Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Empire strikes back

Saddam once thought about Nuclear weapons, but he dismantled the program long before we attacked and destroyed his country to prevent him from maybe thinking about it again. Hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives down the toilet to punish a tyrant without a bomb.

Kim Jong Il has a bomb of sorts, not a big one but then he’s a little guy and besides little nukes are still nukes. So what do we do to punish someone arguably as mad and every bit as much of a tyrant as little Kim?

You guessed it – we won’t sell him an iPod. No more cognac, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles or even personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis. Of course it’s quite hard to find any American products to deprive him of, so we have to do what we can to make his life intolerable and it’s a plan that works well as you can judge from our success in ousting Fidel Castro from Cuba.

So take that, Jongy – you’ll have to make do with live music – or simply buy your toys from their countries of origin. You can probably get them cheaper on the internet anyway.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A run for the border

Senator Joe Biden will soon be chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He isn’t mincing words when it comes to his disdain for the government of Mexico and for the Mexicans coming into the US illegally. Of course he’s also maneuvering for a shot at the Presidency and so the Delaware Democrat was in South Carolina yesterday, hammering away at the need to put up a wall and to punish those who hire Mexicans without papers. Said Biden of our neighbor to the south:

"It is one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere and because of a corrupt system that exists in Mexico, there is the 1 percent of the population at the top, a very small middle class and the rest is abject poverty."

Indeed it seems that Mexico is in a place the Republicans have been steering us toward for 12 years, but that’s another story. The US isn't looking for regieme change and Biden isn't offering to invade Mexico to set them free - he wants to put up a wall.

I was in the border town of Juarez, Mexico last week and two things were immediately apparent. The local economy is far worse than it was 5 years ago and Mexicans want to work and work hard – so hard that they will think of ways to be useful that I would never have thought of. They will also think of ways to get out of Mexico. In the US Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, I saw boats made of truck hoods that were used to cross the river. I saw Mad Max motorcycles made from pieces of farm equipment used to cross the desert carrying three to five very determined passengers.

Much of the really hard work done in really unbearable weather here is done by Hispanics. Most are legal and there aren’t enough of them to meet the demand for roofers and masons to repair all or the hurricane damage of the last few years, but politicians are inventive too and they have as strong a desire to advance themselves as some one armed guy outside the Mercado in Juarez acting as a free lance traffic director hoping you’ll give him a few Pesos for finding you a parking spot. They need something to scare us with and someone to exploit and that just happens to be Mexico.

These politicians have so whipped up public animosity that I’m not sure any reasonable solution to whatever problem may lurk behind the screen of xenophobia and nativism and fear of foreign words will arise. I’m not sure that any real sense of whether undocumented Mexicans are an asset to or drain on the economy will emerge, but I am sure that this country; this government that can’t stop rhapsodizing about freedom and liberty and elections and the glory of unbridled capitalism really doesn’t give a flying damn about what happens anywhere or to anyone. In that respect, the government and the people of the United States seem to be as one.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Idiots at the gate

I associate autocratic and tyrannical homeowner’s associations with Florida. I sometimes call the gated community I live in Stalag 17, but much of America is being divided into these little City States and forced to live by rules grabbed piecemeal from form books used by contractors and developers; one size fits nobody rules which in time are accepted more unquestioningly than religious dogma. Arbitrary rules bring out the inner Nazi in us all.

Sometimes, challenges to the authority of a neighborhood association make the news and often in a humorous fashion, but that doesn’t lighten the burden of living under the unenlightened rule of little people with a little authority. Take for instance the South Florida case a few years back of a gentleman who wanted a small rooftop TV antenna to watch HDTV. The Federal Communications Commission has ruled it illegal to forbid anyone to have a TV antenna, yet the homeowner’s association in question brought suit. Their case? “We don’t like Federal Law.”

It’s not only in Florida: a Homeowner’s Association in Southwest Colorado has begun to fine a resident $25 a day for hanging a Christmas wreath that the association calls a “Peace Sign.” Colorado residents, being as ignorant and as incapable of coherent cogitation as most Americans are, see it as the sign of Satan or a protest of President George W. Bush’s sacred war. People whose children are being slaughtered for nothing really hate to see people longing for peace, you see. so don't be giving us that peace stuff at Christmas time.

Actually for those of us old enough to remember, that symbol was first used as part of a fatuous campaign to “Ban the Bomb;” although it may have originated from the semaphore signals (you’re too young to remember semaphore signals) for ND or Nuclear Disarmament, some see it as a loose adaptation of the international circle with stroke sign and a picture of a swept wing bomber, like our first long range supersonic bomber, the B-47. I remember early versions that had little engines on the downward slanting lines.

The crapulous Christians of America may see Satan everywhere; they may see the Prince of Peace in the Lords of War, but I’m sorry folks, it’s a ban the Bomb sign from the 1950’s. After the mass marketing of “hippie” idealogy in the late 60’s, the lemmings may have begun to associate it with the Viet Nam War and the peace movement, but that’s what it is. Just as the V for Victory two finger salute used by Winston Churchill is seen by the smugly ignorant iPod lobotomized consumerdroids of today as a “peace Sign,” it ain’t necessarily so.

