Friday, December 08, 2006

Bush, Gates, and Success in Iraq

During his initial bid for the White House, in response to allegations that he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Bush-backers informed the public that he typically employed a cadre of experts to digest information, analyze complex situations, and advise him on appropriate action. This information was enough to allay the fears of many with respect to Bush's executive ability, and he was soon elected to what may be the most powerful office in the world.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

An Open Letter to Representative Chet Edwards

Honorable Mr. Edwards:

Not long ago, one of your perky campaign aids called me and cheerfully asked if “Chet” could count on me to help by putting up a sign in my yard. I told the delightful young thing no, and I told her why. I am certain that nothing I said to her made any impression, much less got passed on, so now I am going to tell you.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Mad Tea Party

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this is the visualization of everything I have written in the last two years. I do not know anything about Mark Bryan, except that he is a kindred spirit, and I wish him well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I’ve been out in the yard lately to see the lady in the black truck drop off her child with my neighbor. This truck is a Texas Truck—complete with lift kit, 4-wheel-drive, and $500-a-month payments.

What drew my attention to it in the first place was the driver’s determination not to park it on the street—not even for long enough to get out and hand her child to her caretaker. Her driving skills are impressive. One day, she got one wheel on the driveway and one on the sidewalk, and I’d venture that a plumb line dropped from her outermost bumper end would have pointed at the line where curb meets street.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whose Country Is This, Anyway?

The Supreme Court yesterday overturned a campaign finance law that would have placed strict limits on the amounts of money candidates for public office could both raise and spend. The justices seem to think that the right of free speech of candidates and campaign contributors is hampered if they are restrained from buying a public office. They also seem to think that the legislature of Vermont, whose law they overturned was out of line to suggest such restraint.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Known by Their Fruit

For the last three years, Americans have refused time after time to acknowledge the bad faith of their leaders. The press is complicit in its failure to make the public aware of the human cost of the war. On one hand, there is American idealism that refuses to admit that George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice are not cut from the same cloth as Tom Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. On the other hand is a cynical press whose concern seems to be more interested in protecting its own interest than exposing the truth. It is, after all, more pleasant to be “one of the guys” than to be a thorn in their sides.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Day Early and a Dollar Long

I received a disturbing letter from an elderly female relative the other day. At first, she seemed depressed, and I interpreted her letter as hinting at suicide, but after some thought, I realized that she believes that she is about to participate in the rapture.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Crazy Like a Fox

The one enjoyable pastime of the last six years for many liberals has been making sport of George W. Bush. After all, if a cretin can be president, if a man as inarticulate as Bush can actually be the leader of the free world, at least we ought to get a couple of belly laughs out of it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

And Now a Request for Our Sponsor

Traffic has been picking up lately, and I want to take a minute to talk to all of you whom I do not know.

I am a working writer; that is to say I do this for a living. To clarify, I like to get paid.

If you find that your publication is in need of a clear voice, by all means, contact me. I won't demand Stephen King's salary--I'm not Stephen King. On the other hand, I'm worth my salt. I will create exclusive content to your specifications for your publication for a reasonable fee. So give me a call. You know you want to.

And now back to the scheduled festivities. . .

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Political Magicianship

One of the elements of a successful stage magician is misdirection of the audience’s attention. Without mastering that skill, a stage magician is nothing more than a sideshow, background noise. Indeed, both political parties have been to magic school, and both parties have been hard at work to misdirect our attention to anything other than real pressing issues, particularly when it comes to self-created morasses and performance shortcomings.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rooting for the Bad Guy

Sometimes, people know they are right at the same time they know they cannot win. Some of those people get disgusted, fed up, tired and angry enough to start hoping that things will finally go wrong enough that the Bad Guy will get what he or she deserves.

Here are a couple of examples:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!

People send me things, news items, links to obscure journalistic ventures on the Internet. Sometimes I think they send these things to see if they can get a rise out of me. Okay, I know they send me things to see if they can get a rise out of me.

Al Jazeera, the bad-boy of the Arabic-speaking news world, has spun off an English-language news network. Inasmuch as most of our 280 million people speak English, Americans are part of its target audience, and the new network is recruiting American journalists. Here is where the rubber meets the road. Some of the first American journalists to sign on to Al Jazeera International (AJI) have been vilified in the press. Called traitors by their compatriots, for the simple act of taking a job with an Arab journalistic venture.

Some of the hatred stems from Al Jazeera’s publishing photos of American casualties in Iraq, the kind of thing that caused the uproar over Vietnam, and the very thing the Bush administration has gone to great lengths to prevent; but it is unwise to discount the growing anti-Arab sentiment in this country. Not long ago, I received an e-mail professing to enlighten me on the reasons Muslims cannot be patriotic Americans. The person who sent the item in question claims to be a Christian. The e-mail is the same kind of propaganda that the Nazis used in the 1930s, but its target has been changed.

That the Righteous Wrong in this country think they have a right to run the country is regrettable. It is more than regrettable that some of these people have read Tim LaHaye’s novels and decided that these books have the force of scripture, while steadfastly refusing to hear from or discuss issues with anyone who disagrees with them. Some of these very same people think that it is about time for the second coming of Christ and think that they can precipitate this event, if they just work things right. I asked an unusually good-natured friend who believes all this what would happen if the Righteous Wrong had miscalculated, and Christ did not come to bail the world out. “I never thought about that,” was her answer.

Obviously, AJI will have its work cut out for it trying to build an audience here. American foreign policy has had a distinct Zionist bent for a long time, and the press has long since come to heel with policy. AJI will undoubtedly report news from a different perspective, which, given the current resemblance of American journalism to propaganda, could be a very good thing. Unfortunately, AJI may have difficulty finding an outlet in this country because of the current intellectual and ideological climate.

Herbert Spencer wrote, "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

The United States Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. It is unclear whether anything can free a closed mind.
© 2006

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The New Sex

Terror is the new sex.

We’ve bought toothpaste for decades because it will get that special someone to notice us. Anna Nicole Smith actually got Joe Six-Pack to pay attention to the Supreme Court for a day. But terror, that really sells. If the powers that be can scare Joe Six-Pack enough, they can cherry pick every possible advantage and go home with ALL the goodies.

Terror brought us the USA PATRIOT Act, a law that was passed without thorough consideration in Congress, but which has gotten Americans used to the idea that the government might “need” to watch them or “need” to curtail their constitutional rights. Terror brought us wars on two fronts, neither of which the United States was in a position to win when it entered them; it brought public acquiescence to the deaths of more than 2,000 Americans and tolerance for public racial slurs when they come from slender blonde women.

Terror is better than sex when it comes to selling some things. No one would ever believe that we let New Orleans drown because we were having a romance, but since we were off “fighting terror,” all those poor black people could just tread water during hurricane Katrina. Terror turned public attention away from corporate looting on an unprecedented scale, and has undoubtedly created a goldmine for Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown & Root, and ExxonMobil. Somehow the fact that the price of petroleum was stable for years before we invaded Iraq has escaped public notice; and terror equals money for those who own stock in defense contractors.

Terror has been such a fine sales tool that CEO Bush has managed to pack the Supreme Court in such a way that as it considers partisan gerrymandering in Texas, it completely ignores the question of whether partisan redistricting deprives people of representation, as long as the party in power is now correcting wrongs perpetrated when it was not in power. One man, one vote? Fuggedaboudit.

This week, the Democrats have discovered terror. Suddenly, awakened by the mid-term elections, and a little news that operations of U.S. ports have been sold to a Middle Eastern company, our honorable representatives have come over to the Vertebrate Party. They can finally call Bush soft on terror. Hallelujah!

These are the same Democrats who failed to impeach Bush, failed to prevent the United States from taking military action against two sovereign nations that did not attack us, failed to hold the executive branch accountable for torture, spying, lying, obstructing justice, acting in bad faith, or any other wrong. Now these Democrats are going to ask for our votes. They are now telling us how they will protect us.

The question is, if they didn’t protect us from the Republicans, the Right-wing wacko religious wing-nuts, or the likes of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, what makes us think they’ll protect us from anybody else?

Bush and friends sold the operations of our ports, along with their souls to the highest bidders. The Democrats are unlikely to do much different, except they might get a better price.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Real Vice

Vice-President Cheney shot one of his buddies on a hunting trip last week, and his Republican spin-doctors are howling with glee at the outraged screams that he is a cretin for hunting. Of course he’s a cretin; anyone who thinks that this is news has been in a coma.

The fact that so many liberal bloggers seem to think that hunting is the trouble trivializes the entire situation, and that smells like help from the Neocons. After all, a good pickpocket does not keep you from seeing him, just from seeing what he is doing. While everyone is wringing their hands about the poor baby birds that Cheyney is sending to kingdom come, nobody is paying attention to the game. The first rule of many games is “keep your eye on the ball.” This kind of news is tailor-made to prevent more important things from getting the attention they deserve.

