Friday, June 30, 2006

No excuse

There is no excuse for what the Israelis are doing in Gaza. It's not enough that they arrogantly arrested 64 Palestinian lawmakers, they also destroyed the only power plant in Gaza. This will mean a true humanitarian crisis in which all Palestinians in Gaza, including innocent women and children, will suffer. This is not a question of an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, it's a blatant criminal attack on basically helpless people. You take one of us hostage, we'll totally destroy you (and you won't be able to do anything about it). It's only because Israel has such an overwhelming military establishment compared with the Palestians that they can dare do something as terrible as what they are doing. This is not really about rescuing one hostage, it's about destroying the Palestinians and making sure there will never be a viable Palestinian state (which Israel is desperate to prevent at all costs). This is nothing more than sadistic bullying by a nation that knows no one can retaliate in kind. And, of course, the Israelis have learned over the years that if they just ignore world opinion nothing will be done about it. The U.S. is the only nation that could actually do something meaningful to stop this horrible mess but they can't, or won't, because they are complicit in it.

On a more local scene it appears that Hillary is coming to Idaho, Sun Valley I think. Hillary, as you know, is running to retain her Senate seat in New York (which is apparently a foregone conclusion). Now if what she is running for is the Senate from New York why is she coming to Idaho, of all places? Obviously this trip has nothing to do with the Senate and everything to do with 2008. Most of the money in Idaho that could possibly go to Hillary would have to come from Sun Valley which is hardly populated by local yokels who are more likely to give their money to some nutcase like Rick (beastiality) Santorum or John (mad dog) McCain. Whatever money is available in Idaho for Democrats would be far better spent on local candidates like Grant and Brady.

On to more important matters. It seems that some archeologists (I think they are not actually credentialed) think they have found the remains of Noah's Ark in the Middle East. They belong to some religious group. Obviously, because to claim to have found remnants of Noah's Ark you have to believe there was a Noah's Ark. And to believe there was a Noah's Ark you have to believe in a scenario so far-fetched as to boggle the mind (what, you don't believe that a couple of thousand years ago some guy built a ship large enough to hold a pair of every species on earth?). Oh, you foolish nonbelievers. We need more guys like this in the Senate to balance out the liberals that are ruining our country. You know, the few that still believe in science, evolution, and global warming, instead of fairy tales and intelligent design.

Don't give up yet, don't "cut and run," just stay the course and die for greed and oil. Oh, I forgot, we were told oil has nothing to do with it. Silly me.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Nothing too absurd

I guess there is just nothing too absurd for the Republican party to countenance. Consider the situation in Ohio (remember Ohio, where the last election was blatantly stolen in a variety of ways). Now the very person who was responsible for the theft, Blackwell, is running for Governor. He is already coming up with creative ways to keep minorities from voting. But what is totally absurd is he is still in charge of voting in Ohio, and thus in charge of counting his own votes. Why is this being allowed? Don't ask me. It is utterly absurd and yet so far nothing has been done about it. Of course Republicans won't do anything, they obviously believe this is the way politics works in America.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Bush's plan to try Guantanamo inmates with Military Commissions violates not only the Constitution, but also international law. Bush, undaunted, came through with "people got to understand that I understand we're in a war on terror..." I'm glad he cleared that up. He's on his way to Congress to see if they will let him get away with it. Interesting that he has bypassed Congress on everything else and tried to completely usurp their power and now he wants to do the same thing with their help to the Supreme Court. He wants his way and to hell with law, the constitution, or anything else. We are so blessed to have such a strong "war" president telling us what we "got to understand."

On Democracy Now there was a debate (of sorts) between a spokesman for Israel and a spokesman for the Palestinians. It was the most depressing thing I ever witnessed. It is clear there is no getting through to the Israelis. They are apparently so contemptuous of Palestinians, international law, the UN, and public opinion they continue their genocidal ways no matter what. Their recent complete overreaction to a Palestinian attack indicates they lack any even rudimentary perception of reality. Israel apparently holds 9000 Palestinains as captives (hostages?), while the Palestinians have one (1). But as one of their former leaders said, "one thousand Palestinians are not worth one Israeli fingernail" (that may not be precise but it's close). I no longer believe there is any hope whatsoever for peace in the Middle East. I believe the Israelis are far more at fault than anyone else and I am tired of their constant claims they just have to protect themselves from Palestinian terrorists. They are far worse terrorists than anyone else in the Middle East (and all with the uncritical support of the U.S.) The result of continuing Israeli military superiority and behavior can only mean doom for the Palestinians. The best they can hope for are some scattered ghettos and unremitting poverty and despair.I sincerely wish I could see this differently, but I can't.

The Mexican election will come up in two or three days. If I could vote I would certainly vote for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He has all the right ideas about how to help the Mexican people rid themselves of complete corporate control, NAFTA, and etc.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Amnesty for pickpockets?

The current Iraqi government, even though pretty much handpicked by the U.S., did manage to come up with a plan for reconciliation by offering amnesty to those who had fought patriotically for their country. This would have included individuals who had fought against (and presumbly killed) American troops as well as Iraqis. It also called for a timeline for American troops to withdraw.

Shortly after Bush's sneak five hour visit to Bagdad the Iraqi proposal was modified. Guess how. No timeline was to be included and no amnesty for individuals who had fought against the occupation. The result of this is pretty clear. Any Iraqi who might have been offered meaningful amnesty and therefore changed from a previous combatant into a regular Iraqi citizen will not request amnesty (why should they). The only people left who might qualify are pickpockets and other petty criminals. Brilliant. The absence of a timeline leaves us where we were in the first place - nowhere. If anyone actually believed the Iraqi government was not a puppet whose strings are controlled by Washington this should certainly make it clear. It also makes clear, as near as I can see, that Bush/Cheney have no intention of ever withdrawing American troops from that unfortunate country.

There is a battle going on between the State Department and the Defense Department over whether or not to eliminate the phrase "humiliating and degrading treatment" in the new manual. Guess who doesn't want it eliminate. The Department of Cheney/Rumsfeld (aka Dept. of Defense), of course. I guess once you authorize something like torture it's hard to give it up. The word "sadists" come easily to mind.

The Israelis continue to colonize Palestinian territory by force of arms. There is no hope of peace in Israel or Palestine until the illegal occupation is abandoned. And there seems to be no hope, even after all these years, that the Israelis will change course. They want Palestinian land and water, and they obviously want this more than they want peace. As long as they have overwhelming military force, they can continue down the road of apartheid (with the help of the U.S., of course).

How sad it is there is so much hatred and killing going on around the world. Doesn't bother Republicans sitting in their air conditioned offices, giving themselves raises, and discussing the more important issues facing us, like flag burning, gay marriage, and abortion. Now they have started in again on the words "under god."

If there really was a god he/she/it would have disowned these evil bastards long ago.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Brain dead, stupid, or evil?

It appears that the constitutional amendment to ban flag burning was defeated by a single vote in the Senate. Frightening. What does it mean? Either a near majority of our Senators are brain dead, or, failing that, stupid beyond belief, or, perhaps just plain evil. Unless they are completely sutpid they would have to know that flag burning is not an important issue given the enormous problems that now confront our nation. So if they voted simply to distract attention from the real problems, they are just plain evil. And they must have done this because it is quite clear that (1) flag burning is not an issue (there were perhaps two, maybe four incidents of flag burning in the past year, and (2) there is very little chance that most states would even consider such a ridiculous proposal, and (3) it would take many years for enough states to ratify it to make it even worth the effort. The Senate, with its Republican majority, is just as bonkers as the rest of the administration.

One bright spot. Democrats have vowed to block the House's annual pay raise ($31,000 dollars per each in the last nine years) until the minimum wage is raised. Can you even believe the arrogance and stupidity of House members awarding themselves still another pay raise while refusing to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour? These people should not merely be voted out of office, they should be made to work for $5.15 per hour until they wake up.

