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]