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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

July 23, 2005
Downing Street

The Downing Street Memos have an unhappy birthday and people celebrate with 300+ events.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:31 AM | Comments (0)
July 21, 2005
Don't Blame the Adults

That's what this article advises.

Don't blame Zach's parents that they've been fed a lot of dangerous, bigoted crap and don't know any better.

Because if I had a teenager I considered "troubled" you can bet the first thing I'd do is toss him into a facility I didn't know much about that had a history I was unacquainted with and was run by people I hadn't investigated using principles I didn't know the validity of.

You betcha.

________________________

All I can think of now is a blog subtitle I saw not long ago:

Oh, evolve.







(My uncertain memory thanks LabKat for reminding me that it's her blog that amuses me with the tagline.)


Posted by AnneZook at 02:54 PM | Comments (3)
No Surprises

Afghanistan. Democracy was only an afterthought

Either 50, or 180, depending on who you believe, Guantanamo inmates declare hunger strike.

John McGowan at Michael Bérubé Online has more on SCoTUS nominee Robert's record.

No, I don't like the guy. Roberts, I mean. But I probably wouldn't care for any conservative. The Bush Administration has the right to nominate a conservative, much as I hate to admit it. The bottom line is whether or not this guy is qualified for SCoTUS, not whether or not we like his positions. Is he qualified by education, experience, and by views not too extreme? Is there any evidence that he's corrupt, incompetent, or unfit for a seat on the highest court? What's the average time on the Bench for a SCoTUS nominee? Is two years unusually short? Do we normally see more experienced Federal Judiciary nominees?

My opinion is that Roberts is just conservative enough. Just enough to distract Congressional Democrats and, as I'm sure the White House is hoping, the press, from War, Lies, and E-mail.

I don't want the Do Not Call registry struck down or restructured to meet the Bush Administration's standards, which favor corporations and disdain the rights of individuals. I've enjoyed my call-free evenings.

It takes a woman to rebuild a village. Life in post-tsunami Deyah Mapplam.

Mustang Bobby is talking about those "ex-gay" organizations and makes the same point I've made...if they weren't allied with religion, people would be taking action. Everyone is all hands-off because it's "the church." (And I repeat, it's time and past time that this fetish for pretending organized superstition deserves special political treatment was overcome.)

Ponder this: Is Rove taking one for the team? Is PlameGate supposed to be distracting us from things that implicate Bush in lying, cheating, and warmongering?

Election Fraud 2002. It really happened.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:33 PM | Comments (3)
More on Journalism

Are we going to get a federal shield law for journalists?

Does anyone care if the White House has a snitfit on the topic?

And Russ Baker asks, "Why Was Miller Fit To Print?"

Posted by AnneZook at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)
Once Again

Repeat after me.

Homophobia Kills.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Remember Florida

I knew it would start coming out if I just waited. More information on why Roberts was Bush's SCoTUS pick. Remember the '00 Florida election shambles?

I'm not accusing Roberts of anything. I'm just making a list of the things Bush "owes" him for.

Support on "enemy combatants" and now Bush's original appointment to the White House. Roberts is quite the little helper, isn't he?

(This one topic, one post style is a lot of work.)

Posted by AnneZook at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
LeakGate

Ex-CIA officers rap Plame leak

Rove-Plame scandal leading to deeper White House horrors?

Bush breaks promise with latest flip flop

No rest for Rove

A GOP finally admits what's really going on: "Wilson needed to be undermined"

Press batters McClellan on Rove-Plame link

The Plame Game: The Latest Commentary on the CIA Leak Investigation

Just doing my bit to make sure a real story doesn't get lost.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)
War, war, and more war

It's all about making war with the Bush Administration. Some people have been warning about that for years.

Bush’s “grim vision” always recognized that the “war on terror” abroad would require restricted freedoms at home – as well as expanded powers for the police and military. So, just as in 2002, when the “Bush Doctrine” on preemptive wars laid the intellectual groundwork for invading Iraq, new doctrines are now being promulgated to justify the creation of a full-scale “security state” inside the United States.

