would not have happened. Germany would have been contained.

In sharp contrast, Iraq had already been contained. Saddam had been defeated in Desert Storm after his foolish invasion of Kuwait. he had been subjected to no fly zones, sanctions, inspections, and occasional bombing. The Hitler analogy in so far as containment is concerned, is not a valid one.

But you can't blame the revisionist right for trying. They may not know their history, but you have to give them credit. They don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005




Advocate 1

“But even if there were no moral weaknesses in Britain, how could the appalling physical facts be overcome? Our armies at home were known to be almost unarmed except for rifles. Months must pass before our factories could make good the munitions lost at Dunkirk. Can one wonder that the world at large was convinced that our hour of doom had struck?”

The Abridgement of the six volumes of THE SECOND WORLD WAR
By Winston Churchill

During the past few days the authors of this article have encountered a truly dangerous mutation of historical revision on the right which attempts to both, downplay the danger that fascism—National Socialism in particular—presented to the entire world, and which also attempts to place Adolf Hitler on the left side of the political spectrum instead of on the nationalistic right where he properly belongs.

The authors of this article have encountered this kind of revisionism before, but not to the degree or the extent to which we are finding it on certain right wing blogs, where delusions and internal impulses seem to replace common sense and historical facts. We might have missed this phenomenon if it hadn’t been for the fact that certain missives appeared in the commentary forum on a friend’s weblog, Under normal circumstances we’re accustomed to Holocaust denials and rabidly racist statements from the lunatic fringe, and God knows that as alert citizens we are familiar with the half-baked rants of the American Nazi party, Aryan Nation, and the “Christian” Identity Movement. Their kind of congenital imbecility is actually easy to identify and even easier to counter. Revisionists, however, cloak their fabrications in a cloak of pseudo intellectual chicanery. Their unique blend of truths, half truths, and outright prevarications may well sound plausible to the inexperienced ear, and that makes their deceitful rhetoric a great deal more treacherous.

The revisionism in question falls into three basic categories.

1. Hitler’s Third Reich represented no threat to the United States.

2. William L. Shirer’s classic, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, supports the above view.

3. Fascism—National Socialism in particular—belong on the left side of the political spectrum.

We shall begin by tackling the first two revisions together.


To quote Shirer’s masterpiece:

“On the map the sum of Hitler’s conquests by September 1942 looked staggering. The Mediterranean had become practically an axis lake, with Germany and Italy holding most of the northern shore from Spain to Turkey and the southern shore from Tunisia to within sixty miles of the Nile. In fact, German troops now stood guard from the Norwegian Cape on the Arctic Ocean to Egypt, from the Atlantic to Brest, to the southern reaches of the Volga River on the border of Central Asia. German troops had reached the Volga just north of Stalingrad on August 23. Two days before the swastika had been hoisted on Mount Elbrus, the highest peak (18,481) in the Caucasus Mountains. The Maikop oil fields, producing annually two and a half million tons of oil, had been captured on August 8, though the Germans found them almost completely destroyed, and by the twenty-fifth, Kleist’s tanks had arrived at Mozdak, only fifty miles away from the main Soviet oil center around Grazny, and a bare hundred miles from the Caspian Sea…” (See page 914). Later, in a foot note, Shirer offers the following information from the before mentioned General Ewald von Kleist, as mentioned in THE GERMAN GENERALS TALK, by Liddell Hart. “’The Fourth Panzer Army could have taken Stalingrad without a fight at the end of July, but was diverted south to help me in crossing the Don. I did not need it and it merely congested the roads I was using. When it turned north again, a fortnight later, the Russians had gathered just sufficient forces at Stalingrad to check it.’ By that time Kleist needed the additional tank force. ‘We could have reached the goal [the Grozny oil] if my forces had not been drawn away to help the attack on Stalingrad,’ he added.”

Moreover, on page 913, Shirer notes that “German U Boats were sinking 700,000 tons of British American shipping a month in the Atlantic—more than could be replaced in the booming ship yards of the United States, Canada, and Scotland.” In adition, we would suggest that if the revisionists were to actually read THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, especially Chapters 22, 23, and 24, they would ralize just how delusional their world view really is. In these chapters, and throughout a great deal of the book, you will discover a William L. Shirer who in no way underestimates the the danger that this regime presented to the civilized world. As Shirer points out again, and again, and again, the Nazi war effort was hindered by everything from Hitler’s growing ineptitude and megalomania (he directed the German war effort personally over the adice of his generals), to poor timing, to weather conditions, ad infinitum. In other words, if only a few factors had played out a little differently, World War II might not have ended as it did. (For a brief, but fascinating discussion on other, possible outcomes, we would highly recommend an intriguing little book which was published in 1995 by Greenhill Books: THE HITLER OPTIONS: ALTERNATE DECISIONS OF WORLD WAR II, edited by Kenneth Macksey. In it, you will find ten military scenarios, some of which result in Nazi victories.)

