Friday, February 29, 2008

Name game

Face it, being factually or logically true isn't what makes facts factual. As long as enough people want Barak Obama to be an America hating radical Muslim, he is. As long as there are enough people who want him not to be willing to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth, or insist that he took his oath of office on the Koran, it doesn't matter that it is a lie. The only thing left of Democracy in the United States is the democracy of slander. Belief is what counts and in a nation desperately addicted to belief and to anger, there's always a ready market for both.

That the infamous Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Awja contains the same Hussein, means that SenatorObama is Muslim as certainly as Abraham Lincoln was a Jew and General Omar Bradley was a Persian poet. There's nothing in a name. The name Barak, as Intellectual Insurgent once pointed out to me means "blessed" in many Semitic languages. Baruch is the Hebrew form and a thousand Hebrew prayers begin with the word that must have been on Jesus' lips from his childhood.

That John McCain's daughter Bridget was born in Pakistan is no more evidence of his or her secret Jihadi affiliation than that Obama's grandfather lived in Nairobi, and like the strange genetic discovery that Thomas Jefferson had a male ancestor from the middle east, it means nothing. Nobody seems to be concerned that General John Abizaid, former CENTCOM commander is a secret agent from Hamas or Gen. George Joulwan, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe might be a "terrorist." They have Arabic names.

So what about Regular names like John, which is from the Hebrew Yohannon; is McCain a Zionist?

So just what the hell was "conservative" radio host Bill Cunningham thinking when he described Barak Hussein Obama at a McCain rally in Cincinnati Tuesday saying
"All's going to be right with the world when the great prophet from Chicago takes the stand, and the world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing [Kumbaya] together around the table with Barack Obama."
He was thinking that anything he can do to elect John McCain is justifiable; any lie, any slander, any old bucket of slime. He was thinking that Americans are so in love with hate and have such a need to believe things that justify it, that he would be greeted with cheers. What were those in the audience who actually cheered thinking? Probably the same sort of thing a chimpanzee thinks before attacking a neighboring band of apes.

Republicans, who seem to loathe Semitic names, have called Obama anti-Semitic. "Anti-Semites for Obama" is the title of a press release a few days ago, according to Wonkette. The same stupid game again. Absurdity, Irony: these are things these fake conservatives can't even perceive. It's a kind of blindness that allows a No matter that he speaks out against the bigotry he has some first hand knowledge of. Republicans like Congressman Jack Kingston who wasn't wearing a lapel pin to sneer that Obama doesn't wear a lapel pin simply can't bridge the gap between their fantasy world and the real one. He's a Muslim and a traitor and that's the same thing and they'll be damned if they're going to let reality get in the way. Perhaps they will be.

It was the Republican party of course who selected Cunningham as a speaker, not McCain; the same Republican party of George Walker Bush that attacked him for having a "black" daughter in the 2000 race; a daughter with Muslim ancestors and relatives with names like Hussein or perhaps Mohammad Ali or Karim Abdul Jabbar - names nobody should have reason to be ashamed of.

Perhaps there's a lot more shame to be felt for supporting such a party; for being loyal to that party more than to the nation that persists, much to my disgust, in allowing them to exist.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Just call it war

Hell is murky.—Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and
afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our
pow'r to accompt?—Yet who would have thought the old man to
have had so much blood in him?

Macbeth Act 5, scene 1

Frankly, I'm not as disturbed by the images of torture and mayhem perpetrated by American "warriors" as by some of the public response you can see at where Abu Ghraib photos have been published. It's the ones that argue "this is a war and in a war. . ." and the ones that say "but these are Muslims and they would be happy to eat your children, yada, yada" that make me most ashamed to have any association with this self righteous and evil nation. They've made me evil too; Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and their puppet George Bush. I'm part of it because all I do is complain. I don't risk losing my life to end it, nor even my freedom. All I do is blog and go about my life of comfort and safety.

I got a video in my e-mail yesterday. I don't know whether it was staged or real, but it showed some US military personnel walking through an airport while people stood up and applauded. No one could have been thinking of the archive of pictures on view at They aren't returning from a parade ground, but from hell and a hell the United States of America created with eagerness and enthusiasm and lies.

Men with plastic bags on their heads being beaten, smiling "warriors" posing with corpses, a man's severed penis in a mousetrap, blood and pain and shit; these are things many Americans think "you do in a war" even though you started the war and of course anyone caught up in the grinder is promoted to the ranks of the "terrorists" who bombed New York even though they didn't.

So clap when you see our soldiers; I'm sure nearly all of them are good people, but don't call them warriors. Warriors take scalps, soldiers are responsible for their actions. Warriors represent themselves, soldiers represent us and when there's blood on their hands, it's on our hands too and remember, when John McCain tries to tell you this is noble, this is about protecting your sainted mother, your back yard barbecue and your civil rights - it isn't. It's about water up the nose, the cattle prod up the ass, bloody teeth spilling out like corn from a popper; it's about rape, about shit and piss and blood on the floor being wiped up with the flag we're supposed to worship like some tawdry pagan idol.

It's about millions of homeless innocents, about a lost generation of uneducated children brought up in terror and squalor and hate. It's about people whose crime was fighting for their homes being tortured like John McCain who once was tortured by those whose homes and children he was destroying. It's about evil. It's about me and about you justifying it all by just calling it war.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free and fraudulent association

A tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, 5. 5

lthough the party has traditionally and dishonestly tried to associate itself with adulthood, restraint and responsibility, the members and supporters of the GOP often remind me of the kid who sat in the back of the room in 6th grade and flicked boogers at people or were quick to blame their enemies for that suspicious puddle under their desks.

You may remember the September 2005 confrontation between Dick Cheney and the heroic Doctor Ben Marble, reported in Human Voices, and how Cheney, upon being told to go fuck himself by that great American Patriot and musician immediately blamed the incident upon the fans and followers of John Kerry rather than on the tragic and grotesque mishandling of the Katrina disaster.

Is the tactical conflation of unrelated things as essentially Republican as monetary inflation?

Take the tale told by an idiot Fox News correspondent Martha McClullen about a Texas State Employee who flung egg salad at a Secret Service Agent in Austin Texas. Barak Obama was speaking at the State Capital and the woman was angered upon being told she would have to wait to return to her office. To a Fox fabricator, that's sufficient magic to transform her into a "big fan of Obama" and abracadabra, presto-changeo, this whole thing is a reprise of the attacks on civil rights protesters in the '60's and supported in fine and fallacious tradition by video clips. Unfortunately no video of the Lincoln assassination, Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot or the Defenestration at Prague were available.

Are we witnessing Historical fiction being written before the events are even historical?

Fox and the other News-as-Entertainment outlet stores have turned an important national decision into the kind of steroidal shouting match that wrestling promoters use to build excitement . The more civilized the campaign, the harder they work at it and the more creative they get. I think that what we need is for everyone to be his own Ben Marble; to stand up and say Go fuck yourself Fox - and that goes for you too, CNN and CBS and ABC and anyone else creating phony controversy for private profit and public detriment. You're all as much of a hindrance to Democracy and good government as any other kind of election fraud.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tin Pin Patriotism

Sigmund Freud talked about the narcissism of small differences; the tendency toward making the biggest fuss over people who are most nearly identical to us. It calls to mind the Clinton/Obama Celebrity Death Match the media are promoting for their own ends. They're the most nearly alike politically candidates we've seen in a long time, in my opinion, but that's not good for the 24/7 yackathon that the nattering nabobs need to maintain to keep ratings up.

You'd think nothing was happening on planet Earth other than bitter debates about lapel pins and every manufactured nuance of expression is chewed to a disgusting mess like a rawhide dog toy. I don't wear a lapel pin and I won't as long as the people who made my country into a quasi-fascist imperialist plutocracy are in power. I don't trust anyone who wears one and I have not since the darkest days of the Viet Nam War when it was a symbol of support for that fraudulent, mismanaged and vicious enterprise.

I don't trust people who make an issue of a candidate not wearing a toy flag and it's obvious that many people who do are dishonest, because I and others like Crooks and Liars have noticed that John McCain is often seen without his Taiwanese Token of gumball machine patriotism too. Toe tapping Larry Craig, as T Rex points out, wore one for his police mug shot and if the hero of stall three wears one, you know it means something.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Halloween, part 2008

Michelle Obama may be proud of our country for the first time, but I'm disgusted for another of the countless times I've wished I were a Martian. If this presidential campaign means anything, it surely illustrates what a nation of nasty, stupid and bigoted people we are. Worse, we seem to hate anyone with any appearance of being otherwise and if we can't tear them down legitimately, we tear them down another way even if we have to invent things. Obama refuses to say the "pledge." Not true, but too good to worry that people will reject it. Obama is a Muslim, McCain is too old, Edwards has too good a haircut. Hillary called the shots when Bill was president, but we know that Bill will call the shots when Hillary is president. All of them, like Ron Paul, are suspect because they don't just love, love, love everything America has ever done to the point where they bind it all as a frontlet on their foreheads and display it on their lapels. Nobody of course, supports the troops and everybody supports the troops and the ones who are willing to shoot you for criticizing Bush and he war are criticizing Bush and his war. As Humphrey Bogart once said "they'll get you if you scratch your ass as the flag goes by." He was right, but they'll get you if you don't too.

Now it's about clothing. Both Clintons and Obama have been photographed wearing African clothing and Bush has been photographed wearing African clothing as has a great host of visiting dignitaries to Africa, yet Obama supporters see the picture of him in Kenya as a smear from the Clinton camp - or at least they want you to see it that way. Obama haters see it as proof of his heretical unpatriotism. It's Halloween. It's a masked ball. Rudy Giuliani must be a Jew for wearing a yarmulke in Miami, Purvez Musharraf must be a Christian for wearing a Savile Row suit and I'm definitely the Great Kahuna for wearing a Hawaiian shirt this afternoon. The only way you can tell we're not stuck in a Halloween version of Groundhog Day is that the kids are older and nobody's getting much candy.

Cross posted from The Impolitic

Old is the new black

Much truth is said in jest and so we've become accustomed to hiding certain repulsive opinions and not publicly joking abut them lest we face retribution. Let's face it, if you launch into a comedy routine stereotyping and making fun of black people, you're career is over. I wouldn't try to substitute Jews as a target either. Koreans and Chinese are safer, Mexicans safer still and Muslims are in open season for a bigot to go after, but old people are still a riot to many people who would never consider themselves to be the smug assholes they really are.