Legal experts testified today before a Senate Committee that Bush's "signing statements" are unconstitutional and impeachable. So ha, ha, think anyone will do anything about it? There is now incontroverable evidence that Bush/Cheney tried (and pretty much succeeded) in cooking the intelligence which allowed them to sell their illegal, unconstitutional "war" to a gullible public and Congress. It is also pretty much certain they are guilty of treason (the Plame affair), and probably even worse violations of law and the constitution. Ho hum. Who cares? Our nation has gone mad. It's all Bill Clinton's fault. If only he'd been found guilty of fraudulant land deals none of this would have happened. Think we'll spend millions looking into Hastert's bonanza? When pigs fly. Actually, come to think of it, when you put enough lipstick on a pig it becomes a missile defense billion dollar boondoggle. Oh, well, a billion here, a billion there, it's only play money for Republicans.

Monday, June 26, 2006

How more outrageous can they get?

Anyone remember the Plame affair?

Well, let's see. The Bush/Cheney bunch caught once again ignoring the laws by secretly monitoring International banking. They are furious that the media revealed this. They don't like their lawbreaking to be leaked. The Republican response when Bush/Cheney are caught flagrantly breaking the law? Change the law.

The House, having passed a flag burning constitutional amendment for the nth time, is hoping the Senate will do likewise this time. Apparently they believe they are within one vote of succeeding. It's really good that this vital issue is moving along. We wouldn't want Iraq, Afghanistan, the national debt, wages, health care, oil prices, or the environment to interfere when we're onto something really big (I think there may have been two instances of flag burning in the past year.

Then there is the issue of the minimum wage that has not been raised for nine years, the same amount of years the House has given itself an annual raise. They are also succeeding in changing the estate tax so fewer obscenely wealthy people will have to pay it.

It is now estimated by the Bagdad morgues that at least 50,000 Iraqis have been killed in Bush' "war." Other estimates put it at more than 100,000. Oh, well, what's a few thousands of innocents here and there? They're just "towel heads" anyway. The 50,000 estimate is at least 20,000 more than Bush has mentioned. But who's counting?

It turns out that for a $100,000 investment in Grover what's-his-name's money laundering scheme you could get a face-to-face meeting with King George. And some did. Of course Grover skimmed some off the top. This was just one of the schemes that our friend Abramoff was involved in. Republicans really know how things work in Washington.

Alberto the clown is making a really big deal of arresting seven "terrorists" in Miami. These guys were talking about bombing the Sears tower and I guess other potential targets. They had no money, no explosives, no contacts with terrorists, and may not even have known where the Sears tower was. But they were being helped by the FBI agent who was on to them. They had no boots. He bought them boots. They had no camera to film potaential targets. He gave them a camera. The local joke is they must have been preparing to kick down the Sears tower.

At the very moment that Dick the Slimy said the worst thing we could do to redeploy our troops General Casey was hatching a plan to do just that. So while the Repubicans were denigrating Democrats for wanting to "cut and run" that is exactly what they were planning. No lying and cheating is above them.

Immigration reform. The House insists we need a countrywide series of meetings to discuss this issue. And we need it now. Otherwise they might have to do something about it. What they want to do about it is simple. Declare eleven or more million Hispanics felons, lock them up and deport them. Realistic, no? One Republican has an even better idea. Put them all in "camps" and force them to build a wall along the southern border. Forced labor anyone? Republicans are so creative (and also compassionate).

The Voter's Rights Act was scheduled to be renewed but some southern Repulicans objected, saying that it was no longer needed and they shouldn't have to print Spanish language ballots (too expensive after spending a few hundred billion on Iraq). What they really are up to is scheming to prevent Blacks and Hispanics from voting. Clever, these Republicans.

Finally, although one could easily find more examples of their outrageous behavior, we have Santorum rushing back to announce that WMD's really do exist in Iraq. They found stuff that had been used for making cannonballs back in the 18th century and insist this is evidence that Bush/Cheney were right all along. It seems pretty clear that when brains were passed out Santorum was hiding behind the door. Maybe, just maybe, this idiot will actually be defeated in the coming election. Could we be so lucky?

Rest comfortably knowing that you are in the good hands of the Republican Party.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


According to my Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, News is: 1. A report of recent events 2 a: material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast b: matter that is newsworthy.

By these definitions I guess you could claim that CNN meets the first two. But the first two are trivial compared with b. I used to watch CNN pretty faithfully. I no longer watch it at all, unless I want a quick look at how the market is faring. I don't watch it because it doesn't meet the definition of "matter that is newsworthy." I guess the idea of a 24/7 news channel might have been a good idea. It might still be if it, indeed, traded in news that is newsworthy. And if they didn't take news in the sense of a report on recent events rather than news that is newsworthy. What is newsworthy about another car chase in Los Angeles? They have car chases in Los Angeles virtually every day. But when CNN focusing on one you can be sure they will spend the greater part of the day on it. And when there is a story that is somehow newsworthy, like the phony terrorist plot in Miami, they not only tell you about it, and tell you that it didn't amount to much, but then tell you more and more about it until you want to scream for mercy. Okay, there were these seven nutcases in Miami who talked about blowing up the Sears tower, but they had no money, no explosives, no contact with terrorists, no way of possibly doing anything, but we have to listen to detail after detail after detail about something that didn't even happen, couldn't happen, and was basically nonsense.

Then we have the endless news about a disappearing white girl. I think announcing that a white girl disappeared is news. But does it deserve days and days of attention? I'm sure that more than one white girl disappears fairly regularly, and there is no doubt in my mind that black girls do also. But these routine disappearances are not even announced let alone obsessed on for days on end.

Now we have Anderson Cooper, in prime time, conducting a two hour interview with a woman who just had a baby (apparently an absolutely unique event, not only in general, but also in Hollywood). This at the same time there is a pitched battle taking place right outside the Green Zone in Iraq, about which they say nothing, or certainly next to nothing. True to their Republican owners they tell us about the horrors of gay marriage, flag burning, and abortion, but nothing about the disaster that is Iraq, Afghanistan, the national debt, our completely dysfunctional medical system, the stolen elections, and so on. And if and when they do mention some of these problems it is always uncritically biased toward the administration.

As far as news is concerned, CNN, and the other major networks are hopeless. They might as well not exist. In fact, we'd be better off if they didn't exist. Once when I was living on the Big Island I tuned in the local news every morning. The news usually took the form of Mrs. Ikeda's son ran over one of Mrs. Wong's chickens, or some otherwise notable event. I was surprised one morning when the announcer simply said, "there is no news today." That's exactly the way I feel about the MSM at the moment. They are an absolute disgrace, engaged in the same criminal enterprise the Republican party is engaged in. They are no more news organizations than Bush's fake ranch is anything other than an old pig farm.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dying conversations

As everything in the world seems to be shut down for the weekend as usual, at least so the MSM seems to be indicating (nothing happening in Iraq, or Afghanistan), consider the following conversation between us elderly ones:

"Hello. You must have read my mind. I've been going to call you. So howzitgoing?"

"Well, we're still alive, still here."

"You're okay? How's your wife. I heard from someone she was in the hospital."

"Yeah. She was for a couple of days. High blood pressure. But they got it under control now. She's a diabetic, you know. But now she falls out of bed. It's so bad we had to push the bed right up against the wall. It's weird, but she does it all the time."

"That is weird. But how about you? You okay?"

"Well, I guess so. Of course I have this spastic colon. And arthritis. In my back. It's a real pain in the butt."

"Sorry to hear it. But everyone our age has arthritis. I have it in my back, too. And sometimes in my hands. So, what else is wrong?"

"Well, my dog has cancer. He's old. Had him for twenty years. But he won't last much longer. Poor thing, he's obviously in pain. Guess I'll have to have him put down. My swimming pool has a big crack in it. It'll cost thousands to fix. And we don't even use the dman thing now that the kids are gone. Probably cost even more to take it out. Air conditioning is out, too. You can't live here without it. Don't know how much that will be. Always something."

"Yeah, that happens. We lost one of our cats that way. My son's cat. He was really upset. There's nothin' you can do about it. Cats and dogs get old just like we do. Apropro of nothing, you ever hear from Larry?"

"Not for a long time. But his wife sent us an email. His Parkinson's is so bad he's now in a nursing home, and probably will be until the end."

"God, that's terrible. Remember when we stayed up all night arguing with him about purse snatching? He argued vehemently there was no economic motive for it, it was really a symbolic attack on the female genitals. Did he ever give up that Freudian bullshit?"

