Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!





Thursday, December 30, 2004

'Fatal Images'


















Wednesday, December 29, 2004

‘Encounter with Disaster’



Different people act differently at times of crisis. A disaster on the scale of what has just occurred in Asia can reveal some people for nitwits and others for fools. Some people just don’t know how to act.

First reports after the tsunami, that hit up to 12 countries, after a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean, revealed that at least 20,000 people had died in the disaster. Calls went out all over the world for massive amounts of aid, as it was determined fairly early that the death toll would climb rapidly.

The US responded to the disaster with a pledge of $15 million, announced by Secretary of State Colin Powell. In comparison, the French pledged $136,000. Many other nations began to pledge funds and relief personnel as well.

Not that anyone could have reacted any faster than was done but the initial response to the tragedy was pooh-poohed by Jan Egeland, of Norway, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs…

“Why are we so stingy really? When we are ...and even at Christmas time should remind many Western countries at least, how rich we have become and if actually the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2% of their gross national income. I think that is stingy really, I don't think that is very generous…”

It was generally assessed that Egeland was referring to the United States when he talked about “stingy” countries.

The Bush Administration vigorously defended its contribution, pontificating about how the “US is the most generous country in the world”… which is truthful. Then the administration pledged an additional $20 million for the relief effort. Egeland responded the next day by saying he had been “misinterpreted” in his remarks.

Domestically, Bush was the subject of a Washington Post piece about how he has “been absent” regards the tsunami tragedy. Again, the legions of Bush faithful came out in support of the president and against those who would “blame Bush for the tsunami.”

Coincidentally, this morning, Bush held a news conference about the disaster, talking about the tsunami for the first time.

Yes. Disasters make people do strange things.

Another weird instance in the tragedy was between the Vatican and Israel.

The Israelis loaded a plane carrying 80 tons of food and medical supplies worth $100,000 along with a team of some 150 medical and security personnel and were about to depart for Sri Lanka. The Foreign Ministry in Sri Lank (which hates Israel) told them “no thanks.”

This morning the Vatican newspaper denounced what it called a decision by the IDF to “deny emergency help to disaster victims in Sri Lanka.” The paper also called for “a radical and dramatic change of perspective” among people “too often preoccupied with making war” and singled out Israeli military leaders for declining a request for emergency medical help.

Several strange reactions to be sure.

Meanwhile, the tsunami that affected up to 12 nations the day after Christmas will likely find a place in the top five natural disasters of all time. The death toll this morning was known to be about 67,000. Tens of thousand are unaccounted for and the Red Cross is estimating perhaps over 100,000 have died.

Others are saying the toll will climb to 150,000, after the many remote areas not yet accounted for have been reached, and will be doubled by disease afterward.

There are no words for the tragedy itself. It is beyond comprehension how so many could die so quickly.

Politics and posturing aside, there are many ways to help. Perhaps the best long-term effort will be with the Red Cross. Here is the link to donate to them:

American Red Cross.

I’m sure you will give generously… unless you are French.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

‘Illegal Entry’



An issue is heating up and President Bush’s plans on this issue are drawing fire. Is the fire coming from “liberals,” “Leftist Democrats,” or the “shrill opposition” in Congress that opposes him on everything?

Are the legions of those who oppose Bush at all costs denigrating him once again for a “perceived” wrong? Is Bush “holding firm” against those who oppose his “conservative” ideals?

No. None of that.

The issue is “amnesty” for illegal aliens and the ones opposing Bush are on both sides of the aisle in Congress and in the “conservative” wing of Bush’s very own party.

At the core of the issue is yet another instance where Bush comes down on the side of those who are not Americans and have no desire to be Americans, and those who do not wish to follow any rules or laws we have established IN America.

Bush desires to reward those whose first act in this country was to break the law (an estimated 10-15 million) with a “guest-worker” card and allow them to jump in line ahead of those awaiting legal citizenship status from many countries.

Although Bush would prefer that he be allowed to impliment this plan (as he has many other plans) without a national debate on the issue, he is running into some opposition.

Thank God!

There is no mincing on this issue. The vast majority of illegal aliens come from the country of Mexico and are Hispanic. Those who would allow — and, in fact, encourage — illegals from Mexico to break the law have attempted and will attempt to play the “racism” card.

But the “amnesty” issue — which Bush calls a “guest-worker” program — actually encompasses many facets; right vs. wrong, solvency vs. bankruptcy, civility vs. chaos, legal vs. illegal, security vs. threat.

For over two-hundred years immigration has been the backbone of our country. Until now every ethnic group ever to enter (except most African-Americans) has come here with the desire to earn American citizenship… legally. They have willingly been processed through our system, learned the language and customs of our culture and taken the oath.

The same cannot be said of illegal aliens from Mexico, who come here after breaking the law and have no allegiance to America. They violate our laws, cheat their way into employment, steal government services, avoid legal requirements and refuse to adopt the language and customs of our culture. In fact, they have the gall to insist we conform to their failed culture.

Considering that we are talking about people who have violated our immigrations laws many are rightfully calling Bush’s “guest-worker” program “amnesty.” And there is no need to give law-abiding people amnesty.

Does anyone supportive of Bush’s plan actually believe that someone who callously commits one federal crime will not also be likely to callously commit another? Can they actually rationalize that excusing law-breaking will not encourage more to break the law? The evidence is in abundance to the contrary.

But, not only does Bush’s plan call for rewarding these criminals and encourage more criminals to enter the country, the plan also sends a terrible message to those entering our country who are trying to follow the law and punishes those who want to come here to be Americans. The losers are the ones who would become law-abiding citizens.

Imagine, if you will, that someone rolls a moving truck up to Circuit City and relieves that store of all of its televisions. Instead of this person being tried and convicted he is not only allowed to keep the booty but is also given a “guest television hauler” card for the effort. I suspect Circuit City would soon be bankrupt due to many other criminals hauling televisions out of their stores in order to get the card.

And that is exactly what is happening to the US, as illegal aliens come here every day to work on the cheap and “under the table,” falsify legal documents, steal jobs, sap the welfare system and take advantage of the over-burdened healthcare industry at US taxpayer expense.

Meanwhile Mexico is allowed to continue its practice of depending on lax US borders and illegal immigration as a pressure relief valve for their own failed economy, culture, and political system… sending their undesirables to this country.

Bush continues his Clintonian platitudes about the invasion saying things like “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande River” and that “It’s impossible to guard the whole border” and that illegals only come here “to do the work Americans won’t do.”

Family values may not stop at the Rio Grande but neither should common sense and our national security. Shouldn’t Mexico be concerned about the “family values” of their own citizenry on their side of the border? Bush says we “can’t” guard our border but that, supposedly, we CAN guard Iraq’s. The twisted logic transforms into sheer lunacy. Shame on anyone who buys or sells the rhetoric.

Thanks to Bush’s tax-backing plan for corporations to outsource and his continued support of illegal aliens flooding our economy there isn’t all that much work available that “Americans won’t do.” If you’ve been out and about ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE, you know that illegals are working in all facets of our economy and in every state in the union.

If you are unemployed and have looked for a job you know they are scarce, but, somehow, Hispanic workers are filling the jobs around you… for at least a few Pesos less than what you could work for and live on.

El Presidente Bush’s reasons are fairly obvious: His corporate buds want this “guest-worker” plan so they can further downgrade wages and benefits for American citizens. They are doing this illegally now. Bush’s plan would allow them to do so outright.

There is also the point that unguarded borders and illegal aliens streaming across aren’t exactly the best thing for the US when our national security is at stake. What is Bush’s motivation on that one? It’s simple: Money for corporations is more important to him than the security he was re-elected to provide.

Despite Bush’s protestations and Clinton-speak on the issue illegal aliens are NOT only here to pick fruit and mow lawns. And there is no denying that they are harming our economy, legal system and culture, as anyone who gets English as a 2nd choice over phone can tell you.

There is also a growing Illegal Alien Crime Wave sapping our resources and victimizing American citizens…

  • There are two-million prisoners in the US. 30 percent of those prisoners constitute illegal aliens at a cost of $1.6 billion annually. That adds up to 600,000 foreigners ripping off taxpayer dollars as prisoners sit in our cells during their incarceration period.


  • An estimated 400,000 illegals remain at large in the US today. Among them, 100,000 “criminal aliens.”


  • Mexico refuses to take the apprehended criminals back and the US let’s them get away with it.


  • One of the lone voices for reason among our elected officials has been one Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. He recently posed some questions critical of Bush’s plan:

  • How is forgiving an unlawful act without penalty not amnesty?

  • With no penalty, what prevents even more illegals from streaming into our country?


  • An estimated 150,000 people, hundreds from countries on the State Department's "watch list" for harboring terrorists, enter the United States from countries other than Mexico each year. And amnesty for Mexican illegals takes priority?


  • Good questions.

    There is some evidence that Americans are catching onto this “undocumented workers” con game, as Bush allows the economy to sour, the deficit to rise, crimes to go unpunished, illegal aliens to enter and roam about freely and our national security to be compromised.

    Support of the actions committed constitutes nothing less than treason.

    As many in Bush’s own party, many Democrats and more and more Americans are beginning to recognize… Bush’s “amnesty” plan for illegal aliens must be stopped — and for a variety of reasons.

    In fact, the very flow of illegals to our country should be stopped immediately using every resource at our disposal.

    It’s almost but not quite funny how the Republican leadership has fallen from the party of “law and order” and “fairness” down to actually supporting unfairness and the breaking of laws at the peril of a lack of national security and to the detriment of our economy.

    Times sure have changed from Reagan’s slogan of, “It’s morning in America.”

