Monday, October 30, 2006

Don't get fooled again, Part III

Well here they go again. Some Early voters in Florida have been reporting problems with electronic voting machines, and wouldn’t you know it, there are reports that when one casts a vote for Democrat Jim Davis, the summary shows you voted for Charlie Crist, a Republican. Can you believe that – in Florida?

It’s been demonstrated again and again that the machines can be hacked, but here’s another one for you conspiracy theorists: a California based voting machine manufacturer owned by Venezuelans is being investigated by the Feds for possible ties to Hugo Chávez.

Diebold of course is the brand most in the news. For one thing its president is a Bush supporter, but like most American brands, the machines essential parts like motherboards and hard drives are made in China whence many alleged attempts at hacking US Government computers originate. I don’t think that hiding a malicious program in the boot sector of a hard drive is beyond the capacity of a Chinese grade school kid. Of course although their machines have failed every independent security test ever undertaken by a number of nationally-recognized authorities, Diebold considers all its software proprietary and there really isn’t any way to know what they’re doing without getting sued.

Sure there are paranoids everywhere and it’s easy to dismiss factual cases simply by calling them conspiracy theories, but consider Dr. Charles Corry, a PhD in Physics, listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering, 4th through 9th Editions, 1998-2007 and who has served on the IEEE Voting Equipment Standards committee for 5 years. He thinks we’re getting screwed. He things they’re lying to us. We’ve been cheated twice in a row and it’s foolish to think we won’t be fooled again.

Getting so much better all the time

I've got to admit it's getting better a little better all the time

-The Beatles-

The US economy is doing just great, thank you very much, and it’s all because of George W. Bush’s two trillion worth of tax cuts.  Just ask any Republican candidate.  The Dow passed 12,000 and that proves it, and incomes are up half a percent in September.  What more could you ask for?

The truth, perhaps.  That rising tide may float those who have boats but those clinging to rafts and bits of flotsam aren’t doing quite as well. That’s the funny thing about averages.  Indices like the S&P and NASDAQ which more accurately reflect the value of American business have not recovered. The cost of living is climbing steadily: insurance premiums, property taxes and health care are escalating rapidly and long time residents of my area are being forced out of homes they had thought to spend their retirement in and are moving into trailer parks, but on the average, when you take into account the growing ranks of billionaires, things look better.

”The story used to be a rising tide raises all boats, and now it just raises all yachts,'' says Edward Tufte, a political scientist at Yale “The benefits of a good economy are much more narrowly focused now on the top 20 percent.''

It’s the same story with employment figures: they don’t reflect the number of unemployed nor do they reflect the large number of people now working at low paying jobs who used to have good ones or who are working two jobs or who now work 60 hours a week “part time” without benefits.

None of this is news to you, of course – unless you’re a Republican and if you are, I have some other news for you:  there is no war on terrorism in Iraq, Bush has no workable plan to bring peace and stability to Iraq or the middle east, much less a recognizable form of democracy and has made the world a far more dangerous place for Americans.

I remember saying “hey, it’s a free country” a lot when I was a kid.  It really isn’t any more. Censorship and warrantless surveillance is growing. Journalists are being detained without charges for reporting the situation in Iraq. The government can legally make anyone disappear forever or torture anyone forever with immunity to due process. The legitimacy of our election process is in question.

I remember people bragging about having the highest standard of living in the world.  We don’t any more and not even close by many measures. We no longer have the best transportation system, the longest bridges, the tallest buildings, the most modern cities. Our literacy, longevity, infant mortality and general health are way down on the world scale as is technical and science education. We are one of the most superstitious nations on Earth and proud of it.

Remember this when you vote next week.  If you vote Republican, the crooks win.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mending wall

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,”

-Robert Frost-

But whatever that thing is, it is not the xenophobes who want to make hideous the wild and beautiful Rio Grande by building an iron curtain that is supposed to maintain the ethnic and racial purity of the United States. So it is that Lord Bush did sign a decree called the Secure Fence Act that authorizes congress to build one of those purportedly unlovable edifices on our southern border. Of course the proposal falls far short of the Great Wall of China, a far more expensive and extensive creation that also didn’t work to keep out the Mongols. Of course those neighbors to the North had other things on their mind than picking fruit and mending roofs and mowing lawns, but I digress.

It doesn’t actually matter that the proposed 700 mile fence can be walked around rather than climbed over or tunneled under, since it’s not going to be built and other legislation passed almost simultaneously assures that the money will go toward other Republican projects. “Let’s not and say we did” usually works well for the GOP.

The theme of Robert Frost’s Mending Wall is that good fences don’t really make good neighbors: the forces of nature bring down walls and nature intends for people not to be fenced in against each other. Whether it’s true or partially true or not true at all, The Republicans aren’t poets and the Republicans don’t actually care about walls or immigration or neighborly relations or the plight of the common man. What they wanted and what they got is short term credibility with the far right and another long term source of funds to be diverted for their benefit.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Depends on what the meaning of is is - Part II

It’s not torture if we say it isn’t – even if we say it is - and we don’t do torture even though we do a lot of it because we say it isn’t and besides, it’s necessary.

Make sense? It does if you’re Dick Cheney, or at least he wants you to think it makes sense to him. Personally I think his pacemaker is connected to his brain as well as his heart. The mechanical regularity of both of those impaired organs is disturbing.

According to the Washington Bureau, the Vice president has confirmed that US “interrogators” used waterboarding to extract information from suspects and that

"enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth. We've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that."

Give the notoriously unreliable nature of this kind of information – in fact given the disastrously unreliable nature of all the intelligence used to promote the Bush Crusade, I wonder about that. Certainly no progress has been made that could be attributed to this information bonanza, but that’s another story.

So even though they torture people, it isn’t torture because Republican Senators John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have said that a law Bush signed last month prohibits water-boarding and of course the President, being the law, can’t break the law and even if he does break it and admits it, can't be tried for it. Thanks Military Commissions Act! How did we ever survive for 130 years without it?

Cheney, in another one of those right wing radio ping-pong matches with “conservative commentator” Scott Hennen of WDAY Radio in Fargo, ND said this whole thing was a “no-brainer” and of course I agree. Neither Cheney or his dwindling base of support have functional brains, or any sense of decency or morality for that matter.

So Cheney admits that we torture but that the torture isn’t torture and Lee Ann McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, insists that while Dick admitted waterboarding, he didn’t actually admit waterboarding and besides that isn’t torture anyway. Is this starting to make sense?

CIA spokeswoman Michelle Neff said,

"While we do not discuss specific interrogation methods, the techniques we use have been reviewed by the Department of Justice and are in keeping with our laws and treaty obligations. We neither conduct nor condone torture."
Except that the law forbids it because it is in fact torture, so we have to say it isn’t even though it is and that makes it not. Surely you catch on by now?

Anyway that’s all the explanation I can stand and if you think I’m biased or a lyin' Liberal or making it all up, read the entire transcript at the White House web site.

Preference for truth and justice is bias!

Bias is a relative term and paranoid perceptions of bias are part of maintaining self esteem for those in morally untenable positions. The perception that the media is biased against your point of view is far easier to maintain than the possibility that your point of view is wrong and humans, like water or sheep, usually take the easy path and the low road.

From my point of view and from that of an increasing number of people who take the trouble to read many sources of information, the American media is increasingly influenced by the propaganda of big business and the interests of a power hungry leadership. Without listing the countless examples I see every day I can only refer you to my previous posts, but a look at who owns what should at least provide a clue as to who says what and why.

So when I read about Mark Halperin, ABC Political Director and Bill O’Reilly slinging the bull in that customary Fox News faux Socratic method, trying to convince the moronic masses of fatuous Fox listeners that the “media” are biased toward Liberal viewpoints, I have a hard time controlling my fury. Of course Halperin is trying to sell a book: trying one more time to cash in on the worn and threadbare myth of Liberal Media Bias in order to promote the bias of the Disney Empire. Of course O’Reilly makes a living maintaining a straight (under the pancake makeup) face while using the media to tell you the media is biased and to promote the biases of Rupert Murdock. Neither of these hominids has any more interest in illuminating current events than Hanna Barbera had in teaching paleontology by creating the Flintstones. It’s all about money and power and getting it by flattering the fools and bigots.

What is happening, says Halperin to O’Reilly; both spokesmen for corporations owned and controlled by ultra-conservative interests seeking power and money, is that the Liberal Media are trying to keep Republicans from voting by revealing the corruptions and perversions and transgressions against American values of the Republican Party. When Republicans say Liberal, they expect the Pavlovian response that has been trained into the American consciousness through decades of repetitive misuse. They don’t expect you to see ‘Liberal’ as representing opposition to abuse of power and advocacy for liberty. When they say Bias, they expect to be able to dismiss valid criticism by virtue of the fact that it is criticism. In fact, delivering an unbiased view of the news is an act that well fits their customized definition. A lack of bias must then be seen as bias, since clear reporting of theft, bribery, influence peddling, incompetence, election tampering, sexual harassment and even pederasty are not beneficial to the interests of the powerful who consider it their right to indulge in such things.

What Halperin and O’Reilly are selling here is not only a book, but an idea. That idea is that people who see abuse of power and the abusers of power as dangerous to liberty are biased and therefore wrong; that people who oppose injustice are Liberal and so are wrong.

What difference does it make if it’s morning in America if these bastards paint the windows black?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Be not deceived

μη πλανασθε φθειρουσιν ηθη χρηστα ομιλιαι κακαι

-1 Corinthians 15:33-

How do you insult something that’s disgusting beyond description? What would you call a stinking pile of fly covered putrescent dog shit on a hot sidewalk that could make it sound more nauseating, more repulsive than it is?

You could try calling it a pile of Limbaugh; that demonic bastard in pig’s clothing whose foul verbal flatulence turns the clouds over Florida brown and whose existence stains the reputation of some ancient crotch scratching, dung throwing, hairy hominid from which we all descend. Rush Limbaugh, whose subhuman delight is in humiliating an awkward adolescent girl on national TV by calling her the White House dog, stoops now to claiming that Michael J. Fox is faking his Parkenson’s symptoms to get sympathy for his campaign to promote stem cell research.

Sure, Rush is only the anus from which the stinking effluvia of the Republican Party emanates. Without the GOP and the witless and willing listeners who serve as his gaping toilet, that inflamed and bloated colon posing as a man would have no job, but that’s hardly an excuse is it?

If there really were an omnipotent Yahweh, for the sake of Rush alone he would destroy the human race. His dishonesty, smug stupidity and malice easily offsets the selfless lives of countless suffering servants of the good and although Rush is younger than I am, my fondest hope is to live long enough to enjoy his demise, may it be excruciating and humiliating, so that I can accuse him of faking it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Déjà vu?

Nope, it’s just George – that old ventriloquist’s dummy selling that old idea of private Social Security accounts again, now that the Dow has recovered from its slump. Of course the Dow as a measure of economic recovery is not very meaningful and the NASDAQ, for instance, is still very much a shadow of its former self, but the trolls who control the President know you don’t know much and George is back to reading the script like some minimum wage telemarketer touting hot stocks from a boiler room in Ft. Lauderdale.

It will create an asset, says he. That’s possible if one is adept at playing the market, which few people are, but Joe the air conditioning repair man or Jose the roofer probably isn’t and may well see the sweat of his brow dry up long before he can hope to retire, or see the fruit of his labor turn rotten and disappear entirely if he followed George Bush’s advice of a few years back and put it all in something like Enron.

Social Security is about Security: insurance not investment. If the Republicans had any interest in creating assets for the working class, they wouldn’t have stifled any attempt at a minimum wage increase, but perhaps they’re just desperate to distract from their grotesque blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan and hope that as long as the puppet is reading from a script he won’t put his foot in his mouth until after the election.

Who knows, maybe they’re right. Maybe we are as stupid as they need us to be.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Willie Pete

Willie Peter or white phosphorus was used by US forces in Viet Nam. It’s horrible stuff that does horrible things to people who are hit with grenades, bombs and shells filled with it.  It will burn under water.  White phosphorus weapons were also used by the US Marines in Fallujah this summer; a fact that I found riddled with the worm of hypocrisy since white phosphorus weapons had been listed among the “chemical weapons” alleged to be in the possession of Saddam Hussein and thus necessitating the attack against Iraq.

Perhaps I’m unduly squeamish, but I’m not ashamed to feel repelled by the use of such weapons and particularly in areas where the civilian population will probably suffer the consequences. It’s another circumstance where “victory” may not be a victory when the means to it are fully considered.  The Geneva Conventions ban using white phosphorous against civilians or civilian areas and there are groups, such as the Red Cross who have vocally opposed it.

And so I have to feel equally as repelled by the admission that the Israeli military used white phosphorous bombs as well as cluster bombs against Hizbullah guerillas hidden amongst Lebanese civilians in August of this year.  Even though Hizbullah and similar vermin have never had the slightest scruple about specifically targeting civilians or specifically sacrificing the women and children of their host (or hostage) countries, I have to decry the use of any weapon that, like cluster bombs, go on killing for months and years after hostilities stop or like phosphorous, compared to which death by any other means would be preferable. I have to oppose it as much as I oppose suicide bombers and improvised bombs that kill, not just indiscriminately, but kill children and women and the elderly specifically.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's not censorship if we do it

If the truth offend thee, damn the media

-Gospel according to the GOP-

According to the New York Times Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized shrinking Russian press freedoms in Moscow today.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee asked the Pentagon to remove CNN reporters embedded with U.S. combat troops. CNN, it seems showed real footage of the war, not fake footage, full of glory and cavalry charges, but the real thing where a real American soldier gets killed for no reason.

That’s propaganda for the “enemy” says Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif in a letter to Rumsfeld also signed by Republican congressmen Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray: "CNN has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier."

