Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Thrilla from Wasilla

Little Georgie won't be at the Republican convention in Minneapolis tomorrow, or so say the people who interpret his inchoate mumblings for us. The official story is that he "has concerns" about hurricane Gustav. The real story is probably different, but we'll never know whether he's been dis-invited or is simply having too much fun riding his bicycle in Beltsville, Maryland. I hear he's finally finished My Pet Goat and needs something else to do. Perhaps he'd like to surpass his already record number of vacation days and go for 1000.

The former Miss Walissa will be there with her pet goat however, while the Gulf Coast boards up and heads for high ground. It's harder to know what to do with the far greater national disaster looming ahead for this crumbling country as the idiots and the madmen and religious insurgents hold their quadrennial war dance and camp meeting. The storm surge of nationalistic, religious and anti-intellectual frenzy won't subside by Tuesday as will Gustav and there is no high ground to provide refuge from the "farleftliberal" screaming tsunami.

Of course it's possible that Bush is simply trying to be Georgie-on-the-spot in order to smooth over the inevitable memories of his legacy of uncaring incompetence and the images of him playing air guitar while New Orleans drowned. After all, as the representative of Petroleum, he has a vested interest in continuing their reign by electing McCain, but all in all, it really doesn't matter. This nation of enthusiastically ignorant saps will be so entranced with Miss Wasilla's little behind, we'll miss the best and possibly last chance we have to prevent our new century from being the last stand of western liberal democracy and becoming the bottomless tar pit of freedom.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

War: forever isn't enough

We're all distracted at the moment what with the conventions and America's obvious descent into theater of the absurd as millions of Americans obey the hypnotic suggestion and suddenly decide they're in love with a small-minded fundamentalist Alaskan with a dead bear in her office.

What better time for George W. Bush to craft his legacy, or rather to cram his legacy into any of our orifices he can? To put it succinctly, George wants Congress to affirm that we are in a permanent state of war with the Taliban and al Qaeda and since the next president and the next will be the sole decider of what those organizations are and whether they still exist as a threat, we will be assured of limitless, never ending, yet totally unwinnable war and a Republican boot on our neck.

Of course the eternal and undefinable enemy will always exist and so will the emergency war powers of the Republican Caesars as the Republic fades into rewritten history.

The lady on the right

Somewhere in a closet I have an old Louisville Slugger. I'm thinking of getting it out just in case I have to listen to any more crap about the New York Times and the "liberal Press." Face it; anyone who isn't still asking themselves what the hell John McCain was thinking could use a good whack on the head, but serious questions are not what I am reading in the Times this morning. Instead we have Sarah Heath Palin, an Outsider Who Charms
"She rose to prominence by impressing voters more with gumption than with an established record."

Is gumption some code word for opposing abortion rights, gay marriage and perhaps censoring the public library? Does it stand for deficit spending and unrestricted drilling leases for the oil companies? Yes, her ability to garner support without having to delineate policy has many people dumbfounded. It should have us worried as concerns a country where looks and personality trump intelligence, honesty and knowledge every time.

And then we have: Choice of Palin Is Bold Move by McCain, With Risks Bold Move? Does Bold mean random or erratic or counterproductive nowadays? McCain risks undercutting the "inexperience" gambit, says the article. Yes, sure, but he has already risked undercutting belief in his sanity if not his commitment to hire competent people rather than those who share his religious dogmas.

Let's hope our "paper of record" ends this honeymoon quickly and gets down to doing its job of giving us a clue as to what or whether McCain was thinking!

Cross posted from The Reaction

Christianophobia?

I'm guessing that the blog world as well as the commercial media will be gobbling about Sarah Palin for the rest of the weekend. You can almost see the WTF? rising like a cloud of smoke over the entire planet, but lest you think the supply of utterly and unfathomably absurd things has been exhausted, take note of the latest from the Vatican -- and try to supress your gag reflex.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister, spoke yesterday concerning the death of 13 Christians in India that were the result of sectarian violence against Christians who were attacked after the murder of a Hindu leader. Let me take the opportunity to speak against it myself and in support of religious freedom, but how can I forget that this same Vatican, with it's infallible knowledge of good and evil, arguably has been the largest supressor of religious freedom from it's inception until the rise of Stalin. Stalin is dead, but the Vatican is still there.
"'Christianophobia' should be combated as decisively as 'Islamophobia' and anti-Semitism,"
said the representative of the organization that invented anti-Sematism and slaughtered the Muslims, Jews, Protestants and Cathars in Europe and abroad; the organization that persecuted religious dissent and even scientific inquiry with torture and genocide.

It's hardly a phobia when the fear is real, when the feared people had to be legally restrained from running the biggest pederasty ring in the world and when Christians are still doing all they can to make sure we don't hear about evolution, cosmology, geology or large parts of history; to make sure they alone determine who can marry whom or have intimate relations with whom and to force our children to hear about their gods and make oaths to them.

Christian organizations and the governments they control have a rotten history of supporting Colonialism, vicious exploitation, drug addiction and disrupting "traditional values," in Asia, Oceania, the subcontinent and elsewhere. It took hundreds of years and untold amounts of blood and destruction to pry the Church out of governments of Europe and while they are still persuing the conversion of the non-Christian world, identifying all other religions with Satan and still teaching the fires of hell and damnation for anyone they don't approve for heaven, that "phobia" is going to continue to seem more like a legitimate fear to billions of people. If there ever is to be religious freedom, will it have to be pried from the cold, dead fingers of prelates?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah who?

