Friday, March 31, 2006

Are you willfully ignorant or just stupid?

Should we penalize willful ignorance?

It’s not without precedent.

Austrian authorities sentenced right-wing British historian David Irving to three years in jail for denying the Holocaust and the existence of Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Most Americans would oppose incarceration for unpopular beliefs as a denial of free speech. Perhaps, but is there a distinction to be made between ignorance and willful ignorance? How do we battle the forces of self-inflicted blindness that have taken over our media and swayed a third of our citizens to believe that black is white and bad is good? How do we pull America’s corporate CEOs back from the dark side of capitalism to a place where civic responsibility and the common good are part of the contract for doing business? Prior to the 2004 election, Viacom executive Sumner Redstone remarked, “The Democrats aren’t bad people…but from a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company.” No mention of what’s better for the country.

Most of us would unhesitatingly advocate education over punishment. Yet the people who run our corporations, edit our newspapers, lead our religious organizations, create our energy and manage our money are educated, often highly educated, with degrees from prestigious universities. A bachelor’s or master’s degree may not make them intelligent (our President being a case in point), but they are not stupid.

Their crime, in my opinion, is consciously turning their back on the truth for a galaxy full of personal and professional reasons. In other words, putting “me” before “us.” The willfully ignorant, armed with rationales, think tanks, polls, research, beliefs and superstitions, continuously strive to fit their square view of the world into the round hole of reality. Like Redstone, they see themselves or their company or their party or their church as the center of the universe, around which everything else revolves.

The willfully ignorant, with their personal agendas, are co-conspirators in the dismantling of American democracy. Lacking any inspiring national vision from our leaders in Washington D.C., Americans have turned inward in their search for what’s important in life.

Of course, I don’t advocate locking up the ignorant bastards, but at the same time, they do pose a genuine threat to the America we have taken for granted.

One step in the right direction would be for Democrats, and especially Democratic candidates, to start refocusing the attention of the willfully ignorant away from themselves and out toward larger inspirational dreams about America’s potential. Reclaim the party’s heritage as progressive thinkers who strive to make the world a better place. As Republicans use fear and terror as an organizational strategy, let Democrats motivate with visions of progress and great achievements.

After all, nothing short of a New Deal-size effort will even begin to undue the damage of Bush and his band of lunatics.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mrs. 44

As Bush’s popularity continues to plummet, Republican strategists have grown very concerned about a backlash against the President’s policies in the 2008 election. The reasoning goes that a Democratic win in the ’08 presidential election will result in the eventual dismantling of everything conservatives have been working on over an eight-year period. Since George Bush cannot run again, how can Republicans keep his legacy alive?

For some, the answer is Laura Bush. Stories that Laura plays a much larger roll in decision-making at the White House are already starting to trickle out into the media. That’s Going Too Far! has obtained a copy of a highly confidential internal memo that highlights strategies already underway to gradually transform the First Lady into a presidential contender.

March 10, 2006


Project Dynasty is gaining traction. G remains in the dark, L is in the driver’s seat. Let’s keep it that way. Phase II strategies:

- More face-time with media. Have her spar with O’Reilly and Hannity, only make damn sure they know what’s going on.
- Let’s get a chainsaw in her hands during next ranch visit. Jeans, safety goggles and a bit of persperation.
- Have L slap Chillary with some flip-flop accusations. Put Satan’s daughter on the defensive.
- Get her into something that shows some cleavage. Think “flight suit” equivalent.
- Look for more kids ‘n coots photo ops.
- Bribe the twins to say something about Mom’s “inherent leadership qualities.”
- Start background scrubbing NOW. NO SURPRISES! Go back to kindergarten.
- Keep her wired at all times.
- Can she ride a horse?
- Fly her into Baghdad for a photo op with troops. Fatigues? Snipe insurgents from hotel rooftop? Toss a hand grenade?
- Make sure she keeps her distance from 43 as much as possible without arousing suspicion.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh accountability, where art thou?

