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The Mad Prophet is C Bryan Lavigne: writer, artist, musician and dedicated Anarcho-Syndicalist. He has written articles for YellowTimes.org and Open Source Politics, which can also be found in various other publications.

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Friday, February 27, 2004

More On Nader.

I've got another lengthy post on Nader and Democrats bouncing around in my head, but I'm not yet sure if it'll ever come out. In the meantime, Chuck0 (the busiest little anarchist) at Monumental Mistake points out a good article from Mickey Z. over at Press Action:
This reality doesn't stop "alternative" writers like Loeb from self-defeating rhetoric like this: "Assuming the admittedly flawed John Kerry becomes the Democratic nominee, progressives do not have to support him blindly. We can work to unite historically separated progressive movements and keep raising core issues no matter who's elected in November."

Yeah, just like all the "progressives" lined up to fight Clinton's assaults on international law and social programs. Where were the liberals when Clinton bombed Yugoslavia? Where were the Nazi analogies, Hitler mustaches, and MoveOn.orgs then? Who was "raising core issues" when Clinton abandoned his pledge to consider offering asylum to Haitian refugees, reneged on his promise to "take a firm stand" against the armed forces' ban on gays and lesbians, and backed away from his most high-profile campaign issue: health care? (Kerry has already warned us: "The same people who helped me formulate my health care plan are the people who helped formulate the Clinton budget in the 1990s.") What about when Bill signed NAFTA, increased the Pentagon budget by $25 billion, fired Jocelyn Elders, dumped Lani Guinier, and passed a crime bill that gave us more cops, more prisons, and 58 more offenses punishable by death. Where was Loeb's historical unity as Clinton was delivering a telecommunications bill further narrowing the already laughable parameters of public debate and as he was signing the welfare repeal bill and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act?

Did we see an Anyone-But-Bill movement when Clinton perpetrated environmental crimes like the passage of the salvage logging rider, the signing of the Panama Declaration, the continuation of the use of methyl bromide, the weakening of the Endangered Species Act, the lowering of grazing fees on land, subsidizing Florida's sugar industry, weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act, reversing the ban on the production and importation of PCBs, and allowing the export of Alaskan oil?

Which is what I've been trying to say. Most "liberals" always do the same thing: fight tooth and nail when a Repug is in the White House and then roll over and play dead when a Dem is in. They care nothing about what is right and what is wrong -- they simply want their bastard running things. It doesn't matter how many times they get fucked, they still prefer their "lesser of two evils." Kickin' Hitler outta the bed to make room for Stalin.

Right-Wing Pussies.

Why is it that Right-Wingers never offer their contact information when they write? (Although I'd say you can hardly call it "writing." It's more like throwing shit at a wall.) For instance, I would soooo like to give this asshole a piece of my mind.

Among other things he says that no matter what anyone says "homosexuality is something you can choose." Evidence? No, he gives no evidence for this, although there is mounds of evidence to the contrary. It really doesn't matter anyway, since even choices should be given equal protections. Speech, after all, is a choice.

He also argues that marriage rights aren't about equal benefits because [emphasis mine] "civil unions provide most of those." Most? Ain't that the fucking point? "Most" isn't good enough. Separate is not equal.

He lambastes the movement for comparisons to the 60's civil right's struggles. He asserts -- wrongly -- that marriage is "traditionally" a religious institution. (FYI, the church didn't get involved in marriage until 1215 A.D. Prior to that it was purely a secular legal contract between two people.) He's clueless about what the Massachusetts Supreme Court actually did. And to top it all off he has no idea what the word "anarchy" means.

But I can't give him a verbal ass-whoopin' cuz the pansy fuck is too chickenshit to provide an e-mail address with his column. I had the same problem the other day. And the day before that. What is it with these people?

Propaganda At The Hague.

Here's a good Op-Ed by Yoel Marcus in Ha'aretz:
It's been a long time since I've felt so small, uncomfortable and red-faced as during the show of whining and whimpering organized by Israel at The Hague. Colorful posters displaying photographs of 935 terror victims; Zaka rescue team workers led by Yehuda Meshi Zahav wearing their "work clothes"; memorial candles; parents talking about the pain of bereavement; doctors describing the savage nature of the suicide bombers; the wreckage of a burnt-out bus with a bereaved mother standing next to it, distributing "one-way tickets" - these are just some of the sights.

