Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bush and Brush

George Bush is once again at his Texas ranch clearing brush, according to White House aides. The greatest natural disaster in modern times is unfolding in Southeast Asia, and he is moving bramble around on his godforsaken patch of dust like Sisyphus in a Stetson. How much brush can there be to clear? And what the hell is he “clearing” it away for? Is he planning to build a landing strip on the lower 40? Create the world’s largest ball of brush? Or is the phrase “clearing brush” a code for some other more nefarious activity, like poking Laura or working on invasion plans for Canada?

I suspect that by now, they have to truck in brush to the ranch from another part of Texas while Bush is in Washington D.C. God help us if there’s a brush shortage or a statewide brush fire. He’d have to clear something else, like prairie dogs or cow pies, if there actually are animals on his ranch. Or he might have to switch to an entirely new activity such as digging holes or stacking rocks.

As a last resort, they could end up importing brush from Mexico. The CIA would strike deals with black market “brush traders” along the border. Black helicopters would make runs to Laredo in the dead of night to pick up the brush and then fly back to drop it over the ranch. They would eventually be found out, but everyone would simply deny it, and the brush flap would flounder and die.

It’s a hard job clearing brush on a Texas ranch. It’s a lot like continually trying to push a large boulder up a hill.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Fear, Money and Truth.

Many of us who lived through the Watergate era still regard Woodward, Bernstein and the Washington Post as heroes for having the courage to expose a corrupt administration. Thirty years or so later, it is the press from which we must be saved.

As the major networks mumble flimsy excuses as to why they are withholding the 2004 presidential election raw exit poll data from Rep. Conyers and other investigators, the press becomes the barrier to truth instead of the bearer of truth. The “truth finding” role of the press is now in the hands of bloggers who are the primary investigators keeping the heat turned up on the election day scandal. Bloggers and amateur investigators on the Internet may in fact be the last firewall protecting this country from the “Theocracy Virus.”

The great irony, of course, has been the willingness of the press to report on voting problems in the Ukraine election, only to completely ignore those same problems here at home. Their lack of enthusiasm to investigate the many irregularities and problematic incidents reported on November 2 speaks volumes about where their loyalties lie.

Clearly we cannot have a healthy democracy if the press is merely a mouthpiece for the wealthy and influential. The unreported voting scandal is unfortunately a symptom of a larger trend toward unanimity in the messages we are presented as news, which stems from to the continuing consolidation of our media in this country and the administration-whipped fear among American citizens.

Fear and money. Two powerful forms of persuasion. Can the truth compete?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My Predictions for 2005

I was visited by the spirits recently (actually, I drank them) and they provided me with vast and wondrous knowledge of future events. Here, then, are my predictions and prognostications for 2005. May God help us all.

• The Cubs will not win the World Series

• George Bush will be bitten by a rattlesnake while clearing brush at his ranch (they now haul it in for him to clear) and will have a near death experience during which hordes of masked midgets (he hates midgets) surround him and kick his shins until he breaks down and confesses to being an arrogant, self-serving imbecile who has no right to be President of the United States. Upon his recovery he takes a vow of poverty, resigns from office and opens a Tea Room in Calcutta.

• Dick Cheney survives heart attack #9 and will be more pissed off than ever.

• Donald Rumsfeld will resign and open a chain of daycare centers called “Sit Down and Shut Up.”

• A major earthquake will hit Southern California killing thousands. Bush refuses to send federal relief as it “may be used to provide aid and comfort to members of the anti-American Hollywood elite.”

• Although it will gross tens of millions, the new Star Wars movie is panned by critics for introducing the character Little Black Simbo, a small, dark-skinned minstrel creature from the planet Al Ibama. George Lucas will vehemently deny any racist undertones to the character and claim Simbo is from a totally fictitious alien society of entertainers and athletes.

• A reality show will be introduced on the FOX channel that pits real death row inmates in mortal combat with each other. The winner will get extra recreation privileges. Audience members decide the losers fate by voting thumbs up or thumbs down. The show will be hosted by Ann Coulter and Rob Zombie.

• The U.S. will withdraw troops from Iraq on May 10, 2005. War with Iran will be declared on May 11, 2005. Syria is penciled in for November.

• To help offset the growing federal deficit, administration officials will wear product logos on their clothes at all public events. Firestone, Apple, General Motors, Sony, Halliburton, Chrysler Daimler and Xerox will be the first major companies to sign on to the project. According to administration officials, revenue from the advertising could add as much as $10 million a year to the federal budget. “This is free enterprise at it’s finest,” Vice President Chaney will say.

• The first human will be cloned in 2005. Unfortunately, it will be a clone of Regis Philbin.

• Michael Jackson will be convicted of child molestation and sent to a women’s prison in Slovakia for his personal protection.

• Arnold Sshwarzenegger will learn to speak English and become a Democrat.

• Cuba will stage a preemptive attack on the United States, landing several ships of soldiers on a Miami beach. The Cuban soldiers will briefly control the bar at the Tropicana Hotel before being subdued by hotel security.

• Adam Sandler will be the leading contender for a Best Actor Oscar for his starring role in “The Story of Half-Wit Billy, Retarded Moron.”

• The blog “That’s Going too Far!” will be discovered by someone famous who will hire the author to write some stuff for a truckload of money.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Father Knows Best, 2020

Life in Bush’s America

Scene: The kitchen of a typical American suburban home at breakfast. Joe sits at the table sipping coffee and reading the paper. Mary is at a counter preparing food. Their children, Chip and Julie, are eating cereal.

Mmm. Says here the government is going to start drafting twelve-year olds for that Mid East mess.

Really. Thank God Chip is only ten.

Whattaya mean. I wanna go. They get to throw hand grenades.

Shut up, Dork. Do you want to die?

Hardly any of our guys die, Stupid. Besides, it’s un-American not to go.

Where’d you hear that?

My teacher. He was there. He’s only got six fingers now. And we have to shout so he can hear us.



Well he is, Mom.

Mr. Frost isn’t a dork. He’s a war hero.

I was talking about you.

Kids. Everyone have their homework done?

How can I? I’m in a group project with Donald the Dimwit who won’t get his part done. It’s going to be late because of him.

Mmm. Maybe if the class knew his father is a Democrat, he might be “motivated” to get his part finished.


What? I don’t like it that Bill’s kid is even allowed to go to public school. The garbage they believe. Doesn’t surprise me his kid is the odd man out.

Thanks, Dad. Good idea.

(to Julie) I thought you had a crush on Donald.

(to Chip) Shut up. I never had a crush on Donald.

Better not.

He’s a dork. And a troublemaker.

Let’s not be quite so judgmental. Not every child has the benefit of a healthy, moral upbringing. The President says we as Christians need to show sympathy and compassion toward the less fortunate, even Democrats.

My teacher says we should put Democrats in special camps. What’s a camp, Dad?

A place where people live who…share similar beliefs. It’s a way of keeping wrong beliefs from infecting others.

You mean, camps like the Jews are in?

Yeah. And the Hindus and Buddhists and Catholics.

It’s really for their own protection, Chip.

And ours. (still scanning the paper) Wow. Looks like Aaron Blass is going to get off with a slap on the wrist.

Our neighbor?

Missed church three Sundays in a row without a valid excuse.

Oh my….

Yeah. It’s a year for each day of church missed.

That seems a little excessive.

Not really. He could have been stoned to death.

He helped me fix my bike once.

My friend Nancy’s older brother missed like months of church. He disappeared and they haven’t seen him in like three years.

(getting up from the table and stretching) Gotta get going. The homos aren’t going to gas themselves. (kisses Mary on the cheek)

Have a good day, Dear.

Chip and Julie
‘Bye Daddy….

(At the door) ‘Bye kids. Make Jesus proud today. (Exits)

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Joke's On Me

I don't usually post jokes, but this one was sent to me last week and I couldn't resist. It contains two of my favorite topics: Hell and Bush getting what he deserves. Enjoy.

George Bush has a heart attack and dies. He goes to hell where the devil is waiting for him.
"I don't know what to do here," says the devil. "You're on my list but I have no room for you. But you definitely have to stay here, so I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I've got three people here who weren't quite as bad as you. I'll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I'll even let YOU decide who leaves."
George thought that sounded pretty good so he agreed.
The devil opened the first room. In it was Richard Nixon and a large pool of water. He kept diving in and surfacing empty handed over and over and over. Such was his fate in hell.
"No!" George said. "I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer and I don't think I could do that all day long."
The devil led him to the next room. In it was Tony Blair with a sledgehammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time after time after time.
"No! I've got this problem with my shoulder. I would be in constant agony if all I could do was break rocks all day!" commented George.
The devil opened a third door. In it, George saw Bill Clinton lying naked on the floor with his arms staked over his head and his legs staked in spread-eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best.
George Bush looked at this in disbelief for a while and finally said, "Yeah, I can handle this."
The devil smiled and said, "Monica, you're free to go!"

Friday, December 17, 2004

Teetering On the Razor’s Edge

The current national debate on the future of Social Security is a classic example of how the conservative mind works. I’m not a philosopher or debater, so I don’t know the formal term for this, but the approach conservatives take on almost every issue starts with a conclusion and then works to prove (or make) that conclusion correct. For instance, as a conservative, I believe cats are better than dogs, so I will now proceed to prove that cats are better than dogs. The approach taken by the rest of us, at least those of us living in the reality-based world, is to start with a question, “Are cats or dogs better?” We would then conduct research to see if there is indeed any significant advantage of one over the other. If the data clearly indicates there is a difference, we can then say with confidence, “Cats are better than dogs.”

