Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Thomas McCullock sent me an interesting link today. A web site that lists information regarding a number of American service personnel who are or have resisted service in Bush's insane crusade. The site is worth checking out.

The page is titled U.S. War Heroes of the Iraq War. This is a page on a very interesting site, Tom Joad. Toms’ idea of how the concept of courage relates to this war, are very clear.

Every War has its heroes, those who take risks to protect the values we cherish; this war is no different.

We honor those soldiers who risked loss of liberty, economic deprivation, and social ostracism. Each of these men and women of the military have at some point refused to participate in (or at least aspects of) the immoral, illegal, unjustified war the United States is currently waging in Iraq. They obeyed their conscience over illegal orders.”

We agree that courage is not defined as the willingness to do violence whenever called upon to do so. It is often easier to obey an unlawful or immoral order than to refuse.

I spent some time reading the stories on the page and I am moved by what I saw. I compare these people, their words, their actions to the people who are creating this war. I compare their witness, those who have been on the ground and in the place, to the mouthings of our present leaders and their media outlets. It is obvious to me that these young Americans represent what was best in what once was called the American ideal.

These people joined up to serve and protect America, their homes, their families, their citizens. They did not sign up to kill civilians as imperial storm troopers. These are, in my book, real Americans: the kind that formed that ragged force that stood down the Imperial British Army, in their quest for independence.

And herein lies the greatest chink in this new Corporate Americas’ armor. Americans. Americans, in general, are not as war hungry as their current President. I will go so far as to say that a large percent of his military is not nearly as hungry for war as Mister Bush and his administration.

It has become clear to all, that there must be a return to the draft if the US continues to pursue its present course. There is no way around that. The administration is preparing to reintroduce the draft. Yet there has been no mention of it during the campaign. Once again Bush campaigns with his real intentions well concealed.

When the draft is reintroduced and the war is truly 'brought home' the current hegemony of the populist right will inevitably begin to fray. Presently, many see supporting the war as support for the Troops. That perception is already beginning to waver. The ripples are small but so the tide is raised.

The good news is that this awakening, this refusal to blindly serve authority, has already progressed further, in the Iraq war, than it had at this 18-month mark, in Vietnam. Take that, you who would dare compare Iraq to WWII.

Bush and his war cabinet are counting on the moral submissiveness of Americans. They do not believe that American youth, their families, and communities will have the moral courage to resist their power.

These young men and women will be called cowards by men who, themselves, never served and never would have served in such a venture. I think there is a lesson in that.

So what do we mean by courage? And who dares be so quick with this word coward?

Monday, September 27, 2004

And so it Begins...

The first American military resistors have publicly announced themselves, in Canada. Brandon Hughey and Jeremy Hinzman are in Canada, seeking to reside here legally. There is reason to believe others are here, who have yet to proclaim themselves. Perhaps awaiting the outcome of Brandon and Jeremys' ordeal with immigration. It remains to be seen what their legal status will be.

You can learn more about these fine young men by clicking their hyper-linked names. They will make fine additions to any neighborhood.

In Nelson BC, a citizen, Ben Mulroney, wants to erect a monument to the American war resistors who settled in that area during the Vietnam war. Some are outraged Especially some American politicos who have contacted the mayor of Nelson to ask that no permit be allowed for this purpose.

The argument being that such a monument would somehow "dishonor" the vets who did go. The veterans of that area who went are somehow dishonored by the very mention of the veterans of that era who didn't go?

Perhaps it dishonors the wrong headed ideas behind the war. I suppose it may be seen to dishonor the less than honorable gentlemen who brought us the war. It does not dishonor the men who served and died. No more than the many resistors to the war, are dishonored by the Vietnam War Memorial Wall, in Washington. Each is part of the whole tragic story. Neither is dishonored by the recognition of the other.

To my mind, the memory of Johnson, Nixon, Kissinger and others are dishonored by every single name on that wall in Washington. There is no dishonor to veterans, to recognize those who fought to shorten that wall.

The immediate future looks bleak. More memorials are in the making as more lives are in the unmaking. Few can see the road ahead. Those whose vision is less hindered by political expediency, seem to be routinely ignored.

Fortunately I have a longer historical view. The bleak outlook for the immediate future does not paralyze me with despair. The pendulum continues its swing. The very first tendrils of resistance are appearing in many places.