Few pundits are screaming that Cheyney broke the law by not having a hunting license. The law, in case anyone is interested, is what the president and vice-president swear to uphold in this country, and this administration has shown a disdain for law that rivals that of many felons. Okay, and not buying a hunting license is not such a big deal, punishable a fine that Cheyney can loose and never miss.

But what about the fact that Condo-sleeza Rice was on TV saying that “We” whoever that is, are attuned to the “hopes and dreams of the Iranian people”. For those who like things laid out plainly: These are very similar to words that heralded the beginning of the present morass in Iraq. In about 6 weeks, Iran plans to begin trading oil in Euros, rather than in dollars. And the “we” for whom Rice was speaking are the sons and daughters of working-class people who are going to be herded off to become cannon fodder so the rich can get richer, and the poor can get the hell out of their way.

People disgusted with the current political climate look to 2008 with hope. If the best we can do is censure the vice-president for hunting in the press, there is no hope.

Many people look to Hillary Clinton as the candidate. When the honorable Senator from New York grows a spine and stands up to the Neocons, she can have my vote, and not a minute before. We have 100 senators. Why is it that out of those one hundred senators, there was not a single one who would stand up to the Republican election fraud in 2000? The House of Representatives were outraged by the mis-doings in that election. Not a single senator would stand behind them and demand an investigation. Why was that? Could it be because our United States Senators are loath to risk their cushy jobs by doing them and standing up for the people who hired them in the first place?

Why is it that of 100 senators, none is willing to ask for impeachment? Does anyone honestly believe that Bush acted in good faith when he engineered our invasion of Iraq? Does anyone write representatives anymore? I do it regularly, and I get the same answer every time: “Thanks for writing. I’m going to continue doing what I damned well please.”

We are willing to look the other way when our leaders break laws. We like to pretend that there is nothing we can do about all the powerful bad guys in Washington. As long as we stay comfortable and safe, we are going to have the same profit-driven, busybody government without change or end.

Personally, I am angry with Cheyney for shooting the wrong rich, white, middle-aged, male, dominionist Neocon. Also, the dumbass should have used a deer rifle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

An Open Letter to God

Dear God,

Please don’t take this personally, but I really think I have had quite enough of your followers. They all seem like nice people until I get to watching them, and then it all falls apart. Granted, I am not perfect, and I do not claim to be a lot better, but these followers of yours, well, they seem downright dangerous.

Take, for example, Christians. They all want me to hang out with them, until I express an opinion that they do not agree with. Then they call me a sinner. I don’t get it. Because I think a really bad marriage ought not be a life sentence, I am sinful. Then there was this man at church who was called to help a woman who saw a snake. His solution to the woman’s fear was to kill it. When I pointed out that snakes eat rodents, and therefore have a place in the environment, he answered, “That snake had two [places in the environment].” Very funny, but not for the snake.

And then there are these Muslims. They seem nice enough, except they say bad things about me (like that I’m a loose woman) because I don’t cover my hair. You gave me red hair. Why would I want to hide that? They also have this thing about blowing things and people up. If I get bummed about dead snakes, You can imagine how bummed I am about busloads of dead people. And they have this other thing about the Jews that just drives me bonkers. They are all cousins, but anyone would think they were fighting for the last crust of bread on earth, the way they carry on. And of course, if I think there should be Jews, then I am a Zionist, and deserve to die. If I go around India way, I have to be careful not to hang out with or befriend either Sikhs or Hindus, because they are also good-for-nothing infidels.

Now the Jews think I am okay, as long as I do not hang out with any Muslims. If I do that, I become scum and deserve to be exterminated. Last week, I heard that some Hindu women, not willing to be outdone, were pissed about St. Valentine’s Day, because it is not a Hindu holy day. Today, Valentine's day, some Muslim women had the same idea. No shit, girls, it’s a Hallmark holy day. Some people are just dense.

We have these dumb asses in government running the world, claiming to be your good friends. I have a lot of trouble with someone who says, “God is my friend, so please send your son to my war so he can die.” The more they claim to be your buddy, the worse their records look. We have these other dumb asses in government who refuse to do anything about the first dumb asses running amok with our money, our kids, and our standing in the world.

Like I said before, please don’t take any of this personally. I know that your friends are not You. I just do not like to hang out with people who destroy for the fun of it, whether it is a snake or an environment, an office building full of people, or young soldiers’ lives. I always pictured You as being creative and nurturing. So what’s with your friends?

About Me

I love my country, that is why I criticize its absurdities; I love my freedom, that is why I do it publicly.