Thursday, November 30, 2006

Republicans gone bonkers

What is with Republicans these days? First we have the President who is now so completely out of touch with reality that he keeps insisting we will stay the course and win a victory (no one else in the world believes this as far as I can see). Then we have McCain who says we need to put more troops in Iraq (which, again, no one else in the world believes). Newt Gingrich (the world's number one hypocrite) thinks the American public will insist he become president because he wants to do away with free speech. Guiliani, who is pro-choice, anti-gun, and gay rights positive (all anathema to the Republican base) somehow thinks he might be their candidate of choice. Romney suffers from the delusion that his good looks will keep people from thinking about his Mormonism. Jeb Bush is mentioned as a candidate, no doubt some think he can capitalize on his older brother's illustrious career as president and establish a Bush dynasty once and for all. Who else might be lurking in the depths of the Republican cesspool? Oh, yeah, Condi, but she says she isn't interested (how sad). I suggest they run Strom Thurmond. Then if the democrats run Byrd we could have a real battle of the titans (of yesterday). This is going to be so much fun!

We had another four to five inches of snow last night and it remains cold - COLD! Our book business, Arabella Books, proceeds at a snail's pace. Someday I would like to meet the sadist who decided that property taxes should become due on December 20th! Personally, I think there is no excuse for this. I suppose it must be the same miserable sadist that decided people in Idaho should have to pay taxes for food - FOOD! This strikes me as the functional equivalent of telling citizens they cannot kill the King's deer (no matter how hungry they become - see Robin Hood).

I have just finished a very thorough and most interesting biography of Harry Houdini. I recommend it (by Kalush and Sloman). There is also a fine biography of Charles Addams (by Linda H. Davis) which I found quite fascinating. I think there are far too many books being published nowadays, most of which we could certainly do without (but there are also some truly fine ones - I wish I could afford them). It is cold, we have fire in the living room, books to read, cats to cuddle, life is good.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The monkey trap

I don't remember where I heard or read this years ago, but I remember the claim that monkeys could be trapped by their own greed. It was said that if you hollowed out a gourd, put a banana or some other fruit in it, and left a hole through which a monkey could reach to grasp the fruit, it would trap itself because it would be too greedy to let go of the prize and thereby be able to withdraw its hand. I have no idea if this is true. But I think it is a useful model for what Bush/Cheney are doing in Iraq. They have their hands on the Iraqi oil (or at least hope to) and cannot let go because of their greed. They could get out of the mess they have made in that unfortunate country but their greed for oil simply won't let them. You have noticed I hope that at no time have they ever said they would withdraw all troops from Iraq. This is so even though at various times different people have asked them to indicate they would do this. So I repeat for the umpteenth time, Bush/Cheney and the neocons have no intention of withdrawing from Iraq and leaving all that oil in the hands of, as Rove put it, the "the terrorists." They want us to believe that it is only terrorists that oppose our illegal occupation of Iraq, when, in fact, it is the Iraqis themselves that oppose us (and, after all, it is their oil). Do you believe that Cheney's recent visit to Saudi Arabia was to discuss human rights instead of oil, the price and future of that "black gold?"

It is clearly winter here at Sandhill. First we had about a foot of snow. Now, for the past three days the temperature has dropped to below zero (this is unusual for this part of the world). We always have winters, of course, but usually with only minimal amounts of snow and relatively mild temperatures (in the 20's or 30's). Whatever the temperature, it is quite beautiful now, the proverbial winter wonderland. As it is too cold to melt the snow it now hangs heavy on the huge Ponderosa pines that surround our house (the larch have long since shed their needles and stand bare and somewhat forlorn). Wild turkeys have taken to roosting on the rails of our fence, sitting there like huge vultures, waiting for spring and easier times. We have three deer, still sleek and fat, that invade our yard and nibble at everything edible (which for them is just about everything). I find it strange that we rarely see a buck even though they have to be present nearby. Sometimes in the night we hear the coyotes howling, often so near we think they must be just outside our windows. We have an occasional porcupine, sometimes skunks, and once we even had a fisher in our garden. Within a half mile we have seen elk and moose, and a yearling grizzly bear was trapped nearby. Black bears have raided our garbage and an eagle sometimes soars overhead. We are surrounded by huge and beautiful mountains, the Purcells to the east and the mighty Selkirks to the west. We have no hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, or earthquakes. There are no poisonous snakes and although there are supposedly some poisonous spiders I have never seen one (nor do I know anyone who has seen one). Our cats have no fleas, there are no snails or slugs to attack our gardens, and, in short, we cannot imagine a better place to live (unless you have no tolerance whatsoever for cold weather and snow for a few brief months).

We eat only beef from Highland cattle raised with no chemicals of any kind and fed on only the first cutting of alfalfa. We eat pork and lamb also raised with no chemicals of any kind. We eat only fresh farm eggs. Most of our vegetables are locally grown and completely organic. What we do not raise ourselves we buy at our local farmers' market (during the summer, of course) and we put up in cans or the freezer what will last us through the winter. We have an absolutely great mechanic, the best dentist I have ever encountered, a competent doctor, a wonderful small hospital, a fine library and a great book store.

Are there no drawbacks? Of course there are. We have only a very limited selection of fish (certainly a far cry from the Santa Monica fish market or Seattle's Pike Place market). It is two and half hours from an airport. We have to drive half an hour or so to buy most anything else (sheets, televisions, cameras, utensils, stuff like that), and the community is exceedingly conservative (only Idaho did not vote democratic in the last election, a red state to the bitter end).

My wife writes an occasional blog, "Idaho Rocks," to try to lure more democrats to come here. I don't want anyone else to come here - but they are. Sigh!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


What do you do when it becomes obvious that your President (also Commander-in-Chief) is delusional? Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with our President at the moment. Most everyone seems to believe that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, with the major opponents being Shias versus Sunnis (actually Iraq has been in the midst of a civil war probably for the past two years). Many, including Bush, seem to be able to ignore this reality and keep on denying that civil war is raging (a civil war would seem to indicate failure on the part of Bush/Cheney so it cannot be acknowledged). Some do not believe it is a civil war, preferring instead to simply label the situation "chaos." With some 25 different militias active in Iraq, it is difficult to know just who is killing and torturing whom, and why. The best you can say about what is going on in Iraq is that it is unbelievably disastrous with no end in sight. Our military has now acknowledged that a military victory is out of the question. Henry Kissinger, for what it is worth, agrees. Most everyone else agrees that victory is no longer possible, depending upon what victory could possibly mean.

But not George W. Bush. He insists that we will not withdraw our troops until we have achieved a victory. I guess he means by this the existence of a viable Democratic government in Iraq, which is a belief going far beyond fantasy. What he really means is we are not going to withdraw and leave all that oil. As long as Iraq is either in a civil war or chaos we will have an excuse to remain and thus to continue to at least potentially benefit from all that oil. Ideally, of course, we would like to install a puppet government that will do our bidding. As that is a goal that seems increasingly remote, chaos is probably the best alternative. In any case, rest assured that Bush/Cheney are not about to withdraw troops from Iraq. They are going to "stay the course" until the bitter end (even though they no longer use that phrase).

