Saturday, March 12, 2005

Going for a breath of fresh air

Happy days! Morialekafa is going to Europe for a few days where we hope to get some real news for a change. We know now that Bush's so-called town hall meetings are all choreographed and do not allow any dissent whatsoever. And we also know that the so-called news we are getting from our mainstream media is largely faked and follows whatever script the White House authors. We know that so-called reporters have been paid to tout whatever Bush/Cheney want to promote at the moment. The whole press/tv thing is so corrupt and dishonest there is no point in even tuning in or reading anymore. Thank god for the internet. In any case, there will not be a Morialekafa blog until April 1st. As virtually no one reads Morialekafa this should not come as a
major problem. In the interim here is another short story.

Frenchy Don't-you-know

Frenchy lived on the periphery. That wasn't unusual. All of the unmarried miners lived that way. But Frenchy seemed to personify the type, the classic case, except he wasn't a very good miner, perhaps a little below average. When he wasn't mining he bartended for Frenchy Nadieux, a coincidental Frenchman who lived in our town and owned the Turf Club. I don't know why it was called the Turf Club; the nearest race track was a hundred miles away. Anyway, Frenchy Don't-You-Know wasn't a very good bartender either, although passable when sober. He wasn't an alcoholic, just a binge drinker like most of the other miners. When he was on one of his binges he didn't appear at the Turf Club or next door in the card room where my father worked. He didn't want my father to see him drunk. My father didn't drink. He always felt that gambling and drinking didn't mix. He had no moral scruples about it, he just refrained for business reasons. But as he didn't do it, he didn't like it.
I never understood why Frenchy and my father were such good friends. My father was married, owned a house and a car, had a son, was settled down. He wore suits and ties and a diamond stickpin. Frenchy didn't own much of anything. Sometimes he lived in a cheap boarding house, sometimes in a dingy hotel room. I'm certain he didn't own a suit or a necktie. My father was big, two hundred and thirty pounds. Frenchy was small, maybe one forty at most. Frenchy was soft spoken and timid. My father, because of his occupation as floor man in a card room, was visible and often in fights. He didn't like the fights but he was very strong and they seldom lasted long. One of his nicknames was "The Big Bull," but no one called him that to his face. Frenchy called him "Bull." He was the only person who did so. Having presumably never married, Frenchy had no family. I assumed that if he had a family they must still be in France. My father might have known but he never discussed Frenchy with anyone. Not even with me, except to explain that he was Frenchy Don't-You-Know, emphasizing the last name. Actually, his name was Donchineux or something like that. I think my father believed that Don't-You-Know would amuse a twelve year old. As I loved my father very much I humored him on such matters.
I guess the main thing Frenchy and father had in common was their love for fishing. During the bass and crappy season we went often, Frenchy and my dad, me and my pal Billy. My dad would cast for bass for a while, and then we'd spend the rest of the time trolling for crappies. Frenchy liked that best. He never learned to cast, being content to row the boat for those who did. When the crappies were hitting we'd catch one after another. Frenchy was just as excited when Billy or I caught one as when he did himself. They were nice fish, black crappies, and usually weighed a pound or a pound and a half. They were good to eat. Frenchy didn't eat them though. He didn't like fish so he left his share with us. He'd even help clean them. Billy and I liked Frenchy a lot. He laughed and told corny stories and had a good time while we rowed slowly around in the hot sun. He was never impatient, never complained about anything. He told us once how he'd been on a raft on a river with another fellow and they'd fallen asleep. The raft had come untied during the night so when they woke up they were far down the river. Frenchy said, "Hey Joe, we ain't here, we're five miles from here." He thought that was a very funny story.
We'd usually go to shore for lunch. After eating our bologna sandwiches and drinking our Orange Crush Billy and I would run off to explore the shoreline or sometimes take a quick swim in the lake. My father liked to swim but Frenchy didn't know how so they sat quietly smoking and talking. They never seemed to run out of conversation. Billy and I didn't pay much attention to what they talked about, nor do I know even now what they discussed so long and seriously. After an hour or so we'd all get back into the rented boat and fish until it began to get dark. That was the best time for bass fishing. Frenchy would row and dad would cast for a while and then Billy and I would take turns. Billy was really good at it. I was kind of so-so. We didn't always catch fish, but we had a good time.
Mr. Don't-You-Know didn't pay much attention to Billy and me directly but we knew he was interested in us. He asked my father how we were doing in school, were we playing ball, did we like girls, stuff like that. My father would occasionally report that he had seen Frenchy and he had asked about us. The Frenchman's interest in our lives became more obvious the year Billy and I turned fourteen. We were caught in a rainstorm on one of our fishing trips. The four of us ran for the big maroon Hudson, hoping the rain would stop. As the two men lit their cigarettes Frenchy turned to us extending the pack, "We know you boys smoke," he said, "so you might as well go ahead." We were stunned! We sat speechless, dumbly looking at each other, wondering what to do. How could Frenchy know we smoked? But as my father showed no surprise we lit up, trying to be very grown up but giggling with embarrassment at the same time.