Take Bill Maher, for instance. He's long annoyed me with his ignorant tirades about health, immunology, nutrition and disease, but going on and on and on about John McCain's age has lost me as a fan. McCain is and isn't many things but senile isn't one of his attributes. Bob Dole elicited the same smug giggles - how long ago was that? And he's still around. I know people 15 years and more his senior that regularly sail from New England to Florida alone and all over the Caribbean and one who can lecture you all day about quantum physics. They may be creaky at the knees or not, but they don't wear diapers when they race cars or dive on wrecks or build satellite communications systems as a hobby. They often speak better English, they're often better educated and have learned to be cynical about things the young swallow without question.

I know some of the people who built the first communication satellites from the rocket motors to the transponders to the ground systems. They're old, but in America, it's more hip to have the latest ring tone on that Japanese pocket phone than to have any idea how it works and we laugh at the genius that produced them. We prefer hip consumerism (and hipness is the supreme form of consumerism) to substance any time and the things we say in jest confirm it.

Enough of this. This is the Captain speaking, listen up. You kids are going to wish you'd stayed home snapping your whippers when the people who invented your computers and cellphones and video games decide to build a microwave projector that heats your nipple studs white hot - then we'll see who's laughing!

Old Power!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

De Profundis

"These kinds of things are always very unfortunate." said John McCain, referring to the indictment of the latest Republican. Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi now has extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and a few side dishes on his plate. Is anyone keeping score to see which party has the highest body count? I would be curious to know.

These kinds of things are not always so unfortunate. The depths of our planet's oceans may be dark and inaccessible but the political exploits of recent history often seem to have been swallowed up, or covered up by an ocean of forgetfulness. Of course John McCain wasn't convicted of taking, along with four other congressional crustaceans, large amounts of "campaign" money and expensive vacations from convicted racketeer Charles Keating, the man who eventually cost taxpayers $3,400,000,000. McCain vigorously intervened on Keating's part and Keating's conviction was overturned on a technicality.

Depending upon which side of the political species divide you live, it's either one of the skeletons in McCain's closet or ancient history from which we must "move on" but as far as the general public knows or cares, it might as well have been dumped into the depths of the Mariana's trench. McCain, who once sent constituent Joe Bananas a birthday card is once again, like Brutus, an honorable man. An honorable man who has never done anything like making friends with lobbyists to betray the public trust. An honorable man and a Baptist, or at least the lifelong Episcopalian became one when he started sucking up to the religious right in South Carolina. Of course he has never been baptized in that church, but that's all in the past - or not in the past, to be more accurate.

With a man who campaigns on his honesty, is it fair to address his evasions and misstatements? I'll leave that to you, but although McCain's talk may be straight, his facts aren't. He may not have slept with Vicki Iseman and she may never have used his friendship to further her clients' interest, but he has certainly had less savory bedfellows and when he says: "At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust," I don't trust him.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gay tectonics

There have been some earthquakes in Israel of late and there's no doubt as to the reason. Even though there have been earthquakes felt at every square inch of the planet's surface ever since it had a solid surface, these are the result of tolerance. Israel decriminalized homosexuality in 1988 and has since affirmed civil rights for homosexuals and the beards are all in an uproar.

That's right, an end to the marginalization and dehumanization of Gay people has made the ground shake and we know it's true because Israel's own Religious Right says so. It's Yahweh, shivering in disgust and anger - the same old Yahweh who sat still and silent while they burned babies, Druids, heretics, Gypsies, Jews, Templars and scientists in Europe; the tyrant El who is the servant of evil; the impotent imp who occasionally destroys all life, but sleeps through millennia of slavery, cannibalism, nuclear warfare and even the presidency of the idiot Bush; the same shop worn bogeyman that has simultaneously punished and justified every war, every last human action, at least according to the ecclesiastical leeches who have sucked the life out of humanity since some proto-hominid man-beast figured out that it was easier to scare people than to work.

There is no freedom under the God these people have invented and precious little decency, love or compassion and if there ever is to be religious freedom it will be taken from the Religious Right by force.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Baptist Balls

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

-Bob Dylan-

Who says Florida is backward? Our State may rank near the bottom by many methods of academic assessment but at least now, at last, you can use the word "Evolution" in our schools - even if your kids still have to pledge that God is sovereign and not the people.

New academic standards that squeaked through by one vote Tuesday, now state that evolution is
"the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence."
No shit! So with one stroke and by one vote, Florida puts it's toe tentatively into the 19th century, trembling with fear and holy trepidation.

The executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention has objected to calling evolution the only fundamental concept underlying biology in an e-mail to the Florida Education Commissioner. John Sullivan the Baptist asserted that the Baptists firmly believe there's evidence of a "Creator-initiated origin of life." He didn't explain how he knew that Baptists believed this; whether they believed it because they were Baptists or Baptists because they believed it, nor did he tell us how many of these people doubted the evidence for gravity. The "evidence" for creationism consists entirely of the will to believe what someone once said in a book written before soap was invented and a carefully guarded ignorance of Geology, Genetics, Physics, Mathematics, Logic, Chemistry and Paleontology. Too bad I didn't have the Baptist Cojones as a student to try to dismiss the Calculus of multiple independent variables as a "mere theory" whose weaknesses were that Jesus didn't know how either and that I didn't do my homework.
"The weaknesses of science should be taught as well as its strengths"
says Sullivan and never mind the weaknesses of belief or of "God's Word" as concerns the Jerusalem centered, 6000 year old universe, a flat earth that floats on an endless sea and a fixed firmament studded with little lights that can be reached by building a mud brick tower above which a male God complete with navel and genitals, lives in endless and vindictive glory.

