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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 01:02 AM
Original message
Evil Must Be Recognized for What it Is Rather than Denied
Edited on Sat Jul-29-06 01:04 AM by Time for change
Nearly 50 years after the furnaces of Nazi Germany devoured their last victims, survivors and world leaders gathered beneath a bleak, disconsolate sky today to dedicate a museum chronicling mans descent into darkness and the indifference to evil that marked the era. Diana Jean Schemo in Holocaust Museum Dedicated in Payment to Dead

I realize it is possible that this post may be sent to the 9-11 dungeon, removed from the Greatest Page if it gets there, or locked. If it is, I will accept that without complaint, as I have accepted when some of these things have happened to my previous posts, undoubtedly because the subject matter of those posts was judged to be too unacceptable to too many Americans. The DU is at least in large part a political organization, and as such I believe that it has performed a great service for our country by spreading the truth about the many terrible things that have been going on in the United States over the past six and a half years. In order to fulfill that roll it must sometimes take care to lower the profile of posts that have the potential to cause other Americans to take us less seriously. That said, I do feel that I have something important to say here, so I will give it a shot.

I believe that George W. Bush and his administration are evil, and furthermore that it is very important for Americans to recognize that fact. Evil has been defined in many different ways. What I mean when I say that Bush and his administration are evil is that I believe that there is NOTHING that these people wouldnt do to get what they want. And I do mean NOTHING.


Why evil should be recognized and identified as such rather than denied

The reason that I believe that the evil must be explicitly recognized and stated rather than denied is very simple: People are unlikely to adequately address a serious problem unless they recognize the seriousness of the problem.

I disagree with one aspect of the quote at the beginning of this post. It was not indifference to evil that marked the Nazi era. The great majority of human beings are not indifferent to evil. They shun it, and because the great majority of humans are not evil they have great difficulty in fully recognizing it, and therefore in mounting an adequate reaction against it.

The Holocaust should have taught us some important lessons. Denial of Hitlers evil was widespread during the early years of his reign, not only in Germany, but throughout the world, despite an abundance of evidence that should have cut through the denial. It was largely because of the widespread denial of his evil that Hitler was able to perpetrate the Holocaust, which included the cold blooded murder of six million Jews, as well as World War II, with the additional loss of tens of millions of lives.

Early identification of Hitlers evil, followed by appropriate reaction, would have prevented much or all of that. As it was, the problem was eventually recognized and responded to, but too late to stop most of the carnage. Had the recognition come later, the whole world may have sunk under Nazi control, leading to unimaginable multiplication of the Nazi horrors. But Britain and France finally recognized the problem in 1939, with Hitlers invasion of Poland. The United States became involved in the war in December 1941 after Pearl Harbor was attacked (though President Roosevelt fortunately recognized the problem well before that and had been providing Britain with much needed assistance, which helped her to survive Hitlers onslaught). And finally even the German military recognized the problem, and hatched a number of plans to assassinate Hitler starting in 1943.

The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck said much the same thing about the need to recognize evil in his best-selling book, People of the Lie, which I read in about1989. The book is primarily about evil, and it may be the most interesting book I ever read. It is unusual for a psychiatrist to write about evil, since that concept is not a clinical term, but rather primarily a religious term. Dr. Peck is a Christian, and he writes about the subject from somewhat of a Christian perspective, while at the same time explaining it in terms that non-Christians (such as myself) can easily and vividly relate to.

Peck talks about the fact that many people dont like to use the term because of its religious connotations. Yet evil is a fact of life in our world, and those who refuse to think or talk about it do so at their own peril. If you dont use the word you are unlikely to recognize the magnitude of the problem even when its right in front of your face, in which case you will be helpless against it.


The denial of evil

Denial is a very common psychological defense mechanism that people use in order to avoid the psychological pain of having to face something that is very unpleasant to them. It is so common that all humans use it to one degree or another on occasion. But as we grow we learn to face things that were previously too difficult for us to face, and that is part of the process of emotional maturation. Mastering this process gives us the strength to face the world as it really is, rather than as we would like it to be.

There are many things that the United States as a nation denies (i.e., things that most Americans deny). For example, we talk about concepts like freedom and democracy without full awareness of the many historical (and current) examples where we have denied these gifts to other people.

Another very important example of our denial as a nation is stolen presidential elections. It is this denial that is preventing the American people from rising up in outrage over the state of our current election system. A very ironic example is Andrew Gumbels book, Steal this Vote. In this otherwise great book, Gumbel describes in great and accurate detail the faults and dangers of DRE voting machines, and yet he also claims that the 2004 presidential election was not stolen, while defending that claim with factually incorrect and illogical arguments of a kind that are found nowhere else in his book as I describe in this post.

But probably the most difficult thing for Americans to admit to as a nation is that their President is evil.

Sometimes when I talk to people I broach this subject, though I may not actually use the word evil. For example, I recently had a telephone conversation with my uncle, in which I brought up MIHOP. As usually happens when I bring this up to people, my uncle acted like I was some kind of nut, even though he very much dislikes Bush. I tried to get into the specifics with him, but he just didnt want to hear it. His conclusion was something like, I know hes bad, but he cant be that bad.


