Tuesday, August 31, 2004

No accounting for idiocy

How many people who play golf know what the diameter of a golf ball is? The length of their clubs? The size of the cup? The finer points of the rules?

How many people who bowl know how long the alleys are? The weight of a pin? How far apart the pins are spread? How much their ball weighs?

Not many I’ll bet. But it doesn’t really matter much. People play golf and bowl and enjoy themselves even though they are quite ignorant of the basic facts and rules of the game.

Unfortunately, people tend to apply the same disinterest when it comes to politics or other important aspects of life. For example, three Republican ladies interviewed after the first day of the convention were quick to denigrate Fahrenheit 911. None of them had seen it. One of them said it would be a waste of money. No doubt for her it would have been. Another woman, when asked if Sadam Hussein had anything to do with 911 replied that of course he did. She had no doubt whatsoever. There are many people who still believe this even now. Just as there are still many who believe that Hussein and Osama bin Laden were acting together which, of course, we know now is entirely false. In the context of politics or human relations this is not merely ignorance, it is idiocy.

There is no doubt that many people, mostly Republicans, still believe what the Swift Boat Veterans for (un)Truth said about John Kerry is true. This in spite of the fact that they have been definitively shown to be deliberately and dishonestly smearing Kerry. The major media still keep on with this story which just adds to the smear. This, too, is idiocy.

The Republicans have demonstrated repeatedly there is no limit to how low they will sink to remain in power. They have maliciously smeared American heroes as if they were beneath contempt: John McCain, Max Cleland, and now John Kerry. Now they are even mocking the purple heart, the medal awarded for being wounded or killed in action. As the services do not distinguish how badly one must be injured to receive a purple heart this is a smear on hundreds of thousands of American veterans who have received such medals. It is totally unconscionable. People like Bob Dole should know better but it appears that Republicans have no shame whatsoever. John McCain says the smear is despicable, Bush does not condemn it, and McCain hangs around him like a mindless puppy, embracing him in public and supporting his presidency. That is what is despicable and even worse. And McCain even repeats the nonsensical claim that we had no choice but to go to war. This “war” was unnecessary, illegal, unconstitutional, and criminal. If McCain and others refuse to admit it they are just as guilty as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and the rest of the so-called neocons.

If this current administration is not thrown out of office be prepared to live in a truly Fascist country.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Republican Convention

Welcome to the largest convention of liars, hypocrites, mindless sheep, right wing wackos and religious loonies ever convened. The Republican Convention in New York City. The delegates were welcomed by probably the biggest liar of all, Dick “the Slimy” Cheney, who is destined to speak again tomorrow night. John “what you did to me and now to John Kerry is disgusting and reprehensible” McCain, but I will hug you in public and support you anyway. There will also be a speech by Laura Bush who apparently believes that slander is the same thing as telling the truth and that there have been “millions of ads” denigrating her husband (would that there were). Rudolf “the hypocrite” Giuliani, is apparently going to compare (gasp) George W. Bush to Winston Churchill, a comparison so unbelievably far-fetched as to absolutely boggle the mind. No matter, the mindless sheep that make up most of the delegates, will cheer and applaud no matter how outrageous the lies, hypocritical the speaker, or far-fetched the claims.

You won’t hear much from the right wing wackos, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Ashcroft, Feith, and others because, having been exposed for the absolutely deceitful, disgusting, and dishonest folk they really are, and the terrible horrors they are responsible for, they are keeping a low profile these days, apparently hoping their day will come again. Don’t worry, they haven’t gone away. They are just busy behind the scenes trying to foment a war with Iran, thinking that it will be good for Israel, will help salvage the Bush Presidency, and will advance their agenda of taking over the world.

You won’t hear anything from the lunatic right either. They have been relegated to the sidelines so as to present a totally distorted view of what the Republican party has become. They will be there for sure, no doubt the whole bunch: Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and many of the other ultraconservative fundamentalist, wanting to make certain the plank to have a constitutional amendment against gay rights doesn’t disappear and that anti-abortion activities will move forward as planned. Falwell has already confessed he will be there “with V.I.P. credentials.”

Also no doubt lurking around the aisles will be the myriad other Republican hypocrites: Bob “viagra” Dole who although he received his purple heart from wounding himself, claims that Kerry received his “with no blood” (as he was not present and this is contradicted by the facts, one wonders about Mr. Dole’s motives (and sanity). Also no doubt the Republicans number one hypocrite, Newt “Rasputin” Gingrich will be there, along with other no less hypocritical souls like Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, Tom “the absolutely repulsive” DeLay, Trent “the racist” Lott, and many others just like them. I’m not sure that Alan “a machine gun in every hand” Keyes was even invited, even though he was recruited by the Republicans to run a totally hypocritical carpetbaggers campaign in Illinois. God apparently told him to do it. Bush apparently does not have a private line to God. Not to worry, the convention will assure us that “happy times are here again,” in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.




Sunday, August 29, 2004

Pathological liars

Can we now please put to rest the absolutely unfounded charges against John Kerry’s record in Vietnam? It has been plainly established that the Swift Boat Veterans for (un)Truth who claimed to have served with Kerry did not actually do so. It is also well established that those individuals who actually did serve with Kerry all defend his record. It is also the fact that Kerry’s service records support his account. It is also established that the finances for the disgusting ad were provided by well known Bush supporters. The author of the book is known to have been appointed by Richard Nixon to smear Kerry thirty years ago. And while it may not yet be proven conclusively that Bush was behind the ad, there is very little reason to doubt it. It is not surprising that there are those who are willing to lie and make all kinds of preposterous claims for purely political reasons. Indeed, some of those who are now making these claims previously supported Kerry but have now done a complete about-face for political gain. But some of the lies approach the pathological. For example, Dr. Louis Letson claims to have treated Kerry for his wounds but as the medical record shows, he did not. Now a retired rear admiral, William L. Schachte, claims he was actually on the boat when Kerry was wounded. He claims this in spite of the fact that the two crewmen who were known to be on the boat say there was no third person other than Kerry. It is one thing to lie but quite another to lie so blatantly. Do you really believe that an admiral was riding around in a Swift Boat during that kind of combat?

Of course the truth no longer matters. Karl Rove managed to get this totally fabricated story out so the mainstream media could run with it, as they have, and thus the seeds of doubt have been successfully planted in the minds of people who will clearly want to believe it whether it is true or not. Congratulations Bush/Cheney/Rove for another unforgivable slime job. Too bad you have no possibility of defending your record up until now.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Journalism - essay