The upshot here is obvious. William L. Shirer in no way dismissed the danger that Nazi Germany represented to the world at large. Nor do mainstream educators and experts in the field—meaning that the delusional world view espoused by the revisionists is in fact a product of a small but highly vociferous fringe group which sees a need to downplay the barbarism and out right sociopathy of the Hitler regime. And, we would hasten to add, their world view presents a number of interesting “what ifs?”

Are they suggesting that America should not have fought in the European theater during World War II? If Hitler was not a threat to America, then their logic dictates we should not have fought in Europe. Taking their wild “idea” to its logical extreme, this would have probably resulted in a Communist-dominated Europe. Do the Communist fearing revisionists think the United States would have been safer if Stalin had overrun Nazi Germany plus all of Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Great Britain? Would America be secure in a world where the Mid East and Northern Africa had been over run by Uncle Joe and the Red Army? Or do the revisionists think we should have stayed out of the European theater and allowed either Hitler of Stalin to reign supreme?

While you’re pondering that issue we shall move on to the third aspect of historical revision.


Of course, the misguided attempt to transform Hitler into a harmless ball of fluff wouldn’t be complete if it weren’t accompanied by an asinine attempt to make him over into a poster child for the socialists, or even the left in general.

Again, going back to THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, we would highly recommend that our readers open this wonderful volume to chapters 1, 2, and 4. In Chapter 4 you will find a section called “The Intellectual Roots of the Third Reich.” Here Mister Shirer describes the “odd assortment of erudite, but unbalanced philosophers, historians, and teachers who captured the german mind during the century before Hitler.”

He begins with George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who in addition to inspiring Marx and Lenin, also inspired German, right-wing nationalists; who taught that the state was everything and that periods of happiness were, “’the empty pages of history because they are periods of agreement without conflict.” War, un other words, was a blessing, a great, racial purifier.

Hegel is followed by Heinrich Von Treitschke, another war-mongering fanatic. After which the list of intellectual misanthropes reads like a “Who’s Who” of the criminally insane right: Nietzsche; Richard Wagner, a bona fide French racist, County Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, and a pro-German Englishman, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who went so far as to suggest that Jesus was an Aryan. Later, In Chapter 8, Shirer also includes Martin Luther as one of the historical roots of German anti-Semitism and excessive obedience. (Note also that he might also have included the Popes and the highly anti-Semitic Catholic Church of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.)

In addition, a detailed investigation into the mind of Adolf Hitler reveals obsession that are obviously and viscerally anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-socialistic, and anti-communistic. One more than one occasion, Hitler said that that he wanted to be remembered as the destroyer of world wide Bolshevism. For those who have any doubts we would recommend that they fetch a copy of Hitler’s MEIN KAMPF—just to get an idea as to how violently anti-socialist this madman truly was. But if you don’t have a stomach for rambling, sociopathic drivel, then we highly recommend the following books.

DER FUEHRER, by Konrad Heiden, published in 1944 by Houghton Mifflin Company. (We’re using a first edition of the English translation by Ralph Mannheim, but you should be able to find a subsequent edition through your local library, and ADOLF HITLER, by John Toland, published in 1976 by Doubleday and still readily available. Both works will reveal the fact that the National Socialism is a decidedly ant-socialist, anti-communist ideology.

True, you might look at the 25 Points in the Original German Workers Party and claim that the (soon to be) Nazi Party was socialistic, but as Shirer demonstrates, it was mostly for show. Point 1 demanded the abolition of incomes unearned by work. Point 12 called for the nationalization of trusts. Point 12 called for the abolition of land rents and land speculation. But as Shirer says on page 41, “a good many paragraphs of the party program were obviously merely a demagogic appeal to the mood of the lower classes when they were in bad traits and were sympathetic to radical and even socialist slogans. And, as he said only two paragraphs earlier, “most of the 25 points were forgotten by the time the party came to power.” Of course a few managed to stick. Point 1 called for the union of all Germans in the Reich. Point 2 called for the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, while Point 18 established the death penalty for traitors.

There were also a number of deluded individuals, rivals like Gregor Strasser, who refused to bow before Hitler’s will, and who made the fatal mistake of actually believing the Socialist part of National Socialism, but such individuals were promptly dealt with. Read executed.

