American Liberalism Project Archives September 2004 to June 2006

Thursday, June 30, 2005


The world is full of zealots and fools. One of the most prominent of these is the three-tassle-hatted, black and white harlequin Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. He is beyond any doubt one of the most self-righteous, pompous, and misguided people of the Commonwealth working in Washington, D.C.

In a publication called Catholic Online Mr. Santorum professes the opinion that the pederasty committed by members of the Catholic clergy of Boston was due the cultural liberalism plaguing our Catholic seminaries and public universities. All the more so, he says, for Boston the capital of cultural liberalism in America! Perhaps he does not know about conservative Dallas, Orange County, Santa Rosa, Denver, Springfield, IL, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, or Philadelphia. Perhaps Mr. Santorum cannot see at all! Perhaps he does not understand the corruption within for what it really is—corruption within!

You have to read this piece of poppycock to believe anyone could have written it, much less a United States Senator.

Santorum represents a state of mind shared by many people out there who, in their fear of the perpetually unknown future, in their fear of changes in family life, changes in the economy, changes in technology, changes in communications, changes in the mix of the American population, give up and strike back against all of these with a rigid dogmatism that vilifies liberalism, particularly cultural liberalism, as a sickness of the mind and spirit. It is their sickness, not ours.

Yes, the culture in which Santorum and we grew up has changed. He sees change as disease, and that is just a too-easy metaphor for the obvious incapacity of his childlike beliefs and illusions to stand up to modern facts of life. Santorum and his friends are infected with a fear of reality that binds them and blinds them to everything but the throbbing of their own pitiful egos, to their overwhelming fear of life.

Yes, the old culture is all but gone and with it the justifications for slavery, race prejudice, economic subjugation, misogyny, pollution, depredation of the natural world, and much more. Santorum and his followers would have it all back just to assure themselves of an unchanging verity and truth about life. There have been these fools throughout history, and not one of them has found real peace in this rank and despotic dogmatism.

Nothing stays the same, not even in the Dark Ages when the Catholic Church was consolidating its economic and political hold on Europe. You can call the fluidity of time "relativism" but it is nothing more than history NOT repeating itself. You can say that material progress creates "moral relativism, and situational ethics," but it does not explain why slavery and racism and misogyny are now abhorred, but were accepted when your "golden age" of doctrinal purity supposedly existed.

The truth is, Santorum, that your brand of metaphysics is based on rigid dogmatism grounded in absolutism; it hopes for truths that do not exist in the real world. You are welcome to drink deeply from this fountain of acrid dust, but you will not find an end to your thirst there. You will always find an opinion divergent from your own and you will always seek to destroy it. Dogma is the opposite of rationality. Dogma is the enemy of democracy and freedom.

The Liberal call to Catholic laity is this: yes, by all means express yourselves and your anguish at the corruption within the clergy. Read history and know that corruption arises when those in positions of power put their own beliefs and egos before the ethics and culture of their fellow man. This is the real moral relativism, the disease of hubris, which infects all who believe themselves purer and more righteous.

Mr. Santorum, the liberals of America do not despise you. We pity your narrow-gauge intellect and your moral ineptitude. And, yes, we are disgusted with your self-righteous mendacity, your ethical lapses, your money-grubbing pandering. Liberals across the country are going to do everything we can to see you out of Washington for good!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush MIS-speaks...yet again

News that the President will be appearing on TV sends me scurrying to the TV Guide to find any alternative. Am I like the Ostrich with my head in the sand? You might ask me how I can be informed if I do not take the time to listen to what our fearless (should that be feckless?) leader has to say. Well, I am simply not interested. I have made it a life policy to not tell lies nor listen tothose who do, and so far the President is batting 1000 in the lying department.

For over four and a half years now we have been treated to the daily fear spin from the Capital. It reminds me of the old saying, attributed to our Native American brothers, "white man speak with forked tongue." This man Bush, and his gang of four (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice & Rove) are, in my opinion, consummate liars. Like changing boats in mid stream, do we now expect him to come clean and start taking responsibility for this administrations screw ups?

It is painfully clear that this is a man who does NOT take responsibility for his own actions, and never will. The really sad part of all of this is that there are so many of my fellow countrymen who believe that he is doing a bang up job and should be supported, and thousands who have given their lives, all because of a lie.

As I wrote in an earlier blog, there was not a one among us whose chest did not swell with all our American pride when Bush and his bullhorn assured us that we would not take the WTC attacks lying down. That we would beard the lion in his den and we WOULD win! Too bad that, at the time, we did not realize that, standing amidst the rubble of those two mammoth buildings, Bush had the greatest photo op of his career. Luckily there were many among us who shortly came to realize this, but by then it was way too late. We had started down the Shock & Awe trail.

Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20, and it seems that we are now afflicted with hindsight disease. To realize that you have been duped, and to not have realized it at the time, is pretty unsettling. The question always niggles in our minds, WHY did we not see this? Patriotism my friend, Patriotism! And, to listen to some among us, we have a corner on that market! We even expected other countries to be Patriotic with us! And, initially, some were very willing to take on that mantel. The Paris paper declared, on September 12, "We are all Americans". Then our President spit in their eye.

So now, I am left to wonder where ARE all those people? 56% of us (and growing) who feel he has led us down the garden path. Why are they not in the streets and protesting loudly as did those who opposed the Vietnam War? Where is the anger that once brought down a President and finally led to the end of that war? Are we so intimidated by the threat of this administration's statement that you are "either with us or against us" ? Afraid that Gitmo may be a part of their future?

Well I know you are out there. A quick glance at the polls this morning showed me that Bush's speech last night did not make a heck of a big impression on anyone. Indulge me for a moment with this quick sampling:

How would you rate Bush's speech?

Poor 52%
Excellent 27%
Fair 11%
Good 10%

How concerned are you about the situation in Iraq?
Very 74%
Somewhat 18%
Not at all 7%
Total Votes: 267,079

And in follow up questions...

Are you satisfied with the progress in Iraq?
No 77%
Yes 23%
Total Votes: 127,043

Will the U.S. ultimately defeat the insurgents?
No 65%
Yes 35%
Total Votes: 126,614

Is the war in Iraq worth the human cost?
No 74%
Yes 26%
Total Votes: 127,540

I know, polls are polls, and there is a margin of error, but surely not a large enough margin to skew these numbers that far afield.

I had the opportunity to speak with a young man who is in our military and may or may not be deployed to Iraq. He says he could get a phone call at any time. He is not hesitant to go, even though he feels that we should not be in Iraq. Afghanistan he feels was warranted, but not this war in this place. There is no love lost for his Commander in Chief. So, I asked, why are you willing to put your life on the line? "It is worth it for us to live free", was his response. Not the Iraqi people, mind you, but US.

