Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ronald Reagan is Still Dead!

The GOP must be terribly disappointed in the way things are going so far. Mitt Romney, for example, built his campaign around two words: 'Ronald' and 'Reagan' just as Giuliani built his around 'nine' and 'eleven'. The party would make of Ronald Reagan a "savior". Failing live leadership, they would settle for dead heroes and in the end, a political rapture, a "second-coming" of Ronald Reagan! It didn't work. Reagan is still dead!

At another level, rank and file GOP understand that if deified Reagan should fall out of the Pantheon, the party itself is finished. Reagan was all they had left. In the blogosphere, Reagan defenders themselves are resurrected and more vehement than ever. To wit:
The lies of the left about Ronald Reagan stink up the blogosphere worse than a rest room at a Greyhound bus depot.
The GOP, of late, is most certainly expert in assessing the stalls at Greyhound or, for that matter, any place in which stalls and booths of some sort are frequented for various purposes. Therefore, I leave it to Larry Craig to write up that review.

The left, meanwhile, has been entirely too polite, too timid. If it were not for the blogosphere, the MSM would still be treating Bush as if he were a real and/or credible President. It depends upon what your definition of the word "is" is! If Bush is a real President, then he is the very worst President in American history. If he is not the President then he has dared to stink up the White House like Larry Craig's rest room stall!

It is not only the conduct of Larry Craig in a seedy stall or Bush's malfeasance in the Oval Office that shapes my opinion of the GOP. Although it is true that in both cases the place had been "stunk up". More worrisome is the party's adulation of Ronald Reagan. Until Ronald Reagan, I was tolerant of acquaintances who espoused the cult of gopperism. I owe a debt of gratitude to the ghost of Reagan. It was his Presidency that confirmed my opinion of the GOP. It is not a political party, it is, rather, a crime syndicate, a criminal conspiracy, a kooky cult! Reagan was precisely what the GOP needed at the time. A former movie star, he was a practiced Spellbinder.
In my book, Without Conscience, I argued that we live in a "camouflage society," a society in which some psychopathic traits- egocentricity, lack of concern for others, superficiality, style over substance, being "cool," manipulativeness, and so forth- increasingly are tolerated and even valued. With respect to the topic of this article, it is easy to see how both psychopaths and those with ASPD could blend in readily with groups holding antisocial or criminal values. It is more difficult to envisage how those with ASPD could hide out among more prosocial segments of society. Yet psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of business, politics, law enforcement, government, academia and other social structures (Babiak). It is the egocentric, cold-blooded and remorseless psychopaths who blend into all aspects of society and have such devastating impacts on people around them who send chills down the spines of law enforcement officers.

[Hare, Robert D., Ph.D., Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Case of Diagnostic Confusion, Psychiatric Times, February 1996: Vol. XIII Issue 2]

-- The Role of the Psychopath in the Generation of Global Evil

There is enough probable cause in the public record alone to indict the leadership of the GOP for violations of various US Criminal Codes having to do with "criminal conspiracy". Now we know why the GOP is eager not only to keep Reagan alive, but to disprove the existence of conspiracies. If conspiracies did not exist, Ronald Reagan himself need not have worried about the opinion of Iran/Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh who believed Reagan guilty of conspiring to arm an avowed enemy of the US while funneling money to a right-wing terrorist organization.
To the spellbinder, everything becomes subordinated to their conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology can emerge from such individuals that is certainly partly true, and the value of which is claimed to be superior to all other ideologies. They believe they will find many converts to their ideology and when they discover that this is not the case, they are shocked and fume with “paramoral indignation.” The attitude of most normal people to such spellbinders is generally critical, pained and disturbed.

The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who succumbs to his influence, and he will shower such people with attention and property and perks of all kinds. Critics are met with “moral” outrage and it will be claimed by the spellbinder that the compliant minority is actually a majority.

Such activity is always characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view, because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and self-charming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically.

In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively on common sense and social order - such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers manifesting pathological traits - spellbinders activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy.

Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally become a ponerogenic union.

