Fang-Face's blog

Accusations of flip-flopping are projections of shadow

Now, here's some interesting number crunching. An article entitled Bush By Numbers: Four Years of Double Standards, by Graydon Carter, was reprinted at Truthout.org. This is certainly an accounting you won't find the Bush campaign doing. This piece is an edited extract from "What We've Lost". It is equally condemnatory of the U.S. corporate press given how it illustrates how poorly Americans are informed.

Here's another good one from the Washington Post, entitled Who's the Flip-Flopper?, by Richard Cohen,
Thursday, August 5, 2004
. It appears as if Bush has a long, long string of flip-flopping to explain. I swear, the twit is worse than Tricky Dicky ever was.

Protecting votes and voters in the U.S.

Tuesday's Florida primary provided People For the American Way Foundation with a tremendous opportunity to do a test run of our Election Protection project. We put together, with our coalition partners, the Election Protection program in the aftermath of the 2000 elections, when an estimated four million voters nationwide were disenfranchised, and the nation suffered through the bitter election fiasco in Florida.

We can't let it happen again. Election Protection is designed to help every eligible voter cast a ballot that will be counted on Election Day; it is a program that educates, empowers and protects voters.

I'm proud to report that, thanks to the efforts of many, the trial run in Florida delivered excellent results. Hundreds of volunteers, including more than 75 trained lawyers and law students, were on hand in 60 targeted precincts to track voter problems and provide immediate help. The test supports the Election Protection coalition's plan to deploy 25,000 volunteers in some 17 states where minority voters are
most at risk.

While we found a few scattered problems during the Florida primary, history tells us that the general election in November is when voters face the greatest risk of intimidation and disenfranchisement. That's when our forces will be needed most to protect voters' rights.

One central reason for the existence of Election Protection is the threat of voter intimidation and voter suppression. That very real threat is underscored by the devastating report released last week by People For the American Way Foundation and the NAACP, "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today," and by recent news reports such as Bob Herbert's New York Times columns on the intimidation of scores of African-American voters by armed law enforcement
personnel in the Orlando area.

Dirty tricks at the polls and voter intimidation and suppression have been with us for decades. But as our report shows, there have been many examples in recent years.

  • This summer, Michigan state Rep. John Pappageorge (R-Troy) was quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election." African Americans comprise 83 of Detroit's population.
  • In South Dakota's June 2004 primary, Native American voters were prevented from voting after they were challenged to provide photo IDs, which they were not required to present under state or federal law.
  • Earlier this year in Texas, a local district attorney claimed that students at a majority black college were not eligible to vote in the county where the college is located. It happened in Waller County - the same county where 26 years earlier, a federal court order was required to prevent discrimination against the students.
  • In Kentucky in July 2004, Black Republican officials joined to ask their state GOP party chairman to renounce plans to place "vote challengers" in African American precincts during the coming elections.
  • In 2003 in Philadelphia, voters in African American areas were systematically challenged by men carrying clipboards, driving a fleet of some 300 sedans with magnetic signs designed to look like law enforcement insignia.
  • In 2002 in Louisiana, flyers were distributed in African American communities telling voters they could go to the polls on Tuesday, December 10th - three days after a Senate runoff election was actually held.
  • In 1998 in South Carolina, a state representative mailed 3,000 brochures to African American neighborhoods, claiming that law enforcement agents would be "working" the election, and warning voters that "this election is not worth going to jail."

For those of us who cherish the accomplishments of the civil rights era, and who honor the memory of the men and women who sacrificed so much in the fight to secure voting rights for every American, our report is a timely reminder. We must stay vigilant. Threats to our voting rights have never wholly disappeared - they've just taken on new and more cynical guises, and are employed with new tactics. Constant vigilance is required.

That's why this is such an important year for Election Protection. With our more than 60 national coalition partners, Election Protection will provide services around the country:

  • A toll-free hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, for voters to access free, immediate and multi-lingual assistance with registration, voting and barriers at the ballot box.
  • 25,000 trained poll monitors, including 5,000 lawyers and law students, to watch for problems and assist voters on the spot at more than 3,500 predominantly African American and Latino precincts in at least 17 states.
  • Civil rights lawyers and advocates to represent voters in lawsuits, preserve access to the polls, expose and prevent voter intimidation, and solve problems with new voting machines and ballot forms.
  • More than five million Voters' Bills of Rights with state-specific information for distribution in almost all 50 states.

This year, Election Protection is the nation's single largest and most far-reaching effort to protect voter rights EVER! And your support makes it possible. Please help by volunteering to become an Election Protection volunteer and by making a generous tax-deductible contribution today.

Thank you for helping us make sure every voter can vote and that these votes will count!

Thank you, Ralph G. Neas President

Become an Election Protection volunteer: http://www.electionprotectionvolunteer.org/pfaw Support Election Protection with a contribution: http://www.pfaw.org/go/EP_sponsor_2004

Department of Fatherland Insecurity

The so-called security forces in the U.S. seem to be engaged in a full scale program of propaganda and defamation. There are COINTELPRO operations going on and FBI agents are showing up on the doorsteps of Free Speakers to "question" them. I have no doubt that this program is based on the a priori assumption of violence and not because there is anything anyone can point to as evidence.

More to the point, the Department of Fatherland Insecurity is smearing anybody it can, including non-Americans who were not even planning on going to New York. Activist Jaggi Singh is one such person, and he examines the tissue of lies and disinformation being promulgated by law enforcement agencies and their dupes in the corporate media. He writes in part:

As some of you might know, there has been a series of scare-mongering articles in New York City and beyond - targeting mainly anarchists and other left-wing political organizers - in anticipation of the mobilization against the Republican National Convention (RNC) this weekend and next week. Some of these articles mention me by name (although I was never contacted beforehand for comment by any of the reporters, and I'm not even attending the anti-RNC protests).

He then goes on to debunk the completely fabricated allegations about his activities.

For that matter this anti-speech movement seems to be getting as much press on Canadian indy media web sites as on American.

Whistleblowing about the FBI's intimidation tactics comes in part from the ACLU -- whose mission is to ensure that government plays fair in its dealings with We the People. Nat Hentoff wrote about that aspect of the issue in a commentary that was posted on The Washington Times Web site on 30 Aug, and which was reprinted at the First Amendment Center web site.

I remember the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover, who urgently believed that Americans actively protesting against government policies, including those of the FBI, required surveillance and chilling visitations by its agents to counsel them that certain speech resulted in unpleasant consequences for them. Current intimidation of protesters by Robert Mueller's FBI brings back my memories of the 1950s and 1960s.

Back then, FBI agents came to see me, demanding the sources for my criticisms of the Bureau. Knowing my First Amendment rights, I politely sent them away. They did not return.

These days, however, FBI agents before last month's Democratic convention and this week's Republican convention have - with particular zeal, as described in an Aug. 19 editorial by the Denver Post - "gone about their mission aggressively, with little regard for basic rights and without evidence that the people they are trying to dissuade are actually intending any criminal activity."

Of course there are almost certainly rioters who will capitalize on any protest or demonstration, but the focus of the FBI is misdirected toward those groups who have no history of violent protest. While the police in many communities and situations have a solid history of going off half-cocked and initiating the violence for which the peaceful protesters are then blamed. Seattle -- Quebec City -- Genoa .

U.S. still biggest sponsor of terrorists

Here's a nice little piece of whistleblowing. Cheney smiled, backslapped, and glad-handed with Saddam Hussein, Bush was in bed with the bin Ladens, and now Colin Powell has taken his turn protecting brutality and terrorism.

Nowhere are the terrorist double standards and danger to Americans clearer than in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative and one of four Cuban Americans granted amnesty last week by the government of outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso following a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that same week. In 1998, Carriles admitted in a New York Times interview that he planned a series of bombings of hotels and other buildings in Cuba.