I remember clearly where I first acquired my distaste for journalism. I must have been about eleven. The small town I lived in at that time happened to also be the home town of a famous movie actress. There was an article about her which went pretty much as follows: "To understand the wild and tempestuous ________ you must first understand the dull drab little mining town from whence she came. The tiny houses are covered with coal dust and there is not a tree in sight..."
As the nearest coal mine must have been an absolute minimum of 500 miles away, and as the town was nestled in a narrow valley entirely surrounded by heavily timbered mountains, even my child's mind could deduce the obvious.
I might have been willing to pass this off as an entirely idiosyncratic performance by an unprincipled reporter who, caught up in an illicit affair or something, just didn't take the time to do his or her research. Perhaps they just assumed that the hicks who lived in the dull drab little town didn't read. Or, if they did, they didn't read their particularly pretentious publication. However, not long after this disgraceful article appeared a local policeman was brutally murdered in the line of duty in our dull drab little town. As it was indeed a small town everyone knew the policeman and the particular circumstances in which he was found. Everyone, that is, except apparently the local reporter who wrote it up in the local daily paper. The crime was reported in such a way that the single connection with reality that could be found was that a policeman had, in fact, been murdered. It was an absolutely appalling performance for which I could see no excuse except that, perhaps, the reporter (quite likely the owner/editor) was an utter moron.
I haven't had much reason to change my opinion of journalism over the years even though at times they seem to have gone overboard the other direction, becoming more factual than is at all necessary. How else would one explain why we need be informed as to precisely what the first lady was wearing when she attended the ball game with the president? Or why need we be told for three days running exactly what the hostages in Iran had for breakfast? Or, for that matter, what the president himself had for breakfast? I cannot imagine why these tidbits of trivia should be considered important, or news at all for that matter. Nor can I imagine the mentality of the reporters who gather these monumentally insignificant items, granted that he or she must have been more quick witted than their peers to even think to ask such profound and all important questions. I guess a degree in journalism gives one an edge. This is not to overlook the recent in-depth coverage of our president's intestines (forgive the pun). I know more now about the president's bowels than I know about my own, virtually an inch by inch account repeated ad nauseum day after day, even hour after hour.
I really don't ask myself why anymore. I'm afraid I might find an answer. I guess what I like best about the current breed of newsperson is their uncanny gentility in the face of trauma. "How does it feel, Mrs. Smith," they ask, thrusting the microphone in front of her tearful face, "to see your child laying there with his legs cut off by the train? Does it make you sad? Tell the television audience exactly what you are feeling right now?" No doubt schools of journalism offer courses in interviewing that equip them with these special skills. Oh, I know. I know. It's really competitive out there in the news business and yes, of course, the news should be purely objective, and blah, blah, blah. I wonder if the news profession gives an annual award for the stupidest question of the year? The stupidest article? They should. They certainly compete for such prizes.
Once, when I lived for a time on the big island of Hawaii, I turned on the local radio news every morning. It was usually news of purely local interest, at the level of, "Auntie Sally's chicken got run over by Mrs. Wu's boy, Tommy." Things like that. Sometimes they had world news, sometimes not. I was startled one morning, however, to hear the announcer say, "There is no news today." Even though I marveled at the fact that apparently nothing at all had happened anywhere in the world for the past few hours I have to admit, I liked it.
Nowadays, of course, journalists only tell you what their corporate bosses want you to hear. It certainly hasn’t done much for their image. They’re worse than ever.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Medals shmedals

First it was the Swift Boat Veterans for (un)Truth claiming that John Kerry did not deserve the various medals he was awarded in Vietnam. That they have been totally discredited doesn’t seem to matter. They persist. Then when Bob Dole entered the fray by claiming Kerry got his purple hearts without any blood, some people claimed he didn’t deserve his medals either. Indeed, someone claims his first purple heart was awarded because he shot himself in the foot or some such thing. Now someone else has determined that George W. Bush posed for a photograph wearing a medal (ribbon) he had never earned. It would appear this has become an exceedingly important issue in this election year. Certainly we should not waste our time on trivia such as health care, unemployment, the national debt, the deteriorating environment, the little troubles in Afghanistan and Iraq, war profiteering, treason, torture, or things like that. So I have a suggestion.

If I recall correctly it was Napoleon who first started the business of awarding medals to his troops and officers (I believe he was responsible for canned food as well, but that would be an unnecessary digression). I suggest we create a Commission to Investigate Medals, Past and Present. The Commission should be given an unlimited budget and be allowed to hire as many researchers as necessary, all on a cost plus basis, of course.You know, just like Halliburton. This would do wonders for the unemployment problem and would eventually give us a final and definitive answer as to who truly deserved their medals and who did not. It would probably not take more than a century or two and we would then be free to move on to something not quite as important but deserving of at least some attention. You have to set priorities, you know, if you want to run a country.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Humanicide

Humanicide. I cannot find this word in any dictionary. As I don’t have any very recently published dictionaries it may appear in one somewhere. The term is fairly widespread these days, especially as there are bands that go by that name, and many lyrics and albums have been produced by those who use the name. As far as I can tell most of these lyrics have to do with using drugs or other means of destroying lives. As I have never heard any of these lyrics I obviously cannot speak with expertise on the matter. If you are interested in such stuff you might want to look up on the web, Humanicide 666 Lyrics.

The other main use of humanicide comes from those who see it as essentially the suicide of the species. That is, humans may do things to the environment and each other, and/or with technology, that the species simply will not survive. That is, it would have committed humanicide – suicide on a grand scale, if you will. At least one person has claimed that the combined effects of environmentalism, multiculturalism, and feminism will bring about humanicide. Someone in Melbourne, Australia is writing a book about humanicide that has as its theme the potential destruction of the species, with perhaps a few survivors here and there.

One other context in which you might come across the term has to do with the controversy over abortion. Anti-abortionists sometimes use the term synonymously with abortion.

Once in a while you might encounter the term in discussions of genocide but as far as I can see it is rarely if ever actually defined in terms that distinguish it from genocide.

I submit there is another, perfectly obvious and logical use for such a term. What, for example, would you call the Oklahoma City bombing or the destruction of the twin towers, if not humanicide? Humanicide is clearly not the same as genocide. The people who are killed are not of the same race or ethnic background. They are not even of the same nationality or religion. They are just random numbers of human beings that happen to be present when the bomb explodes or the planes crash and burn. Nor are the victims simply a bunch of mass suicides. They clearly did not intend to kill themselves. The victims were not even enemies of those who wished to kill them. They were just innocents who happened for whatever multiple reasons to be in the same vicinity of each other.

Humanicide is quite different from other forms of mass murder in that there is no motive other than the destruction of large numbers of human beings simply for its own sake. There is no attempt to rob the victims or steal their land or women or anything else. They were not killed because they were resisting. They were not taken prisoner, raped, tortured or otherwise abused. They were simply killed for no reason other than for some perverted idea that had nothing whatsoever to do with them.

The bombing of Dresden during WW II, for example, was not an act of humanicide because, technically at least, we were at war. True, we weren’t really at war with Dresden, but we were at war with Germany and Dresden was a German city. There may well have been large numbers of non-Germans in Dresden at the time. The same thing can be said for Hiroshima. I do not mean to excuse these examples of mass murder, merely to point out that by the twisted minds of people at war they became part of the enemy. Personally, I don’t believe either Dresden or Hiroshima should have been bombed off the face of the earth, nor do I believe it was necessary. Although I am not a historian I think it is most unlikely that until WW II innocent civilians were either targeted or killed in large numbers.

But what about the hordes of Genghis Khan, you might ask. Certainly he was known to capture whole cities and murder all of the inhabitants. But again, I think that was standard operating procedure back then. You conquered a town or city, overcame the resistance, looted and raped, and took whatever you wanted. The killing was not unrelated to the event itself. There was mass murder but there was no humanicide. Another factor to be considered is that all of this killing was on a very personal face-to-face level. It was not totally depersonalized, a development that required a technology that was not available at that time.

The terrible instances of genocide are also not examples of humanicide. Here specific targets were killed, not just people in general. The Germans wanted to rid the earth specifically of Jews and Gypsies and the dimwitted or grotesque, not just humans in general. The same has been true of all genocides, there is always a specific group identified for removal and in most or all cases there is a reason for why it is occurring. In the United States the whites wanted Indian land and the resources that were found there. The same was true in Colonial Africa and India. In these cases there was still a different rationale – the people being killed were not regarded as human, or certainly not fully human. It was not humanicide because they were not humans. They were not humans because someone wanted to steal their land and resources. The Europeans might have used indiscriminate killing whenever they could but it was always related to beliefs about who was human and who was not, conquest and greed, and rarely, if ever, merely for its own sake.