-- The Role of the Psychopath in the Generation of Global Evil

Reagan apologists often attack Jimmy Carter because, like the predators they are, they smell weakness. It is a mistake. Carter, is in fact among the best Presidents in job creation and he is the only US President to have brokered a Middle East peace --the Camp David Accords. In the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Carter acted quickly. He replaced Kissenger's incremental, shuttle diplomacy with a comprehensive, multilateral approach that included reconvening the 1973 Geneva Conference to include a Palestinian delegation. The GOP feared to duplicate that approac. It might have succeeded. Democrats, meanwhile, should stop running away from what it means to be a Democrat. Get a spine! Stand up and be counted! You have nothing to fear from a gang of lying perverts, bigots and war mongers.
Reagan’s election in November 1980 also was welcomed in other quarters. His victory set off celebrations in the well-to-do communities of Central America. After four years of Jimmy Carter's human rights nagging, the region's anti-communist hard-liners were thrilled that they had someone in the White House who understood their problems.

The oligarchs and the generals had good reason for optimism. For years, Reagan had been a staunch defender of right-wing regimes engaged in bloody counterinsurgency campaigns against leftist enemies.

In the late 1970s, when Carter's human rights coordinator, Pat Derian, criticized the Argentine military for its "dirty war" -- tens of thousands of "disappearances," tortures and murders -- then-political commentator Reagan joshed that she should "walk a mile in the moccasins” of the Argentine generals before criticizing them. [Martin Edwin Andersen's Dossier Secreto.]

Despite his aw shucks style, Reagan found virtually every anti-communist action justified, no matter how brutal.

From his eight years in the White House, there is no historical indication that he was troubled by the bloodbath and even genocide that occurred in Central America during his presidency, while he was shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the implicated forces.

The death toll was staggering -- an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political "disappearances" in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala.

The one consistent element in these slaughters was the overarching Cold War rationalization, emanating from Ronald Reagan's White House.

--Robert Parry, Obama's Dubious Praise for Reagan

Hoping to deflect attention from the new Äugustus, Reagan worshipers claim that
Carter was responsible for "horrible inflation" and 20% interest rates. So what? Interest rates would be expected to decline under Reagan's depression as interest rates, in fact, decline in every recession or depression. During Reagan's depression, the GDP declined at a rate of 2.2 percent, quite possibly the biggest such decline since the Great Depression, most certainly it was the biggest decline in the more than twenty years between 1973 to the assumption of the White House by Bush. Millions lost jobs and homes. In any case, it was the Federal Reserve Board that slashed interest rates and expanded the money supply, thus reducing prices. Ronald Reagan had nothing whatsoever to do with it! It was the Fed --not Reagan --who was responsible for the following but short-lived recovery.

Under Carter, people were at work and productive. They were buying homes --not leaving them under the threat of imminent foreclosure as many, perhaps, millions are doing now.

That was not the case under Reagan who destroyed the trade unions, exported jobs and technology, and plunged the nation into a depression of two years ---the very worst since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression!

Before Reagan, America had a steel industry. After Reagan, it didn't. Before Reagan, America has a viable automotive industry. After Reagan, the US was buying its cars from Japan. Before Reagan, small retailers still existed. After Reagan, small stores had all but disappeared, giving way to huge corporate chains, and, in time, WalMart --an economic Kudzu vine that chokes out every flower in the garden.

Typically, Reagan would take credit for reforms begun under Carter. It was Carter who gave the rich a capital gains tax cut, even as he deregulated key industries like trucking and airlines. Carter also increased defense spending. I happen to think Carter ought not have done that! But, to his credit, he didn't muck it up nearly as much as did Reagan who sold his soul for the elite GOP base of robber barons and other vote buyers! The moral of the story is this: don't sell your soul to the GOP robber barons. They don't appreciate it and will support a card-carrying "seed pod" like Reagan or Bush anyway.