Of course another benefit from the situation in Iraq for the Bush/Cheney gang of thugs is that it takes attention away from the Israeli genocide of Palestinians. Israel has some million plus Palestinians locked up in Gaza with virtually no resources (food, medical attention, etc.) where they are slowly and systematically murdering them. Most of the known world is upset about this (to put it mildly) but the U.S. is complicit in it and continues to defend Israel at the United Nations. Israel continues to insist on a policy of apartheid that puts even South Africa to shame while the U.S. aids and abets them at every turn. As the Israeli/Palestinian situation is the most basic cause of trouble in the Middle East one might think a solution would be a priority. But as a solution would involve recognizing Palestinian and Syrian rights in territory and water that Israel covets, and fairness has no place in colonialism, it is in Israel's best interest to not have a solution. No doubt the situation will continue endlessly. As long as Israel has overwhelming military superiority, and as long as the U.S. continues to support their evil designs, not much of a solution will ever be possible. From the point of view of the U.S. and Israel, chaos is good.

Our immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and unnecessary "war" in Iraq is over in spite of Bush's denial of reality. The Shias, with Iranian support, have won, except for the Kurds in the north. Sunnis are being and will be driven out and never again will control Iraq. This is going to happen whether American troops are there or not. In other words, the American military presence in Iraq is now irrelevant. The Bush/Cheney neocon adventure in empire building has failed miserably. All that is left is to somehow bring the troops home and hold those responsible accountable for their murderous rampage in the Middle East. It is not going to be pretty.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Democrats have no plan?

It is being widely circulated here and there that while Democrats have been critical of the "war' they have no plan for ending it. I guess that is more or less true. It might be fair to say that in general Democrats have a goal (getting out of Iraq) but they have no plan. Their goal is in itself a step forward insofar as the Bush/Cheney warmongers have no goal of getting out of Iraq and obviously intend to stay until the oil runs out (as Rove said not long ago, "leave those terrorists sitting on all that oil?"). And do not forget that Bush/Cheney are building the largest and most expensive and heavily fortified embassy in the world right there in the green zone, in addition to the other bases they are constructing in Iraq.

But as plans go, why should the Democrats be expected to have a plan? Although some Democrats, foolishly believing the lies they were told by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice, voted in favor of the "war," they have not been involved in its planning or execution. From the beginning it has been completely a White House, Pentagon, and Republican enterprise. It is totally their "war" and no amount of spin can make it otherwise. They are currently trying to make it appear that now that Democrats have the House and Senate it is their "war" too, and they should somehow have a plan to bail the neocons out of their disaster (actually, disaster is too mild a word for what they have wrought in Iraq). It is obvious (painfully) that Republicans have no plan for undoing the incredible damage they have caused, and if they, who planned and carried out the whole enterprise, and presumably know what they have done and why, and where the troops are, and what the situation is, and so on, have no plan, why on earth would anyone expect the Democrats to have such a plan?

If Democrats are foolish enough to allow the Republicans suck them into this mess, and try to make them complicit in their illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, and unnecessary "war," they do not deserve to hold any "reins of power" whatsoever. Similarly, if Democrats do not try to hold Bush/Cheney and the others accountable for their war crimes, the rest of the world will have no alternative but to believe that the U.S. sanctions such behavior and has, in fact, become a rogue and hyper-dangerous nation.

As the majority of Iraqis have made it clear they want us out of their country, and as a majority of Americans also want us out, probably the best and only plan is to admit defeat and try to withdraw as smoothly as we are able. In other words, cut (our losses) and run (in as dignified a way as possible). The only alternative seems to be just more and more senseless killing, maiming, and misery.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nothing is simple

If 51% of Americans profess to not believe in evolution that is an absolutely shocking commentary on the ignorance and intelligence of the American public (granted it may not constitute a "vast majority"). I suspect that here in North Idaho it may exceed 51%. We have students in High School who believe dinosaurs never existed. And we have at least one teacher who won't even offer a section on evolution because he gets too much flak from parents (and we don't have very many teachers). Even the Catholic Church recognizes evolution. Our fundamentalistic churches, of which we have many, do not. I personally find this incredible (to say nothing of appalling) but, alas, it is so. I confess to complete ignorance with respect to what Muslims believe about evolution. I shall try to look into the matter.

Bubblehead: I think one could make a case for the opposite of your suggestion about the origins of religion. It would seem to me the weak would not be in much of a position to dictate religious beliefs to the strong. The strong, however, could easily have imposed absurd beliefs on the weaker members of society forcing them to pay money or tribute to themselves (which they could then use to construct obscene monuments to themselves and their "religion"). Besides, why would one assume that weaker members of a society would necessarily be more intelligent than the stronger? Anyway, I'm sure the origins of religion are much more complicated and basic than either of us could possibly know.

Perhaps one could make a stronger case arguing that the weaker members of society invented technology to protect themselves from the stronger. Consider this verse engraved on a confiscated handgun:
Be not afraid of any man,
no matter what his size,
just call on me, my friend,
for I will equalize.

This is all nonsense, of course. Technology obviously advanced along with human evolution in an exceedingly complicated manner.

The current "problem" with religion in the U.S. has not so much to do with whether or not people profess to believe in God, as it does with fundamentalistic religions having influence over the current administration and attempting to force their beliefs on the rest of us. While it is true that Italians believe in God and THE Church, the church itself believes evolution occurred and ordinarily Italians do not attempt to control their government in quite the same way. Religious beliefs should be private matters and not try to infringe upon the body politic. I suspect that most societies are not so concerned with the separation of church and state as we are and in some sense church and state are one in other countries (which probably works where you have one completely dominant religion like Catholicism).

Be all of this as it may, it is perfectly obvious that I despise Bush/Cheney and the neocons as war criminals who should be held accountable for their illegal, immoral, and unconstitional activities. While the Democrats are not without some complicity they are certainly not in the same league with the lying Republicans and I hope they will be able to at least clean up the worst of Bush/Cheney's excesses.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Watch 'n Wait: So what is it you disagree with?

Anonymous: Apollonian - quiet, not given to excess, controlled, etc. Dionysian - wild, frenzied, unpredictable, etc. Not really very useful terms.

Bubblehead: Where did the 51% come from? There are studies that indicate that most, if not all European countries, are nowhere near as religious as the U.S.

Jimmy K: You mean Catholics and Lutherans never tortured or killed on behalf of their faiths?

I love you guys!

But Thanksgiving: Although I am not religious in any orthodox sense of that term I do give thanks. Not to the "Lord," but, rather, to the Great Mystery, and I do so with a great deal of awe and bewilderment. I thank the Great Mystery because I was for some reason born as an American. I suppose I could have been born a Palestinian, a Guatemalan, Ugandan, a Chinese, Korean, or an Indian chief. But, happily I was not. I don't understand why but I count my blessings and believe it was a good thing. I am very happy having been born in the United States (even though I can't say I am very pleased with the Bush/Cheney disaster). I love my country (but not in the sense of "right or wrong"). I give thanks for the fact that somehow I have lived to a fairly ripe old age and seem to be healthy enough to continue even further (when I was a young man if anyone had told me I would live to be 77 years old I would have laughed at them). I am thankful for having a wonderful wife and a marvelously intelligent and handsome son who is doing well in the University. I give thanks for always having food to eat and a roof over my head, even though I cannot say we were ever what you might describe as wealthy. I give thanks for having had the opportunity to travel widely and to live for various periods of time in other countries. I am thankful for having overcome obstacles in my path to maturity, happy to overcome the xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, and racism that I was exposed to in the small mining town where I was raised. Although there are things in my past I am not proud of I believe that I am a better person now than I was.

