Wednesday, May 31, 2006

HERE WE GO AGAIN! THE BUSH WAR ON SCIENCE

When I heard rumors about a gag order on the condition of salmon I couldn't believe what I was hearing. But as it turned out, the rumors were true. The Bush Administration has indeed imposed a gag order which prevents the scientific community from talking about the condition of salmon in the western United States. That's right, as a part of its ongoing war against logic and reason, the Bush Administration has yet again censored the scientific community and allowed political hacks with anti-environmental business ties to make decisions which are best left to the scientific community.

"Now why," you might me asking yourself, "would the Bush Administration want to censor information about fish?" The answer is rather obvious. It seems as if agri-business has been polluting the rivers and streams which serve as habitats to salmon. So to protect agri-business from just criticism concerning its environmental policies ( i.e. the pollutants and contaminants that they are dumping or allowing to run off into the waters, they have essentially shut of debate by shutting off the flow of information. Answering questions about the condition of the salmon might lead to questions about the condition of the water in which these fish are swimming and that's information that agri-business would just as soon keep hidden from the light of day.

So if scientists from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration are forbidden from speaking then from whom are we supposed to get the proper information? You guessed it! Political appointees who will carry water (play on words intended) for the agri-business industry.

Beyond that, I have to wonder if this is about more than the protection of prevaricating industry. In so many ways the Bush Administration is a throw back to the Dark Ages and the religious war against black magic and witchcraft. We already know how they feel about the biological sciences and evolution. So you just have to wonder if they don't see science as a form of Satanic alchemy. That may sound extreme, but you also need to remember that the Bush Administration, has, for all intents and purposes, declared itself a "faith based movement," and to make the proverbial square peg fit in the proverbial round hole, it has done its absolute best to either ignore or repress scientific FACTS which disprove their delusional view of the world.

On the other hand, you just have to give this Administration credit. It has once again found a way to combine greed, ignorance, and superstition in a manner which benefits those who have contributed to our political system.

They may be more ignorant and more corrupt than we had ever imagined, but damned these sons of bitches are good at what they do. And the thing that impresses--or should I say frightens?--me the most is that they have once again found a way to deprive the American people of a basic democratic right--the right to know the most basic of scientific facts about the environment in which we all live. But then again, you have to remember: Bush and his ilk think that they're loving, Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus, is going to come back to destroy the earth anyhow, so they really aren't too interested in keeping the planet safe for future generations.

What can I say? Only in America could the ruling party find a way to combine theocracy, stupidity, greed, and corporate corruption in way that profits the wealthy upper class.

If I weren't an atheist I'd say something like "God help us."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

MAYBERRY RFD: SMALL TOWN PARADISE OR DEN OF INIQUITY?

Editor's note
By Daniel Gallagher

The following is a Guest Perspective from the Reverend Rob Patterson of Mount Pilot, North Carolina. For those of you who are not too familiar with the name Rob Patterson, the Reverend is the founder and CEO of the Citizens Rallying Against Progressive Policies,(or C*R*A*P*P*), a conservative (read "reactionary") front group dedicated to the destruction of democracy and the implementation of a Christian theocracy.

We realize that many of our readers may find the Reverend Patterson to be a bit extreme, but by the same token it must be admitted that his comments are perfectly in line with others of his kind have been saying about homosexuality and the gay community since mankind learned how to hate. In this regard he is in the league as the Pat Robertson, Alfred E. Newman, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, and the incomparable Fred Phelps. We realize that many of our readers will be offended by what the Reverend Patterson has to say, but in the interest of presenting both sides of the issue, we believe that we are serving the greater good by presenting the Reverend's opinions at this particular time in this particular forum.


MAYBERRY: SMALL TOWN PARADISE OR DEN OF INIQUITY?
by the Reverend Robb Patterson

As a young man growing up in the wilds of Arkansas, I never had an opportunity to watch the kind of depraved, network television programs that my hell bound classmates were watching on a regular basis. While my heathen friends and peers were watching mind altering programs like I Love Lucy and Captain Kangaroo, and I was watching Christian classics such as Davey and Goliath, and midnight reruns of Triumph of the Will and the inspirational Birth of a Nation .
Later, as the television networks gave us suggestive series titles such as The Dick Van Dyke Show, I stopped watching television altogether and concentrated on my Bible studies in a heartfelt effort to become the most narrowly educated man on the face of the planet. On many occasions, my devout, Christian compatriots have suggested there are many decent programs out there which might not be offensive to my sensibilities. One of the most frequently mentioned shows is a purported classic, the supposedly innocent Andy Griffith Show.

After a great deal of soul searching and heart felt prayer, I drove down to my local video store and checked out the entire canon of unedited broadcasts from this 'innocent" small town series.

And what I found horrified me. Perhaps because of their sinful, often Satanic public school educations, my of my so called comrades in Christ truly believed that the tiny village of Mayberry,North Carolina was a small town paradise, free of the cares and vices of the modern, post Christian era. But upon a closer examination I discovered--much to my horror--that the entire village was a den of iniquity, a demonic hell hole created by the Prince of Darkness to tempt and pervert innocent, unsuspecting minds.

Let us look at the evidence.

First and foremost, the tiny little berg of Mayberry is the modern day equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah. The incidents of homosexuality are obvious, and yet, for some bizarre, reason, supposedly educated human beings either cannot or will not see the truth.

