Friday, March 31, 2006

April Fools

Listen carefully – hear anything? Neither do I, but you’d think by now, after all those tax cuts and corporate handouts, the giant trickling sound would be louder than the giant sucking sound Ross Perot predicted. I don’t hear a thing.

I read in that Corporate profits are up 21.3% for the last year and before-tax profits rose to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, which is the biggest share since the summer of 1966 and you’re probably seeing these figures all over the place as a justification of the Bush administration’s gang rape of the economy, but unless your last name is Inc. you’re probably not going to feel the moisture. This rising tide has left most boats high and dry. The share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.

Comparatively little of this gain is being pumped back into capital spending despite the special tax breaks that the Republican lie machine said were supposed to boost investment. Fixed business investment has been falling steadily.

Less than honest apologists for the looters in Washington will tell you that wages are up and that the tax cuts have paid for themselves but after you adjust for inflation the gain almost disappears. They’ll tell you that debt doesn’t matter and they’re right – your debt doesn’t matter to them at all.

Still we get daily headlines like: S&P posts biggest first quarter gain since '99 and Markets close the best first quarter in years but is this really a sad story dressed up like a jeweled elephant? Corporations are making more money but those Americans who still work for those corporations aren’t. In 1999 we had a large budget surplus, today we have an incomprehensibly huge debt and the bubble of leveraged consumer spending may be about to burst as interest rates rise and real estate prices stagnate or fall.

The next time you watch Judge Judy or Jerry Springer and laugh at the poor fools who just can’t stop making excuses for lying, cheating and abusive spouses; think twice. If you support Ali Baba Bush and his gang of thieves, the joke’s on you.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Silver Bullet

You can kill a vampire by driving a stake through its heart, you can kill a witch by burning and you can destroy a werewolf with a silver bullet but you can’t kill stupid.

We learned a long time ago that Bush was planning to cook up a reason to attack Iraq long before he paid any attention to al Qaeda.  We’ve learned more recently that he told Tony Blair that he was going to attack even if he had to do something to make Saddam attack a US plane painted up to look like a UN plane.  At this point only a complete idiot or a complete Republican could support the Bush lie that Iraq needed to be invaded for reasons other than the President’s ambition.

But proof is not enough, proof is not even relevant. What you believe has everything to do and only to do with what side of the cultural divide you’re on.  The same people who were quick and enthusiastic about calling Al Gore a liar when he misstated the cost of dog food by a few tenths of a percent won’t consider the Downing Street Memo or the recent White House memo to be proof of mendacity.  Facts don’t count. Where there’s a smoking gun, believers see only smoke.

Maybe the only hope is that stupid will kill itself and there will be enough left to be able to rebuild our nation with. Maybe we all have stupid hopes. The stupid hope I cling to despite the evidence is that somehow, democracy can work.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

When the whistle blows

As a tool for predicting the future, I rate the Bible along with tea leaves and sheep entrails and most particularly that book which found its way into the canon over the protests of the saner Church Fathers: Revelation. Even so, all predictions are potentially self-fulfilling if enough people believe, and George W. Bush believes. When he sidestepped the question of his belief that these are the end times following his speech on the War on Terror at the City Club of Cleveland, you could tell he was lying. He “hadn’t really thought of it that way?” Of course he has.

George chose a time of apparently uncontrollable nuclear proliferation to make us the most hated nation on Earth. Even those who cooperate with us hate us and consider us rapacious industrial, religious and cultural imperialists .

The same crapulous crusaders who tried to sell us the “war on Christmas” story last year have escalated the fraud to a “War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006” which of course is a cover-up for their war on everyone else. All their hopes and dreams are for the end of the world so that the universe can be turned over to ignorant Bible Believing bubbas while God stomps the unbelievers like a cheap 1950’s Godzilla movie.

Sure it reminds us of the situation in Europe in the 1090’s save for the fact that the bows and arrows of the Saracens are now being replaced with nuclear weapons and the fact that the US is far less capable of defending itself after 6 years of incompetent management, outsourcing and involvement in the quagmire of Iraq. Apparently one can smuggle in nuclear materials past airport security and port security is even more lax. Can we still pretend that the administration isn’t inviting disaster because they see it as a divine plan?

Iran is building nukes, Pakistan has nukes, North Korea has nukes, India has nukes, Israel has nukes and now it seems Saudi Arabia may be close as well. According to an article in the April edition of German political monthly Cicero, The Saudi rulers were the financiers of the Pakistani nuclear program and the technology is being imported with the help of Pakistani experts.

