Is it Okay to say Viet Nam Yet?

The war in Iraq is now the longest declared war in the last century, having surpassed WW1, WW 2 and Korea.

I remember in the early days of the Iraq incursion how a progression of administration sycophants, military analysts and elected officials hit the air waves, denying any similarities to our only armed humiliation – Viet Nam. I’d like to say that I was prescient and suspected better, but no, I was right there foolishly nodding my head and saying darned right, Iraq’s totally different, they don’t have a jungle. They have a desert and it’s hard to hide in a desert. Instaed they hide in cities.

US Soldier

Unfortunately, I and a strong majority of the country were wrong. It’s of little consolation that I started changing my view over two years ago. It is apparrent that what we have now is worse than Viet Nam. The Viet Cong at least had the support of North Viet Nam regulars and were backed and supplied by China and Russia.

In Iraq, a small disassociated ragtag group of insurgents are holding the most powerful military in the world to a stalemate and time appears to be on their side. Do they have aircraft carriers and fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, satellite reconnaissance and tanks? They don’t have a Stealth bomber or fighter but they have stealth. They are fighting us to a standstill with small weapons (AK47s), RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades), IED’s (improvised explosive devices), suicide bombers and of course fear and terror. Much of the munitions which have been turned against us, were scavenged from Iraqi ammunition dumps that were left unsecurred
by our brilliant administration.

For those who still insist that Bush’s Iraqi adventure is nothing like Viet Nam, I have drawn up a list of similarities:

1] It’s a guerrilla war
2] The enemy looks just like the civilians
3] We’re trying to beef up an unpopular government. (actually, an unfulfilled government)
4] We are trying, with poor results, to train an indigenous army.
5] The insurgents are getting help from outside sources.
6] It is a war with a dubious purpose.
7] There appears to be no exit strategy.
8] The war has left us unpopular, worldwide.

The military commanders must feel frustrated. The stated reasons for the war did not pan out, no WMD, no ties to 9/11, no free democratic Irag as an example and yet we dare not leave, abandoning the Iraqis to the chaos which would ensue such a move. How impotent they must feel, since they have all this technology and firepower which can only be used sparingly. I remember a quote by whom I ‘m not sure, which is most appropriate, it goes something like this, “Those who fail to heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

Dead Soldiers

Iraq may not truly be another Viet Nam, it’s just a ‘quagmire.

September 26, 2007. Baghdad, cakewalk, Cheney, Civil War, George W. Bush, Iraq, liberators, politics, President, President Bush, Rumsfeld, Saudi Arabia, Shiite, Sunni, Syria, Terrorism, Vice Persideny. 2 comments.

The Incredible Shrinking Presidency of George W. Bush


We seem to be witnessing the incredible shrinking presidency of George W. Bush. By we, I mean the entire country. I always thought his hubris and arrogance would get him in trouble but it seems to be his policies instead.

As a person, he still seems to be popular, but his poll numbers are sinking like a guy with a cement overcoat. Why? Because he keeps on pushing for or against things the public doesn’t agree with. Bush wanted to restructure Social Security. In the polls only thirty-three percent were in his corner, even after his big four month push. Then he cast the only veto to kill a bill that would expand federal funding for stem cell research. Almost everybody has a family member or knows somebody that this research could help. Over sixty percent are in favor of expanding stem cell research and cannot understand why he would rather see surplus embryos flushed down a toilet than used to help living breathing people.

Remember the Terry Schaivo fiasco? Only eighty percent thought the President and Congress were out of line for trying to interfere in that family matter. Then there’s Irag, as big a boondoggle as there ever was. As the war in Iraq drags on with no resolution in sight, it’s popularity (if one can say a war can be popular) has hit new lows, with only thirty percent now saying the war is worth the price we’re paying. For the first time ever, less than forty percent believe it is making us safer here at home. And this with a majority of the population unaware of the Downing Street Memo and other controversial matters that have come to light. Bush’s handling of the economy and the direction he’s taking the country are also drawing new lows with forty-one and thirty percent respectively.

It seems that Bush is pleasing no one, except the hyper rich and the ultra right Christian loonies, as he appeases the dark side of his base, while his other constituents scratch their collective heads and wonder when the President is going to stop his slide into irrelevancy and do or propose something they can agree with.

They say that, as the temperature descends, matter shrinks a certain percentage until it hits what is termed Absolute Zero. (which if I remember right is 457 degree below zero) Theoretically at that temperature matter ceases to exist. Do you think its possible that, if Bush’s poll numbers hit zero, his incredible shrinking Presidency will disappear?

September 13, 2007. Baghdad, Cheney, dishonest, ethics, George W. Bush, Iraq, politics, President, President Bush, Rumsfeld, social security, stem cell. Leave a comment.