On this day in 1834, Congress censured President Andrew Jackson for refusing to turn over documents related to his attempts to dismantle the Bank of the United States. How quaint. They scolded Andy for assuming “authority and power not conferred by the Constitution.”

Ah, those were simpler times when Presidents were held accountable for their actions. Look at how standards have changed. We go from one administration where a President is impeached for trying to cover up some high school grope-a-dope action to the next administration, where the President seems unable to commit a crime heinous enough to insight the ire of the Republican led Congress.

“Accountability” has lost all meaning, especially in regards to the current administration. Following Orwellian doctrine, Bush has turned accountability on its head: greed is good, mismanagement is job security and loyalty trumps truth. As a Bush crony, you don’t get in trouble for screwing up, you get the Medal of Freedom.

In Jackson’s day, Congress actually thought it had a role to play in our government. It didn’t take orders from the President. Yes, it was a highly partisan institution then as it is now, but it was not afraid to challenge the executive branch when push came to shove. Today we have a Congress filled with right-wing ideologues who protect the President at the country’s expense and a cowering opposition that is concerned more with public perception than standing up for what’s right.

Hold the President accountable? What a charming notion. We’ll file it under, “The Once and Glorious United States.”

Monday, March 27, 2006

In The Name Of Love

It’s an interesting phenomenon that those who most vociferously proclaim their love for America are the ones most responsible for this country’s fall from greatness. It’s certainly not a new situation historically.

Think of pre-war Germany. Like an athlete gobbling steroids, rabid nationalism helped Germany quickly bulk up into a menacing giant by the end of the 1930s, only to succumb to the drug’s dangerous side effects—hubris, feelings of superiority, aggressive behavior, visions of grandeur—soon thereafter.

Something very similar is happening in early twenty-first century America. We now live in a state of perpetual war with an enemy that we only see after they have blown up something. Prisoners of terror, the American people are cowered into waiting for instructions under the government's shadow. To question the direction in which our country is moving, we are told, is to spit on Old Glory. Military worship is the new religion, replete with ever increasing send-off ceremonies and yellow car magnets to demonstrate the depth of one’s faith. We don’t see our dead. We don’t see our wounded. We aren’t told how many thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed.

Meanwhile, our country slides into mediocrity at every level, from education to health care to science, we lose ground daily at the hands of pre-Enlightenment political minds and a bottom-line media.

True love is work. If you love your wife, and she starts smoking crack, you would intervene to help her. You know instinctively that love is not unqualified acceptance of whatever your beloved does. But when it comes to love of country, some of us feel that whatever is done in the name of America is noble and right. We are above criticism. That’s not love. That’s idol worship.

America is in trouble. Shouting patriotic slogans or attaching flags to overpasses isn’t going to help. It’s time, past time, for some tough love.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I question your reality

How can a man who wallows in a pool of filth day in and day out convince himself that he’s clean?

Specifically, how does George Bush reconcile and rationalize the lies, deceit, dishonesty, character assassination, and law breaking (and that’s all before breakfast) in his head without going stark raving mad?

(God how I would love to strap that boy down with a lie detector and simulcast the results worldwide.)

I’m not a religious man, but I do have a conscience. George claims to be religious, but doesn’t appear to manifest a twinge of guilt about his myriad misdeeds. No lie is too big for the President. No hypocrisy too glaring. With that it’s-so-obvious-to-me-why-isn’t-it-to-you grin of his, Bush will lean toward an audience and tell Texas whoppers until they turn out the lights.

So how come he isn’t covered in hives or boils or displaying some other physical manifestations of extreme stress?

How does he do it? Alcohol? Drugs? Feng Shui?

Honestly, I don’t know, but I did an informal survey of people waiting for a bus on Hennepin Ave. at eleven thirty at night and received these thought provoking responses.

He’s a hologram.
Bush who?
Gimme a dollar.
Fuck that cocksucking bitch.
That boy is bat-shit crazy.
Is this going north or south?
Come any closer and I’ll cut your nips off.
My brother said he’s the Antichrist.
I’ve never seen him sweat. Have you seen him sweat?
Monkey boy, monkey boy, monkey boy.