All in all I guess I would say I am relatively happy and content. Of course I still don't like turkey or chicken breast, eggplant, okra, or "cute." And I don't like liars, warmongers, torturers, and war profiteers. In the last twelve years or so I have developed a genuine antipathy with respect to Republicans (I guess that is putting it mildly).

Carry on. Give thanks. Tomorrow is the first day for the rest of our lives.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Themes of culture

Back in the 1940's and 50's there was an attempt to describe cultures in terms of themes or basic features that together made sense of them. I think this started with Ruth Benedict who tried to argue that Kwakiutl culture was "dionesian' whereas Hopi culture was "apollonian." Someone, I believe it was Morris Opler, immediately pointed out the obvious - cultures were far too complex to be so described and suggested the obvious, there would have to be multiple themes. These ideas were toyed about with for a time but eventually more or less disappeared. Even so, while thinking back on this, I began to wonder how one would describe contemporary American culture in such a way. My remarks here are not to be taken as in any way definitive, merely impressions acquired from watching some tv, reading books, newspapers and magazines, and observations of American behavior. To do justice to this would require weeks or months of research and a book-length treatment. In short, I suggest there are six main themes in American culture at the moment: sex, violence, materialism, drugs, religion, and militarism. These are not meant to be in order of importance.

Sex. Can there be any doubt that Americans are obsessed with sex? Sex is ubiquitous in advertising. We have annual reports on who is the sexist man or woman on earth. George Cloony won this year. Does anyone know anything about Cloony's sex life? I think he is sexy because he is handsome. See, you can't even be handsome in America without also being sexy. Consider women's magazines. Not only are the covers almost universally sexy, the articles have much to do with how to please your man, tricks in bed, how to make yourself look sexy, and etc. In the past few years there are now a variety of drugs one can take to "get it up," be always "prepared," have "male enhancement," and so on. Just now there is a new drug for women so they, too, can be more interested and prepared for sex. Quite frankly, I hadn't realized this was such a problem. I thought sex was just something that came naturally. Sex is used to sell everything, especially automobiles, but also ladies' lingerie and just about anything else you can think of.

Violence: I don't watch much tv. A couple of football games a week, a bit of MNABC, once in a while some kind of special. As near as I can tell virtually every ad you see for a movie is violent. Explosions, car crashes, murders, machine gunnings, and on and on. I suppose once in a while there is a movie ad that is not violent but they are very few and very far between. Video games are even worse. Violent beyond belief. I confess I have never actually seen one, just the ads for them. But wow! Our favorite sport, football, is violent. Even basketball has become more violent over the years. Boxing is violent, but doesn't even compare with the fights on pay-for-view these days, featuring brutality that goes far beyond any previous norms. Why we outlaw dog and cockfights but allow humans to do this to each other is something I find hard to understand.

Materialism: It is widely acknowledged that we have become a society of consumers. Shop until you drop, the one with the most toys wins, buy, buy, buy. And if you don't have the cash to participate in this madness your local bank or corporation will be glad to lend you enough. More than enough. The siren song of credit. Buy now, pay later. I think not a day goes by any more when I do not get an ad from some credit card company offering me a deliciously low interest rate (for a while) to get me in their clutches. Donald Trump is an icon. Who does not want to become filthy rich, rich beyond any reason whatsoever. CEO's pull down millions per year while the rest of us plod along with minimum wages and credit card debt trying to keep up with the Jones's or the Smith's or whomever. Ours is a culture predicated on waste and obsolescence, all in the name of the insanity of materialism.

Drugs: We are a nation of addicts. Not only is illegal drug addiction, to cocaine, heroin, meth, even gasoline sniffing, a serious problem, even prescription drugs have become a problem. The pharmaceutical companies now spend billions to convince us to take drugs we would not otherwise even have thought about. It is not only viagra and other such drugs, but all kinds of drugs. Drugs to help you sleep, to help you stay awake, drugs for arthritis, heart disease, liver problems, even things like restless leg syndrome (a relatively recent invention), hyperactivity, lethargy, hair growing, you name it and there is a drug for it (and if there isn't they will soon have one). They even invent conditions for the sole purpose of being able to sell you a drug for it.

Religion: the opiate of the masses. The U.S. is the only developed country where a majority of the population professes to believe in some form of organized religion. A vast majority apparently do not believe in evolution, large numbers believe in the literal truth of the bible, many believe the 2nd coming is imminent. They are homophobic, anti-abortion, anti-stem cell research, all because of their completely irrational religious beliefs. Although they profess to abhor abortion they refuse to even accept contraception. Whatever church they belong to they believe to be the only true one and they are willing to torture and kill in its name. And they proselytize. They cannot let others have their beliefs but have to try to convince them that theirs' is the only true path to who knows where.

Militarism: We now spend more money on our military than all other nations on earth put together. We have enough nuclear and other weapons to kill other individual human beings probably 100 times or more. We are the largest provider of military equipment on earth. We intervene in the affairs of any other nation we desire to, and we apparently desire to do so regularly and most everywhere, often at the point of a gun, but economically as well. We consume far more than our share of the earth's resources and we use out military to insure this continues. We currently have troops stationed virtually all over the world. We currently believe we have the right to pre-emptively attack any country we even think may someday wish to do us harm.

These six "themes" do not provide a very positive view of American culture in the 21st century. Although we profess to be interested in peace and democracy there is little in our behavior to demonstrate such a commitment. And there is nothing in our history to demonstrate such a commitment. There is a seventh them we ought to consider as well, hypocrisy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Things are going well

"Deaths soar in Iraq: Bloody Sunday caps 8 days of unrelenting carnage." The Headline on the front page of The Spokesman Review, November 20th, 2006. I take this to mean that "all in all things are going well." Doesn't this also indicate pretty clearly that we are winning? Dick Cheney is insane. I can see no other explanation for his claims that we are "winning" in Iraq. And his insistence that we bomb Iran is clearly insane. Our own CIA has now announced that Iran does not have a nuclear bomb program. Cheney will not accept this and will no doubt have his fake intelligence agency contradict the CIA. I repeat, he is insane. To attack and bomb Iran under the present circumstances (or even ever) is truly insane.

I am not certain that Bush himself is insane. I think he is just marginally retarded and does what he is told. He has learned to read his speeches pretty well, even though I doubt he understands a single word of what he is saying. In fact, I doubt he even tries to understand them. As far as I know he raises no crops or animals on his pig farm. So why does he cut brush? Could it be just for the cameras?

Glen Beck is an absolute idiot. Nancy Grace is pretty terrible. The only way CNN could make their evening programming any worse would be to hire Tucker Carlson (whose graduation into ordinary neckties seems to have done nothing for his IQ). I no longer watch CNN, not even for the market report. I urge you to do the same.

I just read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. An absolutely terrific book that exposes Christianity, and all other organized religions, for the horrific institutions they truly are. I was particulary taken by the following quote:

“It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love, it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion – to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious taboos, and religious diversions of scarce resources – is what makes the honest criticism of religious faith a moral and intellectual necessity. Unfortunately, expressing such criticism places the nonbeliever at the margins of society. By merely being in touch with reality, he appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbors.”

