Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Daily Show, South Park, Court TV and Paul Krugman

Yesterday, the New York Times printed a valentine from Richard Stevenson to Karl Rove and the Bush administration…fine group of fellas doing a fine job. Last week, a writer for the NYT who I love to hate, John F. Burns, reported that there are significant improvements in the situation in Iraq. This morning, Salon.com says that Lawrence Kaplan of The New Republic thinks there is good stuff happening in Iraq that the media is not reporting. And la-la-la…everything's ducky in the land of Rupert and Moon. (BTW, if some hotshot animators don't come up with a Rupert and Moon toon, they're missing out on a sure-fire hit.) In any event, when you want the truth you read NYT's Paul Krugman and you watch Jon Stewart, the South Park kids and Court TV. So what can we do about the religious fanatics whose lies and distortions have oozed and slithered into what Carl Jung called our “collective unconscious”? This morning, regarding Tom DeLay's involvement in the Schiavo case, Paul Krugman wrote, “Now he and his party, shocked by the public's negative reaction to their meddling, want to move on. But we shouldn't let them.” And the reason we can't afford to let the GOP off the hook and let them distract us from their latest distraction is because the GOP is being led by extremists and there is only one possible end result. As Krugman says, “The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk. “America isn't yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.” The majority of Americans are not far-right religious fanatics. Seventy-seven percent of us are liberals and moderates. And we have to take a stand in every venue we have at our disposal--particularly in the voting booth. But perhaps our most potent defense against far-right zealots is laughter.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Three NYT Headlines Catch the Eye

An Army Program to Build a High-Tech Force Hits Cost Snags (Tim Weiner) With Bush Safely Re-elected, Rove Turns Intensity to Policy (Richard W. Stevenson) President Bush's New Public Face: Confident and 'Impishly Fun' (Elisabeth Bumiller) And what are we to make of these stories? 1) The estimated cost of Rumsfeld's plan for a stripped-down army, which relies heavily on robots and networked weapons, is $145 billion. And that does not include $25 billion for the network connecting the robots and telling them what to do. The one thing that seems to be absent from the Army's plan for the future is specifications for beaming soldiers from spacecrafts to the battleground. 2) Karl Rove is the President of the United States. No news there. 3) George W. Bush is the prototype for Rumfeld's Robot Army and the human-like enhancement has been tweaked too far toward putz. But the biggest inference to be made from these three top stories is that the White House, the Pentagon and the GOP have no conception of the damage their Schiavo shenanigans have done to the Bush administration. One-hundred-percent of George W. Bush's highly vaunted “political capital” has been spent on 23% of the US voters who are religious right fanatics. That leaves 77% of the voters faced with the realization that the leadership in the White House can't make sound judgments and is out of control. Since three-quarters of US voters are able to think clearly, it's time for us to brush up on Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution: Impeachment of Federal Officials

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The GOP Is Figuring It Out

Herr Karl Rove and Co. have poked their heads out of their isolation chamber and discovered in horror, Yikes! We ‘re going down the tubes! What to do? What to do? First, they told morally bankrupt Tom DeLay and quack-doctor William Frist to shut up about Terri Schiavo. Then they sent their strategists out to babble that they “expect no political repercussions from the Schiavo episode”. Then they went back into isolation to figure out how to deal with the fact that the repercussions have already occurred. But the big question for the Republican party is, how can they get their souls back from the religious right? And the answer is, of course, they can't. The GOP assumed they could sign a devil's pact with the religious right, grab their votes and toss them a few table scraps to make them be quiet. But, as Joe Cannon of Cannonfire reminded me last week, media boss Rupert Murdoch and the Carlyle Group may be top-guns in the Bush administration, but it’s the Christian zealot Reverend Sun Myung Moon who actually calls the shots in the White House. And Reverend Moon, who owns the Washington Times, United Press International, and controls the Christian Coalition isn't about to void the deal he made with the GOP. Will Republicans never learn? You can't cheat the Devil. But it's going to be fun watching them try.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Jon Stewart Gives the Bottom Line

Last night, regarding the Schiavo case, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, looking properly somber said the feeding tube was finally about to be pulled...from cable news. Too right. And although the pols surely aren’t done with it, news shows are going to have to go back to reporting actual news. Which means the GOP accomplished its goal: Making people think about something other than all the recent White House failures. But talk about a Pyrrhic victory. The GOP certainly did galvanize our attention on Terri Schaivo. And now, the majority of Americans think that not only George Bush is an idiot, but that his brother Jeb and the religious right and Congress and Tom Delay and Dr. William Frist and the horse’s asses they all rode in on are candidates for the loony bin. A recent CBS poll says that 82% of the public feel Congress and the Prez should have butted out of the Schiavo family’s dispute. The GOP’s pandering to the religious right has made 74% of Americans believe Congress intervened in order to promote a political agenda. Public approval of Congress has dropped to 34 percent from 41% last month. And President Bush’s approval rating is now at 43%...lower than it was a month ago. And Americans of all political beliefs say Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube should not be re-inserted and that the Supreme Court should not hear the case. E. J. Dionne, Jr. made some interesting points this morning in his “A Thin View of Life” article in the Washington Post. Regarding the GOP’s contempt for malpractice lawsuits and Medicaid payments for hospital bills, Dionne says, “How has Terri Schiavo's care been financed? The available information suggests that some of the money came from one of those much-derided medical malpractice lawsuits and that the drugs she needs have been paid for by Medicaid.” Dionne goes on to say, “What does it mean to be pro-life? As far as I can tell, most of those who would keep Schiavo alive favor the death penalty. Most favored allowing the assault weapons ban to expire and oppose other forms of gun control. The president makes an excellent point when he says we ‘ought to err on the side of life’. It's a shame how rarely that principle is put into practice. Time to call in the White House cleaning ladies, Karen and Condi, and instruct them to deodorize, sanitize and polish the BushBot...again.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pull Up a Chair, Kick Back, Watch the Show

