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Month: October 2004

Closing Arguments for Kerry

Closing Arguments for Kerry

Essay by Mr. Marriah Star:

This will be my last post/essay/rant before election day. I will be campaigning in New Hampshire over the weekend and traveling to Pennsylvania on election day. Since this is the most important election of our lifetime, I encourage everyone else on the list to do
something similar, regardless of if you are a citizen or registered to vote. This is the first, and perhaps the last global election in which everyone in the world has either a stake or an interest in the outcome. So, let me offer 3 brief closing arguments for Kerry to win.

1. 9/11 changed nothing. It was a large scale terrorist attack on American soil, but it was not an act of war. War can only occur when one state attacks another through a military invasion. The actors doing the attack must be hired by the state, not indirectly supported
by it. You end the war when one of the states surrenders. A war in which there is no surrender is not a war. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 did nothing to stop the globalization and economic integration that took place during the 1990s. Information technology is still spreading. The world is increasingly integrated economically, politically, and militarily. Powerful weapons are still getting into the hands of individuals who have no affiliation with states. 9/11 did not herald a new era. It was simply a case of the U.S. being caught off guard. Any state that is caught off its defensive guard will suffer similar large-scale terrorist attacks. However, once the terrorist attack occurs and the state wakes up, improves its defenses, and either kills the members of the terrorist organization, imprisons them, or destroys the source of funding and arms, the terrorist threat diminishes. This can easily be accomplished through international cooperation, which is facilitated by globalization. The message of 9/11 was that the U.S. should pursue international alliances, enhance the global political and legal framework, and even pursue some type of world government, because that is truly the best way to get rid of terrorism. Terrorism consists of civilization vs. chaos, or states vs. non-state actors. Thus, if we increase the reach of civilization (e.g. the state and law-enforcement) around the globe, terrorism will diminish in threat the way that organization crime diminished. The aims of terrorist organizations don’t matter. It is the means with which they achieve those aims that matter. Any individual in the world can have the aims of a terrorist organization, but only a state can achieve those aims. The more global governance we have, the less likely that individuals and terrorist groups can accomplish their aims. Kerry understands this. Bush does not. Bush thinks this is a war of good states against bad states. That is false. Since Kerry accurately understands the nature of 9/11 and the message it gave us, he should be elected president.

2. The U.S. is at war in Iraq, but it is a misguided war that is draining resources unnecessarily. Iraq was a civilized state that prevented the spread of terrorism around the world. It had a ruthless dictator who would not allow any terrorist organization to come into its territory and develop their military capacities. In a world that lacks global governance, you need ruthless dictators to eliminate terrorists. Since Iraq was not an effective part of the global governing community (it was not integrated into any of the legal or economic frameworks around the world, and it was barely functioning as part of the UN), it needed a ruthless dictator to maintain order and prevent the spread of terrorism. When there is a lack of governance in which there are accepted rules, the only thing that works is murder by the state to maintain order. The other areas of the Middle East (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia) have sets of rules (the
Shari’a) that they accept for governing the population. Bush wants to replace those rules with the rules of democracy. That is a nice fantasy, but, historically, the only way a country changes its accepted rules is through economic integration on a sector-by-sector basis. India is a good example, as are Japan, Germany, and China. India was economically integrated through the British Empire, as was China. China is now undergoing increased economic integration because
of deliberate government policy. Bush likes to use Japan and Germany as the examples of military invasion preceding economic integration, but those cases are flawed, and they do not apply to the Middle East. Japan had a culture of conquer and teach, or be conquered and learn. When the U.S. conquered Japan, they willingly accepted our military presence and all of our ways. Germany had experienced a radical deviation from its civilized past through Hitler. Its citizens desired to get back to that civilization after Hitler was defeated. Thus, Germany willingly accepted the economic integration into Europe (through the Marshall Plan), as well as political and military integration into Europe (to act as a buffer to the Soviet Union). In
contrast, the Middle East has a culture that has flourished for the past millennium, and that culture is very different from the culture of Western states. It is a culture that does not accept the division of church and state. It requires the combination of church and state
so that the state enforces the rules of the church. It is a culture that does not have the elements of civil society because the rules of religious affiliation prevent the free movement from one group, or political party, to another. If a country tries to invade the countries of the Middle East and change their culture through military force, it will inevitably encounter fierce resistance because the people of the Middle East favor piety over everything else. The concept of the secular (the separation of church and society, with separate rules provided by the church and society) does not have a presence in the Middle East. Throughout the region, church and social life are intertwined. Bush thinks the U.S. and the rest of the world can change the entire culture of the Middle East through the “war on terror” without much resistance because the ideas of Western society are universally appealing. Bush ignores the fact that the Middle East dislikes most of the tenets of Western culture: separation of church and state, secularity, individual rights. It will take a millennium of war to change that culture. In contrast, if the Middle East integrates economically with the West to allow an exchange of people and ideas, it is more likely that the Middle East will go through a gradual transformation as it goes through generational change. Thus, if there is more global governance, allowing educational integration, economic integration, and political integration, as Kerry wants, the U.S. can probably achieve in a couple generations what Bush thinks will take the rest of the
century.

