Friday, June 30, 2006

Stupid, stupid, stupid

A Los Angeles Times poll conducted this week shows that if evolution works in the human gene pool, it certainly doesn't work quickly. Many Americans remain hoplessly and adamently stupid; believing that that proto-hominid in the White House is "tough on Terrorism" whatever the hell that means to the simian mind. Perhaps it means accidently clearing up 0.000001% of the mess he created in the first place - and that only temporarily. Zarkawi, who was able to enter Iraq in the first place only because of George W. Bush, his lies and bungling, has already been replaced and possibly with someone worse. George is once again the man on the white horse.

Most disgustingly, The poll found a plurality, 43 percent, of adults say Bush has higher ethical standards than former President Bill Clinton. Twenty-nine percent say they are lower. Forty Three percent of America - at the very least - are ipso facto so stupid as to be undeserving of liberty if not life itself. To listen to the idiots of America take pride in their own cognitive failure and wail about the dire effects of letting Mexicans into the country makes me wonder if the aggregate IQ wouldn't be noticably improved by hordes of baboons instead.

If it weren't that giving up would be participating in the destruction of my country, I would give up.

Under whose God?

What should I say,
Since faith is dead
And truth away from you is fled.

-Thomas Wyatt-

I’m one of the dwindling few who clearly remembers Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell speech in 1961.  It had moments of honest eloquence not often reached by presidents arriving or departing -- or by their professional speechwriters.  It has been mentioned often of late because of his dire warning about the growing power and influence of the “military industrial complex” which as he predicted, has gained enough power to perpetuate the need for armaments and policies that make not only war and talk of war a constant, but which supports bellicose and paranoid attitudes in the public and private arena.  For opposing a fraudulent arms race, for recognizing the military’s needs as different from the needs of peace and stability, Eisenhower will be remembered and should be better heeded.

But there is another Eisenhower legacy, one which can be seen in that speech and heard in classrooms and read about on editorial pages today.  He talked about faith, about spiritual blessings; he talked about nations under God as being the upholders of the good and identified non-believers with enemies of freedom.  Had he really forgotten the faith and religious rhetoric of the enemies of freedom he helped defeat only 16 years earlier? Was he yet unaware of the scarcely countable centuries of religious persecution and tyranny and war by, in and between nations under God?   In the words of his final address, it is the atheists who are the enemy and not because they are totalitarians, but atheists.

The notion that it was God who stopped Hitler from taking England seems to have some currency in that country, now that the huge sacrifices of her military and civilians are being forgotten. I’m sure many Americans feel that it was God-fearing America alone who won the war against the God-fearing fascists and not the atheists from Mother Russia.  Mythology and false history, like entropy increase over time and Eisenhower was happy to play along with a faith based interpretation of it, whether or not it offended the single most basic founding principle of our nation: that our government derived its legitimacy entirely from the consent of the governed and not from God.

I was 9 years old in 1954 when a teacher whose name I have forgotten told me I had to affirm that I lived in a nation under God because the President said so.  I wouldn’t do it then and I will not today because I consider it an illegal intrusion into my private beliefs and an illegal establishment of religion and an illegal requirement to make a religious oath.  Yet somehow it’s passed into the mythology and people support groups who insist that the Eisenhower clause was written by the pious founding fathers who dreamed of theocracy.  Herein lies, I do fear, the end of America.  The truth is what they say it always has been and not what it was and so it shall ever be.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

"I'm proud that my son wanted to protect the freedom of this country, whether we all agree with the war or not," said Mike Plouhar whose son was killed by yet another roadside bomb in Iraq just 38 days before he was to be shipped home.

His son, Raymond J. Plouhar was seen in Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 as a Marine recruiter, and was depicted as an agent of exploitation, preying upon the young and confused and those with questionable opportunities. I doubt he himself thought of his job in that way.

Raymond J. Plouhar might be seen as a fine man, a man of courage and a man who had sacrificed a bit of himself for the sake of another. He was serving a stint as a recruiter in Flint Michigan, Moore’s home town, after having surgery to remove the kidney he donated to an uncle. A selfless man, it would seem and a man of admirable courage.

Apparently young Plouhar hated Farenheit 9/11 because it criticized the war. Like many, he perhaps believed that the will of the leader is the will of God and so no matter how wrong the war, it’s more wrong to criticize it. Certainly he had no fear of telling a man, married with children, that this was all the more reason to sign up. He must have believed the ever changing stories of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Bush, America’s gang of four.

His parents are proud of Raymond and I too am proud of anyone making a sacrifice to protect the freedom of my country – our country. It’s too bad that he has to see this particular action, that has done more than anything else in my lifetime to erode the freedom of this country, billed as not only something worthwhile for the nation, but something involved with keeping us free, but how can a father face the loss of a son who lived for others and died for nothing.

Raymond J. Plouhar, in my opinion, was more than another anonymous victim of forces wishing to oust us from Iraq and from the Muslim world. He was a victim of George W. Bush and his neo-con barbarians. He was a victim of a strategic ethic that involves the kind of blind obedience to authority that should have died long ago and has no place in a free society.

What a tragedy that this man who gave a piece of himself to save another gave the rest of himself to support a president for whom peace is an obstacle to profit and ambition.

Apocalypse whenever

Some historians seem to be worried that Mel Gibson’s latest pseudo-historical drama Apocalypto, might turn out to be more pseudo than historical. Ya think? That he gives the illusion of authenticity by having actors speak in a modern Mayan that would be unintelligible to Mayans of the day reflects the Roman Legionaires in his last pseudo-historical effort, who spoke medieval Church Latin rather than the dialect of the first century. That’s a stretch greater than allowing James Brown to play Chaucer, but of course all is permissible in the retailing of the Faith, isn’t it Mel?

Then too, the film which seems to be based on a protagonist trying to escape some mass sacrifice, which Mayans apparently didn’t do in the first place, is no worse than his dismissing the life, works and teachings of Jesus in favor of explicit, hard core, sado-porn and 4th Century Greco-Roman mystery crap, but confusing Aztecs and Mayans and the countries they lived in won’t bother Americans any the more than portraying Jesus as an Aryan. We’re all a bunch of idiots when comes to history and barbarians when it comes to caring about it.

Frankly, I wish this baby-faced bullshit artist would go back to claiming that the Jews of Germany migrated to Australia rather than Auschwitz so that the hilarity of his phony history lessons would be seen in better light.

Of the historians who criticize his tendentious twaddle, “I frankly don't give a flying fuck about much of what those critics think” said Gibson to Time magazine.

Nice talk Jeezeboy. Go tell it on the mountain and I don’t give much of a damn about your sick crappy beliefs either. Go say a hundred Hail Mary’s or go fuck yourself – whatever.

Manchurian candidate.

So much for Mr. Obama.  I used to dig him, but it’s all over now.  Democrats must court evangelicals, says he and even though our Constitution scrupulously avoids any mention and forbids official acknowledgement of God or gods or any group claiming authority derived from invisible powers, he thinks the party must compete for their support.  

"Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters," he said to a religious group: Call to Renewal.  Indeed it does and one context in which I deem and the writers of the constitution deemed inappropriate was the context of the Federal Government and its laws.

Frankly, though he is correct that religion plays a large part in the individual lives of Americans, I fail to see that as a mandate for the legislature and the courts to get involved in our personal mythologies any more than they should get involved in other important things we hold dear, like our family relationships and our love lives and all our private matters.

"It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase `under God,” he continued. Perhaps that’s because he believes in God and thinks everyone else should too. I was embarrassed to have to say it in 1954 and I refuse to say it now as do many who have actually read the Ten Commandments and the constitution and take one or the other seriously.

In truth, if the world’s biggest generator of waste and the largest den of corruption and imperial lawlessness since Caligula’s term as emperor of Rome is to be involved in matters of private conscience simply because such matters exist, then why not recognize all the myriad concerns from bigotry to baseball by courting support?  After all, the Aryan Nation is a religious group acknowledging the same God as other Christians and so does the KKK.  I don’t notice the Junior Senator from Illinois advocating for the official mention of Krishna or Allah or Vishnu, Wauconda, Legba, shri Ganesh, Amitaba or Baron Samedi and these are just a few of the deities dear to the hearts of American citizens. The Nazi party is faith based and so is al Qaeda. Sometimes it doesn’t take much reductio to get to the absurdem part, does it?

We don’t do this; we don’t recognize any establishment of religion because that would require government to say this religion is good and that religion is bad and because that would be the end of religious freedom, the constitution forbids this.  Barak Obama is a very intelligent and very educated man and I don’t have any evidence that he is corrupt, so I can only assume that, speaking of brainwashing, his failure to recognize the obvious is an artifact of some other process.  Should we look for a small scar on his shoulder?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If this be treason. . .

Treason?  I think we’ll all be hearing the word applied to more revelations of government misdeeds in the build-up to the sham elections in November.  Of course more terrorist plots and rumors of plots will abound and there will be more sham hysteria about pornography and drugs and people who speak Spanish and perhaps even a staged burning of a flag or two.  I predict that it will be effective – it always has been and Americans are all too eager to go out in the streets with pitchforks and lanterns to fight whatever monsters the Government invents while the men in black plunder us in secret.

If the New York Times has committed treason, than so has every newspaper because if George W. Bush can retroactively classify things which have long and publicly been announced, then we are all traitors whenever it suits him to make us traitors.

Indeed an executive order calling for greater cooperation with foreign entities “to monitor money that might be headed to terrorist groups” was posted on the White House website only days after the September 2001 attacks and numerous mentions have been made of such monitoring whilst bragging about how successful George W. Bush has been in preventing terrorist attacks.

But George can get away with such slithery deeds because we the people are far too concerned with the pantheon of threats provided to distract us, with American Idol and the Superbowl; with witch hunts and wars on Christmas.  We don’t remember what George did or said yesterday; the president says jump and we jump. He says hate and we hate. He does what he wants in defiance of law and we love him for protecting us.

To paraphrase Lincoln, we are in no danger of any foreign entity conquering us; we can only be conquered from within.  We are in far more danger from those who claim to protect us while breaking, twisting, misusing and bypassing the law for purposes of power and the accumulation of wealth.  George W. Bush and his band of villains constitute the greatest danger this country has faced in its 230 years of existence and if this be treason, hang me.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We're number 1

If it’s foreign, it’s faster – that’s been a virtual mantra for many years, ever since the emission controls of the early 70’s made it seem that big, powerful engines were a thing of the past and even worse – uncool. It must strike some of as amazing to consider that 1970 ended 35 years ago and I say that because the opinions one hears would make it seem like those three and a half decades never happened and that the ’72 Oldsmobile 88 still represented the height of American engineering.

People still look to driving machines that are “ultimate” and cars for which “there is no substitute” as the fastest and best handling and most reliable or even more vaguely: the most “high tech.” I’m always amused to listen to breathless advertising telling about the latest thing from Toyota that my Chevrolet had back in ’93 or the new, exciting thingie that was standard on the 1948 Tucker. People still think that small engines spinning at 60 jillion rpm are inherently more virtuous than one with more displacement and yet which are smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient, more powerful, reliable and cheaper, but it’s all about fashion and de gustibus non disputandem est. Besides, nobody knows how anything works any more and if Volkswagen tells us they’re made of Turbonium, we believe it.

Last week, General Motors’ fastest son, the Corvette C6-R won the G1 class at LeMans, beating the next entry, a far more expensive Aston Martin DBR9 by five laps. Number three was an old C5-R running as a private entry. This marks the 5th first place finish in 6 years since Corvette returned to international racing.

G1 is the class for the fastest, production based sports cars. One would think this would stop Porsche pilots from harassing Corvettes on the highway, or give pause to the Honda Civics with enormous wings and coffee can exhaust, but it does not. The power of fashion and the might of advertising are far stronger than fact.

Face it, we don’t make much here any more other than cars and airplanes and yet we have no pride in them. We’re convinced that Europeans in their Fiat Pandas and horrible little Ford Ka’s are having all the fun while we are not. Europeans in the know disagree. I’ve driven very prosaic American cars in Europe and the locals all but chase you down the street waving cash.

I met with the President of the Aston Martin Club of Belgium last week in Luxembourg and he told me that if Corvettes were available there without the lengthy wait and massive taxes, he would gladly trade. That’s quite an admission and it’s too bad we flag waving types can’t find anything worth buying or even being proud of that’s made in our own country. We may indeed be amoral, imperialist warmongers who can’t play soccer worth a damn, but sometimes – just sometimes, we’re number one.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Swift Boat armada

Gerald Riviera, who embellishes himself with the more dramatic name of Geraldo Rivera, claims during the last 35 years, to have seen “a hell of a lot more combat than John Kerry.” While this no doubt delights the fatuous Foxheads of America, it annoys the hell out of everyone else, including me.

I suppose I could claim to have explored Greenland, since I flew over it at 39,000 feet last Friday and I certainly experienced the entire Battle of the Bulge by watching Band of Brothers on television, but then I’m capable of being embarrassed while Gerald is not. I’d rather not explore in detail a long career that makes Jerry Springer seem like Walter Cronkite by comparison, but we all remember how in recent years this cheap copy of Baron Munchausen claimed to be broadcasting from the scene of a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan which in actuality had occurred 300 miles away. We remember how he gleefully began to draw a map of US positions during the invasion of Iraq and yet somehow avoided being put against a wall and shot for it. He was however expelled from the country. True to form and quick to supply a lie, he called the expulsion “voluntary” and continued chattering from a luxury suite in Kuwait. I would imagine that such things are what Mr. Riviera calls “seeing combat.”

Loathsome as he may be, Gerry is only one snarling head of the thousand headed dog of the American Right. One could sever them by the hundreds but they would still hold fast to their victims and there would always be more to rend the truth and ravish everything decent and all to the unending delight of the Republican Party and the indecent trash who support them.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Robot

The Observer tells us of a new breakthrough in robotics; a kind of cybernetic pied piper that can look like a leader to cockroaches, luring them out of their hiding places into the light where they can stomped, flattened, smashed and otherwise destroyed. It uses pheromones to trick the loathsome creatures into thinking it’s one of them, just as Republicans use the stink of money to lure those without it to their ruin; use the stink of patriotic rhetoric,  the stench of fear, bigotry and superstition to lead what once was arguably the greatest nation on Earth to it’s sad and sordid destruction.

What reek, what foul effluvium would it take to lure the miscreants of the Bush Administration from under their rocks and what kind of citizens would have the courage, the honesty, the patriotism to sweep away the vermin and start to rebuild something we could be proud of again?

No one will ever do that for us and I fear that  none of us will ever be able to undo the damage any more than we can bring back the wooly mammoth or the Roman Republic.  George Bush and the worms that feed on the carcass of America have more cockroaches than we can step on.  

Friday, June 16, 2006

You must remember this. . .

A number is just a number, as time goes by - unless of course it's your father or brother or daughter blown apart by a roadside bomb.

"You know, it's a number, and every time there's one of these 500-benchmarks, people want something" said Tony Snow. Imagine that - some people think that we have a Democracy here and have the nerve to think they can influence the Emperor.

And let's hear it for the troops, who as you know, volunteered to suffer " to try to ensure that the people of Iraq really do live in a free, effective democracy of their own creation and design." So dedicated are thy that they didn't even wait to hear that bogus excuse when they were told they were fighting to destroy a government that was only minutes away from nuking us.

If this were fiction, it wouldn't sell. Readers would not buy a story about a whole nation being that stupid, that gullible, that willing to submit to tyranny. An America so cowardly that nothing seems important other than to save our SUV's from the terrorists, whether it's liberty or democracy or even sanity.

I need a break. Ineed to get away from the madness and so Fogg will be offshore for a week. Until then, don't believe a damned thing they say.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Quacks like a duck?

Maybe it is a duck, but how much goose stepping does it need before anyone calls it a nazi? Our new, non-activist court might just have something under those robes that you don’t want to see – like shiny knee boots. Today they decided that on those rare occasions when the authorities have a search warrant, they can just kick down the door rather than knock, reasonable or not.

Although a concept of the natural rights of man is the cornerstone or our republic, that right no longer applies to a non-citizen who can for any reason and with no recourse or explanation be held indefinitely without right to council or hearing. A Federal Judge in Brooklyn ruled yesterday that Immigration law allows the boys in shiny boots to detain non-citizens on the basis of religion, race or national origin, and to hold them indefinitely without explanation.

To put it bluntly, it would seem that now that the Republicans own the government, our natural rights as humans, our guaranteed rights under the constitution, the rights of a prisoner of war and in fact our rights under plain old notions of common decency are now only defined as what the party feels it expedient to allow you.

To put it more bluntly, the difference between our government and a fascist government is narrowing to the point of irrelevance and there is only one place to place the blame; on the cowardly, ignorant, superstitious, xenophobic and stupid American public. We, at the peak of our power and affluence and with momentum toward the goal of a fair, just and ethical society have thrown it away for a fable, a fatuous fear and an ape-like attraction to the alpha apes who now rule us. Due process is dead. The dream is lost.

I am here as the descendent of a hundred generations of people who knew when to get out, who could sense the periodic madness as dogs sense an impending hurricane. My only remaining question is – do I get out now, or do I force them to take my keyboard and my gun from my cold dead fingers?

New whine - old bottles

I will show you fear in a handful of dust

-T.S. Eliot-

George Bush’s new pose on Iraq seems to have the fools fooled again.  Always eager to look on the brighter side of life, the supporters of the occupation would like to make the question that of the half full Vs. half empty glass and sometimes have us looking at a cracked jelly jar full of dust while listening to someone call it a magnum of Clicquot.

Bush’s studied diminution of bravado is “. . .a display of candor that may help him to make up some of the ground he has lost with the American public by consistently pushing an overly optimistic line”  says an editorial in today’s Miami Herald ; happy to show us order and hope in chaos and hopelessness while trying to avoid the appearance of partisanship with a bit of faint damnation.  Was Bush’s quick trip to Baghdad a confidence builder as the Herald suggests, or was it an example of a con man dipping his big toe into shark-infested waters and declaring it just the place for a swim? Was it another cheap example of Bush trying to associate himself with an event by posing, as he did with New York firemen in 2001, while stonewalling any attempt to discuss the failures that allowed it to happen?

“The elimination of Zarqawi is an important milestone, but it does not turn the tide. It shows, though, that Iraq's enemies can be vanquished. Violence and despotism are not Iraq's inevitable destiny if Iraqis have the will to fight for a better future” says the Herald.

A skilled politician, like those who put words in Bush’s mouth, can use a true statement to make an unsubstantiated claim, to mislead and in this case to create unwarranted optimism.  The editorial neglects to point out that many and perhaps most of “Iraq’s enemies” are the people of Iraq and Iraq’s favorite sons.  It neglects that the Neocon crusade itself inflicted Zarqawi and al Qaeds upon Iraq in the first place. It neglects to mention that many Iraqi’s vision of a better future is despotism and they have a will to fight for it. It neglects to mention the difficulty of overturning a culture and its mores and its animosities and its visions and replacing it with a culture that has been seen as the enemy for over a thousand years.

For those of us who read identically fatuous articles about the doomed occupation of Viet Nam 40 years ago, the amnesiac gullibility of the nation today is frustrating, heartbreaking and infuriating.  I cannot say with certainty that there is absolutely no hope for Iraq, but I can say as I said then during the many years of the horror in Southeast Asia, that continuing the same thing that isn’t working and to appeal to patriotism and hope using fallacy and fraud will result in failure.  We did not win the “hearts and minds” of Viet Nam by devastating their country, propping up crooked government and slaughtering their women and children, and we will not remake Iraq in our image by doing the same thing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lower ego emissions

Does anyone still wonder about the nature of the man who occupies the most dangerous throne on Earth? We see him mock, sneer, shrug and make cynical dismissive comments every day designed to remind us that he's the man and we are not.

Volkswagen has been running a series of TV commercials implying that if one has something better than a VW, it's because of some egotistical hypertrophy, some overcompensated for inadequacy or other dire character defect. Of course that's snobbery in reverse, allowing the "can't-afford-its" to feel superior to the people who, for a great variety of reasons, don't drive a Passat. Indeed, there is no lack of conspicuous consumption involved in choosing a car, but in many if not most cases a fast car is just a fast car. I think I see a lot more aggression from econo-box drivers than Bentley Pilots, but that's just my opinion.

Sometimes an arrogant, dismissive twit is just a twit, even if he is a President. Sometimes he's also a dangerous man trying to seek revenge for the myriad offenses and humiliations he has received from smarter and better people all his life. George sneers first and asks question later - if he asks them at all. Witness the incident reported in Raw Story today where cocky little George attempts to embarrass journalist Peter Wallsten at White House Rose Garden by remarking on his sunglasses repeatedly, trying to get a laugh. George "bring 'em on" Bush stresses "for the viewers" that there is no sun.

"I guess it depends on your perspective" replied the immensly cool Wallsten, who of course wears dark glasses because he is blind.

Whatever he drives or rides is driven around in, George Bush is not the kind of guy I want to share a road with, or a country. I have more respect for the 18 year old brat in the 1992 Honda Civic with the J.C. Whitney wing bolted on the back who tries to race me at every stop light, than I do for this pathetic, overgrown, insecure adolescent who has the world by the throat.

One from column A. . .

In a way, I agree with the Evangelical Godbullies that cable and satellite TV services should allow customers to pick and choose what channels they pay to receive. The first things I would eliminate from my Satellite package would be the Evangelical channels. I consider them for the most part, to be as indecent as any of the other basic channel programming I avoid. South Park’s singing turd, in fact, is quite preferable to the 700 Club.

Of course the 'a la carte' plan has some Christian broadcasters worried about customers like me and rightly so. I have already blocked Trinity Broadcasting Network and Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network from my menu and a number of other even less reputable sources including Fox News, but if I could save a buck and apply it toward HBO or Showtime where I regularly watch the foul mouthed Sopranos, Dead!@$#%wood and Penn and Teller’s Bullshit, I would do it in a flash.

Colby May, attorney for the Faith and Family Broadcasting Coalition, fears that the only subscribers willing to pay to watch the demon Falwell or the repulsive Robertson or the other assorted shamans, charlatans and Bible babblers would be those already converted. I agree and that's why I like the plan. Perhaps being able to 86 the 666 morons would open up some room for some serious theology or Biblical history, or as long as I’m dreaming, a secular humanist or Buddhist or Hindu channel. I would rather pay to watch the Dervishes whirl than have the image of fat-face Falwell flatulating his fallacies and falsehoods in the sanctity of my living room at my expense.

Anyway, I can only dream. The real goal of the Faith Nazis is to keep me from having a free choice in the vain hope that some brain disease will allow me to fall into their clutches. I’m afraid their goal of infiltration and subversion is more likely of accomplishment than are my fantasies about freedom.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

There’s a war on

Perhaps that phrase should replace the other self-satisfied and congratulatory phrases we put on coins, bills and other tokens of power and authority. How often will you hear anyone say “In God We Trust” or “e Pluribus Unum” or “Novus Ordo Saeculorum” in the course of a conversation?

There’s a war on. That we say with pride. It conjures up the let’s get down to business, “let’s roll up our sleeves and sacrifice messages” I grew up with in endless WW II movies. For many, that spirit marked either the best of times or something we just missed out on and, with nostalgia in our hearts, have tried to recreate all our lives. Presidents have tried to invoke that spirit to make it serve other enterprises: the war on poverty, the war on crime, the war on drugs, but although such struggles persist, the panache of Rosie the Riveter and the image of families giving away the pots and pans for scrap and planting Victory Gardens just never attached itself to such campaigns. Although Presidents like John Kennedy did manage to inspire national pride and ambition sufficiently to allow us to spend the money to go to the moon, it was only the Cold War that made it possible.

America needs a war. A continent full of stingy, selfish, ignorant, fearful, angry, greedy and not too intelligent individuals needs a war to unite us to the point where some other purpose can share attention with the ball games, the video games and the latest Japanese trucks.

What President has been so successful in tailoring a war to further his greedy and nefarious ambitions as George W. Bush? But it has been us, the American people, who as anxious to throw away our freedom as a handful of Muslims were to throw away their lives, who have made it possible. There’s a war on. Let them search us, record us, squander our fortune and our future – let us be martyrs too! There’s a war on and even if our T-shirts have no sleeves to roll, we can show our team spirit by being the bitches and hunting the witches for the greater glory of Bush.

Did they or didn’t they?

Nobody will ever know for sure, not because facts won’t be found or witnesses testify, but because when it comes to the conflict in and around Israel, there is no truth, only belief and belief shuns reality.  It would have been insanely self destructive if Israel or even an Israeli officer acting without orders actually did shell a Gaza beach last week, killing seven innocent people, but then such things can happen either on purpose or accidentally and it would not be the first time.  It would have been unspeakably evil if those who wish the violence to resume and escalate planted explosives to make it seem as though Israel had blown up Palestinians for sport, but then such things do happen and have happened.  It doesn’t matter, we will believe what we want to believe.

All of us have our biases, some seek to set them aside and be objective, but I think I’m past that now. I just think that the human race is the inferior ape, the ape that could but won’t and I think that all we hominids hold most dear: patriotism, faith and pride, are our greatest faults. What greater good than that we disappear and leave the planet to less dangerous beasts.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The nerve of these people

"They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets" said Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris to reporters. "They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."

If we have no other evidence for the intrinsic evil of such men as are being held incommunicado and without charges in wire cages, we are now given the fact that they were willing do die rather than to face living the rest of their lives under intolerable conditions. One can only wonder whether the 460 Guantanamo prisoners are better off than the unknown number of men and boys grabbed from who knows what street in who knows what country for who knows what reason and sent off to be beaten, tortured and terrorized in who knows what dungeon in some Central Asiatic hell of a country. If there is anything asymmetric to be seen, it is the might and power of the United States Vs. some guy in a cage.

The perception of symmetry of course is subjective. An American willing to die rather than reveal our positions to an enemy would be a hero and to attempt escape from Colditz was a duty, but the massive asymmetry between the way we treated the men who beheaded hundreds of thousands, murdered tens of millions and bayoneted babies and the way we treat those who may or may not have done anything more than having been seen talking to the wrong person is stunning. Men like Ishi Shiro who spread anthrax, plague and smallpox over uncountable women and children and who conducted unspeakable medical experiments on innocents were set free after WW II. The slaughter of innocents hardly bothers us, but the suicide of a prisoner? The nerve of such people.

To what low have we sunk if we can as easily dehumanize others, enemy or otherwise to the point where we can beat them to death and yet see their suicide as an act of war, a sinister plot against us, a publicity stunt? How depraved are we if we can call ourselves the last best hope of the world while acting like the greatest monsters of history? How, if we foam at the mouth about Godless Liberals and break the legs of teenagers do we call ourselves human?

How ironic is it that millions of us obsess about the apocalypse and Rapture and the coming of the beast, when we are in fact the Beast?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The walls have ears

So you thought you could have some degree of security by using a VOIP telephone service such as Vonage?  Fuggedabout it.  A Federal Appeals court ruled that Big Brother can essentially listen to anything it wants to and coupled with the Big Brother Bush administration’s attitude toward due process, you’d better start ordering your pizza in person if you don’t want the NSA to know whether you like anchovies or not.

In dissent, Judge Harry T. Edwards said the law "does not give the FCC unlimited authority to regulate every telecommunications service that might conceivably be used to assist law enforcement.” Silly Harry -- the law gives the Government the right to do anything legal or illegal the President and his band of thugs feels like doing, from torturing children in secret dungeons to reading your love letters. Just who does Judge Harry think he is anyway?

Yes sir, it’s a good thing we don’t let any “activist judges” muck up the one party control of everything that happens in America. If we had to worry about the Constitution every time we bugged your bedroom, it would mean the terrorists won.

Friday, June 09, 2006

You have to be this big to ride

Welcome aboard the new Internet Bus Lines – you can sit up front and watch the movie or you can sit in the back next to the toilet. It all depends on how much clout you have with the owner. What? You’re a Liberal Blogger? You can wait for the next bus – it will be along when it gets here if we feel like letting you on at all.

The US House of Representatives, or the Witless Protection Program as I prefer to call it, rejected a Democrat-backed amendment that would have enshrined stiff Net neutrality regulations into federal law and prevented broadband providers from treating some Internet sites differently from others. Republicans shot down the amendment to the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act, which a House committee approved in April, because Its Republican backers, whose true constituents are Verizon and AT&T, say more extensive rules would discourage investment in wiring American homes with higher-speed connections. I disagree, but I may soon have to resort to smoke signals to express opinions unpopular with our corporate masters.

So again one more piece of public property will be handed over to giant corporations who may or may not let us have access and then only by their terms. You wannna get heard? You gotta pay and you’ll keep your mouth shut or you don’t get on line at all. One more window on the world will be controlled by the people who own the papers, the magazines the TV and radio stations and converted to a show window for juvenile entertainment, imported toys and right wing propaganda. OK, so there’s still PBS, but Congress has already sent Pauly and Sylvio to put their feet in the cement. Fugettaboutit.

The timing is perfect, the Sopranos are off the air until next year and I’m starved for some of that Mafia action.

The number of the Bitch

Religious people will tell you that God is everywhere and even godless Buddhists will tell you that everything is the Buddha, but I think that there are archetypes that exist and persist in our world so that the destruction of an Adolph Hitler or Sheik Abu Musa'ab Zarqawi mean no more that the cutting of a blade of grass or the pulling of a single weed. Many people become very angry when one uses any comparisons to Hitler, but I disagree that he was a singularity. Hitler is everywhere. Hitler is an archetype that emerges spontaneously from nothing as particles emerge from empty space. If you disagree, just look at Ann Coulter.

Neither Hitler or his current manifestation on Earth, Ann H. Coulter are single germs in the petri dish and that’s the danger. Under the right conditions, such germs spread and destroy the culture. The turmoil of Germany in the 1920’s and 30’s is far worse than the artificially created turmoil the Republicans have created in order to divide and conquer our Liberal Republic, but Ann has her followers as Hitler had his Goebbels and Count Dracula his Renfield. If civilization is to endure, to progress toward a better world, such weeds must constantly be plucked from the lawn.

I have written all I care to about this pustulant boil of a woman. I tried to post a long and tedious enumeration of that beast yesterday but Blogger was having technical problems. I’ve had enough and I’ll pass the torch to the three or four people who read this ‘Blog and hope more people will let their feelings be known directly to the Satan of Palm Beach herself:

PALM BEACH FL 33480 6129

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ashes and dust

. . . make my heart as a milstone,
Set my face as a flint.

Cheat and be cheated and die:

Who knows? We are ashes and dust.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson-

Who knows why people do what they do? The name Brianna, apparently of Celtic origin and a variation of Brian, suddenly made a quantum leap from extreme rarity to one of the most popular things to name your baby girl in the late 1960’s and has remained at the top, year after year, ever since. Who knows why?

Why would Californians elect Brian Bilbray, whose daughter is named Briana, to replace Duke Cunningham? Why replace the prime example of piratical Republican corruption, a man who spent eight terms stuffing his pockets, with another member of the same crew? I hope that we have not just seen an example of how negative campaigns and rabble rousing can make a cynical mockery out of Democracy; an example that predicts the outcome of the November elections.

Are we really so stupid? I fear we are and I fear that we will go the way of all previous republics from Rome to Weimar. If we continue to support the corrupt and powerful party of Ann Coulter, Jerry Falwell and Richard Bruce Cheney; the party that has taken us from wealth and prestige to debt, despair and a war designed to last forever, then I no longer want any part of it. Like Crankyboy at the Daily Curmudgeon; if the Republicans retain control of congress in November, I’ll weigh anchor rather than waste words.

Let them all dance around the bonfire of the liberties.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ann Coulter hates Jesus

How low can you go?

If you’re Ann Coulter, there’s apparently no bottom. Ann, who faces felony charges in florida for lying on her registration form, is jealous that families of 9/11 victims are better off than she is and she has no scruples against sliming them. Ann Coulter hates decency.

Look here to see clips of her nauseating vituperations and psychotic ravings. What can we assume but that Ann Coulter hates America and is happy when Americans die?

Ann Is fond of telling us that Liberals ( at least those who are liberal according to her definition) hate God (or whomever Ann thinks is God.) Presumably Coulter has some kind of unique exegesis that interprets Jesus as a Conservative, Pro-Rome hero. At least I hope she does, otherwise I will have to assume that Ann Coulter hates Jesus.

I’m not a believer, so the question as to whether or not I, as a liberal, hate God is moot, but I sure do hate Coulter. If she were to die in some unspeakably hideous and prolonged way, [hint to God] I might start to reconsider my agnosticism. I would settle, however for the statutory 5 years in prison that the law provides for vote fraud.

The Decider decides to divide

“It actually -- what we're really talking about here is an attempt to try to maintain the traditional meaning of an institution that has maintained one meeting for -- meaning for a period of centuries. And furthermore –“

Thus spake Bush’s press secretary Tony Snow yesterday, or stuttered or stumbled if you prefer. I can’t blame him, since it’s not easy to be the mouthpiece for that shifty, inarticulate, would-be demagogue who calls himself the decider.

Just exactly why nobody has challenged the premise that traditions of long standing need to be “honored in the law” and justified by their antiquity, I do not know, but perhaps the answer is obvious enough even to the professional scribblers that it wasn’t worth the asking. If this had been the practice when our constitution was written; if things can be justified by tradition, we would have retained a monarch. Of course some expect that to be the decider’s next proposition – right after the amendment that cites the Christian Bible as the ultimate source of law. ( Hebrew Bible commandments may selectively be ignored, but must be written on courthouse walls anyway.)

Protecting a somewhat tendentious biblical interpretation is at heart what Bush’s Marriage Amendment is about. King David after all, who was also the anointed son (meschiach or Christos, if you’re Greek) had more wives than Bush has supporters and as I interpret it, had a boy toy as well.

“I don't think it's posturing. I mean, I think many of us in this room are married, and we have strong feelings about the importance of marriage in our lives. And I think having the ability to define marriage is something that's important to a great many people in the United States of America.”

Well I agree, and it’s so important that I don’t want the Federal Government making it for me. I want to decide that for myself and therefore need to allow everyone else to decide for himself. It’s about freedom: it’s about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not about moral dictatorship or State authorized religious codes. I also agree with Snow that it’s a civil rights issue, although he couldn’t explain exactly why blocking civil rights was necessary, or why the two gay guys who live down the road from me are weakening my marriage, or why the only consistent pattern of decisions the Decider has made are to interfere with the private lives of citizens. Perhaps if I had Snow’s job I would be stammering too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

et vobiscum morietur sapientia

“when I think of you
I die too”

-Edna St Vincent Millay-

It’s fascinating, if a bit disgusting, to observe the American legal system wrestling with animal instinct as though it were a rational code of behavior. We are one of the few countries calling itself free that still indulges in ritual sacrifices or deadly acts of revenge and of course we need to reconcile that with our loudly professed Christianity. It’s no wonder that nothing makes sense with regard to killing prisoners.

Is Percy C. Walton too stupid to justify having caustic chemicals squirted into his veins? Is he insane, and if so why is it wrong to kill someone insane or someone very unintelligent? Certainly he committed some horrible murders, but he seems to think that when you die you go to Burger King and he hallucinates all the time. So certainly he’s as equal a threat to society as the mafia hit man or perhaps worse, so why not kill him and let the contract killer rot in a dungeon?

Is it some twisted concept of mercy or compassion allowing the soulless body of the law to lock up one dangerous person and kill another in cold blood? It all seems to hinge on whether or not Walton understands that he is being killed for having killed and that of course negates the argument that executions are about protecting the public. Such crepuscular casuistry is all about sanctifying vengeance.

What is quite obvious is that the American Rabble, always calling for blood, is terrified that someone might fake being crazy and thus has made it all but impossible to meet the requirements. Because we are a religious country, we have become so sure of God that we have put on his robes, or more correctly taken up his adding machine to total up the cosmic books that must be balanced so that the sun will come up and the crops not fail. An eye for an eye was the product of a civilization so antique their ignorance is unfathomable, but we cling to it; assimilate it into our “modern” faith because we fear that if we show mercy, if we feel compassion, if we shy away from needless killing, if one act of vengeance is not offered up on the altar, the real God will return and kill us.

God may be merciful, God may be silent, God may know all, God may be absent, but certainly and for all our swooning self congratulation and ecstasy the God we play when we justify things through God is the beast.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Stick that carrot!

Idiots rule. No I’m not talking about the Republicans or the idiots who vote for them, but the idiots who write for the media. There are few more malicious manglers of the English tongue than the pompous prattlers of the press. These are the people whose pretentious malapropisms drive real words into oblivion in the way bad money drives good money off the market.

I’ve wasted enough time complaining about people who insist that “negatively impacted” sounds better than “hurt” and who can’t tell the difference between affect and effect. Genital herpes is more treatable than newspeak addiction and I give up. The carrot and stick metaphor however is so widely misused that I have to say something before I’m forced to raid CNN headquarters with a basket full of lubricated carrots.

Years ago, a popular subject in political and other cartoons was the donkey cart driver who held a carrot from a string at the end of a stick so that the donkey, in trying to get at it, would move steadily forward. As a metaphor for a reward that cannot be reached or a ploy to dupe the ignorant, it served many a cartoonist well. That was back when impacts were collisions and people knew the difference between cars and trucks.

A CNN headline today shouts “Carrot-stick' deal agreed on Iran.” Ignoring the superiority of with or for to on, I’ll get straight to the point of the stick: The stick is not to punish the donkey. It’s not an alternative to the reward; it’s a method to deny the reward even if the donkey tries to take the carrot by moving forward. Thus the headline describes exactly the opposite of what the CNN morons are trying to say.

It’s bad enough that we’ve sold the American dream by following a tax-cut carrot on a stick, but I would rather learn Spanish than endure much more of CNN’s journalistic gibberish.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Monopoly of the air

In a country that confuses a healthy economy with high corporate earnings it’s not surprising to find that the business of even the FCC has become business. There was a time when that organization served to coordinate use of the electromagnetic spectrum and to make sure license holders used that public property for the public good. Under our new Republican leaders public good means private gain and bigger salaries for CEOs through monopolistic practices.

The Federal Communications Commission under former director Michael Powell actively promoted a technology that lets the power companies use power lines to provide internet service to their customers. The downside was that power lines are not shielded and act as enormous broadcasting antennas for the high frequency signals riding on them. One would think that the function of that federal regulatory agency would be to prevent harmful interference to legitimate licensed users yet the scent of profit was enough to make them ignore complaints and allow the power companies to get into providing yet another conduit for the internet.

The FCC has been steadfastly ignoring documented cases of interference and has been letting users of BPL or Broadband over Power Lines technology jam signals that the Amateur Radio Service, among other beneficial things, uses to transmit emergency communications. The technology exists to effectively reduce interference, but the policy of the FCC is never to require anything of giant media corporations but that they hire retiring FCC employees. The jamming and interference have continued unabated and ignored for several years.

So it’s no surprise to hear that the next handout to the media Barons, now that the Republicans have a majority voice on the commission, will be to once again attempt to dump the policy that prohibited corporations from owning a television station and a daily newspaper in the same market. Americans seem to oppose media monopolies and it is not hard to understand that if one corporation owns the news, that corporation has immense control over public opinion. It’s not hard to understand that such things are another giant step toward putting a great iron curtain around America, but the new Republican majority on the commission have no interest in what the serfs believe or want.

To be sure, the last attempt at legitimizing media monopolies was shot down by the courts: another example of what they really mean when they talk about activist judges, but with the courts better corrupted than they were 3 years ago, they’re going to try it again. A Pew Research poll conducted in 2003 when the FCC last debated cross-ownership showed that Americans who knew about the rule were roughly ten to one against diluting it and there has been so much public disgust at this tactic that such strange bedfellows as the National Rifle Association and Common Cause are standing against it.

There was a time when I would have been energized to protest, to march, write letters and contribute funds, but I think we’ve lost America, we’ve lost the understanding of what it means to be a free and liberal democracy and we might just as well learn to goose step. The dream is dead.