Posada Carriles and another colleague are also accused of masterminding the midair explosion of Cubana Flight 455 carrying the Cuban fencing team and other passengers. Carriles was convicted in Venezuelan courts of the bombing and served eight years in prison there before he escaped. In the same way those 9/11 families search for the truth in the U.S., families searching for truth about victims of Cubana 455 believe that Colin Powell's visit to Panama last week led Moscoso to grant prisoners amnesty during her final days in office so that Washington could avoid the embarrassment of a Carilles extradition and trial in Cuban or Venezuelan courts.

Well, maybe we are simply expecting Bush's neo-fascist regime to learn the wrong lessons of history. It seems to be very well versed in Machiavelli's teachings. Now, if only they could stop getting caught. . . .

Open letter to the not-so-swift Boat Veterans

Unfit - My Letter To The Swift Boat Organization John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Letter

About the author: John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970

Dear Sirs:

In the face of fact after fact that exposes your lies, you continue to foul and slander John Kerry. Your words and deeds cast doubt on all the honorable men who served gallantly; question the competence of former military leadership; and hurl dispersions on fellow soldiers, while denigrating the dead.

And for what?

You choose to align yourselves with those who smeared an honorable Vietnam POW, calling into question his sanity and his survival of the Hanoi Hilton. You choose to serve those who disgracefully painted a Vietnam veteran triple amputee as unpatriotic and less than a true American.

Where were you then? John Kerry was there for his fellow veteran brothers, where were you?

You choose to support men who had other priorities than serving their country. Men, whose self-interest was more important than duty, honor, and country; and you prefer to serve a man who treated his military obligation like Alcoholics Anonymous; picking and choosing what meetings he would or would not attend.

You choose to aid those who have soiled themselves with the blood of others.

You choose to be finger-puppets of a media obsessed with ratings and tabloid sensationalism. A media, that willfully avoids the truth and pain of the daily toll in Iraq: willing to set veteran against veteran in order to increase viewer share. A media, that happily promotes an old war as a means of avoiding responsibility for its promotion of the new war.

You choose to inflate your shriveled egos with the spotlight of hate and slander. You choose to deny both the truth and the lie that was Vietnam. Like the man you support, you choose to look away from the flag-draped reality of today, and instead, seek yesterday's false reflection, in hope of revenge. But you cannot right a wrong war, whether then or now.

I crawled the mud paddies of Vietnam and stuck my fingers in the gaping wounds, trying to stop the oozing blood that drained the life from my fellow soldiers. I have walked the old paths of war and seen the children that even today, lose limbs from the unexploded ordinance of yesterday's war. I have seen more honor and compassion in the eyes of the men who were once my enemy, than in the twisted piety of your vitriolic defamation.

You now seek to cover your previous words of endorsement with the stench of vomit and partisan bile. You speak of wanting honesty and openness, but your actions belie your lips.

You have chosen vanity over valor, hubris over honor, character assassination and fraud over fact. You have chosen to enfold yourself in the shadows of partisan politics while sniping at those who stand in the open light of their record. You have chosen to wear the uniform of shame.

No sirs, with all due respect, I submit that it is you, who are Unfit.

Typical Republican tactic

Kerry's most vocal critic has been caught in a flat out lie:

In newspaper interviews and a best-selling book, Larry Thurlow, who commanded a Navy Swift boat alongside Kerry in Vietnam, has strongly disputed Kerry's claim that the Massachusetts Democrat's boat came under fire during a mission in Viet Cong-controlled territory on March 13, 1969. Kerry won a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

And there is more of the same
by David Corn at The Nation

The question is: Was Thurlow lying then, or is he lying now?

Well, he has much more to gain now than he did then, and by lying now he is currying political favour with the White House, and this entire administration was founded from the get go on egregious deceit and manipulation that goes way beyond standard politics. But then, what can you expect from a group composed disproportionately of draft dodgers, and who go out of their way to smear as unAmerican and unpatriotic people like Max Cleland who did serve and were injured honourably. Cleland, after all, is only a triple amputee, but I'm sure the Bushies will tell us that he just made all that up about enemy fire so we wouldn't know how he lost his arm and legs to a hangnail.

Har har!

Now, here's an amusing je ne sais quoi:

You can find out more about it at The Nation web site.