Around the world, persons of note in every field of endeavor, are speaking out about the grave and immediate danger to world peace, posed by America and president Bush.

The UN sits in stony silence when the president presents a speech, recognized by all as a propaganda ploy and a veiled threat to the unwilling, the unbelievers.

The young men who represent Americas' future are looking away from America for the freedoms America claims to defend in Iraq.

Post script: I have received a comment from a reader that brings up the concept of courage and how it, or the lack of it, relates to the question of military 'duty', in different historical circumstances. i.e., The morality of WWII verses now.

This Wednesday I shall entertain and stab at answering some of the questions begged by the comment and the above mentioned persons and events.

Friday, September 24, 2004

A Tale of Two Deserters episode 4

Picture, if you will, two men standing, facing each other on a small, dry suburban lawn, in the white-hot Alabama sun. One is a huge policeman in uniform, the other a largish but still much smaller, boy of about 17. Each, in his own manner, displays smoldering anger with the other.. Meet my father and me.

Meet my generation and the one that fought World War II. Each of us had historical experience that belied the experience of the other. Vietnam was not WWII and WWII was not like Vietnam. Neither seemed able to understand the other.

For me, the war started at home. My father, being a veteran of a truly democratic war against fascism and imperialism, was firmly rooted in the common ideology of his youth.

Everyone participated in WWII. While there were privileged individuals who served at home and in guaranteed non-combat roles, everybody served. And lived by the Code of Military Justice. The man in the fox hole with you may have been the son of a congressman. Americans knew who and what they were fighting.

What a difference 20 years can make:

When I said Vietnam was an illegal undeclared war, he heard enemy propaganda. When I talked about Constitutional guarantees against involuntary servitude, he heard cowardly, lawyer like excuses for not fulfilling one’s God-given, manly duty for his country.

He also thought “This punk thinks he’s better than me. I went and, by God, he’s going too.
I will not be embarrassed by cowardly offspring.”

I know he was thinking those things because he said them, loudly, with much red grimacing and trembling of the jowls. I stood impassively in a half gunfighter stance, arms folded across chest, afraid to speak for fear of showing fear, at a crucial instant.

Violence is more likely if the opposition thinks you are afraid. I was scared shitless, as us red necks would say. But, I was a born actor and street smart enough to adopt a stance less likely to lead to attack from angry policemen/fathers, vicious dogs, or bullies and such.

My father is not a bad man, he was the product of his time, place, and class. As was I. We could not communicate and violence was the solution represented by the uniform he wore. Retreat and deception seemed the only logical avenues to survival, not only of the body but of the self inhabiting the body.

It is a vain avenue of inquiry but I do wonder how that discussion went down between George W. and George Senior. Did they rant and rail against each other and end with threats and an edict of parental, moral, and legal authority? Maybe. But I don’t think so. At least not quite that way. There was a negotiation. And daddy found the compromise:
the National Guard.

Georgie stays out of the war. Gets to call himself a pilot, like dear old dad, continuing the tradition with no risk. Hangs in long enough for the honorable discharge and poof, no embarrassing stain on the dynasty, no dead Georgie wasted in a rice paddy . Lower level combat officers were taking big casualties at that time.

If I were George Senior, I would have done the same. I’m not saying it’s right. I am saying if I had seen the horror and random death that is war, and had the ability to do it, I would have protected my son, as well. But then, as a powerful, well-connected political figure, I hope I would have done something to save all the other sons of America from a pointless, bloody disaster.

But, of course, this wasn’t for America or Americans, it was for George Senior, his embarrassing son, and for the sake of the family dynasty and its position in the old power structure.

Listen up, young and old alike: WWII was a different time and a different war, for a different America. WWII was not like Vietnam. Iraq presents the very real possibility of being more self destructive, to America and to what it means to be an American, than the culpable irrationality of that South East Asian war.

On a personal note: One might get the impression that there is enmity between my father and me. I am very happy to state that is not the case. That was who we were 37 or 38 years ago. We have found a love and respect for each other that did not exist at that time. Love really can conquer all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The New America

Until very recently, I have avoided the news. It’s mostly political and it just pisses me off, watching these professional liars and thieves pretending to be honorable upstanding people. With a few individual exceptions, they are anything but honorable. Pumped up sales people in the pockets of corporate lobby groups with one eye on the polls and the other on the public trough.