3. Finally, the identity of the U.S. is at stake in this election. The historical identity of the U.S. has been separation of church and state, increased acceptance of dissent, increased tolerance of different groups. Bush is using the “war on terror” and the Patriot Act to alter this identity. Under Bush, the separation of church and state has de facto ended. Just read Ron Suskind’s article from the New York Times Magazine (“Without a Doubt”). The Patriot Act is being used to undermine the Bill of Rights and decrease tolerance in the name of a perpetual “war on terror.” This election isn’t really about the economy, health care, education, the environment, abortion, gay rights, or any other favorite domestic topic. It is a culture war. “The Los Angeles Times
(http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-poll26oct26.story) has a story today that explains why this election is so much more emotionally charged than previous ones. It is not about economics, but part of a cultural war. A new LA Times poll shows Bush doing well among lower and middle income whites, whereas Kerry leads among whites earning more than $100,000 a year despite his promise to roll back the Bush tax cuts for people making more
than $200,000 a year. As president, Bush has enacted big tax cuts for the rich but the rich are voting for Kerry. What’s up here? The same poll shows that 2/3 of the people who attend a house of worship at least once a week are voting for Bush, whereas 60% of those who
attend religious services less than once a week are voting for Kerry, in part because these voters recoil at Bush’s constant use of religious imagery. Lower income whites like Bush’s proposal to ban gay marriage but only a quarter believe his policies have been good
for the economy. In contrast, affluent whites who have benefited the most from the Bush tax cuts believe Bush’s policies have hurt the economy. In short, far more than in previous years, economic policy is taking a back seat to cultural issues. The real divide seems to be between deeply religious lower income, lower education, voters living in small towns and rural areas who have conservative values on abortion and gay marriage versus higher income, higher education, secular, urban voters who have progressive views on cultural issues.”
(http://www.electoral-vote.com/oct/oct27.html) Hence, the culture war is really a religious war, with Bush and his supporters trying to turn the U.S. into a de jure theocracy (through the Supreme Court) and Kerry supporters trying to stop them. Look at a recent cartoon by David Fitzsimmons of the ARIZONA DAILY STAR to see what’s at stake.
(http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/relatedarticles/44137.php) Kerry understands that religious faith must never interfere with government policy that affect millions of people. Bush does not understand this. Bush wants religious faith to be a central part of how the government operates. In this way, he is turning the United States government into one that would be favored by the people living in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and other Middle Eastern nations. Bush would make a great president for an Arabic state. However, he makes a
terrible president for the United States of America. Kerry would make a great president for the United States of America because he is fully in sync with what America was like in the past, and he will restore those values in the present.