Let us begin with Aunt Bea. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the village of Mayberry, Bea Taylor is an aunt to both, Sheriff Andrew (Andy) Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife, who, according to at least two episodes, is a cousin to his boss, Sheriff Taylor. We must therefore assume that Aunt Bea is an aunt to Deputy Fife as well. Aunt Bea, it must be remembered is a single woman who moved to Mayberry from her place of birth, Morgantown, West Virginia, to help Sheriff Taylor raise his only son, Opie. Throughout the entire series, Aunt Bea seldom showed an interest in another man. n two occasions did she reveal anything which even resembled a sexual fascination with a member of the opposite sex, and on both occasions she managed, quite conveniently to pass on something that resembled a normal relationship. Indeed, most of Aunt Bea's affection is directed towards her best friend, Clara (Johnson) Edwards. Despite an occasional quarrel over elderly single men, Aunt Bea and Mrs. Edwards seem to spend more time with each other, complaining about the daily difficulties of life in general, than they do jumping the bones eligible bachelors their own age. Am I the only one who finds this a tad suspicious? It seems to me that Aunt Bea's judgement is at best questionable. Why does a woman her age avoid, indeed resist, the normal human impulse to marry? Why does she spend so much time with Mrs. Edwards? In my humble opinion Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Edwards are a lesbian couple, remaining in the closet, but failing in their attempt to conceal their unnatural desires. WE all know how woman can be. The Bible tells us that they are the weaker, more gullible sex. Theologians tell us that a woman's vagina is a gateway to hell, that woman are little more than imperfect men in need of control and advice from their male superiors. Even in this regard Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Edwards have flaunted their unnatural desires in the face of morality and decency, frequently manipulating the men in their lives in the same deceptive manner in which Eve tempted and ultimately betrayed Adam. What else can you say about a couple of dried up old lesbians who tease on elderly bachelors.

Nor are Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Taylor the only perverts to walk the streets of Mayberry

A close look at the Darling Family reveals an obvious proclivity for interbreeding. For those of you who are not familiar with the Darling Family, this is the demented collection of semi-mute, emotionally repressed brothers whose collective IQs add up to approximately 17.26. The father--who has yet to be referred to as anything except Mister Darling--appears to be a likable but dull witted individual while his only daughter, Kathleen appears to suffer from an irrepressible case of nymphomania. Ultimately the question must be asked: What unusual coital practice can account for so much dysfunction within the same familial unit? The answer is obvious:

Interbreeding, incestuous relationships.

While we have no physical proof of the actual act, and therefore no proof as to the family members who were actually copulating with one another, the resulting genetic defects are obvious. The boys, while both, emotionally flat and intellectually stunted, are nevertheless musical savants. Not only are they gifted guitarists and banjoists, the few neighbors who they have not shot, beaten, or otherwise intimidated, maintain that Mister Darling and all of his sons are highly accomplished swinette players; a swinette being a string strung across a pig's rectum which the player plucks or strums with his teeth and/or lips. By the same standard, Kathleen--on those rare occasions when she isn't engaged in some form of sexual activity--has proven time and time again that she has a phenomenal talent for the recollection of lyrics and an equally phenomenal voice which, while untrained, nevertheless borders on the professional. We can appreciate the Darlings aptitude for music, but by the same standard we must also wonder about the children's family tree, whether we are talking about a multitude of branches or a single trunk. Regrettably attempts to perform a genetic analysis on the various members of the Darling clan have proven unsuccessful, resulting in the disappearance of the five different county nurses which have been dispatched to the Darling farm to obtain DNA samples, a situation which has prompted one individual, a certain Ernest T Bass to suggest that the Darling clan has been and may still be involved in Devil Worship and/or cannibalism.

Ernest's remarks about the religious affiliations in Mayberry are not to be taken lightly. The people of Mayberry are a superstitious lot. Many believe that seeing an owl in the daylight is a sign of bad luck. Deputy Fife has, on at least one occasion, consulted a deck of cards which serve the same purpose as the decidedly Satanic Tarot. By the same token Deputy Fife has also dressed up as a bride, disguised as the above mentioned Kathleen Darling, as a part of a mock marriage to Mister Bass (we do not know if the relationship was even consummated). Deputy Fife also believes in ghosts, as was demonstrated in the episode in which he and his boss, Sheriff Taylor, investigated a supposedly haunted house. On another occasion, the people of Mayberry assumed that one of their fellow citizens had been jinxed and ostracized him accordingly. In sharp contrast I can only recall a few episodes in which we saw the residents of Mayberry inside a church. This can only be explained by the fact that the residents are closet Satanists, appearing devout and righteous for select broadcasts of the show, but practicing their lustful, homosexual, Dark Arts in the secrecy of their own homes.

By now many of you are asking why I have linked the delicate topic of homosexuality to Satanic worship This, my friends, is because gay men and lesbian women are possessed by demons. Is it a coincidence that Deputy Fife looked better in that wedding dress than my wife does in her best formal? I think not. Something has gone very wrong -something along the lines of demonic possession--when a scrawny deputy like Barney Fife appears more feminine and more desirable than my beloved spouse in her $100,000 strapless ball gown.

In addition to sexual perversion, devil worship, and cannibalism, Mayberry has also been plagued by a serious drug and alcohol problem. One of the village residents, who is almost invariably referred to as merely "Otis," quite literally has his own, private cell at the tiny, two cell jail on Main Street. On many occasions I have watched on in pity and horror, while Otis staggered into the local police department/town jail, removed the keyring from its prominently located position, and quite literally let himself into his own cell. To his credit, Police Chief Deputy Barney Fife has made repeated attempts to reform this chronic alcoholic, on one occasion introducing the highly addicted Otis to the joys of fine art ( i.e. tile mosaics), but on each occasion Otis lapsed back into the old pattern of binge drinking and reappeared at his favorite haunt. Surprisingly, Sheriff Taylor, who the village looks up to as a source of moral leadership, seems disinterested in his friend's deteriorating condition, essentially turning the other way as Otis destroys himself both physically and spiritually via the demon rum. This strikes me as highly unusual. On the one hand Sheriff Taylor appears concerned--genuinely concerned--about his friend's well being. But how can a friend stand by and do nothing while a chronic alcoholic deteriorates on a daily basis? Why is the sheriff so determined to enable Otis in this ongoing attempt at self destruction?

In other areas, Sheriff Taylor has revealed a penchant for moral relativism, as he helped friends out of difficult situations. Many will remember the bizarre episode in which he helped Deputy Fife wiggle by the state height and weight requirements for small town deputies. Others may remember the time that the good Sheriff tricked a local farmer into allowing the farmer's daughter to wear perfume and makeup, hoping to marry the young girl off to the first suitor. Are these examples of morality or do they represent the kind of moral relativism that has become so accepted in the public arena today?

