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  • (27)

    This link takes you to a page with maps and charts showing how women's control over their own bodies is being taken away in several states all over the country. Follow their link to Nationwide Trends and you will see:

    15 states have unconstitutional and unenforceable criminal bans that would outlaw abortion throughout pregnancy: AL, AZ, AR, CO, DE, LA, MA, MI, MS, NM, OK, UT, VT, WV, WI.

    26 states have unconstitutional and unenforceable bans that would outlaw abortion as early as 12 weeks, with no health exception: AL, AK, AZ, AR, FL, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NJ, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WI.

    Look a little further and you learn that:

    47 states plus the District of Columbia allow certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive health services, information, or referrals: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

    This is stuff like refusing to fill birth control prescriptions or even to provide information about family planning.

    Just thought you'd like to know what's going on.

  • (27)

    This is actually a comment on MediaGirl's post That Was Then. It's all in the Past but it's too long to leave in comments.

    I am thoroughly sick of the Democratic Party. They're zombies. They have no sense of urgency, no fight, no fire, no sense of timing or outrage and no idea of how to work a strategy. The only position they've taken in five years is to grab their ankles.

    Why are those idiots saying they probably won't filibuster the most extreme reactionary nominated since Robert Bork? Why didn't they come out swinging after Al Gore's speech today? Why aren't they spitting nails that the man who stole two presidential elections is now ignoring FISA and spying on American citizens?

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They did stand by and let those elections be stolen. You'd think all that legal training could have come up with something after the GAO report came out that showed 2004 was fixed. Or after reporter after reporter proved that Gore won in 2000. But no.

    You'd think they'd object to pResident Bush claiming to be a "war president" when only Congress can declare war, and they've done no such thing. They did give Bush power to act if Saddam didn't cooperate with the UN inspectors - but he did. Bush sent troops into Iraq anyway, knowing they had no WMD's. Bush lied to congress in the process, which is a crime. Still no outrage.

    Using the mythical "war on terror"- for which the administration has done nothing to prepare except to fill vital positions with cronies and fools- as cover, the administration locked up a US citizen for over 3 years without due process. They imprisoned people who had nothing to do with the war, subjecting them to beatings, torture, and death. These acts, including the torture and rape of children, are so heinous that they defy the American psyche. Our frozen populace immobile with fear and denial, hypnotized by a well-trained, well-tamed media chanting today's Republican talking points as if they were scripture, or even fact, begs for news of one lost girl to drown out the loss of 100,000 people who never hurt an American who wasn't trying to kill them. And in our frosty sleep we lost our right to privacy, to the security of our homes, of our phones, of our own bodies. We are not free, anymore.

    And yet the party asks for my money and my vote. They will not act to save the lives of my sisters who will die from unwanted or dangerous pregnancies; of STD's that might have been prevented; of AIDS spread through ignorance and deceit. They'll save a fetus and leave the born to starve. Our young and our old, our sick and our poor are being strangled with debt and red tape. They stood silent as we stood aghast at the death of New Orleans from incompetent, uncaring neglect.

    They expect us to vote for candidates that see women as less than human? Who would make me the property of the state? So that courts and Congress and the men in my life determine the use of my womb?

    I can't pretend to know the reason - are they making too much money to demand change? Are they afraid of getting a real job? Are they lazy, or blind, or in on the game? Whatever the reason, I'm done.

    I say this one last time -

    Lose Roe v. Wade and the Women in this country will BURY the Democratic Party.

    Not a threat, but a promise we intend to keep. They have until January 24th to decide if I remain a Democrat or not. If they don't filibuster the vote on Sam Alito's nomination, I go to the Green Party and I take as many of my sisters as I can with me.

    We've begged. We've threatened. Now, it's time to walk.

  • (27)

    Methinks Peter Schweizer doth protest too much. The Republicans have enjoyed a nice political bubble over the years when it comes to the environment. "Global warming? What global warming?" has been typical of their responses.

    That's been changing since Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth (directed by Davis Guggenheim) hit the screens. Since then, the film has enjoyed some remarkable documentary-level box office. As a result, the American public is seeing what the rest of the world has for years: that when it comes to the environment, the Republicans and the Bush Administration have no clothes.

