Saturday, December 09, 2006

One for the road


Well, my friends, it's time to go.

It's not too hard to see that Thorn Tree's time is over. The gaps between posts grow longer just as the ideas and words in them grow colder and less inspired.

For whatever reason, I seem to have lost interest in the political world and I no longer have the fire or the courage to chronicle injustice in it's myriad forms.

I still watch and I still listen but my days of writing on these subjects seem to be done.

I'm moving on.

One of the greatest honors of my life has been the fact that the brilliant and passionate people who frequent this blog think that my words are worthy of their attention. You are my mentors, my allies, my friends.

We once huddled together as the world burned.

There is still so much to do and so many words to be said and perhaps someday I will find my voice in these matters again.

Perhaps not. Only time, as usual, will tell.

I'm concentrating now on my son and the new life I'm carving out inch by painful inch. Some days are terrible. Some just fine. Some are wondrous.

I'll be around on the web. I comment here and there and I'll continue to visit your blogs and stay in touch. You can always reach me at

I will always be there for you, my dear brothers and sisters.

I will say farewell with my favorite quote by Tennyson that just feels right at this particular time:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are—
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Don't forget about Pastor Ted


The wonderfully righteous Mrs. Betty Bowers has a great wrap-up of the Ted Haggard hypocrisy-fest:

It is quite clear that Ted Haggard is a man with admirable devotion to the Christian/GOP cause. After all, it must take enormous willpower for a meth-crazed sodomite to remove a penis from his mouth long enough to denounce homosexuality.

Read it all....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Will the real God please stand up?


With all the discussion on the draft and our all volunteer force there's this little tidbit:

PHILADELPHIA -- A Marine was deployed to Iraq this month after a military board rejected a recommendation that he receive conscientious objector status and a discharge.

The C.O. Status Screening Board noted that Marine Lance Cpl. John Rogowskyj Jr. requested the status after he learned that his Reserve unit was being sent to Iraq and suggested that the request "was simply a means to avoid a combat deployment."

But wait. It gets weirder.

Apparently his reasons for not wanting to be involved in the illegal occupation of Iraq are not of the theologically approved sort:

Rogowskyj describes himself as a religious humanist who does not belong to any organized religion.

"I believe that God has given man free will," he said in legal documents. "By surrendering my will to the military, I realize that I have willfully propagated violence."

That sounds fine, right? God doesn't want him to kill, right?

Ahhh but it's not the right God that doesn't want him to kill:

In April, a Marine captain who served as the hearing officer recommended the discharge. But in August, Maj. Gen. D.V. Odell Jr., commander of the Fourth Marine Division, said Rogowskyj's reasoning was "theologically confused and does not reflect any officially recognized faith group."

In September, the screening board agreed with Odell.

So let me get this straight. If Lance Cpl. Rogowskyj had perhaps said that he was "born again" or had "found Jesus" he would have had a better shot at CO status.

But because his beliefs did not "reflect any officially recognized faith," off he goes to war.

I don't know if this guy is a legitimate objector or not. And frankly, I don't care. If he doesn't want to deploy, throw him in the brig and then discharge him.

But don't send him to war simply because his faith is not of the "approved" sort.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

All Rangled Up


A couple of people have asked what I thought about Charlie Rangel's call to renew the draft.

My personal feelings on the draft are that there's nothing worse for any country to do to it's citizens. I've always felt that if a country can't manage to field an army of volunteers to defend itself, perhaps it doesn't deserve to exist. Or, as we find ourselves in America in 2006: If you can't convince enough young men and women to be the enforcement arm of your imperial ambitions, perhaps you need to scale down your occupations of other nations.

Call me crazy.

At the same time I see Rangel's point about this current situation. Maybe John and Jane Q. Public would find themselves a bit more interested in foreign affairs if there was the chance their offspring might be the canon fodder in the unfocused, criminal, and doomed-to-failure "War on Terror."

