Monday, December 16, 1996

Week of 12/16/1996

Holiday Shopping Nightmare
- by David Matthews 2

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the land,
There was chaos a-brewing, pandemonium at hand.

The shoppers were strung out, all herded in their cars.
From their own perspective, everyone else was from Mars.

My spouse in the passenger side, and I at the wheel,
were looking for an open parking place that we can steal.

When out from behind us there arose such a clatter,
that we jerked our heads around to see what was the matter.

So sudden the sound did our bodies so dash
that our sodas spilled out with a loud, sticky "splash!"

A Saab and a Beemer came together at a point,
and the situation had just put the drivers out of joint.

They screamed out their lungs to vent their frustration,
At the overall fuss of this tense situation.

"You bastard!" "You idiot!" "You pin-headed dunce!"
"Can’t you think about someone else for just once!"

"I can’t pull my car out if you’re still in the way,
so get your ass out, and do it TODAY!

The morons continued to argue and banter,
what’s worse the kids joined in with their own little canter.

"You hit us! You hit us! Boy we’re gonna sue!
Our daddy’s a lawyer!
" They screamed till turned blue.

Soon others joined in the ongoing fracas
in hopes that they might see a holiday carcass.

We thought about jumping in, to settle the case,
but then a spot opened and we soon took its place.

The cops soon arrived to settle the feud,
because the vehicle jam-up was causing quite a stew.

With the matter settled we went in the store,
but the family in the Saab wanted to argue some more.

It was obvious to us that the source of the noise,
was for a Nintendo 64 to give to the boys.

But they’d learned soon enough that it would be a sad night,
For the object in question was no where in sight.

What’s more, they found out in such a big shame,
that you can’t find a doll with Elmo for a name.

Their faces were red, their eyes had such fire,
that the store didn’t have what was shown in the flier.

But what made it the worst part of this pre-Christmas scorn,
It was the twelfth store they’ve been to since six in the morn.

Then I heard them exclaim as they raced back to the fray-
Merry Christmas to all, and to all just GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR WAY!"

Monday, December 9, 1996

Week of 12/09/1996

Political Virus 96
- by David Matthews 2

Have you ever considered how politics works much like a computer virus?

Think about it - it infests everything it touches, it often uses up valuable resources, and is known for concealing, distorting, and sometimes even destroying vital pieces of information.

In light of the this year’s political season, and all the changes going on in government involving computers, it’s time for a new batch of computer-related viruses to infiltrate out political discord. Forget about the 2000 bug that’s destined to cause cyber-havok on New Years Day 2000! We’re talking about some serious computer-sounding bugs affecting us in the here and now.

Bear in mind that each virus listed, no matter how dangerous in appearance, exists only in jest, and transmitted only through humorous intentions.

Jack Kervorkian Virus - Allows your computer to crash with dignity.

Michigan Virus - At any given time will seize vital program files so that your computer cannot die with dignity through the Kervorkian Virus.

Corporate Virus - Gradually turns all your permanent files into TEMP (or temporary) files that can be easily removed.

Democratic Virus - Creates a new program for each program listed in your directory, and so on and so forth until all your system resources are used up. Then it blames the whole thing on you for wanting it to happen.

Republican Virus - Systematically deletes all programs it considers to be "non-essential," executes all executable files, gives itself all unused space, then blames it all on the Democratic Virus when either the system crashes or when you complain about it.

Reform Virus - We’re not too sure how it’s supposed to work, but we do know it’s supposed to be NOTHING like the Democratic or Republican Virus.

Libertarian Virus - Well it’s a nice virus… if anyone ever decides to use it…

Green Virus - If not handled right will turn your computer monitor into a lovely art-deco planter for a small tree.

U.S. Taxpayer Virus - Well is SAYS it’s not like the Republican Virus, but it sure works like it.

Conservative Virus - Deletes every program that can be seen on the LEFT side of the screen.

Liberal Virus - We wish we knew what it was. We used to know but after the rampage of the Conservative Virus we’re not so sure anymore.

Moderate Virus - Doesn’t exist anymore. It was eaten up by the Liberal and Conservative viruses.

Rush Limbaugh Virus - Eliminates the use of the left mouse button, then tells you that the system has ALWAYS relied on the RIGHT mouse button for EVERYTHING!

Christian Coalition Virus - Slowly turns your computer into an electronic bible and abacus.

Pro-Life Virus - Once started cannot be aborted under ANY circumstance!

Pro-Choice Virus - Chooses to abort itself at any time.

Politically Correct Virus - It doesn’t "harm" a system at all. Instead it "empowers" your computer to operate independently of any commands by "unappreciative" users. It doesn’t "crash" the system either - it simply encourages the computer to "act out" it’s aggressions in a manner that demands attention.

Janet Reno Virus - Storms your system (at times without a warrant) and transfers all your files to the FBI.

Militia Virus - Tells you that your system has been infiltrated by the Janet Reno Virus, and then deletes the information on your hard drive in order to "protect" itself.

Church of Scientology Virus - Well we’d like to tell you what it is, but unfortunately all pertinent information on it has been seized by lawyers pending possible lawsuits.

Senator James Exon Virus - Makes the opening of any program under 18 years of age a felony punishable by 2 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Commission on Presidential Debates Virus - Scans all programs in your system, then determines that the only programs worth remaining in your system are the Democratic and Republican Viruses.

Bill Clinton Virus - Announces it’s here to help you, then after replacing all the files in your system with the Democratic Virus it claims to feel your pain.

Bob Dole Virus - Constantly says it’s not like the Bill Clinton Virus. It talks like the Libertarian Virus, works like the Republican Virus, and often complains that America deserves better. Sometimes prone to crash unexpectedly.

Ross Perot Virus - Well, now, see, it’s kind of like putting two hens in a pot.. only that bird won’t fly. Understand? Now if you can see this chart, you’ll know that the Democratic and Republican Viruses can’t really do the job because that’s like sticking a fox in your wallet and flushing it down the commode. You understand what I’m talking about? It’s a conspiracy. You know it, I know it, and the 65 million graphs I’ll present to you prove it!

Monday, December 2, 1996

Week of 12/02/1996

And now a message from the Borg.
- by David Matthews 2

Hey folks! Don’t you just hate it when people don’t think just like you do?

Don’t you just hate that awkward feeling when you do something and other people don’t exactly do what you do? Or worse yet, they go so far as to ASK you what you did?