    With Bush… “It’s open season on Americans.”

    Monday, December 27, 2004

    ‘Statistically Speaking’



    As the arrogance has turned to smugness and as the stubbornness has turned into defense, while justifications have degenerated into outright name-calling, those who support the US adventure in Iraq have come up with some interesting rationales for the whole catastrophe.

    The newest is the Iraq-United States comparison. It is being pointed out — by those still delusional about our chances at nation-building with a Muslim “country” — that the “Top 4 Democrat-controlled US cities have more casualties than Iraq.”

    That’s comforting, isn’t it? Kind of makes you second-guess yourself on the reasons for staying in Iraq, doesn’t it?

    Okay. Maybe it doesn’t. You are by my definition: Sane.

    For the record, the statistics are based on the numbers below:

    City Homicides Population Rate/100,000
    Los Angeles 592 3.6 million 16.44
    Chicago 485 2.8 million 17.32
    Detroit 346 1.0 million 34.60
    Philadelphia 251 1.5 million 16.73

    (As of Dec. 24, 2004):
    US Combat deaths: 1,034
    Total wounded: 9,981
    Non-combat deaths: 282

    The comparison, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with why we are in Iraq. The comparison also does not — in any way whatsoever — address the separate, societal issues which cause the homegrown problem (which we aren’t addressing at all). The comparison is only the last vestige of a rationale about making us feel better over US casualties in Iraq.

    But, maybe, it’s not to make those of us who oppose the war feel better. Maybe the comparison is to make those who support the war feel better about the deaths, maiming and crippling.

    This follows the rationale and justifications for the invasion in the first place:

    “Imminent Threat”
    “Weapons of Mass Destruction”
    “Free the Iraqi People”
    “Establish a Democracy in the Middle East”
    “Defeat the Terrorists”

    And lately…

    Because the “Top 4 Democrat-controlled US cities have more casualties than Iraq.”

    I fully suspect that the next argument you hear will be “Oh Yeah? Well… why not, huh? Never mind… I don’t care what you think!”

    Actually, we are already at that last argument.

    I’ve heard it all about Iraq. I’ve heard enough about Iraq and our ever-changing, benevolent reasons for being there… none of which jive with logic, history or possibility.

    As we lost another dozen or so troops in Mosul last week and one or two daily since then, it isn’t obvious to the supporters of the war even now that we have accomplished as much as we are ever going to in this horrid place.

    The best we can do there from here on out is keep our troops in place for the occasional suicide bomber or sniper. The people there will not progress past this point to anything resembling “democracy.” It’s not in their history, culture or even in their bones.

    The “country” of Iraq will devolve into civil war and ultimately split into three forms of control whether we like it or not and whether or not one, one-thousand or ten-thousand of our troops are killed in furtherance of “democracy.”

    The very best we could ever have done was invade, depose Saddam, capture him and then… leave them to murder each other — which is what they have always done and will do once we finally get out.

    If we really want to do something about “safeguarding the homeland” I highly recommend guarding our own borders. I’ve never understood how anyone can believe that a “peaceful Iraq” is possible but we “can’t guard our borders”… although we CAN pave and maintain 40,000 miles of Interstate highway.

    If we really want to do something to protect American citizens I also suggest we address instead the problems in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia. Obviously, according to the statistics, there is a bigger problem there.

    Charity begins at home after all.

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    ‘Jingle All the Way’



    Of course I know not to promise things to the children, ‘lest something go wrong and I become a “liar.”

    But I really thought I was safe when I promised to take them shopping on Thursday. Little did I know that this incredibly frigid snowstorm would stall Christmas plans for most of the country.

    I had been watching the news. I saw what people were going through in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. I even knew we might get a bit of snow here. But nobody — especially me — was prepared for the sub-zero temps that came with it.

    Needless to say, yesterday, I spent all day simply trying to get the ice off the car, in 15-minute shifts, my hands freezing, while my children took turns peering out of the window shaking their heads at my slow progress.

    Only by late afternoon when the sun briefly came out did I get enough ice off the car to be able to drive it. Not that things resembled “safe” even then, mind you.

    The roads everywhere were covered by a couple of inches of ice (they still are, actually). There was also the traffic out that someone might expect the day before Christmas Eve.

    The only thing I felt safe doing was attempting a basic-supplies trip to the nearest grocery store (ironically named “Safeway”) down the street… which, of course, was jam-packed with people. Fortunately, in the same shopping center, there is an auto-supply store where I also stopped and got de-icing products for today.

    The high temperature yesterday was 19-degrees. Our overnight low last night was –5-degrees.

    I sit here early in the morning wearing boots, jacket, scarf… with ski cap and Broncos gloves at the ready. I’ve already been outside to get the car used to the idea of starting. The car started but it didn’t sound like it wanted to.

    I really thought we might be finished and that I wouldn’t be out on Christmas Eve once again. But things just didn’t work out that way.

    Lucky me… I get to take the children out today. That should be fun. But I will also have the first trip alone to get some things that idiot Santa couldn’t get through the ice for.

    So I’ll be out amongst the others, desperately searching for the last set of chocolate Santas in Pueblo. Oh yes! And batteries…. and batteries.

    After all that I think I will also be brave enough to make a third trip out… to the liquor store.

    Fa-la-la-la-la.

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    ‘A Christmas Story’



    It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…

    Yesterday morning we got a few inches of snow. The sun never came out so what we got froze over. That’s now covered by another couple of inches of snow. It got down to zero-degrees last night.

    It will be a white Christmas for us.

    I bought a Christmas tree late this year. After sufficient nagging from the troops I finally cracked and purchased an over-priced tree. Last week, after buying it, I became aware that the trunk of the tree wouldn’t fit into the tree stand. So, over the course of three days, I periodically sawed down the trunk with my little Black & Decker electric hand saw. Finally, the trunk conformed and we were able to place the thirsty tree in the tree stand.

    I made the kids clean the mess up.

    All of the Christmas tree gadgets were brought out and placed on the tree, which is now next to the folded-up treadmill.

    Since neither Michelle or I have wanted to go to the store to shop for Christmas presents she has been buying the presents for the kids online. So we’ve had a steady stream of packages arrive from UPS, Fed Ex and the regular mail. Each arrival is met with breathless anticipation from the children and barking from Pearl.

    Matthew’s math must be progressing well. He has been giving me a countdown until Christmas since… Thanksgiving Day.

    Both LA and Sheyanne are aware of where Santa Claus gets the gifts he brings but this hasn’t kept them from alerting us each day as to what it is they are expecting. Matthew KNOWS Santa personally. Every year Santa (LA) gives Matthew a call from the downstairs phone to tell him to “behave.”

    Every year the kids ask me what it is I want for Christmas. I always say I want the same thing: QUIET.

    But, I never get what I ask Santa for. 14 years now.

    For a few years Michelle had been making noises about “re-doing our vows.” So last year, to head her off at the pass, I got cute and bought her a grand new wedding ring. I had the kids wrap it in a small box, then a larger one, then a larger one, so on and so on. She loves the ring. Although she recently got some sort of allergic irritation from it and had to stop wearing it for a while.

    She hasn’t mentioned getting “re-married” since then.

    Last year she bought me something I had been wanting: a used Sega Genesis system with my favorite game… Warrior of Rome. I played it so much I got Tendonitis for 10 months.

    Funny thing about presents… last year we were at the mall and there was a display with these fancy remote-controlled cars that supposedly never get stuck. The kids all said they wanted one. I bought two of them for a total of $100. The kids never played with them after Christmas Day. The last time I even saw one of the cars was when I went to the bathroom downstairs and saw one sitting behind the toilet.

    For several years Legos were a big part of Christmas. Every parent knows that Legos have a tendency to be placed right between the bed and the bathroom — always with the little ripples topside. Legos are a parent’s worst nightmare when they step on them on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

    And, no. Nobody ever “did it.”

    We are past the Legos thing now, thank God. However, this year, Michelle purchased Lincoln Logs for Matthew. My first thought was about my feet.

    This morning I am taking the kids to Wal-Mart so they can buy presents for Michelle and I and each other. My plan is to get to Wal-Mart very early to avoid the legions of goobers. That should be interesting; the kids let loose inside Wal-Mart at a time of day when they have the most energy and I am only two cups of coffee in.

    Ah, yes. Christmas in the Fox household.

    Last evening we had the kids bring a batch of cupcakes to Tom and Patty across the street. LA remarked that Tom probably wouldn’t like them because they weren’t laced with pot. I told LA that if they had planned it right they could have just gotten some for the recipe from Tom’s “garden,” which Tom thinks he is hiding with some tall trees in front of his yard.

    The only family there is to speak of for Christmas is Uncle “money bags” Bob, who sent us a check. He’s a sweetheart. We won’t hear from the rest of our relatives because, frankly, there is nothing they want from us.

    Thank God for small favors huh?

    Anyway, that’s all there is to report; snow, Christmas, gifts etc. I am trying to lay off of the political stuff until after Christmas.

    It’s tough, you know?

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    ‘Better Living’



    What is fast becoming known in our household as “the family business” has been interesting the past several weeks. Apparently the coupon clipping industry goes through a “slowdown” around the holidays.

    It’s not the typical slowdown. While the number of regulars or the number of those from verifiable referrals, who have stopped by the site and ordered a variety of clipped coupons, has slacked off a bit we have still had more orders this month over last because of many new customers.

    The only thing is that many of these new customers have been ordering one or two clipped coupons per mailing, which results in a loss for us as we offer free postage. This means that if someone orders a clipped coupon for 10-cents we lose about 40-cents per mailing since it costs 37-cents for the stamp, 10-cents for the PayPal transfer and a bit for envelops, ink and paper.