This is pretty much what living in Idaho is like.

James Carville, pimp for Hillary Clinton, tried to take down Howard Dean, and failed miserably. Even Hillary herself refused to get on board. No doubt he will find solace in the arms of his wife, Mary Matalan, who pimps for Cheney. If these two had any seriously held political beliefs they could not possibly stay married (and would not have married in the first place). For them, it's just another day at the office and they will always be on the winning side.

If the MSM have their way the incoming Democratic administration will be discredited and destroyed before they even take office. We cannot let them get away with this politicide. Just believe the exact opposite of whatever they say and it will help immeasurably.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Know your enemies

So...the Democrats won control of the House and the Senate. That is good. Very good. But their enemies are already gathering to destroy them. First, they will have to deal with George W. Bush, the most consummate liar of all time. Meeting with some of the newly elected Democrats Bush has promised to cooperate in a spirt of non-partisanship. He then immediately tried to get John Holton confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations (again) even though it is perfectly obvious he would not be wanted by Democrats (and by a number of Republicans as well). Then he tried to push through six appointments for Judges, five of which have already been refused by the Democrats. He also claimed he would cooperate with Democrats to solve the (probably insolvable) problem of Iraq. He then ordered 20,000 more troops to that unhappy country in spite of the fact that some 92% of Americans do not want more troops there. It is perfectly obvious that Bush intends to do nothing whatsoever to cooperate with Democrats or anyone else. It is still, for him, "my way or the highway."

Bush, however, badly crippled, is the least of the Democrats worries. There is the MSM, that collection of corporate news companies that have already begun their propaganda campaign against anything Democratic. According to their obviously coordinated activities the fact that Pelosi supported Murtha, who lost in his bid to become majority leader, indicates that she has bad judgment and that Democrats are hopelessly divided. This is clearly trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. The Republicans who have been in a fascist lock-step for the past six years cannot even comprehend that it might be possible for people in one party to have disagreements. The MSM will take every opportunity to portray the Democrats as disorganized, weak on defense, eager to have as many abortions as possible, in favor of gay marriages, dying to raise taxes, and, in short, anti-American. This is the real enemy that Democrats will have to overcome as the MSM has already demonstrated their ability to ruin candidates (Dean and Kerry, for example) and there is no reason to suppose they will not go to any lengths to destroy the Democrats. They have long since abandoned their obligation to act as a check on government and have, themselves, become an arm of government. This is an extremely dangerous situation and corporate news will have to somehow be defeated. What is really needed is a boycott of all corporate controlled news. Just stop watching and reading it. Depend on the internet and news from outside the U.S. Watch INN and Democracy Now. Write letters to the Editor challenging obviously biased news.

Democrats have control of the House and Senate. But the battle is far from over. The enemy is filthy rich from their war profiteering and well organized. They are not going to give up willingly. Be advised to fight to the death. Our country and democracy are well worth it.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Well, now that the 2006 elections are over it is now time, right now, to begin discussions of 2008 (this can't even wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas). I confess I have no idea of what is likely to ensue (and I strongly suspect no one else does either) but why should that keep me from speculating wildly just like everyone else? First, I can tell you that I am soooo relieved to learn that Rick Santorum is not going to run for President. Man, I was really worried about that. He would have been a strong candidate for the idiot vote (and there are lots of them in the Republican fold). And I guess we can eliminate macaca Allen who actually considered running. As he failed to even keep his seat in the Senate he probably won't get much traction for President. Guiliani, the ex mayor of New York, pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay, I think we can rule him out (he must have genuine delusions of grandeur). Romney, but he is a Mormom, not much chance there. John McCain, the apparent front runner, a genuine warmonger, out of sync with the 92% of Americans who do not want to send more troops to Iraq, willing to kiss Dubya's ass in public for the nomination, perhaps too old, and has already alienated himself from the main Republican "base." That leaves Jeb who has said he is not running. Ha-ha-ha. If Carlyle wants him to run, he'll run. If anyone would vote for another Bush at this point in time I guess they would deserve to maintain their peasant status.

On the Democratic front we have Hillary as the ostensible front runner. She has name recognition, tons of money, lots of chips to cash in, and there is growing acceptance of the idea of a female President. But she is incredibly divisive and worse, she has Bill. Is Bill going to be content to arrange dinners, host cocktail parties for visiting dignitaries, arranges menus, and stuff like that? Furthermore, Hillary, although I hate to say it, is a DLC Republican. When it comes right down to the real nitty-gritty I doubt she can get the nomination (as she probably can't win the election). John Kerry has already blown it. Barack Obama is cute and on a roll but please, not enough experience (and he's black). John Edwards, a possibility, but again, not much experience (a great vice-presidential candidate). Bill Richardson, a governor and probably a good guy, but Hispanic, and unfortunately a kind of light-weight. Who else? Other than Al Gore (who should already have been President) I don't know at the moment. But Al Gore isn't running (at least not yet) and if he is smart (and he is) probably won't (why should anyone sacrifice himself to try to overcome the the incredible mess Bush has made of the world?). If Gore would agree to take on this unbelievable thankless task we should all support him without reservation. I suggest he would be a national hero even before he was elected (again). But what do I know? I said Ronald Reagan could never be elected President. I said George W. Bush could never be elected President. I said he could never be elected for a second term. I now believe that the Carlyle Group could elect a serial child rapist to be President if they chose to do so. Watch out for Jeb.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No more hunger!

I believe it was Max Schulman who defined sociology as "the study of how the masses are being exploited by an elite bourgeoisie." And we used to joke that a sociologist was a person who needed a $50,000 grant to locate the nearest whore house. We should not have been so flippant. It seems that a sociologist has now solved the problem of hunger in America. According to an article in our local newspaper, Americans will never be hungry again. They may, however, experience "very low food security." Mark Nord, a sociologist with the Agricultural Department, determined that we do not have an adequate measure of hunger, so very low food security is a more scientific description of the condition of being hungry. The Agricultural Department now divides people into those who have "food security," and those with "food insecurity." There is also a category of "food security without hunger," as opposed to those with "food insecurity with hunger." You see how simple this is? No more hunger! I would like to be present when they explain to people that they are not really hungry, they are just suffering from very low food security. I'm sure that will be very comforting.

A young mother, breastfeeding her infant on Delta Airlines, was ordered off the plane, being told that what she was doing was unacceptable behavior. Apparently she was offered a blanket to cover up her despicable act and when she refused she was escorted off the plane. Never mind that what she was doing was the perfectly natural way to feed a baby, never mind that breastfeeding is not illegal, never mind that breastfeeding is far better for infants that bottle feeding, never mind that the human breast was designed for just such a purpose, for a woman to wantonly behave in such a way in public is regarded in America (at least by many) as disgusting. I tend to agree. It is obvious in America that the real purpose of the female breast is to be shown an billboards, magazines, advertisments, and in places like Hooters, where men can enjoy their erotic fantasies about them. If infants have to sacrifice a little bit so their fathers can enjoy breasts so be it. It's the American way. At least the little tykes don't have to go hungry. They can always suck on artificial nipples and formula.