One Defense Department document, called the “Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support,” sets out a military strategy against terrorism that envisions an “active, layered defense” both inside and outside U.S. territory.

As a kind of domestic corollary to the Bush Doctrine, the Pentagon strategy paper also has a preemptive element, calling for increased military reconnaissance and surveillance to “defeat potential challengers before they threaten the United States.” The plan “maximizes threat awareness and seizes the initiative from those who would harm us.”

Global War

Besides lifting the traditional limits on military operations on U.S. soil, the document makes clear that global warfare will be the reality for at least the next decade.

Also:

In effect, the Bush administration is prescribing a large dose of military action and political repression as the cure for Islamic terrorism.

Everyone delusional enough to think this will "cure" the "problem," raise your hand. (We want to know who to blame, when this starts WWIII, as it well might.)

Besides the question of civil liberties, the strategy represents a rejection of advice from counterinsurgency experts who warn that an over-reliance on warfare and inadequate attention to the root causes of Middle East anger could perpetuate terrorism indefinitely, rather than reduce it to a manageable problem that can be handled by law enforcement.

That's the Number One Problem with this bunch. They won't listen to sense.

Has it not occurred to them that their strategy is already producing more terrorists than it's stopping?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)
Terrorism in the U.K.

More explosions, more fear.

I heard the oddest interview on NPR this morning. They were interviewing a journalist (I missed the start of the interview and don't have sound on my work PC, so I can't go back and listen to it) who suggested that this might be a copycat bombing. He also suggested that it might be the work of "journalists or school children" demonstrating that London isn't really safe.

That's been echoing in my head ever since I heard it. I'm trying, and failing, to picture any USofA journalist (or "school child") setting off explosions two weeks after 9/11 to demonstrate that it could happen again.

I'm trying to imagine what kind of person could suggest this? And I'm wondering what he might know, that we don't, that led him to the idea?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
Can You Spare A Dime?

Children Begin Starving in Niger as Aid Too Slow, Warnings Ignored

Children are dying every day in feeding centers throughout Niger, aid officials say, as appeals for food aid from the UN's World Food Programme were ignored in November and again in May. UN officials say they formulated a preventive strategy, but did not receive enough funding to implement it in time.

If the USofA can afford a billion dollars a week to kill people in Iraq, surely we can afford to kick in a little extra to keep children from dying in Niger? Who should have provided funds? Did someone promise, and not deliver?

As of today, the UN agency has only received a contribution from Sweden of $650 000 to provide cereal and pulse seeds for the rainy season, and animal fodder and vegetable seeds for the dry season starting in October. Seed distributions from this initial donation are currently ongoing.

This makes it sound as though only Sweden has actually done anything? Say it isn't so.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
Zach, Meet Eric

The Dork Report isn't the first one to reference that "But I'm A Cheerleader" movie when discussing Zach's situation, but the site did make me almost want to see the movie, just to see why everyone talks about it. He also brings up the case of another teen who has disappeared into the unsavory bowels of a "straight camp."

This youngster, "Eric" has been shipped off to "Exodus," a place that apparently still thinks being gay is a mental disorder, a school of thought that was debunked over 30 years ago (Officially. Some of us know before then it was just bigotry and fear.)

No amount of scripture, prayer or discredited and ineffective "therapy" can change who a person is. Ultimately, groups such as Exodus and the "treatments" imposed upon Zach and Erik by their parents will only be destructive, teaching them that the key to a happy and fulfilling life is self-hatred.

What this country needs, ultimately, is tolerance and respect afforded to everyone. In the meantime, parents such as Zach's and Erik's should learn how to put their personal beliefs aside and seriously listen to what their children have to say.

It's a pity that loving, caring for, and supporting your family aren't important values to these people. Especially these families.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:34 AM | Comments (1)
July 20, 2005
Various

Today we say goodby to Scotty. James Doohan, Star Trek's much put-upon Chief Engineer. Sigh.