Moreover, Sheriff Taylor is a single father--a single father who has yet to show an interest in remarriage. Why? Why would a reasonably handsome man in his mid forties seem so reluctant to marry. We know that he dates Helen Krump, his son Opie's grade school teacher, but to the best of our knowledge, they have yet to engage in anything that resembles a normal, heterosexual relationship. Not that we're promoting premarital relations, that isn't Sheriff Taylor's behavior just a little suspicious? Why, after all did he spend so much time with Barney and so little time with Helen? What pray tell, was THAT all about? And then there's Barney. Why did he date Thelma Lou, a girl, by the way who had no last name, for all those years and then move away without marrying her? The same might be asked about Barney's replacement, Warren. Is there anyone out there who can remember a time when Warren dated a member of the opposite sex? What's going on in this town? What kind of strange and perverted activities are taking place in that jail anyhow?

And to make the situation even worse, Sheriff Taylor is little more than a local dictator of his own personal fiefdom. In the early years of the series, he at least had a mayor to contend with, but as the series dragged on and on and mercilessly on the mayor all but disappeared and Sheriff Taylor, who already had the powers of Sheriff and Justice of the Peace, assumed full mayoral powers as well. And when you consider the moral lethargy with which he ran the village as a whole you really have to wonder if that was the best thing for Mayberry and the viewing audience as well.

In closing, I would submit that Sheriff Talyor, Aunt Bea, and the other moral misfits who populate the modern day Gomorrah which is Mayberry, have not been proper roll models. Far from a sleepy little village, Mayberry is a den of iniquity, a nest of Satanic vipers and I would strongly encourage my congregation to write to their television stations and to the sponsors in an attempt to remove anything from the air with which I might disagree.

Yours truly,

The Wrong Reverend Robb Patterson


Editor's note.

Unless you watched THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW or reruns thereof as a child, this probably won't mean a lot to you. For those of you who did enjoy THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, please rest assured that I watched and enjoyed this comforting little show while I was growing up. It was one of the few programs that my homophobic, Southern Baptist Father considered "acceptable viewing." Cutting to the chase, I loved Mayberry. Aunt Bea was a genuine sweet heart; Barney was a lovable goofball, and Sheriff Taylor was the proverbial, loving father. In fact, almost everyone on that show, while occasionally quirky, was so sweet and so compassionate that I always knew in my heart of hearts that Mayberry was a Democratic oasis in a sea of Republican barbarism.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to thank my team mates for the thigh-slapping suggestion and early drafts which eventually became this post. I don't know what I enjoyed more--bashing the Republicans or reliving all those fine memories in Mayberry RFD

Daniel G


Daniel G



Who are the Patriots? WE are the patriots

Well, it looks as if the pseudo-patriotic Republicans have found their scapegoats and divisive wedge issues for the 2006 Congressional Races:

* Racial hatred against people with brown skin

* Depriving gay and lesbian Americans of their right to form unions and form nurturing families

* Protecting the flag while the Republic for which it stands crumbles into the dust under the most corrupt, megalomaniacal leadership that this country has ever known.It really isn't much of a secret.

I am concerned about the often obscene manner in which the Bush Crime Family and it's repressive, theo-fascist backers have claimed exclusive ownership of American Patriotism--as if Jesus were A Republican, or as if the GOP owns a copyright on the word loyalty. Well friends and neighbors, this may come as a shock and a revelation to the increasingly despotic Republican Party, but there are better ways to express one's love of nation than offering blind support for an obviously dysfunctional leader whose primary goal is the acquisition of personal power at the expense of our Constitutional liberties.

At the risk of being labeled a traitor or a terrorist sympathizer, I would suggest that the American people are currently under attack by two sources of terrorism: the right wing Islamicists who want to create a global Islamic Empire, and the back-stabbing, right Wing Christian Fundamentalists who have no use for the Bill of Rights and who want to establish a global Christian Empire via the use of American military power. Both enemies are dangerous, both want to destroy everything good and decent for which this country stands. but we can exert a direct political influence here at home to free ourselves of the latter.

And that brings us to the purpose of this post.

It's time to stand up to these goons. The right wing reactionaries and would be theocrats who have been bellowing moronic terms such as "traitor" "unpatriotic," and "unamerican" are the real traitors. The totalitarians and hate-mongering racists who would use Hispanics and Gays as whipping boys for their hard line agenda are the real quislings. Those who would divert attention from the chaos and destruction that thisAdministration has created while it wrapped itself in a red, white and blue cloak of Christian hypocrisy are little more than modern day Benedict Arnolds who would destroy democracy for their own, perverted agenda.

WE are the patriots. WE are the ones who are opposed to nationalism and totalitarianism in the guise of Christianity. WE are the ones who are opposed to fascism in the guise of security. WE are the ones who believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. WE are the ones who want to protect America from the rising tide of despotism which has become the Bush Administration and its repressive constituency of obsessive-compulsive religious fanatics. Those who who criticize the increasingly corrupt leadership of this particular regime are loyal, true-blue Americans. Those who sing the refrain of truth in a demented chorus of right wing propaganda and out right prevarications are the real patriots.

It's time to take back our Constitution. It's time to take back our country; to admit that the fraudulently elected Bush Administration, and its obsequious Republican boot-lickers are fifth column elements which have no interest in the United States of America beyond using the power and prestige of our once honorable nation for their own selfish ends.

It's time to admit that the Republican Revolution of 1994 was a political movement based not on American ideals, but on greed, ignorance, megalomania, and outright brutality; savagery at its worst. The time has come to speak truth to power, and the truth could not be more obvious.

Those of us on the left who have warning you about this regime?...

WE are the patriots.

Author's note. A slightly modified version of this post is cross published at our new auxilliary blog, WE are the Patriots.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

SUPPRESSING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN THE NAME OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY

From the front-line grabbing stories of riots of Muslims screaming for the deaths of Danish cartoonists responsible for the Muhammad cartoons, to world-wide calls for the ban of the supposedly blasphemous works of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, the world has had to deal with the repercussions of the fury of the religious-mad sections of both the Islamic and Christian realms.

