six of one?

While, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have both giving’s and misgiving’s about both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton… And I’m in no place to vote for either in the primary anyway… I feel like either one of them could be quite good possibilities for President. Sure, in an ideal world, Gravel, Nader, Kucinich or (my favorite) Peter DeFazio would be front runners, as they have ideals far beyond anything realistic for a national politician, and far beyond anything felt by Clinton or Obama… But in terms of realistic candidates, it is shockingly great that the two front runners are beyond the pale of what is expected from a population living under this contrived umbrella of racial and sexual bias that one expects to permeate our national dialogue… But, aside from the vast amount of political experience held by Clinton (which I can handily see how it an be perceived as both a positive and negative aspect), I honestly don’t know how any woman, republicrat, independent or otherwise, could rightfully do anything but vote for Hillary Clinton. Yes, Obama is a man of high ideals and great charisma and could be a breath of fresh air and, quite possibly, help to break down the facade of lies that is the concept of “race”, and yes may drag us even quicker out of that facade of greed that is the Iraq situation… But he is yet another confident and persuasive male politician in a stream of a quarter of a millennium of American presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton winning the presidential election would be (bar none, I think) the greatest event in the cause of equality for women since Sufferage and, in fact, would be the culmination of all of the great struggle that was Sufferage and the work leading up to it. For any woman to not vote for Hillary, regardless of ones personal feelings about her or ones political beliefs, would seem to me to be a denial of the suffering, discrimination and marginalization that has been forced upon women in American history, and of their relegation to the sidelines the history of national and social dialog.

What I also view harshly is that, while Hillary is ahead in the battle for the Democratic Nomination, the media are treating her as if she is behind and is struggling to catch up… It seems to me that to have a woman as the front-runner (by however a small margin) for the white house should be something to be applauded and honored by all women, instead of being treated as if she’s barely holding on. I mean, sure Obama is gaining on her but it is unfair (and sexist) for the media to be writing her off as if she’s a has-been when she is actually in the lead. Plus, she does stand for (at least currently) some very good things. She has been one of the most vocal proponents of health care reform and she does claim that she is for the withdrawal (I think she said “in 60 days” on 60 Minutes) of our Iraq Invasion forces. Neither one of these will ever be done to my satisfaction, but she does publicly support the right ideals.

getting worse with time

I came across, thanks to Slashdot, an article at Technology Review about the state of TV news. Yes, I know that we all know how irrelevant TV news is, but the author of this article formerly worked for Dateline and was around those offices in the immediate post-9/11 times and has some pretty interesting comments. The first page wasn’t too exciting, so I’m linking to page 2 instead, about his encounter with the head of NBC..

At the moment Zucker blew in and interrupted, I had been in Corvo’s office to propose a series of stories about al-Qaeda, which was just emerging as a suspect in the attacks… It had occurred to me and a number of other journalists that a core mission of NBC News would now be to explain, even belatedly, the origins and significance of these organizations. But Zucker insisted that Dateline stay focused on the firefighters. The story of firefighters trapped in the crumbling towers, Zucker said, was the emotional center of this whole event. Corvo enthusiastically agreed. “Maybe,” said Zucker, “we ought to do a series of specials on firehouses where we just ride along with our cameras. Like the show Cops, only with firefighters.” He told Corvo he could make room in the prime-time lineup for firefighters, but then smiled at me and said, in effect, that he had no time for any subtitled interviews with jihadists raging about Palestine.


This was one in a series of lessons I learned about how television news had lost its most basic journalistic instincts in its search for the audience-driven sweet spot, the “emotional center” of the American people. Gone was the mission of using technology to veer out onto the edge of American understanding in order to introduce something fundamentally new into the national debate. The informational edge was perilous, it was unpredictable, and it required the news audience to be willing to learn something it did not already know. Stories from the edge were not typically reassuring about the future. In this sense they were like actual news, unpredictable flashes from the unknown. On the other hand, the coveted emotional center was reliable, it was predictable, and its story lines could be duplicated over and over. It reassured the audience by telling it what it already knew rather than challenging it to learn.