    Most people in a new business would see this as a bad sign. In fact, Michelle has been distressed about it. Most would splash a bunch of new rules about ordering onto the web site; minimum orders and such, added fees.

    Michelle’s first inclination was to do just that. But I talked her out of it. I think this “slowdown” is a good sign.

    Firstly, the regulars have not totally slacked off and this has offset any overall loss. Secondly, we have had more new customers this month than any other. If only one-percent of these people become regulars they will pay for the cost of stamps, envelopes and paper next year. Thirdly… it’s the holiday season and a slowdown was expected.

    But what would look like a “slowdown” to most people is actually an expansion of a customer base, and I think this is going to pay off big dividends in the coming year.

    At any rate, the fact that we do not charge for postage and that we have no minimum order price is the biggest attraction for Michelle’s coupon-clipping business adventure. In the research I’ve done on the subject I’ve learned that nobody else is doing that.

    The numbers do not lie to me. Before starting I was very encouraged while researching the prospects. Since beginning the project the number of hits to the site, the number of orders, the volume of inventory and the revenue earned by Michelle has grown exponentially. The only caveat is that hits to the site have fallen off close to Christmas while “new” customer orders have grown (mostly the 10 and 20-cent variety).

    Revenue passed up expenses a couple of months ago. If we were an Italian restaurant we’d be considered “successful” with a growing number of customers.

    While wondering about it all our family has remained faithful to the routine. I maintain the web site and endure hours of html each week, Michelle and Sheyanne process the orders, clip the coupons and provide customer service, LA grumbles about going through the stacks of papers for the coupons and Matthew nags us all while we do it.

    Aside from her family this is Michelle’s biggest love… couponing. I want to see her be able to do it full-time as she is very good at it.

    I am encouraged about the new year because of all of this. Please wish us luck in the coming months. Also, if you would be so kind, if you know a coupon fanatic point them to Frugal and Free.

    I find it unusual that somebody like me, who doesn’t even look at prices and receipts while shopping, could be so excited about something like coupons. I’ve never understood Michelle’s infatuation with it.

    But, again, I suppose it’s possible she grew to love them by necessity BECAUSE of me.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    'The Thin Man'



    I’ve disliked more than a few people in my life. But I’ve never been motivated to harm anyone. I’ve never wished anyone were dead.

    But, there is one person who — if I were ever to get close enough — I fear I might hack to death with a meat cleaver: Matthew Lesko.

    You probably don’t know the name but I’m certain you’ve seen him. He’s the geeky-looking little turd who promotes his book “Free Money to Pay Your Bills” and promises he can teach you how to “get Uncle Sam to pay your bills” on television commercials.

    A few years ago the only time you would see Lesko prancing around, in his suit designed with question marks, wearing geeky glasses, was overnight and very early in the morning. Lately I’ve seen him in broad daylight and, as he purchases quality air time, in prime time.

    “FREE MONEY TO PAY YOUR BEEEEEEELS!”

    He hasn’t even changed the commercial in all these years… he still says you can “tell Bill Clinton to ‘shove it.’”

    Most people would find Mr. Lesko annoying just because of the high-pitched squealing he does in the commercial. That doesn’t bother me. I can turn the sound down or change the channel. I’d like to see him hanging from a tall tree on a short rope for what he promotes: The lazy and crooked methods of sapping taxpayer money in order to keep from working.

    There is only one way he could possibly still be around, selling a book that teaches people how to live like a leach on taxpayer money: IF PEOPLE ARE PURCHASING THE BOOK!

    This may be a redundant or even rhetorical question but… are things in this country THAT bad? Are there THAT many desperate or disgusting people out there?

    I’m sorry. That’s two questions.

    “FREE MONEY TO PAY YOUR BEEEEEEELS!”

    I saw Lesko’s commercial again several times this morning and noted that he has superimposed a web site url over the old spot: http://www.freemoneytopayyourbills.com. Intrigued, I went to that address.

    Lesko must be doing very well (hence the added air time). He even has a bookstore on the site…

    “Free Money to Quit Your Job”
    “How To Write And Get A Grant!”
    “Free Money To Change Your Life”
    “Free Money To Change Your Life On CD!”
    “Free Health Care”

    And of course the very popular…

    “FREE MONEY TO PAY YOUR BEEEEEEELS!”

    I understand what Lesko is doing. He is taking advantage, mostly, of desperate or disadvantaged people in an uncertain economy. He is hawking a product that most likely will not help anyone and getting rich from it.

    He is also preaching to people who are already on the level he is and encouraging many others to lower themselves to steal from productive people.

    Whatever the motivations (i.e., money) the fact that a worm like Lesko even exists is a sad commentary on our times and culture.

    “FREE MONEY TO PAY YOUR BEEEEEEELS!”

    There must be people buying the book and his other programs because Lesko has urls for “Seminars” and “Distributorships.” In fact, Lesko claims on his site that his book is or was on the New York Times’ “best seller” list.

    I don’t doubt it.

    Where’s the meat cleaver?

    Monday, December 20, 2004

    ‘The Peacemaker’



    The news makes perfect sense. Not in the sense that what the news contains is likely or even possible but in its consistency with the sort of notions we hear from one day to the next from George W. Bush.

    After failing to…

    Secure his own country from terrorists.
    Capture Osama “dead or alive.”
    Protect his country’s own borders.
    Win his own “war on terror.”
    Establish “democracy in Iraq.”

    In fact, after failing to succeed at anything he has ever claimed inside any agenda he has set forth, foreign or domestic, George W. Bush, from his mouth to God’s ear back to his own mouth, has decided that he is the person who will now…

    “BRING PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST”

    “I am convinced that, during this term, I will manage to bring peace,” Bush said.

    This might not be such a bold claim had Bush ever had this on his agenda in the first place. It comes as a startling claim, however, by someone who has no credibility on the issue and also no friends among the players. Bush has never appointed a special US envoy to oversee the Middle East peace process during his first term.

    The Israelis ARE friends of the United States. But they have no special love for George W. Bush. Bush has thrown them under the bus in front of the UN on several occasions. Bush has had only a skeleton of a mediating crew in the region for several years, while attempting to execute his Iraq adventure.

    It was the Iraq adventure, if you recall, that Bush claimed would bring “peace to the Middle East.” This obviously has not gone according to plan, so now Bush will do something he has never done with much interest at all: Directly address the never-ending negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    It’s not that Bush could have done much about the Middle East problem in the first place. But, he sure would have had more of a chance if he had leant himself some leverage by actually prosecuting his “war on terror” against the murderous groups supported by the Palestinians and most other Muslims.

    It has never helped the situation that, while chastising Israel for defending itself, he has given deference in his rhetoric to the Palestinians who, naturally, have interpreted this as a sign of weakness. Bush has even endorsed the idea of a Palestinian State while the Palestinians were busy blowing up innocent Israeli men, women and children.

    There is a reason that there has never been success in the negotiations… the Palestinians do not want to settle the issue. In fact, Muslims in every country everywhere do not want the issue settled. They want one thing and one thing only: The destruction of Israel.

    But, firmly convinced of his own capabilities, despite all evidence to the contrary, and, for some reason, always completely trusting with Muslims, Bush has again deluded himself beyond reason that he is right about all things. And, lucky us, Bush offers his services to the world and mankind collectively.

    The same person who ordered negotiations with the terrorists in Iraq, while allowing them to shoot at our troops from a mosque (and ordering our troops not to fire back), now believes that he alone can motivate the Palestinians to a higher level of interpersonal conduct…

    “I have a basis for believing the new Palestinian leadership (which hasn’t even been chosen) ... is also working in the right direction.”

    Since only Israel can see that the terrorists have the popular support of the people in every Muslim country in the world and everyone else, including Bush, is not prepared to deal with this reality there is only one way Bush — or anyone else, for that matter — can bring about a solution to the Middle East problem: By selling out Israel.

    There is every bit of evidence that this is exactly how Bush will try to “solve the Middle East problem.”

    Nothing has ever occurred nor will it ever occur in negotiations that does not at least establish a stepping stone for the Muslims toward that end. So, unless Israel agrees to something that increments another step in that direction — and, hopefully, they won’t — Bush will fail at this effort as well.

    It’s amazing to see this evolution, from a perceived “mandate” in an election where he lost the popular vote, to an agenda where all he decides is endorsed by “father,” to a war against a noun, to the closest win for an incumbent since Woodrow Wilson, to delusions of grandeur to…

    “Middle East peace maker.”

    But…

    “I want you to know that I am going to invest a lot of time and a lot of creative thinking so that there will finally be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

    Oh, oh!

    Sunday, December 19, 2004

    ‘Wolf’s Clothing’



    I have learned one undeniable truth over the past few years and especially while blogging over these months: Liberal Democrats are infinitely easier to deal with than “conservative” Republicans.

    The liberals I’ve talked to are also nicer, more tolerant of the opinions of others and also able to recognize when they might be wrong about something, instead of just banging their drums louder.

    The liberals I’ve met are more open to discussion and honest than their right-wing counterparts. I am able to share with them both what I have in common and what I do not.

    Over the years — personally and professionally — I have never been treated rudely, stolen from, or cursed at for opposing beliefs by a Democrat or a liberal. I’ve received the exact opposite treatment from some Republican “conservatives.”

    Every nasty thing I’ve heard leading Republican “conservatives” say about liberal behavior has turned out not to be true — including every diatribe I edited while working full-time for two “arch-conservative” ideologues. Likewise, every wonderful thing I’ve heard Republicans leaders say about themselves has turned out not to be true.

