LETTERS FROM PALESTINE
17 Reasons not to Slit your Wrists
23 November 2004
A day late and a dollar short as usual, here are my
two cents about the American Presidential elections.
I welcome responses and feedback, especially from
people who voted for Bush. I would dearly love to
hear your reasons why. My current assumptions about
Bush voters are probably biased and not very
flattering. Enlighten me.
The exit polls showed that the top reasons people
voted for Bush were "terrorism" and "moral values."
In my estimation, this means the great triumph of the
first term of the Bush administration has been to
scare the American people stupid. Or maybe just very
cleverly to tap into and utilize stupidity that was
already there. I'm not sure which came first.
Fundamentalism (belief systems that allow no
questioning or individual thought and encourage
chauvinism, nationalism, irrational fear and
intolerance) is on the rise in the United States for
reasons which merit serious and sober study and
counter-action. Instead, the Bush guys skillfully
aided and abetted it and rode the wave.
It appears that the line in the sand between Democrats
and Republicans today (the joke is that we still call
two parties that are 87% identical a democracy) is
whether politicians should pacify intelligent and
compassionate Americans in the economic bottom 95%
while going about their business of giving away the
wealth of the world to their corporate sponsors...
Or whether they should strengthen and cozy up to those
Medieval-style fundamentalists who can be led around
by anyone willing to co-opt and exploit their racist,
sexist, homophobic, and rather sloppily-interpreted
ideologies and manufactured fears of terrorist
boogeymen who in reality have less chance of killing
us than lightning or bee stings, and who are very much
more likely to sting us if we keep kicking their
hives, as the CIA itself has admitted.
It's a clash of civilizations right here on the home
A New Yorker named Mark wrote to an email list I'm on:
A 1997 poll found that 43% of the 81% of Americans
who believe in heaven also believe there are harps in
heaven.  The possibility that those people are
taking over our country is frightening.
Sorry, Mark. The fundies won this round in a big way.
The logic that leads them to grant carte blanche to a
cabal of maniacs? As long as bombs are dropping and
lots of brownish people are dying, Americans are safe.
As long as women and gays aren't upsettin' the
traditional social order, maybe nothing too
discombobulating will happen in our lifetimes. And if
we hang on to Israel, and keep it away from those
inscrutable heathern towel-heads, maybe Jesus (who was
obviously a white European) will come again, and then
we can all just whistle. 
One of Bush's key strategies to get re-elected was to
put a law banning gay marriage on the ballot in 11 key
states to draw out the people with a vitriolic and
incomprehensible hatred of homosexuals to vote for it.
These people, of course, were almost certain to vote
for George W. Bush while they were at it. Nice one.
So, in the land of the free and the home of the brave,
gay marriage has been officially banned in 11 more
states, Bush has been successfully re-elected, and
women's rights and the separation of church and state
are being rolled back faster than Wal-Mart prices.
Candidates race each other to see who more steadfastly
supports Israel's illegal, racist policies. The
national treasury looks like the credit card account
of a seventeen-year-old crack addict. (Maybe brings
back memories for our Commander in Chief?) Education,
health care, air and water quality, cost of living -
down, down, down, up.
Iraq (and many other places) will continue to smolder
horribly, probably for decades to come, killing our
boys and their men, women, and children. And more
ex-Presidents and their buddies will enjoy more
billion-dollar deals along with their chosen Uncle
Karzais in each of the nations they ravage with
cheerful impunity, while the masses back home are left
clutching lottery tickets, tiny rebate checks, and
Ben Tripp of CounterPunch wrote:
Here's what makes me sick: the last time,
Americans voted for this Hakencreuz Hillbilly because
he misrepresented what he was about. This time, they
knew exactly what he was about, and they voted for him
We voted for intolerance. We voted against the
environment, against the poor, against women, against
queers, against Arabs, against any modicum of change
or understanding or enlightenment. What does this say
about our country?
It's not like the Democrats were helping us out,
either; they moved about as far to the right as they
possibly could, giving us no real choice and totally
alienating the Left, at least those who weren't
short-sighted and panicky enough to be in the Anybody
But Bush bloc.
We could have had a movement, but instead we just
leaned Bushwards in the hopes of stealing votes from
clueless swing voters. We effectively strengthened
and legitimized Bush's vast 'intolerance' base -- his
second base, I should say, since he's said on the
record that his true base is the economic top 1%.