My country, 'tis of thee. . .

It's starting. Barak Obama is now the Democratic candidate apparent and the Swift Boats are weighing anchor, the slime breweries are bubbling and the Republican Values Vermin are sitting around the cauldron and giggling.

Barak, you see, is a homosexual junkie and even though he never went to a radical Islamic school, he did anyway. He's a known follower of Soviet leaders, planns to send our wealth to foreign countries because he is a Communist and his wife is anti-American. My in-box is crawling with racist "jokes" from people I formerly respected.
"Barack’s first presidential photo will show Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton on his right side and Teddie Kennedy and Oprah standing on his left side." says one.
"the head of the National Black Caucus said on NPR, National Public Radio, that if his boy got in he would make sure that Jessie was made Secretary of something. " says another. The viral video: Barak the Magic Negro has crawled out of its coffin again.

It's not as though I didn't expect it and it's not as though every country doesn't have it's unworthies. It's that we don't drag them out into the public square and pillory them any more that makes me so ashamed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Viva Cuba Libre!

Bush began to talk about the "blessings of Liberty" like some Chatty Kathy Doll when he heard of Fidel Castro's resignation as President of Cuba. He launched into a typically rambling riff about unfair elections and people rotting in prisons while the gods of hypocrisy smiled down on him like a proud parent upon a favored child.

No, I'm not a fan of Fidel, but many Cubans are and they see him as having provided a better life than they had when Cuba was run by a feudal corruptocracy owned by American interests, legitimate and otherwise. Many Cubans see their financial problems as something done to them out of spite and malice by our fair country and indeed our policies have hurt the common man while strengthening Castro and his party. I would hardly be surprised to hear that many Cuban patriots wonder if those blessings of liberty Bush extols are like the blessings we have afforded other countries whose resources we crave and the "fair" elections he describes would be like those we have squashed or rigged in places like Iran and Latin America and Vietnam.

It's not that I'm sad to see him step down and I'm hopeful that Cuba will be allowed to rejoin the world and its economy in my lifetime. As a lifelong fan of Earnest Hemingway I would love to follow his route from Key West to Cuba in my own boat and be free to return home without reprisals from my own government. Who knows? It may happen, but not now. The embargo will remain in place, no move toward reconciliation will be made for despite the rapturous rhetoric about liberty, it's still all about the nationalization of US owned assets that offended our sense of entitlement so badly over 50 years ago. Cubans in Miami may be cheering Viva Cuba Libre, but in Washington the unheard prayer is Viva Coca Cola and Viva Cosa Nostra.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Right on the money

The coins of many countries have some sort of decoration or a motto around the rim. This descends from the days when coins had intrinsic worth and weren't mere tokens. The unscrupulous would shave the edges of gold and silver coins. When the latest series of "gold tone" Presidential Dollars was released however, the Religious Right, never known for superior cognitive function, raised holy hell and engorged their various web sites with rage and our in-boxes with viral e-mails excoriating the "liberals" for, as the ten Commandments command, taking God off the money or at least banishing him to the margins. Of course God isn't the name of God, but putting him on a dollar alongside a forbidden graven image is pretty close to taking his name (or names) in vain. Jesus made an issue of the inappropriateness of associating God with money and the money of his day had God written all over it.

Of course the motto wasn't taken off the money and it wasn't "hidden" as some of the more perspicacious idiots insisted, but these people are all about the cultivation and breeding of irrational anger and facts and reason are as carefully removed from their passionate fugues as weeds from a garden. What would irony aficionados like me do without that bottomless well of religious idiocy? I might have to stop writing and get a life.

God was on the money of England when we were a colony and on the Spanish Milled Dollar that was legal tender here at the time of the Revolution also asserted that the government and God were as one, or at least in cahoots. Our coins remained secular until the Civil War when it became politically advantageous to relate the Northern Cause to God's Cause even though God never said much about the evils of slavery. I will leave that to you to ponder over but isn't it ironic that it's mainly in the South where people want to continue that tradition while forgetting how it was used against them?

It's not that I give a damn about religious commandments. It doesn't bother me that so many hairy palmed and ignorant Fundies worship them like some mildewed stone idol and since I don't trust the government that issues the coins in the first place, I can just as easily mistrust the God of Coinage referred to on most, but not all, coins since 1864 and let them have their bone to gnaw.

So when Congress just had to take time off from our War to perpetuate all wars late last year; that war so dire that our birthright has to be sold in the name of security, to pass legislation making sure that God has to be there right next to the picture of the President on the coins we slip into the slots of Vegas or render unto those machines in the gas station mens room, I had to thank my god of irony for the gift.

Take that Jefferson! Take that Yahweh! Take that Jesus and all your Jewish, liberal, atheist, socialized medicine loving friends. You won't be turning over tables in our Republican temple.

Hypocritical oath

I like the idea. Pennsylvania State Senator John Eichelberger, A Republican of course, has introduced a bill strategically titled the Conscientious Objection Act. Of course the idea of exempting someone from the draft because of conscientious objections to war isn't often associated with the Conservative "ethic" but Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1255 isn't about war, it's about birth control and abortion. It provides immunity for those hospitals and doctors who won't administer drugs designed to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall and who won't perform abortions or inform a patient as to the availability thereof.
"A health care institution that declines to provide or participate in a health care service that violates its conscience shall not be civilly, criminally or administratively liable."
I'm amused by the suggestion that a corporation can be possessed of a conscience, but as I said, I like the idea. Forcing health care professionals to provide health care is after all, unnecessary government regulation and this sort of protection should be extended to other public service providers.