    Why do I put the word “conservative” in quotes when I talk about Republican “conservatives”? That’s easy. Unlike liberals, who at least know what they are and what they stand for, most Republican “conservatives” don’t recognize that their party has nothing in common with “conservatism.”

    Most in the GOP don’t want to even examine the prospect that those they support might not be “conservative” (or have a conservative bone in their body, for that matter) Instead, they goose-step right along with their leadership, proudly waving the “conservative” flag. Were the policy they support being promoted by the Democrats… they would holler at the top of their lungs.

    It’s like a scene in the movie “They Live” and only some are wearing the sunglasses that allow you to see the creatures inside the bodies.

    Philosophically, in their own platform, Republican “conservatives” are fire-breathing defenders of liberty in favor of limited government, common sense and freedom. In practice they are, mostly, a bunch of government-growing, freedom-inhibiting and law-breaking hypocrites.

    With everyone — and even their own supporters — the Republican leadership operates like a gang of pirates, raising the common flag only to let loose a volley of cannon fire when their trusting victims get close enough, and then swarming and plundering the captured vessel.

    The liberals in the Democratic Party at least have the courage of their convictions; they believe in expanded government in order to help people (mostly because of failed Republican policies), whereas Republican “conservatives” believe in expanding government to help their supporters in business and to line their own pockets… to the detriment of the people they serve.

    As a Libertarian (with a couple of caveats) I disagree with one of these philosophies and abhor the other. While the former is at least “noble” in its intentions the latter is downright criminal, and has been put into practice with reckless abandon by the current Republican administration and the GOP leadership in Congress.

    Whereas the Democrats are decent opponents with whom I can disagree the modern-day Republicans are usually take-no-prisoner robots, who rally “conservative” and “Christian” forces to fight for causes that have nothing to do with either philosophy and that benefit nobody but themselves.

    I’m guessing that my liberal friends (for whom I have a growing respect) can at least ascertain the distinction of my philosophy from theirs and that of the robotic, hollering and annoying Republicans.

    Most of the Republican “conservatives” out there, however, will no doubt be unable or unwilling to do so. To them there are only two philosophies: “liberalism” and… “whatever we think ours is right now.”

    And whatever beliefs their philosophy encompasses at the moment you can be certain it is in place simply to justify whatever action they are taking. The action is rarely, if ever, remotely similar to anything you can call “conservative.”

    The word “conservatism” embodies decency, honesty, truth, right over wrong, good over evil. None of these things are in play anymore with the leadership in the Republican Party masquerading as “conservatives.”

    That even one Republican, who supports this crooked administration’s policies, might open their eyes I offer this from someone who still believes in our Constitution, the principles set forth by the Founding Fathers and who remembers what “conservatism” at least used to not be…

    'It Is Not “Conservative” to…'

    by: Kerry R. Fox


    It is not “conservative” to…

  • Expand the federal government more than all your predecessors combined.


  • Create the largest entitlement program in history.


  • Create a new government program to oversee religious “charities,” as it can easily be used by government to manipulate independent church doctrine.


  • Claim to be against abortion and then do absolutely nothing to discourage it.


  • Operate the budget at a deficit.


  • Expand the federal debt to an all-time record with no end in sight.


  • Write trade agreements with built-in deficits.


  • Plow through Congress one pork-laden bill after the other and then sign them into law.


  • Claim to be “pro-education” and not support homeschooling parents (even by acknowledgment), while expanding the federal government’s reach into education through the thoroughly corrupt and inept Department of Education.


  • Say nothing about and take no stand against the removal of the nation’s Christian artifacts and scripture from federal and state buildings and property, while also claiming to be a “Christian.”


  • Take no stand against the removal of Christian influence in schools and allowing the promotion of Islam and Satanism… while claiming to be a “Christian.”


  • Say or do nothing in support of the Boy Scouts as they are assaulted by extreme-leftist groups.


  • Kick the Boy Scouts off all military bases while not even challenging a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.


  • Support the mandatory psychological screening of all children in the country and plan to criminalize all parents who resist.


  • Support the breaking of the law regarding illegal aliens and encourage legislation that excuses the crime.


  • Discourage those who would immigrate to the United States legally and come here in order to try and be law-abiding and patriotic citizens.


  • Expand the nation’s already-swollen entitlement programs to include citizens of foreign nations.


  • Continue to manufacture criminals by imprisoning American drug offenders while also keeping drug lanes open for the foreigners who import the drugs.


  • Close military bases at home, throwing thousands of Americans out of work, while increasing our presence abroad and creating jobs for those in other countries.


  • Never veto ANYTHING AT ALL that is handed to you to sign from those whose philosophy you espouse to be against.


  • Continue to allow the US to be a whipping boy for the UN.


  • Suck up to the “Religion of Peace.”


  • Contribute US tax money to the Palestinians who use the money to promote terrorism, with which you claim to be “at war.”


  • Not appoint ANY Constitution-oriented judges, over four years, and also not take those in your own party to task who have not gone to bat for this.


  • Limit Constitutional freedoms in the name of “guarding our freedoms.”


  • Campaign against “nation-building” then make it a central part of your administration in the name of a “war on terror.”


  • Put US troops in harm’s way without the equipment they need and, then, ignore or patronize their pleas for help.


  • Go to war against “a brutal and oppressive dictatorship” while, at the same time, seeking the help of brutal, oppressive dictatorships.


  • Well… maybe that one is just “stupid.”

  • To claim “you're either with us or against us” without applying this policy to your friends in Saudi Arabia, who continue to promote and fund the enemy in your own “war on terror.”

    There are plenty more examples thanks to Dubya, but those who support him and his policies will hear none of it. They actually believe they are “conservatives” and that EVERYBODY else is “liberal.”

    It is ridiculous on its face how anyone can support these things and, at the same time, call themselves “conservative.” But that’s exactly what many Republican “conservatives” do.

    The behavior is not unlike calling your poker opponent a “cheat and a liar” and, then, while he gets upset about it, dealing yourself an ace from the bottom of the deck.

    These tired eyes have seen much. The GOP has taken a big DUMP where conservatism, liberty and freedom are concerned (truth is on its way out too). The words are in their platform and mean absolutely nothing.

    The word “conservatism” and its true meaning might be gone forever now that the current Republican administration has gotten hold of it and is using it to deceive millions of Americans and further gray the lines toward unseemly ends.

    There was a time it would have been an insult for someone to call me a “liberal.” But after witnessing the evolution of both major parties the label — used as an invective from the frothing mouths of Republicans — doesn’t bother me much.

    I have grown much respect for the beleaguered Democrats, who honestly feel their philosophy is best and are at least trying to help people, while I’ve justifiably realized mistrust of those Republicans who call themselves “conservatives.”

    Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    They can call me whatever they want. That’s what they do. They do this in place of studied thought, careful observation, common sense and practical concern.

    I’d actually be embarrassed if I had anything in common with them.

    One thing’s for sure… I’d never accuse a Republican of being a “conservative.”

  • Friday, December 17, 2004

    ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’



    President Bush’s attempt to have the disastrous Bernard Kerik nomination go away over last weekend has failed. His attempt to have the nomination with pomp and, then, have the withdrawal without questions has not worked out. Going fast as well is the Bush team’s attempt to blame the whole thing on a “nanny-gate” problem.

    So much for Bush’s implementation of Clinton’s “break the bad news late on Friday” tactics. Bush can’t do that right either.

    Darn it.

    Or, as Dick Cheney would say, “G*D D**NED B*****DS! GO F**K YOURSELF!”

    Since we have a president who consults with nobody but his father (nope, not that one… the other one) before making decisions, while playing both roles in the conversation, ultimately deciding he is right and that God has endorsed his decision, we can only pray that at least some eyes will be opened after the Kerik mess. Especially since this idiotic decision-making process almost stuck us with a Director of Homeland Security who is obviously a butt-kissing, self-promoting and cheating sleaze ball.

    We’ve learned even more this week about Bernard Kerik; the love nest that previously served as a respite for Ground Zero workers, the probe into whether Kerik used a mob-connected contractor to renovate an apartment he purchased… before becoming New York City’s top cop, the news that Kerik may have had some sort of breakdown and actually stalked publishing titan Judith Regan, as their illicit romance went down the drain, etc., etc., etc.

    The revelations pouring out kind of make the nanny-gate thing seem tame by comparison.

    Which is why the Republicans are trying to avoid discussion about anything except the nanny-gate problem (a law they find “inconvenient” and “breakable”). Bushbots are saying that Kerik was “Borked” and that we “have lost the right man for the job.”

    On what planet?

    What they are conveniently forgetting is that there was no need for Kerik to be “Borked.” He withdrew the nomination on his own, in a rare moment of rationality, after he decided that he couldn’t get past the senate and the scrutiny.

    There is no need for Kerik to be “Borked” after he withdrew.

    The revelations about him are continuing to come out via the media, which apparently finds it fascinating that such a corrupt person could be chosen practically sight unseen for one of the most important positions in the Federal Government.

    It IS fascinating. It’s also revealing, disturbing and even terrifying.

    I say “thank God” the media is following this story. Perhaps the spotlight will force Bush to find someone who will at least care about the position as much as himself. Maybe Bush will bypass the political favors (and his consultations with “father” in the East Wing bathroom) and nominate someone a bit less crooked and, hopefully, more stable (maybe the Good Fairy will visit me tonight and give me next week’s winning Powerball numbers).

    Well… there’s a chance isn’t there?

    It is becoming clearer with each passing day that there was hardly any vetting of Kerik at all. In fact, Kerik might have been nominated on the word of Rudy Giuliani alone. Unless Alberto Gonzales somehow mistook “vetting” to mean “veterinario,” which means “veterinarian.”