I used to involve myself in political activities and parties. At some point, I have been involved in everything from the far nut bar left to the far nut bar right and several points between those extremes. I saw very little that would contradict my opinion of politicos, politicians, and would be politicians. As a group, they proved to be self-serving con artists dedicated to presenting themselves as dedicated, selfless public servants.

They oft make a public spectacle of dressing up and going to church on Sunday. I suppose to expiate the sins of the dirty work done the rest of the week. Or maybe it’s just part of looking like a good guy, hoping to pull votes from the pews.

I know there are some very fine individual exceptions to the rule. I’ve known a few. Not many, not nearly enough.

Fool that I am, I recently began paying attention the news media again. Particularly stories and reports coming out of my old alma mater, the USA. Yowsa! To my surprise, things have gotten much worse since the last time I really paid attention.

FOX is the worst, a virtual organ of the Republican Party. CNN, MS NBC, and that popular rag, USA Today, seem to be driven by the same pro-conservative editorial policy. Diversity in media is a thing of the past. But, what do you expect when it all belongs to the same small group of wealthy interests?

Absolute control of the media has been and is high on the corporate/conservative agenda. The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institution and other right-wing foundations have invested over 300 million dollars in mass media distribution. That buys a lot of co-operation and the hearts and minds of many pundits and would-be pundits hoping to get part of the Republican propaganda budget.

No one outside the US has any trust in American media. Alternative papers have popped up in France and other European countries. Papers printing American writers who now have difficulty getting published in the ‘free’ press of American.

In the US, alternative media outlets such as Democracy Now are gaining audiences seeking an alternative to the government sanctioned reporting that fills the main stream media.

The corporate/conservative bias in American media is so pervasive that any real questions will label a writer or a paper as liberal or even leftist, regardless of where they actually sit on the political compass. In the minds of many politically confused Americans, the conservative right is now seen as the political middle.
Strange to behold.

To this expatriate looking back at the US, this new version of America the Corporate Homeland looks weird, ugly, and dangerous to itself and the rest of the world.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Gun Thang...

No one can dispute that America and Americans love guns. Not all Americans, of course. Some seem to understand what the proliferation of privately owned firearms has done to American culture. The massive insecurity that it creates, in the streets, inspires yet more gun ownership. Which inspires more fear and, so it seems, more guns.

I grew up in a gun-loving home and had quite a collection myself. By age 16 my private collection would shock the sensibilities of most Canadians. I mean, what 16 yr old boy really needs access to a military riot gun and an M1 carbine plus a dozen other assorted rifles and shot guns? Times have changed but there was nothing illegal or really odd about it, at the time.

Indeed, I used to love my guns. Dad was a police officer and a serious competitive shooter. I virtually lived on police ranges and by fifteen, the only cop I knew, who could out shoot me, consistently, was my dad. Being lousy at sports, I was a huge disappointment to my dad. The shooting was our only real father/son link.

Dad was proud of my abilities until I turned 16 and beat him. That was the last time my father and I went to the range together. You see, guns have a way of becoming part of a persons’ identity and for a grown policeman to be out shot by a kid was simply too much to bear. It was the absolute end to any positive connection between my father and I. There are a couple of important lessons implied by that scenario. Some personal, some with larger implications.

Lethal weapons have a strong effect on the human psyche. They feel powerful when you hold them. To some, it is transforming. Regardless of gender, that feel of lethal power, held in your hand, is very attractive.

That is a pretty sweeping statement to make but I have witnessed, up close, the subtle changes that come over a persons’ face, voice, and eyes, when handed a weapon. It is almost universal. As universal as fear and insecurity. It is easy to believe that the gun and the feeling of personal empowerment it extends is an antidote to fear and insecurity.

Gun control is a short phrase that sets many teeth on edge. Even in jolly old Canada. The phrase seems to mean something different to everyone. Rather than leap into that turbulent and confusing pool, I will only talk about assault weapons. Specifically the assault weapons ban that President Bush and a Republican dominated Congress recently allowed to lapse.

This was a purely political move, of course. The pro-gun lobby in the US is very powerful and represents a lot of votes, especially among those of conservative leanings. Both the very far right wingnuts and the hard right of the Republican Party are passionate in their opposition to any kind of gun control.