I am sorry, but as far as I can see, the killing and maiming of our soldiers and the Iraqi civilian population means not one iota of difference to the freedom of the United States. There is no Third Reich army marching across all of Europe. There is no Tojo. There is no "Red Menace". There were no WMD's...except in the hands of the Israelis, who, by the way, are armed to the teeth. John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable are NOT the guys in charge on the battlefield, although it would appear that this administration expects that we will have a Hollywood ending to this.

I will leave you today with this. Take the time to go back and look at all the statements that this administration has made on the case for going to war in Iraq. All those things which Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld and yes, even Colin Powell, had to say about mushroom clouds and the "45 minute" threat. Then go and read the Downing Street Memo. If you feel it will take too much time to track down all the misstatements which have flown forth from Washington, D.C. in the last four and a half years, then take just a minute to view this.
Then you have my permission to be ill.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

End Of June TOP Five

Here are the "TOP Five" news/opinion stories from the past week. Obviously, there was much more going on that even around twenty stories can convey. David will return to his blog in mid-July.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Conspiracy of Silence and More

We have been warning our readers about the mainstream press since the inception of this website. We have asserted that "corporatism," a willingness to distort or ignore news that ill-fits the politics of the controlling members of the corporation, has infected all but a tiny handful of the national-level newspapers. "Corporatism" is a shameful flouting of journalist ethics, but publishers are not journalists, they are business men and women with capitalist motivations ... and party political motivations. In this sense they are guilty of a conspiracy to misinform the American public.

We have used the mainstream and not-so-mainstream press to make points about the events that form the political and social fabric of our times. Sometimes we have not sufficiently pointed at the glaring and not-so-glaring biases that we see in the articles. Our apologies to you; we thought most of them were either obviously expressive of liberal points of view—which after all is what this website is all about—or they expressed radical, conservative, Bushite points of view that were glaring and, if things were not so desperate, almost humorously absurd.

Last week Mr. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, an otherwise reasonable reporter and writer on politics inside the beltway in Washington wrote a hatchet-job piece on Representative John Conyers's unofficial meeting in the basement of the Capitol Building about the so-called Downing Street Memorandum and other documents. Milbank used derisive language to describe the unofficial meeting and basically accused them of engaging in a fantasy. Milbank's response to the criticism of his journalism (whether it was reporting or punditry we do not know ... we only know it appeared in the "news" section of the paper not on the "opinion" pages) was to raise the flag of anti-Semitism (see FAIR article, below).

The attack on Conyers and the Democrats by an employee of the Washington Post is an amazing and noteworthy event. Conyers and those others who are concerned about the Downing Stree Memo had no other place to meet in the Capitol Building but an unused room in the basement owing to the peckerwood attitude of the Majority Leader Tom DeLay. It is not up to Milbank or the Post to decide when and where and on what subjects delegations and caucuses of concerned elected representatives meet. It marks the end of our hope and trust that the Post had not been seriously corrupted by "corporatism" and Republican browbeating and conservative capitalist, profits-above-all politics. For myself this trust goes back to 1954 when I was a newsboy for the Washington Post. It's a sad day for a legendary newpaper!

Here are some other views on this subject:

I reminded a friend that the Watergate Hearings and the ultimate resignation of President Nixon did not strike like a bolt out of the blue. It took a lot of time to develop and it took a lot of professional courage on the part of Woodward and Bernstein and their publishers at The Washington Post to keep it going. It may be that unseating George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld will take even more courage and persistence.

It is true that the Downing Street Memorandum provides ONLY new authenticity to facts we have all long since assumed from indirect references and inference about the yet-to-be found Weapons of Mass Destruction, the assertion of which, by the way, was the primary reason the Congress voted to let George conduct his war on Saddam Hussein and his people. Well, NEW AUTHENTICITY is worth its weight in gold in court ... in an impeachment!

In addition, morever, the Downing Street Memo uses the expression "... intelligence and facts were being fixed (emphasis added) around the policy (to invade Iraq)." Some have said this is obscure and perhaps an idiosyncratic statement meant to assert that "fixed" means nothing more than "attached" (as a tail is fixed to a donkey), but these ideas ring false. "Fixed" means "repaired" or making something like you want it to be. Clearly the case for war was incomplete and the trail of evidence supporting war was "broken"; there were not sufficient facts available from truthful sources to justify any action whatsoever, much less a massive invasion costing upwards of 50,000 lives so far.

Clearly, the Bushites made up the needed intelligence and facts from whole cloth, that is, they deliberately LIED to the people and to Congress to provoke a deadly war, which they have mismanaged and because of mismanagement are sure to lose.

The Downing Street Memo is not the only piece of evidence, but it is the first necessary piece of evidence that clearly justifies the beginning of impeachment proceedings in the House and taking George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld to trial in the Senate.

An event of this magnitude—an impeachment—takes tremendous courage and will. Make no mistake about this. Impeachments are trouble. Things will be revealed that embarrass all sorts of people in and out of government. People in both parties must feel the full pressure of truth on falsehood. People in the press must feel the pressure of professional ethics pushing harder against and defeating the browbeating and corporatism. Citizens must understand and keep the pressure on their elected representatives. It all takes action and courage from all of us.

In the long run the Milbank article may be revealed as a clever distraction meant to help the impeachment generate enough momentum to overcome the inertias of fear and conformity, ... or more likely it will be the beginning of the end of Milbank's credibility as a reporter, effectively the end of his career. Too bad. George Bush and his radical politics are not worth it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stop The Insanity!

Was I surprised when medical marijuana would not pass the "legal drug" test? No. Why would something which is but a drop in the drug money bucket, be allowed by a government who can help the Pharmaceutical companies rake in BILLIONS of dollars? If they can get you hooked on one of their drugs in your teenage years then we have a never ending supply for you and a never ending source of income for all the Big Pharma CEO's, kickbacks to Dr.'s and raises to those Pharmaceutical Reps who peddle them.

Now, to listen to our government, who is well known for its truthfulness, we have a major epidemic on our hands which must be addressed. The epidemic is teen suicide. In actual fact there is no epidemic, and if anything, the use of psychotropic drugs in the treatment of "teen mental disorders" has been shown, time and time again, to heighten the suicidality in that age group. But, riding to the rescue of this vulnerable group of our population, the ones most easily manipulated, is a thing called "Teen Screen". Under the artful guise of a respected institution, Columbia Univeristy, from hence the program arose, it is being sold to school districts all across this country and is already being administered in at least 21 states.