Bush has demonstrated his commitment to bipartisanship by renominating a number of judges already deemed unaccepatable by democrats. That Bush, what a character.

Trent Lott is back. I guess he may back Strom Thurmond for President now that Santorum, Allen, DeLay, Gingrich, and a few others are pretty much out of the picture. Don't write off Giuliani, pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-gun-control, just what the Republican party wants. One can only assume he just wants attention. Then there is warmonger John McCain, in sync with the 8% of Americans who want to send more troops to Iraq. And don't count out Jeb. With two failed Bush Presidencies perhaps the third time will be the charm. If Carlyle wants Jeb, Jeb it will doubless be. It could be an interesting two years if the Democrats don't implode. I am increasing my prayers to the Great Mystery.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Conditions on the ground

Bush says repeatedly that we will not leave Iraq until "conditions on the ground" dictate that the time has come. So, what if conditions on the ground never dictate time to leave? Will we just stay there forever waiting for conditions on the ground to change? One might well argue that conditions on the ground will never change until we are out of there. In fact, if you listen to Bush/Cheney we will never be out of Iraq until we have achieved "victory," never mind conditions on the ground. Victory, conveniently for Bush/Cheney, is never defined. Oh, yeah, they say victory will be achieved when Iraq can stand on its own two feet, have a viable government, take care of their own security, and so forth. But what they never add is, have a government that will do what we want them to do, a puppet government just like all the others we have installed around the world for years. A puppet government that will not object to the fact that we have privatized their oil industry so the major oil companies will benefit at the expense of the Iraqi people, and will not complain about the fact that our huge corporations have managed to abscond with most of the money earmarked for reconstruction that has not been completed.

If you missed Democracy Now today you missed an interesting exchange between George McGovern, Dennis Kusinich, and some right-winger whose name I cannot remember at the moment (someone I never heard of before). The discussion became quite heated, especially when Kusinich suggested we had gone into Irag to steal their oil. This right-winger was outraged, outraged that Kusinich would imply that our motives were less than noble. I guess he believes we attacked Iraq in order to spread democracy throughout the Middle East. Where do Republicans even find these people? I guess it must be part of their "big tent" that excludes blacks and hispanics and other immigrants but includes morons, idiots, cretins, and all people with small, smooth brains. I guess we should give thanks that at least we got rid of Santorum, Allen, and Burns, three of the dimmest bulbs ever to manage to get elected to the Senate. We don't have this kind of problem here in Idaho. We don't actually send Senators and Representatives, just rubber stamps.

Exciting developments here at Sandhill. We have two new kittens, sisters, both completely gray, and both feisty beyond belief. Our two older cats do not like them, which does not surprise me one bit (my wife is in a state of denial). Ceci, who is spoiled beyond belief, doesn't actually attack them but she is also most unfriendly. Boo, who is centuries old, hates them. As they are small and all gray, and as his senses are not what they used to be, I think he may mistake them for rats. I suspect there will be no peace in our household until the Great Mystery calls Boo to cat heaven up there in the land of endless mice. I have to constantly bite my tongue so as not to say, "I told you so." Ah, life, a terminal condition transmitted by sex.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Pelosi and others in the new Democratic majority have said impeachment is not on the agenda. While I think this is understandable as they wish to avoid such a confrontation in favor of making some immediate positive changes, I think impeachment (or perhaps resignations) will be inevitable. Rumsfeld is about to be charged with war crimes in Germany by an international court that believes it can charge people with war crimes wherever they are. This seems to be a serious attempt, not just a media event. If this is so, and if Rumsfeld is found guilty of war crimes, what is this going to suggest for Bush/Cheney and others? Surely Rumsfeld will not be considered guilty just by himself, he did operate at the pleasure of the President (and in this case primarily at the pleasure of the vice-president). And as he has resigned his office he can no longer claim immunity. This is, I believe, serious business.

When you couple this with the fact that Democrats now hold supoena powers, and fully intend to investigate various aspects of the Republican administration, what do you think they are going to find? Is there any chance whatsoever that Republicans will not be found guilty of various serious violations of U.S. law? And if they are found guilty where do you think this will inevitably lead? It seems to me that no matter what Pelosi and others may think, all roads lead to impeachment. Furthermore, it is not up to Pelosi, Conyers, and others to decide there will be no impeachment. It will be up to the American public and it appears there is widespread support for such action. Someone the other day suggested that Republicans will have to insist on the resignations of Bush/Cheney if they wish the Republican party to survive. As Bush's ratings are now at a mere 31%, and Cheney's are at below zero, this may in fact have to come about. Whatever happens, it seem clear to me that events are moving things inevitably in this direction, and it is no longer up to Pelosi and the Democrats to control what will have to happen.

Monday, November 13, 2006

no rights?

The White House continues to argue that "enemy combatants" (I believe a term they just made up) have no rights. None. That is, if they were picked up on the "battlefied" (like, maybe, the streets of Rome or elsewhere) they are not entitled to any rights whatsoever, like habeas corpus. As it seems to be fairly well established that many, if not most, of those at Guantanamo are guilty of nothing at all other than perhaps being in the wrong place at the wrong time, somehow this does not seem reasonable. Not only is it not reasonable, it is positively medieval. In fact, it is even worse than that, it is completely barbaric. Think of it, would you want to be picked up arbitrarily (or even not arbitrarily), put in prison with no ability to question why you were arrested, no way to even contact your wife or family, no lawyer to represent you, no hope whatsoever of ever regaining your freedom, and completely helpless to do anything except rot in jail? Does that not strike you as barbaric? Habeas corpus has been one of the most basic features of our legal system since the Magna Carta. Bush/Cheney have done away with it, at least for certain categories of persons. Even barbaric doesn't do justice to this absoluely repugnant, even unbelievable practice. To believe that any human being, anywhere, for any reason, should be subjected to such treatment, is to join with the most repressive, undemocratic, immoral regimes of all time. Think of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Amin, Hussein, among others. That Bush/Cheney want to insist on doing away with habeas corpus surely puts them in this company. Instead of letting these prisoners rot forever in Guantanamo why don't they put them in cages and hang them in their living rooms where they can taunt and torture them at their leisure? What they want to continue doing is disgusting even beyond belief.

Leahy is trying to return us to a previous more sane and fair way of treating prisoners. Let us help him however we can. I certainly don't want the Bush/Cheney sadistic procedure on my conscience. I like to think that justice will ultimately be served.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

No accountability?

Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is not on the agenda. Conyers has now apparently agreed with this (although I doubt this reflects his true feelings on the subject). What I want to know is, does this mean no accountability? Consider the situation: Bush/Cheney and the neocons attacked a sovereign nation that was no threat to us (don't believe their bullshit about believing Sadam had WMD's - they knew perfectly well he was not a threat to us, as did virtually all the rest of the world). Powell himself has said two months before the attack that Iraq was not a threat. The inspectors were right there on the ground at the time and said there was no threat, in spite of Bush's absolute lie about Iraq having rejected the inspectors. Attacking preemptively a nation that is not a threat to you is the most basic of war crimes (consult the Nuremberg trials). Authorizing torture is a war crime. Hiding prisoners from the Red Cross is a war crime. Dropping phosphorous bombs on civilians is a war crime. The indiscriminate killing of civilians is a war crime. Completely destroying Falluja was a war crime. War profiteering is a war crime. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice and the rest of the criminal gang are guilty of all of these things.

Consider impeachment. They lied to the Congress and the American people in order to bring about this immoral, illegal, unnecessary "war." They engaged in illegal wiretapping. They usurped Presidential powers that do not exist and attempted to establish a one party ruling system in our supposedly democratic society, by overriding established laws and writing "signing statements" that simply said they would not abide by existing laws. All of these things are almost certainly impeachable, and there is no doubt they, in fact, did them.

So are they to not be held accountable? Are we just supposed to say, oh well, boys will be boys, stuff happens, back off and relax? I can understand why democrats might not wish to immediately engage in impeachment proceedings that would look like revenge (how absurd would it be to consider it an act of revenge to try to bring war criminals to justice?), and would also keep them from accomplishing anything positive in the near future. But come on, consider reality, are we are supposed to just forgive all our military deaths and dismemberments, the deaths and misery of thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis? The destruction of the nation of Iraq? Just pretend it all didn't happen? Do we want the rest of the world to think we actually condone such criminal disgusting acts? This is like saying, in some of our smaller communities, yes, we know he was a disgusting rapist and murderer, but it will cost too much to try him again. This happens. Are we going to let it happen on an international scale?

So let us go slowly, issue some supoenas, gather some facts, proceed cautiously, by all means try to be objective and fair, but let us not lose fact of the basic issue of accountability. And let us not shirk from punishing those who are found to be accountable. No bygones be bygones here. It is far too important, and the world will be watching.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Post election syndrome

I haven't blogged for the past couple of days because I am dealing with post-election syndrome. That is, shock, first of all, as I hoped the democrats would win I didn't think they could win both the House and the Senate. So, hooray! Then there was the awe. We actually won! And Rumsfeld was fired (pretty obviously despite the objections from Cheney). So has Bush finally come to his senses? Of course not, the powers that be have decided once again that daddy's friends should come and try to bail him out of his latest mess. While this may prove difficult to do there would seem to be little alternative at the moment. We must wait to see how successful they will be this time (it's going to be far more difficult than bailing him out of a couple of business failures, his military record, an apparent abortion, and who knows what all else).

I have also been puzzling over some of my critical comments. I enjoy the comments but I confess I do not always (or even usually) understand them. First, they seem to me to rarely address anything I have said directly. Someone said, for example, "Pelosi the traitor," and "Reid the traitor," and let's see how well they can do. As I have no idea whatsoever what traitoress deeds he has in mind, and as he does not elaborate, I am mystified. Similarly, his latest comments says something to the effect that I want my "California gang" to come and mess up Idaho. As I was born and raised in Idaho, graduated from the University of Idaho, and returned to Idaho to retire, I have no idea what he is talking about. I did teach at UCLA for a time, but I taught elsewhere as well (as there were no opportunities in Idaho), but I would like to assure him I have no "gang," from California, Washington, Northwestern or otherwise. I sort of wish I did have a gang, it would make things somewhat easier living here in this forest of mindless ultra-rightism.

Similarly, I once said Gore was arguably the best qualified person ever to run for the Presidency. The comment I received was something to the effect that Jefferson was well qualified. While I believe Jefferson, at the time, was probably well-qualified, I cannot see what that had to do with my comment about Gore. What I find more interesting, however, is that anytime I have suggested Bush/Cheney ought to be impeached, or held responsible for war crimes, no critic has ever argued otherwise, just ignoring what I said and making some off the wall unrelated comment.

So come on: Is there anyone out there who thinks Bush/Cheney have not committed war crimes? Is there anyone who thinks they do not deserve impeachment? Is there anyone who believes Cheney when he says, all in all, things are going well? More importantly for the moment, is there anyone who believes Bush/Cheney and their cohorts should not be held accountable? Should their despicable and unconscionable behavior just be ignored and therefore rewarded? And if they are to be held accountable how can this not involve impeachment or worse? Let's hear it from the 31 percent that still support Bush.

Here's a thought for the day: Is homosexuality intrinsically immoral? Is it worse than blatant hypocrisy?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Only in Idaho

Virtually every state in the union repudiated Bush and the Republicans. Democrats won the House of Representatives by a large margin and they also won the Senate. This was true almost everywhere, in the Northeast, the West, the Midwest, the South, and the Southwest. Everywhere but Idaho. Here in Idaho we voted in mysterious ways. For example, even though Idaho is a relatively poor state with an average income pretty low by most standards, we voted for Republican candidates who announced publicly they would not support raising the minimum wage, nor would they vote to repeal our somewhat medieval right to work laws. We also voted against raising money for education even though Idaho is at the bottom of the list of states with respect to how much we spend per student (there is a long history of voting against education in Idaho, cannonball making is still regarded as enough of a skill to get by). We did vote for a bill making marriage only for a man and a woman (even though that is already the law in Idaho so such a bill was totally unnecessary). Not only that, we voted against even establishing any other kind of union for gays. I suspect that by the 2008 elections we may have a bill making it legal to shoot gays on sight (this in spite of the fact that our senior senator has recently been "outed" but no one seems to want to admit it). We also voted for a candidate for Congress who was financed almost exclusively by an out-of-state millionaire in New York, as opposed to a fine candidate who was financed mostly by in-state contributions. I'm sure he'll fit right in with the new House membership. This is especially true as he is an ultra-rightist described as belligerent, uncooperative, and even idiotic by his own party. For Governor we picked the closest thing to a useless politician we could find. Twenty years in Idaho politics and Congress with nothing to show for it. He didn't even bother to campaign or make himself available to the press (here in our little town he sent his bus but did not bother to come himself, but he is, of course, incestously close to Idaho business). We elected as head of our educational system someone with no experience in education whatsoever, and someone to manage our finances who has no financial experience (I guess we learned from the Bush administration). We did somehow vote against proposition 2, sponsored by the same people that financed our successful Congressional candidate. In short, with this exception, Idaho voters performed in a completely irrational manner, voting even against their own best interests, and contrary to the rest of the United States. We're rugged individualists here and, dad gum it, we're gonna stay that way.

Two old men were walking through the forest when they came upon a frog that spoke to them. The frog said, "if you kiss me I will become a beautiful maiden and do anything you wish. Anything.

One of the men picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. His companion said, "what's wrong with you? Didn't you hear what it said? It will become a beautiful maiden and do anything you want. Anything."

"Yeah," the old man said, "but at my age I'd rather have a talking frog."

Try to maintain a sense of humor. I know it is difficult these days.

Rumsfeld finally resigned (was fired). It was only five years too late. Will Cheney be far behind? No, of course not. Cheney will never resign. He lacks decency. Bu;sh can't get rid of him. It would be like having a lobotomy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Meanwhile, back on the pig farm...

I gather that Bush is presently back on his pig farm, venturing out into Florida and other relatively comfortable ultra-right wing locales (I can't bring myself to say conservative hangouts because Bush is far from being a conservative). I find it amusing to know that Bush bought a 1600 acre former pig farm not long before running for president. This place is now described as a "ranch." As far as I know there are no cattle, no sheep, no pigs, no horses. It is a brush ranch. It grows brush so Bush can have a place to pretend to cut brush while having his picture taken (I guess splitting firewood doesn't cut it anymore for politicians of his stature). As he has trouble riding bicycles he doesn't dare trying horseback. Oh well, if he wants a pretend ranch to go with his pretend presidency we should just all humor him. After all, he does communicate directly with God. How many of us can say the same thing.

Tomorrow is the big day. After months of lies piled upon lies piled upon prevarications piled upon falsehoods seasoned by nonsense with a dash of the absurd we are about to cast the most important votes we will probably ever have during our lifetimes. The choice seems pretty clear-cut: either we will become a fascist dictatorship or we will attempt to salvage our disappearing democracy. This is not exactly what is known as a "Hobson's choice." Happily our local choices are not quite so ominous. For example, we can vote for Clement Leroy Otter, a genuine lightweight politician with a twenty year history of almost complete inactivity (except to maintain the status quo of business interests), or Jerry Brady who has the best interests of ordinary citizens as a priority. Otter was involved in a scheme to sell off Idaho lands (to pay for cleaning up after Katrina it was said, if you believe in fairly tales), until he discovered it was an overwhelmingly unpopular idea back here at home and then decided to change his mind. He has a history of vacillating about such things until he discovers which way the business winds are blowing. Brady has promise for actually doing something for he citizens of Idaho as well as for the reputation of the state (which could certainly use some positive PR given our dismal location on the scales of education, health care, and environmental issues).

Then there is the contest for Congressman between Larry Grant and Bill Sali. This one is truly a no-brainer. Sali is New York's man in Idaho, financed almost exclusively by a filthy rich New Yorker who has designs on our state which are far from positive. Proposition 2 is another example of "takings" legislation which, like all of such attempts previously, would be a disaster if enacted. For example, under this proposed rule, if I decided to start a pig farm on my six acres here at Sandhill, and the neighbors were opposed, they would have to pay me for all the money I might have lost had I been allowed to start such a farm. This is similar to previous attempts at such legislation. Timber companies who made money by exploiting public lands for years (at taxpayer's expense) argued that if they were prevented from continuing to do so they should be paid for not doing so. That is, they should be reimbursed for not logging public lands. How many loggers do you think they would have needed to not log our public lands? These "takings" proposals are so intrinsically absurd it is difficult to believe anyone can be taken in by them. Just remember, "there are suckers born every minute and two to take them."

In any case it will all be over tomorrow at least for another couple of years. Oh, no, it won't, because after tomorrow will begin the 2008 elections. Aaaagh! Help! Is there nowhere to run? And, of course, there isn't. Nonetheless, the only hope for the moment is TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bill Sali, New York's man in Idaho

Bill Sali, running against Democrat Larry Grant, has received somewhere in the vicinity of a million dollars from a New York multimillionaire who is promoting Proposition 2. Without this overwhelming support from out of state money Sali would be nothing but a bad joke. With it he is even a worse bad joke. For the most part Sali's own party has repudiated him. He has been described by them as belligerent, uncooperative, and idiotic. Sali keeps insisting there is a relationship between abortion and breast cancer. There is no evidence whatsoever that this is so. Even women who have had surgery for this problem are asking him to cease and desist in this claim. He is obsessively anti-abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. He wants to retain Bush's tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy. He also would like to close our borders, make felons of all illegal immigrants and ship them all back to where they came from (and idea so impractical as to be laughable). He supports Bush/Cheney's hopeless "war" in Iraq and their absurd claim that we are "winning." To date he has refused to say whether he supports Proposition 2 or not, claiming he has not made up his mind. As virtually everyone in the state of Idaho, including his own party, has come out against this nonsensical "takings" legislation, it is difficult to see why he could not have made up his mind. Of course if he endorses it he pleases his ultra-right donors but will be out of sync with his own party. If he doesn't endorse it he will alienate his wealthy New York financial supporters. I guess he thinks he can just stonewall this until after the election. But tell me, why would anyone in Idaho support this ultra-rightist candidate who received virtually all of his support from an out-of-state millionaire in New York? I don't know precisely what scam these people have in mind but you can be certain they do not have the best interest of Idaho at heart. And why is Dick Cheney here plugging for Sali when there are much more important Senate races in jeopardy? Could it be Idaho is about the only state that wouldn't just laugh him out of the podium? And watch out, he's going hunting again, this time in South Dakota. I assume he going this time for pheasants, those big, bulky, slow-moving birds that are relatively easy to kill. Pen raised pheasants are even easier. I bet he'll kill sixty or more even before the martini hour. He's a real sportsman.

One might think that with a million dollars to spend on ads they would try to emphasize Sali's strong points. As he has none they are spending their money attacking Larry Grant. The Republicans are so desperate to maintain their majority in the House they are backing Sali overwhelmingly even though, like Foley, he is about as unattractive candidate as one could find. They wouldn't care if he was a sack of pig pucky as long as he would rubber stamp this dismal Bush/Cheney administration's attack on our Constitution and personal liberties. Need I remind you - VOTE DEMOCRATIC!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What will Bush/Cheney do now?

Can things really get much worse for Bush/Cheney? All four military newspapers simultaneously have called for Rumsfeld to resign (do all those senior military people really know more than Cheney/Rumsfeld?) Cheney has just said it doesn't matter what the public thinks, we're on the right course. I guess maybe the military doesn't agree with him either. Will it make a difference? Will they stick with Rummy in spite of the military objections? Stay tuned. This is getting interesting.

If the military revolt isn't enough, how about Haggard? Another example of Republican/Evangelical hypocrisy. Shades of Bill Clinton, "I didn't inhale." Haggard bought the meth but didn't use it. He had a gay prostitute massage him but didn't engage in sex. Apparently he did. But according to another one of his ilk it was all because his wife didn't take care of herself, became too fat, and didn't provide proper sex. Oh, these evangelicals!

Now even the neocons who brought about this horrible "war" are dumping on Bush. What Perle and others are saying, I think, when you boil it down, is they didn't know Bush?Cheney were so incompetent. This seems to be the same kind of BS many conservatives use against our defeat in Vietnam. We couldn't win because the government wouldn't provide everything necessary, etc.,etc.

Finally, we have the situation in which Bush/Cheney and the rest of the torturers are arguing that those individuals who were tortured should not be allowed to even speak about it - because, of course, it would jeopardize our security. This is the same argument they've tried to use about the Libby case, and other such things - everything can't be done because it will jeopardize security. This is their standard agenda now. You can't investigate anything because everything you want to do or learn about will jeopardize security. It's like a broken record. We will do anything we want and you can't even ask about it. So much for democracy (remember that - democracy - we used to have at least a semblance of it).

Here at Sandhill we seem to have our own early problem with global warming. A couple of years ago there were a few reintroduced wild turkeys. A few. Last winter was mild so this year we have had a wild turkey explosion. Now they take over our garden, come right up on the decks, look in the windows, and poop everywhere. If this is another mild winter I'm sure we will be overcome by the turkeys (I confess it is a bit amusing when my wife goes out to yell and throw things at them). But the problem doesn't stop with the turkeys. The mild winters also produce multitudes of deer that feast on our roses and virtually everything else. We used to see and enjoy them at a distance. Now, however, they come right up to the house, peer in the windows, shamelessly consume every plant in sight and now, today, actually had the temerity bed down within 30 feet of the house. Another mild winter and I feel we are doomed. Apparently the coyotes and cougars just can't keep up with these population explosions. It's all Bill Clinton's fault.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A fair election?

