I'm a loser, I'm a loser,
And I'm not what I appear to be
- The Beatles (written by John Lennon), "I'm A Loser"
Is it just me or are the Democrats a pathetic bunch of losers who are too spineless to stand up forcefully for anything they believe in?
Seeing that things have finally started to quiet down in the good ol' USA - after a crazy summer dominated by all those rabid, angry, crazy, incensed right-wing teabaggers, birthers and townhall shouters with all their mad cries of "Socialism!" and "Fascism!" and "Obama was born in Kenya!" - I was thinking it might be safe to once again venture down there for a vacation.
It appears that the rednecks have put their guns away for the moment. At least until Obama tries to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
a.k.a. Summer of Staggering Stupidity
"The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable and weakest members."
- Mahatma Gandhi
That the majority of the rich and powerful in America, particularly those on the right, are vehemently opposed to universal healthcare and instead support the present free-market private insurance system is hardly surprising. Clearly they have nothing to fear, as it's highly unlikely that they will ever find themselves without coverage and they're certainly never going to be choosing between treatment and bankruptcy.
This stance - though truly despicable, completely devoid of compassion and totally self-absorbed - isn't really all that difficult to understand. It's simply the latest manifestation of that age-old philosophy: "Hey, I'm alright. Screw everyone else!"
What IS extremely hard to figure out, however, is the mindset of all these regular, ordinary working class and middle class right-wing nut-jobs who have been showing up all summer long at these town hall meetings chanting:
"Socialism! Communism! Stalinism!!"
"In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."
– James Madison
As all the Right-Wing Christian Conservative Blow-Hard (RWCCBH) homophobes down there in the States continue to blather on about how gay marriage is going to destroy traditional marriage, I just keep scratching my head, struggling with all my might to understand just what the $&#% they're talking about.
"Morality is doing what is right, regardless what we are told. Religious dogma is doing what we are told, no matter what is right."
- Elka Enola
Whatever you may think of his days in power, there's really no denying that since leaving office back in 1981 Jimmy Carter has become perhaps the greatest ex-president in American history. And now he's taken one more, very significant, step towards wrapping up that title once and for all: He's just quit his church of more than 60 years out of disgust at their sexist, bigoted views concerning women.
You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning
- Bob Dylan, "Positively 4th Street"
By now you've all probably heard of Shona Holmes, the Canadian woman featured in those TV ads that have been running all over American TV in recent weeks, the ones slamming Canada's healthcare system as some sort of nightmarish system from hell.
Well, the truth is now out and the fact is Shona Holmes never actually had a life-threatening brain tumor, as she's been claiming in those ads and interviews on American TV. Instead, according to the Mayo Clinic where she was treated, her "brain tumor" was actually a Rathke's Cleft Cyst on her pituitary gland and "Rathke's Cleft Cysts are not true tumors or neoplasms; instead they are benign cysts."
"I'll go along with the charade
Until I can think my way out
I know it was all a big joke
Whatever it was all about"
- Bob Dylan, "Tight Connection To My Heart"
Whatever one may think about the so-called "War On Terror", there are certain stories that both boggle the mind and dramatically highlight just how ridiculous this War Without End really is. One such recent story concerned the release of yet another innocent man, Mohamed el-Gharani, from America's notorious gulag down there in Guantanamo Bay.
Now, sadly, the release of an innocent man from Guantanamo is hardly a rare or unique occurrence, but this case, as you'll see, was particularly disturbing.
"Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism - real and exaggerated - has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses"
- Naomi Klein
"If you listen to the politicians, you might think we are all terrorists"
- Loesje (International - originally Dutch - free speech organization)
"Our position is clear and frank... We consider the military occupation of our land a terrorist act"
- Yasser Arafat
So, with the war in Sri Lanka now over and the Tamils having been crushed and brought to their knees, I'd like to ask just one question: Are we happy now? With the Tamils' decades-long struggle for self-determination quashed and their dreams of an independent homeland shattered, are we fully satisfied? Should we give ourselves a pat on the back?
Because there's no denying that this result is largely due to us here in the freedom-loving West. Specifically, I'm referring to how the governments of Canada, America, Australia and the European Union all decided to take sides in this civil war - this brutal ethnic civil war.
Not only did we impose an embargo on one side - the Tamil minority - while fully supporting the other - the Sinhalese majority - but we even went as far as to label the Tamils as "terrorists", while actively working to shut down all of their overseas funding and their ability to arm themselves. Both sides may have clearly been guilty of committing some pretty heinous atrocities, but for some reason we decided that the best thing to do was to condemn the one side, while cheering on and supporting the other.
Worst of all, we sided with the wrong side.
"The theory of the free press is not that the truth will be presented completely or perfectly in any one instance, but that the truth will emerge from free discussion"
- Walter Lippman (1889 - 1974)
A rather frightening and totally ridiculous reality, one that has been with us for many years now, is currently in the process of becoming even worse, at least down in the United States. This reality - the labeling of all criticism of Israel as "anti-Semitic" - threatens not only free speech and open debate, but the search for peace in the Middle East itself. Check out this article by Paul Craig Roberts and see if you don't agree: "The End of Free Speech? Criminalizing Criticism of Israel".
Roberts, it should be noted, is no left-wing radical. He's the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and he's even referred to as the "Father of Reaganomics".
We're all well aware of this idea, put forward by the pro-Israel lobby and much of the media, that any sort of criticism of Israel, no matter how deserving, is indicative of one thing and one thing only: anti-Semitism. However, it doesn't take a genius to see this argument for what it really is: A load of nonsensical bullshit and highly irrational buffoonery.
One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
- U2, "Pride (In The Name of Love)"
By now I'd hope that everyone has seen Gus Van Sant's magnificent film Milk, about the life and death of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in American history. And if you have seen the film then you know what a truly brilliant piece of filmmaking it is. I finally saw it the other day, after it had been released on DVD, and I found both the film and Sean Penn's performance in it to be absolutely enthralling.