While the Islamic counterparts tend to be more violent when it comes to blasphemous works, Christian fundamentalists are no less fervent in their crusades against the concept of liberal arts and freedom of expression. Time and again, we witness Christians witnessing their opinions against such works.

Of course, the conservatives will argue, that secular press and its inherents must respect the beliefs of the various religious sects.; that works of the nature pertaining to Satanism, blasphemy towards the various dieties, and others of the more violent and "deviant" nature should never taint mainstream channels of art and expression.

What these conservatives are essentially telling us is this: Freedom of expression of any nature must take into account of the sentiments of the various groups of people. In short, if you offend certain sensitivities, you or your works will be banned, regardless the consequences of banning books, or book burning (Death threats: in some cases, such as the Satanic Verses written by Salmon Rushdie, Muslims were so incensed that Ayatollah Khomeni issued a death sentence on his life).

A TOOTHLESS DRACULA???

Dracula: A comical figure draped in a red cape?

Now, imagine Bram Stoker, huddled in his home, on a raining, gloomy evening, trying to scribble ideas for his now-famous book, Dracula. Now, the very nature of Dracula could be deemed as bloody thirsty, evil and what-have-yous, and the occasional sacrifice of young, nubile women and all the violent stuff. Imagine, if there are taboos or laws that inhibit his ability to narrate his story. What would he make of his legendary, blood-thirsty monster? A toothless corpse with a crimson-coloured cape? Or a parody of Bugs Bunny, red eyes, white face without the fangs?

Truly, Dracula could very well turn out to be a box-office hit --- as a comedy, that is.

SHERLOCK HOLMES STORY, MINUS THE GORE

Narrating a murder case without the gore: Even the great detective can't figure this out.

Or try picturing this: A detective novel, minus the descriptions of a bloodied, murdered corpse.
The detective, Sherlock Holmes, is investigating the murder of some unknown street urchin; instead of mulling over the corpse and describing the corpse with his associate detective, he comes up with a more mundane, bland description of the crime scene. Wouldn't that dulled the reading experience of the reader, who deserves to be thrilled with every flip of each page?

BANNING THE BIBLE?

Bible: A violence-strewn book?

If violence is a probable, or an absolute criteria for banning books, shouldn't the bible be banned?
Besides tales of gory violence and incest, the book has nothing to offer besides nitpicking of few moral lessons, plus a whole bunch of irrelevant religious codes that would most likely be applicable in places like Afghanistan. Why not ban the bible instead?

WHITE-WASHING FACTS TO MAKE ARTICLES MORE PALATABLE

Slavery: The stuff of fiction. Naw. The Whites never had slaves....right...

Or the writings about 18th century racism, without actually describing actual slaves who were bought into the cruel, inhuman world of slavery by the white men, on the pretext of "protecting the sentiments of the coloured"?
Women of Islam: Well-treated, and well-covered too.

Or, should the press deny itself the right to write about the ills of the Muslim world, such as the abuse of women's rights, in the name of "religious sentimentalities"?

Gulag camps: According to some, the holocaust never happened.

Or better still, claim that no Jews were ever killed in the holocaust, that it was all but vile rumours spread by the occupying Allied forces?

Beautiful, huh? Hitler never killed the Jews, the Catholic Church never covered up for the paedophile priests, you know, none of these ever happened!!! Why?

Because no one dares to write about the truth, that's why. How canned up can our society be, if all that is every expressed is a rosy picture of roses, pretty flowers, little wierd aliens known as "teletubbies" jumping around in a fantasy world?

RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY: DESTROYING THE LITERATURE AND THE ARTS IN THE NAME OF RELIGIOUS INTEGRITY

Once again, the conservative bigots have attempted to stamp self censorship on the largely liberal world, through the screenings of the Da Vinci code.

In Manila, cinemas have been banned from showing the film, for fear that the film "portrays" the wrong version of Christianity.

Christians all over the world have protested against the film; Christians in India have allegedly encouraged hunger strikes over the film's showing.

In the USA, attempts have been made by a particular school board member in Airlington Heights (Click
link). to take off a series of books deemed too gory for students to read, despite the fact that these are, in essence, brilliant works from past illuminaries of a bygone era.

As a liberal and a admirer for great literary works, I find it incomprehensible that these barbarians can be so callous and narrow-minded in terms of executing their petty views on the masses. It is the right of the general public to ascertain what they wish to, or not want to read.

It is a sad fact that while liberals go out of their ways to bring about change and progress in the name of liberalism and progress,conservatives aim to resist change, and in most cases, retard social progress. It is time for these ancient dinosaurs of a conceited era to grab their religious opinions and shove it up the "you-know-where".

Marquis de Sade, anyone???







Friday, May 26, 2006

A MEMORIAL:DAY COMMENTARY BY THE FOUNDER

I have no doubt that George W. Bush will attempt to exploit the Memorial Day Holiday for political purposes, that he will, attempt to use the deaths of the soldiers he sent to their early deaths as a political ploy to boost his deservedly sagging approval ratings.

Talk about convenient.

George W. Bush now claims that his one big mistake was that foolish, foolish remark about bringing them on. I don't know about you, but I can think of even bloodier and more destructive things that this president has done, although we have yet to hear him accept responsibility for anything except the most trivial of wrong doings. Granted, the "bring 'em on remark," was a revelation in that it exposed him as the impulsive, irrational thug that he really is, but there were other actions and blunders for which this president has yet to take his share of the blame.

* Diverting troops, and resources from the war on terrorism in Afghanistan (where the Taliban are coming back) to a study in blood-soaked futility in Iraq.

* Failing to properly equip the troops in Iraq, resulting in serious injuries and permanent disabilities.

* Extending their tours of duty until they were so stressed out, so drop dead tired and exhausted, that they weren't taking care of themselves, sustaining deaths injuries which might otherwise have been avoided.