According to Express India, the Saudis have built secret underground facilities complete with missile silos in al-Sulaiyil, South of Riyadh. So much for the rapturous idiots who think George has made the world a safer place. The end times are coming and believe what you want, when the whistle blows, everybody goes.

Scalius Caesar

The religious right is fond of telling us that our constitution is based on something called “Judeo-Christian” principles, although they usually leave us guessing as to what those might be. None the less, our country is obviously steeped in the Enlightenment idea of the basic rights of man. Whether endowed by Nature, an unnamed creator or Nature’s God, we as human beings were thought to be so endowed. One would think that this was a kind of bedrock principle for the conservatives. One would think wrong.

Anton Scalia, that scaly, fat-faced, duck quacking, finger giving, sociopathic thug tells us otherwise. Anyone, he believes, can be deprived of the rights my state gives a pregnant sow and without any trace of process, due or otherwise. An accusation by parties not to be revealed is enough to confine one to a cage indefinitely and apparently, to subject one to beatings, torture and misery without end.

In a speech to Swiss law students at the University of Freiburg earlier this month, he said "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts." The question here begged is “what is a combatant?” Is Saddam’s driver a combatant? What about his dentist? What about internationally agreed upon rights?

"If he was captured by my army [italics mine] on a battlefield, that [Guantanamo] is where he belongs” said Scalia, coyly avoiding any discussion of what constitutes a “battlefield” in a “war” where the world is a battlefield. Geneva conventions be damned, to hell with Judeo-Christian ethics, lex talonis rules and we do what we want to do. Damn decency, damn God and damn any silly “inalienable rights;” if we can do it, we will. Sieg Heil!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Knee deep

It’s a small thing, but it holds an important lesson. If you’re part of the Bush administration, you can use obscene language and obscene gestures on worldwide television and in front of Congress; you can do obscene things to people but you can’t say shit if it’s for the purpose of criticizing a Republican President.

Ask Denise Grier, an Athens, Georgia oncology nurse who was ticketed for having a bumper sticker that says “I’m Tired of all the Bushit.” Perhaps you’ve seen one like it. I’ve seen far more vulgar bumper stickers than that one, but this one is different because it criticizes a Republican President. She was pulled over and given a ticket that carries a $100 fine; a fine for “lewdness.”

Now you can turn the country inside out, charge the taxpayers tens of millions and cripple a government if a Democrat president fires his travel agent or says something rude or hooks up with a woman, not his wife and the folks of Georgia will run wild in the streets with glee, but George Bush is God’s president and you don’t criticize God in Georgia.

Now if it were me, I would have given the officer Cheney’s advice or perhaps Scalia’s “Sicilian” gesture, but Denise has more class than I do and will take it to court.

"This is all about free speech," said she to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The officer pulled me over because he didn't agree with my politics. That's what this is about, not whether I support Bush, not because of the war in Iraq, but about my right to free speech."

What about giving Denise the same rights that the wise-guys in power have? What about an end to the duplicity, hypocrisy, secrecy, mendacity and censorship? Isn’t it time to put an end to being so polite to the religious hypocrites and Republican opinion shouters that we let them turn this into the kind of country we pretend we’re saving the world from? You’re damn right, and I’m damned tired of all the Bushit too.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Gimme that FU religion.

In many ways Dick “Shotgun” Cheney and Anton “Quack Quack” Scalia are as alike as two turds in a toilet. They enjoy killing animals together and they both have as much concern for decency, honesty, justice, law and “family values” as any other criminal associated with the Republican conspiracy to bleed our country dry before it becomes uninhabitable.

Supreme Court Justices once had the image of sober, serious, and restrained people. Whether or not that stereotype ever applied to all those who wore the robes, one would still not expect to be given the finger by Blackmun, Brandeis or even Rehnquist for that matter, but Scalia, as reported this morning by UPI, conjured up images of Mafioso Tony Soprano by making the traditional one finger obscene gesture to a Boston Herald reporter who asked him if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

Scalia had just attended a special Sunday Mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, and had been the keynote speaker at the Catholic Lawyers' Guild luncheon.

"That's Sicilian." Said the Judge, flipping the bird in full view of a photographer from the Boston Archdiocese publication. Perhaps it is, but it’s also disgusting, unpatriotic, undignified and typical of the thugs, bullies, thieves, contract killers and all the other made men of the Republican Mafia who have pushed their way into power in America.

We deserve him, we deserve Cheney and the legion of dishonest, malignant creeps who run America. We deserve them because either we voted for them, with our private, stupid and ignorant little ideas, or we allowed other people to do it for us because we didn’t vote, didn’t follow the news or didn’t care.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hyperbolic or hypergolic?