Or as Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake." So MIss Karen Hughes, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, how’s your new job going? Karen Hughes used to be a “White House counsellor”. Now she’s in charge of polishing up the US image around the world. I don’t know what’s going to be more fun, watching the White House spin their political suicide as a case of religious martyrdom, or watching Karen Hughes clean the White House stables and selling the horseshit as gold nuggets. There are a number of potential award winners out here in the real world: Karen Hughes for the Augean Stables award Nancy Seaman for the Lizzie Borden award Michael Jackson for the Junkie-in-Denial award Although Whitney Houston is a runner-up for the Junkie award. She’s gone into rehab again and says she tried to cure her addiction with prayer, but alas, it didn’t work. And I think Nancy Seaman topped Lizzie Borden by more than a few whacks. She went to Home Depot and bought a hatchet, whacked her hubbo, tried to shoplift another hatchet so she could return it as though it was the husband-whacking hatchet. And now she’s claiming self-defense. After Whitney and Nancy and Michael get through their current bad patches, maybe they can get a job in the White House.They lie, deceive, break the law and expect to get away with it. What’s not to like? They might even run for Prez on the GOP ticket. In the meantime, it’s hard to decide between watching the Republicans commit hara-kiri and watching Court TV.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Everybody Wants to Join the Schiavo Circus

You’ve got the Right-to-Lifers saying God wants Schiavo to be hooked up to a feeding tube forever, you’ve got the Living Will folks telling us to make a living will or we could end up like Terri Schiavo, you’ve got the far-right born-again holies saying being a breathing vegetable is divine, you’ve got Catholics saying she’ll go to hell unless the feeding tube is reinserted, you’ve got incompetent doctors like Senate Majority Leader, William Frist testifying that Terri Schiavo is not in a vegetative state. You’ve got corrupt pols like Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay talking about morals, you’ve got George W. Bush who has his own mental problems, rushing around enacting laws that are probably unconstitutional, you’ve got the husband saying she would never want to be alive although dead, you’ve got the parents saying she smiles, she responds, she lives. Of all the voices clambering to be heard in this bizarre case, the one that all sides can agree with is the voice of the Living Will folks. Nobody in his right mind would want to wind up like Terri Schiavo. As desperate parents will do, Terri Schiavo’s parents are clinging to ideas that are in error. They believe that a brain that has ceased to function can be repaired. It can’t. And the Pope put out a mandate that can’t be implemented. Last fall Pope John Paul II said it was morally wrong to withhold food, water and health care from anyone in a vegetative state. Fair enough. But unless the Pope is suggesting that the Catholic church will foot the medical bills for keeping everyone in the world alive who is in a vegetative state, his moral directive amounts to an unfunded mandate. An unfunded mandate is morally wrong. But so little has been written about what would be involved in the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. When the final arbiter--Federal District Court Judge James D. Whittemore --asked how long it would take to transport Ms. Schiavo to a nearby hospital to replace the tube, he was told it would take about two hours and that the reinsertion would require surgery. He was also told that Ms Schiavo would need to be hospitalized for several days while her electrolyte balance was restored. One wonders if she could survive these extraordinary measures? No one knows. Terri Schiavo’s brain cannot be repaired. And the Pope notwithstanding, it iisn't possible to keep all brain-dead people alive forever. At what point will it be okay to remove the tube? If not today, would it be okay in the year 2105? What exactly do Terri Schiavo’s parents want? What they really want is for their daughter to be restored to the life she had before her eating disorder, before her heart attack, before she went into a coma in February 1990. That, along with the Pope’s unfunded moral mandate is not possible.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The GOP Really Stepped In It This TIme

Yesterday noon, the Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin outed Texas Governor George W. Bush on the fact that he passed a bill in 1999 giving hospitals the right to pull the plug on brain-dead patients who could not pay their medical bills. Of course it was after Congress had overwhelmingly voted in favor of allowing a federal court to decide whether brain-dead Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube would be reinserted. But better late than never. And at least the ugly facts that George W. Bush’s right-to-death legislation had flipflopped into a right-to-life media frenzy finally got into the pages of the MSM. I’ve been searching the ‘Net and cannot find another major mainstream newspaper that has divulged this two-timing, two-faced, double-think, hypocritical, cynical, black-to-white religion-steeped political switcheroo. But thanks to Froomkin, it’s finally out there. And Jon Stewart’s Daily Show was never better than last night when he took on the Bush administration and its sanctimonious use of a life-and-death case as political fodder. So the upshot is that the Bush administration gathered all its political clout, all the people who were willing to sell their religious beliefs to the highest bidder, everyone who would go on a tambourine-jangling roadshow to hawk their God for votes, and what did it get them? George W. Bush spent his considerable political capital (as he boasted he was willing to do when he was inaugurated this past January) and he got a judge who has refused to allow Terri Schaivo’s feeding tube to be reinserted in the service of politics, he’s created an electorate that is 60% against the Bush administration policies, a population whose majority does not want Social Security to be privatized, a population whose majority is against the Bush administration’s plan to cut Medicare funding, a population whose majority (including soldiers in Iraq) is against the war in Iraq, and a population that feels the federal government’s intervention in the Schaivo case was wrong, and totally wrong from the get-go. This is an astounding reversal of fortunes for an administration that’s been in office only two months. Way to go, Herr Karl. And some advice to the shit-for-brains outfit that is behind the Schaivo circus. 1) Do not put your trust in a crew that claims it will go to the Supreme Court to reverse Judge James D. Whittemore's decision. The case could not reach the Supreme Court for months and the star of the show will not be alive to be kept alive. 2) Do not put your trust in a group that touts a certain ignorant and incompetent Senate Majority Leader, William Frist, MD, as an expert medical witness. He says AIDs can be transmitted through tears. 3) And for certain, do not put your trust in a President who said on March 21, 2005, ""I will continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities.” But in 1999 he said, “hospitals have the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes.” Oh, and you can turn off the fog machine, Herr Karl. We see you all clearly.You’re nekkid as pushers in a strip-search and it's not a pretty sight.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Whose Readership is Bigger? Ours or the MSM?

