The Peach

Proudly providing the reality-based community with the juice on politics, media, religion and culture

Saturday, November 06, 2004


The Peach, like many in the Democratic movement, took a day or two to recover from an election outcome that is all the more ghastly for being somewhat unexpected. We went out to dinner Tuesday night expecting a resounding Kerry win. We came home requiring a steep increase in our Prozac dose.

We have since been Peach-storming on what happened and what to do next. We've spent a couple of nights driving around in the Peach Mobile (for the uninitiated, a large fuzzy peach-shaped vehicle) discussing what those people did right and, indeed, what we may have done wrong.

We have reached few conclusions, but perhaps some important questions and ideas about the way forward. One thing is for certain. Now, more than ever, The Peach is needed and we will continue. As our beloved country recedes ever further from the "reality-based community," as the Bushian pluto- and theocrats circle like sleek, well-fed tigers, certain of their ascendency, alternative voices must continue to shout in the wilderness. Just as in the campaign, if the SCLM will not hold our leaders accountable, we must do so.

We cannot, for example, allow Bush to continue his cant about his "historic mandate" when he eked out a bare 1% more than what was needed for a simple majority. Similarly, the idiocy about large numbers of people voting on "moral values" must be challenged when the phrase "moral values" has come to be synonymous with "conservative Christian ideology." They are not the same, and we must insist on the distinction whenever and wherever we can.

At the same time, we recognize that there are many fronts on which our effort did not quite make the grade this time around, and all of us must work on all of them if we are to prevail in the future. They include grassroots political organization; working on local and national races for mid-term elections; Clarifying the Democratic party vision for a red-state IQ; improving communication and the difficult challenge of "reframing" many of the prevailing debates, particularly on social and moral issues; growing a network of thinktanks, radio talk shows, grassroots groups and other communication vehicles to mirror the one that the Republicans built so successfully over the past ten to fifteen years.

We would also urge the powers that be in the Democratic party to begin NOW grooming a winning candidate for 2008, not wait until the primaries to begin trying to build a brand name ex-nihilo.

We hope that The Peach can become a lively forum for debating these ideas and helping the Democratic party set its direction for the future.

Bush's Buddies In Riyadh?

While Bush insists the Arab world supports the United States in the Iraq war, there are now reports that beg to differ. An article in Al Jazeera notes that no fewer than 26 prominent Saudi religious scholars are taking the position that armed attacks by Iraqi groups against US troops and their allies in Iraq are "legitimate" resistance, according to their open letter to the Iraqi people. The article went on to say that the scholars "issued a fatwa, or religious edict, prohibiting Iraqis from offering any support for military operations carried out by US forces against anti-US fighter strongholds."

Equally interesting, Bush's close buddies in the Saudi government are keeping mum on the letter, rather than roundly condeming it or whatever else we might expect our closest pals in the Arab to do. Trouble in paradise for Bush?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Baron's Brain: Now What?

Now that The Brain has recovered from post-election hangover, The Brain is reminded of that infamous scene from the movie Network when Howard Beale gives the speech of the century:
I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job, the dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter, punks are running wild in the streets, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air's unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit and watch our tee-vees while some local newscaster tells us today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We all know things are bad. Worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything's going crazy. So we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we live in gets smaller, and all we ask is please, at least leave us alone in our own living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my tee-vee and my hair-dryer and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything, just leave us alone. Well, I'm not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad.

I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to write your congressmen. Because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about depression and the inflation and the defense budget and the Russians and crime in the street. All I know is first you got to get mad. You've got to say: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more. I'm a human being, goddammit. My life has value." So I want you to get up now. I want you to get out of your chairs and go to the window. Right now. I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell. I want you to yell: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!"
Well, my fellow Democrats, it's time to get mad. The Brain is enraged, and Republicans are going to know about it for the next four years. After watching Kerry/Edwards take the high road on all ethical issues while the Reps dragged out Swift Boat Dummies with money, the mistress of the night Lynne and her husband Dick "I am Satan" Cheney, Sinclair Broadcasting, Sproul & Associates, the mindless drones at Fox-TV, and the constant mantra of lies spewed by Bush, only to watch 51% of Americans drink the Bushies' Kool-Aid, The Brain feels we Dems must state straight out: no more Mr. Nice Guy. From now on the Reps get exactly and succinctly what we think. When they lie, we call them liars. When they steal, we call them thieves. When they take vacations, we call them lazy bums. The only way to defeat these people is to tell the world what we really think, and tell them loudly. Make sure everyone hears how dirty the Reps really are. We know they're dirty, so it doesn't make sense to preach it to our own choir.

And from now through the regurgitation (oops, inauguration) we are going to hear how this country needs to heal. The Brain doesn't think so. Don't give us that "now is the time to be united" tripe. Do the Reps really think that we're so passive that after they've stolen our lunch money every day for the past six months we're all going to have a group hug? HAH, is what The Brain says. The Brain isn't about to hold any Bushie's hand and begin singing Kumbayah.