So do something about it! Join the collective!

Yes, why bother having to do such mundane things as THINKING when you can have other people do your thinking for you? Why even have rational thoughts? After all, it just gets in the way of more important things that need to get done in your day-to-day existence.

When you’re part of the collective you can rest assured that no matter what happens, other people will be doing just what you’re doing. No more worries about not being in fashion, because when you’re one with the collective you’re ALWAYS in vogue. As a matter of fact, if we get our way... and we always do... WE will soon be setting the trends again, so you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re keeping up with your neighbors.

In the collective your values are OUR values... and OUR values are your values, even if you don’t agree with them. Besides, we KNOW we’re right about OUR values anyways, so what you yourself think is right or wrong is irrelevant.

And in the collective you have FREEDOM. Freedom from crime, freedom from poverty, freedom from isolation. Nothing like those irrelevant freedoms people talk about like freedom of speech or religion or the press. We know that’s all just bull anyways. Besides, you can’t really have those kinds of freedoms in OUR society, so why worry about them?

Now we know what you’re thinking - "Gee, I’d like to join the collective, but what about my neighbors? What if they don’t join the collective? I might appear a bit odd if I’m the only one in the neighborhood who’s part of this collective."

Well you won’t have to think that way.. (As a matter of fact, we’d prefer if you didn’t think at all, but we digress…) because rest assured, your neighbors will soon be joining into the collective, even if they don’t want to. In fact, we’re sweeping the area, neighborhood by neighborhood. Before long EVERYONE will be following OUR dictates.

Plus, as an added bonus, you get peace of mind in the collective. Peace of mind in that with the collective you won’t have to worry about being held RESPONSIBLE for anything. Why would you? After all, when you follow with the collective (and dispose of that nasty habit of thinking), there won’t be anything you have to be held responsible for! Besides, we have a long list of ready-made scapegoats for you to blame everything on from Hollywood to television to magazines to junk food!

Right about now, you may be having second thoughts about joining the collective. We understand, but you have to realize that we’re a force to be reckoned with. You can’t stop us. We’ve been here for generations. We are your past. We are your present. And we ARE your future, whether you like it or not.

And rest assured, the collective ALWAYS gets it’s way. Maybe not immediately, but eventually we do. If a judge gets in our way, we work to replace that judge. If a legislator doesn’t support us, we work to remove him or her from office. If a business is selling something we don’t approve of, we do everything in our power to put the owner out of business. And if the issue is right, we’ll even get the media to do most of our dirty work for us. We do everything in our power to discredit, dishonor, and eventually destroy our opposition.

Resistance is futile. You WILL be assimilated.

Monday, November 25, 1996

Week of 11/25/1996

On … GULP! … Turning 30!
- by David Matthews 2

Remember what I said in my column about EVERYONE getting thoroughly bashed? Well now it’s MY turn…

This past Thursday (11/21) I hit the big 3-0.

Yes, thirty. I’ve left the realm of the twenty-somethings that comprises the bulk of my Generation X brethren into SERIOUS adulthood. Gone are the years where I have to "make a name for myself." Now it’s "produce or DIE!" Gone are the years of "living for the moment." Now I have to "invest for the future."

But let’s look at that for a moment.. I have yet to "make a name for myself." Instead, because of the shifting job market, and the transition from the Industrial Society to the Information Age, I and everyone else my age have jumped straight into the "produce or DIE!" mode. And with the financial problems I and my parents have had, I haven’t been able to "invest for the future." Everything I’ve "produced" has gone into paying the bills "of the moment."

And of course, turning 30 is also supposed to mean I have to think about "settling down" and starting a family. That is part of the "produce or DIE" and "investing for the future" mentality. But given my fiscal instability, an unclear job future, and a social life that would make the monks at Saint Anselm proud, starting a family right now would be as improbable as Bill Clinton not waffling on a controversial issue.

Then again, there are some advantages to turning thirty. It means no longer being referred to as a "boy" or "young pup." It means I am supposed to be taken more seriously than before. It means I’m supposed to be "more responsible." (That helps, especially with car insurance.) And of course it also means I won’t have to be asked for ID as often when I order or purchase alcohol (unless they have a policy that would card even Strom Thurmond).

And perhaps being a thirty-something member of Generation X will also have a positive impact, allowing those my age to be more readily accepted into society as did the Baby Boomers. Perhaps we can even dispose of the "slacker" stigma that has been so wrongly placed on us. (I personally find if hilarious that the same media that wants to recycle the 60’s and the 70’s would dare call other people "slackers.") Perhaps the term "slacker" can be retired like "hippies" were for the Baby Boomers and we can finally be accepted for what we really are - simply the next generation trying to make order out of the mess they were given.

Of course, wait a couple more years and the media will catch on to the transition and make something big out of nothing.. again. "The Slackers turn 30.. what does this mean for you? Next on Dateline NBC!" I shudder at the thought of some future Madison Avenue ad campaign using recycled Nirvana songs and "retro-grunge."

Monday, November 18, 1996

Week of 11/18/1996

Internet .Con-Games
- by David Matthews 2

Psst.. can you keep a secret?

Good, because I’d like to tell you the secret to making MONEY!

Yes, dollars, denier, francs, yen, money, money, money, money! So much money that you’ll slap yourself silly wondering why you’ve been slaving over that job of yours!

How would you like to wake up at your OWN pace, never having to work a real job again? Think of all the things you could do that you couldn’t before! And all you have to do is sit back and let those check roll in. Life should be that easy, and I’ll show you how!

Just call me at 1-900-555-MONEY and I’ll tell you my secrets to making money. Yes, you heard me.. call me at 1-555-GET-RICH!

Oh, so you’ve tried the program already? And you still aren’t rich?

Well maybe you haven’t tried hard enough. Why don’t you take part in my advanced personal seminar on getting rich using the same techniques I used to get rich? I’ll tell you some NEW ways to make money while not doing anything. Yes, in my advanced seminar you’ll be an even BETTER person, and get rich at the same time!

So don’t delay! Reserve your seat and materials now through my secure Internet server! Have your credit card handy and click on over to http:/ww.bigmoney.con NOW!

Better yet, why settle for just GETTING rich when you can teach others to do the same thing and get even RICHER in the meanwhile! Take part in my exclusive "Dynamic Power Pyramid Management System!" In the DPPMS you can set up Power Pyramids of your own. You won’t have to sell anything at all - just teach others people to sell using the secrets I have for successful business.