Frenchy didn't drive. And he was a narcoleptic of sorts. Sometimes on the way home, sitting in the darkness in the front seat, Frenchy would fall asleep right in the middle of a sentence. When he woke father would say, "Frenchy, we ain't here, we're five miles from here!" The Frenchman would laugh with pleasure at his own story and we could see his even white teeth shining through the five o'clock shadow that was as much a part of him as his unusual yellow and black mackinaw, the smell of strong tobacco, and the exotic accent.
After we parked we'd carry the fish in to show my mother. Frenchy would stand awkwardly inside the door waiting for dad who always walked with him the three blocks to the center of town. Frenchy would go to his hotel, dad would quickly check the action where he worked and then come home. It was a pattern established over many years from which they never deviated. I didn't understand until many years later that Frenchy was uncomfortable in our house and around my mother. I'm sure he liked her, the little he knew her, and as far as I know she liked him also. But he never came to dinner, never visited, never even carried on a conversation with her beyond a polite hello. I never saw him either, outside of fishing, except occasionally when I paid a quick visit to my father at work to get money or give him a message. Frenchy would be standing there watching a poker game or blackjack, or more rarely playing panguingue to pass the time. He didn't like to gamble. I wouldn't have dared enter the Turf Club. It was dark and narrow, a stand-up bar, crowded with serious drinkers and plainly off limits to teenagers. Sometimes Frenchy Nadieux, who was even shorter than our Frenchy and almost completely round, would wave at me through the window as I passed. He didn't actually know me, just my father, but he waved anyway as if we were friends.
The town was the county seat and the heart of a mining district. The permanent population of the town itself was probably no more than four thousand. But it drew miners from all the surrounding mountains and thus it supported thirty-two bars, several with adjoining card rooms, and five thriving whorehouses. Several churches were scattered in a crude suburban ring with only the most tenuous connection to what went on in the city center. Occasionally one of the church ladies complained about having to pass the whorehouses on the way to one of the two movie theatres, but that was about it. As the whores were not allowed to solicit, or even sit in the windows, no one could understand what all the fuss was about. Miners were not generally invited to homes built near churches.
Frenchy lived like the rest of the miners. They were mostly itinerants: Italians, Finns, Swedes, Irishmen, Germans and Missourians. Missourians were considered a distinct category as they had come originally as strikebreakers and were not well liked. The other miners picked fights with them on Saturday nights. Frenchy wasn't sure where Missouri was and had only a dim comprehension of local history. Frenchmen were rare where we lived, which might explain why Frenchy Nadieux hired our Frenchy, but their relationship was strictly business.
Frenchy Don't-You-Know worked in one mine for a time and then another. Sometimes he was fired for not showing up for work, sometimes he just quit. Whether he worked or not he lived exactly the same. A hotel room was home, the counter at the Bus Depot Cafe his usual choice for meals, the bars and card rooms his diversion. He must have visited the whorehouses although his timidity being what it was made it difficult to imagine. His own conversation being limited, he sat and listened to endless discussions of sports, politics, hunting, whores, and off color
stories, making little contribution of his own. Being French, he was often teased when the conversation turned to women. He just smiled and laughed knowingly. No one knew for sure if he was even interested in women. He never spoke of France unless perhaps to my father. In addition to the fishing trips he sometimes went duck hunting with father and some other men, but he had no desire to hunt and only went along to cook. He wasn't much of a cook but as all they ate was ham and eggs and steak and potatoes it didn't matter. Everyone liked Frenchy Don't-You-Know, but I'm sure when he wasn't immediately present people didn't think of him. To those who didn't know him he was just another hardrock miner, an undistinguished face in an undistinguished crowd, a body occupying space but claiming no territory, a self but not a person.
It was not a great surprise when Frenchy's body was found in the lake. It didn't even rate much discussion after the first day or two. Everyone agreed that Frenchy, on one of his binges, had tried to go fishing and in his drunkenness had fallen out of the boat and drowned. It was common knowledge that he couldn't swim. I don't remember where I first heard the news of Frenchy's death but I remember asking my father with tearful eyes if it was true and him saying that it was. I remember most how he looked at me with an intense expression I had never seen before.
"Frenchy didn't fall out of the boat," he said, speaking to me for the very first time as if I were an adult, "and he wasn't drunk. He did it on purpose...he jumped."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Problems? What problems?

