Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm Dreaming Of a White (Phosphorus) Christmas

While Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson howl with indignation about the secularization of Christmas and the removal of Christ from Christmas, I would like to reflect on another, perhaps greater, national shame (actually, there was never any Christ in Christmas to begin with, as he was born in Spring, and December 25 was a long-established Pagan holiday which was co-opted into a Christian holiday over 300 years after Jesus' death).

Now, I'm no blame-America-firster, but it seems to me that when we are dropping illegal incendiary weapons on civilian populations in the name of freedom and democracy, something has gone terribly awry in our moral sense. I'm not at all sure the U.S., under its current leadership, is worthy to invoke any deity's name this happy Christmas season, let alone our number-one supply-side Savior himself, whom our benighted leader tells us has personally blessed his deadly fool's errand in Iraq.

To be arguing over whether "seasons greetings" is an example of anti-Christian revisionism while allowing atrocities to be committed in our names is just, well...

evidence of seriously poor priorities?

Maybe we should be getting more upset over our conduct abroad and our penchant for torture, secret prisons in Eastern Europe, and now the use of deadly white phosphorus in tightly-populated urban combat zones, where we know civilians are used as cover for insurgents, than whether or not Boston has a "holiday tree-lighting ceremony" or a "Christmas tree-lighting ceremony."

Here's a post-Thanksgiving wish from the GTL that you and your family are happy, healthy, caring for one another and your neighbors in need, and that no foreign power shells your happy home and community with ghastly white phosphorus grenades during this special season of love and togetherness.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lay Down, Sully

Once again the supposedly liberal New York Times gives too much to the Right. An article in today's edition describes President Bush's attempts to shore up the ruins of his credibility in the face of "Democratic accusations that he led the nation into war on false pretenses."

Democratic accusations?

My rudimentary though entirely sufficient math skills scream to me:

Almost sixty percent of Americans believe Bush lied to get us into the Iraq war.

Democrats constitute somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-five to forty percent of the populace.

Non-affiliated voters comprise a growing proportion of the electorate. Maybe fifteen percent?

Moderate Republicans in droves have begun questioning the administration's machinations leading up to the War.

It seems to me that everyone on every side, except for the Bible-thumpers, are at least questioning, if not accusing, his Shrubbiness of leading us into this unnecessary pre-emptive War of choice.

Enough unnecessary prevaricating, Mr. Sulzberger. It's time to call a spade a spade.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Move Over Condi (Hitchens Loves Chalabi, Too)

It seems that political scribe Christopher Hitchens has his own theory of how U.S. crypto secrets found their way from disgraced Iraq svengali Ahmed Chalabi's hot little paws to Iranian officials. Read it here, but not while drinking milk - it'll come out your nose.

The willingness of some people to not see what's staring them in the face is a common though bewildering aspect of our glorious species. People who would impeach a president for making a distinction under oath between fellatio and intercourse ("I did not have sex with that woman") somehow can explain away a host of actual, serious insults to democracy and the rule of law.

Someone I work near has a bumper sticker that reads, "Boycott France," with the moniker beneath it, "no-spin zone."

Maybe he thinks there's "no spin" in the Republican leadership; I for one get dizzy watching the whirling of these dervishes. The fact that they claim to be God's party while in fact they are little more than the lapdogs and lackeys of a patently amoral corporate kleptocracy - and the fact that about a third of the country hasn't caught on yet - makes the dizzying dance seem that much more disorienting.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dick's World: Living Proof That Money Cannot Buy Love

Given the glee with which Junior Bush and Karl Rove have sacked and pillaged the careers of their opponents over the years using MCarthyistic smear tactics, and in light of the rivers of blood shed by their fool's errand in Iraq, it is all but impossible to feel the smallest shred of pity for this train wreck of a president.

However, when we see how he has been fooled, schooled, dominated, tooled, and made into the cell-block bee-yotch of his Sith Lord Darth Cheney, one is almost tempted to have a twinge on his behalf.


Lets be clear: Bush will cut Cheney loose sooner or later. My feeling is another year is about right, barring another scandal - which could very well break today, tomorrow or Hell, any time. When it happens, no amount of spin from the Right will be able to obscure the fact that, with Cheney's ignominious departure, the legitimacy and purpose of the Bush II presidency is gone - poof! Like the proverbial s*** through a goose. Without Cheney's ideas, what ideas are there in the White House?