    I can picture the note to Bush, “Sí. Señor Kerik is fine vet.”

    What does all of this news about Kerik and all of Rudy’s involvement in promoting him — from one cushy job to the other and also to Bush as the new Director of Homeland Security — say about “the hero of 911,” Rudolph Giuliani? Plenty.

    “No worry,” say the Bushbots. Everyone will forget about this mess by 2008, when Rudy runs for president, they hope.

    !!!!!

    Four more years of this silly crap, followed by more of the same, huh?

    And I opted for the red pill? Good Lord.

    The media scrutiny is probably the only way we have a chance to get somebody decent for the position because Bush has delusions of grandeur that have created one incredible disaster after the other and almost another. The only thing Bush might have some begrudging respect for after being re-elected is… the media spotlight.

    There is even some evidence that Bush has more respect for the media than his “father,” with whom he decides all things in his own favor.

    Thank God for the media.

    Bush can’t play both roles in that conversation.

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    ‘The Good Son’



    It started off innocently enough; the children informed me that the laundry room light bulb had burnt out. Stupidly I asked my son, LA, to replace the bulb.

    I had seen him change a bulb before. I didn’t think it was a big deal. The kid is 14, excels in schoolwork, he is a Boy Scout and the oldest of my three children.

    “Son, would you please change the light bulb?” Right?

    But, while I was busy sawing down the trunk of the over-priced Christmas tree I had purchased, because the damn thing was too wide for our tree stand, LA managed to turn the simple changing of a light bulb into a catastrophe I didn’t expect, need or want.

    I only found out after the fact (and upon interrogation) but, according to my informant, my daughter, LA couldn’t quite reach the bulb. No problem… he simply grabbed his small, portable television and used it for a stool.

    LA, after ordering his sister Sheyanne to grab a new bulb, because he was too lazy to get one himself beforehand — and while he stood waiting on top of the television — noticed that the new bulb wasn’t the conventional sort but one of those larger and unconventional bathroom bulbs that had a wider base. No problem… it looked similar… he tried to screw it in anyway.

    After forcing the unconventional light bulb into the conventional socket — and while rocking back and forth on top of the television — the bulb became stuck. No problem… he just continued to force it and wiggle it.

    After a while LA realized that something was not quite right. No problem… he just yanked the bulb (which was in the socket crooked) back out. Apparently he did this a bit too vigorously and the innards of the socket came out with the bulb.

    Now we have to call an electrician. Now, for a while, I have to do laundry in the dark. Now LA’s portable television is rounded at the corners.

    I really have no idea what to do with this boy. It’s not that he isn’t bright (he is marking upper high school scores in evaluations in the 8th-grade). The problem is that he doesn’t seem to think things through before taking action on something. He’s always in too much of a hurry.

    I’m old now, but I have tried my best to remember if I was this dangerous when I was 14 (were she still alive my mom would likely say “yes”).

    Is this impetuousness part of the age he is at? Will he survive — will we survive — until we get him into college? Will the college be safe if he makes it there? These are the questions that race through my mind after every one of these incidents.

    Sometimes I think things like this are part of a well-orchestrated plot on the part of the children. Think about it… if I ask them to do something and they make a wreck of it I might be inclined to not ask them to do much. Am I being paranoid or out-maneuvered here?

    Or is it that my son, LA, doesn’t have the patience to take his time changing a light bulb? How many children does it take to change a light bulb?

    Anyway, rather than getting angry, I was only able to sit motionless and with a stunned look on my face after the light bulb incident. Or so I’m told.

    “Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh.”

    On Monday LA went to his Boy Scout meeting, where they exchanged Christmas gifts before taking two weeks off. LA came away with a fancy and elaborate Boy Scout knife kit with a variety of blades.

    Should I be afraid for his life or mine?

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    ‘Brilliant Lies’



    It’s an amazing concept and belief system. When George W. Bush does something that used to be outrageous to conservatives (2 to 3 times per week these days) his supporters will discuss the action and conclude that Bush “must have something else in mind” or — incredibly — that Bush is brilliantly feinting out the opposition in support of an actual “conservative” cause (this perceived talent has become known as “strategery”).

    Every single time neither of these notions comes to pass the Bushbots ho-hum the whole thing, excusing then supporting Bush’s action anyway, no matter their own self-declared political belief system. Anyone who does not concur is labeled “unpatriotic,” “leftist” or “stupid.”

    The same thing is happening right now with this news, “US Is Forced to Abandon Hunt for Bin Laden.”

    Since this story came out the Bushbots have been hollering about the “liberal media” and “leftist reporters,” which is their wont. The problem is that this story comes along courtesy of The London Telegraph… one of Great Britain’s few popular conservative publications and an extremely reliable source for both breaking news and in-depth coverage.

    You can count on one hand how many times, over the years, that the London Telegraph has gotten a story wrong or resorted to hyperbole.

    No matter for the Bushies… “something has GOT to be wrong about this.” They are again ready to attribute another Bush failure and another national effort gone awry to Bush’s clandestine “brilliance” on all things.

    The problem with this failure — more so than most of Bush’s failures — is that there is absolutely no disagreement between political persuasions on the reasons for the endeavor. The goal is to capture the main man responsible for the 911 attacks: Osama Bin Laden.

    At essence in the search for Bin Laden is Bush’s reliance on Pakistan’s “president” Pervaiz Musharraf, the dictator who gained control of his country in a military coup.

    For three years now — since Musharraf can barely hold his tenuous leash on power — Islamabad has refused to permit cross-border pursuits by US special forces based in Afghanistan's mountainous frontier regions into the area just across the border in Pakistan. This is, of course, where everybody in the world knows Bin Laden is hiding.

    The reason for denying us access is that Musharraf does not want to inflame the ire of the majority of his population and especially the nearly autonomous tribal areas, which hug the 1,200-mile frontier between the two countries, 'lest he be overthrown and hacked to death for siding with “the infidels.”

    To this end, Musharraf has walked the dictator’s tightrope with his own people and played the cooperation game with Bush. Musharraf has even extorted some military candy from the Bush Administration in exchange for this “cooperation,” all the while nabbing Al Qaeda underlings every now and again in order to appease Bush.

    Bush has conveniently played along with this game — and proudly taken credit every time Osama’s official beard brusher or one of his lieutenants’ 2nd cousin's servants is captured — while claiming that “we are doing everything in our power to capture Bin Laden.”

    Osama Bin Laden has wide support amongst the Pakistani military. The Pakistani officers who have “cooperated” with our CIA have, with a wink and a nod, essentially aided in hiding Bin Laden from one hamlet, safe house and cave to the other over the course of three years.

    Besides trusting Musharraf and the Pakistanis in the first place Bush hasn’t done anything wrong except trust them for too long (and extend and add to several military contracts). Now we have — out of ambivalence and feigned frustration — the news that “Washington has downgraded its efforts to catch the Al Qaeda leader.”

    But, besides standing with a bullhorn on top of the World Trade Center rubble shortly after the 911 attacks, there really isn’t a great deal of evidence that Bush ever wanted to catch Osama “dead or alive” anyway.

    What Bush has wanted more than anything else in his entire presidency (and likely beforehand) was and still is the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We may never know the true reason for this obsession but there is no denying the fact that, all too shortly after the 911 attacks, Iraq all at once became the primary focus of his presidency to the detriment of the “war on terror” and the capture of the Al Qaeda leadership.

    The Bushbots have “rah-rahed” every step of the way and even into the Iraq quagmire right along with Bush. They will again be firmly convinced that this latest bad news in the “war on terror” is actually a brilliant Bush feint aimed at capturing the Al Qaeda leadership, even though it is the exact opposite move (brought to you by the same people who gave you “border security” by further opening the borders).

    Later on we’ll hear the “ho-hums.”

    We haven’t heard yet what the administration plans to replace this three-year wasted exercise with, in its effort to capture Osama “dead or alive.” But, somehow, we get the feeling Osama isn’t all that concerned about what it might be.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    ‘The Truth About Murder’



    The latest “Trial of the Century” is now over. Scott Peterson has been sentenced to death by a jury of his peers for the murder of his wife and unborn child.

    He had it coming.

    There are murder trials all over the country and every day. In many of these trials justice is not served; murderers plea-bargain with lazy prosecutors or are let off on technicalities.

    In response people have become quite cynical about America’s judicial process, not even expecting justice anymore, while murderers continue to believe they can play us for the compassionate fools we sometimes allow ourselves to be.

    Perhaps the most damage to the image of our judicial system was done with the O.J. Simpson case. With the cameras and controversy the Simpson case truly was “The Trial of the Century.”

    Nobody was innocent in the Simpson trial; the stupid and camera-hogging judge, the prosecutors who bungled the case, the defense who played the race card, the selfish and bigoted jury that ignored the mountain of direct blood evidence and rendered that horrid verdict — after three-and-a-half hours —and, of course… O.J. the double-murderer himself.

    But, on Monday, another high-profile case was finally resolved with infinitely more professionalism, consideration and much more justice, both legal and poetic, in the Scott Peterson murder trial.

    The jurors clearly didn't enjoy doing it. But even those among them who had previously questioned the death penalty realized that they had no choice but to hold this killer to account for actions that have destroyed many lives and not only those of the victims.

    As solemn an event as sentencing a man to death is there is no doubt that death was the appropriate sentence for this selfish, sociopath sleaze ball who murdered and dumped his wife and unborn son in San Francisco Bay. He did this in order to avoid a costly divorce and so that he could live the life of a playboy. He then confidently assumed he could play all of us for chumps.

    Just for you anti-death penalty people… I agree with you that this sentence does not bring the murder victims back. Also, the way the death penalty is administered (too seldom) it is likely not the deterrent its advocates want it to be.

