Monthly Archives: April 2007

The red pill or the blue pill?


This post’s title refers to the infamous scene in The Matrix where Morpheus (Larry Fishburne) explains to Neo (Keanu Reeves) that everything he thought was reality is a computer-created and controlled dream world. In the “real” world, Morpheus explains, humans are slaves to the artificially-inteligent machines, who have them pulled into the Matrix, the “dream” world, from birth to death. Morpheus offers Neo two pills: The blue pill will put Neo back to sleep in the safe, comfortable dream-world. The red pill–well, that’s where the movie get really interesting.

I had my red pill/blue pill moment (finally) yesterday when I began reading Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse (Dutton Books, 2006). The book is absolutely chock-full of facts, truths and events regarding G.W. Bush, Osama, 9/11, the Saudis, the Neo-Cons, the Global War on Terror, stolen Presidential elections in 2000 and 2004, and Iraq (and, actually, much more–I’m only on page 285 of 347) that went almost completely unreported by the US mainstream media.

I have disliked Bush from the first day I had the misfortune of encountering him in the nightly news circa the campaign for the 2000 Presidential Election. Like many back then, I completely dismissed Bush Jr. as a non-entity. He had so much baggage: He was a drunk; A born loser; A frat boy that never grew up; A “businessman” who managed to drive into the ground every enterprise he tried his hand at; The son of an unpopular one-term President who’s only real accomplishments during his four years in office were burying his involvement in the Iran/Contra scandal and bailing out his rich buddies (and son) in the Savings and Loan scandal; And W. was so. . .stupid. OK, maybe not stupid, but almost criminally unfit to be a Presidential candidate–let alone the President of the United States. And, naively, I thought McCain, the maverick with the lightsaber, would trounce him in the primaries and win the Republican nomination. I was looking ahead to Gore v. McCain, with my guy Gore beating Mr. McCain handily. I guess I was the stupid one. I failed to see the tremendous political machine behind the manchild Bush. I failed to see that unstoppable cabal of big business, old money, oil sheiks, dirty tricksters, and partisan hacks in the High Court that would propel W. into the Presidency.

After November 2000, I, like so many of my heartbroken, confused and disillusioned countrymen, fell asleep. I got busy with school, with beer, with TV, with DVDs and MP3s and all manner of material things. I plugged myself into the Matrix, as it were. I was horrified and outraged by 9/11, but not enough to re-enlist. I watched, mostly numb, as the invasion of Afghanistan grew into the Global War on Terror, spawning massive and grotesque tentacles such as USA Patriot Act, the Guantanamo prison, extraordinary rendition, etc. I watched as Osama bin Laden escaped and vanished. And then, one fine day, Osama bin Laden wasn’t even the real threat anymore. No, the real threat was Saddam, and Iraq. Iraq, once-proud Babylon the Great–cradle of civilization in the fertile crescent, now a 5th rate power: sanctioned, starving, under continual bombardment by anglo-american jets, dependant on its despot and the UN “Oil for Food” program for survival, defeated, disarmed–but sitting on perhaps the world’s largest remaining oil reserves.

I’ve gotten far off track. My reason for writing this was the explain my red pill/blue pill moment–the moment where I finally awoke from my slumber. My red pill was this passage from pages 10 and 11 of Armed Madhouse (by Greg Palast, Dutton books, 2006–do yourself a favor and go buy a copy):

Osama’s Mission Accomplished

On Thursday, May 1, 2003 President Bush landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Forgetting to undo the parachute clips around his gonads, our President walked bowlegged on the ship’s deck in a green jumpsuit looking astonishingly like Ham, first chimp in space. the scene was so exciting that the media failed to notice that the War on Terror had ended on the previous Tuesday.
On that day, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld quietly acknowledged that he was withdrawing America’s armed forces from Saudi Arabia
I’m always surprised at the debate over “What drives Osama? What does Al-Qaeda want?” There should be no confusion: Al-Qaeda states its mission, like most enterprises, on its Web site. Osama had it written out in English, in capital letters, so it wouldn’t be difficult to miss the point.

DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE AMERICANS OCCUPYING THE LAND OF TWO HOLY PLACES–EXPEL THE INFIDELS FROM THE ARAB PENINSULA.