"This is nothing short of a terrorist snuff film," Bilbray said.

I suppose the same could be said about the years of repetitive photos and film clips of the World Trade Center collapse or those films of Pearl Harbor that play every December 7th, but this protest by the Republican goon squad won’t affect anyone but other Republicans desperate to keep you from dwelling on the horror they have created and maintained in Iraq, even if they have to censor the news.

It’s getting very hard to refrain from using language that rubs up against the riot act, but at this point these Republicans represent everything that a free society needs to reject in the name of liberty. The kindest thing that I can wish for without breaking the law is that these gentlemen will immediately enlist and when sent to the streets of Baghdad meet with the same fate as the subject of the film they are trying to hide. It would be only fitting that their grisly and gruesome demises be hidden from view as well; heroes and patriots that they are.

Culpa na Brazil

I’m glad I don’t live in Brazil.  Sure, I love the music and the food and I’ve always wanted to explore the Amazon, but who would want to live in a country that can hold a man on false charges without trial for thirteen years – essentially ruining his life and health?

Marcos Mariano da Silva, currently 58, spent 13 years in what was apparently a rather unpleasant prison although there never was any investigation of his alleged crime and no trial or judicial process.  Marcos was never given a chance to defend himself.  He was released only after an investigation by prison authorities which showed that da Silva, who has gone blind and contracted tuberculosis in prison was arrested without cause.

I’m glad that I live in the United States, under the benign rule of his majesty George II under whose just rule this could never happen because the investigation would never happen. 13 years of torture and isolation and hopelessness would long since have silenced him.

Friday, October 20, 2006

omnis divisa in partes tres

There’s little doubt that no one has clear title to Afghanistan. The Taliban is gaining strength; the economy, such as it is, has everything to do with opium and drug lords and the terrorized citizenry is losing confidence in the overwhelmed occupying forces. Iraq, if it’s not already embroiled in a Civil War is embroiled in something sufficiently similar that arguments about the difference mostly reflect the bias of the observer. The “Stay the Course” slogan is becoming more ridiculous with the growing awareness that there is no course and there probably never was a course that wasn’t founded on fantasy or outright deceit.

Something is going to change and it may be rather soon; perhaps as soon as Rumsfeld can fashion a fitting euphemism for “cut and Run” and an Orwellian synonym for Victory. The growing disgust with and declining support for Bush’s War coupled with our lack of control over the occupied countries and their puppet “democracies” makes it inevitable.

It has been argued by some that the original “Neoconservative” intent of the invasion of Iraq was to start a process of fragmenting the most obstreperous Islamic states with the goal of reducing their ability to resist our petro-imperialist ambitions. Whether or not this is true, I’m no longer quite as alone in seeing the future of Iraq as three ethnic enclaves, one of which will require further efforts by the US to keep it from moving closer to an alliance with Iran.

The obstinate insistence upon using the absolute minimum of US forces in Iraq as well as the refusal to plan for an occupation gives weight to the argument for planned failure and although Bush insists that the Army was given all the troops it asked for, it does appear that only select generals were allowed to ask. Those who wanted to apply overwhelming force and to have a detailed plan for occupation are no longer employed.

Even though the Administration’s pet General Peter Pace tells us that Rumsfeld’s Inspiration comes directly from God’s lips, the odds are that God will reveal a new plan unto Don that will remind those of us who dabble in history of the British partitioning of the area in the early 20th century. The Kurds may get the Kurdistan they have been waiting for, The Shia may inherit some barren but holy sand and the Sunnis will form the petroleum paradise so pleasant to the heart of Halliburton.

The Republicans after all have much to fear if they cannot stop the fighting. It may no longer be good enough to blame a withdrawal on hippies and Michael Moore and Bill Clinton. It has to look like a victory and it has to be soon; before the more traditional minority in the party throws out the neocons and the religious right and the crooks and incompetents and perverts and begins to refocus on restoring Habeas Corpus, an independent judiciary; on stopping the wild borrowing spree and restoring the checks and balances that have preserved some degree of liberty for over two centuries.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Judicial activism

Of course we remember the Florida Butterfly ballots that were so aligned that thousands who tried to vote for Gore voted for Pat Buchanan in 2000 and we remember how smug the Republicans were about it and the “dumb Liberal” epithets hurled about by Dumber Republicans. Now it’s time for another round and the Republicans of Florida Congressional District 16 aren’t happy with the way the shoe fits on the other foot.

Mark Foley resigned too close to the November 7th election to allow his name legally to be taken off the ballot and apparently Florida Law allows the Republicans to choose someone else to receive benefit of any votes cast for Foley. The problem is, of course, that so many of the knee-jerk local Liberal haters don’t read the papers and will be totally surprised to know this. The Ballot will still say Mark Foley even though local attorney Joe Negron is the real candidate.

As with most states, the election laws do not allow electioneering within 100 feet of the polling place and so there can be no “A vote for Foley is a Vote for Negron” signs. Election officials may not tell voters why Foley is still on the ballot. Circuit Court Judge Janet Ferris has granted a temporary injunction stopping Republican plans to do just that. Joe, for whom it is vital to distance himself from Foley, is doing what lawyers do; he’s threatening to sue.

Concerning the decades old electioneering laws, Negron spokesman Todd Harris said
"There's absolutely no way to spin this as anything other than a partisan power grab on behalf of the Democrats and Tim Mahoney, hand-delivered to them by a judge in Tallahassee."

Why even mention spin? Perhaps because what Harris is demanding is an “activist judge” to interpret the law differently for Republicans than for Democrats. Negron, who in participating in a panel discussion with severl local clergymen several years ago, was the only member who stated that he was in favor of stronger Church-State involvement. Perhaps the Activist Judges will have something to say about this should we have the misfortune of his election.

Of course I’m gloating. There is no better dessert than Justice and the icing on this cupcake is in watching the reversible rhetoric of the party that considered this little part of Florida their property.


I also noted this morning with amusement, that Fox News, in reporting this affair, has been calling the Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney Tim Foley. Earlier on in the Foley scandal, they made a point of naming Foley a Democrat. You’re doin’a heckuva job Foxy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The eye of Santorum

Senator Rick Santorum, or Senator Sanitorium as HBO’s Tony Soprano once called him, is a Republican and as a member of that group of nuts, kooks, freaks, perverts, thieves, liars and Fascists, there isn’t much he can do that is hard to believe. Still, with his proposed legislation that would prohibit the National Weather service from giving us the weather reports we pay for with our tax money, he’s right up on top of the heap. Delusion, dementia and fugue describe him as well as they describe any Bush supporting mental case, but there is something about the way he doesn’t try to hide his bizarre mental processes that makes him unique.

The reason, says the Pennsylvania Senator, that we have not had a terrorist attack on the US since 2003 is that “as the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else.”

This man has served three terms in the United States Senate. “I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.” He says and such is the mind of a Republican who supports George Bush, sees the Constitution as an impediment to power (which it was intended to be) and sees world affairs as a fantasy novel for children.