    Yet one more area where right-wing fantasies failed to convince the prevailing facts to change themselves. Reality's a bitch. And people realize that Al Gore, whom the wingnuts ridiculed in the 2000 campaign, was right all along.

    Those stale old jokes no longer stick. And the Republicans are scared.

    Now the right-wing fictioneers who so expertly dismantled Michael Moore's public image with loud and repeated falsehoods, distortions and outright lies of their own are now turning their sights on Gore. Why? Maybe because they are finding the truth just a tad too inconvenient.

    In today's USA Today, we get an early shot -- intended to be a barrage, but which comes off more as a bb-gun sniper attempt: right-wing Hoover man and dittohead-industry author Peter Schweizer has a petty little piece nitpicking Gore's life.

    Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

    Smell a little envy there? This is a typical smear by the right, attacking Gore based on class. "He's not like you folks," Schweizer is saying to us "peasants" (a popular word used in right-wing power circles to describe us non-special folks born without silver spoons in our mouths). I don't know what Schweizer's lifestyle is like, but his Republican and corporatist allies live much fatter lives. Besides, this is about global warming, not about a real estate crunch.

    Schweizer then goes on to talk about the apparent fact that Gore's estates have not yet switched to alternative energy options in their areas, and that Gore owns stock in Occidental Petroleum. Apparently these are to be considered glaring character flaws and indications of some big great hypocrisy. He also goes after the Democrats, who also have not signed up for alternative energy.

    Then, in a well-practiced move of non-sequitur pseduo-logic -- a speciality of Schweizer and Coulter and the other writers in the alternate-reality books genre -- he suggests:

    Maybe our very existence isn't threatened.

    Not exactly stellar reasoning from a defender of the ruling class, is it?

    Ironically, Schweizer doesn't acknowledge that us non-ruling-class Americans are already struggling with energy prices. We aren't cashing in on big trade with mass-polluter China, or raking in record profits from oil speculation, or laughing all the way to the bank with 10-figure government checks for no-bid contracts. The men in power are screwing over America big time, and we're supposed to get mad at Al Gore?

    The issue here is not simply Gore's hypocrisy; it's a question of credibility. If he genuinely believes the apocalyptic vision he has put forth and calls for radical changes in the way other people live, why hasn't he made any radical change in his life? Giving up the zinc mine or one of his homes is not asking much, given that he wants the rest of us to radically change our lives.

    In other words, if you can't refute the scientific evidence, then shoot the messenger. Global warming, according to Schweizer, is not a scientific theory with evidence in our faces every day. No, global warming is just what Al Gore wants. Get it? Our response to global warming should be tempered by the right wing's approval of Al Gore's politics and financial investments.

    My own guess is that Schweizer is accusing Gore of simple class betrayal. After all, being rich and powerful, Al Gore should be a Republican, right? How dare he!

    Inconvenient indeed.

  • (25)

    Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how South Dakota is treating women like cows. Now that judgment has been confirmed ... by South Dakota's own "pro-life" Republican Representative Gordon Howie himself:

    When Rep. Gordon Howie, R-Rapid City, mentioned cows and women in the same breaths at the Chamber of Commerce pre-legislative crackerbarrel last week, it didn't sit well with some of the folks who were there.

    Because someone in front of me was chattering during questions from the audience, I wasn't able to catch Howie's precise quote (or what exactly was being said on another subject by Rep. Tom Hennies before it). But right after Howie spoke, the firestorm started.

    I checked with the Chamber to see if the session was recorded, since I only half-heard Howie's comment myself and wanted to make sure I'd get it right. When I was told by the Chamber that they hadn't taped it, I asked Howie to repeat what he said.

    "We place value on life in South Dakota, and even with a mother cow, as soon as you can demonstrate she is pregnant, an even higher value is placed just because she is pregnant," Howie said.

    So there you have it: a woman's value depends upon whether she's pregnant or not. A woman's purpose, according to Howie and his right-wing allies who want to criminalize abortion, is to replenish the herd.

    But wait! Maybe he ended up not saying what he really meant. Maybe it was a mistake.

    Howie said he "enrages" people who don't share his views "because I just don't mince words. I don't choose them well, either. ... Any person who really knows who I am knows I don't place women and livestock on the same level."

    No, he says it like he means it. I'm sure he believes women are more valuable than cows. But his meaning comes through loud and clear: Women are heifers and the government is the rancher.

    Moo.

  • (24)

    I can't say which is worse: embarrassment and shame that I haven't blogged this yet? Or embarrassment and shame that virtually nobody in the blogosphere has written a single thing about this.

    But worse than embarrassment or shame is the horrible situation in Pakistan, where tens of thousands have died, and tens of thousands more, including children, still have not received any aid.

    Let's look at the facts:

    50,000 dead, maybe more, many of whom were children, who were in school at the moment the quake hit.

    10,000 more children are facing imminent death due to injury, infection, disease, starvation, dehydration, exposure to the sub-zero temperatures at night. 120,000 children are at risk.

    These figures are conservative. And aid money has not been coming.

    Almost two weeks after the quake, less than 14 per cent of the UN's emergency appeal for £180 million has been received.

    Unicef, the UN children's organisation, yesterday estimated that 10,000 children will die in weeks. The figure was described as "conservative" by a UN field worker.

    Although the official death count remains at 49,739, local authorities put it at almost 80,000.

    UN relief coordinator Jan Egeland clarifies the urgency:

    “The world is not doing enough,� Egeland said in Geneva. “We should be able to do this.�

    He called for “a second Berlin air bridge� — nonstop flights reminiscent of the U.S. and British airlift of essential supplies into West Berlin in the late 1940s when Soviet troops blocked the city’s road links to the West for nearly 11 months.

    “We thought that the tsunami was as bad as it could get. This is worse,� Egeland said. “The race against the clock is also like no other one. There is a terrible cutoff for us in the beginning of December, maybe even before, when there will be massive snowfalls in the Himalaya mountains.�

    To help, you can give to Unicef or the Red Cross/Red Crescent. (Beware of scam artists. Stick with the established international organizations.)

    Also, there's a site with local Pakistani emergency info (in English).

    Why does this get scant coverage in American media? Why is BBC World virtually the only coverage to be found on dish or cable?

  • (24)

    That's the question I'm left when I read this:

    The PBS Kids Sprout network has fired the host of "The Good Night Show" after learning she had appeared in videos called "Technical Virgin."

    The host, Melanie Martinez, had alerted network officials about one of the videos late last week and she was immediately taken off the air.

    "PBS Kids Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character's credibility with our audience," said Sandy Wax, network president.
    What is "our audience" but preschoolers? Do you really think little Madison and Hailey and Jacob and Nicholas are likely to even hear about "Technical Virgin"?

    These suits need a reality check. Or did she not properly respect "technically" some executive's check? Jus' wonderin'.

  • (23)

    For a week, just about all we've heard about is Dick Cheney's "simple hunting accident," and how the victim was a long-time Republican fundraiser, and the attempted White House cover-up, and his beer(s?) at lunch and the yahoo truck-based hunting style, and the fact that the quail in this "hunting trip" were in fact caged and released only when the good ol' boys were ready with their guns to blow them to pieces (hey, the rulers are entitled to privileges, aren't they?), and all the other horrid details of this incident involving this hateful man. We heard his unemotional apology, delivered like a military policy statement on the right-wing's propaganda news channel.

    Some analysts have even declared that Cheney's recklessness with firearms has boosted his stock with the macho gun-loving lizard-brain constituents of the Republican Party. (Sometimes the Daily Show is just prescient.)

    But when it comes to long-term implications in the political realm, the bigger news story was Paul Hackett's withdrawal from the Ohio Democratic primary race for the Senate seat up this year -- and how he was apparently pressured out by none other than the big shots in the Democratic Party itself -- many of whom recruited him to run in the first place.

    "For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."Since then, we've seen quite a lot of chest-thumping in the blogosphere, with an abundance of I-told-you-so's and offerings of revisionist history. ("We support Sherrod Brown. We have always supported Sherrod Brown.")

    One example is yesterday's offering posted on Booman that comes close to accusing people who don't line up and vote for Democrats -- any and all Democrats, no matter what their political views or character flaws -- are, in effect, supporters of the Republicans. Never mind what kind of Democrats get elected. Never mind that politicians like Casey, whom the diarist supports, are to the right of Democrats like Ben Nelson and Ken Salazar, who've proven how unreliable they can be.

    A cornerstone if this kind of political position is the unstated but clear-as-day strategy of co-opting modern-day, pseudo-conservative Republican positions and "values" so that the only change in Congress is with which party the wingnut in question is registered.