Why cant Bush and his administration be that bad?

You cant discuss something with someone if they dont want to hear what you have to say, so I had to give up on this issue with my uncle for the time being. But if he would have been willing to discuss it, I would have asked him WHY he didnt think that Bush could be that bad.

Why would someone dismiss out of hand the possibility that George W. Bush is evil? Could it be because they dont believe that evil exists? If so, I would say that they dont have a very good grasp of world history. Well then, maybe they think that evil is just something that exists in other countries. Or maybe they think that although some Americans may be evil, certainly we couldnt have an evil President. But why not? Other countries have had evil leaders. Why cant our country? Ill tell you why: Denial.

My belief that Bush and his administration are evil is not based on any single incident, but rather on a pervasive pattern. This is a man who blew up frogs when he was younger. As Governor of Texas he mocked a woman (Carla Faye Tucker) who pleaded for her life with him, mimicking her desperate pleas in discussions with other people. In the midst of a national disaster, with people dying by the thousands he sat around and partied. And then, when he finally got to New Orleans he ordered firemen to wait around and do nothing rather than save the dying people, just so that he could pose for a photo-op with them. Virtually every act of his presidency has been calculated to increase the wealth and power of his benefactors at the expense of the vast majority of Americans, many of whom have consequently been driven into poverty. He created a war that has resulted in tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths and nearly three thousand deaths of American soldiers and for no apparent reason other than to increase the wealth and power of his benefactors. He unilaterally decided that he is not subject to the laws of our country. And worst of all, he presides over the indefinite incarceration without charges or trial, and the torture of our prisoners of war for no apparent reason at all.

So, for those who say that George Bush is not evil, or that he cant be that bad, I say Give me a single example to make your point.


But does that mean that hes evil?

BobcatJH recently posted an excellent article entitled Your suffering doesnt matter to them (referring to the Bush administration and their allies in Congress), where he made an airtight case for the title of his post with numerous references, some which I stole from him to use in the above paragraph. That raises the question, what is the difference between your suffering doesnt matter to them and evil, and why do I think thats important.

That is a very difficult question to answer. But let me start by stating some personal feelings that I have about this.

I am not personally afraid of the possibility of terrorist attacks on our country. But I am afraid of the Bush administration. Not just afraid for my country, but personally afraid. Im afraid that someone will break into my house in the middle of the night and cart me off to a torture camp. Im just a little bit afraid of that. But the only reason that Im only a little bit afraid of that is that, in the large scheme of things, Im really not very important. But if I had the kind of role that Id like to have in bringing down this administration I would be terribly afraid. And more to the point, I think that the fact that they can do this kind of thing and they can without stirring up the outrage of millions of Americans means that our country has entered a dangerous zone akin to Nazi Germany in its early years.

Dr. Peck defines evil as much more than not caring about other people. Not caring is a passive concept, whereas evil is a very active concept. Ill paraphrase Pecks definition of evil from my memory of his book, and then Ill give his definition that I just looked up on the internet (I think that very difficult concepts need to be stated in different ways in order to make them easier to grasp.) Basically, Peck defined an evil person as someone who is totally unwilling to admit fault or to try to understand him or herself. Its just too painful. So, in order to avoid having to do that, the evil person spends his or her whole life trying to make other people and himself see himself as he would like to be seen, rather than as he really is. That means pretending, lying, killing, or whatever it takes. The bottom line is that no fault of an evil person can ever be corrected because trying to correct it would mean having to admit that it exists. Here is Pecks definition:

Truly evil people, on the other hand, actively rather than passively avoid extending themselves. They will take any action in their power to protect their own laziness, to preserve the integrity of their sick self. Rather than nurturing others, they will actually destroy others in this cause. If necessary, they will even kill to escape the pain of their own spiritual growth. As the integrity of their sick self is threatened by the spiritual health of those around them, they will seek by all manner of means to crush and demolish the spiritual health that may exist near them.

I define evil, then, as the exercise of political power that is, the imposition of ones will upon others by overt or covert coercion in order to avoid extending ones self for the purpose of nurturing spiritual growth. Ordinary laziness is non-love; evil is anti-love.

Does that remind you of George W. Bush?


More specifically, why is this important?

I already explained in general terms why I thought it is important to recognize evil. But why specifically is it important that people lots of people recognize that George W. Bush and his administration are evil, and say so?

Ill tell you why. History has, or should have, taught us what evil people do when they get hold of the forces of a powerful nation. I believe that the Bush administration is the most (perhaps only) evil Presidential administration we have ever had, and that it poses the greatest danger to our country since our Civil War of 1861-5. And yet despite dismal approval ratings for both Bush and Cheney, the magnitude of the danger is not recognized by the good majority of Americans. I shudder to think what these people will do if they get much more power. It may not be too late to stop them. But if enough people dont recognize the problem, then nothing is going to stop them.

