Friday, June 29, 2007

The Enemy

Let's see - we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here, Isn't that the story? But what about the "them" that are already here? Or maybe we're fighting them over there so England can fight them in London and Spain can fight them in Madrid. It's hard to make sense of it when you hold on to the idea that Muslim extremists are a well regulated militia with a chain of command, headquarters and a commander in chief. They're obviously not, but for the idea that by fighting "them" in Iraq, we're diminishing the hatred in the mean streets and nasty neighborhoods of London, Madrid, New York or anywhere else, is the kind of Joke that only George Bush and his crazed followers could sell as a strategy.

Despite CNN's early morning assurances that the Cars found on London streets showed the work of Al Qaeda and the Qaeda trained Iraqi insurgents, it wasn't. Their bombs work and their bomb makers understand that they shouldn't use British propane or petrol tanks that have features that make them almost explosion proof; that you don't combine high explosive / shrapnel devices with fuel/air devices and they know how to use a cell phone to properly detonate a bomb.

This job positively reeks of a clumsy amateur endeavor, poorly thought out and badly constructed, but that should be scarier than something you could trace to some centralized enemy. A walk through some London neighborhoods will show you the size of the city's underclass and maybe will hint at the traditional class warfare that has now taken on an ethnic and religious aspect.

Yes, the founder of al Qaeda is a rich man, part of a social elite and religiously motivated, but I suspect the people who bungled this car bomb attack were home grown and the spawn of London's slums and social segregation. There's no "over there" involved.

Press one for CNN-speak

CNN this morning wasn't, according to Betty Nguyen, waiting for pictures of the defused Mercedes car bomb in London. They weren't looking for them, seeking them or searching for them - they were "efforting" them.

Frankly, I'm getting as disgusted with CNN-speak as I am with Fox lies. It really doesn't bother me to have to press one for English, but when I want to hear the news in our allegedly common tongue, I would prefer it to be real English, not the babble of illiterates "efforting" to sound educated by butchering the language.

For all the "English only" types out there - here's a plan. Let's ship this sorry crew over to Telemundo and I'm sure their linguistic abuses will have enough "negative impact" on Spanish Speakers to send them fleeing to English as a second language classes.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Syrian Missile crisis?

Pandora may have unleashed a world of woes, but the woes unleashed by the Bush Family are a cash cow of unprecedented size for war profiteers: the corporations who get Carte Blanche no bid contracts and of course the arms dealers and manufacturers both Bush and Cheney are affiliated with. Both Russia and Saudi Arabia and perhaps China stand to profit substantially from the administration's lust to attack Iran, but who is concerned with the likely outcomes?

Syria, the end of whose nuclear program was vaunted as a benefit of Bush's attack on Iraq has a mutual defense pact with Iran and in an act that conjures up the Cuban Missile Crisis, has agreed to accept the installation of Iranian owned, Russian built missiles on their soil.

The threat to US troops in Iraq may not be as serious as the threat to Israel, but it will require more arms and equipment and more money in the coffers of the multinational military-industrial complex. That we have an administration with family and business ties to the arms trade gives me little confidence in their intentions. Iran is in the position where their only deterrent to invasion is a nuclear one and invasion seems ever more likely with warships amassing around them. Sales are brisk and getting better and when or if the nukes begin to pop and millions die and the world is changed, they can come out of their bunkers owning a much bigger chunk of what's left than those of us who don't have bunkers.

Bush is no Kennedy and who can be sure he really has any interest in preventing continued escalation of a war in the Middle East? He himself is besieged and his time is growing short. He has set up the mechanism to allow himself absolute, unimpeded power. All he needs is a national emergency and with his connections, that should be a snap.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What the flock?

Religious leaders like to talk about their flocks, but thanks to modern technology, this could become more than a metaphor and according to Pope Benedict, it's not such a bad idea at all. Go look at World Gone Mad. You'll laugh like a hyena.

Back in the saddle again

Well back in the Executive branch at least.
"Two senior Republican officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the rationale had been the view of the vice president’s lawyers, not Cheney himself," says the Politico.
Nice try Uncle Snarley; no lawyer is that dumb, unless it's one of those faith-based kind we find around the white house these days. You're going to have to take that subpoena and answer some questions or come up with another reason to claim you're above and beyond accountability for ignoring the constitution. I can't wait to hear what it is, but here are some possibilities:

  • He's not an American
  • He's not human
  • He forgot about the constitution
  • Clinton made him do it
I'm sure he'll have something equally as creative.

(cross posted at The Reaction)

Child of a lesser God

If we're all Godless, what kind of a God must Ann Coulter have? Any entity that would prompt her to act as she does would likely be described as something else; something quite different than is common in the recognized Great Religions. Her higher power seems to require that hearts be cut out or throats be garroted to honor the Dark Mother, Kali. Her verbal Thuggee seems to be as mindlessly reflexive as the chomp of a Venus fly trap, her vituperation as unrelated to any cognitive process as the strike of any pit viper.

On Chriss Matthews' Hardball yesterday, in the midst of her saying that her only regret of all the mean, ugly, gratuitously hate filled ejaculations was her erstwhile support of George Bush, who none the less remains "magnificent" as concerns the murder of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, she was interrupted by a call from Elizabeth Edwards. Watch as she smirks and twitters as she's politely asked to stop the personal attacks, to stop mocking parents with dead children, to stop the wishes for Democratic candidates to be killed. Just watch her brush off any opposition as fund raising, as censorship. Watch her lips sneer, imagine the nictitating membrane flick across her reptilian eyes hidden by glasses too dark for Ray Charles. She makes a lot of money from it, she says - that's all that matters. She can't imagine any other motivation.

"You had a column a couple years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean's death and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said, 'ask me about my dead son.' This is not legitimate political dialogue" said Mrs. Edwards.

To Coulter, Edwards' grief is a ploy to make money and not a good one because Coulter made more money by it as she proudly claims. What else do we need to know about her?

"So I've learned my lesson, if I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he'd been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."
we watch her say it on a video clip. She was misquoted, says Ann, until you show her the video, or it was years ago, or it was out of context, until you show her the context - and then it was just a joke. Don't you Godless liberals get a joke?

Can't we see, says she that Hillary Clinton is pathetic because she got where she is by marrying Bill and Ann is not pathetic because she got out of a felony charge by sleeping with an FBI agent? No sense of humor amongst the Godless.

So here's a joke for you Ann. I hope everyone you care about; everyone you love, dies miserably and slowly so that I can laugh and mock and giggle and sneer. Let them scream in agony so that with every tear, I can accuse you of profiting by it. Of course it's a joke, because you are incapable of human emotion - get it? Funny - joke - right?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I raise my finger beside the golden door

Checkpoint Charlie exists no more, although there is a museum in Berlin dedicated to the memory of that intimidating doorway into and out of Cold War East Berlin. I remember it quite well without having seen the museum. I remember sitting on a wooden bench in a stark little room in a building that somehow reminded me of a country train station from the 1940's. I had dropped my passport into a slot in the wall as per instructions and was trying to control my nervousness by counting out all my pocket money as required. The fellow sitting next to me had his pack of cigarettes delaminated and carefully examined for whatever might be hiding between the layers of packaging - microfilm perhaps. My James Bond inspired bravado had been replaced with a strong desire to find a bathroom. There was none. Back in those days I was proud to be from a country that welcomed visitors as welcomed its own - not like those terrible Commies.

