Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An act of treason

Mr. B became enraged when his host refused
him pickles. He returned later and assaulted
him - with two large pickles.

I have always believed that the outing of Valerie Plame was an act of treason, yet nothing was ever done about it. No one was ever held responsible for it even though it is known who was involved (Cheney, Bush, Libby, and Novak, at the very least). True, Libby was found guilty, but only of lying to a Grand Jury (and of course Bush quickly pardoned him before he might have told the truth). This is only one of the many crimes committed by Bush/Cheney who have yet to be held accountable for any of them. How is it that everyone seems to just continue to ignore this ignoble act of treason (along with all their other crimes)? Will they ever be held accountable, or will they just go into their retirements gloating over their more than merely devious record.

Kucinich has suggested that we should give some thought to Bush's mental condition. He is not the only one to have mentioned this possibility. I guess no one is taking it seriously. Why not? Unless, of course, you don't mind the possibility that a madman may lead us directly into WWIII. I read somewhere today that one of the reasons for not attacking Iran (at least so far) is the fear that some four senior Generals might resign. Did you ever think you would see the day when the only hope for avoiding war was apparently in the hands of the military? Don't worry, Bush will probably replace them and do what he wants anyway. If he can't get his way I guess he can continue to stomp the floor and slam doors.

Karen whats-her-face is resigning. You know who I mean, one of Bush's mama figures who has been with him for such a long time. The one whom Condi said gives really great sermons. The same one who has been charged with improving America's image around the world. I guess either she decided it was a lost cause or she thinks she had done such a great job she need not continue doing the Lord's work among the heathens. Will Georgie Boy continue to call her three or four times a day as he did when she quit for a while before? It must be pretty traumatic for him.

"Hey, Joe, we ain't here, we're ten miles from here."
Frenchy D.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Democratic blab fest

Arrested for sexually caressing teens feet,
foot fetishist previously stole panties.
His wife said he likes to smell socks.

They didn't touch her. Didn't even make a dent. I'm not a big fan of Hillary's but I think the much advertised attacks on her by Obama and Edwards didn't amount to much. They brought up again her vote on the Lieberman/Kyl proposal but she, again, answered with her interpretation of it and no progress was made on that score. Toward the end she kind of waffled on whether or not she supported giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants but even there she made perfect sense, saying she thought it was a good idea but didn't say she supported it (so it was unclear). But she asked what Spitzer was supposed to do, have thousands of drivers driving with no licenses. Dodd was the only one who came right out against the idea (with an argument that was really pretty feeble - a drivers license is a priviledge so why give illegals a priviledge). This would seem to indicate a certain oblivion to a real problem. Edwards probably made a bigger case against her but it seemed to just bounce off her like the proverbial water off a duck's back. I have to admit once again that in general I thought Hillary's performance was far superior to the rest. Actually, I thought the best moment of the night was when Biden came right out and said very emphatically that Giuliani was just not qualified to be President. Mike Gravel wasn't there. I guess they wouldn't let him participate. Democracy at work. Of course they had to get a laugh at Kucinich's expense at the end when they asked him about seeing a UFO and of course linked him with Shirley McClaine (well known flake).

I had to turn off the comments by the newsmen at the end because it seemed to me they had not actually seen the same program I did. Of course they tried to make a big deal of anything that even remotely seemed to be a dig at Hillary. But Hillary did fine as usual, kept her cool, made perfectly sensible answers, demonstrated once again that she is well versed on the issues, and in general was pretty much untouched. It wasn't much but compared to the last Republican babbleothon it was pretty good. I do wish these high-powered newspeople would learn to ask decent questions that one might reasonably expect the candidates to answer. Tim Russert is particularly guilty of this. For example, he asks if they will commit to saying that they will not allow Iran to have a nuclear bomb. All of them said they would do their best to prevent it - what in the world could anyone expect them to say to such an absurd question. The same with the question about Spitzer's drivers license question - do you support it (as if it were already set in stone and there could not be an question about it). Dumb questions. And of course Chris Matthews was his usual obnoxious self, constantly talking over everyone else and forcing everyone to talk at once. He is the worst interviewer I've ever seen (except, perhaps, Tucker Carlson who is little more than a blatant partisan).

"It's a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter"
Satchel Paige

Monday, October 29, 2007

How strange

News item:
"Contrary to popular belief, not
a significant amount of research
goes into cockroach radiation."

Is it just me or is not the strangest political season ever. I am at a loss to explain what is going on. For example, Hillary Clinton is the leading Democratic candidate in the polls. She is known to be following fairly closely to Bush's agenda on Iraq, Iran, and Israel. Bush's poll ratings are absolutely dismal, his "war" is incredibly unpopular, as is he. So why, if Hillary is following so close to his policies is she leading in the polls? I can understand why she is receiving more money from lobbyists and the corporations, they seem to have anointed her a long time ago and she is following along with their Republican agenda even though she pretends to be a Democrat (remember, she started out in life as a conservative Republican). But this does not explain her leading in the polls, which presumably do not reflect only the views of corporations and the wealthy. She is Bush-lite, Bush is almost universally reviled, so what gives? She has a commanding lead in the polls. How so?

On the Republican side we have Giuliani leading. Here is a guy who is pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, divorced, known to be an adulterer, has children that won't even talk to him, cross-dresses, lived with a gay couple, recommended his probably criminal chief of police for high office (had to be withdrawn as it was such a fiasco), and so on, and is the the leading Republican candidate for conservative Republicans. Incredible. His main claim to fame is how heroic he was during 9/11, but now it turns out he didn't know much of anything about what was going on and his credentials as a fighter of terrorism are not much more than a myth. On top of that he knows nothing about foreign relations and, much more than Hillary, is literally joined at the hip to Bush. If you boil it all down to its basics, he has virtually nothing to recommend him other than having been mayor of New York City where half the population despised him. He wants to continue Bush's asinine "war" in Iraq and even attack Iran, even though the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to that. So how do you explain his lead in the polls?

As in both cases their poll numbers do not exceed about 30%. Does this mean they are getting support mainly from a relatively small number of true believers and when the elections begin in earnest we will have very different results? I certainly hope so.

I confess this is an absolute mystery to me. If it plays out to the finish and the Presidency will be between Hillary and Giuliani, guess what. We will have a choice between two Republicans for one thing. And it will be another Hobson's choice, pick between two lousy possibilities. The powers that be must be loving this. We ordinary citizens will be screwed again. It's the American way!

"My parents never bought costumes for us. It doesn't have to be a scary thing to be original. You could tie an eggbeater to your head and go as a motorboat."
Alice Cooper

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Long Way Gone--book review

I haven't seen anywhere where it says England and France are going along with sanctions against Iran. Even if they are, it won't make any difference. I am not too worried about what they are "about to do," they've already done more than enough to suit me.

Yesterday I finished reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. This is an incredible story of a teen-aged boy of Sierra Leone who is separated from his family, is forced to run and hide in the jungle for weeks, is hungry and totally miserable the entire time, eventually has to join the army to fight against the rebels, witnesses and engages himself in the most violent acts of murder and arson imaginable, learns his family survived the initial raids that killed most everyone else, tries to reconnect with them only to see them destroyed by rebels just before he can actually meet with them, goes on killing until by some strange act of fate is selected to be rehabilitated. As among other things he has been taking drugs, mostly cocaine and marijuana for months, in order to keep participating in the virtually endless pattern of slaughter, his rehabilitation is extremely difficult and takes months. He recovers with the help of a sympathetic and understanding nurse and some others, he eventually goes to live with an uncle in Freetown. In a short time he is one of two veteran child soldiers selected to represent Sierra Leone at a meeting at the U.N., discussing the issue of child soldiers. While there he meets a very wealthy American woman who stays in touch with him when he returns to Freetown. When rebels attack Freetown and the slaughter begins there as he had seen it before, and continues for months, his uncle dies and he escapes to Conakry, the capital of Guinea. From there he manages to fly to New York where he lives with his newly adopted mother. He goes to college for a time and writes this book about his experiences.

It is a fine and readable book, Beah is not without a talent for writing. Like all personal accounts I suspect there are many things he understandably does not want to tell us. But he does tell us accounts of cutting throats, killing indiscriminately, the hatred that motivated him, and the huge quantities of drugs he took that helped enable him to perform these terrible acts of violence and keep going day after day. A strange feature of the book, which I doubt was intended, is while reading it you have no idea what it is all about. There is a government army, of which he is a member, and there are rebels. They are engaged in constant raids upon each other's camps. But the ultimate purpose of all this raiding and killing is not clear. It is just a matter of one group seeking out and killing members of another group and vice-versa. There is no apparent relationship to a broader revolution or what it is supposed to be about. This is not a criticism of the book as I suspect this is all that it was about for him, just killing and more killing, and survival. From his description it is clear that it was traumatic almost beyond belief and that he learned to kill his countrymen skillfully and with no more remorse than killing flies. The boys engaged in this were constantly high-fiving and congratulating each other on how well they killed and how many they killed. The fact that he could actually be rehabilitated I regard as virtually miraculous in its own right. It is truly an awesome tale of a boy's survival in a country gone mad with blood lust, murder, arson, and pillage. You have to admire him for his honesty and success and wish him good luck for the future.