Mmmm, let’s see:

We have a trade imbalance with the Chinese and others that is totally unprecedented. It appears that even though there are rules that would allow us to legitimately address this problem the Administration is so far unwilling to employ them. We wouldn’t want to upset the Chinese, you know, they might decide to stop buying and holding our bonds, which, of course, would doubtless lead us into a double or triple recession.

Then there is the immigration problem. With some ten million plus illegal immigrants living in the U.S. and more arriving any day you might think we would want to do something about it. Bush has a plan that would encourage even more. Our borders are virtually unprotected, both north and south, and Bush and company are unwilling to provide more funds for border patrols, I guess we will just have to live with it. After all, those Corporations that depend upon cheap immigrant labor are so vital to the American economy that they cannot be interfered with. Besides, if they didn’t have the cheap labor they might have to raise the minimum wage. Heaven forbid! Why should anyone in the U.S. make a decent wage when we can import (however illegally) cheaper labor? Besides, why shouldn’t anyone be able to get along on $5.25 an hour? After all, our CEO’s work for peanuts, don’t they? This is so sick it is unbelievable.

How about the national debt, now the largest by far in all of U.S. history? When Bush/Cheney took office we had an enormous surplus. Now we have the largest debt ever. This is actually Clinton’s fault, because if he hadn’t run up such a large surplus the current debt wouldn’t look so bad. And he did it by imposing somewhat higher taxes on those who could afford it the least – the already filthy, obscenely rich. What was he thinking of? Now that he is all buddy-buddy with the Bush’s he probably realizes what a mistake he made. I bet he wouldn’t do it again. And neither will Hilary.

We also have a little problem, it appears, with our infrastructure. The Civil Engineers, or whoever they are, have reviewed the U.S. infrastructure and reported that at best it rates a “D.” For those of you who are not familiar with such grades this means barely above a complete failure. Somewhere I saw that the projected price to remedy this situation is somewhere in one and a half trillion dollar range. Sorry, we just can’t afford it, what with tax breaks for the rich, expenses in Afghanistan and Iraq, war profiteering for Halliburton and others, and what have you. Besides, who needs infrastructure when the Rapture is imminent?

In all fairness, the degeneration of our infrastructure cannot be blamed on the Bush/Cheney Administration, even though they are trying to hurry it along as fast as they can. This is an absolute national scandal that goes back through several administrations. Where in the hell were our Congresspersons and Senators while our country was falling further and further behind and ignoring these obvious problems? Why were there no funds for our schools, highways, bridges, hospitals, airports, railroads, lakes and rivers, national parks and so on? Why were all of these necessary and indispensable institutions allowed to just wither away until it is almost too late to fix them? Where in the hell was our “government” all of these years? This is not something that just happened overnight. It’s not as if we haven’t paid our taxes all these years. Oh, yeah, I forget, we had to spend more on defense that the fifteen other largest nations on earth, and bombs and stuff are expensive, especially when you use them indiscriminately around the world. Empire costs money, and you do want Empire don’t you? We have to make the world save for Exxon, General Electric, Halliburton, Shell, Enron, Pfizer, and all those other noble enterprises who are only interested in the public good.

And so what is our illustrious chief nitwit doing about all this? Why, he is spending 60 days visiting 60 cities to spread his concern about the crisis confronting Social Security, a perfectly sound program that is funded at least until 2042. Oh, I forgot about Medicare. Well, never mind.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Excercise - essay

Politics! I absolutely cannot take any more at the moment. This country and the world are so totally in a disaster mode that I am rendered momentarily speechless. Here is another essay to take our minds off the disaster that is not so quietly enfolding.

I'm not opposed to exercise. Far from it. Or at least kind of far from it. But I confess that if it's not associated with some kind of game - tennis, soccer, basketball, even golf - I find it boring. I've tried jogging. Boring. I've tried swimming laps. Double boring. I walk. Boring. Even so, can there be anything more boring than an exercise machine. A treadmill, for example. If walking outdoors on a beautiful sunny day is boring, walking inside on a treadmill has to be quadruple boring (unless, maybe, if there's something good on TV - a rarity, these days). Adding little handles you pull at the same time you walk, while perhaps giving a bit more exercise, does not make it any the less boring. And how about those stair-stepping machines? You know, you stand in one place pumping one foot after the other, pretending your climbing stairs. Makes you wonder why people don't just climb stairs. Even if they don't happen to have any, stairs are not difficult to find. Frankly, climbing stairs, unless they lead to a bar or disco or something, is every bit as boring as any other of these activities.
Of course there's always those Nordic Track machines where you simulate cross-country skiing. I have no doubt they may be an excellent form of exercise but what do you see as you engage in this make believe? Your bedroom or living room wall, no doubt. Rowing machines, too, are supposed to be good for you. If you use them, that is. I'll bet most rowing machines waste away their years in garages and closets after perhaps the first week of eager rowing. And why not, what could be more boring than simulated rowing in your living room? Not much. The same is true of stationary bicycles. If people want to bicycle why don't they just go out and get a bicycle and bicycle? Why don't they get a boat and go rowing? Or get some cross-country skis and go skiing?
Oh, I know, the weather. It's probably the weather sometimes but more likely it's laziness. It's much easier to just pull something out from under your bed or wherever and sit or lay and pretend.
I won't go into weight-lifting and muscle-building. The very idea is boring beyond belief. And I doubt it does much for your health in any case. Just makes you more and more muscular until you end up looking like a freak and can no longer throw a ball or run a decent race. The latest craze seems to be "Ab" machines. There are various designs but they all basically imitate doing sit ups. So, you ask, why not just do sit ups? Damned if I know. You don't need any equipment for it, just a little space on the floor somewhere. Oh, I know, they claim the machines help support your back, or neck, or something-or-other. I doubt it. In fact, I doubt they are as good an exercise as just plain sit-ups (when done properly, of course).
The thing that bothers me the most about these various exercise machines is that they all involve lying. That is, they most probably don't do for you what they promise. But even beyond that claim, they insist on telling you they are "easy," or "fun". Where do they get the chutzpa to claim that spending fifteen minutes on a treadmill is easy? Or cross-country skiing for fifteen or more minutes in your living room is easy? I assure you that if you're serious about your exercise, these are not easy. They are even more obviously not fun. If you have ever tried any one of these various semi-scams you know perfectly well that the one thing they are not, is fun, and certainly not fun in the sun. Winston Churchill once said he got his exercise carrying the coffins of his friends. It might not be fun, but it's better than pretending.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


There seems to be a great deal going on but nothing ever seems to really happen. The Canadians are in hot water with the U.S. Administration because they are too intelligent to want to get mixed up in a totally failed missile defense program. Condi Rice has postponed her trip to Canada because of her disappointment with their failure to jump on board this ridiculous waste of money and time. I guess it's not a waste of money if you are a defense contractor on the receiving end.

The Gannon/Guckert fiasco continues but only barely. The major media, both print and television just won't touch it, but it survives on the web. It is obvious that the Secret Service ducked the questions they were asked to answer. As far as I know the White House is still totally silent on this unbelievable scandal. Will it just eventually disappear like all the rest of their scandals?

The Italians are furious over the attack on their reporter. Their story of what happened is totaly contrary to the U.S. story. The U.S. says the car was speeding, the Italians say it was not. The U.S. says they warned it to stop, the Italians say there was no warning. Indeed, the Italians say the U.S. had been advised that the car was coming with the freed hostage. The only thing they seem to agree on is that it was an accident. As the U.S. (the Bush/Cheney Administration) has never told the truth about anything it is difficult not to believe the Italian version. This Administration has absoluely no credibility, a situation of their own making.

USA Next is being sued for 25 million dollars by the gay couple whose photo was used without permission. While they will never receive such compensation they do have a strong case, so let's hope they get enough to put these disgusting charlatans out of business for a long time. Hopefully forever.

Finally, the White House has now admitted they have no idea what Bush is talking about when it comes to Social Security reform. It seems he has suddenly began talking about an "add-on" to the program which is totally unlike what he has said before. If you examine what he apparently said it is obvious that he himself has no idea what the hell he's talking about. Does that surprise anyone? This whole Social Security business is really just designed to keep our minds off the dismal record of this Administration when it comes to Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, torture, war profiteering, and etc.

The Bush/Cheney spon on what is happening in he Middle East is so far from what is actually happening as to be unbelievable. Oh, yes, democracy is coming to the Middle East, just look at Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Libya, and others and you can just see it marching on.

Right wingers here do not know who Katherine Harris is. Never heard of her. Does that tell you anything?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Gannon/Guckert - Gannon/Guckert - Gannon/Guckert - Gannon/Guckert - Gannon/Guckert

The scandal that so far refuses to go away. Now the Secret Service is lying about it while as far as I know the White House is still silent. In a letter to Conyers and Slaughter the Secret Service claims there was nothing unusual about Gannon/Guckert getting repeated day passes to the White House Press Corps. This is obvious balderdash, to put it mildly. Apparently the White House is up to its usual trick, just stonewall, stonewall, until the whole issue just dies down and disappears along with all the other scandals. It has certainly worked for them up until now so why not try it again? Democrats absolutely must not give up on this one. Keep the pressure on until they have to respond. This is potentially far worse than the Monica episode and it cannot just be allowed to disappear.

American hypocrisy (at least as represented by Bush/Cheney) knows no bounds. Now we are "demanding" that Syria withdraw immediately from Lebanon. Ignore for the moment the logistical impossibility of an immediate withdrawal, consider the question of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Why should not Israel have to immediately withdraw from their occupied lands? Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian land for far longer than Syria has been in Lebanon. The whole world is aware of the American double standard when it comes to Israel, which is precisely why there will never be peace in the Middle East. I recall being in favor of a so-called Jewish Homeland, thinking it would be a solution to what was up until then a perennial problem. It probably could have been, except for the Israeli insatiable demands for more land and more water and more control, all of this continuing into the present.
And with the support of the "Rapturists" who think the Palestinians should be completely shut out of their lands this vile travesty continues. I repeat: THERE WILL NEVER BE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST UNTIL ISRAEL IS MADE TO LIVE UP TO THEIR OBLIGATIONS VIS-A-VIS THE PALESTINIANS. And given the total mess Bush/Cheney and their gang of international criminals have made of the Middle East it may be too late even for that.

Monday, March 07, 2005

What's with this 60 days in 60 cities crap?

Watch 'n Wait: I agree the Salvation Army case is enough to stand your hair on end. It is obvious that under the Bush Administration they are going all out to end the separation of church and state. But what can we expect when half the country or so are religious fundamentalists? The Europeans think we are stark raving mad when it comes to religion - and they are right.

But what is with this Bush 60 days in 60 cities nonsense. It is perfectly clear already that his attempt to creat private accounts in lieu of Social Security is doomed to fail. So why is he persisting in this all out attempt to convince people who are already not convinced, and not at all likely to be convinced? I believe it has nothing to do with Social Security but is in fact just a smokescreen to keep our little minds off the failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, the collapse of the American economy, the multiple war crimes, the 34 or more scandals that have so far been stonewalled, and etc. They have to know by now that their Social Security scam is not going to fly, at least not in any foreseeable future. So why continue?
Obfuscation, that's why.