* Extending their tours of duty until they were so stressed that they were killing innocent civilians

* Supporting torture as a part of our foreign policy

* Promoting social Darwinism as an official economic policy

* Trying to impose a very narrow interpretation of the Christian religion as the national faith

* Using an educational policy (No Child Left Behind) as an excuse to plant military operatives (read recruitment officers) in our public schools

*Waging a war against poverty by waging a fiscal war of aggression against the poor

*Promoting policies which deprive women of their reproductive rights

And the best George W. Bush can come up with is an off the cuff remark about bringing them on? What in the name of all that's civilized is wrong with this butcher? Is he truly incompetent or does he get a sexual thrill out of blood, death, and destruction?

The part about the President's comments which amazed me the most was the timing. I have no doubt that the President will be delivering the usual "compassionate" speeches during the Memorial Day Weekend, offering the usual crocodile tears about the soldiers who he so callously sent to the slaughter, in essence denying any real responsibility for the destruction and instability that he brought to the nation of Iraq. I have no doubt that the President, in yet another set of prepackaged lies and misleading rhetoric, will attempt to pass himself off as a compassionate conservative who truly mourns the death of each individual soldier when the truth of the matter is that he is a sociopathic monster who has yet to express a single tear over the premature death of his own sister, Rachel, much less over a nameless, faceless young man or young woman who he so eagerly sent to war for personal and political purposes.

From my point of view, the problem is this: We have a spoiled, arrogant president; weak, demanding child in a man's body, who never really wanted for anything. He has made mistake, after mistake, after horrific mistake, essentially destroying everything he as ever touched, and on each occasion the enablers in his life have rushed in to either repair, or cover up the damage he has inflicted, while guaranteeing that he would never be compelled to take responsibility for his highly irresponsible actions. And so it continues. The President dropped the ball on the war on terror, bogging us down in Iraq, but he takes no responsibility. The President undermines our civil liberties, denies his actions, and then goes on the offensive when he is outed, but takes no responsibility. The president claims to be a born again Christian, but endorses torture as a method of interrogation, but takes no personal responsibility. And so it goes. At every turn this feeble excuse of a man has depended on others to correct and conceal his wrong doing. And the end result is a cowardly, butcher of a man, s stunted individual who either has no feelings for anyone or who has been so psychologically wounded that he views compassion and sympathy as signs of weakness.

We know that compassion and sympathy are normal human traits. We know that individuals who act upon those very human characteristics are strong, caring individuals. Conversely we also know that those individuals who either cannot or will not act on these normal human impulses are a threat to the society at large.

I'm sure that at some point George W. Bush will attempt to play the part of the compassionate patriot, but to be frank that routine is getting a little old and a little hard to believe.

The President's bizarre, totalitarian actions speak louder than any Memorial Day speech, and if the Demander and Thief wants to convince us that he is capable of genuine human compassion, he might begin by doing what he should have done when he quit drinking: take responsibility for all of his wayward actions; do penance for his wrong doing, and offer serious, amends to his many mournful victims.

Until such time as we see genuine contrition, humility, and remorse from this unfeeling monster I see no reason why anyone should believe a word that he says about anything. They say that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Well, if that's true then I would submit that George W. Bush will use the Memorial Day Holiday as yet another refuge from decency and personal responsibility.

BOOK BANNING STOPPED IN ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILLINOIS

Welcome to ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, SCHOOL DISTRICT 214 , where a persnickety school board member demonmstrated her "dedication" to education by challenging nine "required" books in the school's honor placement courses.

Personally speaking, I find the idea of book banning, even at a high school level, a little disturbing. It conjures images of German Nazis throwing works of classical literature on tremendous bonfires in public squares--a form of barbraism that should have gone the way of the Third Reich and war crimes. But, here we are having another conversation about the far right and it's never-ending attempt to limit what we can see, read, and listen to in the name of public "morality."




For those of you who missed the latest example of congenital imbecility--and you were god awful lucky if you did-- Leslie Pinney, a semi literate school board member from Arlington Heights, Illinois, challenged nine books, including classics and Pulitzer prize winners. Said Pinney: "Some of the books are covering some very controversial issues, and while we had a controversial issues policy withoin our district, perhaps we need to define what controversy is..." Nope. We wouldn't want to do that. NOOOO. We wouldn't want to introduce American students to controversial material. God forbid they might actually be encouraged to think about serious topics in a serious manner!

The books Pinney opted to challenge were as follows:

The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien; Beloved, by Toni Morrison; Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; the contemporary classic, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut; The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan; The Awakening , by Kate Chopin; The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, and Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers.

According to one parent, Janet Levin, "I've been in this district for 21 years. It would be really sad if the kind of situation turned out to be where I wouldn't feel comfortable with my children going to school here anymore or feel comfortable teaching." Fellow would be censor, Karen Everlsen agreed. "It's profane; it's sexual; bestiality. This is totally gonna fill their minds and its gonna project them to that kind of life style."

Of course the whole argument might have been convincing if ring leader Pinney had bothered to read all nine of the books in their entirety. "I read many of the excerpts in the books," said Pinney. "And I've read ah two of the books that I am concerned about."

Let me repeat Pinhead's last point just so our readers will understand why these desperate housewives have no real interest in protecting children or morality. Pinney specifically said that she had, read many of the excerpts in the books, and that she had only read two of the books she was concerned about. In other words, she did not read all of the books, and she only took the time to read what she considered the dirty parts in the other seven!

Despite complaints about violence and sexuality, you really have to wonder why a vociferous white woman like Pinney and her anal retentive goon squad are so upset by this. Why are they chewing the carpet over classics and Pultitzer prize winner?. Oh, jeeze. I don't know. Might it have something to do that one of the books discusses the evils of slavery? Might it have something to do with the fact that others discuss the brutality and futility of war? Topics which might be offensive to a bunch of bigoted, pro-war racists? Might it have something to do that one of the books discusses feminism, a topic which is offensive to abusive, domineering males and doormat females who accept the idea that women are inferior to and should take a subservient position to men? Oh hell, let's come right out and say it. Let's get real. This is just another attempt by a bunch of indefatigable cultural warriors who are trying to impose their totalitarian views on the rest of the society.