But that’s America. Suggest that you might not like to pay to put up neon lit, plastic idols in the public square and you are torn to pieces, but if you have a private wreath on your own property that symbolizes anything not politically correct in the minds of the mindless – you’re torn to pieces, or at least fined $25 per day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Away from home

The Captain will be far from port until next week.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The madness of George

It is said that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. It may well be that a war neurosis stirred up by propaganda of fear and hatred is the prelude to destruction.

-John B. Orr-

Seymour Hersch writes that in a discussion last October, Dick Cheney maintained that regardless of a possible Democratic victory in House and Senate,
" the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran."
It is the basis of our Republic that the people are sovereign. It seems that the basis of the Republic envisioned by our Executive branch is that the President is sovereign and that dissent is therefore unpatriotic at best and treasonous at worst. It's an idea that has been sold to a great many Americans using fear and propaganda of fear and it is an idea that the administration intends to hang on to regardless of the palpable change of sentiment amongst the electorate.

As Richard Clark wrote in his book Against All Enemies Osama bin Laden's plan was to seek out Muslim nations that were being oppressed by non-Islamic governments and use them to promote jihad against the infidel as he had been doing in Afghanistan against the Soviets. These struggles were to be used as instruments of recruitment to build up his forces for a greater Jihad.

Bush's "coalition" gave al Qaeda a present by attacking Iraq with no apparent provocation and under circumstances that could be spun as another Crusade. We may be giving him a better present by attacking Iran; allowing him unprecedented support and further uniting Muslims against us. Is it beyond the pale to argue that this attitude of Cheney is the kind of madness that will bring on destruction?

Cheney has no intention of allowing Democracy to affect what he sees as the imperial prerogative of the current administration. According to Hersch, he has no intention of listening to Congress or obeying any laws or restrictions the legislature puts in his way. With Bush as the figurehead, his idiot brain straining to hear from his "higher father," Cheney may, with the removal of Rumsfeld, now be the true power. Not the people, not the representatives of the people, not the constitution, not the courts -- Cheney.

Two years may be far too long to wait and it gives Bush and Cheney plenty of time to force the entire world into a condition beyond anyone's power to repair. To me it all can be summed up easily: Impeach or perish.

A higher Father - a lower America

So you think the Republicans got the message on November 7th? Think again. The Condescending Twit in Chief plans, says Raw Story, to appoint Dr. Eric Kerouack, the former medical director of A Woman’s Concern, which runs crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts that offer free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and pregnancy counseling, to control Title X funding.

Title X serves nearly 5 million clients a year, the vast majority of whom are below the poverty line; people who are the most likely to need real medical information, not medieval dogma; people who would be the most likely to have unwanted pregnancies, STDs and the most likely to suffer catastrophically from them. Kerouack however, opposes abortion and also opposes sex education, which includes giving information about sexually transmitted diseases and information about birth control.

We might as well have a witch doctor in the position and we could save a lot of the taxpayer’s money by simply putting up signs saying “don’t have sex” and “If you’ve got the clap – you deserve to die from it.” We don’t need a physician if all we get from him is a slogan and a sermon. Most of all we do not need a government that governs in opposition to the will of the governed, in opposition to truth, justice, compassion and decency and in obedience to ancient superstition. We are losing our liberty by the hour.

Can we impeach George Bush fast enough?

One trick pony

There’s an old joke about the guy taking a Rorschach test. With each new picture his answer is “that’s two people having sex.” I’m beginning to see a problem here,” says the psychiatrist. “It’s not my problem” says the patient. “You’re the one showing me the dirty pictures.”

So when I hear that George W. Bush finds a lesson in the American Viet Nam experience and that the lesson is that “Freedom takes a long time to trump hatred” and that this means we have to keep occupying Iraq for a long time – I’m beginning to see a problem. If every comet in the sky, every burning bush, every letter written on the wall screamed “get out of Iraq” he would see an argument for staying the course.

Never having been to the former object of America’s imperialist passions and anti-communist hysteria, Bush seems to be totally oblivious to the fact that we never were supporting freedom in that country and that we never allowed free elections and that we killed at least a million people many of whom were women and children and innocent peasants so that they would be forced to accept a kind of government we found preferable for economic reasons, its massive corruption and suppression of civil rights notwithstanding. He doesn’t seem to understand that peace only began when America went home.

If there is a lesson in Viet Nam, it’s to stay the hell out of such struggles. When Bush argues patience with Iraq he’s either convinced that we’re idiots, is an idiot himself or is so demented that he sees and hears only in terms of his obsession. Our patience with a war that killed 50,000 Americans and lasted over a decade and ended with our defeat was far greater than our patience with Bush’s war and regardless of the circumstances under which we will inevitably exit Iraq, peace will not be the result of our occupation.

The lesson of Viet Nam is that the stakes we insisted we had there; the insistence that this was a fight for our freedom and that the “lights of freedom will go out all over the world” if we withdrew were all lies or misapprehensions, despite the passion with which these arguments were made and despite the cries of treason that met doubters.