. . . .

What I do like to see is bad legislation, headed off before the pass.

Charming. George Bush isn't even pretending to care about nuclear nonproliferation these days. I wonder if it's possible to explain reality to these people at all, or if they're just too far 'round the bend? The word of Solomon (as in, "Norman") on the subject. (Both via Cursor.)

Remember that, "Don't Do This" discussion? Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo was asked a stupid question by a talk radio nitwit and he gave a really stupid answer. The question shouldn't have been asked. (Or should have been phrased more sensibly, but what was Campbell doing, asking Tancredo such a question anyhow? Tancredo doesn't control our defense policy. I think Campbell was fishing for an extremist answer and he got it.) The answer was ill-considered, but the repercussions (largely in Colorado and the Middle East) are significant. So, let's add, "don't let yourself be baited" to the list. It's good advice for both sides.

I asn't going to talk about Roberts today, Supreme Court nominee or not, because I'm reserving judgement until I read more about him. On the other hand, if the Achenblog wants to discuss the nomination, I'm okay with that.

And with Ellis Henican, if he wants to write about the nomination.

In the arena of questions I don't know the answer to is, "'How can there be reconciliation without justice for the victims?'.

In the, well duh department, "GOP admits pick 'covered' for Rove.

In the "anything but journalism" column, we find ourselves wondering if C*ulter is adding plagiarism to her other attractive talents? It's entirely possible that she's simply barren of any original ideas, you know.

Forget your worries about kids today and sex. Worry about your children being taught hate through a video game.

Resistance Records began advertising the game on Martin Luther King day, using the slogan: "Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a virtual Race War!"

The National Alliance says this is just the beginning - a whole range of racist videogames are promised in the future, including Turner Diaries: The Game, based on a book by NA leader William Pierce. It's set in a world where "Aryans" attempt to murder all non-whites and Jewish people with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The book's fans include, or rather included, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Short of reading that a feature of the game is winning a "harem" of subservient wimmin to do your bidding, I don't know that it's possible for me to be more appalled.

(Last three links via RawStory.)

Battlefield

For those of you not yet convinced that this whole "enemy combatant" thing is really a problem for USofA citizens, for those who need a personal reason to care about civil liberties, I ask, how do you feel now that you know you're living on a battlefield? You, too, are potentially a "combatant" captured on the "field of battle."

Via TomPaine.com, who is also discussing the Iraqi Constitution in T-Minus One Month and Counting.

Also on the battlefield of Iraq, we can compare a story about the U.K. approach to the U.S.A. approach.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)
Journalism

Looks like the Cleveland Plains is still trying to find a way to report those two anonymously sourced then withheld stories.

Anonymous sourcing is coming under greater scrutiny from all sides.

It doesn't look like Judith Miller is going to be winning a journalism award for her bravery in protecting Rove her anonymous source.

"The First Amendment is designed to prevent government interference with a free press. Miller, by shielding a government official or officials who attempted to use the press to retaliate against a whistleblower, and scare off other would-be whistleblowers, has allied herself with government interference with, and censorship of, whistleblowers," Bartholomew wrote in a resignation letter provided to E&P. "When your source IS the government, and the government is attempting to use you to target a whistleblower, the notion of shielding a source must be reconsidered. To apply standard practices regarding sources to hiding wrongdoing at the highest levels of government perverts the intent of the First Amendment.

Bartholomew resigned in protest over the organization's plans to award Miller the "Conscience in the Media" award, and his wasn't the only resignation.

And, speaking of types of journalism, let's cast our eyes toward New York and The House That AIDS Built. (Content may be disturbing)

Done with that? Okay, now read this.

Now read this.

I haven't the faintest idea what to think or what to believe. I know that drug trials for children and infants are woefully lacking, and darned hard to arrange. We don't know the effects of most drugs on infants because very few parents are going to let their babies be experimented on.