Perhaps only in Alaska can you find such a perfect woman: huntin', fishin' wildlife preserve drillin' Oil industry sympathetic, NRA member and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who might just pull in a disaffected Hillary supporter or two. As Creature at The Reaction says this morning:
" hasn't McCain has just blown his experience argument out of the water?"
Experience: did anyone really place much store in that trope of desperation anyway? Nixon had all kinds of experience and Dan Quayle was a Vice President. Abe Lincoln had practically none. Still it's amusing and glaringly inconsistent amidst the constant yapping about Obama's inexperience. Of course I wonder whether anything John McCain ever said or did exhibited any consistency other than the passion to win at all costs?

Fixing boilers with Biden

One of the most constant things about the United States is our set of criteria for choosing candidates. Although we regularly elect aristocrats; aristocratic in terms of money and power at least, we place great store in their sometimes real and sometimes fabricated proletarian roots. Although our first presidents could be numbered amongst the landed gentry, at least by American standards, we have always had a very obvious love of the log cabin bred, self-made man, and that image has been important in the selling of candidates from Andrew Jackson to Abraham Lincoln. It played a part in such diverse campaigns as Jimmy Carter's and Richard Nixon's, Ronald Reagan's and of course George W Bush, the AWOL, drunk diving, president's son born with a silver spoon in his nose.

My take is that we Americans hate to be looked down on by anyone; we hate even to imagine that anyone is smarter or has better ideas, particularly if they actually are and do. I don't remember any president more condescending toward those of his fellow citizens having more brains than money than our current Commander Guy, but somehow his cowboy boots and vacation ranch bought him a lot of sympathy and a lot of time before his ratings began to slide. Of course intellectuals like Kerry or Dukakis never really had a chance because they never were able to play the part well enough to seem natural at it and indeed were worse off for trying to drive tanks and shoot ducks. We forgave them nothing, least of all their education and accomplishments and ability to run a government.

So it's no surprise that we're already being officially reminded of Joe Biden's "regular guy" credentials. James Rowley writes today at Bloomberg.com about Biden's ability with hand tools and how quick a study he was at learning boiler maintenance, even though the writer doesn't seem to know the difference between a boiler and a furnace, we can bet Biden does -- and of course Joe can swish a basketball from half court too, just like Barak.

I'm no different than anybody else. I give credit for being able to adjust a gas burner and knowing the difference between a Morrison tube and a firebox, but having been in the boiler business and having worked in a boiler plant, I don't recall any of my friends there being prime presidential material. In fact I know more than one ex-prisoner of war and the same thing applies.

If we've learned nothing else, we should have learned that regular guyness at G8 conferences comes across as childish and ignorant buffoonery, but of course we probably haven't. We haven't even learned to tell a rich New England playboy phony from a real cowboy or rancher. Perhaps we even prefer the sedentary slug with a larcenous, condescending and failing heart ( and bad aim) to the real hunter.

So OK, Biden does not appear to be pretentious or socially condescending, and those who insist that Obama is "elitist" are simply referring to the fact that he's a damn sight smarter than most of us and far better educated in things that directly relate to the job description of president. That's snobbery of the worst sort, which brings me at last to my point: we're not hiring a boiler inspector or basketball coach or ranch hand. We don't need a hero or a mediocre pilot and even though we don't need a guy like McCain, for whom money does indeed grow on trees, to tell us how to fix a failing economy, ability and integrety and intelligence and honesty are independent of nearly everything we seem to be looking for. Presidents aren't going to drink beer at Your Moose lodge and no matter what they think about abortion or gay marriage, they don't decide such issues. Whether their faith in some invisible entity is unshakable or non-existent has no effect on your life or mine any more than their ability to bowl or shoot baskets or hunt or even wind-surf. Fulsome promises of unconditional love for America, its flag and each and everything the country has done speak more to dishonesty than anything else, but we go on being snobs with the conceit that nobody who might in any way feel socially superior shoule hold the office. And so we elect the greedy, inept, corrupt and basically stupid who feel so superior that they don't obey our laws or tell us the truth. Odds are we'll do it again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meanwhile

Outside the Big Top in Denver, there are all kinds of things to delight us at the sideshow. Take the primary election victory of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens who is under indictment for concealing a quarter million in free stuff from an oil services company. Ted is very popular amongst his constituents for bringing Federal money into the state even if he skims a little when nobody's looking. Incumbent Alaska Representative Don Young is also in a very tight contest ( currently too close to call) despite being under investigation for taking money from VECO, the former oil services company and for pushing through a questionable earmark for a Florida road project. One has to wonder if Alaska Republicans are very concerned with the imagined ethical failings of Barak Obama, the farleftliberal.

Meanwhile back here in Florida, people who are intent on restoring the integrity of the Republican Party, as one neighbor of mine says, have selected Tom Rooney to run for the House seat vacated by the lacivious boy-loving Mark Foley and now occupied by Democrat TIm Mahoney. Tom of course is the scion of the Rooney Family who owns numerous gambling enterprises in Florida and New York along with the Pittsburgh Steelers Football franchise. We can be sure Tom will never take into account what's good for gambling when determining what's good for Florida. Even if he does, he's not a "farleftliberal."

A more cynical man than I am might be convinced that Republicans not only can be bought, but can be bought cheaply with a few mumblings about abortion, farleftliberals and America's "Greatness." To be a cynic however implies that the critic actualy cares. I don't. I'm happy to let it all fall apart if for no other reason than to spite the McCain idiots who challenge Obama for not attacking with sufficient anger, anyone who questions America's "greatness" and god given right to world domination. The world would be far better off without people like that and if we indeed are like that, the world would be better off without us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clear as mud

Is there any concept murkier than Moral Clarity? When John McCain tells us Barak Obama lacks that sticky, opaque and thoroughly uncertain medium through which events must be seen, he's really telling us that what John sees as morally imperative is simply opinion that can't otherwise be defended.

What do we see when John asserts that Obama isn't being honest or possessed of good judgment for suggesting that the US should lead by example, by thinking twice before invading? When he asserts that
"If he [ Obama] really thinks that, by liberating Iraq from a dangerous tyrant, America somehow set a bad example that invited Russia to invade a small, peaceful and democratic nation, then he should state it outright,''
he must be asserting that massive bombing, huge civilian casualties, the destruction of a country, its roads, its schools, it's institutions of learning and culture, it's homes, its businesses and the exile of millions of families is a morally clear way to remove one particular dictator while ignoring all the rest. I think Obama was saying it outright.

Such morality as McCain praises is best cloaked with the smoke of burning bodies, and of course it has been. Is it really necessary to point out the way McCain describes disputed territory as a "peaceful and democratic nation?" It should already be obvious that he's indulging in convenient fantasy. It should be obvious that when he insists Obama is morally unclear for suggesting that the US, riding alone on its moral high horse "won" the cold war, that his idea of clarity is about waving flags so you can't see the truth.

If I were one to write aphorisms, perhaps I could produce something cute about avoiding those who tell you that morality is clear, but those who won't accept that won't accept it because morality for them is simply a sleazy excuse for sacrificing others for your own gratification.

Perhaps if John McCain thinks that this war and its shock and awe was a good thing and has produced good things sufficient to justify more killing and destruction than did the man we removed from power, perhaps he should have the guts to say it. He should have the guts to admit the trumped up, fabricated, forged and ever shifting excuses Bush used to initiate it instead of justifying it with sleazy sophistry sold to war lovers. He should have the honesty to step away from the crepuscular casuistry he uses to insinuate that attacking Iraq had anything whatever to do with morality or anything to do with punishing al Qaeda.

To me, the fact that McCain lacks anything like the leadership qualities, the education or the intelligence to be the President we need is beginning to take a secondary place to the increasingly ineluctable conclusion that he's a flim-flam artist of little talent selling the moral, ethical and practical failures of his predecessors as salvation.

With love, from Denver.

Michelle Obama loves this country. She made that clear last night, as she was obliged to do. Anyone associated with a candidate needs to appear infatuated with the United States, after all; needs to be seen as being of the opinion that no other country on Earth could have offered them what the US has offered them.

A candidate, or a spokesman for a candidate, needs to stay away from the obvious fact that the lives of many people have been limited, ruined or indeed ended by the government in its official capacity or by its tolerance toward those who have institutionalized injustice in the name of "consrvative" philosophies. Criticizing our history or the people who made it can and will be seen as "American bashing" or as "blaming America for everything." That sort of thing has been an effective barrier, keeping truth out of patriotism far better than any tin fence ever kept Mexicans out of New Mexico.

AP tells us this morning about Americans arrested for protesting against China's annexation of Tibet. They weren't treated with a comfy chair, needless to say, but from the moral heights at which we view such things, it's easy to forget how Americans have been treated for the same thing right here -- or at least in Chicago. Pictures of Police throwing citizens off highway overpasses, into bodies of water; pictures of police dragging people from busses by the hair and clubbing them don't often appear in the press any more and only old timers like me remember when others brag about our "Freedoms." I remember the commedian and political commentator Dick Gregory being arrested off the street and thrown in jail for simply walking toward the Democratic convention. I remember a photographer being thrown to the ground and having her camera smashed for photographing the felonies of the police. I remember columns of National Guard coming down State Street simply because there were protests and being afraid to go out of my home for fear of the police. What about the small town mayor and his mother, roughed up, hog tied and thrown face down in a puddle of dog blood by police dedicated to protecting our "freedom." That didn't happen in China.

I could spend all day about the persecution of Americans who once read Marx or who were simply suspected of it. I could lament that Navahos aren't allowed to use the water that runs through what's supposed to be their land. I could spend the rest of my life railing about the Genocidal deportations of the Indians, the enslavement of Africans and the hundred years of persecution that followed their emancipation. I could talk about the hangings in Chicago of people who were present at a rally for an 8 hour work week. I could scream about the abuses of civil rights in our "wars" against pornography and marijuana and even against Islamic literature. I won't. You are either already aware of America's dirty laundry or you refuse to be aware lest it tarnish your patriotism.

But of course acknowledging some of the dark horrors of American history and current events is not the way to get elected. You have to be mindlessly rapturous about the unique and unsullied freedom we pretend to enjoy -- or else. Michelle has to seem wildly greatful for what the country has promised as an inalienable right to everyone and has denied to a great many. She has to pretend that protest is never censured, that people aren't beaten and tortured without the protection of the law and that it's always been that way. She has to pretend not only that she's always been proud of every thing this country has done, but that at all moments she is and has been proud to the maximum level. We've seen the negative consequences of her saying that she was now more proud than before.

All this is far more important than knowledge of trade policies, the capacity for diplomacy and negotiation, the understanding of economic and monitary policy, a true willingness to follow the dictates of law and a renunciation of the thirst for conquest so absent in our current government.
She needs to appear to be grateful to "the man" for what were supposed to be the natural and inalienable rights guaranteed by the constitution and so long thwarted by "conservatives."

I've often been - have usually been in fact, ashamed of one aspect or another of this country for as long as I've been old enough to feel shame. Anyone who hasn't is no kind of patriot, nor is patriotism in itself a virtue. Shame motivates change. Shame is the result of having a sense of morality. Ask anyone who has raised children. Without a sense of shame, and the honesty to acknowledge responsibility for what we have done or allowed to be done, patriotism is just another pagent of dishonesty and self congratulation and the midwife to half the evils of the world.

Is this all a simple minded diatribe? You bet, but I'm talking to America, not to the Princeton philosophy department. I'm talking to a country as dishonest and ignorant about itself as it is about other countries. Dont' get me wrong, Michelle Obama seems to be intelligent, virtuous and open and would be with or without the obligatory blue collar, log cabin background. Indeed she's a huge relief from the slithery, cynical, chip on the shoulder personnas we're used to from other candidates' spouses. What I need to hear from her husband, however, isn't how he just loves, loves, loves America, but about how we've mortgaged our freedom to wage fraudulent wars, about how we've been sold economic policies that have failed every test for the benefit of a quasi-feudal elite; about how we've been sold colonialism, jingoism and fraudulent economic policies, sugar coated with patriotism -- and how he's going to help end this shameful state of affairs without undue concern with the effect on corporate sacred cows. I don't need to hear about the hard time he had in life or the easy one. I wan't to see his ability to inspire us to altruism and to understand a complex world. I don't care about his "faith" or whether he has the flag tattooted on his rump, but I'm betting that no matter how dedicated he may be to improving our nation, this is just what we're going to hear from Denver.

I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Honor thy mother and father

ABC's web site today contained the following video clips:
Now substitute "boy" or "beaner" or any other term derogatory of a group and watch the feathers fly, but it's still just fine to make fun of someone over 60; it's still fine to perpetuate nasty stereotypes as long as it's about women over 50. It's acceptable to chastise those who defy your stupid Alzheimers and diapers and false teeth bigotries and other slanders -- and it shouldn't be. Why is any women who doesn't know enough to sit on the porch in a rocking chair and knit, comical to the media?

Why am I the only one pissed off about this?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Scurrilous

It's from the Latin Scurille for buffoon and somehow it's the word that came to mind when I saw the attack ad that Fox News "accidentally" ran yesterday; an ad that attempts to associate Barak Obama with radical groups from the 60's and with the terrorists of 9/11/01.

Scurrilous -- among the definitions one finds are: given to vulgarity, evil, containing obscenities, abuse, or slander. Not a perfect word, perhaps, but close, and it marks the opening ceremonies of the Olympics of Opprobrium. I'm afraid that once again, the gold medal will go to the side that is willing to do and say anything whatever and without scruple or restraint. There are always enough people willing to believe something that allows them an excuse to exercise their private bigotries and secret prejudices; always enough to swing an election.

The utterly scurrilous attempt to prove that Obama is not a natural born citizen, even though he was born in the US (unlike McCain) continues and an attack ad against Obama's Vice Presidential choice Joe Biden aired within hours of the selection being known.

Of course McCain has a chance to disassociate himself from the sleaze. McCain is perfectly capable of running a dignified campaign; is perfectly capable of announcing that "I'm John McCain and I do not approve of all this, but we know he won't. He will be happy to let it fester and ferment as long as he can get a single vote out of it while washing his hands like Pilate and blaming it all on someone else.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Liberty is a terrorist

The story goes like this: you're told you can no longer work at your current job and you can no longer find employment in your profession because your name is on a government list. The government won't confirm or deny it, so you can't go about demonstrating that you've been falsely put on it because you have no idea of what you've been accused of or why -- or even that the list exists. As far as you know the list is only there to keep you from working.

No, it's not a newly discovered Franz Kafka novella, it's the story of Erich Scherfen, a man who served honorably in the US military and during the Gulf War. He's currently employed as a regional airline pilot, but has been told that he can no longer fly because the TSA has him on a "terror" list -- a list that no one is allowed to see, not even to demonstrate that it's all a mistake.

But wait -- aren't we guaranteed the right to confront our accuser? Don't we get a day in court? Doesn't the government have to show we've committed a crime before taking our rights away? Hell, no, not in the Republican fascist hellhole full of apathetic consumers and mewling, cringing cowards that we used to call a free country. The "terror" list itself is the most terrifying thing about our pathetic pretend democracy and more pathetic for the fact that the only organization anywhere who will stand up for this man, the ACLU, is the favorite demon of the ruling party.

Of course they know why Scherfen is so terrifying and so do I -- he's a Muslim and his wife, an American citizen, was born in Pakistan and came here as a kid. His crime is flying while Muslim. Our crime is not giving a damn. Our crime is not storming the Bastille, dragging the bastards out of their offices and pillorying them. But we don't, we mumble about the Pledge and God on the money and them damn "Libs" in the ACLU and how John McCain will deal with "terror" much better while freedom itself is on the "terror list" and cannot fly.

Cross posted from The Reaction

The Birth of Rock & Roll?


On a lighter note -- and can't we all use one -- Brian at World Gone Mad seems to be running a contest for the oldest Rock & Roll tune anyone can remember. OK, I was only 6 at the time, but Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats' Rocket 88 from 1951, which later made the charts with Jerry Lee Lewis' cover is it for me. That's the one I remember and Jerry Lee still makes me fire on all 8 cylinders.

Blue's fans like me have have a hard time determining just when Rock & Roll emerged from the womb and although Rocket 88 seems to be a favorite of a majority of musicologists, some pick Elvis' That's All Right Mama (1954). I don't care actually, I'd rather listen to Son House or Robert Johnson, but of all the later covers, Jerry Lee's version actually put me in the drivers' seat. Actually thinking about anything by Jerry; thinking about an open car and a country road makes my right foot feel heavy. Get in the back seat and let's go . . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Limbaugh and the "little black boy man-child"

Rush Limbaugh seems finally to have responded to criticism of his indefensible attack on Elizabeth Edwards's sexual practices and prolix propensities.
"You can't hit the girl"

he laments, with a gratuitous dig at Feminism and Hillary Clinton. Sure you can Rush, and you'll hit anyone and then act like you've been unfairly treated by the nasty "Liberals" who call you an immoral, dishonest and reprehensible bastard for having been all those things for so long.

His latest gambit is to complain that we're complaining that Obama is being attacked and we're complaining because of course, he is above criticism. I would commend him for this inventiveness, but it seems to come so easily to him that I can't give him any credit. Of course nobody is putting Obama on a pedestal, nobody is treating him like a Messiah, that's only the game the Limp Boy is playing because the man is obviously a better leader, more intelligent and better able to express coherent thoughts and policies. Sorry to disappoint you Rushbag, I just think Obama is better, not that he's Jesus Christ and Elvis rolled into one.
"you can't criticize the little black man-child.
You just can't do it, 'cause it's just not right, It's not fair. He's such a victim"
whines Rush, posing as a victim.

Sure you can Rush. It's really only you pretending that anyone is above criticism. It's really only you pretending that our revulsion at your bigotry, your limitless amorality and your viciousness toward anyone you feel like being vicious toward justifies it all. Do you think anyone doesn't read "man-child" as your snickering replacement for Boy? Criticism of a political candidate is always fair, but libel, slander and all the other fictions you excrete for the benefit of your fatuous and furious followers is not fair. Undermining truth and justice and decency isn't fair and that's just the way you make your $38 million a year. If you had any real concern for the United States of America you'd fill your pockets with bricks and start wading East from your magnificent beachfront property until you drown.

Will the real man please stand up?

There's a divide and you're either on one side or another and whether genetics or experience is the greater factor, one can tell your polarity even without discussing politics. No, I'm not talking about Liberals and conservatives; I'm not quite sure what those things mean any more, I'm talking about the cultural divide that puts John McCain in the same camp as the fellow I know who lives in a shack out by lake Okeechobee, whose tattooed torso is shirtless all Summer and who has never owned anything but old, beat-up trucks. Those in the category I know personally, include a retired engineer who used to design ordnance, several retired military pilots and others who share very little in life but the "me against the world" attitude, an appreciation for John Wayne movies, authoritarian governments who never the less govern less - and the distrust of intellectuals.

Now that the media has decided to tell us that violence in Iraq has declined dramatically, it seems that such people are seeing John McCain as someone who can be most obstinate and forceful in dealing with the Iraqi Government's desire for the kind of freedom and independence and sovereignty we have made such a fuss about giving them. Barry says we're going while the Maverick shows his "maverisciousness" by saying "not so soon" to the colonials. That's what we can see John Wayne doing and that's what they fear Obama will not do: give us a settlement that seems more forced than negotiated; a settlement that makes us look more victorious than negotiated; that makes the whole misguided enterprise look like a glorious demonstration of imperial power.

Whether or not violence has decreased and whether or not the Iraqi government is now strong enough to fight its own battles, the gap between McCain and Obama, at least in the polls, seems to be closing as it becomes more likely that the glorious and victorious peace with honor we were denied in Vietnam is more likely with the former than the latter, under whom it might just quickly and quietly end.

An accord has apparently been reached however and if the Iraqi Parliament approves, the matter may be settled before any election. Perhaps McCain will have to invent a new attitude for himself as regards the 100 year occupation he's apparently comfortable with. Regardless of what that might be, the below average pilot who nearly flunked out of the academy his father got him into, will be seen as better be too many people simply because he wore a uniform than the far more intelligent and accomplished Obama.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Only a paper moon


Yep, it's only a tropical storm in a place far away - not worthy of national coverage since there aren't a lot of bodies floating down the street as there were in New Orleans and there are so many distractions elsewhere, but don't tell that to the guy looking at his missing roof and most of his waterlogged furniture lying in the front yard or the guy with just the top of his SUV sticking out of the 6 foot deep inland sea that used to be a parking lot. Keep in mind that most people don't have flood insurance and are just this morning finding out that their home owner's policy doesn't cover any of this.

Of course there's a lighter side to everything from nuclear holocaust to leprosy, and you may find more favorable ears attached to the carefree guy using his pickup truck as a tow boat so his kids can water ski down the highway or the deranged iPodal skateboarders with improvised sails doing 90 over bridges 60 feet above the water or the surfidiots who, so desperate for waves, can't resist the temptation to go out in hurricanes to the delight of the local shark population - or worst of all, the kite surfers who read in the papers that it's only a tropical storm.

Yes, the winds rarely exceeded 60 mph where I live, but it's the flooding that does all the damage - well, that and the tornadoes. Have a look at some slides from the Palm Beach Post while I go out in the wind and rain and see how my boat rode out the storm.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fay go Away!

If you've been through a direct hit by a category three or four hurricane -- if you've been hit directly by three major hurricanes in 18 months and lived under the imminent threat of several more, you've learned to take them seriously. As with many possibilities of disaster, the waiting is the worst part.

We cut short a cruise this weekend, coming northward up the Indian River as the sun set; gliding into the Manatee Pocket in the dark, the shore lit up with points of light like holiday decorations from houses and marinas and restaurants and resorts, the engines rumbling softly at idle as the full moon rose pumpkin orange in the east, it was tempting to feel profound awe and reverie and indeed I did, although the mood was deeply eroded by the possibility of yet another of nature's screaming tantrums.

And so we sit and wait and pull up the National Hurricane Center's report again although we know it will be the same as it was ten minutes ago and hope that Fay will somehow continue to drift westward and stay away from my house, my boat and all the things people hold dear and that hurricanes love to smash and scatter.

So I'll make one last trip in the rain, making sure we have gas for the generator, that the spider web of dock lines are properly set, that my prescriptions are filled, the emergency batteries for the Amateur radio equipment are charged and then, with little else to do, I will take some aspirin for the headache, tums for the heartburn, blog a bit for the anxiety -- and wait.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Low, low Limbaugh

I was going to begin by asking what it might take to finally discredit Rush Limbaugh, but perhaps that's not a question any sane person could answer. His personal life is so full of reprehensible behavior, his professional life is so full of reprehensible and irresponsible slurs, misrepresentations and fabrications that nobody not predisposed to irrational hatred could possible see him as a reliable commentator -- and yet he remains wildly popular and highly paid. The answer, I'm afraid, is that nothing can discredit a liar amongst a population of liars, bigots, fools, idiots and madmen. That's a rather large population, it would seem.

None the less the statements he makes as he bounces up and down on his prodigious rump would stun anyone with a minimum of decency and honesty. He latest, as you may have heard is to defame Elizabeth Edwards for causing her husband to cheat on her. Who, he implies, would want an intelligent woman who is capable of expressing her opinion?
"It just seems to me that Edwards might be attracted to a woman whose mouth did something other than talk."
Giggles the gelatinous Limbaugh. But it just seems to me that's exactly what Rush's mouth does as he fellates the limp wits at the bottom of America's barrel. It seems that way to Keith Olbermann too. Of course the Republican Right dislikes Olbermann and would portray him as some sort of irresponsible radical, but so far I haven't seen one of them risk seeming to back Limbaugh by criticizing his indefensible and disgusting performance.

What about it Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin -- are you listening?


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When is a crime not a crime?

"Professionalism is alive and well at the Justice Department,"
says Michael Mukasey and I'm sure he's right, but just what is it that the Bush Action Team is professional about? Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association, the Attorney General said
"not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime."
So when is breaking the law not a crime? I think we know: not when the professional lawbreakers do it.

Mukasey has announced, according to USA Today, that "former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers."

Not that it's not against the law and it's not as though there is no evidence and testimony that the law was broken. It's just that certain people are above laws meant for the proletariat. Certain people belong to the class of ├╝bermenschen. Just ask the Nazis Bush administration.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The answer is blowing in the windmills

What about gasoline at ten bucks a gallon; think that might change your life for the worse? Think again. Of course I'm not talking about a sudden rise from today's prices, I'm talking about what would have happened if the California Cowboy hadn't eviscerated Jimmy Carter's program to make us energy independent and we had used gasoline taxes to pay for new technology.

We should really be fed up with the way Republicans tell us that no example abroad ever applies to America as well as with the insistence that using energy faster and selling it cheaper is the way to ensure our future as a productive and prosperous nation. Let's, just for once, pull our collective heads out of Dick Cheney's rectum and look at some success stories elsewhere. let's look at Denmark.

Back when Carter was taking measures to remove the yoke of OPEC from around out necks, the Danes were getting 99% of their energy from the Middle East. They did something about it - we didn't. Instead we laughed at Carter, elected Reagan, and we're still importing oil and looking for more like there was no tomorrow. The Danes now import none. Their taxes and regulation spurred innovation, our aversion to it produced none. Their new technology produced jobs and profitable exports, we switched to driving big trucks.

Yes they have high energy taxes, but they are thriving which is in no small part the result of their clean-power industry that, according to Roger Friedman writing in the International Herald Tribune, is one of the most competitive in the world today and accounts for well over ten billion in exports -- not bad for a tiny country. Denmark today gets nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind while the United States derives only about 1 percent. They recycle waste heat from industry and derive electricity from trash and they did it all with strict government regulation and energy taxes. Now before you launch into an eruption of Republican dogma about government interference and the holiness of Tax-free borderline anarchy, it's been a financial bonanza for the Danes. Their unemployment rate is 1.6% and ours is fast approaching 6%

"We are going to introduce a new tax reform in the direction of even higher taxation on energy and the revenue generated on that will be used to cut taxes on personal income - so we will improve incentives to work and improve incentives to save energy and develop renewable energy."
says Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen. I'm willing to bet he won't have to put up with the kind of minstrel show financed with oil bucks that we have to endure, or with sneering snarling and slithering candidates and Republican-owned news media squealing like pigs about tire gauges either. I'm also willing to bet that when the crumbled remains of the United States finally does attempt to do something about that nasty, festering cut on our Achilles heel we'll be buying the technology from Denmark and China -- if we can afford it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gods, flags and idiots

Expatbrian over at The Impolitic points out that George Bush, while attending the Swimming finals at the Beijing Olympics, held up the US flag -- backwards. I have to disagree that we will be hearing a lot about this, but I'm still getting the viral e-mails about how Obama-the-Muslim-terrorist hates the flag.

George of course is over there making a fuss about religion and how uplifting it is to worship God. Outside the Kuanjie Protestant church, George who obviously knows nothing or less than nothing about the long religious history of China declared that
"it just goes to show that God is universal, God is love and no state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion."
Come to think of it, he seems to know less than nothing about the Crusades, the Inquisition and 1500 years of war, conquest, genocide and murderous persecution by European followers of Jesus the Love-God. I'm sure that like most Americans, he knows nothing about the Opium wars either and about how China was forced to accept bibles and narcotics from missionaries, immune from Chinese law and backed by Christian military might. Everyone in China is still quite aware and more than a bit cynical about the benefits of having foreign controlled religions running amok in their ancient land.