Read it here:
You Don’t Understand our Audience

better dead than red

Okay, I admit I have as many issues with Michael Moore as the next guy. He has an unpleasant personality, he can rely on a mind-numbing slamming of his message home over and over, he uses tactics that are corny and, well, over played and melodramatic. In Sicko, his display in front of Guantanamo Bay was as irrational and silly as when he put the photograph of the murdered girl on Chuckie Heston’s driveway, lame and ill thought-out attempts at making some kind of emotional statement directed at the absurdly incorrect people…. But through all the hogwash and humor, his message is a strong one, a message that has remained the same message through his career. No matter what the subject matter of the movie (or his seeming obsession with Canada or his “anti-Americanism”), when you get down to it, they all have one focus. Which is that in this country, it is acceptable and expected for organizations to pursue profit above all else, with little (if any) concern for anyone else. And, of course, this message doesn’t really mean much unless it is packaged with examples showing that things don’t have to be like this. All of this really comes to the forefront in his newest, Sicko. Like most of his movies, watching how things work here and then how things work in the rest of the DemoCapitalistic first world makes one feel gullible and lame to be an American and to not be either leaving or actually changing things here.

Sicko is the story of how the US medical system has no concern with making anyone better, instead it is all consumed with profit. In fact, the public is stuck between a two-way battle for profits! From the HMO’s side, doing the most billable treatment with the least effort (in cahoots with the pharmaceutical companies who want to sell as many overpriced and unneeded drugs to everyone, even if it kills them and even if they don’t need them) and, from the insurances companies side, finding any excuse to pay for as little treatment as possible, even if it leads to the death of your patients. Unlike Moore and a lot of other people, I don’t really blame the insurance and health companies for this. The American obsession with profit, wealth and power coupled with politicians who are paid by big business to do their billing, and, well, what else would you expect. Our view of business and the strange fear of anything that could be misconstrued as socialism is the reason that this stuff happens. There would need to be an enormous shift in the way that the people in this country think and act before any of this stuff will improve. But watching Moore’s movies and seeing how other countries do things, it is a bit wrenching how everyone and everything is sold out for profits under a big blanket of lies. The most intriguing part of the film was the tape recording of President Nixon when he bascially approved changing the American medical system to an all-profit, minimal treatment system. Great. I would say that it all makes me want to emigrate to another country, but I’ve always wanted to do that anyway. New Zealand anyone?

Yes, regardless of what you might say about his ethics, or the particular examples that he uses of situations that he takes advantage of, he has a well-documented and pretty obvious point that communities and people in this country mean little to the powers that be except for their role as a profit-base to organize their methods around. It was a telling point that the old Member of Parliament made when he said that “keeping people poor makes them hopeless and when people are hopeless, they don’t vote. It the people would vote for someone who actually supported them, it would be an economic revolution”

And then, a fellow at work turned me onto this site (yes, another quiz), where you enter your views on various issues and they show you which presidential candidate you are the most similar to. I ended up with someone that I hadn’t even heard of… Mike Gravel… But after looking into his shtick (sadly, on youtube), I do think he’s a pretty good guy, even if he is a democrat.

How you compare


  • 1 Mike Gravel 93% similarity
  • 2 Dennis Kucinich 90% similarity
  • 3 Christopher Dodd 81% similarity
  • Mike Gravel shares a 93% similarity with your beliefs

    former Senator, (D-AK)

    Mike Gravel was born on May 13, 1930. He is a Democrat from Alaska. He served the state of Alaska as a Senator in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981. He is primarily known for his efforts in ending the draft following the Vietnam War. While a Senator, Gravel spoke the Pentagon Papers into public record.

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    Social Security very similar find out why
    Taxes and Budget very similar find out why
    Abortion and Birth Control very similar find out why
    Iraq and Foreign Policy very similar find out why
    Trade and Economics very similar find out why
    Health Care very similar find out why
    Civil Liberties and Domestic Security very similar find out why
    Environment and Energy very similar find out why
    Education very similar find out why
    Gun Control similar find out why


public safety

I have certainly spent my share of time around “true grue”: newscasts, forensics/crime shows, working in the true crime book section… But I must say that I doubt the advantages of this kind of media. Experiencing things such as: photos of murder victims in books, extensively detailing violent crimes on tv and in books, clearly explaining peoples methods for “breaking, entering, raping and killing”, playing 911 tapes on the air (!), showing gruesome crime scenes… Now not only does it appear in the news and in books everyday, but there are whole tv channels that show it all day long.