Perhaps this would explain why Santorum doesn’t worry too much about Korea as a nuclear power. Kim Jong-Il “doesn't want to die; he wants to watch NBA basketball” sad Rick to a Harrisburg reporter. That gem was no more fulsome than his constant comparisons between the occupation of civil war torn Iraq with World War II. It’s as loony and as dishonest as his assessment of our failure in Afghanistan which resulted, in his opinion, not from the incompetence of the Bush Bunch but from the American People’s underestimation.

Sorry, Rick, The American people didn’t bomb that country, didn’t neglect to send enough troops, give Islamic tribesman the job of capturing Osama – it was Bush. Iraq isn’t occupied by Hobbits, Kim can’t be dismissed as a zealous Lakers fan, talking to Ahmedinijad isn’t appeasement, Shiah and Sunni death squads aren’t going to blow up Philadelphia if we leave Iraq and people who think the “eye of Mordor” is staring at them belong in padded cells.

But although he is open about his insanity, I wonder how open he is about other things. Remember the endlessly run clip of Mark Foley in the lavender shirt and pink tie.? Rick seems to wear the same uniform. Enquiring minds make connections. Just what does Rick do up on Mount Doom when nobody’s watching? Are those hobbits with him or pages?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Heil Bushler!

I’m very sorry to say this Dr. Einstein, but there are indeed things that can travel faster than light. One of them is illustrated by the transition from “I don’t trust the government” to “we should always trust the government” when that government became George W. Bush.

George ran on a platform of opposition not to big government alone, but to government itself. Anti government and anti executive sentiment had been whipped up for years when the executive was a Democrat, but the song of the day is sung once again by former Attorney General John Ashcroft. The man who gave us “Let the Eagle Soar” is telling us to let the buzzard soar. President George W. Bush should be trusted not to abuse new powers granted to him by congress says he. As of today, we are officially a government of Bush and not of law.

Those powers of course consist of the sort of power only arrogated by tyrants and absolute monarchs; powers that wielded by an earlier monarch named George, resulted in the American Revolution. George the Bastard, as I’m fond of calling him and not for reasons of parentage, now has the power to declare anyone an outlaw and subject him to any treatment he deems fitting and all without reference to any principle of justice other than the divine right of George.

Fortunately we live in a country that recognizes the regular need for revolution and allows us the power to rid ourselves of those who occupy the Executive and legislative branches. With any luck we will have this last chance to avoid the imminent downfall of our grand experiment in Democracy, but we will need luck as the process of electing replacements is subject to manipulation. Only if we manage to thwart George the Bastard in his ascent to the throne by taking away the legislature from his control, do we have any chance at all of remaining the land of the free. There really remains no restraint on the Texas Tyrant other than his own twisted conscience. He has the power to silence all opposition and we just gave it to him in the name of freedom.

Tattood farm boys with W stickers on their trucks, blue haired ladies from Kansas, little children in pastel clothes and neatly trimmed hair, serious men of high sentence and TV opinion shouters with too much make up – to all the millions of smug and smiling people who support the demise of the American dream: damn you all and may the eagle soar up your noses and build nests in your empty skulls.

To the rest of you please vote as though your lives depended on ridding ourselves or the Republicans because it’s the only hope we have.

You've got to be joking!

Newt Gingrich?  That two faced hypocrite who got caught plotting crimes on the phone, cheating on his taxes and having an affair with an intern while trying to depose a president for the same thing?  Run Newt Gingrich for President?

Oh yes, only in America and mostly in the Republican Party where morality means lie, cheat, steal and do anything possible to win and “family values” means attack the other guys family if it helps get you votes.

Sunday’s US News and World Report suggests that White House “insiders” are suggesting that Newt would make a great candidate in 2008 and that his hypocrisy problem is not at issue where the Party Faithful are concerned.  To this point I thought my opinion of the GOP was as low as it could be.

Now speaking of hypocrisy, when a cell phone conversation between Newt and colleagues was intercepted in 1997, the Party attacked Janet Reno mercilessly for allowing a crime to be reported by the press.

“Once again, Attorney General Janet Reno has decided that plunging into a pool of dubious ethics is more refreshing than doing her job as our nation's chief law-enforcement officer.”

Remember that cell phone calls are radio transmissions, and radio transmissions on any frequencies or modes have not been illegal to listen to since radio was first regulated in the early 20th century.  The Republican controlled press was livid that the Attorney General did not prosecute the press who did print the leaks and never mentioned that the conversation they wished to protect was a conspiracy and thus were more concerned with protecting a crime than protecting the freedom of the press to report it.  The upshot was a special and probably illegal law that prevented radio manufacturers from building scanners or receivers that could cover the part of the 800 MHz spectrum used by cell phone providers.

And of course now that party, as part of its orgy of dubious situational ethics has arrogated to itself the right to listen to anyone’s communications without judicial oversight or permission.  They now consider a proven offender and man of dubious morals to be a suitable candidate for the party of Jesus; to be the preacher in chief, to be the conductor of crusades.  It makes me wonder if the word criminal has any real meaning any more.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The boot of the oppressor

Perhaps I should be pleased that although the terra firma under the feet of the far right is beginning to seem a bit muddy with the slime of an increasing number of scandals, they aren’t refraining from pumping up the volume. Scaly Scalia for instance, asserts that consenting adults have no constitutional right to be left alone in their choice of mates or partners and must be regulated in what they do in their bedrooms. To some, that statement is as revolting as asserting that although all men are created equal and are entitled to equal protection under the law, it doesn’t apply to slaves, or to women, or heretics or anyone the retrograde religionists dream up as a group unworthy of freedom.

I watched HBO’s Mister Conservative the other night, a documentary about the career of Barry Goldwater, who as the Republican presidential candidate in the 1964 election convinced America that he was so far to the right of center that he bordered on being a madman. He was outrageously conservative enough to believe that adults had a right to be left alone; free of government regulation in their private lives as long as they weren’t harming anyone or their property. He despised the religious right and he would have despised Scalia were he alive today. There is no doubt he would have said so and there is no doubt that he would be condemned as a left wing extremist by the dogs of Murdoch and the fatuous Fox followers and Limbaugh losers.

Look how far to the right we have slid since George W. Bush oozed into Washington on a tide of oily lies; since the American Hizbullah, the plutocrats, the cleptocrats, the misbegotten incompetents, the perverted prophets and pedophiles swarmed into every crevice of every office in Government.

Through the cynical barking about activist judges who want to use the law to preserve freedom and justice, we have somehow failed to notice the black robed vermin striving to use the law to serve the extermination of liberty; to make this a country where obedience to authority is the only freedom we are allowed. What resemblance can anyone find to a nation where liberty was always to be preferred to safety and where government was limited and authority was subject to the will of the governed? What resemblance remains between King George of Jesustan and the nation founded on getting the power of government out of people’s private affairs, beliefs and practices?