I last traveled to China about a dozen years ago and had been led to expect a similar experience from Chinese customs from people who had been there. "Don't take a good camera - they confiscate video cameras, you know, and they go through everything." I was waved through without inspection.

Coming into the US these days is more of a police state experience than many tourists are willing to submit to. If you're a millionaire from England coming to the art auctions at Sotheby's or a surgeon from Germany or Australia or Japan come to demonstrate a new surgical procedure at Johns Hopkins, you're still seen as a potential terrorist and must be fingerprinted like a criminal. Retinal and biometric facial scans are planned as soon as the equipment is available.

Citizens returning home with adopted babies from Asia are subjected to rudely screamed orders, long waits and humiliation while trying to deal with screaming, hungry ( no formula allowed, you terrorist bastard!) and frightened infants who are of course foreigners and potential terrorists. Often you're photographed before you can leave. Body searches are becoming much more common and no one has any confidence that if some half wit TSA employee finds something that puzzles her, you'll wind up in some secret cell in some secret hell in the CIA Gulag.

I have met people who have given up second homes in the US they have owned for decades simply because of the "Up against the wall you foreign devils" attitude. It's our loss. Of course none of these procedures would have stopped Mohammed Atta and his cronies and they don't do anything for National Security - they're just the typical behavior of paranoid police states like the US and Burma and another indicator of our slide into third world status.

Don't ask me if I'm proud to be an American any more - I might just start crying.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

If you're one of those who doesn't know the names of anyone on the Supreme court, much less the name of the Chief Justice, perhaps it's time you learned. Perhaps you might wish to reflect on another loss for America to the forces of the Right. You voted for these people, you'd better learn to like what your got because we're stuck with them for a long, long time.

In the words of a TV judge from Texas, "what part of abridge didn't you understand?" Chief Justice Roberts probably knows what it means to "abridge." It means to cut short or to curtail which is exactly what has just been done by the Supreme Court ruling today concerning the constitutional right of Joseph Frederick to fly a banner expressing a somewhat enigmatic statement he claims he got from a bumper sticker: Bong Hits 4 Jesus. The courts sided with a disciplinarian high school principal who suspended him for ten days for doing it and another five for quoting Thomas Jefferson as saying "speech limited is speech lost."

Jefferson was right, the constitution is explicit and the judges appointed by our activist President have taken another step toward creating the sort of government Jefferson thought it would take the blood of patriots to overturn. I hope he isn't right again, but if the supreme court will allow someone to be punished for expressing an opinion in the public streets, they have today joined the ranks of the enemies of freedom and further established the illegitimacy of our current government.


Justice Stevens' dissenting opinion says:
“This case began with a silly nonsensical banner, (and) ends with the court inventing out of whole cloth a special First Amendment rule permitting the censorship of any student speech that mentions drugs, so long as someone could perceive that speech to contain a latent pro-drug message.”
The dissenting pro-freedom voice won't even be with us for much longer. It's just some old folks who remember freedom against the young dogs of Bush. I have to wonder how this activist court will continue to encroach on our basic freedoms using the ancient excuse of protecting the children. Since it's illegal for minors to use alcohol, will they be subject to punishment for reading about Jesus changing water to wine or talking about it in Sunday school? Will wearing a picture of Bogart with his perennial cigarette get them expelled?

Don't laugh, the history of cyrptofascism in the Court suggests this isn't fantasy. The court has been trying to shut us up for years and now that Bush has sent in reenforcements, I can't hope to live long enough to see them gone.

Look what you did when you voted for Bush - just look at what you did.

The name of the beast

Turn up your iPods America. Get out the skateboards, turn on the ball game, tune in to Rush and pop open another Budweiser. Watch American Idol, download some ring tones and text your buds. We're almost there; we're almost stupid enough, angry enough and confused enough for the fascism we've wanted for over 75 years to take effect. Sure, the rich get richer and the smart eventually get smarter, but dumbass America never learns.

Some questions on a new Newsweek poll are frightening. Somehow, the disinformation machine has 41% of Americans believing Saddam Hussein was involved in planning, financing or carrying out the September 11th Attack on New York. Somehow a majority don't know that the attackers came from Saudi Arabia.

That 59% know Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House but 81% can't tell you who the Chief Justice is, indicates to me that whatever news they are getting is from the right wing rabble-rousers hell bent on making Nancy Pelosi the next Jane Fonda. The 20% who think that Saddam's non-existent nukes were found; the 15% who think Osama has been caught or weren't quite sure are less surprising. That no doubt represents the irreducible fraction of irredeemable idiots and is roughly equal to the percentage identifying themselves as Republicans.

So when I read about how Cheney has since his election, felt that he was a special branch of government designed to be above the law and not answerable to the people or their representatives, I'm not surprised. A man who answers "fuck yourself" to a senator who has a right to ask the question of who Cheney actually works for; a man who burns records when he bothers to keep them, who ignores subpoenas and makes money from a war he helped promote with falsified data and the suppression of facts, is just the sort of big league tyrant stupid, hysterical and ignorant populaces turn to. A man who has restructured the Executive branch by fiat and in defiance of the law would once have caused a revolution, but today one hardly hears of support for impeachment or even censure.

Yes, his popularity ratings are abysmal and yet the man who could stop him in his tracks is silent and supportive - and we elected him. I'm afraid that given the chance we'd do it again and I'm worried that we won't even have the chance come 2008.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Time and chance

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Whoever wrote Ecclesiastes 9:11 would have understood racing. The number 63 Corvette was hot on the heels of the Aston Martin and gaining nearly 30 seconds per lap. The American entry, having higher mid range torque, was having an easier time in the rain than the smaller displacement, higher RPM cars. Only a dozen laps to go at the most famous endurance race in the world and another Le Mans victory in the LMGT1 class would belong to the Americans, making for a total of 6 firsts out of the last 7 tries. Last year Aston Martin had reliability problems; a major factor in a 24 hour race and had to settle for second, but this year time and chance favored the Brits but with a bit of help, as some claim, from the French.

Deciding that there was too much rain, the pace cars or as the French call them "safety cars," came out and the race ran under the yellow caution flag under which there is no passing. Then, with a few laps to go, the green flag came out again even though there had been no change in the weather leaving the bright yellow Corvette C6R to finish second. Fans are still mumbling to themselves, asking what just happened and comparing the finish to the last episode of The Soprano's.

Who really understands the French? Losers always have reasons and the reasons nearly always have to do with the French juggling their arcane rules and procedures. It's not hard to understand their animosity toward the US at the moment since French Bashing has become the national sport of the American idiot class, but the race is over and it didn't go to the fastest car or to the most reliable. It went to the winner. Second place is second place but overall, the Corvette C5Rs and C6Rs have dominated the highest power sports car category at Le Mans and in the American Le Mans series for a number of years now.