The dark side of reading his book, which is not his fault or the fault of the book itself, is that while reading it you don't think enough about the thousands of other child soldiers who were not so fortunate. His experience was one in a million. How many others were cut down in their teens never to experience normal life at all. The misery of all these thousands of innocent people is incalculable, there is no scale for such measurement. And Sierra Leone is just one case in point. The same horrible acts are occurring elsewhere in the world as you read this - in Iraq, Darfur, Somalia, Indonesia, and other places as well. The human species is a disgrace, as someone once said, "put here to humiliate the animals."

"Is it the only lesson of history that man is unteachable?"
Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stupid or insane or both?

She shot her eighth husband. Her boyfriend
buried him with a backhoe. His body was
found at the end of its tracks.

Bush has now embarked on unilateral sanctions against Iran. Unilateral because no one else in the world wants to go along with such a foolish and pointless idea. It is obvious that if Russia, China, Germany, and the rest of the world don't go along, sanctions are not likely to do anything other than exacerbate the hostility between the U.S., Iran, and the rest of the world. The Iranian response to the threat of unilateral sanctions seems to be amusement at the actions of a petulant child. Bush's new request for billions more for his "war" also contains several billions for bunker buster bombs with the stipulation these are urgent needs. As they aren't needed for Iraq or Afghanistan, many believe they are for Iran. So I ask you, is Bush stupid or insane or both? What is the point of sanctions when everyone knows they are not going to work? And what is the use of bunker buster bombs for Iran unless he is crazy enough to try to use them? Everyone knows that any U.S. attack on Iran is going to result in total chaos in the Middle East, drive the price of oil out of sight, and validate the status of the U.S. as the most evil of empires.
Are Bush/Cheney prepared for the consequences, or do they believe we'll be greeted as liberators and we'll be victorious in just a few days (as we were in Iraq).

Finally something to cheer about. Rumsfeld, foolish enough to visit France, was greeted there by a lawsuit accusing him of ordering torture. Similar lawsuits apparently await him in other countries as well. I guess he will just have to stay home (if he ever gets back). Viva la France! I wonder if there are similar suits awaiting Bush and Cheney. Hope so.

Bush is acting like a spoiled child because he can't get his way on absolutely everything he wants. Rice is under attack and getting more and more uncomfortable. Cheney, I guess, has gone hunting, I hope by himself this time. The White House Spokesperson says gobal warming will be good for people who suffer from the cold. FEMA held a press conference in which no reporters participated. Other FEMA members posed the softball questions that were answered by other FEMA members. Whee! It looks like Congress is going to cave once again and give Bush another 196 billion dollars. Like Everett Dirkson said, "a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money." Craig's lawyers are arguing that foot tapping and waving your hands under bathroom partitions are just examples of free speech. The insane asylum that America has become is now on display for all the world to see. So world - ENJOY!

"I didn't know the gun was loaded."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is there no limit?

Witnesses saw him hit her three times in the face.
The judge dismissed the charges. She might have
wanted it, he said.

Once again Bush has asked for billions more for his "war" in Iraq (you can't be a real President, you know, unless you have a war). He's a "war President." Now, let's see, I saw somewhere the other day that one estimate for Bush/Cheny's little adventure in the Middle East was somewhere in the vicinity of more than two trillion dollars. Let's say it's only one trillion dollars. Does that mean anything to you? My feeble brain simply can't really understand a trillion dollars but I know it's a lot of money. A real lot of money. I know that that much money if used here at home would do a great deal of good. You know, health care, superstructure, education, stuff like that. But, now that we've presumably spent at least a trillion, and perhaps more than that, I would like to know: is there any limit to how much we are willing to spend on this ridiculous business? This is a question I have long wondered about in entirely different contexts. Like, for example, the price of beer. If you are used to paying fifty cents for a beer and then they raise the price to sixty cents you have to decide whether it's worth it or not. Then it goes to seventy-five cents, wow! That's a lot. But, what the hell, it's beer, so you pay it. But what determines when it reaches the point you are just no longer willing to pay? Is there some formula for this? Certainly you don't go on paying more and more forever. But that is what we are apparently willing to do for our ongoing "war" with Iraq. Congress just caves in to Bush/Cheney's outrageous demands for more money time after time. So when, if ever, do they intend to stop? And if they know they will someday have to stop, why not stop now? Bush/Cheney and the Congress seem to have lost any connection between money and behavior, money and reality. You recall Cheney announced early in this dismal administration that "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." I guess Congress really believes this. How else can you explain their seemingly blase attitude towards money? Remember, we shipped tons of money to Iraq in bundles of one hundred dollar bills. Billions just disappeared. The Pentagon has lost billions with no idea where it went. But they still ask for more - and get it. I don't get it. I hope someone will be available to explain to our grandchildren why it is they owe so much money when they weren't even born when it was spent. Bush/Cheney don't care, they'll be dead then. Ha ha ha. Suckers.

It appears that Giuliani is about to be exposed for the absolute phony he is. All his talk about 9/11 and how he understood it all, and blah, blah, blah, seems to have been just that. In private interviews that have been prematurely leaked he admits he knew virtually nothing about any of it. What a jerk.

Obama seems to be going from bad to worse and falling further and further behind. Edwards lurks in the background sort of like an invisible man. Hillary is far ahead but she may be making a terrible mistake in being so hawkish. She seems to just go along with Bush/Cheney's insanity when it comes to Iran and Israel. I don't understand this as the American public is so totally fed up with war I wouldn't think an intelligent candidate would be publicly so big on it. But what do I know? Being hawkish may be what will convince the corporations she's just right for the job, if they haven't already decided that. Hillary Rodham Clinton, closet Republican.

Anyone remember Israel? You know, that little country in the Middle East that is now about to cut off electricity to Gaza. Having not caused enough misery there the new plan is going to accelerate the misery. Remember Gaza? That's where the democratically elected Hamas government is located. Remember democracy? After seven years of almost total neglect, except for uncritical support of Israeli apartheid, Bush thinks he's going to arrange peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. Hamas is not going to be invited to participate. It probably doesn't matter because most of the other invited countries probably won't participate either. Bush is the lamest of lame ducks and has no credibility whatsoever. So why should they bother now to listen to anything he says? So they won't and don't. I think they recognize dementia when they see it. By the way, have the Blackguards left Iraq yet? No. I didn't think so. Maybe when they feel like it.

"Anyone who acts as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confesses a doctrine that is alien to America."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


How is it that these days if you dare to suggest the United States is less than perfect you get accused of being anti-American? I believe there are many things the U.S. has done wrong in the past and there are many things we are doing wrong at the present time. I do not believe this makes me anti-American. I believe if American citizens do not speak out when they think their country is doing something wrong they are anti-American. For example, I believe our unwarranted and illegal attack on Iraq was absolutely wrong. The killing of hundreds of thousands, if not more innocent Iraqi civilians was (is) absolutely wrong. I believe our attempt to establish "empire" at the expense of the rest of the world is wrong. Torture is absolutely wrong and changing the definition of it does not make it either legal or right.

In any case I cannot imagine anyone more American than I am. Born in the U.S., raised in a small North Idaho town, educated at the University of Idaho and the University of Washington, served in the military for two years, employed by several different American Universities, lived in the U.S. for all of my life with the exception of some time in New Guinea and Germany (doing research for the Institutes of Health), and so on. With this background, and having traveled fairly widely around the world, I believe I have every right to an opinion about what my country has done and is doing. And some of the things it has done and is doing are in my opinion just plain wrong and harming many other people. I believe I understand empathy, and I feel it when other people are wronged. I do not believe the Russians, under Putin, are intrinsically evil, nor do I believe the Iranians are intrinsically evil. Bush/Cheney have not been treating them very well of late, and rather than trying to get along with them, are constantly trying to provoke them. I would prefer that Iran not develop a nuclear bomb but I do not find it at all difficult to understand why they would want one. I do not want another cold war with Russia but I think I understand why the Russians are upset with our tactics and are reacting as they are. There can be no hope for peace anywhere on this planet as long as warmongers and greedy profiteers like Bush/Cheney have any power. Indeed, I believe it is fair to say that the entire world is waiting for them to be gone. I resent being called anti-American and pro-Soviet. I am neither of those things. I simply believe in fair play and honesty, something that has been in perilous short supply, especially in the last seven years or so.

"At the core of all these aristocratic races the beast of prey is not to be mistaken, the magnificent blond beast, avidly rampant for spoil and victory."
Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Amish van overturns, killing five.
There is no agreement as to how many
were in the van, 15, 16, or 17.

