Monday, December 26, 2005

GTL Hall Of Shame: Tip Top Equities Violates The Spirit of This Blog

Those of you who blog know the thrill of seeing a new comment come in after you've posted a new piece of writing. Someone read my post! Did he agree with my ideas? Is she a fan? Do they take issue with my intrepretation of events? Will they descend into childish name-calling? Will they give me additional information I will come to value?

A comment can make a post, and can make a post a lot better. This forum is a wonderful opportunity to share one's ideas, writing, humor, and wistful imaginings toward a better world with the entire world, almost for free.

So imagine my surprise when I checked the comments the other day after posting a bit of humor on the "War on Christmas," and found an advertiser for investments masquerading as an actual commenter. Suprise became disgust, and disgust became anger.

It's bad enough that Right Wing Wall Street suits have all but destroyed the promise of a reasonably comfortable and secure life for 90 % of all Americans in order to meet their insatiable need for corporate growth, for constant profits, to put the shareholders first above all of society's needs no matter what, for no reason and consequences be damned. But now they've abused the Gun Toting Liberal and taken advantage of my deepest-held values of an American life based on more meaningful facets than flat out, balls-to-the-wall, take-no-prisoners capitalist greed.

I REJECT TIP-TOP EQUITIES AND THEIR SLIMY CO-OPTING OF THIS FREE AND UNIQUE FORUM. To the dollop of scum whose bright idea it was to masquerade your snake-oil pitch as a genuine IDEA about something I care deeply and passsionately about I say:

You're a Major League (Bush Word)! Go (Cheney Word) Yourself!

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Right to the Rest: Merry Christmas, Suckers!

I have come to the conclusion that no amount of reason or talk will convince those who are lined up in lockstep behind President Bush of anything.

The mountain of evidence of the corruption of the Republican leadership of both houses of Congress and Bush's administration continues to grow. Their disdain for the Constitution, their willingness to support profoundly unjust acts aimed at the nation's most vulnerable individuals and families, their willingness to sneak legislation underneath the radar in the dead of night and keep votes open interminably to force the strong-willed into mouse-like contrition to the leadership - and the mean-spirited unfairness of that legislation, the giveaways to their corporation sponsors...

The mountain of evidence of loathsome, sometimes illegal, anti-American, anti-family, greed-driven, secrecy-obsessed, bare-knuckled politics threatens to reach to the sun. And yet these people don't see it.

Last night, in one of the final acts of moral abomination before boarding the jet back to their home districts, the Senate approved billions of dollars in tax cuts that strip thousands of families of their bare necessities for the winter season. In my state, families have just had home-heating fuel assistance stripped out from under them. Food stamps, often the last line of defense against starvation and malnutrition for the nation's poor - stripped of millions in funding.

Virtually every program in this nation which helps the weak to survive the predations of the strong and powerful has been gutted. Meanwhile, the largesse keeps rolling in like a tsunami of generosity to those who do not need or deserve it. The tax cuts they want to make permanent. The rollback of Teddy Roosevelt's first progressive blow against the oligarchy of the robber baron elite, the inheritance tax, has been successfully spun into a "death tax" that afflicts the humble, God-fearing "American Gothic" style American farmer and causes him to lose the farm. Of course, not one such humble dirt farmer can be found. This is a concerted effort on the part of billionaires, people. Not your pappy's corn farm.

It's a great time to be an energy executive (like George and Dick), a corporate leader, a Halliburton man, or any blue-eyed devil with deep pockets, friends. The money rolls in faster than they can pocket it. The White House laughs and laughs. The zombie pundits harangue "liberals" for launching a "war on Christmas," while actual dead bodies litter the globe as the result of the Right's paranoia and cynical manipulation of fear.

A war on Christmas, honestly. As if such a thing were actually happening... meanwhile the war on the American people by their fraudulent leaders continues unabated and the large majority of Americans watch helplessly as their pensions, health benefits, collective bargaining power, life expectancies whither.

The Right wing leadership and their cronies live in the lap of luxury, forget about shared sacrifice, forget about equality and fairness. Just keep that money river flowing and the anger at a fever pitch, as long as they make sure the muzzle of rage is safely pointed at people who can't actually shoot back. 18,000 "terrorists" now under surveillance by the unchecked executive branch, the poor, who have no voice, the working poor who are too exhausted to fight. The mentally ill, the elderly.