For true humanicide you must have an innocent group of human beings for victims. The victims must have nothing in common other than being present at the time. The attackers must have no specific knowledge of who will be present. You must have a motive that has nothing whatsoever to do with those you are about to murder. It must be impersonal and involve some form of relatively modern technology.

Humanicide is a 20th century phenomenon. By the above definition the Oklahoma bombing and the destruction of the twin towers were acts of humanicide. As such, they may ultimately be related to that greater humanicide that others have warned about, the disappearance of the species through its own acts of greed, short-sightedness, and stupidity.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Still in the gutter

Silly me! I didn’t realize the 2004 election was about John Kerry’s behavior in Vietnam 30 years ago. I thought it would be to consider electing (I can’t say re-electing) Bush/Cheney for a second term if the voters thought that was the right thing to do. The major media, however, have led me to believe I was wrong. Nothing but pages and pages of Kerry’s records (and not surprisingly none of Bush’s). And of course the issue (if one could actually call it that without laughing out loud) is being covered endlessly by the major television stations.

Never mind minor matters like the national debt, the treasonous outing of a CIA operative, the secret energy meetings, the degradation of the environment, the chaos in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush’s probable AWOL, the failure of 911, the criminal torturing of prisoners, the lies that brought about this “war,” the war profiteering, the questionable behavior (I am trying to be polite) of the Vice President, the shaky economy, etc., etc.

No, the only thing that seems to matter is what Kerry did or did not do 30 years ago in Vietnam. And this continues in spite of his complete exoneration by his own crewmen, as well as many others, and in fact, by his records themselves.

Talk about sleaze! Gutter politics to the extreme! Nothing but outright lies, one after another. But what do you expect from a bankrupt administration that has absolutely no accomplishments to run on? They want us to believe that “results matter.” The only results they have that matter should probably lead them into the penitentiary or worse.

And yet, there seem to be people stupid enough to actually support what they have so obviously bungled. Let us fervently hope these morons do not constitute a majority come election time. Personally, I don’t see how they could. But, then, I said Ronald Reagan could never be elected President.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Larry Flynt?

Whatever happened to Larry Flynt? About a year ago, maybe a little more, he claimed he had all the information about an abortion George W. Bush arranged for one of his girl friends. He claimed to know the name of the girl, the doctor that performed the abortion, and the circumstances surrounding it. He also, as I recall, claimed a book would be out describing this apparently hypocritical event. As far as I know no such book has appeared, nor have we heard anything more from Mr. Flynt. So what happened? Was it all just a publicity stunt? Was Flynt simply bribed to forget the whole thing? Was he perhaps threatened with physical violence? What?

Recall that Flynt was responsible for the resignation of the Senator that was to replace Newt, the hypocrite, Gingrich. I think his name was Livingston, and Flynt apparently had unearthed information about his sexual proclivities so embarrassing that the Senator resigned before even attempting to take over from Gingrich. As Flynt had offered a large sum of money to anyone who would come forward with information about the sexual habits of Congressmen or Senators he must have had information about others as well. But we never heard anything more about it. Again, was he bought off? Or was he so concerned about damaging American politics that he just simply felt it was his civic duty to keep it all quiet? Unlikely. In any case, think about it.

Also, don’t forget to think about the treasonous outing of a CIA operative, the torturing of Iraqi prisoners, the Cheney energy meetings, 911, WMD’s, the rape of Iraq, the abandonment of Afghanistan, the failure of the so-called “Road Map,’ the loss of jobs, the destruction of the environment, the questionable economic recovery, Bush’s military service, or lack of it, his scurrilous attacks on John Kerry to avoid having to defend his record of dismal failure, and the fact that absolutely no one in his administration has been held accountable for anything.

George W. Bush has been the worst President in American history, bar none. His record is so dismal he has no business even running for re-election. He and his neocon thugs belong in prison, not the White House.

Monday, August 23, 2004

No medals and no clothes

American politics has hit a new low. Granted there has always been dirty tricks here and there in politics, has there ever been a situation as bad as it is now? The scurrilous attack on John Kerry's military record by the Swift Boat Veterans for (un)Truth is even worse than the Bushite’s previous attacks on John McCain. Now that they have been publicly exposed as liars and hypocrites even by the Bush friendly major media, condemned by John McCain, Max Cleland, and many others, they have made it clear they don’t intend to stop. Of course they haven’t been condemned by Bush except for his self-serving statement that all 527 ads should stop. Ted Sampley, one of the vile bunch, has said nothing will stop them. They intend to just keep on lying and apparently nothing will be done about it. William Rood, who was one of the other Swift Boat Commanders actually involved in the incidents, and is the only one still alive to comment, has broken a 30 year silence to defend Kerry. Even that is being ignored. It appears there are people who simply want to believe the slanderous charges and will continue to believe them even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.

Of course it is not surprising the Republicans want to keep this disgusting gutter politics alive. After all, they might have to discuss the important issues facing the country, or even the Bush/Cheney record of dismal failures, lies, secrecy, war crimes, torture, treason, war profiteering and what have you. They have no record to run on, no results, no accomplishments, nothing but degradation everywhere you look: Afghanistan, Iraq, the Israeli/Palestinian situation, the economy, the environment, medicare, and the obscene national debt. And they are not going to let Kerry/Edwards talk about them either if they can possibly help it.

This downward spiral into the gutter began when they attempted to end the Clinton Presidency. They made it clear by their actions then that they would not hesitate to do anything, anything at all, no matter how vile and dishonest, no matter how ridiculously expense, no matter how purely personal, to bring down a Democratic President. And they have continued their totally dishonest ways ever since. Witness the 2000 election when they illegally conspired to keep people from voting and then had to depend upon a totally corrupt Supreme Court to steal the election for them. A Supreme Court decision so obviously dishonest and unconstitutional that the court itself declared it could not be used as a precedent for any other such case. The Republicans are attempting to use the same tactics again as is clear from what is going on in Florida even now with respect to voter roles and voting machines.

What are we doing, allowing the Republicans to keep us focused on Vietnam and Kerry’s military record? Bob Dole has recently questioned Kerry’s medals. Now others are questioning Dole’s medals. This is obviously insane. With so many vital issues at stake all they want to do is play their usual gutter politics because there is nothing else for them to do. The Democrats have no need to indulge in the same sleazy game, all they have to do is tell the truth about the state of the union and the world. They don’t have to defend Kerry’s medals, all they have to do is keep hammering on the fact that Bush has no medals -- and no clothes.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Fahrenheit 911

I finally saw Fahrenheit 911 last night. Such movies do not come easily to North Idaho and will probably never come to our own little town of Bonners Ferry. As I had read so many reviews and comments about the film I was not surprised, shocked, or disappointed. As I have been outraged for so long about the Bush/Cheney administration I was not even increasingly outraged. I left the theatre with a feeling of ineffable sadness, knowing that none of the bombing, killing, maiming, looting, raping, and torturing had to happen.

It is not surprising to me that Bush, Blair, and all the rest of the criminals involved cling to their claim that they did the right thing. They quite likely even believe that (with the possible exception of Dick the Slimy). Psychologically, what else could they do? With so much blood on their hands they would be totally unable to face the horrors they unleashed. Unforgivable horrors that came about for no reasons other than power madness, naked greed, racism, and the totally discredited notion of “the white man’s burden.”