Putin is starting a new cold war. Balderdash. Bush/Cheney are starting a new cold war. During the past few years the U.S. has encouraged nations surrounding Russia, that used to be part of the Soviet empire, to join NATO against the wishes of the Russians. We have forced ourselves into areas that were always important to Russia in an attempt to make off with their oil resources that are considerable. We tried, or are trying, to build a pipeline to access these resources by bypassing Russia altogether. Now we are insisting on creating bases near the Russian border to house missile defense systems which the Russians, understandably, believe threaten their security and interests. These bases are to protect Europe from Iranian missiles that do not even exist and the anti-missile technology doesn't even work and thus is not even necessary. Russia, under Putin, has mounted an important comeback, partly helped by the rising cost of oil of which they have lots. It seems to me only natural that Putin would take steps to restore Russian power and influence and resist the incursions of the U.S. To claim that Russia is starting a new cold war is quite the opposite of what is happening. If there is a new cold war you can thank Bush/Cheney and their arrogant approach to the rest of the world. Putin has now gone so far as to side with Iran as that country, too, is under siege by the U.S. For the U.S. to blame Russia for our deteriorating relationship represents a most blatant example of projection and hypocrisy.

And speaking of Iran, Bush/Cheney are trying to ratchet up the most hysterical view of an Iranian threat they can. Their desire to place missile defense systems near Russia to protect Europe and the U.S. is based on nothing but their unbelievable fantasy that Iran is going to build missiles and nuclear warheads to start an attack on the rest of the world. This is sheer lunacy. They have to know this is nothing but absolute nonsense but they will do anything to try to goad us into an attack on another country that is no threat to us. To believe that Iran wants a nuclear bomb to attack Europe or anyone else is nothing but pure fantasy. If they want such a bomb it would clearly be for defensive purposes only. After all, they are living in an area where others have such weapons, others who are not very friendly towards them. Iran is not the aggressor in this relationship but, rather, the victim (think regime change, as usual). For Bush/Cheney to unilaterally attack Iran in any way, in the present climate of International relations, would be an act so stupid, so without merit, so without justification, so contrary to even basic common sense, that I don't believe even Bush/Cheney would attempt it (unless, of course, they really are totally insane).

"Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse."
Adlai Stevenson

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is he kidding?

She shot her husband in the head, twice.
Her children helped dispose of his body.
No explanation was given.

Bush is asking now for more billions for his hobby "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think the most recent figure is 189+ billions. If this was anyone but Bush I would certainly think at this point they must just be kidding. The best Harry Reid can do is claim the Congress is not going to just rubber stamp this request. Don't bet on it, they've caved everytime so far and are likely to do it again (have to support the troops, you know). It would be unbelievably absurd to pour more money into this ridiculous "war." It's just like pouring money, billion by billion, down the sewer. If anyone still has any grasp on reality at all they should just plain and simply say NO, we can't afford it (which we surely can't). Congress should make it clear they will not spend even one cent more on Bush/Cheney's obscene game. If they don't we will know for certain they are all certifiably insane. We have to put a stop to this NOW! Nothing worthwhile can possibly come of continuing this murderous farce.

We are going to have to give up our "empire" sooner or later because continuing with our delusions of grandeur is ruining our country. We do not need a larger military, we need to give up our bases in some 70 countries and stop thinking we have the right or authority to tell everyone else how to live, especially nations that have been "civilized" for hundreds, even thousands of years before our nation was even conceived. Sure some countries do things we don't think are right or proper, but we do things many nations do not think are right and proper. We can't go around trying to change the world at the barrels of guns. Aside from whatever moral problems are involved it just doesn't work (Iraq and Afghanistan are great examples). The days of colonialism and empire are over, the "white man's burden" is a racist ideology we should have abandoned long ago. Our planet has grown much smaller in the last hundred years. We have to learn to get along without the use of violence or we will just simply perish. Is this even possible for the human species? I hope so.

"Growing old is not for sissies."
Bette Davis (I think)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Republican Babbleothon

They are both going dressed as Penguins.
The Governor and her husband.

I forced myself to watch the Republican "debate." It was the most incredible and terrifying melange of half-truths, lies, ignorance, denial, obfuscation, warmongering, misrepresenting, and downright stupidity I have ever had the misfortune to watch. The Republican audience was so filled with blood-lust and apparent hatred one might have thought you were watching a performance of gladiators in ancient Rome, voting for some to die.

The first few minutes were taken up with some of the candidates arguing about who was the most conservative and boasting about all the conservative things they have done. You know, cutting taxes, cutting crime, cutting taxes, fighting gay marriage, cutting taxes, abortion, cutting taxes, cutting taxes, cutting taxes, and so on. Aside from being boring and failing to establish who was the most conservative, this part didn't amount to much and was a complete waste of time.

With respect to other issues they seemed to be so obsessed with Hillary they kept coming back to her no matter what was asked. They repeatedly referred to her desire to have "socialized medicine." While I am not conversant with the details of her program for universal health care I am quite certain that it cannot be described as socialized medicine as it certainly involves the insurance companies (which is no doubt one reason why the corporations are now giving her so much money). And of course they keep claiming that she will raise taxes and spend recklessly (this comes from the party that took a multibillion dollar surplus and turned it into the largest deficit in human history in the space of a couple of years). Although I don't recall them coming right out and saying it, I believe they think she will deal with social security and medicare/medicaid by raising taxes. Their solution seems to be, of course, privatization. Privatization is their answer to everything (remember, they have no interest in the public good, only individual and corporate greed). They kept saying we have the greatest medical system in the world (how they can say this with a straight face eludes me). Strange that in this context they always talk about comparing us with Candada and England, never with France, Norway, or Sweden.

Abortion, being the one issue of most importance to the Republican "base," has now become one of their primary issues (if they used to be for it they are now against it), and if they are now for it they promise to appoint judges that will oppose it (Giuliani). They seem to believe that people should be forced to have children they don't want, but those children should not have health care unless they are wealthy enough to afford it (they can always go to the emergency room).

On Iraq they seem to insist that Hillary wants to withdraw our troops (in spite of the fact that she seems to be just as hawkish as Bush/Cheney) whereas they want to keep them there (I guess) forever. They all (with the exception of Ron Paul who was summarily booed) want to attack Iran if they persist in wanting to create a nuclear bomb. It is at least doubtful the Iranians want to do this but even if they did it would not, contrary to their fears, be the end of the world or the beginning of WW III. When it comes to Iran they are so completely hysterical it makes you wonder if they are even sane. Now they are concerned that Russia and China seem to want to defend Iran (and why should they not, they have more interests there than we do). McCain, if not the others, insists we should show Russia what's what by installing a missile defense system close to the Russian border (another example of utter insanity as such a system is totally unnecessary and probably won't even work). Again, this strategy seems to hinge on their belief that Iran is going to develop nuclear bombs and immediately launch them against Europe, if not the U.S., an idea so crazy as to be taken seriously only by Republicans. In order to guard against this potential threat, and to coerce Russia and China into seeing things our way, we must increase our military (which already is financed with more money than all the rest of the world combined spends on defense).

In short, as near as I can tell, Republicans are so ignorant and misinformed, so willing to believe anything about Iran, Hillary, Russia, China, and whomever, they cling to their nonsensical positions as religiously as they cling to the status quo of endless war, empire, war profiteering, torture, lawlessness, and the "white man's burden." Seeking bipartisanship with these Bush/Cheney warmongering apologists is a lost cause. They hide behind their immoral profits and "can't stand the truth."

"America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."
Georges Clemenceau

Friday, October 19, 2007

How ungrateful and other worries

Those Iraqis are so ungrateful for our efforts on their behalf they have now said an emphatic "no" to permanent bases in their country. Apparently not wanting to waste their time with underlings, they went directly to the "head man," Dick Cheney. As I understand it they said NO to permanent bases and indicated that the entire Iraqi population was in agreement on this. Permanent bases, they said, would be an infringement on their sovereignty. Of course they have sovereignty only if Bush/Cheney pretend they do. How far will the pretense go? Will the U.S. give in to this outrageous demand? After all, we did rid them of the terrible Sadam Hussein and it has only cost them around a million dead, two million displaced, and untold misery for the rest. How can they be so unreasonable? What about all the money and effort we've put in to constructing all those bases? What about our showplace embassy, with its capacity to hold about 10,000? Is that to be considered just a normal embassy staff, sitting there as it does on some 24 acres with 21 buildings? Of course all the while we've been building these bases we've kept saying we have no intention of having permanent bases. Why do they feel they have to tell us they don't want permanent bases when we've told them all along we don't either? Don't they believe us? Ingrates, that's what they are. What are we to do with these bases? Turn them over to Iraqi boy scouts? How about our 600 million dollar embassy? It ought to make a really swell headquarters for the Iranians who will no doubt benefit the most from our delusional mistakes in the Middle East. Before this is over I bet we'll really show them a thing or two about sovereignty. Let's see how successful they'll be in getting Blackwater out of their country before we make any final judgement about sovereignty. We seem to be insisting that we want to maintain a close and mutually beneficial relationship with Iraq (whatever that means). But what if they don't want such a relationship? I guess in the end we'll just have to impose cooperation on them whether they like it or not. After all, we are the world's only superpower. And we are lovable, brave, always well-intentioned, and go around the world just spreading good cheer everywhere. Just look at how we are loved everywhere.

The arms industry is now giving most of its money to Hillary. That is not a good sign.

I've been worrying a lot lately about bugs. You know, those little assorted seemingly inconsequential things that have to be swatted, sprayed, or otherwise disposed of when they bother us in some way. But lately the concern about bees has made me think more about this. One hypothesis now is that the bees may be dying of malnourishment as a result of our agricultural practices that focus so exclusively on just a few crops. No one knows for sure if this is so, but it is food for thought. My concern with bugs goes far beyond just the problem of bees although I confess to knowing next to nothing about any of this. However, what bothers me is the ecology of insects. If it is true that there must be maintained some kind of ecological balance in the world, and if it is also true that every creature has a place in this balanced system, what happens when you kill billions, if not trillions of bugs every year? I don't comprehend well numbers like billions or trillions, but I know that automobiles must destroy probably at least a billion bugs a year and perhaps more. I know that our car alone must have killed at least a thousand monarch butterflies one year (stupid bugs haven't yet learned to migrate above the traffic). Is this having any effect on our ecosystem? Does anyone care? I know there are people who worry about the thousands upon thousands of deer that are killed by cars every year, and of course there have to be thousands of mice, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, snakes, and other assorted animals killed each year as well. But I'm talking about billions of insects killed. That's a lot. Does it make any difference? Am I worrying needlessly? I mean, after all, they're just bugs. Maybe there is just nothing to this ecology business. By the way, I believe that global warming is at least in part caused by human activities. I am a worrywart.

"What's that you say? You want to talk to a real human being in 'customer service'? HA HA HA! Press '4' and kiss the rest of your day good-bye."
Michael Moore

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Criminal irresponsibility

Bush said the other day during his pathetic Press Conference that if Iran were allowed to develop a nuclear bomb it would lead to WWIII. This was just another of example of Bush's mindless babbling but apparently some people took it seriously. He repeated it again later, saying if Iran got a bomb they might start WWIII. The Iranians, being several hundred IQ points ahead of Bush simply dismissed it as his trying to distract everyone for his failure in Iraq. His White House Spokesperson, what's-her-name, later said it was merely a rhetorical flourish. Bush wouldn't know a rhetorial flourish from a dead toad. It wss just Bush babble as usual. I know that, and the Iranians know that, and probably most people know it, but as far as I am concerned it was irresponsible to the point of criminality. For Bush to imply that the Iranians would start WWIII if they had a bomb is, not only absurd, but downright insulting to both Iranians and the rest of us. Bush must think Iranians are as stupid as he is. And he must also think the rest of us are incredibly stupid. He keeps repeating that Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the map which is just plain false. That is not what was said. Iran (Persia) is an ancient civilization, a nation of artists and poets, and a country that has attacked no one for a very long time. I guess Bush believes they have a death wish and would like to see their country annihilated by dropping a nuclear bomb on Israel or somewhere (stupidly ignorant of the fact they would be quickly destroyed by doing so). This whole business about Iran and the bomb is nothing short of hysterical ranting about not much of anything in order to set the stage for another illegal "war" (which will clearly be started by the U.S. and not Iran if it happens). Someone, somehow, has to get them to tone down their "rhetourical flourishes" before they really do get us into another unwinnable disastrous and completely unnecessary "war." They should probably begin by making sure that Cheney is safely attired in a straight jacket with his mouth taped shut.

Yes, Stark went too far when he said the "war" and killing was for Bush's amusement. But I can certainly understand his frustration and anger with Republican blood lust and refusal to stop the carnage even though they could easily do so. I guess Bush/Cheney and the Republicans that continue to support them have so much blood on their hands by now it doesn't matter to them how many more are killed. They're not doing it for amusement. They are doing it for oil. And failing. Actually, from their point of view they are not failing - after all they've managed to drive the price of oil up to $90 a barrel and the oil companies are making money so fast they don't even know what to do with it. To say that Bush/Cheney's adventure in Iraq is the worst foreign policy blunder in American History is a gross understatement.

"He had been kicked in he head by a Mule when young and believed everything he read in the Sunday papers."
George Ade

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


George W. Bush and the Republican party are becoming so pathetic it is embarrassing. I had the misfortune to see part of Bush's Press Conference this morning and it was pathetic. It was so pathetic I am almost beginning to feel sorry for the guy. He apparently believes that he is still relevant although it is difficult to see why. Virtually no one believes anything he says and the more he talks the more pathetic he becomes. He is going to use his veto to prove that he is still relevant. Pathetic. If Iran is allowed to develop a bomb it will lead to WW III. Pathetic. He will veto children's health care because it's for poor children or might lead to socialized medicine. Pathetic. I wonder if he perceives himself to be as completely pathetic as he is. Does he really believe that with 76% of the population disapproving of him he still has some kind of credibility? On the one hand you might want to admire him for having the chutzpah to even appear in public. On the other hand you have to wonder if he is just too stupid to realize how absurd his attempts to lead really are at this point in time.

Larry Craig is another example of just how pathetic Republicans can be. In his much ballyhooed interview he claims he never uses the internet but in another context speaks of having googled something. He also serves on some committee that has to do with the internet. He does not present a convincing story. Pathetic. He also claims that he was merely picking a piece of toilet paper off his shoe when his hand somehow went under the partition. Where was his shoe at the time? And who bends over to pick up toilet paper in a public bathroom? Pathetic.

Republicans are roviating a 12 year old boy who had the temerity to say that health care had worked for him. His family is being slimed, lied about, threatened, and made miserable by these creeps, at least one of whom was in McConnel's office. Not content with roviating a 12 year old they are now focusing on a 2 year old, saying in effect she had no right to be born. Pathetic.

Bush's cabinet members and other of his supporters have either been forced to resign or have just resigned on their own, many of them. Pathetic. Republican Congressmen and Senators are retiring and choosing not to run for office again, many of them. Pathetic. The whole Republican edifice is simply imploding all around him but Bush still gets up in front of the Press and pretends he is President. Pathetic. He fans the flames of hysteria every time he mentions Iran. First, Iran doesn't have a bomb and claims they are not developing one. Even if they are the best estimate is that it will be several years before they could have one. And even if they did have one it would not be the beginning of WWIII. Iranians, unlike Bush, have some semblance of intelligence. They are not about to get themselves blown off the face of the earth. Bush claims they want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Unfortunately, that is not what they said even though we somehow keep claiming that it is what they said. Now Russia is siding with Iran. Is that what Bush has in mind, a war with Iran and Russia? Give him another week and he'll have China joining them. If WWIII does come it will be as a direct result of Bush/Cheney's doing. Pathetic.
And it will be the U.S. and Israel vs the world.

You might think it would be impossible to outdo the Republicans in patheticness but it seems the Democrats are doing just that. Pathetic. Bush's poll numbers are now at 24%. That is more than twice that of Congress which is at a mere 11%. I don't know where you would find another country that would tolerate a government that had so lost the support of its citizens. Clowns like this would have been thrown out months if not years ago. If they had any decency whatsoever, or any interest in the good of the country, they would resign. Don't expect any decency or even patriotism on the part of our current "leaders." All they want is to stay in office, whatever the cost in lives or to the country. Pathetic.

Bush thinks that after ignoring the Palestianian/Israeli issue for six and a half years, and, indeed, actually making it worse than it was, he is at the last minute going to schedule a conference and work it all out. If that isn't pathetic I don't know pathetic. He seems to have the idea that having totally screwed everything up for six and a half years he is somehow going to go out in a blaze of glory. Pathetic. So why do we continue to put up with it? Because we are collectively PATHETIC!

"How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answered that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it."
Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Does she mean it?

He murdered her and
cut her into scattered
pieces, boiled her flesh
but didn't eat it, and
left a manuscript.

I confess I'm having a lot of trouble trying to find any meaning in Hillary's positions on the "war," Iran, and whatever. Is she really such a hawk as she appears or is she just saying things so she will appear to be every bit as "tough" as the guys? For example, what does it mean when she says she will not commit to removing troops until 2013 (or 2017, according to some)? Does this mean she literally will not do that, or does it mean she will not commit to a hypothetical. I mean, it's a stupid question to ask a candidate in the first place, but how can anyone say categorically they will or will not remove our troops by such-and-such a date? So I have no idea from her answer whether, when she becomes President, she will remove our troops before then or not. If she really means she will not remove them until at least that time I would take that as a position I could not support. If she merely meant, hypothetically, she wouldn't, I would consider that a more open-minded position and I would not look upon her so unfavorably.

What I find even more scary is when I read today she says she would attack Iran. Does that mean she would really attack Iran if they don't do exactly what we say they should do, or does it mean that in an extreme case, where there could be no doubt about their intentions to attack us, she would consider attacking them? That is, what does it mean to say "all options are on the table?" Of course all options are on the table, that has to be true of just about anything and everything, given that no one has infallible knowledge of what might conceivably happen in the future. These are stupid questions for people to ask, to be sure, and all they accomplish is total uncertainty about the future, which is simply the normal situation when it comes to the future.