The Vietnamese have always had a long memory and so too do the people of the middle east. The Iraqis and the Iranians remember how we sabotaged their freedom long before we claimed to be fighting for it and whether or not they ever achieve the kind of liberal democracy and equality under the law for all people we claim is our goal, they will only achieve it without our occupation.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Some people say. . .

Glenn Beck -- MSNBC’s attempt to capture the idiot audience, the bigot audience, the simple minded, uninformed, illogical, paranoid, disturbed audience yearning to have their idiocy confirmed as common sense, isn’t someone I watch, but when I saw the clip on Media Matters of him interviewing Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) who in addition to a life of achievement and public service, is a Muslim who was born in Detroit, has lived his life in the USA and is raising his children in the USA, I felt sick.

Beck is too canny to come out and say that he suspects Ellison of being a traitor because he is a Muslim, that he questions his patriotism because he is Muslim so he says "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way." That’s a fine way of making an accusation and pinning the blame on “a lot of Americans.”

“You are a Democrat; you are saying ‘let’s cut and run.’ Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

All of this issues from the same mouth that just told us how he likes Muslims, how he’s been to mosques and that he’s not accusing Ellison of anything.

Beck is right, some people do think this way, but when he pretends not to be one of them, I smell the bull. It matters little whether Beck is pandering to the worst of us; playing to irrational fears or whether he himself is a bigot without the courage to admit it. Beck still needs to prove to me that he isn’t the enemy. I’m not going to claim that he’s trying to destabilize America, or that he wishes to profit from race baiting or ethnic bigotry, but Americans might think so. I don’t say he’s a boil on the ass of America or another example of the worst of the worst, but that’s the way I feel and I think a lot of Americans feel that way.

More Lott and lots more.

Have the Republicans really listened? Have they really accepted the dissatisfaction of the voters or are they simply distracting us with conciliatory rhetoric while rounding up the right wing cranks and regrouping for the next battle?

The recrudescence of Trent Lott as Minority whip is disturbing and for more reasons then the image of a man wearing makeup and a cheap wig whipping Republicans can ordinarily conjure up. With black leather boot troopers like Mel Martinez and Lott being “made” in the same week it’s tempting to speculate that nothing has changed and that the Republicans intend to stay the course.

I do have to marvel at John McCain who seems to be as eager to ingratiate himself with the dark side as he is to be President. "He's the most effective leader I know," says the submissive McCain of Senator Lott – as though the effectiveness of leadership were more important than the direction we’re all being led in. But maybe that’s the story. Perhaps there is no intention of doing what the voters seem to have voted for and taking us in a new direction. Perhaps their plan is to find a more ferocious Führer to whip us back into line.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Populist dog

I’m not sure that I can be described as a populist, liberal although I may be according to what I think is an honest definition of that word. I’ve often expressed the opinion that the great strides our species has made have been the work of a miniscule fraction of individuals and those strides have more often than not been made against the kind of resistance that comes from the ignorance, superstition, gullibility and stupidity of a very sizeable fraction. The religious insanity, the witch hunts, inquisitions, persecutions and reigns of terror that fill history books don’t paint the passions of the people in flattering poses nor do the opinions of that public do anything to make me nod my head in aggreement.

Lou Dobbs is taking a lot of heat of late from people I would have thought would support his position that the American middle class; the group we like to think of as being the typical, the majority, the very heart of our society is losing ground. While I take exception to his “war on the middle class” rhetoric, it’s only because I’ve had a lifetime of wars on this and that and the war metaphor tends to allow us to abandon our principles too easily. I have no doubt however that what we call the middle class is increasingly excluded from prosperity and opportunity by the efforts of a government of, by and for the monetary elite.

The economy that we are told is sound and growing benefits fewer people than it did at the end of the last century. As Dobbs writes on CNN:

“And the truth is, our political, business and media elites have abandoned the cornerstone of this great nation: equality of rights, equality of economic opportunity and equality of educational opportunity. “

But it may not be only the lack of opportunity or the decreasing affluence of that “middle of the economic bell curve” group that is the indicator of illness, but the bewildered, confused, misinformed, enraged and ignorant condition so many have fallen into as a result of the official disinformation and corporate propaganda that permeates modern life. I have despaired of our ability to make choices that do not reflect the desires of global corporations and imperial ambitions.

Is Dobbs a xenophobe or a nativist or any of the things he’s being called by conservatives or crypto-conservatives? I think not. If he thinks that we need to increase legal immigration and decrease illegal immigration; if he thinks we need to control our balance of trade and if he thinks these things will improve the lot of most Americans without dragging us into isolationism, I agree.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fool me twice

"Fool me twice - you can't fool me"

-George Bush-

Whatever that was supposed to mean, it's obvious he's oblivious. Among the things that hurt the Republicans last week was the appearance of widespread corruption. Another thing was the infamous Terry Schaivo case that alienated those who thought Government should stay out of private family matters.