The “two holy places” are Mecca and Medina, and their “land” is Saudi Arabia. That’s what Osama wanted: U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden issued his demand on August 23, 1996; and on April 29, 2003, the Tuesday before the President was chauffeured by fighter jet onto the deck of the Abe Lincoln, Mr. Bush give bin Laden exactly what he wanted: U.S. troops sent packing from the Land of the Holy Places.
That’s astonishing. Until George W. Bush, the United States of America has never, ever, removed all our military bases from a foreign land no matter how much the locals bitched or moaned. We even keep troops in Okinawa over the island’s strong objections, and World War II ended sixty years ago.

Pardon the cliche, but my jaw dropped when I read those words. And I know the event was four years ago–ancient history to most informed people. But I couldn’t deny the power of the words. And their underlying message: Was our War President secretly advancing the agenda of the world’s most dangerous man?

Before I got too worked up, I had to check if we really did pull all our troops out of Saudi Arabia. We did. Or, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Saudis did. Critics, like Mr. Palast, who pointed out that this was acquiescing to the wishes of Al-Qaeda, were dismissed as kooks.

But is there any doubt after reading the above excerpt that their exists, at least, a connection–a multi-faceted relationship–between President Bush, the Saudi Royal family and the bin Laden’s? Simply put: Bush is in bed with these creeps. They all get richer more brazen and more corrupt while we get meeker and poorer in material wealth and liberties.

Buy Palast’s book. Go hear him talk–he’s doing a tour to promote the paperback release of Armed Madhouse. And swallow the daggone red pill–it’s bitter–but a hell of a lot better than swallowing any more of George Bush’s koolaid.

MRF

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 9/11, armed madhouse, Bush, greg palast, matrix, Saudis, war on terror

Save the Internet, support network neutrality

The Internet is under attack from big telecommunications companies like At&t, Verizon, Comcast and Charter. These corporations want to be the gatekeepers of the ‘net, controlling what you view, how fast you view it, and how much it costs to view it. And they have lobbyists spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure their agenda is advanced in D.C.

Let’s face it, much of the news we receive via television, newspapers and magazines is heavily spun by the large corporate ownership, ditto much of talk radio. Blogs, though often rife with inaccuracies, at least provide a plethora of ideas and information–and often point toward truths and facts obscured or ignored by big media. Additionally, non-profits and grassroots have taken to the ‘net to spread their messages and reach like-minded individuals and donations. Without net neutrality, bloggers and netroot organizations face, in a worst-case scenario, extinction. We, the People need network neutrality. Click the link below the learn more and to find out what you can do to save the Internet:


Save the Internet: Click here

MRF

Leave a comment

Filed under network neutrality

Why I can’t wait for Nov 2008

Al Gore spoke to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2002 about the War on Terror, the looming War with Iraq, the erosion of constitutional freedoms and other topics of great importance. His views and opinions in 2002 are now those widely adopted by a large majority of the American People. So if you have been slightly brainwashed by the mainstream media and have an unfavorable view about who Al Gore is and what he believes in, or just like to hear dedicated public servants eloquently speaking about important topics, do yourself a favor and read the transcript or listen to the audio here.

The old cliche says hindsight is always 20/20. Listen to Gore in this speech–his foresight is 20/20. Maybe he invented a time machine after he invented the Internet and went a few years into the future (from 2002) and saw what a nightmare preemptive war with Iraq would turn into (or maybe he just has common sense). Regardless, listen to the speech or read the transcript–please!

Gore is informed, articulate, clean (stupid joke–remember what Joe Biden said about Barack Obama). He has 8 years of experience as a vice president. He is a Vietnam War veteran. And before any right-wingers write him off as a hypocritical moon-bat environmentalist, please read this well researched overview of the Al Gore’s electric bill clap-trap

For the sake of this country, vote for a man who understands, like Spiderman, that “with great power comes great responsibility” (thank you Stan Lee).

Oh yeah, we have to convince him to run first. Let’s get on it. Visit the Draft Gore webpage for more info.

From draftgore.com:

He’s eloquent, passionate, relentless, undaunted. The first political figure to oppose the Iraq war, Al Gore is also the lead champion in the fight against global warming, a passionate defender of our Constitution, and an unyielding voice against the Bush Administration’s abuse of power. Given his unmatched experience and leadership on issues of moral imperative, Gore is increasingly seen as Democrats’ best bet to win back the White House.