Then again, if hell did freeze over and America instituted a draft, you would simply have the same problems that faced young people in Vietnam: The wealthy and influential would move heaven and Earth to keep their kids out of harm's way, while the poor and unknown would have to once again bear the burden.

What it all boils down to is pure politics. Rangel knows this will never fly. This is shadow and fog and I'm not really happy about it.

If you want to end the war and bring the troops home, then for God's sake, say so. Don't waste our time with resolutions and silly spectacles created to simply push buttons.

This is one of the main problems Democrats face: They do not understand the exercise of power. In January they will control both the House and the Senate. If they want to end the war then cut off the money and be done with it. Let the boy-tyrant stew and let the talking heads howl, but show them from the very start just who is in charge and that their business-as-usual warmongering is finished.

This is why the Democrats won. This is the only way they will keep power.

By not being afraid to use it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My little man

By popular demand, it's Marcus.....

Click picture to enlarge.

Sitting in the fridge drinking. Like father, like son.

That's not a Halloween costume.Every night he becomes part frog and roams the neighborhood fighting crime.

There he is in paw paw's garden. Daddy's garden is much smaller and has a lamp. :)

In the last pic, I had just told him the Senate went to the Democrats. "Daddy, what's impeachment?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Turning and returning

Hello friends.

I'm starting the graveyard shift at my job. It offers more money and will allow me to spend more time with Marcus, so I'm happy.

Another good thing is that I've always done my best thinking in the wee small hours of the morning when most everyone is asleep. Once I get myself mentally transitioned to the hours, I hope to be able to bring more quantity and quality to the Tree.

Things are strange. Lots of transitions. I will be glad to drive a stake through the heart of this particular year and I'm ready for a better one.

On the personal level, how is everyone?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day


My favorite quote from CNN this weekend: "As long as there have been wars, there have been veterans."

Thanks CNN.

To celebrate this Veterans Day I would like to post the a link to the famous words of two-time Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley Butler:

War Is A Racket!

Friday, November 10, 2006

I have not forgotten


Well, isn't everything just sunshine and roses these days.

The party of the Ultra Rich has been replaced in power by the party of the Rich.

Speaking for the working poor, I'm not overjoyed.

Hey Dems! Want to help Americans? How about a livable minimum wage and universal healthcare?

I'm not hopeful

And I have not forgotten.

I've not forgotten how most of the Democrats have bent over backwards to give Bush the tools he has needed to lay waste to the country of Iraq.

I haven't forgotten most of the Democrats voted yes on a resolution supporting Israel's illegal bombing and invasion of Lebanon.

I haven't forgotten how most Democrats have remained silent over the past six years as Bush and company passed one barbaric law after another and made torture and kidnapping part of our national legacy.

I'm listening with absolute disbelief as one Democratic activist and blogger after another sings the praises of Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the spineless wonders that didn't even have the decency to speak aloud as the world burned.

I'm disgusted.

I'm also listening in disbelief to the conservatives who blog and call talk radio acting as if Al-Qaeda is about to roll down mainstreet USA in a victory march.

Is this how stupid we sound to them? How alarmist?

No wonder they think we're crazy. Maybe we are.

Bottom line: Bush is hobbled. His power to get things done is reduced to zero and he must realize that Iraq is a lost cause. I don't know if this will translate itself into the real world but it looks like his war-mongering days may be over.

That being said he still has two years left and the Neo-Cons will still be banging the war drums over Iran. One more "terror attack" or "incident" could start that ball rolling again. Don't forget that little US task force with dozens of fighter/bombers and hundreds of cruise missiles that's just sitting in the Persian Gulf.


Israel, the chief beneficiary of the US invasion of Iraq, still wants war with Iran. Bush still wants it as well. The only thing standing between us and that armageddon in the Middle East is the Democratic Congress and Senate.

It's a scary thought but it at least shows the truth of what the Democrats have become: small speedbumps on the way to war.

