Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 17h 40m 47s|
Republican judges are not conservative
Earlier this month an article
Clarence Thomas as an exemplary Judge, who represents Conservative values when
he asserts legal opinions counter to the First Amendment. In doing so the
author said this was akin to getting students to obey their teachers.
Well, number one, the percentage of disobedient students is no different over
last 100 years. A student who unfurls a banner which says "Bong hits for
Jesus" is not breaking the law despite the scurrilous nature of the wording.
I think an education is in order. Clarence
Thomas was the man Anita Hill
accused of wanton sexual harassment when George HW Bush appointed him to
replace Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall spent nearly 20 years as a
prominent civil rights attorney and argued many cases before the Supreme
Court. Thomas on the other hand, was an assistant to Attorney General Danforth
Missouri for 3 years. He followed Danforth to the Senate until 1981, and was an
attorney for the Monsanto company from 1977 to 1979. In
the 80's he was routinely appointed as a bureaucratic official to various
positions in the Department of Education before he was named to head the office
of Equal Employment opportunity for about 8 years during the Reagan and Bush
Despite his brief tenure as a Monsanto lawyer, Thomas had minimal experience as
an attorney before he was appointed to the
Supreme Court, and yet of all the qualified candidates, Mr. Thomas was chosen
to replace Thurgood Marshall. Huhn? Do you replace Alex Rodriguez with Cindy
Lauper and call it equal?
Funny how you don't mention the other appointments by beloved Rethuglican
Presidents : Antonina Scalia, John
Roberts, and Tony Alioto.
The Three Justices of Primordial Sin
Scalia sees no
problem going on hunting trips and attending fund-raisers by the very
individuals who are being tried in his court as defendants. Scalia wrote the
Supreme Court decision which overturned the Florida Courts because counting all
the votes was a temporary "threat" to the Democracy.
Alioto is the Federal Circuit Court Judge who saw a case concerning a firm in
which he had large financial investments, and then refused to recuse himself
from the case, despite his statement before the Senate that he would recuse
himself in such a situation. Alioto likes to create legal precidents out of
thin air, and is the man who has concocted the "theory of the unitary
executive" which President Bush uses to justify his plethora of signing
statements which he thinks obliterates his obligation to obey the laws passed
And Roberts is the corporatist judge who has spent his entire legal career
catering to the Multinational corporate business interests. He presides over
legal decisions that overturns local laws that attempt to enforce local
regulations, and ignores legal precidents. He advised the Republican legal
teams on their belligerent tactics during the Florida fiasco of 2000-2001,
which included flying staffers of Tom Delay on Enron jets to scream and shout
outside of West Palm Beach while the law was being followed in an open
But that's the kind of judges you get when you elect Republican presidents
nowadays. Corrupt, biased, hypocritical, and authoritarian.
|Monday, 8 October 2007 at 5h 24m 36s|
El Dia del Diablo
Nancy Scola is the excellent blogger over at Air America.
She is worth a constant
read, for those of you who are so inclined.
However, the following is an excerpt that Nancy posted from someone else. It
is written by Thom Hartmann.
most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants
in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise."
-- Christopher Columbus, 1503 letter to the king and queen of Spain.
Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for
us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through
perseverance and faith."
--George H.W. Bush, 1989 speech
If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the island
on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a blowtorch and burned
away anything green. Even the ocean around the port capital of Port au Prince
is choked for miles with the brown of human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the
air, it looks like a lava flow spilling out into the sea.
The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for what's
happening in the whole world.
When Columbus first landed on Hispaniola in 1492, virtually the entire
island was covered by lush forest. The Taino "Indians" who loved there had an
apparently idyllic life prior to Columbus, from the reports left to us by
literate members of Columbus's crew such as Miguel Cuneo.
When Columbus and his crew arrived on their second visit to Hispaniola,
however, they took captive about two thousand local villagers who had come out
to greet them. Cuneo wrote: "When our caravels… where to leave for Spain, we
gathered…one thousand six hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and
these we embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495…For those who remained,
we let it be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island's fort) in the
vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some of them could do so, to the amount
desired, which was done."
Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib girl as
his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that when he attempted to
have sex with her, she "resisted with all her strength." So, in his own words,
he "thrashed her mercilessly and raped her."
While Columbus once referred to the Taino Indians as cannibals, a story made
up by Columbus - which is to this day still taught in some US schools - to help
justify his slaughter and enslavement of these people. He wrote to the Spanish
monarchs in 1493: "It is possible, with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell
all the slaves which it is possible to sell...Here there are so many of these
slaves, and also brazilwood, that although they are living things they are as
good as gold..."
