Sunday, December 31, 2006

Summing Up The War

Ave, Caesar, ave, 0 congressmen,
Ave, 0 Iliad gods who forced the fight!
You bring your carriages and your picnic-lunch
To cheer us in our need.
You come with speeches,
Your togas smell of heroism and bay-rum.
You are the people and the voice of the people
And, when the fight is done, your carriages
Will bear you safely, through the streaming rout
Of broken troops, throwing their guns away.
You come to see the gladiator's show,
But from a high place, as befits the wise:
You will not see the long windrows of men
Strewn like dead pears before the Henry House
Or the stone-wall of Jackson breathe its parched
Devouring breath upon the failing charge,
Ave, Caesar, ave, 0 congressmen,
Cigar-smoke wraps you in a godlike cloud,
And if you are not to depart from us
As easily and divinely as you came,
It hardly matters.

Steven Vincent Benet

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Can we leave Iraq?

The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Colombia represent the largest make-work program in our nation's history, on a par with FDR's much maligned WPA. If we were to bring our troops home today, there would not be jobs for them. Still, as this make-work program is co$ting our nation trillions, wouldn't it make more sense to bring the troops home and put them to work rebuilding decayed water lines, pot-holed roads, and essential mass transit?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Haunting of George W. Bush

One night George W. Bush is tossing restlessly in his bed. He awakens to see George Washington standing beside him. Bush looks up and asks, "George, what's the best thing I can do to help the country?" "Set an honest and honorable example, just as I did," Washington advises, then fades away.

The next night, "W" is astir again when he sees the ghost of Thomas Jefferson moving silently around the bedroom. He calls out: "Tom, please! What is the best thing I could do to help the country?" "Respect the Constitution, as I did," Jefferson advises, and then dims from sight.

The third night! sleep still evades Bush He sees the ghost of FDR hovering over his bed. Bush lowers his voice and asks, "Franklin, what is the best thing I could do to help the country?" In that golden voice of his, FDR replies, "Help the less fortunate, just as I did," and then he disappears.

George Bush still isn't sleeping well the fourth night. He tosses and turns, and suddenly another figure moves out of the shadows. It's the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. "Abe," Bush pleads, "what's the best thing I can do right now to help the country?" Lincoln pauses, then replies, "Go see a play."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bush's Parrot

Bush's parrot is asleep on his perch; Bush is at his desk staring vacantly into space. Suddenly, the parrot wakes up and cries, 'Here comes Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.’
Bush stops working. What goes on? Then the door opens and it's Rumsfeld. So Bush and Rumsfeld start to talk, but the bird interrupts. 'Here come Condoleezza Rice, minister of propaganda.' And, lo and behold, a minute later, it's true.
Bush tells what's going on, but Rumsfeld and Rice think he's kidding. 'Ah, go on, George, it's a trick, you're giving the bird a signal.'
'No, no,' Bush says. 'This bird somehow knows who's coming, and I'll prove it to you. We'll hide in the closet, where the bird can't see me, and wait for the next visitor.' So there they are, in the closet, and the bird starts up again. But this time it just trembles and hides its head under its wing and squawks.
After a minute, the door opens, and it's the Vice-President. He looks around, thinks the office is empty, and goes away. 'All right, people,' the parrot says, 'it's safe to come out now. Cheney is gone.'

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Airport Insecurity

while I too worry about liquid explosives, I know you can't drink them without a) immediately throwing up, b) choking to death. I also know that in the abscense of water I can't swallow a decongestant just before takeoff (and I mean just before, not prior to boarding, not while we sit at the gate with the plane's doors closed, and not while we are number 19 in line for the runway) without a) immediately throwing up, b) choking to death. So here's my plan:

When I show up at the airport with my Camelbak--ask me to drink from it, a good long swig. If I keel over, it's a fair cop gov. Of course, I'm too old and too non-Arab to fit the profile of a terrorist, but that carries no weight with our security force anyway.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nothing in Common

What do Republican and Democrats have in common?

Democrats propose nothing and Republicans will stop at nothing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Republicans are the party of slavery

Two obvious solutions to immigration present themselves. Both require that the U.S. enforce its immigration laws, expelling illegal immigrants and imposing heavy fines on those who hire them.

Solution 1: Leave the Immigration Law unchanged.

Solution 2: Modify the Immigration Law to provide for unlimited admission of immigrants from Mexico.

Both methods would ensure respect for law and payment of a decent wage to labor. Both methods would allow the border patrol to concentrate on excluding terrorists.