At the Foreign Ministry, these demonstrations are seen as an appropriate "J'accuse" against those who dare to put us in the guilty seat. In practice, it is a display of wretchedness and woe designed to tug at the heartstrings of international public opinion - like beggars who show off the stump of an arm or leg to make the world feel sorry for them.


At their demonstrations, the Palestinians could pull out photographs of more than 3,000 victims. As for playing on the emotions, they could easily flaunt their suffering. They could dwell on their destroyed homes and the torment they endure at army checkpoints. But instead of harping on their misfortunes, they have focused on Israel's occupation policies and the security fence. They have appealed to the world's sense of justice, while we seek the world's pity.


The Illegal Wall.

Infoshop has posted links to numerous news articles and contact information for government officials in the US, Israel and Britain. Read up and Take Action.

That's Fucked Up.

From The Guardian:
China had evicted 300,000 people from their homes in Beijing to prepare for the 2008 summer Olympics, the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (Cohre) said yesterday.

The group said the evictions were part of a global crisis which saw an average of six million people illegally thrown out of their homes every year.

The mayor of Beijing, Wang Qishan, admitted on Saturday that in some cases the demolition of homes and evictions had been conducted illegally.


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Strong Words Are Needed This Day!

Strong words like these:
Excuse me, kind reader, but now that President Bush has officially sought to codify discrimination against millions of American citizens in a way that denies their very worth and dignity as human beings, rejects their love for one another as something other than Love, withholds the 1,049 rights & protections afforded heterosexual married couples, robs their children of the rights & privileges enjoyed by children of heterosexual parents (married or unmarried), and condemns the families they already nurture to indefinite social limbo, I can no longer refrain from saying: George Bush, I will not be your post-modern nigger.

There's more. Read it. Now. This I command.

And then, if you haven't already, sign the Million For Marriage Petition -- because sanctity is a religious term, but words like love and freedom and equality transcend all human boundaries.

Thanks to Damn Foreigner.

Egad! I Got Money From The Music Industry!

Thirteen dollars and eighty-six cents to be exact, as a part of the settlement reached by the Music Industry and Attorney Generals of 43 states, commonwealths and territories. It came in the mail this morning attached to a nice letter form the state AG. Nifty. I didn't think anything would come of it when I signed up.

Go to CD Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation Settlement (and ain't that a mouthful,) if you have absolutely no clue what I am talking about.

Obligatory Confined Space Link Of The Day.

There is a reason why Confined Space is my favorite blog and why I link to it constantly. Maybe it's how angry I get reading it (not angry at Jordan, mind you, but about the issues.) Maybe I just like to know how employers -- with the aid of "our" government -- fuck us time and time again. And maybe it's just a really fucking good blog that everyone should be reading on a daily basis.

How You Pick A Democratic Candidate.

Via Dohiyi Mir comes this article from Slate:
Princeton social psychologist Solomon Asch showed a room of participants a series of slides displaying sets of vertical lines. Two of these lines were clearly the same length, while the others were obviously very different. The subjects were then given the seemingly trivial task of identifying which pair of lines were the same. But there was a trick: Everyone in the room except for one person had been instructed beforehand to give the same incorrect answer. The real subject of the experiment was the lone unwitting participant, and the real test was of an individual's ability to disagree with his or her peers.

Asch demonstrated a stunning effect: Faced with a decision that, in isolation, no one would ever get wrong, the unwitting subjects went against the evidence of their own eyes about one-third of the time.

And thus you end up with John Kerry as President. Or John Edwards. Or Howard Dean. Or George Bush. But Not Dennis Kucinich.

Interesting stuff. Read the rest if you want. NTodd has some good comments too.

What do I think? My view can be summed up with a single sound: "Duh!" It's called pack mentality people -- it's nothing new. You see it a lot when you're younger. I guess, like so many things, you forget when you get older. Or maybe you think it goes away. It doesn't.

And people don't necessarily have to disbelieve what they've seen to follow the crowd. [Slight edit.] You can say "it's A" when it's actually B and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is B. There doesn't have to be any "hindsight bias" involved. It's simply a choice. Dissent or normality?

Today's Laugh-Fest.

Pacific Views has a funny ass transcript from the Daily Show. Ah, [sigh], I miss the Daily Show (I'm currently without cable channels above number 55.)

Hypocrisy On The Treatment Of POW's.

Repeat after me: It's bad when they do it, but fine when we do it.

Again: It's bad when they do it, but fine when we do it.

One more time!

Oh, sorry. Anyway, here's the FAIR article analyzing this particular hypocrisy.