The era was largely characterized by the undo influence of corporate PACs which forced Congress to pass pro-business/anti-individual, anti-family legislation. Supply siders believed it would trickle down. Like Bush's war on Iraq, it didn't work out as planned. The nation was plunged into the worst depression since WWII.

The GOP would love to fight another cold war. The "commies" were shooting back like the misnamed "insurgents", "terrorists" or whatever they are called this week. Much is made of the demoralized military. What had they to be demoralized about? They were no longer slogging through the swamps in Viet Nam and they had to yet been sent to Lebanon by Ronald Reagan. All in all, the enlisted person, under Carter, had it a helluva lot better than do soldiers under either Ronald Reagan who dispatched them to Lebanon to be blown up in a Marine Barracks or under Bush who has them mired and dehumanized in Iraq. Has anyone bothered to check out the suicide rates of returning servicemen.
(CBS) Some of America's 25 million veterans face their biggest fight when they return home from the battlefield -- when they take on mental illness.

And, a CBS News analysis reveals they lose that battle, and take their own lives, at a clip described by various experts as "stunning" and "alarming," according to Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian. One called it a "hidden epidemic."

He says no one had ever counted just how many suicides there are nationwide among those who had served in the military -- until now.

The five-month CBS News probe, based upon a detailed analysis of data obtained from death records from 2004 and 2005, found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 as non-vets.

A recent Veteran Affairs Department estimate says some 5,000 ex-servicemen and women will commit suicide this year, largely as a result of mental health issues, and Keteyian says, "Our numbers are much higher than that, overall."

--CBS News: Vets' Suicide Rate "Stunning"

Goppers have been known to opine: up after Carter's utter incompetence was messy. In fact, there was nothing to clean up. There was, in fact, nothing for Reagan to do but screw up and screw up he did! See my article: Reagan was no hero but he played one in a movie

Let's set the record straight about another pernicious myth. Ronald reagan had nothing to do with the fall of communism. A great statesman-- Mikhail Gorbachev deserves the credit for withdrawing nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe which he did entirely upon his own initiative. Gorbachev was the architect of Perestroika and, later, Glasnost. Reagan merely followed the leader. And, as I have pointed out: Ronald Reagan Blew the World's Last Chance for Peace! Rank and file goppers will find reasons not to believe anything unflattering about Reagan but that's not the same thing as refuting anything that I have ever written in my admittedly Quixotic quest to set the record straight. That's because, under Reagan, the GOP became not merely a crime syndicate, it became a kooky cult.
The methods that cults use can be used by anyone in any group setting and can be thought of as a "Management system" or a technique of motivation. Thus there is a benefit to applying this knowledge in other areas.


An obvious way a cult does this is through isolation from other social networks. The extreme of a cult does not have to be applied. If this is applied to a work setting then the stated rule is "This is work. Leave the other parts of life at the door." Likewise the person can go home and leave work at work. The result is a "work personality" and a "home personality".


Nothing is quite so motivating than to be involved in a glorious cause. To do this make the success of the group linked to the individuals success. Make the cause lofty and ideal and progressive always on the wave of the future.


Once you've enlisted them in a cause you can now tell them how best to serve the cause. By describing the qualities of "good soldier" you create an ideal of behavior. On the one hand it's important to point out qualities that they already have to affirm their part in the cause. But it's also important to describe qualities that they will have to work to develop. These qualities can be actual behaviors or they can values that you wish to impose on them. Either way you are holding them to an ideal and letting them know that they play a vital role in the cause.


A cult may do this process with intense drills and exercises that emphasize the qualities and values of a good soldier. They will create scenarios and situations where these qualities can be tested and followed up with feedback and correction when needed. You can do this in a management setting much the same way. The goal is to make them WANT to bring on this new personality and do it without prompting. This is done mostly by creating a high standard and through a subtle application of rewards and punishment.


Nothing will solidify the new personality than getting a group of "good soldiers" together and having them work with some great purpose in mind. By getting your employee, staff, cult member involved in a group and putting them into action as a group you help create an "esprit de corp" that unifies them and helps solidify the newly created personality. Thus, find tasks that your group can do together. It could be a project, a field trip or anything where they have to work together as a group.