    There is always the debate about the death penalty during a murder trial. Talking heads argue the positions, pro and con:

    “Does this rise to the level of the death penalty?”

    Any and all pre-meditated murders “rise to the level of the death penalty.”

    “He didn’t have a criminal record at all before this murder!”

    And he likely won’t have one afterward, since he committed this murder and got caught doing it.

    “Yes, Geraldo, but was this murder heinous enough to deserve the death penalty?”

    Perhaps the proper question to be asked there should be, “Yes, Geraldo, but did he kill her as much as he COULD have?”

    You hear it all during a high-profile murder case.

    So, why should we have spared Scott Peterson? Because he had just lost his wife and child? Some, like the scumbag attorney Mark Geragos, who used this argument, say that we should spare him because “there’s been enough death.”

    Somehow I cannot reconcile that thinking. It just doesn’t seem right to me that the victims should be killed by the murderer and we should spare the murderer’s life because of it. That makes as much sense as allowing the bank robber to keep the money because he plans to donate some of it to charity.

    In what we hope is a “civil society” I believe that we have to recognize that some people will simply not comply with the rules of civil behavior (i.e., not killing other people). When they kill they drain our resources and limit our futures and destroy our lives. There is no benefit at all to the rest of us by keeping them alive at our own further expense.

    They’ve cost us enough. We cannot “rehabilitate” those who do not respect our right to live. Unfortunately, there is but one incentive we have to offer to keep them from killing again.

    There are never any winners in a murder case… only losers. But, it is the murderer who decides to kill. It is the murderer who sets into motion the chain reaction that creates the victim, the police investigation, the family’s suffering and anguish, the prosecution, the trial, the arguing, the verdict and the sentencing.

    It is the murderer who makes the choice to cause these things, not us. There is but one choice any society can make for the murderer, ‘lest they be further plagued by him… ‘lest the murderer cost society even more dearly.

    The suffering and misery that murderers cause CANNOT be understood much less forgiven by human beings who do not go around murdering other human beings. But, it also cannot be tolerated.

    Perhaps when we say we are employing the death penalty as a “deterrent” it should only be understood in the vein that we are deterring a particular convicted murderer from killing again, and not others who might kill.

    Hardly anyone besides his defense lawyers can argue that this vicious and remorseless killer, Scott Peterson, did not have the death penalty coming. In fact, this is the very sort of case that requires it; the pre-meditated murder of an unsuspecting, vulnerable and pregnant woman by the very man she relied on to take care of her.

    It’s just one, single murder case in a country that has so many murders as to cause death rows throughout the nation to be overflowing with killers. It’s just another high-profile case that, until today, caused our cynical hearts to expect the worst… that this killer might get away with it.

    It’s certainly nothing to celebrate, this is a solemn event. But, as the verdict was read — as Scott Peterson sat expressionless at the result of his senseless crime — one got just a little bit less cynical about our judicial system.

    Moments after the verdict of death was read Scott Peterson sat at the defense table while the judge thanked everyone and dismissed the jury. Peterson chuckled and laughed it up with his attorney Mark Geragos as if he were watching something on television.

    He still thinks we are all chumps. But, that’s okay. Like other murderers he cannot be rehabilitated. But he’ll laugh less and we’ll be just a little bit safer when he gets to San Quentin, meets Bubba the Love Sponge and begins the wait for his sentence to be carried out.

    As for most of us, with this latest high-profile case, on Monday, O.J. Simpson became a faded memory and hardly a soul second-guessed the decision.

    The victims were finally honored and… justice was finally served.

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    ‘Seems Like Old Times’



    It was with a certain bit of nostalgia that I heard of the withdrawal of Bernard Kerik’s nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security. The news came in right after the last live newscast for the networks heading into the weekend.

    This technique was invented and perfected during the Clinton years. If there was to be bad or embarrassing news from the administration — and the release of the news was under the control of the administration — then this news should be held until after the newscasts on Friday evening.

    The thinking was that this took the edge off of the revelation by the Monday cycle. In fact, the technique worked quite effectively; the edge would be gone somewhat, some people didn’t care by Monday and the administration could pretend to the media that they were talking about “old news.”

    The timing of this announcement by the Bush Administration may have been orchestrated in Clinton-like fashion but I have a feeling the circumstances surrounding it will still have people scratching their heads this next week, as the timing of the announcement of the blunder was the only part of the process Bush got right.

    This isn’t just a bit of personal news or some flip-flop on an issue or another embarrassing question on policy the administration is attempting to hide. This is the discovery that the man the president chose to head the department that oversees our safety had an illegal alien working in his own home.

    This doesn’t sound all that serious until you consider that the head of the Department of Homeland Security is suppose to guard AGAINST illegal aliens entering the country. He’s not supposed to advertise out of the country for them and then sneak them in surreptitiously to avoid paying taxes and affording health care.

    This news also shines a spotlight on other issues regarding Kerik and raises numerous questions about the man who chose him.

    The nomination is undoubtedly a classic Bush bungle. The good news is that it is one of his few bungles that didn’t progress beyond the “embarrassing” stage.

    The revelations also tell us something about the open borders RHINO whose name was at the top of Bush’s list of potential nominees along with Kerik's, Rudy Giuliani. It was Giuliani who “cashed in some chips” in order to push Kerik into the position at Homeland Security. It was Bush who, apparently, didn’t look very deeply into Kerik’s questionable background.

    Here are but a few items of interest, you haven’t seen on the evening news, either ignored by the Bush team’s vetting process or undiscovered because of the lack of a vetting process:

  • Kerik became commissioner not by rising through the ranks of the NYPD but through his loyalty to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.


  • Kerik started his rise to power as a veteran street cop tasked to be Giuliani's driver and the two became friends. Giuliani made him commissioner of the Corrections Department, over other veterans, then deputy commissioner of the NYPD, over other veterans, then, finally, Commissioner… over other veterans.


  • Kerik spent much of his own term as Commissioner writing his autobiography (which became a best seller). He used active-duty police officers to help with research on the book, a violation of policy for which the city's Conflicts of Interest Board fined Kerik $2,500. When someone stole his publisher's cell phone and necklace, he assigned some homicide detectives to the case—a move that caused outrage in the ranks.


  • Kerik was no longer in office when the NYPD started mounting its intensive effort toward preventing and fighting terrorism. Although Kerik was promoted as a “fighter against terrorism” at the announcement of his nomination by the president.


  • In mid-May 2003, the Defense Department gave Kerik a $140,000-a-year contract to go train the new Iraqi police force. He came back to New York in early September, just as the insurgency began to grow, by all accounts a complete washout.


  • Kerik, who recently made millions in the private sector, once filed for personal bankruptcy as a New York cop and an arrest warrant was issued against him after his failure to comply with a subpoena related to unpaid bills concerning work on his condo.


  • Kerik ushered the illegal alien nanny in question out of the country two weeks ago. Evidence that he tried to cover up the news before deciding that it could not be hidden.


  • Bush may or may not dodge a media bullet this next week, depending on how his implementation of his predecessors’ techniques goes. But even his core supporters, who still care a bit about what he does, are wondering how the hell he managed to screw up this one.

    Is Bush truly this cavalier about appointing someone to a position that was created as a direct result of the 911 attacks?

    Is this the sort of person he wants in such a position?

    Did his staff fail him on this?

    Did he take Rudy’s word alone on Kerik?

    2nd terms for presidents are notoriously riddled with errors. President Bush is off to an early and vigorous start to his 2nd term. Some people, like me, would argue that this early start is just more of the same we've endured the past four years (albeit, the frequency does seem to be picking up somewhat).

    There is no doubt, now, that WE have dodged a bullet with the revelations about President Bush’s choice to head the Department of Homeland Security.

    The question in my mind is “how many bullets does the trigger-happy Bush have left to shoot at us?”

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    ‘Clear and Present Danger’



    As is usually the case when anyone in the administration talks about Iraq we are learning that what is being said is one thing and the truth is another.

    Donald Rumsfeld, the other day, in answering a soldier’s question to him about why our military vehicles do not have the proper armor to guard against the constant roadside bombings, said, “As you know you go to war with the army you have…”

    Rumsfeld, who claimed that he was aware of the problem and had been doing everything possible to correct it, went on an extended explanation that basically blamed contracting companies for not being able to keep up with the Army’s demand for the materials.

    But, guess what… it turns out that this isn’t true. One contracting company that fits military vehicles with armor said that they HAD NEVER BEEN ASKED to increase production.

    The contracting company says they have only been contacted THIS WEEK about production (gee, wonder why that is?), and that it shouldn't be a problem at all filling out the additional orders. The company also says that the newly-armored vehicles should be ready by Spring. Several other contracting companies have also chimed in, saying they can significantly boost production and would have before if they had ever been asked to do so.

    But we get this lying crap from Rumsfeld, “It’s a matter of physics, not a matter of money," as he suggests that the production lines are operating at capacity.

    Just imagine how many lives and limbs might have been saved had Rumsfeld or anyone else in the administration listened to their own soldiers in the field or cared about the problem of the enemy blowing them up in the first place.

    Instead we have gotten sunshine pumped up our skirts and soldiers have been blown up while driving inadequately-armored military vehicles going on two years now.

    So is it surprising that Rumsfeld rambled into his answer to that soldier with lies and hem-hawing BS? Not at all. This is the same sort of fairytale we get from the administration on just about everything. We always get the “everything is really wonderful” tripe when everything is not wonderful BECAUSE of the administration.