    Maybe it's not all that foolish. Maybe it's quite clever. We're supposed to be fooled into thinking that buying into such a rightward push in the Democratic Party is actually in our interests. Their calling card is the Republican boogie man, which doesn't need much embellishment to be convincing. And then they toss out a few bones to the voters.

    I believe that if you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, and you do not vote for Bob Casey over Rick Santorum in the general election in November, then you support the privatization of Social Security (which Santorum favors and Casey opposes). I believe that if you don't vote for Bob Casey instead of Rick Santorum, then you support the K-Street Project, which Rick Santorum helps run. I believe that if you don't vote for Bob Casey instead of Rick Santorum, then you think that the minimum wage should only be increased as long as several million workers lose all of their protections nationwide. If you don't' vote for Bob Casey instead of Rick Santorum, then you support CAFTA, which Casey opposes and Santorum supports.It's easy to offer such simplistic rhetoric. But let's set aside the self-righteousness of it and get to the logic: "Our misogynistic bastard is better than their misogynistic bastard."

    This seems like a fool's strategy to me. If you become that which you abhor, how do you change back? If the Democratic Party is made even more of a faux-Republican party to obtain power, how would one change it into a progressive party? Where would be the mandate?

    What all this party-insider grandstanding is based on is the unspoken and perhaps unexamined belief that neither party wants to address: Women have no right to have a voice in politics.

    Every time you hear someone declare your interest in your rights to equal liberty, equal justice and equal protection under the law as your "pet cause" that fits your "single-issue voter" demands for "ideological purity," think about what they're really saying:

    "Shut up, woman, and let us men deal with this! We'll get to your concerns later."

    Chris Bowers, The Booman diarist mentioned above, probably does not believe he's a chauvinist or that he's blinded by male privilege from really seeing or hearing what women are doing and saying. (I think the jury is still out on Kos, who seems to be proudly anti-feminist.) But the fact that women are marginalized just for demanding equality in this country is very telling.

    So as the bellowing gets louder, and the accusations that women's equal participation in all things political is only provisional and secondary to men's rule, remember this:

    As long as it's left to men alone to pass judgment on whether women's rights should be respected, honored and protected as a minimum requirement for a truly egalitarian society, there will be no equality for women...

    ...and reproductive rights will always be a bargaining chip to be given away...

    ...and universal healthcare will be a lofty political plank with no credibility...

    ...and progressive values will suffer...

    ...because a non-inclusive "big tent" strategy will never turn on the regressive hand that feeds it.

  • (22)

    I first read about the 25 or so bloggers going on the all-expenses-paid Holland.com/BlogAds junket in Amanda's post on Pandagon today. Indeed, it's true:

    • The bloggers going to Amsterdam in February '06 (over there on the left) get a free roundtrip flight on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

    • They'll be able to stay for five nights at either the Lloyd Hotel or the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky -- both five star hotels near the center of Amsterdam.

    • Last but not least, they get an I amsterdam Card, giving them free transportation around the city, gratis entrance to lots of museums and discounts at restaurants, etc.

    • No blogging about the trip will be required. In exchange for the trip each blogger will [a] be interviewed about the trip (the Dutch Tourism Board may be using this for online/offline promotions), [b] give Holland.com one month of premium adspace, and [c] put the "Bloggers in Amsterdam" logo in their nav bar for one year, linking it to this blog post to disclose the nature of the trip. The mantra here is transparency.

    (Lots of links buried in the original post.)

    Says Amanda:

    The moral of the story, boys and girls, is that one should have a passport on hand just in case you ever need to leave the country at a moment’s notice.

    I'm not sure I agree with that (though I confess my ambivalence because, due to my travel bug, if I had been invited, it would have been tough to say no). I suspect the true moral of the story will wind up being more in the realm of whether one wants to even appear to be open to pay-for-play.

    In a hard-hitting critique on Beltway Blogroll, dglover hits them hard:

    Bloggers no doubt will justify the trip by highlighting the transparency of the junket. They must link to the Bloggers in Amsterdam disclosure statement for one year, which itself notes the transparency "mantra."

    But curiously, the bloggers just started talking about the trip yesterday -- and not all of them are doing so yet. If they really wanted to be transparent, why didn't the bloggers tell their readers about the trip when the invitation was extended?