Columbus and his men also used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a common
reward for Columbus' men for him to present them with local women to rape. As
he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts of the world, the sex-slave
trade became an important part of the business, as Columbus wrote to a friend
in 1500: "A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a
woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who
go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in
However, the Taino turned out not to be particularly good workers in the
plantations that the Spaniards and later the French established on Hispaniola:
they resented their lands and children being taken, and attempted to fight back
against the invaders. Since the Taino where obviously standing in the way of
Spain's progress, Columbus sought to impose discipline on them. For even a
minor offense, an Indian's nose or ear was cut off, se he could go back to his
village to impress the people with the brutality the Spanish were capable of.
Columbus attacked them with dogs, skewered them with pikes, and shot them.
Eventually, life for the Taino became so unbearable that, as Pedro de
Cordoba wrote to King Ferdinand in a 1517 letter, "As a result of the
sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen
suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women,
exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth… Many, when
pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery
have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in
such oppressive slavery."
Eventually, Columbus and later his brother Bartholomew Columbus who he left
in charge of the island, simply resorted to wiping out the Taino altogether.
Prior to Columbus' arrival, some scholars place the population of
Haiti/Hispaniola (now at 16
million) at around 1.5 to 3 million people. By 1496, it was down to 1.1
million, according to a census done by Bartholomew Columbus. By 1516, the
indigenous population was 12,000, and according to Las Casas (who were there)
by 1542 fewer than 200 natives were alive. By 1555, every single one was
This wasn't just the story of Hispaniola; the same has been done to
indigenous peoples worldwide. Slavery, apartheid, and the entire concept of
conservative Darwinian Economics, have been used to justify continued suffering
by masses of human beings.
Dr. Jack Forbes, Professor of Native American Studies at the University of
California at Davis and author of the brilliant book "Columbus and Other
Cannibals," uses the Native American word wétiko (pronounced WET-ee-ko) to
describe the collection of beliefs that would produce behavior like that of
Columbus. Wétiko literally means "cannibal," and Forbes uses it quite
intentionally to describe these standards of culture: we "eat" (consume) other
humans by destroying them, destroying their lands, taking their natural
resources, and consuming their life-force by enslaving them either physically
or economically. The story of Columbus and the Taino is just one example.
We live in a culture that includes the principle that if somebody else has
something we need, and they won't give it to us, and we have the means to kill
them to get it, it's not unreasonable to go get it, using whatever force we
In the United States, the first "Indian war" in New England was the "Pequot
War of 1636," in which colonists surrounded the largest of the Pequot villages,
set it afire as the sun began to rise, and then performed their duty: they shot
everybody-men, women, children, and the elderly-who tried to escape. As Puritan
colonist William Bradford described the scene: "It was a fearful sight to see
them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and
horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet
sacrifice, and they [the colonists] gave praise therof to God, who had wrought
The Narragansetts, up to that point "friends" of the colonists, were so
shocked by this example of European-style warfare that they refused further
alliances with the whites. Captain John Underhill ridiculed the Narragansetts
for their unwillingness to engage in genocide, saying Narragansett wars with
other tribes were "more for pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies."
In that, Underhill was correct: the Narragansett form of war, like that of
most indigenous Older Culture peoples, and almost all Native American tribes,
does not have extermination of the opponent as a goal. After all, neighbors are
necessary to trade with, to maintain a strong gene pool through intermarriage,
and to insure cultural diversity. Most tribes wouldn't even want the lands of
others, because they would have concerns about violating or entering the sacred
or spirit-filled areas of the other tribes. Even the killing of "enemies" is
not most often the goal of tribal "wars": It's most often to fight to some pre-
determined measure of "victory" such as seizing a staff, crossing a particular
line, or the first wounding or surrender of the opponent.
This wétiko type of theft and warfare is practiced daily by farmers and
ranchers worldwide against wolves, coyotes, insects, animals and trees of the
rainforest; and against indigenous tribes living in the jungles and
rainforests. It is our way of life. It comes out of our foundational cultural
So it should not surprise us that with the doubling of the world's
population over the past 37 years has come an explosion of violence and
brutality, and as the United States runs low on oil, we are now fighting wars
in oil-rich parts of the world. It shouldn't surprise us that our churches are
using violent "kill the infidels" video games to lure in
children, while in parts of Africa contaminated by our culture and rich in oil
(Congo) rape has become so widespread as to make the front page of yesterday's New York Times.