I am sure that when my children were teenagers, I would have sold my soul to the devil if I thought it would make those years travel by faster or be less annoying. However, as a realistic adult, and one who had paid my own dues in the purgatory known as the teenagehood, I understood what was going on. The mood swings, the unhappiness with their looks, figure, friends, school, home, the list seemed endless. And the most popular line..."anywhere would be better than here!" These last words usually spoken when they had been denied the use of the car or attendance at a party where "everyone ELSE will be". Luckily, for me I guess, I stood my ground and once they hit 20 they became human again. I suppose the term mentally unstable could easily be applied to this period of our lives. I prefer to call it our searching for independence, growing and learning period.

And, I would suspect that the vast majority of parents in this country meet the challenges their teens present with the same acknowledgement. That the teen years are a season of growth, not always pleasant, but bound, usually, to result in well adjusted adulthood. I, personally, know five that have turned out very well, although there was a time, that, had you asked me, I would have sworn they were an alien life form.

But, not all parents are cut from the same cloth. Stresses, anxieties, selfishness cloud their own lives and put them beyond the limits of being able to deal with children who are "giving them a tough time." Time and again when I have talked with some these young people, I have come away with the same picture and it ain't pretty. Parents who are, it seems, incapable of dealing with their own lives, can not possibly be up to the challenges of helping a teenager through this difficult period. So all consumed with themselves, that they hardly know their children are on the same planet, have become unwitting pawns in the chess game that Big Pharma is playing with their childrens lives.

A visit to the Pediatrician's office these days is like a trip to the candy store. But, rather than an all day sucker which will appease little Mary or Johnny for a few hours, we have an all your life program, brought to you courtesy of the Pharmaceutical companies and your government, the two biggest drug dealers in existence. Why legalize pot when you can make billions from the sale of psychotropic drugs like Xanax, Zoloff, Adderall (for ADD/ADHD) Valium, Paxil and a host of others? Most of these are iffy even when prescribed to adults, but seemingly no hesitation is shown when prescribing them for the teenager.

This is not meant to be a condemnation on all parents who are having a tough time with their teenagers, however, if one looks back at the circumstances surrounding those children who have shot up their schools, or otherwise done things beyond just acting out, we see parents who basically have left their children to their own devices. Sociologists will tell you that we have a generation of children who have raised themselves, either in one parent homes or in dual income homes. The solidarity of the parents, after the fact, leads us to say things such as , "how could the child have done that with two such loving parents?" "Or the child must have been mentally unbalanced to have done that to his parents." One has to wonder what role the parents actually did play in their child's life. I would bet that not only did those children feel alienated by their peer group but by their parents as well.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, we have an "instant fix" in the form of "Teen Screen". A more insidious program I have never seen. There are no right or wrong answers to the questions. It puts kids under great pressure to try and give the correct answers on this self administered test. Recently it was given to a 15 year old girl in Indiana, whose parents are now suing the school district because the parents were not asked for their consent and then were faced with a diagnosis of their daughter for not one but two mental disorders. But then this is what Teen Screen does. It plants the seed of doubt in a child's mind. The doubt that everyday normal feelings are somehow skewed in their brains and they are in need of help, primarily through the aid of a psychotropic drug.

So are you dying now to know what sorts of questions are asked on this screening test? I will leave you with a sampling, but I must warn you.

In the last year, has there been a time:

(1) When nothing was fun for you and you just weren't interested in anything?
(2) When you couldn't think as clearly or as fast as usual?
(3) When you had less energy than you usually do?
(4) When you felt you couldn't do anything well or that you weren't as good-looking or as smart as other people?
(5) Have you often felt nervous or uncomfortable when you have been with a group of children or young people - say, like in the lunchroom at school or at a party?
(6) Have you often felt very nervous when you've had to do things in front of people?
(7) Have you often worried a lot before you were going to play a sport or game or do some other activity?

After taking the test, you may want to get yourself immediately to the nearest mental health facility, because based on these questions we are ALL in big trouble!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"TOP Five" News and Opinion Stories of the Week

Here are the "TOP Five" news/opinion stories from the past week. Obviously, there was much more going on that even around twenty stories can convey. David will return to his blog in mid-July.

  • Tomgram: Mark Danner on Smoking Signposts to Nowhere
  • They Died So Republicans Could Take the Senate" by Thom Hartmann in
  • The national campaign to impeach George W. Bush by Professor Francis A. Boyle in On-Line Journal.
  • The Best of Tomdispatch: Arlie Hochschild.
  • As Toyota Goes ... by Thomas L. Friedman in the NYT.
  • Downing Street and Beyond: Hearing Builds Momentum for Full Investigation in Democracy Now!
  • FBI & 9/11 by Sibel Edmonds in
  • Reclaiming Our Democracy, Our Country, and Our Soul. Keeping the Downing Street Drums Beating. by Anthony Wade in
  • What Exactly Is Judicial Activism? The Charges Made Against the President's Judicial Nominees by John W. Dean in Findlaw's.
  • Never Steal a Turkey in Lubbock, and Other Tales of Texas Justice by Molly Ivins in the LAT.
  • Purgatory without end in the Economist.
  • Halliburton given $30m to expand Guantanamo Bay by Rupert Cornwell in the UK Independent.
  • Nixon's madman strategy by James Carroll in the BG.
  • Bush's Support on Major Issues Tumbles in Poll by Robin Toner and Marjorie Connelly in the NYT.
  • Lobbying From Within, a NYT editorial.
  • U.S. Pressure Weakens G-8 Climate Plan by Juliet Eilperin in the WP.
  • Bishops Likely to Renew Abuse Policy by Larry Stammer in the LAT.
  • Part 1: Documents Suggest Merck Tried to Censor Vioxx Critics by Snigdha Prakash in NPR.
  • Gov. Bush Seeks Another Inquiry in Schiavo Case by Amy Goodnough in the NYT.
  • Politics and Terri Schiavo a NYT editorial.
  • Hit by friendly fire by Kevin Whitelaw in USNWP.

    Lest anyone is wondering, we think that the impeachment of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld stories are far and away the most important, but we are not sanguine about the chances, so the other stories are important too. Perhaps the biggest story is the out-and-out flagrant violation of their own professional ethics by the mainstream press for failure to report the Downing Street Memos/Minutes for what they obviously are: THE SMOKING GUN!