    What's more, transparency is not sufficient justification for media outlets -- and that's what blogs want the U.S. government to call them -- to take money from a government agency with an agenda. Bloggers who rightly maligned columnists Armstrong Williams for taking money from the Bush administration to praise its education law and Doug Bandow for taking money from Abramoff now deserve the same rebukes they heaped on him.

    I don't know. I find it hard to disagree. How would I feel about, say, David Brooks if he -- no, scratch that, I don't hold him in high regard anyway, he's such a lightweight -- I don't know how I would feel about, say, Molly Ivins if it came out that she was getting junketed by some business interest. Does the junket mean the writer will pander? Or praise? Or simply avoid criticism?

    Too many questions. It will be interesting what these folks say about this generous gift that has been given to them for one reason only: their blogger status.

    Of course, all of this is inevitable. As bloggers gain voice and attention in the media realm, money will try to influence what they say. We see it all the time in print media, where, say, technical or trade journals avoid criticizing any product produced by a major advertiser. We see it in television news, where they offer up industry-produced drug promotions as if they were real news, all the while making millions upon millions from the pharmaceutical ads running throughout the day and night.

    Why should bloggers be any different? This is an ethics issue that must be addressed, sooner or later. I just hope these bloggers, many of whom I respect immensely, don't find themselves tarred by a pay-for-play brush for being enticed to luxuriate in Amsterdam -- especially since it's Amsterdam in February.

  • (21)

    This judge has weighed in on the breast of the matter:

    A fee of 25,500 euros ($32,000) is way too much for a woman to charge a man for fondling her bosom, a Finnish district court ruled.

    The court jailed a couple in their twenties for more than a year for charging a 74-year-old who suffers from dementia a total of 25,500 euros to enjoy the woman's breasts on 10 occasions.

    "Based on general life experience alone, it is indisputably clear that a 25,500 euro charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question," Judge Hasse Hakki, who heard the case, told Reuters Friday.

    Indisputably.

    I've never been to Finland. I don't know much of anything about this country. But it seems to be a pretty clear indication of Patriarchy when a government official in a trusted position having power over the citizenry -- a man -- passes official judgment on some sort of maximum value a woman's breasts can have even to other men.

    If she wants to sell fondling rights, why can't she charge anything she wants? Is breast fondling considered an essential commodity in Finland, something like water, food, medicine...? Is breast fondling just too essential of a privilege of men to allow a woman to charge too much money to let a man fondle her own breasts?

  • (20)

    It's really been quite demoralizing, reading and hearing and seeing so much activity, so much rhetoric, so much strange thinking from what we call "the right." I find it hard to watch the news, to read the stories online, to listen to the radio and be reminded over and over that there are some people out to "remake" America into some twisted ideal that they seem to hold in their minds.

    I can't call them conservatives, for these people are not about small government with responsible spending within means -- nor are they about respecting the privacy of citizens and leaving people to their own business. I can't call them Republicans, for there are many many Republicans just as disturbed by the present turn of events as I am. I can't call them red state people, because the people who voted red are not the ones cynically manipulating the press and hiding behind the darkest veils of secrecy in this country's modern age.

    I've called them wingnuts, because they seem nuts to me, but that is perhaps rather rude. I've called them radicals, but that almost seems too kind. I've called them fascists, but I don't think that quite captures the scope of their dark vision of a "new world order."

    What they do seem to be are people who truly hate America as it is right now. They mistrust the citizenry and oppose civil rights. They viciously oppose any restriction on their ability to manipulate the system to make more money for themselves and their own. They get almost rabidly vitriolic when they confront the reality of racial, ethnic, sexual and economic diversity in this country. They absolutely despise any and all programs designed to provide any sort of community safety net. They abhor notions of human rights in this world. They suppress any and all efforts and the liberation and empowerment of women, here and abroad. And they fear all the way down to their bones the Enlightenment, Reason and Science, and work with all their passion, energy and strength to destroy them to create a new vision of the world, starting right here in America.

    Is there a label that captures that?

    Who are these people? Why do they want to change America so much? Is America really that awful?