Haha. Greenspan Is Such A Dumb Fuck.

So, which would you rather have: higher taxes for the richest 1% or a higher retirement age and less social security benefits? I seem to remember about a hundred thousand people bringing this up every time there was another jobs and growth plan economic growth plan tax cut for the rich. Just because the government prints the money doesn't mean they can just pull it outta their collective ass. It's gotta come from somewhere.

UPDATE! -- Dumbass quote of the week from rushlimbaugh.com:
"[CNN] reported that Greenspan said: We Must Raise Taxes, or We'll Have to Cut Social Security. Greenspan isn't saying that. He's saying that Social Security benefits are going to have to be reduced for future recipients otherwise tax increases will be necessary to pay for them."

Yes, Rush really did say that. I'm not even going to bother explaining the absurdity of this statement. If you don't understand... Well... You're retarded. Sorry.

Gay Marriage And Civil Unions.

Some gay rights activists -- such as myself -- might be disheartened by polls which show that while people oppose the marriage amendment (48-41) they also overwhelmingly oppose legalized gay marriage (64-30.)

You shouldn't let this get to you though. These same polls show that support for so-called "civil unions" is about equal to support for "full marriage rights." Add them both together and you've got a majority. (It's a supa-majority in places like California where support for legal recognition is a combined 70%.)

We really should be focusing more of our energy on converting these "civil union" people, in my opinion. These people are libertarian thinkers, but they still hold certain christian prejudices due to the environment they were raised in. It really shouldn't be all that hard to convince them as to why civil unions just aren't enough. They aren't hardcore religious fanatics or bigots or anything; they're just misinformed and misguided.

I think all we really need to do is put more emphasis on "separate but equal." Instead of referring to them simply as "civil unions" we need to label them as what they are: "separate-but-equal civil unions."

It's really as simple as that. People already know that "separate but equal" isn't actually equal in any sense, they just haven't connected the dots between that and civil unions. All you have to do is make the connection and something inside goes "ding" and voila, you have a full marriage rights proponent. That's how it worked with me. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

So I propose that from now on when you bring up civil unions on your blog or in conversation with friends you tack on "separate but equal" as an adjective. Try it now:

"Separate-but-equal civil unions." Make it a habit. Hammer it in.

Fact Vs. Fiction -- Bush More Divergent From Reality Than Ever.

American Progress dissects $hrub's speech to the Republican Governors Association. Short Version: Lie, lie, another lie, one more lie and yet more lies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I'm Feeling Very Hostile Today.

I feel weird leaving comments at other people's blogs. Especially when I think I may offend someone. Not with my views, mind you, but with my general use of language. As regular readers are fully aware, I like to say "fuck" a lot. And "cocksucker." And "whore." And "shit." And "faggot." And myriad other such foul and obscene words and phrases. Though I only use the N-word when I think it's incredibly relevant; and I apologize profusely for it.

I was going to comment on this post at The Right Christians -- a nice Progressive Christian blog, by the way -- but after typing it out I felt safer bringing my comments over to my own home where I don't have to feel strange about saying "fuck" half a dozen times. I refuse to censor myself is the problem (though I have in the past, which I regret.) If there were other words I could use to express how I feel I would use them. There aren't.

On to the subject.

This quote from a Fundy mayor in butt-fuck Iowa is what set me off in the first place:
"My beliefs come from my faith. .... We can debate whether this lifestyle is hereditary or a choice or whatever. If I pass this ordinance and in 10 years we see here what's happening now in San Francisco, I'd throw up my guts," Ferris stated. "I don't condone this lifestyle."

These fucking people piss me off. There are no words for the level of loathing I have for them. It's a very simple goddamn principle they're failing to grasp here: Tolerance and freedom do not mean that you have to condone anyone else's choices. It does, however, mean that you have to honor everybody's right to make their own choices. I don't happen to condone Nazi fuckheads like this asshole, but I honor their unalienable right to be who they are and believe what they want.

What the hell is so fucking hard to understand about that simple... mother... fucking... concept? I think I learned it somewhere between kindergarten and middle school. Were these fuckers out to lunch when their class was learning about freedom and democracy from the Constitution and other such old and not incredibly abhorrible documents? (Not that I put much faith in old, yellow pieces of paper myself -- especially ones that a government is built on -- but there are some worthy principles hidden away in there.)

My head is going to explode with anger. Nah, I'm too stoned for that. I think I'm gonna take a midday nap before I have to work.

About Nader.