Update: Go ahead. Sign your own fucking death warrant.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We'll sleep when they're dead


I'm sitting here roaming the web after what appears to be a mass execution of GOP candidates throughout the nation. As I figured the staunch Democratic blogs are trumpeting the glories of Democracy today. In 2000 and 2004 when Democrats lost, our system was hopelessly broken and needed to be fixed.


Yes, I'm very glad the Neo-Cons got a bloody nose. Yes, I'm glad Nancy Pelosi, bless her wonderfully liberal heart, will be the first female Speaker of the House.

But all of this needs to be taken with a large grain of salt. There is still so much work to be done before we have a national group hug.

If two things happen, I may even begin to believe in our republic again.


First: American troops out of Iraq by next Christmas. No permanent garrison. No huge Green Zone/embassy. Out. Out. All the way the fuck out.

Second: An investigation into the various aspects of Republican governance with strong subpoena power to back it up. Cheney's secret energy policy meetings, pre-war intelligence lies and exaggerations, and maybe even a look at the Geneva Conventions and the power of the unitary executive.

Those are large and bold steps and the Democrats have been nothing small and timid these past few years. We shall see.

And the so-called culture war need's to take itself to some sort of nuclear next level. Several states, including here in Tennessee, passed ballot initiatives effectively banning gay marriage. It passed here with something like 85% of voters. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. It time more of these holier-than-thous behind such horrid laws get what I would call the "Haggard Treatment." Out these sad and pathetic fuckers for the hateful and hypocritical wastes of oxygen that they are.

Lots of work to do.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What a Dick


Don't worry, Mr. Vice-President. We're not going to give you much of a choice.

Frankly, I don't think the Dems have the balls to go after him or Bush.

But you can always hope.

From where I'm sitting and from the anger I hear these days, a nice, safe cell might be the best Dick and Dubya could hope for in the coming years......

Pastor Ted

Well, turns out Pastor Ted is indeed a world-class hypocrite.

I was asked yesterday if I felt sorry for poor Pastor Ted. Obviously the questioner didn't know me very well.

My response: In his decades of ministry, how many adults and teens did Pastor Ted make feel ashamed of their own sexuality? Hundreds? Thousands? How many people did he make ashamed of their natural and healthy urges? All the while he was no doubt giving in to the very temptation he was condemning in others. The marriage amendments in various states, including Colorado are fairly recent developments. All the time Pastor Ted was helping to whip up support for these disgusting laws, he was having sex with at least one male prostitute, and according to his accuser, using crystal meth.

And a small aside on that one- In my younger days I used every recreational drug known to man and even created one or two new ones. Luckily meth came along after I was finished experimenting. I've never used it. But I have several friends and a couple of family members whose lives have been ravaged by it. It's not just something you decide to try one day. The usual progression is that once coke no longer does it for you, it's time to try something stronger. It's so frighteningly addictive and hard to quit, a former heroin addict I know said he had turned it down on many occasions. Something tells me Pastor Ted has a looong history of drug abuse.

And why? Because, by his own admission, he has had a "lifelong sexual problem."

Pastor Ted is gay. He was born that way and all of the happy smoke and pills won't change what he is deep down. He's ashamed and has to use drugs to mask his feelings because he has been told all is life, by "good Christians", that his feelings are an abomination.

If Ted Haggard was just some guy struggling with this problem I would feel great sorrow and empathy for him. But he's not.

He is one the leaders of the American Theocracy movement with a direct line to the Bush White House and he has been a vocal opponent, on a national level, of giving gays and lesbians the exact same rights as the rest of us Americans.

This guy is a certifiable nutcase.

And he's tried to turn Colorado Springs into a Christian version of Afghanistan under the Taliban.

But it's OK. Pastor Ted is now undergoing "intensive spiritual counseling" or what you might call "pray the gay away" and he's going to be just fine. He will no doubt turn up in a few years on your TV in a late-night infomercial for miracle healing water or he'll write a book detailing his struggles and blaming it on the media and our sex-saturated society and he'll make a million bucks.