I would like to see firefighters and their departments allowed to pick and choose which buildings they protect and which people they will rescue according to their prejudices consciences and I would prefer that policemen not chase after those who commit crimes against atheists or pagans or followers of false religions. Souls are, after all, at stake.

Doctors should be given the freedom to treat or not treat certain afflictions according to conscience. Syphilis, after all was sent by Gawd to torment sinners along with a host of plagues he's provided to punish populations for their tolerance of sins and intolerance of religious rule. We shouldn't be interfering with his will in a country so dedicated to him that congress had to take time out last year to pass legislation to make sure GOD was more prominently displayed on new coins. In Gawd we trust and under Gawd we are.

The next time some terminally pregnant woman is at death's door because of a hydrocephalic fetus she can just die in the street for want of a "partial birth abortion" and the next time that 12 year old retarded girl knocked up by a hospital orderly wants the morning after pill she can forget about offending the consciences of the health care corporations. Gawd will be pleased.

Friday, February 15, 2008

All's fair in lies and war

What a great thing it is that Joe Lieberman never found his way into the White House.

"We have to allow the president to allow the toughest measures to be used when there is an imminent threat to our country,"
he said yesterday.
"If we've got somebody that we think can tell us where a nuclear bomb is planted in an American city, then I want the president to be able to authorize that to be used."
Of course that's not the circumstance under which it has been used or is likely to be used and if that were the case an exception would always be made. No victim of US torture whether at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or in our secret dungeons anywhere has ever had any remote connection with a nuclear plot and much of the extracted information has been dangerously false.

Lieberman I'm afraid, is just another scare monger and panic pimp for the fascists who have taken over our government. What we have used it for has been to develop a case for having arrested someone. As John Stewart pointed out the other night, we tried and executed Japanese officers who waterboarded prisoners and in fact we did attack Japan and we did nuke them and the torture was done in the name of avoiding their destruction.

It's just another way for pious, Sabbath observing Lieberman to express his sense of America's divine purpose to dominate; a purpose which transcends the morality of the religion he flaunts. It's just another case of his and the administration's opinion that whatever we do is OK because we, like the Japanese and the Germans, are at war. We're at war with anybody we pick up on the street for any reason. We're at war with anyone we say we're at war with and anyone who talked to anyone or might talk to someone or sent an e-mail to his uncle Al Schneider in Al Abama.

Terrorists terrorists! We're at war! and if freedom and justice and sanity and our very humanity gets trampled in the panic, so much the better. Isn't it time we started calling them what they have always been - fascists? Secretly examining all our e-mail, our faxes, our phone calls and torturing us if they "think" we might know something or someone, and punishing us if we object - it's terrorism - It's Fascism what the hell else do you call it? Isn't it time we had the kind of guts Keith Olbermann shows, time to stop being the mewling cowards we're told to be and call them what they are?

Shot in the dark

The Governnment raised holy hell when the Chinese shot down one of their non-functional satellites last year. Of course the fact that it was in a 600 mile orbit and the debris will scatter all over the place to become a permanent hazard to other space vehicles is a legitimate complaint, but the story was played as a hostile move. If they can shoot down one of theirs, they can shoot down all of ours was the scenario squeezed out of the hypothesis. Indeed it was a feat that demonstrates China's growing prowess in Space technology which challenges the American sense of ownership.

Of course we will be very offended if anyone complains about our attempt to shoot down a spy satellite of ours that's already on a decaying orbit and should otherwise re-enter the atmosphere some time around March 6th. That there is a hydrazine tank aboard that might actually make it to the surface is the stated motivation, despite the really tiny chance that it might cause any harm to any one or any thing, but one wonders whether the chance to experiment with anti-missile technology isn't the real basis for the shot. The Earth is a relatively big place after all and the chances of a tank full of hydrazine hitting a populated area is remote.

It's not that I oppose the attempt; it's just that the crisis of confidence in our Government has become so severe that the assumption of dishonesty is always the safest bet.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Maverick

You hear the word Maverick tagging along after John McCain fairly often. I suppose he'd like you to understand it as meaning he's independent; belonging to no one, but of course that's not really John McCain and like John, Maverick has more than one meaning. It's also defined as a free range animal, belonging to the first person to brand it and it often seems as if the beast in question is sporting that old GOP brand on its haunches.

No matter how often waterboarding has been used by the United States, and we know it has been, it's torture. We know that as torture it's banned by the Army Field Manual. We know that we hanged Japanese officers for using it during WW II. We know that we don't want such things done to any American captured by an enemy. Administration doubletalk notwithstanding, it's torture and hypothetical scenarios about saving the world from destruction set aside, it elicits bad and unreliable confessions that can be used to further illegitimate agendas.

The Senate passed a bill yesterday that establishes a uniform standard of conduct which implements the Army Manual interrogation guidelines. John McCain, the Maverick, voted against it. I'm sure that like the rest of the Republican herd, he had his reasons.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Grasping at straws

During the last recession, the Folks at Fox tried to dress up the bad news by claiming that the news was really good and the "Liberals" who owned the rest of the corporate media were only giving us the gloomier stories in order to talk down the economy and smear the glorious name of Emperor George. It seemed to me at the time, that the news was artificially upbeat; calling every 30 point up tick after a 500 point nose dive a "rebound" and it still seems to me that this morning's portion of frozen good cheer fits the pattern.