George may be able to salvage the admiration of the rust-and-bible belt voter, as he seems to parrot their language in ways which continue to lull them to sleep while he and his country club cronies rob them blind. But there is no mistaking the writing on the wall for those whose reading goes beyond the Jesus'-words-in-red scriptures.

At this point is there a miracle which can save this presidency?

(Save it from the truth?)

Condi n' Chalabi Sittin' In A Tree! (gotta love Iran's favorite Iraqi spy)

Ahmed, Ahmed...

whither thou goest Ahmed?

You are so misunderstood. Convicted in banking scandals, abandoned by President Cheney... forced to take a second-tier job in the New Iraq, a step removed from the gushing river of money...

And now not even important enough to be arrested for forwarding U.S. secrets to Iran... I hope you are not getting an inferiority complex, little man!

Especially since you let the Iranian Mullahs know we broke their code. That's a biggie, nu? One might think this would rate at least the loving kiss of American steel, handcuffs and a nice ride in a paid-for federal vehicle, but no.

All you get is a ride with Condi on the rusting, sinking ship of state, the wheezy, cheesy, and disease-y USS Scow-Bush.

As I write, I am reminded of a vacancy you CAN fill, now that Rodney Dangerfield has gone to the great Friar's Club in the sky:

Can you stick out your neck, pop your eyes a bit, and say loudly, "I tell ya, I GET NO RESPECT!"

Monday, November 07, 2005

WWCD? - What Would Clinton Do?

Spin be damned, no one can pretend at this late date that the war in Iraq was anything other than a long-held wish of the Right made suddenly possible by the gift from Heaven on nine-eleven.

Hawks from Wolfowitz down had been dreaming for thirty years of the day we could go back and undo the damage to the power of the Executive branch wrought by Vietnam and Watergate. The most recent iteration of this nutty fantasy involved going back to Baghdad and "doing it right," destroying Saddam Hussein and ushering in a new moral age of U.S. military credibility and might. To hell with realpolitik, it's hip to talk Good n' Evil in the White House again! they crowed. And let us not forget the side benefits of racking up fabulous wealth for the few and rolling back the social changes that have taken place in the intervening years, as gravy.

The White House fed the people the corn fodder of "war as a last resort" while outing its own secret agents, sabotaging its own diplomats, and snubbing the expert opinions of the nation and the entire world as it raced to war.

Those corn-fed cows are coming home, and it’s about time. Polls show that a critical mass of Americans now understand that the rationale for war, as stated by the president and his cohort, was as fictitious as an Anne Rice novel, and only a thousand time scarier.

Nevertheless, the Right refuses to face the facts, which will continue to trickle out , a document here, a deposition there, a little at a time until whatever grisly end eventually arrives. When faced with the proof of lying at the White House and the manipulation of intelligence - and immediately before commencing the name-calling - the neo-con artists do little more than trot out the old chestnuts that used to work so well in any situation: blame, blame, blame.

Read the blogosphere today and you’ll hear the latest Party Line: "Clinton's people believed in Saddam’s nukes and WMD, too, so I guess that makes you Liberals hypocrites."

Reality check: regardless of what the previous administration knew, didn't know, thought they knew but were wrong, etc. - THEY DIDN'T INVADE IRAQ.

The point doesn't hold a molecule of water. In spite of a strongly-held belief that Saddam was seeking WMD & “nuclear” weapons (remember when we could pronounce it correctly?), the Clinton administration, after assessing the intelligence and conferring with experts on both sides of the political divide including Bush The Elder’s team, chose to heed the warnings of the broad consensus of the world's most knowledgeable experts and hold off on an invasion.

In contrast, Bush The Junior and the Wolfowitz-Cheneyists invaded with no plan for an occupation and with a one-man plan for postwar Iraq (Ahmed Chalabi). This, like everything else the White House has done since 9/11, was incompetently planned, based on ideology rather than reality, and clearly warned against.

And not by Liberals, my Right wing friends, but by everyone -- including Brent Scowcroft and the first President Bush, who was faced with some similar choices years earlier.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be wishing for a president like Junior's dad. It just shows how wrong you can be.

I love you all, America; right, left, and chicken wing, your negativity notwithstanding. America could have been a beautiful and fair country once upon a time and still could be so again. Hope we get through this alive. Say a prayer for the common foot soldier.


Friday, November 04, 2005

I Gotcher Comments Right Here...

Hey reader, guess what? I've heard from several of you that this blog has not been accepting comments, despite my changing the settings three times in this past week to allow it to do so. I am going to another computer to see if it's fixed, as I just finished instructing Blogger to allow anyone to comment.