Sexist spoilsports!

Olympic Beach Volleyball is a sexist event!

I caught some of it this afternoon and lo and behold! -- the women participated in bikinis; the men wore short-sleeved, hip length shirts and shorts halfway down their thighs.

This is clearly sexist! The men should be made to play in muscle shirts cut off at the ribs and speedos! Girls like looking too, you morons!

Don' wanna see his output hit the fan

GREEK SECURITY TEAM FAILS TO NOTICE GIANT HORSE

Mysterious Wooden Structure Causing Pre-Olympic Jitters

Olympic security officials in Athens, Greece conceded today that they
had failed to notice a giant wooden horse that had been wheeled to
within meters of the Olympic stadium sometime late last week.

The sudden appearance of the gigantic horse, which was said to measure
over one hundred cubits in width, has raised fresh concerns that the
security around the Olympic complex might be more porous than originally
thought.

"When you're spending over $1.5 billion in security, quite frankly,
somebody shouldn't be able to wheel a giant wooden horse right up to
your stadium," said one U.S. official today.

But Thanasis Kyriakou, who is coordinating the security efforts for the
2004 Olympics, said that the horse, while of unknown origin, posed no
serious security threat to the Games, which are set to begin in three
days. "If anything,this gigantic horse is only bringing more attention
to the Olympics," he said. "I see this horse as a tremendous gift."

Sharply disagreeing with Mr. Kyriakou is NBC Sports Chairman Dick
Ebersol, who said that the unplanned presence of a gigantic horse could
ruin his network's coverage of the Games.

"It's wrecking all of our camera angles," Mr. Ebersol said. "Everywhere
you look, there's that dopey horse in the background."

For his part, Mr. Kyriakou believes that the enormous horse could
enhance viewership of the Olympics and has even recommended wheeling the
mysterious wooden structure into the stadium itself.

"I say let the horse in," he said. "What's the worst that could happen?"

The Borowitz Report http://www.borowitzreport.com

. . . and the enemy is your own gubmint

And the hits just keep on happening!

Well, boyz & berries, it seems that the Bush administration has chalked up another anology equating them with the Hitler regime. The government of the U.S. is its own worst enemy in the "War on Terror".

For all their white papers, for all their carefully-laid plans, for all the power and fancy titles these erstwhile think-tankers managed to gather unto themselves, their works are now blood-crusted dust. They are clearly not as smart as they thought they were. The overall 'War on Terror' itself has plenty of examples of these boys not being too swift on the uptake. Iraq is only the largest, and costliest, example.

The case of Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan is another perfect example. Khan was a mole, deep undercover within the ranks of al Qaeda, who was sending vital data on the terror organization from Pakistan to British and American intelligence. But officials with the Bush administration, desperate to show the American people they were making headway in the terror war, barfed up Khan's name to the press while bragging about recent arrests. Khan's position as a mole within al Qaeda was summarily
annihilated. The guy we had inside was blown.

Pretty smart, yes? "The whole thing smacks of either incompetence or worse," said Tim Ripley, a security expert who writes for Jane's Defense publications, in a Reuters article on the blown agent. "You have to ask: what are they doing compromising a deep mole within al Qaeda, when it's so difficult to get these guys in there in the first place? It goes against all the rules of counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, running agents and so forth. It's not exactly cloak and dagger undercover work
if it's on the front pages every time there's a development, is it?"

This would be the second agent we know of who has been blown by the arrogant stupidity of the Bush administration. The other, of course, was Valerie Plame. Plame was a 'Non-Official Cover' agent, or NOC, for the CIA. NOC designates the deepest cover an agent can have. Plame's deep-cover assignment was to run a network dedicated to tracking any person, nation or group that might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Because her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had the temerity to
accuse the Bush administration of lying in the public prints, the administration blew Plame's cover as a warning to Wilson and any other whistleblowers who might have thought of coming forward.

The Bush administration blew Khan's cover because they wanted to get a soundbite out for the election campaign. They blew Plame out of sheer spite, and out of desperation. The mole we had inside al Qaeda, and an agent we had tracking the movement of weapons of mass destruction, are both finished now because the PNAC boys are watching all their plans go awry, and they don't quite know what to do about it. That makes them stupid and exceedingly dangerous.