I admit, I don’t know the answer, but it’s a fair question. According to the latest State of the Blogosphere report (March 14, 2005) there are now over 7.8 million active blogs with 30,000-40,000 new blogs being created each day. This morning, the MSM is trumpeting the Bush administration’s triumph in passing legislation on the Schiavo case. But the MSM has not informed the public that Texas Governor George W. Bush passed legislation in 1999 to allow Texas Hospitals to pull the plug on brain-dead patients whose hospital bills had not been paid. The MSM does report that Democrats who oppose the legislation view it as a political ploy and diversionary tactic and that tainted Republicans like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) are seen as shamelessly grandstanding hypocrites. However, without loudly proclaiming that George W. Bush passed legislation to kill impoverished brain-dead patients when he was Texas governor, the MSM is telling only half the story. But it’s possible that it doesn’t really matter what the MSM is reporting. Bloggers get the word out. What matters is how people will be voting in 2006. And that’s when we will know if bloggers have been effective. Way back in the 1950’s when Jean Shepherd had his radio show from midnight to six ayem on WOR in New York City, hundreds of thousands of fans listened every night. When Jean told his listeners to put their radios on their window ledges so his quirky monologues could waft out into the night air on hot summer nights, that’s exactly what his listeners did. And yet, one of the charms of his show was that he maintained the conceit that only two or three people were listening and only those two or three were getting the real poop. It is somehow appealing to think that liberal bloggers are a small group and that only we are getting the real poop. But is that true? I don’t think so. If we are not getting through to the American voters, why are the neocons so worried about us? If we are just an annoying gnat buzzing around the heads of the White House fascists, why would they like to shut us down? But a visible sign would not be a bad idea. I think that wearing a Red Star of Courage bracelet or lapel pin is a dandy idea. Red Stars of Courage Bumper stickers. Red Stars of Courage T-shirts. Why red stars? Because the freeper assholes are putting the label “Commie” on people who oppose the Bush administration. Since apparently they don’t know what a Commie is, I say we all should adopt the Red Star of Courage and show it with pride.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

George W. Bush and His Vegetative-state Bill

Now which bill would that be? The one in 1999 or the one in 2005? Back in 1999, when George W. Bush was governor of Texas he signed a bill that gave Texas hospitals the right to pull the plug on brain-dead patients who can’t pay their hospital bills. But today, midst media hoopla and ranting and raving about life being sacred, George W. Bush has rushed back to Washington, DC from his ranch in Crawford, TX to sign a bill to force a Florida hospital to reinsert a feeding tube into Terri Schiavo who is in a “persistant vegetative-state”--brain-dead. According to the New York Times today, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (one of the groups demanding that Congress act to save Schiavo’s life) said, "Today it's Terri, tomorrow it's another disabled person. We've tolerated abortion in this country for the last 30 years, and now we're talking about eliminating those who cannot speak for themselves." No. Today we’re talking about life being sacred for people whose hospital bills are paid. Tomorrow when another indigent, disabled person goes into a vegetative state and can’t pay his hospital bill, George W. Bush says it’s okay to pull the plug. In Crawford, TX, White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, said, regarding George Bush rushing back to DC to sign the bill to keep Schiavo alive, "Everyone recognizes that time is important here. This is about defending life." No. This is about defending the life of a woman whose hospital bills get paid. The man who rushed pell-mell from Texas to Washington, DC in order to enact a bill to save Schiavo’s life, enacted legislation to permit St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston TX to terminate Spiro Nikolouzos’s life because Nikolouzos is poor. At one and the same time, the family of Terri Schiavo in Florida, and the family of Spiro Nikolouzos in Texas are fighting to save the life of a family member who is brain dead. George Bush says Schiavo must live because her hospital bills are being paid, but Nikolouzos life can be terminated because his Medicare funding is running out. That paragon of morality who has been charged with unethical behavior, Texas Republican and House Majority Leader Tom Delay said, “We should investigate every avenue before we take the life of a living human being. That is the very least we can do." Wrong. If Tom DeLay is so hipped on life being sacred, the least he could have done is to raise a stink when the Governor of his state, George W. Bush, enacted legislation to allow indigent brain-dead people to die when they can't pay their hospital bills. Tom DeLay who has been pushing for an intervention for Terri Schiavo did nothing to fight for the lives of people like Spiro Nikolouzos who can't pay their hospital bills. So let’s stop all this gnashing of teeth and GOP political nonsense about life being sacred. It could not be more clear. The GOP says: YOUR LIFE IS SACRED IF YOU CAN PAY YOUR HOSPITAL BILLS, IF NOT, DIE AND GOOD RIDDANCE!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

White House Diversions

If the White House has its way, everyone will be in a religious lather this morning over the feeding tube being removed from Terri Schiavo in the Florida right-to-die case. If the White House has its way, the issue of whether clinically insane people have the right to speak for clinically dead people and zygotes will make us forget that 1521 American soldiers have died in Iraq. If the White House has its way, the entire adult population of the United States--209 million people--will be so outraged over the Schiavo case they won’t know that the President’s plan to privatize Social Security is in the tank, that the President’s plan to rape Medicare is in the tank, and that the Bush administration is kissing China’s ass because China is the second-largest holder of US debt, with their whopping $200 billion investment. But the White House is having the devil’s own time with its diversions these days. And most adults in the US either don’t give a damn that a corpse in Florida has a feeding tube or they think real news trumps lunatic-fringe news. Google’s Blogger and Blogspot self-publishing system (Ratfuck Diary uses Blogger) has been experiencing posting problems lately. And Daily Kos was off-line for a day or two last week because of a high-jacking problem that may have been freeper-induced. It remains to be seen whether these glitches in the blogosphere have a more sinister and high-level origin. But the GOP’s ability to disrupt news gathering and disseminating, and it’s proclivity for causing mischief in the media notwithstanding, the real news does get out and it does get read. In the seventies when the MSM fell down on the job, alternative newspapers took up the slack and made sure the truth got out. Now it’s the blogs that see to it that Pentagon and White House shenanigans aren’t obliterated by Pentagon and White House shenanigans. While Rupert Murdoch and his underlings in the White House labor ceaselessly to keep the real news off the MSM front pages, I have two questions I’d like deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz to answer before he runs off to develop the globe the way he’s developed Iraq: 1) On March 27, 2003, you said during the House Committee on Appropriations Hearing “There’s a lot of money to pay for this (the war in Iraq) that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” How’s that plan working out? 2) When you become head of the World Bank, do you think you will be greeted around the globe with flowers and as a liberator as you predicted the US would be greeted in Iraq? Or, since your reputation will precede you, will you be wearing body armor? Just asking....