I wonder how much of an ulterior motive there is behind this. I don’t just feel like they are being aired/printed just for ratings/sales (though, obviously, that is a big part of it), I can’t help but wonder how much of it is intended to instill more feelings of irrational fear in the general population. Does knowing/seeing this information make people any safer? Or does it actually increase the dangers? I would imagine that while it may not actually inspire much crime, it is certainly bound to inspire more crime than it will prevent. And since I think that a lot of our society (military proliferation, expansion of law enforcement powers, degradation of civil rights, the right to bear arms, homeland security, xenophobia, fear of other religions, consumer desire…) is based on insuring insecurity and fear where there is little or no basis for it, I have to again question the intentions.

I also have to wonder about who is really interested in it and why. Spending three years working in the true crime section, there is a particular portion of the population who are overwhelming the biggest fans of these books. While I’m not going to point out any root cause or reasons for this, it becomes so unquestionably the case that one cannot help but wonder why most of the interest in this subject matter seems to come from white, middle-class, housewives from their mid-20’s through their 50’s. It begins to seem a bit odd. What is the attraction there to seeing other peoples misery?

I used to work with a women who would always have pictures of gruesome accident victims as the desktop on her computer. I asked her once about and she said that it was to remind herself that their were people worse off then herself…

oh, and that creepy bush administration…

While in Maine I saw this creepy TV ad. It seemed to be about teens waiting before sex. Now while this is a fine notion, waiting until they are mature/informed enough to make good decisions regarding: choice of parters, birth control, std’s, etc… This ad ended up following none of those angles. Its angle was only that they should “wait until marriage”.

Well, now that is a bit different. While that theory does follow the “good old American dream” stereotype, in this day and age, when some people have no interest in marriage or children and some people have children and life long committed relationships without marriage and some folks cannot legally get married? It seems a bit dated.

But not just dated… Please let me know if this is incorrect but the only actual reason that I am aware of for people to wait until “marriage” for sex is one of religious belief. A notion of sin? Now while that alone doesn’t make this ad bad, as religious entities are well and free to make advertisements expressing their views… This ad was paid for by the US Government!

To have the government espouse religious views is not only offensive to those of us who follow no religious creeds, but it seems to cross the line of what is generally considered to be the appropriate separation of church and state. As in, it seems to be the federal government suggesting that people should follow the beliefs held by some particular religions. And while we know that the current Government believes this way (mandating religion) as one of their “many signs of illegitimacy”, broadcasting this stuff so blatantly on television ads is certainly gall of a higher degree.

get your words outta my mouth…

Where would we be without the news? CNN is such a great source of both laughs and horror (all too often, both are combined) that I can’t help but dig around there over lunchtime. There were two really outstanding stories today.

One, back comes our old comic book supervillain, Osama. Seems he made a home movie and sent it out, well, of course that’s happened before. What makes this one special is that Bush seems to have become some kind of psychic Osama translator. It says “bin Laden calls the Iraq war “unjust””. This statement Bush cleverly translates to “If al Qaeda bothers to mention Iraq, it is because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out and to develop a safe haven. And the reason they want a safe haven is to launch attacks against America or any other ally.” Or maybe he meant it would be nice if Iraqis could hold wedding parties outside without being bombed? I think that, even if Osama meant the Safe Haven part, I would guess that his statement just means that they want the West the heck out of their region… As we would want them out of the USA if the Iraqi army showed up and took over.

And, of course, those nutty freedom-hating Saudi’s also spread such nutty propaganda as “The transcript also shows bin Laden blaming global warming on large corporations.”. Whoa! They must be crazier then we thought! Strangely, in the CNN article, Osama comes off sounding more intelligent, honest and caring then Bush. But I guess that’s just showing the effectiveness of the Al Qaeda propaganda machine.

