Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Decade Draws to an End...

Well my friends, the naughty nought-ies are nearly ended. Frankly, all told it was a pretty rotten decade. It started with the swearing in of the least legitimately elected President since... well... ever, I gues. And then he kicked things off by instituting a massive tax cut for his millionaire friends and family, setting us up for the long term deficit we're dealing with now. In just under a year all the major accomplishments of the Clinton administration were overturned and then..

September 11, 2001.

Then Afghanistan, Iraq. The shoe bomber. John Walker Lindh. More global terrorism - Bali. Madrid. Right here in London. A lot of fear and seeming determination by our leaders to use that fear for their own ends rather than to allay our fears through competence and calm.


Some ugly midterm elections, a 2004 Presidential election fought on more fearmongering. A 51-49 reelection for the nincompoop who was messing everything up, shortly followed by more disasters, and eventually... hurricane Katrina.


Then, in 2006, victory for the Democrats in Congress, the beginning of a sense that maybe we could see a way out of this, but still gridlock for the country's agenda because nothing could get through. And then finally, with the Democratic Primary, the rise of what started to seem like a real and intelligent debate about where the country could go.

And here we are today.

I'll be glad to see this decade come to an end. And even gladder that it is ending with American leaders (not just the President, mind you) who I can respect. I'm as glad as I can possibly be that it is ending passage through the Senate of the most comprehensive, progressive reform of the health care system that the US has ever achieved.

May the 2010's bring peace, prosperity, and most of all wisdom to each of you.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


So a 23 year old man from a wealthy family got on a plane. He had explosive material concealed in his underwear. After igniting the material, he came within seconds of detonating the explosive before being stopped by a fellow passenger, as flight attendants rushed to extinguish the flames.

Let's all send out a hearty thanks to the passenger and flight attendants whose good and quick thinking helped to avert what could have been a terrible tragedy. Let's be grateful for the hundreds of lives saved aboard that plane. Let's ask ourselves what went wrong with our system that allowed that man (who was already on a terror watch list) to get on that plane. Let's fix that.

Then let's take a deep breath and remember how terrorism works. It's doesn't work through the actual destruction - the loss of lives would have been terrible if this act had been "successful", but however devastating to the individuals, families and communities involved, the nation would have remained intact. The goal of terrorism is... to terrify. That's how they win - when they make us more afraid of them than we are proud of our own values.

Personally, I'm not afraid. And there's nothing they can do to me that would make me surrender my contempt for the values of these jerks. So no, I would not advocate racial or religious profiling, no I don't believe in imprisonment without trial, no I would not be willing to let my government torture on my behalf, and no I will not advocate the burder of innocent civilians for my own protection.

No amount of terror can turn me into a terrorist.