How the present slavery system works is best illustrated by my current relationship with Seniso the proprietor of All-Star Concrete. Sensio speaks English--better then he lets on, and is, I believe a legal immigrant whom I pay almost $50 an hour for the services of him and his firm. The latter consists of an illegal immigrant whom Sensio pays $5 an hour and to whom he relays almost all my instructions. (Occasionally, I've seen Sensio, a tool in his hand, demonstrating an operation.)

With either solution in place, the gap between what I pay Sensio and what he pays his employees would diminish. No wonder so many Hispanics, like so many freed slaves in the 1800's, embrace slavery, the present corrupt Republican-sponsored illegal-immigrant system today, the Confederate/Dixicrat system in the latter century.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Let's tax gasoline

The experts say the price curve for gasoline is inelastic and will stay so for the immediate future. That is, people aren’t going to stop buying gas regardless of the price. They may look for jobs closer to home, may even quit working for a while as many have already done, but they’re not going to stop refilling their gas tank when their tank is empty.

So here’s my plan. Place a $1.00 State Tax on every gallon of gasoline. Unfair, outrageous? Not at all, either that dollar goes to us the taxpayer or it goes to the oil companies as soon as they realize they can raise the price of gasoline and get away with it.

Now, I know your favorite talk show host says that taxes are bad, that all they pay for is welfare, people who couldn’t otherwise afford medical care, supplements to education, inspection of scales, highways, and the environment, and crooked politicians. But then your talk show host probably owns stock in those oil companies. I don’t. My surplus cash gets eaten up at the pump. And some of those State services sound pretty good to me like more employees at the DMV, more teachers per pupil, and more law enforcement directed at putting away crooked politicians and welfare cheats.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fac ist Bullshit and Airport Security

In line with its well established policy of rewarding the rich and our Saudi Arabian occupiers while methodically destroiying the rights, privileges, and income of the middle class, airport security--a government, not an airline function--actively discriminates between first class and economy class passengers. First class passengers are provided with a special security line--thus increasing the over-all cost of the inspecection system, while middle class passengers are herded like cattle. Once aboard the airline, first class passengers have access to any toilet, economy-class passengers are barred access to the facilities in first class. Does our shit stink or what?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sign this Pledge

I'm not a Nazi. I will vote for only for those candidates for federal office who pledge to have my country sign the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

war on terrorism ia a colossal failure

The Republican war on terrorism has been a colossal failure.

In September 2001, Bush promised to confiscate the assets of those who'd financed the terrorists. A month later, when the financing was traced to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, he reneged on his promise.

While Australia and many other countries track all visitors from abroad via computer, the U.S. has yet to install such a system. Indeed, the INS or its equivalent division in Homeland Security has yet to install a central computer. Want a copy of your citizenship papers (a prerequisite for a passport)--it will take more than eighteen months.

Though the only terrorist rings detected so far in the U.S., Canada, England, and Germany have involved young Arab males, we continue to harass our own citizenry with unnecessary inspections at the airport (preparing, them, no doubt for internal passports as in the former Soviet Union).

Let's elect a party with a plan.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Were there any good Germans?

Were there any good Germans? Ones who objected to the War, the violations of the Geneva Convention, and the persecution of the Jews? Are there any good Americans? Ones who object to the War, and to the violations of the Geneva Convention? Please let me know if any are running for Congress. If not, Democrat or Republican, they all look like Nazis to me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What's Your Favorite Bumpersticker.

We invite you faithful reader to post your favorite bumpersticker as a comment on this post.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Washington's abuser in chief

MOVE OVER, battered women! There's a new syndrome in town. It's called "battered Congress syndrome," and it was first identified by Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. It's strikingly like those of "battered women's syndrome," only the abusive partner is the Bush administration.

I know. You're thinking, "Come on. Aren't we talking about consenting Republicans here? Sure, there's an occasional spat between Congress and the White House, but it's just a minor domestic dispute. We shouldn't interfere." But that trivializes both the abuse and its broader societal ramifications.

Think back to 2000, when George W. Bush swore he was a "uniter, not a divider." He seemed so sincere. So he was a little inarticulate? Nothing the love of a good Congress couldn't fix. But honeymoons never last.

The abuse started small, with some minor infidelities to conservative principles, such as Bush's insistence on federal micromanagement of education. Then there were the empty promises, such as the endless emergency "I swear I'll never do this again" requests for supplemental funding. At times, Congress even got publicly slapped, like when administration officials simply walked out of a Senate hearing on mine safety.

Still, Congress made excuses. What with 9/11 and Iraq, the White House was under so much stress. And our troops — what would happen to them if Congress tightened the purse strings?

Anyway, it wasn't as if the Republicans in Congress never got any flowers. What do you call those tax cuts?

But weakness and appeasement only escalate the abuse. Consider the White House's practice of attaching "signing statements" to legislation when the president doesn't feel like obeying a law. For instance, in 2005, Congress passed legislation requiring that "scientific information … prepared by government researchers … shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay." The president said, "Sure, Honey!" and promised to sign the bill. But later, when no one was looking, he added a statement insisting that he could order researchers to withhold any information that might "impair … the deliberative processes of the executive."

The Constitution requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." If a president can't live with a bill, he's supposed to veto it, so everyone knows where he stands. But when a president quietly eviscerates legislation through signing statements — something Bush has done to an eye-popping 750 statutes — he evades accountability. It's the political equivalent of the abusive spouse who takes care never to leave bruises that show.

But the harm to democracy is just as real as the bruises left by a batterer's fist. Through signing statements, the president has repeatedly signaled his contempt for Congress and his intention to flout the law on matters ranging from torture to the protection of executive-branch whistle-blowers.

And let's not blame the victim. Victims stay in abusive relationships because their abusers isolate and manipulate them, cutting them off from those who might offer perspective and assistance. "Battered Congress syndrome" is no exception. Through its bullying foreign policy and its domestic incompetence, the administration has driven away practically everyone, at home and abroad, who might have been able to lend the Republican-controlled Congress a helping hand. And with the administration's penchant for Orwellian "doublespeak" (it's not "torture," it's "enhanced interrogation"), how can Congress keep any perspective on reality?

On Tuesday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) finally made a courageous breakthrough: He acknowledged that Congress is caught in a potentially lethal cycle of abuse. Calling for hearings on the administration's pattern of evading the law through signing statements, Specter acknowledged that if the White House's "blatant encroachment" on congressional authority can't be stopped, "there may as well soon not be a Congress."

Admitting the problem is a crucial first step. Hearings are a start, but heck, why not a select committee to investigate possible basis for impeachment? Imagine it: Congress, co-dependent no more!

But the rest of us need to take a little responsibility too. I mean, we're the ones who voted for these doormats. Let's face it: We've become enablers.

That's got to change. If the Republicans in Congress can't escape from this tragic cycle of abuse by, say, Nov. 7, we need to give them a little bit of help.

Vote 'em all out

Rosa Brooks

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How to Tell a Neoconservative

He wants to have sex with the man next to him but, unable to get it up,punches him instead.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Steps to reduce oil prices

1. Get out of Iraq and cut the defense department's consumption of oil by 75%.
2. Increase taxes on gasoline until consumers reduce consumption--note that profits from the increase will go back to the taxpayer and not to the oil companies.
3. Levy a 50% tax on all excess profits from the war.
4. Invade Saudi Arabia (who attacked us on 9/11) and take over their oil fields.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

And the small fool says to push on

It was back in two thousand two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1967)
TRO (c) 1967 Melody Trails, Inc. New York, NY
Stupidity renewed by George Bush 2002

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Wouldn't it be great!


This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Columbia. Let the oil companies, the poppy growers, and the cocaine cartel pay for their own security forces.

All war profiteers will be tried before military tribunals. Their corporate assets will be confiscated. The corporate officers and presidents of all companies who provided defective military equipment will be tried, then shot. Their corporate assets will be confiscated.

The corporate officers and presidents of all companies who used substandard materials on government contracts will be tried, then shot. Their corporate assets will be confiscated.

All deposits of Americans and American corporations found in offshore accounts will be confiscated.

The Vice-President and I take full responsibility for the hundreds of thousands dead and disabled. We have given away all our assets and have already taken a slow-acting poison.

Thank you; without your tacit cooperation, none of this would have been possible.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bush in a Bubble

A BELEAGUERED president stubbornly insists on staying the course even as his staunchest allies abandon him. I'm not talking about Iraq, but global warming.

Here's a case where virtually everybody is acknowledging a weapon of mass destruction — the threat of climate chaos — but still President Bush refuses to take action. When the evangelical community, Bush's stalwart base, called for climate action last month, the news grabbed headlines. But the more important Bush defectors on this issue are some of the world's largest corporations, including British Petroleum, General Electric, DuPont and Cinergy. So, the question arises: Why does Bush persist in his increasingly lonely stance?