With Social Security, the conclusion drawn by conservatives is that Social Security is a bad thing because it smacks of socialism and because it is a government-run program, which, as we all know, is abhorrent by its very nature. The problem here is that most economists do not believe Social Security is in ruins, as the Bush administration is claiming, and that there are ways to solve the program’s problems that are far less drastic and less costly than scrapping it. But because the conclusion has already been reached by conservatives, Bush can only do one of two things: change his position or try to shape reality to fit the conclusion he has come to. Of course Bush will choose the latter, which he has, by trying to make Social Security sound as though it is in much worse shape than it is.

The same line of reasoning was used in the run up to the Iraq invasion. The decision was made long before 9/11 that Saddam Hussain had to go and his oil fields secured. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon offered an opportunity to accomplish this, with one small problem. Iraq was not involved in 9/11 or other worldwide terrorist activity. But the decision had already been made, so, in classic conservative logic, the only thing to do was make the intelligence justify an invasion of Iraq. We have since learned that the claims made prior to our invasion were virtually all bogus.

We all have our prejudices and opinions about the world in which we live. Cats are, in fact, better than dogs. But if we have learned one thing as a species during our time on earth to this point, it should be that believing something is so doesn’t necessarily make it so. We once believed the world was flat. It is not. We once believed the earth was the center of the universe. It is not. Humans have made their greatest advancements when logic and emotion have been in relative balance or harmony, with neither completely dominating the other. When logic (or pseudo logic) does override emotion, we’ve ended up with sterile, soulless societies that tend to squash the individual in favor of the larger good. But when emotion has taken over, we’ve ended up with societies tyrannized by superstition, kept under control through fear and intimidation (think Afghanistan).

Like all countries, the United States has gone through mood swings between logic and emotion in its history. What has kept us from completely falling off the razor’s edge to one side or the other has been the documents created by this country’s founders—the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As long as we have accepted the authority of these documents, our country has so far escaped the extremist pitfalls of other governments around the globe. But the Constitution is under attack today, and with all three branches of government controlled by the attackers, it is a frightening moment in our history.

Starting from the arrogant proposition that they are doing God’s work on earth, Bush and his people strive daily to reshape this multifaceted, multicolored country to fit their monochromatic view of life through disinformation, intimidation, manipulation and lies. They are good at it, but no matter how dark the night, the sun will rise, and there will come a time when gut instincts and willful ignorance will give way to logical analysis and a respect for knowledge—balance will be regained. I just hope we’re all around to see it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Something Stinks

Billboards surfaced recently in Florida featuring a huge photo of Bush’s face and the distinctly Hitlerian slogan “Our Leader.” At around the same time, Bush visited Camp Pendleton wearing some type of faux military jacket, a la Fidel Castro and any of a dozen other dictators past and present. What’s happening here? Is Bush starting to actually believe he has been appointed by God to rule America? Are we being prepared for the declaration of Martial Law making Bush President for life? I sense a degree of desperation on the part of Conservative Christians in America that Bush may be their one and only chance to take control of the government and mold it in their image, and you know they are not going to be eager to give it up in four years.

Some of Bush’s statements since the election have been equally unsettling, alluding to a mandate (the voice of the people) not supported by the election results themselves. And he is moving quickly—and with total disregard for bipartisanship—to fill the ranks of exiting cabinet members and judgeships with far-right ideologues and political lap dogs. It all smells rancid to me. It reeks of something antidemocratic and cultish, an ideological coup in our capital by people who reflect and represent only one small slice of the American pie.

The stench of theocracy permeates the halls of the White House and Capital Hill. From the push for school prayer to the desire to post the Ten Commandments anywhere and everywhere, Bush and his lawmaker lackeys are emboldened to reshape our democracy into the capital of a militaristic Christian empire. It’s as though Falwell and Robertson and fellow demagogues have become impatient with the slow movement of the Evangelical tide to convert the earth to Christianity, and are poised to speed up the process by force.

George Bush is not an intelligent person, so it isn’t hard to envision him being manipulated by Cheney and Rove and others into believing he is “chosen” to be Our Leader. The adulation of fans, the servitude of staff, the glamour and glitz, the power and might: These can be highly intoxicating and, if deftly manipulated, highly motivating. A weak but ambitious man like Bush can be steered in ways that serve the interests of the few while appearing to serve the interests of many. Keeping Bush cloistered and away from the news and news conferences helps maintain the “anointed one” illusion and deny his critics a target.

Would they be so bold? So audacious? It has happened before in history. There’s no reason to assume it couldn’t happen here. In fact, there is no speculation beyond the pale when you are dealing with people who believe they are doing God’s work. Vote rigging and voter intimidation in 2000 and 2004 could be merely a prelude to more dramatic attacks on democracy. If you don’t think the Bush administration and its evangelical allies are capable of orchestrating a coup in the guise of national security or a national emergency, take another whiff. Something stinks, and it’s not yesterday’s garbage.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

News Alert!

The lid is about to blow off of the vote rigging scandal in Florida, Ohio and possibly elsewhere. Go to for details. It is still very early in the game, but if the claims being made prove true, we may yet see Bush escorted out of the White House. And if we’re really lucky, it’ll be in handcuffs.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Change of Heart

Warren walks up to the desk at Remorse R Us and is greeted by Cecelia.

May I help you?

I’d like to return my vote.

All right. Do you want to exchange it for a new vote or simply have it removed from the totals?

I’d like to exchange it for a new one.

Okay. May I have your receipt?

Well, that’s a problem. My voting place didn’t give us receipts.

Uh huh. I’m sorry, but we require a receipt or some proof—

I really did vote. Here…[pulls out a card from his wallet] See, my voter registration card. I voted….

This card is two years old, Sir.

[Looks at the card then fishes another one out of his wallet] Here. This is the right one. Look, that’s this year.

[Examines the card and then hands it back] Okay. We can accept it.

[Putting back the card] Oh, good. Great.

Why do you want to exchange your vote, Sir?

I’m not happy with it. I…I got so muddled in the last couple of weeks of the campaign, with all the ads…wolves and such. I just wasn’t sure who I trusted more, Bush or Kerry. But, now that a little time has passed and I have a clearer understanding of what Bush is doing, I want to vote for the other guy.

So, basically, a “Change of Heart?”

Yes. What else would it be?

Well, Sir, there are numerous reasons for changing one’s vote, including “Voting under the influence—drugs and/or alcohol,” “Accidentally pulling wrong lever,” “Come to one’s senses,” “Temporary insanity,” “Permanent Insanity”—

I…I get your point. I suppose it could fall under “Come to One’s Senses” as well.

Are you a Republican?


And you wish to remain a Republican?

Yeah. I guess.

Then it couldn’t be “Come to one’s senses.” [puts a form in front of Warren] Please fill out and sign the affidavit 502 A confirming that you have truly had a change of heart and understand your actions could possibly alter the outcome of the election. [He signs it. She puts another form in front of him] Form 322C is your new ballot to be filled out for the candidate of your choice.

[signs the form]
Have you had a lot of returns?

Actually, it’s been surprisingly slow. Not as many “Change of Hearts” as one might think. Although I’ve heard that there is inaccurate information being sent around about how to get here, when we’re open…you know, that kind of stuff.

Never ends. Does it? [hands the form back] There.

Thank you, Sir. Your vote will be changed by end of day today.

You guys sell sympathy cards?

Aisle 5.

Thanks. [Exits]

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Dear Bigot,

To [selected representative in Washington, D.C.]

We at the Family Policy Council recently wrote to express our dismay that so many conservative Republican representatives retain gay staff members. We reiterate our view that elected officials should not employ key personnel who don't hold the conservative views of the party and the voters who elected said individual to office, and homosexuals do not reflect those views and values. It should be noted by Republican politicians that this request does not pertain exclusively to homosexuals, but includes any personnel who do not truly adhere to traditional conservative values. For the convenience of Republicans who hire and fire office personnel, we include a list of traits and behaviors that should send up red flags regarding an employee’s commitment to core Republican principals and beliefs.

1. Shoes with tassels
2. Loud or unusual ties
3. Facial hair
4. Haircuts or styles other than those worn by Republican congressional leaders
5. Hobbies or interests that do not include watching or participating in traditionally male sports (golf, football, hunting, fishing, boxing, etc.)
6. Fascination with old movies, especially actresses from the forties and fifties
7. Drives a foreign car

1. Overly aggressive
2. Very short hair
3. Provocative dress (short skirts, cleavage, tight sweaters, etc.)
4. Not married (unless widowed)
5. Odd hobbies or interests (rock climbing, artist, kayaking, basketball referee, etc.)
6. Doesn’t wear a cross necklace
7. Grew up in a large city

For Both
1. Creative types
2. Overly social types
3. Dark skin
4. Foreign accents
5. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, Catholics, socialists, fledgling actors
6. Has a college degree in the humanities
7. Tattoos, piercings
8. Drinks bottled water
9. Speaks French

We hope this helps.


Rev. I.M. Gaylord

Monday, December 06, 2004

Born Again...and again...and again....

Scene: A meeting room at Cambridge Advertising in Tampa, Florida. Time is today. Five executives sit around a table directing their attention to Jimmy, who is standing next to an easel.

Okay team, everyone should know why we’re here so I don’t have to go into a long preamble and bore everyone to tears. [laughter] But before we start, I do want to introduce a visitor, Mr. George Lambert…go ahead and stand. Mr. Lambert—


Right. George is our liaison with the White House on the signage project.

Rest assured, everyone, I’m not here to meddle in any way. The President and Jeb were very pleased with your first efforts, and we’re sure the next phase will produce equally stellar work.

Thank you , George. So, we are here to brainstorm on the next generation of signage to follow the “Our Leader” billboard series. Remember that our goal is to help enhance the image of the President as a strong, devout, “God-Driven” leader of America. Now, the four of you, well, Tom, you’re a last minute substitute, but the rest of you were chosen not only for your talents as creatives, but also your political affinity with the goals of the campaign.

Excuse me?

I’m sorry, Tom. I realize you’re a little in the dark about this, but hang in there, you’ll see what we’re after in no time. You are a Republican. Right, Tom?

Me? Nooo. Why?

[confused] But I thought… [George comes over to Jimmy and they exchange whispers for a few beats] Okay, no biggee. Tom, you’re a professional, so we’ll assume that you’ll play nicely and work well with others to please the client.

Sure. Who is the client?

Can’t really go into specifics on that. But, we’re running low on time, so let’s get started. We need ideas, people, that take the “Our Leader” concept and push it in a direction that emphasizes the President’s religious values and beliefs, and how those benefit our great country.

Sorry, Jimmy. I don’t want to be a pain in the rear, but this sounds like a political campaign. Election’s over.

Of course it is. This is more of a brand building campaign than anything else. We’re building the President’s brand. Okay? Let’s get the juices flowing now with some new ideas.

It’s obvious, but “God’s President.”

“The Chosen One.”

[as he’s writing] Good. Good. Keep going.

“Pray for him.” Maybe tie it into a national prayer effort.

I like it.

“God’s Gift to the USA”


Jim? Jimmy?

“Making Jesus Proud.”

“Support God’s Work.”

Oh, yeah. Excellent.


Yes, Tom.

[pause] This…is this some kind of reality show? Are we being filmed?

No. Why do ask, Tom?

“Support God’s Work?” “Making Jesus Proud?” You’re joking. Right?

Uh, no. No joking here.

So you’re saying we recommend a billboard with the concept, “Making Jesus Proud?” [smiles in disbelief]

Tom, this is serious work we’re doing here. Important work.

Jimmy…[stands]. Maybe I can help clarify this for you, Tom. This great country of ours is moving into exciting new territory with the reelection of President Bush. We have an opportunity now to really turn this nation around and bring it back on course to its true identity as a Christian enterprise, a God-fearing, devout country. But in order to do this, it’s very important that we help people regain the respect for authority that has been subverted during the past forty years. We need a strong leader to steer us through rough waters, Tom, one who is respected, and, yes, to some degree feared, if we are going to pull the people of America back together again into a unified, respected nation under God.

[stunned] Jimmy? Can I talk to you in private? [he takes Jimmy by the arm and walks him out to the hallway, out of hearing distance] What the hell’s going on here? I am totally freaked.

It’s an account, Tom, just like every other account, although this is big money and a long-term relationship.

But Jimmy, you’re not into all this Jesus, Jesus crap. We’ve had beers together, ogled women….

Keep your voice down. Tom, the agency needs this work. We need this account. Understand? So yeah, I’m jumping through the hoops and becoming a born again Christian. It’s for the agency, Man. You get that don’t you? Our jobs are on the line.

Our jobs?

Our jobs.

What about our souls?

Good God, Tom. This is advertising. No one in this business has a soul. The only thing that gets saved around here are receipts.


No “buts,” Tom. Either get religion real fast or you’ll be trading in your Honda for a Schwinn very soon.

But I’m Jewish.

Our creditors will be glad to hear that.

[closes his eyes for beat] I…I feel something. Yes, I feel the power of the Lord taking over my body as we speak. [opens his eyes and smiles] I’ve been reborn, Jimmy. I am saved.

Hallelujah. Now get your ass back in there and let’s save this account.

[They exit.]

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The New Know-Nothings

From Editor & Publisher, December 1, 2004

“Public acceptance of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is well below the 50% mark, a fact of considerable concern to many scientists," Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of The Gallup Poll, observed today. He noted that given three alternatives, only 35% say that evolution is well-supported by evidence. The same number say evolution is one of many theories and not well supported by evidence. Another 29% say they don't know enough about it to say.

Almost half of Americans (45%) believe that human beings "were created by God essentially as they are today (that is, without evolving) about 10,000 years ago," according to Gallup's poll.

“I know nothing. Nothing.” Bumbling German prison camp guard Sgt. Schultz made this line famous in the sixties sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.” Willful ignorance, a staple of television comedy, can sometimes make life easier, as in Schultz’s case, where the less he knew about Hogan’s shenanigans the better. In the real world, however, choosing to ignore reality more often than not is a recipe for disaster.

An actual “Know-Nothing” political movement began in the 1850s in America as an anti-immigration group dedicated to protecting the rights of native-born protestants. Thankfully, it survived only about 10 years, but the sentiments of exclusion and fear of change endures to the present day. The movement’s ideological descendants have since gained power their predecessors could never imagine.

The new “Know-Nothings” take the name even more literally than their 19th Century forefathers. In America today, large numbers of citizens live in willful ignorance, choosing to reject scientific evidence and common sense for a faith-based view of the world where anything goes. Today’s politically powerful evangelical Christians accept a more or less literal interpretation of the Bible—God created the earth in seven days; Noah really got two of every animal in the world on a boat, and so on. The fact that they can’t prove any of these beliefs by acceptable scientific methods doesn’t stop them from going to extreme measures to try and justify their fantasies with pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo and self-serving data.

The influence the new “Know-Nothings” wield at the national level is a nightmare come alive. The National Park Service now includes a creationist version of the Grand Canyon’s origins among its tourist information. The Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative Christian group, has forced the National Park Service to edit a video on civil rights at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. One of their demands—take out Rosa Parks and put in Betsy Ross.

And of course the rise of the conservative cable stations and talk radio feed the religious right with all the news that fits ideologically, whether it’s true or not. It is of no concern to any of them that our nation’s embrace of Know-Nothingism has made us the laughing stock of the world. In fact, it energizes true believers to know that beret wearing French wine-snobs are in a snit over us.

In my lifetime, this country has gone from landing people on the moon to believing the moon is made of cheese. We have entered an era no one would have predicted in the days when we watched Neil Armstrong step off a ladder onto the powdery terrain of our neighboring planet. The rules have changed drastically. In this new century, superstition checks science and dogma replaces common sense. With Armageddon right around the corner, Americans, we are told, have no need for grand visions to realize or future goals to work toward, save converting the planet to our version of Christianity before the End Days actually end.

All great societies eventually fall, but it is maddening to feel as though I am watching this relatively young experiment in democracy self-destruct before my eyes, in virtually the blink of an eye. Recent elections make me fear that Americans are devolving, shrinking from the bright glow of the future, growing sickly and hateful in the shadow-world of ignorance. I keep telling myself, “It can’t happen here.” But it is happening. I’m watching it on television, reading it in papers, writing about it on the Internet. The prime directive is repeated over and over again not by scar-faced thugs in black trench coats, but by loopy white guys like Limbaugh and Falwell and Bush: Ignorance is bliss. Embrace it, America.

“I know nothing. Nothing….” Sorry, Schultz. It’s not funny anymore.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Final Judgment: Dissolution of Union

Red States
Blue States

Terms and Conditions

Heretofore, let it be known that both parties involved in the legal dissolution of Union between the Red States and Blue States agree to the following terms and conditions listed here. This decree, once notarized by the court, is binding and shall be upheld by both parties under penalty of law.

1. Real Property

Real property shall be divided herein between those states designated "Red" and "Blue" based on the 2004 presidential election results. Alaska will be Red, Hawaii Blue.

2. Citizenship

There will be a one year amnesty period during which individuals or families may move from Blue to Red States or vice versa with no need for paperwork or visas. After one year, residence in each color will have to obtain the proper paperwork and identification to travel or move to the other color. The Blue States also stipulate that any Red State citizen wishing to permanently move to a Blue State must undergo health, psychological and educational testing prior to the granting of citizenship.

3. Resources

Red and Blue States will retain all natural and man-made resources currently established within each state’s jurisdiction.

4. Division of Property

Red and Blue States agree to the following division of property with future disputes to be settled under U.N. auspices.

A 50-50 split has been agreed upon for Ice Shows, Circuses, Carnivals, Car Shows, Pops Concerts, Blue Grass Bands, Gospel Groups and various regional festivals.

All Talk Radio
Charlie Daniels Band
Ted Nugent
All country and western musicians
Wayne Newton
Bruce Willis
All Elvis impersonators
Lynard Skynard
Jeff Foxworthy
ZZ Top
All Military Marching Bands
Dennis Miller
FOX (with the exception of the Simpsons)
Rupert Murdoch
TV Reality Shows
All Christian Broadcasting
All Monster Truck Shows, Demolition Derbies, Drag Strips, Pro Wrestling, Tribute Bands
Wet T-Shirt Contests
Square Dancing, Clogging, line dancing
Beauty Pageants
Hee Haw, Gilligan’s Island, Dukes of Hazard, Jerry Springer reruns
Guns & Ammo, The Enquirer, Reader’s Digest, Washington Times, National Review, Hot Rod

Bruce Springsteen
Jerry Seinfeld
David Letterman
All Opera, Classical Musicians, Ballet, Jazz, Live Theatre
Oprah, Donahue
NPR, Public Television
Comedy Central
Discovery Channel
Dixie Chics
The Daily Show
Bill Moyers
Ballroom dancing, performance art, poetry
Coffee shops
Paul Newman
Hard Rock Cafe
M.A.S.H., Cheers, Frazier, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live reruns
Marx Brother’s Films
Harper’s, The Nation, New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, Playboy

ENTERTAINMENT NOT ACCEPTABLE TO EITHER PARTY (May be shipped to Canada or Europe at a later date)
Richard Simmons
Hip Hop
Arena Football
Cheerleading Contests
Celebrity Sports Contests
Flea Circuses
Water skiing animals
Carrot Top, Pauly Shore, Yanni, Adam Sandler


All country and western clothing
Steel Toe Boots
Military Uniforms
Sports Mascots
Baseball Caps
White Sweat Socks

Shoes With Tassels and Buckles
Tuxedos and Evening Gowns
Men’s & Women’s Suits
Clothes for Pets
Unisex Clothes
Walking shoes


Christian Coalition
Republican Party Headquarters
Independent Party Headquarters
Boy & Girl Scouts
Military Schools
Federalist Society
All corporate “front” organizations

Screen Actors Guild
Democratic Party Headquarters
Green Party Headquarters
Sierra Club
Gay Alliance
Planned Parenthood

(Agree to share 50-50 all professional sports other than those listed)

Alligator Wrastlin’
Tractor Pulls
Cow Pie Tossing
Bull Riding in Bars
Pie Eating Contests

Effete European Sports (Cricket, Bocce Ball, Curling)
Naked Tug O War


Fried Chicken
Pork Rinds
Head Cheese

Ethnic Food
Low Fat Anything
Organic Food
Smoked Cheese


Pick-up Trucks
American Cars
Motorcycles (Harleys)

Foreign Cars
Motorcycles (other than Harleys)
Mass Transit

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

IN THE NEWS: “Virgin Mary” Grilled Cheese Sandwich sells for $28,000 on eBay.