Merry Christmas, suckers, Bush says from high on the hill. Sleep well.

Sooner or later we'll have nothing left but our feet to protest with, and our votes. I await that time, America. I'll see you in the streets.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Do They Know It's (War On) Christmas?

I heard that in the War on Christmas, Labor Day was hit by friendly fire and Ramadan was targeted with white phosphorus grenades in violation of Geneva conventions. Santa has been censured by the Inspectors and has decided not to bring toys to the boys and girls in France... if Santa is forced to reveal the source of his "list" do the terrorists win?

War is Hell.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Criminal Mind Revealed

The only thing you can say in defense of the president today is that his assault on the constitution and the rule of law was bold, audacious, and competently executed - for a change.

Imagine if Clinton had initiated spying on US citizens without a warrant, in violation of the law which created the FISA court in 1979 to handle exactly these kinds of wiretaps. He would have been impeached at gunpoint before the end of the week.

Bush, by stating that he has approved this pattern of abuse of power over thirty times in the past and will continue to do so, has struck the kind of note that will ring authentically among his paranoid supporters. Rather than hide from questions about this obvious felony he's committed numerous times, Bush acts as if this were a debatable course of action about which reasonable minds can differ. It's almost as if the cat burglar has appeared at the front door, stating, "I robbed you last year, last month... I robbed you last week three times, and the minute you turn your back, I'll rob you again... I can do this because I disagree with the law and, after 9/11, laws guarding property are, in fact, quaint and obsolete. If you have privacy, the terrorists will use it to their advantage." The success of this kind of argument depends wholely on its audacity and the appearance of absolute conviction on the part of the criminal.

We can't be swayed by Bush's haughtiness and apparent self-confidence. His assertion of this privilege must be carefully examined by cool heads on both "sides." We can't fall prey to the "Bold Leader Syndrome." History teaches us that once a nation of laws becomes a nation of boldly audacious individual leaders who place themselves above the law, we descend into nationalism, fascism, and brute force as the only law. Mussolini, Hitler, Gengis Khan perhaps, but not our leaders.

In the U.S. the power to lead is derived from the consent of the governed, not from legalistic rulings from the attorney general, or from scripture, the Living Jesus, or Dick Cheney. In America, the president is a civil servant, and we the people are his boss. It will always be this way. Bush the First knew this. Somehow he failed to teach it to his son. Oh the damage a C-Minus despot can do!

Whether or not the congress and the media will do their duty and expose this bold crime, insist on an investigation, and then pursue a legal remedy (which can only be an impeachment, if I understand the facts correctly) remains to be seen. More information is needed: did the White House in fact obtain consent from Congress and, by extention, the public, for this program? If not, what consequences will they suffer?

This is the new Republican way of doing business: do whatever the Hell you want and ignore anyone who gets in the way. "We are the true Americans, patriotic and moral enough to follow our own law, written in our heads and behind our closed doors, and the laws we swore to protect and defend don't work anymore, so we won't bother even paying them lip service... they're worse than an inconvenience, since so called 'American' civil liberties work to the advantage of terrorists even as we speak. When you're protecting absolute good from absolute evil, you can't abide by written laws."

In short, our leaders have rejected Democracy. Does anyone doubt that, if he could, President Bush would try to dissolve Congress and achieve the dictatorship he famously wished for years ago?

By now you know that, prior to Gerrymandering Texas to death, Republicans were informed by every meaningful and thoughtful bipartisan review of the plan that it was not legitimate, and was in fact in violation of the law. They chose to go forward anyway. Don't blink - it's happening again, on a far grander scale. And there's more to come.

This is the way of gangsters and fascists, people, and the fact that these frauds hide behind the tattered, blood-soaked, and discredited Stars and Stripes only insults and harms us that much more. The young Americans dying overseas to protect our rights have been used and betrayed.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Feingold Scores! "This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue."

Today the people struck a blow toward taking back this country from the cadre of ghouls who have steered us into the mouth of Death.

Russ Feingold's courageous lone dissent against the Patriot Act's initial passage has grown and mushroomed over the years into a genuine movement among Hill politicians. It's a rare and refreshing blow for the forces of common sense. Read his electrifying remarks before the cloture vote today and you'll feel the pull of History being made.