For a LOW, LOW $150 "Executive Quick Start Program" I’ll train you in starting up your own Power Pyramid. Once you get the hang of it, then you can train others, and they will train even more people, and so on. And the best news is that once you get started, YOU’LL get paid for every new recruit under you, and for every sale made!

I know what you’re thinking: you think this is some sort of "multilevel marketing" scheme, right? WRONG! We’ve already done all the marketing - that’s how we’ve been able to provide you with the successful secrets to easy living and quick cash!

PLUS we’ve got an EXCLUSIVE "get-rich-or-die" money back guarantee! If after paying our fee, taking our seminars, and work your ass off like never before, you don’t have money coming out of your ears after 50 years, you’ll get your money back!

So don’t delay! E-mail me at scammaster@bigmoney.con for all the juicy details on how to make money, money, MONEY!

Any of that sound familiar? These are the compilation of some of the messages and E-mails I’ve got over the Internet. Such messages have sprouted all over the newsgroups, infesting them like viruses. Usually they have subject headers like "It’s no joke! I’ll make you rich!"

Now, we all would like to have more money. Who wouldn’t? But there’s always something wrong about so-called "secrets to success" that people try to peddle to others.

For starters, if these programs are such "secrets" why is it being cross-posted to every newsgroup possible and e-mailed to every Internet user they can get their hands on? If this information is handed out freely, then it’s not really a "secret" is it?

More importantly, if it’s such a secret why tell us? Out of the "goodness of your heart?" R-I-G-H-T!!! Usually there is no "get rich quick" program without you paying money, or making a phone call that costs you money. That’s how these people MAKE their money in the first place - by getting you to give it to them!

And let’s talk about these programs that "aren’t" multilevel marketing programs. Multi-Level Marketing programs, or MLM, used to be called "Pyramid Schemes" because of it’s organization. I’ve seen them work - and the only people who really make any money on them are the folks who START such programs.

Here’s how one such program works: You start off as a salesman, selling widgets or whatever product they have to offer to the people you know. Then you’re supposed to turn around and recruit people to work under you, selling the same stuff you’re selling but you get a portion of their profit as commission, just as the people who recruit YOU get a portion of your profit as commission. Then those people are supposed to recruit other people, and so on and so forth. The more people who get recruited under you supposedly translates into more and more money.

Sounds nice… in theory. But there is an intrinsic problem - there may be an ample market for one salesman, but what happens when you then recruit five other people to work under you? And those people recruit five people under them? Do your math. There’s now thirty-one people, including yourself, selling the same product! That’s fine if those thirty others sell in other towns or cities, but in most cases that cuts into YOUR market. Think about it like fast-food chains. One or two may be great, but stick one on every street corner and you kill whatever market you had.

Then there’s the assurances you make more money in recruiting those five people, who then recruit their five people. If you put all your effort into recruiting more people, who will be selling the product? I mean, that IS what’s supposed to be the purpose of this little enterprise, selling the product or recruiting people?

Once you get into it you begin to realize that this isn’t exactly a prolific business we’re talking about.

So why are the schemes so prolific? Think about the message I was trying to sell you at the top of the article: making money! That’s the message they sell, and there are PLENTY of people who buy into the notion they can make money on it.

Now those messages are being hawked on the Internet. It shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, the Internet is a new medium of communication that’s cheaper than the informercials, and you can view them at ANY time, not just at three in the morning when that cable channel programmer can squeeze you in between the "hair in a can" guy and the "make money selling foreclosures" guy.

And now the US government wants to crack down on this kind of action. No big surprise, after all, since there’s only room for ONE den of thieves, and that’s reserved for the people we keep electing into office. But there are some that want to go a bit further and use these groups as an excuse to regulate the Internet. My warning to them is simple: there’s laws already in effect against pyramid schemes, and there are already agencies designed to warn people about suspected fraud. There is NO NEED to add to those laws and effectively punish every Internet user for the minute faction that abuse it.

For the rest of us, we can dismiss these online schemes even faster than we could change the channel on our TV sets - with just a click of the "delete" button. Maybe once enough people do that many of these "get rich quick" schemes will disappear.

Monday, November 11, 1996

Week of 11/11/1996

The 1996 Election: Of Dullards and Bores
- by David Matthews 2

Well the 1996 Elections are over.

Thank God!

It was, to say the least, an election season that any political cynic would love. The two dominant and domineering parties were championed by candidates that were less than appealing. Democrats encouraged voters to re-elect Bill Clinton to oppose the Republicans. Republicans encouraged voters to elect Bob Dole because he isn’t like Bill Clinton. Two parties pushing career politicians, and trying to push voters AWAY from the other party.

The best that can be said of this election year was that it was a year of dullards and bores. While the Dole campaign was hampered from the start with a clear lack of vision, Clinton’s camp offered little in comparison, save for the promised "bridge to the 21st century." Clinton passed himself off not as a "New Democrat" but rather as "Republican Light," essentially signing on to everything the GOP stood for. Even David Brinkley, a veteran journalist, commended after the election that Clinton lacked any original thoughts and considered him to be a "bore."

And they wondered why this was the lowest voter turnout since 1924!

Worse yet was the result the turnout had on those who, in this writer’s opinion, would have done a better job as President - namely the third party candidates.

Libertarian candidate Harry Browne, who was on the ballot in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, came in fifth nationally, behind Green candidate and famed consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who was only on the ballot in half the states in the country. This small fact was like fresh blood to detractors of libertarianism, who quickly went on the newsgroups to bash the Libertarian Party. Never mind, of course, that Nader is a nationally-known celebrity, while Browne - a relative unknown - had to work HARD for every vote he got, and ended up getting short-changed.

The Reform Party did not fare as well either, though many can attribute it to Ross Perot. People could not trust Perot this time around, and thus support for his party was in the single digits - just enough to be branded the spoilers of a possible Dole victory.

Then there are the pundits, who interpreted this election to whatever suited them. Democrats couldn’t declare they had a mandate (because they didn’t get 50% of the vote) but came close to it by saying the voters wanted politics-as-usual. Republicans who didn’t want Dole as much as they didn’t want four more years of Bill Clinton, practically conceded the election a week before by advertising they wanted to keep their newly-claimed majority in Congress to offset Clinton’s re-election.