Even the right to a fair trail, the right to challenge an accuser, the right to be charged or released, the right to an attorney, the right to be treated humanely, the right to due process are all too Liberal for those who wish to dismantle Liberty in the name of fear. Perhaps too, those attorneys who defend the accused can also be deprived of their rights and freedom at the whim of Imperial government. Take the case of Civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart who defended Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind Egyptian sheik sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted in plots to blow up five New York landmarks. Although the details are complex, the 67 year old, cancer-ridden defense attorney was convicted of aiding terrorists and prosecutors sought a sentence of 30 years.

Face it, we are not conservatives, we are not seeking any conservative goals, we are war mongers, jingoes, authoritarians, imperialists and barbarians for whom the only allowable freedoms are the freedom of the leader from the law and the freedom of us all to obey.

Now why did I say I was pleased? Because I can hope that some breaking point will occur that will stir the outrage of Americans, Conservatives and Liberals alike. Because I still believe there is a chance for America to wake up screaming from this nightmare and to take back our country, arrest the criminals, restore the rule of law and to try to keep our heads above water for the next 40 or so years until we can restore some sanity to the Supreme Court.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Depends on what the definition of is is.

One has to wonder what the definition of insanity is in a world made dark and sulfurous by the volcanic eruptions of Republican writers.

"Republican Gays are Closeted Dems," says one Cliff Kincaid speaking for a group ironically named Accuracy in Media that for decades has disseminated baseless slanders and malicious fabrications all devoid of evidence. This time Kincaid would like us to nod like some plastic Republican bobblehead doll and acknowledge that gay Republicans are nothing more than a "Democratic 'dirty trick,'" hoping to use the party to "advance the same homosexual agenda embraced by the Democrats."

Assuming that the spread of lies and fabrications can be called accuracy must be the first step in understanding the minds that make up the Republican insurgency, but that may just be a dangerous kind of understanding.

“If you are getting the idea that gay Republicans may be closeted Democrats, then you are beginning to understand how the Mark Foley scandal could have been a Democratic Party dirty trick.”

If one can achieve the Zen like unity of May be, Could have been and is all without benefit of any reference to any evidence whatsoever, the concept of reality itself may be beyond recovery. If you are getting the idea that distinctions between very different concepts may be defined by Kincaid in contradictory ways so as to cast doubt on the possibility of distinctions at all, you may be beginning to understand madness as a tactical weapon.

So while the GOP crumbles under the weight of its lies, deceptions, corruption and scandal; under the burden of half a million deaths and monumental debts, the fictions proliferate. How soon will it be before the botched war on terrorism, the bungled war in Iraq, the failed war in Afghanistan, sabotage of the judiciary and the decline of liberty will, like hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis, all become dirty tricks by the Democrats?


The Pentagon admitted its error and promises it won’t happen again. Yeah right.

40 years ago, it happened to a group that included me, standing on the University chapel steps with a candle in a silent vigil for peace led by a much admired professor of comparative religion, a Quaker. How they even knew about this little thing; a group of maybe 20 people standing quietly, I do not know, but the men in black had made their way to this sleepy country town to take pictures and take names of the “subversives.”

Last year when The Broward Anti-War Coalition attended the annual Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show, their group of about 30 passed out pamphlets about pacifism; how to be a conscientious objector. In a day of an all volunteer military, it’s hard to se how the most convoluted reasoning process could define this as subversive, but a report in the Defense Department's Threat and Local Observation Notice database, or TALON as it’s called, contains a report that “BAWC plans to counter military recruitment and the `pro-war' message with 'guerrilla theater and other forms of subversive propaganda”

Of course this Quaker group is far from being the only one listed by our dear government in all it’s Stalinesque paranoia. Of course the problem has been corrected, according to Maj. Patrick Ryder, spokesman for the office of the assistant secretary of defense, but it was accomplished because of media exposure and the ACLU, not because anyone in Rumsfeld’s private militia was bothered by constitutional or moral scruples.

Peace is a subversive notion in America and has been such for the half century that I’ve been aware of such things. Freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of the press; these things have been seen as subversive too and whether they are ‘faith based’ or not. Anything that smells of the freedom not to agree is subversive and of course subversion, while anything the President can define as war is going on, can be seen as collusion with anyone the President decides is an enemy. Now under the redefined Bush constitution, collusion with anyone the President or the military selects as anathema can now quite legally result in search and seizure without warrant, without Habeas Corpus and without benefit of counsel or due process and with the help of Pontius Gonzalez, torture – and all for as long as they feel like it.

Maybe it’s time we all got a little subversive for real.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pick up the cry

Hey now its time for you and me
Got a revolution got to revolution
Come on now were marching to the sea
Got a revolution got to revolution
Who will take it from you
We will and who are we
We are volunteers of america

-Jefferson Airplane-

I spent most of today out on the water. Lots of sunshine, a light Summer breeze, gleaming dolphins playing like happy children in the blue water. The last part of the trip to my home on the Intracoastal waterway is a ten mile cruise down the Jupiter Narrows; a mangrove lined stretch through a Federal wildlife preserve teeming with birds, Osprey, Eagle, Herons of all sorts wading in the shallows and screeching like pterodactyls as they fly overhead. You'd think you were travelling up the Amazon and a thousand years ago.

I arrived feeling serene, tranquil and mellow, took a shower, got something to drink, plopped down on the couch and made my biggest mistake of the day. I turned on MSNBC and went from paradise to hell in the blink of an eye.

I doubt I watched it for more than a moment, I don't even remember their names, but the bully boys were bawling like Banshees. A New York Times Reporter, winner of a Pulitzer, had given a speech "bashing Bush." She should be fired - the paper isn't reliable any more - yadayada wah wah wah.

You would think that George W. Bush was the most popular president in history rather than one of the most unpopular. You'd think that freedom of speech was a subversive idea. You'd think it wasn't actually true that George W. Bush has substituted his will for the Constitution, made it impossible to do anything when he breaks the law and caused the deaths of half a million people for reasons beyond reason. You would think that newspapers didn't have the duty to expose criminal behavior or to tell the truth. You'd think that this accursed, misbegotten administration and the party it oozed in on hadn't risen to power with the greatest assault on the Presidency in a hundred years.

My only hope is that I'm seeing the death throes of the monster that ate America because if these traitors, these criminals, these snickering fascist guerillas don't lose and loose heavily in November, only a revolution can save us.

Pick up the cry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A less sophisticated man

I was going to title this "George Bush admits his stupidity" but although that's exactly what he did, I didn't want to sound like Fox News. I also considered "Bush admits Democrats are smarter" which he did, but I'm feeling kindly today.

An item in Raw Story this afternoon quotes Bush's answer to a journalist's question as to why he used the words "Cut and Run" to describe the Democrats' concerns over an exit plan from Iraq.

"You know, I -- nobody's accused me of having a real sophisticated vocabulary. I understand that. And maybe their -- their words are more sophisticated than mine, but when you pull out before the job is done, that's cut and run as far as I'm concerned."