I’m starting to think that the best way to treat the Republican motor mouths is to give them a platform and enough rope to hang themselves with.  I was disgusted when the Washington Post hired Ben Domenech the perpetrator of the new Washington Post conservative blog, Red America, but perhaps the attention now being focused on the man’s apparent plagiarism and massive lack of basic decency will have the cleansing effect of sunlight on a vampire.

Among the allegations of iniquity published in Editor and Publisher yesterday, was his calling Coretta Scott King a Communist the day after her funeral.  Being a communist by the lights of the New Right simply means that you give a damn about people outside your immediate circle of friends (or coven if you prefer) and thus the McCarthy gambit is the kind of accusation they use as a default.

In an attempt to grovel just enough to save a bit of face and perhaps to distract us from the vague sulfurous smell his writing exudes, Domenech issued a coy mea culpa in his nasty little blog that is so encrusted with qualifications as to continue to damn her with faint praise while pretending to have had some other message than plain, ordinary Republican nastiness.

It was only “hyperbole in the context of a larger debate about President Bush's political priorities” Quoth the lizard, following that with his thanks to “the Liberal side”  saying “ I'm happy that no one's engaged in any ridiculous hyperbole, unfounded accusations or unintentionally hilarious name-calling. We can all agree that such things lower the quality of debate on the Internet, play to the worst side of our knee-jerk partisan nature and have no place in the modern public square.”  Sadly there is no way to observe the straightness of his face when he writes, or perhaps I should better say excretes such things – which is only a bit of hyperbole in the larger context of calling him a dirtbag.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Out of focus

Bush is troubled – troubled he says, about the dire fate of an Afghan convert to Christianity.  Now Bush is rarely troubled and isn’t known to be aware that the rosy picture he paints of the new Afghanistan isn’t exactly the hard edge realism one gets from a photograph.  He tells us that women are liberated, girls are going to school, the Taliban is gone and it’s all about Democracy in action.  That, as well as most of what issues from God’s Own Party, should long since have made us aware that a partial picture is a kind of lie.

Afghanis voted, according to the propaganda we receive, for a constitution that guarantees religious freedom.  The Afghan constitution provides death for those who exercise freedom of belief.  

"I look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship" says George.  I believe him, but I don’t believe he’ll be playing up the point that if Afghanistan is to be restrained from hacking off the heads of infidels,  change will not result from an internal Democratic process, but from the military might of an occupying power with a secular constitution.  Afghanistan has no separation of religious power from Governmental power and that is something George has to render blurry and out of focus.

Abdul Rahman has been a practicing Christian for 16 years and the new US backed government, basking in the democratic light of freedom wants to kill him for it.  Their government, it seems, takes the same position as the religious right in the US: that law is based on received scripture and so should have the same power.  It’s a prescription for the same old horror the West once had and the East has yet to get rid of.

So when they tell you the Taliban is gone, it’s not the story.  They are still there, just over the border, like part of a cancer that the surgeon didn’t get all of.  Their program was only a bit more tyrannical and draconian than what obtains in “free” Afghanistan. The country is under the heel of malicious mullahs and drug lords and the government is held together by the military power of infidels. The story, just outside the edges of the photograph is very different from what the photographer wants you to see.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The insanity of Hannity

in his own words:

3/24/99: "My question to you is from all reports that I have been able to dig up, 2,000 killed in Kosovo in the last year. We keep hearing the president refer genocide, ethnic cleansing, comparisons to Adolf Hitler. Is the president purposefully using propaganda and hyperbole to garner the American public for support?"

3/20/06: ““At what point do we say you are undermining the troops, you are hurting their leader, that this is beyond political discourse, this is hurtful to what they’re doing, their effort?”

“There used to be a time where the left cared about humanity, about security, about liberty. But obviously that's not the case anymore because if they had had their way, and now we're talking about the appeasement-minded, surrender-minded Democrats of today.”

You say you want more of this? You say you want more for your money? Well go check out News Hounds – if you can handle the truth.

Sean Hannity is close enough to being the Devil that the man in red is really irrelevant these days. Hannity lies, but Hannity is a bad liar, a cheap liar without enough memory to be consistent in his lies and so he depends on the bad memory and the insanity of his audience. Unfortunately, those who oppose him aren’t as likely as their counterparts on the Right to call for his assassination by poisoning and even if they were, they’d be less likely to get away with such things than Satan’s other spawn: Ann Coulter.