How far do we want to take their particular brand of fascism? Should we ban The Lorax by Doctor Seuss because it might be offensive to Lumberjacks? Should we ban Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet because it might promote suicide? Maybe we should burn Shakespeare's Scottish Play because it promotes witchcraft, or censor George Orwell's 1984 because it provides such a vivid description of the kind of world in which Pinney wants to live as one of the ruling class? We could ban Frankenstein and Dracula because they are violent books which deal with the occult; and let's not forget Huxley's Brave New World because it presents such an accurate description of the corporate driven, consumer society. Hell, we could even challenge John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, because it offers a lurid picture of what the American landscape will look like after it is ravished by conservative economic policy. On the other hand, we could ban the Old Testament because it conatins graphic examples of homosexuality, incest, war, murder, and utright insanity, or burn every book except the King James Bible and solve the energy crisis by converting our cars, furnaces, ovens, and water heaters to operate on burning books.

I'm very sorry, but Pinney is not concerned about the school; she doesn't give a damn about the children, and she couldn't care less about public morality. This is nothing more than a political tactic by Pinney and her anal retentive supporters to stir up a little free publicity in the year before an Arlington Height's school board election. The one thing Pinney cares about and the only thing Pinney cares about is her own insatiable craving for power. Anyone who saw Pinney and her acquiescent goons on the WGN-TV evening news broadcast of 25 May 2006 understood very well that this was just so much grandstanding for free propaganda, not a legitimate concern about the young people in the community who these frustrated control nuts so clearly want to dominate and deprive. Contrary to Pinney's deceptive rhetoric, School District 214 has an opt out policy which would allow the students to read alternative titles. But that doesn't matter to Pinney; she and her supporters aren't only interested in limiting the options and choices of their own mentally abused children. They are obsessed over the idea of limiting what every student in the district can read or think about.

Translated into the commonvernacular, Pinney and her narrow minded morality police are living proof of what some of us have thought for some time: that those who would challenge, ban, or burn a book, probably wouldn't have the brain power or the patience to read a book in the first place. And if they did actually manage to read one from time to time, they would probably try to deny their deeply rooted sexual problems by projecting those abnormal thought patterns into an attempt at public censorship,

I'm very sorry, but if anyone thinks little Johnny or Mary are going to run out and have an affair with a Doberman Pincher because someone read about it in a book, then I would highly suggest that Mommy and Daddy have not raised their children properly. As a matter of fact I would be more concerned about the so called parents who are concerned about this sort of thing, because they clearly have some genuinely sick fantasies that they need to deal with-- quickly and effectively.

Luckily, the rest of the school board found Pinney's repressive philosophy as narrow and imbecilic as it really is. The School Board voted down her Gestapo tactics on a vote of 6 to 1 in favor of intellectual freedom.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

DEATH PENALTY: AN IRREVERSIBLE ACT OF JUSTICE (OR MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE)

DEATH PENALTY: AN ARCHAIC, IRREVERSIBLE ACT OF CRUELTY?

With an increasingly global trend towards the need for more humane treatment to all human beings, perhaps the most taboo subject of them all, if I may be allowed to put it, is perhaps the controversial death penalty.

It is the epitome of all punishments by secular state law: Not only is the offender not given the opportunity for reform through confinement, the person has forfeited his or her life to the state authority. No other law can be seen as being more archaic and cruel than the death penalty.

Countries who still practise this controversial law are mostly non-democratic, or theocratic in nature. Countries such as communist China, countries of Islamic rule (Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc) and pseudo democracies (E.g Singapore, Malaysia, etc) do exercise their rights to exerminate a criminal's life.

EXECUTION METHODS


States that practise it in America tend to utilize poison injection, while the communist regime, well known for its deadly efficiency against all crimes against the state, do it with an unceremonious bullet from the back. Others, like puny Singapore, hang their prisoners. As the saying goes, there is always more than one way to slaughter the proverbial cow.

Crimes amounting to the death penalty vary. The common ones include premediated murder, espionage and other state and life-threatening crimes. Other less common crimes may include: Kidnapping, drug trafficking and corruption. In Islamic countries, being caught in a homosexual act can constitute a death sentence for the unfortunate offender.

Unlike other moral arguments, this is one argument that I feel is evenly matched: Both proponents and opponents of the death penalty have valid arguments to make, and due to the seriousness of this issue, I would like to take the trouble to present both views as succinctly and unbiasedly as I possibly can.

ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

Proponents of the death penalty have put up credible arguments to defend this age-old punishment.

Most would agree, however, that the death penalty be restricted to violent crimes, mostly pertaining to murder, or at the very most, crimes pertaining to treason.

A summary of pro-death penalty arguments, followed by counter-arguments, as follows:

1. DEATH PENALTIES FOR SPECIFIC, SERIOUS CRIMES

For: Certain criminals who have committed irreversible crimes, such as rape and murder, ought to be executed by the state. The logic, it seems, stem from the biblical quote of "an eye for an eye". This, in the eyes of death penalty proponents, will discourage and deter would-be offenders from committing acts of murder.

Against: The purpose and logic of secular law is not to facilitate a tit-for-tat. a-la mafia style executions, against criminals. The purpose of punishment is to rehabilitate the criminal, not send them to their deaths.

To punish a crime with another crime, in the form of state execution, just cannot be justified, even if they seem to "even the odds", according to pro-death penalty supporters.

2. THE USE OF THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST RECALCITRANT, DEADLY CRIMINALS FROM SOCIETY.

For: Extreme criminals, such as serial arsonists and serial killers, are a real manace to society, and ought to be gotten rid of for good.

Those who have not shown signs of remorse, and have blatantly and constantly flouted the law to commit heinous crimes should be executed.

Against: Again, the fact is that, once you execute a criminal, it is a irreversible act. Once he/she is dead, there is no chance of any kind of resurrection.

To determine who or who should not be executed is something that becomes a really dicey affair, since every nation has a interpretation of what is and what is not an "executable" crimes.

Sure, a serial killer deserves the death penalty, but could he or she been suffering from mental ailments of an unknown nature? If that is so, the killer may inevitably been a victim of his own delusions. How does one justify the state-sanctioned murder of a mentally-ill person? Wouldn't pyschiatric treatment, and constant monitoring of the criminal be a more fruitful preposition.

