Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What elephant?

Bush and Cheney have apparently agreed that the only way they can deal with the Amnesty International report is to dismiss it as simply absurd. Will they be allowed to get away with such a transparently childish strategy? Their denials are what is absurd. Where have they been? Are they unaware of the pictures, the reams of testimony, the actual facts of the matter? Of course not. Unwilling to admit anything they have little choice but to take this particular tack - it is absurd because this is the best country on earth that does nothing but spread democracy and freedom around the world. Cheney even went so far as to point out how great the U.
S. was during the first and second world wars - as if that has anything whatsoever to do with the current charges against us. This is just pathetic claptrap. How they expect to get away with it I can't even imagine. Can there be anyone, including even the most avid Bush/Cheney supporters, willing to accept this blanket denial? It's like "who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes." Bush says the only people who make claims of torture are "those who hate America." Like, I guess, the FBI? Members of their own military? These denials are no more than the most pathetic attempts to dismiss charges they simply cannot otherwise deal with. This is consistent with their constant refusal to aknowledge responsibility or accountability for anything, but now carried to heights that even utter morons can see through.

What is wrong with our country? How much longer do we have to tolerate what someone today characterized as "a veritable factory of lies." Perhaps that is the problem. They have told so many lies, so many blatant falsehoods, that no one expects the truth anymore. But that doesn't explain the lack of interest in holding them accountable for the lies. Indeed, why does no one ever simply say, you are lying - again. Is everyone so fearful they dare not speak the truth?

Why do you have an elephant in your bedroom? What elephant? This is what it has come to - burlesque. If they haven't gone too far this time we are surely doomed.

"When the One Great Scorer comes to
write against your name --
He marks -- not that you won or lost
-- but how you played the game."

Grantland Rice

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Tragedy of Al Gore

Al Gore was almost certainly the most qualified candidate ever to run for President of the United States. George W. Bush was quite likely the least qualified candidate ever. So what happened? It is perfectly clear. The major media, acting as an arm of the Bush Republicans, decided to savage Mr. Gore. And savage him they did, making him appear to be dishonest, poorly dressed, guilty of association with Bill Clinton, a foolish braggard, a flip-flopper, illegal fund raiser, and everything else they could come up with to defeat him. This has to have been one of the most shameful performances by the so-called fourth estate ever in the history of our country.

Think about it. Does anyone, even the most rabid right wing lunatics, honestly believe that if Gore had been elected we would be in the incredible mess we are now in? Would he have illegally, immorally, and unconstitutionally gone to "war" against Iraq, a country that was known to have nothing to do with 9/11? Would he have allowed himself and his administration to become blatant war criminals? Would he have converted an enormous budget surplus into the largest national debt ever? Would he have presided over a vanishing middle class in the United States? Destroyed the environment? Of course not. None of these things would have happened if the major news media, acting in concert with the Bush fascists, had not done what they could to keep him from rightfully being elected (with some help, of course, from an utterly illegal and dishonest Supreme Court).

I personally believe Mr. Gore would have been quite a distinguished President. But no matter how bad he might have been there is no way he could possibly have been as vile, dishonest, irresponsible, secretive, and criminal as the present administration. NO WAY!

Now we have Dick the Slimy (I need a new nickname as slimy does not even come close to describing how vile this evil bastard is) saying we can't take Amnesty International seriously because, of course, the U.S. would never have treated anyone badly. Is he absoluely insane, impossibly stupid, totally out of touch, rabid, or just plain the personification of evil? I know it won't happen, but I would hope to live long enough to see him tried as the war criminal he obviously is. Along with the rest of his political mafia.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ugly - short story

I never heard anyone either address or refer to him as anything other than "Ugly." He must have had another name, of course, but if he did I don't know anyone who knew what it was, including those in the grade above me, who were in his class. I don't know where he came from either. He just appeared one day on the hard dry field that served as a combination baseball diamond, football field and playground. There he was with his incredibly worn infielder's glove (which looked like an antique), playing third base as if that position had been created specially for him. It was rumored that Mr. Walker had hired Ugly's father in one of the mines he controlled so that Ugly could play football for our High School that Fall, decidedly against the rules, but a common enough practice in the small mining and lumbering world we inhabited in those happier days.
Ugly was ugly, if you considered only his face. He had a long slab shaped face with high cheekbones and abnormally widely spaced eyes, one obviously blue and the other strangely grayish green. His ears, although they did not protrude unusually, were too large even for his long face. His ordinary brown hair was thin as if he were prematurely balding. He was older than he should have been to be a junior in High School, no doubt a result of the fact that his father, an itinerant miner, had never stayed in one place for more than a few months at a time. He apparently had no mother. One of the local wags suggested cruelly that she had taken one look at him and ran away.
Ugly didn't seem to mind being called that. He never took offense or changed his expression when so addressed. I guess it had gone on for so long he was simply resigned to it. Of course he didn't display much emotion anyway, whether playing ball or talking with his peers. I can't say his friends because he had none. His life was devoted exclusively to athletics and he played every sport with such grace and confidence you forgot all about his appearance. His body seemed to have been designed for no other purpose. He was six feet, probably a hundred and sixty five or seventy pounds, all muscle. He had slightly stooped shoulders which suggested speed rather than imperfection. Long arms and big hands enabled him to catch and throw with ease and velocity. Long legs gave him unusual speed and maneuverability. On the playing field, at whatever sport, he knew precisely where everyone was and what needed to be done. He played to win and did. He was polite and pleasant enough to everyone, but there was an aura about him that kept people at a distance.
In a way Ugly was like the town itself. As you entered the place the first thing you saw was the horribly polluted river that ran alongside the highway, a river running grayish white with waste from the lead and silver mines. It was not only ugly but poisonous as well. And as the river was already polluted everyone took the liberty of polluting it further; throwing in their garbage, tires, unwanted kittens, old appliances, bottles, cans and whatever. It was like a gigantic running cesspool that could not be ignored. But once you left the river and entered the town itself you found that it was quite beautiful, nestled in a narrow valley with steep pine covered mountains on all sides. Many of the houses were built on the steep slopes with long wooden stairways and an informal network of children's paths running maze-like here and there and nowhere. The streets were named for trees. There was a Pine Street, an Elm Street, an Oak Street, and so on, and on each of the streets were rows of the appropriate trees; except for Maple Street which, for some inexplicable reason, was lined with huge chestnut trees. The most expensive homes were built on what flat land there was, all had well kept lawns and flower gardens, everyone knew their neighbors, the trees provided shade in the summer, everyone kept their sidewalk shoveled in the winter, and life went on pleasantly enough. The river, like Ugly's face, marred what was otherwise as close to perfection as one might expect to find.
Mr. Walker, by far the wealthiest man in town, lived on the corner of Oak and Elm streets. His was the nicest house in town, three stories, white, with huge windows and a porch that ran clear across the front and down one side. The landscaping was perfect, the achievement of a full time gardener which no one else could afford. The house and yard were enclosed by a wrought iron fence which, aside from the one on the banker's house across the street, was the only one in town. The metal fences were more symbolic than functional, emphasizing class differences as there were no others. Mr. Walker seldom fraternized with his fellow citizens, the one exception being the weekly football games. He was an avid fan and never missed a game. I always thought this strange as his son attended a private school in the city and had no apparent interest in football. His daughter, Anne, for whatever reason, attended our Public School, although she did not socialize much with the rest of us. She never, for example, attended a prom, nor did she hang out after school in the local soda fountain. She walked to school and back as we all did, but seldom with anyone. With her long auburn hair, large brown eyes and shy smile she was as beautiful as Ugly was ugly.
I have no idea how the two of them got together but suddenly they were the hottest topic around. "You'll never believe who Anne was walking home with," it started.
"Who?" one of the girls dutifully asked.
"No! I don't believe it! Not Ugly!"
There was much giggling and laughing amongst the teenagers as they discussed and attempted to digest this unprecedented development. The town bully was the only one who mentioned it in Ugly's presence. His sarcastic remark left him on his hands and knees gasping for breath. It was said by those who witnessed it that Ugly hit him so fast no one saw the punch. He stood there with both hands in his pockets looking down at the poor fellow and then just turned and walked away. After that everyone kept their remarks to themselves.
As a running back Ugly did everything expected of him and more. Our team was undefeated for the season and lost only in the final game of the State Championship. The relationship between Anne and Ugly continued and he was now seen with her every afternoon, carrying her books and walking her home. The two of them avoided the rest of us and, indeed, seemed oblivious of anything except each other. Everyone wondered what Mr. Walker thought of the affair, especially as Ugly lounged at the metal gate every afternoon talking to Anne until her mother finally had to call her in. Ugly never got past the gate, but as no one else ever had, that was taken for granted.
Mr. Walker was so excited when we won our final conference game against our traditional rival that he actually spoke to one of the miners whose son had played exceptionally well. This was all the more surprising as the man in question had been a union organizer thirty years previously and for all those years the unforgiving Mr. Walker had never once spoken to him.
As the football season began to reach its climax the leaves were falling, the chestnut trees dropped their green thorny fruits spilling the lovely brown and white nuts on the sidewalks, we split the long droppings from the elms and glued them on our noses, and the first snow flurries began to fall. Ugly led the basketball team to victory just as he had in football. He was a magician with the ball, passing and shooting as if guided by some divine hand. And, although they never appeared at any public event, Anne and Ugly were constantly on everyone's mind. They were now inseparable, walking both to and from school without fail, talking endlessly in low tones over the metal fence, seemingly oblivious to the rude stares and titters of their classmates.
Then, suddenly, Ugly disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived. Everyone had assumed he would lead the baseball team to the championships just as he had in football and basketball. When he failed to show up for the first week of practice we all assumed there must be a good and understandable reason. But then we became aware of the fact that he was gone. Someone reported that Ugly's father had been fired and the two of them had been seen leaving town in his father's beat up old Ford pickup.
As we puzzled over this unfortunate and to us absolutely traumatic development we suddenly realized that Anne had not been seen for some time either. The High School was rife with rumors of elopement or, at least, that Anne had run away after Ugly's father was fired. One of the girls claimed to have seen her at the train station with a huge pile of luggage.
Several days passed and the girls could stand it no longer. They elected Kelly, the most popular (and also the most aggressive of the girls) to approach Anne's mother and inquire as to what had happened to her. Mrs. Walker, as beautiful as her daughter, was rarely seen in public. None of the girls had ever spoken to her. Kelly timidly opened the gate and approached Anne's house. She glanced back at the little knot of watching friends then turned and boldly rapped on the door with the huge bronze knocker. She waited and then was about to walk away when the door finally opened and Anne's mother appeared. She appeared to have been crying. A brief conversation ensued. The door closed abruptly. Kelly hurried back to her friends.
"What did she say? What did she say? Where is Anne? What happened?" Everyone spoke at once.
Kelly paused, waiting for an opportunity to answer. When it came she reported simply, "Her mother says she has gone to live with her aunt in Seattle for a few months."