And now his filibuster has for the moment rolled back the tide of tyranny, despite the enormous force of an ocean of Republican power, money, and influence. Now that the Patriot Act, rushed so precipitously through Congress, has been around long enough to actually read, and its proponents have been around long enough for their deeds and motives to actually be evaluated, many of us and our elected representatives in Washington have apparently decided that we like our American liberties the way they were before after all, thank you very much, and want much of this over-reaching, un-American legislation to die of old age at the end of the year.

If only New Orleans had had levies as strong as this one man's tenacity.

The NeoCon Right came to Washington to blow it up, starve it, usurp its checks and balances, and all in the service not of Jesus (as they pretended), but of Monsanto, Cargill, Halliburton and Raytheon, and a thousand others too numerous to mention. Thankfully, the country seems to be shedding its blinders, waking up to this fact, and realizing the consequences of throwing freedom away in the name of security while secretly enriching the unaccountable, privileged Few.

Enough God this, God that, hold still while I look up your ass and if you squirm or complain the terrorists win. It's a new day. Perhaps we can get back to a day when our leaders actually respect the institutions of Government in the way that every generation of politicians before them was able to understand, but which they contemptuously disregard.

Have You Heard of Mighty Aphrodite?

Mighty Aphrodite is a frequent commenter at the blog She hews tightly to the white house talking point of the day with admirable dedication and loyalty. Read here how she is spinning the president's recent comment that he believes Tom Delay is innocent, after laying out the "policy" that the White House doesn't comment about ongoing criminal investiagtions. Of course, they meant the Valerie Plame affair when they said that... it wasn't a statement of principle or anything...

Read my response:

Mighty Aphrodite is willing to carry a lot of water for her man George. Just like Tammy Wynette did for HER George. Of course, that was usually after he hit the bottle - and her -a little too hard.

Do you have a problem with Mighty A? Maybe you think she should leave him, bust up the co-dependency, check into a blog for battered women?

What are you, a bleeding-heart Liberal?

I say you go, Girl. Stand by your man until the bitter end. Who cares WHAT comes out of his twisted little pie-hole. When he tells you war is peace you GO, and back him up. When he calls out in the night, slick with sweat from uneasy dreams (a nod to Gregor Samsa here) that freedom is slavery, you must BE THERE, Mighty, to stroke his head, to whisper those sweet nothings he can’t get from Laura… finally, when he pins the medal on you that reads “ignorance is strength,” you will have earned the right to call yourself an American Girl - Bush-style.

To quote the president’s grandfather, “Seig Heil!”

Mighty, the president needs you - now more than ever. Because the fact is, people close to him report some disturbing psychological warning signs and behaviors lately; rages, moodiness, tantrums, blaming everyone for his own mistakes… frankly, I can see the writing on the wall (even when Karl Rove hefts his bulk in front of it so as not to reveal it):

Your lovesexy presi-hunk is not doing so well.

Look out for the public tantrum, because it may be coming soon, and then that will be it for his reputation as a grownup. He’ll need you most then, because it will take a herculean amount of force to spin his dead reputation then. And lots of clean, patriotic, cotton-panties-style retro American love. And you’re the gal to bring it.

(whew, I get so WORKED UP writing this… gotta open a window!)

BTW, there is no evidence to suggest that George was making a statement amounting to a reminder that all accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“Do you believe he’s innocent?” “Yes I do.”

Anything else is your own interpretation. What’s not there simply isn’t there. Unless you hold that it depends on the meaning of the word “is.” But such parsing is for slimy flip-floppers from some other, inferior, political party. Our POTUS would never flip-flop… what? he changed his mind about torture? oh… never mind!

By the way, why is it that a person arrested in the US is entitled to the presumption of innocence - even an ethically questionable individual such as Delay - but the thousands of people we are holding incommunicado in secret torture centers around the globe are given the presumption of guilt? I thought the presumption of innocence was based on the founding fathers’ concept of inalienable human rights, not on real estate law?

Does real estate matter so much that where you’re standing determines everything?

God to Bush: Ignore Constitution: "Just a Piece of Paper"

President Bush recently commented, in an exchange that has raised eyebrows and warning signs throughout the blogosphere but otherwise attracted little notice, that the Constitution of the U.S. "is just a piece of paper." Of course, when you take your orders directly from God, as Bush has claimed he does to more than one individual on more than one occasion, any human-derived document would obviously be of little merit or persuasiveness. Why not toss that brittle, brown ol' parchment thing right out?!

