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November 4th, 2004

Some present!

It's my birthday. I got four more years of superstition and tyranny. The people spoke. Actually, as usual, some people spoke. Anybody yet correlate those exit polls showing Kerry winning with districts using electronic voting machines with no paper trail?

Don't much matter. If those who don't vote are counted as "none of the above" the State is once again dissolved. Amen. Enough. I've got to work on my new book and play Civ III. Its gonna be a probably boring 58th birthday, nothing like the year Tom brought me Samantha wrapped in a red bow for a present. I'd guess he regrets that one. Nothing like the year of the ... uhm, but I'd better not mention that. To mention is to evoke, and one does not evoke x's, if one is semisane.

Jim Moseley is stepping down as Permanent Chair of the National UFO Conference, passing the baton to a new well run L.A. based team. I started the convention in 1963, first held in '64 (and every year since) with Rick Hilberg and the first Permanent Chair, the late Al Manak. Interesting that some groups have "permanent chiefs" that voluntarily step down when they feel its time. "For life" may apply to a medical or mystical degree, but it probably never should apply in practice to administrators or judges or even kings. Last month one of my heros, King Norodom Sihanouk, stepped down as King of Cambodia. His elder son, a prominent politician, declined the honor, tried to talk dad out of quitting, but Norodom never wanted to be king in the first place. So a few days ago another son, you know, the former ballet dancer, was crowned king. Long may he reign, but not too long.

Prince Sihanouk, as he was known over here during the Viet Nam War, refusing to take the throne, guided his country on a careful route, keeping his country out of the war next door in Viet Nam and upstream in Laos, while Frenchmen, Americans, North and South Vietnamese cheerfully killed one another with abandon, Prince Sihanouk sipped tea with Mao, talked to everyone, kept his local commie crazies content with drinking coffee and Absinthe on the left bank in Paris talking revolution back home, and all was tranqil in Cambodia, till our boy Nixon had the monarchy "overthrown" by some right wing generals, getting the Khemer Rouge off their asses in Paris and out in the jungle and eventually to power, unspeakable atrocities and hell in Cambodia. The good Prince kept on friendly terms even with these madmen, and finally, reluctantly assumed the throne as king, whereupon peace broke out once again, with some Cambodians actually still alive.

The gang that endlessly debates the meaning of power and authority should look at the career of this - Noble Man, in both meanings of the term.

In the last day or two I posted a couple of comments on friends' sites that I thought were good enough or important enough to reprint here, for those who may not have seen them elsewhere.

HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME


Looking back over my political life, I was a lot happier as a street radical, because it was .... clean. I honestly think I did some good and I certainly had some adventures.

The idea of joining the prevailing party because it is the prevailing party, though, strikes me as morally bankrupt, whatever the rationale. I think one of the worst chapters in modern American history was the decision of the ideological libertarian right to leave the Republican Party in the early 1970s, which, in the longer term, abandoned the party to the last vestiges of its old "part of Lincoln" liberal wing (Ripon Society, Dirkson, Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay, John Anderson, et al), and left it to the racially motivated party-switching dixiecrats, and the then-new religious right. But these people *were* Republicans, roughly half of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF, of which I was a member), the authors of the Sharon Statement which accurately pointed out how rare and precious and fragile human freedom is. The agenda of the religious right and the exdixiecrats have nothing to do with freedom, and the cynical business interests are interested in corporate profit without any reference to freedom. If the libertarians had stayed, the whole country would be better.

But, by the same token, to advocate just anyone moving to the Republican Party is an invitation to lend support to what that party currently stands for. Would you have been a Communist Party member under Stalin, or a National Socialist under Hitler? Mostly, the world chooses based on that kind of choice, and mostly the world has lived under the boot of superstition and tyranny.

The long-range perspective is that parties have their day. The Federalists, who were brilliant, were too elitist and came and went. The Whigs had not a clue what to do with the "peculiar institution" and were swept away. The Republicans had a long run after Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, but the Great Depression really smashed that for a long generation from FDR to Nixon. (Eisenhower, in his autobiography, says he decided to be a Republican only when asked to run for president...he was a soldier whose well-deserved fame came under FDR and Truman).

The Democrats used to be a populist, meat-and-potato all-American party. In my lifetime I have seen it slide into a politically correct party of special interests, which looses and doesn't learn, even when it wins by reverting to something like the old populism (i.e. Southern Democrats without dixiecrat racism).

If the Republicans listen too closely to the Christian Right and the Neocon Right, they will try to police the world and dictate morality. When we are back to a slave-military (the draft) and coat-hanger back room abortions, I think they will falter and fall, perhaps taking down America with it.

If you stand against this tide of history, you may get swept away. But we're all swept away sooner or later. Better to fight on one's feet than live on one's knees.

It may not be some ultimate truth that "it isn't whether you win or lose, but how you play the game". But it is true when you face yourself in the shaving mirror, or it damn well ought to be.

RED AND BLUE

Hardly anyone ever mentions it, but if you ignore for a moment the places that became states later, the "red" states look very much like the slave-holding Confederate States of America, and the "blue" states look an awful lot like the Union circa 1860.

It isn't a coincidence. I can remember when the "solid south" was always, always solidly in the D column, when the Democratic Party was associated with the Confederacy, and the R states were associated with what used to proudly call itself "the Party of Lincoln". This continued until 1964. A president from the Old South, Lyndon Johnson, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and said "There goes the South for forty years." He underestimated. Barry Goldwater, himself not a racist, was a states rights advocate, a Republican who lost but who got the votes of the Old Confederacy, for the first time since Reconstruction, in the R column, and began the turn from blue to red that determines every presidential election ever since, except when a white southerner happens to run on the Democratic ticket.

So, I think "red" should be switched out for truth in packaging to Confederate Gray, and we can see what lies at the root of the way things are. Old slave states still voting for the old confederate cause.

If you redid the map to reflect not states but urban, suburban an rural, you'd find the Black South, which has a long memory and has become largely urban, and those descended from slaves who went to the cities of the North and are also largely urban, vote "Blue".

In short, take off the mask of "red and blue" states and see that the Cival War never truly ended, and, currently, the slavers are still at the advantage.

A footnote -- I'm not trashing southern heritage here....its one thing I was raised with. We ought to learn in this union of states, that the ordinary people of Iraq or Viet Nam are, by and large, going to respond unfavorably to strange people in strange uniforms from far away burning their homes and killing people left and right. In fact, whatever their politics (mostly, to eat, live, love and get by) they are apt to fight the invaders whatever their cause. The people of the Confederacy were no exception. The vast majority were not slave holders and were not asked by Col. Plantation what they thought of the matter. They were, pretty much, dirt farmers and share croppers. Thus, I am left a bit cold by the attack focused on the confederate battle flag, and get the joke here in Georgia when the first Republican governor since reconstruction hauls down the battle flag with the state seal, symbol of ordinary soldiers who fought for the south, and substitutes the authentic (but far less well-known) stars and bars of the Confederate Government, that is, the slavers' flag. 'Y'all see?," sez Sonnie Puurdue, "we ah compyin' and not wavin' that confed'rat rag noh mo." Ha Ha Ha. The war never ended. Only the dixiecrats now call themselves "Republicans" and make sure you have a bible beatin' creationist in charge.

For now.

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