Of course, you can talk back and of course it’s immoral not to follow in the steps of Dr. Ben Marble and tell Sean Hannity to F*** himself. Do it. It’s not just fun, it’s your patriotic duty. Do it!

Bonus post

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is one of the popular and feeble fallacies of rabble rousers like Hannity and Hitler. If it happened afterward, therefore it happened because of. Stupid, but enormously popular with those who thrive on the stupidity of the public because it’s emotionally satisfying – and less filling too.

So when Charles Martin called 911 in Batavia Ohio on Sunday afternoon to report that he had “just killed a kid” I can assert that it’s not because he’s nuts, but it’s because he is a political conservative with an American Flag and a US Navy flag on his well trimmed lawn. Patriotism caused a senseless murder. You and I know he’s just the sort of flipped out sociopath who listens to Hannity and gets angrier and angrier until the sight of a kid walking across his lawn prompts him to load up his constitutionally guaranteed shotgun and assert the Judeo-Christian precepts upon which our country was founded by cutting a 15 year old in half.

You can’t argue with logic.

Semper eadem

Always the same.

We all know at least one person who forwards every hoary e-mail hoax they come across without taking the trouble to verify that the sick child who would like a post card has been dead for 15 years or find out whether the words “so help me God” actually were removed from the Veteran’s monument, but the impassioned albeit incoherent
speech of Darryl Scott before the subcommittee on crime of the House Judiciary Committee on May 27 that I received yesterday really are the words the father of a Columbine High School shooting victim gave to congress – 7 years ago. The text in which the quote is imbedded, like a rabbit turd in a Tiffany setting is as deceitful a piece of propaganda as the Republican Right can produce.

Of course the e-mail I received tells you it never got any press coverage, which isn’t true, it’s just another gratuitous attempt to paint a false picture of the fake war on religion, but the gist of the message was that the reason for the tragedy was that God (his God of course) isn’t honored enough in this country. We are a nation founded on God, lies the anonymous writer who includes Scott’s rant in his e-mail.

Never mind that the USA is the most church-going of all the industrialized nations, never mind that we have God on our money and on billboards and courthouse walls and on the windows of pick-up trucks and porta-potties; never mind that religious organizations have more political power here than almost any modern nation save the Vatican. Never mind that your child is more likely to be killed in a sports accident, vastly more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a demented fellow student. Never mind that violent crime has been declining for two decades and never mind that highly secular nations like Holland and much of Europe have a vastly lower crime rate than one finds in the American Bible Belt, never mind that pagan nations like Japan and Singapore have practically no shootings, never mind that despite Darryl’s impassioned but tendentiously distorted assertions, our government has never told anyone they couldn’t pray – Darryl thinks honoring God by holding public prayer in school will make it stop. The problem as I see it is that we honor religious nuts and their lies far too much. We’re afraid to call a turd a turd. We’re so afraid we’d rather eat it than identify it.

I can forgive almost anything of someone who has lost a child like that, but I cannot forgive the sick bastards who use such things to sell religious extremism, denounce the very concept of a constitutional republic and to portray the NRA as a victim. Mohammed Atta died with a prayer on his lips.

Monday, March 20, 2006

False witness

It’s not that I’m obsessed with Katherine Harris, it’s just that she’s such a perfect example of the New Republican; a mouth full of “Christian values,” face painted like a cheap whore and a moral certainty that God’s will justifies whatever immoral means are used to implement it.

Harris claims that God wants her to win and apparently he has authorized her to lie, cheat, steal, take illegal campaign contributions and undermine the foundations of representative government toward achieving that divine goal. During a recent appearance on Fox News Channel's seminar for scoundrels: Hannity and Colmes, Harris said she will not end her campaign and will instead spend "my legacy from my father" and "everything I have." I certainly hope that she does; at least to the extent that she spends the rest of her days on public assistance and eating cat food in a dilapidated mobile home in Ft Pierce. It’s God’s will.

The party doesn't worry about criminal behavior though.
Ed Kennedy, Broward County's Republican state committeeman, said the party needs to quit worrying about political liabilities, like her role in the 2000 presidential recount.

''It's too late to have doubts. She's in,'' he said. "Republicans are going to rally around her because we want that Senate seat.'' Apparently greed and lust for power are holy motivations and of course doubt is sin.