nobody will check…trust me

nobody will check…trust me

You know, it seems like the Bush administration has been doing a lot of finger crossing behind it’s back these days. First Cheney says “I’ve never met you before tonight” to John Edwards in the VP debate….then video turns up of the two men (and their wives) sitting next to each other at an official dinner. He also says he has “presided over the senate almost every tuesday” when “almost every” turns out to mean less than ten times in four years (not counting private sessions that democrats aren’t welcome to attend). Now we see John Kerry assailing Bush about failure in Iraq because he lost the weapons cache at Al-Qaqaa (what a fitting name, don’t you think?). Bush counters with “they were gone before we got there” and has a satellite image of Iraqi activity at the bunkers two days before the invasion. (The bunkers were not where the weapons were kept by the way) Ok, so I had to give it to Georgy on that one.. THEN this morning we find out that a reporter with the invasion force made a video of a soldier examining the barrels of ammunitions in April AFTER the invasion… Which is worse, a candidate that says 100% when his plan really covers 90%….or a candidate (and VP candidate) that boldy looks America in the eye and lies not once but over and over and over. The ultimate irony is that Bush will probably win. When you control all media in small town America, the people never hear the TRUTH, let alone dissenting opinions. For all they know in Marietta….Dick Cheney has never met John Edwards before and a president who “doesn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about” catching Osama Bin Ladin is the obvious choice to keep us safe.

At least that is what Maja Rushie, Glenn Beck, and Bill O’Really? think.

Alright, I’ve opened the floodgates DJ and JD, lets see what you’ve got….
This should make for some lively conversation at the reception.

(I’m going to Cleveland for my cousin John’s wedding for those of you who don’t know)

phew…I’m tired

phew…I’m tired

Wednesday night Aaron and I culminated our four year friendship with the reason we met in the first place. Way back in 2000 (?) Aaron responded to an ad that I and Paul Rybak had posted around the OSU campus looking for a drummer. Aaron never had his set in Ohio, so I never got to hear him. On Wednesday we went to a jam session in the brewery district. It was actually the same place (artist colony) Amy and I had gone the previous weekend. After getting lost in a myriad of old dank hallways and freight elevators and unmarked doors….we finally found the place. The set-up was cool for playing music (the building rules were you could make as much noise as you want between noon and 11pm), but not for living we thought. Everything in the lofts was weird, strange “pub-style” (according to a tenant) bathrooms and such. The jam session quickly turned into an Andrew and Aaron improv that began to involve the other two guys less and less. I’m not sure, but we probably won’t jam with those guys again. The important thing is that I finally got to hear Aaron play the drums. Afterwards we stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place called La Pizza Loca. I thought it was pretty good, their cheese pizza being much better than dominos, little ceasers, and so on.

Friday night, Amy and I went to a restaurant over in Tolouca Lake near the ABC studios named Dalt’s Grill. I thought it was a nice place, but the portions of food were way too big. We made the mistake of ordering an appetizer as well. After returning to my apartment we went with Aaron to the Sherman Oaks Guitar Center, where he checked out prices on drum kits. I also bought new guitar strings since it has surely been a year or more since I’ve changed any…my acoustic strings are green now, very unhealthy.

Saturday morning Amy and I proceeded to San Diego. We stopped at Saeu’s at a shopping mall to watch the OSU game. I was impressed by the place, a much better environment to watch a game in than Moose’s in Pasadena. After that we drove to Amy’s aunt and uncles’ place in Rancho Santa Fe. They are very successful and live in a gated community that also boasts home owners like Janet Jackson. Supposedly it is the most expensive place to live in the world (or at least the US). All the homes are custom built, and so her aunt and uncles’ was very interesting. We spent most of the rest of the day with them, mostly talking about politics. Her uncle said that Missouri always sides with the winner because it is an accurate cross-section of America. He said that polls indicate Missouri will go for Bush…bad news…

For dinner we went with them and her cousin Wayne’s family to Pat and Oscar’s, a restaurant that Amy and I had never heard of. The next morning, Amy and I headed straight to Mexico. We walked around in Tijuana until noon and then headed back. She was on a mission to get a thick blanket for her mom and I was on a mission to find a new wallet (leather goods are cheap there) and I succeeded. I also got some interesting gifts to bring the folks back home next weekend. Originally we had planned to go to the San Diego “cove” and see the sea otters in the afternoon, but we were both tired from walking around that dirty city in the sun and decided to head back north. We got back to Amy’s around 4 and went to her 24 Hour Fitness club to work out together, which was fun.