On the other hand, I find the level of deliberate callousness on the part of the involved medical professionals suggested by Scheff's article impossible to believe. I've worked with doctors* and I don't believe I know one who would in any way abuse a patient, especially an infant. And yet, my brain reminds me, I'm not in the center of the clinical trial world and thus cannot speak for what happens when valuable research, which this undoubtedly was, is under consideration.

As for the "known toxicities", cited with such breathless revelation, there are darned few drugs on the market that don't have known toxicities. Tylenol and Advil, to name just two, have well-documented toxicities. Administered improperly, almost any drug can prove to be toxic. That's just scaremongering. Equally, many reputable and successful disease treatments have potential side-effects (hair loss from chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients) that are frequently only temporary.

And yet...missing records? Documents "misplaced" that later show the number of enrolled children to be over five times what was originally reported? Not all children's legal guardians gave permission for them to be part of the experiment?

And yet...and yet....

Sometimes reading the Independent News Media makes my head hurt.

(Necessary Disclaimer: I work for a company that does business with pharmaceutical companies, although not specifically AIDS treatment.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)
July 19, 2005
Death and Taxes

I'd like to suggest that 9/11 did not "change everything." I know we've been told it did, over and over, but I've never believed it and I've decided it's time to share that belief with you.

Terrorists have been striking targets around the world for a long time now. We've had terrorist attacks on our soil in the recent past. The idea that this attack "changed everything" and that suddenly terrorist attacks were a bigger problem than they had been on 9/10/2001, is just part of the Bush Administration's propaganda campaign, the one they launched to help them get their way on attacking Iraq.

The entire irrelevance of the Bush Administration's "war on terror" to any actual terrorism, or to making any USofA citizen safer is fairly clear.

On the other hand, our reaction to 9/11 changed a lot of things...although not in a way I find appropriate.

I'll skip the ritual, "because of our reaction to 9/11 we've killed tens of thousands of people who had no connection at all to terrorism" rant. Ditto the "because of our reaction to 9/11, the world is seeing a whole new generation of terrorists appear" rant.

(It aggravates me to consider skipping the, "because of 9/11, we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars and accomplished almost nothing" rant. I agreed with invading Afghanistan. Chasing down the actual terrorists was a good idea. I would certainly have agreed with staying there until we'd finished the job, had that been what the Bush Administration decided to do.)

But what has happened here since 9/11? Cheesy "bring it on" rhetoric aside, what has been the impact on us? What's been the result of the Bush Administration policies?

Well, the stock market tanked after 9/11. It's been years and we're still waiting for it to recover. I just happened to notice here not long ago that there was a major terrorist attack on the U.K. and the London markets recovered in...what? 48 hours?

Ditto our economy. Ditto our job market. Still waiting.

Oh, yes, the Bush Administration took advantage of 9/11 to do a lot of things that made their corporate owners sponsors happy, but none of it seems to be doing much for the average person in this country. Corporate CEOs are still making record-breaking bonuses. Some corporations, at least those who contributed to the right political party, are making record-breaking profits. (Big Pharma, I'm looking at you.) Meanwhile, the little people are losing their jobs (I understand HP is now looking at laying off 14,500 people), or going years without a raise or even a "cost of living" increase.

Speaking of corporate owners sponsors being made happy, let's look at everyone's favorite Halliburton.

First, a bit of history.

1995

Without any previous business experience, Cheney leaves the Department of Defense to become the CEO of Halliburton Co., one of the biggest oil-services companies in the world. He will be chairman of the company from 1996 to October 1998 and from February to August 2000. Under Cheney's leadership, Halliburton moves up from 73rd to 18th on the Pentagon's list of top contractors.

Mr. Cheney done good by them. For a guy without any previous business experience, he sure managed to pull quite a few bunnies out of the DoD hat for his new friends.

Not that it was all smooth sailing. There were a few pesky problems through the years.