Of course Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, religions not really concerned with the kind of gods Christians imagine, and certainly not accepting of the universality of Yahweh whether in the original version or the Romanized impregnator of virgins are still very much active and the temples are packed, to which I can testify. There are millions and millions of Muslims in China. I once spent a magical and yes, uplifting afternoon in the ancient Xi'an Mosque. Christianity is still present as a minority religion and I know a number of Chinese Catholics personally, but When George talks about religious freedom, I'm not sure he doesn't mean the same kind of Christianist domination he dreams about for the United States. I'm quite sure they are aware of our history of exploitation under the name of George's God-O-Love and want no part of it ever again.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Inflate your tires

The government says it may not be until 2030 before any oil we might refine from additional offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico affects gasoline prices in the US. John the Con-man says months. Barak Obama presents a list of measures to ameliorate the high price of fuel and Fox begins to pretend that it only included keeping your tires up to pressure.

Is the public buying it? Seems to me that I heard boos and I know I heard umpteen million V-twin engines drowning out his voice when he tried to snicker and sneer, pander and prevaricate before a crowd of leather clad bikers in Sturgis, South Dakota.

For sure he's a gold mine for comedians, at least those now beginning to have the courage to criticize. I do remember only a few years ago when Jon Lovitz faced a suddenly hostile audience here in Florida after he made a slight reference to the lack of perfection in George Bush and you know how Michael Moore has become the Burning Man after insinuating that the truth about George Bush was the truth about George Bush. Things are changing as you can see on Wednesday's Daily Show.

McCain seems more desperate that deliberate. Desperate to the point where he was stupid enough to humiliate his botoxed beauty queen of a wife by volunteering her for a "beauty contest" that traditionally includes raunchy behavior such as banana fellatio. I'm still not willing to express hope that the evil Rpeublican empire can be overthrown simply using the incompetence and unsuitability of its candidates, but it's funny and it takes a lot of humor to wash down current events these days.

Watch this.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

On the Road Again

Johnnie McCain at Sturgis, dressed in Khakis and in blue collar talking about getting to work.

Most everyone there got there by motorcycle or was with a motorcycle. Megabucks John wasn't, although he may have got there on his wife's private jet. It's not that there's anything wrong with being very rich, Many of the bikers in attendance aren't hurting for money and represent a cross section of Americans, but while dumping your crippled wife to run off with a millionaire fashion model young enough to be your daughter may not be illegal, it does weaken one's ability to scold others for not working hard enough, and it might just make him look like a damned hypocrite.

Actually John the millionaire is hardly in a position to brag about working hard in front of working people and of course he's the senator who has missed the most votes of any of them - including two key votes about repealing Big Oil tax breaks and promoting solar and wind power. Seems those two bills failed by one vote. Good Work, John. Keep shouting about energy independence and have a pleasant ride home in the family jet.

In the video, John the worker claims that "when he's president" he won't let Congress take any vacations. Sure sounds like an empty promise to me, but then why not? He's made so many already.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Wisdom of McCain

I guess John McCain has said so many things that it's hard to know just where and when he supported the administration's actions and when he was in maverick mode.

The Institute of Expertology remembers. It's a storehouse of wise sayings and predictions of gurus. pundits, wizards and prognosticators. Where else can we see just how good these people are at providing plans for the future. Have a look at McCain's Nostradamus-like insight into the future and ask yourself, would an educated and highly intelligent man be a better choice even if you don't want to drink beer with him down at the VFW hall?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stupid Liberals

It's only been a few years since my prediction that we would find ourselves in recession if Bush's economic blundering continued, but the difference in how Americans see things has changed a bit. I get called an anti-American commiepinkoliberaltraitor far less today although the "stupid Liberal" trope still turns up now and then. Only a while back, people on Fox and elsewhere were insisting that we were on the verge of another boom based on the voodoo of lower taxes and that all negativity about unlimited deficit spending and massive waste was the work of satanic Liberals seeking to undermine the economy. The media is promoting nothing but negative economic news was the headline. It's a conspiracy and we have a study to prove it, said the Fox. The real indicators are all up - way up. One of the most angry exchanges on this blog was about the liklihood of a downturn. I haven't heard from that guy for a long time.

It's not too surprising that such optimism is as difficult to maintain today as was the optimism the Republicans were being so militant about in the first year after the Iraq invasion. Even though opponents have been vindicated, the vindictiveness remains. They're still burning straw liberals.

Those who remain optimistic that we can borrow and taxcut our way to the promised land have dwindled to a few percent, but they still think they are a majority and they're still looking to fix the blame on others. Gone, or at least quiet now are the people who viciously condemned the "liberal media" for telling us only the bad parts 7 years ago; the people who said the schools were back open, the streets were safer than in Washington and the elections proved the mission was accomplished and peace was just around the corner. Waiting for a retraction or an apology won't be productive, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, back in the present, Inflation, that infected camp follower of deficit spending campaigns is beginning to hound us, but the Fed is afraid to raise interest rates because of the stagnating economy. They must be Stupid Liberals too.

John McCain has the answer of course -- it's called more tax cuts and more borrowing and more railing and screaming about Liberals. Anything less would involve being a surrender monkey. Is McCain following in the footsteps of his Bush administration optimist forbears with his continued optimism?