So what does President Can't fool me do to replace the outgoing RNC Chairman, the allegedly gay Ken Mehlman, but choose Florida's own Cuban born Senator Mel Martinez who according to CNN "has been the target of an FEC investigation into the under-reporting of campaign debt by half a million dollars, and another FEC complaint regarding improper solicitation of corporate donations."

If that weren't enough, Martinez' chief legal counsel had to resign after being exposed as the source of a memo that according to the Miami Herald "laid out the political benefits to getting involved in the fate of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman whose end-of-life battle became a rallying cry for conservatives." It also became a rallying cry for those who voted out their Republicans.

Martinez, who had he arrived from Mexico and not Cuba, would have been an illegal alien, has served in George W. Bush's cabinet and is just the sort of person the unimproved, unenlightened and steadfastly clueless Bush would pick; measuring only his abject loyalty and ignoring the fact that he's doing just what caused his party to take a "thumping" on November 7th.

Nice going George. You'll make it all the easier to get rid of the rest of the Republican running dogs in 2008. Can't fool you George!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wave more flags

Well I’m glad that’s over – Veteran’s day, that is. Like a number of holidays that formerly had meaning and that once brought out the best in us, this is one that is another occasion for an emotional and irrational fugue and witch hunt. You hear things like “If you don’t honor the troops you might as well just submit to these terrorist activities that are going on” that I heard on the radio Saturday.

People swoon and babble and wave fetishistic symbols glorifying war and militarism; people put yellow ribbons on their Toyotas and paint flags on their faces and call it honoring the troops. Every military action, visible or covert, necessary or unnecessary, moral or legal or not; on this day it becomes “fighting to preserve our freedom” and every examination of presidential perfidy in getting our troops killed and maimed needlessly “dishonors and demoralizes our troops.”

It’s another day of self adulation and self delusion; another day to tell ourselves how wonderful we are and absolve ourselves of wrongdoing and stupidity and cupidity by waving flags. It's a day to mock people who don't love war for war's sake. It’s a day to forget about veteran’s benefits, proper medical care, and combat pay. It’s a day to look at military hardware and demonstrations and ignore the lack of adequate equipment, planning and leadership that costs lives every day. Honor is cheap, genuine appreciation and concern costs money that can better be stolen by Republicans or given to movie stars. The fact is that we pay athletes and entertainers more than we pay a whole regiment and that doesn't bother us at all as long as we buy a magnetic ribbon made in Taiwan.

So maybe the tide of public support for Bush’s War is ebbing, but as long as we adore war the way we adore professional football, we will go through this again and again, falling for every sales pitch by every military-industrial-Republican administration looking to make a buck off the backs of our men and women in uniform. No matter what they tell you, every time we go off to interfere in someone’s civil war, to prevent some country from voting the way we don’t want them to vote or to respond to some event that never happened, we aren’t fighting for our freedom, we’re giving it up.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stupid, stupid, stupid part IV

Think it’s over, now that the republicans have been slapped down? Think again. It will be over when the Rabid Right media are off the air, strangled by their own microphone cords, when stupidity disappears from the gene pool. That’s right, it will never be over.

Just a moment ago Tucker Carlson, that smug, self-important, know-nothing little twink, said on MSNBC: “Nancy Pelosi’s victory was a victory for women everywhere? People don’t like Democrats because they say stupid things like that. “

That’s the Fox trick: “people say” is what the Fox flatulators give us when they are trying to smear something without smearing it, give the impression that public opinion is one way while it’s another way; appear as a majority when they are not. Sure Tucker, people don’t like Democrats. “People” don’t like you either. They don’t like you because you keep harping on the idea that al Qaeda is celebrating a Democratic victory as though you could tie Nancy Pelosi to Osama and that makes you a lying sack of shit in a sport jacket.

People don’t like you Tucker and I don’t like you and I hope you’re satisfied with the adulation of the people who pretend to intelligence, legion though they may be, because the rest of us don’t like you.

Same goes for cartoonist Glenn McCoy, whose New York Times cartoon yesterday showed a buck toothed hillbilly bragging about switching to the Democrats while someone reads a newspaper blazing with headlines about how the economy is great, the Dow is up and there hasn’t been an attack on US soil in 5 years. Maybe there ought to be non-sequitur warning labels – warnings about his doodles being overly stressful to people with three digit IQ’s. Maybe I’ll draw a cartoon of Glenn McCoy selling pencils while the Dow goes up or being torn to pieces by baboons while the Dow goes up. Maybe “people” who know something about economics, will say it’s funny.

We are not free of the disease, the cancer cells are everywhere and if we ever manage to rid ourselves of it, it will be a long, hard and painful experience. Get used to it. The struggle is just beginning, there will never be a victory, only survival, day by day

Agent 86 Goes To Washington

Agent 86: At this moment we have this entire area surrouned with ...
KAOS Agent: I find that quite hard to believe.
Agent 86: Would you believe ....?
KAOS Agent: No...
Agent 86: How about ...?