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why the BushMen Have No A-List

First, let me define BushMen. They are the men who run the United States of America. Top BushMen: 1. Rupert Murdoch, media mogul (owns Twentieth Century Fox Studio, Fox Network, 35 TV stations (including 19 sports channels); newspaper magnate (publishes 175 newspapers operating in the United States, Australia, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia and the Pacific Basin including William Kristol’s Weekly Standard); neocon, imperialist, intimidator, warmonger; born in Australia, became US citizen in 1985. 2. Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Chairman of the Carlyle Group which serves as a go-between for weapons sales between major defense contractors and governments all over the world. Serving Murdoch and Gerstner are: Karl Rove, White House Senior Advisor Richard Cheney, Vice-President Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of Defense (soon to be head of the World Bank) Andrew H. Card, Jr., Presidential Chief of Staff Richard Perle, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, (advisory panel to the Pentagon) Elliott Abrams, Deputy National Security Adviser who pleaded guilty in 1991 to withholding information from Congress in the Iran/Contra scandal Donald Rumsfeld, Department of Defense Secretary Peter W. Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman John Snow, US Treasury Secretary William Kristol, editor of Washington, DC’s The Weekly Standard and founder of the Project for the New American Century Please note, George W. Bush is not on the list of BushMen. That’s because he doesn’t count, he makes no decisions, he makes no policies. He is a puppet. Subordinate BushMen Understaff: The sole purpose of the Subordinate Understaff is to enable George W. Bush’s delusions and to make him feel as though he is in the loop, which he isn’t. Subordinate Understaff: Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State, GWB baby-sitter and confidante Karen Hughes, bogus current title whatever it may be, GWB baby-sitter Laura Bush, George W. Bush's wife and baby-sitter Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, George W. Bush’s brother and Project for the New American Century tool Scott McClellan, Press Secretary, GWB baby-sitter, procurer and tool for the GOP. Assorted Jesus-people, evangelists, sycophants and flunkies The question of the day is: Why do the BushMen keep appointing inferior, unqualified people to important positions in the Bush administration? Many of the recent appointments, such as Gonzales for Attorney General, Rice for Secretary of State and Wolfowitz for head of the World Bank have simply been reassigning the usual suspects to new jobs for which they are ill-equipped. The reason is fear. The Top BushMen are scared to death that if new people, smart people, qualified and ethical people are appointed to top GOP jobs they would put a stop to the corruption and rot in the Bush administration. Of course another reason that the BushMen have not made appointments from an A-list is that qualified, smart, ethical Republicans whose names would automatically be on an A-list would not work for Murdoch and the Carlyle Group and wouldn’t be caught dead in a yes-man job in the White House. Before the war in Iraq, Rupert Murdoch said that George W. Bush "will either go down in history as a very great president or he'll crash and burn”. Murdoch added, “I'm optimistic it will be the former by a ratio of 2 to 1…one senses he is a man of great character and deep humility." Translation: I can make either thing happen, you White House morons, so exercise your great character and deep humility and do as I say. Sixty-percent of the people in the USA do not like the way our country is being run. Many of those people are Republicans. Even powerful dictators like Rupert Murdoch and the hydra-headed Carlyle Group can be stopped, particularly when it’s the will of 60% of Americans.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

NYT and Salon Ask: “Why Paul Wolfowitz?”

But then, Why Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State? Why Karen Hughes for undersecretary of state? Why John Bolton as ambassador to the UN? Why Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General? They all are inappropriate appointments to unqualified people. Why does the White House keep making these ill-advised appointments? Might as well ask, Why did the Supreme Court ratify a fixed election in 2000? The answer is: Because it can. The New York Times ends today’s editorial by saying that nominating Wolfowitz to head the World Bank is “too critical a post to be used by the president to make another triumphalist political point”. Salon’s Farhad Manjoo says Wolfowitz is “a defense specialist. This is not a qualification to be the head of the World Bank”. So. Everyone knows Wolfowitz is ill-equipped to be the head of the World Bank. And everyone knows Bush is bent on nominating him. Furthermore, everyone knows that not a single world leader is going to buck the US White House and dispute the appointment although not a single world leader wants Wolfowitz to run the World Bank. Who benefits then, in this latest White House “Fuck You” to the world? The White House benefits. They got rid of a big pain in the ass to Rumsfeld and Condi Rice. Plus they got to foist a warmongering fascist who knows nothing about global development and cares nothing about global development on the world. Another coup for the White House bullies. Could they have more fun than this? And while the BushMen are high-fiving each other for another ill-advised and arrogant appointment that demonstrates they can do whatever they want, what else is going on in the White House Third Reich? Well, let’s see, the new FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin is going to bring morality and decency back to radio and TV. He’s still in a church-lady snit over the SuperBowl half-time program when Janet Jackson showed off her surgically enhanced titty. Martin sniffed that the whole gyrating half-time program was “too crude”. You want too crude? I’ll give you too crude. Here’s how crude and ignorant and clueless our leaders have become. In a rare moment of lucidity, Tom Friedman’s NYT Op/Ed piece today lays out exactly how the White House has sold us down the river to China. He says, “the Bush team has not only been steadily eroding America's leverage and room for maneuver vis-à-vis its biggest long-term competitor - China - but it has actually been making us more dependent than ever on Beijing....the Bush team and its Republican-run Congress, have helped China become the second-largest holder of U.S. debt, with a little under $200 billion worth.” Friedman quotes energy economist Philip Verleger, Jr. who says, regarding the recent decision by the GOP-run Congress to allow oil drilling in Alaska, "I am sure China will be thrilled with the Bush decision to drill in Alaska...oil in Alaska cannot easily or efficiently be shipped to our Gulf Coast refineries. The logical markets are on the West Coast of the United States and in Asia. Consumers in China and Japan, not the U.S., will be the real beneficiaries of any big Alaska find.” Is that crude and sleazy and foul enough for you? Well, one thing we know: the BushMen are having a wonderful time. Like the small-minded, gloating, sarcastic, spiteful, gossipy, bitchy, ball-busting sewing-circle ladies that they are, they sure have shown us who wears the pants. Oh you betcha!!!! Just like Nero, Hitler, Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Karen Hughes a Diplomat? Oh Please!