I've said in a few comments around the blogosphere that I might vote for Nader this year. I've said here that I might not vote at all. I don't know. I'm feeling increasingly alienated by mainstream democrats as time goes on (I have at least tried to get along with them since 2000 though.) And Kerry sucks. You can't deny that. Kerry does suck. His record bares this out.

Anyway, I don't want to defend Nader. Lots of the things people are saying about him are true. Except that whole "spoiler" thing -- that's just bullshit and if you believe it you need to read a fucking book. Nader didn't disenfranchise 90,000 people in Florida, you dumbasses, the Repugs did that. (By the way, for a good criticism of Nader go read Max's post.)

About the ego thing though, come on! What Presidential candidate isn't an ego-fucking-maniac? Do you really think any of these other fucks are running for the office out of some sense of civic duty? Puh-lease. And people call me naive and idealistic. Pull your head outta your ass for a minute and take a good look at reality.

These people want power and they want their names in the history books and they want to control the fate of the country for 4-8 years. They think they'd do a better job than anyone else. And whether you believe them or not -- or even whether it's true or not -- it takes one hell of a giant ego to think like that about oneself. Ego isn't irrelevant just because a candidate happens to be sanctioned by one of the two parties.

As Dwight Eisenhower once said "Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy."

Or maybe Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Broder put it best when he said "Anyone that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office."

The bottom line is that anyone who wants the office is not worthy of it, so stop it with all the false indignation. Your candidate is no more noble or righteous or selfless than any other. He might do a better job, but that's debatable. It's also a whole nudder post.

[Slightly edited for clarity.]

War Crimes.

Another iraqi civilian has died in British custody. The Brits say "heart attack." The family of the victim says "bullshit -- he was beaten to death."

The Sky Is Falling!

The Guardian and Fortune report that the Pentagon is predicting some serious ecological problems in the next few decades. It's pretty scary stuff. I'm not going to quote anything -- you should really go read the entire thing.

And then try and tell me that the Democrats are going to save us from it. I really don't think I'm gonna vote this year. Maybe never again. I've tried to be open-minded about voting and not take the extreme anarchist position on the matter, but you people make it really hard.

Understatements 'R' Us.

Conal Urquhart in Newsday:
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians protested the Israeli security wall that dips into their territories Monday, as the International Court of Justice in the Hague began considering the barrier's legality.

"Dips into their territories"? "Dips"? This is far more than "dipping into the territories" you stupid bastard. (Here's a more detailed map if you're interested.)

Monday, February 23, 2004

Calling All Anarchists.

By the way, if you happen to be an Anarchist, you should sign up for the Anarchy Meet Up in your area (takes place on the fourth monday of every month.) It's especially important if you don't have any local organization or Infoshop or whatnot. At the moment I'm the only anarchist in the Charleston area who's signed up (for all I know I'm the only one here at the moment) -- and only one of four in all of West Virginia. I really gotta move to a bigger city.

The Illegal Wall.

A Wall As A Weapon -- by Noam Chomsky. I can't believe the NY Whore Times actually had the balls to publish an Op-Ed like this.

Palestinians Ready For Hearing Of The ICJ -- (Xinhuanet.)

Wall Will Render Two-State Solution "Practically Impossible" -- ICJ Ruling Could Lead Way For Sanctions Against Israel -- by Tali Nir, Ha'aretz Correspondent

The Canadian Health Care System.

If you believe what Right-Wingers say, you might be under the impression that the Canadian Health Care System is an unmitigated disaster. To bad that that assertion just isn't true.
An impressive array of data shows that Canadians live longer, healthier lives than we do. What's more, they pay roughly half as much per capita as we do ($2,163 versus $4,887 in 2001) for the privilege.

Exactly why Canadians fare better is the subject of considerable academic debate. Some policy experts say it's Canada's single-payer, universal health coverage system. Some think it's because our neighbors to the north use fewer illegal drugs and shoot each other less often with guns (though they smoke and drink with gusto, albeit somewhat less than Americans).

Still others think Canadians are healthier because their medical system is tilted more toward primary care doctors and less toward specialists. And some believe it's something more fundamental: a smaller gap between rich and poor.

Perhaps it's all of the above. But there's no arguing the basics.

"By all measures, Canadians' health is better," says Dr. Barbara Starfield, a university distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Canadians "do better on a whole variety of health outcomes," she says, including life expectancy at various ages.

Read the Rest

Related reading: Take It From A Patient -- Canada's System Works.