--William Rivers Pitt, The Writing on the Latrine Walls, 09 Aug 2004

Off hand, I'd have to say that this is part of a consistent pattern of behaviour by the administration, considering the case of Sibel Emonds as reported by Nat Hentoff:

The dismissed accuser, Sibel Edmonds -- a linguist and translator with expertise in Mideast languages -- was hired by the FBI soon after Sept. 11. As the Boston Globe reported July 5: "Sifting through old classified materials in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, [Edmonds] said, she made an alarming discovery:

Intercepts relevant to the terrorist plot, including references to skyscrapers, had been overlooked because they were badly translated into English."

Moreover, on Oct. 27, 2002, Ms. Edmonds told a reporter for CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" that there was a large backlog of untranslated FBI interviews with possible terrorists, in addition to wiretaps. But she was told to do her work slowly so that the FBI could get a bigger budget to hire more translators. Ms. Edmonds also had revealed to her superiors that one of her colleagues was involved with an organization under FBI surveillance.

They were not pleased to hear from her on that.

For her industrious whistleblowing, Ms. Edmonds was fired in March 2002.

So, how soon do you think we are going to see charges against the Bush regime and the FBI of unAmericanism, being soft on terror, treason?

Ha!

As if.

This kind of incompetence in management is what cost Hitler the war.

Maybe it's time I updated my Bush/Hitler comparison.

Molly Ivins borrows a cup of sugar

Molly Ivins came to see us up here in the Great White North (called Soviet Canuckistan by ultra-right wing nuts who don't like that we won't kiss their asses), and wrote
a nice little synopsis of how Canadians look at U.S. politics.

What is most striking to me every time I visit this country is how much more Canadians know about the United States and the rest of the world than many Americans do. Because they are generally less provincial than we are and certainly pay more attention to world news, they are acutely aware of how much the Bush administration has increased anti-Americanism around the globe. That's why so many of them are stupefied at the idea he might be re-elected – they perceive him as having done great harm to his own country.

So, . . . this means I am more knowledgeable about Amurcan politics than Conservatives and more qualified to comment on them thereby?

New commentary: What Constitutes "Information"?

I have a new commentary posted at my site entitled: What Constitutes "Information"?. It's a brief encouragement on critical thinking.

Why did Bush go to war, really?

Here's an interesting commentary on Bush's grounds for the invasion of Iraq. Bushites don't need to read this, since it at Alternet.org and it is critical of Bush, you can just blow it off a priori as irrelevant. War on Iraq: Why Bush Went to War is well written and balanced look at U.S. military adventurism in the Persian Gulf.

As the nation begins debate on how to reform the intelligence community, it is essential to remember that the Iraq war was not driven by bad intelligence, per se. As Bush's former director of policy planning admitted, this was a "war of choice." Intelligence was not used to make a decision for war, it was manipulated to mislead Americans into backing a war already planned.

Publicly, President Bush offered four rationales to justify the invasion:
the presence of WMD, Iraqi collaboration with Al Qaeda, the possibility of giving WMD to Al Qaeda, and bringing democracy to Iraq. Since the invasion, numerous commissions have shown the first three to be plainly false. The lack of post-war planning, the elevation of Iyad Allawi and the pervasive corruption among U.S.-funded contractors has put the lie to the
fourth rationale.

So just why did Bush choose war?

For those of you who do not assign credibility in accordance with political leaning: Patrick Doherty is associate editor at TomPaine.com, spent 10 years working on conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans and the Caucasus and holds a Master's degree in security studies from the Fletcher School.

Al-Qaida/Bush Link

I found an interesting article by way of the following very brief note that was posted to Alternet.org.

