Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Plenty of Conspiracies, But Not This One

Many are saying that the decision of the Iraqi courts that Saddam Hussein's execution "must" take place within the next thirty days is politically motivated to bolster George Bush's presidency somehow, as it will take place shortly before the State of the Union Address.

I simply cannot agree.

For one, there's no evidence.

Second, I believe that the bloody, grinding, terrifying horror of national disintegration currently playing out in Iraq is beyond any human being's ability to control, and that includes the thuggish bullies of the American Right who started this thing in the first place.

The carnage simply dwarfs everything knowable and I don't believe that the Iraqi courts are thinking about U.S. politics right now; they're just hoping for their verdict to be applied as fast as possible so that they can take what's left of their lives and skins and run like Hell as fast as they can for the nearest patch of safe ground, which will not be in Iraq, I can tell you that.

Third, it should be painfully obvious that killing Hussein, aside from maybe the small thrill of actually knowing (for a change) that this particular corpse was guilty of something, will not change a single thing in Iraq, except to perhaps cause the civil war to escalate.

Saddam Hussein has nothing to do with the civil war in Iraq, except that his iron-fisted control and brutality prevented it from occurring naturally for decades. Harnessed to the same plow, Sunni and Sh'ia lived together; once untethered from Saddam's yoke, once relieved of the atrocities of his secret police, they were freed to resume the dance of sectarian violence begun centuries ago.

I once thought it would be impossible to remember Ronald Reagan or the first president George Bush fondly. And point of fact, fondness isn't exactly the right word, though it will have to do. They were corrupt, to be sure, and hostile to civil liberties. They cared not a whit for the poor, enthusiastically encouraged unrestrained, unaccountable corporate greed, and in general worsened the lives of ordinary Americans measurably. They also allowed religious fanatics to gain political power, a development all reasonable Americans can agree is a mixed bag at best.

But they weren't insane. They listened to their generals and their intelligence people, not auditory hallucinations of the voice of God, as our current pickled-squash president claims. It's amazing to say that Reagan could be reasoned with, because it seemed impossible at the time. But brother, has it gotten worse.

Back to my central point, that the U.S. no longer has the power to use Iraqi national events to flim-flam the people back home, and that no amount of spin will ever cover up the realities on the ground again. In short, as the GTL mused several months ago, friction has killed the spin machine, or if not killed it, damaged it beyond a simple fix.

No one in America will be able to say Saddam's death will be the end of any bad thing or the beginning of some new wonderful thing.

So, dear friends, what goodies can the The State of the Union Address possibly hold that will undo the present disaster, and the disasters yet to come?

"My fellow Americans, I've just signed legislation that will ban Iran forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Peace to you in the New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Virgil B Goode Tonight: The Genius Who Protects Us

This is the U.S. Representative who wants a fairly-elected Muslim-American, Keith Ellison (D-MN) to be sworn in to the House of Representative using a Christian Bible, as opposed to the holy book of his own religion, Islam.

Wouldn't being sworn in on a book from someone else's religion seem just a tad off? I mean, what can Jesus to do this guy if he violates his oath? He can't touch him! He doesn't even believe in him!

Rep. Goode unleashed a tirade earlier in the week in which he claimed that electing Ellison might lead to a flood of Muslim immigrants running for Congress. The problem was, Ellison is not an immigrant and any effort to close our borders tight so as to seal out the Muslims (and seal in the freshness!) would be irrelevant.

As far as his fears that U.S. citizens of a religion he doesn't like might be elected to office, he ought to direct his ire at the founding fathers, who, in Article Six of the Constitution, expressly reject the idea of a religious test for officeholders, a reversal from the laws of eleven of the thirteen British colonies, which expressly reserved the right to serve in office for Protestants. I guess Rep. Goode hankers for the good old days - before the U.S. existed.

You'd think this guy might be a little embarrassed by how stupid he is coming across in the national media, but no. Now this intellectual giant is feeling generous, sort of agreeing that maybe we can live with the status quo, that there aren't too many Muslims in our country now (but then again, maybe there are). What he really worries about, what really makes him pee, is that Ellison's election may be an indicator that we may be on a slippery slope toward a Muslim majority in the Congress.

What a loser I was, worrying about the war in Iraq, our new role as torturer for the world, our skyrocketing debt, our terrible health care system, corruption in the White House... seems I should have been worrying about those damn Muslims in public office!

Anyone but me think this man Goode is an ignorant clown?

A Muslim majority?

The ratio of Muslims to non-Muslims in the House and Senate stands, as of Ellison's swearing-in next month (Koran in hand notwithstanding), at four hundred thirty-four to one. Expressed as a percentage, Muslims will comprise 0.2 percent of our elected officials.

Obviously, of all the issues requiring our immediate attention, this should be our nations number one concern. Oh, wait. That spot's already taken by "protecting" marriage from the gays.

I forgot.

Monday, December 18, 2006

GTL's First Contest Ever. Win a REAL PRIZE!

As far as I know, no one in the media has asked the president how much money he has made, and continues to make, from his extensive investments in defense industry companies. No one has mentioned the Bush family connections to the Carlyle Group, or suggested that the president and other political leaders divest themselves of war investments as means to avoid the temptation of vast sums of easy money.

I would not want to be a parent of a soldier lost in this war and have to contemplate the fantastic profits lining the pockets of our commander-in-thief. Nor would I enjoy the realization that prolonging the war, while not in the nation's interests, certainly is in the president's financial interests.

So here's the contest: find an example of a journalist courageous enough to do his job and ask this one question of the president, record the response, and provide a link to an article or website that has the proof.

The prize?

The Gun-Toting Liberal will give you his entire Christmas bonus to share with your loved ones or spend on yourself! No joke. This is real.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. " - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Politics of Human Frailty

The Gun Toting Liberal extends deep condolences and a wish for a speedy recovery to Democratic Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota, who fell gravely ill yesterday with a congenital brain illness.

Today's reports are not upbeat. And I want to stress the personal aspect of this before the political. Senator Johnson is not yet sixty and has a family. Our hearts here at the GTL compound do go out to him. Our positive energy and wishes for a swift recovery as well. Were we praying types, we'd do that for him, too.

I know my regular readers are fully aware of what hangs in the political balance today. South Dakota leans Republican and, should Senator Johnson be unable to serve, the Republican governor will choose his replacement until a general election can be held. No doubt, his choice would likely be a member of his own party. Were this to happen, the Senate would not turn to the Democrats next month as expected. We would once again have a fifty-fifty Senate, and Dick “Bang!” Cheney would wield the tiebreaking vote.

Now, there are many, many left-leaning types who are agog with terror at this prospect today. To them I would say, as I've said earlier, that regardless of who controls the Senate (or the House, for that matter), the country has made its judgment known, and the bullying hegemony on the Right is broken, an artifact of the psychotic mind-set of the past.

In short, a Senate with a narrow Republican advantage today is not the same as it was just a few weeks ago. And there is room for a measured emotional response here. So let’s take a deep breath.

Read on.

The other news from D.C. yesterday is that the president is likely to disregard the will of the people and the Iraq Study Group and bowl ahead by sending what I can only interpret as a token number of additional troops to be picked off piecemeal in Iraq. I say this because the twenty to thirty thousand troops he is calling for cannot begin to calm the situation. The time for more troops, as Eric Shinseki said, was in March, 2003, and the numbers he recommended before being summarily dismissed were higher by an order of magnitude. Adding more troops now would be like trying to put out a fire by throwing wood on it in hopes of smothering it. It may work, it may not. I don't think this fire can be smothered, even if we sent a hundred thousand troops. Which, by the way, we do not have.

But rest assured, our presence in Iraq is fuel for their fire.

We have an administration that refuses to call a civil war a civil war; they don’t want bad press, you see. So the terms they use and won’t use do matter a lot. The ultimate problem is that they didn’t send an invasion force to Iraq, they sent a campaign commercial. It does not diminish their disastrous judgment and exceptionally poor character that they believed their own public-relations spin.

And because this is a war that will last forever – against the Liberals, I mean – our benighted leaders will never learn from the myriad mistakes their lack of character will not allow them to admit, nor will they ever admit defeat. And genuine change is out of the question.

Does anyone truly imagine that they will be able to keep fifty senators in line, fifty men and women who will be seeking re-election long before the Iraq debacle is over? Unlike the president, who was installed by his daddy in the oval office as he was in every job, every cockpit, and every student body he was ever in, these people are generally smart and can read the writing on the wall, and their daddies cannot win their re-election campaigns for them. Supporting the fool's errand in Iraq is political suicide, and they know it.

It is clear: we are going to run this beast into the ground, oiled by the blood of our children and the stolen wealth of our families, and let it die under its own weight. Like Vietnam, only worse. There was at least a government to surrender to there. Our war was lost to total anarchy and the reality of a nightmare not even Hobbes himself could comprehend.

As far as the president goes, he needs only his dog and his wife behind him and he’ll stay the course forever.

Actually, I think he’d be content with just the dog.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Learning to Speak Republican, Part III. Putting Down the Daddy Club. The Neo-Con Fantasies (a new WWII for the future past).

It seems that the prez is definitely not impressed with his daddy's friends and their "expert" opinions. NO surprise there. The Oedipal drama overshadows the needs inherent in the situation; if Shrub climbs on board the Daddy Express and it takes him toward ending the war, he will have been castrated. Even "Brown Sugar" Rice knows this and that their view is untenable. What's a few thousand lives in comparison to the Oh so Shakes-pe-herian drama?

One other thing I have noticed is the apparent switcheroo in the Neo-C’s logic; if we complain that the Geneva Convention and the Rules of War are being violated, we are reminded that this is a “new kind of war,” and that, in essence, all bets are off. There is no enemy, only “enemy combatants,” who as we know are everywhere, including in our own country. We cannot provide these people with the rights our Constitution say they have, the supposedly unalienable ones like liberty. Never mind privacy, free speech protection, and Habeas Corpus.

On the other hand, whenever we talk about Bush’s dreadful folly and the need to extract ourselves from the quagmire, we are reminded of FDR, Truman, Mom, apple pie, Lou Gherig and the noble sacrifices of WWII. In essence we are told, “this is just like world war two, except that if we’d had the current surrender-monkey Democrats running the country in 1941, we never would have fought Hitler.”

In arguments with the Neos, we must point out this disingenuousness by first making the points about human rights so they can respond with the “new kind of war” argument. They will allude to WWII all by themselves, as their paranoid group fantasy is cathected right to daddy’s generation and their vicissitudes.

My response, in this imaginary duel, would be, “okay, it’s a new kind of war but also exactly like WWII. Got it. Except that, if as you say we are fighting WWII again, shouldn’t it be over by now, like the “first” WWII?

I would refer you to an earlier GTL post about friction and the spin machine. And someone please comment; I want to know what you’re thinking.