The second was even more up my alley. Seems that the profits are slowing down on pet chip implantation, so some folks are now dreaming of implanting them in 40 million American people! The trouble is, in another CNN article, they point out that the darned things might cause tumors! Oh those tumors, soon they’ll supplant Apple Pie as the American Way, since you have to actually go out to get Apple Pie, but you can get the tumors just by chatting on your phone, surfing on the wifiway and having your vitals stored in a blop of silicone in your neck. Who needs to choose between Convenience or Death, when the technology exists to give you both?

And in a picture-perfect American success story, Tommy Thompson, who was the head of the Department that approved the chip for use in people, went on to join the board of the company that makes them. Go Tommy!

My old favorite Einstein quote just keeps flashing back to me, in oh so many contexts… “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Along came a man by the name of Charlie Mops… and he made it out of hops.

Sitting around “in the buckets”, no, not soused or mired or any such excessive state. Just tippin a couple and thinking. We stopped for dinner at The Hedge House and I had a couple of pints o’ stout. Well, more like a pint and a half. I find that if my sweetie isn’t drinking, I never have any interest in my second beer, once it arrives. Tonight it made me feel a bit sour, but it might have been the 90+ degree heat today. But I digress. A long lost like has returned rather suddenly, after being off for no good reason. A while back we purchased a Sheaf Stout. Now this is a fellow I used to drink a fair bit of, especially in my pre-21 phase. Now though, we have purchased a few bottles (it is a good sized bottle for sharing with ones spouse, at least to start the evening) and I wonder why I ever stopped. It has a great flavor and it certainly has a place in the list in the top half dozens beers. Anyway, I just wanted to mention it.

On a more downbeat notion… If you ever want to feel like the Bush Administration isn’t that bad, sit down for White Light, Black Rain, an HBO documentary of interviews with survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is, of course, horrible yet strangely calming. It is hard to separate the political aspect of these deeds from the tragedy aspect (as is is with the other excessively inhumane tragedies of the 2nd World War) but, to an extent, they try. The movie focuses more on the survivors chilling stories of the actual incidents. While the stories and the images are horrifying, and you can’t help but feel for the people who lived through it and continued on with their lives, the most telling part for me was the one old hibakusha who said (and I paraphrase) “I don’t blame the Americans for the bombings, we lost the war… But I blame the government of Japan for not helping us afterwards”. He expresses an unsettling statement of such logical resolve that I still haven’t got my head around… but then the Japanese seem to have an old reputation for their attitude towards defeat.

Fat Man Cloud

70,000 Civilians, now gone. And the rest of us live forever with the knowledge of the possibilities

Whenever I think of this incident (and expand it with thoughts towards other incidents like the potential complicity of Pearl Harbor and the firebombing of Dresden), I can’t help but blame the Governments. I don’t buy the “All’s hell in war” theory. I guess I can handle it for soldiers, after all, killing and dying is part of the package of potentialities that they sign up for, but to kill tens of thousands of civilians in one fell swoop? It’s a bit too much for me to handle. Another problem with these kinds of tragedies is the lack of personal resolution. During events like September 11th (the WTC 9/11), there is always an issue of trying to identifying the remains so people can be moved from missing to dead. But with these firebombings and nuclear annihilation’s and Nazi purges there are tens of thousands who are incinerated. Hundreds of thousands of people end up with family and loved ones that they will never have any kind of a body to associate with (lord knows how many in the case of the Holocaust, I imagine that millions disappeared to never be identified). Though one could easily assume the death of someone missing, there will never be the closure that comes with the certainty of an identifiable corpse. Yes, sure, war is hell and war is glory and war is whatever else it is. But hopefully one day the “hell and glory” will be left to the warriors and the rest of us can live in peace.

i’m not an idiot, i just play one on tv…

So on our way back from Monday’s hike, I saw a bumper sticker that read “Condi 2008”. Hmm…

I must say that, regardless of whether you believe that the current administration is: Just like all of the others, stupid and greedy, naughty and greedy, just plain stupid, just plain naughty or just plain greedy (personally, I vote for a combination of naughty and greedy), I feel like we are all sick of their shenanigan’s. Thinking that regardless of which republicrat we get saddled with in 2008, I think we’re all ready for a change, which makes that sticker seem sickening. Yes, to appeal to the liberals, Condi is maybe the best educated and smartest person in the white house, and a woman, and black… And to appeal to the Conservatives, she is a Fascist, lying, greedy, warmonger… But, man, I’m done. After 2008, I never want to see any of those jerkies in the news again. They should just disappear. And speaking of disappearing, I watched my first “real Vermont” movie

It was Disappearances. It was made by eminent Vermonter Jay Craven, from the novel by eminent Vermonter Howard Frank Mosher and filmed in the Kingdom of Vermont.