And all this racing-each-other-to-the-right turned the
debate, which is almost always meaningless, into low
comedy that was a horror to watch for anyone with a
basic knowledge of the world, history, and human
rights. Lucky for them, most Americans don't have
But it's not all bad. Several houses of cards are on
the brink of collapse, and it will be poetic justice
if the Bush- and Sharon-types are still in power to
take the heat when they fall. Rome is over-reaching
while cutting the rug out from under itself in a
number of ways, and Israel is America's Mini-Me,
making very similar mistakes.
The rest of the world is almost relieved George W.
Bush was re-elected. A jazz star, born and raised in
Israel, who calls himself a Hebrew-speaking
America is a superpower. No one can topple it.
The only people who can topple America are Americans
themselves and they have done it. They have elected a
qualified imbecile to run their administration. They
are getting involved in so many wars and they are far
from being successful in any of them. This empire is
Our alliances are falling apart, our credibility is
falling apart, our claim to morality is falling apart,
our civil rights are taking an alarming nose-dive, and
best of luck with health care, education, social
security... Even some former staunch Conservatives who still
have some of their faculties about them are properly horrified.
But history has seen darker times than these. We the
People haven't lost. The two-terms-of-Bush setback
may even be a blessing in disguise. There was a
devastating ice storm in Oklahoma a few years back
that nearly destroyed half the trees in Haskell
County. We were horrified. But a couple of springs
hence, things came up newer and greener than ever
Sometimes we have to hit bottom before real change and
renewal can take place. And Bush seems to be taking
the most direct path to the bottom possible. That's
cold comfort for all the people and places being
killed and destroyed and all the hearts being broken
as we speak. (Most people in the West are comfortably
shielded from the worst, but it's there, manifestly.)
And there's a good chance things will reach critical
mass and just keep getting darker from here on out.
It's up to us to make sure this doesn't happen.
There's a lot of potential to see the current
mystifying horrors as a wake-up call to face difficult
truths and take difficult but necessary actions.
We're the only ones who can do it.
We must resist and help others resist the urge to
become rigid out of fear, to bury ourselves in the
past or in the neo-ideologies that thinly attempt to
justify economic and political brutality that will
spell disaster for all of us in the end.
In a globalized world, we have no excuse for
ignorance. We can't let the terrorists and
ideologues, Eastern or Western, modern or medieval,
win. There are more possibilities than they try to
make us think.
You're either with me or you're with George W. Bush
and the terrorists.
The following cheered me up a bit anyway:
- Light humor by the lovable Limbaugh of what
America calls the Left (ha!);
- A beautiful quotation by Howard Zinn, one of my
heroes. His A People's History of the United States
may be the most important book I've ever read;
- An article about why Kerry's loss might be a
battle worth losing in the long-term for those
- And finally, Homer Simpson sums up two-party
democracy in seven words.
17 REASONS NOT TO SLIT YOUR WRISTS...
BY MICHAEL MOORE
Ok, it sucks. Really sucks. But before you go and cash
it all in, let's, in the words of Monty Python,
'always look on the bright side of life!' There IS
some good news from Tuesday's election.
Here are 17 reasons not to slit your wrists:
1. It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for
2. Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting
president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
3. The only age group in which the majority voted for
Kerry was young adults (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%),
proving once again that your parents are always wrong
and you should never listen to them.
4. In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans
still think the country is headed in the wrong
direction (56%), think the war wasn't worth fighting
(51%), and don't approve of the job George W. Bush is
doing (52%). (Note to foreigners: Don't try to figure
this one out. It's an American thing, like Pop Tarts.)
5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof
60-seat majority in the Senate. If the Democrats do
their job, Bush won't be able to pack the Supreme
Court with right-wing ideologues. Did I say "if the
Democrats do their job?" Um, maybe better to scratch
6. Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire
Northeast, the birthplace of our democracy. So did 6
of the 8 Great Lakes States. And the whole West Coast!
Plus Hawaii. Ok, that's a start. We've got most of the
fresh water, all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We
can dehydrate them or bury them in lava. And no more
7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a
nut, and not just any old nut -- a poisonous nut. A
great nation was felled by a poisonous nut. May Ohio
State pay dearly this Saturday when it faces Michigan.
8. 88% of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50
years, America will no longer have a white majority.
Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If you're ten
years old and reading this, your golden years will be
truly golden and you will be well cared for in your
9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on
Tuesday, cannot get married in 11 new states. Thank
God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't
have to buy now.