1996

Halliburton subsidiary European Marine Contractors (EMC) helps lay the offshore portion of the Yadana natural gas pipeline in Burma. Several human rights organizations allege tremendous human rights abuses are associated with the project, as thousands of villagers in Burma are forced to work in support of the pipeline and related infrastructure. Many lose their homes due to forced relocation, and there are reports of rape, torture and killings by soldiers hired by the companies as security guards for the pipelines.8

Hey, we can't hold the CEO of a corporation responsible for the crimes committed by his corporation on a major money-making project, now can we?

1997

Even with the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act in place, Halliburton continues to operate in Iran. It pays the Department of Commerce $15,000 to settle allegations that the company has broken anti-boycott provisions of the U.S. Export Administration Act for an Iran-related transaction, without admitting wrongdoing.13 Halliburton also continues to do business in Libya throughout Cheney's tenure.

Well, who can blame them? For a piddly $15,000 (Dick's monthly expense account probably exceeded that), they got to make millions upon millions for their shareholders. That's responsible corporate governance!

It's good to be one of the DoD's pet contractors.

The GAO (General Accounting Office), the auditing arm of Congress, reports that KBR overbilled the Army for costs associated with its work in Kosovo. It is revealed that the firm used more workers and equipment than necessary to clean offices and provide electricity and backup power supplies to bases, and charged nearly $86 per sheet for plywood that it bought for $14.06.14 As a result of the GAO's critical report, KBR's logistics contract was not renewed by the military, though the company was re-hired in 1999.

Tsk, tak. Profiteering. Corruption. Fraud. But we're hiring them again, so I guess we can be sure they've cleaned up their act.

1998

Cheney oversees Halliburton's merger with Dresser Industries, one of the companies that helped Saddam Hussein rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure after the First Gulf War, despite economic sanctions against Iraq. Dresser also had faced major liability issues concerning asbestos which prove to be onerous for the company's financial health.16 Halliburton uses two foreign subsidiaries to do $23 million worth of business with Iraq.17

Don't worry. A deal making sure Halliburton doesn't get hurt by the asbestos thing is working its way through Congress. Rumor has it that Congress is going to limit Halliburton's liability for them.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that. No reason why the federal Congress shouldn't stop all national business to pass a bit of protective legislation for a favored corporation, after all.)

It goes on and on. As does the list of subsidiaries. (Saudi Halliburton Logging? Are there a lot of forests in Saudi Arabia that I'm not aware of?)

Certainly their most recently famous subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root Services Inc., is doing booming business. (And have been, since Uncle Sam adopted them as his go-to guys.) KBR's Bush-era income and company growth are impressive.

They're going to have to hire some of our surplus labor to keep themselves going, aren't they?

But that's just Bush/Cheney's bestest favoritist company. What about more traditional defense stocks? Corporations like Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and TRW?

I was going to do a lot of research on them, but in the search I found this, so there's no point in me beating around the bush (so to speak). It's where I was headed.

Are we economically addicted to war?

I think we are. The proof is in the budget. More and more and more money every year for "defense" and less for...well, everything else. (Somehow I suspect this isn't really the "smaller government" that traditional conservatives had in mind. I mean, I'd like to assume that even those lunatics who think the Department of Education should be abolished would prefer schools to SCUDs, but maybe not? Who knows what drives the lunatic fringe?)

I'm pretty sure I quoted this one before, but it's worth repeating.

What gets measured, gets done.

Consider that for a moment. It says more than it seems to. It says that what you focus on is what's important to you. It says that when you single something out, that something becomes a priority.

What is the Bush Administration focusing on? (Hint: Enemies. Killing. Threats. Nuclear power. Biological weapons. Body counts.)

That's right. War.

More and more of your tax dollars are going to fund "defense" which, in the Bush Administration, means killing "them" before any of "them" get the idea to kill us. Execpt for the "us" we send over to kill "them" but omelette-egg and stuff.