  • Thursday, June 16, 2005

    The Future

    Back when I was a teenager, way back in the 1950's, things were a lot different from what they are today. Television was new and its effect on politics was just beginning to be felt and more slowly understood. Roads were turning into highways and highways into turnpikes and freeways. Disneyland was brand new and popular music could still be sung by the likes of Snooky Lanson on the Lucky Strike Hit Parade on Friday evenings. It was a time of rapid consolidation of the industrial and agricultural might that emerged across America during the Second World War. It was a time preceding we knew not what, but we knew it was not the way things would be forever. In fact we were in love with the future, as strikingly we are not these days.

    Holden Caulfield was abroad in the land and, despite the fact of the geographical and sociological precision of that portrait of the governing class and its children, there were others—faceless others swarming into state colleges and universities from Pennsylvania to California, Michigan to Texas. The Iron Curtail fallen across the waist of Europe was opaque and beyond it—east—lay a forbidding land of totalitarian madness and godless Communism, that arch-fiendish ideology against which we were pitted man, woman, and child. There was, in other words, despite the obvious differences in social and economic and political classes in America, the semblance of a common purpose. And, there was a nuclear darkness of dread which permeated our lives.

    The dread of the impossibly great evil represented by the USSR dissipated ten years later as the Vietnam War revealed the truth about ourselves in the words of Walt Kelly's cartoon possum, Pogo, who famously said one day: "We have met the enemy and he is us." We slowly learned what Dwight Eisenhower meant in 1960 when he warned us of the military-industrial complex. We learned that Rebecca Solnit is perfectly correct in saying that American history is dialectic in nature, that out of glory emerges disaster and from the depths of tragedy we frequently discern the roots of freedom and liberty.

    Tom Engelhardt writes the news and opinion website TomDispatch, which we quoted and linked to frequently over the past year. At the beginning of summer Tom is reviewing the great posts of TomDispatch and this week was featuring a piece by Rebecca Solnit, entitled "Acts of Hope," published also by Orion Online. Here is the illustrated Orion version. It is a great piece of writing and thinking and perfectly appropriate for these days as we await the arrival of courage in our elective representatives, the courage to impeach a desperately misguided, radical, and ruthless President, his Vice President, and his Secretary of Defense.

    If you have not by now read the Solnit piece, you should. Well into the essay she writes:

    Nearly everyone felt, after September 11, 2001, along with grief and fear, a huge upwelling of idealism, of openness, of a readiness to question and to learn, a sense of being connected and a desire to live our lives for something more, even if it wasn't familiar, safe, or easy. Nothing could have been more threatening to the current administration, and they have done everything they can to repress it.

    But that desire is still out there. It's the force behind a huge new movement we don't even have a name for yet, a movement that's not a left opposed to a right, but perhaps a below against above, little against big, local and decentralized against consolidated. If we could throw out the old definitions, we could recognize where the new alliances lie; and those alliances -- of small farmers, of factory workers, of environmentalists, of the poor, of the indigenous, of the just, of the farseeing -- could be extraordinarily powerful against the forces of corporate profit and institutional violence. Left and right are terms for where the radicals and conservatives sat in the French National Assembly after the French Revolution. We're not in that world anymore, let alone that seating arrangement. We're in one that for all its ruins and poisons and legacies is utterly new. Anti-globalization activists say, "Another world is possible." It is not only possible, it is inevitable; and we need to participate in shaping it.

    Solnit has produced the best expression of hope I have read in ages. It is, moreover, among the reasons we developed this website and are constantly searching for ways to give you our readers the courage of your own good convictions ... and to be wary of your own prejudices and outrage. American Liberalism rests upon five interacting principles which are good for any day. They are not a program, they are a foundation for what we see as humane behavior dedicated to shining forward and illuminating the future.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005


    Hitler said "What good fortune for those in power that the people do not think".

    It seems to me that we have been following in the footsteps of the Third Reich for the past five years. I can still hear Karl Rove echoing those words of Hitler's today. And I have to ask: where have we as a nation gotten too?

    There is a sense of national identity which we all feel. The stirring in one's soul when the Star Bangled Banner is played. The feeling of togetherness in times of tragedy, and even more so after September 11th. Our feeling that we are the freest nation on earth, that we are proud to be Americans, and how lucky that we were born here.

    But, are we really all those things today? Yes, we still feel the national pride but so did the Germans of WWII. How blindly they followed their charismatic leader when he promised them a new Germany, a super power and how willingly they believed all that was told to them by their manipulated press. But who knew? There was no Downing Street Memo to expose Hitler and his henchmen. That is one difference, but even that seems to have no impact on a great number of our countrymen.

    For us the threat is terrorists, but in 1930's Germany there were the Jews who were the said to be an evil blight on an otherwise perfect society. It was they who were thought to be sucking the life blood out of society and who were taking over the universities, the banking institutions, the arts. The Nazi propaganda machine went to work and the result was Kristelnacht (the night of broken glass) and eventually concentration camps. I am sure I can hear you saying, but that would never happen here. We are too sophisticated and we have Nazi Germany to remind us of how horrible things like that can be. Ah, but my friends, you would be mistaken. We have people of middle-eastern descent among us, and their chances for individual liberty are not the same as yours and mine.

    Yes, we have the lessons of Nazi Germany, but who alive today clearly remembers exactly what did happen? An ever diminishing group, certainly. How Hitler managed to come to power, how the German people were blinded by their own spirit of nationalism. How they came to believe that they actually were greater and superior to all others on earth. How the rest of the world owed allegiance to them and to their leader. These things are being forgotten.

    There is a wealth of information to be had in libraries, bookstores and even on the internet to explain to those, who wish to know the answers, and how it all did come to pass. I can honestly say that those who care about getting to the truth of these things, about educating themselves as to the whys and wherefores, will absolutely take advantage of all this material. I would, in a moment of perhaps feeling superior say, but those are people who are well educated. And there too I would be wrong.

    There are plenty of my countrymen who have had the advantages of a university education, and many who are very well self-educated. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, and yet a very large segment of these people somehow fail to see the parallels of our recent history and what happened over 50 years ago. America as a mirror image of Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Surely these are all thinking people, are they not? No, it does not appear that they are. Complacency thy name is us. Thinking requires effort. Politics is too dirty. It is far easier to roll with the flow. The other fellow will handle it.

    Hitler was brought to power at a time when Germany was seeking an end to her tribulations. A man of firm religious convictions, and whose God was on the side of the good Christian German people. The press in Germany supported Hitler and his plans for the country, never, apparently, thinking to point out the immorality of many of his actions. With total disregard for the Treaty of Versailles, he started an illegal war with the annexation of Poland.