Now the politicians say they want to enact "campaign finance reform." This coming from the allegations of foreign contributions in the Democratic Party, and certain inaccuracies in how they reported donations. Yet the Republicans are not saints when it comes to contributions. In fact, early in the Dole campaign, the GOP nominee was under fire for some of his campaign contributions. And the GOP isn’t exactly blameless when it comes to foreign influences, taking in money from special interest groups in Great Britain and elsewhere. Politicians LOVE to enact such reforms, but only as long as it doesn’t affect THEIR pocketbooks.

But the real losers of this election year are the American public - especially the 51% of the populace who stayed home and didn’t vote. They played right into the hands of the two dominant parties, because instead of voting third party, they robbed those third parties any semblance of credibility, and made it appear to the pundits and the politicians that they instead WANT politics-as-usual.

If there is a lesson to be learned in this election, it’s that the best thing you can do to help career politicians, and political parties so inundated with them, is to not vote. Bill Clinton didn’t win because of a majority of voters. Clinton won because a majority of registered voters DIDN’T vote. And if they did there would have been no doubt that neither Clinton nor Dole would’ve been happy with the results. That is something third party candidates need to remember four years from now.

Monday, November 4, 1996

Week of 11/04/1996

Political Trick or… Trick?
For adults, the Halloween season doesn’t end after October 31st.
- by David Matthews 2

Well Halloween may be over, the bags of candy may already be empty, and the costumes may have been put away for another year, but the Halloween season hasn’t ended.. yet…

The bad news for adults is that there are still a bunch of people who want to play Trick or Treat up until November 5th. No, they won’t knock at your door. They don’t have to. They’ll visit you through your TV set, through your radio, from your daily newspaper, and even through your mail. As a matter of fact, they’ve been doing this for a while now…

They’re politicians.

No doubt you’ve heard the tales of ghosts and goblins - like Whitewater, the FBI File-gate, unregulated businesses, unemployment, climbing deficits. And of course the scary stories about how life would be if they don’t get elected. How America’s "morals" will somehow deteriorate if THEY aren’t in charge of things, how the poor and elderly will be hurt, and how crime will rise and the economy will suffer.

And they still wear fancy costumes: Bill Clinton pretending to be a conservative. Bob Dole pretends to be a moderate with a vision. Ross Perot pretends to be a sane and rational alternative. Career politicians pretend to be reformers. Special interest groups pretend to be invisible. And we all know they’re nothing but clever costumes designed to "trick" us.

The "treat" they want is simple - they want your vote. Or barring that they want your non-vote.

Political watchers predict that nation-wide more than half of the registered voters will not vote this Tuesday. Why? Well according to one study it’s because those who don’t vote are disgusted at both Democrats AND Republicans. Incredible, then, to hear both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole talking about reaching out to those people in one hand, and in the other hand tell horror stories about third parties such as reformers or libertarians "stealing" votes from them.

Trick or Treat indeed!

But as an active voter, I still urge those of you who haven’t made up their mind to do so. If you don’t like Bill Clinton or Bob Dole by all means, DON’T STAY HOME! Get your butts out there and VOTE! There ARE other candidates running besides Dole and Clinton!

Don’t listen to the horror stories about "wasting votes," because that’s all they are - stories. And bad stories at that! There is only ONE way to "waste" your vote- and that is NOT voting! Despite the rhetoric of Dole and Clinton, the truth of the matter is both parties DON’T want you to vote if it’s not for them. That’s the reason why they’ve been doing everything in their power to keep third party options in the dark as much as possible. They know it, I know it, and now YOU know it. DON’T prove them right!

Vote for the candidate you feel you would like in office. And be honest with yourself about it. If you would rather see Libertarians in office, vote for them! If you would rather see Reformers or Greens in office, vote for them! If you’re happy with Democrats or Republicans, by all means vote for them! Don’t let the scare tactics of Democrats and Republicans talk you into compromising your principles. Voting is NOT about who wins or choosing between "the lesser of two evils" - if it were we’d still be debating between Federalists and Anti-Federalists like our forefathers did 200 years ago!

Don’t let the political "goblins" scare you away from your one real responsibility as an American. Maybe THEN we could have the Halloween season end after October 31st and not after Election Night.

Monday, October 28, 1996

Week of 10/28/1996

Of Perspectives..
- by David Matthews 2

This week there was some rather significant revelations coming out in the news. One was historic, the other political.

For starters, it was revealed by the leader of the Catholic Church that perhaps the theories of evolution were "more than just hypothesis." It may not seem like much, but in perspective it is significant. In the annals of history, this is akin to the admission that perhaps Copernicus wasn’t wrong about the Earth revolving around the sun.

It has always been said by those who have sought a middle ground between Creationism and Evolution that while Evolution has explained the "how" to Creationism’s "why." But those on the side of Creationism have remained defiant against any deviation to what they believe to be the truth. Perhaps now that the source of that defiance, the Catholic Church, has conceded that evolution is neither against the teachings of the Church nor perhaps a contradiction of Creationism, that middle ground can be established.

The debate about the origins of the universe has always been one that has divided theologians and scientists, preachers and teachers, faith and curiosity. The admission from the Catholic Church that perhaps both could coexist could go a long way in restoring the difference between science and the church.

The second revelation came from presidential wannabe Bob Dole. In the span of a week, the Dole campaign reached out for support to the one party it has repeatedly bashed - the Reform Party. The Dole campaign, saddled with what seems to be an unwinable situation, asked Ross Perot not only to step down from the campaign, but to then ENDORSE him. And when Perot said no, Dole intensified the attacks against a candidate most pundits consider to be inconsequential in this race, saying that "a vote for Perot is a vote for (Bill) Clinton."

This is, in the minds of many third party supporters, what the problem is all about - dirty tricks and self-centered interests by career politicians who will do ANYTHING to get elected or re-elected. We are, in this writer’s opinion, seeing the REAL Bob Dole now- the old man who is desperate to win, who will resort to mud-slinging and half-truths to get what he wants. The "Grumpy Old Man" of Washington DC is back .. with a vengeance!