Eschew Obfuscation. Fat chance with this bunch of utter loonies. Please wake me when the nightmare is over.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena

Why is there such a complete discrepancy between what Giuliana Sgrena reports and what the American military reports (or doesn't really report, as the case may be)? I have been loathe to accept reports that the American military has been deliberately targeting reporters but I confess I am finding the denial harder and harder to believe. I do not doubt for one minute that the American military, responsive to orders from Bush/Cheney, do not want us to know what actually is going on with respect to the killing of Iraqis, civilians as well as combatants, but can we really be killing reporters to that end? I don't want to believe it, but it is increasingly difficult not to. This is especially true given that the Bush/Cheney Administration has yet to tell the truth about anything. And Sgrena not only must have known about Falluja and other atrocities, but was also a left wing reporter. I hope the Italian government persists in their demand for an investigation until they actually get one. But given the record of this administration they'll be lucky to get even an acknowledgement that there might be a problem.

I see the Gannon/Guckert scandal slowly slipping away into obscurity just like all the rest of the Bush/Cheney scandals. If the Democrats allow this to happen we will know that they are basically part of the fascist program that is about to take over our country. What is it going to take to wake America up? Or is it already too late? I cannot believe the apathy and lack of interest that appears to characterize the American electorate at this moment in time. This is absolutely the most scandalous, dishonest, unethical, criminal, secretive, uncooperative, and fundamentally insane admistration ever. Can you believe that this small group of neocons who not long ago were considered to be the "crazies" are now in charge of the country? It is true, the inmates are in charge of the asylum - and no one, no one, seems to give a damn. I guess it must be true, people get the government they deserve. Has there ever been in the history of the United States a situation as dismal as this? Has there ever been a President more deserving of impeachment? Has there ever been a vice-president more slimy, dishonest, and greedy than Dick Cheney? I fear for our country and it seems to get worse day by day.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Secrecy and Privilege - good book

I have just finished the Robert Parry book, Secrecy and Privilege Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. This is a fine piece of work that goes into detail about the various machinations of the elder Bush, the various functions he performed for Reagan and the Republicans over time, and how his often questionable activities were repeatedly covered up. It is quite clear that his claims of being “out of the loop” on the Iran-Contra scandal were not true. Although it doesn’t say this, as such, it also by implication makes the Clinton/Gore Administration, no matter what you and I might think about it, appear as a bright and shining moment sandwiched between the cesspool of corruption that was the Reagan Administration and the even worse cesspool of corruption that characterizes the present Bush/Cheney Administration. I heartily recommend it.

There is talk nowadays about how the Corporations have infiltrated and taken over our Public Schools. I would remind you that many years ago (1963) there was a fine book on how business was doing just that, The Pseudo Ethic, by Margaret Halsey. I think someone ought to reprint it.

Five more American troops killed today in Iraq. Ho hum, just another day in our successful attempt to bring democracy to Iraq. An Italian journalist who had been kidnapped and then released by the Iraqis was shot at by American troops, wounding her and killing one of her bodyguards. Whoops! But not to worry, she was a reporter for a leftist paper, and his eminence, king George has assured the Italians he will order a thorough investigation. Something along the lines of his investigation of the Plame situation no doubt. Or the Gannon scandal, about which the White House is still totally silent. Democrats keep demanding investigations which never happen. They might as well just be baying at the moon. The fascists are now in charge. So happy days all you Bush supporters. Remember, Bush hears directly from God so he can do no wrong.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Black hats - essay