If democracy ever comes to Iraq it will certainly not arrive at the barrel of a gun. Realistically, Iraq is already engaged in a civil war, with one side being supported by U.S. mercenaries, and other elements aided by other outside mercenaries. However this eventually plays out the United States will suffer probably forever for needlessly bringing it about. And we will surely suffer in the Middle East forever for our outrageously partisan, thoughtless, racist, blind, and pigheaded support for Israel, no matter how often or blatantly they thumb their noses at the rest of the world, and no matter how much Palestinian land and water they attempt to steal. Let the obscene wall they are building stand as a symbol to remind all the world of Israeli evil deeds and intentions. And spare me any ridiculous assertions of anti-Semitism, they’ve worked that canard to death. Greed and intransigence are just that, whether Jewish or not.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Movie and TV ratings - essay

There is much talk these days about rating movies and television programs. The industry suggested a system which many parents and others believe (not surprisingly) to be utterly useless. Suggestions have been made for new systems that would be more precise in delineating the actual content of programs. I feel duty bound to offer my own suggestions.
Let’s start with “A” for atrocious. Although this category could probably easily include at least ninety percent of all television programs I use it here in a more specialized sense, applying it only to movies. Seduced by Evil, Satan’s Bed, The Savage is Loose, would all be candidates for an “A”, and they are but the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Of course this is much too simple. Obviously a film can be both atrocious and something else at the same time. We need a system that is more precise. I suggest we be able to combine two or more ratings. For example, let’s take “V” for violent. There are lots of films that are both atrocious and violent simultaneously. They get a rating of “AV”. Although this type of film is virtually ubiquitous these days I should think that Wheels of Fire, The New York Ripper, Thunder Warrior, and Death Ring, are examples of the worst “AV’s”. As there is both violence and gratuitous violence I suggest we delineate the gratuitous variety by a lower case “g”, thus an “AgV” rating.
We mustn’t overlook sex here as this is a serious problem for many parents (and others). As in the case of violence, sex, too, is rampant in today’s films. Thus we have “AVS” films. It’s a prettly good bet that most “V” films will also be “S” films, and quite likely “A” films as well. However, I strive for precision. Some representative “AVS” films: Morturary, Salo: 120 Days of Sodom, Slumber Party Massacre, Forever Lulu, etc. Sex, I remind you, can also be gratuitous. “AgVgS” is a possibility.
Profanity, too, is a problem. Naturally there are many “P” films these days what with the free speech movement, constitutional rights and all that. Many “AVS” films also have “P” but it is easy enough to simply add the “P” if necessary and then you have “AVSP” films. I won’t bother to give examples as they are very easy to find. Profanity, too, can be gratuitous and, indeed, nowadays usually is.
I hope by now you are beginning to appreciate the precision and flexibility of this system. “AgVgSgP” still doesn’t exhaust the possibilities as there are further dimensions of film one might wish to know about. What about “B” for boring, for example. There are certainly lots of boring films these days. Or an “O” for outrageous. “T” for tedious springs to mind as does “R” for ridiculous. The problem arises, however, in that one letter could have multiple uses. “S”, for example, could also be the symbol for stupid. But let’s use “X” for stupid. “A” could also be the symbol for awful. So we need to use “Y” for awful. Thus it is theoretically possible to have an “AgVgSgPOTRXY” film. In fact, if we add a symbol for banal, say “Q” and another for obscene, say, “F” (I remind you that obscenity is not exhausted by sex, violence and profanity) the system becomes even more descriptive and useful.
You will have noticed by now that none of these symbols is positive.. That is probably as it should be when discussing TV and movies these days. However, once in a very great while a picture comes along that is at least passable and even more rarely one that is actually pretty good. Passable shall be denoted by a lower case “p”. Pretty good we’ll call “U” (for unusual). As not all violent films are necessarily terrible it is possible to have a “Vp” or “VU” film. Indeed, I guess it would be possible to have a “AgVgSgPOTRXYQFpU” film.
I realize this is more complicated than a mere “thumbs up” or “R” or “PG”, but it is more precise and should go a long way towards solving this momentous problem. The possibilities for this type of system are endless. Of course the whole problem could be solved by an exceedingly simple system: “H” for hopelessly awful, avoid, which would eliminate perhaps ninety eight percent of today’s movies, and “G” for go and enjoy. This might have some noticeable effect on an industry gone mad with greed and contempt for the public.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Fascism

Well…..I saw my very first election sign today. In Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. It said Bush/Cheney 04. It was in front of some kind of medical company. It is not hard to understand why a medical company would promote Bush/Cheney. Indeed, it is not hard to understand why any large corporation would support Bush/Cheney. What is hard to understand is why anyone else would support them. And who does? The absolutely whacko religious right. There is no doubt that the corporations will provide the Bush campaign with as much money as they want. After all, they are profiting by the billions of dollars. The question is, will the religious right provide them enough votes? Certainly Bush is trying by asking directly for their help, providing them with money, and deliberately violating the constitutional guarantee of not mixing religion with politics. But since when has the Bush/Cheney hollow head gang of thieves paid any attention to the Constitution of the United States?
.
Fascism, as Mussolini made clear, consists of a marriage between corporations and government. Is that not exactly what we have going on in the United States today? Is it not the case that the Republicans demand absolute obedience to their program if you want to even attend their events? Is it not the case that to even ask a question of Bush you must previously have promised your support? Is it not the case that people have had their tickets torn up if they had the audacity to wear a support Kerry pin? Is it not the case that Bush only answers questions offered by previously screened individuals? Is it not absolutely pathetic to hear a Bush supporter say, “This is the first time I ever felt God was in the White House?” What kind of absolute nonsense is going on? Whatever is going on it is not America as I know it. Absolutely not. It is an transparently naked attempt to convert our marvelous country into a fascist state. A state ruled by gigantic corporations that control the government and reduce its citizens into what is not much better than a condition of slavery.

Unfortunately it is true, this is the single most important election that will occur in your lifetime. You must have to decide, right now, if you want to live in a democracy or a fascist state controlled by Bush/Cheney and the huge international corporations. John Kerry is not a perfect candidate. But he is our only hope for the moment. There is no way the country can survive four more year of Bush, unless you want to give away your birthright, abandon the constitution, and give up your civil rights, to say nothing of your previous middle class comfort. Bush/Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ashcroft, Rice, Perle, and the rest of the neocons are evil people, people who want to control the world, imperialists, warmongers, murderers, torturers, who will stop at nothing to have their way. They must be stopped NOW!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Reflections

tanka


Innocent child hiding there
behind mother's skirts,
you'll not hide forever there,
life does not allow
such artful simplicity.



When I was a boy I always knew my father loved me. But I was not a very good son. Oh, I didn’t go to reform school or jail or do drugs or anything terrible like that. But I wasn’t very good at anything, I was skinny, wore glasses, had an inferiority complex, wasn’t great in school, and, like all boys, I guess, did a lot of stupid things. And, of course, for a time I believed I knew far more than my father or anyone else.

I wish I could have been a father before I was a son.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Bush's base

I have been puzzling for months over how it is that anyone could continue to support the Bush/Cheney administation, and Bush/Cheney themselves. I think I may have come up with an explanation. My theory is that after many decades of Republican inbreeding there has been a devolution which has produced critters with small, smooth brains. These small, smooth brains do not allow the processing of nuanced or semi-complicated information. Thus Republicans cannot understand, for example, that Max Cleland might have had a good reason for voting against the Homeland Security bill, namely that he did not want 170,000 employees to lose some of their rights. For them Cleland's vote meant simply that he was against homeland security and, therefore, in their simple minded view of things, must be in league with Osama bin Laden.

Similarly, they are apparently unable to comprehend that because someone votes against a massive multibillion dollar bill he or she must be voting against each and every provision of that bill. They also, it appears, find it impossible to believe that anyone might actually change their mind over some period of time, or even in cases where a bill has actually been rewritten and changed before being voted on again. These people also believe in absolutes. That is, abortion is wrong, period. So even in cases of rape, or when a mother’s life is in danger, or the fetus is doomed to monsterhood for life, or whatever, that doesn’t matter. Life is sacred to these people unless, that is, you are a “gook” or a “towel-head” or too poor to afford million dollar attorneys.