It does star Kris Kristofferson, who I can generally do without, though I am seeing more and more of him lately and liking (alright) what I see. But I had to watch it as it was filmed not only in the Northeast Kingdom, but a fair bit in St Johnsbury, where we will, one of these days, dwell. It is a Prohibition period piece about a loser who has led his farm to failure so he embarks on a questionable liquor smuggling attempt to gain enough money to buy some hay for his stock. Of course, I couldn’t help but think that it would have been less illegal and easier to just steal some hay… But that would be too simple for crazy ol’ Quebec Bill! Instead he heads off in a canoe to Quebec and brings his son and brother-in-law along. The story seems a bit befuddled and confusing, but considering Kristofferson’s character of Quebec Bill, that seemed to fit pretty well… He is a big mess. Though the key character of his son I didn’t find convincingly cast, the movie does have some interesting casting: Gary Farmer dominates the movie as his brother-in-law, William Sanderson (Larry!) is entertaining as the other man brought along on the trip. Geneviève Bujold and Luis Guzmán, in a cameo sized role, are also good. The one that really adds an odd element is Lothaire Bluteau as the semi-mythical Carcajou. Coming across as a phantom soldier from the civil war with a wig and a fake beard and having the resilience of Michael Myers, his character adds a surreal element (and also seems a bit corny, but with the way he’s played, the sense of corniness doesn’t really stick with you). Anyway, so they canoe to Canada, fight for some whiskey and just about everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. But it is a fine and odd little movie, the music is great, the scenery is beautiful and it’s fun to see St Johnsbury.



Now for something more moralistic, though not your standard morality play. Ever want to feel like civil rights are a bad thing? Don Siegal’s Dirty Harry focuses on the valiant vigilante (albeit a police officer), battling against the laws that seem set up to protect the criminal, rather than the innocent. When a ruthless serial killer, Scorpio, starts shooting people and leaving clues as to his next targets, the rather effective Inspector Harry Callahan is on the case. Scorpio proves to be not-so-elusive, but Harry’s quest to take him down is limited by the Mayor and the DA’s fixation on not violating Scorpio’s rights. Something which Harry couldn’t give a rat’s a%$ about.

Easily one of the great classic action films, though modern action crowds might not be able to appreciate it much… As I like to put it, back when making a movie was getting a crew, a script and some actors and you’d go outside and shoot… In this modern era of CGI, fancy budgets, overdone special effects, pop dialogue, ridiculous explosions and all that, I have a hard time believing that most youngsters could appreciate the old craft of film making. But I love these things. When it was about the making of the film, not what tricks you can do to it in post-production.

But I digress, Back in the day, San Francisco was the land of Crime and Police. Streets of San Francisco, Ironside, Foul Play, Dirty Harry… Where has it all gone? Well, in this crazy tour guide to the Bay Area, Harry romps around San Francisco, peeking in windows, getting beat up, continually offering to turn in his “star”, shooting his .44 Magnum and uttering his little catch phrases. All the while saving the day and trying to get rid of this creepy freak. The scene where he interrupts a bank robbery in progress is, most likely, the best Cops versus Robbers scene ever put to film.