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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 01:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. 
Don't forget Denial's boon companion, Shame.

Not only do people not want to admit they made a hideous mistake when they voted for the dipshit, they also feel their cheeks reddening in secret guilt, horror, and embarassment when someone insults their creepy little choice. They feel that dreadful twisting feeling in their gut, because they KNOW they've "done wrong." They've violated some law, and they know it--depending on their belief system, it could be a religious law, or it could simply be one of those moral laws that one learned in Kindergarten, or Mom or Dad taught one in a Leave It To Beaver childhood vignette.

If they admit they erred, they'd have to LIVE with the shame of a horrible selection, and they're just not ready to do that. Far better to viciously lash out at anyone who questions the directions, and just keep driving the bus towards the cliff...ANYTHING, other than acknowledging an awful, lunatic pick and having to live with the weight of a lousy decision on one's shoulders, a choice that ruined the world.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #1
19. Yes, I think you're right that that is the psychology that underlies many
Bush supporters today. How many, I don't know.

I have some relatives on my wife's side who are Christian fundamentalist Bush voters, and I believe that they're very nice and caring people. I think that in that case their problem is that they're simply almost totally ignorant as to what's going on in the world. They simply believe what they are told in church.

Peck says that true evil in human populations is not frequent at all, but not rare either. He places the rate at somewhere around 2 or 3 per thousand. It's not clear to me how he would know that, however. I'm sure it's based largely on his psychiatric practice, but that wouldn't provide a true prevalence of evil.

I would have have guessed that the prevalence of evil is larger than that -- but Peck has a very restrictive definition of evil, as described in my OP. He makes it clear that he does not consider your typical psychopathic personality as the equivalence of evil.
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. Denial's a bitch, alright...
I remember when I first read about the MIHOP...my reaction was
"No. I do not want to believe this. Surely our government isn't that low..."
Then I remembered my history class where we were talking about Pearl Harbour...what did FDR know and when did he know it?
Gotta admit, it sure changed the attitude of this country from "I'd rather not get involved, thanks!" to the "...awakened sleeping giant."
Guess which position FDR wanted...

It saddens me now to think that there is nothing so low, so dirty or heinous that this government won't do to carry out its agenda. Saddens, hell...it scares the living crap out of me.

I can understand why denial is such a very popular color this season.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #2
22. FDR
I do believe in MIHOP, as you can see from this article that I wrote in February:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
This was removed from GD to the 9-11 Forum, as I was not aware that I wasn't supposed to be posting this kind of thing in GD.

With regard to FDR: Perhaps I can be accused of denial for this, but I believe that FDR was a great man and a great President. I have to admit that I am not fully informed about the controversy surrounding whether or not he puposely allowed the attacks on Pearl Harbor to take place. I do believe that it is currently an open question, with believers on both sides. From what little I know about it, I do believe that he was not complicit.

Yes, FDR wanted the US to enter WW II, long before most Americans did -- but I feel that he had very good reason for that. If Hitler had won, the whole world would have faced unimaginable horrors, for God knows how many years. Our involvement in that war prevented a tremendous amount of additional suffering.

But the attacks on Pearl Harbor knocked out half of our naval fleet and thus greatly set back our war effort. I doubt that FDR wanted us to enter the war at that price, let alone the many hundreds of Americans who were killed that day.

Nazi Germany was no Saddam Hussein's Iraq. They posed a mortal threat to the whole world. I firmly believe that FDR could have convinced the American people of the need to get involved in that war short of a Pearl Harbor attack.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. Accumulative wealth and power is the only thing W
understands. Those are his Gods, and he could care less if he bankrupts this country or kills its kids so the few can achieve his goals. If this is evil, then he indeed is evil.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. I agree. I don't believe in stuff like the anti-Christ or
a Hell, with demons but I do believe in evil and this administration has shovels full of it. Like Hitler and his fellow Nazis they almost always do come to a bad end, but in the case of these neo-cons I hope it comes sooner rather than later before they destroy everything and everyone.

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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:16 AM
Response to Original message
5. Very good essay, and certainly thought provoking.
I tend to agree with you that we as a country really do need to stop living in denial and be honest with ourselves -- and that does involve calling evil by its right name.

I've been very aware of my own shying away from using the word "evil" in my posts when I'm talking about GWB and those in his administration who are wrecking our country and causing chaos and death in other lands. My reason for finding other words for it is simple: I didn't want to sound like Dubya himself!

After all, HE's the one who followed Ronnie Raygun's example (remember he dubbed the USSR the "evil empire"?) when he designated the "axis of evil" countries in an important speech. Hell, Dubya's just plain fond of calling others evil! And since we know all about his professed religious beliefs, we can pretty much rest assured he is using the term evil based on that orientation he has.

To me, the word evil has always carried such a powerful connotation that I've been reluctant to use it very often. If it's thrown about too much, it will lose its punch and end up being watered down through overuse.

But after reading your thoughtful essay, I'm ready to agree with you about the necessity of calling Dubya and his pals evil. We DO need to tell it like it is, and I think you're right about the population living in denial.

