Archive for June, 2006

Jim’s Jihad, II

Friday, June 30th, 2006

I love to get email commenting on my posts. Of course, I’d rather you posted your comments, but in these days of $3 gas and million-dollar politicians, you take what you can get. One reader wished I hadn’t said I hated the ‘power grabbers‘ — by which I meant the Bush regime, assorted hate-mongering fundamentalists, and their congressional and judicial co-conspirators — and everything they stand for. That was pretty hard, not something you’d expect from a tree-hugging, Born Again Leftist. More Lenin than Lennon. Shouldn’t Leftists be using words of peace and conciliation? Shouldn’t we be spreading the love? Oh, I see I’ve used the word ‘love’ in two different contexts in the same paragraph. What’s love got to do with it?

Jim’s Jihad, I

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

The Supreme Court says it’s okay for the ruling party to use redistricting to maintain power, and that there’s no limit on campaign spending. The people are as silent as the grave. I guess we non-rich folks may as well forget about having a voice in the government anymore. Fortunately, I’m such a small fry the government doesn’t give a damn what I say, so I may as well say what I feel. I don’t mean to hurt the feelings of my friends, but this is the last ditch, and I’m going to fight.

The dams of democracy have broken

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Overshadowed by news of massive flooding in the Northeast was a Supreme Court decision allowing states to realign congressional districts at the whims of their legislatures. With one exception, the Court’s activist judges found in favor of Tom DeLay’s successful efforts to secure permanent Republican Party power. DeLay was indicted for misuse of campaign funds to finance the redistricting, and faces criminal charges. I found the redistricting itself more worrisome. It’s almost impossible to overturn a Supreme Court decision, and this decision locks out opposition candidates. Now Texans can vote for any candidate they want, as long as they want the Republican Party candidate. While DeLay may yet be convicted, his felonies have changed the face of Texas — and now the country’s — politics forever. DeLay is cheering.

This is okay with me. (more…)

Coming soon: No elections?

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

The United States is in trouble. The Bush Regime wants to leave judgment of its actions to future historians. The way things are going, we’ll be lucky if they are allowed to publish their conclusions. (more…)

American rights — and obligations

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Most Americans have finally realized the Iraq War was a mistake, and believe we should withdraw most or all of our troops. The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for nearly five years. We hear almost daily of the deaths of dozens of Taliban fighters, a clear sign they are still an important force there, and that we didn’t finish the job before moving on to Iraq. Many Americans probably don’t realize how close we are to yet another war, with Iran.

Are you happy now?

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Misery loves company, but most reasonably well-adjusted people would rather be happy, and hang out with other happy people. Are you happy? What makes us happy? Is it really important to be happy?

The Buddha taught that no one can be happy if someone else is suffering. All the great faiths are based on bringing inner happiness to their followers, and all despised materialism. Caught up in our materialist-consumer culture, we’ve lost sight of that common foundation, and what Buddha, Jesus and the Prophet emphasized and deprecated.

Getting the last laugh

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Poor television. For almost 60 years, TV has been blamed for nearly every malady affecting our country. Americans must be really stupid, to alllow the “idiot box” to have so much control over their lives. In the latest assault on the medium, two college professors allege that Comedy Central’s The Daily Show makes its viewers so cynical about political candidates, and the electoral system in general, that they may not bother to vote. Is this the fault of The Daily Show, or of our busted political system?

Minimum wage

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

The U.S. Senate yesterday voted down a measure that would raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage has not been raised since 1997, despite large increases in the cost of living. Most minimum-wage earners are not full-time employees, as employers are required to provide certain minimum benefits, such as vacations, to full-time employees. So they work 30 hours a week, the maximum for part-time employees. Most minimum-wage earners work two or three jobs, just to survive.

Creating their own reality

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

In October 2004, just before the last presidential election, Ron Suskind published an article in the New York Times magazine, titled “Without A Doubt.” The article dealt with President Bush’s instinctive — “gut” — method of making decisions, and the hubris of many in the administration. (more…)

“Strains are apparent”

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

The Bush Regime, notably Donald Rumsfeld, has often accused the press of inaccurate reporting on Iraq. So goes the refrain, conditions in Iraq are getting better and better. The press is slandered as too negative. After a well-known reporter was nearly killed on a Baghdad street recently, the regime has toned down its rhetoric, but still propagandizes us with self-praise for its mismanaged war.

Now, the Washington Post has obtained a copy of a cable dated June 12, by Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador in Baghdad, to Secretary of State Rice. Sent only a few hours before Bush snuck into and out of Baghdad, the cable paints a very different, ugly picture of the situation there. (more…)