The answer may lie in the difference between realpolitik and ideology. Many corporations initially opposed climate action as a practical matter, because of its perceived costs. The Bush administration's opposition seems to derive from its ideological hostility to international treaties and the United Nations on the one hand and environmentalists on the other.

One story from 2002 illustrates the different approaches. A former staffer from an anti-climate-action lobbying group, the Global Climate Coalition, had dinner with oil and chemical company bigwigs at the Palm Too restaurant in New York not long after the U.S. negotiating team walked out of the talks on the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"You'd think that this group would have been jumping for joy," he told me, "but instead, they were sputtering mad because they felt that the move could not have been done in a more politically incompetent way." The last thing these savvy businessmen wanted was a grand gesture that would galvanize the the world against the U.S. Instead, business groups had hoped for the U.S. to stay inside the negotiations, where they could quietly kill action by a thousand cuts.

That approach had already proved successful. For 17 years, industry-sponsored lobbying groups forestalled action on climate change even as scientific alarm mounted. One prong of the attack was to infiltrate treaty negotiations. The lobbyists not only influenced policy, in some cases they wrote it. In one incident in the 1990s, Don Pearlman, an attorney who represented the Climate Council (another vociferous anti-climate-action group), was escorted from the floor of a Kyoto negotiating session after he was spotted writing positions for the Saudi Arabian delegation.

When they were not writing policy for emerging nations, industry groups were insisting that there was no scientific consensus that climate change was an urgent threat. It was a brilliant tactic. The naysayers didn't have to disprove global warming; they just had to create the impression that it was still subject to debate. This left the public feeling that there was no need to get excited until the scientists sorted things out.

Two things happened to change corporate attitudes. The destructive power of extreme weather events has become impossible to ignore (for instance, Hurricane Katrina and the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed nearly 35,000 people). Even to the casual observer, the climate system seems to be popping rivets. And multinational corporations couldn't afford to be too out of step with their customers and stakeholders, particularly in the many countries where global warming is viewed as a clear and present danger.

Businesses began defecting from the Global Climate Coalition, which closed up shop in 2002 (noting that the Bush administration had adopted its agenda). And some companies changed positions to attempt green branding or because of the threat of sanctions.

In other cases, however, change came about simply because there was a new boss. That seems to have been the case with General Electric, the ninth-largest corporation in the world. Chief Executive Jack Welch was vocal in his opposition to taking action on climate change, and according to those close to the situation, in 1997 he forced the head of Employers Re, a GE insurance subsidiary, to abandon a plan to join a public/private environmental and climate initiative put together by the U.N. Environment Program. Now, however, under Jeffrey Immelt, GE trumpets the very type of initiatives that Welch squashed.

The changed corporate landscape gives hope until we remember that the climate seems to be changing the landscape that we live on even more rapidly. With carbon dioxide levels already higher than they've been since homo sapiens emerged as a species, we are conducting a science lab experiment on a planetary scale.

India, China and other big greenhouse gas emitters will not do their part unless the United States, the biggest emitter, joins the effort. And that won't happen without presidential leadership. So, President Bush, if the scientific, evangelical and business communities can't sway you, what will it take to persuade you to help halt our lunatic meddling with Earth's atmosphere?

Eugene Linden

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shots at Canadian envoys first of new war

Now that the war is winding down in Iraq [ROFL], Bush will need another invasion to maintain his popularity (and to keep our troops overseas so they will not be wandering with the hundreds of thousands of other unemployed across our own countryside). The shots at Candian envoys yesterday are the first of many to come.
Here are the top ten reasons for Bush to invade Canada:
10. Won't use much oil--can be done on bicycles.
9. Give U.S. secure borders.
8. Eliminate potential refuge for draft dodgers, runaway slaves, and other dissidents to-be-named later.
7. Invasion of Mexico impractical as we would then have to pay wetbacks minimum wage.
6. Creates more jobs (at least, while war lasts).
5. Keep media focus from our own decaying domestic economy and infrastructure.
4. Provide natural launching pad for land invasion of Europe.
3. Provide hundreds of thousands of acres of trees, minerals, and unspoiled wilderness Bush can share with his cronies.
2. Stop Canadians bellyaching about acid rain, over fishing by USians, ozone-layer depletion, landmines, and arm sales that are really none of their business.
1. Fewer Canadians killed by friendly fire.