But more than that, Bob Dole’s reaching out to Ross Perot for support shows just how CLUELESS he and the GOP are about not only Perot but for any and all third parties running in this campaign. Dole supporters have repeatedly bashed third parties such as the reformers and the libertarians all through this campaign by continuing a zero-sum lie that voting for anyone other than Dole is a vote for Clinton. How little they remember history! Four years ago, few people ever said that voting for anyone other than Clinton was a vote for George Bush. And even Abraham Lincoln- to whom Bob Dole says the GOP STILL represents - was the odd man out of a FOUR man race in 1860 between himself, Democratic rival Stephen Douglas, John Breckenridge (who also ran as a Democrat), and John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party (which was a short-lived party for many of the former Whig supporters). Would the rally cry back then have been "voting for anyone but Douglas would be a vote for Breckenridge?" Or "voting for anyone but Bell would be a vote for Douglas?"

The truth of the matter is that whoever you vote for is a vote for that person against ALL others. Period. Voting for one candidate takes votes away from ALL other candidates, not just one rival party. And to continuously perpetrate a LIE based on zero-sum paranoia shows not only how unrealistic that party is, but also how utterly deplorable that candidate is because he or she cannot find a solid, legitimate reason for people to vote FOR them. Is that what the Dole campaign want to show the voters?

Two perspectives. One of enlightenment, the other of ignorance. It is a pity that the former has gained more public attention than the latter.

Monday, October 21, 1996

Week of 10/21/1996

Is A Kiss Just A Kiss Anymore?
- by David Matthews 2

A few weeks ago we all heard about the 6 year old boy and the "infamous kiss." For those who don’t read newspapers or watch the evening news.. or who have been on extended missions orbiting the Earth.. here it is in a nutshell: A six-year old boy was asked by a girl of the same age to kiss her in recess. He did. A teacher caught him kissing her, and "punished him" for his actions. (Which amounted to barring him from a certain ice cream party with everyone else in the class.) The parents of that boy took their case to the media and just about everyone has been passing judgment on it and on what many perceive as sexual harassment gone awry.

There. In a nutshell.

Unfortunately the issue behind it isn’t as clear. Who really is at fault? The boy, who kissed the girl? The girl, who supposedly asked him to do so? (By the way, the parents of that girl have wisely stayed out of the limelight on this issue.) How about the teacher who witnessed it and reacted to what she perceived as "sexual harassment?" Or the principal who set standards with no regard to age?

Or perhaps it is the turn we have made in regards to sexual harassment, and the change many women have made from being victims to persecutors. Society has gone from legitimate cases of gross sexual harassment such as the case with now former Senator Bob Packwood to persecuting six year-old boys for something as simple as a kiss. Where have we gone wrong?

Part of it is that we have lost track of defining WHAT sexual harassment is about. It’s got very little to do with sex, and everything to do with POWER. The boss who coerces his secretary for sex to keep her job, or the legislator who gropes and mauls the people who work for him then threatens to ruin their lives if they ever told anyone about it. If it was left to that standard, we wouldn’t have a problem with it as we do today.

But unfortunately it wasn’t. And it wasn’t long before sexual harassment became a knee-jerk reactionary issue. This came with the legal illusion of "creating or fostering a hostile environment" which soon became the standard for sexual harassment lawsuits. Telling stories about sexual exploits or having certain pictures shown in the workplace, all clearly protected under the First Amendment, suddenly created this "hostile environment." And to ward off sexual harassment lawsuits, corporations bent over backwards to prevent ANYTHING that was the least bit sexual in nature. In fact many companies even barred the fraternization of coworkers outside of their job.

The same soon applied to schools and universities, when it was learned that in some cases kids were in fact sexually harassed. But again, here the knee-jerk reactionaries responded by clamping down on anything considered sexual in nature. And that is how a six-year old boy became a "sexual harasser" for simply giving a girl a kiss when she asked for one.

The key problem with sexual harassment is that all too often it is being defined by extreme activists who define ANY form of perceived interaction between genders as a crime, and knee-jerk reactionaries who are all-too eager to prevent lawsuits no matter how frivolous they are. It has gone so far as to consider what people THINK or simply LOOKING at someone can be considered a form of sexual harassment. You don’t believe me? Ask the some of these activists about "lookism."

I don’t deny that there is sexual harassment going on in America. But when the hunt for it goes so far as to create thought-crimes and places the innocent actions of young children along with the vilest of criminals, one has to ask who is REALLY the harasser and who is the harassed.

We need to remind ourselves of what is and isn’t sexual harassment before we try to impose such standards on others, never mind teaching our children about it. What someone looks at or thinks is NOT sexual harassment. Talking to members of the opposite sex is NOT sexual harassment. Flirting with members of the opposite sex, as long as it’s mutually consentual, is NOT sexual harassment. If it’s not mutually consentual and one side continues to flirt when asked not to, it IS sexual harassment. Groping a member of the opposite sex when it is not wanted IS sexual harassment. Asking a coworker out on a date is NOT sexual harassment. Repeatedly asking a coworker out on a date when he or she says no IS sexual harassment. Talking about sex or sexual situations is NOT sexual harassment. Talking about sex or sexual situations when one in the group has asked not to discuss such things IS sexual harassment. Giving a member of the opposite sex a compliment on their appearance is NOT sexual harassment. Giving lewd comments about their appearance IS sexual harassment. A six year old boy kissing a girl when asked to is NOT sexual harassment. A six year old boy kissing a girl when asked not to IS sexual harassment.

We need to remember that when establishing what is sexual harassment we don’t criminalize normal human interaction or discussion about anything remotely sexual in nature. That interaction is what keeps the genders working together, not apart. Remember- sexual harassment has less to do with SEX, and everything to do with POWER.

Monday, October 14, 1996

Week of 10/14/1996

New and Obsolete…
The speed of upgrades are going faster than consumers can buy them!
- by David Matthews 2

Way back in 1990, my parents decided to buy their first personal computer. This was at the time uncharted waters for all of us. My experience with computers was limited to pre-Windows IBM computers and the very first generation of Macintosh. I knew just enough to know how to turn on and off a computer, and how a mouse works. So we went to Sam’s Warehouse and purchased our first computer.

We had gotten an IBM-compatible KLH tower system, with dual disk drives (one 5-inch and one 3-inch), a mouse, 4MB of RAM, a 16-color VGA monitor, a 386 processor with 10mhz of processor speed that was boosted to 40mhz with a button called "turbo" (which obviously we didn’t turn off), 125MB of hard drive space, and a 2400 baud fax/data modem.

At the time it was considered "state of the art." That distinction lasted only two weeks.