Let’s see...how long ago was it that Bush Advisor/Surrogate Mommy Karen Hughes told Little Georgie Bush that she was going back to Texas to be with her family? "My husband and I have made a difficult but we think right decision to move our family home back to Texas,” she said. Seems like yesterday, but it was April 22, 2002. Oh well...nevermind. Mommy Karen is back at the ranch and her boss will be Condoleeza Rice. If that superior-inferior arrangement isn’t a hoot-and-a-half, I don’t know what is. Assuming the appointment will be confirmed by the Senate, Hughes will have the title “undersecretary of state for public diplomacy”, and the rank of ambassador. As a friend of mine said yesterday, "WTF? Karen Hughes has a tin ear when it comes to anything resembling decorum or diplomacy." What it’s about, my friends, is that President George Bush is coming unglued and he needs his Moms. The war in Iraq hasn’t panned out too well. Social Security reform hasn’t panned out too well. The mandate that never was, isn’t. Michael Jackson and President Bush are about as popular as each other. Congress is debating Bush’s $2.57 trillion budget, the GOP is in a civil war with itself. There is open revolt over the recently-passed Bankruptcy bill. And God asked me to tell you that George Bush is free to believe anything he wants but that the Almighty laughed his ass off when he heard Bush say, “God wants me to be president”. When Prez Bush ventures out into the real world, his “conversations” with the folks are so stage-managed that Bush-watchers say he has no idea his approval ratings have slipped to the point that 60% of the people are against him. Not true. He knows he’s political poison. He may not understand it, but he knows and he needs all his security blankies all the time. That’s why Rove and Company summoned Karen Hughes back to the fold. She’s supposed to get Bush out of the fetal position and back to his deluded grandiose self. Will it work? Depends on how far he has spiraled down. Now that Karen Hughes is on the Bush team again, Salon’s Tim Grieves posed 5 questions yesterday he’d like to ask the newly-proposed undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. No. 5: “You know the president better than just about anyone. What was that bulge on his back?”

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Art of Seduction

This past weekend, I watched “The Lady From Shanghai” (1948) and “Double Indemnity” (1944). “Double Indemnity” was under the regulations of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA--better known as “the Hays office”--1922-1945) but “The Lady From Shanghai” was not under the regulations. Even so, both films followed the movies’ moral code prevalent at the time. Killers had to die, even if we liked them and they were charming. And particularly, women killers had to die, no matter how justified their crime, so they wouldn’t breed more of their kind. I grant you, that last sentence was not in the revised 1930 production code, but it’s not difficult to make the inference. It wasn't until 1960 (“Psycho”) that Hollywood finally broke with nearly 40 years of adhering to the MPPDA formula for morals in the movies. However, this weekend’s double-dose of movies which showed in exquisite detail how two women used their wiles to get men to do their dirty-work had an unsettlingly familiar after-taste. What was I reminded of? And then it hit me. Oh! My God! The Bush administration is the Lair of the Bitch Goddesses. No, not the women in the Bush administration. The men. The BushMen use the tactics that have given bitches a bad name. They govern by using the worst character flaws that society has damned women for. They lie, deceive, cheat, promise anything but deliver nothing. Or, as some wag said about an entertainment diva (turning Churchill’s famous line about the Royal Air Force insideout--“never was so much owed by so many to so few”)--“Never have so many paid so much for so little.” The BushMen tantalize and tease. They carp, nag and say catty things about opponents. They use dirty tricks. They get others to do their dirty work by spreading rumor and gossip. They start conflicts for the fun of starting conflicts. They don’t end conflicts nor do they have any desire to end conflicts. Conflicts are fun. Spreading dissension is fun. Creating mischief is fun. The US (and to a lesser extent, the world) is being governed by a bunch of desperate housewives. It’s also interesting that the Hollywood Production Code of 1930 turns out to be the rules of conduct the far-right neocons have decided the United States should live under. Check it out--http://www.und.edu/instruct/cjacobs/ProductionCode.htm Anyone voting for the Bush administration has been seduced. And seduced in the manner that tarantulas and Venus Flytraps seduce, not in the manner that men seduce. What are we to make of that? Beats me. It’s interesting though, when you think about it, isn’t it?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Behind the GOP Social Security Tap Dance

Forget the ridiculous pie-charts, falsified statistics and doomsday prophesies. There is only one idea motivating the White House fascists and their attempts to kill Social Security: The GOP is still fighting Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. That’s it. They can’t get over it. They’ll never get over it. But the White House plan to replace the New Deal with the Raw Deal has two problems that weren’t factored into the scheme. It may be that their mania to erase all vestiges of FDR’s legacy from living memory has caused the WH to assume that the huge turds in the punchbowl don't matter. Or perhaps their hatred of the New Deal clouded their judgment. In any event, the sorry fact remains that the Raw Deal Privatization plan is 1) silly and unworkable and 2) the man who is supposed to close the Raw Deal by dazzling the populace with charm and articulate explanations, is an idiot. On March 4th, CNN posted a Fact-Check piece to correct some of the distortions (lies) that President Bush had presented as facts in his "Conversation on Strengthening Social Security" speech in Westfield, New Jersey. In brief: “Claim: ‘One way for a younger worker to come closer to what the government has promised is to be able to take a portion of the money and get a better rate of return on your own money than that which the Social Security system gets.’ CNN Fact Check: The president implies that a "personal" or private retirement account will ‘get a better rate of return’ than the current Social Security system, but he doesn't clarify the risk of getting a lower return or even losing money on the investments. Claim: ‘You can pass that money [from a private account] to whomever you want.’ CNN Fact Check: That is only partially true. The president does not mention that only part of the money in a private retirement account can be passed on to others as an inheritance. Claim: ‘If we don't act, we're looking at about an $11 trillion hole for the American taxpayer coming up. This is a big liability not for me or baby boomers ... but if you're a young worker, you've got a problem.’ CNN Fact Check: The president incorrectly suggests that the young workers of today will face an $11 trillion Social Security shortfall if the program continues on its current course.” But the worst of it is, President Bush doesn’t understand the privatization plan himself. When he strays from reading a printed explanation and says, “in other words”, trying to make the plan clear to the common man, he misspeaks and makes totally false statements about an already fatally flawed scheme. Our President is a delusional nutcase whose brain never functioned well on his best day. So what have we got? We’ve got a White House gang of fascists making plans and policies based on the fact they hate an ex-President’s plans and policies from 72 years ago. And we’ve got a medicated idiot explaining why screwing the elderly and poor and giving aid to the rich is a better plan than giving a helping hand to the elderly and poor. Into the bargain, we’ve got a WH Press Secretary dancing as fast as he can to explain the President’s pixilated explanations of a White House scheme to discredit a president who has been dead for 60 years. I used to think the entire Bush administration should be impeached. I’ve changed my mind. They all should be committed to an asylum for the criminally insane.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Censorship Always Fails