A man of over 60 years and who has a degree from Harvard and doesn't have the vocabulary of an average 6th grade public school kid has little excuse other than an inferior mind. But we knew that. A more sophisticated man might even be concerned with questioning what the job is or whether it's worth the cost or whether it's possible. A more sophisticated man might not see everything in binary terms, might not see his opinions as infallible - but he's a less sophisticated man and he admits it.

Absence of evidence

The argument that there was a conspiracy of Democrats or even perhaps a Gay Cabal to release, just before the elections, damning evidence about Mark Foley and a Republican cover up is probably the worst defense I have ever heard. That they are resorting to it means several things, the most likely is that they know their base is deranged enough to except a blatantly fallacious and irrelevant argument if it means they can still support the Party of Evil. It’s also likely that they know they have lost the 60 or so percent who are fed up enough and reasonable enough to see through a rudimentary distraction from Foley’s guilt and Hastert’s negligence.

That they have no evidence whatever for such a conspiracy was apparent enough during the exchange between Wolf Blitzer and Rep Patrick McHenry (R-NC) yesterday. Directly asked whether he had any evidence that the Democrats had timed the release of evidence against Foley, he danced around and around and refused to answer. The pathetic closing remark was “do you have evidence that they didn’t?” And of course since we don’t have evidence that Ming the Merciless from Planet Mongo wasn’t behind it, it must be true. And of course since the pederasty charges are inconvenient to the Republicans they must not be true.

CNN and MSNBC announced early this afternoon that Adam Gadahn, the American Citizen who has been appearing in al Qaeda videos, will be charged with treason. Should we question the timing of this action? Will we be seeing more useless actions of this kind right before the election that makes it seem as though the Bush administration is actually doing something and that makes it seem like some dreadful danger is lurking everywhere? Of course and will we see any questions about the timing of such announcements on Fox? Of course not. I have no evidence that these charges weren’t timed to influence the election, and so it must be true.

In any case it is hard to convict anyone of treason. The hysteria surrounding the conviction of Tokyo Rose more than half a century ago did produce a conviction that resulted in a Presidential pardon and It seems strange to me that Japanese war criminals who murdered vast numbers of innocent civilians were set free, but the Charge of Treason may be more useful as a distraction from greater things and a cover up for the mistakes of people who will not be punished.

Expect many more distractions and more fear mongering and more blame shifting in the coming weeks. These are desperate times for the Republicans.

The price of freedom

Freedom, as we’re told, isn’t free.  Of course that trope is a nice cover for the real meaning, which is: we’ll tell you what it costs.  For the US, Iraqi Freedom has cost almost 3000 lives and that’s not counting the 10,000 lives at least half of which are irrevocably changed by severe injury.  To talk about the monetary cost seems almost an insult to these people and to their families.

But of course the word Freedom can be defined in many ways.  George W. Bush would like to define it as the holding of an occasional election held under heavy guard to choose officials who can’t actually influence the process of governing a country in civil war and occupied by foreign infidels.  Your opinions may vary.

A survey mentioned in today’s New York Times estimates that at least 600,000 Iraqis are indisputably free thanks to Bush War II.  They are dead.  Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used “samples of casualties from Iraqi households to extrapolate an overall figure of 601,027 Iraqis dead from violence between March 2003 and July 2006.”

The Military disputes the number although it has not released any data of its own and any data concerning Iraq is suspect in my opinion, when it emanates from a government that seems never to have told us the truth about Iraq from the beginning of George W. Bush’s ascension to the throne.  

But even if the estimates are way off; if the real number is 300,000 for instance, or perhaps 200,000 – can you imagine the mood of the American people had a city of 300,000 like Tampa or Pittsburgh or Buffalo or St. Paul were annihilated by foreign invaders?  What if that figure is accurate and Boston were massacred in the chaos following an invasion (for our own good of course) and the entire country had little running water or electricity and it was too dangerous to go out to shop for food?

Is it so hard to remember the fat faces that told us we would be greeted as liberators; that there would be few casualties, that there would be little cost, that freedom isn’t free?

Remember the President that fired anyone who disagreed with his fantasy, who slandered and libeled and got rid of anyone who questioned his fatuous fiasco?
In less than a month we have the opportunity to exercise what’s left of our freedom. They may hack the voting machines, they may play games with the ballots, they may unleash a tsunami of slime, but we have a chance and perhaps the last chance to stop this madman and his henchmen. It may be inconvenient to go out and vote, it may be raining, it may be cold, it may snow and you may have important things to do, but freedom isn’t free and this may be the last time we can afford it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Duds and more duds

It seems that my guess that the Korean bomb suffered a timing malfunction or design flaw and produced only a fraction of it's intended yield seems to be corroborated by experts from several countries. According to sources in China, it was intended to be a 4 kiloton blast but the seismic data shows only an eighth of that strangth. It may be that Korea is further from a usable weapon than we feared.

Speaking of duds, there's John McCain who on top of being stupid enough to completely misunderstand that hoary 'carrot and stick' metaphor, is dishonest and deceitful enough to blame Korea's Wiley Coyote moment on Bill Clinton and far worse, Republican enough to think that using the word Hillary will distract us from the gross incompetence of the administration he pretends to challenge with lips firmly attached to George W. Bush's cowboy butt.

"I would remind Senator (Hillary) Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure,"

It wasn't of course, until Bush took it over. Clinton was holding inspections and the Koreans ceased work on bombs and of course Bush's "policy" was to offer money and then talk about talks while trying to sound tough for the supporters. I may be a purist, but complaining about another's lack of success from a position of bungling incompetence is something worthy only of liars, cheats, idiots and Republicans.

Heckava job Georgie

The record of George W. Bush’s plans and strategies and predictions and estimations isn’t a good one and that’s an understatement an Englishman could be proud of. Look into any of them and you’ll soon see a pattern.

George, who so often makes a case against appeasement when trying to refute arguments that have nothing to do with advocating appeasement, paid Leisure Suit Kim $95 million bucks to stop working on his nuclear program in 2002.

As with many of his propositions from torture to spying to trashing the Bill of Rights, Paying off Kim was “vital to the national security interests of the United States." Money well spent of course, because as he said, we were "continuing to make significant progress on eliminating the North Korean ballistic missile threat, including further missile tests and its ballistic missile exports."

Two years later, banking on his great success with that strategy, Bush announced that multi party talks with North Korea would solve the problem because there would be more people talking to them than if we were talking to them alone. You can’t fault his arithmetic, particularly with numbers less than ten.

These talks would surely be effective in preventing them from seeking nuclear weapons. “And so if Kim Jong Il decides again not to honor an agreement, he's not only doing injustice to America, he'll be doing injustice to China as well. And I think this will work. It's not going work [sic] if we open up a dialogue with Kim Jong Il."

Let’s say Bush isn’t evil, let’s say he isn’t a madman and isn’t trying to sell our birthright to the highest bidder. Why are we supposed to stay any one of his twisted courses when each and every prediction has been wrong, every plan has backfired, no contingency has been planned for? He goes from one explanation to another while declaring great progress and success and steps from one lie to another across a great sea of failure.