Now comes the news that three years ago Bush ordered what appears to be illegal surveillance of hundreds of American citizens without the required court orders. Everything was done under the rubric of National Security.

I guess the Lord gave him the go-ahead. What a team player, that God. He deserves his place alongside Rummy, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice, and all the other holy-roller millionaires down in front.

I'm not sure how I feel having a president who believes the only relevant checks to his absolute imperial power are the ones God whispers in his ear. In America it's a square-one proposition that we follow the rule of Law, and not our own quirky, idiosyncratic notions of what God wants us to do. I mean, basic, basic, fundamental, square-one agreement. (actually I do know how I feel: scared!)

We are approaching a day when politicians on the Right will only feel the need to shout, "Oh, Lordy, de Debbil made me do it!" to be exonerated of any wrongdoing. Pockets stuffed with money, caviar and champagne dribbling down their shirts, free vacation tickets, prostitutes paid for by good Christian lobbyists, huge suburban homes at appealing discount prices, free room and board on luxury yachts, thousand-dollar golf outings, gifts galore... but absolutely unimpeachable - since the president has looked into their souls - a la Vladimir Putin and Ahmed Chalabi - and pronounced them "good men," before moving on to the intra-cranial conference with God over whether or not to obey the Law.

And guess what? Turns out after all these years, God never liked America at all - not with all its meaningless pieces of paper clouding over His Will. In the end God whispers in the ear of President C-Minus, "Go for it. Let's roll."

In our society, people who claim to be directed by the "voice of God" which no one else can hear are generally classified as psychotics suffering from auditory command hallucinations. Our aggressor in chief, despite raising his hand twice and solemnly swearing to protect and defend that "piece of paper," has apparently let his true values show. They are not American values, they are Messianic Christian ones, with a healthy dose of Corporate greed, personal arrogance and hubris to grease the works.

Is the president in fact a paranoid psychotic? Or has he traded the mantle of world-dominator for the humble raiment of a preacher? Only time and catastrophic injustices will tell.

Won't someone in a blue dress please give this man fellatio so he can be impeached and get the long plane ride back to Waco he so richly deserves?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bush Follies: Cynical Lie or Psychotic Break?

Okay, we're not a nation of intellectuals. That's been well established by now. In fact, part of the appeal of George Bush back in the rosy days of the 2000 presidential campaign, or so I was told at any rate, was that he was aggressively uncurious and proudly ignorant of much of the world and its ideas. He wore his bad grades and spotty work history as badges of honor, saying, "I'm no egghead. I know what I know, and I'm a man of faith and that's all I need to know."

While President Bush may still be an inspiration to every C-minus student with vast wealth and powerful family connections, there are some situations in which there is no substitute for plain, old-fashioned horse sense, of which it may be said that he ain't got it, so much. And one such situation is the one his shrubbiness finds himself in now.

The president and his folks have been caught in so many lies, distortions, criminal acts, venal sins, and ethical imbroglios that even his supporters are starting to do the unthinkable:

They are fact-checking the president.

Time was, the Crawford Cowboy could sling some spin at the beaten and emasculated press and they would report it dutifully. Now there's a glimmer. It's as if the national house was on fire and we are beginning to hear the smoke alarms; all of a sudden we are listening carefully to what the Man has to say.

One of the latest and greatest lies the president has uttered was that Congress "saw the same intelligence he did" prior to the Iraq II war and are attempting to "rewrite history" by claiming he manipulated them into supporting his fool's errand in Mesopotamia. This is a lie of such vast proportions, and one so easy to check, that one must doubt the president's grasp on reality.

Read this and ask yourself: would a sane man rest his entire justification for war on claims such as this?

And to the press I say, if there's a scrap of credibility left in the west wing when you get through gnawing on this story, then you're not doing your job.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Republican With Integrity

Nothing of my own to contribute this fine cold morning. I do however highly encourage you to read this writer's assessment of the President's performance.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Liberal Love is Real Love (pucker up, America!)

I'm getting pretty fed up with right-wing bloggers and their canard that "liberals hate America."