There you go. The word from the street.

I’ve got to go lance a boil.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Media Math

Six right-wing conservative pundits = 1 moderate liberal pundit

Lying us into an unnecessary war < an indiscrete sexual encounter

Overlooking Bush lies + laughing at his jokes = job security

Fires + police car chases + medical marvels + murders – controversy = news

Presidential interview – tough questions = primetime feature story

Embedded with troops – questions = access

If George Bush lies five times during every speech, and he speaks three times a day, how many times would his lies go around the earth over a one-year period?

If reporter A writes fifty editorials praising the Bush administration and reporter B writes one article criticizing the Bush administration, how many more unfavorable editorials will reporter B have to write to get fired?

Ann Coulter + Bill O’Reilly + Sean Hannity = voices of the right

Michael Moore + Al Franken + anyone from Hollywood = left-wing extremists

$ >Everything

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bush Calls Americans Cowards

CINCINNATI, OHIO--In a sharply worded speech given to the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce today, President Bush lashed out at the majority of Americans who do not support him as “…cowards bordering on traitors.”

Displaying a seldom seen emotional side, Bush took off a shoe and pounded it on the podium to emphasize his points. “There will be no retreat. There will be no surrender. We’ll stay in Iraq for 100 years if necessary.”

The audience was visibly stunned by the President’s uncharacteristic tirade. At one point, Bush hurled a glass of water at an aide who was trying to signal him. The President reportedly yelled, “Shut up, b***h,” as he flung the object.

Amid numerous expletives, Bush characterized those who disagreed with him as, “…worshippers of Satan and eaters of dog [feces]. They are lower than snakes and deserve to have their heads cut off.”

The President’s emotional outburst comes at a time when he is suffering very low approval ratings. He alluded to this in his speech, saying recent polls were “…rigged affairs conducted by Al Quida sympathizers and agents of Hugo Chavez. I’ll show you a poll…”

The speech ended only when a secret service agent shot the President with a tranquilizer gun. Despite this, Bush remained aggressive, and aides had to throw a rope net over the President and drag him from the stage. A spokesperson for the White House dismissed any concerns and said this was standard procedure under the circumstances.

Later in the day, when asked about the incident, Vice President Cheney said the Bush’s behavior was nothing more than one cup of coffee too many. “Sure, the delivery was a little off key, but the points the President made were entirely accurate.”

The President is scheduled to give a speech on domestic policy at Lincoln Elementary School in Cleveland tomorrow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vote for Pedro

I’m sure this won’t surprise you, but my cat is smarter than George Bush.

At the same time the administration is reconfirming its support for a preemptive war strategy, the NRA is championing its national version of the same plan, which they call, “stand your ground,” but which is referred to by everyone else as the “license to murder” legislation.

The philosophy of the two approaches is almost identical. I have the right to attack (or shoot) you if I perceive you are a threat to me. The key word, of course, is “perceive.” If I make a mistake? Well, who doesn’t make a mistake now and then.

We perceived Saddam Hussein to be a threat to our country. Ooops. Turns out we were wrong. Sorry about that, Iraq, but you shouldn’t have let us believe you were dangerous.

I see a man skulking around my house in the middle of the night. I perceive a threat and open fire because I’m scared. Ooops. Turns out it was my neighbor looking for his dog. I’ll send an extra large wreath to the funeral home.

The absolute wrongness of both initiatives is obvious even to my cat, Pedro. When cats, or most animals of similar size for that matter, sense they are in a dangerous situation, they go out of their way to display body language warning the perceived aggressor to back off. More often than not, these stand-offs end with one animal conceding to another. Violence is almost always a last resort. And even then, when dominance is established, the fight is often over before any blood is shed.

Yet we humans want to subvert the established order and make lethal behavior the rule instead of the exception. It’s not even kill or be killed. It’s kill or be scared.

That a twenty-first century, first-world society is even debating these obscene ideas demonstrates how far to the dark side we have been led.

There was a time not so long ago when people with a “shoot first” mentality were diagnosed as having an antisocial disorder and sent to Montana. Now, they sit in the seats of power in Washington, D.C. and make law. They are given guns to hunt quail. They are taken seriously.

They should take lessons from Pedro.


"What would it be like if shoes were made out of meat?"

Sunday, March 19, 2006

State Government: The Newest Battleground

At the same time the American people are starting to awaken from their 9/11 slumber to the shocking reality that our emperor is buck naked, state legislators around the country seem to be just now falling under the spell of Bushputin.

In Missouri, the house voted to delete funding for contraception and infertility treatments. Rep. Susan Phillips said in an interview, “If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that."

NRA backed “license to murder” legislation has been passed in Colorado and Florida, and is being considered in 11 other states. The legislation allows anyone who “feels threatened” to shoot first and worry about the legitimacy of the threat later.

Numerous state legislatures are considering laws that would allow pharmacists to follow their conscience on whether or not to fill prescriptions for contraceptives or morning after pills.

South Dakota recently passed legislation that bans virtually all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. Other states are considering similar measures.

Many states are exerting tremendous energy to pass legislation banning same-sex marriages.

What gives? Are black helicopters spraying state capitals with secret chemical brain-numbing agents? Or could it be that Christian evangelicals, seeing their hopes for an American theocracy go up in smoke like so much dry Texas brush at the federal level, are now refocusing their efforts on state legislatures around the country?

For years now, evangelicals have been sowing the seeds of radicalism at the local level, getting sympathizers elected to school boards, city councils and seats in state government. It appears their work is now bearing its poisonous fruit, as states work to impose the far right agenda on their citizens.

All of this is happening despite that fact that poll after poll indicates the majority of American people oppose just such government interference in their personal lives. Representative democracy is far from perfect.

This November’s election should tell us a lot about how successful the right’s efforts will be in subverting the Constitution at the state level. While our focus has been riveted on Washing D.C. in recent years, fundamentalists have been growing like Kudzu through our local institutions. Come this fall, it’s time to fire up the weed whacker.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm Right Behind you, Russ.

Top ten excuses why Democrats won’t support Senator Feingold’s attempt to censure Bush.

10. “Love to chat Russ, but I gotta catch the redeye to Portland…”

9. “Now if we were talking about a semi-censure, I’d be on board in a heartbeat.”

8. “Sure the President is hated by 2/3 of the American people. But what about that other third?”

7. “What makes you think this President is vulnerable?”

6. “Look Russ, when his ratings fall below 30, we’ll go for the jugular.”

5. “Do you want to see Cheney in the Oval Office?”

4. “We’re already perceived as the whiny party.”

3. “What planet are you from? When we go on the attack, it really pisses them off.”

2. “Russ, your political ambitions shouldn’t take center stage.”

1. “I’m scared, okay? Just plain scared.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Miracle Worker

Pope John Paul II, who died last April at the age of 84, may be moving one step closer to sainthood. Needing two miracles from beyond the grave to reach full sainthood, John Paul is being credited by some with curing a French nun of Parkinson's disease.

Nuns in the woman's order who prayed for John Paul's intercession reported her recovery from the disease exactly two months after the pontiff's death.

Msgr. Slawomir Oder, a Pole who is leading the case for John Paul's sainthood, is starting an investigation into the incident.

After testimony is gathered, a team of experts appointed by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints would determine whether a miracle happened. Proof of one miracle is needed for beatification, and two for canonization. Both miracles must have occurred after the candidate's death.

Catholics from around the world have been sending the Vatican descriptions of miracles since John Paul’s death. Other unexplainable incidents under consideration by the Congregation include:

- A Mexico City taxi driver who ordered two chicken burritos in Polish, a language he never spoke before that moment.
- An elderly French woman whose sight was restored after eating a Polish sausage.
- A Chilean auto mechanic who saw the image of John Paul in a pool of motor oil.
- A Trenton, New Jersey woman who claims John Paul regularly speaks to her through Baxter, her Miniature Schnauzer.
- A Dublin dentist whose stuttering was cured after being hit by a Vespa driven by J.P. Pope.
- A boy in Milan who claims the former pope stole his homework.