I think MAdem also made a good point about the shame many may feel regarding the Bush administration. Anyone who voted for him and continued to support him must surely be feeling some guilt about that by now if they're even halfway paying attention to all the wrong he has done.

But we no longer have the luxury of using gentler terms for the evil that is overwhelming our country through the military actions taken abroad, the war on the poor and middle class here at home, the boons to his superrich benefactors, the abandonment of the victims of Katrina, and dozens of other outrages.

If we're going to rise up fiercely enough to put an end to the abuse of power and the evil that drives these people, we need to call it what it is.


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
23. Thank you very much
It's very gratifying to hear that I could actually change the way somebody thinks about something.

I've had the same problem that you mention. If I refer to Bush as evil, then I sound like him.

Well, at least I sound like him with respect to one very limited issue, and in a very superficial sense.

But if that makes me sound like him in one superficial respect, then so be it. That fact doesn't in any way mean that I'm like him -- or that anyone else who considers him evil and says so is like him.
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Yep, totally agree. I'm pulling out the stops and plan to call it
like it is from now on.

I guess if I find myself in one of those shouting matches, not here but when I'm out and about in the real world, where I declare Bu$h evil and someone argues saying I'm evil (or Dems are, or whatever), there IS a response I can offer that might work to illuminate the truth.

Couldn't I just say, "Okay, you tell me what I've done that is evil, and I'll tell you what Bu$h has done that is evil, and let's see where we stand."

Because they couldn't come up with a substantial list while I could enumerate countless actions of the Chimp's that demonstrate his nature. If I encounter one of that 23% who might still try to defend Dubya, s/he'll probably just offer something intelligent like, "YOU're evil for calling Bush evil!" At that point I'd know the conversation was hopeless and not worth pursuing.

The thing is, I truly do believe a day is coming when there will be NO WAY Bu$h supporters can continue to back him. His crimes and treacherous actions will be so evident in the full light of numerous investigations that only the braindead would still try to say he deserves our respect. I don't like to make predictions because it's just too perilous, but I honestly think Dubya will find himself as much loathed by some who are still supporting him now as he is by the rest of us.

The stack of his evil doings is getting mountainous, and evidence like that becomes impossible to ignore at some point. And a reckoning becomes overdue and necessary at last.

If we continue to let them get away with it when they say, "Oh, he's just doing what EVERY politician does," then we've failed in our duty to make his evil clear to everyone. We need to use the word -- it's one they can relate to.

So it's not only "WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER." It's also "MOST. EVIL. PRESIDENT. EVER."


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #25
42. That sounds like a very good plan
I wish I could be there when you have that conversation.

The main reason why a lot of people don't recognize how bad he is is because of a corporate news media that does everything it can to protect Bush and keep the truth away from the American people.

Good luck. :toast:
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:49 AM
Response to Original message
6. evil is merely the absence of good . . . much like darkness is . . .
the absence of light . . .

neither darkness nor evil have intrinsic qualities of their own . . . and their elimination is assured by subjecting them to the shining qualities of their opposites . . .

darkness is ALWAYS eliminated by light . . . and evil is ALWAYS eliminated by good . . .

all that is needed is the will to flip the switch . . .
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 06:55 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. I'm sorry, I just don't believe that.
I've heard it many times, that "evil is merely the absence of good" and I simply don't believe it. I don't think that's the OP's intent either. I was about to say, "it's a positive force of its own," but clearly if it means anything at all evil is the complete OPPOSITE of "positive"! Okay, so it's a negative force of its own, but the point is that whatever it is, evil EXISTS. To say that it's the absence of good is to deny its reality. You're entitled to your opinion of course, but I just can't do that.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #12
29. And you could flip that construct and try to claim that good is just the
absence of evil. But it isn't. Good is proactive, like the boy scout helping the little old lady across the street. Evil is proactive, too, like that same boy scout deciding to beat the crap out of the little old lady and steal her ragged little purse.

The boy scout just ambling along ignoring the little old lady is neither good, nor evil.

Simplistic explanation, but illustrative of my point.
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MsMagnificent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
45. Yes, Evil is the absence of Good
but personally I think there's a bit more to it...
there's a definite horrific aspect to Evil, a foul intent beyond just the mere vacuum of Good.
But of course that's just MO.
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Branjor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-30-06 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #45
52.  Evil is that which distracts..
It distracts one from the Good, from one's Purpose. Be it war, bombing, crime, corruption, it peoccupies both its victims and its perpetrators.

Try that one out for size.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-30-06 02:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
47. no need to get upset, folks . . . just a concept that's been around . . .
a lot longer that you or me . . .

of course reality is a bit more complex -- but there's still a lot of truth in the idea . . .
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Magical Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 03:21 AM
Response to Original message
7. May I Add....
Edited on Sat Jul-29-06 03:23 AM by Magical
First of all, nice work and thanks for bringing more depth to the discussion.