Every one of these tactics can be used and applied in your business and social settings.

If your response to this is to recoil at the idea of using cult strategies then stop it. These strategies are used all the time in many different setting and situations. A good manager is a person who would make a good cult leader if they choose to do it.

The benefits of this strategy include highly motivated people who support the team and, when needed, can put work on hold to develop a personal life.

--How cults create an artificial personality in their followers

Having been brainwashed by a kooky cult, goppers will never hold the GOP to the standard that is applied to Democrats. The GOP does not merely lie about Reagan, its members lie to themselves. It makes them feel better about themselves.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How an Iranian 'Oil Bourse' Threatens the American Empire

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

It's been over seven years since the US had real or competent leadership and now a neo-ape man may precipitate our return to the cave! Iran's planned oil bourse threatens not only Bush's simplistic view of the world, it strikes at the the coffers of "big oil". Isolated by mysteriously cut internet cables, Iran --if it is not nuked --will this month begin trading oil in currencies other than the dollar. Bush's cave man response: Nuke Iran! Kill, kill!
On September 16 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire was as dead, theoretically, as its predecessor, the British. Our empire was seventy-one years old and had been in ill financial health since 1968. Like most modern empires, ours rested not so much on military prowess as on economic primacy.

--Gore Vidal, Chapter Three of Imperial America (Nation Books, 2005)

Bush's response to Iran's "Oil Bourse", his response to the end of American empire, is pre-stonge age in nature. Indeed, the US empire will collapse when the dollar collapses. Because we have an ape-man and not a real President, the consequences will be tragic.

A commenter to this blog used the term "sunset fuel" to describe oil and our dependence upon it. The world grows more dangerous as oil becomes increasingly hard to find, more expensive to produce and refine. We should have expected the world to become a much more dangerous place under those conditions. In its decline, oil becomes disproportionately important, nations more desperate, Bush more belligerent.

Monitoring the news today --it is clear that the Middle East cables were deliberately sabotaged and the effect has been to cut Iran off the internet. Isolating a nation by cutting off its systems of communication is a first step preceding a military attack. Bush no longer cares about even the pretense of pre-text! His charge that Iran has weaponized grade fuels is universally and credibly debunked. The real threat is to the poohbahs of US empire --the Military/Industrial complex. Bush doesn't care. Nuke Iran! Kill, kill!

Like the US today, Rome had currency problems, one of the reasons for its fall. When Rome attacked Dacia, it was for the gold. Much of the history of Rome is the history of how "empire" became "enterprise", how the Praetorian Guard become the Military/Industrial complex.

The first known Roman "money" was a lump of bronze aptly named "aes grave", literally, "a heavy lump of bronze". An "aes grave" weighed about seven pounds. Traded by weight, it required slaves to carry it around.

A more portable medium --the true coin --would not appear until about 89 BC. It was quickly debased with increasingly thin silver plating as more coins were needed in circulation than could be backed up by the "real" wealth of empire. By one AD, a tiny new bronze aes or "as" was introduced. It had no real intrinsic value but it was easy to carry around. One could gain entry to bath houses or free public performances with it. Even then it was just a token to help "ushers" and/or doormen keep track of the number of folk.

By the mid 60s AD, Nero was alloying silver with cheaper metals, a process virtually impossible to detect. Nero thus set the precedent and standard not only for later emperors but politicians of almost every stripe. Briefly, Nero did what almost all politicians do. He swindled the people in order to put more coin into circulation.

By the time the Praetorian Guard auctioned off the empire to Didius Julianus, the transaction would be completed in Drachmas (Greek currency) not Roman the sestercius or the ass. The smart money had already dumped Roman coinage. In the late Empire, it was hoped that new coins --the silver "nummus" and the gold "aureus" -- would restore confidence during periods of devastating inflation.

Much is made of the "gold standard". In fact, it doesn't matter. If someone like Ron Paul restored the Gold Standard in the US, the economy would melt down for several reasons. First, economies must grow or die. Fixing the currency to a finite standard guarantees that it will be necessary to "debase" to accommodate a growing population, growing demand for money itself.