    I read one nitwit’s blog yesterday — one of those military guy, Bushbot, “hurrah” sorts — where it was explained in great detail that some units had the proper armor and others did not because they were the ones in the “forward areas.” Apparently this is the thinking of the administration, Rumsfeld at the Pentagon and also the Army.

    What this military genius and the other geniuses apparently do not yet realize — even after all this time and lost lives — is that EVERYPLACE in Iraq is a “forward area.” This isn’t WWII or even Korea, where the enemy is on an established line “at the front.”

    You’d think this would be clearer to most when our lone “safe haven” and “secure area” in Baghdad, known as “The Green Zone,” is not even safe or secure from enemy attack.

    In this godforsaken place any Iraqi or foreign fighter (virtually indistinguishable from one another) in any city or town anywhere might blow themselves and our soldiers up, or a roadside bomb might kill our troops, or an unseen sniper might pick off our soldiers, or a mortar round might land. Every neighborhood, lonely road and hamlet is “at the front.”

    Most everyone in the world, all of our troops, and many who have been maimed have known this for some time.

    It’s one thing to be mistaken about something and quite another to callously ignore the mistake, your own eyes and ears and everybody else that tries to tell you about it.

    One defense industry analyst with the Lexington Institute think tank had this to say, "We have pretty much miscalculated every step along the way — why we went, how we should do it, what we needed, what support we would have, how long it would last — we pretty much got it all wrong,"

    That about sums it up.

    But, you ask, “how could somebody get just about everything wrong?”

    As it turns out that’s an easier answer than it might appear: You can get everything wrong when you already KNOW absolutely everything and don’t want to hear anything to the contrary. With this attitude it’s extremely easy to not recognize and correct mistakes, unless forced to do so.

    Welcome to the Bush years.

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    ‘A Simple Choice’



    Peterson Jury deliberations transcript.

    Juror #7: So, is that it?

    Juror #11: No. We have to talk about the word… “premeditation.”

    All Jurors: “Hmm,” “yes,” “good one.”

    Juror #1: That’s an important word. We should be certain of the meaning. After all, this is the basis for continuing.

    Juror #5: Yes. But I want to be sure this is correct.

    Juror #9: Me too. I’m still hung up on the word “malice.”

    Juror #6: Aw, forget that word. We’ve already covered it. You were wrong.

    Juror #9: We’ve been at this for almost four hours. Do we really have to keep at it?

    Juror #7: Are we all in agreement yet?

    All Jurors: “Yeah,” “okay.”

    Juror #7: Alright then. Juror number 11 wins with P-R-E-M-E-D-I-T-A-T-I-O-N… he gets choice of toppings on the pizza at lunch. Put the scrabble game away… what about Peterson?

    All Jurors: “Death,” “yes, death,” “of course,” “death.”

    Juror #7: Is that enough time you think?

    All Jurors: “Yeah,” “sure,” “the bastard.”

    Juror #3: I have to get some shopping done this weekend.

    Juror #7: Okay. It’s settled. We’ll order pizza first then ring the buzzer.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    'War Games'



    Several weeks after the fall of Baghdad, on a Friday, the Bush Administration notified the leadership of its congressional committee in the house that, gee, since the war was “over,” it might be a nifty idea to cut combat pay for the troops.

    At the mention of this the leadership was justifiably shocked and aghast. It wasn’t the democrats on the committee who were shocked — it was the GOP leadership.

    The story leak and the effort to cut combat pay died, that time, quietly over that very weekend. Eventually, President Bush decided to perform a publicity stunt by flying onto an aircraft carrier and delivering a speech before the backdrop banner reading, “Mission Accomplished.”

    Now, of course, we know — after all these months — that the mission isn’t “accomplished” and neither is the combat “over.” Our troops in Iraq have not only earned their combat pay (which the administration has repeatedly attempted to cut) but the National Guard and Regular Army troops have ALL had their tours extended time and time again. Some National Guard troops have even been sitting on the plane headed for home when they heard the words “never mind.”

    What awaits these troops if and when they do manage to make it back home includes, courtesy of the Bush Administration and it’s henchman Donald Rumsfeld, jobs that may or may not still be there and a decided lack of Veteran’s services for a variety of needs.

    These same troops have been shafted, lied to and Shanghaied for over two years by this administration, which is intent to fund its war in Iraq on the cheap and at their expense.

    Personnel body armor has not been standard equipment for these troops. This has — and still — necessitated the troops asking their families back home to supply them with this vital equipment. Families have responded by banning together, procuring the funds and shipping the supplies. The administration has ignored the pleas for help from the troops and the families.

    Can you imagine how that must feel… 20 troops in the field, during combat, and 15 or so of them are equipped with body armor but five are not because the mail hasn’t arrived?

    The biggest threat to the lives of our troops has been — and still is — roadside bombs placed by the enemy. These bombs have been quite effective and have cost many lives, limbs and injuries to our troops.

    The reason this is so is because it turns out that the vehicles our troops are using are not equipped with the necessary armor to guard against this. The administration has known about this for two years and has done nothing to fix the problem… even as we’ve lost several hundred troops to the attacks.

    Our troops have been scrounging through junkyards and back alleys searching for the material to protect themselves, further exposing themselves to danger. But this cheap and deluded administration has ignored the problem.

    Until lately these dirty secrets of an administration rushing to war without regard for its ill-equipped troops have not received national play. After all, Bush, both during the campaign and since, has been pontificating about how well everything has been going in Iraq.

    Up until now when individual troops have displayed their frustration about it all they have been isolated or punished. When family members back home have spoken up about it their relatives in the field have been threatened or punished.

    But, yesterday, finally, something happened which shone a new light on the situation. One brave soldier who was attending a gathering spoken to by the ever-hem-hawing Donald Rumsfeld asked the Secretary, “Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to armor our vehicles… that has already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take us into combat?”

    "We do not have proper armor.”

    The group of soldiers at the meeting, several hundred strong, paused for a moment and then sounded their uproarious approval at the question this lone soldier was brave enough to ask (Lord only knows what will happen to him).

    After this first question other troops began to pipe in with their own questions and concerns. Rumsfeld hemmed and hawed in his usual style.

    Apparently, the troops’ own regard for their safety and that of their brethren is very much on their minds in that hellhole, even if it is not a concern for Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush Administration.

    Rumsfeld answered the first soldier like this, "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time...”

    This answer, of course, indicates that if the troops had only stones with which to fight and protect themselves the Bush team would have still sent them there to fight and die without concern for the supply of stones.

    A more appropriate and honest reply by Rumsfeld to the soldier would have been “Kay-Sera-Sera.”

    It’s really amazing to me… this administration and its callousness about the lives of our troops.

    Rummy DID serve in the Navy for a time, escaping unscathed (likely because of a good supply of stones), Bush DID serve in the Air Guard for a time, avoiding combat in the Vietnam War, Dick Cheney never served in anything except… self-serving, getting no less than five deferments to avoid combat during war because he “had better things to do.”

    The whole administration is filled with folks who have come from privilege, family money and wealthy business interests and who have avoided risk, sought escape from possible harm and cloistered themselves under the cover of government office, but they can casually send our troops into harm’s way for reason(s) unknown without the equipment they need to fight and attempt to stay alive.

    Rummy is right that “you go to war with the army you have.” But, the fact is that, “you also go to war under the leadership you have.”

    Mostly because of the latter and not because of the equipment… we are in very sad shape.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    ‘Wrong Turn’



    The Bush Administration is upset, as are most right-wing loonies, about a classified cable leak sent by the CIA's station chief in Baghdad that warns that the “situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon.”

    In these classified “leak” instances it is right for the head of the CIA to be angry and it is right that the Bush team would be angry at the person inside the CIA that leaked it… if the leak information is inaccurate or out of context.

    There is no such problem here. The “leak” tells us nothing we don’t already know. What the Bush Administration is really angry about is that more people might catch on to the fact that Iraq is a lost cause.

    Bush is angry because while he has been posturing how well Iraq is doing the situation in reality and on the ground has gotten progressively worse from day one, one day to the next and one month to the next.

    The Bush rhetoric has also changed along with the bad news out of Iraq. At first we were told, “In our country, after Independence, it took 20 years to establish the Constitution.” Then we were told, “After WWII it took 25 years to set Germany back on the right path.” Now, the Bush Administration is saying, “Our country wasn’t perfect at the start. It took 100 years for us to get rid of slavery.”

    One can hardly predict what the Bush team might tell us next as more Iraqis and US troops are killed, chaos ensues and our resources are drained. We can be certain of one thing: The administration picture will constantly defy the reality our troops are in.

    But why is all this? Isn’t our military the greatest in the world?

    Yes. Of course it is.

    But why are we failing?

    The problem, constantly stated here, is that we went into Iraq with a flagrant disregard for history and reality. Even the greatest military on Earth cannot change a country that has never been a country into a “democracy.” The greatest military on Earth cannot change three distinctive, tribal and warlike cultures — with a history of hundreds of years of violence — into one peaceful, respectful member of the community inside a community surrounded by disrespectful, barbaric and warlike dictatorships.

    Ultimately, going to Iraq was a result of our own arrogance. We went into Iraq dismissive of the better judgment of the world and disdainful of the world’s help in the effort. We invaded Iraq with the wrong information, with an twisted sense of mission and with an unrealistic expectation of the outcome.

    We didn’t underestimate the enemy. We overestimated the culture.

    After 911 young people across our country signed up for the military in a patriotic fervor not seen since World War Two. It was refreshing and inspiring to cynics like me.

    These young people rose up to be counted against their own conflicts in our culture and against a wicked enemy that attacked us at home.

    I was proud and am proud of these young men and women. If I were younger and healthier I would likely have been with them.

