Sunday, April 30, 2006

Soaring, not sinking

CNN may tell you that George Bush poked fun at himself at the White House Correspondents dinner Saturday night, but being the right wing institution it is, CNN didn’t mention that Steve Colbert tore him to shreds, leaving George and Laura silent and unsmiling at the end.

The Comedy Central talk show host of the Colbert Report urged the President to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

"I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

Colbert complained that he was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side."

According to Editor and Publisher, Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, melting glaciers and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face. He advised the crowd, "if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly on into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail."

"When the president decides something on Monday,” said Colbert, “he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."

People shouldn’t compare the recent white house shakeup with rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.”

As Colbert walked from the podium, the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling, and handshakes, and left immediately. Unfortunately, he’s expected to be back on the job all too soon.

Here are links to video of his roast:

Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3 -

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nuestro Himno

So the man who goes about tossing off the word Freedom the way Tinkerbelle spreads pixie dust, says we’re not free to sing the national anthem in Spanish. It’s important, says the nitwit in chief, that we not lose our “national soul.”

Try as I might, I have no concept of what a national soul might be particularly if one sees a soul as something permanent. Our national consciousness has changed markedly since we first called this collection of colonies a nation. The Historian Bush however, seems not troubled at all with delving into the national psyche as it has evolved. He’s a simple man whose opinions have the firmness only ignorance can provide and when he says soul, he means language. He means that he’s afraid that this notoriously monolingual country may be what it has always been: a country where many languages are spoken to the chagrin of those who barely speak one.

"One of the great things about America is that we've been able to take people from all walks of life bound as one nation under God. And that's the challenge ahead of us."

Indeed – we took many of them bound in chains and used God to teach them submission, but even so, that “Nation under God” pretension didn’t arrive on the Mayflower. As most of us know and all of us as old as I am know, it was Dwight Eisenhower’s mid 1950's gift to the religious right who were afraid of losing their gravy train to the Communists. In 1954, George was still a spoiled 8 year old brat from Connecticut soon to grow into a spoiled, alcoholic coke user from Texas who hasn’t been able to think too clearly ever since.

From the beginning, God was used to deprive Americans of their rights, particularly as concerns liberty and the pursuit of happiness and of course God is still here to tell us just whom to persecute. There are few other factors that divide this nation against itself more than God and George is here to tell you, God wants us not only to speak English, but insists that we not translate that mediocre bit of “star spangled” patriotic fluff into any inferior languages that God does not like. It's going to take more that some skinhead anglo supremacist fascist twit like George W. Bush to take my freedom away from me and you can sing that in any language you like.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The roadbastard rolls again

Dennis Hastert – it’s all about integrity! said the huge billboard looming over the I-295 near Chicago.  That was back when the cries of “adulterer” were still echoing like cosmic background radiation and all the news still revolved about Monica.  The irony of the chronic adulterer Hastert  climbing out of a married woman’s bed and claiming virtue was largely unnoticed and unremarked upon by the media.

I hope things are changing a bit.  Of course Hastert is probably too ugly to be able to indulge in such pastimes any more and too likely to suffer a stroke or coronary “event” as a result of his obesity, but he’s still a phony and a fake; a hypocrite, glutton and Republican, if you’ll pardon the tautology.

The media have been covering Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s vehicular switcheroo today.  After leaving a news conference and photo opportunity at a Washington, DC gas station where he posed as a friend to green technology, he drove around the block, ditched his pollution free hydrogen powered car and getting back into the huge, black, unwieldy, gashog luxotruck he uses to convey his huge unwieldy, bloated Republican ass from one crime scene to another, drove away.

Yes, indeed – it’s all about integrity.

I report, he decides

The problem of outsourcing strategic materials to foreign companies should be obvious. Back in 1987, Toshiba betrayed us by selling nuclear submarine propeller secrets the Reagan administration had entrusted them with to the Soviets, thus compromising the cornerstone of our nuclear deterrent.  Why you ask would we take such a horrible risk with the most sensitive strategic information we possessed?  I don’t have an answer, but apparently this Republican sort of thing is OK by Bush who is expected to announce today his approval of a deal under which a Dubai-owned company would take control of nine plants in the United States that manufacture parts for American military vehicles and aircraft.

But he’s the decider, and there’s no better way to prove that one is the decider than to decide things that will outrage those who thought they were the deciders.  By those I mean the citizens of the United States.  Perhaps the risk to national security is small, but the perceived risk of having our military capabilities influenced by foreign interests seems quite foolish and is quite disturbing if one buys into the sort of arguments that underlie the Patriot Act.  Is it that Bush doesn’t think we’re really in danger, or would he prefer to make us weaker so that he can appear stronger – or is it just another under the table, quid pro quo deal to enrich himself and his friends?