The Legal Drug Kingpins

In the nineteenth century entrepreneurs, generically known as Traveling Medicine Shows, used to crisscross our country in their horse drawn wagons, making a living by providing a minimal show for bored citizens and ultimately selling medicinal tonics, commonly known as Snake Oil. Whether they bought their product from a manufacturer or made the product themselves, buyers could usually count on a pleasantly flavored innocuous product that would probably give the recipient a little buzz due mostly to a small (10-15%) content of alcohol.. Though these merchants seemed harmless enough and provided a much needed break in monotony, the public never warmed to these men, sometimes calling them charlatans and flimflam artists.

Whether any of these medicine men had names like Pfizer or Merck or Lily or even Bayer I don’t know. What I do know and what America needs to realize, is that the Pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest businesses in the county and making billions of dollars a year selling legalized drugs, which in some cases are just as addictive, mind numbing and dangerous as their illegal counterparts. In effect they are today’s charlatans and flimflam artists. They are twenty-first century Snake Oil salesmen! Folks, this is one huge lobby.

Billions and billions of dollars are at stake here and right in the drug companies corner, is their pushers, the psychiatric industry and to a lesser degree the medical industry. Can’t sleep? Here’s a pill. Can’t wake up? Here’s a pill. In a bad mood? Here’s a pill. Can’t have sex? Here’s a pill. There is not a malady, medical or mental that the medical community doesn’t have a so called legal drug for and every drug out there has side effects (many serious) and or can be addictive. If I get a tooth filled, the dentist gives me a prescription for pain pills. For what? For four or five hours of diminishing marginal pain, I’m going to go to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for the dangerous addictive painkiller, codeine, or worse, which is an actual narcotic, derived from morphine, a derivative of opium. Have you or anyone you know, ever been to a Psychiatrist for treatment and not walked out with a prescription. It’s endemic. Psychiatrists no longer try to cure their patients neurosis’, they now, merely, try to exert control over them with drugs. They are the pimps of the legal drug cartel.

It is not only becoming apparent, to reasonable people, that legal drugs are dangerous to the people to whom they are prescribed, but more and more to the people around these people. The term ‘Postal’ was born from numerous instances of school and workplace slaughter, being tied to the perpetrator’s ingestion of psychotropic drugs, such as Prozac and Ritalin.

So why are legal drugs so expensive. I don’t know. You have to ask the drug companies. I do know this, many drugs that cost over a dollar a pill to buy, cost less than one cent to make. Yes I’ve heard the drug company arguments that new drug prices are high because they need to recover the enormous research costs that go in to new successful and unsuccessful products and yet the prices come down only when lower priced alternatives come on the market or the patent runs out, allowing other manufacturers to make the same drug. I also know that the same drugs sell in other countries for as low as ten percent of the price in the U.S. Why, you ask, if the drug cartel can make money at ten percent of the price there, they can’t here?

Selling medicine is no longer a way to make a living. It’s now a way to make a fortune, a world class fortune at that. Wake up America, we have become a culture of drugs. Drugs pervade our society. Last year drug sales in the U.S. topped $14 billion for antidepressants alone, $1.3 billion of which were for children. Many of these drugs are categorized in the same class as morphine, opium and cocaine. Bad enough we take these drugs ourselves but we give these drugs to our children, who trust us and have no say in the matter. More than 8 million American children are prescribed powerful stimulants, antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs for questionable if not dubious reasons.

We have become a nation of hypochondriacs. America is in the midst of a legal and illegal drug frenzy. Feel down? Here’s a pill. Nervous? Here’s a pill. Can’t swim ten laps? Here’s some pills. Want to experience something different? Try this. When will it end? I don’t mean to be an alarmist but your very life and those of your loved ones may be at stake here.

Author’s Note

Hi, I have already written one controversial essay, which may surprise you, advocating legalizing, illegal drugs. How can I promote legalizing illegal drugs on one hand and support moderation for legal drugs on the other hand? I’ll admit the two ideas appear incompatible at first glance but in reality they make a lot of sense. Legalizing illegal drugs would ultimately make them so inexpensive that a whole sub culture of criminals would be put out of work and if the country used legal drugs less, it would force those costs down as well, just like if we used less gas, it would go down.

September 7, 2007. addictive, addicts, colusion, dishonest, drug cartel, Drug Lords, drugs, ethics, junkie, legal drugs, lies, lifespans, lobbists, marijuana, mental illness, narcotics, Perscription, politics, President, Psychiatry. Leave a comment.

Fallen – Get a Life Reviewers

Okay, It’s time to get silly again. This a review, more like an essay actually, I wrote four years ago of the very popular album Fallen (remember it?) by Evanescence in response to a very silly write off titled I Got So Mad I Got My Dad To Write A Letter Write Off

Why would anyone write the 56th review of an album? Why even the tenth or fifth review of an album, especially one where the only really good song has been played on the radio continuously for three months? And why has Amy Lee on the cover of Fallen been staring at me from Epinions home page almost as long? Has everybody flipped out? What’s the fuss about? If you think 56 reviews is a lot has, as I write this 57th epinions review, not one hundred, not two hundred, not four hundred, not six hundred but SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHT REVIEWS!!!! Just think if anyone is as gung ho as the idiot that wrote the 788th review they could spend a long weekend reading all 844 reviews, 845 if you count mine. Wouldn’t that be entertaining!!!!Think about all the man hours and emotion that went into all that work. If we could bottle all that energy we could be the most dynamic country in the world, but we’d need to bottle some common sense too!!!!!

