Friday, April 27, 2007

Learning to THINK Republican Part I

Mitt Romney is a rising star on the Right. He's tall, handsome, a fabulously successful businessman, and very firmly encamped in the Religious Right (a Mormon, but hey, we can work with that).

Never mind that Romney was pro-choice, anti-NRA, and held a passel of liberal-sounding social views when he was governor of Massachusetts. He's changed his views since then and will likely change them again - when necessary to connect with his target voters.

Now, sure, he flip-flops more than a tuna in the bottom of a fishing boat, but so what? What's really amazing is that he doesn't think it's worth it to capture Osama bin Laden.

I will never understand these Republicans. They are so filled with hate for everyone who doesn't adhere to their God-Guns-Bibles-n'-Boardrooms way of thinking. They accuse war veterans of treason. They out secret agents. They fire top Department of Justice lawyers and replace them with novices more schooled as evangelists than in the law. They institute policies of spying on all Americans, all the time, and call you a traitor if you remind them of your constitutional rights.

All well and good. But what really puzzles me is the absolute lack of will to catch an ACTUAL terrorist who killed thousands of Americans, right here at home in America, and destroyed the very symbol of America's economic might, the World Trade Center.

I don't agree with many if not all of the current Republican beliefs. I don't want to live in a country of billionaires where poor children live in shelters and hardworking taxpayers can't afford health insurance. I don't want to live in a land where one accident that takes me away from work bankrupts my family while CEOs earn billions to destroy pension plans and workers' rights.

There is not one policy put forward by the Right which will help average Americans like me and everyone I know.

But I'm used to all of that. I just finds it VERY ODD that catching the biggest mass murderer, the worst destroyer of property, the most violent criminal in all of U.S. history, is simply not a priority.

I don't believe in the death penalty but I know George Bush and his whiny lapdog Alberto Gonzales (the "Dunno Man") really, really like it. Hell, they killed a record number of death-row inmates in Texas and half of THEM were innocent!

Why ratchet down the bloodthirstiness now, when a villain who is truly commensurate with their rage finally appears?

You'd have to work awfully hard these days to convince me that the Republican leadership has not gone insane. Still, I want to understand how they think.

But can it be done?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Speedy Gonzalez, the "Dunno" Man

He can't recall. Ask him a hundred questions and he can't recall. His abysmal performance and disingenuous reliance on his own (alleged) failed memory are "truly Reaganesque," to guote a blogger I read earlier today.

One thing is certain. Since we now can prove that the Bush administration and their adoring Republican rubber-stamping lackeys in Congress have spent six years aggressively working to disenfranchise non-Republican voters, it is imperative that the current Congress work tirelessly to restore those same voting rights and to enhance every eligible voter's chance to exercise his or her rights to an un-tainted ballot.

If you consider this a partisan gesture, think again. We don't care who you vote for, although we do have opinions on various candidates and platforms. We just want you registered, voting, and having your vote counted.

That, my friends, is democracy. And it is just what will undo the knots our country and our electoral system are currently tied in.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Compassionate Conservatives? Not If You're A Woman

Enough compassion already. The country can barely survive it. How about a little common decency instead?

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision criminalizing a form of abortion is a new low in the Right-wing campaign against women's reproductive rights and the rights of doctors to serve them.

Even the majority opinion acknowledges that the law in question gets many of the essential facts wrong about what is termed by conservatives, "partial-birth abortion." The fact that there is no such medical procedure anywhere in any medical school or teaching text doesn't stop them. They went ahead and invented this incendiary term in order to inflame our passions. Who could be against ended an abortion that is, in fact, a birth? (I don't know what the hell a "partial birth" might be, come to think of it.)

Who cares if a woman's health or even her life is at stake? There's a little Republican in there, waiting to get out and vote for God's next fantastic Decider. (Come to think of it, didn't the legislation saving Terri Schaivo from the evil-doers in her family also grant her an automatic vote for her local Republican candidates in all upcoming elections?)

Medical science is quite clear and unanimous: there is indeed a need for this type of abortion, despite what a group of legislators without any medical knowledge not found in the Bible claims.