Dirty Harry

The Man

Harry and Gun

The Magic

And through all of this, the family is away. Generally I feel a bit bored and lost and dysfunctional. Which makes me feel like not even going into work tomorrow. Well, what? If that is how I am feeling at home, wouldn’t work be the best idea? Why on earth would I stay home? But then, that is how I feel… Counterproductive and dull, since all I’m doing is drinking beer and listening to Her Space Holiday’s The Past Presents the Future over and over (and over… Though I just bought Home is Where you Hang Yourself, but I haven’t got into it yet)…

But, of course, I did manage to take in two good hikes, which you can read about here at: Coyote and the Wildcat! sorry, no deluge of pictures this time, as I sent the camera back east with the family.

working for the future

Now I have seen my share of political documentaries and I like them. They all tend to have some point that is worth thinking about and some information that is helpful in knowing about how this nation functions. But now I think I have seen what might be the most “important” of them yet. Yes, I used that high-hat phrase. While most of them tend to cover an important topic that is really rather timely, this film covers a topic whose importance goes way back in American history and will continue way forward. An issue that affects everything that happens here and elsewhere… generally in a bad way. The films focus is on a man who is continually and unfairly (though that word doesn’t quite say enough) maligned and a subject that is at the core of our nation and our problems… but which, (as is common with issues this important) any criticism of is either ignored or met with ridicule.

The movie is An Unreasonable Man, the man is Ralph Nader and the subject is (really) the two-party system. One of the key moments in the film covers the 2000 Presidential Debates in which the organization that runs these (the Commission on Presidential Debates, actually founded by the Republican and Democratic parties!) refused to let any third party candidates participate in the debates (based on some polling criteria that would surely lock them out). In fact, it not only forbid them from debating, but the state police were given pictures of all of the third party candidates and told to arrest them if they came on the premises! So this is our “democracy”? Two big, entrenched parties surrounded with cameras and police and any other smaller party is excluded and threatened with arrest if they try to enter the dialog? Well, I think that really sucks. And so does Nader. It sounds like some fascist story where, if it happened in another country, the USA would intervene to ensure a fair election. So while this is a movie about Nader, it really comes down to a movie about the rigid corporate controlled nature of our political system. Regardless of what you think of Nader and regardless of what you think of those two parties, you should at least think about this juggernaut we’ve unleashed on ourselves. You should at least watch this movie.

I know that most people are stuck in so much Bush hatred that it has colored everything they know and feel about Ralph Nader, but who was in power for the first half of the Vietnam War, for seriously damaging America with Nafta and for blatantly ignoring the Genocide in Rwanda (because it didn’t meet the agreed upon definition of the word “Genocide”). Well, the Democrats. I do agree that we, and the whole world, would be much better off if the people who actually won the last two elections would have been allowed to take office, but I’ve got to back up Nader in that all of this is just going to keep getting worse until there is some threat to those two parties. With everyone buying into their stories, who is going to accomplish that. As they say, if you always vote for the lesser of two evils, they can both keep getting eviler. And for all we know, there might be 800,000 fewer corpses in Rwanda if GHWB would have won re-election.

All that accusation about how Nader cost the Democrats the White house? How about: blatant and obvious fraud from the Republican party, terrible and shallow campaigns by the Democrat’s, how about 11% of democrats voted for Bush when only 6% of republicans voted for Kerry, general voter disinterest and a distrust that leads millions and millions away from the polls and, most scandalous to me, the Democrats (even when they were still in the white house!) rolling over and letting the Bush campaign get away with obvious and heavily documented cheating. How can you, in a close vote, let a candidates campaign co-chair and the brother of the same candidate control the election? And let them illegally cancel recounts as their guy was losing ground? The only reason I can think of that Clinton-Gore didn’t really solve the issue was because the Democrats didn’t want to upset the system too much. Both parties have everything to lose if a equal ground for political parties opens up. It’s just another lie from the big parties in a successful attempt to scare people away from their real political freedom, from their freedom to vote their conscience instead of their fears. And honestly, speaking from the experience of living in an area that once gave around 15% of its vote to Nader, I feel safe in saying that most people who voted for Nader wouldn’t have voted for either of the “big two” candidates, so he didn’t steal votes from anyone, he just got more people to vote. Maybe people that the big two don’t want voting? If the Democrats could have got more Democrats to not vote Republican, they would have easily won. Who’s fault is that?

The only way these two rogue parties will ever be held accountable is if they feel threatened. There is so much money and power in doing things the way that they are done now, who would give it up otherwise? Any actually decent candidate from one of those parties (Howard Dean, anyone) would pose such a threat to the status quo that even their own party would shut them down. The good of power is money (and more power) and if it’s not good for that goose, the national committees would never back it up.