I would personally not prefer Hillary as the Democratic candidate. But she seems to be doing exceptionally well, at least at the moment, and might very well end up as the candidate. I don't like her because she is Republican lite, and if she is as hawkish as she pretends to be I like her even less. But if she were the Democratic candidate, and runs against either Giuliani or Romney (or any other of the current Republican candidates), I would have no choice but to vote for her or not vote at all. As the other leading candidates, Obama and Edwards, don't seem to me to match up with her, my only real hope is that Al Gore can be drafted (made an offer he can't refuse). That seems more unlikely as the days go by. So come on, Hillary, tell us what you really mean and what you would really do if you were President. Ignore the hypotheticals and just give us some straight answers. I admit that my first choice for President would be Dennis Kucinich, the only candidate who seems to be perfectly honest and has programs that I admire - like peace, for example. But it has been made abundantly clear that the Media prefer to ignore him and even ridicule him so backing him would seem to be truly a lost cause. This is a terrible shame but I guess just a normal example of an electorate with seemingly no power or mind of its own.

"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."
Flannery O'Conner

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Downward Spiral

Take one sexy stripper, two
fiances, life insurance, jealousy,
murder, a possible ephebophile,
and a bad script. Mix well.
A whydonit.

Beware the Downward Spiral! We all know that as we age we slowly begin going downhill both physically and intellectually. This is a completely natural biological process. But there is another dimension involved, a cultural one. All cultures have ideas about aging and how to deal with it. In the New Guinea Highlands, for example, funerals are held for elderly persons before they die. Having such a funeral is regarded as an honor. Pigs are sacrificed for a grand feast. People attend from great distances to pay their respects and receive gifts of pork. The person being honored makes a speech of thanks. These are highly emotional events. The honoree often breaks down and cannot continue. Such ceremonies are believed necessary to placate the ghost that might otherwise linger and bother the survivors.
In the United States the process of aging and dying is more subtle. Once friends and loved ones, and even strangers, perceive you are aging, their behavior towards you changes. The precise age at which this occurs varies from person to person but is inevitable. And even though everyone’s ideas and behaviors are usually motivated by the best of intentions, they accelerate and complicate this otherwise naturally occurring process, not always for the best. Even terms of address change and you find yourself suddenly referred to as “grandpa,” or “gramps,” or even “Pops.” These are not always or necessarily disrespectful, but they are a far cry from Mr. So-and-so. The aged and the ancestors are not highly respected in America as they are in places like New Guinea.

Americans have many cultural notions about older people. For example, it is widely believed that old people are more conservative than younger ones. This stereotype is applied to everyone. If you are old and profess to be liberal and progressive you might well be labeled as “difficult” or “contrary.” At the very least you will be accused of “not acting your age.” This is also true if you do not dress age-appropriately. At best you may be described as “eccentric.”
Older people are regarded as increasingly incapable. No matter how well one drives, for example, there is always doubt. This results in subtle and not so subtle hints someone else should drive, and more and more they do, thus slowly shutting down one of your activities whether you like it or not. Doors begin opening for you and people begin carrying things for you. Protesting these favors marks one as “stubborn.” You begin to get help in walking, especially up and down stairs. It doesn’t matter how well you walk or even if you enjoy it, they still try to assist you. If you shake off these favors you are just “getting cranky.” People buy your tickets and see to it you get on the right train or bus, whether you require or desire this assistance or not. They insist you sit when you would rather stand, and they steady you when crossing the street. They begin to wonder if your finances are in order and might even suggest they should help balance your checkbook and pay your bills. If you object too strenuously to these attentions you may be labeled as “cantankerous.”
Memory is an area especially problematical. Everyone knows that as you grow older your memory deteriorates. They insist you must remember things you did even though you believe you never did such things. They insist you read a particular book, or saw a particular movie, whether you think you did or not. If you deny having done so, they don’t believe you, insisting it’s your memory rather than theirs that’s faulty. If it turns out there are books you read and forgot this proves what they already think they know. When you are old and have read thousands of books are you really supposed to remember them all? Similarly, they remind you of meals you are said to have eaten, and if you don’t remember, once again, your memory is fading. I’m sure there are many people who can’t remember every meal, but if you are old and can’t remember, that’s bad.
Old people are not supposed to ride horses or motorcycles or go sky-diving or engage in other overly strenuous events, although there are occasional exceptions to these unwritten rules and expectations. If someone violates one and gets hurt or killed we say, “there’s no fool like an old fool.” Similar comments are heard if older people divorce, especially if a younger woman is involved. If you’re old you’re supposed to respect the cultural parameters of age. It’s just as “cute” and inappropriate to hear old people sound like children as it is to hear children sound like adults, a fact demonstrated occasionally in television ads.
People in America forget that stereotypes don’t apply to everyone. They begin to speak louder as it is well known that hearing deteriorates with age, whether in your case it has or not. They ask you if you need help reading a menu or hearing the television. They find it remarkable, almost miraculous, that so-and-so’s memory “is just as good as ever,” or they are still “sharp as a tack.” Older people are just not supposed to have normal faculties. And if you ever suffered a heart attack or stroke, no matter how mild or how completely you might have recovered, this concern is magnified tenfold. You become coddled and sheltered, even smothered with care. You are not allowed to shovel snow, lift anything heavier than a deck of cards, smoke or drink, or even enjoy the foods you have eaten all your life. Not only are you patronized, supervised, managed and supported, you are, in fact, infantilized. How can you object to this benign and generous treatment? Isn’t it wonderful to know that people care about your well-being and take such good care of you? But there is danger here as well, when you suddenly realize you are becoming a completely useless person.

"There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or degree. They are on the left and right. They are not confined to a single part of society. They are terrorists of the mind."
A. Bartlett Giamatti

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Attack of the Mental Midgets

He stabbed her 42 times.
For thirty years she hid
his orange juice behind
the milk.

Al Gore, the son of a distinguished Senator, has served with distinction in the House and Senate and for eight years as Vice-President of the United States. As far as I know there has never even been a whisper of bad behavior on the part of his personal life. He has been happily married to the same woman, his only wife, for a very long time. He has now won an Emmy, an Oscar, and the Nobel Peace Prize. He also won the popular vote for President but had it denied him by an out-of-control Supreme Court that made a decision so absurd even they said it could not be taken as a precedent. Gore was opposed to Bush/Cheney's illegal "war," and has been right about vitually everything they have been wrong about. Wouldn't you think he deserves some respect? I certainly would. But Republicans never let up in their relentless attacks on this fine human being and public servant. They mock him on global warming, make fun of his wardrobe, completely distort what he says, and indulge in the most scurrilous attacks they can make up. I saw one criticism today that he didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize because global warming has nothing to do with peace. None of these mental midgets has even had the courtesy to congratulate him. It's as if Republicans are splitting off as a separate species, one that lacks any qualities of human decency, empathy, morality, or even common sense.

People are asking, if the telecoms haven't done anything wrong, why do they need immunity? No one seems to be answering. If this is so important Bush threatens to veto any bill that doesn't include immunity they must have done something really wrong. Having vetoed health care for children perhaps Bush has finally figured out how to do it, like mastering a new toy?

The Russian Bear has come out of hibernation. Putin is not going to stand for Bush/Cheney's ridiculous attempt to put in missile defenses near his country when there are no missiles to defend and the system doesn't work anyway. I think he told Rice to go home and play with her dolls. We don't hear Pooty-poot referred to anymore. I think when Bush looked into his eyes it was not his soul he saw but, rather, a sign that said "don't tread on me." As Bush is apparently functionally illiterate he didn't read it properly. History is going to wonder how one man could possibly have made so many mistakes but still stay in office so long. How do you explain that? Was no one watching? I wish I could stay around long enough to read the history of THE NIGHTMARE YEARS.

Osama bin Laden, may his tribe decrease, awoke one night from a dream of no peace. He thought of millions taking off their shoes and wire enforced bras and laughed all the way home. I don't believe he lives in a cave. I do believe Bush/Cheney have made an all out effort not to find him, not wanting to lose such a valuable asset. What would they do without him and his constant terrorist threats?

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections."
Lord Acton (John Emerich Dalberg-Acton)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Random thoughts from next to nowhere

N's girlfriend was entertaining
another man.
N was so enraged he
murdered his rival's pickup.
Fourteen shots.

Bonners Ferry is not nowhere, but you can see it from here. So here I am next to nowhere.

Al Gore has now won an Emmy, an Oscar, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Presidency. Of course this latter prize has not been presented to him as yet. Perhaps it will never be. But he won it. There are those, including me, who wish he would run again for the Presidency. If he did I believe he could win with one hand tied behind his back. Maybe even both hands, as his Republican competition is so utterly hopeless. But it looks increasingly like he won't run. I don't really blame him, who would want to clean up the filthy mess Bush/Cheney will have left?

Is Mitt Romney any smarter or better informed than George W. Bush? I am certainly doubting it. Remember one of his beginning bald-faced lies about being a hunter all his life? That was a really stupid thing for him to have claimed. Remember his vehement claim that Guantanamo should be doubled? That was a really dumb thing to say. Now he has said marijuana is so terrible it should not be allowed, and medical marijuana is just a scheme to get pot legalized. Romney obviously does not hesitate to say things he knows nothing about. What he believes about pot is apparently something that he and those around him just believe, because they obviously have made no effort to learn anything about it. Romney's ideas on the subject seem to be grounded in the last time he ate popcorn and watched Reefer Madness. Naturally, he thinks all drugs should be illegal and criminalized, again revealing nothing but his abysmal ignorance.