This battle may not have gone to the strongest, but the war will go on for a long time.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Little Big Horn, here we come

If it's really true that the Mainstream Media are reporting only bad news as some would say, I'm at a loss to explain today's article in the New York Times entitled Militants Said to Flee Before U.S. Offensive. Apparently there were some gentlemen of Qaeda in Baquba and American troops preparing to drive them out or do them in have heard that they have somehow found out about the plan and have got themselves out of Dodge.

We're told that this is good news. We are told that the "enemy" are cowardly for not aligning their troops like
tin soldiers to trade lead with American troops. I'm not making it up.

When will we end the dimwitted attempt to force the occupation of a partially demolished country filled with hostile and well armed bands of guerrillas into some classical model of warfare? I believe that General Custer was likewise impressed with his own might as the Indians fled before him - at least for a short while. When Xerxes burned Athens it was largely empty, but the men who had fled weren't cowards, they were simply refusing to play the Persians' game as the Iraqi insurgents are refusing to play ours. So perhaps it's gratifying to the warped egos of the remaining war supporters to call it so, but it isn't any more a victory than the escape of Osama from Tora Bora was.

What it does indicate is that either we are becoming as predictable to the insurgent leadership as Custer was to Crazy Horse, or that we are telegraphing our next move while we attempt to create "positive news."

So if this is going to portrayed as a victory, the Times has carefully to avoid the word Pyrrhic. The egos of the brass need to remain polished and with the fourth of July so near, we need to have things for the high school drum majorettes to strut over.

Friday, June 22, 2007

While you wait

Is Commander Guy's sinister sidekick suffering from vascular dementia or is he sliding into paranoid schizophrenia? Is he simply so sure of himself that he offers an excuse so laughably flimsy for refusing to turn over documents as claiming he isn't part of the Executive Branch? Is he trying to point out the impotence of the Public when it comes to taking a renegade administration to task? Maybe it's both. Maybe he's the head of a new branch that makes the other three branches subordinate: Halliburton, but with Cheney's perennial contempt for being asked what the hell he's doing by people with the constitutional right to ask it, all avenues of speculation lead to comedy of one sort or another.

But while we're waiting to see whether his diseased heart will last as long as this diseased administration and wondering whether we or the Shadow will ever know what evil lurked there, we can entertain ourselves with the documentation of decades of secrets about CIA murders, assassinations, thefts, burglaries, illegal wiretapping, kidnapping, infiltration and surveillance galore. It seems that all the things we hippies, subversives, conspiracy theorists and leftist, pinko paranoids once said the government was doing were pretty much true and more like understatement than hyperbole. It's all due to come out next week when the CIA is planning at long last to air enough dirty laundry to stink up the solar system.

I will try to avoid smirking while we read about it; while the remaining true believers try to think of excuses. I'll try not to say I told you so and I will try not to get the dry heaves this coming Independence day when we go through the annual rituals, ceremonies and parades of self praise. I will recall, through the rockets' red glare that people are suffering and dying while yet another generation of evil men sit on the truth and tell lies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aryan Nation

It's like Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman or Godzilla Vs. any of the other rubber monsters he was set up against in the movies; one ludicrous thing against another makes for bad movies. It makes the US into a bad movie too when we put our near-idolatrous worship of the "troops" against our hysterical phobia about Latin American illegals. One way or another, the winner will be a monster.

Yaderlin Hiraldo entered the US illegally from the Dominican Republic in 2001 and she married Army specialist Alex Jimenez in 2004. Her green card was in the works as they say. Jiminez is one of those missing troops who was taken prisoner and not heard from again until his ID card turned up in an Al Qaeda safe house and a video was found that claimed he had been killed. It's likely that he is dead, but nobody knows for sure whether Yaderlin is a widow. The country was saddened when these men went missing and all the usual rhetoric about supporting the troops was vented. Most of that rhetoric is meant to serve Bush's program of blaming America for his military losses, but all in all, it's a lot of hot air. They're certainly not going to support Mrs. Jiminez, they're going to deport her and if she wants her application to have a chance, she's going to have to leave the country and wait ten years.

So thanks Alex for your service. We're sorry you may have died under horrible circumstances and because of incompetent leaders, but we're not sorry enough that we'll treat your widow like a human being, even though we love to get all gooey about the sanctity of marriage - what with her Hispanic origin and all. We will be happy to support some nice blond white troops, but not your sort, so get the hell out of here, we've got to get ready for the 4th of July celebrations where we bow down to our own graven image and chastise Liberals for not supporting the troops.

(cross posted at The Reaction)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The rape of history

Back on March second, I wrote about Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and his attempt to undo the apology his country had formerly made to Korea for its crime of forcing thousands of Korean women into brothels for the use of Japanese officers. His claim that it never happened and that the women volunteered to be raped continuously until dead sickened me and infuriated most of Asia which still remembers the widespread atrocities and genocide. Most Americans seem to have forgotten and many aren't sure what the war in the pacific was about other than that it had something to do with Hawaii. There wasn't much of a reaction therefore here in the only country that really could influence the continuing right wing rewrite of history in Japan.

The time therefore is ripe for Abe to further remove himself from consideration as a human being by denying the events that rival and surpass Hitler's holocaust. He claims that the Rape of Nanking never happened. Just like his western counterparts, the professors, the actors, the vermin who tell us Auschwitz was a fat farm, Abe pretends that the photos, the reports, the eyewitness accounts of slaughter so massively repulsive that Hitler's observers were sickened, never happened.

I'm really too emotional to expatiate, and I'm aware that nothing I can do can prevent the memory of so many ruined and destroyed lives from being erased, but I will never buy a Japanese product again and will try as hard as I can to make sure that nothing I ever do will benefit that country until Abe and his neo-fascist supporters meet with the fate too many of his predecessors avoided. I would like to see him hanged or perhaps buried alive like thousands were in Nanjing.

Save the bees please

I spent most of this torrid morning up on the roof of my County Emergency Operations Center installing antennas and thinking about bees. No, I didn't see any, but I did see a forest of 800 MHz band and microwave antennas the police, fire, paramedics and other county services use to communicate. These radios put out substantial power in the same band a cell phone uses but at thousands of times the output. It's not a good idea to stand too close to one of those antennas.

Remember those old sci-fi and horror movies where some bearded guy would turn to you and whimper some line about how there were things mankind should not seek to know or dabble in? Americans are a still superstitious lot and even after many years of rapid technological advance that has changed our lives for the better, we're not comfortable with it. We're still afraid that our discoveries are something we steal from an angry god and that we may still be chained to a rock like Prometheus for our effrontery.

Whoever it is that makes up scary stories about everything requiring more intelligence than a Conch fritter to understand must be older than me, since I've seen his work all my life. I remember when you couldn't watch TV unless the lights were on or you'd go blind and you had to sit at the other end of the room so you wouldn't get cancer and the same thing continues: microwaves poison your food, electric blankets give you cancer and on and on.