See, I though you didn't love me, but now I feel better.

Today's affirmation:
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, Republicans hate me!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Same Country, Different Languages

IN today's Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby points out that recent stories in the major papers give more attention to the tragic milestone of U.S. military deaths reaching 2,000 than the other milestone of the day, the ratification of the new Iraqi constitution.

Jacoby further points to Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon and Libya's abandonment of its nuclear program as important successes that have been overshadowed by the scurrilous "major media" and its ongoing attempt to squelch the good news from the broad front against Islamofascism.

These points are appreciated and not without merit. However, Jacoby insists on putting quotes around the word "milestone," and to refer to this milestone - unquotationized here by the GTL since a milestone is what it simply and significantly is - as having "no unique significance."

Jacoby and his cohort on the Right (I think of Michelle Malkin, in particular) have been hammering away at this point, that 2,000 dead is a meaningless and artificial place to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of our young and brave. Do you, dear reader, agree? As the GTL sees it, if they are right it's only because the numbers are going to keep growing and growing and two thousand may yet become three, four, or twenty. Best not to look. Are these columnists suggesting that we should never count the dead at all? Not to notice? Have blind faith in George Bush? Even Brent Scowcroft and the POTUS' own father aren't THAT dumb. And neither is the GTL.

The reason that people at home focus more on the macabre math of death among our own than on the global nation-building experiments of the neo-cons, clearly laid out in thirty years of policy papers and speeches, is that the people here have always done what people everywhere always do: tend to the home fires and mourn their own losses as uniquely special to them, their families, and their cultures.

This was not supposed to be a war about nation-building, discouraging Gaddafi, and driving Syria out of Lebanon. The country would never have supported that, not even in the most passionate rhetorical fancies heard 'round the bar at the most patriotic VFW hall. It was a pre-emptive war to prevent mushroom clouds here at home, weapons of mass destruction, and the refinement of that darn Nigerian uranium that Saddam Hussein, so we were told, had gotten his hot little hands on. It was not supposed to cost a penny. Oil would pay for that. We would be greeted as liberators. There were going to be flowers at our feet. Our brave boys and girls were going to be at the hearth for Christmas.

Now, with little doubt remaining that we were tricked into this disastrous war by a corrupt cabal of business-leaders-cum-politicians, who continue to grow richer by the minute while the real people of our nation hemmorhage blood overseas and go bankrupt at home trying to afford basic medical care, we are being asked by Jacoby and others for yet more sacrifice in service of the bigger picture, the long term picture, and not to notice when big, round numbers come.

The GTL rejects this formula for continued sacrifice without end - which does not include, of course, your corporate raiders, CEOs, or the fabulously well-to-do. They never sacrifice anything. In fact, where tragedy strikes, there's money to be made. Lots and lots of it. Oodles, buckets, rivers, oceans of money. These are good, good times for the few.

This winter I am turning down my thermostat lest my heating bill destroy my family's ability to pay the mortgage. The dead in New Orleans have not yet finished mouldering. Grandmothers choose between pills and protein. Meanwhile, Bush's petroleum industry buddies rake in unimaginable windfalls and Republicans seek re-election based on their moral superiority while they seek to undo every protection government has provided workers and families for the past hundred years.

Say a prayer for the two thousand, if praying is your thing. In a sense it is an artifical milestone, but only in that there are scores of thousands more wounded, maimed, and traumatized for life worth praying for, too. And that's only on our side.

Add them all together. Add the "meaningless" number of three thousand dead on 9/11. Pray for the hundred thousand. Or the million. Or the one.

Or yourself.

I love you, America. Someday soon we'll meet in the streets.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Extra! Extra! Democrats Show Some Spine!

Ah, Autumn in Washington, D.C. The air is crisp, clean, and filled with falling leaves and Republican reputations. Indictments flutter in the waning afternoon sun and one's thoughts begin turning toward turkeys, bunting, giving thanks, just desserts, and Karl Rove finally in the handcuffs he has so long deserved.

Today Senate Minority leader Harry Reid gave me a little something to be thankful for: a nice, tight little speech and a thrillingly theatrical, sudden closed Senate session to demand a full accounting of the truth about the war in Iraq and the White House. I recall wistfully the great dictator himself (ours, not Iraq's) claiming to have exhausted diplomacy and to have done all he could to avoid war. Anyone who believes him should have his water pipes checked for lead.

Read Reid here. Hear, hear!