Here is a link to the definitive site describing the serial sociopath bully, which fits the symptoms I've seen in Bush quite well...there is a wealth of information regarding these personality types.
http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/serial.htm

John Bradshaw (author) and many others have addressed the causal connections between childhood upbringing and violence. I believe it is important for us to understand that junior is an untreated victim of childhood abuse. Untreated abusers often go on to be abusers acting out their childhood pain in a compulsive repetition. Just so happens this one has way too much power for the world's good.

Also, Alice Miller, author of For Your Own Good, wrote eloquently about cruelty in child raising and the roots of violence. By the way, does 'For Your Own Good' sound familiar ? How many times has Bush used that excuse...we're victimizing them FOR THEIR OWN GOOD to bring 'em democracy and freedom.

In order to stop the cycle of abuse and violence that gets handed down from generation to generation, one must usually go through some sort of recovery process, feel the FEELINGS associated with all of that childhood pain, grieve the loss, and finish growing up. There are groups called...Adult Children of Alcoholics, where folks meet to discuss these feelings, become vulnerable, and share in healing.

'Adult Children' like Bush are literally emotionally stunted and are not mature adults as you may think of a healthy, mature adult. Hence the 'childish' acting out (laughing, Yo Blair, other gaffes and goofs) which is wholly inappropriate as leader of the free world. The implications of having an 'adult child' with the world's most powerful military at his command are dire to say the least.

Evil is surely the result of this acting out, but understanding the source is valuable in knowing...
It ain't going away unless treated.
It is the same disease that drove Hitler.
It is an inter-generational phenomena.
It is well understood by many in the psychological community.
It can be 'predictive' in knowing what 'buttons' to push to get a certain result.
It is a 'progressive' disease...gets worse with time.
It is epidemic in our culture.

Here is my question for Helen Thomas to ask GW....
George, how does it FEEL to know that your decisions are responsible for the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of innocent people, many of them children ? HOW DOES IT FEEL GEORGE? And you can't use the word terrorism or 911 in the answer.

There is only ONE STORY in all of human kind...something like...
"My separation from the world and my reaction to it"

To be continued perhaps....

Magical
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ananda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. I do not believe that..
.. a human being should be labeled as evil.

Bush and his admin are certainly responsible, however, for doing terribly evil things and should be stopped now.

Sue
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
28. I recently read a book by a psychiatrist, Justin Frank
who comes to much the same conclusions about this that you have. It's called "Bush on the Couch":
http://hnn.us/articles/7106.html
It is essentially a psychoanalysis of Bush, and it expresses many of the ideas in your above post.

I have no doubt that the issues that you describe and that are described in Dr. Frank's book are real and pervasive in our world.

But Peck's idea of evil was something beyond that, and which is less common. It's hard to explain the differences, but I can think of one important one. You note that this problem "aint going away unless treated", and and Frank says much the same thing.

But the evil that Peck talks about is not even treatable. And mainly it's not treatable because the patient has no desire whatsoever to be treated. It's also more malignant than what you're talking about, though it's difficult to explain in what way. Suffice it to say that Peck was talking about the evil of a Hitler.

I would very much like to know if he would put Bush in that same category. I strongly suspect that we would.
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Magical Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. TFC
Yes, I'm going to read "Bush on the Couch". Thanks for the reminder.

I guess I'd have to read Peck's book to comment specifically on his notion of evil.
I am not a psychologist, though my sister is, and I have read extensively on the subject.

I would certainly agree...
If a patient does not want treatment, there will be none.

The comparisons between Bush and Hitler are widely published. See here and google others....
http://semiskimmed.net/bushhitler.html




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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 04:57 AM
Response to Original message
8. k&r
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Bad Penny Donating Member (392 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 06:09 AM
Response to Original message
9. The way Bush redirected 'evil' in his 2001 speech and beyond
has been his most evil act of all. The dragon peddling himself as a dragonslayer. "It's them that are evil, not us , or me", and millions ate that plate of horseshit and came back for second and third helpings. He reminded me of the Grinch pretending to be trying to fix the Christmas tree rather than stealing it.

If there is an anti-christ of biblical proportions my money is still on bush. If this guy has ever been forthright and honest with ANYBODY in his life I'll piss a sea of chocolate syrup. He's a nasty, conniving piece of work on a par with the worst the planet has seen. And they didn't have nukes
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 06:12 AM
Response to Original message
10. Nominated.
Very well done.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 06:49 AM
Response to Original message
11. Katrina is the key to understanding Bush's evil
Your excellent essay is about an important subject that we have to confront before we can make any progress impeaching or at least disempowering this administration -- namely, that most people still think that this administration is about as moral as any other administration, but just incompetent.

Whenever the subject of 9/11 comes up, one of the ways people dismiss LIHOP or MIHOP is to say, no president, not even this one, would kill 3000 Americans, even for geo-strategic reasons and the enrichment of the president's friends.

That argument might have held water until Katrina (forgive the pun). Katrina showed that Bush would allow 4,500 Americans to die not for some grand geo-strategic reason or to gain control of the world's oil, but simply so that Bush could continue to ride his bicycle. This was reported in as mainstream a news source as Newsweek. The only person who could coordinate all the branches of government to respond to Katrina simply wanted to continue his vacation and terrified his aides into not discussing Katrina until it became politically damaging.