"Iraq will not require sustained aid"
-Mitchell Daniels, director White House Office of Management and Budget. April 2003

"We are talking about a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."
-Paul Wolfowitz, testifying before the House Appropriations Committee 2003

". . . before we turn to the American Taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community"
-Donald Rumsfeld, 2003

"The costs of any intervention would be very small."
-Glenn Hubbard, White House Economic adviser, 2002

"They can finance, largely finance the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will."
-Richard Perle (who stands to make a personal fortune from selling Iraqi oil to foreign interests)
2002

"It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars."

-Kenneth Pollack, former director for Persian Gulf Affairs, National Security Council. 2002
(The cost has surpassed half a trillion so far, not including the half trillion annual interest on the debt and it's likely to run to three trillion in total.)

" Under every plausible scenario, the negative effect will be quite small relative to the economic benefits."
- Lawrence Lindsey, White House economic adviser. 2002 **

So how many used ideas would you like to buy from this party of geniuses, you stupid Liberal?

**Quotes, thanks to the Institute of Expertology

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bread lines in Paradise

"The numbers are going through the roof. We think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg"
said the Salvation Army volunteer. It seems that all of a sudden middle class families aren't contributing to local food banks any more, they're showing up hungry because they have to choose between going to work, filling their prescriptions, paying bills and eating. Air conditioning is being switched off in the oppressive heat and humidity of a Florida summer. Bush's recent experiment in socialism and wealth redistribution seems to have had results as ephemeral as the prizes on Queen For a Day. The $600 was gobbled up and disappeared in a flash. Fewer and fewer economic prognosticators see any end in sight. Efforts to pretend we're not in a recession seem increasingly strained if not comical.

Donations to food pantries are down by 30% and the number of people showing up looking for food is up by 50% in some places. Layoffs, foreclosures, medical bills have to be weighed against fuel and food costs. It's a question of survival. The Florida Treasure Coast is home to some of the world's wealthiest people. Nearly all of them seem to be committed Republicans and Bush received heavy support here. There are no Democratic candidates for local offices. I can't get through a day without hearing angry remarks about liberals taking God off the money and out of the Pledge." You still see "W" and "Under God" stickers on cars.

Even more comical are the passionate screeds I receive by e-mail, warning about how Barak Obama is going to ruin the economy if elected. Higher taxes will make our economy collapse, they assert despite the lessons of history and despite this latest evidence of the idiocy of Bush's dumbed down and more crooked version of Reaganomics.

The letter I got last night had the audacity to blame our economic decline on Bill Clinton and his high taxes, Bill Clinton and his failure to attack bin Laden, Bill Clinton and his emasculation of our military. It blames Liberals for making it too hard to criticize a black candidate although it continually reminds us that Obama's father was black. It's hard to believe this is the work of a believer and not of a propaganda mill, but it was forwarded to me by someone who believes it all, hates Obama and inexplicably is a lifelong Democrat.

Election time is always slime time in America, but it's also a reminder that Americans aren't rid of racism, don't give a damn about freedom or prosperity or about their fellow citizens. We care about our taxes. We bitch about our taxes and we blame everything but the weather on the fact that we have to pay taxes to pay for what we think grows on trees. We still look for a president who is a chimera composed of pieces of a South American General and a South Georgia preacher who was born in a log cabin and shares our distaste for paying our bills and loves a big military parade with marching bands. McCain is a "military man" and Obama is not -- easy decision.

Democracy is for adults. We're not and I'm finding it harder and harder to give a damn about this country's future.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The one


One of the things that used to make me wake up in a cold sweat was the Nixon campaign jingle: Nixon's the one, Nixon's the one. Nixon's the one for me. Turns out he was the one to be elected and some of his supporters, like right wing radio crackpot and self confessed criminal G. Gordon Liddy were willing to break any law that got in the way of the process including laws against murdering people who get in your way.

It seems a bit ironic for the McCain campaign to be mocking Obama's charismatic personality by running a sleazevideo called "The One" and accusing the man of arrogance. Of course no one ever accused old John of being a charismatic anything and many is the time that his splenetic and explosive personality has got him into trouble. It's ironic when you remember the religious Ecstasy that helped lift W into the throne. People claimed it felt like voting for George was like voting for Jesus.

Of course accusations of elitism and arrogance can be interpreted to be a manifestation of inferiority -- in deed it's often the mating call of the loser. It's far too soon to be predicting a loss for McCain, particularly with the party of Liddy and Rove and the Swift Boat Veterans running amok, goading their demented minions into a frenzy of irrational hatred. Anything can happen. This is the country that elected Nixon twice and I hate to say it, but I think we're even dumber and more irrational today.

But there's an irony in comparing Obama to Jesus as the advertisement does is sarcastic tones. Indeed that sort of mockery of a popular figure as a false messiah is so integral to the Passion of Jesus that only a Republican can ignore the fact that they are painting themselves into the picture of Jesus in the Via Dolorosa, Jesus on the cross with the mocking I.N.R.I and the onlookers marvelling at the arrogance of claiming to be King of the Jews.

Barak Obama is hardly that; the video actually shows him telling us we need to be our own saviors, but by claiming that he claims it, by asking if the man they are mocking for his obvious leadership abilities is ready to lead, they do invite comparison to McCain's slithering and dithering and sucking up to the same old nefarious nabobs. Is there any evidence anywhere that John is ready or qualified to do anything more than continue the disastrous disunity that has us fighting with ourselves as never before while our wealth and prestige and indeed our prospects for the future leak away? What has John said that suggests he'll undo anything of what George has wrought?

Snark is cheap, but I'm hoping that for McCain, the price of this embarrassing insolence will be more than he can afford.