The decider has decided that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. It’s hard to be a real decider if one takes reality into account and being a real decider is the pose he needs to hide his wounded, humiliated and fearful little ego.  All this has been apparent for a long time and but for the neo-royalist patriotism and party chauvinism that plagues our nation we would all have decided to dump the decider long ago.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Panic at the pumps

40 acres and a mule: a pretty good deal when you compare it to a hundred bucks and a handout to Halliburton. Funny how the Republicans like to tell you that market forces are the way to regulate things but then panic when those market forces require that we get more energy efficient and self-reliant. One could almost imagine that we’re dealing with liars cheats and scoundrels.

Actually, even as a dyed-in-the-denim-Democrat, I do prefer that rising gas prices be left to rise in the long run because market forces can do a much better job of producing more efficient vehicles and promoting more efficient use of vehicles than the misguided CAFE standards that gave us three and a half ton SUV’s.

But politics isn’t about making things better; it’s about buying your vote cheap and then claiming a mandate to screw you. Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn’t going to lower prices enough or for long enough to matter at all, but it will make a few people rich. Making a few people rich is the hidden code, the Holy Grail and the modus operendi of the Republican Party – as if we didn’t all know.

For other interesting takes on the Shell game (or Exxon game if you prefer) the petro-pirates are playing with our country and our future, check out Goofy Blog. (No it has nothing to do with Disney!) and the Daily Curmudgeon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Snow job

" You’ve seen Medicare, you’ve seen an education bill. These are things, I dare say, that if they’d been done under Bill Clinton, Republicans would have been howling.” [Tony Snow, Fox News Sunday, 11/30/03]

My first reaction to the news that the man from Fox was to be the new White House Press secretary was – sure, when you’re looking for someone to lie with a straight face, who are you gonna call? But it’s just possible thatTony Snow who, statements like the above to the contrary, claims to “believe in the President” may be less likely to give us a snow job than his predecessor.

Think Progress gives us several years worth of Mr. Snow’s criticisms of his new boss and I have to wonder at whether some of his biting words will come back to bite him.

George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” Tony Snow [11/11/05]

I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Snow, but I have a feeling that embarrassment will soon be something you’ll become very familiar with.

A heck of a job

"This is a sovereign country, and they are making impressive progress."

Said Don Rumsfeld in Baghdad today. I don’t know who was expected to swallow it or who is still impressed.

The bigger the lie, the more often told, the more it’s believed to be true, or so the Nazi propagandists said. I might add ridiculous to the list, considering some of the lies we’ve been told by the Rumsfeld -Cheney-Rove-Bush badministration, but perhaps there’s a limit to public gullibility and a limit to the support any “Warpresident” can expect from the armed services. According to the Army Times, nearly 64% of their readers think Rumsfeld should resign because of his mismanagement of the Iraq debacle. Fewer than 33% think not. These figures mirror recent polls regarding Bush’s performance in general.

Of course this poll isn’t scientific and some of the votes may be from non-military people, but looking back at past Army Times polls, there is a strong and growing dissatisfaction in the military with the way this administration is using and treating them.

Of course the Great Decider hasn’t got the message yet and isn’t likely to get any message that might suggest a less than sterling performance by him or his legion of losers. For the moment it’s still “You’re doin’ a heckava job Rummy” and if it weren’t for the fact that our people are being shot up and our country is becoming a pariah because of it, I would be glad of their bone-headed tunnel vision since it suggests a bigger and more joyous day of reckoning at the polls.

Monday, April 24, 2006

And what about the inflatable Ann Coulter dolls?

As ever, the “smaller, less intrusive government” Republicans are intruding into private lives and private bedrooms in South Carolina with a bill, proposed by Republican Representative Ralph Davenport that would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.

Actually I’m all for it -- if it will be strictly enforced -- because that would certainly allow law enforcement to cut off the hands of the master debaters in the South Carolina legislature and banish all the rest of those Republican dildos from the state.

The unreal McCoy

Glenn McCoy, the cartoonist whose nauseous work I normally avoid lest my estimation of the human race be lowered beyond chance of redemption, has long been scraping the bottom of whatever barrel he uses as a source of wit. If he seems shrill and desperate, if he seems to be missing much while promoting little, perhaps it’s because the Republican establishment for whom he is a dedicated apologist has become so indefensible that he has had to retreat into irrelevant attacks, illegitimate criticisms and a disregard for truth.

By accident, I clicked on his cartoon, syndicated in the New York Times this weekend in which a teacher is querying her class: “Benedict Arnold aided the enemy in time of war by giving away national secrets. What do we call someone like that?” A student replies:”A Pulitzer Prize winner.”

Glenn McCoy is a shameless monarchist. He either knows little about the American Revolution, General Arnold or current events, or he does not care, knowing there are still people stupid, ignorant, dishonest and unpatriotic enough to constitute a following. The concept of a free press as a balance to government propaganda monopoly is alien to him. The concept of a three branch government with each branch acting as a brake on each other is alien to him. He would have, just like Arnold, supported King George in 1776 as he supports King George in 2006.

Evidence of criminal activity by our leaders; evidence that we have been mislead, tricked into a deadly conflict for reasons we are not allowed to know, may be national secrets, but if they are, they are secret only in order to cover up an iniquity. There is always “the enemy” and when freedom of thought and even justice itself can be called an aid to that enemy, we are indeed once again, a monarchy in the old style where the public is held hostage because of a conflict initiated for that very purpose.

The irony of course is that so many “national secrets” have been given away by the tyrants McCoy serves in order to punish those who insist on a free and just and open and democratic society . How ironic is it that in invoking the treason of a British Loyalist who was supporting the legal government against liberal democrats, he fails to compare his support of another corrupt autocrat to the same standard? Yet somehow, the Times feels it necessary to print his endless attempts to call the roots of freedom unpatriotic. Perhaps it’s only to provide the “balance” that idiots and Republicans and corporate owners of the press see as truth.

The founders of our country had as a prime objective, the creation of a constitution that would not allow a ruler to create endless wars that would enable him to invoke patriotism and national security in order to enrich himself and his friends, oppress and impoverish the country. Those, like Glenn McCoy who not only fail to see the wisdom, but portray it as treason, are the greatest enemy this country has and will ever have.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The last third

Where there’s smoke, there’s the Bush brigade starting fires. My mailbox has begun to fill once again with sappy and lachrymose laments about the 2001 al Qaeda attack and of course the subject of Mexican immigration is belching more smoke than a coal-fired power plant is allowed under Bush’s lax regulations.

As you’ve undoubtedly read, there seems to be an effort to dissuade Mexicans from buying US products on May the first as part of a protest that is being dubbed “the great American boycott.” I can’t imagine that this act, if it materializes, would have any significant effect on our economy. It’s difficult enough these days to identify the national origin of any product or the ownership of the company that produces it. We don’t make very much any more.

Why then, the steaming effluent from Right Wing websites and Republican politicians like Georgia Governor Sonny “Chicken” Perdue, demanding that we boycott Mexican products on Cinco De Mayo? As far as I can tell, the jury may be out as concerns the negative economic effect of illegal immigration from our southern neighbor, but the likely verdict is that without cheap labor here, more of our products would have to be imported from abroad and prices for essentials would rise. It’s more than possible that illegal immigration adds to our prosperity, yet we’re being whipped into hysteria about it, while most of us are less fully aware of the dangers to our economy, security and freedom originating from the George W. Bush administration.

Might all the smoke have something to do with Bush’s sinking approval amongst his own party? (hint: this is a rhetorical question.)

It was gratifying indeed to think about how the ogres at Fox News felt when after their usual sneering and snickering at the results of an oh-so-biased CBS poll showing Bush to have a 34% approval rating, their own poll gave him less support with only a third of the nation backing him. Look for more smoke and more hype; more "terror alerts" and more pictures of collapsing skyscrapers as the “decider” loses more of his followers. The falling towers may be more of a metaphor than Bush intended.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Shadow knows

George Bush invented the iPod? Well it’s no worse than claiming that Al Gore told everyone he invented the Internet. Whether it’s due or not, George gives credit to the US Government for making it easier for Americans to drown themselves in constant and mindless entertainment – our national pastime.

Is this latest kind of idiot box part of a sinister plot to lobotomize us; to distract us from noticing the disintegration of our Republic? That’s something only the Shadow is likely to know, but I’m suspicious.

George is known to wear one of these devices when he dirt-bikes around his fake ranch like some nit-wit adolescent, but unlike the average street brat of today, he has to hire someone to download the tasteless drivel for him. Maybe there is something to tickle-down economics after all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Good night America

I saw Good night and Good Luck last night. Yes, I think it deserved an Academy Award for best picture, but this was a frightening movie and without any special effects or giant apes.  Very little has changed in the 50 or so years since Joe McCarthy staged his war on communists but what has changed has changed for the worse.  Television, as Murrow warned, has become an instrument of isolation and deception and the game is no longer being directed by a crackpot junior Senator, but by the demagogues who control all three branches of the Federal Government.

The game is the same, of course. Whether we’re fighting communists or terrorists or liberals or intellectuals they’re fighting freedom and using fear and patriotism to sell us a war against ourselves. Today we have uncountable institutions smearing and threatening anyone who upholds the truth and our right to know it; launching countless unfounded accusations and fantastic fables. We have a press afraid to expose lies and show us reality out of fear of the advertisers and owners. Today we have a leader who takes pride in ignoring the will of the governed and who has a following who views that with patriotic pride.  Little has changed since 1954 except to become worse.

It was never luck we needed, it was courage and instead we showed patriotic arrogance.  We needed a public with a will to oppose fear mongers, thieves and liars and instead we have the Superbowl and the X-box and the iPod and American Idol and the rest of the pop-culture opiates.

It’s too late for good luck.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

You say AD, I say CE. . .

I’m pro family. I love my wife and children and grandchildren and wish them well, but Don Wildmon wouldn’t agree. Being pro family is all about having enough hate and anger for people and ideas and facts Don Wildmon and his American Family Association are afraid of. That’s a lot of people and a lot of ideas and a lot of facts.

The AFA is very concerned that for the last half century or more, historians and archaeologists around the world have been labeling dates as BCE and CE. This includes scholars of all religious persuasions. One can read CE as Common Era as I think most do, or as Christian Era but those in the know are more comfortable with this than with the implicit declaration of faith in the term anno Domini. Not everyone is a Christian and to the AFA that is something that needs to be remedied. Everyone needs to talk and act and believe as Don Wildmon does or he will hear from the AFA and its enforcement division and wholly owned subsidiary, the United States Government. But wait, that’s not all; one must not only acknowledge, but must pay constant homage to Wildmon’s God and to Wildmon’s definition of Christianity

The AFA wants to make BC and AD the only legal way to give dates, lest Wildmon’s God of wrath place his vengeance upon us. It’s not enough to acknowledge the Christian Era, one has to embrace Christian supremacy.

Of course Wildmon’s biggest bogeyman is the same as that of most of these brimstone and bullshit bullies: homosexuality. It’s obvious to me that these folks who constantly tell us that being gay is a sinful choice that can be remedied through the worship of the proper idols are themselves gay. If one has deliberately chosen not to be homosexual, one is homosexual. For the honest, there is no choice. Perhaps that’s why belief in any of the entrees on Wildmon’s salad bar of sophistry requires so much de facto dishonesty.

Imagining insults to the faith and proclaiming war against objective reality and the modern world are as old as faith itself, indeed I’ve often referred to prophets and priests as the world’s oldest profession and I’m sure some Cro-Magnon Wildmon raged about some cave warning that the bison would not come if some sacrifice were not made or if someone married outside the tribe, but we humans have an inbred weakness for dictators, tyrants and preachers, don’t we?

I’m not a believer. I don’t believe in believing, but if there’s an entity that somehow controls events, let it load Wildmon and his ilk into a church bus and drive it off a Mexican cliff so they can die screaming like demons. Then I might believe there was a God who had any concern for the things I revere, like justice and family values.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Three Strikes and you win

Hit it out of the park with bases loaded and you lose.  Is this some Bizarro World Comic from the  50’s where everything is its opposite or is it just Bush world?

When Paul Wolfowitz predicted that there would be no ethnic conflict in Iraq, that we would be welcomed as liberators and that other countries like France would get involved in rebuilding that country at little cost to us, the snot-quaffed gnome was promoted to the world bank for his incompetence.

Remember General Eric Shinseki?  Back in 2003 the former Army Chief of Staff was one of the first high ranking officers to challenge the official happy talk scenario given us by George W.  Bush.  He was absolutely right and paid the price for it.  

In testimony before Congress, he stated that the Iraq operation would require "several hundred thousand troops."   His assessment was based on 38 years of active military service which includes  being Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. In Bosnia, where Shinseki served as Commander of the Stabilization Force, NATO used 50,000 service members to police a population of 5 million people. Iraq's population in 2003 was over 26 million people.  Do the math.

Rummy told us he was far off the mark, Wolfie told us he was far off the mark, Bush told us the mission was already accomplished.  Guess who is gone.  Guess who Bush still unequivocally supports.

It has taken quite a while for other Generals to step up to the microphone. I’m sure it takes more courage to stand up to the incompetent psychotics in the Administration in today’s military than to face an armed enemy and we can see the tide of slime begin to rise against them already, but the flag has been raised, a toehold gained – do we dare to hope?

Friday, April 14, 2006

The French General

Is this man French? I’ll bet he’s eaten more MRE’s than quiche and it’s getting harder and harder for the slime slingers to dismiss those who think our administration is incompetent, arrogant and war-crazy.

If General Swannuck thinks we’re losing in Iraq; if he wants heads to roll in Washington, he’s going to be hard to refute by calling him French, or a coward or an America hater or a hippie. If grainy, awkward pictures of him with Jane Fonda show up on sleazy Republican hateblogs or a bunch of guys who have never been in the Army Airborn Division start yammering about his lack of credentials, it isn’t going to be convincing to anyone but a pathological Republican.

They’d have to dismiss Maj. Gen. John Batiste -- who led the 1st Infantry Division in northern Iraq as well. They’d have to smear former U.S. Central Command chief Anthony Zinni, former Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold who also want Rummy out. Not a Frenchman amongst the lot.

Of course the White House and many of Rummy’s pet Generals think he’s doing a great job. Gen. Pace, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and thus unable to speak against his bosses, also defended Rumsfeld this week saying during last weeks press conference:

"People can question my judgment or his judgment, but they should never question the dedication, the patriotism and the work ethic of Secretary Rumsfeld,"

History records the names of many incompetent fools who have worked hard and made a mess of the world, causing the deaths of patriots and protestors; peasants and plutocrats alike. Maybe if he took a year off from work, we’d all be better off; almost as well off as if he’d never been born.

"nobody works harder than he does" says the General, whose name means, ironically “Peace” in Italian -- Except maybe for George. George works very hard – it’s a hard job. He’s a hard worker and a warpresident and we know because he says so.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nuke New Zealand!

If Fox News is really looking for evidence that there is a war on Easter, it’s surprising that they have not mentioned that hotbed of anti-Christian sentiment, that god-hating cauldron of sin, New Zealand.

"The Easter icon is in fact a villain," said Chris Macann, a spokesman for Environment Canterbury, a government-backed group on New Zealand's South Island. Yep, these Godless Environmental wacko hippie carrot-hugging Liberals are tired of being eaten out of farm and field by wascally wabbits and they’re out to do something about it, Dick Cheney style.

Hundreds of hunters will stalk and shoot all the rabbits they can find over Easter. “we want them dead," said McCann.

We can expect that the Rapture won’t be beaming up anyone from New Zealand when it takes place any minute now, but that’s just my opinion. I report, you decide.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Trailer Trash

CNN in it’s effort to be more like Fox News by linking every scandal attached to the Bush Administration with a fabricated excuse or a smokescreen, has been attempting to excuse the Texas tyrant for claiming that a couple of weather balloon trailers sold to Iraq by the British were Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Lots of high ranking retired generals are speaking up? Oh but many are not, says the Newsharlot. Massive evidence that the chemical weapons trailers weren’t? Oh but some still thought they were, she says, flickering false eyelashes.

Because Bush will believe what suits his agenda, he can accept the word of the most unreliable source over the best available intelligence and with a smirk tell you he did the best he could under the circumstances. Of course the intelligence establishment was made well aware of what Bush wanted to hear and what would happen to anyone who didn’t make a case for what Bush wanted to be true.

According to CNN a report last year from the Robb-Silberman commission said some senior CIA officials had begun having doubts about “Curveball's” credibility in 2002 and took their concerns to senior managers -- and eventually to former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin. The information remained in Powell's U.N. presentation. Powell was made a fool in front of the world because of his loyalty and indeed so have we all.

One of Bush’s main faults is that he is a faith based idiot with no sense of humility – he can’t be wrong and like the weakest of men, he can’t admit or permit doubt. Without doubt there is no thought, if I may invoke Descartes and without doubt there is no honesty.

Still CNN continues to back the administration by downplaying the level of doubt and the level of mendacity in the President’s decision making. Bush didn’t know because Bush didn’t want to know and just as Bush ignored al Qaeda while obsessing about Iraq he ignored any evidence that didn’t support his crusade.

"I cannot count how many times the president has said the intelligence was wrong.” Said serpent tongued Scott McLellan. But Bush continued to use it for as long as he could, even knowing that it was wrong and all the while mugging and sneering and snickering at the doubting public.

Of course what CNN won’t bother to bring up is that even if there were a couple of trucks that could make poison gas rather than hydrogen for balloons, you can’t drive them to Kansas. Saddam was simply no danger to the US because of such equipment and comparing it to nuclear weapons with intercontinental delivery systems is the kind of shell game only Bush can play and only Americans are stupid enough to believe.


Die Bunny Die!

I read in The Daily Curmudgeon and in Think Progress that the morons are on the March again and Fox is in the vanguard as usual.  The last time there was really a war against Christianity by a non Christian agency was back in the 4th century of the current era.  Of course Christians of various flavors and odors have been killing each other over variations of baseless conjecture for hundreds of centuries.

If there ever was a war on Christmas it was waged by Christian Puritans; fundamentalists different from today’s more degenerate forms by virtue of their literacy if not their propensity to hysteria.  They of course knew the pagan origins of Easter and Christmas traditions – the very parts most beloved of Christian Supremacists.

“we have documented a number of cases where Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter have been attacked by secular interests.”

Said Lyin’ Bill O’Reilly, sounding like Joe McCarthy with his blank piece of paper telling us it was full of names of Communists.

We’ve all forgotten about Tailgunner Joe and Bill O’Reilly is the history we are condemned to repeat.  Of course it’s totally false. He has no cases, there is no attack save the attack on our liberty by religious nuts for whom freedom and democracy are dirty words.  His claims about Christmas were all debunked albeit on the back pages of newspapers Christianidiots don’t read and those of us who do read and do remember can so easily be dismissed as atheists and liberals and French speaking elitists.  We just can’t win and we probably won’t.

As Crankyboy points out, it’s not about religious freedom. Religious freedom is the enemy of religious zealots who recognize only one authority. You won’t hear O’Reilly whining about a war on Ramadan, nor will you hear him stand up for anyone’s right to sing the Hari Krishna Mantra in courthouses and airports. When the feds confiscated a human skull from a Miami Voudun Priestess in Miami today and charged her with a felony even though you can buy such things every day on eBay, that is religious persecution. O’Reilly was as silent as the Pope about Auschwitz.

I have only one question – why are we silent? Why don’t we shout him down; flood his mailbox and voicemail and fax machine? Where are the crowds outside his door? Where are the boycotts, the lawsuits? What country is going to come in and overthrow these tyrants for us?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The History major

You may not be old enough to remember the radio show It Pays To Be Ignorant, but although it became a TV series in about 1949 and went off the air in 1951, it never died, you see; it became the Bush Administration.

Yesterday, lonesome George happened to be speaking to an audience that was smarter and better informed than he is. No, he wasn’t reading from My Pet Goat at some kindergarten class, he was at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where he had to admit he didn’t have a clue when questioned by graduate students.

when asked what law governs private military contractors in Iraq, Bush could only say “Help!”

"I was going to pick up the phone and say, `Mr. Secretary, [Rumsfeld] I've got an interesting question.' ... That's how I work."
That’s how he works, the Commander in Chief.

Would he consider changing his administration's stance against working with organizations that partner with prostitution networks to stop human trafficking, asked another student?
"You know more about this subject than I," said the president truthfully. "And I will be glad to call Condi and talk to her about our policy."

When a student claimed that the worlds first Constitution or code of laws was created by the Prophet Muhammed [c. 570–632] another corrected him by referring to the code of the Babylonian King Hammurabi [ruled 1795-1750 BC] from which, as I thought everybody knew, certain biblical passages originated.

"I was going to say that, you know," Bush said to laughter from the crowd.
I wonder what kind of laughter it was. This man got a degree in history from Yale. I wonder what advisors he called upon to do his reading and course work for him – or what men in black called upon his professors.

When Bush was running for the Presidency, a supporter admitted to me that he may not be very bright, but he would certainly pick the best advisors – oblivious to the irony glaring from the idea that a stupid man can tell who is smart, much less who is honest. Of course that is America in a nutshell; many stupid men choosing amongst prospective leaders smart enough to fool them.

Feel the pain

They found the 12 year old girl begging on the street. She had been sleeping at construction sites in Port St Lucie Florida after running away from the people her father had sent her to live with friends "who share the same religious beliefs and values" and to be beaten by while the father listened to the screams from his home in Coral Springs by speaker phone. Michael C. Bilodeau, his head clean shaven and wearing steel rimmed glasses explained that the girl just wouldn’t accept Jesus into her heart and used slang and of course the way to get Jesus into someone’s heart is to have them stripped naked and whipped; naked of course because Bilodeau wanted her, as he explained, to “feel the pain.”

When police went to the home the girl had been sent to the father was there, having arrived to help look for her. He told the investigators the girl needed discipline and sent her to live with fellow sick fundamentalist beasts because his wife, the girls mother was an internet user and couldn’t care for her. He was arrested when he told police that he himself had recently made her take her clothes off and submit to a whipping with a leather belt.

Sadly these stories are too common and too infrequently reported, although in civilized societies there are serious penalties for what amounts to torture and child neglect. Port St Lucie is probably not a civilized society although it certainly contains a fair number of churches that are regularly attended. Comments to the local newspaper’s web edition often contain calls for summary executions of pickpockets, calls to gouge out the eyes of petty criminals and attacks on “liberals” who are at war with Christianity. This article, as of 10:00AM had 17 comments attached, nearly all of which supported Bilodeau’s actions.

Damn them all. Damn their beliefs, damn their ugly Republican hearts and damn their words. May whatever God there is or gods there are place their vengeance upon them, although 15 years in Raiford would do very nicely.

Monday, April 10, 2006

They hate us for our Freedom Fries

Yesterday was Freedom Day in Iraq – the day commemorating that country’s conquest by foreign infidels and marking the beginning of an even lower standard of living and safety for Iraqi citizens than they had previously endured. It must warm the heart of Iraqi families to know that even though they have no electricity and not much water and put their lives into the hands of Allah every time they leave their homes, or the remains of their homes, to work, shop or worship, they now have some freedom of speech. Is anyone listening to them?

Looking at the empty pedestal that once supported the statue of Saddam Hussein we all watched being toppled with great difficulty three years ago, Abu Mohammed told AP reporter Bushra Juhi in Baghdad ''I am too preoccupied with my work, and numerous problems and worries to notice it, For me, all statues represent tyranny.''

I’m sure the day was marked by celebration – but not in Iraq. Our efforts to rebuild the country now include little more than building large American military bases and concocting fake “upbeat” news items for local consumption while the infrastructure falls into ruins to rival Babylon in her desolation. I cannot imagine that Iraq or any other country in the Middle East, democratic or otherwise, would tolerate the presence of American troops and their machinery of war on their soil but under duress. Indeed, the presence of our Military in what they see as their world may have been a major force behind alQaeda: but as for now, freedom and Freedom Day notwithstanding, they are not free to choose.

Friday, April 07, 2006


"If this is Homeland Security, I think we ought to be a little afraid," said the Englewood Elementary School Principal Gail Brinson. Who can disagree?

Leander Pickett, a teacher's assistant at Englewood Elementary, was directing bus traffic Tuesday afternoon, making sure everything worked smoothly and the busses had a safe place to pick up the kids. Naturally, two men in black in a sedan parked in an elementary school bus stop crowded with kids seemed enough out of place and in the way to motivate Mr. Pickett to politely ask them to move the car. A more suspicious man than Pickett might have called the cops, but little did he know, they weren’t pederasts looking to kidnap children, they were agents of George W. Bush’s Gestapo – Homeland Security.

When I first heard that name, it seemed so oddly reminiscent of something a totalitarian régime would invent – Fatherland security, perhaps, black boots and all. I was right. Ordinary public servants might have replied – “excuse us, but we’re just looking at a map and will be gone in a moment – don’t worry, we’re law officers – here is my badge.”

Of course Pickett wasn’t quite so lucky; according to WJXT channel 4 News in Jacksonville, even after the principal intervened and asked them to move, the defenders of liberty refused to budge. He was roughed up, slammed against a car, handcuffed and humiliated by Emperor Bush’s private army – America’s Gestapo. The incident occurred in front of many credible witnesses, including the school principal, but of course the DHS immediately responded with the accusation that Picket was “annoying” the officers. I’m sure that before long the web will bristle with bloggers insisting that Pickett trained in Afghanistan because that’s how the Fascist Right works, but Pickett and his school teacher witnesses are sticking with their story and I wish them luck. I wish us all luck, because we’re going to need it. Today it’s Leander Pickett, tomorrow it might be you.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why is this man smiling?

He’s smiling because although you can chase the crook out of office, he still gets paid and he still gets his health care benefits. If DeLay is telling the truth (what a concept) about his intention to resign from Congress in a couple of months, he’s not going to have to go looking for honest employment or cancel any appointments with his expensive hair dresser or makeup artist. Even if he’s convicted of a crime in Texas, he will still get his pension of about $67,000 and his free health care. As we know. Most Americans aren’t so lucky and especially those who haven’t stolen anything.

Of course he’s been making a salary of $180,000 and who knows how much more that’s less visible and $67,000 isn’t a lot for a man with Tom’s tastes. He's going to have to continue to absorb money from other sources, but as he said to the Houston Chronicle today, he intends to go to work for “Conservative causes.” I’m sure he will and I’m sure he will continue to prosper from his crimes in the most conservative fashion.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's a Wal-Mart world

Americans were rudely awakened by the realization that whether or not a Dubai government owned corporation was to run major US seaports, foreign corporations had taken over a long time ago because American firms were incapable of handling the huge and growing amount of imports from the far east. Freight from China has been overwhelming west coast ports to the degree that it’s often preferable to send ships thousands of miles farther through the Panama Canal to ports on the Eastern seaboard. China surpassed Honduras last year to become the Port of Miami-Dade's top trading partner.

The Miami Herald today explains to us in a lengthy article, that handling such trade requires doing business with large, international companies with bigger ships and more expertise. These companies want to run their own port terminals because it's more efficient; because they can make sure their own ships dock first; because they can get rich from our fashion-fed contempt for domestic goods and our insatiable propensity to borrow and consume. At the Port of Los Angeles, for instance, 80 percent of the terminal space is now foreign-run and Florida is following suit. The Port of Jacksonville's new 158-acre cargo terminal for instance, is being built at Dames Point for the Tokyo-based shipping line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.

America has been getting out of the shipping business for decades. Like the Chinese in the 19th century, we don’t build, own or operate the ships that bring us the foreign goods or the ports that receive them. Richard Nixon declared over thirty years ago that we had no further interest in maritime trade and that was long before the tidal wave of Chinese and Japanese goods broke on our shores; before port security became a matter of life or death.

When you talk about Chinese imports, you have to think about Wal-Mart. When you think about Wal-Mart you think about greed. A new report delivered to members of Congress today by the AFL-CIO alleges that lobbyists for America's largest retailer are blocking efforts to secure the nation's ports. Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA,) a lobby group controlled by the big box giant, has poured money into Republican coffers since 9/11 (over 90% to Republican House Homeland Security Committee members) in an effort to keep their prices low even if the security risk is high. According to Raw Story, a RILA Vice President argued yesterday before Congress that improving these security measures would help “terrorists” because if we regulate our international trading system, the “terrorists” will win. He’s wrong. The game is already over and it’s the oligarchy of corporate entities taking home the trophy.

It wasn’t terrorists who transformed the American Eagle into a helpless fledgling, its mouth open to be fed with toys and TV’s and T-shirts and trucks and skateboards and iPods; it was us, the smug, bigoted, sports watching, game playing, Fox believing, fad-following, flag waving, lie buying, Republican voting consumers.

Don’t blame the corruption, the decay, the greed and stupidity and loss of freedom on anyone else. We did this; all of us.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The enigma of departure

This morning has bought us many official encomiums to the departing Tom DeLay. Here are some of the best. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt has released the following statement which oozes:

“Tom and Christine's commitment to faith, family, smaller government, and national security is unshakable”

The key phrase here is smaller government. That’s the kind of statement that just takes the breath from your lungs and leaves you stunned. I just don’t know how to comment on it unless we can define smaller as larger and faith as corruption. What definition can we give to the growing chaos, hostility and nuclear proliferation that would make it sound like security? I just don’t know.

“His leadership helped take our Republican conference and, as a result, our nation in a new direction” said U.S. Rep. John Boehner. The Captain of the Titanic also took his ship in a new direction and certainly was a strong leader if you define strong as oblivious to reality and driven by ego.

"The House Republican Conference is losing a powerful conservative voice in Tom DeLay.” said National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Reynolds. “We celebrate him for time and again delivering on our party's bold agenda of reform.”

I really don’t know how to look at criminal and unethical behavior as a bold agenda of reform or for that matter, how to define bold reform as a conservative rather than progressive goal, but in newspeak the objective is to hide and distort and not to communicate. The Republicans are here to bury DeLay, not to praise him. The fusillades of fulsome praise are there to distract from the fact that Delay is being jettisoned in an attempt to save their troubled ship; steered by pirates, laden to the gunwales with debt, steaming into a hurricane and taking on water.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What's in a word?

I love to listen to the blowhard racists and xenophobes sound off about the danger to the English language posed by immigrants. Most of them, being unaffected by any significant education, don’t know how diverse have been the languages spoken in American cities over the last century or two. It’s one of the reasons we speak the language differently than the British after all. English itself is a mixture of several languages, like Saxon German, Old Norse, Norman French and others and that accounts for the enormous vocabulary and depth of the tongue. Words like Kindergarten and Gesundheit didn’t come over here on the Mayflower either and they haven’t spoiled our language any more than French, German Italian, Mexican and Chinese food have spoiled our cuisine.

I have to admit that there have been times when I’m frustrated with phone systems that put me through a hundred questions before I talk to anything sentient and wish I could just bypass the “para continuar en español, pressione quatro. . .” part but is it terrible that my bank wishes to accommodate anyone’s money? Is it somehow a risk to the English tongue that Americans occasionally have to hear Spanish or German or Italian? After all if you don’t recognize the above as meaning “to continue in Spanish, press four” you’re not too bright anyway and there lies the problem.

I agree that too many Americans hardly speak English, but I’m not talking about immigrants, I’m talking about Presidents, news commentators and journalists. I’m talking about ad writers and all the rest of us with weak vocabularies who think we’re being creative by mimicking the ignorant, wallowing in cliché, jargon and obsolescent hip-talk.

I’d much rather listen to Spanish than to journalists who have to measure everything in the universe in football fields. I would like to deport the next person who can’t discuss any kind of record without calling it a track record. Ball Park is not a verb and if you can’t understand words like “estimate” you don’t get to complain about anyone other than yourself ruining our language.

Think you’re making a statement by calling your latest Gucci or Bulgari accessory “Bling?” Think Rush Limbaugh is showing his open mindedness by calling a rape victim a “ho” instead of a whore? Half the reason for that kind of slang is to make rich, white, fake hipsters sound like idiots. It works.

Ever notice that you can’t buy a house or apartment or trailer any more – they only sell “homes.” Ever wonder what the hell a “mobile Estate” is? Ever notice that cove, bay, point[e] ridge, dale, height, valley, ridge and terrace all mean “housing development?” Deport these people! Leave the Mexicans alone.

Why is a $75,000, 6 and a half ton Cadillac or Lincoln or Mercedes with acres of leather and entertainment systems a “utility vehicle?” If they can’t learn English, get them out of my country!