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Comments Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia

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The long goodbye

The decline and death of a culture might seem like a bad thing to an observer, but unless it is a cataclysmic destruction as I remember from my life in Atlantis, it is a progression as natural (and bittersweet) as being born, aging and finally passing away. Ancient Egyptian culture spanned three millenia. There is still an Egypt, but the people are Arabs now, with a different language, religion and culture. The same is true of Rome and Greece. Well, I guess they still speak Greek. I am just commenting, not trying to edify anybody. Change is usually tolerable because it usually doesn’t happen in a lifetime. While the birthrate in Europe is declining, it is thriving elsewhere, and the only danger to the human race is from its own ability for self-destruction. European culture will pass into history, and as Carol has noted, we will not recognize the America of our descendants. The sooner the Euros go, the better. I have to wonder what is up with these people clinging to their ridiculous monarchies. I guess it is their only link to their glorious years of pillaging colonialism, but it is hard to think of any
European monarchs who weren’t murdering despots. So why revere their ineffectual descendants?

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 18/April/2005 @ 3:58 am

Bring back the draft?

John, thanks for your thoughts on this thought-provoking article. Personally, I would favor the draft only to provide for homeland defense. Punishing our enemies can be done more efficiently with long range missiles and smart bombs than with ground troops. When I remember the images of Muslims around the world dancing in the streets on 9/11, I really have to say I don’t care about collateral damage.

While there are many professional soldiers who truly love their jobs, I would argue that there are a greater number who signed up for the bonuses and educational benefits, not really hoping to end up in a war. During the VietNam era, NG stood for National Guard, or “not going” in the GI vernacular. That onus is removed today, but I still doubt you will find a significant number of guardsmen who joined for the opportunity to fight for extended periods overseas.

George W “Warlord” Bush was definitely a fan of not going, and the clever Cheney managed to get four deferrals. And it is this same class of elitists who are avoiding this war. With the military being such a great and noble career, it is surprising that only four children of Congressmen are serving. I am just a miserable, cynical old man, but it still seems to me this war is about economics and politics and not about exporting democracy.

I am not a liberal, but I do believe in the sovereignty of the individual. There are times when we must sacrifice for the collective good of our society, but I have to concur with Kevin and Ashley in this case: we have plenty of opportunity to improve our own democracy without forcing young people to die for such a debatable cause as Iraq.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 19/February/2005 @ 8:09 am

Something else bears do in the woods

If no one else is going to say, I will: these pictures are grisly.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 05/February/2005 @ 10:43 am

John, I must say… Between your folksy adventures in Korea and your strident defense of your political views, this is the most interesting thing I have read here. I appreciate the wilderness and its beasts as much as the next guy, but I don’t care ever to run across a grizzly of any size or in any circumstances. We are all indeed sharing but a strand in the web of life. I couldn’t help taking a moment to really consider what it would be like to be taken alive, ripped apart and eaten by a wild animal so huge that resistance would be no less futile for the fight.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 04/February/2005 @ 12:34 pm

Great minds thinking alike and all that…

Ashley, I suppose your questions are rhetorical, but if you truly want clarification, read on.
8. The Nazis rose from a small right wing political party to control of the most powerful industrial nation on the European continent to control of that continent in a relatively short period of time. One of their tactics was finding an enemy (Jews) to blame everything on, whip the people into a frenzy of fear and hatred, invade neighbors for the control of their resources, usw.
There was much more about Nazism than killing Jews. In fact, that part of their strategy was manifested somewhat late in their reign. Maybe I can find a different label for Ashcroft… Fascist, Torquemada, McCarthy… something that smacks of self-righteous evil.
3. I thought I made the point I don’t care what the fringe extremists have to say. Whether he is a senator, a professor, or a fundamentalist Bible waver, he has a right to his opinions and I have a right not to care. As for being a professor, should our rule be to shelter college students from different points of view? Are they not smart enough to reject the absurd. If he is to be kept off the campus, then should we not also exclude homosexuals, communists and the fundamentalist who reject basic science? Maybe Democrats who oppose the war should not be allowed to teach. They might dissuade their students from military service, then where would we be? Some rich Republican kids might have to go fight. Right now, we have an “all volunteer” military composed largely of working class kids who are just trying to get money for college.
4. Bush has been a coke head and by extension a supporter of drug trafficking. He regularly opeated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and cocaine– but there is no evidence he killed anybody like Teddy. He has been involved in some business deals that should have drawn the attention of the SEC. He has skated clean where the Clinton’s and Martha Stewart got raked.
5. My understanding of the admission policies of Ivy League schools is that if your daddy is an alumnus, it counts more points than grades and SAT scores. Add a big donation to that and you are in. His undergrad GPA was around 2.0, and he might have cheated to get that. Maybe we just don’t define bright the same way. I think graduating from one of the military academies is far more impressive than being a freaking Yalie, especially if you fashion yourself war leader.
6. No, money is not inherently evil. It’s all in how you come by it. There are many wealthy people who are true philanthropists– but the only ones I can think of are Democrats. Most people seem happy with our political process, and they think politicians really care about serving our best interests. I am not among those who worship mediocrity, so I must live out my days in frustration. All the great civilizations of the past have collapsed and I don’t see how ours can do any better if we continue to choose leaders who serve only special interests, who do not think protecting the environment is important, who ingnore the infrastructure and domestic problems that weaken our country in order to serve the interests of business.
7. Cheney has made a lot of money polluting the environment and shaking down the taxpayers. During his oversight Halliburton was and continues to boost their profits by operating on the dimmest margins of the law. He owns and is owned by businesses profiting from this war he helped to conjure up. I saw a graph on the net that showed a comparison between the body count of the Bush-Cheney war and the money Cheney’s “blind trusts” have made. I consider it immoral and corrupt, and by extension inhuman.
9. I know this is not a question, but I sense by your response you think Rice is not a liar. People who work in criminal justice and intelligence have some scientific training for judging when someone is lying. Of course it’s not an exact science. But I believe she is lying, and so does Babs Boxer, and Babs and me normally only agree on environmental protection. Sounds like a hung jury.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 31/January/2005 @ 4:43 am