Does anyone actually believe this is going to be a fair election? Given the polls at the moment, plus the endless Republican scandals that just keep growing everyday, there is obviously no way Republicans can win if there is a fair election. So don't look for one. Look instead of every Republican dirty trick you can imagine, try to challenge them at every step, and get out such a monumental Democratic vote that they cannot even pretend to have won. Republican arrogance and incompetence have fouled things up so badly I find it incomprehensible that 2000 people would show up to listen to Dick the Slimy carry on about how well things are going in Iraq. Bush, and especially Cheney, obviously subscribe to the Goebbels strategy: tell a huge lie often enough and people will come to accept it. I don't think that this time they are going to accept it. But why do people even listen to Bush Cheney anymore? They should just be laughed off the podium (I gather thaT in some cases Republican candidates are being laughed at when they claim Bush has a plan).

The plan at the moment seems to be "victory," but, of course, victory is never defined. Victory at this point certainly cannot mean we are going to leave a democratic Iraq. But that was never the plan in the first place. Victory for Bush/Cheney means a puppet Iraqi government that will do their bidding, allow us to control their oil and other resources, and in short simply be another American colony. It does not look to me that that can ever happen, certainly not in any near future. So if victory is not possible what is the use of a plan for victory? Actually, I don't believe they even have a plan for victory. The only plan they have is to get past the election next tuesday.

While it might be true that Bush cannot actually "fire" Cheney it is certainly true that as President, if he wanted to, he could certainly get rid of him. But in this case he can't because Cheney is really in charge and he is going to protect Rumsfeld, Bolton, and his other cronies as well. Nothing positive can happen as long as Cheney and the neocons remain in power. So vote democratic and hope for the best. There is no hope otherwise.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Surprise! It's about oil

I hope you remember when this hideous nightmare that is the Iraq "war" began we were told by several people in the administration and elsewhere (I confess I can't remember exactly who anymore) that it was not about oil. Aside from WMD's, never found, a relationship between Osama and Sadam, nonexistant, the desire to spread democracy around the Middle East, a pipe dream and another lie, it has never been entirely clear what the hell we were doing in Iraq (but we were reassured that it was not about oil). Now Rove said in a recent interview, "we can't leave the terrorists sitting on all that oil" (I guess he thinks the Iraqis themselves have no interest in the oil and will just let the terrorists claim it), and Bush said much the same thing just now on the Rush Dimwit show. So could it be that oil actually did have something to do with it? Or is this interest in oil simply a recent development?

There was no October surprise. I was disappointed. Could it be that Karl Rove, master strategist, Republican genius, Lord of the Republican universe, simply fell down on the job? I don't know, he and Bush seem remarkably confident that they are going to win again. With their poll numbers how can they lose?

Republican sleaze and dirty tricks apparently goes on at all levels. There is a paper in Sandpoint, The Bonner County Daily Bee, which just ran an article suggesting that one of our Democratic candidates (who has an excellent chance of winning) might not be completely honest about his addresses and also behaved badly as a Board member of a local utility. This information is said to have come from blogs. First, the claims are totally false. Second, there are no such blogs. When the writer of the article was confronted and asked for the blogs he confessed he didn't know about them but we should ask his boss, the owner/editor of the paper who presumably knew about them. When that august gentleman was confronted he confessed that there were no blogs, only comments. When asked how many comments he didn't answer, when asked who wrote the comments he said they were anonymous. He then claimed there were also emails but, again, declined to say how many or who sent them. So, on the basis of anonymous comments (that may or may not even exist), and on the basis of emails (which may or may not even exist) they wrote a scurillous article suggesting that Steve Elgar may be dishonest. And, of course, they did this just a few days before the election so rebutting it will be difficult if not impossible. I have heard it said that Republicans asked them to write this article. But, no, of course not, Republicans would never stoop that low (I should say, on the contrary, it would be difficult for them to actually attain such heights of low-level sleaze).

And remember, no matter what you read anywhere or see on the television, or hear from first-hand observers, Bush says he is pleased with our progress in Iraq and we are "winning." While we are no longer merely "staying the course," we will continue our upward progressive trajectory towards our ultimate goals as outlined by our President and his trusty Secretary of Defense, Ronald Dumbsfeldt, assisted ably as always by our dependable President of vice.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The puppet can't control the puppetmaster

In spite of calls from many quarters, including many retired generals and some senators, for Rumsfeld to resign or be fired by Bush, there seems to be no chance that such a thing can happen. Why is that? Well, consider Bush's statement today that Rumsfeld and Cheney will stay as long as he is in office as "they're both doing fantastic jobs." It should be pretty obvious by now to everyone but the completely braindead that they are far from doing fantastic jobs. Indeed, they have done about the most miserable jobs anyone can imagine. Rumsfeld is without question the most incompetent Secretary of Defense ever and Cheney has been wrong about absolutely everything. So why doesn't Bush fire them? Because Bush isn't in control of things. Rumsfeld is Cheney's boy just as Bush is Cheney's puppet. Unless Cheney were to agree there is no way Bush could fire Rumsfeld no matter how incompetent he has been and is. And Bush obviously can't fire Cheney because Cheney is in charge. The same thing is true with respect to Bolton. No one wanted Bolton at the UN except Cheney. And no one wants him to remain there except Cheney. Bolton is another of Cheney's boys. Look for him to get another recess appointment. I remember once seeing a horror film in which the dummy turned out to be in control of the ventriloquist. Unfortunately that is not the case with respect to Bush/Cheney, except insofar as they are both horror stories. Don't forget you can see Cheney in person in Coeur d' Alene tomorrow (provided you are an authentic wingnut and don't mind being present at a Bund meeting).

There was supposed to be a Community Forum tonight in which some of the local candidates were to appear and answer questions. It was cancelled as no one showed up except the candidates. Either everyone has already made up their minds or they just basically don't give a damn. It could be, of course, that everyone's tolerance for bullshit has been already exceeded (I suspect this latter).

Be sure to vote against Proposition 2, another sneak attack on Idaho by a New York millionaire. These "takings" people just don't give up. If this Proposition wins I intend to start a pig farm here at Sandhill and get my neighbors to have to pay me for all the money I would have made if they hadn't refused me permission. What a deal! It saddens me no end to realize there are people who might actually vote for this terrible proposal. If you don't believe me look up

I believe John Kerry is a bright, well-intentioned, serious Senator who really does want the best for our country. Unfortunately he seems to have an infinite capacity for putting his foot in his mouth. Even so, I don't believe his slip of the tongue ought to take our attention away from torture, Iraq, financial insolvency, the do-nothing Republican Congress, and Republican scandals all the way from here to the horizon, and the war crimes committed by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice and others in this administration. By the way, whatever happened to Condi? Is she still around telling the rest of the world what to do? Is anyone listening? And whatever happened to Karen Hughes who was going to convince everyone we were really the good guys and gals? Is she still giving those marvelous sermons that Condi enjoys so much? Has she convinced the Saudi women they should be driving? I notice the MSM has never told us what Bush eats for breakfast. Must be an oversight. I want some real news. What kind of underwear does he prefer? Has he finished Being and Nothingness yet? What does he think of Nietsche? Which side of the bed does he sleep on? You know, the real stuff.