"Oh yeah. I remember. I think he might have given it up. What about John? You ever hear from him?"

"Where you been? He died two years ago. Lung cancer. He didn't even smoke."

"I didn't hear. God, that's a bummer. What about Vivian? Remember her, the "Fair Vivian? She was a real doll. Whatever happened to her?"

"She had breast cancer several years ago. They operated and removed both breasts. But then she had a relapse and passed away."

"That's terrible. What about Wally, remember him?"

"Of course. He had a triple bypass and went into one of those assisted living places. He calls it the Penultimate Arms. Guess he still has a sense of humor."

"Jeez, everyone is going. Pretty soon you and I will be the only ones left."

"Yeah. But I'm really glad you called. Nice talking to you. Let's talk again soon."

"Sure. Bye."

Sighareeni!!! "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Go figure

I guess the House of Representatives and the Senate are determined to provoke a full scale revolution in the United States. How else can you explain their failure to raise the minimum wage? Notice that $5.15 per hour, in today's buying power, means working people have less money than they had 40 years ago. Also notice that the House has given itself a raise every year for nine (9) years. I think that is right. Also notice that they are chipping away at the estate tax. Unable to do away with it entirely they have changed it so that fewer and fewer people will be required to pay it. Of course they use the same rationale they have used for years - businesses can't afford to raise wages as they would go out of business. This is known to be blatantly false but they cling to it year after year. As working people actually begin to starve I wonder what will come of this. A people's march on the White House? Massive strikes? Revolution? They are certainly asking for it.

Money. That seems to be what it is all about. In elections, that is. We seem to be obsessed with how much money candidates have raised, the implication being that if one side has more money than the other they will win. As the Republicans generally speaking raise much more money than Democrats everyone seems to think that gives them a great advantage (as they can outspend their rivals on TV and other ads, etc.). Now if this is really true I suggest we just do away with elections entirely. Let whoever raises the most money win. It would be a lot simpler and actually cost a lot less. Unfair, you say. So how fair have our elections been lately? Republicans would always win because they can raise more money. Republicans always win of late anyway. Of course we'd have to have a system, and enforce it rigorously, in which only individuals could donate, and each one could only donate a specific amount. With such a system it would become obvious who should win before an election even took place. Simple, no? Oh well, just another stupid Morialekafa idea.

You must have seen the coal ads that have been running for a while. You know, the ones that use kids to tout the coal industry - we have enough for 250 years, coal is clean, etc. At first I was upset over the use of children for such ads as I felt children couldn't possibly understand the truth or falsity of what they were being paid to say. But then reality set in and I realized that adults who make their living doing ads don't know what they are talking about either. I guess it's never too young to start whoring. Is this a great country or what?

Things are going so well in Iraq they have just declared an emergency and shut down Bagdad. It seems the insurgents have actually started a major attack just north of the green zone. Some think it is only a matter of time before they attack the green zone itself. Let's hear it for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld!

Now we really have to worry about home grown terrorists. They just arrested seven mental midgets in Florida who were apparently talking about bombing the Sears tower. Of course they had no bombs, no materials to make bombs, no expertise, no actual plan as to how to do this, and so on. This didn't keep Alberto the Creep from making it into a really big deal, nor did it keep CNN from featuring it endlessly. You want my advice (I didn't really think so), don't talk at all. Better yet, don't even think. Just accept your $5.15 per hour and be happy you don't live in Mexico. This really is a great country. Or at least it used to be.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

First Lt. Watada

Lt. Watada is the first officer to refuse to participate in the "war" in Iraq. His position is quite clear. The "war" is illegal, and as he is sworn to uphold the constitution he is obliged to refuse to serve. This is potentially a truly monumental case. It is true that the "war" is illegal (as well as unconstitutional, immoral, and unnecessary). And as far as I know army personnel are instructed to not obey orders that are illegal. So, if Watada is doing the right thing, what can they do to him? Who is going to determine whether the "war" is legal or not? The Supreme Court? We know how they will decide. But how can they declare it legal when it so obviously is not? This could be interesting, even fascinating, except they will probably just hush it up and send poor Watada to Guantanamo (or Poland, or Romania, or who knows where).

Nicholas von Hoffman has a truly interesting piece in The Nation about the 104 acre embassy we are building in Iraq, "Bush's Bagdad Palace." Having spent more than half a billion dollars constructing this monstrosity, which will apparently house 8000 people completely independent of the rest of Iraq, they are not going to easily give it up (unless, of course, they generously will it to the Iraqis for the 2050 Olympics). As I said repeatedly, Bush/Cheney have no intention whatsoever of leaving Iraq. They are going to keep troops there and attempt to control Middle East affairs for as long as they want (until the oil runs out?). They have done exactly what they set out to do - install a puppet government that will do their bidding, and take over the country. Why anyone, let alone any Senators or Representatives, keep talking about bringing the troops home, is a mysery to me. They must know better. But perhaps not, they seem to be pretty damn stupid about everything else.

Oh, yes, renewing the Voting Rights Act. Blocked by Republicans, they say, because they don't want to have to print bilingual ballots or be supervised by the Feds. Your remember that the Act was passed in the first place because of the egregious abuses of the right to vote in the South. They want us to believe that they wouldn't do such things nowadays so they don't need any further supervision. Obviously States would not violate voters rights, just look at Florida and Ohio, for example.

Now we have learned that two American soldiers who were killed in Iraq a while ago were actually killed by the very Iraqi troops they were training. Apparently the resistance was offering $100 each for any Americans they could kill. Marvelous, with 140,000 troops there they are sitting on a potential fortune. As you know (if you are a complete idiot), things are going well in Iraq.

They are going especially well in Ramadi where the Falluja massacre is being re-enacted (see Dahr Jamail). Would someone explain to me what the point is of all the bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan? What are they tryng to accomplish other than multiplying the hatred they already have for us. We know from Vietnam and other places that bombing will not work. So why continue? We are never going to defeat the insurgency by more and more bombing, resulting in more and more civilian deaths. So why do they continue? Are they just unrepentant ghouls who like mass killing for its own sake? I think they drop all the bombs just so they can manufacture more of them and enrich their friends in the defense industry even more. Man, these people are sick!

Now they are going to try to stop a North Korean missile with their multi-billion dollar missile defense system that doesn't work. They actually say they don't know whether North Korea is just testing a missile or actually maybe attacking the U.S. These clowns apparently think that North Korea would actually try to attack the United States, just as they think Iran might attack us. I guess they think that North Koreans and Iranians either have death wishes or are completely out of touch with reality (as Bush/Cheney clearly are). Run for the hills, the North Korean and Iranians are coming and we are helpless to protect ourselves (with a defense budget larger than all the rest of the world put together). This is all BS of course, just have to keep the Military/Industrial Complex going non-stop (apparently forever).

Why is it that black olives always come in cans (except for specialty olives like Greek olives) whereas all green olives come in jars? Let's have some attention to serious questions for a change.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

As the world turns

I missed writing a blog last night for reasons out of my control. So let me try to catch up a bit. As Rummy said, "things happen."

Let's see, the Israelis managed to kill another three innocent children, a boy, five, his sister, six, and a sixteen year old (I think a cousin). But it's okay, they were trying to kill another Hamas "terrorist." Collateral damage.

And oh, yeah, when we dropped the two 500 pound bombs on Zarqawi we forgot to mention that we killed another small child. Collateral damage.

But this is okay, because as our compassionate Democrat, Madeleine Albright said previously, when asked about the estimated 500,000 Iraqi children killed by our sanctions, "it was worth it." You just have to love these people who think killing innocent children is "worth it," or at best (or worst) just "collateral damage." Do you think these people were just born sadistic or did they just learn it from each other?

It also turns out that when we bombed the offices of al Jazeera in Bagdad it was done on purpose. It is reported that people in the White House rejoiced because we had given them a warning or some such nonsense. Al Jazeera is a perfectly respectable news agency, but the Bush White House just didn't like them reporting the truth about our dismal, dishonest "war."

Santorum and Hoekstra found some materials that were used in the past for cannonball making and sped home to report that WMD's had been found in Iraq. This claim was immediately squelched by people experienced with dealing with lunatics. Imagine, finding WMD's just before elections. It looks almost certain that Santorum will go down. Couldn't happen to a more deserving jerk.

Republicans are so predictable. I told you previously there would not be any immigration bill this year and that appears to be the case. The House simply does not want an immigration bill - they prefer a miniature holocaust. Eleven or more million felons all arrested and deported forthwith. You have to admit, they are a sensible bunch.

Also predictable was the defeat of a minimum wage bill, killed in the Senate. Can you believe they are unwilling to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour after all these years. Happily they failed once again to eliminate the estate tax (poor Paris Hilton). I guess there are still a few Republican ideas so outrageous they just can't manage to get them done. Don't worry, it will be back next year along with gay marriage and abortion. I guess the controversy over "intelligent design" has faded, at least for the time being. I think maybe they finally realized that if there really was intelligent design they wouldn't be here.

As I was sitting on my deck this evening a doe came by with a fawn that could not have been more than a day or two old. A wonderful experience. Makes you think not everything is bad these days.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Morally bankrupt

If you didn't watch the Daily Show tonight you missed the interview with Calvin Trilling. This is no big deal except for one thing he brought up that I have thought a lot about. Remember the shoe bomber? The English guy who got on the plane with a bomb in his shoe, sort of hanging out obviously, that he tried to light with a match? This always struck me as absurd. I am pleased to learn that it struck Trilling the same way. He observed that whoever sent the shoe bomber must have had a droll sense of humor, and wondered if there was some way he could get everyone to take off their shoes. He succeeded. Does it not strike you as utterly absurd that millions of people, including little old ladies, have had to remove their shoes everytime the fly for the past few years? One sort of nutty guy with a shoe bomb (a most unlikely attempt in the first place) has resulted in millions and millions of other people having to remove their shoes. If you don't regard this as absurd - I do.

Anyway, this has little to do with the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party. Consider that Republicans have been in charge of the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and, in fact, also the Supreme Court, for the past five years. Think of all they might have done for the nation and its citizens with all that power and control. We could have had universal health care. We could have had decent wages. We could have had a sensible energy policy. We could have improved our terribly neglected infrastructure. We might even have done something to win the "war on terror" (instead of making it worse). Better yet, we could have done something about global warming (instead of just denying the problem). We could have even positioned our country as the lone superpower with the blessing of other countries, instead of alienating virtually the entire world.

What did the Republicans do with all that power and influence? They passed tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy. They made our wonderful country into a world pariah, hated by everyone. They unleashed an illegal,immoral, unconstitutional, and unnecessary "war" against a small country that was no threat to us, violating international law and any sense of morality. They instigated a policy of torture, killing civilians, lying to the Red Cross, and lying about everything else they have done. They have plunged us into probably endless debt, endless "war," and endless misery. They are responsible for the deaths of at least 2500 of our finest young people, to say nothing of the thousands upon thousands of Iraqis, including children. Even though this is perfectly obvious to most of us, and is certainly obvious to the rest of the world, the Republican party has consistently, mindlessly, supported the Bush/Cheney administration. They have consistently put party ahead of country. They have consistently neglected the public interest in favor of corporate interests. They have done nothing to improve the welfare of the American public - nothing. And now, even though a majority of the public wants out of Iraq, Republicans have just voted to support and continue this unbearably horrible "war," insisting that anyone who opposes it is cowardly and just wants to "cut and run." I submit that this is immorality run wild. These Republicans are insane with power and greed and totally uninterested in the welfare of the nation and its citizens. They are, in short, morally bankrupt.

In my relatively long lifetime there has never been anything like this. I didn't like Nixon or Reagan but I didn't live in fear, fear of losing my civil liberties, fear of nuclear war, fear of traveling outside the United States, fear of losing whatever security I have, fear of a government of secrecy and deceit, fear of being led by a host of bumbling, incompetent, lying, fascists intent of achieving absolute power at any cost. These are, indeed, nightmare years.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A dumb idea

Let us consider what I believe to be a truly dumb idea – private prisons. The United States has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world. This is true in absolute numbers and is almost surely true in terms of percentages also. For a number of reasons there have been so many people sentenced to jail over the past couple of decades that state prisons became overcrowded. One result of this is the rise of private (for profit) prisons. Private companies agree to build a prison and accept and oversee inmates usually for so much per inmate per day (or week, or month, or whatever). I don’t know the details of this business (there is a very substantial literature if you are interested) but I don’t have to know much about it to realize that it is, indeed, a really dumb idea.
Actually, this is not a completely new idea. Back in the 1800’s there were private jails for a time. As these proved to be so vile in a variety of ways laws were passed making them illegal and putting the burden of prison care on the states. Why were they so vile? Because in order to make a profit it was necessary to scrimp on food, facilities, numbers of guards, health care, amenities, and so on. As there was little oversight back in those days these private enterprises could get away with truly terrible conditions. When they finally became intolerably bad the government finally intervened.
Why would anyone think that private prisons nowadays would be much better? It is pretty clear that in many cases they are not much better. But as we now live in a time when the powers that be think privatization is the answer to everything, we once again have private, for profit, prisons. Some, of course, are better than others, but as profit rather than any kind of humanitarian motives is involved there continue to be problems. Even so, this is a growth industry with more and more private prisons popping up here and there. And just as before most of the same problems exist: inadequate health care, not enough guards, questionable food, lack of amenities, little or no attention to rehabilitation, and so forth. This is not at all surprising. But it is another problem that I think may be even more important.
Private prisons cannot exist without inmates. To survive and make a profit they have to have a constant supply of prisoners. Thus it is in their best interest that there be laws guaranteed to provide inmates. They have lobbyists and some influence on our government. And as our politicians all want to appear to be tough on crime it is not too difficult to get them to pass new laws or keep existing laws that may not be in the best interest of either the inmates or the nation. So now we have ever increasing penalties for lawbreaking, three strikes your out, automatic sentencing guidelines, and so forth.
Marijuana laws, I believe, are the best example of this. Our prisons are overcrowded by people who either possessed or sold marijuana, in some cases even possession of relatively minor amounts. If all the inmates incarcerated for marijuana possession were released the overcrowding would quickly disappear and the need for private prisons would dissipate. As marijuana is not really very harmful, certainly not as harmful to society as alcohol, one can only wonder why we continue to enforce such absurd laws. Notice that in the Netherlands drugs are legal and have been for some time. They have not had many problems with this. Other countries do not punish people for marijuana smoking or possession and they continue to survive. Even Canada has recently changed their laws to make possession of small amounts of marijuana permissible. So what makes us so backward in this respect? While you cannot blame this entirely on the private prison movement, they certainly would not want to see this rich source of income removed. And they have clout. The medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry also do not want to see marijuana legalized. There are studies that claim marijuana is harmful but there are other studies that claim it is not. I know from years of personal experience that if it is harmful it is nowhere near as harmful as alcohol.
I first encountered the “weed” in 1946, before it was “fashionable.” When it became fashionable in the 1960’s I knew dozens of people who indulged. These were not all hippies, but included University Faculty members, graduate students, businessmen and women, psychologists, and even policemen. For a time virtually everyone I knew smoked marijuana. Then it fell out of favor, more or less, and they abandoned it. They did not go to cocaine or other drugs, they went back to alcohol which is where they are now (those that are still around, that is). None of these people, as far as I know, was ever in trouble with the law. Some of them might still light up a joint once in a while but certainly not like “in the good old days” of the 1960’s.
The existence of private prisons, along with completely stupid laws, guarantees we will be able to keep our prisons full for a long time to come. We might even be able to eventually fill up the concentration camps Bush/Cheney are building, "for emergencies,” unless they are already reserved for "politicals."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Killing kids

Someone on Smirking Chimp this morning described Dick the Slimy as "a fat sack of moral sewage." Very hard to disagree with that. But tell me, how is it that a Vice President with poll ratings approaching below zero manages to hang on to the job? Remember Spiro Agnew, he of "nattering nabobs of negativism" fame who left the Vice Presidency in disgrace? Agnew now looks like a paragon of virtue compared to Dick the Slimy. What magic does Cheney possess? Will he ever be held accountable for his crimes, including treason?

I am willing to concede that in a situation like Iraq, where we have too few troops facing a civilian population that does not want them there, it is difficult to tell who is an enemy and who is not and they might become trigger happy. I understand that mistakes can be made. I can see how even women and old men in wheel chairs might be suspect. But little children? Our troops cannot distinguish between little children and terrorists or members of the insurgency? In the Haditha "incident" small children were found dead. It was said in at least one of the reports that I saw that they died of bullet wounds to the head. Perhaps that is untrue. But they certainly were found dead, and even if this is the result of someone throwing a hand grenade into a room full of people they had to have known were civilianst and might very well be children there is still no excuse. If this is regarded as standard operating procedure it only emphasizes that we should not be there doing such things in the first place. And there can be no doubt that the children killed at Haditha were not the only children killed in this terrible and unnecessary "war."

What is far worse, of course, are the thousands of children who died as a result of our sanctions against Iraq (some estimates run as high as 500,000). Now we are doing the same thing to Palestinians and threatening to do it to Iran. This is morally unnacceptable. Absolutely.

The Israelis are particularly adept at murdering children. Witness the recent shelling of a Palestinian family have a picnic on the beach in which 3 children were killed (they deny responsibility of course). They even have had snipers killing children. They should be good at it as they have been doing it for years (lots of practice). Why should they bother about children, they'll only grow up to be Palestinian adults. This whole business is so absolutely disgusting if there was something worse than war crimes it would easily qualify. I wonder how well you sleep, knowing you murdered a child (and for what)?

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Plame Affair

Although Fitzgerald has reportedly said that he will not file charges against Rove, it would appear that things are far from over. There is the Liby trial starting in January for one thing that will probably feature testimony by Dick the Slimy. That should be most interesting.

Beyond that, however, may still lurk all kinds of other possibilities. An article on Buzzflash today comments on the fact that Randall Samborn, a spokesman for Fitzgerald has refused to comment on whether the Rove investigation is truly over. Samborn has a reputation for forthright statements on such matters and the fact that he has done a sort of about face is suspicious. And if he speaks for Fitzgerald, which he clearly does, it implies that Fitzgerald has also done a kind of about face. This could mean, I suppose, that Fitzterald has been leashed, but as the writer of the article points out, there are other possibilities. For example, the Grand Jury could bring charges independently of Fitzgerald. And there are other possibilities as well, most of them too complicated for my tiny mind to fully grasp.

In any case, remember that "it ain't over 'til it's over."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"darn dangerous"

Well, Binkyboy, whether it is true or not is irrelevent. And kindly explain what "bubble" it is you profess to be "bursting."

Emperor George (he with no clothes) explains that in Guantanamo there are people who are "darn dangerous." Do you think this is an expression he picked up at Yale, or do you think it came with the pig farm? Out of the 400 plus inmates at Guantanamo, after all these years of incarceration, only ten have even been charged. Most of them are surely not "darn dangerous," and shouldn't be in Guantanamo in the first place. The fact seems to be, as with everything else this administration has done, is they don't have a clue what to do with them. So the obvious solution to not knowing what to do with 400 plus human beings (if, indeed, "enemy combatants" are human) is to hold them indefinitely (forever?) in prison. I guess this makes sense to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Gonzales and their remaining pathetic supporters.

On Democracy Now, Amy Goodman featured some troops who have refused to return to Iraq. There are apparently more of them all the time now. One enlisted woman, Suzanne Swift, refused to return because not only is she suffering from trauma but also because she was constantly sexually harrassed. Apparently she was not alone in this as she is getting emails from many others claiming the same thing. This is a case that I think will not easily go away, especially now as there are more and more clamoring for withdrawal (which, of course, Bush/Cheney have no intention whatsoever of doing). But, as we are losing big-time in both Iraq and Afghanistan it is only a question of time before we will have no choice but to be forced out, permanent bases and billion dollar embassy be damned. What the hell, it's been just one glorious adventure by our fake "war" president.

Bonners Ferry is worried about flooding in spite of the Libby Dam that was built to solve this problem. While the city itself has not yet flooded (and most of it probably won't flood) there has been extensive damage to the levees that protect rich farmlands from the Kootenai River resulting in pretty massive crop losses. Unfortunately these levees have not been maintained over the years since the Dam was built (as it was believed we shouldn't need them) and are now pretty easily breeched. They have not been maintained even though there was a similar problem in 1996-97. I suspect that the consensus of opinion here is that it must be all Bill Clinton's fault.

We have an absolutely marvelous candidate for Congress here in North Idaho. A man named Bill Sali. Sali spent many years in the Idaho legislature where he was widely regarded as an idiot. Whether he is an idiot or not I do not know. But I do know that he has political views that would have to be regarded as far to the right of Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan. He is especially big on the three issues the Republicans have decided are the most important: abortion, gay marriage, and flag burning. As he shares these views with Alan Keyes (remember him?) I suggest he ask Keyes to come to Idaho to campaign for him. Might I suggest that people vote for the Democratic candidate, Larry Grant, who is at least sane (and in fact a very respectable candidate who will make a great Congressman).

Our Democratic candidate for Governor, Jerry Brady, is also quite strong and running against a local good 'ol boy, Clement Otter, otherwise known as "Butch." Butch's main qualification for the post as near as I can tell is that he once won a tight jeans contest in a bar. Some are opposed to him on the grounds that he has "loose morals." As I believe he has a DUI and has been fined twice for violating state water rules, is believed to be quite a "ladies man," and as far as I can find out has done nothing whatsoever in his years in Idaho politics to help the citizen of Idaho, what do you think?

I say vote GRANT and BRADY! Idaho has had one party politics for far too long.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I have changed

You know the business about the frog. You know, if you put the frog in a pan of water and turn the heat up slowly the frog will not realize that he/she is about to boil to death until it is too late. Well, that is the way I feel about what the Bush/Cheney administration has done to me. I don't know why it took me so long to understand this.

For almost my entire lifetime I was never significantly political. I was always a Democrat because I knew Democrats were more or less for the working people and the Republicans were for the rich and business. But I never worried a great deal about elections. I never believed that whichever party was elected the world might come to an end or that anything would change in truly important ways. I never had a real problem with authority, being willing to submit myself to those elected to be in charge for the next four years even though I might have had some disagreements with their policies. I naively believed that government looked out for the people as best they could, some governments being a bit better at it than others. I certainly never lived in fear of my government. I was always proud to be an American and I believed that we were, indeed, the greatest country on earth. I knew, of course, that politicians sometimes lied, but they lied mostly to get elected, not generally because they had evil ulterior motives. In general, I trusted government to do the right thing. For the most part I was more happy than not.

I didn't realize the enormity of the change in me until very recently. Oh, I knew I was getting somehow more and more unhappy, but the full impact of developments in the past ten years hadn't completely registered until now. I confess that after watching what Republicans did to Clinton, and the means they employed to destroy him, plus what has happened with the Bush/Cheney administration in the last six years, I no longer trust my government. I don't trust them at all. I don't believe a single word they say, ever. I am no longer proud to be an American. I am ashamed, ashamed of my country and even more ashamed of my current government, and ashamed of myself for not being able to do more to stop what is going on. I believe the Iraq "war" is totally illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, and was unnecessary. I believe war crimes of enormous proportions have been and are being perpetrated by our military at the behest of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice and others. When they claim things are going well, I don't believe it. When they say they will withdraw troops I don't believe it. When they say they don't torture I don't believe it. When they say they don't murder innocent civilians, including very small children, I don't believe it. When they say we are spreading democracy I don't believe it. When they say it isn't about oil I don't believe it. In short, I don't believe anything they say. And as I am sure you can surmise, I am not at all happy. I live in fear. I don't fear terrorists. Where I live I'm sure I would have a greater chance of being struck by lightning or being eaten by a grizzly bear than a victim of a terrorist act. I live in fear of the Bush/Cheney administration which has no regard for civil rights, law, or even common decency.

When they said there were WMD's I was skeptical but gave them the benefit of the doubt. When they claimed connections between Osama and Sadam I didn't really believe it but wasn't positive about it. When they said Iraqi oil would pay the bill I didn't believe it but stupidly thought maybe. When you add to this tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy, the national debt, the lack of medical care, the aftermath of Katrina, gifts to the oil and pharmaceutical industries, contempt for the environment and global warming, scandal after scandal after scandal, and lies so transparent as to be insulting, what is one to think.

I have indeed changed, and not for the better. I have become unhappy, cynical, depressed, bitter, angry, disgusted, even enraged. I want my country back. I want those responsible for my current condition to be held accountable for what they have done to me and the rest of humanity. I want these nightmare years to end.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The strange case of Mr. Rove

So Karl Rove is not going to be charged with anything, according to his lawyer. Does that mean he is not guilty? No. He obviously is guilty, and not only is he guilty of being involved in the Plame scandal, he is also guilty of lying about it. We know this. So why is he not going to be charged? Some claim that Fitzgerald gave up on charging him because it was too difficult to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. Personally, I don't believe this (but I am often wrong).

As we already know he was guilty, and he is not going to be charged, and the question of reasonable doubt is problematic, what else might be behind this strange situation? I think he has fingered Cheney. The almost three years Fitzgerald spent trying to make a case, the five times Rove testified before the Grand Jury, the known "falling out" of Rove/Cheney, and the fact that Rove may never have been the important figure in Fitzgerald's cross hairs in the first place, leads me to believe he cooperated with Fitzgerald who is probably building his case agaist Dick the Slimy. Fitzgerald is well known for trying to always get to the top of the criminal order. Of course I don't know that this is what is happening but it makes more sense to me than just concluding that Fitzgerald is simply giving up.

And think about it. Who is going to be upset to see Cheney go? Rice? Rumsfeld? Bush? Someone is going to have to be the fall guy for the administration. Why not Cheney? Everybody hates him including virtually the entire citizenship of the U.S. I will not be surprised to see a resignation before long. He is definitely expendable and the time may have come.

I like the explanation that in a "war" of this type you can never know who the enemy is - apparently it might even be children from six months to six or seven years of age. Israelis seem to be particularly accomplished killers of children. Remember that famous phrase from our previous Indian wars, "nits make lice." There is no excuse for this, none.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dead children

I am not blogging tonight. I am in mourning for the tens upon tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi children killed by the greed of Bush/Cheney and the neocons. Dead children for oil. What a bargain.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Watch 'n Wait: You know its treason, and I know its treason, and perhaps some others know it's treason. But no one in any position of power seems to be interested. If Fitzgerald is the only prosecutor, and if he has another full-time job, and if he also has a very limited staff, it is hard to see how anyone is taking this very seriously. Obviously I hope Fitzgerald comes through and exposes the whole criminal enterprise and the penalty for treason will be imposed. But I confess it does not look very promising.

Now they are saying 50,000 troops stationed in Iraq for(ever)? I have said from the very beginning the Bush/Cheney administration has (and has never had) an intention of withdrawing American troops from Iraq. The whole purpose of this illegal, immoral "war" was to gain control of oil and other resources in the Middle East (and also to protect Israel, of course) and that is what they continue to plan on doing. True, they might withdraw some troops (especially before Christmas), and they might deploy the remaining troops into their four or more permanent bases (so they can reduce American casualties and also keep an eye on the oil), and they will occupy their billion dollar embassy, but what they will not do is leave. They apparently have now maneuvered their puppet government into saying they want American troops to stay (of course). How is it that so many others don't see this? It is so obvious even children can understand it.

And speaking of children, how many were killed in Haditha? Now the excuses start coming. A Sergeant who was there claims they followed their legitimate procedures in such cases (they killed (shot?) two and three year-olds). In warfare of this type it is impossible to tell who your enemies are (they killed (shot?) two and three-year olds), the four or five young men they shot in the taxi might have been terrorists (they killed (shot?) two and three-year olds). Did the children show signs of having been shot or not? Perhaps it's true, they weren't actually shot - they were merely killed when the Marines threw a grenade into one room of the house (where they apparently knew people were hiding - apparently the usual procedure). If these little children were actually shot (as some have reported) there can't be much of an excuse. If they were accidentally killed as "collateral damage," that is not much of an excuse either. War crimes upon war crimes upon war crimes. And this Haditha "incident" pales into insignificance alongside Falluja. Can no one understand the enormity of the war crimes committed by this administration? Are Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice and the others not going to be held responsible for these unspeakable acts of stupid and unnecessary cruelty? Is there indeed no justice?

What has happened to our country? Granted we have not always been innocent before but whatever innocence we might have had has surely been savagely violated by now. It is no secret what has happened and who are responsible.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Everybody talks about it...

You remember the old cliche, "everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." Well, that's the way I feel about the current political situation. I know that the Bush/Cheney attack on Iraq was a war crime. I know that in the continuation of the Iraq "war" multiple war crimes have been (and are being) committed. There are so many they no longer even need to be listed. I know that the U.S. is in debt to the point where even our grandchildren will be lucky to pay it off. I know Bush/Cheney have no positive things to show for their 6 years in office other than tax breaks for the filthy rich who don't even need them. I know they have scorned environmental protection in favor of corporate interest over and over again. They deny global warming for the same reason. The only people who have benefitted from the Iraq debacle are huge corporations who have made obscene profits, including the oil companies. I know they have been illegally wiretapping. I know they have been torturing. I know they are totaly corrupt in virtually every way you can think of. I know they have done nothing but lie since the very beginning. I know all this by now to the point that I am so saturated with it I am about to just give up. What is the point? Everyone knows how unbelievably awful this administration has been (and is) but nobody does anything about it (other than talk about it). We have a vice-president whose popularity rating is sub-zero who continues to run the country while our mentally challenged president does his best to read his prepared comments. Our once wonderful country and democracy has been destroyed and we are now universally hated by almost the entire world. Democrats refuse to take any action whatsoever and basically just aid and abet this fascist takeover. I am so frustrated by what is happening it is ruining my life. AND NOTHING HAPPENS!

If you go by the actions of our local Boundary Country Democrats nothing will happen. While we get good turnouts at the monthly meetings, when any form of action is actually required everyone (with two or three exceptions) just disappears. We have for the first time in years some decent candidates who might actually win with a little support. The candidates they are running against are pretty hopeless. One is so bad as to actually laughable, another is such an experienced lightweight he ought to be ignored. But still we do virtually nothing to help ourselves. So please, before it is too late (if, indeed, it is not already too late), let's get our act together and at least make a major effort to change things. The concentration camp is not an attractive alternative.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Shame and Guilt

Quite a few years back there was an attempt to classify cultures on the basis of shame or guilt. That is, some cultures, it was said, were pretty much regulated by shame while others used guilt as a mechanism of control. Shame cultures, of which Japan was offered as the best example, operated on the principle of outside sanctions - that is, you could transgress as much as you wanted but unless others were aware of it, it didn't matter much. Guilt cultures, mostly western, operated on the principle of guilt - that is, you were regulated by internal mechanisms such that if you transgressed you would feel bad whether anyone else knew about it or not. I think there was an implicit racism involved here, but for the moment it doesn't matter. And, in fact, this dichotomy never proved to be very useful and was, as most such attempts, a gross oversimplification of human behavior.

What makes me think of it now is that we seem to have an Administration (and, indeed, pretty much an entire Republican Party) that apparently experiences neither shame or guilt. Think of it. If a Japanese leader had performed as incompetently as Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, and had damaged his country as badly as they have, he would undoubtedly have apologized and committed suicide by now. Similarly, if Bush/Cheney had any sense of guilt they would at the very least have apologized for their horrendous mistakes and resigned. How can anyone with poll ratings so low, and crashing further by the day, presume to go on trying to lead the country? And why in the world do we permit them to go on? This is sheer madness. Where do they even get the chutzpa to think they can retain control of the House and Senate? Obviously because they know the "fix" is in and they will steal still another election. Will anyone believe it if they do? And what, if anything, will be done about it? Will the Democrats just "cave" again (bet on it). These are not merely "trying times," but, rather, the nightmare years. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Certainly not in Iraq or Afghanistan where things just get worse and worse.

Not only have Bush/Cheney destroyed our wonderful country, they have even destroyed our language. Words no longer have meanings. What does "war" mean when it is said to be against terrorism? It is nothing more than gibberish like "the war on drugs," or "the war on poverty." Similarly, what in the hell does "victory" mean in the context of Iraq. Is there any way victory could be achieved. Of course not. "Winning" has also become meaningless. And now even "amnesty" has become a casualty. What about phrases like "turning the corner?" "Progress is being made?"
"Staying the course?" What course? Oh, yeah, we are pursuing a "noble cause" which no one can define.

Unfortunately, what motivates our current Administration (and those who still support it) is nothing but GREED and the lust for POWER (the mechanism that allows them to satisfy their unfettered greed). Does anyone believe these lying criminals care anything whatsoever about American citizens? Democracy? The environment? The people of Iraq or Afghanistan? The national debt? Universal health care? Law? The constitution? If so, you had better wake up NOW!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Juan Cole, Ann Coulter, and Sardines - essay

Juan Cole has been denied a post at Yale even though two different departments wanted to have him. Their desires were overidden by outside influences in a very unusual maneuver. Juan Cole has been an outspoken critic of Israel - enough said.

Ann Coulter continues her absolutely hateful ways. Now she is attacking the 9/11 widows for apparently being pleased by their husbands' deaths and trying to benefit materially from them. Why does anyone pay attention to this hateful woman who has nothing to offer except sensationalism and hatred. Why is she invited on talk shows? Infotainment be damned, I will NEVER watch any program on which she is a guest.

As the only things of importance at the moment seem to be gay marriage and flag burning, consider the case of sardines:


I like sardines. My father introduced me to the joys of sardines when I was just a little boy. I have eaten them ever since. My wife refuses to eat them. My son won’t eat them. None of my friends eat them. They think sardines (and me, too, I guess) are disgusting. Even so, for some bizarre reason, people of late have been giving me presents of sardines. My son, out of the blue, presented me with a can for no reason at all. A close friend apparently saw sardines on sale and couldn’t resist buying some for me (she was quite put out because there were so few cans left). Shortly thereafter another friend presented me with still another can of sardines. I can think of no explanation for this. The world must be going mad.
While I am always appreciative of attention and gifts this recent bounty of free sardines has created a bit of a problem. For those of you not conversant with this fishy delicacy, sardines come in a variety of different ways and sizes. Actually, I was not aware of the extent of this variation until I began getting these gifts. All my life I have only eaten Norwegian sardines. They are very small and packed in two tight rows in an easy to open can (hence the phrase “packed in like sardines”). They used to be packed in sild (fish) oil but for some reason they are now packed in olive oil. Either way they are delicious. However, I have now learned that sardines come packed not only in olive oil, but also in soybean oil. Some are packed in water. Still others are packed in tomato sauce, some in tomato sauce with sherry, some in mustard sauce, some in garlic sauce, and still others are lightly smoked and packed in soybean oil. There is one brand of hot (spicy) sardines called ZerGut that are lightly smoked and served in vegetable oil, chili and salt. As they come from Morocco I have no idea why they are labeled in German. And, as the only place I have ever found them was in a Russian delicatessen this strikes me as even more mysterious (I guess it really is just a small world).
To me a sardine has always been a small whole fish (sans head) tightly packed in a can. Some are slightly larger than others. Norwegian sardines are the smallest but others can be easily two or three times the size. There are even much larger sardines but these are not usually canned, being cooked whole like mackerel or other such fish. Thus I was puzzled when I came across sardines packed in a round can. “How can this be,” I thought. “It must be hard to fit sardines into a round can.” This demonstrates my commitment to the whole fish concept and also my limited imagination. It turns out these are somewhat larger sardines than most and are cross-sectioned so the round little pieces can fit tightly and comfortably in round cans. I confess I am not pleased with sardines in this form and I cannot eat them. Sardines to me are supposed to be whole. Similarly, having tried some of my gift sardines I can tell you that I do not like them in mustard or tomato sauce. I only eat sardines packed in oil, preferably sild oil (which you can’t get anymore) but I’m willing to accept olive oil, soybean oil, and, in an emergency, even water. I also confess to enjoying the “hot” sardines from Morocco.
My father told me Norwegian sardines were the best. He was right. I know I am not the only person who eats sardines even though no one in my immediate life space does. I am thinking of starting a club for sardine eaters, “The Gourmet Sardine Eaters of America.” We can meet and discuss the relative merits of different sizes of sardines, different methods of packing them, and even the relative merits of, say, Portuguese sardines compared to Moroccan, Norwegian, American, Spanish, or other sardines (sardines are ubiquitous). I think the first order of business should be to decide whether or not to recognize fish in round cans as sardines. I say no, but we could vote on it.
In any case, remember that sardine lovers need love too.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's working perfectly

Bush's (or probably Rove's) plan to bring up the gay marriage issue once again is working. Not because anyone cares about gay marriages, an issue that will never result in a constitutional amendment, but because the controversy about it will keep our minds off everything else. No one is discussing whether gays should marry or not, everyone knows it is a dead issue. But it still consumes air time because now everyone is discussing whether it is just a political ploy (of course it is), whether it is going to work or not (the "base' is so dumb it might), whether Bush really believes in it or not (which of course he doesn't), whether it should have been brought up again right now (why not, they don't dare talk about anything important), whether he's just playing to the ultra conservatives (really, what a stupid question), and so on and on and on. Does anyone in their right mind (is anyone in their right mind anymore) believe our corporate masters and their Bush/Cheney flunkies care anything whatsoever about gay marriage, abortion, flag burning? If so, perhaps you might get the American Psychiatric Association to come up with a new syndrome for which the pharmanceutical companies could create another new pill (they are pretty good at this). They have just created IED. I don't remember what this means other than apparently 5% of the population get mad as hell once in a while (only 5%?). Just chalk it up to stress. Stress explains everything, like why marines murder young children. In a "war" like this one it's hard to tell who the enemy is and who it is not (including apparently very young children).

But don't forget, our fearless Secretary of Defense told us "stuff happens." There seems to be no chance of getting rid of this incompetent old fool no matter what. Bush insists he's doing a "great job," and the rest of us just accept this as wisdom from on high.

I continue in my wishful thinking that Al Gore will be the next president and will appoint Bill Clinton as Secretary of State. Why? Because I think they are the only two American politicians who have enough international stature to even try to repair the unbelievable damage Bush/Cheney have done to us. Another Republican president, or even a warmongering Democratic president, just won't cut it. I'm not even sure it is even possible to repair the damage. Still some 30% of Americans seem to approve of these murderous bastards. Go figure.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

What is going on?

Watch 'n Wait: thank you.

Somehow I have become lost in a sea of confusion, doubt, disbelief, uncertainty, cynicism, disgust, and downright anger. What the hell is going on?

Where, for example, is Patrick Fitzgerald, our hero, who is supposed to be investigating the Plame outing? Has he died? Been murdered? Disappeared? Given up the practice of law? Become one of the "us?" Or does the MSM just not want to tell us anything about all this?

And whatever happened to Karl Rove? He was going to be indicted for something or other. Is he now living in Paraguay? Or is he happy and well and plotting how the Republicans will steal still another election while hapless Democrats stand by sucking their thumbs (actually they do this because they don't want to interfere with the Republican fascist takeover of the U.S., of which they are a part).

And now, all of the sudden (maybe it is not all of the sudden), we are being told that Bush has a sex life (I confess I had never even considered this). Leola McConnell, a Democratic candidate for Governor of Nevada, claims that in 1984 she personally witnessed George W. Bush engaged in a homosexual act (with pleasure, she states). She even names the other party. Now either this woman is an absolute crazy, or interested in publicity at all costs, or perhaps suicidal, so what are we to make of this? Consider the fact that she is an ex professional dominatrix before you try to decide.

At the same time she is claiming Bush is a homosexual (or at best bisexual) others are claiming Bush has been having an affair with Condi Rice (maybe he is just a real stud). It is said that Laura spent at least one night four blocks away from the White House in the Mayflower Hotel because she was upset over Bush's relationship with Rice. I believe that some people have speculated on this previously.

I confess to being very skeptical of all this. I have no idea if any of this could be true or not. But knowing what I know now (at 76) about sex, nothing would surprise me. And I still wonder what went on with Gannon/Guckert, a scandal that could only have been hushed up so quickly and thoroughly by someone very highly placed in the White House. Oh, well, what the hell. I have noticed also, however, that Bush treats Laura pretty much as a servant (he takes off his overcoat and hands it to her to carry, for example), and he certainly seems to favor dominant women (both Condi Rice and Karen Hughes come quickly to mind). And don't forget that Condi once made a very significant Freudian slip-of-the-tongue when she referred to Bush as "her husband" before correcting herself. I'm not usually much for Freudian slips but somehow this one resonates.