Small, smooth brains also do not permit you to understand or be concerned with hypocrisy. Thus they repeatedly label John Kerry as a flip-flopper but refuse to understand that their chosen “leader” is most probably the world’s most leading flip flopper. Bush was opposed to homeland security, now he is for it. He was opposed to a 9-11 commission, but later he was for it. He was opposed to Rice’s appearing before the committee but then was for it. He would give the committee only one hour but then said he would give whatever was required. He was opposed to nation building but now he is for it. He was at one time in favor of letting the states decide about homosexual unions but now wants a constitutional amendment to ban them everywhere. Indeed, Bush has changed his position on virtually every major issue that has come before him. Either small, smooth brains simply don’t perceive this (granted it would be difficult to keep all these contrary positions in your head at once) or they are genuine hypocrites.

I am convinced that were it not for these small, smooth brained types Bush could not possibly maintain his “base.” I do not believe the coming election is going to be a close race. I do not believe Bush can possibly be legally elected even with his base. I simply refuse to acknowledge, at least at this time, that a majority of my fellow citizens are morons.

The sum total of the Bushites understanding of world affairs, and the unbelievable depth and sophistication of their position, has been frequently repeated by their number one spokesman, George "is our children learning" Bush:
"You are either with us or against us."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Labels

--
> "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to
> change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
> --Margaret Mead
>
> This is a clothing label from a small American Company that sells their product in France. Here's the translation of the French part of the label:

Wash with warm water.
Use mild soap.
Dry flat.
Do not use bleach.
Do not dry in the dryer.
Do not iron.
We are sorry that our president is an idiot.
We did not vote for him.

Courtesy of Linda Langness. Thank you Linda.


>
>
>


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Monday, August 16, 2004

Chavez and democracy

Hugo Chavez just won his bid to remain as President of Venezuela, 58% to 42%, an overwhelming victory. It was the largest voter turnout in history with people sometimes waiting for hours to vote. There were outside observers who said the election was very orderly and peaceful. Despite the fact that he has been elected twice previously and has now survived this attempt to recall him by a large margin you might think his opponents would accept the will of the people. But not so. The very rich and the United States oil interests, still refuse to accept the vote and claim that somehow the vote must have been dishonest. Do not forget that when he was elected by the popular vote previously a White House spokesman remarked that “winning the most votes doesn’t make him legitimate,” or words to that effect. Apparently the White House, which claims to promote democracy around the world, has its own definition of democracy and/or legitimacy.

The problem is that Chavez wants to help the Venezuelan poor – to own land, go to the dentist, go to school, have better health care, and other vicious socialistic things like that. And because he asked Cuba to help provide doctors and dentists he must be a rabid socialist who cannot be tolerated. He even had the audacity to ask for a bigger cut of Venezuelan oil revenues. Whereas previously they received only 16% Chavez, to raise money to help the poor, wanted 30%. This of course outraged Dick the Slimy who controls the oil policy in the United States. But in spite of repeated CIA and other attempts to influence the situation, and in spite of the mainstream press labeling Chavez as some kind of dictatorial monster, the majority of the people in Venezuela want him as their president, a democratically elected president. As the U.S. apparently doesn’t want to deal with a democratically elected president over whom they have little or no control, they will continue to vilify him and attempt to get rid of him. I sincerely hope he has a large and talented group of bodyguards.

As virtually all Venezuelan land is owned by a very wealthy elite, and as Chavez wants land reform so the poor have more than a merely 1% share in it, he clearly must be the devil incarnate. There has always been an obscene difference between the rich and the poor in Venezuela. Chavez’s attempt to alleviate poverty gets branded as class warfare by the very people who invented it and cling to it desperately. As usual, selfishness and greed, know no bounds.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Paradise

What a marvelous place to live is Bonners Ferry! We have no hurricanes or tidal waves. We have no tornados. We have no earthquakes. If you have a reasonably situated home there are no floods or forest fires to worry about. There are no poisonous snakes, alligators, crocodiles, or what have you. If there are poisonous spiders I have never seen one and they are probably very reclusive. The golf course is so uncrowded on weekdays it is virtually like your own private links. We do not ordinarily have extremely cold weather and, although there can be hot weather in August it usually passes quickly. There is, of course, snow, but except in truly exceptional years not so much. We enjoy the seasons. We have good neighbors who mind their own business and let us mind ours. We have the best dentist ever, the best mechanic ever, and doctors who are competent, and, if you are willing to drive a little further, doctors who are truly excellent. We buy local Highland Cattle beef raised with no chemicals, additives, pesticides, hormones, or whatever. Lamb and pork the same. We raise and preserve many of our own organic vegetables and in the summer we buy organic from the local farmer’s market. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains and can fish in lovely rivers and lakes. Although we do not ourselves hunt we are given venison by those who hunt on our land. We have an excellent if small library that will get you anything you wish through interlibrary loan. And we have a truly wonderful bookstore. It is a virtual paradise. Please do not come here. Let us continue as we are.

There are drawbacks, of course. But they are manageable. First, we are surrounded by conservative Republicans. But there are Democrats as well, including some that are actually quite liberal. And there are lifelong Republicans here who will not vote for Bush/Cheney. They are not all totally ignorant. The only other inconveniences are the fact that the nearest real airport is two hours away and what you can purchase in the local stores is exceedingly limited. But as our demands are modest we do not suffer much. It is true there are few people of color, but there are a few and there are extremely rare incidents of discrimination. I am absolutely certain there are more racists in the San Fernando Valley than in the entire state of Idaho. Our little town even has new sidewalks with trees and lampposts with hanging flowers. It is doubtful that people from miles around will come here just to ogle the sidewalks but, hey, it’s a beginning. We also need a really good first class restaurant. But you can’t have everything. I repeat, please do not come here. Find your own paradise.