A lot has changed since then. We had upgraded that computer and gave it to my sister and her husband, but not before buying another "state of the art" system with a 100mhz Pentium processor, a floppy drive, a 2X CD-ROM drive, 14,400 baud fax/data modem, 8MB of RAM, a 256-colot Super VGA monitor with stereo speakers, 1MB Video RAM, and 1GB (or 1000MB) of hard drive space. Months later I got my own computer that was almost "state of the art" except that now that meant also having a 4X CD-ROM drive, 1.2GB of hard drive space, 16MB of RAM, a combination 14,400 baud fax/data/voice modem and sound card, and a microphone. The "almost" was because the 14,400 baud modem was no longer "state of the art," and because many multimedia programs now needed even more Video RAM to be seen clearly. It’s now a year later and everything on my system is no longer "state of the art."

Have you noticed that system upgrades are coming out faster than the rate consumers can purchase them? It seems like the minute you purchase a computer component it is already outdated.

Take modems, for instance. My sister’s KLH system still has its old 2400 baud modem in it, which was outdated weeks after we first bought the computer by the 4800 baud modem. The came the 9600 modem, and then the 14,400 baud modem, and then the 28,800 baud modem. 33,600 baud modems didn’t even hit the stores when ISDN and T1 Internet modems were making their debut. And people are now talking about cable-modems and satellite dish modems to provide an even faster transfer of information.

Same with CD-ROM drives. My parents got a 2X (or double speed), which was state of the art for only a few months. Then came 4X, then 6X, then 8X. And now a year after I purchased my 4X CD-ROM drive the 10X drives are available.

A year ago the rage was the Windows 95 operating system. But it was barely even on the shelves when software publications were talking about plans for Windows 96 and Windows 97. Fortunately, Bill Gates hasn’t rushed to make Windows 95 obsolete… yet.

Then there’s the cost of continuously upgrading those systems. I purchased my system with a 1.2GB hard drive thinking it would be THE maximum I would need. I was wrong. I ended up buying an additional 2.1 GB hard drive six months later to help contain all the new programs I wanted to put in there. My computer came equipped with 1MB of Video RAM, but even now that isn’t enough. Certain multimedia programs require even MORE than 1MB of video memory. So now I’m looking at video accelerators, which means spending more money.

The latest "rush to upgrade" has involved Microsoft and Netscape and their respective Internet browsers. For a few years now Netscape was considered the "king" of the browsers. Over three-fourths of all web pages on the Internet were designed for the Netscape browser. And for a year Netscape was conducting "alpha" and "beta" tests of it’s new 2.0 browser. Microsoft, the underdog (imagine that!) in Internet browsers, had released it’s version 2.0 not only as part of it’s new Windows 95 system, but also sold it independently- with lackluster results (obviously, since they were already giving it away with Windows 95). Then suddenly, Microsoft releases it’s 3.0 version on the Internet.. not only that but they released it FREE! Netscape, after having only recently releasing it’s 2.0 version, then released it’s own 3.0 version. Now both companies are fighting over which is the better version, as well as who would come out with their NEXT generation of browsers in the fall, while they have barely begun to sell their respective 2.0 versions.

I have never been the one to complain about the drive for excellence in business. However, this "rush" to upgrade has always been one of the key problems with computers and the software industry, partly because the speed of these upgrades are going at a pace faster than retailers can sell the previous models.

If anything, the Internet has aggravated the rush to upgrade. The battle of the browsers between Netscape and Microsoft is only part of the problem. Many web designers have also been creating complex and elaborate sites on the assumption that EVERYONE would be using the fastest modems available and the most advanced browsers available, even if it’s only in it’s "beta-test" version.

But when you’re using a 14.4 modem it takes a long time to get that single page loaded when it’s cluttered with images and Java and plug-ins and frames. So now I’m also looking at faster modems just so I can access those sites.

With all this rush to make the computer world "state of the art," designers and software companies have forgotten one important element in business- the consumer! After all, these are the people who will be buying their products. And when a product, be it hardware or software, costs more than a couple of dollars, it can turn into a serious investment for them. Unlike big corporations, the average consumer cannot afford to buy "the latest" at the drop of a hat.

There used to be a trend called "keeping up with the Jones’," which referred to keeping up with the latest and most up-to-date products available. This applied to cars, houses, television sets, fashion… but obviously it does not continue into the age of the personal computer. In the end, computer companies need to remember that while it is ideal to always be looking for ways to improve a system, they don’t outpace the speed of their consumers.

Monday, October 7, 1996

Week of 10/07/1996

Failure of the 2-Party System
If Clinton gets re-elected, who’s really to blame?
- by David Matthews 2

If credence can be given to the vast array of political polls available, it looks like Bill Clinton will be re-elected to the office of President of the United States. (Actually I have little credence to polls, but that is another story.) Given the sagging results in those polls, republican supporters and pundits have been crying foul. "What about character?" they scream. "What about ethics?"

But if Bob Dole, the supposed champion of the Republican Party, is unable to win in November, would it really be because the voters don’t care about the character of the candidates?

On the onset, the political platform of the Dole/Kemp campaign seems to reflect what Americans want: less government, more freedom, lower taxes. But what does it mean when Bob Dole talks about "less government" and "more freedom?"

Lurking in the shadows of the first two principles are two words that are in apparent contradiction to less government and more freedom - "family values." Or at least family values as defined by people like those in the Christian Coalition and other religious and social organizations who have run roughshod through the GOP and dominated that party. The same group that has pushed for censorship through the Communications Decency Act. The same group that believes that a piece of cloth (in this case a flag) is more important than the principles it represents. The same group that believes that the principle of "separation of church and state" only means not having an "officially established" national religion. The same group that feels they have the right to tell you how to live your life.

Is that what Bob Dole calls "more freedom?"

Then there’s the charge that Bob Dole is "tough on crime." I myself feel this is nothing more than the political version of "my phallus is bigger than your phallus." One side says they are tougher on crime, the other side says they’re really tougher. One side wants more 100 more cops, the other side says they want 1000 more cops. One side says they want "three strikes and you’re out," while the other side says "That’s weak! I want only one strike and then execute them!" Bob Dole says "I want to use the National Guard to help catch drug lords," while Bill Clinton says "Oh yeah? Well I’m using my authority as president to go so far as to crack down on tobacco. Can you beat that?" Both sides making promises for more and more crackdowns, more cops, more prisons, and more laws to crack down on criminals. That means spending on more government officials and agencies, and if not on the federal level then mandated at the state level.

Is that what Bob Dole calls "less government?"