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The nooses are tightening

Have you noticed that recently there has been more and more talk of impeachment, war crimes, accountability, torture, and related matters. Amnesty has come right out fighting, showing that Bush/Cheney and the neocons are clearly war criminals and deserve to be prosecuted. They even suggest that if the U.S. is unwilling to prosecute them other nations have a responsibility to do so. They go so far as to suggest that if any of these criminals travel to Acapulco or France or other countries those countries should arrest them and try them for their crimes. Obviously this is not very likely to happen because of U.S. power. But I hope you understand that this also means quite simply that "might makes right." Is that the way you want the world to be run?

Related to this is an interesting article by Marie Cocco on Newsday.com. She points out, and I think this is a long overdue explanation, that obviously the various techniques that were employed to torture Iraqis could not have just been dreamed up by the low level flunkeys that are being convicted. These techniques had to have been created by people who had considerable knowledge about Iraqi culture. The emphasis on nudity, shaving beards, sexual shame, fear of dogs, trashing the Koran, etc., were all fashioned by people who knew these were the kinds of things Iraqis would hate and fear the most. This seems to me to have been obvious from the very beginning but finally someone has come right out and said it.

Rumsfeld is being sued for his role in certain war crimes, and rightly so. There is plently of evidence that he was involved in allowing the techniques to be employed and he has even admitted to hiding one or more prisoners from the Red Cross, itself a crime. There is growing evidence, as you must know by now, that Bush himself is implicated in allowing torture to occur.

The impetus for pursuing an investigation and possible impeachment proceedings has to come from within the U.S. itself. Someone in the House of Representatives has to finally decide that Bush is clearly guilty of impeachable offenses and do something about it. How likely is that? Not likely as the House is controlled by the same right wing lunatics that have supported Bush all along. In short, there are no honorable people in the House and apparently very few in the Senate. A large percentage (but only about 40% at the moment) blissfully go on supporting war criminals to lead the United States. The world is watching and we are not doing what is required. The reputation of the U.S. has been damaged beyond belief and, in fact, may never recover. So brace yourself for all out endless "war" because the neocons have no other alternative.

Wouldn't it be nice if once, just once, there would be some good news out of Iraq? Afghanistan? Anywhere?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Dual Wheels - essay

Pickups with dual wheels. I know you've seen them. But have you ever seen anything in them? Like a load of anything? Very rarely if at all, I'll bet. Indeed, there seems to be a strong correlation between the presence of dual wheels and the absence of any kind of load. Given the fact that dual wheels exist primarily to allow one to carry heavier loads, how does one explain this strange correlation? Dare I suggest that the owners of these trucks are not really interested in carrying heavy loads? Or in carrying loads at all, for that matter. The real motive for owning one of these powerful machines, it seems to me, is simply that, they are powerful. But more importantly, being powerful, they give their owners a sense of power. I do not think this is idle speculation.
Observe, if you will, how owners of these empty gas-guzzlers drive. Have you ever seen one on the highway doing less than the speed limit? I'll bet not, and by and large I'll wager they are going a good deal faster than the limit. In town and in traffic they are aggressive, speeding up to stoplights, accelerating like drag racers, challenging all comers. If the purpose of these trucks is work and carrying loads why do they drive them as if they are stock cars? Power, that's why.
Another peculiar thing about these overlarge pickups is that so many of them are found in cities. Somehow one might expect to find more of them in rural areas where there might be legitimate demands for their super capabilities. But you see them in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, even New York, always empty, prowling the streets as if looking for a fight, roaring past lesser vehicles, cornering recklessly, full speed ahead and stop, burning rubber, constantly intimidating more conservative folk. Why do they do this? Power, that's why.
I know. I know. This is just my opinion and it's hard to prove. Watch for yourself, I say. Keep track of how many dual wheeled pickups you see with any kind of load (tow trucks don't count) - or any kind of load that might conceivable require dual wheels. It is far more usually the case that if there is any cargo at all, in rural areas it will be a big dog, and in the city it will be a lunch box or golf clubs. Indeed, I am under the impression that one finds an inordinate number of these dual wheeled behemoths parked at golf courses and in front of fast-food restaurants. Think of that. Do you really need six wheels and all that power just to get to the golf course?
Similarly, of course again I can't prove it, in certain rural areas where you find a dual wheeled pickup you will also find a gun rack in the back window. It is not uncommnon for many pickups to have gun racks, it is true, but it is a good bet that the percentage is greater for the more powerful ones. Why is this? Power, that's why.
It's obviously a personality thing. I'm sure no one has seriously studied the personalities of those who drive dual wheeled pickups. But if someone did, don't be surprised if you find some real insecurities, problems with authority, sibling rivalry, feeling of inferiority, faulty parenting, Oedipal complexes, broken families, child abuse, working mothers, bottle feeding, poor nutrition, harsh potty training, circumcision, school phobias, welfare, food stamps, and other elements too gruesome to mention. Dual wheels. Who needs 'em?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Senate versus Dick Cheney

The Senate today refused to vote for cloture on the Bolton nomination. This actually had little to do with Bolton himself or the fact that he clearly doesn't measure up to the job. It has to do with the contest between the Senate and the White House (Dick the Slimey). Bolton is Cheney's protege (or "boy"). It is Cheney who wants him as U.N. representative. And therefore it has to be Cheney who is refusing to turn over the information the Senate wants. Cheney obviously doesn't believe that anyone has the right to question him or oversee his vast (probably quite criminal) activities, including the U.S. Senate. He is unlikely to get any protection this time from the Supreme Court as the information requested is such that the Senate has every right to have it. So why does he refuse to turn in over? The only logical conclusion one can draw is that he knows if he does Bolton's "goose will be cooked," so to speak. Biden and Shays made it clear they are willing to vote on Bolton immediately once they receive the requested information. Republicans, of course, insist this is merely a delaying tactic like a filibuster, totally ignoring the fact that this is information the Senate has every right to have. So now the Bolton confirmation is held up for another week or so, frustrating Cheney, and setting the stage for who knows what? If Bush were actually the President and in charge of what goes on he would certainly withdraw the nomination at this point and find someone more acceptable to the Senate. But he obviously doesn't dare question Cheney's totally bull-headed insistance that the Executive Branch should have dictatorial powers. It is perfectly clear by now to anyone with half a brain that Bolton is an absolutely terrible choice but, then, there don't seem to be many Republicans with half a brain or, indeed, any brain at all. Just do whatever your are told to do, the party comes first, screw the public, and look forward to the Rapture.

Whatever happened to the Gannon/Guckert scandal? Is he still making house calls at the White House? Who greased his way into the White House? Why is no one upset about this? Where is the press? Oh, I forgot, with their noses up Republican butts.

It is truly wonderful to learn that Amnesty International has finally declared the U.S. to be one of the world's worst offenders when it comes to torture and such. And it is nice of them to warn our war criminal leaders to stay away from Acapulco and other such places because they might be arrested and tried for war crimes. Kissinger, you might recall, cannot travel freely to many places in the world for the same reason. It is nice to dream about Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/Wolfowitz/ and others being restricted to home, but even nicer to dream they might actually be held accountable here at home. If the 2006 elections are not already fixed perhaps they might be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bush to veto 21st century

The Republican controlled House of Representatives has voted to loosen restrictions on stem cell research. The state of California has passed legislation to provide three billion dollars for such research. I believe New York is considering the same thing. The South Koreans have just made a significant breakthrough in stem cell research which threatens to leave the U.S. behind in this type of science. Bush, however, is going to veto anything that smacks of genuine stem cell research. So much for the 21st century. But this is not surprising. Bush has been Mr. anti-science all along, preferring religious interpretations over science in one field after another. There is no longer any such thing in the U.S. as the separation of church and state. In fact, with this veto Bush will demonstrate that religion rules the United States, or certainly attempts to do so. The claim is there will not be enough votes to override the veto. If this is true we are in even bigger trouble than might otherwise be apparent. We should not be surprised at this. Bush/Cheney have done everything in their power to turn the clock back to the 18th century where a small elite of extremely wealthy people will rule and the remainder of humanity will simply be peasants or serfs or slaves or whatever. This process of converting American culture into a form of medievalism is already underway.