You’re doin’ a heckuva job Brownie and the mission is accomplished and success and prosperity is just around the corner and Victory is within our grasp.

Two more years.

Good bomb, bad bomb

Last Sunday’s New York Times ran a story about nuclear tests.  In earlier first tests of such devices, the countries conducting them did all they could to hide preparations and hide the site itself.  Of course new satellite technology makes that much harder than it was a few years ago, but Korea made no secret that it planned to test a nuke in the next few days.  One of the reasons for secrecy is to prevent the world from knowing you failed. Korea may have failed.  Some doubt remains as to whether there was actually a nuclear explosion or whether it was a partial dud.  The word “dud” when applied to nuclear devices describes the complete failure to produce a nuclear yield.  

Nuclear bombs are of two designs. One, like the Uranium bomb that devastated Hiroshima was like a canon, firing a chunk of U235 down a tube toward another slug of the isotope.  Plutonium bombs use the implosion of a sphere of that element that requires multiple explosive charges fired in precise sequence.   In either case, a slight flaw in the sequence or some other design flaw produces a meltdown of the fissionable materials before the entire mass becomes critical.  The nuclear yield may be far less than optimal.  

If the yield of the North Korean bomb was only half a kiloton, several possibilities present themselves: it was a conventional chemical explosion of half a kiloton; it was a highly sophisticated and miniaturized nuclear bomb designed for a sub kiloton yield,  it was a partial dud yielding far less than it was designed to do.

Although the second option would be the most frightening, since such a device could be loaded onto a small missile or be delivered in many clandestine ways, it’s the least likely given the level of North Korean technology.  A complete fraud is possible, whether it was intended to fool the leisure suit wearing dictator with the bad haircut or to fool the world, but my guess is that it was a bad bomb which means that a deliverable weapon may be a number of years away. There may be time.

Now if we only had a government that hadn’t lost all credibility and wasn’t the laughing stock of the planet.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Korea Schmorea

George W. pulled Bandar aside.

"Bandar, I guess you're the best asshole who knows about the world. Explain to me one thing."

"Governor, what is it?"

"Why should I care about North Korea?"

Bandar said he didn't really know. It was one of the few countries that he did not work on for King Fahd.

"I get these briefings on all parts of the world," Bush said, "and everybody is talking to me about North Korea."

"I'll tell you what, Governor," Bandar said. "One reason should make you care about North Korea."

"All right, smart alek," Bush said, "tell me."

No, it’s not from Saturday Night Live, it’s not from The Onion, it’s from State of Denial, Bob Woodward’s new book and it gets worse. This is the genius who planned a war in Iraq and never heard of Sunnis and Shiites never read a book about it, not even his father’s which predicted exactly what would happen and what has happened in Iraq.

This is the Genius who thought Kosovo was populated by “Kosovians.” This is the nitwit with his finger on the button that other nitwits support because he talks tough and because, like real tough guys from Texas, he doesn’t care about what foreigners do.

It’s too late to undo the damage George W. Bush has done to the economy and to our system of government and to the world’s security. It’s too late and we have two more years of this blubbering idiot to crack dirty jokes about why he should care about Korea. But that’s OK, just keep chanting Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, Ted Kennedy and Hillary. Just keep on stayin’ that course - and never mind that mushroom cloud.

The Jewish question

Can there be any doubt whatever that the people who scream the loudest about the death of Muslim civilians don’t care one bit about Muslim civilians and their horrible deaths? What concerns the leaders of Islamic nations is the Jewish question; the question of how these people can be kept as far away from walking on the sand they own and breathing the air that blows over it.

Of course the entire world would rather ignore the deaths of millions of Muslims and concentrate on those that can more easily be blamed on Israeli and US aggression, but even the growing tactical fiction that the slaughter in Darfur is directly traceable to – you guessed it – the Jews, isn’t enough to stimulate the Saudis, the Kuwaitis or the UAE with all their vast wealth to get up off their high knot-count Isphahan carpets and do something. It isn’t enough to prompt the Jihadists to jihad their behinds down to the Sudan where they could do some good in the world. The slaughter of Muslim African farmers by Arab militias just doesn’t matter. Arab governments stand behind, cover up for and support the government of Sudan, support the Iranian quest to destroy Israel and defame Jews whatever its cost in human life might be.

Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, has presided over a genocide that is nearly halfway to the high water mark set by Adolph Hitler. Next to this reeking pile of porcine excrement, the crimes of Saddam Hussein and the tyranny of the Taliban smell like roses. Hassan the Butcher simply shrugs off the bloodstains and calls the whole thing a “fiction” sold to us by Jews. Any horror can be denied or hidden by referencing the Jews.

Religions, like viruses, do not exist by themselves. They exist in the acts and practices and words of those who profess to speak for them. The values of a religion are the values of those who act in the name of that religion, not what is written in old books and as far as I can see, those values we see publicly consist of ignoring and even praising the most evil acts of the most evil people while raising holy hell at any criticism or imagined lack of respect.

The fact that there are millions – many hundreds of millions of Muslims who don’t buy into the madness, who aren’t ready to slaughter people for drawing a cartoon or writing a book or for merely existing, doesn’t mean much if they do nothing and say nothing and look instead for scapegoats. Nothing means much if the only value placed on any human life depends on that life’s ability to be used to get what you want, whether it be land or money or power.

Favorite Son

Sunday's Palm Beach Post calls former Representative Mark Foley "one of Palm Beach County's favorite sons." Normally any other homosexual community college dropout busboy and waiter with a couple of drug possession arrests wouldn't grow up to be any red-state-man’s favorite son, but we're a binary culture. You're either for or against and, either way, the blinder the faith, the more fun it is to participate in the game.

His father, "Big Ed" Foley, may have been a union leader, but when Mark decided to go into politics, he became a Republican. It was a closet, and perhaps he chose that pose for the same reasons he described himself as a "lady's man" in his high school yearbook and told people he saw his future as a married man with a family. Whether he was only confused as many young people are or whether he used the party of "traditional values," government oversight of consensual activities, and outright gay bashing as a cover, he had the support of people for whom the straw man of "the homosexual agenda" was anathema. As long as he kept stirring the cauldron of hysteria against nudism, lewd drawings of children, and internet predators, he was on the team. As long as he supported George and his plan to defraud the public out of their retirement funds, he was on the home team.

He was a Republican and the knee-jerk supporters of Republican politics supported him and brushed off his apparent sexual orientation with accusations of liberal bias. They supported him the way one might support the White Sox over the Cubs: not because any of the players are local boys, not because they occasionally came around and mowed your grass or helped the kids with the homework or invited you to their barbecues, but because you chose some metaphysical connection with them, as struggling working class people have done with the party that sits on them and excludes them and disdains their ambitions and sends their sons and daughters off to die in the desert.