Besides, who is to say that some day, a person of high social status abuses the law and executes anyone whom he or she is not in good terms with?

3. COST-SAVING

For: Spending millions, or billions (depending on where you live) of taxpayer's money to feed and maintain crooks isn't a long term solution. We need to cull some of them so as to keep the country's fiscal year at an absolute minimum. The worst criminals, such as murderers and rapists, have no place in society, even if they are released.

Against: Criminals are not cows, chickens or poultry. Prisons and other reformatory services must understand their role of counsellors cum punishers. "Culling" criminals is just another inhumane way of placing people in gulag camps, no matter how valid the reasons may seem to be.

FUNDAMENTAL FLAW OF DEATH PENALTY: A WRONGFUL JUDGEMENT MAY LEAD TO IRREVERSIBLE TRAGEDY

Of course, the proponents of the death penalty do justify their points, as to the opponents.

One inescapable flaw, however, is the fact that wrongful judgements, no matter how minimal, becomes a travesty when an innocent man dies for the crime he never commits.

Unlike any other sentence, say, a life sentence, the accused, if wrongfully accused, still has enough time in his hands to make as many appeals as he can, while a man on death parole has a limited time to make his case, before he is summarily executed. In countries such as China, there may be no grounds of appeal provided by the courts.

And example of a wrongful judgement that very nearly caused the death of an innocent man:

DNA Testing Exonerates New York Man Who Might Have Been Executed

After spending more than a decade in jail for a crime he did not commit, Douglas Arthur Warney has been exonerated and will be freed from prison in New York based on DNA evidence. Police maintained that Warney had confessed to the crime. Warney is a poorly educated man with a history of delusions and suffering from an advanced case of AIDS. He originally faced the death penalty for the 1996 stabbing murder in Rochester, but was ultimately convicted of second-degree homicide and sentenced to 25 years in jail. Prosecutors tried to block recent DNA tests that revealed that blood found at the crime scene could not have come from Warney. The test concluded that the blood belonged to another man, Eldred L. Johnson, Jr., who has since confessed to being the sole killer in the crime and is in prison for a different killing and three other stabbings.

Though no forensic evidence linked Warney to the crime, prosecutors used his false confession - which defense attorneys say was based on facts fed to him by a homicide detective - to overcome weaknesses in the case. During Warney's trial, prosecutors said that blood found at the crime that did not match the victim or Warney could have belonged to an accomplice, but that Warney was the killer based on his detailed confession. Despite providing details regarding the crime, Warney's confession was also filled with inconsistencies. According to trial testimony, Mr. Warney told the detective he had driven to the victim's house in his brother's car, although the brother had not owned the car for six years before the murder; he said he disposed of his bloody clothes after the murder in a garbage can, but none were found in a search of the can, which had been buried in snow from the day of the crime; he also said he had an accomplice, naming a relative who, it turned out, was in a secure rehabilitation center.

Warney joins a long list of people who have falsely confessed to crimes they did not commit. "The cops created a false confession by feeding nonpublic details to Doug. Their conduct was criminal, plain and simple," notes Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project, one of the attorneys representing Warney. Based on the results of DNA testing and Johnson's confession to the crime, prosecutors have agreed that the charges against Warney, who is now in a wheelchair, should be dismissed. (New York Times, May 16, 2006)

Along with Warney, 123 Americans have had their death sentences revoked.

Given the dead-end, irreversible nature of the death penalty sentence, it would be prudent for nations who still practise the death penalty to replace it with life imprisonment. Failing which, placing severe restrictions on invoking the death penalty and limiting the number of crimes liable for state-sanctioned execution.

Given the liability of mistakes in the court of law, it is imperative that enough respect and leeway be given to convicted criminals, lest they become victims of the social system whose mistakes may never be eradicated.

To throw the gauntlet at pro-deathers: How do you justify the execution of just one innocent man, in the face of perhaps the deaths of numerous criminals who "deserve" their state-sanctioned deaths? Can society deal with this grave miscarriage of injustice? Can we live with "One mistake out of a thousand correct decisions" mantra, when lives are at stake?

No one wants to put an innocent person in jail, much less execute one. In order to err on the safe side, the law must justify its rulings with humane, reversible punishments.

OTHER FACTS:

According to the Independent/UK:

1. At least 3,797 people were executed in 25 countries in 2004, according to a report released today by Amnesty International.

2. China easily operates the most stringent capital punishment regime, with an estimated 3,400 executions.

3. Iran executed at least 159, Vietnam at least 64, and 59 prisoners were put to death in the US.

4. Singapore has the highest number of executions per capita (Approx. 70 in a population of 4 million).^ (From: Amnesty International." The death penalty: A hidden toll of executions)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Lib'rals "BLUE ALBUM" SPECIAL EDITION (Cover Art)

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The Lib'rals "BLUE ALBUM" SPECIAL EDITION (Side A)

THE LIBRALS
"BLUE ALBUM"

SPECIAL EDITION

SIDE A




1. BACK IN THE USA NOW
Based on "Back in the USSR"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New Lyrics by Jeffrey and Brandon

[Fade in with recordings of military jets and bombs dropping segueing directly into...]

Flew into Topeka and it made me sad
God it was a horrid sight
On the way my fading rights were on my mind
Man I had a dreadful fright
I'm back in the USA Now
You don't know how loony they are, guy
Back in the USA Now

Been away too long I used to love the place
Feels odd to be back home
Now the crazy Neocons are on my case
Did they really tap the phone?
I'm back in the USA Now
You don't know how loony they are guy,
Back in the USA Now

Oh, the NSA really got hyped up
They listen all the time
And the CIA likes to cover up
The Fuhrer's always on its mind

I'm back in the USA now
You don't know how loony they are guy
Back in the USA now

Take me to the Fuhrer's haunt in Crawford South
Welcome to his funny farm
Listen to the leader; hear him bitch and shout
Watch your civil rights get harmed
I'm back in the USA now
You don't know how loony they are boy
Back in the USA now

[Ends cold amidst the screeching sounds of jets landing and bombs exploding, leading directly into the opening chords of...]