The Republican propaganda machine hails Bush as the man who can make the hard decisions. Once again the carefully manicured image does not fit the reality of the man or his actions. Allowing the assault weapons ban to lapse was not a hard decision. It was the cheap and easy course for a man whose only concern for America is not alienating important conservative lobby groups. The NRA is important to Bush. You are not.

Looking at America, from a country whose people do not carry firearms on the street, the idea of individuals needing military assault weapons is just plain nutty. Stupid and undeniably dangerous to the entire society.

One high profile group that has not failed to criticize the Presidents’ lame actions are The American Police Chiefs. This bit of Republican ideology becomes reality on the streets. It is the police officer, not the political elite of Washington, who deals with that reality.

You may recall the two bank robbers who held practically the entire LA Police Department at bay, while shooting up a busy neighborhood and seriously wounding a number of police officers, a couple of years ago. You probably don't know that none of the police wounded that day are still active police officers. The wounds, made by the powerful assault rifles used by the robbers, were life altering.

The rounds fired by military type assault weapons are powerful. They go through trees, cars, body armor, and houses. Not just a wall. Right through a house and anything in it. The news shows you the event but it doesn’t show you the aftermath. It isn’t like the movies. There are no happy endings.

But George Bush, the man who claims to make the hard decisions, made the easy decision, once again. Once again, ordinary Americans pay the real cost.

The NRA is important to George Bush. You are not.

Friday, September 17, 2004

A Tale of Two Deserters Part 3

I read today that Texans for Truth, has offered a fifty thousand dollar reward for hard proof that George W. Bush completed his military duties.

If you haven’t seen the ad, check it out. If you have, there is some interesting info there that takes the story further.

While wondering what our most famous deserter was up to or into tonight, I found myself reading some letters posted on a website, Veterans United for Kerry.

There is some very educational reading there. If you have never been in the military, I urge you to read some of these letters. What you may come away with, is a heightened sense of why our Commander-in-Chiefs’ faked military record is of material importance. Not just another slam on Bush.

If you have been in the military and still support the present administration, check it out. It isn’t big on nasty rhetoric, you may find it enlightening, in a small personal way. Maybe not, but it is worth the read. Especially this one.

I have no claim to moral superiority in the decision I made regarding my Air Force service. It was a very personal decision. It went against almost everything and everyone I knew.

While I strongly and publicly opposed Americas' involvment in Vietnam, I have never lacked respect for the guys who went to war. They were never just numbers in casualty figures to me. They were from my neighborhood, I served with them for a year before ‘quitting’. They were brothers of my time caught up in the same historical forces. In my mind, victims as well as honorable veterans of that damned war.

George Bush stepped outside the storm that the rest his generation was swept up in. Yet, he claims to have served “with Honor”. He has Never stood up and said what he really did or explained his reasons. He has never taken responsibility for his decisions.

With that in mind, it sickens me to see him play the military man. The heroic “war time president” parading in a uniform he has no right to wear.

All to sell this grab for domestic and international power. Not to mention the personal financial considerations of many in the administration that are part and parcel to this power grab.

I’ve kept this blog for a while before deciding to write from the expatriate view point. I explored what was happening in public schools, regarding something as low on the political radar, as sexual health education.

The dangerous lies being told by this government, in support of an agenda that is not entirely on the table, have amazed me. The direct assault on the constitution regarding issues of separation of church and state, are scary to behold. All to install the administrations’ morally and politically motivated Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage programs, in place of science based sexual education. Paying debts to and guaranteeing support from, the organized Christian Right

My research re: that topic is talked about in earlier postings on this blog.

What I found made it clear to me that the pro-democracy movement that has waned since the end of the Vietnam war, is re-awakening. Re-awakening in the face of a powerful foe that has not slept in a bed of hubris since those days. It has been awake and preparing for this conquest of American democracy on numerous fronts.

I have started this “Tale of Two Deserters” and writing AMERICAN EX because it is the small way that I can put my shoulder to the wheel, in an effort to preserve the Constitution and basic principles of American democracy.

Next Friday I want to talk about Veterans of World War Two and the democratic war they fought against Japanese Imperialism and the attempted domination of Europe by German fascism.

This isn’t your grandfathers’ war, young man. This one is brought to you by an authoritarian, corporate vision of America that has forgotten it’s revolutionary democratic past and all the things that once made America truly the ‘greatest country in the world’, in spite of it’s many problems.