    Hitler garnered the support of foreign nations. Mainly this support, it was thought, might appease him. And others thought that what he had started in Germany would be for the betterment of all, as he initially said. He had Goering and Goebbels to help him create the nightmare that Germany became. The secret, spying, bullying which went into the creation of a nation whose name came to be synonymous with evil incarnate. And today we still say, how could the German people not have known what was going on?

    Well you tell me, because in my mind we have exactly the same scenario playing out here, in this country, today.

    We have George W. Bush, a democratically elected President. A man of firm religious convictions. We have Karl Rove. We Have Dick Cheney. We have a press which seems to fail to see the errors in any of Bush's ways. We have Guantanamo Bay instead of Bergen Belsen. We have our own SS disguised as Christian Soldiers ready to fight for their right to do anything they damn well please and the devil take the hindmost. We have Iraq. Just like Hitler, Bush has been a man of few accomplishments, aided and abetted by those who saw their chance to change the course of a nation through deceit and subterfuge.

    I would like to say that I feel the winds of change starting to blow. Twice last week in national news I read that some suddenly have the chutzpah to call for impeachment. Slowly, more and more in this country are seeing that the sense of national pride we have always felt has been hijacked by a man who cares little for anything except his corporate friends and his questionable place in history.

    Let us hope that we have the intestinal fortitude to continue on a path to sanity and we can once again truly feel a sense of pride in our nation that has for so long been a beacon of hope and nurture to so many in the world.

    How lucky George W. Bush has been—up to now, that is—that great numbers of us seem not to think anymore.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    Leading Articles for the Week

    David is on vacation until mid-July. While he is absent we will fill in with our "Favorite Five" news/opinion pieces from the past week.

  • Separating School and State by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe.

  • Selling Washington by Elizabeth Drew in The New York Review of Books.

  • Patriot Act, Part II: The political tug of war intensifies by Linda Feldmann in the Christian Science Monitor, and readers' poll.

  • Human Toll of a Pension Default by Dale Russakoff in The Washington Post.

  • A Day in Mississippi by Heather Gray in AlterNet.

    And just one more late-breaking bit of news:

  • [Wisconsin] State Dems: Impeach Bush ... Cheney, Rumsfeld too reported by David Callender in the Madison (WI)Capital Times. Hurray! We have been waiting for a development like this for over two years!

  • Thursday, June 09, 2005

    A Truth-Based Fable

    A man in Dallas has a ten year old Ford, which although it is not a lemon, has given him trouble since the three-year warrantee expired. First it was little things like power windows that quit or a gauge that stopped functioning. Then it was a series of flat tires brought on, perhaps, by a curb-bruising parking job accomplished while slightly inebriated one dark night. Then the engine began to lose power and the transmission began to make an audible clunk when shifting into drive. What should he do? Paint it, some of his friends said. Disguise the damned thing and sell it! Get rid of it!

    As it turns out the same Texan had a home computer that also malfunctioned from time to time. The man understood the concept of anthroperipheral (operator) input error, and so he always had been reluctant to call in professionals to fix it. He put up with the balky machine and its viruses and pop-ups for several years and then one day after making odd noises for several weeks the hard drive crashed. He had potentially lost all of his checkbook, addresses, favorites and bookmarks, plans to his house, pictures of his wedding and children, but being a reasonably intelligent person, he had most of these files backed up. The hard drive was replaced and the computer operated just fine. The repair shop did make a comment about some of the "cookies" they retrieved from the hard drive and cautioned the man about certain kinds of websites that he had been visiting.

    The man's oldest boy was a lot like the man's computer. Since about age two or three the lad had been on the rambunctious side and when he entered public school he did not fare too well. By third grade he was reading at the first grade level, although there were increasing signs that his behavior was deteriorating faster than his reading comprehension was taking hold. At the graduation from third grade to fourth, the lad was held back—he was short and slight of build and his social graces were, at the best of times, not very impressive—so they thought that repeating the 3rd grade would not damage his personality too much. A year later, as he began the fourth grade, his reading skills were barely 2nd grade level and he began to erupt in class, punching nearby students, throwing paper airplanes, and talking out of turn. On the playground he was becoming a menace to anyone within a rock's throw distance. To the delight of his father, though, he was remarkably good at learning sequencing structures like jokes and travel routes. The lad was also a reasonably good artist, but his work was confined to drawings of spaceships and extraterrestrial monsters, being increasingly disinterested in sports and anything having to do with reading.

    What to do? It would have been inappropriate to "paint" his son a different color (or rename him) and pretend everything was a-okay with him. He couldn't trade him in or sell him. It would to immoral to wait for his son's "hard drive" to crash. Moreover it was embarrassing because clearly, like the Ford and the computer, the man had not taken care of his son as he should have. He let him eat fast foods and sweets. And, like his computer, father was part of the problem, perhaps his son had acquired a vagrant chromosome from his father that caused all of this. It was depressing and soon enough the father fell into a series of fairly deep depressions, alleviated, though, by long periods of relative normality. But, the traps were already sprung. Father and son were soon outed by the government.

    A prestegeous Harvard University study conducted by Dr. Ronald Kessler (reported by Rick Weiss of the Washington Post) had revealed that 25% of all Americans are mentally ill at some time in their lives. The national anguish over the appalling notoriety of Americans being the least mentally healthy people in the world had led to mandatory mental health testing and that, in turn, had led to mandatory mental health therapy, usually (99.99999%) drug therapy. In the Dallas case, first son and then father were whisked away to a local clinic, diagnosed with ADHD (instead of dyslexia, which the son really had) and clinical depression, respectively, and their HMO was notified that [yes!] life-long prescriptions for methylphenadate and for Prozac were authorized. Father and son were sent back home, their brains hammered with pharmaceutical chemicals, their problems (and the school's and the family's) solved! Father eventually semi-retired and lives very modestly on the shrapnel from his bankrupt pension plan. His son grew up, has been married twice—four children, two of whom are dyslexic—and drives a school bus for the same school system that shackled his IQ in chemical restraints as effective as a straight-jacket.

    The debate over mandatory testing was remarkably short and conclusive. Testing, of course, was begun for the best of reasons. There were just too many disruptive children in the public schools and they grew into menacing, knife and gun toting criminals by high school. Testing would be only by parental permission, unless the school board could show just cause for intervention. As a public health issue, it was over before anyone really noticed there was a debate. Parents with children whose real illnesses were caught in time were key to the development of public policy. The fact that real illnesses and imaginary ones were lumped all together was not noticed, particularly. It did not matter that medical science had not really figured out the brain yet; they knew how to mask symptoms and to chemically stun the brain into submission.

