Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Politicians

In my previous post I took issue with a columnist that is puzzled that people wouldn't be surprised if Bush engineered an October surprise with Bin Laden. And then I thought of other politicians and how generally I would think of them in this kind of situation:

Clinton? He was so disorganized that he actually might do the October surprise by just being by not getting around to it...But ethically? It's a wash with me - this would be a major scandal and despite what "the right wing consipiracy" thinks, I think he would draw a line at that. Also, he has one very firm eye on posterity (unlike our present President who as one very firm eye on his posterior...) that may have made him think twice on something so huge.

Gore? I really, really doubt he could do something like that.

Cheney? Yeah, right, like there's a question.

Nixon? With his advisors and Kissinger egging him on? Most definitely, remember the Paris peace talks in '68 and the deal they made with the Viet Cong?

Bush Primo? Probably, but not a slam dunk like his kid.

John McCain? No. Unless he has us all totally fooled, it happens.

Jimmy Carter? Probably not - though his squeaky clean reputation is a little bit overboard - he was as ambitious as any of them.

Reagan? Let's see, this scandal would've had to stand in line with all the other ones and he would have Tefloned it away like them as well.

Eisenhower? Not a chance.

LBJ? Oh yeah, I could see him doing it - he would love the political game of it.

JFK? By himself, a small chance. With his brother Robert advising him, no.

Bob Dole? I'm leaning not.

Oh, I forgot one, Kerry? I don't think so, but the problem is that I'm finding it hard to really figure out what he would do on anything...

It Is Called "Character"

Christopher Hitchens (who I respect when he writes on other topics than George Bush and the Iraq War) has a little problem with people not being surprised if Osama was "found" in October before the elections. He thinks that these people are suggesting that Bush is "stashing Bin Laden...or somehow keeping his arrest in reserve." Well, you can read it that way. I don't think we have the capability to have kept Bin Laden's arrest secret or the ability to arrest him at will.

But that isn't the point. We have no evidence that he is doing that. The point is that we wouldn't be surprised if that October surprise happens and it did turn out that some timing shenanigans were done. That is because it is something Bush, Rove and Cheney would do. We all know it in our hearts - whatever your political leanings. They have proven that there is nothing more important in the world than being re-elected - honor, honesty, integrity, people's lives and livelihoods are chump change in relation to the Scrooge McDuck moneypiles of re-election. Supporters and detractors both realize that BushRoveCheney would do absolutely anything to be re-elected. The detractors would deplore the October surprise manipulations but the supporters would support it as "doing what it takes and making hard decisions to insure we get elected to win the war on Terror." But I would think Mr. Hitchens, who is not an idiot, would have owned up to this aspect of our President's character by now.

By the way, have you noticed that Bush pronounces Terror as Terra? So he really wants to win the "War on Terra". And we aren't imperialistic?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Goddamn Liberals

I discovered this in Tom Tomorrow's blog This Modern World. Since it is attributed as an email that has been going around and who knows who the real author is, I will excerpt in full. It is fantastic. I've had the idea myself to do something like this, but I never could have done it so well:

"A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN"

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Monday, September 27, 2004

A Great Roomy Proposal

Okay, I just got a brainstorm. You know how the newly wealthy and without taste love to build McMansions with so-called "great rooms"? These are huge, grandiose two or three story tall rooms that the front door opens into and is supposed to tell the visitor that the family is descended from plantation owners. Some have Hattie McDaniel stationed at the top of the stairs to complete the picture, but most don't. Myself, when I see one I wonder at all the wasted BTU's used to heat a bunch of empty space.

Here we are with the resource that is not really being used - and we also have a lot of homeless people sleeping out on the streets. So here's my idea: since most of the people who have great rooms in their McMansions undoubtedly care for the downtrodden in their midst, we should build hideaway bunkbeds in the great rooms at night so that the homeless can have a warm place to sleep at night. It is a win-win situation, the homeless get shelter and the McMansion great room owners can stop fretting about all that energy going to waste in heating their ego rooms!