-Get Smart-

The Washington Post has the audacity (or is it the sense of humor?) to compare Bill Clinton’s denial that he had sex with “that woman” with George W. Bush’s assertion that Rumsfeld would stay on until the end of his presidential term. As one who loves sophistry the way other people like football, I was delighted to see staff writer Howard Kurtz’s compendium of opinions on the matter.

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, tells us that Bush’s tactical lie was "qualitatively different than saying 'I never had sex with that woman,'” yet still "a knowing falsehood. And it's odd because he could have said it many other ways.”

It’s qualitatively different when you take it out of context; keeping or firing Rumsfeld is a matter of worldwide importance upon which lives and fortunes hang. Clinton’s escapade may have made the earth shake for him, for a moment, but that’s all. But indeed, Bush could have approached it with a better story if he had had the mind to. What it reveals to me is that he simply doesn’t care what the proles think enough to bother with a convincing story any more. “So I lied and so what?” seems to be the presidential attitude du jour.

On the day after the election, Bush admitted in a news conference that he lied because it wasn’t convenient to reveal the truth at the time. That may have been a mistake since firing Rumsfeld may have gained votes for the Republicans, but as Joe Lockhart, former press secretary to Clinton said, ‘ It's a stunning admission that when something is politically inconvenient, you don't have to be straightforward."

I’m not stunned. Bush, like Maxwell Smart, always has another “truth” to offer when you don’t believe the first one – or the second or third.

White House press secretary Tony Snow explained that Bush lied because he wasn’t going to be "jerked around into making decisions on the basis of politics," which is a truly staggering bit of footwork considering that the man started a war on the basis of politics, but again, I’m not stunned. I never believed anything he said in the first place.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's a Gay Old Party

"You dont go to the same Bath houses I do"

-Bill Maher to Larry King-

It seems like Bill Maher’s “outing” of Ken Mehlman on Larry King has made CNN so upset that they are going after bloggers who have posted clips on sites like YouTube; telling them to cease and desist, even though the use of an 8 second excerpt is considered fair use.

Maher’s assertion that many of the bigwigs in the GOP are gay is far from being new and far from being unbelievable in light of recent scandals. I have my own suspicions regarding those who protest far too much about the “gay agenda” and I did so even before David Brock published Blinded by the Right. It’s not that I would object if the entire party were gay, but looking at other organizations with a thousand years or more of gay bashing under their belts, I can see how the GOP might have become a hiding place for those who hate what they are and fear identification. What I object to of course is the mission of the party of smaller, less intrusive government to make everyone’s private business the government’s business.

Is Mehlman gay? I’m not a Washington insider or any other kind of insider, and I’m not going to claim that gay people are necessarily detectable even if I had the uncanny ability or any interest in identifying them, but I tend to credit Maher whatever his sources might be. You can still see the clip on the Huffington Post and decide for yourself.

CNN opines that Mehlman will be leaving soon, whether or not it has anything to do with his sexual preferences. Can we hope that Trent Lott will follow on his heels? Not that I’m suggesting anything.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That thou be not judged

The year is almost over and the annual Fogg Award for the most sanctimonious hypocrite of 2006 is likely to go to Pope Benedict XVI. It’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing the recent Vatican statement of “bitterness” at the planned gay pride parade in Jerusalem. The Roman Catholic Church, which has presided over and protected more gay activity of the non-consensual and non-consenting adult variety, is adamant that freedom of expression ends where the sensitivity of religious people begins.

"The Holy See has reiterated on many occasions that the right to freedom of expression, sanctioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is subject to just limits, in particular when the exercise of this right would offend the religious sentiments of believers,"
said a November 8th letter from the Holy See to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Think about it. Many of the Gospel stories offend the hell out of me. The passion plays, the blood libels, the continuous little digs at the character and inborn nature of Jews I’ve personally heard from the mouths of priests: such things and such negative characterizations of Jews and other heretics have been intrinsic to the dogma for so long that no simple proclamation by any pope will make them go away. They offend me. School prayer offends me, the mistranslated Ten Commandments on walls offend me; the twisted interpretations of Jewish scripture offend me. The sticky, maudlin professions of faith that fall on my ears every day offend me.

Where are my rights here, Holy Father? Where are the rights of anyone who wishes to do any harmless thing that might offend the great authors of bigotry and sanctimonious self promotion to moral authority? Has anyone forgotten how your predecessors fought against Democracy, against science, against tolerance for other beliefs no matter how small the transgression?

Earlier this year, the Vatican said that gay marriage, abortion, lesbians wanting to bear children and a host of other practices it saw as threats to the traditional family, were signs of "the eclipse of God." What the Vatican means is the eclipse of impotent and epicene old men in gold dresses who pretend to speak for God and protect him from things he doesn't know how to handle.

And while I'm on this tack; It's not only the Vatican that's all agitated about allowing people to deny the authority of men in black, the Israeli Religious right have their beards all in knots over this as well. They've been setting fires and throwing stones and acting as badly as they know how to act out of some conviction that they also have the right to keep people under their moral bootheel. So I got your sensitivity right here, Ratzy. If anyone ever hated anyone for their freedom, it's you.

Free at last

For years we were told that Colin Powel had resigned his post as Secretary of State, but we now know that he was asked to resign. I suspect the same situation has occured with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld but as long as we are well rid of him, I can wait until the whole truth comes out before I gloat. His departure of course, may be a continuation of the too little too late policy that got us where we are in Iraq, but we shall see.

Anyway, with the House now a Democratic stronghold and the Senate only the width of a dream away, it may look like only another sunny Florida afternoon, but to me, it's a whole new day.

Jesus Crist!

Charles Joseph “Charlie” Crist, barring some divine interference, will be Florida’s next governor. He won the position over Jim Davis the old fashioned way; by answering every question, including the question of whether the 8 million dollars he took from developers looking to exploit what remains of Florida would influence him, by endlessly parroting “Jim Davis will raise your taxes”

The public seems to have little knowledge as to what a Governor can do and can’t do, but Floridians rich and poor, fear taxation more than all else even if a reduction won't affect them or costs them far more in the long run.

Charlie, like too many religiopathic phonies these days, always refers to any personal gain as a “blessing” and so he did once again in his acceptance speech last night – as though he won because of the invisible man instead of visible votes. The Attorney General, who presided over the illegal, immoral and improper exclusion by Katherine Harris’ cronies of at least 50,000 minority voters that guaranteed George W. Bush the opportunity to slither into the White House, said he has "truly lived a blessed life."

Charlie never missed a chance to point out that he reveres Ronald Reagan and loves Jesus and particularly when asked the kind of questions a voter would want to know about his finances. He calls Jeb “Big Sugar” Bush, America’s greatest Governor. His greatest talent perhaps, other than his mane of Gubernatorial white hair is his ability to look constituents straight in the eye and insist that the Republicans stand for smaller and less intrusive and of course less expensive government.

Of course you can’t underestimate his personal charm, the kind of charm that lets him lose a debate about specific issues and appear to have won. In this respect he does really resemble Reagan, but in other respects the 50 year old, carefully groomed bachelor reminds me more of Mark Foley.

Still we have to have some small consolation in knowing that Charlie is far less easily described as a conservative than either Foley or Bush. We shall have to wait and see whether he will stand up to major contributors and do something about the insurance companies that are milking my State and the Sugar cartel that is polluting it or the oil companies that want to drill here. We shall see whether Florida, a State without its own income tax can actually lower taxes and increase education spending to raise our educational standards from the bottom of the country. We shall see.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's your fault.

There's always a reason to vote. There's always a choice worth making and if there weren't it would still be worth voting. Every citizen who opts out hastens the demise of what democracy we have left and if they argue we've already lost it; if they argue that all candidates are the same; that the entire system is corrupt and beyond redemption, the circularities they create are of the viscious kind and the society they undermine is the one that gave the only hope of choice, of liberty and democracy.

The "what difference does it make?" attitude gave us George W. Bush and his crusade. Fatuous excuses for not voting ensured that a candidate supported by barely half of the third who vote took over the government and brought the country to its knees. It makes a difference and the lesser of two evils is less evil, none the less. It makes a difference if it does no more than show the junta that they have to deal with all of us rather than just the bigots, the Xenophobes, the glossolaliac evangelists and the greedy corporations. It makes a difference.

Sure, everyone has a plausible excuse but some reduce to a hatred of democracy, some have their theocracies, their plutocracies, their Technocracies and other dipshit dogmas to sell and would welcome the chaos and collapse as fertile ground for their green utopias and libertarian plutopias and nitwit post-apocalyptic dream worlds. It may have been raining or snowing or too hot or too cold or they may have been too tired to vote. Doing the right thing is often uncomfortable. The road to hell however, is a lovely boulevard with no stop lights, no frustrations - and no off-ramp. Enjoy the ride and don't complain.

Long night of the American soul

Well my phone has stopped ringing – it must be near the end of the election and not a minute too soon. The cornered Republican Rats have been tormenting the public with their dirty tricks and non-stop phone calls and their jamming of Democratic phone lines. Now they have to get down to the dirty business of stealing the election.

It’s going to be a long night and whether Wednesday is morning in America or a nightmare that won’t end is yet to be determined. If the Republican insurgents win – or rather if they don’t lose, I have to decide whether this has been worth it and whether to continue. I’m running out of words that I can use to express my contempt, loathing, disgust and hatred of the goons and thugs that have stolen my country and if they don’t lose, words will have no effect anyway, so beer and pizza and a long evening it is.

God bless America.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A wooden stake?

Nothing has improved in Iraq or elsewhere, but I read in the Times that pollsters are claiming that Bush, like Dracula after sundown, is rising up from the dirt. Why? Are the idiots of America idiotic enough to think that the verdict against Saddam to be announced after the election means anything in terms of the fantasy that Iraq will stop being a hell hole and become a beacon of enlightenment values and democracy? In what possible way did this trial prove anything other than that we have the courthouse surrounded with troops?