Secondly, given US weakness, encouraging Americans to dump bucks for metals, will only hasten the death cycle of the dollar. Perhaps Paul believes it is already too late --so just kill it off and be done with it --nevermind, the millions who would literally starve or wind up on the streets.

The "Gold Standard" is a myth that is easily demagogued. In fact, a nation's currency is backed up by its total productive capacity. If the nation is at work and productive, we could use monopoly money! And we have been for years. Who the hell cares for so long as we stay out of jail and pass "Go"? American prosperity had always "backed up" the strong dollar. Paulian thinking that we need only jack around with the currency to restore American prosperity is literally "backward". It doesn't work that way.

Productivity needs help. US economic expansion had always been fueled by an abundance of natural resources --land, timber, water, farm land, metals, et al. The nation's history was changed forever when oil was discovered first in Pennsylvania and, when that ran out, Spindletop in Texas. For over a century, US economic expansion was backed up by oil. The US was an oil producing nation. Oil was better than gold or silver in that it had much more intrinsic value than either metal.

Oil not only lubricated the engines, it fueled them. In the process of turning it into gasoline, it was discovered that its plastic properties could make an almost unlimited number of doodads, some of which had utilitarian value and some only value as playthings and baubles.
On a personal note, landing at Kansas City International Airport the other day, my vision of America altered by my in-flight reading of Mr. Berman's remarkable work, I saw the landscape through new eyes, a landscape I now understood to have been systematically vandalized by the corporatocracy: big box stores, chain hotels and restaurants, strip malls and gas stations, a landscape everywhere repeated across the United States, a landscape we intend to impose upon the world in order to fulfill our destiny as bringer of freedom as expressed through consumption.

--Reader Review of Dark Ages America

From internet reaction to my previous article on the US v Iran:

If Iran is attacked it will have nothing or next to nothing to do with the oil bourse. It will be because the PNACers have targeted Iran, because, like Iraq, it is not a puppet state, and, in the Neocon "mind" thus presents an "existential threat" to the greater Israel that they imagine.

It has everything to do with Neocons who are most certainly supporters of the Military/Industial Complex or, more accurately, the Military/Oil Exploitation complex. Neocons are all about empire and oil is at the heart of American empire. Israel is, in fact, just a convenient ally as were the various puppet, vassel states of Rome --many of which were in the Middle East.

Certainly, when oil is no longer traded in dollars, it is not only the dollar that will collapse. It means that the US --on the bad end of a huge balance of trade deficit --will no longer be able to afford to import goods or services. For a nation that long ago (Reagan years primarily; See Vidal, cited) gave up its role as a manufacturing nation, this collapse will be monumental, catastrophic. The fact that oil had been traded in dollars was the only thing propping up the dollar. That there was a demand for dollars because there was a demand for oil meant that you could continue to buy imported goods with dollars. Now --imagine a world in which no other country need "purchase" dollars in order to import oil! What if oil producing nations agree to accept other currencies? What if they refuse to accept dollars? Go to Wal-Mart or even your local supermarket. Almost everything on the shelves is imported. Imagine a shop owner refusing to accept as payment for anything in the shop your worthless dollars !

As Gore Vidal pointed out, the US empire ended in the eighties, when the US became a net debtor nation. GOP regimes since have only made the situation worse. Just as empire became the business of Rome, empire had become the "business" of the US which no longer produces enough to employ its population let alone export to the rest of the world. Most US consumer goods are imported from China, sold in Warl-Mart, discarded in America. America's best days are over. We live in the twilight of empire.