Of course, many of those pushing to re-enslave women to their bodies regardless of their wishes don''t believe in science at all and are in fact hostile to it; a majority of them refuse to acknowledge even the most agreed-upon of scientific theories, such as evolutionary theory and geology theory. They say that since these are "just theories," they are not proven scientific fact. I would remind these people that arithmetic, aerodynamics, gravity, as well as the germ theory of disease, are also "just theories."

If living creatures don't evolve, then these people should have no problem agreeing never to use modern antibiotics, since the evolution of penicillin-resistant bacteria never took place. It was God who decided humans didn't deserve to be cured of bacteriological infections. Being cured would be an affront to the Lord, a victory for Satan.

83% of Republican representatives refuse to acknowledge the science of global warming, by the way. They call it a "hoax."

Let's be clear, ladies: the people who imagine they are doing God's will by erasing decades of your hard-won American freedoms don't care about science. Nor do they care who impregnated you. The baby (not a fetus, not an embryo, not a zygote, always a baby) has an iron-clad right to your womb whether it was put there by a friend, lover, husband, father, brother, priest, rabbi, rapist, or tax collector. They don't care if you're twenty-nine or nine. Gang-raped? Failed condom? Victim of incest? Comatose and raped by nursing-home orderlies? Couldn't matter less. A life is a life is a life.

And you must not take a life.

It's only okay to kill Iraqis. The president heard the voice of God telling him to do so.

It's only okay to kill poor, penniless, retarded Texas death-row prisoners with inexperienced lawyers who fall asleep during your trial. God told him so.

It's only okay to kill "evil-doers." The president decides who is evil and who is good.

He's the decider, see.

If you have no confidence in our glorious C-minus Man and his decider-isms, you should have no confidence in those who groomed and supported him, told him what to say and who to hire. Who to nominate to the Supreme Court. What to believe about good and evil.

And you should have even less confidence in this tortured and shameful Supreme Court decision.

Again, enough compassion. Enough is enough. Or too much.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Those E-mails Again

I don't see how the White House has any basis at all to claim executive privilege over emails they sent and received using the Republican National Committee's server rather than their own government-supplied one.

The law clearly states that no political activity can take place using the resources of the federal government. By definition, the RNC is a political organization, and those using their server are engaging in politicking.

The administration wants to have its cake and eat it too. They are official executive e-mails, they say, and are thus protected from disclosure in the ways all official communications emanating from the White House are. If they are legitimate government business, however, they need to be preserved and should have been in their White House data banks from the beginning.

These officials made a conscious choice to fly beneath the radar here. They may have assumed this shady strategy of keeping parallel systems would never come to light, as the responsibility to investigate their actions would fall to the corporate media whores and the Republican Congress, neither group having showed much taste for getting into the slimy specifics of things Republican.

I think they just figured they had gerrymandered and obstructed and flim-flammed the country - scared them nearly senseless, too - enough to maintain their cynical grip on power, their War on the Will of the People.

It seems very simple from where I stand. There are only two possible reasons for sidestepping the official procedures for guaranteeing an accurate and complete public record.

1. The RNC system was used for political activity. This would be the appropriate avenue for politicking taking place outside of official business. There is no legitimate reason to use this server during the regular workday within the government. How then could thse extra-governmental emails be protected by executive privilege? You tell me.

2. The political wing of the Bush administration intentionally circumvented the safeguards on White House communications in order to allow them to communicate without the scrutiny of Congress, the American people, their political opponents, and ultimately, history. More likely. More sinister.

Thank you, America, for waking up. You are late for work, very late for school, but better late than never.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Treason is such an ugly word. How about "just business"?

Bush and his supporters like to label those who disagree with them "traitors." You know, peaceniks and protesters, disapprovers of torture, whistleblowers, muckraking journalists, opponents of government spying on citizens without warrants, combat veterans converted to the cause of peace, questioners of the Halliburton bonanza, ordinary citizens wanting to avoid unnecessary wars - that kind of traitor.

Bush and his kool-aid-bearers characterize the "Democrat Party" as the "party of al Qaeda," or the "party of the enemy." Electing these people would "embolden the enemy."