I would like to think that nobody is that stupid. There has been no progress whatever toward any of Bush's stated goals in Iraq regardless of which of the various explanations they are contained in. Violence is on the increase, corruption in the puppet government and support of death squads is ever more apparent. All the money budgeted for the restoration of the country has been stolen, much of it by Bush's pet corporations and the vast majority of Iraqis want us out today if not sooner. I'm afraid that Americans are indeed that stupid.

The execution of Saddam will have no positive effect and will further mobilize Sunnis toward violence; will further promote our image as invaders, crusaders and despoilers and further erase any vestiges of American prestige.

This is a reason to vote for crooks, cooks, perverts, liars and Bush supporters. If the bastards win, America as we thought we knew it does not exist.

I'm packing my bags.

Rove's last tape

Hear the tolling of the bells
Iron Bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats is a groan.


This might be a bloody day if it weren’t for caller ID. I’m sure that the people who make political phone calls know what my political affiliations are and exactly how much money I have given to whom, yet they call and call and call and call some more. Seven days in the week from early until late, the robots and the volunteers call telling me how awful the other guy is and how my taxes will go up if I try to preserve my liberty.

As I said, I have caller ID and so don’t usually answer these incessant invasions and disturbances of domestic tranquility, but sometimes they trick me, like when it’s before sunrise and I react automatically thinking there’s some family emergency. The recorded messages are the worst of course, since you can’t tell them all about their mother’s hygiene problems or the various crimes of their candidates. New Hampshire residents have been given a partial break if their numbers are on the national no-call list, but here in Florida, all I can do is ignore the bells ringing and ringing me into dementia like some character from Poe.

Of course the Republicans are not stupid, they just know that we are and they know that we don’t want to be awakened, or pulled away from the TV or the dinner table or the shower to hear how some bozo will lower our taxes or how the Democratic candidate shares a bed with Osama. According to, the rodents of Rove have been using robo-calls that make you think it’s the Democrats who just dragged you out of the toilet or woke you up at 3:47 AM and if you hang up when they offer to give you information about Tim Mahoney or Jim Davis, they will call back again and again and again and again until you begin to wonder where you put that box of 9mm hollow point.

Of course there is one way to end it that falls far short of mayhem. It's not only legal, it's your duty – you can vote and you can drag every non-republican you know who insists that “there’s no difference between the candidates” or “my vote doesn’t matter” to the polls. Otherwise annoying phone calls will be the least of our problems.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The hanging of Saddam

As I fumbled with the remote this rainy Sunday morning, looking for coverage of the New York Marathon, the hidden voice of NBC told me that “some people” were pleased that the sentencing of Saddam to hang by his neck was an example of the independence of the Iraqi judiciary and therefore the success of Iraq’s brave new government.

Some things are hard to take in the morning and bullshit is one of them, but perhaps some of us with a level of intelligence above the Republican low water mark and the ability to see irony, might relish the notion that the ruling junta pretends to admire an independent judiciary. Of course being surrounded with armed, foreign troops and conducting a trial under the auspices of an occupying force intent on producing one outcome and one outcome alone isn’t my definition of independent, but then they’ve always been successful at dismissing arguments by calling them Liberal and I suppose it would work this time if my argument should happen to come to their attention.

At any rate, it’s good to know that George is protected against an independent judiciary in his own country as well as abroad, because the world he divides into “for us” and “with the terrorists” is significantly with the terrorists. Muslims around the world are warning that the hanging of Saddam will inspire a new wave of hatred against the US and many are pointing out that more people have died because of the US invasion of Iraq than because of Saddam. Whether or not this is true and whether or not many of Saddam’s victims perished because of US sponsorship of Saddam against Iran is irrelevant. Perception is the only reality and my perception is that nothing good will come of the death of Saddam, unless, like George Bush, you define good as the destruction of the world.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sex, lies and Evangelicals

“Perhaps we must admit, with Plato, that lies are useful to the people”

-Erasmus of Rotterdam-

As bad as the ethical, sexual and financial scandals in the Republican party have been of late, the transgressions of religious figures have also been turning up right and left at an increasing rate. Whether it’s the molestation of children, misuse of church funds and contributions, or garden variety fornication, Christian leaders are at the vanguard. It shouldn’t be surprising given the feature of human nature that causes the guilty to hide behind and in the institutions of righteousness, and as the heavily theocratic Republican party has been in recent decades, the obsessive leader in matters related to condemnation, restriction and marginalization of homosexuals, it doesn’t surprise me that gaydar detectors beep so loudly when pointed to the right.

The Rev. Ted Haggard, who has just resigned from the presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals is another drop of slime, corruption and hypocrisy in the brimming collection bucket the Republicans consider to be their base. Haggard has the ear of the President and is said to report to Bush or his advisors every Monday; the rest of us have only a boot heel on our faces.

Is anyone really surprised at the credible allegations that Smiling Ted, the oral boy from Oral Roberts University has been having a homosexual affair with Mike Jones, a bodybuilder, personal trainer and male prostitute from Denver?