The reason I blame those deaths on Bush is that when a similar hurricane and flooding that hit NOLA during the Johnson administration, fewer than 200 people died. According to a doctor friend of mine, in her estimation the majority of NOLA dead died of thirst, hunger, lack of medicine, exposure and secondary drowning (ie trying to escape or being stuck in flooded homes), etc., because no one bothered to rescue them or provide supplies for nearly a week. Imagine: hundreds of thousands of people in a sweltering 90 degree city, in the wake of a hurricane, without any clean water to drink for 7 days. That was a death sentence for thousands.

All so that Bush could ride his bicycle, eat cake and pretend to play the guitar. If he would let 4,500 die for a bicycle ride, why wouldn't he murder 3,000 to gain the world's biggest untapped reserves of oil and to steer hundreds of billions of dollars of contracts and pure theft to his friends and supporters?
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
24. K & R for Peck, the OP and this post. nt
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
32. On THIS side of the pond
my circle "GOT IT" right away after Katrina and immediately STOPPED calling me a conspiracy theorist about WTC. They ALL now know about *dimson's (cough) genealogy. Anyone wishing to get up to speed can take a gander here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

BTW: WalMart is selling its 85 stores here!!! :woohoo:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
33. I agree - there is an abundance of evidence that Bush willfully
allowed that disaster to proceed, with no effort to do anything about it. I don't even know that it had anything to do with his vacation -- I believe that he just didn't feel that it was the federal government's role to help those people.

But even before Katrina there was the Iraq war. Bush was determined to go to war in Iraq, and it obviously had nothing to do with any of the reasons he gave. I think that the no-bid contracts given to Halliburton for recontruction in Iraq, their swindling of the government, and his failure to do anything about it provides a big clue to the reason he went to war in Iraq.

Anyhow, going to war for no justifiable reason I think shows that the "No president, not even this one, would kill 3000 Americans, even for geo-strategic reasons and the enrichment of the president's friends" argument didn't hold any water even before Katrina.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
13. Wonderful essay. K&R.
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PleadTheFirst Donating Member (451 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 07:44 AM
Response to Original message
14. Absolutely brilliant work.
I have been using the word "evil" to describe Bush and this administration since very early in their reign. Thank you for taking difficult terms and putting them into such crystal clear focus.

I'm off to look for a copy of Mr. Peck's book now.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #14
34. Thank you - I'm so glad it was helpful
I think that you'd like Peck's "The Road Less Travelled" as well. It's about spiritual growth rather than evil, and I found it tremendously helpful.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
16. Beautifully stated
nominated.
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
17. I think Bush and Cheney
are evil. The whole world could be burning alive around them, and they would not feel it one iota. They are different than a Hitler or a serial killer in that they don't have a specific hatred or go out and do the killing themselves. However all of their projects are evil in their outcomes, as the murdering of all the Iraqi people and letting the poor people in New Orleans die. I would think a real and true Christian that watches these people would see how horrible they are, and speak out. And yet they do not. I don't understand how they are being used by the dark forces. Are they puppets, hollow shells, or is the evil part of their nature?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #17
36. I believe that you are exactly right
A real and true Chirtian that sees what is going on would see how horrible they are and speak out.

Here's one example, just from today:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

And here's another example that I found some time ago:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

As for what the reasons are, it's hard for me to say. Some are hollow shells. Some are just plain clueless as to what's going on. Some are just robotic followers of what they see as authority figures, as described by John Dean in his new book, Conservatives without Conscience. And some may be evil as well. I wish I knew.
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. I think many people who don't call themselves
Christians are actually more Christ-like than people who do call themselves Christians, as mentioned in your 2005 post. It has become a kind of club to belong to instead of actually living out the precepts. I don't think Jesus would have cared what you call yourself. He would have cared how you act. And I think we should reclaim the higher ground in terms of real morality. I know Hillary has made some inroads on this front.

My parents were extreme Catholics when they married, but they stopped being so rigid at some point. They carried on with social work for the rest of their lives, and that always soaked into me. So I have a lot of "Christian values", but I am not well versed in the bible or even the history of Christianity.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-30-06 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #37
48. I couldn't agree with you more
Dr. Peck makes the point that evil people are concerned only with outward appearances, to the exclusion of any concern for their internal spiritual condition.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
18. Some thoughts...
Edited on Sat Jul-29-06 08:30 AM by undergroundpanther
And a few quotes
You can own everything you see
Sell your soul for complete control
Is that really what you need................

Was there ever any domination that did not appear natural to those who possessed it?
]John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) Economist and Philosopher


Laing defines normality, as I say, as a "state of complicity in social fantasy systems" that leads to a surrender of what is most authentically individual and creative in the "normalized" person. Perhaps the utterly banal Adolf Eichman ("I have nothing against Jews, personally"), as described by Hannah Arendt, who is without an iota of rebellion but thoroughly at the service of the society in which he was reared, is the best example of Laing's fully normal person, "ontologically divided" and blissfully unaware of it.

http://laingsociety.org/colloquia/peaceconflict/natureo...