Harris’s campaign staff however has largely abandoned her and few think she has a chance to become Florida’s second Republican Senator by beating incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson this November, but there is always an audience that doesn’t care about morality, doesn’t recognize reality and whose fanatical and irrational allegiance can always be bought with a little glossolalia and a few thumps on a Bible: the Christian Right. This weekend, Harris took the pulpit at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale as part of the Reclaiming America For Christ conference and received a standing ovation. According to the account in the Palm Beach Post, Harris said she "redirected my life to the Lord when I was only in the third grade" and was "blessed to be raised in a godly family." She claims to have studied under Frances Schaeffer, who in his book A Christian Manifesto, called for Christian activists to demand "biblical morality" in government affairs.

I have not read Schaeffer and cannot confirm that disenfranchising minority voters and interfering with the ballot count is included in his concept of biblical morality. She also draws inspiration from Bill Bright's book, The Joy of Supernatural Thinking — Believing in God for the Impossible. One can see why.

Further illuminating the depth of her intellect, she cited the movies (not the books) The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of the Rings because according to her lights it was about people willing to die for something bigger than themselves. If she made any references to sending people to die for lies and for the aggrandizement of the man her misdeeds helped to install as President, it was not recorded. “Everything is possible with God” parroted the parrot faced Harris as though everything would be possible with sufficient biblical bloviation.

Katherine has of yet not volunteered to die for any reason great or small - more’s the pity - and chose instead to avoid reporters after the meeting and disappear into the crowd at the Palm Beach Seafood Festival, where the smell of fish no doubt made her trail harder to follow.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Swan song

"And after many a summer dies the swan."


Is the Bird Flue scare as idiotic as the Y2K bug? Will it become as much of a non-issue as SARS or the West Nile Virus or Africanized bees? It remains to be seen, but the premise behind it is that a virus will predictably mutate into a specific form with specific characteristics while retaining specific other characteristics and that’s about as likely as that your sore throat will mutate into a deadly form that your dog will catch. It’s equally as likely that the virus will mutate into something less deadly or not mutate at all and the possibility exists that the
Dutch Elm disease could evolve into a form that might make your feet itch, but don’t lose sleep over it. Mutations are random and accidental and most often fatal to the resultant life form. The only thing that’s not based on speculation is the fact that hundreds of millions of doses of Tamiflu will be sold and that Don Rumsfeld will personally profit from it even though there’s no hard evidence that the stuff works on H5N1. Indeed, although U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt says that despite the $3 billion that’s been allocated and the $2.5 billion requested in addition – we’re all on our own, just as we have been during the last few natural disasters.

It’s probably inevitable that birds around the world will be decimated and I’m sure that people who sleep with birds and spend their days with birds will have a higher likelihood of contracting this new strain than you or I would. Anything else is less than inevitable.

From the perspective of a disease organism itself, the most viable is a form that sickens but does not kill. Diseases that always kill usually die out for obvious reasons. If this were not true, we would not be here.

As I wrote yesterday, we do not know how many people have been infected with the viral strain called H5N1. We have no clue about how many cases are mild enough to be unreported. The cases that have come to light are the ones who were very ill and at the moment that consists of less than 100 people in a world with over 6 billion. Ordinary flu infects and kills vastly more people – I’ve never had it in my 61 years.

So when Chicken Little Leavitt tells you to dig a hole and climb in it until after it’s all over, swallow it cum grano salis. Wear gloves and a mask if you have to clean the chicken coop, otherwise remember we’re in more danger from the Pirates in Washington than from the pigeons in the park.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The money machine

When you want to find out who’s behind something, follow the money – all the way to Washington. Last September I wrote about Don Rumsfeld and the money he’s made from the pharmaceutical industry. You didn’t think that was all in the past, did you?

Some of the huge portfolio that Rummy owns consists of shares in Gilead and he’s already made at least $5 million from selling shares of the company on whose board he sat for years. Back in 2004, he owned another $25 millions worth and that share has probably grown enormously, even though it’s a drop in the Rumsfeld bucket. His net worth is probably in the hundreds of millions.

Further details are not likely to become known until Daddy Warbucks Rumsfeld makes his next disclosure in May - and that we will ever know the truth, is an assumption based on the hope that the report is a bit more honest than most of what issues from this war monger and fear profiteer.

Is the H5N1 strain of flu really that dangerous? It’s possible that many have had it and survived without incident and the mortality figures are wildly skewed. Will it really mutate? Maybe, maybe not. Does Tamiflu effectively treat it? There is doubt in some circles and the record is not encouraging. Can we really trust any of the crusades promoted by that vast bastion of greed in Washington? Of course not. Does Rumsfeld’s promise not to be involved in any particular matter when the matter would directly and predictably affect his financial interest mean anything? Don’t make me laugh.