If the economic health of our country gets any more entangled with the defense industry, then we'll only be "healthy" in the future when the defense industry is running at full steam. We'll pay taxes that will go mostly to the military to fund the various wars the government is fighting to protect our "corporate" interests.

When people die, we'll thrive.

Gives a whole new perspective to the concept of a "death tax" doesn't it?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:05 PM | Comments (2)
Oil, Bodies, and Guns

Will Iraq's oil resources be the country's saving or its ruin?

War or a healthy economy...we can't have both.

What's happening to the pictures of war dead and wounded? Our national media is notably free of images of the cost of war. Seems that it isn't the photographers, who are sending what they can get. It's the Corporate Management, deciding the public doesn't need to see them. Apparently, according to the article, dead or wounded USofA soldiers aren't appropriate images and there's a feeling that the war's supporters wouldn't be so keen if they had to look at pictures of a few dead bodies. Or a few blood-soaked children.

Angered by City Council's vote to ban some types of assault weapons, the National Rifle Association has pulled its 2007 annual convention from Columbus.

I think Columbus is better off without hordes of assault rifle-lovin' conventioneers on their streets. (registration)

The city cautioned the NRA in December, while it was negotiating the convention, that the ban might be coming, Mentel said. Officials wondered whether the NRA might have agreed to hold the convention in Columbus so it could yank it if the weapons ban was passed to make a point.

In case you were wondering, this is quite possible.

Posted by AnneZook at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)
Congress Must Halt Secure Flight

From Business Travel News.

Shortly after 9/11, the Bush administration proposed CAPPS II, which would have abandoned the specificity of the original CAPPS program for a broad data-mining approach. Under CAPPS II, travelers would have had names, addresses, dates of birth and other indicators checked against credit records, secret intelligence databases and consumer records compiled by "data aggregators" (companies that organize and sell information) like ChoicePoint. (ChoicePoint was tricked this year into handing over records on more than 140,000 customers to identity thieves.) The system would then have "ranked" passenger threat levels—and give each traveler a color-coded threat score.

Unease among the general public, as well as a critical assessment by Congress's investigative wing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), led lawmakers to halt the development of CAPPS II. The result? TSA reintroduced CAPPS II as Secure Flight with slightly different parameters, including the solemn promise not to cross-reference traveler records with top-secret databases or consumer records, both of which are notoriously inaccurate and consequently pose a serious risk of identifying innocent people as terrorists. Recently, however, TSA broke that promise, and showed Secure Flight to be little different than CAPPS II.

It's an op-ed, but well worth reading.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)
Harry Potter

Yes, I read the books. I enjoy them, although not with the fervor that many otherwise-adult fans seem to exhibit. Many of Jonathan's objections are mine. I'm very literal-minded and when I read of an imaginary universe, it drives me nuts when it's not logically assembled. The HP universe has many, many inconsistencies, and those bother me.

And, speaking of today's Most Popular Children's Series, what about this phenomenon, anyhow? Is it all okay if it makes kids read? Or is it not okay because it's not about the power of transformative change? Harry doesn't have to really struggle to become the hero, most of what he needs is born inside of him. He's a "natural" at so many of the skills he needs to fight evil and save the day...is that the wrong message to teach children? I didn't expect to find this particularly interesting, much less educational. But when I found myself reading quotes from Faust and contemplating what a society's popular literature says about it, I decided we should all take a look at it.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:56 PM | Comments (8)
You're Very Scary

Also? For those men who live in terror of being ravished by some homosexual man if homosexuality is openly accepted in our society?

First, I've already explained to you that you're not as sexually desirable as you think you are.

Second, you scare me. Me, as a woman.

The idea that you see the sex drive as some kind of barely leashed monster that's liable to break free and start ravaging passersby? That scares me.

The men I know and respect aren't animals. No matter how much they enjoy sex, they don't want to rape anyone. They understand that rape isn't sex.