I know why I’m writing the 57th review of Fallen. Someone has to look beyond the hype and look objectively at this album and what, I think, it represents. Ok, so let’s start with the album. I know, by now that some of you are really mad at me for bashing your current favorite album. I know you like it and that’s fine, 31 flavors and all that jazz, but hear me out. I bought Fallen too, so I guess you you could say I fell for Fallen also. That is til I got it home and played it a time or two. It was then that I realized that It didn’t hold a candle to music I already had. I was attracted to it because of it’s femme gothic-metal tendencies and I’ll grudgingly admit it is a good album but not great and certainly not deserving of all the acclaim it has received.

So tell us Red Rider, What do you have that’s so much better? I’m getting to that but first I want to tell a little story. Our esteemed colleague Vanwarp has a teenage daughter and son and they did a very interesting exercise, whereupon he and his children each burned a ten track CD rom of their chosen favorites for the other two family members to listen to and outlined the ten songs each that were chosen. I was surprised, no shocked, to see that all their tastes were somewhat compatible. Not so in my family. I too have a teenage son and daughter. My son thinks that anything that is played on the radio is craap, and my daughter thinks that if it hasn’t made the FM play lists it lacks credibility. That is the point I am trying to make. Most people in America think like my daughter. No radio, no credibility. I, on the other hand, have begun to think the opposite. Radio play is like a negative role model. Although a good song occasionally slips in on alternative or top 40 radio, I still think the best stuff isn’t being played but that may change thanks to the unabated popularity of Evanescence.

Hey man, what about the better stuff? I’m getting to that. Soon I promise. Ok now let’s talk about what Evanescence success represents. I am very happy that Fallen has been a blockbuster. I believe it provides a little crack in the wall of misconception surrounding the Femme Goth-metal sub genre. It provides some handholds for similarly inclined musicians to climb into the spotlight. The popularity of Fallen is going to create a demand for more Goth-metal music and where can it come from in the short term but the hot spot of the Goth-metal scene; Europe.

The better stuff man,
Ok, Waldo, now the good stuff. I can think of a dozen good Femme Fronted Gothic-Metal bands who, given the opportunity, could make great inroads here. I think Italian prog/gothic metal band Lacuna Coil has the best chance of making a breakthrough since they will be touring the country this summer and fall and their hit single “Heaven’s a Lie” is now getting air time on some radio stations. Another distinct possibility is Dutch Femme Fronted Goth-Metal band
Within Temptation, whose hit album Mother Earth has been having strong sales in the U.S. and whose phenomenal singer Sharon den Adel dwarfs Amy Lee.

In closing, to all those die hard fans of Evanescence, I have this to say; Don’t hate me I’m just expressing my opinion and GET A LIFE!!! There just might be something better around and oh yah, Norah Jones too while I’m at it!!!! I’d rather Be tongueing a Platypus!!!!!!

I will post links of the three Femme Gothic-Metal bands I’ve reviewed and a list of similar bands below.

Link for Polish Goth-Metal band Delight:

Link for Dutch Goth-Metal band Within Temptation:

Link for Italian Goth-Metal band Lacuna Coil:

I know it’s the usual procedure to write something about the music but since I wasn’t really writing about the music I have dispensed with this procedure. If this disappoints anyone, let me remind you. There are 56 other Epinions reviews available, which I’m sure actually cover the music.

Two week update It has been fourteen days since I posted this review and cooler heads seem to have prevailed at Epinions. There is only three new Evanescence reviews and they were all written by newbies. Amazon though is another matter. It seems the idiocy is running rampant. They are now up to 862 reviews an increase of 74 or 5.28 reviews per day.

One month update
It is now 34 days since this review was originally posted and Epinion reviews have picked up a bit with 7 new reviews in the twenty days since my last update, which brings the total to 66 and I see I received an off topic from one of the seven new review people. Probably felt silly after reading my review. Meanwhile Amazon is still chugging away with 927 reviews, opps, make that 928 reviews, err, I mean 929 reviews. Amazing, but they still have a long way to go to catch N Sync which has 1756, no it’s not a misprint, reviews.

Forty-seven day update
I don’t know when it happened but we’ve eclipsed the thousand mark. We are now at 1014 and counting.

I don’t know how many days update I know, it’s been a long time but I just had to do this update. Remember I joked about how Fallen had a long way to go to catch N’Sync with their 1756 reviews. Well as of 10/4/04 Fallen has 2138 reviews and counting! Think they could hit 5,000?

Just so you know now has 2.438 reviews on Fallen. I know because I just read every one of them!

September 5, 2007. CDs, fan, Goth, Iconic, Music, overated, Overzealous, review, reviews, rock concert. Leave a comment.