Al Qaeda not focused on election

Posted by Lakshmi on July 27, 2004 @ 10:42AM

Shibley Telhami in Beirut's Daily Star argues that the terrorist network is not interested in influencing the outcome of the presidential election in November. Since the terrorists' main goal is "to rally Muslims worldwide against the United States to create a sense of a clash of civilizations," the current U.S. policy is working just fine in their view. Muslims in the Arab world -- Al Qaeda's main constituency -- are angrier than ever at the United States. Even if there is an October surprise, it would not be to oust the incumbent government, as in Spain, but to push Americans to rally around Bush, the terrorists' best bet in isolating the U.S.

I'm sure that somebody will simply blow it off as nonsense since the author is a foreigner and couldn't possible know what he was talking about.

Words about Edwards

Here's something that should make any Bushite as happy as a pig in shit:

''The disturbing words of John Edwards'' by John Chuckman - YT Columnist (Canada)

Mind you, this column might leave some Bushites terribly conflicted; after all, since Chuckman is a permanent resident in Canada and cannot vote in the U.S. thereby, he really doesn't have any business being critical of a presidential candidate, does he? Not to mention his being a draft dodger. Oh wait, so is Bush.

Geez! What's a guy to do?!

[John Chuckman is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil
company. He has many interests and is a lifelong student of history. He
writes with a passionate desire for honesty, the rule of reason, and
concern for human decency. He is a member of no political party and takes
exception to what has been called America's "culture of complaint" with
its habit of reducing every important issue to an unproductive argument
between two simplistically defined groups. John left the United States
as a poor young man from the South Side of Chicago when the government
embarked on the murder of millions of Vietnamese in their own land
because they happened to embrace the wrong economic loyalties. He lives in
Canada, which he is fond of calling "the peaceable kingdom."]

Republican Politics

THINGS YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE TO BE A REPUBLICAN TODAY:

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's cocaine conviction is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.

You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

Feel free to pass this on.

If you don't send it to at least 10 other people, we're likely to be stuck with Bush for 4 more years.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

The Ol' One Double Ought

Hit the big 100 this morning. Finally. That's one hundred accepted story submissions here at LISNews. Nine rejections at the time. I look forward to showering dung and derision in all directions for the next hundred, as well.

Compensations

Our library likes to punish people by making them line up for hourly
internet, and then it's the slowest connection I've ever seen. Seems
like 14.4 slow. Also, strange word processors that aren't compatable
with anything I've ever tried to use. Still, there are cute girls there,
which one wouldn't expect, but maybe it's my strange standards.
--Jack Ruttan, 24 July 2004 (Montreal, QC, Canada)

The bats in his belfry

Arianna Huffington has an article entitled George W. Bush: Presidential or Pathological?, posted to Alternet.org. I don't think it's supposed to be a commentary about the book Bush on the Couch, which is why I'm posting this in my journal instead of suggesting it as a story. She writes in part (harkening back to the title):

That is the highly provocative question being asked in Bush on the Couch, a new book in which psychoanalyst and George Washington University professor Dr. Justin Frank uses the president's public pronouncements and behavior, along with biographical data, to craft a comprehensive psychological profile of Bush 43.

[...]

Poking around in the presidential psyche, Frank uncovers a man suffering from megalomania, paranoia, a false sense of omnipotence, an inability to manage his emotions, a lifelong need to defy authority, an unresolved love-hate relationship with his father, and the repercussions of a history of untreated alcohol abuse.

Other than that, George Bush is the picture of psychological health.

This piece basically examines the mindset and attitudes of this particular despot. It's not a pretty picture; even setting aside the rhetoric.

We Must Respect The Children

For the most part, contemporary society violates principles of biology, sociology, psychology, and anthropology.

First: there is this blind insistence that a person becomes an adult at 18, and that even at 17 years 364 days, he is still physically, emotionally, and intellectually the equivalent of a two year. This is due mostly to societal complaisance about the age of majority. We have generally forgotten that it is an artificial constraint that has no bearing on reality. More recently, age of majority has been exploited and abused by ultra-conservatives in efforts to effect censorship.

What we need to do to correct this is two things. One: focus on each person as an individual; two: recognize that a child stops being a child and becomes a biological adult at menarche, for girls, and the onset of nocturnal emissions for boys.

At that point, the prospect should be considered an apprentice-adult.

Secondly: If we did that, then we would be respecting in part the concept of neotony. "Neotony" simply describes a period of time, much like the word "gestation" means the length of time from conception to birth; for humans gestation is nine months. Neotony is the period of time it takes a specimen to go from birth to independent adulthood. In humans, that would be thirteen or fourteen years, perhaps as few as twelve, but it depends on how simple your civilization is, I guess. I suppose in a
semi-nomadic, hunter-gatherer society neotony could be twelve years easily.

In this day and age even eighteen isn't enough in technologized-industrial societies, but we are still wired for 13/14, and there is that that blind belief that a legislated age of majority somehow has an impact on physical reality.

Thirdly: Albert Mazlow once conceived of what he called a hierarchy of needs; a series of society-wide personal desires that every person must fulfill one by one to feel self-worth. He arranged them into a pyramid, but a ladder would have done just as well. The first of his needs, was that a person must feel himself to be a productive member of society. (Which is why the unemployed and poverty stricken are such easy targets for white supremacist recruiting.)

Now, before the Industrial Revolution kicked in, children were pretty much expected to do their fair share of work around the farm or manor, and farm kids today are still learning how to drive tractors as young as seven. And Juliet Capulet was past marrying-age at thirteen. We can still see echoes of thirteen or fourteen being the age of majority today, though, in particular in the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah, when the prospect stands up in front of friends, family, and congregation and says,
"Today, I am an adult."

In contemporary society, it is not possible to be an independent adult at 13/14. Society has evolved far too quickly for us to have evolved along with it. The result is, along about fifteen or so, adolescents start taking more control over their lives and making more decisions for themselves. Make's 'em hell to live with. But those adolescents who respond this way, do so, in my not so humble opinion, because the have not met the first of Mazlow's needs. This generates a profound pressure on
the prospect. It can be likened to the drive a pupa or chick must feel when it is time to burst out of the chrysalis or egg.

And the result all of this is a condition called acculturation. [...] In sociology, acculturation is basically a condition whereby you feel alienated from society -- thrust outside of it. If a person who is acculturated has no social support group, he can be driven to despair, and thence to suicide.

(The worst cases of acculturation here in Canada, so I believe, are among the amerindians with the highest rates of substance abuse and chemical dependency; especially the Innu of Davis Inlet.)

I believe that we can correct these conditions with an apprentice-adult program. Along about twelve years old, a person's schooling should be directed toward what is expected of them as adults. Classes should accent Social Studies along with History and Geography, and comprehensive sex-ed. A system can even be adopted whereby a prospect is recognized as a biological adult, although it would be easier for girls, of course, not to mention a couple of years sooner for individual girls than for
boys. Just a quick trip to a midwive during that first period, and a certificate can be issued on the spot. It'll be tougher for boys, however, aside from the later maturation; it's not so easy to prove a nocturnal emission, although I suppose a sample could be provided for DNA testing.

At fourteen, another ceremony, like the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, where the prospect is recognized as an adult (with qualifications), and given the right to vote (as well as a recognition of the age of consent). Along with that, as part of his schooling, he would have to provide X hours of community service for credit.

By the time he's sixteen he gets his driver's permit, probationary, having taken courses in driver's ed, substance use and abuse, and chemical dependency. And I mean with real information; not those bloody useless ultra-right wing-nut scare-tactic lectures.

Hell, have 'em stand in for an autopsy if you can swing it!

"So, kids. You think it'd be cool to live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse? Well, here's what one of you would look like at room temperature."

[SWOOOSHHHH!] Off comes the sheet.

"Bllllleeeeeeaaaaaaaacccccchhhhhhhhhhh!" into the buckets.

But I digress.

Eighteen means full franchisement.

I firmly believe that if we did that the rate of teenage suicide would plummet.

Of course, all this would make sense, and it would also mean all those kids would become adults who are able to think for themselves, so you may rest assured that congresscritters and assorted elected officious would only sneer at the idea and say, "Don't be silly, they're just kids! We can't let them grow up that quickly!"

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