Currently up for bid on eBay:

“Last Supper” Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Pancake

“Passion of the Christ” Hamburger Patty with Diced Onions and Ketchup

“Pope John Paul II“ Dried Russet Potato

“Christ on the Cross” Mashed Potatoes and carrot slivers

“Baby Jesus” Yellow Squash

“The Burning Bush Speaks to Moses” Broccoli/Little Wieners Diorama

“God Creates Woman” Bar-B-Q Ribs

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Mum’s The Word

It’s not surprising, but very troubling nonetheless, that the mainstream media remains all but silent on the voting fraud evidence that is coming to light. This is potentially the most important national news story since the terrorists attacks of 9/11, yet network and cable news stations are dismissing it out of hand, rolling their eyes at all the Internet conspiracy theories. Yet it may be the Internet that ultimately saves us.

The Internet is allowing millions of people see the evidence of voter fraud firsthand, make their own judgments and add their own information. Now we don’t have to wait six months for a book to be published on the 2004 election fraud. We don’t have to rely on the dormant press to do their jobs. Citizens around the country and around the world have immediate access to crucial information, and they are the ones putting the puzzle pieces together.

This is a time-sensitive situation. There have already been reports of important voting documents being taken out of polling places and thrown in dumpsters. Who knows what’s happening in cyberspace. The longer this process is drawn out, the less chance there is that corroborating evidence will be found. And perhaps that’s exactly what the media is hoping for: If we put our fingers in our ears and go “Blah, blah, blah, we can’t hear you” long enough, all the bad news while go away, and we can go back to non-controversial stories about singing dogs and exotic diseases.

If there has been fraud, even if it doesn’t change the outcome of the election, we the voters deserve to know this. Whether malicious or simply human or machine error, it’s essential that problems are discovered and corrected or even the small percentage of eligible voters who do still vote will not turn out on election day.

Can you blame them? How many people are going to come out to vote if they feel an election is rigged? Our democracy won’t survive long if we can’t be sure our votes are counted and that the returns are an honest reflection of the will of the people. We’ve already had two elections fraught with doubt and skepticism, and there is little confidence there will be significant progress made to change things for the better over the next four years. Why mess with a system that got you elected and that can benefit other Republicans in the future?

We know from first-hand accounts that there was voter intimidation, discouragingly long lines to vote and misleading voting information given out in many of the swing states, yet even these “knowns” are getting scant attention from news organizations. If the ultimate truth is to come out about the legitimacy of this election, and perhaps prior elections, it will be up to intrepid Internet investigators to force the national media’s hand and make them do their job—which is to expose the truth.

Friday, November 19, 2004

My Christmas Wish List:

• Michael Jackson and George Bush share the same jail cell
• Someone from Cost Cutters ties down Donald Trump and gives him a decent haircut
• My own island
• An election recount that finds Kerry actually won
• The death of rap
• Newspaper comics that are actually funny
• A Pulitzer Prize
• A driver’s license photo that doesn’t make me look like a terrorist
• An epiphany for everyone with a red-state-of-mind
• The death of reality shows
• A liberal television network
• Iowa Hawkeyes win the Rosebowl
• Democrats find the cajones to out Republicans as the undemocratic thugs they really are
• The death of talk radio
• $76 bazillion
• America gives Iraq back to the Iraqis
• Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, et. al publicly apologize to the world for being morons and getting paid for it, and then have their heads shaved
• A kitty

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Theft in Progress

Whether they stole the 2004 election or not, the conservative Republican mob is in the process of stealing our country. With the media now under their thumb, nothing stands in the way of their plans to turn a democratic nation into a capitalist theocracy. Since 1980, the Religious Right has made ground with every election, and even during the Clinton era, gathered enough strength to nearly bring down the President for the horrific crime of being a naughty boy. Today they have control of all three branches of government, and they hold a fearful citizenry in the palm of their hand. There remain no serious roadblocks to creating the Christian nation for which they have long prayed.

Like an accident happening in slow motion, I watch the government careening out of control and wonder: Is it too late to stop our descent into a Christian-fascist state? How do we know when we have passed the point of no return? How bad must it get before We The People wrest the wheel of state away from the spiritually-impaired drivers in Washington? These are incendiary questions, I realize, but when the fate of one’s country is on the line, which I believe it is, this is not merely a rhetorical exercise. No one ever dreamed the United States would one day be hijacked by religious fanatics. You can feel the Bush terror-level rising daily as the terms “fascism” and “fascist state” turn up in more and more essays and commentaries.

What is so alarming to liberals and progressives is that the checks and balances this country depended on for over two centuries have been effectively negated, the system subverted, by people who believe they are doing God’s work on earth. The Supreme Court won’t save us. Our elected officials in Congress don’t have the courage to help. The press won’t do its job. Where do we turn?

The issue here is that we are not merely dealing with opposing viewpoints. It’s not as simple as liberal versus conservative. It is a battle between those who believe in the principals on which this country was founded, and those who do not. Religious conservatives in America neither understand nor believe in democracy. Like the Taliban or any other religious fundamentalist group on the planet, they believe in an authoritarian, vengeful, patriarchal, uncompromising God, and they are dead set on having those principals serve as the guiding force of our government.

Over the next four years, we will see concerted efforts to bring prayer into public schools, outlaw abortion, make gay marriage a crime, increase the government’s abilities to infiltrate our private lives, and much, much more. Bush, Cheney, Rove and gang will work night and day to continue blurring the line that separates church and state until it is erased completely. It will be a nightmare from which we cannot wake unless there is intervention. What form that will take, I don’t know.

Michael Moore asks in one of his books, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” It’s being hijacked by religious extremists. The question now is, “Dude, what the hell are we going to do about it?”

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Unreality Game

Setting: The set of the television game show: The Unreality Game. The audience applauds loudly as the host, Bill Blank, sprints gingerly to center stage.

Thank you. Thank you so much. You’re great. Thanks. Welcome. Welcome everyone to FOX Television’s The Unreality Game, the game show where our contestant’s knowledge of alternative realities can win them big, big prizes. So listen, let’s get right to the game, shall we?
[loud applause as Bill goes to his podium and the two contestants go to their Jeopardy-like stations.]
Welcome, contestants. Glad you could be a part of our show. Now, let’s find out who you are. Our first contestant is Clive Ubbershank…am I pronouncing that correctly?

Yes. Ubbershank.

Clive is the night manager of a Gas & Gobble in Mobile, Alabama. Fascinating. I’ll bet you see all kinds of people late at night.

Yes I do, Sir. Most of ‘em are good, descent people, but, you know, you get a few whackos from time to time.

So do we. It says here that in your spare time, you like to hunt, work on your truck, read the bible and…watch your neighbor Sheila taking off—?

Uh, excuse me. Excuse me, Bill. They…they were going to take that out a there. Erase it… Just a joke….

Sorry about that, Clive. But tell me, why did you want to come on The Unreality Game?

Well, Bill, I watch a lot of FOX news and I learn something new every day from talk radio, so I just knew I would be a winner if I got on. Also, my wife, Becky, needs to have her female plumbing yanked out and we ain’t got any medical insurance, so…here I am. [waives to the camera] Hi, honey.

Good luck, Clive. Our second contestant is Nancy Clarington from Cambridge, Massachusetts. And what do you do, Nancy?

I teach political science at Harvard.

Politics? A science? That’s news to me. But it must be a rewarding job…teaching.

Very much so, but also a challenge. The students really keep me on my toes.

And you like to travel, learn new languages, surf, downhill ski and bake gourmet pastries.

Yes. I’m going on a sabbatical to France next month.

France. Audience, why would any American want to go to France? [audience boos] I don’t know either. Well, good luck to you anyway Nancy. Now, let’s play The Unreality Game. As you know, one contestant picks from a category, and the other contestant must answer a question from that category. We flipped a coin before the show, so Mademoiselle Nancy, you may pick the first category.

Bill, I will choose natural science.

Oooh. She goes for the jugular right off the bat. Typical liberal tactic. Okay, Clive. Here is your first question for $200. Evolution is an unproven theory. True or False.

That’s true, Bill.

You are correct. Good job.

[Interrupting] Bill, excuse me. Bill?

[turning to Nancy]

While evolution may technically be a theory it is also based on a tremendous amount of scientific evidence and—

I’m sorry, Nancy, but this isn’t a debate show. Let’s move on. Clive, a category?

Current Affairs

Current affairs it is. Nancy, weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after the glorious liberation of that country from the evil dictator Saddam Hussein.

That would be false, Bill.

Oh gosh. I’m sorry, Nancy, but the answer is “true.”

True? No, that’s not right.

[We hear a harsh buzz]
Sorry, but the judges’ decision is final.


Your category, Nancy.

Ridiculous… Okay. The Economy.

Here is your question, Clive. Got your thinking cap on?

I do, Bill.

Great. True or False. The federal deficit is something that average Americans should be worried about.

False, Bill.