    But, on Iraq, these fine young people were told there was an “imminent threat,” then they were told they were “looking for weapons of mass destruction,” then they were told they were “liberating the Iraqi people,” then they were told they were “establishing a democracy.”

    Now, as their enlistments are extended, their supplies lacking and relief or success long in coming, I have no problem telling them why they are there…

    “To stay alive until you can get out.”

    When it comes to the murky and uncertain situation on what our mission was and is in Iraq… these brave young men and women have been lied to and betrayed by an administration that uses our finest like fodder on a fool’s errand, ignorant of cultures and history, in a wasteful mission full of lies that can and will have only one result.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    ‘School Ties’



    I took the children out of the public school system several years ago. I did this for a variety of reasons, none of which were because I thought I “could do better than qualified teachers.”

    For me the issue was mainly one of safety… with values and morals behind that. I mean… one cannot reasonably be concerned with morals and values when the very safety of your children is at issue. Not that the issue of morals and values were not concerns as well.

    Working with the news every day I had already heard numerous and daily horror stories about events inside the public school system. Many people would have taken their kids out just upon what they had heard or read. But, it took real-time events that happened to MY children for me to finally see the light and do the right thing.

    We lived in Modesto, California — the missing and murdered capital of the west — when my three children began public school. So, I was naturally shocked one day when my then 2nd-grade daughter showed up at home in the middle of the school day, after walking alone and unescorted over many blocks, after a “field trip.”

    Turns out that the teachers and children had arrived back ahead of schedule and Sheyanne had slipped through the cracks and been allowed to meander home alone. Subsequent talks with the teacher revealed no blame for this would be associated with anyone in a “position of responsibility.” No apology was even forthcoming.

    Over this same year then-governor Gray Davis instituted a “tolerance” program in the California school system. In short order this program saw many kids in the state attending “gay parades” and hosting “transgender” speakers at assemblies, with ambitious plans to hold “one-on-one” counseling sessions to discover the “true sexual orientation of schoolchildren.”

    The institution of the program saw my children’s school taken over by a self-proclaimed “lesbian” principal named Mz. Collie. Mz. Collie wasted no time instituting the “tolerance” program at our school.

    About this same time I learned that “tolerance” meant two, entirely different things. Sheyanne was being threatened by a gang of boys at school each day who claimed that if they caught her alone they would “rape her.” After I learned of this and approached the faculty with this information it became apparent that their concerns for “tolerance” expanded even to the point of tolerating this behavior.

    They took no action at all.

    My son also had a problem at this same time. Another gang of boys, several of whom were children of teachers and friends of Mz. Collie, were attacking him each day.

    According to the “zero tolerance” rules and against all common sense LA got in trouble each day he was accosted by a different member of this gang because he “was involved in multiple incidents.” In effect, the gang members could simply take turns and receive one “incident” while LA was in trouble each day.

    Eventually it was LA who got suspended, even as he and I were pleading with the faculty for help with this obvious problem. I remember that all of this happened at the end of the school year. I was called to the school on the last day to pick up LA’s honor roll certificate because he was at home on suspension. I told them to “shove it.”

    Over that Summer we had had enough of California and moved to Colorado.

    When the children started public school here we had a few not-so-serious but also disturbing “incidents.” LA was accosted by a child and the child’s friends in one class who seemed able to do no wrong with the teacher. Turns out that the child was also the teacher’s son. Turns out that teacher’s children in their own classes is a standard practice in Colorado schools. No possible conflict of interest is even presumed.

    During this same year LA came home several times to tell me about a math teacher of his who liked to talk about the release of the upcoming Harry Potter movie and also the fact that his religion started with a “P.”

    I didn’t take this all too seriously until LA came home with an assignment to “write a witch’s spell” — for math! Subsequent attempts to contact and question this “teacher” resulted in his ignoring our calls.

    All during this time, as I worked for two news organizations and read the myriad of other reports across the nation, my OWN experience with the public education system led me to the point where I had simply had enough of it. It certainly wasn’t the experience I remembered as a child.

    We took our two older children out of public school and began teaching them at home. We decided, at the time, to leave Matthew in Special Ed because we believed that this was the one thing the system did well.

    However, the teachers and administrators inside the public education system also taught us a lesson on this.

    Besides eating Matthew has always wanted to be able to do one, single thing: learn to read. He’s always talked about it. All the while he was in Special Ed he had been coming home with glowing reports on his progress toward his learning to read. As we eventually learned the only problem with all of these glowing reports was that Matthew could not duplicate the work at home for us.

    Confronting the teachers with this situation we were told Matthew was “making progress” even though we could not actually see it.

    We were one step away from taking Matthew out of the system at this time when something occurred that pushed us over the edge.

    Anybody who has children in public school knows one undeniable truth: public schools are incubation factories for illness. Our entire family was felled by a horrid little viral bug that Matthew apparently brought home.

    The bug left everybody but me throwing up several times an hour, running high fevers and off their feet… including Michelle who had to miss several days of work. I ended up running from room to room with barf buckets and rags.

    After Matthew missed a couple of days of school the phone began ringing with some bureacratic centipede named Mr. Martinez on the other end. Mr. Martinez informed me that, even though I was busy with the whole family down sick, I had to take Matthew to the doctor to “get a written excuse for him” or, otherwise, Matthew would be “truant.”

    Martinez allowed for no explanation of the circumstances. I heard from him every single day that whole week with him issuing the same threat.

    After one call, in between barf bucket runs, I stopped at my computer and typed up another note to the Superintendent of District 60, put it in an envelope and mailed it, thus removing Matthew from this wretched and merciless system. After he got well Matthew became a homeschooled child along with the other two.

    But, this was not over yet.

    At the end of that school year Matthew’s former instructor, Mr. LeDeaux, called me to invite Matthew to the end of the year get-together. He also mumbled that there was “some paperwork” we needed to sign.

    Logistics always being a concern of ours we were not able to attend this “get-together.”

    Months passed and we chose a charter school and home program for Matthew called “Branson Online,” a public education-certified school where Matthew had an online teacher and I implemented the study. We did, however, need to obtain some records from District 60 in order for Matthew to enroll — specifically something called an “I.E.P” (Individual Educational Plan).

    The Special Education process, inside every school, is governed by this federal and bureaucratic piece of paper, and is the source for all funding received by the school for every Special Needs child. The I.E.P. meeting CANNOT be conducted without the presence of one or both parents or notification that the meeting will be held.

    We had NEVER missed one of Matthew’s I.E.P. meetings.

    Michelle had many problems getting this paperwork from District 60. Her and I thought this was just bureaucratic fumbling. But, then, in between the non-returned phone calls and phony promises, Michelle caught the records lady at lunch one day and came home with copies of all papers in Matthew’s file.

    We were astounded to discover that an I.E.P. meeting had been held without our knowledge or any sort of official notification. In this meeting Matthew had been stripped of his right to federal funds by his former school principle, Mr. Martinez and his teacher, Mr. LeDeaux, who had claimed — in writing — that he had “repeatedly tried to contact Matthew’s parents.”

    The signed paper had at the bottom “Parents not in attendance.” We also had not been notified of the result of this meeting held behind our backs. What these people had done was crooked, disrespectful and illegal.

    I then realized that the phone call for the “get-together” and “some paperwork” by Mr. LeDeaux had been his lame and “official” attempt to contact us. The meeting had been the school’s attempt to keep federal funding for other students and was also retribution toward us for taking Matthew out of the school.

    We were livid.

    Since these cretins had lied to us and broken several federal and state laws we began a campaign to have the record amended. We met much resistance but when the District realized the gravity of what these few nitwits had done and the federal funding that could be lost because of it they finally gave us a sit-down and allowed the record to be amended.

    The school in question — and Mr. LeDeaux — does not conduct Special Ed classes anymore. This is a good thing as they did no good in the first place.

    We gave our records to Branson Online and now they get the federal funding.

    We heard from other Special Needs parents that the closure of services at that school had been handled in typical fashion by those “responsible officials in charge”: No parent had been notified in advance of the new school year. People showed up on the first day of school with their handicapped children to learn that no accommodations had been made. One group of parents discovered that their kids would end up in a storage room at another school.

    LA and Sheyanne now get a safer and, hopefully, better education absent the attacks, rape threats, negligence and witch’s spells. They are doing well upon evaluations. Matthew is learning to read and I can count on one hand how many times anybody in the house has been sick the past few years.

    These days, although I do not work for news organizations anymore, I still read of the many horror stories that happen all over the country inside the public education system; rapes, beatings, gangs, homosexuality, shootings, dopings, drugs, guns, Satanism, witchcraft. Things have gotten much worse since we took our children out.

    Here are just a few recent headlines:

    School Official Asks Police to Stop Tasers
    Rain Tops Storm at Coat Ban School
    View Gay Film or Face Suit ACLU Tells District
    F-16 Accidentally Fires on School
    Teacher Faces Fine for Using Doorstop
    No Room at the School for Baby Jesus

    The schools are not what you remember. The gates and locks are not there to keep out the gangs, guns and violence; they are there to keep the hostages inside.

    There is no “position of authority” inside the schools, no one person in charge and no person “responsible.” No member of the system is held accountable for their actions or inactions. There is no right of redress, no allowing for grievances.

    There is also not much educating going on inside the schools. Rather, there are “social experiments” emanating from the faculty, which includes crooks, mafia dons, communists, hypocrites, liars, homosexuals, lesbians, atheists, witches and pagans.

    It’s not enough to simply remove your children from public school. The “Public Education System” is not a service. It has become a beast which must be slain for the common good.

    You would not want to be found inside this ruthless and unforgiving system. Don’t let your own children be captured and held there.