Additional resources

Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership, Global Issues, Updated: January 02, 2009




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Monday, February 04, 2008

Talk of Imminent War Against Iran Amid an Attack of 'Coincidences'

The "coincidences":
  • A series of internet disruptions due to cut telecom cables that has cut Iran off the Internet!
  • Israel is not affected.
  • An Iranian Oil Bourse, where oil, petrochemicals and gas will be traded in various non-dollar currencies, is set to open this month.
  • Israelis have been told to prepare for war, presumably with Iran
Before leaving the Middle East, Bush is reported to have promised Benjamin Netanyahu that the US would join Israel in a nuclear strike on Iran. In Israel, there is talk of "...a rain of missiles" for which Israelis must prepare now.
Speaking on radio as part of a military propaganda offensive, retired general Udi Shani said: "The next war will see a massive use of ballistic weapons against the whole of Israeli territory."

Shani was tasked recently with drawing up a report on the way the military authorities operated during Israel's 2006 summer war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

During that conflict thousands of rockets hit Israel, but were limited to the north of the country from where hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated.

The character of war has changed, said the general.

"Strikes to the rear must now be taken into account -- that is what will come and we must prepare in a totally different way for this eventuality," he said.

--Israelis told to prepare 'rocket rooms' for war

By the time the following dispatch hit what was left of the internet, it was clear: the world is under attack by organized coincidences.
Egypt denies the earlier reports on the Mideast Internet outage, saying there were no ships present around when the cables were cut off.

Egypt's Ministry of Communications announced in a statement Sunday that "a marine transport committee investigated the traffic of ships in the area, 12 hours before and after the malfunction, where the cables are located to figure out the possibility of being cut by a passing vessel and found out there were no passing ships at that time.”

The Ministry had originally stated that a ship dropping its anchor on the two key cables was most likely responsible for Wednesday's cut in service that robbed Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India of much of their internet.

The statement added that the location, 8.3 kilometers from the port of Alexandria, was in a restricted area so ships would not have been allowed there to begin with.

Internet blackouts are impacting large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa after four undersea cable connections were severed.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.

--'No ship behind ME internet outage'

That there was 'no ship' would rule out the official 'dragging anchor' theory.
DOHA (AFP) — An undersea telecoms cable linking Qatar to the United Arab Emirates was damaged, disrupting services, telecommunications provider Qtel said on Sunday, the latest such incident in less than a week.

The cable was damaged between the Qatari island of Haloul and the UAE island of Das on Friday, Qtel's head of communications Adel al Mutawa told AFP.

Cables were also damaged last week in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Dubai, causing widespread disruption to Internet and international telephone services in Egypt, Gulf Arab states and south Asia.

The cause of the damage is not yet known.

--DOHA (AFP) — Qatar reports new damage to Gulf undersea cables

It is amazing how much damage can be done by a rogue coincidence.
A repair ship was expected to begin work to fix the two cables in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday. They were damaged on Wednesday, rupturing connections not only in Egypt but also thousands of kilometres away.

--Qatar reports new damage to Gulf undersea cables

The sub-plot that ties all these "coincidences" together is the planned opening of the Iranian oil bourse where petrochemicals, oil and gas will be traded in non-dollar currencies. Iran Finance Minister Davoud Danesh-Jafari has said that the bourse will be open during the Ten-Day Dawn, ceremonies marking the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. There's more at: Oil Bourse

Making these developments especially ominous are Bush's repeated threats and promises to Israel that he will join a nuclear attack on Iran. I wonder if this improbable attack of the cable killing coincidences, denying oil traders access to the net, is enough to delay the opening of Iran's planned oil bourse.

Given the precipitous fall of the dollar, only idiots will not consider the effect that an Iranian oil bourse will have on a war-mongering US.

Bush, of course, denies that his wars of aggression have anything to do with oil and, in a very, very narrow technical sense, perhaps not! They are, in fact, motivated by the fact that over the course of a century, the US economy was utterly dependent upon the availability of cheap energy, initially from West Texas, but later, the Sheikhs!

One wonders what goes on inside the heads of blithering idiots, primarily those who wage war upon their own people, those idiots who threaten the world from atop a precarious perch. So precarious the American position --one wonders if impeaching and removing this blithering idiot now is simply too little too late. Even now, however, good people are morally bound to oppose Bush even if it is with a dying breath beneath a mushroom cloud!