JANUARY 31, 2007
BACK, FOR A BIT...

PICS OF THE DC MARCH, courtesy of Reallynews.com- check out a musical collage of these and many more here...

Amazingly enough, I've heard the crowd numbered in the "Hundreds of thousands" on CNN. Here's hoping...

OLBERMANN ROCKS, ONCE AGAIN...

Again- this guy sums up everything that's been going through my head, since the SOTU- every terror "sting" that we've had in this country has been a sick joke- for Bush to claim "credit" for these fake dramas is doubly insulting.

JANUARY 27, 2007
UPJ MARCHES ON WASHINGTON- ANY REPORTS? SEND ME YOUR VIDEOS AND PHOTOS!

Unfortunately, my current workload/illness is preventing me from attending today's march on Washington. This sucks, as I have made supreme efforts to be at every antiwar march to date. Despite the somber nature of the cause, I have always enjoyed the experience. Every time I see seas of people coming out to protest the war, it's an affirmation that washes away the disgust we all feel, these days.

It's also interesting to compare and contrast the experiences on the ground, to what one sees in the corporate media. For example, a year ago, there was a march on DC that virtually shut down the capital. Saying that there were a half-million in attendance would have been a gross understatement. However, upon rising the next day, there was not a single mention of it on television, and the Baltimore Sun measured the crowd in the "tens of thousands."

Tomorrow, you'll most likely hear not a smidge about the fact that hundreds of thousands are again converging on this nation's capital- this time with a solid mandate from the american voting public- such is only to be expected. Anticipate the one-paragraph news story on page 7 of your local paper: "Thousands protest war in DC" (neatly sandwiched in between a profile of Simon Cowell and an ad for cheap leatherette sofas.)

I'll be taking a bit of time, throughout tomorrow, to bring you what news I can of this event- it's partially for you folks out there in the US who, like me, cannot be present, but it's mostly for you folks outside of this country- I want you to know that we're waking up.

BTW- one last note: we've been in the midst of a horrendous arctic blast, here in the northeastern US- it's been sub-freezing, with wind chills making it feel like it's in the teens- but wouldn't ya know it- tomorrow, the temps are gonna jump 15 degrees...

Coincidence? Probably- but a goodly part of me likes to think that the warming rays of "Bob" will be smiling down upon the folks there in DC, tomorrow...

AND MAY "BOB" GRANT MOLLY A SWIFT AND SPEEDY RECOVERY.

Before Bush jr. became governor, Molly Ivins was investigating him. Before he became "president", she was warning us. After the 2000 "election", she was sounding the clarion call. After 9/11, unlike everyone else in print, she refused to acknowledge Bush as the savior of our nation- because, well- she knew Bush better than just about anyone, and knew the emperor was butt-naked.

Her writings sustained and encouraged many of us, time and again, and today, she was hospitalized due to her ongoing fight with breast cancer- but lemme tell ya- cancer might be a tough hombre, but against Molly, it hasn't a prayer.

Get well soon, Molly!

(Feb 15th is drawing near- back to regular updates, then...)

JANUARY 23, 2007
NEW IMAGES, NEW LINKS, UPDATED POLL, AND THE SOTU

The State Of The Union Address...

Well- I have to say, it was cute as a baby panda's balloon-knot. Glossing over Iraq, Bush spent the whole night making lofty promises, and well, hell- ask the folks in New Orleans what this guy's lofty promises mean...

His healthcare plan is bogus. Those who cannot afford healthcare will benefit diddly from a tax cut (as a majority of those without health insurance are beneath the poverty level, and thus don't pay jack in taxes.) The corresponding tax hike on employers who currently give health insurance will cause such employers to cut their existing health plans, to compensate for the hike.

In other words- it's perfectly republican- divisive, counter-intuitive, and just plain bad.

His energy plan? Oh, please... He still hasn't released the billions he promised for hydrogen fuel research back in 2002...

Now- the democratic response....

Hmn- Webb did well- basically shrugging off the bullplop that was the SOTU, and uses the time to set forth the democratic agenda. His opening talk about economic social justice is great, and I hope to "Bob" above that this means that the dems will finally step forward and reclaim the moral high ground, on this issue.

The response, vis a vis, Iraq, well- it's dissapointing. However, I'm not gonna fall into the mindset that makes me condemn the Democrats for not bringing the war to a screeching halt within 20 days of their swearing-in ceremony.