One thing we can depend on is that the Bush mafia and their capos in the drug, insurance, oil and munitions businesses will get even richer from promoting fear, war and rumors of war.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

When God is a monster

He passes by me and I see him not; he moves on but I do not perceive him

-Job 9:11-

Dr. Wafa Sultan is working on a book. The working title is, "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster." In 1979 when she was a medical student at the University of Aleppo in northern Syria, gunmen of the Muslim Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university and killed her professor as she watched. "They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!' "

"At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god." Dr. Sultan no longer practices Islam.

Last week, from a link on in the Intellectual Insurgent, I listened to Dr. Sultan’s debate with an Algerian cleric hosted by Al Jazeera and I was stirred by her passionate denunciation of Islamic self-pity, violence and hypocrisy.

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations," Dr. Sultan said. "It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality."

This is progress, I thought, this is the kind of thing that will reform the Muslim world from within and restore some measure of dignity to their religion.

Maybe not. Dr. Ibrahim al-Khouli, another participant in the discussion asked, "Are you a heretic?" He then said there was no point in rebuking or debating her, because she had blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran. Dr. Sultan takes this as a formal Fatwa and she has begun to receive death threats in e-mail and on her answering machine.

The God or gods of a culture reflect the nature of the people who set themselves up as an interface between us and the divine. Through them, we learn what God likes and what God hates and what God would have us do as his agents. Whenever we wish to commune with the divine, we find a human standing in the hallway, blocking our passage, whether with his physical presence or by the stumbling blocks he and his culture have put in our minds since childhood. The God of monsters is always depicted as a monster. The Men of God are always less than God and sometimes less than human, yet these are all we ever see and ever will see. If there is a God he walks past us unnoticed.

Friday, March 10, 2006

You can’t say that in San Diego

Not if you want to have a job. Just ask Linda Lorca. The California labor code prohibits employers from controlling or directing the political activities of employees, so when her boss fired her on the spot and called her an Al Qaeda operative for having an Air America bumper sticker on her car, Beverly Fath, manager at Advantage Sales and Marketing, Inc. broke the law. Somewhere, tailgunner Joe is smiling. Somewhere underground, the tyrants we’ve been telling everyone our government was superior to are smiling.

But of course 9/11 changed everything. It changed us from a government of laws to a government of men; angry, stupid, fearful and unprincipled men – and women. So when the ape in the White house or one of his no-neck thugs tells us about our “wonderful freedoms” give him Dick Cheney’s advice.

You bet I’m angry. I’m fully aware that we have had two centuries of this kind of thing in war and peace. We’ve had a nation of passionate savages barely restrained by law, but somehow we’ve maintained, on the average, some level of reason and principle and justice. That doesn’t mean we need to stand for this kind of bullying, spying popular fascism. I know I won’t. Bogus war or no war, they’ll take my freedom when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

El Diablo Diebold

The American Faschisti, like their forbears, medieval and modern, do not advance by proving the truth of their doctrines or the righteousness of their actions, they thrive by punishing the non-compliant. We have countless examples of which the Florida voting machine debacle is one.

There is no longer any doubt that Diebold voting machines can be hacked to alter the tabulation and leave no trace of manipulation – quod erat demonstrandum – it’s been done. Computer expert Harri Hursti of Finland hacked Leon County's Diebold voting system. Hursti demonstrated that someone inside the supervisor's office could both alter the outcome of an election and erase any trace of his meddling. Some of the machines have undocumented infrared ports, the purpose of which is not explained. The fact that nobody seems to care is frightening enough, but guess what happens when an honest elections commissioner attempts to make sure that the upcoming elections will be free of criminal manipulation?

That’s right - Ion Sancho, election supervisor of Leon County (which includes the capitol in Tallahassee) is facing a lawsuit by the state of Florida for refusing to use Diebold machines until the secret back door has been closed. Other vendors of voting machines are refusing to talk to him and according to the Miami Herald, “the state snatched $564,421 in grant money away from Leon County for failing to meet a deadline for -- you guessed it -- obtaining new machines.”

No matter that the State of California, alarmed by this, conducted its own investigation which confirmed the situation; amply suited to be a plot in the next James Bond movie. The State of Florida needs bogus election results to keep the fascists in power and to keep those Republican campaign contributions from Diebold coming.

I don’t swallow the Bushist argument that a pro-forma election is evidence of a free society, but the converse is quite true. Fake elections are evidence of a society which is not free.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hey stupid!

It’s one thing to be born stupid and another thing to achieve stupidity through an effort of will. It’s no secret that the Bible Belt and the ignorance belt are congruent. It’s no secret that Belief in mythology over confidence in evidence corresponds to low educational levels and standards, yet America’s ability to draw conclusions from this can only be described as willful stupidity.

I read in Editor and Publisher that a Gallup poll released today shows that more than half of all Americans; some 53% of us, agree with the statement, "God created man exactly how Bible describes it."

Frank Newport who directed the poll for Gallup wrote “Those with lower levels of education, those who attend church regularly, those who are 65 and older, and those who identify with the Republican Party are more likely to believe that God created humans 'as is,' than are those who do not share these characteristics."

I draw the conclusion that these people are willfully stupid. These people draw the conclusion that being educated and intellectually honest makes one’s opinions suspect. They have the majority.

Belief in something for which there is a total lack of evidence requires a disbelief in evidence itself regardless of the extent or peremptory nature of it. There is no intelligent argument for Intelligent Design whether that design was completed in a week or in 5 billion years. The opinions of 53% of Americans depend upon denial, ignorance and stupidity.

Perhaps the ascent of Man is subject to the Peter Principle and perhaps the achievements of the best of us are limited by the arrogant stupidity of the rest of us or perhaps it’s the accelerating speed at which new knowledge is being uncovered, that leaves so many behind. Simply put: there is no evidence for the account in Bereshit or Genesis as the gentiles prefer. None, zip, nada. There is a vast and growing body of contradictory evidence none of which requires a belief in magic or invisible beings or miracles or mysterious paradoxes.

But more importantly, all conjectures which require no factual basis are equal; zero always equals zero and therefore any mythology has precisely the same value as any other mythology that relies only on credulity and custom. If the Elohim created us all, then so did Vishnu and a host of others. If things are true because we want them to be, then everything is true and nothing is true and reason is meaningless. If half of us can’t see that or won’t see that or are afraid to see that because they live in the Bible Belt, then a majority of us are simply not rational beings or even honest beings.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Money talks

George Bush is a genius and his entire staff are heroes. Pat Robertson is a man of God. Fox News is the voice of truth. We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. Working at Wal-Mart is like a vacation in paradise.

Has Fogg gone nuts at last? Well no, I just want to get on the gravy train like those bloggers who are being invited to seminars by Wal-mart and reporters who get special favors from the White House for spreading their stories. I’m on the take.

So listen up guys – all it takes is cash, or maybe some little junket to Aruba and I’ll play your game. You write it, I’ll print it.

Just make sure it’s in small, unmarked bills and the room has an ocean view.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!

The poor will always be with us, said Jesus.  “Screw them” reply the Republican Kleptochristians.

You do hear people talking out loud about how you don’t hear Muslims protesting against the extremists who twist their religion into a weapon.  It’s not entirely true, of course and you don’t hear many Christians protesting the greed, graft and general inhumanity of extremists of that group either.

Take Trent Lott, for instance – if you have the stomach for it.  Never one to object to relieving the burdens of the rich and powerful, he has the massive gall to object to subsidizing the heating bills of the poor, the freezing widows and orphans; the sick and the elderly and the disabled.  

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to do that and Lott doesn’t like it. That’s money that should disappear into offshore accounts, should be spent on brazen improprieties for Congressfolk and huge bonuses for CEOs.  A bill to make available funds included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for fiscal year 2006 was passed last week over the objections of those famous for their allegiance to the Christian Right.

“What is it we are not going to give people for free? Is there any limit? Is there any limit to the amount of money?” said Lott to the Senate.  “I thought we were having global warming.”  

No coal for heat? Well then let them burn money.  Despite the fact that Bush shortchanged LIHEAP by almost 3 billion The Republicans continue to pretend to be looking for places to cut the budget without ending the gravy train for themselves and the corporate aristocracy. Fortunately and although the vote was along party lines, Trent and his 40 thieves could not stop passage

Is there no end to what these robbin’ hoodlums will take for themselves?  Is there no immorality they will not sweep under the Bible?

Take Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) – if you have the stomach for it. Jo Ann and her husband took money for an all-expenses paid trip to Santa Barbara, Calif., in January for the official business purpose of having two nights of "spiritual self-reflection."

Well reflect on this Jo Ann – that money could have kept a disabled veteran or somebody’s great Grandmother warm this winter.  I hope you’re feeling really spiritual this winter.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Too true to tell

If the truth offend thee, file it under non-fiction. The story is true – two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo adopted an abandoned egg and raised it. That apparently common penguin practice sounds much too gay for Missouri so the public libraries of Savannah and St. Joseph in northwest Missouri took the Children’s book And Tango Makes Three which is based on that story, out of the Children’s section and filed it under non-fiction. The librarian explained that this would decrease the chance that reality would "blindside" readers. The Show Me State doesn’t want anyone to show them what they don’t want to hear.

They say that the older you get, the more your face reflects your true nature. Ever look at the “face” of one of those snails they put in fish tanks to eat the algae off the glass? Katherine “show me the money” Harris, Representative from Florida (Republican of course) has yet to affirm that she accepted campaign funds from a defense contractor who prosecutors say illegally funneled thousands of dollars to her campaign in 2004. Mitchell Wade, the former president of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to bribing U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in exchange for assistance in getting $150 million in Defense Department contracts for his company. He also admitted making illegal contributions to Harris, who intends to challenge Senator Bill Nelson’s Senate seat. Duke will be a guest of the State for many years to come, but even though Cunningham got 8 years, I suspect Ms. Harris will remain at large. She claims in fact, that no one has even contacted her regarding the matter. Florida should be renamed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” state.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thin crust fundamentalism

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”

-Martin Luther King-

Faith and Freedom – you can make it into a phrase and chant it over and over again, but just like oil and vinegar, it all separates into salad dressing when the shaking stops. Florida Governor Dei Gratia Jeb Bush thinks Thomas Mohaghan the Pizza man’s town of Ave Maria where Catholic Church Doctrine will be the law and the Constitution be damned, is a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. No heretics need apply.

I think this utopian experiment, with it’s truly hideous cathedral; the most ghastly public structure since Albert Speer is a sign to all the world that nothing we say about democracy, freedom or faith is really true and lest I be accused of being anti-Catholic by some anonymous twit, Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, likened Monaghan's concept to Islamic fundamentalism.

"This is un-American," Kissling said to CNN. "I don't think in a democratic society you can have a legally organized township that will seek to have any kind of public service whatsoever and try to restrict the constitutional rights of citizens."

Monaghan’s rationale for this neo-medieval enterprise is that “It’s God’s will.” In an unwittingly neo-Zoroastrian statement, he tells us “"I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines." He’d rather put freedom on the sidelines. How many of history’s most evil enterprises have been touted as God’s will by men with pizza for brains?

Where’s the beef?

The news is all over India, but if all I had done was to watch CNN this afternoon, I would never have known of the massive countrywide protests in India. Although we got clips of Laura and Big Bird; although we got shots of smiling Bush and smiling Singh, not only were the streets filled with burning effigies and chants of “Killer Bush go back” but The Parliament too witnessed uproar in both the houses on the issue of Bush coming to India. Left Parties and Samajwadi Party leaders protested and chanted slogans of "Barbarian Bush Go Back."

"We will not allow the House to run till Singh apologizes for receiving Bush at the airport," SP Parliamentary Party leader Janeshwar Mishra said.

Baghdad is imploding, billions of people call us monsters and we get Sesame Street East. We’d be better off outsourcing the news.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The other Muslim cartoons

I live in Martin County Florida; a county that is often described as solidly Republican; an understatement akin to saying that the Pacific Ocean has a lot of water in it. Expressing any kind of dissatisfaction – in fact questioning the transcendental nobility of Republican theory and practice here is usually met with dumbfounded amazement or murderous hostility. It’s simply taken for granted that Ronald Reagan was taken up to God in a golden chariot and that George Bush walks on water. Only child molesters have a worse reputation than Democrats.

Absolute confidence that everyone agrees with your prejudice does strange things to people. I would imagine that in most public eateries it would be rare to find the walls plastered with malicious ethnic and religious or political cartoons. It would most of us might imagine, be more rare in one of the wealthiest counties in America, but when the head of the Democratic Party of Martin County entered the clubhouse at the Martin Golf and Country Club last week in response to complaints from party members, he noted offensive cartoons posted prominently by the door.

"If you were religious or a Muslim or a Democrat, you couldn't help but be offended," Dave Dew said. "This is not a Republican golf course. This is a public golf course."

But in Martin County, which owns the premises, public and Republican are taken to mean the same thing. A letter of protest published in the local paper drew responses in support of using public facilities to promote mockery of Democrats and Muslims. An on-line reply forum, to which I contributed, immediately handed me the title of “typical candy-ass Democrat.”

It’s becoming harder and harder to believe our American future holds more than a descent into bigotry, superstition and economic failure. There simply aren’t enough asses with enough candy to make a difference.