Since I am going to Ohio this weekend, Amy has decided to visit her cousin Jennifer in Pennsylvania at the same time. She flies all the time, but this will be my first time since 1998, very exciting.

by the way, I have no idea why some of the words in this entry are linked… I’ve tried removing the links three times now and they just show up again when I hit “publish”…so please don’t click on them, sorry.

neo…nazi?

neo…nazi?

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

-Hermann Goering, Luftwaffe Commander-in-Cheif
-The Nuremberg trials, 1946

proving myself right about this california thing again

proving myself right about this california thing again

I tried In N’ Out burger for the first time on Friday thanks to a generous friend from Texas and his “I’m going to get you something for your birthday” ways. All I gave him for his was a t-shirt…I’m such a bad friend… anyway… In N’ Out was cool, but not what I had expected. The burger was fine, sort of like a better quality big mac (complete with secret sauce). Their fries were actually not good at all, too little and too crispy to enjoy the potato-ness. Their saving grace is their milkshakes though, which are made with real ice cream. AND they give you free little packets of whole banana peppers, which is AWESOME! I took home about 12 peppers to use in my home cooking.

On Saturday I played racquetball with Jay, one of Amy’s friends from Boston. I really need to find people to play ball with on a regular basis, that game is so much fun…and such a good workout for the lungs and heart.

After the game Amy and I proceeded to Pasadena to watch the second half of the OSU vs. Iowa game. We walked in to see a 0-24 score…and promptly walked out; I don’t need Justin Zwick to ruin another Saturday for me. So, we went to eat in Old Pasadena. After coming home I decided to wash all the clothes that were brought in the moving truck a few weeks ago (they acquired a very strange smell somewhere between Ohio and California). That was rough and took about five hours…but they are done now. That was the last little thing I had left to do to settle in.

One very cool thing happened Saturday. It rained. I had to live in California for almost two whole months before I saw/felt rain. At first it was really soft, and then during the night it came down in Ohio sized torrents. One of the few things I missed about the East was ironically the terrible thunderstorms.

Sunday I went to the Brewery Art Walk with Amy. Basically it is the same as the Gallery Hop in Columbus but on a larger scale, in an artist community (the “Brewery Art Colony”) on the east side of downtown LA. I was so disappointed. I can see how people who aren’t artists are totally turned off my art these days. We walked around for an hour or two and I only found one artist that was making interesting and/or quality work – http://www.lindalundell.com/oilpaintings.htm The paintings are much much more vivid in person, and most are wall-sized. We had actually gone to the art walk because a musician Aaron and I are going to jam with on Wednesday lives there. We weren’t able to find the guy and he didn’t answer his phone. On Tuesday I put an ad up on craigs list about wanting to start a band. I got more than twenty responses (so far) and this guy seems the coolest. We’ll see.

After that we went to Hollywood to see the Hollywood and Highland shopping center (adjacent to the Chinese Theater and on the walk of fame). Once we got there I realized I had driven by it the second day I was in Los Angeles when Aaron had directed me to the West Hollywood US Bank. Apparently I’ve driven by the Hollywood sign a few times already and not had the sense to just look over to my left. Actually, I pass the Hollywood sign every morning on my way to work…I’m just on the wrong side of the hill!

