Saturday, June 30, 2007

Difficult times at Sandhill

Even here in near paradise we do have our occasional problems. We had a relatively brief but severe wind and thunderstorm that left large areas of North Idaho without power, some for a few hours, some, like us, for two days, and I believe there may be a few still without power. You just forget how dependent you are upon electricity these days until you have to go without it for a while. No computers, no hot water, no TV, no decent light to read by, no furnace (although this was hardly a problem this time) and so on. We are probably a bit better off than most as we do have a propane barbecue and a two-burner stove that runs on butane, to say nothing of assorted oil lamps, candles, and flashlights. Except for showers we managed pretty well.

If the storm was not enough we also have computer problems. One of our computers somehow became infected with viruses (several). For us, this entails a trip to Coeur d'Alene, some 80 miles away. And, of course, expense (we could almost have bought a new computer for less). Then, to add insult to injury, there is supposed to be some kind of "restorative" disc. Except, we were informed, the company no longer makes such a disk (this computer is only three years old). If you try to fix anything like this yourself you end up talking with people in India, the Philippines, Pakistan, and elsewhere, some of whom speak passable English and some not so passable, some very knowledgeable and some not very knowledgeable, and etc., etc. Technology is rapidly outstripping our meagre resources to deal with it.

Then there are the deer. I never realized the deer were so smart. We do have a fence. It is true the deer can jump over the fence but they do not ordinarily do so unless something is chasing them. Our deer don't even consider jumping over the fence, the nuzzle around and around until they find someplace they can squeeze under the fence. UNDER THE FENCE! You'd think they were squirrels or rabbits rather than full grown deer. When we find a weak spot we reinforce it. But they soon find another spot and the game goes on. Today they devastated many of our bean plants. Tomorrow, who knows? It is seemingly impossible to keep them out. While I like the deer, and don't really bear them any ill will, I don't really want to share my garden with them. There's plenty for them to eat around here without our garden. It's all very depressing.

Beyond these mundane everyday tribulations there are the broader questions of local, national and international relations. Locally, we have a woman who was put in prison for meth violations. A judge released her and while she was out she married and had a child who is now 3 months old. She has been clean for two years, loves her child and is trying to do right, but they want to put her back in jail (they say the judge did not have the authority to release her). Now, I ask you, what earthly purpose might be served by sending her back to jail? She has appealed to our Governor, Otter, who says he can't be involved with such matters and she should hire a good lawyer (no doubt she has unlimited funds for this purpose). This once again points up the absurdity of our drug laws. Meth shouldn't be a criminal offense in the first place, but, rather, a medical problem. But as we have criminalized all drugs it becomes a criminal rather than a medical problem. If drugs were made legal most of these "problems" would vanish and our jails would be significantly emptied. Here in the U.S. you gets no points for common sense.

On the national scene Obama has said he thinks impeachment would be inappropriate as it should not be used politically and should be reserved for particularly serious occasions. I guess Obama thinks that lying to the American public and the Congress to get us embroiled in an illegal and unconstitutional "war," condoning torture, violating the constitution in more ways than one, war profiteering and many other war crimes, just doesn't constitute an important enough problem for impeachment. Way to go, Barack. Pelosi has said she won't support impeachment because she has her eyes on 2008 and winning the White House. If this is not politics, pure and simple, I don't know what is. And while she has her eyes on the White House our troops continue to die in greater and greater numbers. But what are a few more deaths when compared to the glorious political points you might score. Disgusting.

On the international front things are just as bad or worse than ever. There is a serious move afoot in Iraq, by Iraqis, to form a new government that would help them avoid breaking their country up into pieces, solve many of their problems, and get rid of Maliki in favor of someone not in the hands of the U.S. Naturally the U.S. is doing everything it can to not allow them to succeed. We want Maliki because he is our puppet and will (presumably) do our bidding. Why should we allow the Iraqis to form a government on their own to solve their problems when we can form a government for them which keeps them from solving their problems? Our pretend President Bush has enlisted the aid of his father to make nice nice with Putin in Kennebunkport. I hope he got approval from Dick the Slimy first.


"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."
Rafael Sabatini.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Can there be any doubt that Bush/Cheney and the White House are engaged in nothing but stonewalling, refusing to release any information Congress requests and hiding behind arguments that are simply absurd. Cheney, for example, has apparently abandoned his argument that he is not part of the Executive Branch (under threat of losing his four and a half million dollar annual budget) and is now arguing that he needn't comply with the law because he is not an "agency," and the law somehow specifies only agencies need comply. This is an argument that would probably get him thrown out of court if he tried to present it there. Bush has apparently already made it clear that no matter what Lugar and Voinovich say, he is not going to change a thing. Everyone with a brain larger than a grain of sand now knows that the "war" in Iraq is lost and we will have to withdraw. But Bush/Cheney want to drag it out until after they leave office so they can claim it wasn't their fault. Even if they succeed at this foot-dragging I can't believe that anyone (except a few brainless Republicans) will ever believe it was not entirely their fault (unless, of course, Democrats continue to insist on buying into it as they are presently doing). In the meanwhile more of our troops get killed or wounded, and for what, so Bush/Cheney can pretend we dare not leave because "they will follow us home and kill us all." Given the horror we have created in Iraq they would be more likely to follow us home and ask for asylum. Oh, I forgot, they hate our freedom. The freedom we have given ourselves to kill them, destroy their country, and steal their oil.

If the New Hampshire primary was held right now Al Gore would win, so says a recent poll. I have no doubt that is true. I also suspect it would be true in a lot of states. Although Hillary appears to have a commanding lead over her rivals for the nomination I believe that Gore could take over her spot if he were running. So will he or won't he? I have no doubt he is the best qualified person by far for the job of President of the United States. He has been consisently right while most others have proven to be wrong. What bothers me is the question: why would anyone want the job trying to clean up after Bush/Cheney? It would almost surely prove to be a thankless task as the mess they have made will not easily or quickly be cleaned up. And, of course, there will be Republicans who will fight him all the way (those who will desperately want to cling to priviledge and their subservience to our huge, profit-driven corporations, to say nothing of their already obscene wealth). Unlike Bush, who was elected with very low expectations (which he has certainly lived up to), Gore will be elected with exceedingly high expectations. Indeed, probably so high he will be virtually doomed to fail no matter how great a President he turns out to be. So why would he want to take on such a monumental task? I wish he would but I won't blame him if he passes. He's at the top of his game. Let's let him try to save us from ourselves, whether as President or as the number one citizen of the world.


"It (the soul) is a thin unsubstantial human image, in its nature a sort of vapour, film, or shadow, the cause of life and thought in the individual it animates; independently possessing the personal consciousness and volition of its corporeal owner; past or present; capable of leaving the body far behind, to flash swiftly from place to place; mostly impalpable and invisible, yet also manifesting physical power, and especially appearing to men waking or asleep as a phantom separate from the body of which it bears the likeness; continuing to exist and appear to men after the death of that body; able to enter into, possess, and act in the bodies of other men, of animals, and even of things."
Edward Burnett Tylor

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The vacuum at the top

Is it at all surprising that Cheney has managed to take over the Presidency and run things as he wants? Nature (and Cheney) abhor a vacuum, and we have certainly had a vacuum at the top ever since Bush was elected. Bush has a vacuum where he ought to have a brain. Everyone who knew anything knew this from the beginning. It was no secret that Bush had failed at everything he had ever attempted. It was common knowledge that as Governor of Texas he had a second in command that ran everything (leaving him free to sign death warrants one after another with help from Gonzales). It was no secret that he was going to be surrounded by "adults" that would free him from any heavy lifting. In short, it was known that he was a genuine lightweight. So what happened? Cheney just took over and Bush was either too dimwitted or too uninterested to pay attention, or both. The sad thing about this is that Cheney turned out to be evil personified. If he had acquired power and used it for the good of the country think of what he might have accomplished. But he never thought of the good of the country, or the well-being of the public, or even of honesty and morality. All he cared about (and still cares about) is enriching his corporate friends at the expense of ordinary taxpayers. This phony "war" with Iraq, which we refer to as Bush's "war," is far more importantly Cheney's "war." And you can bet that the torture and war profiteering is far more Cheney's business than anyone else's. Now he has proclaimed himself above the law and Ted Kennedy wants us to tell him he shouldn't do that. Democrats want to "chide" him. What is wrong with these Democrats. Cheney should be impeached or forced to resign, if not arrested. So what's with telling him he shouldn't be a bad boy. What a bunch of gutless wonders. If Democrats had acted responsibly and taken some real action against this war criminal they would easily have won the White House and the Congress in 2008. Now there is a possibility that might not happen. As usual, Democrats have managed to lose on a sure thing. Unbelievable. If they do lose they will have brought it on themselves (again).


