In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
From a Harvard Classmate


Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term.
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

Mark Twain's War Prayer
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle--be Thou near them! With them--in spirit--we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it--for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
[Outraged by American military intervention in the Philippines, Mark Twain wrote this and sent it to Harper's Bazaar. This women's magazine rejected it for being too radical, and it wasn't published until after Mark Twain's death, when World War I made it even more timely. It appeared in Harper's Monthly, November 1916.]

Have Ballot Box: Will Steal Elections

By Robert F. Kennedy:

The debacle of the 2000 presidential election made it all too apparent to most Americans that our electoral system is broken. And private-sector entrepreneurs were quick to offer a fix: Touch-screen voting machines, promised the industry and its lobbyists, would make voting as easy and reliable as withdrawing cash from an ATM. Congress, always ready with funds for needy industries, swiftly authorized $3.9 billion to upgrade the nation's election systems - with much of the money devoted to installing electronic voting machines in each of America's 180,000 precincts.

But as midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election - and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries.
Read the rest of Will The Next Election Be Hacked? in the Current issue of Rolling Stone!

How Stuff Used to Be Settled

True Story

Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy, if the Pope won, they would have to leave.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged, but wise Rabbi Moishe to represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a "silent" debate.

On the chosen day, the Pope and Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger.

Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.

Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.

Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared that he was beaten, that Rabbi Moishe was too clever, and that the Jews could stay.

Later, the Cardinals met with the Pope, asking what had happened. The Pope said, "First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He had me beaten and I could not continue."

Meanwhile the Jewish community was gathered around Rabbi Moishe "How did you win the debate?" they asked.

"I haven't a clue," said Moishe. "First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger. Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said to him, we're staying right here."

"And then what?" asked a woman.

"Who knows?" said Moishe, "He took out his lunch, so I took out mine."

No Balls, No Glory

As you will probably recall, GW Bush has said he makes his decisions based on thoughts that come from his gut. And Dick Cheney likes to contrast the courage of Republicans with the defeatism of Democrats. Both predict that if we withdrew it would only encourage "the terrorists", so we continue to terrorize the Middle East. It has only recently occurred to them that diplomacy and listening to "the other" might be a good idea, but as a tactic rather than as an intellectual theory. It is really odd that they continue to emphasize that it is "the terrorists" who like to kill innocent people, especially children. We are far ahead of them on that score, especially when you consider the millions of lives (on both sides) which will never come to be because of our aggression. And how do they know that our withdrawal would never work? We've never tried it. That would involve confessing to one of the most egregious crimes against humanity in history, especially because of its total futility. As we used to say in the old days on the ranch, neither one of them has the balls to give it a try.

United Nations Debate?

Oh, the horror! the horror!

Admittedly, I didn't hear all of the speeches, but I heard enough to get the drift.

How was the tone of what Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez said at the UN any different from the tone of what Bush said, except that it was in foreign languages?


Suggestions to the Ford Motor Company

Free of charge!

Now that you are down in the dumps, this is a good time to completely rethink your whole philosophy about making cars. It was your forbear who started us down this long and bumpy road. I wonder what he would say if he were here to see the worldwide results.

Let’s start with the easy part. What is your very first objective? If it’s just to make money, there’s not much I can do for you, so we could end it right here.

Second chance: It is the automobile which has done the most harm to the earth, so why not start thinking about how you can ameliorate that situation. Do you go to church? Do you have values? Do you worry about the future for everybody and everything on the planet?

OK!! I have some suggestions which might help the earth and its inhabitants, and pay off for you in the bargain. Let’s start thinking about the kind of people you want as customers in the future and what kind of cars you should make for them.

Let’s get daring. Let’s decide that you want to care more for the environment than you do for selling cars to people who are obsessed with themselves. How about some requirements?