Wow, with ideas like these I'm going to get somewhere in this ol' world!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I'm Not Grumpy, I'm Just Drawn That Way

So it was my birthday a few weeks ago. I got a humorous card from a very good friend I've known since my college days - about 20 years now. The gist of the card was that I've turned into a grumpy old man who shouts "Hey you kids, get off of my lawn!"

This was disconcerting. Because at my previous employment, co-workers Trading Spaced my office with an astroturf lawn, lawn chairs, a cute little white picket fence and a sign that proclaimed to any and all on I-520 "Hey you kids, get off of my lawn!"

Now if two independent sets of observers both come to the same conclusion, maybe there is something there. But I don't *think* I'm more necessarily grumpier than the next guy, and not just if the next guy is Patrick Buchanan. Sometimes I think people think I'm grumpy or sad because my mouth has a natural downturn at the edges. So when I'm feeling neutral, it looks like I'm grumpy.

But then again, maybe I really am grumpy. My blogs certainly make it seem that way. However, in my second grade play, I was cast as Dopey, not Grumpy. Hmmm...maybe these are the seeds for a new theory of human development - the Seven Dwarves Theory. I see people turning into different dwarves as life goes on - like I started out with Dopey, then turned into Doc, I got an allergy (maybe) last winter and was Sneezy, I am always Bashful, and now I'm Grumpy. But do I really want to be Happy? I mean, you look at the movie and he's a twit.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Tragedy is Hard when the Truth is Sadder

There is a comic saying that says (in my poor paraphrasing) "Satire is difficult when reality is stranger than fiction." Here is an article from The Onion in January 2001. Note that this was ostensibly written before the 9/11/2001 attacks and before Bush had taken office and started his onslaught. I say ostensibly because I am finding it hard to believe that The Onion could have predicted the destruction of America that Bush has done to such an eerily accurate degree. The quote that sums it up:

"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Black is White, Up is Down, 2+2=5

In regard on next week's expiration of the assault weapons ban:

A poll released this week by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that 68 percent of Americans -- and 32 percent of NRA members -- support renewing the ban.

The [group of police] chiefs met with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who listened politely and then closed the door on extending the ban.

"I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire," Frist said later in the day.


Yes, Bill, 68% in favor of the ban is consistent with letting it expire. You don't get out much do you? Unless, by "American People" you mean NRA and gun manufacturer people. In fact, in your life as Senate Majority Fuhrer you probably only see NRA and gun manufacturer people and those of their ilk - the powerless and anonymous having no means to get an appointment, so you are probably personally accurate when you say that will of the American people (of which you actually meet) is consistent with letting it expire.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I'll Get You My Pretty...And Your Little Dog Too!

Vice President Cheney today nearly sideswiped the American people today while riding his bicycle in rural Kansas. After a speech where he mumbled something from the side of his mouth about how electing Kerry will bring on a devasting terrorism attack, VP Cheney was heard to say to the liberal media "Helping the little Kerry along are you, my fine gentlemen? Well stay away from him, or I'll stuff a mattress with you! And you, I'll make you into a beehive. Here Jennings, want to play ball? Well, my pretties, I can cause accidents too!"

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Character

From today's Salon article on a family friend of the Bush family during the "Alabama years":

In the spring of 1972, George H.W. Bush phoned his friend and asked a favor: Could Allison find a place on the Senate campaign he was managing in Alabama for his troublesome eldest son, the 25-year-old George W. Bush?
"The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy's wing," Allison's widow, Linda, told me. "

In fact, according to what Allison says her late husband told her, the younger Bush had become a political liability for his father, who was then the United States ambassador to the United Nations, and the family wanted him out of Texas. "I think they wanted someone they trusted to keep an eye on him," Linda Allison said.

Allison's account corroborates a Washington Post investigation in February that found no credible witnesses to the service in the Alabama National Guard that Bush maintains he performed, despite a lack of documentary evidence. Asked if she'd ever seen Bush in a uniform, Allison said: "Good lord, no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved in his life in any way." Allison also confirmed previously published accounts that Bush often showed up in the Blount campaign offices around noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed the night before.