These are all dimensions, after all, our history, which we celebrate on
Columbus Day. But if we wake up, and we help the world wake up, it need not be
Thank you Thom Hartmann. For those interested in Journalism, you have just
lucrative example of how Journalism explains and makes relevant to the present.
|Sunday, 30 September 2007 at 16h 0m 55s|
The end of September
Brings the end of the baseball season, the beginning of the October playoffs,
and the reminder that Halloween is right around the corner. Along with the
invasion (or incident) with Iran. Why else would it be necessary to craft a
provision to an spending authorization which made a statement of agressive acts
towards Iran seem like an act of diplomacy merely by adding Secretary Gates
sentence which states diplomacy is the preferred option. How many more billions
and trillions will be wasted as a salve to some mindless ultra patriots ego.
But on a more pleasant note, napsters won in both leagues.
|Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 17h 7m 10s|
Mayor Bloomberg speaks
I Feel like what's going on in Iraq right now is
like 1776, except this time ... we're the British.
-- Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City
27 September 2007.
|Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 5h 20m 18s|
The 2007 Yahoo Fantasy Baseball Championships
And now for the moment you all didn't realize you've been
Yep, that's my team, Nawlins Napsters, somehow brutally hitting the ball
everywhere while my pitching staff holds on. I had a better pitching staff
last year when I took first place. This year I've been pretty lucky. My
friend Chris deserves to be in the finals instead of me, but I lucked out and
beat him 5-5 because I had a better ranking all year. I won the WHIP category
by 0.12, and suddenly Napsters gets to defend the championship.
It was fate Chris ... and a lights out 8th inning by Gagne.
|Saturday, 22 September 2007 at 14h 11m 51s|
Today I come home, and right outside my apartment building, in the 12 foot by 9
foot long corridor where the mailboxes are located, there were 4 Korean Jehovah
Witnesses. The youngest, a 35-ish gentleman wearing a suit and tie, asked me
if I was Korean when I walked by and greeted them. Now I look nothing like
Korean, so I joked that he was a "comedian." Everyone laughed.
Now of course, I knew and anticipated that the young man was actually trying to
find a way to have a discussion about God or something religious. And sure
enough, the Korean man approached me and asked me if "I thought God was
responsible for all of the modern ills and crises," holding up an "Awake"
magazine with a darkened fireman figure amidst a fiery background, the
title "Is God responsible for the crisis of modern times?"
Eerie Halloween music came to my imagination. Quick, the time has come to
worship God before Armaggedom brings doom to all mankind.
I smiled though, and shared with the gentlemen my own perspective.
"No, we are responsible. All of us. The Great Spirit runs through things,
pervades all things, big and small. We are all connected to, not disjoint from,
the Great Spirit. If we perhaps see a reflection of ourselves in the crises of
modernity, it is only because we ourselves have disconnected from the Great
I continued. "I think you and I see things similarly in a lot of ways, but we
are however, not 100% in agreement on everything. But I respect what you do."
I then smiled, and the Korean gentlemen bowed, in that Asian way that conveys
|Friday, 14 September 2007 at 17h 2m 31s|
My life's philosophy
The great spirit runs through all things, large and small, pervading
everything, surrounding all things, connected to all things like a thread,
everyone and everything attached but yet not attached, connected and yet still
disjoint. Separation occurs through lack of understanding, from confusion,
from the misunderstanding of an original fear, from an insecurity concealed
which has transfigured into an alterego. The great spirit -- what some would
trivialise as "God" -- is everywhere, connecting everyone,and yet the
dissolution of the human race exists and remains ongoing. All of us are
equally responsible for the relationship we have with the inate unity, but
nevertheless, our awareness may not be coexistent with the fundamental truths
of our actual existence. And yet the spirit which runs through all things great
and small still exists.
I have a phrase that I repeat to myself everytime I meditate. Here it is.
"Oh great spirit, please come down into me and show me the things about myself
that I can not see, and teach me the ways to make the most beneficial
influences upon all persons and things."
I've been doing this kind of meditation since I was 22 years old.
Psst. Don't tell anyone. I'm 38 years old.
|Wednesday, 5 September 2007 at 21h 52m 41s|
Nawlins Napsters 2007 edition
Last year, the Nawlins Napsters won the 2006 Yahoo league.