Now just a doggone minute here. Those trillion dollar deficits are going to have to be paid off by our children and grandchildren and—

[rolling his eyes]
Nancy, again the judges agree with Clive’s answer—

But it’s wrong. It’s not correct.

It’s my show, Nancy, and it’s the right answer if I say it’s the right answer. What do you think, audience? [Hoots and hollers of agreement from audience] You've got to stop reading liberal propoganda. Moving along…wow, Clive. You are up by $800. Good work.

Thanks, Bill.

Okay, contestants, it’s time already for our final Unreal Questions of the day. Although Clive is ahead by a bunch, Nancy can still pull it out of the bag with a final correct answer. I’ll ask each of you a question based on today’s topic, and you have 30 seconds to give me the right answer. Okay? And today’s category is…Corporate America. Nancy, here is your question: True or False. Outsourcing American jobs to other countries is beneficial both to the United States and to the host country. Nancy..?

[deflated and frustrated, she now tries to second guess the answer]
Okay, if I give the correct answer, I’ll be wrong. So, my answer is True.

Yes, True, Nancy. Good work. It is good for the United States, and, even though we really don’t care, it’s good for the host country, too. Well, Nancy has pulled slightly ahead, but Clive will go home a winner if he answers this last question correctly. Clive, your final question of the day: American corporations are over taxed, over regulated and under appreciated for their contribution to our society. True or False? Thirty seconds, Clive….

Mmm. Well, I believe that’s true, Bill, so it must be. I say, True.

[Bells ring, lights flash and the audience applauds wildly]
Correct, Clive. Absolutely on target. Good Job, and you are today’s big winner. Nancy, we appreciate you being on and as a parting gift you’ll take home a copy of the best selling book, “Treason” by Ann Coulter. Enjoy. [to audience] Well, that’s it from The Unreality Game, Folks. You’ve been great. Stay tuned for The O’Reilly Factor followed by the newest hit show on the FOX network, “When Swimsuit Models Go Berserk.” And remember, reality is a state of mind. Unreality is a way of life. Thanks, and good night.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Mafiacans

I was a target. The Bush/Republican Cartel took a shot at me on election eve. Luckily, I was prepared…with knowledge. A man identifying himself as calling from the DNC caught me on Monday night and urged me to vote the next morning, chatting from the usual “get out the vote” script. He then said that based on my phone number, I should vote at a church I had never heard of. I said, wait a minute, I vote at the nearby YWCA and I hope you are more careful where you tell people to go vote tomorrow. He thanked me and hung up. It took a few minutes for the gears to engage, but I realized I had been the target of a Rethug dirty trick to send me to the wrong polling place on election day. I’d dodged a bullet. Others may not have been so fortunate.

Welcome to American politics in the 21st century.

Audacious? Anti-democratic? Wrong on every level imaginable? Yes, yes and yes. But—and here’s the scariest part of all—no one cares. The mainstream press doesn’t care. Frightened Democrats in congress don’t care. The current administration (the criminal cartel in question) certainly doesn’t care.

Strong evidence is emerging that the election was stolen right out from under our noses. Unless you spend more time than you should on the Internet, you would not know this. The facts and speculations are rumbling around out there, but you’ll only find them on obscure political Web sites and blogs kept alive by surfing bands of rabid news junkies. As expected, major media are dismissing it all as conspiracy theories run amuck. The message to us all is, “Stop worrying and learn to love the Bush.” Go back to sleep, my children, it’s over.

I try not to, but when I do reflect on this past election, I’m reminded of my favorite movie, The Godfather. Beyond the great performances and superb storytelling, The Godfather is a powerful portrayal of the real American Dream where the rules are defined not by what is right or wrong, but by what you can get away with and what you can’t. Family success is justification in and of itself. If you kill someone and get caught, you’re a schmuck, a loser. If you kill someone and get away with it, you’re a shrewd businessman or a great politician.

This is also the version of the American Dream embraced by Republicans. Hypocrisy is too kind a word for the Republican political mentality. Mirroring the devout Catholic Mafioso, Republicans, the self-proclaimed party of values and morals, put little trust in quaint notions of honesty and fair play, instead sticking with tried and true tactics of lying, cheating and stealing. For the Mafiacans, there is no such thing as morality when you are competing. You gotta whack someone, it’s just business. You need to trash fellow Republican war hero and former prisoner of war John McCain? Hey, nothing personal, John, you’re a great guy. It’s just business. Need to smear decorated Vietnam veteran John Kerry? He pulls out a knife, we pull out a gun. He pulls out a gun, we pull out a bazooka. It’s how things are done. It’s how you win.

It’s amazing to me that the Mafiacan dirty tricks trickled all the way down to little ole’ me in Minneapolis. My God, the effort must have been on a massive scale. Just as Michael Corleone stood piously watching the christening of his godchild at the same time he is having fellow mobsters executed, George Bush spent election night in a state of faux-obliviousness, practicing his acceptance speech and crossing out the big words, waiting for a subtle nod from Karl Rove that everything had been taken care of…except for that one clown in Minnesota.

We’ll get back to him later.

Monday, November 08, 2004

All The News That Fits

The following transcript was smuggled out of the editorial offices of a major East Coast newspaper. It is a morning meeting of the political and government reporters and the editor of that section. Names have been changed to numbers for privacy concerns.

[rustling of papers, chairs squeaking]

#1 [Male]
I have such a hangover I can hardly see straight.

#2 [Male]
Where’d ya go?

#1 [Male]
Took…uh, Nancy, writes for City Features…to a new place. Christ, I can’t even remember the name of it.

#2 [Male]
Nancy…Nancy…. Oh, yeah. Is she the one with the—

#3 [Female]
—huge brain? Yeah. That’s her.

#4 [Female]
I don’t think so. If she had a huge brain, she’d be smart enough not to go out with #1.


#1 [Male]
Well then, she must be a lot smarter than you.

#4 [Female]
Once. I felt sorry for you.

[Door opens and closes]

#5 [Male]
Okay Ladies and…everyone else [laughter], what’s on the plate for today? And turn off your damn cell phones…

#2 [Male]
Got a hot one here. My buddy over at Precinct 6 calls me first thing this morning. He was all nervous and shaky…

#3 [Female]
Did he finally ask you to elope?


#2 [Male]
That’s hilarious. Really funny. Anyway, he says they arrested a government official last night for soliciting an underage male prostitute over on Lexington, and resisting arrest. So I’m thinking it’s the intern to the under-secretary of Labor and What-the-fuck. “Okay,” I says, “So what’s the big deal?” He says, “It’s Rove. Karl Rove.” I nearly wet myself. They nabbed Rove trying to hit on a kid and then putting up a fight.


#5 [Male]

#2 [Male]
Okay? Okay? That’s it? We’re talking Karl Rove. Karl Rove is a freaking pervert. He got caught with his pants down, so to speak.

#5 [Male]
Yeah, I know. I know. Let’s just say that Karl is…an asset to us while he’s in the position he’s in.

#2 [Male]
And what position would that be? On his knees playing “Ride the Pony?”

#5 [Male]
That kind of sarcasm won’t get us anywhere. Look, you know as well as I do, there are no black and white story ideas. They all have consequences in this city. So we scoop the Rove story, and our friends in the West Wing are upset, our information spigots get turned off—

#2 [Male]
I can’t believe you’re going to kill this.

#4 [Female]
Now if it were Condi….

#5 [Male]
Don’t start with me. Sorry #2, we’ll let someone else take the heat for that one. #1? Whatchya got?

#1 [Male]
Other than a splitting headache? Well, despite my current temporary health issues, I have been following up on a story that will blow you all away. This tailor I take my suits to for alterations—

#3 [Female}
In or out?

#1 [Male]
I love it when you talk dirty. Anyway, this guy knows the guy who does Bush’s wardrobe, helps him pick out clothes, match things, you know.

#5 [Male]
His valet?

#1 [Male]
Yeah, that’s it. So the tailor agrees to set us up for lunch. I figure, this guy’s gotta have a few anecdotes or funny insider stories. He does. Get this. He says the bulge in Bush’s jacket during the debates was definitely an electronic receiver and not only did he see it, he was in the room when they tested the damn thing.

#5 [Male]
Bulge? Another bulge story?

#1 [Male]
Yeah, but this—

#5 [Male]
You’re beating on a dead thing, #1. Old, old, old. Gone and forgotten.

#1 [Male]
Maybe you didn’t hear what I said. I have an eyewitness who is willing to talk about this—

#5 [Male]
And they’ll slice him into chopped liver and make us look like fools in the process. Next….

#1 [Male]
No, this is big…

#5 [Male]
It’s ancient history. Next….

#3 [Female]
Okay, my sources at Capital Security? They tell me that yesterday dogs sniffed out a 200 lb bomb in a tunnel beneath the Senate chambers. They were able to disarm it, but…My God, can you believe that someone was able to do that?

#5 [Male]
So the angle is lapse security?

#3 [Female]
Of course. A 200 lb bomb? Under the Capital? Terrorists strike at the heart of democracy? [pause] Kabooom?

#5 [Male]
I… I get the picture. Can’t go with it, though.

#3 [Female]
What? Are you insane?

#5 [Male]
Do you want us to be the one’s responsible for scaring tens of thousands of visitors away from Washington, DC? At the height of the tourist season? We can’t go around telling people security at the Capital sucks. We’ll have every city official from Mayor to dog catcher breathing down our necks, not to mention the White House.

#3 [Female]
But security is lax. Don’t you think people have a right to know that?

#5 [Male]
You said they defused the bomb. It’s all after-the-fact now. Tom Ridge and I are old golfing buddies and I’m sure they’ve fixed whatever glitch there was in the system. What else we got?

#4 [Female]
Jenna and Barbara Bush are going to host a new MTV show called, “Hot Tubbin’ With The Twins.” They’ll do interviews with movie and rock stars in a hot tub.