The only way to beat these people is to play their way--ugly. And the only way to do that is to get really, really mad. With these thoughts in mind, The Brain has these final words to say to the Republicans standing in the other corner: Bring It On. The Brain is cocked and ready.

Oh, And Then There's That Disaster Called "The War In Iraq"

Now that you "blinded by wool" idiots pulled the lever for Bush, actually believing the deceitful bile that flowed from his orifice, this story from Al Jazeera appears. It seems that those fearless physicians from Doctors Without Borders have had enough. They're packing up their stethoscopes and getting the hell out of Baghdad. Apparently, it's become too dangerous (oh, really?). According to the director general:
"It has become impossible for us, as an international humanitarian organisation,to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, whether they are expatriates or Iraqis," said Gorik Ooms, director general of MSF-Belgium.
And when was Bushy planning on opening up that "Thank God For Americans" theme park?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Suffering Fools

We will leave the recriminations, the 20/20 hindsight and the Wednesday morning quarterbacking to others. The most important thing is to look forward. What next in a second Bush term? It may be helpful in this regard to give some thought to what Bush did right.

The Peach does not like to sound bitter, but it is time we acknowledged that the bare majority of our fellow Americans are not all that bright. They like Bush because they percieve and believe that he is just like them. Shallow. Elemental. Kind of uneducated. Unreflective. Simple-minded.

He has a tiny handful of key messages and all of them can be summed up in simple, declarative sentences. "They hate freedom." "People ought to take responsibility for themselves." "I'm for a culture of life." And people all over the red states are nodding their heads. "He's so honest," they murmur to one another. "You know where he stands."

It is time we just looked long and hard at ourselves in the mirror and acknowledged that close reasoning and IQ points and courage and human decency and embedded clauses just do not work anymore. Because John Kerry has those things in spades, and to people in Nebraska, he might just as well have been speaking Chinese. What they understood was "He'll raise your taxes." What they understood was "Hillary-care."

Is it sad? Yes. Is it the triumph of the woefully mediocre that writers from George Orwell to Kurt Vonnegut warned us about? Yes. Is Thomas Jefferson rolling over in his grave? Yes. Do we still need to win? HELL YES!

The odious reality -- as The Peach sees it -- is that we must take a leaf out of the Republican playbook. Run a candidate who can boil everything down to simplistic declarative sentences about values and actions (Our vote is for John Edwards -- "There's two Americas! One for the wealthy and one for the rest of us. And it's WRONG!"). Let's start positioning that candidate for the top job now -- not wait till the primaries in '08.

And let's start reshaping those debates as the Republicans did through the Clinton years. We prospered and waxed liberal, and they bided their time and put their people in place and disseminated their simplistic rhetoric out there into the public sphere, over and over again. And when they were done, the red-staters stared with Zombie eyes and chanted "partial birth abortion" and "stay the course" and "the ownership society" and they have now elected George W. Bush to a second term.

People as allegedly smart as we are should be able to figure out a way to beat them at their own game. Let's get started today.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Baron's Brain: Time To Wake Up

What makes us American? The Brain thinks about progress, ingenuity, adaption, the truth, rights, democracy. This is not a land built on the philosophy of "you're either for us or against us". We are a nation built on the undeniable fact, not the belief, that when we stand, we stand next to a countryman. The Brain wants to feel that again.

The feelings of "Americana" have survived decades (even centuries) of battle and victory, prosperity and depression, anger and jubilation. They are things that we live and breath. They are what make us part of the American fabric. The Brain asks that all readers wake up on Nov. 2 and reclaim their independence and their part of a united nation.

We have lived under the rule of an administration that has hidden the truth, and has promoted and forced their form of belief and government upon us. The Brain feels that the current mode of governing isn't concerned with America's historical breadth and purpose. Instead, it is constructed on a selfish agenda that favors only those who believe, support and benefit from it, while casting away those who don't agree, aren't relevant or, what is even more frightening, aren't aware of how this administration leaves them blind and deprived.

That is not what Lady Liberty expects from this country. We must say no to our current state of government. We should not be a land that takes advantage of the struggling majority in order to better provide for the striving minority. We must begin to mend rather than separate. We can not survive as a country if we insist that strength comes through division.

We have lived in fear long enough. It is time to stand up, bravely, and say no to Bush.

One More Day

As The Peach prepares to go to sleep tonight, it is with perhaps unwarranted confidence that tomorrow will truly be a new day. As we put on our fuzzy pajamas and brush the dust off our stem for the night, we feel certain that we will sleep soundly. And when we awaken tomorrow, it will be to the sound of America becoming America again. By the time we sleep again, we believe we will know that America has rejected the forces of totalizing authoritarianism; of incompetence; of intolerance; of war and insecurity and fear. We believe John Kerry will be president.

Between now and then, every Peach reader must take action. Find out what you can do in your home precinct or county to get out the vote. And along with many in our nation, say a prayer for John Kerry's victory at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tonight. Together, we will win.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit . . .