Monday, March 19, 2007

Spring break

Well it's time for the Captain to go down to the sea in ships - or a ship, that is. I will be offshore until April 2nd and unable to post - or at least unwilling to use an expensive satellite connection to do it.

I hope my readers will return in April - both of them!

Iraq? it's like Disneyland!

Only about a quarter of Iraqis feel safe in their own homes, many of them are living in camps and their children unable to go to school. 78% want us out and 69% say we're making it worse by being there. Yet you'd hardly think there was any discomfort, or a mass exodus of refugees or massive dislocations to watch CNN today. What we're getting is that it's a picnic for the kids - it's amusing that they know to put their hands on their heads when the see American troops and that they're hardly bothered when their houses are invaded and turned inside out by heavily armed Americans as many as three times a week. I just saw a long sequence of snapshots of troops in their armor handing out candy and beanie babies, which is an indication that these are decent men and women wearing the camouflage, but it's hardly a substitute for security, heat, shelter and running water, not to speak of the ability to go to school or to the market without a good chance of being blown to bits.

Nah, no water, no electricity, no homes, no problem. Forced relocations and ethnic cleansing? Well cleanliness is good, isn't it? CNN says the kids know all about freedom and democracy and how America is going to give it to them.

It's good to have a free and independent press.

Illegal! Illegal! Illegal!

The sin of Sodom was incivility to strangers. According to the story, Abraham argued with God that he shouldn't punish them as a group if there were innocents amongst them and God agreed.
May God have such mercy on Palm Beach County, Florida.

I read today in the Palm Beach post, about the Puac family. Francisco Puac worked in Guatemala investigating the drug cartels, a profession that's not often good for the health. His cover blown and on the run, he was granted asylum in the US in 2001, but his family thought they would be better off using 6 month tourist visas which would give them more flexibility. They were wrong and unless a hearing tomorrow goes their way, they will be deported.

Deborah Puac attends High School in affluent Boca Raton. She's enrolled in High School and as an athlete is hoping to attend the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps' national championships in Pensacola in a few weeks. Our military of course, desperately needs such people, but the Christians of Palm Beach County do not. Deprived of witches and in a country that allows Jews and Heretics civil rights, they need "illegals" to burn. The article is festooned with comments stressing the danger to jobs and to our future if she's allowed to remain, Spanish accent and all. You'd never judge by watching them drive, but the Palm Beachers are very, very concerned with the technicalities of the law.

I suspect that the Immigration service will overlook the technicalities and allow the Puacs to remain as a family; at least I hope so, but then I'm not a Christian, I'm not worried about some job and I have a conscience. As for the Churchgoing cowards, bigots and sinners of Palm Beach County -- I wish there were a God to blow them all to hell.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Precedent McCain

If, as Emerson said, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then John McCain qualifies as a finalist in the micromind competition.

"You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was"

said he to a reporter on his tour bus somewhere in Iowa. Caught off guard with questions about whether he thought our government should spend any money on providing condoms and instructions for their use in Africa in order to fight the plague of AIDS, he seemed far more concerned with not contradicting the absolutely ridiculous statements he's made in the past than with providing an answer to the question. Mumbling and stumbling about abstinence, he evaded further questions about sex education and prophylaxis in his own country by saying he supports the president and

"people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”

I don't know whether to forgive him the grammatical solecism, but to support Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, head of Bush's AIDS Advisory Council and his immoral and idiotic program of substituting religious polemics on the virtues of not having sex for medical advice on the prevention of the AIDS epidemic, is absolutely unforgivable. Anyone who puts his religion's dogma above the preservation of human life, has violated not only his Hippocratic oath, but has set himself outside the human race.

Do words like liar, scoundrel, enemy of decency and even evil have any meaning at all any more in the context of the Bush administration? Does John McCain's campaign for the presidency have any discernible theme other than his lack of concern with what evil he supports as long as he can convince enough evil men to support him? The question is not whether to vote for this cringing dog of the demented religious right; the question is how long it takes for America to realize that the real enemy combatants are not in Guantanamo, but in Washington, in Kansas, Oklahoma and cruising through northern Kansas in a bus. How long before everyone recognizes that John McCain doesn't care how many mothers and how many children die as long as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the rest of the pantheon of vermin are happy with him?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Brownback mountain

Certainty is a fool's game, but there are two things I am certain of, foolishly or not.

  • Sam Brownback is Gay (just look at the tie.)
  • The Religious Right remains morally bankrupt.

With threats to civilization on the increase, with turmoil and instability mounting in places like Pakistan edging us closer to global war; with our justice system in crises, our military in crisis, our health care system in crisis and damn near everything else in this world in crisis, all the drooling dipshits of the religious right can offer us are smug polemics about threats to their artificially constructed system of arbitrary moral absolutes. Sam Brownback, Bigot, Republican, Kansas Senator, moral moron and would-be President thinks the business of America is witch hunting and that it's always open season. When you're the biggest enemy of freedom in America, what else can you do but follow the path of Hitler and find a scapegoat?

Besides the traitorous attempt to distract America from the dangers that face us, these sectarian insurgents would truly love to replace human values with a rigid and arbitrary code traceable not to the results of human actions but to a Deity they invent for the purpose of sanctifying their sick motives; a Deity accessible only through them.

What kind of demented degenerate will take time off the job for which we pay him to go on rapturous, religious rants with no purpose other than to defame harmless people, including people who have volunteered to risk their lives in defense of our country? You're looking at him.
You're hearing from a guy lecturing us on morality from the top of a mountain of money supplied by Jack Abramoff.

Take your perverted opinions and shove them where it's dark and warm Brownback - you know you'd love it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Do the gloves fit?

In the closed session of a military tribunal, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said, if we're to believe what we're told, "I was the military operational commander for all foreign operations around the world,'' and under Bin Ladin's leadership planned other attacks. The problem is in believing what we're told. There were no media present but more importantly the man has been subjected to interrogation methods which make confessions unreliable at best. I'm no stranger to pain, but if you hold my head under water day after day for a year or so, I might tell you I shot Lincoln just to get it to stop.

He may well be guilty of all he's confessed to and more, but his confession is tainted by torture and his trial will be tainted by secrecy and by the fact that he will be tried by the Bush administration, not by an international tribunal. I tend to believe he is really guilty and that he probably will get a reasonably fair trial, but in the eyes of the world - a world who has no trust or faith in us or our conduct, we may be getting too much like the people we claim superiority to.

I am sure Bush will try to parlay this confession into a justification for everything he has done and I wouldn't doubt that he will regain a few supporters, but al Qaeda isn't the kind of organization that can't replace him instantly and his trial and probable removal from the world will do nothing to diminish their movement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Onward Christian Soldiers

If all the outrages of the Bush administration were lined up end to end like the Great Wall of China, I think you'd be able to see a long dirty line from the moon.

It seems to be harder to see from the earth, thanks to many factors, like the haze of public indifference, the smokescreen of patriotic propaganda, the fog of bias and the opaque, pandering disfunctionality of the media, but a few people have started to notice Bush's other army, his private army of Christian soldiers, an army that prospers wildly as Bush's efforts surge - or at least the owners of that army prosper - big time.

I'm talking about Blackwater, of course; the worlds most powerful mercenary army, according to Jeremy Scahill's new book to be released March 21st. According to the blurb, Blackwater is
"the powerful private army that the U.S. government has made its Praetorian Guard for the 'global war on terror.' Blackwater has the world's largest private military base, a fleet of twenty aircraft, and 20,000 contractors at the ready. Run by a multimillionaire Christian conservative who bankrolls President Bush and his allies, its forces are capable of overthrowing governments, and yet most people have never heard of Blackwater."
Bush has shown little tolerance for the restraints that remain on presidential authority with regard to what he may do with the Armed forces yet he has no restraints, it seems, regarding this private SS, this elite corps whose mercenaries get paid far more than the soldiers we're told we're not supporting when we question the administration. I don't think any of our GI's are making the $350 per day that Bush's private army is said to be earning.

I have no idea if or how much out troops were demoralized when mercenaries were paid to guard Ambassador Paul Bremer when he was head of the US occupation of Iraq, or whether they were demoralized that Blackwater was paid nearly a thousand dollars a day for each man they supplied to do various duties normally performed by the National Guard and police in New Orleans after Katrina. I do have an idea how much the taxpayer was soaked for it: over $33 million for New Orleans alone and this while our wounded were being neglected by the VA and FEMA thrashed about like stranded fish at low tide, wasting more millions. I wonder how they feel about Blackwater. Maybe we shouldn't tell them. It might be demoralizing.

I find it demoralizing that in this country, in this time we can have a private army of such power and magnitude that is loyal only to the highest bidder and restrained by no law or treaty when operating abroad; demoralizing that we have a president I can't trust not to use that power as he sees fit and with disregard to the Constitution or the will of the governed. Can that government Blackwater is supposed to be capable of overthrowing be our own?

A lot of dirt under the rug

I don't remember whether it came before or after relaxing arsenic standards for drinking water, but one of George W. Bush's first executive orders was to arrogate unto himself and former presidents and vice presidents the power to hide the evidence of their misdeeds. Presidential records might seem to be the property of the folks who pay presidents to work for them, but the party that used to say they would run the country like a business has no intention of letting the public know what they do and for reasons even the less skeptical are starting to see. To quote from Orwell's 1984, "Ignorance is strength." He stays strong as long as we stay ignorant.

At first I thought the idea was to protect his father from information about the Iran-Contra affair, but it's obvious he was doing what past leaders from the Caesars to the Communists did: making sure history was on his side by writing it.

One of the few glimmers of hope coming from our new Congress is a bill co-sponsored by chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA.) The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 is being debated in the house as I write this.

“There are those who would like to rewrite history, and to the extent we can keep that from happening, I think this bill goes a long way ” Says Waxman. He's right, and we have a long way to go.

Updates and more information at The Gavel

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Adoramus te

They lower their voices

If they think I’m listening.

But I know about God

He smells Like that damp basement

In our neighbor’s house

I'm afraid of

And I don’t know why

Or the preacher’s robes

When I have to shake his hand

And I don’t want to

Or that new family

Down the block

With funny names and kids

We shouldn’t play with.

(They go to a different school)

Or the two old guys

In the green house

We’re not supposed to talk to

Even though they’re nice.

Every night at dinner

We pray together

For god to bless us

And not be angry

Professional courtesy

Yes sir, the new generation simply has no respect. Once upon a time, an attorney could swim and surf safely in Florida waters, but no more. These young sharks today don't care who they go after.

29-year-old assistant Palm Beach County state attorney
Adam McMichael was surfing off Hutchinson Island Sunday when a shark chomped down on his arm and dragged him under the water, which in my opinion constitutes prima facie evidence of mens rea.

Choosing a quick punch in the gills over a formal writ of Replevin, McMichael managed to regain his property, to wit - his arm and though seriously wounded, he was rescued by another surfer.
In my day this never would have happened. Professional courtesy would have been respected. I blame it on Rap music.

Oh, don't ask why

Oh don't ask why, oh don't ask why

-Berthold Brecht -

One of the things that annoys me about morality mongers is the idiosyncratic definition of the immoral act. My personal viewpoint is pragmatic. I place deeds on the measuring stick of morality according to the results; according to the effects of the acts and that because I see morality in human terms. Something is immoral because it produces an injustice. If it doesn't, it isn't.

I think we all have a natural sense that something might be immoral because to do something, to say something, might harm someone else who doesn't merit the harm, but it is the business of religion to subvert it, twist it and control it. This is where sin comes in and this is where religion makes us immoral. Nietzsche once said that anything done out of love is beyond good and evil, but of course he was a refugee from Christianity and hence a sinner. Sin is not dependent on pragmatic concerns; it consists of doing something you're told not to do, or more accurately something that someone tells you an invisible entity who cannot be addressed directly once told someone else who wrote it down. Even to question it is a sin. The gods of the Bible tell us to kill. I think it's immoral and evil, but it's not a sin.

So when General Peter Pace, whose military expertise I'm not in a position to judge, tells us as so many of my parochial school friends have done, that homosexuality is "just wrong" or "just immoral" I have to assume that his sense of right and wrong has been surgically removed and replaced with blind obedience to blind authority. He can no longer distinguish between morals and sin.

"My upbringing is such that I believe there are certain things, certain types of conduct, that are immoral. ... I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts,"

Oh, don't ask why. You're entitled to your opinion General, but I wish you'd keep it to yourself. You see, I don't give a shit about your upbringing or all the things it may have taught you are "just immoral." I certainly don't recall you, our government or your godforsaken Church being appointed to condone or not to condone the acts of anyone that do not harm anyone else; harm the innocent the way your smug, altar boy bigotry harms innocent people.

More at The Reaction

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ratz's ass - Blowin' in the Wind

Skepticism is bad, said the late Holy Father. Skepticism is an ill wind that blows things away. Of course I won't have the opportunity to ask Joe Ratzinger whether it was an ill wind of skepticism that blew him away from the Hitler Jugend and into the Church, but I'm sure that Benedictus isn't a man who would submit to rules of logic or consistency of argument when it might damage the structured surrender of cognition he calls the Church. He's an admitted skeptic anyway, when it comes to allowing the flock to listen to Dylan. “There was reason to be skeptical, and I was,” Pope Benedict writes in his upcoming book about his association with John Paul: “Indeed, in a certain sense I still am today.”

But the Pope wasn't referring to Hitler, he was talking about Bob Dylan. Writing in his memoir; John Paul II, My Beloved Predecessor to be published next week, Pope Benedict XVI relates his reluctance to allow Dylan to sing before a 1997 youth event. He opposed letting this "false prophet" sing and although that song was not part of the program, John Paul II cited Blowin' in the Wind and assured the audience of 300,000 that the real answer ( don't be a skeptic, he's always right ) is in "the wind of the Spirit" that leads one to reject honest thought in favor of belief in what the Pope says that God says.

The song of course has a message about the insensitivity of man toward his fellows and the suffering caused by war. You'd hardly expect The Bavarian Pope to allow such heresy - not that the message is in any way unchristian - it's just that it didn't come from an approved vendor and it isn't being used to sell submission or a strawman Jesus who promotes war, persecution tyranny of thought and military aggression. Besides, Pope Benedict says that Rock music is the work of Satan and apparently even if it has a message of compassion, peace and love. No word on his opinion of Wagner and no hint that he is aware that Blowin' in the Wind isn't Rock music.

But I know there is some kind of wind blowing - I can smell it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The lie's the thing.

Imagine going to a pharmacy to get your prescription for antibiotics filled. Imagine that the pharmacist is a devotee of Refafu and gives you powdered rat's anus instead - because of his "faith."

Imagine going to your tax preparer who tells you you don't owe anything when you really do - because his politics deny the taxing authority of the government.

Imagine being given bad legal advice because your lawyer gets paid to do that by someone you're suing.

Imagine making a bank deposit at a branch that has nothing to do with First National and you never see your money again.

Imagine being sold tofu at the butcher shop because it's owned by PETA.

It's only a matter of time. Imagine you've been raped and you're pregnant or that you've been told your baby will be born without a brain. You go to the Yellow Pages and look up an abortion clinic. You find you're at a clinic, supported by your taxes that is owned by anti-abortion religious fanatics who give you fake and fraudulent pamphlets telling you birth control is evil and potentially fatal, that abortion causes breast cancer, that 8 week fetuses have brains that think and feel pain and that an egg cell is a "baby." It's already happening. The Liars for Jesus are doing this and you're paying for it.

Imagine that a prominent scientist is interviewed about an important heath threat but his words are cut and pasted so that they deny the threat. It's already happening and the Liars for Oilgreed are doing it.

It is beginning to seem to me that Orwell had it wrong. Big Brother is doing an increasingly bad job of bamboozling us. He's fooling fewer of the people less of the time with his propaganda and rigged elections, but Big Oil and Big Jesus and Big business in general are doing it better every day. Stings, scams and frauds are becoming standard procedures, even with organizations that pretend to be all about truth and ethics and morality; the lie's the thing.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How dare you call me articulate?

To call George Bush a delusional incompetent or Karl Rove a miserable bastard could be taken as being insensitive to their feelings. To call the junior Senator from Illinois a brilliant orator is, as we are told, insensitive to his feelings and insensitive to the feelings of a "Community" that we are simultaneously told he belongs to and does not belong to. Nobody seems to care what Mr. Obama actually thinks.

Words, you see, have to be interpreted in a strictly racist way in order to avoid the appearance of racism. People must be stereotyped, pigeonholed and treated as groups so that people of a racist mind won't call those who are not, racists.

We're all supposed to be "sensitive" and because this is America, we need to carry it to ridiculous and self-defeating extremes. Because this is America, we can no longer depend on words meaning what they mean - they can only be interpreted by the political priests who represent "communities" and because this is America, anyone objecting to anything becomes a "community" even if its a community of one. So what do you do to point out that Barak Obamaindispensable talents for a Statesman, you don't say anything; you ignore the man, lest some ad hoc "community" put words in your mouth. Best not to be impressed by his intelligence and capability, because the inquisition will assume some heresy no matter how sincere the compliment. Is there a sneakier way to enforce bad stereotypes than to suppress open admiration?

Carl Rove, of all people, should know better than to put his foot in his mouth and there is probably something "ulterior" about everything he says, but I can't disagree that Obama is articulate. I may delight in everything unpleasant that happens to Rove, but I'm sick to death of the crepuscular and rebarbate semantics. If nothing we say can be taken to mean what it means anymore, if nothing can be understood without implanting an ulterior motive chosen by the listener; if everything must be deconstructed and reconstructed as a contradiction, then language is useless and there is no point to being articulate and no point to free speech.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Return of the Newt

Now let's make it clear - Newt Gingrich is not a hypocrite for having flung excrement at Bill Clinton: whooping and hopping like a zoo chimpanzee whose cage had been rattled, even though he was himself having an illicit sexual affair at the time. Not a hypocrite at all, said he to Focus on the Family, a self-congratulatory Christianist radical group. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards." Pandering to the Godbothers is of course not just a way to render one's sins nugatory, but a signal that Newt intends to run for President.

Whatever the relative standards of morality and decency demanded by Newt or by God, both seem to be entirely situational and subject to constant reinterpretation as befits the sales goals of the moment, but by my standards Newt is a hypocrite whose hypocrisy is rather too indelible to be washed away as easily as he would wish. "Clinton was punished for perjury" claims Newton although he was neither punished nor a perjurer. "you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials" but you can apparently accept tax evasion and you can accept sinners throwing stones at sinners and bearing false witness against the innocent as long as you clear it through God's own laundry, Focus on the Family.

Irrespective of his honesty in denying a sexual relationship, the question was irrelevant to the charges against President Clinton and of course not only were the charges not proved, they were heavily dependent upon fiction, bought and paid for by those who are lecturing us about ethics, morals and family values.

Gingrich apparently retains a good deal of popularity amongst the Republicans, at least the segment of that party that has become used to running things, and I believe we're seeing the launch of his trial balloon. Whether there is enough hot air available to float it, laden as it is with ego and freighted with enough ethical baggage to weigh down the Hindenburg, remains to be seen.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fear and Loathing in South America

"The future will be better tomorrow"

-Dan Quayle-

Sadly, he was wrong, but to be fair, Dan Quayle never did say he wished he had studied Latin so he could talk to Latin Americans during his trip to check the progress of our War on Drugs in South America. But the history of official Presidential and Vice-Presidential journeys to the south will soon have another chapter to amuse us. The pending Bush visit to South America triggers a lot of deja vu visions. Nixon's 1958 Vice Presidential visit was a harrowing one. His car was pelted with rocks and invective in Venezuela by what was portrayed at the time as a "pro Communist" mob. I suspect that US support for yet another brutal and corrupt "anti-communist" dictator, Marcos Jimenez is a more complete motivational description, but then, as now, things are described in accordance with the prevailing mythology.

Of course Nixon was still a dozen years from escalating Imperialism by assassinating the duly elected President of Chile and American Presidents have been supporting brutality in desultory fashion ever since. If Bush doesn't remember, perhaps he will be reminded that we are not widely seen anywhere as promoters of peace and liberty.

"I dont see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people."

-Henry Kissinger, 1970-

That sort of says it all. US intervention in Latin America, from political meddling to murdering; from invasion to the overthrow of democracies, is a long-standing tradition less likely to be forgotten by South Americans than North Americans. Bush, however does have the opportunity to disassociate himself with the past, even if the smoky odor of our intervention in Iraq clings to him.

"Mr. Bush should emphasize U.S. support for governments with a strong social agenda -- giving the poor a political voice and devising programs specifically aimed at reducing poverty." Says today's Miami Herald. "Mr. Bush needs to shape and articulate the argument over economic policies and respect for personal and political liberties in a forceful manner."

What he needs to do of course, and what he can do are sets less than congruent. Articulation is not his strong suit and respect for personal liberties has been replaced by a police state mentality, to say nothing of the fear of and anger towards Spanish speaking foreigners in the US. Perhaps George will return home wishing he had studied history more closely.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

So long Scooter

Any hope Scooter Libby had about scooting out of the charges are gone - he has been found guilty of 4 out of 5 felony charges, which include Obstruction of Justice and Perjury. Still, this observer feels unsatisfied that the full extent of the misdeeds surrounding this case remains hidden.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A final solution

Any story about anyone with a vaguely Spanish name in my local paper is invariably received with comments like "Illegal - Illegal!" and "Deport the illegals!" Sometimes the suggestions are much more violent. Witnesses to crimes will sometimes speak to reporters through an interpreter even if they do have some facility with English, but the word "interpreter" will elicit the same calls for deportation and tirades against people who don't speak English fluently.

Last week I watched a TV story about two Florida fishermen whose boat sank some miles off Boynton Beach. They were in the water a long time and one died of a heart attack while boat after boat passed by, waved and disappeared. Why? because they were black and despite the mandate that a boat captain render assistance to those in peril, the presumption was that they were among the Haitian illegals who sometimes show up here, dead and alive. America's children of immigrants hate immigrants and nearly always have. Smile and wave and let the black men drown - lets' catch some fish and snicker about Liberals and the War on Christmas. Cubans of course are different. If they make it to shore, not only do we not drown them or lynch them; they are usually legal and are usually treated as human beings.

Early this morning, reports the Miami Herald, 11 soaking wet and shivering Hispanic immigrants, men women and children, showed up at a Key Biscayne toll booth and were given coffee and blankets. They were allowed to call relatives in Miami and unlike similar water soaked Haitians, or Hispanics from other countries, they were not beaten by police, thrown into trucks and held incommunicado until they were deported. Why? Cuba is a Communist country. We will do anything to help economic refugees from some Communist countries although those from other countries like China, might be held for decades without a hearing, but not Cuba. Cuba is right on our border. Cubans look almost like we (white people) do.

Now I'm not going to lecture about the inherent racism or the random inequities and contradictions of US immigration policies; I'm going to make a suggestion. The US can afford to eat better if we allow migrant labor to pick our crops, cut our lawns, dig our ditches and wash our dishes. Mexico can ease its burden of millions of economically deprived and hopeless people by sending them here and here's the way to make it all palatable to the xenophobic, Budweiser drinking unwashed of America: Mexico should have a successful Communist revolution and nationalize US assets. That would bring manufacturing jobs back to the US and leave the mucky, back-breaking work to immigrants we could now welcome as refugees from Communism. Everybody's happy - up the revolution!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Scarborough unfair

"During almost 15 centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? . . .superstition, bigotry and persecution."

James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance

Joe Scarborough is a riot - not because he has a sense of humor but because he doesn't. I normally Tivo Bill Maher's show on HBO and watch it on Sunday, so my disgust with Scarborough's idiocy du jour is a bit late, but as his pet theme is currently making its way through the American consciousness like some kind of pestilence, it's never too late to comment.

Joe tells us in all smugness that there is a "cottage industry" involved in "annoying Christians" and of course the comment was directed at fellow rationalist Maher who never hesitates to tell us he doesn't believe in the invisible man; Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Muslim. I guess that annoys Christians, or at least those Scarborough identifies as Christians, which he seems to do without any awareness of the vast diversity of Christian beliefs over the millennia. It really annoys him that anyone suspects Jesus did not bodily ascend to heaven and might have the nerve to mention it. It annoys him that anyone disagrees with the peremptory precepts of fundamentalist preachers and he believes others should equally be annoyed at this blatant freedom of speech.

This pleases me no end of course, as Jesus' tolerance notwithstanding, Christianity in its mainstreams has annoyed the hell out of people who dissent, even in small matters, and has done so by killing them, torturing them, persecuting them, excluding them and expelling them. For 1700 years there has been unremitting battle against pagans, heretics, free thinkers, dissenters and adherents of any other religion as well as members of various Christian sects. They continue to annoy people of other beliefs by marginalizing them and attempting to exclude them from public life if they will not acquiesce in the program of Christianist domination rampant in our America of today, constitutional guarantees notwithstanding. Worst of all, the promoters of an evangelical ascendancy sell their aggression as a response to an attack - an attack that consists of not surrendering a basic freedom of religion.

So sorry Joe, I don't believe your crap - not any of it - and I don't believe Jesus did either. I have the right to question, I have the right to disbelieve and I have the right to say so publicly. You don't have the right to be protected from hearing things that question or do not coincide with your beliefs and if you don't like freedom, get the hell out of my country and take the rest of your stupid, sneering, small-minded, superstitious, subhuman tribe to Scarborough Country with you; your cheap hair color and all.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Andrew Coulter?

I wish the media would stop calling Ann Coulter a "conservative commentator." There is nothing conservative about calling everyone who disagrees with her a "faggot" and frankly her vampire hairdo and her skanky black dresses make me suspect that her obsession with gender identity is a cover up. Look at the size of her Adam's Apple!

If as she says, Clinton's randyness is evidence of "latent homosexuality" what then do we make of "Andy" Coulter's apparent cenobitic lifestyle? Is she simply unwilling to reveal her pre-op tranny status or is her status as the Siren of STD better known than I thought? In any event you never see her romantically linked with anyone male or female and how wrong could we be to suspect something like bestiality? Perhaps in place of the sex drive normal humans possess, some accident in utero (or in ovo) prevented its development and replaced it with a quaquaversal hatred for anything good or decent -- or anything at all.

The Impolitic suggests that the neocons need to cull Coulter. I would agree only as far as a literal interpretation of the word goes, although It's possible that destroying her, whether with a stake through the place where a heart normally is found or by exposing her for what she is, would simply make her more dangerous. It's also possible that continuing to link her to the Republicans and the Religious nuts will drag them downward to the same hell Coulter emerged from.

Let's hope.


Constitution Is Abandoned, of course -- did you think it stood for Central Intelligence Agency?

Khaled el-Masri has a similar name to someone the CIA was looking for and so the German Citizen was grabbed in Macedonia, taken to Afghanistan, beaten and tortured for 5 months and then dumped with a "never mind" which is as close to justice he's ever going to get. A Federal Appeals Court refused to hear his case against the CIA because that would render the CIA responsible for its actions and we can't have that. Next thing you know people would be asking King George to be responsible for his actions!

This is a precedent that essentially makes the CIA a nation unto itself responsible only to itself and answerable only to George, Rex Dei Gratia who is himself responsible only to a "higher Father." Can you imagine a country where you are not allowed to defend yourself because the facts are the property of the government and they can deny you the use of them? Don't bother to imagine - the day is here and the country is the United States of America; the day that justice died.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Prove it!

People with logically or morally or factually untrue arguments often demand proof when facts interfere. Proofs are for mathematicians and teachers of Euclidian geometry; with history we have to rely on a preponderance of evidence. A 99.99999+ probability is not proof and so people like Mel Gibson, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Arthur Butz can insist that Hitler's government didn't deliberately kill all those people because there's a 0.000000000000001% uncertainty about some detail.

The latest spokesman for evil to use such arguments to shrug off responsibility for the other holocaust: the brutal slaughter of millions and millions of civilians by the Imperial Japanese government in the 1930's and 40's is the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe who is seeking to reverse the tardy and horribly inadequate apology issued by that country to the approximately 200,000 women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army. There simply isn't any doubt that events such as the Rape of Nanking or the massive terror bombings or the live burials of hundreds of thousands of Chinese occurred, nor is there any doubt about the satanic prison camps or the testing of biological weapons on large Korean populations to study how quickly they would die. There is no doubt about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, yet the ultra-right revisionist government of Mr. Abe resists letting Japanese students know that any of it happened. Despite endless news reels, photos, documents, testimonies and piles of severed heads: "you can't prove it."

As though such blood curdling denials weren't enough, as though Abe's patriotic drum beating in Japan's schools weren't sufficient refuge for this scoundrel, he apparently feels that the fate of these women, many of whom did not survive incarceration in the Japanese "comfort stations" was their own fault.

"The fact is, there is no evidence to prove coercion"

Ya know the bitches wanted it. Frankly I find no evidence that Abe is worthy to breathe the air of our planet or that his government is worthy of existence, much less our loving support and adulation. This is the country that our administration would love to re-arm, the country that would love to and is working hard to make us an economic and cultural dependency. The rise of Japanese militancy under another right wing, aggressive and unrepentant government is an enormous threat to the world - even if you can't prove it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Take the Swift Boat to Belgium

Sure I called him a liar and a coward who shoots children in the back and faked injury to get a Purple Heart, but it was just business -- nothing personal.

That's the sort of statement you'd expect from Don Corleone, but when we hear words to that effect are we inclined to think of someone better qualified in terms of his impeccable background and diplomatic skills than anyone else to represent the United States in the important European Union Capitol? What we heard during Tuesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing was the voice of a partisan without conscience, without any sense of morals or ethics or decency or shame; a Republican, a supporter of George W. Bush.

We no longer live in the day of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, but John Kerry whose campaign for President was set back by the sleazy lies of Bush supporters at least got to confront Sam Fox, a major financier of the "527" behind the Swift Boat Veterans hoax. Fox weaseled, saying he wasn't aware, that he hates the 527's and couldn't remember who asked him to contribute. "I did it because politically, it's necessary if the other side is doing it," said he, somehow equating lies with truth; equating the failures, misstatements, lies and deceptions of Bush with wholly invented slander and libel against Kerry. All's fair if you get to define fairness.
Of course Fox didn't do much more than hand a $50,000 check to the Swift Boat liars and some find his culpability to be less than 100% but that's a little like saying Al Capone never killed anyone. It's hard to explain why Fox waited until now to contradict the slander he paid for; hard in light of the fact that the campaign still functions and the Swift Boat website still exists.

Barak Obama, the Senator from Illinois, proved capable of trenchant understatement by calling Fox's explanations "Unsatisfying," and indeed it is. Unfortunately we all can demand satisfaction, but we can't expect justice. Under Bush's Reich, we can usually expect criminals, incompetents and their collaborators to be rewarded in proportion to how much they advance the power of Bush and so Fox receives, amongst other rewards a nomination to be an ambassador and not a jail sentence.

We can't expect much outrage either; not while Britney is in and out of rehab and Anna Nicole continues to decompose -- and most of all while the products of Bush's criminal regime make the outrageous seem trifling. Bush can continue to hand out power and prestige and honor to his henchmen like any other Caesar and there seems no way and no will to stop him.

Washington Post blogger, Mary Ann Akers has a more detailed description of the proceedings, for those with strong stomachs.