Retail sales, we're told, are up 0.3% for January after a dismal drop of 0.4% for last December. That's not really very dramatic in my opinion, or at least not enough so as to warrant the 100 point exuberance we see this morning. The Washington Post calls it a "dramatic rebound" none the less. Does it take some of the drama out of the numbers to learn that most of it resulted from the rise in gas prices and not from an increase in the amount of things Americans buy? The figures are not adjusted for price increases and so looking through the dark glass, inflation looks like prosperity.

Some spending undoubtedly results from the frigid weather which can influence people to retire that old car and maybe buy a warmer coat, but is it significant of a "rebound?" Maybe it depends on whether that bit of straw looks like a life ring to a drowning economy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Somewhere else

"Psst! - whadda you in for?"

"My second DUI - hit a cop car. I got 30 days. What about you?"

"My underwear showed - second time too. I got 60 days."

Something from Saturday Night Live? Mad Magazine? More like something from the Riviera Beach Florida Police blotter. If the new ordinance is passed on March 11th, this kind of idiocy may and probably will become commonplace in that Palm Beach County community and that's just what Riviera Beach needs - more kids doing time and learning to do crime.

Perhaps it will end - at long last - the exposed navel atrocity that seems to have gone on forever now and the saggy pants phenomenon that passes for culture with today's gleefully idiotic youth - but most likely not. I recall many close calls with mob action when I dared have longish hair in the 1960's and certainly the ladies of the blue hair didn't approve of my dress, but nothing changed those things but time and fashion and now it's baggy pants and the urgent need to amend the city charter so that those baggy pants won't destroy society like gay marriage has.

60 days in jail for the second time someone catches you with your pants down far enough that any skin or any underwear is visible. I'm trying to sell the Florida Tourism Board on a new Slogan: Florida - it's somewhere else.

Somewhere where we are willing to feed and house baggy pants kids while if they stay in school and pull up their pants we spend so little on their education that we rank 49 out of 50, according to the Teacher's union. We just voted to spend less. Maybe it's better to show some boxer shorts and go to a place where you can actually learn a skill. It's somewhere else.

We just voted to spend less so Florida will be able to offer a State or Community College education to even fewer students while the cost to the rest goes up. That will ensure even more uneducated people to be in a position to scream and yell about the 2% of us who are Hispanic taking all those dish washing, lawn mowing and cane cutting jobs the "illegals" are taking away.

It's somewhere where the many older and disabled people trying to survive on Social Security benefits are being exploited by banks and "Payday" lenders to the tune of 400% interest and other charges. The law bars the government from sending a recipient's benefits directly to lenders but here the banks are simply deducting government deposits from their accounts and making direct payments to lenders that often swallow people's income whole . It's the sort of thing they used to put people in jail for when it was done by guys with no necks. It's all nice and corporate now. It's a $50 billion industry all dressed up in a nice suit and there has been a flood of TV advertising where nice people tell you not to borrow unless you know you can pay it back - just like the guy in the black shirt and white tie used to say in those movies. Hell the whole country is somewhere else.

It's a country where Mike Huckabee can insist that all we need is the Ten Commandments, which of course say nothing about loan sharking, much less about human rights, corporate transactions or any of the other countless things we need laws for. In fact Biblical law is all for doing horrible things to people for no particular reason other than they were born into some other tribe or other or use the cotton thread to sew woolen clothes or turn on a light on Saturday or eat cheeseburgers or Lobster Bisque. Those commandments are quite specific about making images though - images of anything even in the "waters under the Earth" that don't exist and quite specific that there will be no worship of anyone but Yahweh. It's much better than US law though says the former fat man who thinks we should dispense with it all. Funny that a nation Huckabee would like is so hard to differentiate from Waziristan. In fact an open air loony bin like that doesn't seem so much like somewhere else at all any more.

Friday, February 08, 2008

On the side a al Qaeda?

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence tells us that al Qaeda is losing favor with Muslims around the world. It's only a matter of time until the neocons take credit and tell all of the losers and surrender monkeys out there that it was the success of the surge and that they are vindicated. Of course the key fact is ignored that what the press calls the "Muslim world" seems to have been more sympathetic to us than they are now until George tried to impress the innocent bystanders by blowing Iraq to halfway to hell; women, children, house cats and all.

The idea that sectarian war in Iraq was the doing of hordes of invaders from al Qaeda (or sometimes Iran as befits the story of the day) and not from Islamic history itself with the help of the European people who decided Iraq should be one country and George Bush who just wanted to blow something up, still stocks the neocon shelves. It's still on sale and McConnells' reassurance advertises that.
"So that is another sign for us that the billion Muslims that practice their faith as good citizens are not for Al-Qaeda and that it's the extremist branch"
I have a feeling that was more so back when the Bush mafia was still sitting in a circle in some basement room playing with their privates and plotting war. I have a feeling that the "Billion Muslims" never supported any slaughter of the innocents in the first place, either the three thousand in New York or the better part of a million in Iraq, not to speak of the 4 million destitute and homeless. I have a feeling that all the support it ever had before Baghdad was shocked and awed came from Bush's oil buddies.