I feel mostly sadness at the humiliation of this pathetic man, dragged down by his foolish passions like dignified old Immanuel Rath in Der Blaue Engel, although I do delight in the discomfiture of his party. The loss of the flimsy Halloween costume gravitas of right-wing opinion shouters, spewing non sequiturs and slanders in the vain hope that they can turn the blame on the Democrats, is as welcome as the swan song of the fat lady in some tedious opera.

I've been waiting for the fall of the right for a long time, but I cannot count them out. We can never count them out because their madness and their weakness and their cowardice and their greed will always be part of us all. We can't count them out because they still have their hands around our necks and their finger on the button. We can't count them out because, like the mildew in your shower, the algae in your pool, the Kissinger in your politics, they will always come back.

*cross posted at The Reaction

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Volunteers of America

“Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when the only idea left is power” writes Karen Tumulty for Time Magazine.  That’s the kind of line I wish I had written and perhaps it’s close to being true, but was the idea behind the  “Republican Revolution” really an idea about how to make this a better country or was it about a way to control the country; appealing to its discontented and disaffected in order to better exploit America’s wealth and productivity and creativity for the benefit of a coalition of plutocrats, crooks and demagogs?  Was the idea only power right from the start?

The Newt Gingrich insurgency of 1994 made much of (and made up some of) Bill Clinton’s background as a womanizer and thus brought hordes of crackpot casuists and legions of the sex obsessed and repressed into the fight against what they saw as moral decay and others saw as liberty.  I think I am permitted to identify the irony in noting that Gingrich himself was engaged in precisely the same activity and to a greater extent while flaying Clinton for it, and that the Republican chosen to succeed him also was an adulterer.

Again, was it all about smaller government; less intrusive, more fiscally responsible, less likely to engage in foreign wars or nation building, or was all the fiery rhetoric, the vaunted “Contract with America” another cynical attempt to rabble rouse a party’s way into power?  Judging from the immediate and opposite results, it would be hard to believe there was ever any attempt to make it all come true.

Those who genuinely hoped for moral improvement, whatever their definition of it, received the same old sex and money scandals and cover-ups but got legalized torture to boot. Those who looked for that “less intrusive government” got unsupervised surveillance, the end of probable cause, habeas corpus and the right to a fair trial.

We got massive corruption and more cover ups. We got massive incompetence, cronyism, nepotism and more cover ups. We got fear and trembling. We got massive secrecy, indiscriminate classification of all records past and present. We got a government that confuses freedom of speech and  the right to assemble and petition with treason. We got one party control of the media. We got a shrinking middle class, falling standard of living, worsening working conditions and a war that we are told may go on indefinitely. We got the suppression of science and the substitution of religion for history. We got stolen elections and rigged voting machines and more cover ups. Did anyone notice any trend toward any of the promised goals, no matter how briefly?

I think it’s time for America to admit that we fell for the most expensive long con in history, that we’ve been led to the brink of ruin by a gang of grifters and flim-flam men and that the Emperor has a dagger under the cloak he never had on in the first place.

Even if we manage to turn out sufficient votes to rid ourselves of the bandits next month, we may yet fail. It’s impossible to recount too many votes to be sure of the results, but I am sure of one thing.  If we don’t get rid of them now, we will never get rid of them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

So long Limbo

Got tickets for the holiday season in Limbo? Better make other plans. It looks like the Vatican has been looking through it’s – um, whatever it looks through when it looks at things in the invisible other world located somewhere where nobody can see it where you go when you die. They have looked through this precise instrument and seem to have decided there was no limbo in the first place. There is no information as to how long they have had this no-tech equipment, but I suspect it was developed to counter the heretical findings made by Galileo with his telescope; findings now as firmly disproved as the theories of Darwin.

The ramifications of this discovery have yet to be explored. As we know, a fertilized human egg receives a soul as it is penetrated by the nucleus of a human sperm cell, except in the case of identical twins where God waits until cell division reaches a certain stage before inserting the microscopic and invisible item which contains an immortal human with all its human characteristics. But I digress. As you can imagine, the soul is at this point quite guilty although innocent, having never actually lived and of course can’t hope for heaven without the auspices of a priest and some mysteriously different water should it somehow fail to be born. That your fetus won’t get the best accommodations in the afterlife without baptism, has long been an argument against abortion.

Until now, Roman Catholics had the solace of knowing that God isn’t quite the bastard he’s made out to be by Protestants and has provided a special place in hell with a better climate and more pleasant facilities in which to spend an infinite amount of time. Who after all, except perhaps a Puritan, might imagine a god who burns babies or casts them into some pit with the likes of Mark Foley?

But now, it seems that Limbo may never have been; that it was (gasp) made up to solve a contradiction concerning burning babies and a beneficent and almighty deity. Unlike Heaven and Hell, Pope Benedict XVI regards Limbo as a myth and a Vatican commission of theologians that has been staring into their myth detector is expected to render a finding at any time now. First Pluto and now Limbo.

All cynicism aside, perhaps this rejection of a widespread belief that never was really dogma marks a kinder, gentler theology if not an improved deity. If God can have so much love for his children that he might let some into heaven without the approval of the clergy, perhaps some day some church authority will allow God to let anyone he chooses into the club without their prior approval.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The dog ate my sense of ethics

And then there’s Dirty Dennis Hastert: fattest ass in town. The man cannot announce an investigation into unethical, immoral and possibly illegal acts by a fellow Republican without a passing dig at the Democrats. What an excellent record the Republicans have to run on, he gloats. What with the booming economy, (thanks to tax cuts for the plutocrats) and the glorious war in Iraq, thanks to George Bush, they don’t have to stoop to nasty political tricks – like the Democrats. Despite what he said on CNN this afternoon, the buck does not stop there; the buck is made into a spitball and thrown at the people who did not support Foley’s little games.

He forgot, of course, to mention that the party of moral standards, family values and religion has done so much to improve the moral character of Congress, America and the world at large. Who would dare think that Godless moral relativism is hiding in their defense of Foley the Fornicator? Their offenses are washed away by the transgressions of Democrats and they are now clean as the driven snow. Never mind that smell, that’s not us, it’s the Democrats.

How long will the American people continue to buy the idea that anything the Republicans do, no matter how egregiously hypocritical and how rigorously proven can be excused because the revelations are politically motivated even if the whistle blowers are Republicans? Of course it’s all political. It has nothing to do with buggery and cover-ups.

"The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by [liberal activist] George Soros”

I guess a man can’t eat as much as Denny without producing a lot of shit. Will it ever progress to the point where crimes against humanity cannot be made to disappear merely by chanting Michael Moore, George Soros,Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and “godless Liberal?”

Maybe never, but getting rid of Hastert would be a start. Voting out the Republicans would be a start. Turning off the talk radio hate machine would be a start. Impeaching Bush would be a step. Imprisoning Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and Kissinger as enemy combatants would be a dream come true, but I will settle for a Democratic landslide in November.

Can we get the government to set aside 20 million for a victory celebration?