You, on the other hand, don't seem to have grasped this. And that scares the heck out of me.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:08 PM | Comments (3)
Ex-Gay In Action

The NYTimes has Zach's story. (Thanks to Jonathan Dresner for the tip.)

MoJo's blog takes on the "reparative" therapy camp and shares my astonishment that ads of nearly nekkid wimmin can turn a boy gay.

They're referencing the Salon article, which most of you have probably already seen. This is Part 1 of a 4-part story.

(Do these people ever stop and think how difficult it would be for them to change their own sexual orientations? I don't understand why what they'd probably find impossible is, in their minds, possible for others?)

I know I post about this a lot and I find myself wondering if I should explain or excuse my interest in this story? I guess I could cover it under the, "First, they came for the..." rule, but there's more to it than that. I could mention that I have GLBT friends and that I'd rather they weren't persecuted by society. That's probably sufficient reason, but I have two other reasons.

Number one, I see GLBT rights as the civil rights issue of our day.

It's important. It's about equal rights and it's about privacy. It's about where we draw the line at allowing government to interfere in our personal lives. The minor progress toward acceptance made by our GLBT citizens is under assault as much or more than any other civil liberties gains we've made in the last thirty or forty years. We need to protect the progress we've made, but we also need to move ahead.

If we can't secure these for all of us, then how much do any of us really possess? As long as someone can be fired for the government for being homosexual, there's a danger they can be fired for being Muslim. Or Wiccan. Or Democrat. Or female. Or disabled. Or a minority. Or short.

It's about making a choice. It's between civilization and progress on the one hand and the bigotry of fundamentalist religions on the other hand.

I don't really care what The Little Church of Repression on your street corner says about anyone. Individuals are free to be narrow-minded bigots, that's the price of a democracy.

On the other hand, the law of this land has to protect the rights of all of us, equally.

We (the Left) didn't politicize religion, "They" did, and we need to reinstate the wall between Church and State. People just aren't rational when it comes to religion and I object, anyhow, to the question of civil rights being made a religious question.

The Republican Party leaders don't, for the most part, give a damn about homosexuality. Or abortion. Or the divorce rate. You can tell by the number of openly gay, repeatedly divorced, or adulterous members you can find among and around those same "leaders." They're using bigotry to manipulate the voting population, the exact same way they used to scaremonger about civil rights in the 60s. We need to block them.

The lies They told then, the hate They whipped up, the bigotry They inspired, are still bearing fruit today. It would be better for all of us if we managed to prevent them whipping up another generation with similar lies today, so that our children aren't fighting the fallout in thirty or forty years, don't you think?

It would be nice to think that in 30 years, we won't ever again have to to read about a man beating his 3 year-old son to death because he's afraid that his toddler is gay.

We have to fight for an honest picture of all sexuality. And to accept that sexuality (between consenting adults) is none of the government's business. Or the neighbors, for that matter.

We're fighting for a healthy bodies - healthy minds approach for everyone. It's time and past time that this sick society we live in started acting like sex was natural and bloodshed was inappropriate for children, don't you think?

Anyhow, I'm getting off-topic.

Number two, I have a lot of hot-buttons, but the hottest button is the one labeled, "child abuse."

The abuse started with Zach's parents who sat down with their teenaged son and told him he was sick, he was making them into failures, and that he needed to be "cured" of being who he was.

In my eyes, the day when Zach's mother demeaned her son to the point where the idea of killing her and then himself crossed his mind...on that day she was guilty of child abuse.

On the day when Zach's parents put some antique, badly translated piece of fiction before the life, health, and welfare of their child, they were both guilty of child abuse.

The LIA/R guy...I don't know about him. He's been fighting who he is for 20+years and the way he's chosen to sublimate his identity is by trying to convince as many people as possible to join him in abdicating their own identities. (They say misery loves company.)

He finds it necessary to repeatedly validate the choice he made...or that was forced upon him...which he can only do by remaining immersed in a place where he's reminded of it constantly. He has my sympathy, but I sure as hell wouldn't give him my child.