John Paul must first be beatified before the move to canonization, the formal term for full sainthood, can proceed.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

ABCs of the Bush Administration

A is for:

Abramoff, autocracy, army, Afghanistan, anger, Abu Grhaib, anti-abortion, Anthrax, Armageddon, armor plate

B is for:

Baghdad, Brownie, bombing, Bush, bribery, Berlusconi, bungle, boondoggle, Blair, bait and switch, bring it on, brush, blind ambition

C is for:

Civil war, conceal, climate, Congress, cheat, cover-up, controversy, corruption, Cheney, chicken hawk, chemical weapons, Coulter, cocaine

D is for:

Data mining, death, Dubai, deceit, debt, DeLay, draft evader, dimwit, divisive, distort, Diebold, deny

E is for:

Escalate, evasion, Enron, empire, evil, ethics, evangelicals, embarrassment, eavesdropping, erratic

F is for:

Fallujah, fear, fanatic, fleece, failure, Falwell, fact-challenged, Frist, fortunes, fascism, flat earth

G is for:

Greed, graft, Gingrich, guns, gas guzzler, gall, GITMO, Gonzales, global warming, gulag, gerrymander

H is for:

Hate, hubris, hostile, hypocrisy, helluvajob, homophobia, hurricane, hick, hunting

I is for:

Iraq, inept, illegal, imbecilic, illogical, invasion, Iran, ignorant, incoherent, Israel, incomprehensible

J is for:

Junket, justify, jabberwocky, jeopardize, Jekyll and Hyde, junta, judgmental, Jesus

K is for:

Katrina, K-Street, king, Kuwait, know-nothing, kook, kowtow, Kenny-boy, Kool Aid, Kurds

L is for:

Lie, lazy, Lay, Limbaugh, lame duck, lap dog, leaderless, liability, lip service, loco, lowdown, lunatic fringe, land mine, lobbyist

M is for:

Manchurian candidate, mislead, mortar attack, misery, malapropism, mass media, misappropriate, mission accomplished, morass, Middle East, My Pet Goat

N is for:

Negative, naïve, Nixon, nasty, nitwit, nonsense, nuclear, non sequitur, North Korea, Novak, neglect, Nero, National Guard, NRA, No Child Left Behind

O is for:

Oblivious, oil, occupation, obstinate, oppressive, Osama, on message, out of touch, O’Reilly, Ohio

P is for:

Plame, patriarchy, planes, panic, pander, Persian Gulf, ports, Poppy, preemptive, profiteering, power, polls, paraplegic

Q is for:

Questionable, quagmire, quandary, Qatar, quicksand, quail

R is for:

Rummy, racism, radical, Rove, reprehensible, right-wing, Robertson, reactionary, Rice, rogues’ gallery, rock bottom, R.I.P., revenge

S is for:

Soulless, simpleton, shock and awe, sin, Senate, shaft, surveillance, stooge, September 11, staged, sneer, Supreme Court, stay-the-course, shambles, Skull and Crossbones

T is for:

Twin Towers, Tenet, twist, terrorist, tax breaks, the twins, Tehran, time frame, tin ear, torture, tragedy, train wreck, tyrant, tongue-tied, timetable, Texas

U is for:

Unlawful, unfeeling, unwise, unpredictable, utter failure, untouchable, unthinkable, unparalleled, useless, undermine

V is for:

Vacuous, vacation, Vietnam, voters, violence, vapid, veto, veterans, VFW, vengeful, villainous, Vice President, vests

W is for:

War, waste, wounded, wiretap, wuss, wishful thinking, worthless, worst, wrong, weak, world domination, wreck, WWIII, worrisome, Wolfowitz

X is for:


Y is for:

Youthful indiscretions, yahoo, y’all, yes men, yellow, yokel, yo yo, yammer, Yemen

Z is for:

Zealot, zero, zilch

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I've been bugged

You remember this one from elementary school. “What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm in your apple.”