Culture of Make Believe..
"I think about the relationship between economics and hatred and what it means?what it must feel like-to live in a society where more atrocities are committed in the name of economics than even in the name of hate." - Derrick Jensen
www.derrickjensen.org /
http://cultureofmakebelieve.tribe.net
Studying child abuse confronts us with the astonishing fact that parents will inflict the same punishment or neglect on their children as they experienced themselves in their early lives. But as adults they have no recollection of what they went through. In the case of sexual assault on children, it is quite usual for the perpetrators to have no conscious knowledge of their own early life--history or at the least to be cut off from the attendant feelings aroused by those experiences. It is not until they are in therapyalways supposing they are given anythat it transpires that they have been reenacting what they went through as children.

http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/06_politic.html


Linguistic theory shows that we interpret new stories in terms of old ones we have internalized and now use to judge reality.When new stories deviate too drasically from those that form our current understanding, we denouce them as false or dangerous.The free market of ideas is useful mainly for solving small clearly bounded disputes.History shows it has proven much less useful for redressing systemic evils such as racism and sexism.Language requires an interpretive paradigm,which is a certain set of shared meanings that a group agrees to attach to words and terms. If racism is deeply inscribed in that paradigm carved into a thousand scripts,roles,stories,lifestyles...-One cannot speak out against it without appearing incoherent."~
Richard Delgado and Jean Stefinac,Must We Defend Nazis.


It is not abject vice, it is vice crowned with splendor, that seduces mens souls....
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #18
38. Some very interesting and important thoughts
This one is my favorite among the bunch:

"When new stories deviate too drasically from those that form our current understanding, we denouce them as false or dangerous"

That, in my opinion, is the only reason that Bush's approval ratings are in double digits.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
20. Excellent essay. I am a fan of Peck, having read all of his books.
Too bad he died not long ago; I'm sure his comments on our national situation would have been interesting. Your final comments:

It may not be too late to stop them. But if enough people dont recognize the problem, then nothing is going to stop them.

This is what my husband and I fear. This is the reason we're building a house in Panama as a possible retreat. We hope it only becomes a vacation/investment place, but feel it just may become a permanent retirement home within the next 2-3 years after our youngest graduates high school.

I hope we're wrong. I hope the people of this country wake up before it's too late. I just hope we haven't passed the point of no return.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #20
40. Thank you - I didn't know that he died
I would have been very interested to hear what he had to say about this. Perhaps he was planning on including it in his next book.
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PinkyisBlue Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
21. Another excellent analysis.
I agree with everything you said. And, like you, I'm more afraid of our own government than I am of a terrorist attack by another government.

The Bush administration accuses others of being evil, like abortion providers, stem cell researchers, Iraqi insurgents, etc., to deflect from their own actions. A lot of Republicans are portraying Liberals as "evil". For instance, the title of Sean Hannity's recent book is "Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism."

Being evil is not just the absence of good, as darkness is the absence of light. It takes effort to be truly evil, it's "hard work" as our fearless leader likes to claim. It's acting with total disregard for others. An evil government is one that invades another country in order to steal and control its natural resources, with no regard for the people who live there or the soldiers sent to do the dirty work. An evil government is one that denies food, shelter, and healthcare to large segments of society while enriching another segment. An evil government is one that distorts and censors information the people have access to. An evil government is one that exploits the environment and weakens environmental policies for short-term profit. The list goes on and on.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #21
41. Thank you - It sounds like you've been thinking a lot about this along the
same lines that I have.

I think that these people are going to be very difficult to get rid of, but there's nothing more important in the world.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-30-06 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #21
50. "Ignorance is
the mother of all cruelty." -- Voltaire

Evil can be found in the profoundly selfish type ignorance of that George Bush displays so proudly, as well as in the "active participation" of a Cheney or Hitler.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-30-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #50
51. Interesting idea - I don't think I understand Bush's type of evil
I do believe he's evil - but it's never been clear to me how ignorant he is, or how that relates to his evil.

I have some fundy relatives who vote for Bush, and I consider that to be out of ignorance, but I do believe that they are good people.

The "profoundly selfish type of ignorance" you speak of with regard to Bush seems on target, but it's hard for me to grasp what it means -- i.e. how that ignorance differs from the ignorance of every day people.
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eviltwin2525 Donating Member (269 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
26. The word for them is: FASCIST
"Big-government conservatives" who sincerely believe power has but one purpose, and that is to serve those who have it.
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grannylib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
27. As a Christian, I have to say that the reason I think they are evil is
because they are idolators.

They claim to be Christian, but they clearly worship not the Triune God but the unholy trinity of money, power and untruth (the lies told in order to obtain/keep money and power).