2. OH REILLY!
Based on "Dear Prudence"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New Lyrics by Brandon and Jeffrey


Oh Reilly, won't you grow up today
Oh Reilly, whatcha got to say?
Your time is up, your sponsors gone
Your talk is cheap, and it's no more fun
Oh Reilly, won't you grow up today?

Oh Reilly, open up your mind
Oh Reilly, stop the heated lies
Your truth is nil, your callers quit
You rant and rave, you're full of shit
Oh Reilly, won't you open up your mind?

Come around round
Come around round
Come around

Oh Reilly, do you have a soul?
Oh Reilly, are you really whole?
Your tarnished fame will crash and burn
Because you never stop and learn
Oh Reilly, do you really have a soul?

3. Sociopath
Based on "Glass Onion"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New Lyrics by Brandon, Brian, and Kyle


We told you about [the] Iraqi fields
The place you say the killing ain't real
Well here's another lie you can spin
The U.S. will win
Hearing from Scooter McClellan
Tell us why the bombing goes on
Listen to a sociopath

We warned you about impending disaster
You said "don't worry think peace ever after"
Well here's another lie for you friend
The Bush War will end
Listen to the goons on the road trip
Telling us the news ain't all [that] bad
Listen to a sociopath

Civil War is coming on faster
Who gives a damn because George is our master
Living with a sociopath
Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!
Living with a sociopath!

We told you about the hawks on the kill
We tell you folks they're scheming there still
But here's another way to do well
Say "Bush go to Hell"
Never mind the daily explosions
He says the news is all good
Listen to a sociopath


4. THEY LIE HERE, THEY LIE THERE
Based on "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New Lyrics by Jeffrey and Brandon


Cheney is a master of the Neocons
Rummy says the war will never cease
Condy is a fool who goes on and on
And Georgie blabs on, he's a monkey on a leash

CHORUS
They lie here, they lie there, they lie on, ja!
Ja Ja how the Reich goes on
They kill here, they lie there, death goes on, ja!
Ja Ja how the Reich goes on!

Georgie says be patient 'cause there's so much more
Condy says that we should never dread
Rummy is a psycho, he's a warfare whore
And Cheney blathers when we cover up the dead

CHORUS

In a couple of years they are proven wrong, yes wrong
With all the boys coming home sweet home in a graveyard so
Cold, alone.

[ Snippet of Bush's grunting, pig like laughter]

Mis'ry ever after in the White House place
Cheney says he'll never change a stand
People say, "Hey Georgie man, we hate your face,"
And as they're falling they say, "George was not our man."

CHORUS

And if you think it's funny
They lie here and they lie there!

5. 'NOTHER LIE!
Baed on "Wild Honey Pie"
by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New Lyrics by Brandon


'Nother lie! 'nother lie!
'Nother lie! 'nother lie!
etc

[Fade out and segue into the opening chords of]


6. LORD OF THE KILL
Based on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New lyrics by Brandon and Daniel G


CHORUS:
Hey, Lord of the Kill!
Did what you will
George of the Kill
Hey, Lord of the Kill
Did what you will,
George of the Kill

He went campaigning with a smirk, a lie, and Carl Rove
He broke the bottle and he prayed to God above
But found a gospel based on hate instead of love
Listen to the lies

CHORUS

He said he would unify he never would divide
And then we went to war with facts he could not hide
More people die each day, George takes it all in stride
Listen to the lies

CHORUS

He said we'd wage a war for weapons that weren't there
He said we'd fight this thing 'cause Hussein wouldn't dare
If it's for Freedom I wish he'd leave a little here!
Listen to the lies


CHORUS

Repeat CHORUS and fade


7. While My Young Heart Gently Bleeds
Based on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
By George Harrison
New Lyrics by Kyle and Brandon


I look in your eyes and I see you deceiving
While our young hearts gently bleed
I look at the truth and I see it's been weeping
Still our young hearts gently bleed
I don't know how you were converted
You were perverted too
I don't know why we weren't alerted
We were diverted too

I look at your soul and I see you're not learning
While our young hearts gently bleed
With each new mistake can't you see we are yearning?
Still our young hearts gently bleed
I don't know why; nobody told me
How to resist your will
I can't say why; nobody warned me
That we would mourn and kill

Our strength has been waned and the man is left wishing
While our young hearts gently bleed
Our honor is gone and our faith is diminished
And our young hearts gently bleed

8. HONESTY IS A NEW VOICE
Based on "Happiness is a Warm Gun"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New Lyrics by Brandon


He's not a man who catches much
No no no no no no no no
He's well acquainted with an Oxycontin bottle
Like and addict on his fav'rite fix

The loser on the air with a flapping, wagging tongue
That's a national shame
Barking in his glory like a rabid dog
With a foaming mouth
An imitation of a human being
Takes and takes but doesn't give a damn

I need some truth cause I'm feelin' down
Free from the crap of this fading clown
I need some truth 'cause I'm feelin' down
Air America is on the air!
Air America is on the air!
Air America is on the air!
Air America is on the air

Honesty is a new voice
Rush Rush, bye bye
Honesty is a new voice
Bush Bush, bye bye
When I hear you in my car
And I hear those opinions from the left wings
The Neocons can do me no harm because
Honesty is a new voice

Bonus Track
What A Shame "W"
Based on What's the New Mary Jane"
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
New lyrics by Brandon


His ratings are getting too low
He telling the crew where to go
Titanic will soon be a wreck
Decider move chairs on the deck

CHORUS:
What a shame W
Is a pain for the party
What a shame W
What a shame W
Is a pain for the party.

CHORUS

The decisions are getting too hard
Se he dumping on poor Andrew Card
Georgie no longer beholden
He tapping Joshua Bolten

CHORUS

Mister Bolten he join the Bush band
He take pictures of W's hands
So McClellan say "Please let me go."
They dump Scooter, they get Tony Snow

CHORUS

God what a crew now!

CHORUS

The FOX in the hen house is here
Hand photos are nothing to fear.

CHORUS

CHORUS: repeating and fading with increasing reverberation and distortion as it fades out.