Keep your eyes on Bolivia. What is going on there at this very minute is quite likely what is going to have to happen in the United States in the not too distant future. The masses of people are rebelling against the corporations that have been systematically raping and stealing from them for so many years. They are demanding that their resources be used for the people instead of merely obscene corporate profits. This is what has already happened in Venezuela and elsewhere in South America. True democracy is on the march there and I doubt that it can be turned back without gigantic wars without end. And happily the U.S. does not have enough military power to enforce U.S. will on the entire world as has become obvious in Iraq. People in South America and elsewhere are not stupid; and they have finally realized the gigantic protection racket the U.S. and the World Bank have used against them. They are not going to take it any longer. And I doubt there is anything the U.S. can do about it. Perhaps happy days may eventually be here again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Democrats are so Dumb

I'm sorry but I cannot see why Democrats are crowing about victory in the filibuster business. As near as I can tell the Republicans are going to confirm three of the worst candidates nominated and in return the Democrats agreed not to filibuster others unless there were "extraordinary circumstances." As there is no definition of extraordinary circumstances this means to me that ultimately such circumstances will have to be agreed to and defined by Republicans. Some victory. I like Boxer and Kennedy but I think they are totally wrong to consider this a victory. Democrats just never seem to learn that you cannot compromise with Republicans. And there was no reason to compromise. The Republican power grab was exposed for what it was, the American public made it clear they did not want the filibuster compromised, and there was no precedent for overturning 200 plus years of tradition. The Democrats just caved as usual. As I have said before, the Democrats are not really an opposition party. They are part of the same Corporate/Government takeover of the United States. In shorthand, fascists. No one, including Democrats, wants to give up their assigned place at the feeding trough of corporate largesse.

Now we are apparently going to build four huge new bases in Iraq. Some say this is to get our troops off the streets and hunkered down safely prior to their return to the United States, after the Iraqis are able to control their country. What B.S. Iraqis will most probably never be able to control their own country without American troops because they don't want to fight their own people, unless perhaps they are of another ethnic or religious group, in which case you are talking civil war. And the U.S. does not want to give up a permanent presence in the oil-rich Middle East. So we are there to stay. Which is exactly the worst thing we can do. But the die is cast for the neocons dreams of empire. They have no choice now but to continue occupation and all-out war against anyone who opposes their U.S. dreams of taking over the world. If they now fail it means for them jail or worse. There is no way the United States can regain its rightful place in the world unless Bush/Cheney and the neocons are held accountable for their monumental war crimes. It will not be enough to simply vote them out of office and pretend this terrible nightmare didn't happen.

I cannot see any way out for them at this point in time. Their army is falling apart, recruitment is understandably falling dramatically, desertions are a real problem, Bush's ratings are so low as to be virtually unprecedented, Laura is now being presented as the face of the administration, the Social Security scam is being exposed for the smokescreen it is, they are on the wrong side of stem cell research, and they are about to bankrupt the country, to say nothing of destroying the environment. They do not dare even suggest a draft as that would bring them down in a hurry. So what is going to happen? If the elections of 2006 do not result in a Democratic takeover of the Senate, and perhaps even the House, you had better make plans to move elsewhere, the farther from the U.S. the better. You might even consider changing your identity. Anyone even remotely connected to this gang of international cuthroats is liable to become fair game for reprisals. You think I am exaggerating? I wish. So take your pick: either all out war endlessly against the rest of the world or an admission of guilt and then justice and cooperation with our fellow men.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Another Democratic defeat?

I may be totally wrong about this as at the moment I do not know precisely what agreement was reached between Democrats and Republicans over the filibuster business. What I think, however, is if this was some sort of compromise, the Democrats lost. They lost because there was no reason to compromise. Republicans were totally wrong in attempting to do away with the filibuster (with a 200 plus year tradition in the Senate) and Democrats were entirely right to defend it. So why should they have compromised? It was also the case that public opinion was clearly against doing away with minority rights (the filibuster). Will Democrats never realize there is no such thing as compromise when it comes to Republicans? Of course I always forget - Democrats only pretend to be an opposition party and then inevitably give up. This is so because they all suck on the same Corporate teats. So what we now have in American politics is simply a charade. Democrats pretend to be a viable opposition, Republicans pretend the Democrats are, and they inevitably come out on the side of Corporate control of the world. It's a neat con game in which the middle and lower classes suffer to provide more and more wealth to those who need it the least. Actually, it's called Fascism. We like to believe it can't happen here - but it is.

Now I have a question about responsibility or the lack of it. This is perhaps a kind of philosophical question. There is no question whatsoever that George W. Bush is a war criminal. Everyone in the world knows this, including all of our Senators and Representatives (unless they are so stupid they don't understand anything at all). Now, in the case of Dubya, is he a war criminal because he is responsible for an illegal, immmoral, unconstitutional "war" that he deliberately lied about in order to start, or is he a war criminal because he was so irresponsible he let others lead him into it under false pretenses? That is, when he was off on his many vacations at his (pretend) ranch did he just not pay attention to what Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the other neocons were doing in his name? Or did he know and agree to it all? Actually, in his case, I guess he could have done both: known about it but too stupid to perceive it was wrong. If and when the trial comes (and I sincerely hope it will someday) will he plead not guilty because he was borderline retarded or will he claim he was fully in charge and did what he believed was the right thing? Presumably, Hitler believed (maybe) killing Jews and Gypsies and Homosexuals was the right thing to do. Did Dubya believe killing thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis was the right thing to do (in order to steal their oil)? I do not mean to be facetious here. He clearly can't have believed he was really interested in spreading Democracy there given the fact that he is not interested in Democracy even in the United States. Unless, of course, he actually believes in all the claptrap bullshit he and the neocons have been spinning for the last few years. I give him the benefit of the doubt and conclude that he really is that stupid and has allowed himself to be used by a criminal cabal that he is basically uninterested in except in so far that it promotes his pretend dictatorship. He truly has no clothes and now has sent his wife out to cover his nakedness.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Cell phones - essay

Having just returned from Europe I am convinced that cell phones are the worst invention since the internal combustion engine. It’s true we have cell phones here in the U.S. but so far, blessedly, not like they have in Europe. As near as I can tell everyone in Europe has a cell phone: children, adolescents (they are probably the worst offenders), adults, old people, bicycle riders, drivers of cars, pedestrians, everyone. Everyone has a cell phone. And they use them incessantly: in the restaurants, bars, while riding their bicycles, driving their cars, walking down the streets, standing in line for airline tickets or even while being searched for contraband. Nothing seems to keep them from talking on their cell phones. Nothing. I have seen people talking on their cell phones while going through customs, while standing in line to board a plane or in the cafeteria line. What is with these people? Their lives are so important they have to be in constant touch 24 hours a day with everyone they know? Try to enjoy a meal in Paris these days – someone will either call someone else or be called while you are trying to enjoy your meal. And you can bet the conversation will be every bit as boring and dismal as if they were on their homes phones talking to mother. I actually overheard one woman calling from the airport to tell her friend she was sitting in the airport! Now I guess that is something to call about.
Then there are those very important people who have to be in constant touch with their office. “I just want to report that I sold $750,000 worth of life insurance today. Just checking in.” Or, “we shipped four tons on garbage disposal equipment this morning.” This kind of reportage can’t wait until they get back to the office? These are the types that are obviously playing to the audience. They want you to realize just how important they really are.
Then, of course, there is the problem of using cell phones in automobiles. Obviously one cannot possibly drive anywhere without also talking on their cell phone at the same time. Never mind that this is dangerous and results in accidents – accidents that would be totally avoidable if these cell phone users could just shut up for the little while it takes them to drive to the grocery store. Indeed, this problem has become so noticeable that several states are thinking of outlawing the use of cell phones while driving. What a wonderful idea!
Now to be fair, I can imagine that there might be people who have a legitimate use for a cell phone. Like policemen or firefighters, for example. Or people who work off in the woods a long way from home. Or even people trying to walk to the north pole or sail across the Pacific by themselves. But I absolutely do not believe that ordinary citizens lead such adventurous or important lives that they need to be in constant touch with everyone. Unless maybe they are teenagers who are so insecure they need constant attention.
Personally, I cannot imagine riding a bicycle down busy Parisian streets with one hand held to an ear with my cell phone. Actually, I can’t image riding a bicycle in Paris at all (but that is a slightly different matter). But it is not only Paris where you see this folly. Amsterdam is worse. Vienna is about the same. Prague ditto. In fact, cell phones in Europe are like a disease. They are like a cancer that just spreads everywhere corrupting human relations in ways that are as yet unpredictable. That is, will we come to a situation where no one every sees anyone else face-to-face? If you are in constant touch with everyone you know why would you need to then see them? This becomes even more problematical when you realize that on those occasions when you are not actually speaking on your cell phone to someone you can use it to take photographs or play games. Remember, it was not all that long ago that we didn't even all have telephones. If you needed or wanted to argue with someone you had to at least think it over for a while. But not now, not with instant communications anywhere on earth. You want to get it off your chest, just call immediately and tell them what an absolute jerk they are/were.
I can proudly say that I do not have a cell phone. I do not intend to ever have a cell phone. I am just not important enough to have one, even if everyone else on earth is that important. In fact, I think I’ll go back to telegrams. Maybe smoke signals. Maybe even the Pony Express.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Ah, Kansas

Watch 'n Wait - I signed on to impeach Bush/Cheney months ago but, of course, nothing happens. This Republican House will never, never bring it up. Bush could rape someone on the White House steps and they would find some excuse for it.