Obama is now criticizing Hillary for her vote on declaring special Iranian troops a terrorist organization. I agree it was a stupid vote. But it was a stupid strategy. I see no reason at all why Iran should not declare the CIA a terrorist organization - they'd be on stronger ground and I bet they'd have more international support. But Obama is on very shaky ground as he did not vote on the issue at all. Another schoolboy mistake. He's getting desperate as time is running out.

I saw somewhere today, I think on Smirking Chimp, that the really big corporate money is now going to Democrats rather than Republicans. That means to Hillary. It's too early to tell you I told you so, but I did. I do not regard this as a good thing.

Why do we continue to put up with the likes of O'burly, Contrary, and Limburger? They are nothing but merchants of hate with no talent other than that of the rest of the "shock jocks." We should refuse to watch and inform the networks. Let these miserable excuses for human beings just bay away at the moon (can't take away free speech, you know, even though all they are doing is the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre). They seem to truly enjoy picking on widows and children, to say nothing of minorities in general and anyone with the temerity to disagree with their hate-filled rantings. They are simply boils on the backsides of humanity.

I never thought I would see the day when our best hope of avoiding a war would come from the military. Now General Sanchez has spoken out about our abject failure in Iraq. Where is General Betrayus? He's still winning the war for our two military genius's, Bush and Cheney, who between them don't have the military experience of a flea or the brains of a horse's ass. Perhaps we should learn not to give power to the mentally handicapped or the pathologically murderous.

"I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all."
Ogden Nash

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How can he not speak?

Sundry events:

Rope burns on her neck,
in the garage a ladder,
handcuffs, blindfold,
and a rope.
Divorce gone awry.

Jimmy Carter is taking some flak for speaking up and saying publicly that Dick Cheney has been a disaster for our country, that Israel has engaged in apartheid, and so on. Patrick Buchanan has been particularly outspoken about this and seems to think ex-Presidents have no business speaking up about such things. Of course if ex-Presidents were to criticize or micromanage sitting Presidents regularly it might result in trouble, even chaos, and there are reasons to agree they should not do such things. However, there are critical moments, like the present, when I believe it would be unconscionable for an ex-President NOT to speak up. It is widely believed that the Bush/Cheney "war" with Iraq is perhaps the worst foreign policy blunder in American History. If not THE worst, it is certainly one of the worst. There is good reason at the moment to believe Bush/Cheney are about to make another such blunder that will make the Iraqi blunder look like a picnic. With the drumbeat for war against Iran heating up by the day, and apparently even the hour, it is critically important that people with power and influence step up and speak out as loudly as they can against this pending disaster. Given the circumstances, and the incredible importance of this looming and unnecessary conflict, it would be actually sinful not to do so. Bush, and especially Cheney are eager to lead us into another chasm of bloodshed, violence, and destruction that will make Iraq look like child's play. This must not be allowed to happen. All good people everywhere must speak up and stop this madness before it is allowed to get out of hand. Who better than ex-Presidents to sound the warning? Carter is to be commended for his brave and sensible comments, not criticized by those whose hands are already drenched in blood. The Iraq "war" has been and is a total failure. Do we need an even worse fiasco?

I note that Lynn Cheney is promoting her latest book. She actually suggested that is what is behind Carter's present outburst - he is just trying to sell his book. This comment, I believe, is highly revealing. For Republicans it is apparently inconceivable that anyone would act with the best interest of the nation at heart. In their view of social Darwinism, privatization, and capitalism, it is every person for themself, the nation or the common good never enters their twisted minds. It has not always been so, even among Republicans. What has happened to our wonderful country?

Hillary was interviewed by Keith Olberman today. I must say she is impressive. How I wish she wasn't such a hawk. I see that Merle Haggard is endorsing her. I heard Mondale will endorse her. Many others have been jumping on her bandwagon and she looks more and more invincible. Is their anything that might stop her (other than Gore who keeps insisting he is not running). If Gore isn't going to run he will eventually have to endorse someone. By that time it will almost have to be Hillary. Will Gore feature in her cabinet? Will Gore win the Nobel Peace Prize (surely they wouldn't give it to a comedian like Limbaugh). We'll know in the morning. Good luck Al!!

"For how can they charitably dispose of anything, when blood is their argument?"
William Shakespeare

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Off the rails

Rachel Maddow on the Keith Olberman show said we should have known when Republicans wore band aids mocking Kerry's Purple Heart that they'd come "off the rails." They were speaking of the Republicans current scurrilous attack on a 12 year old boy who chose to speak out in favor of universal medical care. They are, indeed, far off the rails. There seems to be nothing so low, so slimy, so filthy, so disgusting they will not employ to support the madman in the White House and his all-out attack on the citizens of this country, to say nothing of his absurd ideas about medical care. What they are currently doing to this boy and his family is so shameful it makes you wonder if they have any decency or sanity left whatsoever.

God bless Jimmy Carter for having the courage to come out and speak the truth about Dick Cheney who has been truly a disaster for our country. There is no doubt Carter will be attacked by the right wing loonies that are attacking the abovemention boy, just as he was attacked for speaking the truth about Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. They can attack all they wish, Carter is absolutely right about Cheney as most people already know. He has no credibility anymore, none whatsoever, and yet he still apparently has the ear of our dimwitted President. I never thought I could speak kindly of Condi Rice but I sincerely hope she will win out in her ongoing battle with this disastrous Rasputin that spews his evil ideas into the head of our apparently mindless President.

Lynn Cheney was a guest on the Daily Show tonight. Both she and Jon Stewart managed to keep their cool. I find the fact that she appeared at all to be quite incredible.

It cannot have come as a surprise to anyone that Jim Risch has announced he will run for Craig's Senate seat, obviously with the blessing of Otter and the rest of the Republican establishment. So ho-hum, another conservative Republican insider who will do nothing but maintain the Republican status-quo and look out for business at the expense of everyone else. At least he's not a complete loony-tunes like Sali. But vote LaRocco (in spite of his unconscionable support of nuclear energy).

In the latest Saturday Review of Books there is a review of Felix Feneon's, Novels in Three Lines. This is a collection of 1,220 news items Feneon published over the years in the Paris newspaper, Le Matin. These are unusual in that they are what is called in French faits-divers, and represent a kind of item found in many European newspapers. Faits-divers translates as "sundry events." These can be about most anything but are done in an extremely condensed style, something like Haiku. Feneon was an absolute master of this form. Here are a couple of examples:

"There was a gas explosion at the
home of Larrieux in Bordeaux.
He was injured. His mother-in
law's hair caught on fire. The ceil-
ing caved in."

On the bowling lawn a stroke lev-
eled M. Andre, 75, of Levallois.
While his ball was still rolling he
was no more."

I love this form so much I have ordered the book and I intend to offer an item on this blog called "Sundry Events" in honor of Felix Feneon (who I confess I had never heard of before). Here is my first (somewhat feeble) attempt:

A tuesday morning joy ride ended badly
for three teenagers, an SUV driver,
a motorcyclist and the motoring public.
They are very young, said the State

"...fundamentalists have become increasingly influential in both religion and government, and have managed to change the nuances and subtleties of historic debate into black-and-white rigidities and the personal derogation of those who dare to disagree."
Jimmy Carter

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Separate Reality

I think this was the title of a book by Carlos Castenada but it serves here to designate the strange world of Republicans. Republicans held another "debate" today. Of course I did not watch it (too painful). But I did see a few excerps here and there. What happened during this event? Nothing really. It was Fred Thompson's first debate. Many thought he would self-destruct. He didn't. But, then, he didn't accomplish anything else either. It was all pretty much blah. I guess the most exciting part was an exchange between Romney and Giuliani. It went something like this: I cut taxes and you raised them. I did not. You did too. You should get your facts right. You started a commuter tax. I would not have done that. Yes, but I lowered taxes by 17% You did not, etc., etc., etc. Thompson allowed as to how Bush did the right thing by going to "war," and we're doing the right thing now and making progress (no one challenged him on this remarkable claim). Much, if not most of the time, was spent on the Republicans perennial obsession, lowering taxes. All Republicans want to cut taxes. Always. Never mind the staggering national debt, never mind Bush/Cheney's billions a week for the "war," cutting taxes is the way to go. When they weren't cutting taxes they were reducing entitlements like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Entitlements are at the root of all our problems, according to these fiscal warriors. Thompson even mentioned reducing Social Security benefits but I don't think anyone picked up on it. McCain was on his usual warmongering path, saying that the whole thing was mishandled, we didn't have enough "boots on the ground," he told them so, and the usual. Talk about flogging a dead horse. They also spent some time criticizing Hillary's health care proposals but, of course, they have nothing better, in fact, nothing at all worth mentioning. As has been the case with most of the debates the questions were mostly hypothetical and absurd and the answers formulaic and predictable. All in all, another bust. If Republicans don't inhabit a separate reality I don't know where to find them. This is such a sad bunch of candidates that if they all sailed away to never-never land on a banana boat I doubt they would be missed.

Lewis Black was brilliant on the Daily Show tonight, ranting about the concern being paid to nonsense topics like the MoveOn Petraeus/Betray us ad, Limbaugh's absurd statements about soldiers, and Obama's failure to wear his lapel pin. Black is quite right, of course, these are all absolute nonsense "problems" Republicans (and some Democrats) carry on about as if they are vitally important and have significance beyond their basic existence. Obama is virtually being accused of treason for not wearing a lapel pin by the same people who thought nothing of the treasonous outing of a CIA Operative. But, then, if they couldn't obsess on such trivia we might have to actually deal with the real problems, scandals, and war crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration.

I don't mean to harp on this but I raise the question once again. How is it that I have not seen a movie ad on TV for months (maybe longer) that does not feature violence? Is this a result of my selective TV watching or is it the case that Hollywood no longer makes movies if they are not violent. Even if they were not ALL violent, enough of them are to make me wonder just what in the world is wrong with the industry and its viewers. I never watch any children's programs. Are the ads mostly violent? I know most of the games are. Let's face it, we are living in a pretty sick society that seems to be overly obsessed with violence and bloodshed. It was not always so (if you are old enough to remember the "good old days").

"Woe to the nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation's heart, the excision of its memory."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Monday, October 08, 2007

Whither Idaho?

Will Idaho take this coming opportunity to get rid of the dinosaurs and fools that have represented us for so long and perhaps enter the 21st century? Larry Craig, our Senator for seemingly forever, the rubber stamp for the Republican Party, enemy of the salmon and the environment, champion of big logging, big agriculture, and the Iraq "war," will be disappearing no matter what happens in the near future. If he does manage to stay in the Senate until his term is up he has already said he would retire (I think this is one claim of his that is probably true and irreversible). If he is forced out somehow before his term is up no doubt Otter will replace him with another Republican of pretty much the same ilk. Whoever it is will have to run against a truly fine candidate for that office in Larry LaRocco. For the first time in a very long time this means a genuine chance for a Democrat to be elected to the Senate to represent Idaho. That is, if the citizens of the state can bring themselves to not simply vote automatically for a Republican no matter who it is, or how lost in the past their values might be. LaRocco's only shortcoming that bothers me is his support for nuclear energy. In general he is a fine candidate and would act in the best interests of Idaho rather than the best interests of our corporate masters, a refreshing change.

An even better opportunity lies in the case of our Congressman Bill Sali. A truly hopeless case whose values must come from some truly strange source (the Club for Growth). Sali apparently follows one simple strategy - just vote "no" whatever it is, but especially if it holds any promise for positive change. Sali almost uniquely believes that abortions cause breast cancer and no amount of facts seems to make any difference to him. While I don't know for certain, I suspect that he also regards the manufacture of pitchforks, harnesses, horseshoes and cannonballs to be on the cutting edge of technology and plenty good enough for our children's future. Sali, with the assistance of a lot of out-of-state money (Club for Growth), and an electorate that votes mindlessly year after year for Republicans no matter how badly their own well-being will be affected, managed to defeat a truly outstanding Democratic candidate, Larry Grant, by a relatively slim margin (5%, as I recall). For the life of me I cannot imagine a better candidate for Congress than Larry Grant. An Idaho native, a retired lawyer and vice-president of Micron, personable, intelligent, well-informed, and honest, he strikes me as a potentially first-rate Congressman, as opposed to the current useless nonentity that fails in every way to represent the citizens of Idaho. It seems to me that in LaRocco and Grant Idaho can demonstrate to the rest of the nation that we are at last willing to change and join the modern world.

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
Bertrand Russell

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Strange situations

What must it be like to be Al Gore at this moment in time? I believe he could become President of the United States merely by asking for it. I cannot think of any other time someone was in such a position. Hillary is leading both Obama and Edwards by a very comfortable margin. Even so, there are doubts about Hillary. Are citizens of the U.S. ready for a female President? I think they are but it is by no means certain. Now that she is so clearly the front-runner the attacks on her will intensify. Who knows what this might lead to? Many in the party see her as too much of a hawk, at a time when there is an almost overwhelming desire on the part of the country to end the "war" in Iraq and bring the troops home. Hillary has no intention of bringing the troops home although she may try to end the war and leave some troops there to safeguard our "interests" which means, of course, our interest in oil. It appears to me that the only thing that might keep her from the Presidency is Al Gore. Certainly none of the Republican candidates will keep her from it. If Guiliani is their choice, as it now appears, they might as well forget it. If he does become their candidate it will only be because the rest of them are so bad and he emerges as the best of a truly bad lot. If Gore wants it, I believe it is his for the asking. But what is his relationship to Hillary and Bill? That I do not know, nor do I know what would happen to whatever the relationship is should he deny the nomination to Hillary. But what a choice for Gore! To be President or not. The window of opportunity is starting to close. Perhaps we will know soon what he will choose. I don't envy him the choice.

I sincerely hope Gore will win the Nobel Prize which, I believe, will be announced fairly soon. But somewhere today I saw that Rush Limbaugh has also been nominated. Is this just someone's idea of a bad joke? How could anyone have suggested Limbaugh, and how could the committee agree to even consider him? Gore truly deserves a prize, Limbaugh deserves nothing but a kick in the ass, right on his boil or whatever it is that supposedly kept him out of the service. What a travesty! It only proves that insanity can creep into and infest high places.

"I'm not giving up. They will have to pry this vibrator out of my cold, dead hands."
Joanne Webb

Friday, October 05, 2007

We don't do it

Our President insists that we do not torture. The definition of torture is secret so we are asked to take his word for it. His word - ha ha ha ha. As if anyone in their right mind would take his word on anything. He is probably the world's most prolific liar and has done nothing but lie ever since he was awarded the office by a rogue Supreme Court. How do we know we don't torture when we don't know how torture is defined? In Bush's tiny mind, whatever it is, we don't do it. Most everyone else who knows anything about it says we do do it. And Bush even boasts about his renditions (no torturing there either I suppose). All around the world decent people would like to know how we can put up with the Bush/Cheney administration. What are we to tell them: we're too uninterested to bother about it? There is nothing we can do about it? Wait until after the 2008 election? We are a nation of idiots, morons, and cretins who believe that Bush/Cheney are actually protecting us from terrorists? It doesn't matter because the next administration will be just as bad? We really like the kool-aid?

It seems Hillary's negatives are less than any of the major Republican candidates. Image that. The MSM has been telling us all these months, even years, that Hillary just has too many negatives to ever be elected and it turns out that like most everything else they've been telling us, they are not giving us the facts. Facts? What facts? Facts disappeared from the MSM years ago and are no longer to be found. We know we can't trust the MSM, and we can't trust Bush/Cheney, and we can't really trust Politicians in general (who are just expected to lie and deceive us), so why bother anymore? Good question. Does anyone have an acceptable answer?

Silly me! I should have realized that Craig is willing to suffer public humiliation because it's better than maybe going to jail with his pal, Duke Cunningham. As long as he can remain in the Senate the better chance he has of being protected from the subpoena he's been served. It is most interesting that Hardball spent a lot of time discussing the Craig case but no one even mentioned the subpoena or the Cunningham case.

Why do we put up with the likes of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Coulter, and such? Because we believe in free speech, no matter how absurd, destructive, ridiculous, malicious, or stupid it is. I personally find it impossible to understand how anyone can listen to these merchants of garbage but obviously there are those who do. Not only that, they seems to think they are patriots amd fonts of wisdome, and whatever. For the most part these are the same people who believe the earth is merely 8000 years old, humans existed contemporaneously with dinosaurs, the Grand Canyon was caused by the flood, and Jesus can drop-kick you through the goal posts of life. American culture is truly bizarre, a culture of the absurd.

"My job is a decision-making job. And as a result I make a lot of decisions."
George W. Bush

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Larry "Wide Stance" Craig

This Larry Craig business is a strange tale at best (or worst). First Craig said he would resign his Senate seat. Then he said he would only if he could not clear his name by getting his guilty plea overturned. Now his guilty plea has not been overturned by the Minnesota Court. But he now says he will not resign his seat anyway and will serve out his term which ends in 2009. He will, he says,retire and not run again. He has already been stripped of his various Chairmanships and more or less ostracized by his colleagues in the Senate. It is pretty obvious that the Republicans would strongly prefer he would just go away and disappear entirely. He is, it seems, persona non grata in the Senate. Now he is going to face ethical hearings on his situation. These can only be excruciatingly embarrassing not only for him but for Republicans as well. He must be under extraordinary pressure to resign and drop out of sight before the next Republican Convention (in Minnesota). The notorious men's room is already being remodeled to discourage the kinds of homosexual activities that are known to have gone on there. The bathroom has already become a sort of tourist attraction and every Republican who passes through the Minnesota airport is going to be reminded of Craig's sordid story. So why is Craig refusing to resign, thus submitting himself and his party to further humiliation?