"Hatred comes from the heart; contempt from the head; and neither feeling is quite within our control."
Arthur Schopenhauer

Monday, June 25, 2007


One of the first things I saw this morning on the web was a heading that said "Democrats to chide Cheney." Dick Cheney is a known war criminal and an almost pathological liar. He has recently announced that our laws do not apply to him, thus asserting dictatorial powers, and he has over the years exercised powers that are not his to exercise. His approval ratings are absolutely dismal. His penchant for secrecy is unbounded. He has proven to be wrong on virtually everything he has claimed. The Democrats are going to "chide" him? Wow! Why don't they do something really tough like slap his wrist?

It has unfortunately become crystal clear that our Democrats in Congress are unwilling to do anything serious about the almost endless scandals and crimes of the Bush/Cheney Administration. And Republicans have always picked party loyalty over the national interest. What Cheney is claiming about not being part of the Executive Branch is simply ludicrous. What he is claiming about our laws not applying to him is dangerous. Many of us have believed for years that Cheney is the true President. Events of the moment seem to bear this out. What will happen? Probably nothing, almost certainly nothing if it is left up to the laughable Democratic "opposition."

All those atheists who are supposed to have not been in foxholes are suddently emerging from them and speaking out aggressively for the first time. There are at least three major books out defending atheism and at least one Congressman has had the temerity to announce publicly that he is an atheist (a previously unheard of act). I haven't followed this carefully but one can only assume it must be a response to the obvious excesses of the ultra right-wing Christian conservatives over the past few years, aided and abetted by our apallingly ignorant born-again "Commander guy."

I always claim to be an atheist. But can I be a bonafide atheist if I believe in The Great Mystery? I have picked up this belief from American Indians which makes me, I suppose, a Pagan at the very least. Are all Pagans atheists? What is worse, being an atheist or a Pagan (I guess I am both). I don't know. It's all far too confusing for me. As I'm only 77 years old I still have a lot of learning to do. When I am desperate I sometimes pray to the Great Mystery, but he/she/it is no help. Perhaps I should go on a vision quest? Naw, the weather has been lousy and I might catch cold.


"Arrived in Venice. Streets full of water. Please advise."
Robert Benchley

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The "war" on drugs

Virtually every scientific study on marijuana since the 1890's has found it to be relatively harmless, certainly no worse than alcohol. Why, then, one might ask, are our prisons and jails continually overloaded with prisoners in them for no other "crime" than marijuana? I personally have known ever since 1945, through experience, observation, and the literature, that marijuana is not addictive, no more harmful than alcohol, and in some cases actually useful for controlling pain. Yet it continues to be labeled a dangerous drug on the same level with cocaine, opium, and morphine. How can this be explained?

If you want to know I refer you to a truly fine and enlightening book on the history of drug use and legislation, Drug Crazy, by Mike Gray (Random House, 1998). It is by now common knowledge that the "war" on drugs has been a miserable failure. Billions upon billions have been wasted on the attempt to stop the flow of drugs, the result being that drugs are more available then ever, and less expensive than ever. In 1989 Studs Terkel pointed out that after seventy years of trying to control the drug trade it was possible to walk out of the White House and procure drugs right across the street. What transpired to bring this dismal sitation about?

In a nutshell, prior to 1914 drug use and addiction was regarded as strictly a medical problem. Doctors were free to prescribe drugs to anyone who needed them. For reasons that Gray makes clear the government changed the drug situation from a medical one to a political one, which it has remained ever since. The one surefire way to solve this horrendous problem is simple - legalize drugs, all of them. Return the problem back to the medical profession and get it out of politics. I am not naive enough to believe that our Congress would be up to such a common sense and simple solution to such a monumental problem, but I have no doubt this is the only sensible solution. I have always known that the laws against marijuana were absurd, but now, having seen further information, and more and more books on the subject, I think all drugs should be legal and available on demand to those who need them. When people like the ex Chief of Police of Seattle say drugs should be made legal it does make you think about it. And he is by no means the only law officer that thinks this way. Our draconian and misleading drug laws over the past century have caused more misery, more crime, more domestic trauma, and more unnecessarily wasted lives than virtually anything else we have done. This makes the previous prohibition on alcohol look like child's play. Hopefully, as more and more people are coming to realize this, perhaps something constructive will someday ensue (but don't hold your breath).


"All good books have one thing in common -- they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you've read one of them you will feel all that happened, happened to you and then it belong to you forever: the happiness and unhappiness, good and evil, ecstasy and sorrow, the food, wine, beds, people, and the weather."
Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, June 23, 2007

North Idaho Democratic Rally

We were fortunate indeed to have had our Democratic rally today as under the newly proclaimed dictatorship we might never have another. Cheney, as you doubtless are aware, proclaimed that he is not subject to our laws. Bush, not to be outdone, came along later saying, me too, me too. I think he may have been trying to prove that he is just as important as Dick the Slimy. In any case, by now insisting they are above the law they have, in effect, announced their dictatorship. If Democrats simply look the other way, as usual, it will be a done deal. We will now live under a dictatorship. Democracy was fine for a while but, like the Geneva Convention, it will now be just a quaint relic of the past.

The rally was held in a park in Post Falls, a lovely large park on the banks of the Spokane River. There is a beach, swimming area, boat launch, many picnic tables and barbecue pits. We had possession of a large and pleasant meeting place, covered in case of inclement weather. It was a beautiful sunny day today and a pleasant place to be. I thought the turnout was disappointing but someone with far more experience than I thought it was probably typical. I think there were 72 persons in attendance. There were brief comments by the County Chairs, followed by remarks from both candidates for the Idaho Congressional seat now held by the truly bizarre Bill Sali. Rand Lewis came across to me as a true gladhanding backslapping politico, although he has not been a politician previously. His account of his military career, marriages, children, grandchildren, etc. I felt were somewhat embarrassing.
Larry Grant, who is better known because of his previous run for this office, merely recited Bill Sali's negative votes since he has held office. This was not really an attack on Sali but, rather, a factual account of his votes which have been virtually all negative minority votes, essentially disenfranchising Idaho voters. Grant reported humorously that the only thing Sali had voted for was to repeal the law of gravity (a Sali attempt at a joke when he first arrived in Congress that I believe was not very well received). It appears that Walt Minnick, a wealthy Boise businessman is putting out feelers about running for this office. I think this is a bit strange as he was a supporter of Larry Grant in the last election. Personally, I think Larry Grant is an absolutely outstanding candidate and I see no need whatsoever for another. Dan Popkey, a Boise reporter, recently tried to blame Grant and his campaign for losing to Sali. I don't see why Grant should be held responsible for the idiocy of so many Idaho voters.


"Praque won't let go...This dear mother has claws."
Franz Kafka (Prague born).

Friday, June 22, 2007

They're only Iraqis

General Taguba, another of the unfortunates to have their career ruined for telling the truth about the Bush Administration, reports that on more than one occasion, when a question came up about the treatment of Iraqis, he heard the phrase, "they're only Iraqis." I think that pretty much sums up the whole dismal situation in Iraq. We're still bothered with "the white man's burden." Didn't we intervene in Iraq with only the noblest of motives - to overthrow Sadam and bring democracy? We accomplished the former but have failed miserably at the latter. But it's all the fault of the Iraqis. We gave them a chance and they blew it. Just ask Hillary, among others. Of course if they were "only Iraqis" in the first place why did we think they would do otherwise. The fact that we gave them a chance and they failed to take advantage of it proves that they are "only Iraqis." I can't believe that Hillary is now parroting this Bush/Cheney line, just one more reason I truly don't want to vote for her. Blaming the Iraqis for the horrible situation they find themselves in is not only absurd, it is completely dishonest. It is such a gross oversimplification of what we have done as to warrant nothing but a good laugh (not that anything about the whole business is funny). This is even worse than the other Bush/Cheney inanities: "we're fighting them there...," "we're making progress...," "it isn't about oil...," "we'll leave if they ask us to...," and so on ad nauseam.

In fact nausea is what I am now feeling about the whole contemporary situation here in the U.S. We keep hearing the same things over and over, how we were lied to, how we were spied upon, how Bush breaks the law, how he and Cheney violate the constitution, how they have committed unspeakable war crimes (actually, we don't hear much about this even though we should), how they politicized the Justice Department, and so on and on. I'm sick of hearing about it. I want to see some action. I want to see something done about it. And I want to see it NOW! If they (Congress, that is) don't either impeach Cheney or force him to resign you will know that all is lost. Cheney has placed himself above the law ever since taking office, and up until now he has gotten away with it. He hides himself under a rock someplace, emerging only to say something completely contrary to reality to a hand-picked audience of party nitwits, surrounds himself with secrecy, refused to obey the laws of the land, and Congress just hangs around picking their noses or at best sitting on their hands. So far Kucinich has only found seven others to support his articles of impeachment. What in the hell are the other 300 plus Congresspersons thinking? Do they think at all, or do they just count the money they get from the powers that be, the payoff that keeps them from doing anything constructive whatsoever? Our political system has become corrupt beyond belief. There has always been corruption, I know, but certainly not on the monumental scale it has achieved under Bush/Cheney. Dick the Slimy has to go, no ifs, ands, or buts. If Bush insists on continuing to support him then he, too, should go. If that leaves Pelosi, so be it. Pelosi's manicurist could do a more competent and honest job than either Bush or Cheney. There is, indeed, a cancer in this Administration, Dick Cheney, and it is highly malignant and requires drastic action. There is no longer time to wait.


"More important than winning the election, is governing the nation. That is he test of a political party -- the acid, final test."
Adlai Stevenson

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Surprise? It appears that Bush and Rumsfeld both knew what was going on at Abu Ghraib, according to the testimony of a two star general who had the task of reporting on it. There is no reason to doubt the General's story. There can also be little or no doubt that Dick the Slimy knew about it as well. This is a big story, hopefully too big to be just ignored by the MSM.

Surprise? Bush vetoed a bill that would have allowed more stem cell research. He continues to believe that it is much better for embryos to be thrown out in the garbage than used for research that could revolutionize medical science for the betterment of all.

Surprise? We are not going to withdraw troops from Iraq after the famed September report. It's going to take a long time. Say 50 years, for example.

Surprise? Seven children were killed in Afghanistan when we conducted a raid on a house there. At first, naturally, the military claimed they didn't know there were children. But subsequently they admitted they knew the children were there but thought the raid was "worth it" to get one of the Taliban leaders. This kind of reasoning is so sick it boggles the mind.

Surprise? The Bush Administration, along with the EU, will pump millions in aid to Fatah and Abbas but apparently nothing (or close to nothing) to Hamas in Gaza (Hamas, you might remember, is the legitimately democratically elected government of the Palestinians.

Surprise? Attacks on the Green Zone are increasing in frequency and effect. This is the GREEN ZONE which is supposed to be a safe haven. Mortar fire is coming in from just outside. But, we are told, progress is being made.

Surprise? Dick the Slimy claims he is not part of the Executive Branch and is therefore not subject to any laws relating to it. He is, he claims, above the law. Do you suppose he will get away with it again?

Surprise? Can you believe that Tony Snow, the spokesman for the White House, lies? Joh Stewart recently demonstrated with video footage that Snow told an obvious blatant lie. I don't understand how anyone could possibly be surprised to learn that Spokesmen for the White House lie - after all, that's precisely what they are there to do. Remember Ari? And also that guy who came after him whose name I can't remember - you know, the dumpy one who might have been cozy with Gannon/Guckert.

I didn't blog last night as my son talked me into watching some program about the 100 best movies. Apparently the last time they did this was ten years ago so the expectation was there would be new movies added to the list. Except for Schindler's List and Lord of the Rings no new movies appeared on the list. You would think the last ten years have produced nothing of merit. My wife and son were outraged at this lack of new films in the so-called top 100 films of all time. As for me, I could care less. I don't watch movies anyway (or hardly ever).


'Tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend."
William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Oh, no, what if

Mayor Bloomberg, that former Democrat turned Republican has now turned Independent. I can see no reason for this at this time unless he is seriously contemplating running for President. As he has billions he can easily finance his own campaign, especially if he sensibly waits until late this year or early next year to announce. He would, presumably, lead a third party ticket. In a three party race, Giuliani, Clinton, Bloomberg, he would have an excellent chance of winning in New York and who knows, maybe many other places. What a complication this would be.

But don't forget Al Gore. What if he were to decide to run and not announce until later this year? It is said that he would have no trouble raising money and, given his recent comeback and popularity I should think he'd have an excellent chance of winning.

If both Bloomberg and Gore do decide to run they would be two heavyweights running against a bunch of lighweights or noweights at all. With the exception, I think, of Hillary, who cannot be considered anything other than a very serious possibility. She has been on a serious upturn recently and now leads Obama and Edwards by double digits. Furthermore, as I said earlier, I believe she has already been anointed by the powers that be to be the Democratic candidate. If this is true (and perhaps even if it isn't true) I can foresee a battle between Hillary and Bloomberg as none of the Republican candidates are worth bothering about (even the Republicans themselves are not impressed).

Third parties, historically, have not done well. As things are currently so bad in both Democratic and Republican circles perhaps 2008 could be the year (I rather doubt it even with Bloomberg). Gore might well win hands down as he is the only Democrat that has been consistently right about everything. Speculating wildly, I think if Hillary continues to do well and is going to pretty obviously win the nomination, Gore will not decide to run. Why do I think so? Because Gore won't want to rain on her parade and, more importantly, will surely get a prime seat at the table in a Clinton administration (this will be especially true if he agrees not to run).

The amusing thing about this is that if either Bloomberg or Gore run, or both, it means that all the politicking up until now will have simply been a lot of wasted time and effort (except probably for Hillary). Starting all this campaigning this early is simply ridiculous. I have consistently told people who asked me who I support, or might support, to ask me several months from now. All of this activity is terribly premature and will no doubt mean nothing at all by the time we get to the primaries.

But understand, this is not what I necessarily want to happen. It is, rather, what I think might happen. I would vote for Gore if he were to run. Failing that, I would probably vote for either Kucinich or Richardson as they seem to be the only candidates that are truly serious about ending this absurd "war" and actually bringing our troops home.


"...For it is commonly said: he who desires to lie, let him lie concerning far off things and places, since few travel into distant parts, and a man will sooner credit what he hears than undertake the labour of find out the truth for himself."
Dr. Joh. Dryander

Monday, June 18, 2007

Are we all crazy?

At this point in time one would have to be absolutely insane to believe anything that comes out of the mouths of Bush or Cheney. And yet they continue on running the country and acting as if nothing whatsoever is untoward. They lied us into this stupid "war," and have lied so egregiously that one no longer even wonders if they are lying - we know they are lying. They have violated the constitution repeatedly, and in some cases actually boasted about it. They have allowed torture, renditions, war crimes, war profiteering, and on and on. Iraq is a hopeless mess. The surge was going to fix it. It was to be just for a few months so the Iraqi government (nothing but a joke) could get its act together. September was the magical moment when we were to learn if the surge was working. But now we're told that we can't know by September and, indeed, it looks like we will have to maintain a troops presence for another fifty years (Hillary, for some reason has set a more modest estimate at ten years). It was Bush/Cheney's intention to keep troops in Iraq permanently from the very beginning. All this talk for the past couple of years about bringing the troops home has been nothing but complete and total balderdash, just stringing us along while they kill more people and make more money. Now we have learned that they have violated the records laws by using RNC emails and apparently destroying most of them. What more do they have to do to get our attention? Why do we continue to allow these criminals to continue? What is wrong with us? The democrats, who are supposed to be an opposition party, are far from it. Indeed, it appears they are collaborators in this massive swindle. They pretend they are helpless to do anything. Nonsense, they could very easily begin impeachment proceedings against Cheney, and even Bush, for that matter. Pelosi sticks to her position that impeachment "is off the table." What do you suppose they have on her? Reid is as useless as, as we used to say, "tits on a boar." Our once great nation has been reduced to little more than an international beggar, existing on alms we can scrounge from the Chinese and the Japanese. Our once great military has been at best stalemated, and at worst defeated, by far lesser equipped forces too proud to be occupied by foreigners meddling in their busines and trying to steal their resources. Don't be deceived by our dishonest Press and officials who say we are waiting for the Iraqis to come up with an equitable oil sharing agreement. We're waiting for them to sign over their oil to huge internatinal corporations that will bleed them dry, and they sensibly are resisting. The best thing we can do for the Iraqis and ourselves and the rest of the world is to get out of Iraq as soon as possible.


"Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
Sir Winston Churchill

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Why wait?

The Middle East is in chaos. Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, to say nothing of developments in Afghanistan and Egypt. Is anyone surprised? Perhaps this is what Bush/Cheney intended in the first place. It's certainly been good for the price of gasoline and for the corporations that have grown obese with war profiteering.

And is anyone surprised that the "surge" turns out to be merely an excuse for increasing troop levels for an anticipated long-term occupation? Talk about bait and switch! Of course our useless Congress just stands around doing nothing while Bush/Cheney continue to transfer public money into private coffers and kill more and more of our troops for their own private motives. Does anyone seriously believe that things are going to miraculously turn around in September? There is a way to stop this insane "war" and incomprehensible "strategy" (if it can even be called a strategy). It's called impeachment. If no one really believes things will change much in September, my question is simply, why wait?

The peculiar citizens of the state of Idaho voted to send a complete idiot, Bill Sali, to Congress for no reason I can understand other than that he is a Republican and Republicans prefer having an idiot there than a sensible, intelligent democrat. They spent a great deal of money on Sali, almost all of it from out of state interests. Now some reporter in Boise is trying to blame Larry Grant for the loss. Grant, a first time candidate, and a democrat in Idaho, came within 5% of winning. That strikes me as pretty good. I guess Grant could have given in to more demands from businesses and other special interests but to his everlasting credit he did not do so. Take a look at Sali's voting record. He has voted against virtually everything and always is part of a very small minority vote. In other words, his vote is essentially worthless. With Larry Craig and Crapo we really don't need another worthless vote for the state of Idaho. Can't we just have, at least once, a Representative we can have some pride in?


"To be in love is merely to be in a state of perpetual anesthesia -- to mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess."

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I have just finished the most incredible book, Hans Staden The True History of His Captivity. As this incredible account was first published in 1557 I guess you might say these comments are a bit late. I encountered cannibalism in the New Guinea Highlands where a version of it was present in a few of the tribes. But in these cases the cannibalism was mostly of a ritual variety. They did not kill people to eat them and, in fact, ate only their own people who had been highly respected (they believed that by eating them they might acquire the traits they admired). In the case of the Tupinamba, the subjects of Hans Staden's book, we find truly aggressive cannibals that sought out people to kill for the express purpose of eating them. If a person was killed in battle the body would be immediately butchered and roasted. If they captured someone he would be kept alive, sometimes for months, before being eaten. Indeed, he might even be given a wife in the interim. If a child came of the union the child might subsequently be eaten. Each time a man would kill and eat someone he would acquire a new name, and the one with the most names was the most respected. Staden was a captive of these people for the better part of a year but managed to escape before he was eaten (and it had been their intention to do just that). Absolutely amazing account.

The other interesting thing about this book is the insight it give you to just how religious these early explorers were. Staden attributes everything to the hand of God. It is obvious that his entire life was taken up with his firm belief in the power of the Almighty and, of course, it is to the Almighty that he gives credit for his survival. When reading these early accounts of life I find it hard to believe that the human species survived at all. The hardships they had to endure are virtually unbelievable. This is true of our own early pioneers just as it was for those who first encountered the "New World." I doubt that Staden's book has been continually in print since 1557, but it has been printed and reprinted many times and is readily available in many libraries.

It is now known that General Pace did not want to step down but was forced to do so. I don't know the precise circumstances, whether he disagreed with Bush or not, but the story is that Bush/Cheney did not want him to face being reappointed by Congress as they felt it would be potentially embarrasing. Another General has now accused Rumsfeld of lying when he claimed to know nothing about the torture at Abu Graib. It has been obvious for a long time that Rumsfeld knew about it but it is refreshing to hear a General come right out and say so.

Hamas has now won complete control of the Gaza Strip. Abbas and his group now have the West Bank. This will no doubt give Israel and the U.S. an opportunity to starve 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza. They are already in dire straits so if they cannot get outside support for the very basics of life they will probably be doomed. But why should we worry about them, after all, they are only the duly and fairly democratically elected government. Democracy is great when the people you want elected actually get elected, but it is terrible if someone else wins. Not to worry, just don't support them. Let 'em starve. When Bush/Cheney start blathering about democracy, reach for your handguns.


"Capitalism turns men into economic cannibals, and having done so, mistakes economic cannibalism for human nature."
Edward Hyam

Friday, June 15, 2007

Without a paddle

Well, it seems that our dear "Commander Guy" is finding himself up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

His "war" with Iraq is a complete and dismal failure. His "surge" is not surging. He has no way to get out without admitting defeat and he appears constitutionally unable to do such a thing. Things are so bad he is arming Sunnis if they promise not to kill us anymore. There is a rumor that the CIA is bribing Iraqi politicians to vote on a resolution to ask us to leave (I have no idea if this is true). In any case, it is an impossible position and just seems to get worse with no end in sight.

He has an Attorney General that is obviously guilty of lying and worse, everyone knows it, but he insists he still has confidence in him. How can he not? Obviously Gonzales knows where the skeletons are and besides, how could he be replaced now without an all out battle over the confirmation of a new Attorney General.

He is replacing General Pace because he is afraid if Pace has to come up again for confirmation the House and Senate might actually bring up questions about the "war," and how well it is going, how it came about, and etc.

He is under all kinds of pressure to pardon Libby. If he pardons him it will doubtless set off waves of criticism and almost certainly reduce his poll ratings even further (if that is possible). On the other hand, if he doesn't pardon him, and Libby is facing 30 months in the pokey, he might actually spill the beans about Cheney and Bush himself. What a quandary. Bush might actually pardon him because (a) he doesn't want him to tell the truth about the Plame affair and other things, and (b) his ratings are so bad what difference could it really make.

His Immigration Bill is doomed by his own party as they will never accept what they insist is "amnesty." I suspect that as someone remarked the other day, even if Bush vowed to put all the Mexicans in jail they would still call it amnesty. Granted that the problem is not simply because of Bush but has been festering for years. But what is probably the easiest and best short term solution is precisely what Bush is desperate to avoid - namely, making it a crime for companies to hire illegals. Why should the businesses that employ these illegals be responsible for anything, it's all the wetbacks fault. Of course we could have promoted businesses and decent jobs in Mexico which would help also, but that would require having to pay more than slave labor and we can't have that (think of Haiti).

He could solve, or I should say, could have solved, many problems if he had not insisted on tax breaks for the obscenely wealthy at the expense of the middle class. We could have universal health care, a genuinely fine educational system, a better Social Security system, rebuilt infrastructure, and a happy population instead of what we currently have. This would be even more true and possible if he had reduced the bloated defense budget, especially the items for missile defense, "star wars," and new (completely illegal) nuclear weapons.

I guess no one in the House or Senate regards any of this as important as they have done nothing but aid and abet him at every turn. While this is true of Democrats as well as Republicans the real shame lies with the latter. As they were in complete control for six years, and even still hold the balance of power, they could have stopped this insanity at any point but have consistently refused to do so, and still refuse at the moment. They will have to live with this shame for a long time to come. The first decade of the 21st century will become known as The Nightmare Years, or at least should.


"He who travels far will often see things far removed from what he believed was truth. When he talks about it in the fields at home, he is often accused of lying, for the obdurate people will not believe what they do not not see and distinctly feel. Inexperience, I believe, will give little credence to my song."
Hermann Hesse.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weird ideas

Why does any state need a law that restricts gun purchases to only one gun per month? What is the point of such a law? Are there really a lot of people who want to buy more than one gun a month? Aside maybe from collectors or dealers there would seem to be very few that would be affected by such a law. And I'm pretty sure that if someone wanted to arm a group of some kind they could easily find a way around one gun a month (like, everyone in the group could buy a gun). This would seem to be an easy way around such a law but of course it wouldn't help if the aim was for everyone to have two or more guns simultaneously. Besides, there are lots of ways to buy guns these days without having to worry about the law. What if someone wanted to buy their twelve months supply of guns all at once (to get a discount, for example). Are there to be any loopholes in this law? It would seem to me that if someone bought a bunch of guns all at once that would be a nice tip-off that maybe something was in the offing. I don't know, it's all too confusing. What was the law before this law? Did it allow someone to buy as many guns as they wanted anytime they wanted to do so? Was this a real problem? Aw, to hell with it.

Spielberg has now come out endorsing Hillary. With Rupert Murdock sponsoring fund raisers for her, and Spielberg now on board, can General Motors, Exxon, Halliburton, etc. be far behind? The powers that be are going to win again. If it can't be a Republican it will be Hillary. You know, heads they win, tails we lose. It's the American way.

My wife said I should say something about ox-tails (in Melanesian pidgin they would be called ass b'long bullamacow). I guess she wanted me to mention ox-tails because she cooked them for dinner and they were absolutely superb. My wife is the best cook in all of Idaho. I'm glad I assigned her this role. I think she is just pleasing me because she wants me to buy her some shoes and a new dress. Her current flour sack is springing some holes.


"You perhaps know how it is with simple natures that fasten themselves like lichens on the stones of circumstance and weather their days to a crumbling conclusion."
Theodore Dreiser

Speaking of guns and things, here's a great idea. There is this large group of people, let's call them Sunnis, who have been shooting and bombing us for months. We want them to stop. So we offer to give them more guns and weapons if they promise not to shoot and bomb us anymore. I'm not convinced this is going to work. But I guess when things are going so bad they can't get much worse it might be worth a try. You have to give Bush/Cheney some credit here, it is an innovative idea, something that has been much lacking up to now with the usual stay the course

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I don't get it

I just don't get it. With the exception of Kucinich (and maybe Richardson) most of the candidates for President in both parties keep saying we need to build up the military. Giuliani, just today, when he presented his 12 whatever-they-ares, said we need to beef up our military. Similarly, most of the others have all bought into the notion that we need to increase our troops by 100,000. I want to know why.

We already spend more money on the military and defense than all the rest of the world combined. Why? Who are we afraid of? Are we expecting to be invaded by Martians? What country in the world is about to attack us? Oh, I know, terrorists. Do we really need to spend 500 billion per year (I don't know if that's the right figure but it is one hell of a lot) to protect ourselves from terrorists? If the bloated defense budget isn't enough for the purpose what more do we need? What is happening to all the money we are now allocating for defense? Why should we have to have another 100,000 troops? Because we don't have enough to conquer Iraq? As near as I can see the only possible reason for more troops would be to continue to expand our empire. Is that what the American people want to do? Have an empire? Kucinich said that if he were elected President he would reduce the defense budget by 25%. I'd call that 25% and raise it another 25%. Obviously I am not an expert on these matters but it is obvious to me, and it ought to be obvious to anyone with any sense at all, that half of what we are now wasting on defense should be more than enough to keep us as safe as we can expect to be. This money is simply being wasted by giving it to huge corporations to manufacture all kinds of stuff we don't even need (and in some cases apparently not manufacuring stuff we do need). Billions for a missile defense system that doesn't work. Billions more for a helicopter/plane that doesn't work. Billions more for tanks that we will never need. Billions more for nuclear weapons that we are supposed to be eliminating. Grossly overpriced toilet seats and hammers, and so on and on. How anyone can take this seriously is a mystery to me. It is all so obvious even children ought to be able to understand it. We are in the grips of a military/industrial/political complex that is nothing but a gigantic and immoral scam to take taxpayer dollars and give them to people and companies that already have obscene amounts of money. We absolutely do not need to increase our national defense budget, nor do we need 100,000 more troops. We need some sober-minded control over this grotesque racket and some accounting for what is being done with the money (we already know the Pentagon can lose billions without even knowing what happened to them). We already know that war profiteering is occuring on a grand scale in Iraq. We already know that war is good for business so who cares if a few troops have to be sacrificed. We already know that those who are profiting the most from these excesses of military spending are the very people who lied us into this disastrous "war" in the first place and are determined to continue it forever. Someone should tell these people to take their demands for more money and more troops and shove them into that well-known place where the sun don't shine.

And another thing (I know I am really wound up tonight - "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"). How is it that these right wingers constantly whine about the fact that the MSM don't present the (presumably) good news from Iraq. You know, all the good things they claim are happening. Considering that the MSM are clearly on the side of the administration you would think they would be concentrating on all these good things (surely you can't believe the MSM is dominated by liberals) but they aren't. Why? I guess it must be because they just aren't happening. If they were I'm sure we would be hearing about it. We murder another few thousands innocent Iraqis but fly one injured child to the U.S. for treatment and we certainly hear about the latter. Oh, yeah, I guess our troops sometimes pass out a few candy bars and such. And, "we're sorry we mistakenly killed your entire family, here's a couple thousand bucks, just forget about it." Our country has gone mad with militarism. When someone pointed out to Madeleine Albright that our sanctions had killed hundeds of thousands of innocent Iraqi children she said it was worth it. Worth what? What have we gained? Virtually all of the present candidates for the Presidency are willing to use nuclear bombs in Iran, or willing to kill innocent bystanders (collateral damage) if it means getting rid of Osama bin Laden. I believe Kucinich is the only one who demurred. We long ago lost any moral ground we might have had and it appears we are going to continue to make things even worse.


"Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Say it ain't so

There seems to be more and more talk of war with Iran. Lieberman, for example, is pushing for it and we know he represents Israel which is no doubt behind this horrific idea. Some think that General Pace is being replaced because he advised against attacking Iran. It is also know that Cheney is pushing for an attack on Iran. There was a rumor a while back that many senior military officers have threatened to resign if Bush attacks Iran but I haven't heard anymore about it for a while. But I certainly hope it is true. Attacking Iran would be as morally despicable as the "war" in Iraq. It would also be stupid almost beyond belief. It would have to be done by air and we already know that air power can't possibly win in such a situation. This is such a horrible idea I just cannot believe that even an administration as evil as this one would even contemplate such a thing. Furthermore, I don't believe it is because of the fear that Iran would develop a nuclear bomb. Iran having a few bombs would do nothing to shift the balance of power except that it would give Iran some protection from the U.S. (which under the circumstances would be a good thing).

If you really want to know what all this is about go to Mike Whitney's piece about Putin's censored press conference on The Smirking Chimp today. Bush/Cheney and the neocons have to go before they get us all killed. But for some reason which I absolutely cannot understand Bush seems to be untouchable. The Senate couldn't even get a non-binding vote of no confidence on Gonzales. Over the past six and half years Bush has shown nothing but contempt for the House and Senate. He has violated the constitution repeatedly, engaged in obvious war crimes, lied incessantly, and done whatever he felt like, and neither the House nor the Senate has done one damn thing to curb his dictatorial passion. And all the while we know that Cheney, arguably the most evil man on the planet, just eggs him on to bigger and better disastrous mistakes. Cheney's machinations, along with Rove's, are well known, but Kucinich can't even get much support for impeaching him. I don't understand what's wrong with our Congresspersons and Senators. Do Bush/Cheney have so much dirt on them they simply are afraid to do anything? Or are they all in on this corporate plot to take over the entire world? Something is terribly wrong with our country and it emanates in government from Cheney and Rove although it ultimately no doubt comes down from above.

DePaul University has caved in to political pressure and is refusing tenure for Finkelstein. He has met all the criteria for tenure, his department voted for it, as, I believe, did their Academic Senate, but the President of the University has killed it. The basic rationale for the tenure system, contrary to what many believe, is not simply to award permanent positions but, rather, to guarantee freedom of speech for Professors. It is obvious that Harvard's Dershowitz (who has no business meddling in DePaul's business in the first place) and others believe free speech ends when it comes to any criticism of Israel. This whole business with Israel and Iran has become so idiotic it is frightening. Why should we go to war against Iran to serve Israeli paranoia? We simply cannot do this. It is total madness.


"...We must come down from our heights, and leave our straight paths, for the byways and low places of life, if we would learn truths by strong contrasts; and in hovels, in forecastles, and among our own outcasts in foreign lands, see what has been wrought upon our fellow creatures by accident, hardship, or vice."
Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Ms. Sarah Anderson: Thank you for your comment. I think perhaps you may be a bit hypersensitive. But whether you are or not, your comment has made me reflect upon the issue of sexism and my own history of it.

First, my description of two different women I have known was certainly not intended to be a blanket condemnation of all women. Based upon my own experience I believe it is true that women in general are much more interested in cookbooks than are men. I cannot see why pointing out this simple fact is sexist. I'm sure women are far more interested in cosmetics than men but I do not interpret that as sexist. Similarly, I am sure that men are in general more interested in hunting than women but, again, I do not regard that as sexist. There is nothing inherently sexist about the fact that women have different interests in some ways, than men. While I admit I could be wrong, I believe that in general women spend more time on the phone than men, they are more interested in cooking and kitchens (and even bathrooms) than men, they read more, perceive more colors, and diet more often than men. I do not believe that any of these things imply that women are in any way inferior to men, but they are different.

When I was a young man I was a sexist. All the other males I ever knew were sexist. I guess there could have been some gay males that were not, but I never knew any gay males, or if I did, I didn't know it. Similarly, where I was raised I never knew any black people, Asians, Hispanics, or Jews. There weren't any, or if there were I didn't know it. I'm sure my sexist views followed me into College.

But eventually all my views on such things began to change, however slowly. This was especially true after I began to study anthropology. As an anthropologist I have tried to be as objective as possible about all people and cultures. I believe that one hundred percent objectivity is impossible but nonetheless we should try. My own attempts were certainly challenged by the time I spent in the New Guinea Highlands.

In the course of my fairly long life I have seen many examples of blatant sexism. For example, as a faculty member I have seen a woman discouraged from going on for a Ph.D. for no reason other than the fact that her husband was doing so (and in spite of the fact she had a better academic record than he did). I objected to this but was unable to stop it. I have known at least three women who were advised not to pursue careers who went on to become Ph.D.'s. My wife is one of these. She has a Ph.D. in anthropology. When we first moved here to Bonners Ferry a woman we met, upon observing our extensive library, gushed, "Your husband must be very smart." Another person called and asked for me because he wanted some information about anthropology. This kind of stuff happens all the time. Sexism, plain and simple, and women are sometimes just as guilty of it as men. I also knew a woman Ph.D. who, when answering the phone, would be told they wanted to speak to her mother! Thus it grieves me to be accused of sexism.

I firmly believe in equal rights, equal pay, equality in all cases where equality is possible. I think that for a bunch of elderly, mostly white males (helped, alas, by a number of women) to try to tell a woman what to do with her body is not only sexist, but simply absurd. I would vote for a woman as President (although not automatically). In short, I have tried very hard to overcome my sexist background. But I still think it is interesting (and sort of funny) that a woman I knew, who was a terrible cook, had so many cookbooks and kitchen gadjets. And I could never adjust to a diet of bacon wrapped bananas and boiled tongue.

Zorba, of course, was a genuine sexist.


"The automobile has not merely taken over the street, it has dissolved the living tissue of the city. Its appetite for space is absolutely insatiable; moving and parked, it devours urban land, leaving the buildings as mere islands of habitable space in a sea of dangerous and ugly traffic."
James Marston Fitch.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Women and cookbooks

There are now seven Congresspersons who have signed on to Kucinich's attempt to impeach Cheney. How many does it take? So far Pelosi just seems to ignore them. There will be a vote for no confidence on Monday for Gonzales. I'm sure that will move Bush to do something, probably give him a medal for distinguished service.

In the meanwhile I was thinking about cooking:

Women and Cookbooks

What is it with women and cookbooks? Why do they think they need so many? I have known many women who have many cookbooks. One woman, I will not mention her name, has hundreds of cookbooks. She also subscribes to at least two different cooking magazines. I don’t understand why, as she routinely cooks only about five different things: macaroni and cheese, wienies and beans, steak and baked potatoes, tuna wiggle, and on Sundays, barbecued chicken breasts. Now, at the risk of being snide, I can understand why you might need a cookbook for complicated dishes like macaroni and cheese and tuna wiggle, but wienies and beans? Steak? Her specialty was the Sunday night chicken breasts. She managed to take what was an unpromising item to begin with and turn it into a desiccated piece of protoplasm so tasteless even the dogs balked at eating it. This woman claimed to be a great cook and she certainly talked great meals: chicken cordon bleu, blanquette de veau, osso bucco, beef Wellington, truite en bleu, stuff like that. You know, dishes she would never bother to cook in a million years. But she loved talking about them and would, of course, order them on the two days a week she insisted on “reservations.” She never prepared deserts as she regarded them as fattening. This rule didn’t apply when she was eating out; then the most rich and expensive items on the desert menu were fair game.
She did have her own cooking style. She cooked everything until it stuck to the bottom of the pan. That’s how she knew when it was done. These impossible to clean utensils were put in the sink until they got washed. Who did the washing? Her husband, of course. Hot water hurt her hands. She could dirty more dishes just preparing macaroni and cheese than my grandmother used in cooking for an entire threshing crew. She had a kitchen the size of Vermont, no eight by eight foot rule for her. And she had every specialized gadget known to the culinary arts: specialty pans, whisks in all sizes, expensive French knives, egg poachers, rice cookers, spice grinders, cherry pitters, apple peelers, and special gadjets you would be lucky to use once in a lifetime. “You never can tell,” she used to say, “when you’re going to need something like this.”
She’s was a very nice lady. And she did love to eat. She was wonderful, as long as you didn’t stand between her and the food. I called her the Incredible Bulk. She didn’t think of herself as fat, just pleasantly plump. Actually, she was rather blimp-like.
On the other extreme I also once knew a woman who had no cookbooks. None at all. In spite of this impoverished situation she had somehow managed to learn to cook two different things: boiled tongue and bananas wrapped in bacon. The bananas were for breakfast, the tongue was for sandwiches. I never had the nerve to ask her how she managed to learn these culinary skills. She did tell me that she was so poor when she was in (a very expensive) college she had to split crab salads with her roommate. She also claimed not to know how to use a broom.
Come to think of it, I don’t think my mother had a cookbook. But as my father rarely ate anything other than bacon and eggs and steak and potatoes, it didn’t seem to make much difference. Mother was so desperate she would serve us steaks on a bed of lettuce, hoping we might accidentally eat some. She actually could cook other things, there was just no demand for them. As she didn’t really like to cook it all worked out pretty well except, of course, for my father’s untimely death. Eat your fruits and vegetables!


“Women,” as Zorba remarked, “They’re such helpless creatures. How can we not love them?”

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hilton still wiltin'

Back from Seattle. Thank god! Some peace and quiet. In our absence the deer ate more of the roses and some other plants, the cats no doubt brought in another half dozen or more lizards, the wild turkeys finally turned up with chicks, and life goes on pretty much as usual here at Sandhill.

Ah, Paris. Paris in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Back in jail, or at least in the hospital wing of the jail. Probably only until monday. Her lawyers will appeal at which point she will be eligible for bail. I'm sure she will be able to afford it. What a mess! The judge ordered the Sheriff to bring her to court. The Sheriff stalled for a while but had to do it. This set off a near riot of the photographers and reporters. The MSM loved it, of course. All of this occurring simply because a judge wanted to make an example of Paris. We can only assume that this judge thought he was doing a good thing by making an example of a celebrity. This proves again that no good deed goes unpunished. She should never have been given a jail sentence in the first place as that does not normally happen in such cases. The Sheriff released her after only three days because, he said, of her potential health problems. But it turns out that it is commonplace for prisoners of this kind to be released after only a couple of days. I gather there is a rumor to the effect that her health problem may be related to withdrawal symptoms from drug or alcohol use. Personally, I doubt this is true, but it is the case that there are such cases where the withdrawal is exceedingly painful but insisted on by the system. They probably just throw you into a padded cell and let you suffer through it. Anyway, here is an interesting case of discrimination (against a celebrity), that led to a nondiscriminatory action by a Sheriff, which raised a ton of criticism against him for discrimination. Go figure.

Hey, it's better than the MSM having to explain why Bush couldn't attend the G8 meeting (hangover?). I have to give Bush a little credit for even attending the G8. What chutzpa! Here is a guy reviled by virtually the entire world, with a popularity rating at home of zilch, who still has the gall to show himself in public and pretend to be leading the world on global warming and stuff. You would have to be pretty stupid to do such a thing (well...) If I were in his position I would hide in the corner until school was out.

Putin's offer of a radar base to cooperate in the missile defense business has already been dismissed (as I knew it would). Bush is going ahead with it. This is a missile defense system that doesn't work, that is going to be employed against a threat that doesn't exist, in two countries where the populations are dead set against it. Now that's what I call foreign policy (with a heavy emphasis on foreign).


"For there are kinds of music the world should not hear."
Whittaker Chambers

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wiltin' Hilton

Still in Seattle, Sirens on and off all day long. Honking and noise all night long. Traffic, noise, congestion, way too many people. How do people live like this? But they do have an incredible variety of foodstuffs. When it comes to food it is paradise compared to Bonners Ferry. I believe the quality of our food in Bonners is much superior to what they have here, but in comparison we certainly suffer from a lack of variety. I just stand in QFC and drool, but then I tear myself away and try to think of other things, like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Donald Trump, you know, important stuff like that. I am reassured that things are going just swimmingly in Iraq and Afghanistan so I no longer worry about them.

Poor Paris, in jail, out of jail, maybe back in jail, nothing but millions of dollars worth of publicity, but what's a poor girl to do? A lot of people seem to be outraged over her early release from the pokey. So far I have not seen any very detailed or satisfactory explanation as to why she was released early, other than hints about some medical condition. I heard somewhere she couldn't (wouldn't?) eat the food. Also, of course, that her psychiatrist had visited her. How come stuff like that doesn't work for anyone else? The judge that sentenced her, I gather, is furious. Why should he be upset just because some sheriff decided to pay no attention? I must say it is an interesting case, as you can tell from the nonstop, all out, endless coverage of it. So at the moment Paris is confined to home and wearing an electronic bracelet on her ankle. What next in this all important drama? Actually, I don't think she should have been jailed in the first place. I think her parents should have been.

I wish I could have been that fly on the wall when Bush/Putin met for an hour. There had been a headline in our local paper that said something like, "Bush to calm and lecture Putin." I can just imagine how Putin would submit to a lecture from the world's best known moron. When they emerged from the meeting Putin didn't look very happy to me. But it was suggested by the MSM that Russia and the U.S. were going to cooperate on missile defense. This was surely an optimistic spin on things as Putin made a suggestion about where to locate the radar but it certainly had not been agreed to (and almost certainly won't be). Bush made a point to telling us that he calls Putin Vladimir. Whatever happened to Pootie Poot? I guess it doesn't matter to our Congresspersons and Senators that the rest of the world is just ignoring Bush, laughing at him, and looking to the future. They seem to stick with him in spite of their increasing criticism. Far be it from them to actually do anything about him.

Of course I didn't watch the Republican "debate," but what I've seen and heard about it since leads me to believe it was even more awful than I would have imagined. All of the candidates seem to believe that the invasion of Iraq was a necessary and right thing to do. Knowing that, why would anyone listen any further, except maybe to listen to them talking about the use of nuclear weapons to take out Iranian centrifuges. See, they're not only stupid, they're crazy. What would you expect, they're Republicans. McCain even went so far to insist that we are engaged in a war of good over evil. With a mind set like that you can see how if McCain were to become president he would make an even bigger mess than Bush/Cheney (if, that is, it might be possible).


Julian Langness, four years old, on being told, "the early bird gets the worm."
"Who gets the early bird?"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Well, really

I am in Seattle staying in a downtown hotel. It noisy with sirens sounding all over the place. I would like to think this is unusual but I've been here often enough to know that it is typical. Quite a contrast to the peace and quiet of Bonners Ferry. And there is traffic, traffic like you can't believe. When I lived here forty years ago it was very different. Forty years ago! I can't believe it.

I didn't see much news today which I think may have been a blessing. Perusing the web just now it appears that most of the candidates for President, both Democratic and Reublican, don't know what they are talking about. Romney, I believe, is the worst of the worst. How anyone could seriously consider him for President is unbelievable to me. He says absolutely absurd things, like having been a hunter all his life, we need to double Guantanamo, and such. Now he insisted that Sadam Hussein refused to let the inspectors in. This, of course, is blatantly false (even though Bush has said it also). Either Romney is well informed but lying or he just doesn't know what he is talking about.

Hillary has now said that we are safer now than before (presumably because of the efforts of Bush/Cheney). This indicates to me that she doesn't know what she is talking about. She claims the American public overwhelmingly believes we are safer. This is in absolute opposition to what we know is the case - The American public overwhelmingly believes we are not safer, or even less safer.

Rudy Giuliani says the sentence Libby received is excessive. Fred Thompson says Libby didn't do anything illegal. Many Republicans seem to think Libby should be pardoned and that Bush is in a quandary over the issue. What is the quandary? Libby lied and got caught. He has been sentenced. What would be the basis for a pardon? Libby is above the law?

When you find out that these people simply either don't know what is going on, or think they can just lie for their advantage, it doesn't make one very pleased with the state of our nation or with the caliber of our Presidential candidates. The Republicans, at least some of them, are not pleased with their current ten candidates and are looking for Fred Thompson to be another Ronald Reagan. If this is what we have to look forward to on the part of Republicans, god help us. The current Democratic candidates don't look to me to be a whole lot better.

Yes, I think Al Gore would be by far the best next President. But I'm not certain I would wish that role even on my worst enemy. First, the problems left over from this disastrous Bush/Cheney bunch will be virtually impossible to solve in any finite time. Second, the expectations will be unreasonable. Whoever takes on the job will surely fail on some things. Bush has managed to get along partly because the press has always given him the benefit of low expectations. They will do the opposite with Gore whose Presidency might be doomed from the beginning because of MSM false expectations. But at least Gore knows what he's talking about which seems to be more than you can say for Romney, Hillary, and the rest of the current crop of candidates.


"You know, we're all still just infants in increasingly decaying bodies."
Mel Firestone

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Remember the scene in Casablanca when the pickpocket warns the Englishman whose pocket he is picking that there are, "Vultures, vultures everywhere." Well, we still have plenty of vultures here. I received in the mail today an offer of credit from a company called CITI. I won't go into all the details but the bottom line is I can have a line of credit with "Predictable monthly payments," at a "fixed rate," that are said to be "affordable monthly payments." The fixed rate is 17.99% APR. This has made me very angry for several reasons.

First, they obviously assume that I am stupid. Very stupid. Why else would I agree to a interest rate of 17.99, especially when I could easily get a much lower rate virtually anywhere else.

Second, perhaps they think I am desperate. This means they think I have already used up so much credit the only thing I can expect is a 17.99% rate. They apparently want to administer the coup de gras to an already virtually bankrupt citizen that their peers in the financial world have already bled almost to death.

Third, maybe they think I am such a deadbeat and high risk they can only afford to take a chance with a high interest rate. If so, they obviously haven't looked at my credit rating and are just randomly targeting people they think may be vulnerable (or illiterate).

Fourth, I resent the fact that apparently we have no laws against usury. Or if we do they must only kick in when the rate calls for your first born child, your liver, or perhaps even your heart. Who in the world agreed to allow interest rates to rise to this level? Let me guess. Banks and other lenders who give millions upon millions to Congressmen? I suppose they think 17.99% is reasonable when compared to the rates for short term loans.

Fifth, the fact that it makes me angry, makes me angry. I do not like to think of the human race as being inherently greedy and disgusting. But when I see something like this, that is what I think.

Sixth, it bothers me to know there are people out there with apparently no shame. I would personally never try to suck anyone into such an outrageous debt. Is this the kind of stuff they learn in Business School these days?

Seventh, it infuriates me to know that if someone foolish enough to sign up for such an unconscionable scheme can't pay up they will have to go into bankruptcy. Never mind how this probably affects their family and personal lives, it also means they can quite likely never get another loan at a decent rate for the rest of their lives.

Eighth, it makes me angry that I receive, every week, at least one offer of credit, and sometimes more than that. They offer "teaser rates" that are lower than they will be sometime later. If you already have an outstanding loan balance at a higher rate they pay that one off first before they even get to your new rate. They encourage you to use one card to pay off another. You have to be very alert to the fine print to learn they charge you a fee for doing this which mostly negates the point of doing it. Sometimes they just slowly raise the rate they originally promised you, hoping you either won't notice or won't object. In short, they are sly and devious at every turn.

Ninth, I believe that our current credit and credit card system is no less than the functional equivalent of slavery. Who needs slaves that you have to worry about feeding and clothing and health care and such when you can achieve the same result by encouraging people to drown themselves in debt. True, you can't beat them every day when you might feel like it, and you can't forcibly breed or rape them, but that's a small price to pay for genuine slave labor that you don't have to be otherwise responsible for.