    One organization, the Association for Human Research Protections took a different view. Their June 6, 2005 comment on the announcement in the press is quoted in full.

    Americans may be astonished to learn that $20 million in taxpayers' money was spent on a study whose unacknowledged purpose is to increase the use of psychotropic drugs.

    The study, called the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, found that the United States ranks No. 1 globally for mostly overlooked mental illness. This study was conducted jointly by Harvard and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It is part of an orchestrated effort by Big Pharma, the government (i.e., the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health report), and the psychiatric establishment, to screen the nation for hidden mental illnesses.

    Demonstrating Big Pharma's insidious influence at our nation's premier medical research institutions, the study's primary sponsor, Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the NIMH said: "The key point to remember is that mental disorders are highly prevalent and chronic." According to the study, "Younger sufferers are especially overlooked, the survey found, even though mental illness is very much a disease of youth. Half of those who will ever be diagnosed with a mental disorder show signs of the disease by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. But few get help."

    Translation: detection of chronic mental disorders will require chronic treatment to enrich the pharmaceutical industry and mental health professionals at taxpayers expense.

    Dr. Paul McHugh, former chairman of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the President's bioethics commission, scoffed at the claimed findings:

    "Fifty percent of Americans mentally impaired - are you kidding me?"

    Dr. McHugh noted the flawed diagnostic tool that psychiatry relies on: "the problem is that the diagnostic manual we are using in psychiatry is like a field guide and it just keeps expanding and expanding." "Pretty soon," he said, "we'll have a syndrome for short, fat Irish guys with a Boston accent, and I'll be mentally ill."

    One wonders whether Congress will buy into this contrived effort to divert public budget allocations to enrich the mental health industry. The declared mental health epidemic in the US is an irresponsible marketing ploy whose veiled purpose is to encourage increased chronic use of mind-altering prescription drugs whose hazardous effects pose a threat to the health and safety of the community.

    The drugs-psychostimulants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics-induce severe hazardous effects in some who take them. The hazards often exceed the symptoms for which they are prescribed. They include: insomnia, mania, agitation, akathisia (i.e., excruciating physical and psychological restlessness), sexual dysfunction, violent outbursts, liver damage, diabetes mellitus, and potentially fatal effects, including cardiovascular damage, NMS, stroke, violent suicidal /homicidal acts, not to mention they retard children's growth.

    NIMH director, Dr. Insel, indicated that "mental disorders are highly prevalent and chronic."

    But prevalence and chronicity are correlated to widespread use of psychotropic drugs in the US. A body of evidence shows that chronic use of psychotropic drugs--including psychostimulants, SSRI / SNRI class of antidepressants, and the most dangerous drugs of all, the antipsychotics--results in drug dependency.

    If the NIMH-Harvard study is taken seriously and we accept its claim that most of the US population is mad, the credibility of our leaders and our national policies will be the butt of international ridicule.

    Unfortunately, the AHRP opinion was drowned in a sea of alarmist politics, industrial strength lobbying, massive drug advertizing and the merest dollop of truth for icing on the cake. The icing sold the cake and now we are all permanent clients of the pharmaceutical companies and our inner thoughts are the property of the state!

    As for your humble servant, well, I was apprehended by President Karl Rove's Emergency Committee for Public Health and Safety, diagnosed with liberal paranoia morbidus, and confined to my room with a budget-breaking IV drip of Levitra to keep my mind off politics.

    Oh, and here's an additional reference for your reading pleasure!

    Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    Declaration of Conscience

    In June of 1950, the freshman Senator from Maine took the Senate floor and spoke these words. The Senator was Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican, but her words transcend partisanship, and seem prophetic today.

    "Mr. President," she said on June 1, 1950, "I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear." She continued, "The United States Senate has long enjoyed the worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body in the world. But recently that deliberative character has too often been debased to the level of a forum of hate and character assassination sheltered by the shield of congressional immunity."

    At the time of her speech, the United States Senate was gearing up to a witch hunt. Led by Senator Joseph McCarthy (Wisconsin-Republican), it started with an address McCarthy gave in Wheeling, W.VA., in which he claimed to have a list of 200 names with "card carrying" communist connections, and who were still working in the State Department. He asserted that America's Foreign Policy failures were to be blamed on these communist infiltrators. When these charges were investigated, they were found to be "a fraud and a hoax". but with the outbreak of the Korean conflict, and America's fight against Communist aggression, it would be four years before Senator Smith, and her Senate colleagues would vote to censure Senator McCarthy. By then , reputations had been ruined, lives had been shattered, and all for nothing.

    Today we have not communists, but terrorists. Unfortunately the terrorists we have to fear are those whom we have elected to public office. Just as over 50 years ago, America lived in fear of being accused by McCarthy, today we have to fear what craziness will emanate from the likes of Tom DeLay, William Frist, Karl Rove and a host of others, the President included, who think they have a mandate from a specific group of Americans, and the rest of us be damned. And what do we hear from those in the Senate who do not buy into this madness? Not much. Whereas Mrs. Smith's comments created an uproar and a groundswell of support, we have not heard much about those who have dared to speak out against their Senate colleagues today They are derided.

    It appears that we have a dearth of people with principles or character in this day and age. Where is the sense of outrage that used to accompany lies and subterfuge? Where are those members of the 4th estate who are supposed to be the watchdogs of our Constitution and who have brought down Presidents in the past? We seem to have no tolerance with men who might shed a tear when they are overcome with a sense of frustration or sadness, over something which is near and dear to them...their country, their spouse. It was tears that brought down Senator Muskie lo those many years ago, when speaking from his heart, he refused to tolerate things spoken about his wife.

    And what about us, the public? Are we so cowed by this administration, so afraid for ourselves that we continue on our merry way and say nothing about the illegalities which are overtaking our seat of government? Are we so afraid that we dare not demand truthfulness? If this is so then we have lost the battle already. We have played into the hands of the neocons and their plan for the destruction and dismantling of this country for their own nefarious ends. Just the way they want it.

    Where, oh where is the modern day Diogenes? We need him and his lamp to try and ferret out the honesty and truth which has to be hiding within the halls of the Capital. Or, as the hounds with the fox, has truth and honesty been run to ground? I fear that the lunatics have truly taken over the asylum when we have little outrage for the continued lies, which seem to spew forth daily, from Washington.

    To paraphrase Judge Joseph Welch, a contemporary of Margaret Chase Smith's, and also one of Joseph McCarthy's targets during his communist witch hunt..."have you no sense of decency, sir?"