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Beliefs - essay

Can there be any belief so absurd as to not be believed by some human being somewhere? I doubt it. I do not have in mind here major religious dogmas. They are too complicated to deal with in a short essay. I mean more down to earth secular and/or parochial religious or magical beliefs. You know, like black cats, breaking mirrors, crossing your fingers, triskaidekaphobia, divining with chicken innards, taro cards, throwing bones, whirling a live chicken around your head, stuff like that. Take this example from Peru, where it is believed if you wear yellow underwear for the new year you will have good fortune as a student and prosperity as a businessman. Or how about this custom from Spain where it is believed you must toss a goat from a church tower and catch it in a tarp to celebrate a local saint's day. Another example from Peru: cat cookery. This ceremony apparently has to do with the belief that as cats have nine lives, eating one will make you live longer. And, as one local explained, stray cats are better as they have more flavor (those Peruvians!). In parts of Thailand it is believed a pregnant woman should walk three times under an elephant to ease delivery. In Belgium there is a custom whereby people drink a glass of water with a live fish in it (I don't know why they do this). In one part of Papua New Guinea you must carefully preserve your children's feces (else harm may come to them). And how about more close-to-home beliefs like throwing a pinch of salt over your left shoulder, walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, stepping on a crack, friday the thirteenth, etc. In part of Southeast Asia women wear layers of heavy metal rings around their necks to stretch them. Footbinding was common in China. Tribes in Africa grotesquely stretch their lips and/or ear lobes. People scarify their bodies, pierce their ears, noses, navels and nipples. In parts of New Guinea men believe that if they do not participate in homosexual acts they will be unable to properly mature. In other parts of the world people believe if they do engage in homosexual acts they will be eternally damned. On the Arabian Peninsula the breast milk of a pregnant woman is thought to be poisonous. In India cobras and rock pythons have their fangs removed and their mouths tied shut so they will be harmless and hungry enough so they can be forced to drink milk which they ordinarily do not do. For centuries people did not eat tomatoes, believing them to be poisonous. In one part of Spain there is an annual celebration during which the townsfolk throw tons of tomatoes at each other. A few people in the world believe there is no connection between copulation and pregnancy. Some people engaged in cannibalism because they believed they could incorporate the good features of the deceased into themselves. Others cannibalized corpses as an ultimate insult to their enemies. In India cattle are held sacred. In the United States people ride them for prizes and, of course, eat them by the millions of pounds. People walk on red hot coals, sleep on beds of nails, stare at the sun until they go blind, jab skewers through their tongues, hurl themselves off high towers with ropes tied to their ankles, go without food for weeks, blow themselves up and even set themselves on fire, all because of one belief or another. Less extreme, but equally difficult to comprehend, some believe if you stick pins in an effigy of someone harm will come to them - action at a distance. Others believe malevolent acts can be attained by whispering them into hollow coconut shells. I have not even touched upon such things as adolescent circumcision, widow burning, witchcraft, tooth eviscerations, cutting off finger joints, ghosts, fairies, headhunting, brother-sister marriage, and on and on and on. Humans are strange creatures indeed! How can it be that people everywhere are prepared to believe in outrageously irrational beliefs? Time was, of course, when we simply said that we "civilized" people were rational whereas they ("primitives" or "savages") were not. Whereas we believed in science they believed in magic. We were "intelligent" whereas they were "ignorant." How simple it would be if it were so! Alas, it is not so. It has become obvious that beliefs are not always either rational or irrational. They are often simply nonrational - things we come to believe, no matter how farfetched, simply because we were raised in a milieu in which they are widely believed. Cultural prescriptions and proscriptions if you will. I leave you with my all time favorite outrageously nonrational belief: namely, it is possible to reduce human intelligence to a single numerical score, an "intelligence quotient." This is a belief so obviously unintelligent and nonrational it belongs up there with the best (or worst, as the case may be) of all human absurdities. My advice on I.Q.: don't ask, don't tell.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Cheney distorts again

This is what Kerry said:

“I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history. I lay out a strategy to strengthen our military, to build and lead strong alliances and reform our intelligence system. I set out a path to win the peace in Iraq

--------------------------------------
This is Cheney:

“,,.John Kerry’s call for a ‘more sensitive’ war on terror…won’t impress the Sep 11 terrorists or the Islamic militant who have beheaded U.S. citizens. America has been in too many war for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive.”

This is a reply from one of Kerry’s spokesmen:

“Dick Cheney’s desperate misleading attacks now have him criticizing George Bush’s own words, who called for America to be ‘sensitive about expressing our power and influence.’ Here is Bush again: ‘We help fulfill that promise not by lecturing the world but by leading it. Precisely because America is powerful we must be sensitive about expressing our power and influence.’ Dick Cheney doesn’t understand that arrogance isn’t a virtue, especially when our country is in danger. Alienating allies makes it harder to hunt terrorists and bring them to justice.”.

Leave aside for the moment which of our other wars may or may not have been against our wishes. Certainly this “war” in Iraq was wished for, at least by Bush and his neocon cronies who planned for it and lied repeatedly to bring it about. It is more difficult to set aside the unbelievable arrogance of Cheney, the number two draft dodger in the United States, presuming to tell John Kerry how to conduct a war. But of course he has to criticize Kerry because Bush/Cheney have absolutely no positive record to claim.

Certainly no one could argue that this particular unnecessary, unconstitutional, and universally condemned “war” has been conducted with any sensitivity. The arrogance and insensitivity has alienated our longest and most reliable allies to the point where the U.S. is regarded as the single most dangerous threat to the world. Our administration is regarded as a laughingstock by the rest of the world that cannot believe it could possibly be re-elected.

The lack of sensitivity can also be seen in the indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians, the midnight searches of Iraqi households, the kicking in of doors, the searching (groping) of Iraqi women, the detainment of perfectly innocent people, including children, who disappear for months on end. And it can certainly be seen in the treatment of Iraqi prisoners, tortured and humiliated beyond belief.

And isn’t it curious that sexual humiliation in particular was regarded as the one means that would bring about the best results, specifically in Iraqi prisoners, and this was the very means employed by a group of enlisted “bad apples” from Virginia and elsewhere, when they were “just having fun?”

No, Cheney the Slimy, I don’t think we have to worry about having been overly sensitive in our approach to this absolutely dismal and disgraceful chapter in American history, brought about by you and your greedy warmongering buddies. The blood on your hands will never wash off.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Fallen hero

tanka


In the autumn of my life
I see things anew.
The moon is no longer made
of green cheese and myth.
There are too many footprints.





From war hero to buffoon. What is John McCain doing following Bush around like some lovestruck puppy? After the absolutely sleazy Bush campaign against him when he was running for President, hinting that his days as a prisoner of war might have addled his mind, claiming that he had a black child, and who knows what else, he now finds it necessary to campaign with Bush? And telling people how great a President Bush has been! Perhaps his brain has been addled. No one in their right mind could believe that Bush has been a great President. No one, not even a Republican could believe that at this point in time. The biggest deficit in history, the worst loss of jobs since Hoover, the laughingstock of the world, the environment increasingly degraded, the stock market falling, both Afghanistan and Iraq in chaos, the most hated man on the planet – and McCain wants us to believe he’s a great President? Either McCain is unbelievably stupid or na├»ve, or both, or he’s being offered something he can’t resist. He says the Swift Boat ad is total sleaze and Bush should reject it. Bush doesn’t reject it and McCain campaigns with him anyway. Has he no longer any self respect? Or has Bush perhaps have something on him so terrible he just can’t say no?

And by the way, where’s Dick the Slimy? Why isn’t he campaigning with Bush? Ashamed to show his face? Or does he have to stay hidden while he continues to oversee the rape of Iraq?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Palestinian problem

There seems to be fairly widespread agreement that the single most important impediment to peace in the Middle East is the Israeli/Palestinian situation. To dream of peace as long as this situation prevails is nothing but a pipe dream. Yet do you see any real effort on the part of anyone to do anything about it? The Bush administration’s all out support for Israel has made it clear to the rest of the world that the Palestinians will just have to continue to suffer the illegal Israeli occupation. Kerry has said nothing other than of course we will support Israel. Since Clinton’s serious attempt at a settlement the situation has continually deteriorated. Israel thumbs its nose at the U.N. and the rest of the world safe in the knowledge that the U.S. will continue to support their near-genocide apparently no matter what. And Israel has ignored the U.N. since the very creation of the so-called Jewish homeland, far more egregiously than Iraq ever did. Yet nothing happens except that things get worse. Sharon knows that especially during an election year he has nothing to fear and will proceed with his attempt to steal Palestinian land and water. Between the Israeli lobby and the Christian fundamentalists yearning for the “Rapture” you can be sure the Bush administration will do nothing except aid and abet. So forget any idea of peace in the area and hope that Kerry will support Palestinian interests as well as Israeli interests, unlikely I guess, but for a while one can still have pipe dreams. It is not hard to see what hopelessness has done to the Palestinians.

War Criminals belong in jail, not the White House.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bush disciplined?

A Ms. Linda Starr (I don’t know who she is) claims that Bush was actually grounded in a two page disciplinary report signed by LTC Jerry Killian, his Commanding Officer. She also claims this is what Bush is hiding by refusing to release all of his records and that it is “really bad.” She further claims that this is circulating on the Internet. I have not seen it. If anyone does please let me know.

This is in her article on Democrats.com today.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Results matter?