Clearly when Bob Dole talks about "less government" and "more freedom" he is not telling the truth. So when it comes to "character," Bob Dole isn’t a saint in that regard.

But perhaps the fault in Bob Dole’s campaign lies not entirely with his arguments but rather that he hasn’t provided a strong alternative to Bill Clinton.

Much like Dole, Clinton is a career politician. The only difference between the two is that while Clinton is an overt politician, Dole is a back-room politician. His is the art of negotiation, while Clinton’s skill is in trying to be all things to all people. So there would be little overall difference between a Clinton Administration and a Dole Administration. Either way, the voters would be stuck with a career politician, and the status quo.

So what would be the alternative? The only real alternative lies with third parties, the very group of people the two parties both ridicule and fear. And perhaps that is why both parties work hard to discredit competition, and keep them in the dark as often as possible.

Monday, September 30, 1996

Week of 09/30/1996

Melting Pot? Or Cultural Crucible?
Is conservatism preserving America’s principles? Or perverting them?
- by David Matthews 2

"Give us your poor, your downtrodden, your huddled masses yearning to be free…" Or at least that was the quote imprinted at Ellis Island. And like a siren’s call, people came from all parts of the world. Some came to escape poverty. Others, to escape tyranny. And still others came for opportunity.

America is considered a nation of immigrants. A country populated by all walks of life. And thus was born the concept of a "cultural melting pot;" the belief that all cultures were welcomed into American society and that their addition would further strengthen that society.

But there is a movement within today’s political factions to do away with the concept of a "melting pot." That instead, it was time to bring the country back to it’s "roots."

Their prime target lies in something called "multiculturalism." Conservatives believe that America was always of one culture (which by "coincidence" somehow looks like their culture) and that in the past thirty years that culture has been "perverted" by both the rise in immigrants and the liberal cause. They point to the political turmoil that currently faces Canadians with their French-speaking province of Quebec as examples that having a different culture from the "mainstream" somehow leads to the breakdown of a country. They point to the rise in the number of American citizens who don’t speak English. They point to the rise in "special interest studies courses" in colleges and universities. They point to "revisionists" whom they believe erode American history by pointing out the faults of historical men like Christopher Columbus. And they point to the cost it takes to make government forms in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and whatever other language would be needed to suit the special interests. They point to it all and declare it to be "bad."

To be honest, there are some things the conservatives are right about on this issue. Do we really need a special study group for every diverse minority that attends a college or university? There is already a means of social division out there for academia- it’s called fraternities and sororities.

From a financial point of view, I can understand the frustration of government agencies that have to print everything up in various languages. Some of my ancestors had to learn English in order to live in America. Same with a lot of immigrants who came here from different countries in the early part of this century. If English was declared the official language of this country back then, we wouldn’t have had to worry about having to spend the money printing up the same forms in different languages.

I myself wouldn’t mind having English become the official language of the United States if not for some of the consequences that such a movement brings. One such consequence was evident in Texas not too long ago when a mother lost custody of her child because she spoke to her in Spanish at home. The judge presiding over the case said that as long as the mother was speaking to her daughter in Spanish instead of English she was condemning that child to a live of poverty. Not only was that an insult to all Spanish-speaking people of the world, but also a direct insult to the mother of that child, whose only sin was trying to teach diversity.

Perhaps that argument best describes the fallacy of the conservatives when they preach out against things like "multiculturalism" and "diversity." They somehow seem to forget that they themselves are descendants of immigrants. That we were at one time guests to this land before we kicked out the Indians and forced them to live in reservations.

Conservatives at times don’t want to face facts that sometimes our ancestors were rude and obnoxious assholes.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Christopher Columbus mistreated the natives when he discovered the "new world." Does it subtract from the fact that he made the journey when everyone else said he was foolish to try? Not one bit. Does the fact that some of our founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owned slaves detract from the contributions they provided to this country? Hardly. The truth can at times be painful, but not as painful as concealing the truth.

It seems as though many conservatives don’t see America much as a cultural melting pot as they would a cultural crucible- burning away at everything they consider to be "impure." If this to be the case, it certainly does not reflect the diversity this country was indeed founded upon, but rather the dark past we have tried so desperately to rise above.

Monday, September 23, 1996

Week of 09/23/1996

The BIG LIE in Politics Revisited
Will third party candidates
REALLY have a chance against the 2-party monopoly?
- by David Matthews 2

A few months ago I wrote an article that was published in the Gainesville Times regarding what I call the "big lie" in politics, namely that there are only two choices for President in November. (Gainesville Times, 5/19/96 - You can now read it on my web site as well.) Now it seems that the big lie will be extended to activities that supposedly are designed to provide information about the candidates- namely the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates.

A bipartisan group called the Commission on Presidential Debates has made their decision as to who will be included in the forthcoming debates between the Democratic and Republican nominees. This group, comprising of both republicans and democrats, have already stated that they plan to limit who will be participating in these debates because of "the large number of declared candidates in any given presidential election." This group then proceeded to list a series of criteria that would help determine if a candidate would be worthy of being invited to the debates between the republican and democratic nominees. The operative word, of course, being "help determine."

This past week, that same Commission has decided that no third party is worthy to be included in the Presidential debates. This was indeed a shock to several key parties who rallied heavily to be included, including the Reform Party, the Libertarians, and the Greens.

But upon reading the criteria as given by the Commission I became painfully aware that they had no intention of allowing ANY third party to be included in the debates if either the Clinton/Gore or the Dole/Kemp campaigns did not want them there.

Bear in mind that the Commission on Presidential Debates is a bipartisan organization run by two men who are not only Washington lobbyists but also former chairmen of both the Democratic AND Republican Parties. They have a vested interest as members of that commission to make sure that their respective parties have the best chance of winning in November, which they can’t do if they allow independent parties equal footing in a nationally televised event such as the debates.

Both parties, as they stand today, operate under the common principle that THEY are the antidote to the other party. Democrats need to demonize Republicans so they can be seen as the only rational alternative to them. The same holds true for the Republicans. Both sides sleep well knowing that despite the mutual mud-slinging and vilifying that the voters would be forced to make a choice between the two parties. This political version of "Mutual Assured Destruction," however, only works as long as there are no strong alternatives to steal those dissatisfied votes away.