    When I look at America, I see a great nation. The tone was set by George Washington, the man who would not be king, the man who retired after two terms and oversaw the first peaceful transfer of power. The tone was set in the Constitution of the United States of America, which codified a set of principles and rules that have allowed this country to see the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, voting rights, civil rights -- all tumultuous changes in the moral fabric of our society -- without bloody coup or government overthrow.

    I see a country that embraced the freedom of people to speculate on their own futures and take risks, free of the threat of debtor's prison. I see a country that, in facing economic disaster, stood together, pooling resources so that all citizens stood together as a society, secure against the most dire costs risked with uncertainty.

    I see a country that mobilized its entire economy and population to fight a war against nations that did not respect citizens' rights, built up frightening military machines, and dared to dictate to other nations how they should live. I see a nation that, after conquering dozens of nations militarily, proceeded not only to withdraw without claiming any sovereignty, but also gave blood and treasure to help those nations -- including the vanquished enemies -- rebuild from their ravages of war.

    I see a country that, time and again, has faced its dark demons and changed its ways. I see a country that led the world in compassion and generosity, a country that, despite its overwhelming wealth and power, has been admired and respected all around the world.

    I see a country that, when it was attacked viciously by religious fanatics, received the overwhelming sympathy and compassion and support of the entire world. Flowers in plazas and at embassies in all the capitals memorialized those killed in the attacks on America. Nations pledged their support and cooperation to help ensure that such a thing never would happen again.

    And then the darkness came.

    Now I see a group of people, rooted in wealth, entrenched in the corporatocracy, powerful in the government, with great influence on the media, doing everything it can to tear down these things that have made America great.

    • They seem to flip the cart in front of the horse, claiming not that America is great because of the great things it does, but rather they claim that America is great, therefore it can do what it wants.
    • They embrace and employ the use of torture, and consider human rights "quaint" and inconvenient.
    • They quash free speech.
    • They embrace "might makes right" as foreign policy doctrine.
    • They ignore the importance of a strong economy.
    • They treat the citizens of this country as the enemy.
    • They work to tear apart the social programs that provide the modest safety net that exists.
    • They seek to take away women's rights over their own bodies and their own lives.
    • They endeavor to destroy public education.
    • They make a crime not only what someone does, but what someone might do.
    • They do whatever is necessary to disempower minority cultures and communities in matters of elections.
    • ...and not just a few other things, too.

    And if anyone speaks up against these and the many many other outrages they perpetrate on this great nation, that person is shouted down, labeled a traitor, sued, harrassed, silenced, arrested....

    They want to "fix" America, as if all this time it's been a horrible travesty of immoral and impractical developments over the decades and centuries since its founding.

    Why?

    I certainly can see some things that could use some fixing in this country.

    • Let's start with the pollution we're poisoning ourselves with.
    • The mysterious and mostly secret food industry that is getting away with all it can.
    • The paramilitary adventures upon which we've embarked in the name of political and corporate expediency (such as Honduras and Guatemala and other places in Central and South America).
    • The ongoing widespread poverty and institutionalized neglect of the Americans who were here before the Europeans arrived.
    • The richest healthcare system in the world that, nevertheless, cannot provide for 20% of the American population.
    • The homelessness and poverty of children that persists through even the best of economic times.
    • The decline in education and academic performance of our children that is taking us towards the bottom of the industrial world.
    • The systematic destruction of population control programs around the globe.
    • The infant mortality rate that is one of the worst of all industrialized nations.
    • The neglected nuclear waste that will remain fatally radioactive for thousands of years.
    • The inequality and inadequacy of our educational system that deprives millions of Americans a decent education, and deprives America of the fruits of their untapped talents.
    • ...and not just a few other things, too.

    Why ignore all these things, the real problems that real people face, and instead try to tear down the very things we were doing right, the very things that have made this country great?

    Is it all about profit, at the expense of the rest of us? Is it all about power, and doing whatever it takes to hang onto it? Is it about some twisted idealistic vision of the world where faith dictates knowledge and reason is the enemy?

    Am I just too much the peasant, too much the powerless, too much the rational person to appreciate this "new world order"?

    Or do they really think that we won't notice? Do they think we're that stupid? Or is it really that we are that stupid?

    Or has it always been like this, and I'm only noticing because there's nothing very good on TV this year? Is my "sin" simply paying attention?

    I don't think I've ever been so depressed about the current state and future of my country. I don't think I've ever been so afraid for the world.