Paul Lukasiak, a Philadelphia reporter, after four months of research on the mass of documents released about Bush’s military experience, now claims that not only did Bush not fulfill his obligations, he actively tried to avoid them. He also claims that the Air Force attempted to punish Bush but political pressure prevented them from doing so. This has, of course, never been mentioned in the mainstream press. This is reported by Bernard Weiner in The Crisis Papers and was posted on The Smirking Chimp today.

The three phrases you will hear repeated over and over again by Bush in his current stump speech:
“turning the corner”
“results matter”
“we’re not going back”

It is by no means clear what corner we are turning – certainly not in the “war” in Iraq, and the economy doesn’t seem to be doing too well either.

As Bush/Cheney have no positive results, the only results that matter are all negative.

It would seem to be true that “we’re not going back” – to a sensible economic policy, a sensible foreign policy. a sensible environmental policy, or a sensible policy on anything else.

Ray McGovern, who was a CIA analyst for 27 years, writes in Buzzflash that the situation in Iraq has gone “from mayhem to bedlam.” Look it up.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Bush/Cheney have to go

If Bush and Cheney had any sense of decency at all they would be ashamed to show their faces in public, let alone run for office. Of course if they had any decency they would not have insisted on a pre-emptive attack on an essentially defenseless country in the first place. Nor would they have lied to Congress and the American people about the necessity for such a “war.” Every day they have been in office has dragged our marvelous country further and further into the cesspool of history. They have made a shambles of Iraq just as they have of Afghanistan, the economy, the environment, the constitution, the Israeli/Palestinian situation, and the role of the United States in the world. It is by now clear that they knew what they were doing and were so intent on doing it they ignored, exaggerated, and distorted any information that might have stood in their way. There is no way they can make right what they have done to the world. Bush/Cheney and the rest of the evil neocon gang have got to go. There is no other choice.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

On Knitting - essay

Just now entering the seventh decade of my life I have had cause to reflect on, among other things, knitting. Throughout my lifetime I must have had at least 25 or 30 items being knit for me either by my mother, grandmother, girlfriends, wives, aunts or whomever. Only two of these items, both sweaters, were ever finished. Neither of them fit. One sweater, apart from being an awful lime and black combination, also had abnormally long arms which made it appear to have been designed for a gorilla. The other was equally as ugly and quite significantly too small. I secretly buried the first one and gave the other away to an elderly undeserving hermit.
I do not believe my life has been particularly unusual in this respect. Indeed, I strongly suspect that all men and boys have many women claiming to knit for them but rarely if ever finishing anything. I'll wager they even more rarely finish anything that actually fits and is wearable in public. All women, at least in America (and I bet most of the western world, at least), of virtually all ages (women teach their daughters at an early age to engage in this useless activity), have several pairs of knitting needles tucked away somewhere, to say nothing of stacks of knitting books and usually thousands upon thousands of patterns which they are going to make "someday." More importantly, however, they also have skeins and skeins of different types and sizes of yarn stashed away in closets and drawers, some of it in the form of unfinished socks, sweaters, jackets, scarves, mittens, caps and who knows what all else, but most of it still in the virginal state. In many cases this is probably all for the good, as all knitting projects are not equally attractive, and many are just plain grotesque. As some of the yarn is downright ugly to begin with, with metallic threads and colors that defy classification on any known spectrum, the projects are most often doomed from the beginning. Think what it would be like if all these items actually were finished, and those poor unfortunates who received them for birthdays or Christmases or whatever actually had to wear them! Thousands, even hundreds of thousands of poor slobs wandering around in badly fitting purple and yellow sweaters, baggy chartreuse and blue socks with silver threads running through them, lumpy scarves of orange and pink with little cute yellow and red flowers, sagging argyles of combinations so unlikely you might think you were on another planet entirely.
Women never return any of this yarn either. Even though they must know they are never going to finish they still cling to their balls of yarn like little security blankets. It's probably just as well. If they did return all that unused yarn the knitting industry would doubtless go bankrupt immediately. Think of it, hundreds of thousands, even millions of women returning literally countless skeins of yarn and demanding their money back. Certain economies, like New Zealand, for example, would probably collapse overnight. There would be worldwide panic; perhaps another depression.
It's too bad someone can't think of something constructive to do with this enormously valuable but hoarded resource. There's probably enough yarn stashed away to knit a suspension bridge all the way to the moon, enough to cover the entire earth in a double layer of repulsive multicolored blankets, perhaps even enough to fill a black hole, if someone could find one.
What is even more frightening is that there appears to be no end in sight. As more women are born every year, and as they continue to instruct their daughters in this wasteful enterprise as early as possible, we're in danger of simply being buried in yarn. Years from now someone from out there will ask, "Whatever happened to the earth?" and some astute platform dweller will surely reply, "I reckon it's the biggest ball of yarn in the universe. Them women just couldn't kick the habit."

Friday, August 06, 2004

Ho-hum, another day

Ho-hum, just another day of the Bush/Cheney administration:

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have a book coming out soon attacking John Kerry’s military record and medals. They are also sponsoring an attack ad. Unfortunately, the wheels are already coming off. According to Buzzflash, Lieutenant Commander George Elliott has apologized for signing the affidavit claiming that Kerry did not deserve the silver star. He said he made a terrible mistake, felt pressure to sign it because of the book deadline, and now believes that Kerry did deserve the honor. It also has been disclosed that Bob J. Perry, a long time Republican and Bush supporter, put up $100,000 for the ad. Furthermore, John O’Neill, the author of the book, has been a Kerry antagonist since the Nixon days and has no credible evidence for his claims against Kerry. Just another Republican dirty trick. John McCain has condemned the ad and says the Bush Administration should do likewise. But they haven’t. Scott McClellan, the White House Spokesman, refused to say directly that Bush had nothing to do with it. An informal poll by the Daily Kos indicates that 97% believe Bush was involved.

For the third year in a row Bush has cut the U.N. Population Fund by 34 million dollars. This is for an organization that has nothing to do with promoting abortion and is the sole source of funding to help millions of poor women worldwide get advice on family planning, health and infant care, medical attention, and so on. Bush and the Pope seem to be on the same mission – to move women’s rights back into the dark ages. For a marvelous article on this see Chris Floyd’s article in the Moscow Times, featured in today’s Smirking Chimp.

According to the AP Economic Figures only 32,000 jobs were created in July. Well over 200,000 had been anticipated. The stock market has dropped 300 points in the past two days. This would seem to indicate that contrary to Bush’s claims, the economy has not turned the corner and is not doing so well. It is said that employers lack confidence. Also, in July the jobless rate for African American youths hit an all time high – 75.1% It was 66% for Hispanics, 56.1% for all 16 – 19 year olds. This does not bode well for our future.

According to the headlines here and there it appears that Iraq is exploding in revolutionary violence. Major battles have broken out between the Iraq resistance and the occupying troops. The truce that was previously negotiated has broken down and the situation continues to deteriorate.

The Republicans, desperate to have someone run against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate, have recruited Alan Keyes, and he has apparently agreed to run. As Keyes is a resident of Maryland he will have to move to Illinois and establish residency there. On March 17, 2000, on a Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume, Keyes made the following statement:
“I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn’t imitate it.”

Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds. NONE!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bush again

In case you missed it, the latest out of the mouth of our pretend President:

“They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

I never watch it, but on Crossfire Donna Brazille apparently laid to rest the criticism of John Kerry’s record in the Senate. She reportedly said to a Republican strategist, “Cheney was in the house for over a decade. How many bills did he pass?” The strategist apparently tried to change the subject and said something to the effect that Cheney was regarded as a leader (this brought about some laughter on the part of the audience).