The state of Kansas seems to be determined to make itself the laughing stock of the world. They worry about questions that were answered in England years and years ago. Why does anyone, including the newspeople, even pay any attention to this utter nonsense. Are there no people in Kansas that believe in evolution? Where are they? Why are they putting up with this total farce? Of course evolution is "only a theory." Intelligent Design is "only a total fantasy." Does no one in Kansas know the difference between a theory and a fantasy? Does anyone there even know what a theory is? Scientists were right to refuse to take part in such a ridiculous meeting. Why does this even rate the status of "news?" Even Bush is reported to have said that the facts were still out about evolution. Further evidence of his borderline retardation. Now he continues to babble on about Social Security even though he demonstrably knows virtually nothing about it. But, as I have said repeataedly, he (and Rove/Cheney) don't give a damn about Social Security. They just want to keep Bush babbling on about it so everyone will forget about all the the more important disasters they have wrought.

Why does the media keep saying there might be, or is impending, a civil war? There is a civil war going on right now. The Sunnis are attacking the Shiites and the Kurds and the Kurds are fighting back and the Shiites are also beginning to fight back and the U.S. troops are on the side of the Shiites. So this is not a civil war? Oh, I forgot, things are going well in Iraq and progress is being made. And the moon is made of green cheese and bears do not poop in the woods.

Stay tuned for tuesday. And stay tuned for Bolton, unless his nomination is withdrawn as it should be. There is going to be a lot of jolly fun in the next few days and weeks. I shall try not to die of apoplexy.

Friday, May 20, 2005

No tv and Manners - essay

I have finally reached the point where I no longer watch tv. Oh, I watch Democracy Now and an occasional sporting event like the Kentucky Derby or the Masters but that's about all these days. I mean, after all, what is the point? There is no real news unless you confuse real news with the never-ending Michael Jackson fiasco, or the Britney pregnancy, or a Bush speech. Also, although I haven't actually kept track of it, I would bet that the amount of time dedicated to commercials has grown significantly over the years. If you were to turn on your tv randomly throughout the day and night I bet there would be a 50-50 chance you would get a commercial instead of anything else (you almost certainly would not get news).

The commercials have grown even more aggravating than previously. Some of them seem to have been running since time immemorial. These long running commercials - do they continue them seemingly forever because they are so successful or because they are too cheap to pay for new ones? They are so maddening that you reach the point where you turn off the set rather than listen to them for the umpteenth thousand time. Better to just stop watching tv than having to deal with the problem. Then there are the occasions when they show you the same commercial two or three times in a row. I guess the stations are committed to showing them so many times and if they get out of sync they just double them up. If I were paying for it I'd be pretty upset. And I have said nothing about how offensive many of them are. Take, for example, the question of manners as brought to us by tv:

I am not prepared to discuss manners as brought to us by television in general, that is, on talk shows, soap operas, situation comedies, and so on. Indeed, I suspect there are no manners revealed at all on such programs. This is a topic far too large for me to deal with in anything less than book form. Here I wish only to reflect on some recent advertisments that have been running on TV of late, mostly hotel ads.
One of these shows a tennis court net stretched across a large living space. A tennis ball is going back and forth as if someone in the room is actually playing tennis. The idea behind this I suppose is to illustrate just how spacious the rooms are in this particular hotel. The ad also implies that you are free to do anything you wish when staying in one of these hotels. Would hotels truly want their customers playing tennis in their rooms? I think not. It would be exceedingly bad form to say the least.
Still another hotel ad features three small children jumping up and down on one of the queen sized beds. They are obviously enjoying themselves immensely. I guess I am very old fashioned as I was never allowed to engage in this behavior, it being explained to me at an early age that not only did this tend to ruin the beds but also disturbed the people next door and down below. Again, I ask, do hotels really encourage children to behave in such an ill mannerly fashion? Are they that desperate for business?
But this is not all. In still another hotel ad a grown man is shown holding a bag of frozen peas, sort of dancing around, while hurling individual peas at a pan on a burner. He is apparently pretending to shoot baskets as one would do on a basketball court. Finally he spins around and falls down. The message is supposed to be again, I guess, that in one of their suites you are free to do as you wish. I guess the chambermaids clean up the peas that end up all over the stove and the floor. While this might be great fun for a five or six year old it strikes me as inordinately stupid for a grown man, to say nothing of ill-mannered.
Away from hotels now, there is a somewhat similar ad going around which has to do, I think, with a credit card. A handsome looking young lady has apparently used her credit card to buy and furnish what appears to be a rather plush apartment or house. She is obviously very proud of herself and, while dressed in a rather chic outfit featuring leather pants is talking to her friends on the phone while jumping up and down on her new expensive leather furniture. I shudder to think what my mother would have thought of such atrocious behavior.
This says nothing of the countless scenes one sees on TV of people eating and talking with their mouths full, making as much noise as possible pigging down potato chips, hamburgers, tacos and other such things, ads designed presumably to make you want their products. These ads assume, as near as I can tell, that Americans all eat like hogs and wish to emulate these uncouth disgusting manners. Do you suppose the creators of these ads eat and behave in these ways? Do they not know better? Or do they just have so much contempt of the rest of us that anything goes?
Some decry the increasing lack of manners in American culture. Some even to the point, apparently, of offering classes once again in etiquette. I fear that unless students in these classes are forbidden TV it will simply be a lost cause. Who needs manners anyway when you can have such a good time flaunting them daily.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I don't think it is any secret that there is widespread anti-intellectualism in the United States. It has long been so. This can be seen in various expressions that are common in the U.S. For example, "them as can't do, teach." Or how about "pointy-headed intellectuals," or "Northeastern perfessors who don't know nothing about the real world," and so on.

Locally we see this every morning at one of our truck stop restaurants where several of the local "inellectuals" meet over coffee. If you go there for breakfast you cannot escape hearing them carrying on about world affairs. Apparently they believe that if you listen to Rush Limbaugh everyday and have manure on your shoes this makes you an expert on politics and world affairs. It is pretty obvious they don't read, and if they watch the news it is apparently only on Fox. Mostly they just listen to their idol, Rush. In fact, I know personally one of these guys who boasts that he has never, in his entire life, read a whole book. This does not keep him from being exceedingly opinionated about world events. These people know that they know better than them "East Coast Liberals." They seem to believe that people become professors at birth. That is, between birth and their professorships there is no intervening experience. If you are a professor you automatically are considered to be totally ignorant in any practical matters. It would be interesting to know how many professors came from farms or worked in the woods or engaged in other down-to-earth jobs before they actually became professors. But maybe they just have amnesia for these pre-professorial years.

I guess I understand how someone with manure on his shoes and a degree in Limbaugh knows as well as some "perfessor" about foreign affairs and politics. After all, why spend somewhere between four and twelve years studying about foreign affairs when all you have to do is just stay home on the farm and listen to your peers who know even less than you do? And why spend money on public schools that just teach you nonsense like evolution? Manual training and shop ought to be good enough for anyone.

These people actually believe that George W. Bush is one of them. He has a (toy) ranch, he clears brush and uses a chain saw (at least for pictures) and is the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with. Furthermore he can't speak the English language very well just like the rest of us. He's a regular guy. Not like that stuck up Kerry who can actually speak French! Imagine! French!

Al Gore was quite likely the most qualified person to be President of the United States ever. He was smart, well-informed, knowledgeable about issues that mattered, like the environment, the internet, foreign affairs, etc. His reward was to be absolutely savaged by the Bush/Cheney ass-kissing U.S. press. You want to be president? Pretend to be dumb. Better yet, be dumb. Be borderline retarded but learn to read your lines and pretend to be sincere. You will go far in U.S. politics if you just follow this advice. After all, look at the success of Bush (the worst President of the U.S. ever, hands down, no contest). Of course he does communicate directly with God and he knows what is best for us, his children. I guess that is worth something. He also knows what is best for all the rest of the planet and sends his messenger, the honorable Condaleeza Rice (cheers) to tell the world how to behave. Don't do as we do, do as I (as the representative of his eminence) tell you to do. And please don't laugh at me directly to my face, after all I'm just doing my job for you-know-who (Dick the Slimy, President in hiding).

I don't know about you, but I've had it. I no longer even listen to any Republican. The moment one appears I immediately turn him or her off. As far as I am concerned there is nothing further to discuss. Republicans are scum and the quicker we can be rid of them the better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The great extortion racket

I am so stupid. No, maybe just inattentive. I have always suspected that the U.S. and the World Development Bank were probably up to no good (I know from personal experience that the Development Bank in Australia/New Guinea was certainly up to no good). But I never realized just how criminal an enterprise it really is. Just yesterday I finally saw a report (from Greg Palast), based upon materials he received from someone in the know, that in the case of Ecuador, for example, in order to repay their loans fully NINETY PERCENT of their oil (and I guess other revenue) has to be used to pay off their foreign bondholders. This would leave them a paltry 10% of their own resources for social programs that might possibly alleviate their terrible poverty. Now aside from the intrinsic absurdity of this it makes it clear that this loan program is not designed to help developing countries. In fact, it is nothing less than an international extortion racket. Wealthy countries make outrageous loans to corruptible officials in developing countries, loans they cannot possibly pay back, and then demand their resources at bargain basement prices. This of course leaves them nothing to develop. If the leaders are not corruptable the CIA "jackals" simply assassinate them. You think this is fantasy? Read An Economic Hit Man and other sources as well. I would never have believed this, being a good patriotic American, as well, I guess as a trusting citizen. But no more. I would no more trust this Administration (or even previous ones) that I would trust a rattlesnake in my bed. Frankly, I don't believe anything they say anymore. Nothing. If their lips move they are lying.

My wife says there is going to be a draft. I say no way. If they try to start a draft hundreds of thousands will finally take to the streets in an outpouring of rage seldom seen in the U.S., at least since the 1920's and 30's. But, of course, I said Ronald Reagan could never be elected president - Bush too. So what do I know? One thing I know is they will never draft my son. Any hint of a real draft and he will immediately become an expatriate. I will immediately, even at my advanced age, take to the streets in protest. I will never rest until the war criminals in this Administration are held accountable for their murderous and illegal behavior. My wife is right, something is going to happen. But it is not going to be a draft. Revolution perhaps, but no draft. It is well past time to hold these criminals responsible for their murderous actions. Impeach Bush/Cheney now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Still more flotsam

Obedience pays, as this recent ad from our local paper makes clear:
Adorable little 10 lb female Mi-ki breed (similar to Maltese) who has proven incompatible with my violin practicing, and has been traumatized to the point of hiding, shaking uncontrollably, and retaliating with incontinence. My husband too has been traumatized but has exhibited appropriate patience, loyalty and commendable obedience, so he may stay. Call if interested...

Having been interested mostly in the Middle East situation for so long I confess to not following very closely events in South America. But watching Democracy Now today I was rudely awakened to certain developments there. I would never have guessed things could be so awful and absurd at one and the same time. Are you aware that the conditions for Ecuador to pay off their loans to their out of country bondholders stipulate that NINETY PERCENT of their oil revenue has to be paid to bondholers while only TEN PERCENT is earmarked for social services, etc., in that country. The bondholders bought the bonds very cheaply and stand to make such obscene profits as to make one gag, while the citizens of that unfortunate country are doomed to live in utter poverty probably forever. Think of it! Now you know why Argentina has said they simply will not pay. Ecuador is saying more or less the same thing. Bolivia, too, is revolting against a similar situation. Venezuela is leading the way. More power to them, I say. They should all tell the U.S. and the World Bank to go to hell and refuse to pay. This has been a gigantic con game for years and years. If you don't believe it read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by Perkins, who was featured today on Democracy Now along with Greg Palast. So what will the U.S. and the World Bank do if they refuse to pay? Nuke them? Invade? Assassinate their leaders until they find one that will agree (the usual procedure)? I can see great things ahead if South America follows the lead of these countries and insists on having truly democratically elected leaders instead of the usual corrupt puppets of the past. If I was a praying man I'd pray for them.

There is an interesting situation developing in Florida. Posada, who has spent most of his life terrorizing and trying to assassinate Castro, has snuck into the U.S. and wants to claim political asylum. He is known to have been involved in terrorist activities against Cuba. In short, he is a known terrorist. Both Cuba and Venezuala want him extradited so he can be tried in their countries (he spent time in jail in Venezuala until he escaped). So, in our declared war on terrorism, what are we to do? If he is granted political asylum what will that tell the world about our much ballyhood war on terrorism? If he is not given asylum what will happen in the anti-Castro bunch in Florida? Stay tuned. This is as exciting as Bolton/DeLay and the "nuclear option."

I think (hope) that I am beginning to see major cracks in the present Administration. Their pathological lying may finally be catching up to them. They seem to believe you can fool most of the people most of the time. I don't think so. Bolton and DeLay will be interesting test cases. The Impeach Bush drive may be taking on more support. The media are being increasingly exposed for what they are - toadies for the Administration, and they are increasingly losing their audience. Corporate control for the media has to go - and if and when it does perhaps we can have our democracy back again.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thank God for Bill Moyers

If you didn't either hear or read the Bill Moyers speech in St. Louis you absolutely must do so. It was brilliant and moving and said exactly what needed to be said about the dismal state of American journalism (if, indeed, it can even be described as journalism). Moyers, along with Greg Palast and a very few others, seems to be one of the last real journalists who understand what has happened to news in the United States over the past few years. Hopefully his speech will inspire people to actually try to do something to break up the Corporate control of our news. Without a truly free press we are surely doomed. This includes preventing the Bush/Cheney Administration from taking over PBS and making it just another asset of the Republican party. This is serious stuff and we are perilously close to losing our democracy.

By the way, whatever happened to Social Security? We haven't heard much about that lately. After his 60 day non-stop tour promoting his (never really explained) plan to "save" Social Security you might expect a little more than the silence we now have. But of course the tour had nothing to do with Social Security. It was just meant to be a long diversion from more important matters, like the abysmal failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the utterly obscene national debt, the collapse of the dollar, cutting medicaid, screwing veterans, destroying the environment, the truth about the illegal and immoral "war," war profiteering, torture and other scandals, and on and on and on. If you don't believe this is the worst U.S. Administration in history you ought to look for some professional help.

How low do Bush's ratings have to go before the American public demands some action. Impeachment is long overdue. But as there seem to be no honorable people in the House of Representatives I guess it will never happen. Too bad. It certainly should. Let's face it, it's the priviledged against the rest of us, and we are clearly losing - at least so far. Think about it and tell me that the filthy rich need further tax breaks, the military needs more money and more cannon fodder, Halliburton needs a 70 million dollar bonus for more fraud, the military-industrial complex doesn't really exist, and Rumsfeld is the most brilliant Secretary of Defense ever. If I don't agree you can label me unpatriotic.

I no longer even try to be of good cheer, and neither should you.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The most outrageous lie yet?

Condaleeza Rice actually said when addressing the troops in Iraq, "This war came to us, not the other way around." If this is not the most outrageous lie so far it is hard to imagine what would be. We attacked a sovereign nation that was no threat to us, had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, and was in fact so weakened from years of sanctions that it was virtually helpless. And so the war came to us? What on earth is she smoking or snorting or drinking? If there could be any meaning whatsoever to her claim it would have to refer to the attack on the towers on 9/ll. But that had nothing to do with the "war" we are now engaged in in Iraq. Oh, yeah, I forget, it's really a "war on terror," whatever in the world that might mean. There was no terror in Iraq before the "war." There is plenty now. She is the most pathetic Secretary of State ever, just wanders around the world telling everyone else what they have to do, like a great paternal uncle, just mindlessly mouthing the Bush line everywhere and accomplishing nothing except further alienating the U.S. from the rest of the world.

Then there is Uzbekistan where apparently they can boil people if they wish. They also can open fire on demonstrators and kill hundreds of them. Can't have any dissent there. The head of Uzbekistan is a great buddy of George W. Bush. Could this have anything to do with oil or a pipeline? Naw, I guess they just like each other - soul mates, so to speak.

On to the Bolton question. It now appears that the opposition to Bolton has little to do with the fact that he is an arrogant bully who lies to the Senate and shapes intelligence however he wishes. Apparently Cheney wants him to kick apart the United Nations over the issues of Iran and North Korea. It also has to do with the fact that he is Cheney's man, and what Cheney wants, Cheney gets. Or is willing to demonstrate his awesome power to prove he can do it. Bush, oh yeah, him. He probably wishes he didn't have to take the heat over Bolton. But after all, what can he do? He's only the President (or is he?).

The coming week may prove to be more than just merely interesting. Let's see how far Frist can get with the so-called "nuclear option." What will develop with Bolton. Will the "smoking gun" memo finally register with the dim bulbs that seem to be in charge of things? Will John Conyers Jr. and his 89 colleagues just be ignored as usual? Ah, these are trying but interesting times.

Angrily orange and red,
the fiery sky
is like an angry woman,
warning silently,
while remaining beautiful.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Republican delusions

Only Republicans could possibly delude themselves into believing that John Bolton would be a satisfactory Ambassador to the United Nations. No one who has been following this appointment could possibly believe he is anything other that what he has been exposed to be - a disgusting bully who insists that intelligence should be interpreted in precisely the way he wants it to be interpreted. A bald faced liar who blatantly lied to the Senate while being questioned. In instance after instance he has been overruled by his superiors while attempting to distort evidence against Cuba, Syria, and others. But he is Cheney's disciple and Cheney wants him to have this appointment - so Republicans Senators, who are supposed to be strong and independent, simply cave in to him. We are very close to a dictatorship in this country. And the dictator is not George W. Bush who is merely a figurehead who mouths his written lines and is kept out of the action - witness the recent alert at the White House where Bush wasn't even told what was happening until it was all over. Because of "protocal" we are told. Protocal that says the Commander in Chief is irrelevant in case of emergency?

Now we are going to be confronted with the "nuclear option." Frist, who entertains absurd notions of running for President, has decided to court the extreme right wingnuts for this purpose. He is willing to abandon 217 years of precedent in order to further his own ambition. And is obviously willing to pack the courts with judges so extreme they will be able to corrupt our legal system for years to come. Please, someone, tell me this is all a bad dream.

Of course our major media continue to ignore the biggest war crime in history, short perhaps, of the Nazi attempt to conquer all of Europe and Russia. There is no doubt any longer as to what happened about our outrageous attack on a sovereign nation that posed no threat to us, about torture, hiding captives from the Red Cross, bombing innocent civilians, war profiteering, and more. AND NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE! At least people like John Conyer Jr. and Henry Waxman try, but they seem to just be ignored time after time. What is it going to take? I shudder to think.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Put the seat up - short story

I am sick to death of politics, George W. Bush, Dick the Slimy, Rumsfeld, Rice, and the whole damned lot of them. I will never be content until these war criminals are
in jail - or worse.

No, it has nothing to do with the difference between men and women. It has to do with the cats. They drink out of the toilet bowl. They have fresh water every day. And there is plenty of water outside in the pond. They prefer the toilet. The cats belong to my son, Julian, now seven. Inspired by Eliot's "The Naming of Cats," which his mother read to him at an early age, he dutifully named them "Boo Oboe Tramp" and "Gray Gris Cuddly." Fortunately, we refer to them simply as Boo and Gray.
Personally, I'm ambivalent about the cats. They are graceful and sometimes amusing, especially when young. But I like the birds and the squirrels too, and even the little field mice. The cats kill them. They're not hungry. They get plenty of cat food. They kill for the fun of it. They not only kill, they torture, tormenting their poor helpless prey until finally, having satisfied their sadistic pleasure, they dispatch the exhausted, and brutalized creatures to their respective happy hunting grounds. Their only thought (if indeed they can be said to have thoughts at all) seems to be: if it moves, kill it. I can't get rid of them. They belong to Julian. He loves them. He admits to being concerned about their homicidal behavior, and he agrees that the birds are nice. But he continues to want more cats.
"No more cats!" I insist. "Not now, not ever. When something happens to Boo and Gray, that's it. We're not getting more cats. Definitely not. No. That's final. I don't want to hear any more about it."
My son looks at me. He starts to speak but then says nothing, just looks and goes to his room. I love him.
Boo is a long-haired totally black cat. A Halloween cat. Halloween is Julian's favorite event. We lock Boo in on Halloween night. He is basically anti-social. Stand-offish. Independent. He does allow Julian to pick him up and carry him and, much to my fear and surprise, doesn't scratch his eyes out. Mostly he stays pretty much to himself. Being long-haired and not very clean he throws up hair balls. Lots of hair balls.
Gray Gris Cuddly is quite the opposite of Boo. Rescued from the pound at considerable expense, he was so tiny he fit on my hand. He has grown into a sleek, short-haired, quite elegant all gray hunter. He seems to think he's a dog. He adores Julian. Follows him everywhere. To the mailbox. Into the woods. Even out to play football. Sleeps on his bed every night. Comes obediently when Julian calls. Looks out the window for him when he's due home from school. He's as friendly as Boo is distant. I don't care. I'm not crazy about the cats. Either of them. They're killers. I look forward to the day they are gone forever. To cat hell, which, if there is any justice, is where I believe all dead cats should go.
Needless to say, when Boo was done in by coyotes, the question arose immediately. "No more cats!" I raged. "Absolutely not! We don't need another cat. No. No. No. Never. Forget it."
"But dada," my son says seriously. "Please. I'll feed it and take good care of it."
"Yeah," I reply sarcastically. "Just like you feed and care for Gray. If it weren't for your mother he'd starve. No more cats!"
They stand shivering at the entrance to the grocery store. A shabbily dressed brother and sister. They have kittens in a cardboard box. Five of them. "Would you like a kitten? They're really cute kittens." Before I can stop them they hand one to my son. A tiny purring calico bundle of fur. Julian says nothing. He holds the tiny critter to his face. There is so much love in his big brown eyes...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Eschew obfuscation

What is one to make of Voinavitch's behavior with respect to the Bolton nomination? He obviously doesn't think he's the right person for the job and, indeed, thinks that had Bolton been working the in private sector he would have been fired. So why didn't he just vote against him and end the whole charade? Apparently Voinovich wants his cake and to eat it too. This is the wrong guy for the job but I mustn't go too far, Cheney may spankee. Chafee, of course, not wanting to offend Emperor Cheney voted in favor just as we have known all along that he would. Will Bolton get a positive vote in the Senate? Will Larry Flynt intervene and raise questions so embarrassing Bolton will have to withdraw? Stay tuned.

Not content with having control of the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the major media, the far right nitwits are determined to also control the judiciary, and may well succeed. But they're not content even with that, they also want to control Public Broadcasting. Having tried for years to get rid of PBS entirely, and failed, they have now decided to try to control its programming. Tomlinson, head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting insists that PBS is biased toward liberals and therefore should be balanced by more conservative commentators (like that absolute moron, Tucker Carlson). When will people wake up to the fact that the right wing has become nothing less than a cancer on the body politic? They are trying to overcome everything in their path, screw the constitution, fair play, tradition, whatever. They seek absolute power. This has simply got to come to an end, they have to be stopped before they succeed entirely in their mission to turn the clock back to the Middle Ages. They want to debate evolution versus intelligent creation. What is to debate? Of course evolution is "only a theory," just as intelligent creation is just a fantasy. They obviously have no understanding of what a theory actually consists of and presume to substitute fairy tales in its place. Of course no reputable scientist is going to be sucked into such a "debate." Why are these cretins not simply laughed out of existence? As far as I am concerned, if you believe in the literal truth of the bible, and believe science is not better than myth, you should not be allowed to vote. The consequences are far too dangerous.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

More flotsam and jetsam

Isn't it interesting that four years after the Cheney energy meetings, after the American public has more or less forgotten about it (actually they probably forgot about it in a week or two, such is the attention span of the American public), a Republican court decided that the American public has no right to know how their energy plans are made, or by whom (in this case that paragon of disinterested consultants, Enron). And isn't it also interesting that the House and Senate have just passed an energy bill that gives eight and one half billion dollars in incentives to the energy industry and does virtually nothing at all to solve the energy crisis? And it's not as if the energy companies are not already swamped with money they don't know what to do with, given that their profits have increased recently by somewhere in the vicinity of forty percent. And isn't it even more interesting that Dick the Slimy (arguably the most evil person on earth) was the head of Halliburton before he declared himself Vice President? And even more interesting he claims he had nothing to do with it and has no connection with the company even though he continues to get money from them. Ah, politics. Halliburton was just given 72 million dollars in bonuses! I guess they get a bonus for already getting somewhere in the vicinity of eight and a half billion dollars for work in Iraq.

Did no one ever tell Lincoln Chafee about the facts of life? He is supposed to be a Senator. A Senator is supposed to advise and consent to Presidential nominations. That's ADVISE and consent, not just consent. Chafee, spineless wonder that he is, says he will vote for Bolton because "the President should get what he wants." If that is the case why does the Senate have anything to do with it? Why doesn't the President just appoint whoever he wants without bothering about the Senate? Because that would be dictatorial and would violate the notion of checks and balances. Of course after Chafee votes for Bolton because that's who the President wants (no matter how outrageous a choice it is) it will mean that the President can in fact appoint whoever he wants and the Senate can go bay at the moon. The vote is tomorrow and we will know how much control Cheney has over our country. If all 10 Republicans vote for Bolton in spite of all the opposition and public opinion against him, it will be clear that Republicans are looking out for their kneecaps and careers and not for the American public. But I guess that isn't too surprising. Can you even imagine that Chafee or Voinavich or Hagel might actually act honorably instead of according to party loyalty? Stay tuned.

By the way, things are going really well in Iraq. And also in Afghanistan, Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Haiti and elsewhere. In fact, things are going just swimmingly all over the globe, thanks to the fantastic diplomacy of the Bush/Cheney Administration. Be of good cheer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Defense Budget

I have recently seen that the United States budget for defense is going to either reach or exceed the total of all other such budgets on the planet. Think of that! Apparently we are concerned about invaders from outer space who are going to attack simultaneously by air, ground, and water. Please tell me just which country on earth is poised to attack the United States? Russia? Korea? Iran? Poland? Luxembourg? Perhaps Lichtenstein? Obviously no country on earth would be foolish enough to attack us. The very idea is absurd. We already have enough nuclear bombs and whatever to instantaneously destroy any country who attempted such a thing. So why do we need such a overwhelming deterrent? Obviously we don't. With merely one tenth of what we already possess we could easily defend ourselves and totally destroy anyone who attempted to seriously attack us. But no one is going to attack us in such a way as to require such a massive display of military superiority. In fact, we are spending ourselves into oblivion to keep us safe from guys with backpacks and suitcases and their superweapon, the automobile. This is the absolute heighth of absurdity.

Of course the Pentagon/Military budget has little or nothing to do with our actual defense needs. Ike may have been "gazing down the fairways of indifference," but he certainly predicted the problem and warned us what might happen. And it has happened. We are firmly in the clutches of the Miliary/Industrial complex. All this money that could be spent on improving our infrastructure, schools, health care, social security, etc., is simply being turned over to corporations manufacturing millions of tons of essentially obsolute military hardware and equipment - tanks, humvees, faulty armor, and what have you. While I am certainly no expert on such matters I believe our defense budget could be reduced by 75% and we would continue to be just as safe as we are right now.

Of course there is the argument for an American Empire. We have to maintain a military presence everywhere in the world, especialy if it has anything to do with oil. We must be the policemen of the world. As the only superpower it is our obligation to see to it that everyone conforms to what we desire. But here, again, we will be forever up against those little guys with the suitcases and cars and explosives that will never allow us to bring peace on earth. Oh, vile terrorists, leave us be. Let us control your country and beliefs (as well as your resources) as we see fit. We know best. You are either with us or against us. Apparently, most against us. Heathen towel-headed gooks and ungrateful non-Christians, how can you not see the truth? My country right or wrong. Remember the Alamo. Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition. Impeach the judges. Kill the liberals. Build more bombs. More bombs. More bombs. Oh, yea, napalm, that's even better. Bunker busters. Robot soldiers. Kill. Torture. Burn. Rape. Let's go guys. It's our way or the highway. Makes you right proud to be an Amurican. Let's go nucular.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Women and ice cream - essay

I don't wish to add more fuel to the sexist fires that are currently ravaging the country, but it seems clear to me that women have a much different attitude towards, and therefore relationship to, ice cream. It's not that men don't eat ice cream, it's that they are not obsessed with it, they don't talk about it, ooh and aah over it, dwell on it, drool over it, study it, savor its nuances, learn its more complicated terminology, stuff like that. I've never known a woman of any age who didn't like ice cream, or at least claim to like it. Older women are usually somewhat more dignified in their approach to it than younger, but young or old they simply cannot pass an ice cream store without both noticing and commenting on it, if not actually imbibing. It's as if they rediscover how good ice cream is each time, like they only had it once before in their life and it was their single most memorable experience; even women who could easily have ice cream every day of their life if they wished. Here, I think, is the crux of the matter: women are apparently taught to believe that ice cream is just a little bit sinful (obviously because they associate it with getting fat) and thus, because it is forbidden, they are enchanted by it. "Oh, ice cream!" they gush, "isn't it wonderful! But I can't have any." They especially add this latter as if to reassure themselves that they are not actually on their way to the counter with their purse in their hands. Then, once having made their selection, usually the most unlikely two scoop combination you can imagine, like tutti frutti and mint chocolate or licorice and pecan crunch or something equally as horrible, they then wave it around and extoll its virtues, "Isn't it delicious! Oh, heavenly! How wonderful! Oh you must taste it!" as they thrust it at their male friends, apparently oblivious to the fact that men actually find this revolting.
Now I submit that men do not act like this. If a man, or even a boy, wants ice cream he simply goes quietly to the counter and buys it. No fussing about it, no dramatics or histrionics, just a simple commercial transaction. And men don't go in for the esoteric flavors or the unlikely combinations either - just vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. Indeed, most men I'll wager are totally unaware that there are 87 flavors, and they certainly wouldn't know the names of all of them. It's possible that very small boys might become temporarily fascinated by all these fine points, and they might even carry on a bit about it, but if they do it is soon socialized out of them. It's just not manly to carry on about such things and, of course, for men, ice cream isn't real food anyway. People who sell ice cream are aware of this, that's why they always have the tiny little tables and chairs that can only be used by women and children (although a lot of older women, especially the heavier ones, don't look too comfortable on those spindly chairs either). Men are uncomfortable even upon entering these pink and peach and lavender places. It's like entering some old maid's bedroom with your muddy logging boots on. Even so, it's a rare man who doesn't give in to this universal female weakness at least some of the time and spring for their treat. I don't believe men really resent women's qualitatively different relationshp with ice cream, I think they just wish they'd keep quiet about it.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Republican hypocrisy

Although it shouldn't be news by now the Republicans have carried hypocrisy to heights never before even imagined, one of the latest examples has to do with the Mayor of Spokane, Washington. After a three year investigation it has been revealed that Mayor Jim West has been carrying on homosexual "dates" with teen aged boys and might have also been a child molester. Also that he and a former friend recruited from the Boy Scouts and other sources. The latter accusations have not been proven so we must give him the benefit of the doubt on that score. The rest of the accusations seem to be well established. Indeed, the Mayor has apologized for his behavior, but so far refuses to resign. He has apparently been a successful Mayor. Now I am not personally concerned with whether the Mayor of Spokane is gay or not. However, as he has a history of being against homosexuals, same sex marriage, gay pride, and etc., it does seem a bit hypocritical. It also strikes me as more than merely inappropriate that he was using his office for both attracting young "friends" and his trysts. What really ticks me off is his statements to the effect that he always considered his private life to be separate from his political life. His supporters emphasize the same thing. I guess it is fine for Republicans to have private lives but not for Democrats. All I can say is "tell it to Bill Clinton."
Ironically, the only reason these hypocrites have the nerve to make claims for privacy is the fact that Bill Clinton stood up to them and was made most unpleasantly to make the the point. Whatever you might think of Clinton, he had the guts to stand up and win against their disgusting personal attacks and bring the concept of privacy into the American conscience. What might have happened if Republicans had infringed upon John Kennedy's private life?

This kind of hypocrisy pales in comparison to other examples. While claiming to do away with tyranny everywhere and spreading democracy to the Middle East Bush is seen walking hand in hand with one of the most obvious tyrants around. Not only that he is cosy with the leaders of Sudan and places like Uzbekistan where murder, rape, and even boiling people alive are apparently occurring. Tyrants that control oil are apparently quite allright. And oh, yes, Democrats have blocked so far 10 of his appointments for judgeships, out of some 200 plus, and that is totally unprecedented and wrong. The fact that Republicans blocked many, many more of Clinton's sppointees is supposed to be forgotten. Then there is the matter of the filibuster which Republicans claim should not be used to block such appointments, conveniently overlooking the fact that they have done it themselves in the past. When it comes to hypocrisy our current Republicans are the absolute all-time champions. Indeed, this is so transparently the case it would simply be laughable if it was not so serious.
Even this pales into insignificance as we go around the world telling everyone they cannot have nuclear arms while we, ourselves, are armed with them beyond even any imagined necessity. Iran cannot even legally pursue nuclear energy while Bush/Cheney?Rumsfeld are building new generations of nuclear bombs.

I have to believe that the thugs and criminals personally in charge of our country are eventually going to face the consequences of their total greed, dishonesty, and murderous practices, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Where is everyone?

What is going on in our country? Everyone in the world, and in the United States, except apparently for members of the Altogether Loony Churches Association, has to be aware that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice et al are clearly guilty of WAR CRIMES. Members of the House of Representatives, unless they are stupid or uninformed beyond belief have to know this. Members of the Senate also have to be aware of this. There is plenty of evidence, hard evidence, that this is so. So why does nothing happen? Why are members of the House not talking impeachment? Why do leaders of other nations continue to meet with Bush as though he is somehow legitimate? Why have people not taken to the streets in huge numbers to demand justice? Or at least a change of Administrations? I cannot believe the deplorable state my country has fallen into. I cannot believe there are apparently NO honorable politicians in either party. Why do they go on endlessly turning a blind eye (if not a sympathetic one)to scandals being constantly covered up? Why do they not speak out against the litany of lies that emanate from the Bush/Cheney Administration?

Is my memory so bad that I cannot remember what actually happened in the last four years? Was it not the case that the Supreme Court, considering the controversy of Cheney's secret energy meetings, returned the matter of the lower court for a decision? And did the whole matter subsequently just disappear? Do you remember hearing anything more about it? Did they in fact act on it? As far as I know they did not. Why not?

What about the Plame case? What about Gannon/Guckert? What about the 9/11 questions? What about Sibel Edmonds? What about the Bush/Blair conspiracy to attack Iraq and manufacture false reasons for doing so? What about Falluja? Torture? The permanent U.S. bases being built in Iraq against their wishes? What about the de facto civil war raging in that unfortunate country, in which U.S. troops are playing a part? What about the cost of continuing in Iraq? What about..., What about...,

Has a majority of U.S. citizens simply gone stark, raving mad? How can we stand for this? What is the matter with everyone? Have the Fascists already won? When can we expect our daily ration of black bread and water? All hail your eminence, Lord of all, Master of the Universe, Divine Messenger of God, Masta belong mipela, King of Kings, Emperor of the World, Wisest of the Wise, Conqueror of all, and whatever.

God! What a mess!!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Education and democracy

In order to have and maintain a viable, healthy democracy you must have an informed and well-educated citizenry. At the present time in the United States we have neither. The media have abandoned any pretense of providing news of importance in favor of endless hours of trivial sensationalism about Michael Jackson, runaway brides, Janet Jackson’s breast, and other such vital matters. If you wish to learn anything substantial about important things like the “war” in Iraq, the Gannon/Guckert scandal, the torture and other scandals that are being covered up, the obscene national debt, the failure of 9/11, etc., you have to go to the internet or to foreign news sources. The state of our major media in the United States is shameful. In answer to a viewer’s question, “Why aren’t Iraq truths printed?” an editor on our only major newspaper summed up his rather evasive answer by commenting, “No paper is showing circulation gains covering the war in Iraq.” He meant to imply that newspapers were covering the war in Iraq at great expense even though Americans don’t want to hear about it. In fact, our newspapers are not printing the truth about Iraq. Their sole goal nowadays is to increase circulation, not to provide a public service even though they are supposedly obliged to do so, not to act as watchdogs over our increasingly dishonest politicians, not to act as a “fourth estate,” to perform the functions in society that up until a short time ago they have always provided. They just want to increase circulation and therefore income. And yes, the media are in fact controlled by a very small number of huge corporations that manage the news.