#5 [Male]
Really? Wow. Now there’s a story with legs. Good. Go with it. Everyone, take notes.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Truth and Consequences

Amid the predictable storm of post-election letters to the editor in the Minneapolis Star-tribune, one local woman wondered in exasperation if this election would finally help Democrats wake up and stop parading around superstars, spreading hate and spewing biased news—typical conservative echo-chamber chatter—but then she added curtly as a period to her point; “I want truth.”


This election, like no other, has made me question my understanding of “truth.” Without delving into the galaxy of analysis around the concept of truth with a capital “T,” I always made the assumption that on the level of simple human interaction, “the truth” was something provable, factual and the opposite of that which could not be proven. If I’ve stolen my sister’s diary and have it hidden in my sock drawer and she asks me if I took it and I roll my eyes and say, “no,” that is a lie, the opposite of the truth. If I cringe in fear and sputter, “yes,” that is telling the truth. And the “truth” of the matter is that I stole the diary.

But somewhere along the line, somewhere between “Leave it to Beaver” and “Sex in the City,” the idea of truth morphed in America into a much more subjective concept, one less defined by that which is provable than by ideology. Now I know that throughout human history, truth has always been framed by ideology, but what is frustrating is that this country was founded on many of the best concepts to arise out the Enlightenment—rationality, reason and the idea that humans will progress through science and an understanding of ourselves. Our growth as a nation was energized by our ability to look to science and education as the cornerstones of progress. Public education was created to give all Americans the opportunity to learn, discover and explore ideas other than those espoused by their parents or the village minister. Now, however, in 2005, the village minister, in his $2000 suits and electronic pulpit, is wresting control back from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, John Dewey, the schools and the experts, and gathering his flock under the umbrella of superstition and willful ignorance.

There is no longer any common definition of what the truth is in America, and I don’t know what “truth” means to the letter writer. If it doesn’t bother her that the Bush administration has lied to the American people so many times, then I honestly don’t know how she defines the truth. I don’t know how red-staters understand what a lie is and isn’t. When I see a photo of the President’s back during the debates and there is a bulge evident, but Bush says there is nothing there, what am I to make of that? Bush is obviously lying, an act which I thought was wrong, but which now seems to be acceptable.

So now truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Americans are divided in many ways, with a common understanding of truth being only one. But I have to wonder how this country can ever be united with two such opposing views of reality living within common boundaries. How do we tell our kids it’s bad to lie, when lying is an acceptable part of public discourse? Of course, we all lie from time to time. It’s a natural human survival skill to respond, “No, Dear. Of course you’re not fat.” But when we are caught lying, we normally expect some type of negative consequence. In the new world order of the Bushites, lying is not a stopgap measure used only as a last resort, but a useful communication tool that is judged solely on whether it works or doesn’t work, not whether it is right or wrong.

Our nation survived the Civil War, but many of the views that divided us then continue to divide us today—rural versus urban, tradition versus progress, religion versus rationality. Despite our common borders, there are different world-views between red- and blue-staters, different understandings of what America stands for and different perspectives on truth. For the past 228 years, we have been able to keep the cloth stitched together by all agreeing to live under the label “Americans,” but the strain on the fabric of our society has increased dramatically over the past few decades, and will continue to as our common agreements of reality grow farther and farther apart. If, as a society, we can’t agree on such basic issues as what is true and what is not, what is a lie and what is not, we are in danger of eventually splitting apart at the seams, and watching the American experiment unravel completely.

It doesn’t bode well that the letter writer wants the truth, I want the truth, but we both want different things.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

America Bleeds

You win some and you lose some. America lost this one. Everyone’s favorite bumbling, smirking village idiot is back in the saddle again, allowed once more to play Shoot Out At The OK Corral wherever in the world he chooses. Half of this country’s citizens have given a man who doesn’t know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland the most important position on the face of the planet. Red covered virtually all but the coasts of the United States news maps last night, indicating a serious hemorrhaging of logic and rationality from within the American body politic—cut to a wounded democracy riding off into a blood red sunset. Music swells.

Melodramatic, yes, but when it comes to George Bush and his administration, we on the left are guilty of continuously underestimating the damage they can do and the treachery of which they are capable. Now we must all suffer at least four more years in the hopes that before the next election there will be a sufficient threshold of pain reached in the red states that it will compel people to open their eyes to the madness of King George and his extreme agenda. It would have been so much easier on everyone if we had just kicked Bush out of Washington DC yesterday.

Scapegoats? Excuses? There are plenty of them. In hindsight, Edwards probably would have been a stronger candidate for the Democrats with his good ole boy drawl, boyish charm and lawyer’s killer instincts. But I grew more impressed with Kerry as the campaign went on. True, he does have a habit of rambling in speeches, but he could also be direct and on topic, a talent he displayed admirably in the three debates. His perceived aloofness may have cost him votes, but compared to say, Nixon or even the Al Gore of 2000, the Senator is a Care Bear.

Was Kerry’s campaign run well? Kerry was not one of the favored candidates for the Democratic nomination way back when, and when he got it, he was considered a long shot to stand toe-to-toe with Bush in the campaign. Kerry overcame a lot of obstacles on the campaign trail, however, and gave the Bushies a run for their money. Monday morning quarterbacks will point to the lack of a quick response to the Swift Boat liars or the inability of the Kerry team to focus on one or two issues, but I think it is amazing that Kerry mounted as strong a challenge as he did against an incumbent president in the midst of a war overseas.

Republican dirty tricks certainly didn’t help Kerry. Rove and his band of reprobates around the country pulled off enough antics to actually make the weak-minded question whether Kerry was a war hero or not. This was an impressive feat given Bush’s miserable service record, which nobody seemed to care about. In fact, there were many, many important things about Bush that nobody seemed to care about. Mmmm.

So we come to what I consider the real culprit of election 2004—the American media. News organizations in this country, both network and cable, failed miserably to perform their jobs during this campaign, and I believe it cost Kerry the presidency. There is no other way to explain why so many Americans believed that WMD had been found in Iraq or that Iraq played a part in the 9/11 attacks long after these claims had been proven false. There is no other way to explain how esteemed scientists, economists, Nobel Prize winners, doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs—the most learned people in a variety of disciplines—could all object strenuously to Bush policies over the last four years, and have so little affect on US public opinion. There is no other way to explain how a President and his administration could lie time after time after time with virtually no consequences, even to the point of Bush telling millions of American television viewers there was nothing under his suit coat when the bulge was obvious in photographs.

For years, small left leaning publications like the Nation, the Progressive and others have been warning Americans of the danger of media consolidation. The major media outlets, of course, were not going to point fingers at themselves, so the story remained well under the radar for most citizens, and continues to hover there today. What may have sounded like Chicken Little ten years ago is a prophecy realized today. With only a few companies owning the vast media outlets in this country, our news and information at all levels is filtered, compressed, sanitized and framed until—like the message heard by the last person in a game of “pass-it-on”—it bears little resemblance to reality. Many have heralded the Internet as the new town square, where real information and news can be exchanged. I agree that the Internet has moved into a vacuum left by other media, but it is not yet a forum for the masses, as this election proves only too well. For all the information available in cyberspace, it didn’t reach a lot of people in the spaces between the West and East coasts.

Reversing the media monopoly should be a high priority for progressives, perhaps the highest, but with Bush in the Oval Office and a Republican congress, we have to concede that little will be accomplished over the coming years. Perhaps the best we can do is create a grassroots campaign to raise awareness among red state citizens of the dangers media consolidation poses. We’ve got four years. But if nothing is done, the consolidations will continue under a Republican administration, and it could get to the point where Democrats run Jesus himself and still lose Florida, Texas and Ohio. Sooner or later we need to rescue the fourth estate from itself or America will continue to bleed red until it seeps outward covering everything, and everybody, in its path.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Loyalty Oath

We've all heard about the Loyalty Oath people must sign to get into campaign events for President Bush, but not many of us have actually seen one. A fearless Democratic double-agent confiscated this one from a Bush event in Davenport, Iowa and sent it to me. As always, you be the judge.

Screening Questionnaire for Republican Campaign Events

This form must be filled out in its entirety and approved by security staff prior to your admittance to the event.

1. I promise to vote for President George Bush November 2, 2004. YES/NO
2. I believe everything George Bush says is true. YES/NO
3. I believe God chose George Bush to lead America. YES/NO
4. I swear never to utter a negative word about President Bush in public and never in the company of more than 2 people in private. YES/NO
5. I have showered today and I am wearing clean undergarments. YES/NO
6. I have no tattoos or piercings. YES/NO
7. I have practiced smiling broadly, looking in awe and nodding in affirmation prior to this event. YES/NO
8. Prior to November 2nd, I promise to abstain from sex for 24-hours and cleanse my mind of any impure, socialistic thoughts. YES/NO
9. I am wearing the RNC approved American flag pin. YES/NO
10. I believe President Bush should be granted unlimited authority when he deems it necessary for the safety and security of America. YES/NO

I understand that failure to comply with any of the above statements marked “YES” could lead to my eternal damnation in the fiery pits of Hell or mandatory attendance at a three-day Michael Moore Film Festival.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Through the Looking Glass, American Style

There aren’t enough synonyms for “surreal” in the English language to convey the times in which we find ourselves. The daily Merry-Go-Round of presidential campaign images and sound bites is like a never-ending bad acid trip where the White Knight is riding backwards, the King wears no clothes and words have no relationship to reality.

The latest hallucinatory experience happened this morning as I caught a few moments of Charlie Gibson interviewing George Bush on Good Morning, America. Gibson gently tossed the usual softballs to the President, then, with a wink and a nod, held up the now famous photos of Bush’s lumpy back during the debates. Well, they both got a good chuckle out of it as the Liar in Chief first denied anything was there, then, flip-flopped and said the bulge was “my shirt.” More “lunatic-conspiracy-theory” smiles and nods with Charlie and that was that.