10. Five more African Americans were elected as
members of Congress, including the return of Cynthia
McKinney of Georgia. It's always good to have more
blacks in there fighting for us and doing the job our
11. The CEO of Coors was defeated for Senate in
Colorado. Drink up!
12. Admit it: We like the Bush twins and we don't want
them to go away.
13. At the state legislative level, Democrats picked
up a net of at least 3 chambers in Tuesday's
elections. Of the 98 partisan-controlled state
legislative chambers (house/assembly and senate),
Democrats went into the 2004 elections in control of
44 chambers, Republicans controlled 53 chambers, and 1
chamber was tied. After Tuesday, Democrats now control
47 chambers, Republicans control 49 chambers, 1
chamber is tied and 1 chamber (Montana House) is still
14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no
greater moment than the one he's having this week.
It's all downhill for him from here on out -- and,
more significantly, he's just not going to want to do
all the hard work that will be expected of him. It'll
be like everyone's last month in 12th grade -- you've
already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll
treat the next four years like a permanent Friday,
spending even more time at the ranch or in
Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already
proved his point, avenged his father and kicked our
15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take
this country down a very dark road, it is also just as
likely that either of the following two scenarios will
happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to
the Christian conservatives again to get elected,
someone may whisper in his ear that he should spend
these last four years building "a legacy" so that
history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus
he will not push for too aggressive a right-wing
agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and arrogant --
and thus, reckless -- that he will commit a blunder of
such major proportions that even his own party will
have to remove him from office.
16. There are nearly 300 million Americans -- 200
million of them of voting age. We only lost by three
and a half million! That's not a landslide -- it means
we're almost there. Imagine losing by 20 million. If
you had 58 yards to go before you reached the goal
line and then you barreled down 55 of those yards,
would you stop on the three yard line, pick up the
ball and go home crying -- especially when you get to
start the next down on the three yard line? Of course
not! Buck up! Have hope! More sports analogies are
17. Finally and most importantly, over 55 million
Americans voted for the candidate dubbed "The #1
Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total
number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I,
Clinton or Gore. Again, more people voted for Kerry
than Reagan. If the media are looking for a trend it
should be this -- that so many Americans were, for the
first time since Kennedy, willing to vote for an
out-and-out liberal. The country has always been
filled with evangelicals -- that is not news. What IS
news is that so many people have shifted toward a
Massachusetts liberal. In fact, that's BIG news. Which
means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones who
brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real
truth about November 2, 2004. In fact, it's better
that they don't. We'll need the element of surprise in
Feeling better? I hope so. As my friend Mort wrote me
yesterday, "My Romanian grandfather used to say to me,
'Remember, Morton, this is such a wonderful country --
it doesn't even need a president!'"
But it needs us. Rest up, I'll write you again
"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly
romantic. It is based on the fact that human history
is a history not only of cruelty, but also of
compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we
choose to emphasize in this complex history will
determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it
destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember
those times and places - and there are so many - where
people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the
energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending
this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't
have to wait for some grand utopian future. The
future is an infinite succession of presents, and to
live now as we think human beings should live, in
defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a
~ Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving
Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208
Kerry Should Be Glad He Lost
November 04, 2004
FOR THOSE of us who were disappointed, and even
horrified, by George W. Bush’s return to power there
was one consolation in yesterday’s result. On the
contrary, the previously unmentionable hope for the
supporters of liberal politics in America, is that
Senator Kerry has done the Democratic Party a favour
of immense, historic proportions by losing to Mr Bush.
In military history, it is a commonplace that there
are certain battles worth losing rather than winning —
and if ever this were true in politics, then the 2004
US election would be a case in point.
To see what I mean, step away from America for a
moment and consider the most successful left-of-centre
party in the modern world: Britain’s “new” Labour
Party. Now ask yourself what electoral event laid the
foundation for Labour’s success. This would be the
1992 election, in which a manifestly incompetent Tory
Government was unexpectedly and undeservedly returned
If Neil Kinnock instead of John Major had won the 1992
election, the devaluation of Black Wednesday would
have occurred even sooner. The monetary crisis which
undermined the Tories’ long-established reputation for
economic competence would have been blamed on Labour’s
mismanagement. Black Wednesday (or Monday or Tuesday)
would almost certainly have brought down the Kinnock
Government and would unquestionably have ended
Labour’s hopes of ever again becoming a serious party
of government. Indeed, as a very minor contributor to
the outcome of the 1992 election through my articles
unravelling Labour’s absurd tax plans, I have often
been thanked by friends in the party for inadvertently
helping them to avoid the terrible fate awaiting them
if they had gained power.