Cellular phones were a bonanza for hysterical Luddites. They were supposed to give you brain cancer although the evidence is still otherwise and now they're supposed to be killing the bees. Of course the main evidence is that a mysterious disease causing hives to sicken and die has begun some decades after the advent of pocket phones. It's also after the advent of digital cameras, iPods, GPS navigation, satellite radio and hybrid cars, but the target du jour is cell phones and they're going to find something wrong with them if it takes forever. And of course there's a study - there's always a study - and the study says "cell phone frequencies" without telling us which ones, confuse bees. That seems to be enough for the apocalyptophiles and technophobic twits to form unalterable and passionate opinions.

Bill Maher, who likes to tell us, contrary to evidence, that we're all sick because we're eating corn sweetener was amongst the first to swoon over the decadence of cell phone using America causing the end of days and the end of bees. It's us, the sinners who stole UHF from the gods who are being punished and we deserve it. Of course Bill knows nothing about the effects of electromagnetic radiation and absorption rates much less about how cell phones work. Blaming dead bees on your pocket phone is like blaming your suntan on a candle.

You know where this is going. Scientific investigations of dead bees reveals that whatever it is that is killing bees in the US is likely to be a contagious infection or parasite, not confusing signals from Brittney's pink cell phone. Sterilizing the boxes used for hives seems to reduce infection in the next swarm of bees to inhabit it. The exact pathogen has not been found nor has the effects of pesticides been entirely ruled out, but it's not cell phones and it's not the NYFD or your local police either. It may be a virus doing in the busy bee and it certainly is a virus of another sort causing this latest piece of sponsored hysteria about cell phones.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Screw Circosta, pardon Libby

It's not just that Mitt Romney is another polished, glib and slippery salesman who thinks he can slither into the Presidency by virtue of good looks and a few slogans; it's that he's a truly reprehensible human being. Mitt, whose name provokes an irresistible rhyming response to those fond of bestowing nicknames, brags about never pardoning anyone for any reason. He doesn't like to overturn a jury decision, says he. It looks though, that ingratiating himself with the criminal junta that runs America has finally provided a reason for him to trot out the sophistry and vouchsafe his willingness to consider pardoning Scooter Libby. He's a victim of entrapment and the prosecutor knew he was not guilty of a crime, said the lugubrious Mr. Romney to CNN today, knowing full well that perjury and obstruction of justice are independent of the crime of exposing a secret agent and the accusation of entrapment does not fit here at all. Only a man like Mitt could pound a square lie into a round hole with so little noise and it makes you wonder about the nature of the "faith" he likes to talk about. Perhaps it does better at lubricating a lie than at mandating any kind of morality.

Mitt doesn't give a shit about morality or justice anyway, no matter how many bibles he gnaws on before breakfast or how much spray he uses in his hair. Ask Anthony Circosta, the fellow with a juvenile record of shooting a friend with a BB gun when he was 13. I admit I've been hit at least a dozen times as a kid playing "Army" with my friends. It stings but won't penetrate clothing or break the skin. Paintball guns will sting worse on bare skin and shooting at your friends with one is a very popular sport, but never mind that Circosta worked his way through college, joined the Army National Guard and is decorated Iraq war veteran, having led a platoon of 20 through the Sunni triangle. He now needs a pardon, amazingly enough, so that he can become a policeman, but Romney refused the request twice, despite the state Board of Pardons' recommendations. Perhaps he was too busy with his unfathomable faith to consider mercy, decency, justice or even the facts.

This evening on CNN, we heard on Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room that because of a juvenile firearms violation of a boy, the man, the battle tested soldier could not ever again be pardoned or trusted with a firearm. Perhaps neither Mitt the Shit nor Wolf Blitzer should be trusted with the English language, any kind of logic, or any position of public trust requiring either of those, because a BB gun is worked by a spring and is not a firearm. No matter what the twittering hoplophobes in Massachusetts might think or how much Romney's hypocrisy may stink, it's not a firearm, not a firearm, not a firearm.

The eve of destruction

"We are truly sorry for the innocent lives lost in this attack."

How many times have we heard this phrase and how many times has it referred to events in the middle east and Afghanistan and Viet Nam? "
Coalition" spokesman Major Chris Belcher expressed his apologies for the deaths yesterday of seven schoolchildren who were in what they called an Al Qaeda safe house. They had no information that they were there, he said.
"This is another example of Al-Qaeda using the protective status of a mosque, as well as innocent civilians, to shield themselves."
We've heard that one too in the context of the undying war between Israel and its neighbors and it's undoubtedly accurate, although whether the Western public accepts blaming various Islamic insurgencies, their attackers or both has much to do with whose side they already are on in the various conflicts. The lesson we do not seem to be learning however is that we are not fighting the kind of war our weapons and tactics were designed for and thus civilian casualties - many civilian casualties are inevitable. There are no lines, no massed troops, no trenches, no territory to be taken and yet the fatuous language about "hearts and minds" we have had to listen to for half a century continues, despite the fact that killing children, destroying houses and laying waste to the infrastructure of a country does nothing but harden the hatred and arouse the resolve to throw us out or to die trying.

Still countries like Israel and the US have not begun to see beyond their need for immediate security and beyond traditional views of victory or surrender and they continue to put their faith in weapons designed to fight armies and navies and nations. The weaponry backing up our claim to be the most powerful nation on Earth was designed to destroy civilizations, to annihilate nations and by intimidation, prevent it being done to us. They are useless against a diverse and widespread culture. You cannot nuke peoples hearts and minds or blow away their hatred of western political and commercial culture; its heresy and its history and its avarice for their resources. If you are indeed come to save the world and you kill my children, I will hate you. None of us are different.

No matter how much of the hatred toward the Western world has much or nothing to do with our religions, our secular governments, our attitudes toward women and sexuality, we were not attacked by suicide pilots because of what we do at home, but because of what is seen as imperialism; as interference; as aggression. By doing what we are doing we have converted the few who sympathized with us to radicalism and hatred toward us. There can be no other outcome but tragedy now. We cannot pacify Afghanistan of Iraq with violence, we cannot withdraw without loosing the monster we have created on the people of those countries and perhaps on our own. We cannot kill them all and I fear that George the Bastard has set us all on a course for destruction from which we can no longer deviate.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Screw the People

We should twist constitutional law to make sure the State law doesn't get in the way of undermining civil rights. If Massachusetts can't vote religious contempt for homosexuality into civil law, well, we'll get the Feds do it, says presidential pretender Mitt. We'll write it right into the framework of our constitution!

It's an interesting proposal from a man who wears a lot of makeup and spends a hell of a lot of money on his died hair and his clothes. It's interesting to see him play a verbal shell game with "the People" and Government too. Sometimes they're the same, sometimes they're opposite. Sometimes we argue State's rights, sometimes we argue that religion speaks for the people or that the people speak for religion. It all depends on the immediate needs of the will to power.

Is the State Legislature of Massachusetts the people? Is it there to represent them and does it serve at their pleasure? It would be hard to determine what Romney thinks from his argument that the will of the voters of Massachusetts is being thwarted by their elected representatives who "Decided not to let the People of Massachusetts vote on the definition of marriage."