The problem is, there is something under Bush’s suit coat. An unnatural bulge is clearly visible in just about any photo you look at of his back during the debates. The question isn’t, “Is there a bulge?” The question is “What is the bulge?” Yet there sat Bush, doing his patented good-ole boy routine, denying what was right before the eyes of millions of viewers. And laughing about it. Not only is the “shirt” claim completely unbelievable, it also contradicts what his handlers were saying only a week or so before; that it was his coat that had puckered. How can this be okay in a democracy? In a dictatorship, where those in charge tell you what to think, understandable, but in a democracy? How can we allow this type of unabashed lying go unanswered? Our president is a serial prevaricator, the Ted Bundy of bullshit, yet, inexplicably, half the population seems to think he should be leading America.

During the same show this morning came one more smack to the head in the never-ending assault of political commercials. In this “story line,” a young woman who lost her father on 9/11 admits to being depressed, but is literally resurrected and returned to the world of the living by a hug from President Bush at a rally. Okay…. You should vote for Bush because he hugged someone who was grieving. The melodrama, music and tears are intended to make this almost automatic, very normal human gesture rank up there with the parting of seas or the feeding of hundreds with a fish and a loaf of bread. When you cut through the crap, Bush hugs a young woman who lost a loved one. What would you do? What would anyone do? Slap her? Tell her to stop her whining? You’d hug her. So that must make you compassionate enough to be President of the United States.

If there were justice in this phantasmagoric, Dadaistic parallel world into which we have all slipped, the young woman would have tongue-whipped George Bush into a tearful, on-camera apology in front of the world for allowing 9/11 to happen on his watch.

I’m John Andreini, and I approved this message.

Over the years, I’ve written a number of “letters to the editor,” to papers here in Minnesota and in Iowa where I lived for a time. Not all of them were published, of course, but a fair number were. The letters column in newspapers is one of the few public forums left to citizens where ideas can be exchanged and outrages vented. It’s not really a dialogue, and there always seems to be a contrived balance of pros and cons on every issue, but at least you get to say your piece and stamp your name on your convictions, which is something.

On those occasions when I’ve had letters published, I usually get several positive comments from friends and coworkers and that’s about all there is to it. A few times I’ve received positive letters from readers’ in agreement with my position. But I’ve also gotten my share of letters from the opposition, conservative Republicans I can only assume, railing at me with religious screeds or copies of articles from Right Wing rags. You see, there’s the rub. I can only assume things about them because they never sign their letters.

I’m not talking about hate mail here, but envelopes crammed to bursting with Christian Fundamentalist dogma designed to rescue me from Satan’s clutches and lead me from the dark secular world into the netherworld of superstition. I’ve gotten written retorts, some legible others not, and lots and lots of copies of politically related magazine and newspaper articles. Diverse materials, to be sure, but what they all have in common is the lack of any identification—no signature, no return address, nothing to identify the sender. Why? Well, I’m glad I asked.

Let’s pretend for a minute that I’ve just read a letter from John Andreini in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and boy, I’m torqued. Why that little…. Okay, this spawn of Fonda needs to be set aright, and I’m gonna do it! Here’s this tract, this article, a letter for good measure. There. Sealed. Done. “What about your name?” whispers a little voice, “Your return address?” CUT. I’m sorry. I forgot my lines. Okay, I’m supposed to say, “Drat, that’s right. I need to sign it so that liberal Yo Yo knows that there are real people out there who believe just as strongly as he does about…about… What’s the matter? Why do you hesitate? Dunno…. I believe some pretty wild stuff, don’t I? Delivered direct to your brain on the La La land Express. Not a lot of people think like I do. Nope. I don’t want him to think I’m nuts. Why would he think that? You’re on God’s side for Pete’s sake, fighting for truth, justice and the American way. The real problem is that people just don’t understand you. They can’t see the truth like you do. The fact that most people are ignorant doesn’t make me crazy does it? Look, I’m gonna send the letter without my name on it, so he doesn’t think I’m nuts, which I’m not. It could create a lot of misunderstanding if he knows I sent this to him. We can avoid all of that by simply leaving off my name. It’s not because I don’t believe in what I’m doing, it’s just to avoid any misunderstandings.

Uh huh.

It all reeks of fear, doubt, Gollum-like sneakishness. We hides in the darkness and sends letters to nasty Hobbitses. But of what exactly, are they afraid?

Everything. I wish it was me, but it’s not. They fear the world and everything in it because they hold beliefs that are in direct contradiction to the reality that presents itself to us on a day to day basis. They cling to a reality that is only in their minds, and at some level, obviously not a conscious one, they know their ideas are loony or hateful or aberrant, but they feel stuck with them and, even more strangely, feel a need to share them with others, like intentionally spreading a disease.

When you truly believe something is right and just, you stand up for it, you fight for it, you sacrifice for it. You put yourself on the line for it, even if that’s as small as writing your name on a letter to the editor. Martin Luther King walked into the middle of a tornado with every civil rights march he led. Hitler hid in his bunker and killed himself when the war turned bad. I’m no Martin Luther King, but I do understand the difference between fighting for what’s right and a sucker punch.

Monday, October 25, 2004

And now for something completely different...

The Duke’s Cemetery
A Cautionary Tale

The lovers’ plan was simple by design. Sir Griffith Madison would wait concealed in a tangle of vines in the garden just beyond the manor light until all was completely dark and quiet within. At the opportune moment, Margaret would lower the rope she had concealed beneath her mattress down to Griffith, who would then stealthily scale the stone wall and fall into her loving, desirous embrace.
So far, all was well. Sir Griffith crouched uncomfortably in the dry bramble jokingly known by villagers as the “Dukes Cemetery”—a garden lovingly attended that yielded nothing but weeds and thistles year after year. The deserved fruits of a bitter old man who felt his daughter too precious for the likes of me, mused Sir Griffith. He took comfort at knowing that the temporary pokes and bites he endured now would be driven into the dark recesses of his memory when his lips met his beloved’s eager, yearning mouth. His loins ached for the passionate touch of his porcelain-skinned lover. Soon he was adjusting his tights, hoping he would not have to endure the strain of separation much longer. His wish was answered shortly as candles in the manor were snuffed, one by one. After a few pounding heartbeats that he thought were surely loud enough to wake the entire village, darkness and quiet filled the centuries-old stone mansion.
Sir Griffith’s eyes rose to the black cavity on the third level which was the bedroom window of his cherished lady, longing to see her outline in the moonlight as she beckoned him from his hiding place. He stayed focused, fending off biting flies and other demonic insects, watching intently for any sign of movement in the darkened window. Then his heart leapt, for he could make out his dear mistress at the window’s ledge, her bountiful white breasts precariously close to escaping the confines of her bodice as she anxiously leaned forward to search for her hidden suitor. For Sir Griffith, it was enjoyable just gazing on his beautiful lover as she strained to find him in the darkness of the garden. Margaret did not posses great intelligence, for which he was thankful, but her beauty was renowned. She whispered his name tenderly.
When it was no longer possible to remain apart from her, Sir Griffith made his way none too quietly through dying stalks and stems of the garden, until finally he found himself in a strategic position just below his lover’s open window.
“My love. Margaret. I am down here.” He whispered.
“Oh, my dearest knight,” he heard her sweet voice answering. “My lover, my life.”
“Be resourceful My Dear, and throw down a rope that I might touch you again before I go mad with desire.”
“Shhh,” she cautioned. “Do not wake father. He was in a foul mood this eve.”
“I apologize, My Truest, but I must be with you, holding you, kissing you, fulfilling your deepest desires.”
“And I you. Here. The rope.” And with that, she lowered the rope for Sir Griffith. His heart aching for his beloved, he began to climb.
“My Dear,” whispered Margaret from her perch. “I heard the vilest rumor today.”
Struggling up the wall, Sir Griffith huffed. “What…was it, My Love?”
“Gwyneth, you know, the Miller’s ambitious daughter, told me that her sister, Fanny, the pretty one, is with child.”
Sir Griffith wheezed with effort. “Quite interesting, My Dear.”
“No, My Sweetest, the interesting part, the most curious part, regards the father.”
“The father?” He was now only several feet below the edge of Margaret’s window.
“Yes. She said the father was a Sir Griffith Madison.”
His hands instantly became wet and slippery. “My Most Cherished, this is nothing more than ugly town gossip.” He continued to climb.
“Gwyneth is an honest, purposeful woman. I never take her word lightly.”
Reaching up, Sir Griffith was able to get one hand on the stone window sill. “But surely, My Rose, you do not believe such evil slander. Give me a hand, would you?” He looked up only to see his lover holding a dark object. “What, pray tell, is that?” he panted.
“This? It is a man’s glove, My Treasured One, with initials on it. Gwyneth retrieved it from her sister’s room during her cleaning duties. Look here. ‘GM.’ How coincidental.”
Sir Griffith felt the blood freeze in his veins. “Oh Sylvan Princess, let me come up to explain…”
“You have already explained yourself.” And with one hand, she dropped the glove out the window. With the other, she brought a dagger from behind her back.
“Our connectedness is severed. You may retrieve your glove now.” And, as Sir Griffith shrieked in horror, she sawed the rope which lay taut on the sill until Margaret and the Knight parted ways forever.
The Duke’s garden, however, was the most productive it had ever been the following year, making Margaret, and her father, very pleased.

Monday, October 18, 2004

What are they thinking?

These quotes were posted today on "Media Matters," a great site dedicated to bringing to light the hypocrisy and lunacy of Right Wing pundits and the double standards found in network news. The responses simply confirm the thesis in my last posting that those on the Right (such as the Cheney's) equate being gay with some sort of illness or horrible personal tragedy. Personally, I think being as out of touch with reality as Buchanan and Limbaugh reflects some form of mental illness. You can't have all your wiring right and spew the nonsense they do day in and day out.