  • Well-made and sturdy. I’ll go for that.
  • Comfortable. That’s important.
  • Energy efficient, especially hybrids or even better. Now we’re cooking.
  • Large, super-sized cars. Let somebody else go down that road.
  • Luxurious, as was mentioned by one of your spokesmen just last week. Not my kind of people. Let’s get serious.
  • How about taking requirements 1 through 3 and building from there? Let the world know you are thinking in a different direction with a new-world last-chance philosophy?
  • And finally, appearance and names. Smallish, but adequate, that speak to people about the world we need to live in. As for names, you should look for those which reflect your new outlook, which people look at and say cute, kinky, far-out, interesting, different, adorable, etc, etc., etc. – choose your own.
  • Afforable. Do the best you can with that. Let the public know you’re thinking more of their needs than of your own.
Let the people who want luxury and/or huge cars know you’re not interested anymore. If you concentrate on new values and customers you’ve never seen before, you might find a whole new market that you didn’t know was out there.

No charge. Good luck. It’s sure worth a try.

Iraq Statistics

On Monday, 9-11, Vigilante posted his views On the Fifth Anniversary of 9/ll. He included comparative statistics of the dead and injured of 9/ll caused by Osama Bin Laden, as compared with those of American forces caused by George W. Bush's war in Iraq. An excellent view of the war and its consequences.

This brings to mind several things that have bothered me for some time. For one thing, one of the boasts of which GWBush is proudest, and oddly enough, brings feelings of peace and security to some Americans, is that "we are fighting the terrorists over there so that we won't have to fight them here." Doesn't it bother anyone else that we have gone into a country which has not attacked us and caused the deaths of tens of thousands of its people so that we can be secure here? Isn't it a strange sort of immoral thinking on GW's part, and doesn't it make craven cowards out of those of us who agree and are just as happy to hide behind the bodies of dead Iraqis, as well as behind those of our own soldiers?

A second thing that really bothers me is that we seldom see any statistics of innocent Iraqis killed or wounded. It is over for those who are dead, but what kind of care do you suppose the wounded are receiving, and under what circumstances When you see or read of the grievous wounds that so many of our forces have received and you realize that they will never be whole human beings again, whether physically or mentally, even with the best of care, what kind of shape do you think the Iraqis in similar circumstances are in?

And you can even wonder about the "terrorists", the "insurgents", or any other name you want to give to the "enemy". It is also over for those who are dead, but not for those who are grievously wounded. Does anyone care?

We are constantly being told by GW and his group what motivates the "terrorists" and why they hate us so, but I now hate the country I live in and the people who made it the way it is, and it has nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden.

And I'd like to leave you with this question, how many mass graves do you suppose we will leave in Iraq? I know that was of great import in GW's decision to save the people there for freedom and democracy.

T for Two

In case you think that the only "T" word in the Republican vocabulary is "Terrorists", I have another for you, and that is "Taxes", and it is already being trotted out to replace Terrorists, especially next month as the new attack upon this great country of democracy, religious piety, and generosity.

Americans are really chumps for making and/or saving money, even at someone else's expense. Morality and common purpose do not really figure into the financial equation. As I recall, it was Ronald Reagan who really started the ball rolling on feeling put-upon at being required to pay taxes, especially for those services which you do not need (such as good schools if you are old or childless) or the accoutrements of modern life (such as highway upkeep, if you don't drive very often). And George W. Bush is out-mastering the master with his tax breaks for the very rich.

As for the poor, if they cannot afford to pay taxes, they don't deserve any of the services. It's their fault if they are uneducated and too lazy to work. "I made my money, so why should I have to help you?" ( Many of those in the middle class, as well as most of those in the upper class, have never made a cent themselves, and they live off the income from inheritance, as do I.)

Gambling is one of the most morally pernicious of all sins, yet somehow you feel that you are doing a civic good deed if your way of paying taxes is to buy what you hope is a winning lottery ticket.

If these approaches don't work, blame your reluctance to pay taxes on the crooks in government or their minions.

Somehow, we have got to start being, not only willing, but glad to pay taxes as our way of contributing to the common good, to accomplish those things together which we cannot do alone.