I just hope that come November the wholesale repudiation of Bush and his Napoleonic greed will show the world that the bulk of our 300 million people are good citizens who do not support the extremist branch still represented so forcefully and well by the Republican Party.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Nixon Redux

Has Willard Milton Romney just had his Richard Milhous Nixon moment? I find it hard to be sad that, as much as I would like to drop kick his plastic ass through the goal posts of hell, I won't have him to kick around any more. In fact by claiming that he's only "suspending his campaign" in order to avoid "aiding a surrender to terror" I'm led to suspect that he's still hoping he'll be begged to return or perhaps that his rhetoric is carefully chosen to cover what is, after all, a surrender.

At any rate his suggestion that somehow the opinion of three quarters of his would-be constituents is beyond his powers of condescension and getting us out of the mess Bush created is "surrender" is enough to exclude him from consideration. We don't need another jingoistic cheerleader urging us toward divine destruction and the only thing that terrifies me is another Republican having more than the job of sweeping the White House floor.

I've heard quite enough of the "If Hillary gets in" ghost stories in barber shops and yacht club dinners to hope that she's elected by an avalanche and the stupid little nose picking snickerers reminded that it's not the "libs" or the "surrender monkeys" that put her there but a fed-up public that's voting against the theft, the lies, the incompetence, graft, nepotism and the slaughter of innocents that Romney and his heretofore running mates all support.

Cross posted from The Impolitic

Cold comfort

I read yesterday that the White House has informed our worshipful multitudes that President Bush will visit Tennessee on Friday to comfort victims of the devastating string of storms and tornadoes that ripped through several states over the last few days. Decoded, that means Bush, surrounded by armed bodyguards, will pose for some pictures, be escorted back to his armored limo and go home. That's what he did on Florida's Treasure Coast after Hurricane Frances tore several counties to bits. He and Jeb handed out a couple of bags of ice for the photographers in the blazing heat and before he had a chance to break a sweat, got into the air conditioned limo that took them to the helicopter which took them down to party in Miami. What a guy. So much comfort.

Forgive an old cynic for suspecting that we will get the same heck of a job from the same hack of a president.
"Loss of life, loss of property — prayers can help and so can the government,"
he said and while I am sure the government will help about as much as appeals for mercy to the deity who may or may not have been in the whirlwind, we do not pay taxes to heaven, but to the Federal Government Bush's party has been insisting is not the answer to our needs. Far better than the idiot Reagan did, Bush has made that so.

More than ever it behooves the citizen to do what Bush cannot and will not do. Why not take some of those tax rebates we'll surely receive and give a donation to the American Red Cross and know that it will go to help Americans in dire need? The Government is only there to help if you have oil.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

No Exit

So what the hell does all this mean? Maybe Super Tuesday is just another Super Bowl with less substance behind the selection of loyalties. I couldn't watch either one actually; only enough of CNN's election coverage to make me retreat to the bowels of my DVR for something recorded and saved for an evening like that.

It wasn't the results; they were as expected. It was the exit poll interviews where respectable blue haired ladies, stewed for a lifetime in small minded stupidity, told us why they always vote for true Republicans like Romney. It was the weathered old veteran of too many shit-faced Friday nights at the VFW hall who is solidly behind McCain because they're both "retired military." It was Mike Huckabee with his homespun homilies and selected Biblical references and the horrifying idea that anyone stupid enough to support him is allowed to roam the streets unsupervised. It is the glaring evidence that the United States of America is simply too superstitious, too uninformed, too deluded and most of all; too damned stupid to be trusted with important decisions.

Is it that Karma is more than wishful thinking and that Democracy in America withers like an unwatered plant because we've stifled so many movements, supported so many tyrants, sent men to smash elected governments, murdered elected leaders and starved populations abroad while eating ice cream in starched Sunday clothes, singing hymns to our own greatness?

Perhaps the appearance of any remaining viability to the Republican party and its dimwitted dogmas and captious rhetoric is supported only by the corporate media's "fair and balanced" game. Maybe the Democrats will win every election outside of the Confederacy, but maybe too I'll just stop caring. Maybe I'm too old to believe that anything matters. Maybe I'm right about the utter futility of human endeavor and the meaninglessness of existence and maybe I should just forget about it all and while away my remaining years walking on the beach and collecting shells; watching Mayberry reruns of an evening and relaxing by the pool while it all goes to hell.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Gospel of lies.

The Washington Monument needs no Doktor Freud or a semiotician to evoke phallic visions. The last thing I think of when I see it is Jesus, but the nasty worm that chews at the heart of America has been circulating another one of an endless series of historical perversions trying to make you think not only was it designed by Washington as a statement of our country's religious essence but a monument to prayer, a stone arm reaching up from our first president's fundamentalist heart to God above. Perhaps you've seen it.

"Washington continues to give praise to God" is the title of the lie although of course the words "Jesus Christ" never once appeared in any writings of his yet to be found, much less any evidence that he differed from Jefferson in believing that the notion of a divine Jesus was anything but a myth destined to be relegated to the same fate as the divinity of the Greek gods. He was never known to give praise to God, and his friends, including Jefferson did not think of him as a Christian at all but a Deist.

"The constitution does not provide for separation of Church and state" screams the version that appeared in my mailbox last night. It does, of course and Washington agreed:
I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country.
So much for his acknowledgement of a nation under God.