So that was fun.
Next Saturday Amy and I are going to San Diego and then Tijuana. That should be fun.

yeah…great

yeah…great

So it is Saturday…a day off. I’m going to take it easy. I’ll start off by meeting Amy for lunch. So I spend the morning catching up on some things and finally get ready to go meet her around noon.

I walk out to my car and find my left front fender bashed in with a note on the windsheild. The note was from an eyewitness who said that just 20 minutes before I came out a Ruddock’s Termite Control truck had swerved into my car. She said the guy stopped but didn’t leave a note, so she followed him, wrote down his information (company telephone number and license plate number), and left it on my car. Not only was the fender bashed, but the wheel was scraped up too, the front bumper scratched up, and the back bumper scratched….

When I finally got ahold of the police (apparently they don’t like to answer the phone until you call ten times in a row), they actually sent out an officer fairly quickly. She took down all my information and said she would go to the Termite Company and see what happened. She told me she would call back Sunday, but she ended up calling around 9pm Saturday. She said that the driver reported the accident to his boss, and they were admitting to it. She said that the company has State Farm insurance, and they will forward her their account # (to give to me) on Monday.

Thank god for “Robbie” (the woman that left the truck’s info). Otherwise I’d be stuck with a hard choice. The damage will require the replacement (or a VERY good buff/paint job) of both bumpers, replacement of a wheel, and replacement of the fender body panel. All that ain’t gonna come cheap, and my deductable is $500. I shouldn’t have to pay a dime of it now though, so thank you “Robbie” for saving me $500. More actually…because my $3000 a year insurance premium would surely go up, but now I won’t even have to report it to my insurance (I think). Now I just have to make sure that the car repair place doesn’t use imitation parts on my baby. Too bad there is no 3C out here 😉

Here is a montage of my damage: http://www.andrewlorenzlong.com/cardamage.jpg

right there

right there

so I’m eating breakfast and watching tv half-heartedly on a saturday morning. and then..there it was! In the new Honda CRV commercial (the “dog-show” one) the silver sports car that they “trot” out at the beginning is a Jaguar XJ220. Hot Damn! Hardly ever see those in the media any more. The last time was in Gone In 60 Seconds (Angelina says “god, I love this car!”, but I don’t think they actually drove it).

Going over to Amy’s today. She is going to take me to the 99 Ranch food shops… I’ve been complaining how Panda Express is great, but no Mark Pi’s, so she is going to show me something a little closer.

Time to buy some 59 cents per pound fresh red peppers!

nothing for a long time

nothing for a long time

I’m so busy now. Last Sunday Amy and I went to a barbeque and then Knotts Berry Farm after that. I wasn’t feeling well, so we only wrode two rides and left. We had free tickets from her brother for “Clipper season pass holder night” so the lines weren’t as long as usual. It didn’t open until 7pm though, and we are both go-to-bed-early people, so that was working against us as well. The two rides we went on were steel rollercoasters. Amy acted all tough (“I’m tough!” is one of her favorite things to say) and got on the rides…then …as the cart clicked up the track towards the top…I started to hear …”Andrew, when do they check these for safety?” “Are you sure this is safe?” “Is it supposed to click like that?” very cute. very cute. I can’t wait till we go to six flags 😉

Mom found a round trip ticket for $234 so now it looks like I WILL be going to Cleveland on Halloween for my cousin John’s wedding. I haven’t flown since 1998, so this should be fun. Oh wait…it’s a red-eye flight with a transfer in the middle….

Apparently a few days ago there was an earthquake… Aaron said it happened when I was in the shower…but I never fealt anything.

My prediction was right. Every weekend out here I have something fun to do. Two weeks ago I saw Live, last weekend we went to Knott’s, this weekend we are celebrating Iyves’ birthday and then going to a beach party at Huntington Beach, next weekend we are going to a wedding, the weekend after that we are going to six flags, and so on….

I think I got sick because I haden’t worked out in over a month and I’ve been eating fast food for lunch. I bought an 18 month membership to LA Fitness tonight, so no more of that weak slob look for me.