When it comes to education the situation is just as bad and perhaps worse. The only way you can have a healthy democracy is to have a well-educated citizenry. The only way you can have that is to have first-rate public schools. Our current public schools are far from first-rate. Indeed, they are arguably not even second-rate. Nowhere is this more true than in the State of Idaho. Schools are one of the most basic, important, and necessary institutions in any civilized country, probably fundamentally more important even than police and fire protection. As such they should be prized, well-funded, and secure. Under the Idaho system they must in effect beg for funding year after year. If local people refuse to pass levies the schools suffer. Hypothetically you could have schools one year but not the next. Of course this rarely happens. But what does happen is that the very best you can hope for are mediocre schools one year and poorer schools in other years. This is an absolutely absurd situation. I don’t know who originated this scheme in the first place but it is clearly our Republican controlled legislature that has caused it to persist. Perhaps back in the days of one-room schoolhouses, horse-powered farming, cannon ball warfare, and hand cranked telephones, this might have been acceptable. But this is the 21st century! Children have to be prepared to cope in the modern world of technology and rapid culture change. It is becoming increasing obvious that our schools are nowhere near up to this challenge. The U.S. is falling further and further behind other nations such as Japan, China, India and others. The so-called American Century is about to come to a close. But our (Republican) powers that be refuse year after year to adequately fund our schools. One Republican legislator a few years ago even suggested changing the State Constitution so the state would have no responsibility at all for funding schools. More recently they have engaged in endless legal maneuvers to escape responsibility. In the meanwhile the schools continue to deteriorate and the children suffer the sins of thoughtless and short-sighted adults.

The idea of the fundamental and crucial value of Public Schools and universal education to a healthy democracy in the abstract I think cannot be denied. In practice, of course, it is difficult to achieve such a perfect situation. Obviously there are good and bad schools, depending upon the value local people place upon their particular schools and their willingness to reliably fund and support them. If there are bad administrators and teachers or both, which there sometimes are, they should be held accountable by the citizenry. But never forget that you pay for what you get. If you refuse to pay decent salaries or provide proper facilities you obviously won’t get much. Public Schools are an absolutely fundamental institution in American society and as such they should be assured of adequate and reliable funding every year and not have to resort to begging. It is not only the children and the schools that suffer. If a city has mediocre or worse schools, intelligent, ambitious, and creative people are going to avoid them, thus insuring the city will spiral further and further into decline and decay. There is absolutely no way you can argue that poor schools are good enough or an asset to a community. If you can’t afford schools you can’t afford children.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Babble on

There is now incontrovertible evidence that Bush and Blair conspired not only to attack a defenseless Iraq but also to have the intelligence "fixed" to support such an endeavor. A leaked memo in Britain makes this entirely clear. Prior to 9/11 Bush decided to go to "war" against Sadam Hussein and the Intelligence Community went along with the necessity to make a case for it in spite of the obvious problem that the rationale was "thin." Blair was advised of this but went ahead anyway and of course Bush had to have known what was going on. If this is not an impeachable offence I don't know what would be. In England this is front page news and people are outraged. What have you seen about it in the Major American Media? Nothing, that's what. It's like it's just an English problem. Make no mistake, the media in the United States is in the hands of our corporate masters, and they are not about to fulfill what should be their democratic and nonpartisan duty. A viable and healthy democracy demands an informed public. We absolutely no longer have one.

Similarly, what have you seen in the Media about the Gannon/Guckert scandal? What do you think would have happened if a known prostitute (in this case a male), pretending to be a Reporter, was admitted to the Clinton White House 200 times, 39 of those times when there was not even a Press Conference scheduled? There would have been screaming headlines for days on end, non stop investigations, speculations, opinions, criticisms, and what have you. But what do we see in the Media? Nothing. This is potentially a scandal that makes Monicagate look like a non-event. But again, the Corporate media is silent.

In the meanwhile Rove has apparently instructed the moron-in-charge to babble on about Social Security, and keep on babbling, while they manage to pass the gift to banks and credit card companies, the gift to the Oil Companies legislation, the gift to the logging industry legislation, the slashing Medicare and Medicaid legislation, the cutting the food stamps legislation, the screw the veterans legislation, and etc. This is really a fine bunch of absolute crooks and thugs. Make sure we keep on worrying about a fixable problem 35 years from now so we don't concern ourselves with the more immediate problems like health care, the obscene national debt, the shaky economy, unemployment, outsourcing American jobs, the pending environmental disasters, global warming, the disaster they have created in Iraq, and more and more and more. This is the most evil, incompetent, greedy, short-sighted, and utterly disgusting Administration in American history.

Unless something happens soon to stop them the best you can hope for is the Rapture. Oh, happy days!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Love the fetus, neglect the child

Love the fetus, neglect the child seems to be the Republican motto for the State of Idaho. Being the most Republican state in the union, totally controlled by Republicans for quite a long time, Idaho is almost pathologically anti-abortion. At the same time many, many children in Idaho lack any kind of health insurance. There is a significant amount of child abuse about which little is being done. The schools are sadly neglected and the Republicans for years have refused to do anything of significance about it. Indeed, they have done just about everything they could to prevent any positive action at all with respect to the schools. At one point one Republican legislator even suggested changing the Idaho Constitution so the state would have no responsibility for education. I guess when it was discovered that that would be unconstitutional he gave up on it. Another ploy they tried was to reverse the obligation of the state by trying to force the small communities themselves to be entirely responsible for financing the schools or face sanctions. It really is a marvelous state, if you only admire its physical beauty. Politically it is a genuine disaster zone. If you want to observe the damage that can be done by an exclusively Republican Administration come to Idaho.

The media are still raving about how funny the first lady, "Pickles," is and how she upstaged her husband with her obviously scripted remarks. But many now complain, and I think rightly so, that some of the remarks were extremely tasteless. The image of the President trying to milk a male horse is not exactly the most wholesome vision one might have. I gather that even some of the members of the Churches of the Absolutely Bonkers were not too pleased. Hurrah!

Nothing has changed for the better in the last few days. Indeed, if anything, things have probably gotten worse - with Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, the environment, you name it. We wait with baited breath to see what happens with Bolton, DeLay, the nuclear option, Iran, North Korea, etc., etc. Bush's ratings continue to plummet. Just wait until he tries to invade either Syria or Iran, and tries to institute a draft. If the entire nation doesn't erupt in rage I shall be most surprised. When will this gang of dishonest cutthroats have to pay for their crimes?

Monday, May 02, 2005

TV News

I think I have finally reached the point where I can no longer stomach TV News, especially CNN. I have tried to watch Anderson Cooper for a while but his program has grown into just another infomercial piece of crap. When offering his program for this evening, for example, he said he would talk about this stupid woman who got cold feet about her impending marriage. As if we haven't already heard endlessly from CNN about it. Then he was going to showcase the clever Laura Bush giving her obviously scripted comments about the idiocy of her husband. When she repeated on the news ad nauseam, "If you're going to defeat tyranny you'll have to stay up later than 9:00 p.m." I literally thought I might gag. I simply cannot see that as funny. It's just too true. Not that he is going to do anything about tyranny anyway, other than support it, if it has to do with oil.

The situation in Iraq grows worse day by day. The number of terrorist attacks keeps growing and the attacks are more and more sophisticated. But we are still being told by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice, et al that we are winning. It is perfectly obvious that no one can "win" a war on terror, just as it is obvious that we are not "winning" in Iraq or Afghanistan. But just keep telling us over and over that we are and gullible Americans will continue to support this obviously illegal, immoral and unconstitutional totally unnecessary disaster they want to call a "war." After all, real Presidents have to be wartime Presidents. This whole business is sick beyond belief and has been from the very beginning.

What is involved here are war crimes of absolutely enormous proportions. Bush/Cheney and the others have the blood of hundreds of thousands on their hands. Are they going to walk away free from responsibility? Sadly, they may.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Where to now?

It does appear that some major cracks are beginning to appear in the current Administration. But where might they lead? If the Bolton nomination can be scrapped and that obviously wrong choice thwarted it would go a long way to finally holding Bush/Cheney accountable - at least for something. And better yet by far, if DeLay can be brought down (and who could be more deserving), it might well indicate the beginning of the end of the dark days.

But let us not try to count our chickens before they hatch and all that. The American public seems to persist in their collective idiocy. How anyone could possibly continue to support Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/et all is absolutely mind-boggling. They have lied and failed at everything: the "war," the economy, the environment, the national debt, international relations, you name it. And yet, somehow, there are U.S. citizens who still stand by them. It is inconceivable and yet it appears to be so. Of course it seems to be the case that Bush's poll ratings are at an unprecedented low for a second term president, and ratings for our Congress and Senate are even worse. But so far that has not been converted into any actual action - like impeachment, for example, long overdue. The enormity of their crimes seems to be so unbelievable that no one is willing to deal with it. We just go on as if business is as usual, in spite of the dismal failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, the torture, the lies, the secrecy, the impending governmental bankruptcy, the cover-ups, the refusal to admit any responsibility for anything, and on and on. What on earth is the matter with everyone? None of this will stop I guess until people are so bad off they are forced, once again, to take to the streets. It's truly deja vue all over again.