Nothing new about such things at all except the influence of such men in national politics and the allure they have for “values voters.” Values voters of course are people others might call hate voters or bigots, but that’s how Newspeak works and Haggard is a master of Newspeak. In response to a question of the lies told to justify the Iraq invasion, he replied:

“Listen, I think [we Christian believers] are responsible not to lie, but I don't think we're responsible to say everything we know.”

That’s values for you and I’m sure if you can read the Gospels in the original Greek, you’ll find where Jesus told you that the preservation of political power is more important than honesty and more important than saving the lives of others. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sic, sic, sic

I don’t need to cite Katherine Harris as evidence for my belief that our species is the lowest form of vertebrate life on Earth. Indeed, I’m sure that rats and moles and blue-assed baboons have their atavisms and throwbacks and genetic mistakes. It’s the fact that people, albeit a minority of people, do support her that makes me dream of some massive asteroid to cleanse our world of our miserable genome and allow some still humble type of life to progress beyond our pathetic limitations: perhaps some bacteria or slime mold could, given 100 million years or so, evolve into something less slimy and moldy than a Florida Republican.

The televised “debate” between the Republican Ms. Harris and incumbent Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson last night contained as few surprises as any of these contrived events do: Harris lies, twitters and evades pointed questions as to why Jews can't be trusted to serve in office and the obviously frustrated Nelson danced around the question of whether he would have voted to allow George Bush to invade Iraq if he had known what all of us now know and some of us now admit about Saddam’s fictitious arsenal. None of these events really change anyone’s minds and so many were calcified at birth or traumatized into irrationality in childhood that their political leanings might as well be genetic and perhaps some of them are.

You can see the evidence for the hopelessness of Democracy in the comments lift on the Palm Beach Post’s web site. To a rational person – assuming the possibility exists of finding one – the choice is clear: an imperfect, fallible, but basically sane and relatively incorruptible Nelson Vs. a drooling, twittering demented, desperately ambitious and massively dishonest Harris. To Republicans the answer is to vote Republican without scruple or concern.

After all, she believes in Church control of government and the NRA endorses her, but mostly she’s not a “Liberal,” a term which in the Republican vocabulary is an absolute and which requires no definition because it’s just bad. Liberals spend money and intrude on your life, but since Republicans spend more money and intrude much further into your life and your private beliefs while stealing from you, these things aren’t what it’s all about. Liberal is just Liberal and Liberal is just bad and so you read the comments of the rabble and you dream of the end of the world.

Reading these comments from liberals is startling. How in the world would anyone in there [sic] right mind say nelson [sic] in [sic] a moderate he is a full blown liberal and why would anyone want to give congress more money. [sic]Do you have extra money you don’t want? There seems [sic] to be a lot of democrats in PBC that are in serious need of medical attention.”

says a typically illiterate Republican. Sic, sic sic and sick, sick, sick. I’m nearly as speechless as that writer is ungrammatical and I’m angrier than he is stupid. Come on Yahweh – the experiment is over and it failed. Just pull the plug, drop the asteroid, start the flood, and if you do send dead people anywhere, don’t send me where there are other people.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trivial pursuits

“Explosive new controversy” my ass. The hysterical blowhard Blitzer has been hyping up Kerry’s statement about the uneducated being “stuck in Iraq” as though the future of the world hinged on finding something offensive in the Democrats while the Party of Evil drags us praying and patriobloviating down the road to fascism and tyranny. CNN and all the rest of the corporate media are desperate not to appear anything like a loyal opposition; desperate to create false balance by making much out of nothing and nothing out of much.

Who gives a damn if John Kerry insinuated that a large proportion of the kids showing up at enlistment offices have few other options in life? It’s true and it’s true that standards have been lowered to allow those with dubious backgrounds and marginal personalities to enlist. The fiction that kids are signing up in droves because they want to fight for freedom, the glory of the flag or any other resuscitated jingoistic cliché of the day, is more than fiction – it’s a lie. It’s a lie just as every step of our road to Iraq was a lie; just as every campaign promise and every bit of Christian posturing, every fake and cynical pretense at populism was a lie.

How pathetic is it that Democrats in the midst of the dissolution of American values, laws and principles; in the midst of a slide into plutocratic fascism, in the midst of unprecedented incompetence, corruption, theft of public treasure and at the beginning of the end of American leadership in the world, have to whimper and cringe because a former candidate didn’t for a moment maintain the façade – didn’t maintain the false fawning over the troops who are dying for nothing? Has Wolf been to war? Has Karl Rove, or any of the other fat assed barroom generals who send people to die to cover their lies?

There is only one controversy and you’re not going to hear it from Wolf or any other of the employees of the propaganda machine – and that’s whether after Tuesday even the silliest, Bush besotted and cringing cowards and deluded dimwits can continue to pretend that the country which once saved the world for freedom has retained the right to think of itself as having any more moral foundation than a troop of baboons.

If you don’t vote the criminals out of office, it’s you who are going to be stuck in Iraq; you who are going to be stuck in a country that is no longer answerable to the will of the governed, to the constitution or to a body of law. It’s either that we vote them out and hope they will actually leave or by default we vote freedom out and welcome endless war and the kingdom of Bush.