    What HAS happened to our sense of decency? Where is OUR Declaration of Conscience?

    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Liberals: Help is Here

    I recently had the pleasure of attending a session of the Campaign for America’s Future Take Back America Conference held in Washington, D.C. It lifted my spirits and helped to renew my enthusiasm to work for progressive political candidates and values.

    The day began with a rousing speech by Howard Dean, former Democratic Presidential candidate and now the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The theme of his speech was that we have the power. His message was that Democrats cannot win by only criticizing Republicans, although he said there was much to criticize about this most corrupt administration, but we must have a positive message and agenda to solve America’s problems. He outlined a comprehensive four-year program to turn what he called the purple states blue. Specifically, he called for fully portable pensions, independent control of pension plans, real campaign finance reforms, and election reforms such as instant run-off voting and verifiable voting including an auditable paper trail.

    There were both morning and afternoon parallel plenary sessions. I choose to attend the morning sessions on A Real Security Agenda for America and The Fight for the Courts: Will the Right Reverse 20th Century Progress?. The Security Agenda panel consisted of Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Editor of The Nation, Ray McGovern, former CIA official and founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, John Tirman, Executive Director, MIT Center for International Studies, and Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University. Mc Govern said the war in Iraq is not winnable; he is afraid that if Bush must choose between losing the war and the draft, he will choose the draft. His solution for the war is to set a time table for withdrawal and implement it. It is as he said the better of all the very bad alternatives. Vanden Heuvel said that American troops are not regarded as liberators but as occupiers in Iraq and our best course of action now is to leave in an orderly fashion, very much echoing Mc Govern.The other panel members concentrated on what can be done domestically to improve our security such as less reliance on fossil fuels, and dismantling the Homeland Security apparatus.

    The future of the judiciary is, in the opinion of the Fight for the Courts panel, the most important issue facing us for the next three decades. All panel members agreed it is vital to contact moderate Republicans to prevent a takeover of the judiciary by the extreme right and to make sure that Democrats are united in their opposition to radical court nominees. Otherwise, a conservative court will roll back social programs and civil rights.

    John Edwards was the luncheon keynote speaker and, in the opinion of this writer, he is preparing to run for the presidency in 2008. His speech titled, Moving Beyond the Two Americas, was very upbeat and, as you would expect, very critical of the Bush administration.

    The afternoon consisted of a very important and informative presentation on five initiatives for a more perfect union. The themes were: Apollo: New Energy for America, Pre-School for All, Affordable Healthcare for All, America Needs a Raise, and A True Family Values Agenda. Taken together, the ideas presented could provide an excellent framework for a progressive domestic agenda for the coming years.

    The finally plenary I attended was Talking American. The two panel members were George Lakoff, of Don’t Think of an Elephant fame and the Goldman Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley and Diane Feldman, President, The Feldman Group a polling organization. Lakoff reviewed his work on framing issues and presented the following ideas: We are for the commonwealth for the common good so that individuals can pursue their personal goals; Taxes are repayments into the system;
    Work is a contribution to society and as such workers are entitled to be compensated including good healthcare. Our current economy is structured to drive down wages and transfer wealth to the wealthy.

    We need to take back life. Start with the fact of the insanely high infant mortality rate of the United States, the number of toxic chemicals in infant’s blood. Use these and other and other examples to portray the extreme right as the party of death.

    Lakoff through his Rockbridge Institute is developing a progressive manual on how to reframe allthe issues important to the voting public. It will be available this fall.for free.

    I came away very energized and with renewed hope that liberals and progressives have got their act together and are ready to fight the radical right for the soul of this country.

    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Checks and Balances

    Ever since we were in high school and learned that the framers of the Constitution had the foresight to install organic checks and balances within our government—to prevent one part of government from becoming too powerful, over-weaning, and destructive of individual liberties—we have basically sat on our laurels and ignored the erosion of these principles. We have allowed ourselves to become complaisant and lazy. We have forgotten that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

    Of course, an occasional civics teacher would tell us that the framers including George Washington were against the formation of political parties in America. They correctly saw that political parties would take on a life of their own and wreak havoc with the separation of powers and checks and balances frameworks of our government. They were right!

    Back at the beginning the big issues were the rights of small (less populous) states and the rights of states where slave-holding was key to the local economies. The question of small states was obviated by the organizational principles defining the U.S. Senate and by the rapid expansion westward—the creation of scores of new states with whom the small New England states could find political allies and compromises. Of course the slavery issue was never solved peacefully, and the aftermath of the violent solution is rampant and vicious racism clothed in the faux anguish of "states rights."

    The expression of political ideologies in America has been a chaotic, barely rational affair with local emotional issues dominating common sense and principle. In the south the Democratic Party was the "only" possibility because it was the GOP that had visited them with Civil War and Reconstruction. Only when the Democratic Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson decided to rid the nation of racism did the South abandon its emotional and political ties to the Democrats. In other words, American politics, right and left, became a nightmare of worthy principles contending with local and parochial interests bordering on and taking succor from some of the worst aspects of the human imagination and human frailty. American politics is a deadly serious enterprise, though, despite its appearance of being a hodge-podge of incoherent selfishness, ego, and jingoism.

    These facts being the case—the precariousness of the separation of powers and the organization of checks and balances in the face of strong, willful political parties, on the one hand, and the substantial irrationality of political parties, on the other hand—leaves us today with an interesting situation in which the prescribed checks and balances are just about useless and completely incapable of functioning. It was never meant to be this way. The government was supposed to be able to respond to abuse of office, to criminality, mendacity, as much out of self-protection as any other reason. But it cannot.

    Still, sufficient liberty exists (despite continuous browbeating and major capitulations of the press) that the possibility of bringing radical and irresponsible areas of government to bay still exists. Checks and balances will not accomplish this, though.

    If everything were functioning according to the framers' plan, honorable members of the House of Representatives would already have responded to the Downing Street Memorandum (and the Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo human torture evidence, plus much, much more) by drafting articles of impeachment against Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. Matthew Rothschild has written an excellent essay on this in forthcoming July issue of The Progressive, entitled Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity. It seems that with the checks and balances within government hopelessly politicized by a radical movement within the majority party, the task of keeping the high crimes, misdemeanors, and treason of the Bush Administration in the public eye will fall to private non-governmental agencies like the ACLU and Amnesty International. The American press, so intimidated by the Administration or so in cahoots with it, will probably not be able to play their expected leading role. The press is still ignoring the Downing Street Memorandum despite the fact that it implicates the President in a huge, ugly lie which has resulted in the wholesale loss of lives and the expenditure of generations worth of federal funds.