So was 2004 a good election to lose, just like 1992 in
Britain? Will the Democrats one day thank John Kerry
for losing, just as Labour is grateful to Mr Kinnock?
This seems distinctly possible, given the challenges
now facing America, especially in geopolitics and
macroeconomics. Iraq is a mess which Mr Bush created
and it is surely fitting that he should be the one
forced to clean it up. The same is true of ballooning
government deficits, escalating oil prices and the
small but growing, threat of a crisis in the US
balance of payments leading to an international run on
Extricating American forces from Iraq will be
extremely difficult for Mr Bush, especially if he
tries to maintain significant control over its foreign
policies and its energy resources. Restoring stability
to Iraq, without handing the country over to an
overtly anti-Western or theocratic regime will become
even harder if Mr Bush decides to pick a fight with
Iran over nuclear proliferation — or, even worse, if
he backs Israel in a “pre-emptive” military attack. To
control America’s public finances will be equally
difficult, given that the President and his party are
now totally committed to ever-lower taxes, ever-more
aggressive military postures and ever-more generous
It is quite likely, therefore, that in the next year
or two President Bush could face a military or
economic crisis (or both) — and, crucially, that such
a crisis would be analogous to Black Wednesday in its
political effects. If Mr Bush suffered a serious
military setback, either in Iraq or in a broader
confrontation involving Iran, Israel and other Middle
East countries (not to mention North Korea or Taiwan),
the Republicans would lose their reputation as the
“party of national security”, just as the British
Tories lost their reputation as the party of economic
competence in 1992. The damage to the Republicans’
national security reputation would be even greater if
America were hit by a serious terrorist attack or if
withdrawal from Iraq turned into a disorderly
On the economic front, the Republicans risk disgrace
if they raise taxes or if, as is much more likely in
my view, America suffers a financial and inflationary
crisis because of its failure to bring the federal
budget back under control.
But even if the Bush Administration manages to avoid
any such disasters, the analogy with Britain in the
early 1990s suggests that the Democrats should be
grateful to stay out of the White House for the next
four years. The electorate’s decision to let Mr Bush
clear up his own messes does not just threaten the
incumbent with poetic justice; more importantly it
offers a reprieve from a potential death sentence on
the Democrats. If a newly-elected President Kerry were
to suffer a terrorist attack or a humiliation in Iraq
or some kind of fiscal crisis, the political backlash
against the Democrats would be far worse than the
damage faced in similar circumstances by Mr Bush.
For as hard as Mr Kerry would try to blame the Bush
legacy for any such disasters, the public would see
them as evidence that the Democrats as a party are
weak on terrorism, prone to defeat in military
confrontations and ideologically committed to higher
tax. It is again worth imagining the public reaction
in Britain if it had been the economic policies of Mr
Kinnock, instead of Mr Major, that were blown away by
the markets six months after the election of 1992.
In sum, the next four years could be a good time for
the Democrats to let right-wing Republicans take their
policies to their logical conclusion and beyond. Just
as Mr Major took Thatcherism beyond its logical
conclusions with policies such as rail privatisation
and the bizarre moralising of “back to basics”, the
Republicans could overreach themselves not only in
economics and foreign policy but also in social and
environmental matters and on the membership of the
Meanwhile, the Democrats must rebuild their party,
unite around an impressive new leader and wait for
Republican mythology to self-destruct in the face of
events. All this will happen in time, very possibly in
the next four years. If so, the Democrats may one day
hail Mr Kerry as the man whose defeat paved the way
for Hillary Clinton, just as Labour now reveres Mr
Kinnock as the lucky loser who made possible the
triumphs of Tony Blair.
"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"
~ Homer Simpson, while being enslaved and whipped
by evil aliens controlled by President Kang, an evil
alien who was democratically elected over evil alien
 Nothing against Jesus or religion, just against,
you know, maniacs.
"I really believe that the pagans, and the
abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the
lesbians who are actively trying to make that an
alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the
American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize
America. I point the finger in their face and say
'you helped this [9/11] happen.'"
"If the United States takes a role in ripping half
of Jerusalem away from Israel and giving it to Yasser
Arafat and a group of terrorists, we are going to see
the wrath of God fall on this nation that will make
tornadoes look like a Sunday school picnic."
Next: My Boss will run for President of Palestine