The revisionists also mentioned (albeit in passing) Laurence W. Britt’s "FASCISM ANYONE?" Not so much a book as a lengthy article on the online home of the Council for Human Secularism, this wonderful composition examines the 14 basic, defining characteristics of fascism. Just as interesting is the fact that Mister Britt was recently a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio where he appeared on the Kathleen Dunn Show. Following the host-guest discussion period, a very conservative caller chimed in to make the same point that the revisionists had tried to make—that fascism and National Socialism were products of the left. The response was telling. Mister Britt corrected the caller and stated unequivocally, that fascism and National Socialism belonged on the right, on the conservative side of the political spectrum; not—repeat, NOT—on the left.

In closing we would only add that World War II was a very dark, dangerous, and frightening time. Millions of people gave their lives for a just cause and a way which quite literally saved civilization as we know it. Others were either worked to death or sadistically slaughtered because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds or religious affiliations. The revisionists, by dismissing the seriousness of the Nazi threat, have belittled the millions either gave their lives for freedom or who were senselessly murdered during the war against fascism.

And for that they not only deserve our condemnation. They should just be ashamed of themselves.



Kyle Kilpatrick. appears courtsey LEFT WING RISING

Authors' notes. Those who are interested in World War II might want to consider some of the following resources which we used as sources for the above work.

By William L. Shirer
Published by Simon and Schuster 1960

By Winston Churchill
Published 1959 my Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
1987 by Lady Mary Soames

The Six volumes mentioned directly above:

By Winston Churchill
Published during the 1950s by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston

By John Toland
Published 1976 by Doubleday

Edited by Kenneth Macksey
Published 1995 by Greenhill Books, London
Stock Pile Books, Pennsylvania

By Harrison E. Salisbury
Published 1978 by Nelson Doubleday Inc

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


There's a difference between getting elected and actually ruling. Note that when I talk about the Bush Administration I do not use the terms "leading" or "representing." I specifically use the term ruling, the reasons being obvious.

The Bush regime, through a highly efficient use of porpganda (read distortions, prevarications, selective use of facts, and mingling of truths with falsehoods), has proven time and time again that it knows how to twist the American people around its little finger. A sane reading of the last campaign tells us that the same party which said that Al Gore would "run on fear itself," in fact played the fear/hate card itself throughout the 2002 and 2004 elections.

This is no accident.

Consider the following example: the idea of a dirty bomb. This obviously would not be a walk through the park, but there are very practical methods, medical measures, that the American people could take to protect themselves if such an event were to occur. But does the Bush administration tell us about these measures? No. They can spend millions of dollars on a propaganda campaign to promote their drug company-written medicare bill, but they can't get behind a life-saving public service message that would tell people what to do in the event of a dirty bomb. Why if you didn't know better you'd think that they were actually AFRAID to give the American people a little hope.

This is no accident. To release such information on a national basis would relieve some of the fear about the situation and this is the last thing that the Bush regime wants to happen. Instead, the Bush regime would rather keep the American people in the dark, perpetuate the state of fear, and score political points in the process. In a similar vein, the Republican party promotes fear and anger when it campaigns (some might say proselytizes) against gays, women, liberals, etc. But that's another topic to be discussed in more detail in another time and place.

The type of war in which we are engaged says it all--and I am not talking about the wars in Afghanistan (which is a necessity) and the war in Iraq (which is a product of arrogant presumption, hubris, greed, and arrogance). We are, according to the president and his gang of nepotimistic thugs, engaged in a "war on terror." Excuse, me but just how do you wage a war on a human emotion? And why would you want to wage a war on a human emotion in the first place? Why are we not waging a war against terrorISM?

The answer is obvious. The Bush regime, in one of its few, accidental moments of honesty, has actually revealed something about itself. It is indeed waging a war on human emotions. But not with the intention of conquering fear. Far from it. The Bush administration is actually determined to PROMOTE terror at the expense of love, trust, and generosity. When you have the right circumstances and ruthless individuals in place who are willing to exploit fear and mix truths with falsehoods, getting elected is easy.

Perhaps TOO easy.

Ruling, however, is another matter: two wars going sour; our reputation in ruins across the face of the earth; a massive budget deficit; increasing numbers of uninsured Americans; oil at all time high prices; ditto to prices at the gas pump; increasing prices for heating oil, electrical power, natural gas, and water; Americans working longer and harder hours just to stay where they are in the rat race, ad infinitum. If ruling were in any way easy, the Bush Regime wouldn't find itself ranked between the AIDS and Ebola Viruses and Jack The Ripper in American opinion polls.

But then again, ruling isn't the same as running a political campaign. During the campaign Bush got to make a lot of empty promises. Now he has to either put up or shut up. Or to put it another way, poor Mister Bush has learned that having is not as pleasant as wanting