I told you, in the days following the election, that it wasn't enough to celebrate- the new democratic majority needed to hear from the folks that had elected them. They need to be reminded, time and again, what they were sent there to do.

What- you expected democrats to sail into the congress, and make your dreams come true?

That's what republicans do- they put faith in their great, moral leadership, and follow, with wide, wet eyes.

We, as liberals, do not wait for people to make our decisions for us- when we're out of power, we scream and raise the biggest goddamned ruckus we can. When we're in power, we scream and raise a ruckus, yet again, because we know: Daily citizenship demands daily democracy.

Write to your congress crittur here.

More media, tomorrow.

JANUARY 16, 2007
IN BELATED HONOR OF A GREAT AMERICAN...

Note- I have posted this transcript on the Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday, for the past three years, and for no little reason- Dr. King's words speak to us today with a prescience that is startling, to say the least. If you don't have the time to read the following, you can listen to the sermon, here.

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Strange Liberators

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators -- our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change -- especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy -- and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us -- not their fellow Vietnamese --the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one "Vietcong"-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front -- that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the north" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them -- the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

This Madness Must Cease

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

  1. End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
  2. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
  3. Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
  4. Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
  5. Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.

Protesting The War

Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

Where are the Martin Luther Kings of today?

Go look in the mirror - his cause is our charge to keep. A bullet may have silenced this great heart, but his words and spirit are with us, today. Compare these eloquent words to the stutterings of the bastard who claims to be our president, and choose your side.

WHY THEY HATE US- REASON #17674-UB7

In the wake of Bush's incomprehensible performance last wednesday, not much has been said about the Bush Bowl's recent expansion of the "war or terruh" to Somalia.

One can only assume that there was one addled strategist at the NSA who thought that the best way to preface Bush's address to the nation was to send a message to the world:

"You still think we're SANE? Just watch THIS!"

A few minutes after the folks over at Free Republic stopped touching themselves while visions of exploding poor brown people danced through their heads, the facts of the matter came out:

Actually, the strikes had been the equivalent of a punch-drunk jab, and had failed to eliminate any of the stated targets. In fact, the only casualties were about 70 nomadic tribesmen, along with another 100 wounded.

Now, I know we all would like to believe everything we hear from the Bush Bowl- but I have a feeling the the families of those killed and wounded are, well- sorta cheesed off at the United States of America right now- and it ain't because they "Hate Freedom." (Hell- objectively speaking, a nomad is about as "free" as one can get.)

So, we've just created another few thousand enemies (familial ties in that part of the world tend to be a tad extended.) Nice one- but in the eyes of the Neocons, it's a net gain- you can't continue to keep the american people in a constant state of fear, unless there's a constant, fresh supply of enemies...

JANUARY 12, 2007
I KNOW I'M SUPPOSED TO BE BUSY, ELSEWHERE...

You knew it was coming...

The Bush Bowl is, well- circling the drain, right now. The republicans are falling over themselves to condemn the troop "surge", and the corporate media talking heads are finding themselves unable to find a way to smear lipstick on this pig. Watching the news, all day, I've gotten tired of listening to conservative commentators saying "I don't know what to make of this."

The prize of today goes to Condoleeza Rice, who appeared before the senate foreign relations committee, and issued forth another spray of Bush Bowl idiocy, only to be interrupted time and time again by senators saying "okay- we've heard this crap before, and it won't fly, anymore."

Der Untergang continues. Break out the Newman's Own...

JANUARY 11, 2007
BUSH'S "SURGE" SPEECH

Was it as good for you, as it was for me?

I told ya it was gonna be a spectacle- I've been watching the talking heads, and every one of them is pretty incredulous- there is not a single person who sees any rationale in what Bush is doing, outside of Free Republic...

What struck me the most:

20,000 troops- let's break that down- how many are combat, and how many are support? A liberal estimate would be 50/50, but such an estimate is impractical, in view of modern military operations. It's likely that there will only be a supplemental 7,000 combat troops added. Unless all 7,000 are going to be doing 24 hour shifts with no sleep or food, you can count on about only 3,000 new troops on duty at any one time, throughout a country the size of California. This will do squat to improve the situation in Baghdad, much less the whole of Iraq.

His plans for securing Baghdad, and his lofty talk of "liberating" Anbar province are utter pipedreams- we haven't been able to secure the Green Zone in Baghdad for over three years- are we to assume that 3,000 new pairs of boots on the ground will suddenly lead to such a dramatic shift in the balance of power, in Iraq?