From the October 15 edition of MSNBC News Live:

ALLISON STEWART (MSNBC political commentator and daytime anchor): Is it just possible that John Kerry really did make a heartfelt comment and the Cheneys really did just act as angry parents? Or does that just not happen in DC?

BUCHANAN (MSNBC analyst and former Republican presidential candidate): Look, you might have said that was the reaction when Edwards did it the first time, and he mentioned the daughter was gay, but when you do it the second time in a presidential debate and use the cold, hard word "lesbian," which really is offensive and what is to many people, this is deliberate. This is cold. This is calculated because Kerry and Edwards are hurting over the fact that they are both sympathetic to the idea that homosexual marriages should be elevated to the same level as traditional marriage. And to bring an innocent woman into this, you know what this is like? It's like finding a conservative who's a right-to-lifer and going on television and saying, "I'm sorry, my friend's daughter had an abortion." You don't do that.

From the October 14 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Imagine if the subject were abortion, and you've got a Democrat presidential candidate, unnamed, and you've got a daughter up there that's maybe had a couple of abortions. And the president would have said, "Well, you know, abortion is one of these things, we want to make it as rare as possible. I know the Senator's daughter's had at least one. We don't really know how many."

Friday, October 15, 2004

There’s Something About Mary…

The current flap over John Kerry’s debate comments about the Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary has, of course, shoved meaningful news stories off the table for a few days. Lynne Cheney has been showcased wagging her head at crowds and mournfully repeating, “This is not a good man…” in reference to Kerry, and Dick has been unconvincingly playing the roll of irate father. What’s interesting to me about this campaign side bar is that it says far more about how the Cheney’s view their daughter Mary than it does about the substance of Kerry’s remarks.

Dick Cheney has talked openly on the campaign trail about Mary. That he has a lesbian daughter is no secret to anyone, yet the Cheney’s are upset that Kerry spoke the words aloud. Why? Setting aside the fact that they despise the Senator, and would take advantage of any opportunity they could to put him in a bad light, the outrage they profess sends another signal about how they view their gay daughter.

At least a part of their anger (the part that isn’t manufactured for the media) results from their view that Mary has an affliction. A disease. A deformity. Being gay is being sick in the Cheney’s world-view, and it has certainly been the cause of much inner grief for them. As a result, Kerry’s remarks during the debate were akin to talking about some deformity or horrid illness in the Cheney family, which is something a person outside the family just doesn’t do in a civilized society. The fact that many millions of Americans don’t view being gay as a medical condition, and would find nothing negative about mentioning Mary in the context of advocating tolerance, isn’t something the Cheney’s can comprehend. The only group of people who would be shocked by Kerry’s remarks are those who see gayness as an illness—the hardcore religious Right who support Bush.

So the Cheney’s, mixing part real indignation with equal doses of pandering to their constituency, capture the campaign spotlight for a few days to try and garner sympathy for themselves (and Bush) and get a few licks in at Kerry. And of course, the ever-obedient media complies.

The outcome of the campaign does not hinge on this minor incident, but it is one more telling reminder for me that placing ideology, superstition and party loyalty before logic, science and simple humanity only leads to the gradual starvation of the very soul one loudly claims to be nourishing.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Speculations on the bump under George Bush’s jacket during the debates

• The anxiety of constantly lying is beginning to manifest itself in physical deformities

• A continuous 24-hour deodorant pump

• Electroshock device Rove uses to produce the desired response

• A candy bar

• An artificial heart

• A really ugly mole

• A receiver implanted by aliens

• A tracking device

• The missing National Guard records

• A retractable leash

• A large bandage covering a tattoo of Tony Blair in a Speedo

• Bush isn’t sure either

Thursday, October 07, 2004


BY J.P. ANDRE — President Bush stunned the world today during a short exchange with reporters at the White House by announcing that there is no war in Iraq. In response to a question related to the escalating costs of the war, the President responded, “War? There’s no war in Iraq.”

Reporters at the scene were rendered speechless, much to the delight of the President. Then, as if suddenly getting a joke, several in the crowd chuckled. But when asked again about the Iraq war, the President repeated his assertion that there isn’t a war.

“But Sir,” asked an incredulous newsman, “We’ve been reporting on the war in Iraq for over a year now. We…we have pictures.” Another reporter chimed in, “I’ve been to Iraq. There’s a war going on there.”

Unfazed, the President responded. “Look, you people have gotten lazy. Okay? You’re totally mistaken about this Iraq thing. There’s no war in Iraq. Believe me, if there was a war going on over there, I would be the first to know.” With that, the President smiled and waved to the shell shocked journalists as he climbed aboard Chopper I for a campaign swing through the South.

Throughout the day, reporters from around the world called the White House to confirm or deny the President’s assertion. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the President was absolutely correct. “I think you’ve all been taken in by liberal bloggers and foreign newspapers. There’s no war in Iraq. It’s a ridiculous notion.”

Vice President Cheney was even more blunt. “Look, the liberal press will do anything to discredit this President, even to the point of fabricating stories just to make him look bad. This whole Iraq business sounds like liberal dirty tricks to me.”

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, vacationing in the Florida Keys, suggested that reporters had consumed too many Margaritas. “Iraq?” he’s quoted as saying. “Why in the hell would we fight a war in Iraq? You better check your sources.”

At least three major U.S. newspapers will run headlines tomorrow announcing that there is no war in Iraq. CBS anchor Dan Rather, still stinging from the Bush National Guard memo fiasco, said he will start his evening broadcast with the good news that there really isn’t a war in Iraq. “People need a feel-good story right about now,” said the veteran newsman. “Knowing that Americans aren’t dying in Iraq will make a lot of people very happy.”

A number of foreign leaders have questioned the President’s statements, but a quick poll taken today by Gallup indicates 89% of Americans believe the President of the United States.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Little Big Man

My administration sources are so sensitive I’d have to kill myself if I even thought of their names. But the Insiders are in my debt for services rendered (neither knee pads nor lard was involved), so information comes my way from time to time that is of political interest to my faithful reader. However, the latest document to reach my desk from the Insiders rises far above the level of “interesting” into the realm of “bombshell.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I first glanced through the material, but I was given corroborating evidence that confirms the authenticity of the document. I am positive you will be no less shocked by this than I was. What you will read is a partial transcript of a recording made by someone in the President's hotel suite the evening following the first debate between John Kerry and George Bush. The quality was less than perfect, but the content is priceless.

[Bustling noise. Muffled voices. Doors opening and closing]
Bush: Okay, everyone sit. Who wants to get their ass kicked first?
Unknown: Sir, I—
Bush: Shut up. I looked like a prairie chicken with a goddamn egg stuck up her ass out there.
Cheney: Calm down, George. You did fine.
Bush: Fine my ass. I…Homer Simpson could have done better. Where’s Pritchard? The answers weren’t coming fast enough, goddamn it. I had to stand there like a doe in the headlights waiting for my lines from Pritchard. Where the hell is he anyway?
Rove: Pritchard had the sudden desire to be reassigned to the grounds maintenance crew at the US Consulate in Yemen.
[soft laughter]
Bush: [agitated] This is no joke. You understand? I got reamed by Kerry.
Cheney: You didn’t get reamed. George, you did great. You stayed on message, you looked strong, resolute….
Bush: Strong? I looked strong?
[unknown]: Sir, you have a call from the First Lady. Something about the Twins and posting bail…
Bush: Jesus Christ on a crutch. That’s all I need right now. Tell her I’ll call her back in twenty minutes. Karl, how we gonna spin this thing?
Rove: We say you won, of course. I’ve already had the releases sent out. Kerry flip-flopped as predicted, you stood firm and resolute. America needs firm leadership. Blah, blah, blah.
Bush: I am so tired of this broken record. When the hell can I say something else?
Cheney: George, you know the problems we have when you…say things.
Bush: Oh yeah? Listen, I think if I’d been able to say what was on my mind tonight, I woulda done a whole lot better. [pause] What are you smirking about, Paul?
Wolfowitz: Nothing, Mr. President…a little gas.
Bush: Gas my ass… [muffled chuckles] What’s so damned funny?
[unknown voices] Nothing, Sir. Not a thing….
Bush: Everyone thinks this is all one big joke. Well, it’s not. I got my butt kicked. I just wish I could challenge Kerry to a knife fight or something. [pause] Who…Powell? You snickering over there?
Powell: No Sir. Just clearing my throat.
Bush: Next person who snickers or laughs is going to join Pritchard in Yemini.
Powell: Yemen.
Bush: Huh?
Powell: The country is Yemen. People who live there are Yemenis.
Bush: I don’t give a flying fuck if they’re Yemens, Yeminis or Yemenistas. What the hell—
Cheney: We need to focus here, people. How are we going to make a stronger impact in the next debate?
Bush: Look. I’ll pull up my coat nice and slow like this and give that cocksucker a peek at my Glock. It’ll scare the shit out of him…Mr. War Hero….
[unknown, sarcastic] Oh, that’ll work.
Bush: [angrily] Huh? Who said that? You bein’ smart? [movement in the room] You think…you think I won’t use it?
Cheney: George, put away the gun.
Powell: Jesus, Mr. President…
Bush: No, this little punk doesn’t think I have the guts to whip this baby out… [rustling] Hey, what do you think now? Huh, tough guy?
Cheney: [sharply] George. Let go of Aaron and put that thing away.
Bush: Ooh. Big man, Aaron. Who’s your daddy? Huh? [more rustling] Next time you keep your big mouth shut, punk.
Rove: George, did you take your meds today?
Bush: Hell, I don’t know. That felt good, though. Got the adrenaline pumping… Somebody get me a Jack Daniels. What are you smiling at?
[end of transcription]