If you think I am just making this up I suggest you go to and look for yourself.

In the meanwhile get on board the anti-gay-marriage bunch. The gays are coming, the gays are coming! Watch out! They will destroy the fabric of our civilization, pervert our children, ruin our marriages, the sky is falling, the end is near, run for your lives! I am not a big fan of James Carville, but I think he had it right when he said, "I was against gay marriage too, until I found out I didn't have to have one."

See you again on tuesday. Another call to the west.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Is our new Governor real?

There is an article today featured on both The Smirking Chimp and Buzzflash that deals with an interview with our new (and happily only temporary) Governor. This was written by Oliver Burkemann of The Guardian. I have some comments:

"Hurricane Katrina - they heaped that on George Bush!" said Mr.Risch (our new Governor). I don't understand who "they" are. My impression was that most everyone was dismayed by the utter failure to protect the city and its citizens, and presumably the buck still stops at the top (except it never does in the case of George W., who never makes mistakes). But consider the following:

"Here in Idaho, we couldn't understand how people could sit around on the kerbs waiting for the federal government to come and do something. We had a dam break in 1976, but we didn't whine about it. We got out our backhoes and we rebuilt the roads and replanted the fields and got on with our lives. That's the culture here. Not waiting for the federal government to bring you drinking water. In Idaho there would have been entrepreneurs selling the drinking water."

If the complete idiocy of this doesn't come to you immediately, allow me to translate: Here in Idaho (where we don't have much in the way of natural disasters), we couldn't understand...(understandable as we don't seem to understand anything else). We had a damn break in 1976 (the Teton Dam near Idaho Falls where a very few were killed and some others injured - there was virtually no serious damage to Idaho Falls), but we (hardworking white people) didn't whine about it. We got out our backhoes (you mean those poor people in urban New Orleans don't have their own backhoes?) and we rebuilt the roads and replanted the fields and got on with our (ignorant and complacent) lives (the dam, to this day, has never been rebuilt).

Risch goes on, "President Bush is one of our greatest Presidents, and he's one of our bravest (???) presidents," the governor said, "People know what's in his heart." I am a people and I don't know what's in his heart (or his head, either). In fact, I doubt he has a heart in the sense Risch is implying.

This article is entitled "Journey to the heart of Bushlandia." It goes on to report that "Sexual relations with livestock are still commonplace" (in Idaho), a columnist for the Nation magazine claimed recently (I think this columnist had us mixed up with some nutcase in Western Washington).

The article goes on to say that if you oppose gay marriage and support the war in Iraq you will find "many friends in Idaho." (true, true). Jim Risch goes on to insist that even in spite of Bush's falling support..."a core of affection for Mr. Bush would always remain."

The concluding paragraph is a real puzzler (at least for me): "I'll give you the best example I can think of," the governor said. "We had a fellow by the name of Bill Clinton. You might remember him (if you are not a complete idiot)- he was the president of the United States. He sexually harrassed an employee in his office (the eager and aggressive Monica Lewinsky ???). The women's groups around American should have been ready to crucify him...But what did they do? They came to his support in spades. Why? Because they knew his heart. They knew his heart."

"The divide between Bushlandia (Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming) and the rest of America - or, more generally, between the president's core supporters and everyone else - is not a question of mere policy arguments. It is a clash of two incompatible versions of reality, where the same facts take on completely different meanings..."


Now that things are going so well in Iraq and Afghanistan Bush has decided to focus on the real problem confronting Americans - Gay Marriages! Do you think this has anything to do with the pressure his loonie "base" is putting on? Do you think his base is going to believe him this time? You think they are truly stupid enough to believe he is going to seriously try to get an amendment to the constitution? But they got him to do it. How desperate can one president get? Base is actually a good word for his supporters, you can't get much baser.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Alan: Perhaps. Perhaps Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and others were merely hoaxes as well. In any case, could there possibly be a greater "hoax" than Bush/Cheney's illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and unnecessary "war," brought about through a series of absolutely blatant lies?

We are going to be in for an interesting political season. Now that the primaries are over we know that the Republican candidate for the House will be Bill Sali. Bill Sali, as far as I can determine so far, was widely regarded by many of his colleagues in the Idaho House (where he served several terms) as an idiot. Indeed, it is claimed that he was publicly referred to as "a frickin idiot." Virtually all of his support so far has come from outside the State and from the Club for Growth, an ultra right-wing organization. He looks like a real winner, someone we would be proud to have represent the Great State of Idaho.

The Republican candidate for Governor, a long-time Idaho politician, Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter, who served for a long time as Lieutenant Governor, and is currently an Idaho Congressman, is another real winner for the state. As far as I know, in his many years of politics in Idaho, he has never done one single thing to benefit the citizens of the state. I guess his greatest claim to fame is winning a tight jeans contest in a bar. As he claims to be a member of so many clubs and organizations as to be almost uncountable perhaps he won't have time to be Governor. One long time local resident observed that what we'll have in the State House is a pair of tight jeans and a hangover (perhaps this is unkind. I don't know). It does appear that Clement is a Good-ol-Boy's Good-ol-Boy.

I will return to this later as more information is forthcoming and the election speeds up.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It depends upon who "us," is

Bubblehead: Thank you. Everyone should indeed read the Confessions of Jesse Macbeth.

Boy, am I slow. It takes me a while but eventually I get it. Take Bush's statement, "whoever is not with us is against us." I, like I am sure a majority of Americans took that to mean that if you were against "us" you were against the U.S.A. That is, it was the United States that constituted the "us," and the terrorists that were the "other." Foolish me. I now understand that by "us" he did not mean the United States. He meant the "us" that has all the money and power. Think of it, there are apparently somewhere approximating four billion people on earth, but there are only a few of "us." "Us" could also be interpreted as the elite. Or even as the "haves," as opposed to the "have-nots." Similarly, it could mean management as opposed to workers. The "us" also means those who have enough money and power to help maintain the system and exploit those who do not. But you get the picture.

This explains why there is no opposition to Bush/Cheney from either the House or the Senate. It is very simple. All of the members of the House and the Senate are virtually by definition part of the "us," as are all truly wealthy pcople like CEO's and multi-millionaires. Terrorists to the "us" are relatively harmless, something like mosquitoes that occasionally have to be brushed off, whereas the non-"us" are a constant threat, always wanting higher wages, health care, job security, a forty hour work week, and stupid threatening stuff like that. They are truly against the "us." It appears to me that once you get enough money you sort of automatically become a member of the "us." Take the Clintons, for example. After they received their lucrative book deals and became millionaires (instead of relatively poor people from Arkansas) they moved right into the "us" category and they now publically embrace, and are embraced by, the very people who tried to do them in with evey underhanded vile and illegal trick in the book.

It is true there are a few people, like Senators Kennedy, Kerry, and a few others who profess disagreement occasionally. But they are clearly members of the "us" and apparently do this to go on pretending there are really two parties. Once you finally understand who they mean by "us" the whole things comes into focus and you can make sense of it.

If this is not true, how do you explain the continuation of the Bush/Cheney Administration? The continuing tenure of Donald Rumsfeld? The adulation of Condi Rice? The tolerance for war crimes? The neglect of the Constitution? Blatantly ignoring the laws of the land? Crony capitalism? The national debt? The disgraceful medical and drug companies. Tax breaks for the filthy rich? Obscene subsidies for the energy industry? All of this can only be made possible by the connivance of the "us."

Of course they want you to believe you can someday be one of the "us." It's supposed to be the "American Way." But of course having a lot of money (as in winning the lottery, for example) does not automatically make you one of the "us." You have to also acknowledge your membership by giving large donations to the Republican party, voting whatever way they instruct you to vote, lying constantly about what is really going on in the world, sanctioning war crimes and murders, abhorring homosexuality and abortion, to say nothing of flag burning, and whatever other party line you are fed. You can pretend otherwise, like Hillary, but do you really believe Hillary is not one of the "us?"