AMERICAN EX shall be published three times per week, Mon., Wed.,and friday. With Fridays usually dedicated to A Tale of Two Deserters.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Then and Now, it ain't the Same

Indeed, the sixties was a wild and wonderful time. A burgeoning youth movement, dubbed the counter culture, quite literally rocked the land. Stoned the land and raised questions. The answers to which, scared the hell out of the ruling establishment.

It is important to note that the big media, in spite of it’s pro-establishment bias, was not the controlled contrived thing it is today. The editors of Life and other mainstream publications found a constant source of material in the cultural/political experiments and conflicts of the day.

Alternative papers and magazines sprouted and a number were successful with wide circulation. The Alternative press gave a wider voice to the anti-war movement and helped to connect people of ideas. The important questions were repeatedly and loudly asked by the civil rights movement, by women, by the anti-war movement.

Ergo, the 1968 Democratic Convention and the violent police riots that ensued, were heavily covered. Those images exploded in the faces and into the consciousness of all Americans. Dangerous questions were being asked at work, at home and even hinted at on late night talk/variety shows.

Things are rather different this time around.

I confess; I believed if the numbers of people expected to demonstrate in New York actually showed up, it could do the same damage to the Republicans that it did to the Democrats, in ‘68.

Ha! Not even close. Three times as many arrests as ’68 and not even a ripple across the American brow. All matter of long standing arrest records were broken and almost no one seems to have noticed. Unprecedented numbers of people demonstrated opposition to the Bush administrations’ version of America. If you watch Fox, CNN, MS NBC, etc., it didn’t really happen. Did it??

I think the giant media no show, surprised most and disheartened a number of pro democracy supporters. A note of bitterness and cynicism has appeared on some of the discussion boards I lurk.

Things are different this time around. Some things remain the same but the power elite is much better organized than in the sixties and seventies. Media ownership is much more concentrated, as is editorial control. Gone are all but remnants of what was the ‘liberal media’.

The Christian Right, the rank and file foot soldiers of this authoritarian conquest of Democracy, are soaking up the Republican gospel via television ‘ministers’, Christian radio, and even the pulpits.

One might say President Bush has a Faith Initiative of his very own. That is to gain the unwavering political support of a significant trend in American Christianity.

The theological/political underwriters of this assault on the constitution, represented by the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, want Christians to see the geo/political/economic reality of the world in terms of a religious and spiritual struggle which can only be won by voting for George Bush. A man who believes he has a direct, unquestionable, private line to God.

The anti-democratic forces are rich, powerful, and well organized. While liberals and pro-democratic people have been sleeping at the wheel, since the end of the Vietnam debacle, the opposition has been plotting, planning, and preparing for this struggle.

In the sixties they merely defended their power and privilege. Hubris was their great weakness. Now, they are on the march and planning to end all questions regarding their right to absolute power.

We have a long way to go. Make no mistake, if Bush is defeated in the election, the battle will have just begun. If he wins, well, the battle has just begun.

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Tale of Two Deserters Part 2

I don’t know what the future president was doing during the year I was AWOL, before entering Canada. It appears that no one does. No one except George, assuming George can remember.

If I learned anything in my underground period, it was to keep my own counsel. I stayed away from resistance groups, collectives, and anti-war groups. As well intentioned as they were, they attracted police attention and probably spies.

George stayed away from those groups, as well. Perhaps that is why no one knows where he was or what he was actually doing. Perhaps like me, he was travelling incognito, doing day labour jobs, and living in anonymous $10 a week rooms, under assumed names. Avoiding police attention.

Na'. George didn’t do any of that stuff. That was for real deserters, the progeny of truck drivers, policemen, domestic workers and such. Not for the sons of powerful congress men and families of means.

Now, to be fair, the often privileged and or connected young men who made up the majority of Air National Guardsmen, could not get away with the outrageously irresponsible behavior of our future Commander-in-Chief.

However, George being the scion of a moneyed , influential family and the son of a very well connected and powerful Republican politician, was protected and ignored.

Not the same as you and me
The man was virtually gravity free.

I don’t resent that George deserted and got away with it. I mean that. I know others who did. I would not have hesitated to use any advantage my daddy might have offered, had he had any to offer.

George, the scared young man, too inept to stay in school, had a lot to lose by leaving the country. He had as much right to avoid involuntary servitude in an illegal, immoral war as I and every other young man who took his fate into his own hands when he withheld service.