If I have any positive wish for Ted Haggard it would be that he learns from this that he is not evil or a sinner, but a human being who has been lied to his entire life. He could make such a powerful statement if he could simply get past the fear and indoctrination and denounce all the garbage the Christian Right wants people to believe. He could be a beacon of hope to tens of thousands of young people being raised in God-fearing "Christian" households who are afraid to be who they truly are.

If he refuses to admit what he has to know by now is the truth, if he simply continues to talk of the "evil and dark lifestyle" he has been living, my hope for Pastor Ted is that he checks himself into a another cheap motel, smokes a large amount of crystal meth, and decorates the wallpaper with his own brains.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dear Lord I pray.....


That this turns out to be true.......

I've followed this guy's rantings for years. He's lobbied hard(!) against gay marriage and has gone on record against the "evils" of homosexuality dozens, if not hundreds of times. Ted Haggard is probably the most influential evangelical pastor in America after James Dobson. His 14,000 member New Life church is one of the largest in the nation.

And according to this account, he enjoys sex with male prostitutes and though the above story doesn't mention it, the prostitute,who is scheduled to take a polygraph on Friday, says that Haggard also smoked methamphetamine in his presence.

It literally gets no better than this.

Sunday, October 29, 2006



Our world is often lacking in heroes and true courage is sometimes hard to find. Last week, I pointed out the article by Kevin Tillman. It took some serious guts to write those words. To cross through the doubt, deception and often bone-deep brainwashing that our societies are so filled with.

Here are some soldiers that have that measure of courage as well.


Buyer's Remorse


Last week I voted for Harold Ford Jr. for Senate in Tennessee.

Despite my misgivings about the entire Democratic Party in general and Ford's whole " I like to film campaign adds in church" thing.

I voted for him simply because he wasn't a Republican, and because his opponent, Bob Corker, is a corrupt good 'ol boy who reminds me way too much of Deputy Dawg from the old cartoons.

Earlier today I saw a television add for Ford that just made me want to burn my ballot in protest.

Corker's campaign has been running an add against Ford claiming that he "wants to give gays the right to marry" and " he wants to give the abotion pill to high-school kids" among other wonderful things.

Ford was so worried about this add that he did a rebuttal add saying that he didn't want to give teenagers abortion pills and, in large bold letters, VOTED FOR THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT. The rest of the rebuttal was fine with just having Ford narrate in his intense-yet-earnest way that makes him so dangerous to the talking-points crowd and intellectual midgets like Corker. But he wanted to make sure everyone watching knew where he stood on them gays wanting to marry.

Message received Harold.

Then there's this quote from Ford from yesterday's campaign stop in Paris, Tennessee:

HAROLD FORD, JR.: My friend Lincoln Davis who chairs our campaign says there are, there's one big difference between us and misfortunate Republicans when it comes to our faith: he said that Republicans fear the Lord; he said Democrats fear AND love the Lord .

This is now what passes for political debate in our nation. We love our imaginary friend more than they love their imaginary friend.

I knew who this guy was before I voted for him, but the race is a dead heat and we've got to try and do something to derail the Crazy Train that is our current government.....

I swore in 2004 when I voted for John Kerry I would never again vote for the lesser of two evils just to have a chance to win.


Suckered again.

Ruled by Faith


It all makes a bit more sense now......

Sunday, October 22, 2006



I'm going to be doing some major repairs and re-loading of the blog template. There is a glitch somewhere in my template HTML that neither Blogger nor I can locate or repair. This is not my semi-annual tear-it-all-up-and-start-again blog murder. I just want to fix all the problems that are occuring with the graphics and even some comments and posts.

Saturday, October 21, 2006



Kevin Tillman, brother of NFL player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, has written an incredible indictment of the current status of the war in Iraq and the state of our nation.

You can feel the heat coming off of this one.