Finally, it outrages me to know that our government allows this pillaging of its citizens to continue as it does. If you are going to have a credit system it should be conducted in the best interest of the citizens themselves, not just in the best interest of the apparently insatiable greed of various corporations and the obscenely wealthy. Remember the lenders are not paying interest, they are collecting it. Who are the lenders? The people that have the money in the first place. Where did they get the money? In most cases from ripping off the poor who have to borrow and pay interest. It's a great system if you're wealthy. It's why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Simple, no?


"Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world."
Thornton Wilder

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another fake attack

The latest "terrorist plot" to blow up JFK turns out to be pretty much like many of the others, all talk and no action. In this case, as in several others, the so-called terrorists had no weapons, few resources, didn't know any other terrorists, and so on. These seemingly well-timed alleged attacks follow pretty much the same pattern. Find one or more disgruntled people, preferably Muslims, provide them with an FBI agent or informant to egg them on, sometimes buy them boots or other things they need, lead them on until an announcement can be made to the MSM, and thus bring about more fear on the part of the public. After the initial hype these cases seem to mysteriously vanish from the news and are rarely heard of again except in the context of Bush's boasting about having saved us from terrorists x number of times. In this latest case, what they were proposing to do would not even have been possible. This process is called entrapment. The FBI seems to be fairly adept at it. Couple this procedure with the former yellow, orange, and other warnings and it is pretty obvious they have been putting us on all this time.

I guess the Republicans will be "debating" again soon. I never watch them as I have to watch my blood pressure. In their case I couldn't take them seriously anyway. What a bunch of losers (except for Ron Paul - but even he believes in all out capitalism). Mitt Romney, the hunter, is simply pathetic and willing to say anything, no matter how idiotic, to get the nomination. Giuliani is an absolute phony who has never done anything of note other than causing a great deal of ill health among the first responders (he did of course "clean up" New York by a combination of racism and authoritarian rule for which he is widely hated by many New Yorkers). John McCain is becoming a pathetic old man right in front of our eyes, trying desperately to enlist supporters by the most blatant kinds of butt-kissing and flip-flopping. The rest are mostly just nonentities as near as I can tell. And their great White Hope turns out to be married to a woman four years younger than his daughter, a fact that will probably doom his candidacy before it even gets off the ground (not that it matters to me, I enjoy being married to a younger woman).

I still think Hillary will end up with the nomination and she will almost certainly beat any of these basically worthless Republican candidates. I hope I am wrong about Hillary getting the nomination but it looks to me like the mostly likely scenario (unless, of course, Al Gore gets into the race (at the moment he would probably win in a landslide). Unfortunately, he's far too intelligent to suit our Nascar loving, Hilton worshipping, TV ogling crowd, who will prefer another Bush type to have a beer with. Just remember, you usually end up with what you deserve.


"But the brilliance, the versatility of madness is akin to the resourcefulness of water seeping through, over and around a dike."
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Same old, same old

I only watched part of the Democratic "debate." I'm not at all sure why they even bother with these things eighteen months before the election, or seven months before the first moved up primary. It was more or less deja vue all over again. Obama boasting that he was against the war from the beginning, Edwards confessing he thought his vote was a mistake, Hillary repeating that "if she knew then...," Kucinich pushing his usual peace movement speech that apparently no one wants to hear, and so on. They spent a lot of time on health care, basically congratulating each other over the fact that they all agreed something needs to be done, and in general also agreeing that we ought to end "war." Unless it occurred after I tuned out there was no mention of Israel (the single biggest problem in the Middle East), nor did there seem to be any concern with the newly announced 50 year plan for Iraq. They also all seemed to agree that Bill Clinton would make a great roving ambassador to try to heal the terrible wounds Bush/Cheney have inflicted on our international relations. No one mentioned Secretary of State, a position he would be eminently suited for. They seem to want him to be a kind of national gladhander but without any power or portfolio. Biden, I thought, put in an exceptional performance and defended his vote for the latest funding for the troops in a convincing manner. I don't think he got any closer to the Presidency. At the moment Hillary seems to be quite a bit ahead in the polls. She does come across as probably the best prepared and steadiest candidate. I think it would fair say she probably "won," if that makes any sense at all. Edwards tried to bring Obama and Hillary down a bit but I don't think he was very successful. Kucinich is the only one who consistently makes sense but, remember, he is only 5' 7" tall (but I bet he doesn't spend a lot of money on haircuts). Republicans and the MSM seem to be obsessed with vitally important facts such as these. They haven't fussed much lately about Hillary's hair. I think this is because she is the fallback candidate. If the powers that be can't get a Republican elected they'll settle for Hillary as basically she is one of them (at least this is my theory about what is going on.

I just read Rickles' Book (that's the title). You would think that someone who has been around as long as Don Rickles would have some really great stories. If so, he only shared the least of them. It was partly a tribute to that obnoxious bully, Frank Sinatra. I was very disappointed. Save your money.

I also read, or reread (depending on who you want to believe) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Both my wife and my son insist I read this book before. It is true that I sometimes don't remember books I have read or movies I have seen, but in this case I can't believe I would not have remembered parts of it as it is so unusual and sort of outrageous. I'm pretty sure I bought it, and I'm pretty sure I recommended it to them, but I don't believe I actually read it (and I didn't see the movie either, although it won't surprise me if they claim I did). Either this has something to do with growing old or they are conspiring to drive me even more confused than I already am. In any case it's really fine book and well worth reading (or rereading, as the case may be).

Friday, June 01, 2007

Is anyone paying attention?

Is anyone paying any attention to what is going on anymore? I know I'm not. I lost interest a long time ago. Now when I see Condi says, or Cheney says, or Bush says, or Snow says I just tune out. I no longer care what they say as I know it will be utter hogwash. Remember when the "surge" was just to be for about three months? Then it was going to be September. Now it is being said that that is too soon. It is also being said now, not only by Bush but by Gates and others as well, that we will have a presence in Iraq probably for another 50 years. So what is the point of listening to just one lie after another? Essentially the same thing is true of Immigration reform (not likely to happen), the Gonzales business, global warming, so-called diplomacy vis-a-vis Iran, health care, and whatever else you can think of. It's just lies on top of obfuscation seasoned with hypocrisy and baked in a crust of complete bullshit. It continues on and on and on and nothing ever happens. We're going to investigate 9/11 - well, maybe someday. We're going to investigate the Plame affair - well, maybe after her lawsuits drag on for a few years. All roads lead to Rove - but we don't have a map so what can we do. We really ought to impeach Bush/Cheney - but that would be awkward and, besides, it would distract us from out other business of doing nothing at all. And oh, yeah, we should probably do something about this ongoing disaster in Iraq - but it might make us look bad. Our present Congress is not going to be outdone by the last six year do-nothing bunch - we can out do-nothing them and not even work up a sweat.

It is widely agreed there can be no military solution to Iraq. So why do we keep sending more and more troops? Twelve million illegal aliens. It would be impractical to send them all back. I know, let's build a wall along our southern border (this is practical?). Someone suggested this should be a double wall so we can catch them in-between. So then what do we do? Gas them? Sending them all back is impractical. I know, let's devise a point system so we can rate them as to their desireability, ten points for this and seven points for that, and two points for this, and pretty soon you have a great system. The ones with enough points can become permanent if they can pay the five thousand dollars and return to their homeland first. This is eminently practical, given that there are only twelve million of them to process.

If you examine the Republican candidates for President you will find little cause for hope. It's like the ten numbskulls of the apocalypse. They are so bad that even their own party is looking for a great white hope in Hollywood who can at least pretend to be Ronald Reagan (why they would want another Ronald Reagan escapes me as he was an absolutely terrible President - Think aids, environment, debt, Iran-contra, etc.). Of course he was a winner in Granada. He showed those savages a thing or two.

Things are not a whole lot better on the Democratic side. A lot of Republican lite, inexperience, and vanity candidates. The candidates that might be expected to actually try to change things, like Edwards, Richardson and Kucinich have already been dismissed by the MSM and are either ignored or under attack for completely nonsensical reasons. The one possible candidate that might save the party has not yet said he will run but is already being dissed by the MSM just as he was in 2000. Now some are saying he is just too intellectual. God forbid we could have an experienced person for President who actually knows something.


Winston Churchill on being informed his fly was open: "Not to worry, dead birds don't fall out of the nest."