The enemy this, the enemy that. I thought our enemies were bin Laden and the Sunni extremists who attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Turns out our enemies' enemies are also our enemies and we are now helping our Sunni enemies fight THEIR Shiite enemies... all on our dime, with our blood. But don't call it Civil War. Only treasonous liberals call it that. This war is a one-hundred-percent, absolutely not contrived, completely necessary war. A just war waged by God's own nation and representatives on Earth. And anyone who doesn't like it - traitors. "Emboldeners," if you will.

These are crude and not very sophisticated slanders; think of McCarthy, sweaty and deranged on black-and-white TV yelling into the cameras about commies in the State Department.

Yeah. Traitors, treason. The Party of al Qaeda.

The stupidity is breathtaking. The gall, too.

We know the opposite to be true, that al Qaeda's leadership prayed to Allah for the re-election of George Bush and the great gift he gave them in terms of publicity, recruitment, and their cause on the "Arab Street" and around the world. The Muslim radicals would love it if we stayed in Iraq forever and, with their best friend in the White House, we may yet do so. After all, with the money pouring in and defense industry stocks going through the roof, isn't this a great time for all?

Now listen. It is not treason to want our children to live. It is not treason to despise killing. The troops did not deploy themselves and there is no contradiction in wanting to support the troops AND bring them home.

So we know what treason isn't. What, then, is treason?

War profiteering.
Outing secret agents.
Destroying White House e-mails.
Spying on Americans without warrants.
Inventing facts to scare us into supporting illegal wars.

My advice remains the same: Watch those e-mails. It's all there, the devil in his underpants, so to speak.

"Another tax cut for the super-rich. That'll show bin Laden we mean business." - Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lots of Balls in Washington Today. Keep Your Eyes On This One

More evidence today that the GTL, nose in the wind as ever, is sniffing something real and stinky. Hit this and let me know what YOU think...

Before I link n' leave, just a thought. How many "parallel systems" can the Bush administration maintain? For a group who say they hate government (though they seemed to really enjoy it when they owned the whole thing and had carte blanche to line their pockets), they sure do enjoy duplicating systems or even better, supplanting them without actually dismantling them.

Maybe more government is better after all, as long as it doesn't actually help any actual Americans?

Doug Feith, for example, sent all the Iraq intelligence unfit for the grownups at the CIA directly up the stovepipe to the oval office, to be plucked and smoothed, tweaked and whittled to fit the Goebbels-esque "good versus evil" narrative our leaders were terrifying us with back then.

Donald Rumsfeld - remember him, the best secretary of defense ever, as far as W. was concerned? He bypassed the Pentagon, creating a new, admittedly informal, military leadership - again, with its own intel apparatus.

These guys like redundancy, don't they?

Who needs a White House Press Corps when you can have TWO - the real one, with real hack journalists to sleep their investigative duties away, and the other one - populated by slimy shills dredged up from under rocks and paid, people like gay prostitute Jeff Guckert who posed as a reporter lobbing softballs at Bush's adoring press secretaries, or policy "experts" paid to look like reporters and actually make up the news?

Those of you who are taken aback by the duplicity of this clubby bunch of creeps should do what the GTL did after election day, 2000: re-read Orwell's 1984. To me it was a warning about unrestrained corruption, power, and media manipulation. To the president and his friends it was a play book.

And let us not forget another waste of the President's time and our money, the Iraq Study Group, a happy misadventure designed to duplicate the job of both the Executive and Legislative branches, and investigate the facts of the war and come up with recommendations? For all their work, for all their common-sense ideas, they got as thundering a silence from their own patrons in the Oval Office as the policy wonks who preceded them. Tick, tock. Again the meter ran and again the treasury bled.

And now we hear about Bush's decision to un-appoint some of the U.S. Attorneys he originally hired and replace them with newer, better ones? Better in that they don't mind using their awesome (and some would say sacrosanct) power to prosecute political opponents?

W.B. Yeats wrote, "Too long a suffering can make a stone of the heart." Half a century later Bob Dylan sang, "too much of nothing can make a man lose his head."

Lost hearts, heads, fortunes, lives. This is the Bush legacy.

Too much!

Or not enough?

And still we suffer.