“What’s worse than finding a small brown beetle in your frozen dinner? Finding pieces of a small brown beetle in your frozen dinner.”

Last night, as I do most evenings on being reminded that drinking on an empty stomach leads to a host of negative physical effects, I went to my freezer and pulled out a dinner cube. I don’t think it was actually called “Chicken ‘n Other Shit” but that’s what it was. So I nuked it, tore off the plastic covering and sat down in front of the TV (you can only eat these meals in front of a TV. It’s on the box).

About halfway through the shit—I ate the chicken first, of course—something unusually crunchy did come between my teeth. I poked around in my mouth until I found what I thought would be an overcooked bit of broccoli and pulled it out for a cursory examination. It first appeared as if it was a burnt piece of food, dark brown, about the size of a shirt-collar button. Bringing it into better focus, I realized that the broccoli piece had tiny legs sprouting from it. Then I saw the distinctive segmentation of a beetle’s wings and realized that this was not something found among the listed ingredients. I put it on my napkin and recovered the rest of that mouthful of food. As I discovered more parts of the insect appearing on my napkin, my gag reflex started to kick in.

I’m all for the little guy in most David and Goliath situations, but I’ve never been able to work up much of a lather for those looking to squeeze millions from a company by claiming to have found a fingernail or a finger in their meal. Half of these people are lying, and the other half seem to be far more interested in a large financial settlement than true justice. Having now been through the experience, however, I find it far more disturbing than I would have guessed.

Eating a bug is bad enough—although I’ve unintentionally inhaled my share of mosquitoes—but the breach of trust with those who produce and package my food is what really matters. Prior to this, I would never think of looking for an insect in my food before eating it. Now, I won’t be able to take a bite of anything without giving it a once-over. Paranoia, it’s what’s for dinner.

I would love to blame this on President Bush, and in some distant, six-degrees-of-separation kind of way he may in fact be the culprit. Every aspect of our lives, from security to individual rights to environmental safety to food quality, has gone downhill since he and his cronies walked into the White House in 2001. The trust we have had in so many routine aspects of our day-to-day lives has been broken repeatedly.

The failure of Marie Callender to safeguard the quality of her food is for me a symbol of a system in decline, a society whose pillars are crumbling. It’s too bad. She looks so sweet and motherly on the box, but my mother never served anything with bugs in it. I’m sorry, Marie, but the relationship is over.

I can’t trust you any longer.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Video at ten.

So now we have video of the President being warned about the dangers of Katrina well before she came ashore and demolished the Big Easy. Days later, Bush went on television and lied, as he has done so often before. “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” Well, yes sir, they did, and they told you about that possibility. We also know that at the pre-Katrina meeting, you didn’t ask anybody how or why or what could be done. You didn’t ask any questions. You sat there like a bored teenager playing with his PSP under the desk. Or like an inept president reading My Pet Goat and being told America is under attack.

Of course, the press is not pressing the President on his latest lie. Surprise, surprise. If tomorrow a tape emerged showing Bush firing a bullet through the head of a GITMO prisoner, Elizabeth Vargas would still focus on the cleanliness of the President’s desk or wedding plans for the twins. There couldn’t be a President Bush without the media we have.

In an alternative reality, the Katrina warning video would be the Nixon tapes of this administration. It would reveal to even the most disinterested American the hopeless bunglers who hold a once respected nation by the testicles.

A fool sits on the throne of democracy. A bubble-wrapped, delusional fool who places superstition over science and greed over greatness. Bush and his handlers are the most serious threat to American democracy since the Civil War. They are evil and stupid, a potentially lethal combination in a world overflowing with weapons of mass destruction.

The President did not know what to do with the information he was given about Katrina. He did not know what to do on 9/11. He does not know how to get us out of Iraq. He does not know how to fix the budget. He does not know how to be president.

We watch America crumbling around us like a thousand Twin Towers while the media gazes in awe at the President’s desk.

Bush kills democracy. Video at ten.