    Yes, it is humiliating that the American Republic has come to such a state. Serious people across the nation believe that we are and since 9/11 have been losing a fight with anti-democratic forces in America, forces that believe in their heart of hearts that practical democracy leads to a pillaging of our national treasure by the indigent and slothful, but who believe that the righteous engines of society are profit-seeking corporations and that their personal understandings of Jesus Christ are all any of us needs to organize and manage the secular world. These forces have taken over the Executive, are prominent in the Congress, and are trickling into the Judiciary where soon they will have critical mass to effect major changes in Justice in this country.

    Another essay, this one by Mark Danner, published in TomDispatch, and given as a speech to the Department of English at the University of California at Berkeley graduation ceremonies recently, entitled "What Are You Going To Do With That?" (referring to a degree in the Liberal Arts) takes up the matter from a slightly different point of view. While Matthew Rothschild points out what American and world organizations can do to fill in while our checks and balances are out of commission, Mark Danner eventually notices that it will ultimately depend on individuals to assure that America does not come to an abrupt and ugly end because of Bush and his party. Danner's piece is a call to young men and women embarking on their public lives. Needless to say, however, the message is appropriate for us all.

    The final message is that the federal system is drastically broken. It has been for some time, the requisite situation had not developed before now to make it obvious. The separation of powers is now overwhelmed by radical, disciplined politics and does not function to keep one branch acting independently of the others. Organic checks and balances are overwhelmed by the same radical, anti-democratic forces and do not function. The reason is that political parties were not envisioned when the Constitution was written, yet we have now a political party the central tenets of which are antithetical to fundamental American and Constitutional values. If we survive it will be because individuals act from within and from without to stem the flow of power toward the affected areas.

    Senator Voinovich will stand his ground and will convince his fellow moderate Republicans that John Bolton has a screw loose and should not be in the State Department, much less the United Nations. Senator Boxer will stand and be heard when lies are proffered as truths. Some members of the press will regain their composure after months and years of harassment and browbeating, after endless threats by the corporate managers who control salaries and jobs, and they will speak the truth—whatever it may be. But most important, ordinary citizens, people with high school diplomas and college liberal arts degrees, will stand up against cowardice and convenience, against criminality and usurpation of our liberties.

    The elections of 2006 are the final exam and we must prepare ourselves to demand nothing but democracy, liberty, and freedom and a restoration of the checks and balances. Life will be precarious from now on, but that's the way it often is when you want freedom and liberty. There are formidable forces now arrayed against our liberties and freedoms and, unimaginably, they are forces from the recesses and niches of America which up to now have been held at bay by their own lack of organization and by the consensus that government must remain responsible to the people and that government has no place in religion and vice versa.

    We must fight theocrats, particularly the "dominionists." We must return politics to that set of rules that preserves respect for a differing point of view, and we must route out those who offend these principles.

    Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Impeaach The Duck!

    It was well over a year ago when the americanliberalism project mentioned impeachment against the now sitting President George W. Bush. It probably generated a chuckle or two in many quarters, but we were more than serious about it. Now, within the last week, two major newspapers, the darlings who seem to have been supportive of Dubya, no matter what lies he told, or what outrageous acts against our nation he strove to acheive, have written articles which imply that this may be the road that needs to be taken.

    Unfortunately, there are more than a few stumbling blocks to this scenario. We have a Republican controlled Congress. The same group that wasted no time whatsoever in skewering President Clinton for a "crime" that it seems more than a few of his critics were guilty of as extra marital affair.

    Now I am not a prude, but neither do I think that an affair is acceptable behavior for a married person, yet, this indiscretion of President Clinton's as far as I can see did not have any impact on his leadership of this country, nor on the country itself. Our reaction to his peccadillo made us the laughing stock of the rest of the world. They could not understand our very Victorian attitude towards the whole affair. Personally, I would rather be laughed at than find myself in the situation we are in now where we are considered the bully boy of the world.

    Bush was so busy after the last election touting his "political capital" and that he was "going to spend it", totally disregarding the "political capital" he could have gained, directly following September 11th, which was far superior. He has slowly been leading our wonderful country down a very long, dark road and it seems that few, especially, the national media which has held his hand all this way, realize how disastrous this course can be...already has been.

    In the past, in every war we ever sent American boys to fight and die in, we had a clear enemy. No more so than in WWII. In several of those wars, the enemy was definitely us. Fathers & sons, brothers, not to mention our Mother Country, in the war of the Revolution. Again i the Civil War, families were divided, brother fought brother, father fought son. WWI saw us in an advisory position, which led eventually to troop commitment. First we had to raise an army to accommodate that committment, and we did. We were asked to help.

    Out of this, The Great War, we had our first attempt at a world body The League of Nations. President Wilson, in some sort of futuristic vision, , saw how the world was shrinking and a need for a world body where animosities might be talked over and assuaged before bullets flew. Sadly, the United States never joined the League.

    In WWII we had a definite, enemy after the Japanese attacked our Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. In the speech Franklin Roosevelt gave to Congress, asking them to declare war,one phrase still echoes after almost 70 years..."We have nothing to fear, but, fear itself." Words which are monumentally true, and which each and every American took to heart as we geared up to help defeat the most monstrous of tyrants. Even after the war, our sense of justice and the rule of law prevailed in the Nuremburg Trials, as we showed the world that none should escape for their crimes.

    Now, it seems, I live in a country where we are being told that our every waking moment should be fearful. Terrorism abounds, but the powers that be refuse to see the role they have played in the escalation of that terrorism. We have Homeland Security alerts (strangely lacking since just before the last election), our young people put in harm's way in a war based on lies and, worst of all, we are to put our trust in a President who is getting direction directly from hear him tell it anyway.

    When are the American people going to wake up? When is this man going to be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors" I am sick and tired of having Republican friends say that this is a witch hunt that if we would stop trying to crucify this President and see what a wonderful man he is things would be better. I say, balderdash! (or whatever word you would like to insert)

    He can blame Congress all he wants, but the fact remains that he is a lame duck. Not unusual in aPresident's second term, but given, despite his impeachment and troubles just prior to leaving office Clinton left office with the highest approval rating of any President. Time and again with this President we have seen polls which tell us that the majority of Americans feel he is not good for the country and he has us on the wrong track. But, we are being held hostage by a one-sided Congress who feels it is more important to jump in to save a brain damaged woman than to worry about the runaway train the country is on. But, then again, they are this train's engineer!

    If it walks like a duck and quack's like a duck it must be a duck!
    Impeach the duck!