I don't know how it is where you live, but out here in the northwest where I live there are men, granted a minority, that wear black hats. Big, broad-brimmed black cowboy hats. Now I suppose a man has a right to wear any color and kind of hat he wants. But didn't anyone ever tell these guys that only the bad guys wear black hats. The good guys wear white hats. Always.
While I'm not one to stereotype (usually), I've noticed that these black hat wearers do share a lot of behavior patterns. First of all, they never seem to take their hats off. If you see a man wearing a black cowboy hat you'll never see him without it. They wear them in the house, in restaurants, everywhere. I recently saw a man wearing his black hat for his wedding picture. In fact, I actually saw a wedding picture in which both the bride and groom wore black hats! I wonder if they wear them to bed.
Black hat wearers also only drive pickups. I've never once seen a man driving a car wearing a black hat. I suppose it could happen in an emergency or something, but I've never seen it. Never. And, while it is true that not all men with rifles in their pickups wear black hats, it is true that all black hat wearers have rifles in their pickups.
Another thing. Black hat wearers never smile. Or, if they do, it must be very rare. This must be part of the image they are trying to convey. The tough guy, macho, don't-fool-with-me image. It is inconceivable to me that they don't know they are promoting this image of themselves. Have they never seen a movie? Read a book? Most of them have probably seen a movie or two at some point in their lives, but whether they have read a book is extremely doubtful. Indeed, my experience with these guys leads me to believe they don't read anything, except perhaps an occasional comic book. This doesn't keep them from having strong opinions on things of interest to them. Like environmentalists, for example. Or liberals. And here where I live, on Californians. They despise these types. Apparently they get these opinions from each other. They are universally conservatives, often extremely so.
It is also a pretty safe bet that if a man has a black hat he will also have cowboy boots. Contrary to what you might expect, they do not ordinarily have cow manure on their boots. This is because most of them are no longer cowboys. There are very few cowboys left, even here. These guys just want to pretend to be cowboys. Tough cowboys. Bronc riders. Most of them use snuff and have that little telltale circle on the back pockets of their jeans. They laugh at city folk and say things like "yep," and "nope," and "shucks," and lots of other things I won't bother to mention. They are really big on bumperstickers. Especially things like, "Rush is Right," or "Hungry and out of work, eat an environmentalist," "Neuter anti-hunters," and stuff like that. You know, pleasant, well-thought-out, non-controversial, objective things.
These black hat fans also like big belt buckles. Usually silver, but sometimes scrimshaw on bone or horn. They have western themes like a bucking bronco, or a man twirling a lariat, or maybe an elk head or a deer. Outdoorsy stuff.
I have no idea where these men get the notion to wear a black hat. And it seems to pass with time. You don't see really old men wearing these wide-brimmed black creations. I guess when you get old you're no longer macho enough. Your typical black hat wearer is a well-built, good-sized younger man. They just don't look right on small, slender, or effeminate men although once in while you'll see these latter types. They look ridiculous in black hats. Somehow, they don't seem to care. Neither do I, really.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Republicans on the run?

All the talk now in our small Republican controlled community is about Social Security. And I must tell you there are few who support Bush’s plan to privatize it. The Republicans are clearly on the run, finding little support for trying to do away with this popular and successful program. This does mean it is dead yet, but if the Democrats stay focused and disciplined it will become a dead issue, at least for the immediate future. And die it should as it is a totally bad idea, the only real purpose being to start eliminating the Social Security Program entirely, as Republicans have wanted to do ever since Roosevelt signed it into law. So far Bush’s outrageous lies about the solvency of the program have exposed his attack for what it is.

Republicans are into hot water also over the Gannon/Guckert scandal that so far shows no signs of going away. Twenty six Congresspersons have insisted on a thorough investigation of this bizarre travesty – and so far there has been no response from the White House. The White House apparently thinks they can stonewall this scandal like all the others and eventually it will just go away. Let’s hope not. The potential here is just too great.

We have now experienced over 1500 casualties in Iraq, to say nothing of the 100,000 or more civilian deaths. I guess this is still not enough to bring the American Public to their senses. How easy it seems to lose sight of the fact that this was a totally unnecessary, immoral, illegal “war” that never should have happened in the first place. And there is no end in sight. Indeed, it may be the case this is only the beginning. They say people get the government they deserve. I do not believe the American people deserve this Administration but until they do something about it what more can be said?

By the way, whatever happened to Dick Cheney? We certainly haven’t seen or heard much of him lately. I guess he must be bunkered down somewhere cozy. Rumsfeld, too, has been kind of quiet as, indeed, have most of the neocons. This does not bode well for the future as they are probably planning for their next “war.” Let’s hope they plan this one better than the last one. I think this may be the time for “stop the world and let me get off.” Cheers.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Think 2006!