So what he'd like to do is to enlist the help of the same federal government that formerly forced the Mormons to redefine the nature of marriage, to override the Massachusetts legislature to allow Massachusetts voters to thwart the decision of their elected representatives and accept Federal intrusion into private religious beliefs while facilitating "the People's" right to write religious dogma that excludes a law abiding segment of the pubic from equal protection under the law, into law.

What did I just write? I don't know, I'm just as confused as you are and just as puzzled at what this man has to offer as President of the United States other than being another whore in the musty, stinking, infected cathouse of the Religious right - and being tall. You can't discount tall as a presidential qualification - and he has good hair.

Lil' Bush

Comedy Central's Lil' Bush isn't funny, or at least that's the news from the bunker states like Utah. Utah, of course isn't known as the mother of a thousand comics, nor is any place known for religiosity and Republican politics also known for thriving comedy clubs. The mocking of heretics, homosexuals, Democratic candidates and minorities seems to fill the niche.

But I didn't come to bury Donick Cary's new cartoon series but to praise it. It may in fact be "mean-spirited, ugly, amateurish, vulgar and unwatchable" but when it takes aim at Bush, there's something refreshing in seeing the characters we suspect of being the inner children of the little club that's ruined the world biting the heads off of birds (Lil' Cheney,) or trying to get Lil' Bush to smooch (Lil' Condy.)

Wednesday's episode, wherein the Lil' Republican rascals run off to Baghdad to find a present for Daddy Bush in the form of some "good news" reveals that there is no good news for anyone but Halliburton and after a bit of slaughter they can only find a maimed little boy they nickname "lamey" to bring back to Washington in a box. Dad Bush doesn't know what to make of the present and is relieved to toss him, crutches and all in the garbage after moronic Lil' Jeb accidentally breaks his neck.

Yes, as many reviews point out, it takes "liberties with the truth" but that's what satire is about and perhaps treating the House of Bush in this trenchant fashion makes it more revealing of inner ugliness than the House of Usher with its hidden, Gothic horrors. It's the use of sarcastic humor, albeit cruel, mean and ugly, that allows us to deal with the dimwitted Decider, the greedy, inhuman prince of darkness Cheney and their familiars. Perhaps as with any Medusa, you can't really look at such a hideous visage directly.

The picaresque first episode uses a competition to get the first kiss of youth as the grail the Weeble-like characters seek while destroying lives to get it. I think actually, that it's far more kind to show them thus: as childish, self involved innocents with undeveloped consciences, than to show them as they really are: childish, self involved sociopaths with undeveloped consciences, up to their knees in blood in their quest for power, glory and riches.

Cross-posted at The Reaction

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do the math

Many people are puzzled that George W. Bush retains as much support as he does. There seems to be an irreducible minimum percentage of supporters who disregard all evidence of his unsuitability. I've pulled out my old college textbooks on Statistics and Probability and I think I can demonstrate the phenomenon. Please note that the shaded area under the curve represents about 28% of the population.

Another roadside attraction

He got a chauffeur that's a genuwine dinosawr
(Alley-Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
And he can knuckle your head before you count to four
(Alley-Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)

-The Hollywood Argyles-

Rudolph Wurlitzer wrote a novel titled Nog back in the day; about a young man who purchased a trailer containing a tank with an eponymous rubber octopus and took it on a picaresque and somewhat lysergic tour. It's become a minor cult classic. Nog was the first thing I thought about when I first heard of the Museum of Creationism.

Now that Kentucky's museum of an invented past is open, I can see from the pictures that it seems really rather more pathetic and tawdry than I expected and more in line with the cheap carnies and roadside zoos and shops selling dried alligators and jackalopes that used to line the highways in earlier days of automobile travel. It's a freak show where the customers are the freaks as well as marks.

Prepare to Believe, says the home page which displays images of featherless raptors already outmoded by recent data. Perhaps Abandon All Honesty would have been more suitable, but of course the entire concept of giving legitimacy to a legend by making fiberglass and rubber images in anachronistic settings is pathetic in itself and as pure entertainment, it's hopeless to compete with the real Creators of the genre, Ripley's, Madame Toussaud and Walt Disney. In fact I'm wondering how they can reconcile the attempt to make seeing into believing when believing in the unseen is the bedrock of religion. Perhaps they're just as confused as I am by the whole thing.

Unless it becomes an attraction for the cynical, willing to pay $19.95 a head for something to laugh at, I have the sense that it cannot succeed in meeting its expenses, even with the "Museum Shop" that contains books "exposing" competing religions. Reruns of The Flintstones are free after all and don't require or engender a belief addiction.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Catch 22

Are we here to serve the law or is the law here to serve us? The answer seems to be the former in the community of prosecutors in Georgia. The law that put Genarlow Wilson in jail would, if it could be applied equitably, jail half the teens in America. The folks who cobbled the legislation together never intended it that way. Like many attempts to protect the Children, it was influenced too much by emotionalism and too little by thought. In fact upon further thought, the law was changed, making Mr. Wilson a prisoner of a mistake.

A CNN poll today shows that 88% of respondents agree that the sentence given the 17 year old who had oral sex with a girl two years younger was inappropriate and so did the judge who threw out the sentence today, but Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker has other ideas which have more to do with procedure than justice and the former honor student will remain behind bars. A plea bargain has been offered that, rather strangely, would allow him to go free and without the predator stigma if he pleads guilty to something to which the law no longer applies.

Most people, nearly everyone in fact, agrees that the kid is not a sexual predator and should not have a lifetime of being a semi-outlaw and ten years in prison so maybe we should have a bit less abstract rhetoric about activist judges and a little more about bad law, poorly administered. We are constantly reminded that there is a difference between the law and justice, but that's not something we need to accept without protest.

Special pleading

William Otis writing in Sunday's Washington Post suggests that Scooter Libby's sentence of 30 months and $250,000 is excessive and should be commuted. It's only a "process crime" says he, meaning that Libby did nothing illegal until after the government initiated its investigation. That's the nature of Perjury.

Otis is a former federal prosecutor and member of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee on Sentencing Guidelines and special counsel for the first President Bush, so I have at least give the man some credit for not talking off the top of his head, but how this recommendation will fly in a country obsessed with "zero tolerance" and trying children as adults and giving draconian sentences for minor and consensual crimes, I do not know. I do however recall the protracted, expensive and divisive effort to prosecute Bill Clinton for lying about something irrelevant to anything he was being tried for. The acts concerning which Libby committed perjury had nothing to do with sex and Otis points out that they were non-violent and not "drug related." In addition he thought he was serving his country by putting loyalty to the Bush administration above loyalty to the people and constitution of the United States. The crowning argument for commutation is that Sandy Berger, a Democrat, only got a fine for copying classified documents.

I'm not a lawyer or a Republican, so I'm a bit confused as to why 10 years for having too much marijuana is not excessive or 50, 60 or 70 years for pornography possession is not excessive when 30 months for perjury is too much. Holding government officials to a higher standard wasn't considered so terrible during the 1990's, was it? He's not what most people would think of as a criminal, says Mr. Otis, but I disagree. Our jails are filled with non-violent people who have harmed no-one. I submit that Libby supported people who have harmed the world and when Otis says that
"A partial commutation would send the message that we insist on being truthful, but in the name of a justice that still cares about individual circumstances, we will not insist on being vindictive"
I would believe him if it weren't that our mandatory sentencing policies in the US are designed not to take into account individual circumstances and vindictiveness rules to the point of killing people. About this he says nothing.

And lastly, citing an anecdote about Sandy Berger as evidence for political bias in sentencing serves as well to point out that Otis once again says nothing about the legendary capriciousness of criminal courts in handing down sentences that reflect prejudice and thirst for vengeance. His plea is not for universal and consistent justice, but to diminish Libby's offenses.

Otis may be a lawyer and thus used to pleading a case rather than arguing it logically, but if it were up to me, I would Lock up Libby and sentence Otis to being ignored.

Cross posted in The Reaction


Corporate Lawyers can be ferocious and McLawyers, like dogs with seven heads, surround you before you know what's bit you. So when the Oxford English Dictionary included McJob, defined as a boring, dead-end gig, the barking began. People tend to portray anything that's mass produced, nearly identical and mass marketed on the scale of "billions and billions" by putting Mc in front, like McMansions or McChurches, but sometimes the prefix refers to the sort of job that could almost be done by a machine if a machine would put up with something that boring and pointless.

But as I said, the McLawyers are as relentless as mosquitoes in a Minnesota summer. I once know a collector of McDonald's memorabilia who used the nickname The McNutt who got a cease and desist letter from them; not because he was making money from it - in fact he was promoting their products - but because he dared to Mc anything without their permission.

But anyway, since they can't sue the dictionary and there are too many people using McJob to take them all to court or to threaten them McDonald's is trying, in an Orwellian way, to stack the deck of language so that McJob will no longer be pejorative but filled with praise.

We can laugh and the Oxford linguists probably will too, unless enough money starts flowing, but the language really doesn't belong fully to us any more. So much of what we say and how we say it has been prescribed by special interest groups, lobbyists, University sociology departments and lawyers, that Orwell himself would giggle. We hardly see health clinics anymore, but "wellness centers" are everywhere. Real Estate Brokers wanted a higher sounding name, so they forced us to say "realtor" and we obey with hardly a snicker. Last week's paper announced the impending arrival of several new "lifestyle centers" which as best I can tell seem to be strip malls.

Most of us still realize that "pre-owned" means used and that a "mobile estate" is still a trailer, but all in all and just like everything else, our language is their language, bought and paid for and the function of their language is to sell and to manipulate.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Three is the lucky number

Maybe good news comes in threes. Darth Cheney's battery needs replacement. Maybe they should give the contract to Halliburton to replace it with something substandard and overpriced? Maybe the sinister Energizer bunny is finally going to run down, maybe not, but it just makes me feel good to know someone is taking a scalpel and making an incision in Cheney.

Paris is going back to the slam with tears ruining her makeup and snot running from her overly long nose. It's intellectually rewarding to think about her having to go through it again. Who can resist a smile?

If Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' recommendations are followed, General Peter Pace will be replaced by Admiral Michael G. Mullen the new Chief of Naval Operations who is getting some applause by jettisoning some unpopular brass seen as yes-men to the Bush administration.

We are a very long way from a military coup, but it does seem that sanity might be breaking out at the Pentagon. Gates appointment as head of CentCom, Admiral William Fallon has been opposing Neocon demands for yet another carrier group to be sent into the Persian gulf. According to Think Progress, Hillary Mann, the administration’s former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs, warned that some Bush advisers secretly wanted an excuse to attack Iran and were planning to provoke some response similar to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Fallon has insisted privately that an attack on Iran won't happen on his watch. I don't want to seem too optimistic, but maybe some adults are finally going to take back the kindergarten from Commander Guy.

Nihil novi sub soli

There's nothing new under the sun? Well everything old is new again to the empty head but short distance power transfer using alternating or fluctuating magnetic fields is about 200 years old. Run an AC current through one coil of wire and you induce a current in another coil of wire. Michael Faraday figured that out in the early 19th century and the wireless transmission of power using magnetic or electromagnetic fields has been a popular subject in science magazines ever since people started to distribute electricity. That was a long time ago. Still, we live in the days of i-Ignorance and the popular press is running wild with stories about an amazing way to charge your i-Pod and other instruments of i-Idiocy using Faraday's wonderful discovery.

I have to laugh. I've been interested in and a collector of early communications technology for 50 years and I have books showing detailed plans for a short distance, magnetically coupled wireless telephone dated about a hundred years ago, using this same "breakthrough." It works. Of course people in those days were a lot less hip and they just called it what it was: electromagnetism. Nobody had the audacity to invent a term like WiTricity and probably would have been tossed down a well if they had.

The cruel joke has it that the benefit of Alzheimer's is that you meet new people every day. The same goes for being a young, with-it, "into electronics" consumodroid too. Everything old is new.

Which DNA has the soul?

We would be surprised to hear that a president had vetoed our space program because the invisible spirit of the moon would be offended, yet we're not surprised to hear that the man who never vetoes will veto research on human stem cells because he believes in people without bodies who live in another universe far, far away.

Say you're an embryo - of course if you were, you wouldn't be saying anything or thinking anything, but I will save that for later. Say you're frozen in liquid nitrogen (another reason to be uncommunicative.) Say you're a clump of stem cells only beginning to differentiate into cells with specific functions, but you're frozen along with many others because you're not going to be used and are destined to go down the tubes like a dead goldfish. Because these cells each have a full human blueprint in their nuclei, George Bush would insist that they are human and possibly American citizens as well, even though he would hardly consider a few hundred cells taken out of his own body to be a separate and fully human being with civil rights.

Now what's the difference? even though that microscopic clump was put together in a petri dish from two other bits of cellular material already quite alive but soulless; at the moment the technician combined them, the invisible, omniscient, omnipotent, but undetectable humanoid waiting to destroy those who don't say the magic words, installed a soul. the set of plans in each zygote has no soul, but combine two strands and you get a soul. Sound like Magic? Of course it does, because that's all it is. Souls are no more part of reality than phlogiston or the Ether. The question is not and never has been about when life begins. Life began billions of years ago. The question is when does humanity begin and that's a question not easy to answer with a slogan.

For a rational entity, it begins with human characteristics and the prime human characteristic is mental function. For primitives, it's about supernatural, invisible, immortal entities with no physical reality but with the ability to think and move and perceive and suffer. It's about souls. Without the invisible in the picture, one lump of human tissue is no different than another. Humanity is achieved over time, not installed by magic and an embryo is just flesh.

This concept of supernatural souls with an independent being may go back to Aristotle, but it isn't really biblical in my opinion. There is no discussion of abortion in the Bible and to my reading, a foetus is only human after its first breath - just like Adam. The obsession with saving the souls of blastomeres is all about the notion of original sin and the damnation of unbaptized souls. The "right to life" people have no particular interest in keeping you alive once you've been sprinkled. The immortality of single cell souls is a religious notion peculiar to a certain dogma and something not really suitable to be supported by Federal law.