John, I dutifully read your suggested blogs and found it all to be a big yawn. This is a pretty big country. Lots of people on the left and lots of people on the right and the vast majority crowding up the middle. The media, being what it is, mostly reports the spewings of the extremes to pique the interest of those in the middle. When you wave the flag (and I do like to see it wave!) remember one of the things that makes this country so different is everyone having their right to voice their disagreement with the government. There are other countries that operate under the democratic concept that do not enjoy the liberties we do. I am equally frightened and amused that the Rightists claim to be the champions of liberty, the exporters of democracy, even as they carve out chunks of our freedom to tighten their own grip on power.

I don’t imagine anybody outside of Massachusetts cares what Kennedy has to say. He is a joke, and like Bush, his family connections have kept him out of prison. And to me, that’s really the big problem with our political system. The greatest nation in the history of the world, and these are the low-grade people we put in our highest offices. Come on! I’m not saying Bush is an idiot, but he sure isn’t bright. Don’t you think we deserve a bright leader to represent us before the world and to command the most potentially destructive armed forces on the planet? Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is what the majority wanted. But it’s not like they had a lot of options. How about a law that says if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and a Saudi nose up your ass, you can’t run for President?

Now you might say not to worry, Bush has bright people feeding him his decisions. Let’s see, that would be Cheney, a corrupt and evil caricature of a human. And Rumsfeld, who fired every general who knew how to run a war and voice a dissenting opinion. The blessedly retired Ashcroft, who was like a Nazi, except Nazis were more honest about their intentions. And Condo Rice. Yes Virginia, she IS a LIAR. If you don’t know that by word and deed, just look into her eyes. On a TV screen from 3000 miles away, I can see it.

And what happened to the separation of church and state? We are exploring space, and we have idiots in power who want to spend our limited education funds teaching children that Darwinism is some obscure and evil theory, and the earth is only 6,000 years old.

Scarey times these are. I think I am far more concerned about what the government is up to than what the fringes are saying about it. And if I sound like part of the lunatic fringe, I am. The way far right. I say let’s embrace the constitution and the principles our brave founding fathers fought for. Let’s find a way to wrest the electoral process away from the moneyed interests and give real people a chance to be elected. Let’s take care of America.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 30/January/2005 @ 2:19 am

We’re sorry!

John, it is eerily Michael Moore-like the way you infer so many incorrect conclusions from a simple personal attack on the Bush-Cheney monster. I certainly do not advocate withdrawing from Iraq, and certainly do not wish to lose this or any war. It pleases me no end that we are regularly killing anti-American insurgents. To pull out of Iraq would be to dishonor our fine servicemen and women who have been killed and maimed in this ill-conceived and poorly executed adventure. What I don’t know is how long we should stay in Iraq to ensure the survival of democracy. I believe the Iraqis will prove as unwilling to fight for democracy as did the South Vietnamese. I am floored to learn that Iraqi nationals in the US will be allowed to vote absentee in the upcoming election. These are scum who fled Iraq rather than resist Saddam; they live here now in comfort while our boys fight for their democracy. If they want to vote, they should go home and grab a rifle.

Most Americans will fight to defend America. But the government needs to lie in order to motivate a lot of people to die for someone else’s freedom. Anybody who is against America is my enemy and I am all for exterminating them. But for our children to die for democracy for a people who have never fought for their own democracy is a crock of crap. Yet that is the package Cheney-Bush is peddling. Big surprise when I drive past the recruitment centers I don’t see any waiting lines.

Cheney-Bush was elected, perhaps even fair and square, and I have no problem with that. My problem is with people who think because Cheney-Bush won, I have lost my right to criticize. I just can’t respect a man who is morally corrupt; who claims to be guided by his Christian faith, but whose actions counter the teachings of Jesus as I understand them. I can’t respect a man who sends young men and women to die for democracy in Iraq when he was unwilling to risk his own skin for the democracy of South Vietnam.

It is not the war I oppose. I believe our service men and women deserve better leaders. And I believe Cheney-Bush is a liar. And like yours, all of my beliefs are correct.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 29/January/2005 @ 10:48 am

Thank you, Carol. No one will convince me that Cheney or his lap-puppet Bush have ever acted on an altruistic notion.

» Posted By burlybasstedinbenicia On 27/January/2005 @ 6:42 am

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