Yes, Bush is easily the worst president ever (well, at least worse to the “American way”, to freedom, to justice and to the rest of the world, well, and to Americans in general). And yes, those two spineless democrats would have been much better for everyone (honestly though, after seeing Going Upriver I gained some appreciation for Kerry… but Gore has always had a creepy, “I’ll say whatever you want to hear and kiss your baby” crooked small town politician feel to him). But enough of the short run. Enough of now and of the next ten years. Look at how much havoc this system has wreaked on the world and it should stop. Other voices need to be allowed in the national political debate (thank god for local politics!).

Any respect I may have had for Eric Alterman and Todd Gitlin goes out the window in this film as their ire towards someone who is working towards the goal of: expanding our political arena, our political choices, the strength of our democracy, the dialogs that politicians take on and ending the corruption in the system, blinds them to any criticism of the Democrats or the system. But it was great to see two of my favorite figures! I was obsessed with Phil Donahue, back in the day, when he seemed to be easily the smartest man on tv. And Nader? I was born into a Nader friendly household right as his fame was blooming and he (and his vast body of pro-people, pro-society, anti-corruption deeds) have always seemed a great icon of truth and a glowing example of the good that could be done here, if only people cared and tried. I have never been a supportee of either big party (though, of course, my voting record is highly democratic) and I feel that those parties should start to rely on their own strengths instead of subverting the parties that are looking for something different. I think that a lot of people would like to see the end of the corruption and the rise of a political election system where you don’t have to join up with one of two clubs and get powerful and wealthy organizations to back you (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars) just to get your word out and compete equally. Moving past the Republicrats is the only way that is going to happen.

Anyway, what ever you think of all this, people owe it to themselves and others to see this movie and think it over. And, while you’re at it, rent The Candidate.


What really is the problem with working in a bookstore? It is that you have to see all of the books. And hear about the books that people are looking for. What they really remind you of is that people do really believe what they want to believe, regardless of how blatantly false it may be. I believe (ha!) that in their hearts of hearts people know that a lot of this BS they subscribe to (Foxnews anyone?) is really BS, but they like the way it sounds, so off they go waving whatever flag they have.

Case in point, today I was shown this book “America’s Victories: Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror” (tellingly credited to the author of “A Patriot’s History of the United States”, that sure sounds objective). I don’t think that anyone ever believed that Saddam Hussein was any kind of threat, I don’t think people believe that Iran is a threat, or Cuba. And I strongly doubt that 20% of Americans really believe that the apocalypse will come in their lifetime (or ever…). I think that people like to be a part of something potent and especially they like to be part of “the most powerful country on earth” and they like for that country to flex its muscle (reasonably or not) because it makes them feel better about themselves and personally more powerful. I think it’s beyond sad, because it’s harmful to others. Just like rape and murder, this violent military and economic power over others to make yourself feel better is just plain wrong and I bet that everyone knows it, no matter how many flags and ribbon magnets they put on their cars.

People are all the same, now as they were 1000, 2000 years ago, the only difference is what they’re told and what they experience when they grow up. What is the difference between a liberal Christian, a medieval Catholic Inquisitor, a Tibetan monk, a Celtic warrior or an Islamic jihadist? When they were born and what they were told. Though of course some people bother looking enough to go their own way, most don’t. They live life however they are told it is to be lived, and I cannot help but believe that people must realize how subjective all of society’s beliefs are. So, while I don’t have a problem with people being conservative, progressive, religious, psychics, or patriots all I ask is that they admit that it is just their culture and stop acting like it’s some universal truth that everyone needs to follow. We are all just cavemen who have time traveled, but at such a young age that we don’t know the difference, regardless of what era we happened to be born in.

Nationalism is about the strangest… Doesn’t it seem funny how every nation has nationalists and they all say the same thing about how superior their respective countries are? And how dangerous and barbaric their neighbors are? Shaw may have said that “In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.” But it’s not just the other animals that are blindly victimized, it can be any human that one doesn’t consider to be part of one’s own little “us”.

But then, I’ve always said that no one really likes hot weather, they’ve just always had it implied to them that they should like it so they don’t even think about how unpleasant it is. And maybe that’s just me.

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