It would appear that Social Security reform is about to become a dead issue, at least for the moment. There is just too much opposition, and rightly so. However, Democrats had better be on their toes else Bush maneuvers them into a losing situation. Even if Bush drops the private accounts desire, if the Democrats agree to some other kind of solution, Bush will still claim credit for fixing Social Security. Of course this will kill the Republican dream of doing away entirely with Social Security, but probably only for the immediate future. Probably the best strategy for Democrats is to insist that Medicare is a much more urgent issue, along with the deficit, and thus leave the Social Security issue for the moment. After all, there is no immediate crisis in spite of what Bush is trying to get everyone to believe. The only sensible approach to anything Bush suggests is to assume it is a monumental lie. It always has been.

Idaho is supposedly the most rock solid Republican state in the Union. It certainly is one of them if not the most. So let’s see how Idaho is going to respond to the Bush budget which is going to absolutely decimate necessary and important programs in Idaho more or less across the board. Big cuts everywhere as far as the eye can see. I can hardly wait to see our Republican dominated State Government respond. Oh, they won’t mind big cuts in education. They don’t think education is important. And they won’t mind cuts in environmental programs. They don’t think the environment is important. But wait until they get to cuts in agricultural programs or timber. You’ll hear their howls all the way to the moon. It’s going to be an interesting year or two, or three or four if Bush/Cheney make it that far. I sense doomsday for this Administration. But I am often wrong. Damn!

There is a lot of talk about 2008. Will it be Hilary? Kerry again? Gore? Biden? Who? I suggest we forget about 2008 and concentrate on 2006. Let’s take back the Senate and make big inroads into the House. I think it may well be possible, assuming, of course, that the Republicans don’t control the voting machines again. Let’s hear it for voting reform.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Bush kissed Lieberman?

Am I just peculiar or what? After his state of the union address (I think that’s when it was) George Bush walked up to Joe Lieberman and kissed him (on the cheek, at least). I have not seen any comments to speak of about this rather extraordinary behavior (at least it seems very extraordinary to me). First of all Lieberman is supposed to be a Democrat. So why would Bush be kissing a Democrat? But more interesting to me is why would he be kissing anyone at all in such a context? Of course we all know by now that Lieberman is basically a Republican. But does that explain the kissing? Bush doesn’t go around kissing all Republicans, at least as far as I know. And he certainly doesn’t go around kissing Democrats (except Lieberman). I really don’t know what to make of this. Am I the only one who finds this both unusual and bizarre?

There is so much going on now it is impossible to know where to begin and there could not possibly be enough time or space to deal with it all. Let’s start with Canada. Condi is not going to visit that country soon because the Canadians, god bless them, are too intelligent to get dragged into the absurd star wars business. So now we are threatening Canadian airspace and bellowing about their giving up their sovereignty (by god, we’ll send our missiles over them if we feel like it). This is what passes these days for diplomacy.

Then there is the Russian problem. The problem is that Pootie Poo may be acting undemocratically and so needs to be lectured by our own Walking Eagle about democracy. Walking Eagle has done everything he can so far to destroy American democracy but this doesn’t keep him from advising others about what should be done. He has also instructed Syria as to what they must do, and is also still telling the Iranians what they must do. In fact, he is going around telling the whole world what they must do. Imperial Hubris is far too mild a description of this. Bush has not yet figured out that the world regards him as a dangerous laughingstock that has to be humored but basically ignored. It has become quite clear that the American Superpower is basically no more than a paper tiger when it comes to spreading democracy around the world. Sure, we can kill them all, but short of that we can’t do much of anything.

Gannongate is threatening to disappear along with the other 34 scandals of the Bush/Cheney Administration. The major media continues to pretend that this absolute scandal just doesn’t exist. While it lives on the internet, at least for the moment, it gets no coverage to speak of elsewhere. If the Democrats let this go the way of all the other scandals of this administration we are surely doomed. I’m not certain that most Americans have even heard of it. You can bet your life that had it occurred under the Clinton Administration everyone in the world would know about it. As far as I know even Clinton, now nesting with the elder Bush, has not commented about it. Clinton, now a multimillionaire, has apparently joined the Republican Party. If (god forbid) Hilary were actually to become President the Republican dynasty would continue and WalMart would prosper more than ever before.

I would pray to the Great Mystery for guidance except so far I haven’t been able to acquire a buffalo skull. I’m working on it.