But, George Bush, the man and the President, learned nothing from his experience. It never occurred to him to see it as anything more than a personal problem. He gave no thought to what the young men of his generation were faced with, because of men like his father. George shared none of the risk and missed the many lessons in humility and humanity that might have otherwise come his way.

George learned nothing except further lessons in avoiding responsibility for his actions.

Today, he likes to wear uniforms. He likes to present an image of himself as a military man. He seems childishly proud of being a “War time President”.

He has also been connected to two high profile smear campaigns against real veterans. Sen. McCain and Sen. Kerry, respectively. Two men who served with honour and courage. Two men who probably could have avoided service under that selective service system. George motivated and played part to calling these two men shirkers, cowards, and liars, regarding their real combat service.

To my mind, that reveals character traits that should not be at home in the Oval Office.

Now, add to that, the fact that this man who refused service, is now planning to reconstruct the selective service machinery, and will be feeding the youth of America to his personal crusade.

A man who avoided duty but never stood up for it. Who poses as a military man. Who blatantly lied to Congress, the American people, and the world about weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist ties in Iraq. All to excuse his personal war. This man has no place as Commander-in- Chief of the worlds’ most powerful war machine.

Folly of epic proportions.

Friday, September 10, 2004

A Tale of Two Deserters Part 1.

When I left the United States, in 1970, a large segment of the population had been politicized, and energized by opposition to a costly undeclared war. A war fought by the poorest, on behalf of the interests of the richest.

The sons of the rich did not fight in that war. They went to and stayed in University. They got medical deferments. They became priests and pastors. They went overseas. Some of them even hid out in the National Guard.

Not just any refugee from the draft could get into the Guard. You needed to have political or military connections. The regular service men, who often shared training facilities with Guardsmen, had little respect for them. But, it was just jealousy. You see, National Guardsmen, at that time, did not do foreign service. They went back home after a bit of training.

I joined the US Air Force about the same time that George W. was appointed to the Texas National Guard, as a favour to his father George Bush senior, in 1968.

Don’t believe me; listen to and watch Ben Barnes, former Texas State Speaker of the House, as he explains the “preferential treatment” that he gave George W. Bush, to help young Bush avoid military service in Vietnam.

In a 1994 interview, a much more candid G W Bush told a Texas reporter, “I had a choice between going to Canada or letting off a shotgun next to my ear, and I wanted to learn to fly, so I joined the Texas Air National Guard.”.

But, lucky W! He didn’t need to deafen himself with the shotgun, after all. Dear old daddy stepped in with his influence and saved Georgie-boy's clackers from the fire that the poor boys were roasting in.

Of course, Bush senior had been to war. Naturally he did not want his own son to face the hell that is combat. Men who have seen war up close don’t tend to romanticize and glorify it the way a man like George W. does.

My father had no influence. My family had no money. I had left school early and struck out on my own as an itinerant singer/poet.
That is to say, grade A cannon fodder for the Selective Service Board.

I wanted to get drafted into the Army about as much as George Jr. wanted to. Unlike George, my options were few. I gave up my dreams, my future, and even much of my identity to join the Air Force. To avoid the Army.

For many lower class whites, Hispanics, and young black men, rounded up to be human fodder, for their dirty little war, it was a life altering and too often life ending period of enforced servitude.

For George W., ‘military service’ was just business as usual. Politicking and partying plus some good natured playing at soldiers. Photo ops in manly uniforms wearing borrowed medals.. No blood for the sons of our betters.

Some things never change. When Michael Moore recently asked members of Congress if their sons were serving in the military, only one of over four hundred could have said yes.

While filming in a Afro-American church, in a working class neighbourhood, Moore asked the congregation how many had sons and close relatives serving in the military. Eighty percent of them held up their hands.

Like George Jr., I hated every humiliating debasing minute of training. Unlike George, I actually completed the training. But, like George, I was utterly inept at my assigned duties.

George and I both went AWOL at about the same time. Like me, George just quit showing up for duty. I was charged with being AWOL, George was not. I was sought by the FBI, George was not.

I went to Canada, George became president. A president who wants to send our children to another dirty, pointless, politics and profit motivated war.

See how George beams with a little boys' gleeful pride, when he wears those borrowed uniforms. Think about the blood, dirt, and tears that never stained the natty soldier suits our Commander and Chief loves to wear.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Jaysus the Republican

Yowsa! The RNC...