If one demonstrates love for this country by respecting its laws, then judging by the orgy of corruption, the scandals, the indictments in Washington, it's Republican "conservatives" who seem the most hateful and contemptuous of our land n' laws. And mind you, with Democrats an endangered species on the Hill, the graft and bribery must be of epic proportion just to be seen through the lockstepped interference from the Right.

With this in mind, and with the secret prisons we're building around the globe (to spread Freedom, remember? Isn't that best done in secret prison camps?), I scribbled this comment on, one of my favorites, this morning:

If liberals “hate America,” then the far right Republicans don’t even know what America IS.

I suspect that New McCarthyites see the U.S. as the ultimate force for good in the world and beyond criticism. They see other nations as backward and unenlightened. To them, the ends will always justify the means because the ends - our national interests - are always unimpeachably “good.”

This is laughable to any student of world history. Has there ever been a “good” nation? Nations seek to meet their own needs and interests. Period.

America is not a piece of land, or some people, or a flag. Simply put America IS the means, not the end. The rule of law, the principle that no one, no institution is above the law, and that knowledge of the truth by the citizenry is essential in order for us to make reasoned and informed choices, is the most sacred founding principle. There is no America beyond the Law.

Just as the Koran gives Iran its identity, the constitution, state and federal laws, written by the citizens in the form of their elected officials, give us our identity. We give OURSELVES this identity. This was the WHOLE IDEA of America in the first place. Once we become “God’s favorite country” and play by whatever rules we make up as we go along, we are no longer any different from your average incredibly strong, hypocritical bully.

I love my country enough to tell it when it’s done wrong. I won’t enable this dysfunctional father of ours by refusing to question his obviously questionable judgments.

I fail to understand how Right wingers don’t get upset when we torture and kill people with no due process and little if any proof of their guilt. “They’re terrorists and you shouldn’t be defending them,” they say, “you clearly hate America.”

Great intellects they are, eh?

I defend America when its cynical leaders try to destroy its credibility in the world, and try to destroy transparency and the rule of law at home.

This is hating America?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Response to a reader

GTL Reader WILLIAM BURKE writes the following:

G-T Liberal: how come you love guns but would deny the same privilege to others? Doesn't that make you just another elitist, like Ted Kennedy, Hillary or Chuckie Schumer, grabbing guns from citizens with their Uzi-toting bodyguards by their sides?

I don't recall saying anywhere that I would deny others the privilege of owning a nice little honey like my sweet li'l .38 Special - say what you will, the stopping power's in a revolver; just line up a 9 mm cartridge next to a .38 and you can't help but notice that you'd probably rather be hit with the 9 mm. Fewer grains of powder, smaller slug. As my good pal Ice Cube says, "the bigger the cap, the better the pillin'," and the converse is of course true.

But I digress.

I want law abiding sane citizens to have access to weapons, so that when the radical fundagelical whackos come to convert us by force to their toxic brand of God's love, we can remind them that there are easy ways to quit smoking forever, if you catch my meaning.

Also, I'm sick of liberals bringing knives to a gunfight, and I want to remind people with my own political philosophy that there are times to stick to your guns. And you can't stick to what you don't have. I just choose to make mine literal as well as metaphorical.

My support for gun control - controlling access to guns and allowing only sane and safe individuals to own them - is in no way contradictory to my enthusiasm for the high-velocity sports.

As far as your rogue's gallery of Schumer, Clinton, Kennedy... I know these are "hot button" names which I'm supposed to immediately and reflexively defend - I've read the script, you know. Listen, there are lots of issues in politics. By and large, I find these individuals' voting records to be pretty acceptable to the needs of middle income families like mine. I want the minimum wage raised to a real livable minimum. I care about health care for the poor. I don't get very excited by the "moral decay" issue or Janet Jackson's breast in public. I don't like censorship... what I hate is corruption and hypocrisy. These guys are infinitely better than the sleazy thieves and insider-traders Frist, DeLay, Cunningham...

William, thank you for your kindness. Knowing there are readers out there bothering to share my thoughts means the world to this wizened old politico. I'd love to get out on the range with you some time.

Comment again.

BTW, I'm no elitist, whatever that is. Check the register at your local country club to find out who the elitists are. Liberals are mostly the opposite of elites in that we are rarely well-connected, and rarely control vast financial resources or business structures. I did, however, go to college, can read a newspaper, understand a butterfly ballot, and care about what happens to my country. If that's an elitist, then guilty as charged.