Some people were really pleased to have George Bush's Christian soldiers occupy our country and be quartered in our homes. Some felt like they had Jesus in the White House. For my part, I have respect for Jesus and none for George but I no more want either of them in the oval office than I want Quetzalcoatl in Congress or Krishna in the courtroom.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The perfect man

So we're going to have a "war Czar" in our country and I'm sure he'll be as effective as any drug Czar has been in winning the unwinnable with an unworkable plan. The cynic in me is delighted, of course, to hear that General Lute has criticized Bush's absurdly named "surge." One might question the mildness of the word "criticize" when directed at something akin to adding a squirt gun to fire hoses vainly trying to put out a wildfire, but then I can't expect much of anyone who would accept the crown of a Czar to do more than doubletalk his way around the contradiction.

So far, Czars haven't worked well at governing unruly countries whether you're talking about Russian history or the several Drug Czars the US has appointed to impede the will of the governed and I don't expect General Lute to be more than a figurehead. A figure whose head will be lopped off when things continue to go to hell. He isn't aided by having only three stars and needing to bully the 4 star types in the Pentagon into goose stepping to Bush's march music.

All in all, I think this bit of absurd theatrics is well summed up by Senator James Inhofe, (R) Oklahoma. who told the hearing today that he believed the new position was ‘unnecessary,’ but that Lute was the ‘ideal’ choice for the job. Lute should be very proud to be the perfect man for an unnecessary job.

Free in five days!

There are events that absolutely overwhelm any attempts to portray them cynically. All I can do right now is report that Paris Hilton is home from jail for undisclosed "medical" reasons. She's under house arrest, but we can be sure Chez Hilton is more comfortable than a jail cell and more accessible to visitors.

If Bush had pardoned Scooter this morning, I could no doubt dredge up some dark sarcasm, but right now all I can do is roll my eyes and make choking noises.

Who's got the Habeas?

It's time to stop whimpering about George W. Bush's illegal suspension of Habeas Corpus and do something about it. The Committee now has a slight (10 to 9) Democratic majority and there is hope that some of the Republican members might wish to disassociate themselves with such a clearly illegal action sold to the previous Congress under false pretenses. Indeed Republican Senator Arlen Spector and Chairman Patrick Leahy have co sponsored the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S. 185) A vote on a measure to restore Habeas is scheduled for today. It's not too late to e-mail your senators before it's too late to save the Freedom our malignant leadership invokes so cynically.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Immigrants need not apply

I'm sure few people other than a handful of historians remember the Immigration Restriction League. I'd never heard of it before turning up a letter now housed at Harvard University's Houghton Library while doing some genealogical research. Dated 1910, the letter offers support for the League's anti-immigration stance which when compared with the foam flecked, hydrophobic hysteria of today's anti-immigration rhetoric, seems rational and restrained. In the 1890's when that organization was formed, the US was experiencing a large influx of immigration and Americans, being the kind of people they are, were nervous about losing low paying jobs, about disease, about foreign languages and about the "changing complexion" of America.

The letter talks about a $10 head tax and about denying entry to illiterates; something that President Cleveland had vetoed 13 years earlier, calling it "illiberal, narrow, and un-American." Open immigration, said the letter, was acceptable when the nation was sparsely settled, but not now in 1910 with just over 90 million citizens. Only 10 years earlier, the US population was slightly over 74 million, an increase of 16 million -- well over a 20% increase. That's enormous.

Although Congress eventually managed to institute literacy tests by 1921 and only after several presidential vetoes, had they been successful back in 1894, one half of my family would have remained in Europe as my maternal grandfather's mother never did learn to read. Her many many descendants however have acquired some skill with letters over the years and have done as much as anyone to build this country. New York in her day, was a stewpot of languages, something that made nativists very nervous. It still is and it still does, to the point where soulless mediocrities like Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, want to close the golden door altogether.

The IRL's fears never came true. Even with another decade of influx of the huddled and not too literate masses arriving in America, English remained a viable means of communication and the children of these very immigrants made the USA into the greatest industrial powerhouse the world had ever seen, finally broke the back of Jim Crow and became known as the greatest generation our country has had. When people insist that today's immigrants are different, they mean that today's immigrants have better tans. They may, in a generation be more American and indeed better Americans than the rednecks and Republicans who fear them, but that's not what it's about. It's about race. It's about color.

As with the Know Nothing Party, an anti immigration predecessor of the IRL, a good portion of the anti-immigrant sentiment is based on not knowing much and by believing this gives us some sort of prescience and insight, we continue that tradition of being the worst that we can be.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Missile Vs. Missile

When I read James Carroll's piece in the Boston Globe today, it reminded me of something I saw in Mad Magazine at least 50 years ago near the dawn of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The cartoon speculated about what was then called the anti-missile missile and a countermeasure to be called the ant-anti-missile missile. The path to the ridiculous is short and obvious, but to paraphrase the Gipper, here we go again.

Read about the invisible hand of Wolfowitz ( and the invisible sanity of Bush) here.

Memento mori

Everyone wants to be remembered. Chufu built his pyramid in Giza and Emperor Qin has his mausoleum surrounded by countless clay soldiers. Bonaparte has his tomb at Les Invalides and most people get at least a memorial marker somewhere, but for those who see nothing new under the sun, a trip to the American South might be a surprise.

At first I thought it was just one of the weird things rednecks do, and then I saw another and another. Billy Bob wants more than marble in the graveyard, he wants something on wheels; something big. Maybe I've just lived too long or maybe one of those alternate universes physicists are talking about is leaking through to this one, but I'm seeing memorial trucks all over these days with "in loving memory of" decals on the massive rear windows.

I wouldn't want any part of such chicken-fried vulgarity for my own part. Of course should someone wish ever so tastefully to inscribe my name on a shiny yellow C6-R and run it at the 24 Heures du Mans, or perhaps on the varnished teak transom of a 300' megayacht, I wouldn't object. Pyramids are passe' don't you know.

Keep it to yourself

There have been some, but not many events in the American political circus that have left me feeling almost as bilious as last night's Democratic revival meeting. Ronald Reagan's colonoscopy photos on TV for one and the detailed descriptions of Bill Clinton's dalliance posted on the Internet by the very same Republicans who were trying to make it illegal to talk about sex in cyberspace. Way too much information, as the cliche goes. I want to know more about all the candidates, but I don't to share a confessional any more than I want to share a bathroom with them.

I smell the same flatus-in-the-elevator, dirty laundry funk in the fulsome proclamations of fatuous faith by people claiming to be capable of filling the most powerful office on the planet. I don't want to know that the guy who feels chock full of sin has a finger on the button or can't get through a marital crisis without invoking invisible spirits and claiming fealty to a supernatural master with inclinations toward world destruction. I'm not impressed with someone who needs the spectre of eternal punishment resting on his shoulder to be able to make a moral or ethical decision. I'm just not impressed with faith at all; it's a sign of weakness.