Of course the monument was begun in the Civil War era, when the evocation of God as the foundation of the soon to be disunited States was foisted upon the public as a way to make the unpopular war seem , as we're usually told wars are, God's work. Such an idea could not have been further from the ideas of George Washington and did indeed elicit rage from Jefferson and his fellow patriots. Yes, as the viral gospel of lies claims, the capstone does read Praise to God or Laus Deo, but by 1888, when it was installed, the history of our aggressively secular Republic had already been drowned in the deluge of religious rapture brought back to our shores by the huddled, God sodden masses we had left behind and Washington was dust and his dreams come to nothing.

No, Pierre Charles L'Enfant who designed a plan for the street layout did not design the pattern to look like a cross from the monument which was only contemplated long after his death in 1825. In truth, the government did not like his plan, adopted the usual "tax and spend" rhetoric and refused to pay him for it and he died penniless. The actual planning for the capital city was accomplished by the surveyors, Andrew and Joseph Ellicott, and none of these men discussed any monuments to God or to the pretend piety of our first President or the idea that the view from a monument built a generation later would remind anyone of a cross.

"Praise be to God, such was the discipline, the moral direction, the spiritual mood given by the founder and first president of our unique democracy . . one nation under God"
hisses the evil snake of Christianist revisionism. The one unique feature of our new democracy was that its authority was not based and was forbidden to be based on divine authority, but on the consent of the governed, nor was the illegal religious oath we force children to say, possessed of the phrase "under God" until 1954 thus, finally erasing our national heritage and our national birthright of religious freedom.

The screed finishes with a fictitious "prayer" by Washington which was not written by Washington, was not a prayer to God but a deliberately misquoted version of a direct statement addressed to a governor.

What can I say? Like Jefferson, I can only swear eternal enmity to those who lie and subvert in the pursuit of tyranny over the mind of men and the religious lies they use to that sinister and vile purpose.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I get e-mails

Hillary Clinton, they say, is the only one who can beat McCain. At this stage, who knows? Others landing in my in-box have called Romney "A night in shining armor" which I find an interesting way of portraying a pathetic striver who would look more at home modeling a golf shirt in some resort-wear catalog. He'd be more qualified for that than he would be to be president of Eddie Bauer or Tommy Bahama, much less the United States. Of course our evaluations of candidates is just that superficial in this great land of idiots, that such appearances are sufficient while intelligence and knowledge or even mental stability are not. In a better America, Dennis Kucinich could beat John McCain, but Americans don't often vote in a way that reflects their best interests. Americans overwhelmingly reject Bush's objectives to build a pro-American and unified Iraq regardless of the expense, time, blood and improbability of success, yet the mad blood stirs when McCain, who believes that our Vietnam debacle was both noble and in some indefinable way "winnable," waves the flag and talks of "victory" in Iraq and anywhere else it's possible to invade a third world country.

There's a tendency to impute nobility of purpose and character to victims, and McCain's victim status serves him well and takes away attention from the fact that while he was being tortured, we were skinning Vietnamese patriots alive, killing civilians by the millions, collecting severed ears as suovenirs and filling the air with the smell of napalm and burning children. It makes taking notice of this seem unpatriotic. It makes us somehow fail to notice that despite the overwhelming public aversion to another year of war, much less the hundred he finds acceptable, this is a man who sings "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," to the tune of the Beach Boys'"Barbara Ann" and says North Korea should be threatened with "extinction." The image of another deranged jingo at the helm of the most heavily armed and belligerent nation on Earth is more than I and most of the world can call a nightmare. It would be the genesis of a world that hates America and is willing to attack America far more than it already does. It would be a world far more likely to be at war for another 100 years. Is this what heavily anti-war America will settle for rather than Clinton or Obama? Is this the man we need to restore fiscal responsibility to a nation up to it's eyeballs in debt?

How much does the public know, or care to know about McCain other than that he was shot down and tortured? Not much, as long as he fits the ecstatic vision of a man on a white horse waving a flag. Do we consider it important to know that he ranked 894th out of 899 in his class at the Naval Academy, was rejected by the War College and had to use family connections to worm his way in? Do we remember that reminiscent of the current beneficiary of nepotism in the White House, he never ran a successful business but married into a family rich enough to finance a political career? Like Bush, like Nixon, he's also a brat; prone to temper tantrums. In his own words he writes:
"At the smallest provocation I would go off into a mad frenzy, and then suddenly crash to the floor unconscious. When I got angry I held my breath until I blacked out."
Just the man to lead us in a crisis and no problem as long as he's "pro life."

We seem to have forgotten the Keating Five scandal too. McCain took vary large contributions from Charles Keating in return for using his influence to block investigations of that con-man "for no other reason than I valued support."

According to The Independent, McCain comes from generations of war-mongers. His grandfather helped crush the Philippine resistance to US occupation by herding the population into concentration camps and exterminating the rest. McCain describes it as "an adventure."

His father led "Operation Power Pack," the US invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and successfully crushed the democratically elected government in favor of a compliant dictator to teach a lesson to "the natives" and bragged of a new "world empire." Our shining hero hasn't said a word to disassociate himself from such tyrannical imperialism. Only if a war has some humanitarian goal, like our intervention in Kosovo, or proposed intervention in Rwanda will John disagree and usually with mockery.

Yet this is a man many in his party dismiss as a "liberal" and whom many liberals find acceptable in some misguided spirit of compromise. God help us if he's elected.