Remember Bush's grand speech in New Orleans, after Katrina? Remember how he proposed the greatest public-works projects since Roosevelt's WPA? I'm still waiting for any evidence that the words spoken in that speech have any correlation to reality. One of Bush's hallmarks is promising the world, and delivering nothing...

His major bombshells were the threats against Iran and Syria- Apparently, the Neoconservative dream is still alive. Such threats are only to be expected, but his proposed action- to dispatch naval forces to the region- is patently ludicrous. Apparently, Bush is unaware that both Iran and Syria share hundreds of miles of open borders with Iraq, and don't really need to send fighters and munitions into Iraq via a boat. This action serves no purpose other than to further antagonize Iran.

His attempted "bipartisan" effort with Joe Lieberman- do I really, REALLY need to point out what's wrong with this idea?

Finally, Bush could only stare dumbly at the camera, and say that even though every decision he's made in regards to Iraq has been met with catastrophic failure- that even in the best case scenario, his new plan would only lead to unprecedented death and destruction in Iraq- we should feel comfortable in trusting him, one last time.

In the end- Bush, tonight, has retreated to a darker, more secluded chamber of the bunker, and it's only going to get worse.

As to the democratic response- they need to grow a pair, and defund the war- it is the only way that this horrific debacle can be brought to a close.

JOIN A MOVEON VIGIL AGAINST THE WAR, TONIGHT!

Gotta get back to work- but afore I go...

GIVE A TAD OF LOVE TO DICK EATS BUSH

I've known Steve, the guy over at Dick Eats Bush, for quite a while- and while sometimes we differ on certain topics and video production values, I admire the guy, and he's facing the same dilemma I am- work versus web activism. He is currently running a fundraiser on his site, and if you have a buck or two to spare, I suggest helping the guy out, a bit...

More in a couple of days...

JANUARY 9, 2007
IT'S CALLED "REAL WORK"...

Ya may have noticed: the frequency of updates has sorta slumped, since the new year. Unfortunately, there's little I can do about it, for the next few weeks.

When you work as a freelancer, you live a "freeze and fry" lifestyle- for months, you're flat broke, and desperate for work- for an equal number of months, you've got money to burn, but are too danged busy to pick up a lighter. The constant roller coaster gets tedious, at times, but it beats going into an office....

My current job will last until the 15th of february. During these forthcoming weeks, my daily life will be summed up as: "Sleep, Eat, Work, Crap, Sleep." Naturally, this leaves little time for Bushflash- and my friends, that TRULY sucks.

However, I will be able to grab a few hours every four days or so to post new media, perform a bit of overall updating, and mayhaps find time to spew out a sentence or two at you...

When I return to regular maintenance of the site, I really REALLY, REALLY want to get back to animating. I have oft stated my disgust for blogging, and rue the day that this site became such. The day I stopped animating was the day that traffic began to plummet, and more importantly:

It was the day that I turned my back on my one creative outlet. Listen- as much as I'd like to be competitive with those other blogs out there, this site is archaic, and after a year of fruitless searching for someone to help out with CMS development, it remains a one-man show, and ya know?

A few days ago, I re-posted the "Thanks For The Memories" animation on the index page, and that year-old animation caused a 100% spike in traffic- no big surprise, really.

The lesson? If Eric Blumrich spends a few less hours a day obsessively watching the news, and even fewer typing away his opinions (which are as numerous as the ubiquitous asshole,) and spends that time working to produce more video content, maybe more people will visit the site, and he'll have a better outlet for his outrage than the repeated use of toilet metaphors in the aforementioned (and current) written content.

That having been said, I have one last item to touch upon...

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10- BUSH ADDRESSES THE NATION

On his new "Plan" in Iraq.

A few weeks back, I told ya'll to be ready to break out the popcorn for particularly insane events, as Bush thrashes about within the bunker. I initially called for you to have Jiffy Pop available for such events- I want to rescind that. Instead, I recommend picking out your favorite type of Newman's Own. All profits go to charity- it's the best microwave pop there is- and you'll need it.

Bush is due to go on the air within 36 hours, and, regardless of the advice of every branch of the united states military- regardless of the will of 80% of the american people- regardless of the fact that every half-baked plan he's adopted thus far in regards to Iraq has been an utter failure, Bush will announce his plans to sacrifice the lives of 20,000 americans servicepeople, simply because he can.