Although I guess it's best that I know whatever batshit beliefs a candidate has, I still can't see such lapses of decorum as anything but vulgar if they are sincere and anything but disgusting if they are not.

Cross posted at The Reaction

Monday, June 04, 2007

The candidates debate

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.

First of all, it's not a debate and secondly, to expect any of these candidates to give a satisfying solution to a problem without discussing the causes of the problem is silly. Ruben Navarrette's article today on may correctly identify the lack of clarity on the part of the Democratic proto-candidates ideas about immigration, but it doesn't identify things like NAFTA and its effect on Mexican farmers or discuss the ease of obtaining forged documents and employment by corporations eager for cheap laborers without the ability to complain. Even with a clear picture of our immigration woes, would we know who would make a better president?

I have to wonder if these rhetorical analogs of dodge ball aren't really serving best to introduce confusion and to distract from the selection of someone best suited to reverse the dictatorial and imperial ambitions of whoever it is that is actually running the united States. I am far more concerned and I think we all should be far more concerned with Bush's blatant arrogation of permanent dictatorial powers without congress or the courts being able to say no. We should be more concerned with the attempts to create new and more violent wars that would precipitate such actions than which doomed attempts to seal the borders should be chosen.

Even for those who are worried, there is no opportunity to ask what they would do to preserve Democracy, the rule of law and the Constitution while someone is trying to trip them up on the pressing question of the visa status of their gardener. Even with the internet the answers we get are not answers to the questions we ask and the candidates we get are chosen by others. Every way you look at this, you lose.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It's all the same

It's silly to attach too much significance to the Miss Universe pageant, but that won't stop me. It's sad but predictable that the US contestant would be booed; it's what we get for putting Cheney and the Chimp in office and keeping them there and we all share the blame for that. But since this pageant is, like a dog show, all about maintaining breed standards, it does point out the increasing uniformity of the modern capitalist world and the dramatic reduction of choices globalization allows us.

Want a new car to cruise the boulevard? Which off-road vehicle would you like? Want something sporty for those mountain roads, something swanky to show up at the yacht club in, something smooth and stable for the interstate? Which off-road vehicle would you like?

Who is the most beautiful woman in the world? here are some identical products to choose from. Miss Korea, Miss Brazil - they're all the same as Miss Venezuela; same hair, same build, same features. Yes, they're all attractive, but no, they don't represent the women of the world in all their varieties.

Paris Bistros close to make way for another Starbucks clone, all cities have the same architecture, people in New Guinea and Finland watch American Idol and eat at McDonalds. Welcome to planet Stepford.

God wasn't great enough this time

Although I'm cynical enough to suspect every report of a plot to blow up anything American of being exaggerated, if not invented, it seems as though there was a plot by religious fundamentalists to do serious harm to New York's JFK airport. Be it a gift to the fear mongers in Washington or not, it's significant to notice that this plot was not foiled by "fighting them over there" nor was it the work of qualified people, trained in Afghanistan.

It was nipped in the bud and long before they had explosives or money or a concrete enough plan to do any harm. The plotters were from Guyana and Trinidad and we stopped them with police work here, not through invading Venezuela.

I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

While I'm picking on Lou Dobbs; even notice how he can't say China without the loudly stressed word COMMUNIST in front of it? Being a conservative, Dobbs probably longs for the day when you could disparage anything with that epithet and without further explanation, but China's problems with corrupt officials, greedy corporate entities and lack of oversight aren't the products of State ownership of the means of production.

Yes, I've said this before, but I'm saying it again: Poison toothpaste and poison dog food result from laissez faire capitalism; poorly regulated and corrupt capitalism in its infancy, not Communism.

Even Lou wouldn't deal with it the way the Chinese Government, used to having its way, is handling it. Their solution is a bullet in the back of the head for Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the regulatory agency that failed. It may be extreme to compare that with the Bush Administration's awarding of kudos, promotions and even medals to those who screw up so badly people die, but I can't resist.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not defending the death penalty, which China applies to many crimes and I'm not defending corruption in China, but you've got to admit they have accountability where we don't. Dealing with China in the near future is going to be a far greater challenge to our future than dealing with Islamic militancy and it's long past time to put away the worn out rhetoric of the 1950's and figure out a way to regain world respect if not our sovereignty itself.

If you're white, you're all right

If you're brown, stick around

Well maybe not. Lou Dobbs seemed irate last night during his regular evening diatribe about illegal immigration. It seems he feels that Bush is pushing the notion that if you're against his immigration bill, you're a racist. He's right to say it's not necessarily so, but racists certainly have made immigration hysteria one of their favorite tools. Rage against Mexicans is not limited to illegals although my southern racist neighbors do assume they all ( with the exception of our Attorney General) are and all need to be deported after a bit of torture.

Northern racists like Bill O'Reilly are a bit more articulate about their concern for the dilution of America's non-existent ethnic, religious and racial purity and political prostitutes like John McCain are happy to back him up. It really isn't illegals that bother these people, it's Mexicans; it's brown people. When Lyin' Bill asked McCain last Wednesday whether immigration could "change -- pardon the pun -- the whole complexion of America." McCain responded, "You're right."

I won't pardon the pun, thank you. If that's not racism, I'm George Wallace. If it's not racist and xenophobic Christianist tribalism to whine about the impending doom of the White Christian power structure, I'm the Easter Bunny.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Now here they go again. . .

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the media's mad push to associate Fred Thompson with Ronald Reagan. Besides the basis for comparison being so tenuous that the bones of this contrivance show through its thin skin, I see Reagan as the origin of most of the United States' current problems which include the rise of anti-American terrorism, the dismantling of necessary government oversight and the increasing power of corporations to own and rule America. Another Reagan is the last thing we need.

Fred Thompson is an actor who plays a tough guy on TV. Ronald Reagan was a minor character actor as well; just good enough to create the presidential character he played on the screen. His diaries reveal, among other sad things, a man of limited ability who believed in astrology and was fairly sure Jesus was coming like Godzilla to stomp out the world any day now. He was a man who thought immoral and illegal deals were all right as long as they were kept secret. He was a man who thought corporate greed led to morality.

Do we really need another empty brown suit? Is the shameless promotion of Thompson an indicator of his ability to solve our desperate and extremely complex problems or is the scheme to give us another shuffling, "awe shucks" Howdy Doody with a reassuring voice to make us feel good while the Republicans continue to sell the furniture?

It isn't just CNN's Wolf Blitzer hawking this shoddy comparison; its all over every American paper. It's the BBC, It's the Australian media and as far as I can tell, the non- story of the day everywhere: Reagan's mantle, Reagan's footsteps, Reagan's legacy. Reagan with his childish notions about economics, the man who cut and ran in Lebanon and ran illegal wars and sold weapons to the Ayatollah and gave him 8 billion dollars to let the hostages go if only Iran would wait until after the election.

It's time this country had more than a chrome plated hood ornament as president. We need someone really intelligent, really pragmatic, someone who has had long experience with foreign policy, economics, history and government. Lets put the mantle back in the prop room and look for a real president rather than a president that looks real.