One idea is that he simply wants to prove to his family and friends that he is, in fact, not guilty, is not and has never been gay, and etc. Perhaps that is at least part of it. But there is another part that I believe has not as yet been made very clear. This has something to do with the Duke Cunningham scandal. It seems that a man named Wilkes, a wealthy Southern California gentleman, who was a very close friend of Cunningham's, is under investigation for questionable donations to other members of Congress. Subpoenas have been issued, maybe one to Craig. Somewhere I have seen the figures of $43,000 dollars in association with Craig's name. While I confess I do not truly understand this it appears that Craig, if he continues in the Senate, will be less likely to have to face up to this kind of situation. I don't know why this is so, or how it works, but it seemingly has something to do with Craig's resistance to resigning at this time. No doubt this whole story will come out and be made more clear in the near future. As the exposure of this ongoing scandal will embarrass the Republicans you can be sure it is one of the reasons his colleagues are so upset over his failure to resign as promised. As there is no precedent for a Senator to be forced to resign because of a misdemeanor there is apparently nothing they can do to force him out, short of the silent treatment he is presumably experiencing. If he indeed refuses to resign this is going to make the "war" take a back seat in the news for a time. I guess that might be good for Republicans but I wonder if it is going to be worth the cost. In any case, for Craig to be willing to face the humiliation and embarrassment that will be coming his way, there must be a powerful reason.

"There are moments when everything goes well; don't be frightened, it won't last."
Jules Renard

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rush Bimbaugh

Is reality finally catching up with our drug addicted, fat, lying, draft-evading, loud-mouthed idol of the great unwashed? Rush Limbaugh said something more stupid than his typical patter the other day about soldiers that don't agree with him and his pal, Bush. It appears that no matter how many excuses and explanations he's tried, none seem to be working. How this clown has managed to stay on the air with such nonsensical claims and accusations for so many years is something I think may never be explained. Imus had to pay for his idiocy, so far Rush has not, but perhaps it will come. O'Reilly, too, may soon lose his show as his lying and idiocy is being exposed further everyday, especially by Keith Olberman. Wouldn't the world be a much better place without Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Coulter, and the rest of the merchants of filth masquerading as talk radio and television? Could we ever be so lucky?

The energizer bunny just keeps going and going. Hillary is now said by some polls to be as much as 33% ahead of her nearest rival, Obama. It is also being said, surprisingly, that a majority of Democrats support her and think she has the best chance of winning against whoever (or whatever) the Republicans come up with. Unless something very unusual happens it looks like Hillary will get the nomination, whether we approve or not (we being everyone, well some people, well me). The only thing that is quite clear is that no matter how bad she might turn out to be, she will still be at least a thousand times better than what we have now. But what an act she'll have to follow! It does look like a job for the energizer bunny.

Our governor, Clement LeRoy (otherwise known as "Butch") Otter has come out strongly in favor of nuclear energy. He joins Larry LaRocco in having nothing but contempt for life on the planet. Nuclear waste? Why should we worry, like Bush, we'll be dead before the rest of life on the planet. Do you think Butch might have some ties with the nuclear industry? Do Bears reside in the forest? Do coyotes like chicken? Do I despise the very idea of nuclear energy? It will eventually solve the problem of evil. With no people, no evil. See, every cloud does have a silver lining, things are going to eventually get better as the human species succumbs to it's own famous idiocy. As Churchill once said, "dead birds don't fall out of the nest." True, they just lie there dying in their own filth.

"Jesus el Pifco was a foreigner and he knew it."
John Lennon

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No nukes

Barack Obama has suggested a plan for eliminating all nuclear arms. Predictably, the RNC jumped all over him. Then it was announced that the plan had actually been created by Henry Kissinger and another high level Republican. Not that it makes any difference, the U.S. will never agree to give up their weapons of mass destruction, nor, most probably, will any other nuclear power. They are all too busy trying to maintain their monopoly on such weapons and, of course, no one trusts anyone else anymore, thanks to Bush/Cheney. It's a great plan, though, and it would probably work if seriously pursued, but, alas, just another pipe dream.

The Senate voted 92 to 3 to provide 150 billion more of our taxpayer dollars for further "war" in Iraq. Got that? Ninety two to three! I have no idea who the only three intelligent Senators are but as they say in Australia, "good on ya." Democrats who voted for this excuse themselves by vowing to do something "next time." You know, like the 97 pound weakling when he gets the sand kicked in his face. Just wait until next time. For Democrats the phrase "next time" has taken on a new meaning, NEVER.

Three Democrats have suggested an income tax surcharge to pay for the "war." I guess the idea is to not run up the national debt any further (if, indeed, they are actually serious about this). So what's the difference if we pay now or pay later? In either case it's the American taxpayer that's getting screwed to pay for Bush/Cheney's unpleasant hobby (collecting other people's oil). Perhaps they thought that by merely suggesting a surcharge they might get someone, anyone, to actually think about the cost of this disastrous fiasco. They might if Britney hadn't lost her children and if there wasn't a rumor of a new sex tape featuring her. Oh, yeah, there is also the on-going saga of the death of Princess Di. That poor lady is never going to be allowed to rest in peace. Then there is the virtually non-stop football to think about, as well as the playoffs for the World Series. Who has time to waste on thinking about a lously 2% surcharge, especially when you know that the wealthy will never allow a surcharge in the first place. I tell you, all this thinking is not good for those of us with small, smooth brains.

Hillary bested Obama in fund raising the the last quarter, 27 million to his (paltry) 20 million. But will she win Iowa? Some people think this is important. I don't. The Presidency is not going to be determined just in Iowa. If Hillary should lose it will not be by much and she's got plenty of funding to keep going and going just like the energizer bunny (which she increasingly reminds me of). Did you know there actually is such a word as evitable? There is. Is Hillary evitable? I doubt it.

"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."
Robert Maynard Hutchins

Monday, October 01, 2007

Never ask the natives

In New Guinea in the 1960's there was a rather elaborate developmental program going on. The Australian Administration surveyed the island and decided what different areas might be suitable for different cash crops and other developments that would be "good for them." As the natives were short on protein one attempt was to establish Tilapia. The administration went around digging Tilapia ponds and stocking them with fish. The natives refused to eat them, saying they didn't like them and the bones caught in their children's throats. There were no local fish in most places and they had no experience in eating them. No one bothered to ask them if they really wanted fish or not. Areas were selected for development not on the basis of what the people wanted but, rather, on what was thought would grow there. In the Sepik area they tried to establish rice growing. Growing rice is labor intensive and the locals could make more money just killing one or two crocodiles a year. The rice failed. In other areas they tried to introduce cattle as a cash crop. In the one area I was most familiar with they did sort of ask the locals if they would like cattle. Having had no experience with cattle and not understanding what loans and interest were all about they said "no." The powers that were didn't accept that and talked them into trying to raise cattle anyway. It was a grandiose failure. Then it was decided that the natives needed a form of government so they introduced a Counsel System. To have an elected Counselor they were required to have a certain population. As in some areas this could only be achieved by joining two or three groups they ended up having traditional enemies tryhing to share the same Counselor. I could go on and on about this but I think you get the point. In all of these cases the local people were not really meaningfully consulted about what it was they were told to do; raise coffee, rice, cattle, etc. Colonial paternalism at its best (worst). I know this same pattern repeated itself for a hundred or more years in most parts of the world: Australia, Asia, Africa, the Pacific, etc. Thus I do not find it in the least bit surprising that the Iraqis are outraged at being told by American invaders they will have to split up their country into three distinct units. This is truly ironic as the British established Iraq as a country in the first place by forcing disparate tribes to artifically band together. Ah, the joys of Empire and Colonialism.

The babble goes on. The longer this ridiculously long campaign runs the more desperate the newspeople get for something to say. Today on Hardball they spent a lot of time worrying Hillary's laugh. Was it a real laugh or kind of forced? Perhaps it was an ironic laugh. Maybe it was more of a cackle than a laugh. Perhaps she laughed only to stall for time while thinking up a reply. Did it mean she was really relaxed and happy or was it just for show. Honestly, this is what these overpaid people were discussing and dissecting at great length on national television. Political analysts at work. Sigh.

I read today that since 1990 10.4 million people have been busted for pot, still another example of the utter absurdity of our drug laws. Everyone knows that when compared with alcohol, pot is nothing in its effects. And it is also known that it is not addictive. What I want to know is what difference would it make if it were addictive? People take drugs all the time that they are required to take in order to maintain their health and well-being. I take drugs every day but I am not addicted to them. But if I were addicted to them I would still just be taking them everyday. So what's the difference. The difference is, as far as I can see, that some people who are in positions of power and influence have arbitrarily decided that some drugs are worse than others, so if one of your drugs has the wrong label you might not be able to get it even if you need it (doctors are now afraid to prescribe all the drugs their patients might need because of the fear of getting busted by those who think they know best). Who should know best what a patient needs, he/she and their doctor or some jerk in Congress who thinks grass is bad. Drugs should be strictly a medical problem, not a political one. Our drug laws are absurd. Legalize drugs now and solve a great many problems both personal and societal. I notice that more and more politicians are coming around to the realization that something is dramatically wrong with our "war" on drugs. How soon will something be done about it. Don't hold your breath.

"I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It's about Russia."
Woody Allen