"After about a month I asked Jimmy what was Georgie's job, because I couldn't figure it out. I never saw him do anything. He told me it basically consisted of him contacting people who were impressed by his name and asking for contributions and support," Allison said

While Kerry earned a Silver Star and a Bronze Star after saving a crewmate's life under fire on the Mekong River in Vietnam, by contrast, the Georgie that Allison knew was a young man whose parents did not allow him to live with the consequences of his own mistakes.

Allison, never fully explained rupture with the Bushes, which took place against the backdrop of boorish behavior by their son that persisted during the time he was nominally under the Allisons' care.
The break happened not long after a boozy election-night wake for Blount, who lost his Senate bid to the incumbent Democrat, John Sparkman. Leaving the election-night "celebration," Allison remembers encountering George W. Bush in the parking lot, urinating on a car, and hearing later about how he'd yelled obscenities at police officers that night. Bush left a house he'd rented in Montgomery trashed -- the furniture broken, walls damaged and a chandelier destroyed, the Birmingham News reported in February. "He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people's possessions," Mary Smith, a member of the family who rented the house, told the newspaper, adding that a bill sent to Bush for repairs was never paid.

Around the same time, for the 1972 Christmas holiday, the Allisons met up with the Bushes on vacation in Hobe Sound, Fla. Tension was still evident between Bush and his parents. Linda was a passenger in a car driven by Barbara Bush as they headed to lunch at the local beach club. Bush, who was 26 years old, got on a bicycle and rode in front of the car in a slow, serpentine manner, forcing his mother to crawl along. "He rode so slowly that he kept having to put his foot down to get his balance, and he kept in a weaving pattern so we couldn't get past," Allison recalled. "He was obviously furious with his mother about something, and she was furious at him, too."

About George W. Bush's disputed sojourn in Alabama, she asks simply: "Can we all be lying?"


And this man is President? Historians in the future (presupposing a future that would contain historians and not the feudalistic corporate state we are heading towards) will never understand how such a great nation would choose such an idiot to lead them and the world into such a mess. At least Nero wasn't elected...Has any country at any time elected somebody who has done so much damage to its own people? Oh, that's right, the people didn't elect him...Oh God, I pray that it won't happen again. I know that he and his cronies can make it much worse in our country than it already is. The wars that he'll fight in Iran and Syria, the environmental laws that he'll allow to be trampled on by the people he puts into the Interior, EPA and Agriculture, the National Parks that will fade away, the increased effort to abolish unions in all government agencies, the ever more astounding transfer of wealth from the middle class and poor to the wealthy, the shredding of our rights to protest, assemble, or even be "different" will be corroded, and what is saddest to me, the further disintegration of the ideal that no matter who was leading, that the USA could still be counted on to do the right thing. God I was proud of my country, of its leadership in WWII, in standing up against Communism, in furthering democracy and freedom in so many countries, in the Constitution and Bill of Rights etc. and so on. What do I see that I'm proud of in this country now? The people standing up and saying they want this corruption and lying to end. But ultimately who I am pissed off at are the incredible, f***ing morons who are so utterly clueless, venal and heartless that they can ignore the three years of kleptocracy, scorched earth environmental and foreign policies, and baldfaced arrogant lying that left us in a country demonstrably poorer by every measure (except the portfolios of the extremely wealthy), less secure and hated by more dangerous people now than three years ago. Who are these trembling, greedy cowards that still support Bush? Do they run over homeless people in their white and gold SUV's on their way to TGIF's? Do they honestly believe that the Nincompoop-In-Chief has the key to ensure their "safety"? What is the weird calculus that will decree poisoned skies, mercury and pcb laden water, genetic experimentation on our food supply, unsafe at any speed SUVs, and assault-weapon-laden loonies as less threatening than once every few years terrorist events? The enemy is strongest when their quarry does not know they are the enemy, and for the 99% of the people supporting Bush, they really have no clue how much he really, really, despises them.