But thanks to Saint Augustine, the Christian right ceaselessly tries to censor everything from cuss words to lace panties. The Bible never mentions Original Sin. In Ezekiel 18, God says only that the sinner will die and his children are innocent. But when a convert rises to the top of a religious movement, the old ways of revering God are never good enough. Comes on the scene, a certain Aurelius Augustinus Augustine of Hippo--354 AD to 430 AD. Augustine was a poster boy for all kinds of raunchy behavior, including having a son by a whore. But when Augustine finally got religion (he was baptized in 387) he was more spiritual than Jesus and repented of his sinful ways more than St. Paul. Augustine eventually became the Bishop of Hippo. Along the path to his becoming a Saint, Augustine promoted the idea of Original Sin into a full-blown tenet of the Christian movement. The concept and term “original sin” were first used by the 2nd century theologian, Tertullian. And what it means is that because Adam fell under the spell of Eve and brought sin into the Garden of Eden, we all are sinners when we are born. But Augustine, in his missionary zeal to protect God's elite from going to hell, went further than Tertullian. Augustine said that since man was inherently evil when he came into the world because of the sinful, ugly, nasty, act of his parents having had sex in order to conceive him, the church must guide the state to repress, punish and restrain the vast majority of people who are evil. Because, unless stopped, the original sin in all of us will destroy the few good people God had decided should be saved from hell. Whew! Well, the early Christian church bought it. And every 30 or 40 years, a bunch of reformers, who historically are always proven to be worse sinners than those they want to reform, rise up and start screaming, Repent! And historically, it never works. Prohibition didn’t work, Nazism didn’t work, the Catholic Church’s banning books and movies didn’t work, McCarthyism didn’t work, the KuKluxKlan didn’t work. But those who fear their own smarmy inclinations keep trying. Frank Rich has another terrific column in the New York Times this morning, The Greatest Dirty Joke Ever Told. It’s about the current batch of reformers who are trying to censor our lives for our own good. And, of course, this latest attempt at censorship by a bunch of people looking at their own inadequacies and perversions and deciding the world needs to be protected from people like them, is doomed. The thing is, we don’t even have to fight this gaggle of fanatics who want to repress, punish and restrain. Their effort will fall of its own weight. Censorship always has and always will fail.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

George Bush--Accidental Good Guy in Middle East

Or, as they say in my hometown: Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Fareed Zakaria has an article in the March 14th issue of Newsweek giving George W. Bush credit for bringing democracy, freedom, reform and the promise of a peaceful future to the Middle East. That is such a load of horseshit. Although the article makes it clear that Bush has made huge mistakes in Iraq, Zakaria sounds as though he actually believes George Bush is the one who makes policies and decisions in the Bush administration, which he doesn’t, and that Bush is capable of having complex thoughts, which he isn't. Perhaps it’s that Zakaria wants to make sure he continues his career as a journalist, but his giving credence to the White House myth that George Bush decides matters of great importance is ridiculous. George Bush is the epitome of an empty suit. He’s a figurehead. He speaks when told what to say. When he’s not told what to say, he resorts to repeating memorized sentences that often are inappropriate to the topic. It’s equally ridiculous to advance the proposition that the present White House is responsible for signs of reform in the Middle East. Out of the ashes of the Bush administration’s failed war in Iraq, the Iraqi people have managed to pull something together that may or may not resemble democracy in a few decades. At the present time, after two years of destroying the country and murdering tens of thousands of Iraqis, the US has been unable to give the people even the basic amenities which they had under Saddam Hussein. Yasser Arafat finally kicked the bucket, which may or may not result in Israel and Palestine having a dialogue that may or may not lead to peace. The White House has done nothing for the Israel/Palestine conflict except allow George Bush to jabber about an area of the world he doesn’t understand in words someone gave him which he can’t comprehend. The whole world has been telling Syria to loose its stranglehold on Lebanon. And now finally Lebanon has said, Get out! In an excess of arrogance, the White House wants to take credit for Syria pulling out of Lebanon when it’s been inevitable since September 2004 when the UN Security Council passed resolution 1559. This resolution called for “foreign forces” to leave Lebanon and end their meddling in Lebanese affairs. George Bush only became aware of Lebanon as something the GOP could spin when former Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri was assassinated on February 14th. The BushMen blundered into the Middle East like ham-handed klutzes. Bush himself could barely pronounce the names Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden when they started their unnecessary war. As of this morning they have killed 1511 American soldiers. At no time did the White House fascist visions of global supremacy and George Bush’s grandiose delusions of power ever promote peace except by accident. The present White House gang has had designs on ruling the Middle East since Daddy WarBush bungled the Gulf War in 1991. Through lies and deceit, this obsession moved into the realm of reality when the White House invaded Iraq. The WH then decided it was a perfect opportunity to declare the US was spreading liberty and freedom even though the exact opposite is true. The only thing the GOP Is spreading in the Middle East is war and dissension Just because a stopped clock says it’s 3:00 when it’s 3:00 doesn’t mean the clock caused 3:00 to occur. And by 3:01, it will be wrong again...as usual.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

George Bush Motto: “I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own”