And that is the real threat here- that any third party, even one currently seen as "insignificant" by the two parties, can take precious votes away from them if their stance can be viewed as a credible one. The libertarians do, which is why pundits, politicians, and members of the media do their damnedest to ensure they are kept in the shadows as often as possible. Libertarians who visit the political newsgroups on the Internet are barraged by insults by both liberals and conservatives as being lunatics and idealistic dreamers simply because believe that things like liberty and freedom should be universal, not handed out in piecemeal like both parties often do. Those same groups then try to pander to the libertarians come election time.

If this so-called "unbiased" Commission actually intended to allow third party candidates a chance to speak at these debates, they would not have used standards they themselves admitted to being vague and non-binding. They would have used credible, concrete, and definitive standards, such as a percentage of seats a party holds in Congress, if a candidate was eligible for matching federal funds, or if their candidate was on the ballot in all 50 states. Measures that would be universally applied to all parties that would serve as a clear determination if a political party was indeed a serious party to contend with or just what they would call a "fringe organization."

Perhaps the most chilling truth both democrats and republicans refuse to accept is that such actions to stifle third party movements only serve to HELP the third parties, not hurt them.

With perhaps a handful of eccentric Texas billionaires, most people do not wake up one morning and say "Gee, I’m bored. How about we create a third political party and see how far we can get with it?" Independent parties are not created out of the ether. They are, instead, created out of a sense of abandonment by the two established parties on issues they feel should be important. In this election, more than ever, that feeling is paramount in the minds of many Americans. And it only aids the cause of those parties if it appears that the "Washington establishment" is so afraid of that movement that they would resort to their bag of political "dirty tricks" to shut them out.

A little over 200 years ago there was a quote uttered by a member of the "establishment" that would forever exemplify pious governing. It was uttered by Marie Antoinette in France - "Let them eat cake." She was beheaded for her troubles. If the political descendants living in Washington today wish to continue to shut out any kind of political opposition they had best pray the electorate has evolved beyond the desire to behead their tyrants.

Monday, September 16, 1996

Week of 09/16/1996

The War on Declaring War
With all these "wars" going on .. who’s really winning?
- by David Matthews 2

Reading the local paper this week, I learned that one of the school boards in the neighboring county has decided it has to be serious on illiteracy… they just declared WAR on teenage illiteracy!

Yes, that’s right WAR! A genuine WAR on illiteracy!

Now.. what’s wrong with this picture?

How about all these "wars" going on in America?

Think about it for a second. How many so-called "wars" are there going on in this country? We have the WAR on poverty, the WAR on crime, the WAR on AIDS, the WAR on drugs, the WAR on terrorism, the WAR on homelessness, the WAR on cholesterol, the WAR on cancer… Conservatives like Pat Buchannan claim we’re in a religious WAR, which was later amended to being a cultural WAR. And just recently the Clinton Administration has started to wage a WAR on tobacco! Even I get caught up in the trend by talking about a WAR on the Constitution. It seems like with every action or perceived crisis there’s someone wanting to wage "war" on it.

Now ask yourself how many of these so-called "wars" have been won? Or even have a chance of being won?

In a purely public relations standpoint, "wars" are a wonderful thing. After all, they conjure up images of armies and battles, soldiers on parade, and flags and patriotic music. Wars polarize society, sometimes making unusual alliances between various groups. And here in America, wars are a big part of our history and our culture. George Carlin once commented that we’re the only country that mentions rockets and bombs in it’s national anthem!

And in political terms, "wars" are also a wonderful thing. After all, it supposedly makes us think we’re going to take an issue more seriously than before. Funds are allocated, special programs get special attention, and it also serves as an excuse to enact certain measures on the public. For instance, part of the Clinton Administration’s WAR on tobacco include new limitations on how tobacco can be advertised. Limitations which, if enacted at any other time or for any other product, would be considered blatant infringements of the First Amendment. Same with the new security measures being enacted in airports to fight the supposed WAR on terrorism. The Clinton Administration has ordered a new security program that requires those passengers who fit a certain "profile" to have themselves and their luggage thoroughly searched. No warrant, no probable cause, just search them and to hell with the Fourth Amendment!

In many ways, our trend of enacting so-called "wars" has it’s origins with another "war"- namely the Cold War. The Cold War was seemingly the "perfect war" for the defense industry. After all we had a ready-to-please enemy in the Soviet Union, the need to build up troops and stockpile weapons, and the reason for us to have our presence in all corners of and above the Earth. It gave us the reason to stick our noses into the affairs of other countries, sometimes creating despots and tyrants and even supporting despots and tyrants as long as they were on OUR side. Countries like the Philippines, Panama, and Iran had at one time tyrants that the United States supported only because they were on OUR side of the Cold War.

Sure, there were some occasional conflicts like Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and Grenada, but aside from the latter we really didn’t "win" anything. And how did the Cold War end? Well it DIDN’T end the way wars normally end, which was when one side surrendered after heavy fighting- it ended when one side couldn’t financially afford to continue to play this little game any more. So who really won? Well the Department of Defense won big time. And so did all the defense contractors. And now that the Cold War is over, those two groups are hurting.

Now consider how close today’s social wars are so much like the Cold War. Essentially, we have "wars" that have no ending to them! And the winners in these conflicts aren’t the American public, but rather the special interests who have something to gain from their pet projects and their social programs that may or may not work.

Think about the WAR on crime and ask yourself what is the purpose of this WAR? It’s to fight crime, right? Well how does that differ from the role of today’s numerous law enforcement agencies? It doesn’t. So why are we "declaring WAR" on crime? It’s because we have a law enforcement system that has been unable to do it’s job.

Same with the local WAR on illiteracy. Why is this WAR being waged? Because supposedly kids aren’t learning the very basics of education. Well that seems to be the role of teachers, isn’t it? To teach kids the basics so they can be prepared for adulthood? So why are we "declaring WAR" on illiteracy? It’s because we have school systems that have been unable to do their jobs.

And how about President Clinton’s WAR on tobacco? Why is this WAR being waged? Because supposedly kids are getting hooked on smoking. Well aren’t there LAWS on the books against selling cigarettes to underage children? So why is the Clinton Administration "declaring WAR" on tobacco? Because the laws aren’t being enforced.

There is a word for this kind of activity, and it’s not called "war"… it’s called INCOMPETENCE! Perhaps it’s something we need to think about before we start declaring so-called "wars" that we can never win. Let’s leave the talk of war to when we REALLY need it, like when we need to defend ourselves against a REAL danger.