I urge you to watch this address. I know- I know- it will be painful- the very sight of this idiot makes my stomach turn, and the sound of his voice is like the emergency broadcast signal, at 2000 decibels- but you MUST get past your disgust, and watch it. You will be witnessing a spectacle that will go down in history. Just as the youth of today ask their elders where they were, when they heard of the death of JFK, we'll be asked by our irradiated, mutant spawn where we were, when the "evil one" went over the deep end. After a few minutes explaining the concepts of "Television "and "The Internet" to a new generation that's grown up in an irradiated wasteland, we'll all be able to say that we were sitting on our butts, scoffing down Newman's Own.

Then, we'll all go our hunting for rats- but hell- we'll have nice memories...

JANUARY 5, 2007
SORRY I'VE BEEN AWAY- NEW MEDIA, AND A FEW OTHER THINGS...

Let's get this party started right...

"MR BUSH, YOU DO NOT OWN THIS COUNTRY!"

Keith always delivers the goods- and each time, he surpasses himself in his strident, unabashed truthtelling. That having been said, this new Special Comment is exceptional. Whatever words I could contribute to this would be superfluous- just WATCH IT.

BUSH'S "SURGE", AND THE NEW CONGRESS...

At this hour, it seems more than likely that Bush's grand new plan for Iraq is a troop surge in Baghadad, to the tune of about 30k troops.

Insanity- there's no other way to put it.

A few ticks back on the political clock, we were hearing awed, hushed whisperings of a magic document that was to be released- the report of the Iraq Study Group, which was to issue a multi-point plan for victory in Iraq.

When this document was finally published, it was derided by those on the right, as being to wishy-washy, and condemned by those on the left, by being far too myopic. Bush, himself, didn't bother to read it, and asked one amongst his shrinking circle to do so, and present him with one, cherry-picked element from the programme put forward, as a sure-fire way to win in Iraq.

And wouldn't you know it- he chose the move championed by James Baker, the guy to whom he owes his presidency (Baker served as Bush's legal representative in the wake of the florida vote fraud.)

I wrote on Baker's ingenious plan, well over a month ago:

Baker made a prime-time appearace on The Daily Show, to serve as a press agent for the Iraq Study Group's report, and in the interview, he described his grand plan:

"Secure Baghdad, and we can secure the nation."

To those few right-wingers out there who still subscribe to the Bush Plan in Iraq, lemme put it in the cute military lingo that you amongst the armchair warriors love so much:

SECURING THE CAPITOL OF A NATION YOU INVADE IS A DELTA-UNIFORM-HOTEL OPERATION.

D.U.H.- as in DUHHHHHH!!!!!

Now- please let me indulge in a bit of strutting- ya see- I'm a peacenick liberal pantywaist, yet seem to understand a tad more about military strategy than the "president" of the United States, along with the entirety of his cabinet. If such strategical nuance is within the grasp of an unemployed loser in jersey who can't remember the last time he showered, what kind of idiots are calling the shots, here?

The time for "securing Baghdad" was about three years ago, back when people like Baker, Perle, Cheney, et al were saying that shopping malls would sprout spontaneously from the craters of our "smart bombs." However, we spent the time securing the oil ministry, while Baghdad fell apart at the seams...

Bush's "surge" is just gonna kill more people- but let's just indulge this pipedream, for a second...

Okay: With the introduction of 30,000 new troops in Iraq, the capital is secured. Carbombings cease in Baghdad, and occupation troops fan out accross a newly-peaceful Baghdad. But that's where the pipedream ends...

Any idiot knows that the militias aren't going to just disband- they're going to move elsewhere- most likely to the less densely populated regions outside of Baghdad, where their "hit-and-run" attacks will serve better to isolate the capitol.

In a few months, we'll have a relatively secure Baghdad, which will be an island of relative calm in a nation that is tearing itself apart.

And that's the best-case scenario.

The fact of the matter is that any troop increase in Iraq will only lead to more dead, on both sides, with the same outcome- a nation torn apart.

We're in for a penny, and we're in for a pound...

Now- the new congress, lamentably, within hours of their assuming power have shown themselves prone to equivocation in their intentions towards the war in Iraq

There are two options available to the new congress:

Continue playing footsie with the Bush Bowl, equivocate, and play politics, or:

Stop paying for the war- block or vote down every funding bill towards extending this war.

Bush will continue to indulge his Iraqi fantasies, until he's stripped of the monetary ability to do so- and even then, he'll send more American soldiers to die, stripped naked...

And maybe then, the american people will wake up...

We can only hope...