Sign the petition to “draft” Gore here:



MRF

Leave a comment

Filed under 2008 election, al gore, iraq war, war on terror

Bob’s T-Shirt

My good friend Bob the friendly neighborhood right-winger wore this t-shirt Friday night at work. Nuff said. If you are interesting in purchasing one (I sure hope not), click the link to go to the Military Clothing website.

Disclaimer: I once owned a similar t-shirt–when I was ten years-old. I think I kinda grew out of that stuff about the time I stop playing with G.I. Joe toys a couple of years later.

Bob wore this T-shirt Wednesday night:


I guess there’s nothing wrong with wearing either one of these t-shirts. After all, the 1st Amendment protects speech–and goofy t-shirt slogans. They just seem so stupid and immature and violent. Partner the shirt with the wild look in Bob’s eyes when he’s talking about the Islamofascists or the illegals and you’ve got one scary postal worker.

The above t-shirts, however, are pretty tame compared to some of the stuff out here on the web. Shoot over to The Right Things if you want to see some really out there designs. Here’s one of my favorites:


Great job, nutty Republicans. But who’ll defend the country from you? As Edward R. Murrow used to say: Good night, and good luck.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Conservatives give more than Liberals?

I first heard this factoid thrown around on a television program, and recently repeated on one of Jack Clark’s (Aka the Rational Radical) Blast the Right podcasts. The television program accepted it as gospel; Clark wanted to debunk it when he had the time. It boggles the mind, that conservatives “give” more, in time, money, blood, etc, than liberals. It doesn’t add up. Maybe it boggles and doesn’t add up because it’s a load of hooey.

The data and conclusion that conservatives give more can be traced solely to University of Syracuse Professor Arthur C. Brooks in his book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.

I do not dispute the fact there exists a large group of conservative religious people that donate a lot of time and money for all the right reasons. I also do not dispute the fact that there is a large group of secular liberals who donate no time or money for all the wrong reasons. But I think Mr. Brooks’ central premise is crap.

An interview of Professor Brooks by Frank Brieaddy of the Religion News Service contained this information:
“Brooks says he started the book as an academic treatise, then tightened the documentation and punched up the prose when his colleagues and editor convinced him it would sell better and generate more discussion if he did.

To make his point forcefully, Brooks admits he cut out a lot of qualifying information.

‘I know I’m going to get yelled at a lot with this book,’ he said. ‘But when you say something big and new, you’re going to get yelled at.’ “

I love that “Brooks admits he cut out a lot of qualifying information” and that he made changes so the book would “sell better”. Those two lines describe conservatism to a tee: Ignore all information that doesn’t support your theory–no matter how voluminous–and try to amass the most wealth. And isn’t it better for a non-fiction book to be researched and accurate rather than “big and new”?

Here’s my hypothesis: Conservative Author is writing book. Conservative Think Tank throws bags of money at Conservative Author and suggests he reach certain conclusion which make conservatives look good. Conservative Author reaches said conclusion. Conservatives happy. Conservative Author happy–and rich. Yay!

I also believe one dividing line between conservatives and liberals in regard to charitable giving is that conservatives “keep the receipt” for every good deed done and want recognition while liberals do the same things without wanting or needing to be patted on the back. Think of all the rich conservatives who give, not because they want to or because it makes them feel good, but because they are rewarded for doing so, either with influence or tax deductions. Just look at the despicable example of Tom Delay’s “charity.”

Most of the super-rich in this country are Republicans. Most of their charity work involves buying and selling politicians and influence. While technically, under certain dubious laws, it’s quasi-legal, it can hardly be considered genuine philanthropy.

It’s obvious Brooks’ core audience–conservative, religious-minded people–are on the ropes. Scandals such as AG Gonzales’ US Attorney Firings, Cunningham, Ney, Abramoff, Foley, Libby and Delay; Divisive issues such as the war in Iraq and Global Warming; Depression and anxiety over the loss of both houses of Congress; And declining Church membership have all rocked the religious conservative world. They needed a “feel good” and Brooks gave it to them. But that doesn’t mean it’s the truth.

Parting quote: The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Parting Thought: Did Professor Brooks include contributions to Pat Robertson’s Assassinate Hugo Chavez superfund as charitable giving? (OK, there is no “Assassinate Hugo Chavez superfund”–but I’m sure Pat has something planned for Venezuela’s Man of the People.

MRF

Leave a comment

Filed under arthur brooks, charity, conservatives, jack clark, liberals