This year ? We'll have to see. My two stud pitchers have hit the injury
knockout -- Cole Hamels and Erik Bedard. I made a stupid trade to grab Julio
Lugo that cost me Justin Verlander, so I deserve to lose. But baseball is
funny. I might get lucky.
Anyway, here are the standings and playoff schedule.
At least I was first place.
By the way, my good friend Chris is Chris Carthage. He's beat my butt bad both
times we met all year, and next week we might meet for the final rematch.
Dum da dump dump. Dum da dump dump duhnnnnnnn duhn.
Sound of a cool Pink Panther theme jazz beat ....
That includes you Kristen.
|Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 15h 25m 23s|
Responding to idiots
This is a response I made to some commentary
wedded to a defunct societal analysis. His moniker is "Capitalism rules",
which for him is just a cheeky campaign button. He's too cool to read the
books and get an education. He'll just strip a few slick quotes, and act like
You don't know what Capitalism is or even understand the "rules" you think
For you the rules get to change when they enable the creation of the
aristocracy of wealth accumulation at the expense of how the system allocates
the wealth. This is a fact of life, not some glorified "-ism." I know this is
hard for you to understand because you confuse a mantra of economic phrases
with an understanding of economic interaction.
In other words you really don't know what you are talking about.
For a perfect example of your retarded analysis, consider your pathetic spin on
Thom Hartmann's point that the Minnesota Republican tax cuts are a symptom of
the Reagan legacy.
They [the Minnesota Democratic legislators] would want to raise taxes. That
is what dems do, tax and spend.
They had plenty of money in their treasury but they did not want to allocate
any of it for their infrastructure.
Repeating the same slogan does not give strength to your argument. Investments
are necessary for the health and well-being of our nation so that local and
regional business can compete; AND so that our citizens can efficiently (note:
economic word) participate in society in a beneficial manner. Simplifying this
reality by calling it "tax and spend" indicates the short-term stupidity of how
you are a moron.
Here's an analogy. You refuse to spend money on toothpaste so you can have
extra cash for mixed drinks on Friday night. Then when your teeth fall out at
age 50 you blame everyone but yourself, including your fellow citizens who
tried to warn you.
You obviously do not understand the definition of "allocate." If you subtract
1 from 3 you get 2. If you do not raise taxes to pay for increased
investments, the money you "allocate" has to come from somewhere else. But you
can't replace the expensive radiator with the spare tire in the truck.
Likewise you can't skim or close other important investments in order
to "allocate" funds that should have come from a tax increase. That's why not
one Republican administration was ever able to cut "spending." It's more
difficult than your one-celled brain can contemplate.
And how much money are we really talking about here? How many people would
spend $50 a year for necessary investments? If you make more than $80,000 a
year after taxes, would you really see a $500 increase in taxes ($79,500
instead of $80,000) because that is essentially what the vetoed tax increase
came to. But instead, it's better to let the teeth rot because you are too
cheap to spend $3 a month on the toothpaste.
People like you are not only pugnaciously ignorant, but also short-sighted and
selfish. You don't care about this country. All you want to do is rub 2
pennies together and get a dime. The philosophical nonsense you spew is just a
justification for the corporate forms of oligarchy and greedy billionaires who
Get over yourself CApitalism Rules. All you know is a hand-full of memorized
phrases, like frozen sperm cells, completely irrelevant, stale, and out of
|Monday, 20 August 2007 at 21h 20m 45s|
The purpose of prayer is the leftover remnants of a tribal
group members bonded together for purposes of survival or warfare. Dancing
around fires, tribal celebrations and rituals are a way for the group members
to bond together for the purposes of achieving a plentiful hunt or to prepare
for the battle with the invading tribe. This primitive communication system
eventually transferred to ritualization of death, either to enhance the road to
the afterlife or to symbolize the end.
Prayer has evolved in the modern world from these atavistic routes. However,
now that man has become vastly different from the roving bands of early
hominids, culture has replaced the primitive supernatural reference frames.
Understanding has become scientific and logical. Prayer has now become so far
removed from the origins that it can take a vicarious narcissitic turn in the
minds of some individuals who consider themselves religious... BECAUSE
communing with the great entity via suggestive direct communication to an
external other being is absolutely preposterous. Substitute desires and dreams
for prayers, then fill in the blank to the sentence "God answers your ______."
As if God's purpose is to please and serve your self-serving opinions.
This is a complete misunderstanding of God, in my opinion.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS