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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-10-14 - 11:24 a.m.

Right or Left? Authoritarian or Libertarian? Honest or Dishonest?

Yesterday I posted a link to a site where you could determine your political “label.” Last night President Bush called John Kerry the most liberal senator, further left even than Ted Kennedy. [Andhere's a good review of last night's debate.]Actually, the people at Political Compass have gone over Senator Kerry’s and President Bush’s comments during the campaign, as well as their voting records, and while Kerry is more liberal than George Bush, he still falls to the right of midline, although not as authoritarian. The political compass takes into account both economic and social placement with views to the north of the midline varying degrees of authoritarian, while to the south of midline, libertarian. I’ve taken this test before and I always fall right next to the Dalai Lama!

Just for fun, you might take the test to determine where you fall on the political compass. Take a little extra time and go to the interactive “Iconochasms – Know your Heroes, Heroines – and History” at the same site for a rude awakening. I was surprised at some of the results when I took that test. Here’s one of the questions: “Who warned of the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the US military-industrial complex and its potential to endanger liberties and the democratic processes ?”

General Alexander Haig
President, General Dwight Eisenhower
Nelson Rockefeller
J. Edgar Hoover

Are We Being Gaslighted?

Joan Chittister has done it again. She reminds us of a 1939 Joseph Cotton/Ingrid Bergman black and white movie, “Gaslight,” in which Bergman’s husband, Charles Boyer, makes noises in the attic at night and causes the lights around the house to flicker on and off, all the while pretending to be a loving, doting husband. Chittister suggests we’re being gaslighted by the Bush campaign. “To "gaslight" someone means to play with a person's mind in such a way that he comes to the point where he can no longer trust his own perceptions or rely on his own judgments.”

She goes on to say she thinks we’re being gaslighted when openness to new information is no longer "reasonable," but is called "flip-flopping" and stubborn commitment to old and partial information is called "strong leadership." When John Kerry said that the war in Iraq was the “wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reason, the President accused Kerry for giving aid and comfort to the enemy just as he did with the war in Vietnam.

Most of all, the smokescreen called "pro-life" is being used to confuse the real life issues of war and peace, health care and sickness, jobs and welfare, debt and pensions, stability and poverty, education and unemployment.

After all, it's easy to be "pro-life" when all you have to do is to talk about the unborn. It doesn't cost a penny. When a government is really pro-life, on the other hand, they commit themselves to honor, preserve, feed, house, protect, maintain and sustain life ecologically after it's born, too. Whatever good things can be said of this administration, the figures simply do not support its being called "pro-life."

She goes on to talk about the doublespeak coming from the President and all his surrogates, regarding Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction. “…in the face of an official report excoriating the administration for "pre-emptively" invading a country that had none of the weapons,…the president and vice president argue that that's exactly the reason we did it. They didn't have them but they wanted them and they might get them. Heaven save half the nations on the face of the earth from us if that's the criteria for invading them.”

Let’s hope John Kerry can be our Joseph Cotton and save us from this “gaslighting”.

What We’ve Lost

Last night after the debates, I started reading What We’ve Lost by Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair. [ISBN 0-374-28892-5] The subtitle on the front cover says, “ How the Bush Administration has curtailed our freedoms, mortgaged our economy, ravaged our environment, and damaged our standing in the world.” The back cover gives an astounding synopsis of what can be found inside.

  • 4,924 American troops killed or wounded in Iraq as of May 1, 2004
  • $120 billion to pay for the cost of the war in Iraq and its aftermath
  • 2.3 million jobs lost in the first three years of the Bush administration
  • 4.7 million bankruptcies declared during Bush’s first three years in office, including an all-time high of 1,661,996 in 2003
  • $24,419 owed by each U.S. citizen to pay off the national debt
  • 5 amendments in the Bill of Rights violated by the Patriot Act
  • Health insurance for 3.8 million Americans lost during Bush’s first two years in office
  • 200 environmental regulations rolled back, downgraded, or weakened
  • 220 million acres of public land opened to logging, road building and mining
  • 23 million government documents classified as official secrets in the second year of the Bush administration – up from 8 million classified in 1999
  • 500 days Bush spent away from the White House at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, his parents vacation hom in Kennebunkport, Maine, or Camp David – 40 percent of his presidency

  • Republican or Democrat, you should read this book. If you follow the election some of this you have heard before, but I’m finding this book a real eye opener. I consider myself pretty well informed, but I couldn’t put it down last night!

    Is this Orwellian…or What?

    Radio Computer Chip in Driver’s Licenses

    The ACLU Urges Virginia Legislators Not To Put Radio Computer Chip in Driver’s Licenses
    NEW YORK-The American Civil Liberties Union today urged Virginia not to become the first state in the nation to place radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in its driver’s licenses.

    "Until now, the controversy over RFID tags has focused on Wal-Mart and other retail applications," said Chris Calabrese, Program Counsel of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Project. "But this is the first proposal we’ve seen to include RFIDs in driver’s licenses. That brings the potential intrusion of this technology to a whole new level."

    …"Almost everyone carries a driver’s license, and RFID chips allow people to be tracked," said Kent Willis, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. "This proposal would allow anyone to set up an RFID reader to capture the identities and personal information of every person who comes within range," added Willis. "FBI agents, for example, could sweep up the identities of everyone at a political meeting, protest march, gun show, or Islamic prayer service."

    Applied Digital Solutions Microchip ID Immplant -- Too Orwellian For Me

    As if the idea of having my identity tracked through my driver’s license wasn’t enough, yesterday the FDA approved Applied Digital Solutions, Inc.’s ID microchip that can be implanted under the skin to give doctors instant access to a patient’s records. At first blush, this might sound good – doctors could confirma a patient’s identity and obtain detailed medical information from an accompanying data base. The tiny chip would be implanted above the elbow. Emergency room doctors could scan unconscious car victims to check their blood type and medications, ascertain whether they have drug allergies, etc. An Alzheimer patient could be tracked in case they get lost.

    However, wait just a darn minute! A slippery slope…the Patriot Act already has us racing down the path to total surveillance with our e-mail, the books we check out at the library, the websites we log onto a matter of record that can be tracked. I knew this kind of technology was how they were able to determine the whereabouts of the mad cow disease infected livestock, and I jokingly suggested the Immigration Department get some tips from those folks, but I was ONLY KIDDING! This sounds just too Orwellian to me. Thanks, anyway…I’ll wear a medical ID bracelet, before I’ll have an implant…or a tatooed number on my arm.

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