Discovery Channel’s “Mythbuster” Adam Savage, unwittingly stated the Bush administration motto when he stubbornly and hilariously stuck to his guns on a doomed project and said to the crew, “I reject your reality and substitute my own”. But there is nothing funny about the Bush administration’s mulish and self-serving obstinacy. The zeal of the White House to impose its warped viewpoint on the world is the fervor of dictators and madmen. However, unless the Bush administration imposes martial law on Americans to force us to substitute their reality for what we know to be true, the BushWorld myth has already been busted. Permanently lowering taxes is doomed because the treasury needs the money that taxes bring in. Privatization of Social Security is doomed because it’s stupid and unworkable. Invading nations we either disagree with or whose resources we covet is doomed since the BushMen have left no money in the till for waging new wars. And yet the White House sends its martinets around the world to repeat the Bush mantra: We reject your reality and substitute our own. Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed a clip of George Bush and the CIA’s new head Porter Goss when they toured CIA headquarters in Virginia last Thursday. Bush confidently claimed the CIA was going to continue its hunt for Osama bin Laden. And Porter Goss looked not only aghast and surprised but seemed genuinely bewildered at the rantings of the lunatic by his side. All the spin and propaganda that high-end White House public relations people can provide is quickly undone when a real-time, unposed, unmanipulated moment is caught on TV. The White House special-effects reality is no match for three seconds of tape that the BushMen weren’t able to manipulate out of existence.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Mr. Ratfucker and the Red Stars of Courage

Recently, Mr. Ratfucker was called a “Commie” by a dweeby little freeper asswipe on the Guardian Unlimited Newsblog. After Mr. Ratfucker picked himself off the floor where he had been laughing his ass off, and wiped his eyes, Mr. Ratfucker asked himself if dweeby freeper asswipes know what Communists are. He decided they don’t. However, a batch of ignorant, gormless, stupid, cowardly, bullying, nonthinking, easily-led college kids have determined that anyone who disagrees with the fascists in the White House are Commies. And they are putting red stars on the doors of professors who believe George Bush’s policies are wrong. Mr. Ratfucker would like to inform this new breed of goosestepping, neocon, warmongering, immature band of snitches, finks and yes-men that the only major impact they are having is to make anyone who merits one of their red star badges proud to have received it. So proud, in fact, that red stars are going to be turning up on so many doors, bumper stickers, t-shirts and lapel pins that not to have one will be equated with being on the wrong side of any and all political issues. Mr. Ratfucker says upward and onward, Red Star Society. Let’s hear it for the Red Star Badge of Courage!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

DU Reports on Sy Hersh Louisville Speech

Another reason bloggers are gold. How else would we hear about a speech given by Sy Hersh in Louisville, KY, except that a poster wrote a full report. Democrat-4-Ever attended the speech and reported on it March 5 in the Democratic Underground. Needing specifics about where the speech was delivered, I Googled Seymour Hersh and Louisville’s main newspaper, Courier-Journal, trying to find a recap of the speech. I came up empty. Then I searched Courier-Journal’s site and again came up empty...no mention of the speech. Finally, I found a telephone interview a Courier-Journal reporter had done with Hersh back in February that mentioned, in passing, that Hersh would be the “Wyatt Lecture” speaker at Bellarmine University in Louisville on March 3, 2005. In any event, Kentucky’s Repub bias notwithstanding, Democrat-4-Ever said the lecture hall was packed. In reporting Hersh’s remarks, Dem-4 said, “Some of the things that I thought most interesting--Bush doesn't care what the American people or the world thinks about his plans. Just flat doesn't care. Hersh says that from his contacts within the administration that naysayers are routinely pushed out and only people who agree with his and the neocons grand schemes are allowed anywhere close to the table. King Chimpy honestly believes that he is changing the course of world history and that in 10, 20 or 50 years he will be remembered in the same way that Lincoln is revered. And he has no one around him to tell him any different.” Dem-4 also reported Hersh said, “Rumsfeld has completely trashed the CIA. Concerted steps were taken to remove, run off or push from the table any and all people within the agency that did not get on board with the grand schemes. The CIA was the original group that kept saying there were no WMDs, no terrorists, Saddam not involved. The BushyBots just didn't want to hear it. The CIA is now a toothless, powerless (my words) agency. Because of laws written in the 80s that required Congressional oversight this administration has circumvented the process by declaring presidential authority to prepare for possible wars by using the military by secret methods traditionally used by the CIA for information. Since they have "authority" and it is not the CIA, King Chimp, Cheney and Rumsfeld feel they do not have to report to Congress or any one else on what they are doing. Scary, scary $hit.” The Dem-4 post ended with, “You get a chance to hear this guy speak be sure and go. He was very hopeful in the American public being able to save this country but the plans he outlined for this administration should give us all pause and scare the beegeebers out of you if we let this continue.” The problem, of course, is how do we keep the fascism of the White House from continuing. We have a Republican House, Republican Senate and a Republican-corrupted mainstream media. The most powerful tool the Democrats have, other than those Dems who have the balls to stand up to the White House bullies, is the growing numbers of Republicans who are beginning to view the power-drunk BushMen as dangerous despots. Make no mistake, even the puppet-masters behind King George’s throne are well aware our president is insane. Right now, they are confident they can control him to their advantage. They can’t. As Dem-4 reported, the Prez “honestly believes that he is changing the course of world history”. It’s inevitable that the moment will come when the President’s detractors outnumber his sycophantic supporters. Then what? A.M. Benis (Sc.D., MD), an authority on Personality Disorders says in “Toward Self & Sanity: On the Genetic Origins of the Human Character”, the Narcissist “cannot tolerate any serious criticism of his qualities, or interference in his ambition to attain the limelight.  When frustrated he may, on the one hand, be incited into the narcissistic rage of defense and withdrawal, or on the other hand, he may undergo a depression to an abject state of hopelessness.” Our President may be medicated but he calls talk therapy “psychobabble”. So what happens to untreated pathologically narcissistic mental cases? I’m sure we’re going to find out. It’s not a good prognosis.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The White House Reflecting Pool

According to the legend of Narcissus, a Greek boy fell in love with his own reflection in a pond. He rejected the advances of the nymph Echo and was punished by Nemesis. Narcissus was doomed to pine away as he fell in love with his own reflection - exactly as Echo had pined away for him. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pathological condition in which an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and lack of empathy is exhibited. The American Psychiatric Association says five or more of the following symptoms need to be present for one to be diagnosed a Narcissist. 1. Feels grandiose and self-important, exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements. 2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequaled brilliance, bodily beauty or sexual performance. 3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique, that he or she can only be understood by, treated by, or should only associate with other special, unique, or high-status people. 4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious. 5. Feels entitled, expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment, demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations. 6. Uses others to achieve his or her own ends. 7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others. 8. Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her. 9. Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted. However, the Narcissist is not in love with himself, he is in love with his reflection. A Narcissist’s image is the important thing. The image of himself that is reflected back to him is the only “self” that matters. There is no real self other than the reflection. Narcissists rarely seek psychiatric treatment. The Narcissist will never and can never admit he is wrong.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dear Reverend Tom Friedman:

Your New York Times Op/Ed column today, “Brave, Young and Muslim”, is like a sermon from a right-wing preacher. You tout an unrealized rosy future that the Bush administration’s presence in Iraq may bring about but you conveniently forget why there is a Bush administration presence in Iraq. We illegally, unnecessarily and by telling the world huge lies, invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. As of this morning, 1500 American soldiers have died in that criminal enterprise. You find no problem with buying into the White House rewrite of history. When the BushMen mounted their unnecessary war they lied and said Saddam Hussein had slammed two planes into the World Trade Center. Little Georgie Bush said Saddam had threatened his daddy and Saddam had to go. Now they are saying they invaded Iraq to bring freedom to the Middle East. And you, Reverend Friedman, have sat in the Amen corner through all the White House spinning morphs from the actual reason for invading Iraq--protecting our oil interests--to bringing freedom to the Muslims, and you have praised this unholy enterprise. On March 26, 2003 you set out the six criteria which will prove whether the war had been righteous: 1. Have we occupied Baghdad without leveling the whole city? 2. Have we killed, captured, or expelled Saddam? 3. Have we won this war and preserved the territorial integrity of Iraq? 4. Is the Iraqi state that emerges from this war accepted as legitimate by Iraq's Arab and Muslim neighbors? 5. Have we been able to explain why some Iraqi forces are putting up such a fierce fight? 6. Has an authentic Iraqi liberal nationalist emerged from the U.S. occupation to lead the country? It’s two years later and we’ve leveled huge portions of Iraq. We have not won this war or preserved the territorial integrity of Iraq. Iraq’s neighbors are now preparing for us to invade them. Who would the authentic nationalist be who is leading the country? And the only explanation for why Iraqi forces are putting up such a fierce fight is that they think we are in Iraq on false pretenses. And yes. Saddam was captured. You keep preaching that the end justifies the means. Pastor Friedman, it may come as a terrible shock to you, but the end NEVER justifies the means. That little fascist phrase translates as: We can lie, cheat, steal, deceive, maraud, oppress and make war as long as we claim our aims are just. Our aims in Iraq never have been just. They were not just on March 20, 2003 and they are not just now.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Cheney for Prez in 2008?

Tim Grieve has an interesting article in this morning’s Salon.com re GOP candidates for 2008. Although Cheney answered Fox News queries about whether he might run for Prez in 2008 with a, “Hell no,” Grieve quoted the Weekly Standard’s Exec Ed Fred Barnes as saying "there's every reason Cheney should change his mind". Oh my God! What a gift that would be. I can think of two reasons why the Dems should hail a Cheney run with sweets and flowers. No. 1-He’s a dead man walking No. 2-We know he’s a dead man walking We didn’t know about George Bush’s mental and physical health problems in 2000. And in 2004 when people were starting to suspect he was loony as King George III and physically unwell into the bargain, still, his health records were kept secret. But Dick Cheney’s health records are an open book. His prognosis is dim and getting dimmer. Whether he could even withstand the rigors of a campaign in three years is doubtful. It’s interesting and an indication of how far out of reality the Bush administration supporters are, that Barnes would welcome a Cheney run. Barnes even said Condi Rice would be a strong contender...stronger than John McCain. Holy crap! Barnes is loonier than George W. Bush who is loonier than King George III who was loonier than Richard III. Condi Rice is universally despised at home and abroad. Condi Rice has the personal warmth of a pit viper. Condi Rice possesses all the people skills of Bill O’Reilly without the physical beauty. And Barnes says, “John McCain is not in the same league” with Condi Rice or Dick Cheney. Well that’s true. John McCain would be a personable, electable candidate. Dick Cheney for Prez in 2008. And how about James Guckert for Vice Prez? Sounds like a dandy GOP ticket. Wheeze and sleaze.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Did the US Cause Lebanon’s “Cedar Revolution”?

The US is a bully intent on bringing the Middle East under its imperialist thumb by force. And yet, when overtures of peace or conciliation are made anywhere in the Middle East, the US crows, “We did that. That’s because we’re bringing democracy to the heathen.” Yasser Arafat’s death meant that Israel and Palestine could begin thinking about talking to each other. Neither Clinton nor Bush had anything to do with it. Nothing the US had done before worked. It was Arafat’s death that brought about the change. Is Syria loosening its death grip on Lebanon because the US invaded Iraq? Probably. But not because we’re white knights saving the downtrodden. If Syria is making nice with Israel and the US it’s partly because Syria is scared shitless they and Iran are on the White House Next To Be Conquered list. But it’s more complicated than that. First, France’s Jacques Chirac is pissed at Syria because he thinks Syria was behind the assassination of his friend, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Syria’s Bashar Assad was supposed to effect reforms in Lebanon, not commit murder. France is (was) Syria’s main friend in Europe. And France and the UN are calling for Syria to get its troops out of Lebanon. And yes, the US presence in Iraq cut off Syria’s border access for troops and intelligence. And yes, Syria has felt the threat of a US invasion ever since the US invaded Iraq. But is Syria relinquishing its power in Lebanon because of the US? Or, put another way, is the death toll in Iraq of American soldiers--which today or tomorrow will reach 1500--causing peace to break out in the Middle East? No. It is not. Because the US intends to wage more wars in the Middle East whether Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution is successful or not. Syria’s Assad is no Saddam Hussein. Assad sees which way the wind is blowing and would like to make peace with Israel and the US. But if the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah--both groups that Assad supports but can’t control--are crazy and unpredictable, they can be matched nutcase for nutcase by Bush supporters in Congress. There are Neocons who still believe that Weapons of Mass Destruction were hidden in Syria and by god! if we can’t dig ‘em up, we can nuke ‘em out of existence. Assad is absolutely right to be scared of the US crazies. We’re like the drunk wife-beater who says “Look what you made me do” and then delivers another sucker punch.