I’ve always hated political conventions. They are, to me, about as boring as it is possible to be. Rivalling only prayer meetings as practical treatments for acute insomnia. But then, this was as much a prayer meeting as a political convention. Perhaps more so, behind the carefully directed cameras.

The Democracy Now Network reported that 61% of the conventions’ delegates came from the Christian-right.

This very interesting report by NPR's Linda Wertheimer, is well worth watching.

Some notable Christian rightists were perturbed at the “secular” message the Party was pushing to lure undecided voters. Paul Weyrich, considered to be one of the founders of the Christian right, expressed the fear that the GOP’s deliberately, disingenuous “secular message” would disenchant some Christian rightists come election day.

On the other hand, Jerry Falwel, who was not at the convention, said that Mr. Bush and his advisors were being “wise” to present a less religious face for a few days.

Leo Barris (sp?) of the Christian Coalition of Oregon was more direct. He was comfortable with the temporary public face because he is “comfortable with our strength”. He went on to say that most of the delegates were born again Christians. He said that being a Christian was more or less the first prerequisite to membership in the Texas delegation.

Meanwhile, at the podium, Arnie is lying his actors' face off, regaling the audience with utterly fictitious tales about the communist domination of Austria that drove him to America. At that time, Austria was ruled by a very right wing coalition. There were no Soviet tanks in the streets. But, I suppose, Arnie wanted to fit in with the other big story tellers of the night.

With the one exception of Paul Weyrich, every good Christian that spoke to the question, displayed a smug confidence that no matter what was said at the convention, the man in the Oval office is one of them. Their version of Jaysus the Republican will have his godly way.

Jaysus the Republican merges with Mammon Corp. of America. It’s the new gospel .

Were it possible, even the very elect would be fooled.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

OP-ED The Republican God???

There are many gods in the human world. There are numerous religions and even more numerous are the concepts of the true nature of god. Every denomination has its own take on the nature of god and there are different gods, different supreme personalities, represented within the membership of each denomination.

One thing so many of these believers have in common, is their willingness to use their god to give Universal value to their beliefs and desires. They hold in common, the tendency to track their course through the world, telling themselves that “God wants it this way”. My way or the hell way.

A self empowering claim that excuses all manner of evil in the world.

Such as:

The CDC cuts funding for aids prevention/education programs that even mention safer sex information. A move that can only serve to increase HIV rates among the young. An outcome that benefits only the major drug companies.

A big overseer and implementer of these programs is Tommy Thompson, secretary of HHS and a Devout Catholic. Tommy wants Abstinence-Only programs instead of real education because his rather small minded, short sighted version of god wants it that way. It just also happens to be the side his political bread is buttered on. Coincidence?

The same crew, fronted by the former CEO for drug giant Eli Lilly, Randall Tobias, is taking Sunday school, disguised as education, to the third world where the Abstinence-Only fantasy is even more dangerously inappropriate than in the U.S.

Mr. Tobias was at the world AIDS conference in Bangkok recently, defending the American policy of using its funds to push the Abstinence-Only fantasy in Africa and Asia.

Administration defenders were there also, to try to put a positive spin on American aid being tied to buying grossly expensive American manufactured drugs.

Remember the back ground of Mr. Tobias, the head of the American delegation.

Mr. Tobias gave a fantasy description of the Abstinence-Only doctrine that bears no relationship to how it is described in their own documents or how it is implemented in America. In defending the American drug policy, Tobias went so far as to claim the idea of attaching American aid dollars to the purchase of US manufactured drugs, is to insure that third world patients get the same quality of drugs that Americans enjoy. What a guy.

More lies, for the good of god, no doubt. Many will die as a result of force feeding this unworkable moralistic program to people in some of the poorest places in the world. In the minds and tiny hearts of the religious right, that somehow makes the world a better place.

The moral underpinnings of the Bush administrations’ attacks on health care, education, and the Constitution are inspired by the political aspirations and politically tainted moral dictates of the Christian right. Where a supreme being fits into this quest for earthly power and wealth, is hard for me to see.

What does this say about the god of the religious right in America? How is it fundamentally different from the god of the Islamists?

There were very real and very good reasons why Separation of Church and State was laid as a cornerstone of the Constitution and has been a cornerstone of American democracy.

Americans are setting themselves up to learn, the hard way, why that doctrine was and is so important.