They don't honor Christ; they use his name for their own purposes, while ignoring his life, his words, his work, and his ministry.
They don't honor God; they use his name to 'justify' war and wealth, power and profit.
They want the Ten Commandments posted in courthouses and public spaces, all the while violating each and every one of them, particularly the First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me."
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. Jesus mentioned something about false christs, looks like he was right
and this group in power now seems to fit with that.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #27
44. That's very interesting because Dr. Peck said much the same thing
It's part of their flaming hypocrisy. They'll use anyone, including God, to keep up the pretense of who they are.
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LunaC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
35. Why the danger is not recognized by the good majority of Americans
From The Lure of Illusion
http://www.plusroot.com/dbook/09Illusion.html

Illusions are not the same as lies. The liar knows he is telling a lie. However, those who believe the lie are suffering under an illusion because they believe the lie is true. And, strange to say, the liar often sets up conditions that involve him or her in the clutches of illusion.

The relation of lies to illusions offers a curious intertwine of ideas. Lies and illusions weave together and become hard to untangle. People who start out telling lies, often end up lost in illusions. Conversely, people lost in illusions often tell lies to avoid examining their illusions.

Between lies and illusion resides a nebulous land of self-imposed ignorance where we suspect something is wrong but proceed with our life as if all were well. The old moral philosophers used to call this culpable ignorance. A modern psychologist might call it repressed ideas. A large percentage of human error fits in this gray area. Many a person telling a fib convinces him or herself that somehow his lie is not a lie and many a person accepts a fantastic story on face value because he or she doesnt want to know the truth.

-snip-

Laziness

Laziness is another factor that stands in the way of over-coming illusions. The temptation to bypass the difficulties of seeking truth and pursuing honesty lures everyone to some extent. Most of the time we slide into the style of the day and go with the flow. Because our present rational style (2001) has numerous admirable points, often going-along-to-get-along is not too harmful. Although there is a chorus (much needed) deploring the ethical aberrations of our time, the over all quality of rational expectation is far better than in many ages past.

Just going with the flow, thus, has some advantages. Many of us feel in the cunning of our inner mind that we might be able to get away with it. We convince ourselves that we dont have to study logic because we pick up good intellectual habits from our peers and from our own exceptionally clever insight. Thus we justify our laziness.

But laziness in this matter is a mistake. Yes, the standards of our day are good. In numerous cases, they are better than they were 100 years ago. But, they are not yet good enough to meet the challenges of our technical, nuclear world. Our rational standards are well developed, but we need improvement. We dont need enormous changes but we do need to upgrade rational skills if we are to make our world safer for living and raising families.

Affirmative elemental philosophers who wish to promote the guidelines of sound rational thinking and praise the wonders of impartial truth have the hard road to go. It is much easier to ride the sled of illusion. Relieved of the requirements of honesty, fantasy makers can weave alluring enchantments that leave truth seekers looking like dullards.

To write about impartial truth and right reason is easy. To actually sell the majesty of the project requires rare genius. The great minds who illuminate the true way so the rest of us can see are few and far between. Most get side tracked by one illusion or another.

-snip-



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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #35
46. Wise words - I do believe that that is a big part of the problem today for
a lot of people.

Another big factor is the lies and distortions spread to us from our corporate media.
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
39. I just found this quote - it seems to fit
"Hell is empty, all the devils are here."

- William Shakespeare

:scared:
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ninkasi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-29-06 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
43. I talked earlier this evening with my younger son
He turned 42 earlier this month. We speak frequently, and talked about what plans we might, in the future, need to make to leave our country. Some of my ancestors have been here since the early 1600's. They settled in Virginia, and the other ancestors have all been here for a long, long time.

We are angry that we might have to leave a country that we love, and that countless of our family members have fought, and died for. We both get furious when told by right-wingers that we are un-American, or traitors, because we loathe the Bush administration, and the damage they have done. We have both agreed, though, that this time, we are fighting not just weak men, who will sell power to the highest bidder, but evil men. The evil comes from ruthlessly destroying anyone or anything who stands in their path to absolute power.

People who are good, and who have the good of all mankind in their hearts, could never, in a million years, behave as this administration has done. The greed, the corruption, the cruel lack of response to any human emotion or need, has convinced me that we are now facing a force of absolute, unquestioning evil. People who are not evil do not start wars of choice.

The good ones do not rape the poor and the middle class to lard with pork the upper classes, who could not spend their accumulated wealth in several lifetimes. Good does not do evil, nor cause bloodshed and trauma to hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. The good among us heal, they feed the hungry, provide a way to earn a decent living to those who are willing to earn their way, and they comfort the sick, the young, and the old.

We are facing an evil that has been napping, but which has woken up, and which is ready to unleash devastation on the rest of us, in order to garner more power, and wealth, for themselves. I hate to overstate the situation, but it is dire enough to bear all of the words which might otherwise be considered exaggeration.
This November, we have a chance to retake at least one house of Congress, and begin to right some of the most outrageous wrongs which have occurred under the evil reign of George the Inferior.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-30-06 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #43
49. Well said Ninkasi
Here's my answer to those who accuse us of hating America:

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Time%20for%20...
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