I'm outraged, though, that his LIA/R group is inflicting pain on a group of society's most vulnerable children. And I'm outraged that Zach's and the other childrens' parent's are so poorly informed, so closed-minded, and so careless of the gifts in their trust, that they are endangering their children's lives in a futile attempt to change their very natures, to warp them into being something other than what they are.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If this wasn't being done under the protective umbrella of "Christianity," it wouldn't be tolerated.

The national media's still-cautious coverage would give way to a frank discussion of whether or not sitting a troubled child down and demanding that (s)he share his/her sexual fantasies with a group of near-strangers is really appropriate "counseling." Classical music lovers would be up in arms over the identification of Bach as music likely to have a bad influence on children. Abercrombie and Fitch might well file charges for the potential damage to their brand image. Legitimate "counselors" all over the country would be lobbying to get these institutions either shut down or licensed and inspected. Psychiatrists and psychologists would be protesting against this debunked reprogramming cult. We'd be having a discussion of human nature and the extent to which it's advisable, or even permissible, to try and change people into homogenous little consumers.

But, no. It's calling itself "religion" so it's untouchable.

Bah.

Zach is getting out next week. I don't know what his future holds, but I'm hoping for the best.

______________________

From domestic homophobia to Guantanamo, our society is sick with hate.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:56 AM | Comments (2)
July 18, 2005
It's Not About The Oil?

What are we really doing in Iraq? Many of us have suspicions about Bush/Cheney ties to the oil industry, right?

The oil and gas industry has contributed over $66.7 million to the RNC, NRCC, NRSC, and Republican candidates since the 2000 election cycle. The oil and gas industry contributed more than $20 million to Republicans in the 2004 cycle alone-four times more than oil money donated to Democrats. In 2004, Exxon alone gave 831,941 to Republicans.

So. What did they get for their money?

According the Energy Information Administration, the price of regular, unleaded, gasoline has risen by 70 cents, or 47.9 percent, since Bush's 1st inauguration.

Tch, tch, tch. That's gotta hurt.

According to the Washington Post, "Oil companies reported record profits last year-and not just records for oil companies. Royal Dutch Shell earned $18.54 billion, while BP lagged behind with a net income of $15.73 billion, a company best. ExxonMobil broke the U.S. record by reporting a 2004 profit of $25.33 billion, taking the title away from Ford. ConocoPhillips's profit for the year rose 72 percent, while ChevronTexaco's grew 84 percent." Exxon's 2004 revenues were a company record: $298.03 billion. In February, Exxon surpassed General Electric Co. to become the largest U.S. corporation by stock market value.

Someone else, I meant.

A February 2004 analysis by the Energy Information Administration of the 2003 compromise energy bill-nearly identical to the current bill-found the price of oil and the level of imports would be "negligible" with or without that energy bill, all the way through 2025. According to the New York Times, Bush "advisers caution that the [Bush energy] plan would do little to address the escalating gasoline prices."
According to the Los Angeles Times, "Politically, it doesn't matter if such provisions deal with the long term, said [Stuart Roy, Republican strategist and former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. ‘The most important thing for policy makers in the current environment of relatively high gas prices and the approaching summer travel months is action.'" [LA Times, 4/16/05]

Any questions?

No?

Okay.

(From Democrats.org)

Posted by AnneZook at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)
Rights

Mustang Bobby is still on that "turn 'em into EX-gays scam.

Spain gets it right. A Long Road From Fascist Era to Gay Marriage

And The Republic of T is still on coverage of Zach's story.

(I think we need to legalize medical marijuana. And I think Scott McClellan should be given a prescription.)

Posted by AnneZook at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)
Metro Versus Real

Sounds like a cheesy horror movie, doesn't it?

Maybe we're living a cheesy horror flick?

Amanda at Pandagon puts the smack-down on another entry into that Real Men Aren't Metro-Sexual meme. (Some good stuff in the comments.)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:09 PM | Comments (2)