Brazille then gave the correct answer – 2.

So it’s Kerry 57, Cheney 2. Once again the Republicans have tried to criticize Kerry for something they are far more guilty of themselves. They don’t seem to learn. Of course they can’t do anything but criticize because they have no positive record to run on.

Go Donna!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

None of this had to happen

tanka


Do not disrespect that which
gives you sustenance.
Move gently across the land
and the blue oceans,
like dancing with a lover.








REMEMBER! None of the killing, maiming, torturing, raping, looting, and destruction in Iraq had to happen! Iraq was not a threat to the United States and was not in any way linked to the terrorists and 9-11. When Bush/Cheney started the (undeclared, unconstitutional, and unnecessary) “war” the idea that Iraq was a threat to the United States was nothing short of preposterous. After 12 years of sanctions, constant overflights, and UN inspections, with inspectors actually present in the country immediately before the hostilities began, there is no way Iraq could have threatened the United States. Indeed, even if Iraq had had WMD’s they could not have been much of a threat. Not, that is, without having a national death wish. Obviously any nation that attacked the U.S. with such weapons would have immediately been blown off the face of the earth. Virtually every other country in the world realized this and were totally opposed to the U.S. attack on Iraq, as were the vast majority of thinking human beings everywhere. This massive opposition did nothing to cause Bush/Cheney to reconsider, or apparently even consider at all, what they were about to do. They were obviously determined to attack Iraq no matter what. They virtually abandoned Afghanistan once again to the warlords and the Taliban so they could attack a defenseless nation that had nothing to do with terrorism or 9-11.

While it may be true that had Iraq had such weapons, and had they had links to the terrorists they could have given weapons to the latter. But Iraq was not linked to the terrorists and was not engaged in terrorist activities. The result of attacking Iraq was to create a hotbed of terrorist activity and make the U.S. actually less safe than previously. The disaster that is present day Iraq can be laid directly at the door to the White House and the small band of neocon zealots that helped promote it. It was never about WMD’s or terrorism, it was about Israel, oil, and empire.

Bush/Cheney - WMD’s


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Bush on accountability

The latest lesson in government from George W. Bush, when speaking of revamping the Intelligence services:
“’I will hire the person, and I can fire the person,’ Bush said. ‘That’s how you have accountability in government.’” (Idaho Spokesman Review, August 3, 2004, page A6).

George W. Bush talking about accountability? This pretend President who has yet to make either himself or any other person in his administration accountable for anything? And this in spite of the multiple failures of intelligence spelled out in the 9-11 report? In spite of the CIA “outing” fiasco? In spite of John Ashcroft’s dismal record? Dick Cheney’s? Tenet’s? Rice’s? How much more absurd can it possibly get? Doesn’t he understand how positively idiotic such a statement sounds coming from him, of all people? If he doesn’t understand it he is sadly divorced from reality. If he does understand it but said it anyway, he’s a hopeless hypocrite who thinks we’re all too stupid to understand or too “tuned out” to care.

Having resisted having a 9-11 Commission in the first place, and having stonewalled repeatedly, he now is rushing headlong to accept the Commission’s findings, a procedure that could prove more dangerous than the infamous and mislabeled Patriot Act. Bush’s idea of a national intelligence director would essentially be a toothless illusion of a director, just another level in the strange and failed bureacracy he has already created. Instead of doing this why doesn’t he just hold the present intelligence chiefs accountable?

Now we have a new round of terror alerts, based upon materials found from three and four years ago. Yes, they say, the material is old but they might still plan on doing it. Yes, and they might not. By all means let’s let them know what we know about where they may plan to attack. They may want to make other plans. But, then, maybe not. Well, perhaps. Actually we don’t know. Let’s raise the color to orange anyway, it’ll take some attention away from Kerry/Edwards.

The Bush administration at work. It makes one right proud to be an Amurican.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Waffles and grits

Buzzflash reports that Trent Lott, speaking to the County Fair in Neshoba county, Mississippi, was a great hit with his line that John Kerry is “a French speaking socialist from Boston, Massachusetts, who is more liberal than Ted Kennedy. He also referred to Kerry/Edwards as “waffles and grits.”

Wow! It used to be enough for the Republicans to mouth their “New England liberal” accusation over and over again whenever someone from New England threatened to run for office. But now, not only a liberal, but a socialist! And what is far worse, a French speaking socialist! I guess that must be about as low as a politician can get, at least in Mississippi. Trent Lott would obviously prefer someone who babbles almost incoherently in both Spanish and English. To be like “waffles and grits” must have some local significance that eludes me as I wouldn’t think those were bad words in Mississippi. Why, Kerry might actually be in favor of universal health care! Socialist dog!

The Republicans have made it clear that during the month of August they are going to attack, ridicule, and make fun of Kerry as much as possible. Poor old Rove apparently hasn’t yet figured out that everything they have tried on Kerry so far – spoiled rich kid, expensive shirts and haircuts, questionable war record, flip-flopper, etc. – has backfired, as all of those things have been more true of Bush than of Kerry. This will be no different. Who could be possibly more ripe for ridicule and laughter than George “is our children learning” Bush, pretending to be President of the United States.

The Bush administration is running scared. If the mainstream media and their polls tell you the electorate is split 50 –50 don’t believe it. There is no way that can possibly be true. Unfortunately, this will lead the Republicans to pull out all the stops and there is no telling how awful things may turn out to be by November.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The so-called rich?

On Sunday, August 1, 2004, on page A5 of the Idaho Spokesman Review, appears the following quotation, attributed to George W. Bush:

“He (Kerry) said he’s only going to raise taxes on the so-called rich. But you know how the rich is – they got accountants,” ‘Bush told the crowd’. “That means you pay.”

Ignore, if you can, this awesome example of butchering the English language, perfectly consistent with his past record of trying to speak the language without a script. And this from someone who tried to identify himself with Winston Churchill. He would have to be flattered to be compared to a pimple on the generous backside of that great statesman and leader. Can you even imagine Churchill trying to cope with Duby? Even worse, can you imagine Bush instead of Roosevelt during WWII? But I digress. What is of concern here is, just who are the “so-called rich” of whom he speaks. The taxes that would apparently be raised would be on such poverty stricken souls as Bill Gates, Ken Lay, Warren Buffet, Dick Cheney, the Wal Mart billionaires, CEO’s making millions a year, and so on. Are these individuals the “so-called rich?” Or are they, in fact, the filthy rich? I read somewhere not long ago that Bush’s holding are somewhere between 17 and 19 million. I don’t know if this is true. But he clearly isn’t poor. I guess when he compares himself to Cheney, Gates, and others maybe he thinks of himself as one of the “so-called rich.”

The continuation of his statement, “But you know how the rich is – they got accountants,” would seem to imply that it doesn’t matter if you raise their taxes, they won’t have to pay them anyway. That is, you, the little U.S. taxpayer, will get screwed whether you raise the taxes on the rich or not. Thus, apparently, we should all be happy, or at least content, with giving tax breaks to the wealthy because, if the wealthy get more money, they will somehow “trickle it down” to everyone else – I guess by buying more Humvees, million dollar diamond rings, thousand dollar gowns, five thousand dollar shower curtains, and other such necessities of life. The fact that this absurd idea of economics has been shown repeatedly to be a failure seems not to register with the “so-called rich.”

I guess the basic question is, how much do you have to have to be one of the “so-called rich?” John Kerry seems to think it is somewhere around making more than $200,000 a year. I guess people making such a pittance every year would truly suffer. Of course John Kerry himself, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gate’s father, among others, don’t think they would suffer too much. But what do they know?

If I had a bumper sticker it would read:

BUSH/CHENEY - WMD’s