Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today's questions

Has anyone ever seen Dick Cheney in direct sunlight?

Where is Laura Bush?

Is it still a man’s world?

Has anyone in America actually read an Ann Coulter book?

Why haven’t aliens ever tried to abduct me? Am I not good enough for them?

Why doesn’t time ever sit still?

Who would win in a fistfight between George Bush and Hillary Clinton?

Why did my generation get stuck with the worst President in American history?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Decider or decision maker? Americans want answers

Okay. Let’s try and sort this out. First Bush says he’s the decider. Now he tells us he’s the decision maker. So which is it? Decider or decision maker?

If Bush is the decision maker, who’s the decider now?

Is Bush deciding things or making decisions? What if he’s brought a problem that requires a decider, but he’s the decision maker? Does he pass it on to Cheney?

The implications are far reaching. Does he need to get Congressional approval to hire a decider? What would that person’s title be? Decider to the President? Chief Decider?

Who will make the decision whether the White House needs to call in the decider? Will it be case by case or are there going to be strict criteria?

Can the White House out source deciding? Will Americans tolerate a foreign decider?

I call on Bush to clarify these duties and make a firm commitment to being either a decider or a decision maker. The country deserves to know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Michele Bachmann puts the squeeze on Bush

I’ve blogged before that I suspect our new House member from Minnesota Michele Bachmann is mentally imbalanced based on her bizarre comments during last year’s campaign. My suspicions were further strengthened after her performance at the end of last night’s State of the Union address.

You can see the incident in all its weirdness on YouTube.

Bush has finished his speech and is leaving the chambers, stopping momentarily to shake hands and sign autographs for House members. As he makes his way down the corridor, Bachmann, looking like Mary Tyler Moore hepped up on giddy pills, grabs the President’s shoulder. He gives her a quick autograph and turns his attention to others, but SHE DOESN”T LET GO. She keeps a firm grip on the Prez as he talks to others and gives another woman a peck on the cheek.

Bachmann keeps squeezing the President until he turns back to her and gives her a hug and kiss. Even then, she continues touching his back for several more seconds. The news people at Channel 5 estimated her WWF hold on the Smirking One lasted a full 30 seconds.

I’m surprised Secret Service agents didn’t step in and pull the obviously over-stimulated Bachmann off of Bush.

Evidently, lies and hollow rhetoric turn her on. Sure makes a Minnesotan proud.

The SOTU: An in-depth critique

Everybody in the blogoverse is putting in their two cents about Bush’s SOTU address last night. Here is my analysis:

It sucked.
Bush is a moron.
Our country is sinking deeper into the doo doo.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Crossing the great divide

Americans live in a divided country. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as red versus blue or north versus south. It is a large chasm, a great divide between Americans who understand the concept of democracy and embrace it, and those who either don’t understand the concept or understand it, but reject it.

At one extreme, you have religious conservatives who are more honest than most about their disdain for democracy. They want to live by their interpretation of the bible, and that interpretation is dramatically non-democratic. There are ongoing attempts by some in the movement to create communities around America that are governed solely by biblical teachings, and not secular law (think the Amish in suburbia). Like their counterparts from Somalia to Tehran, they make no bones about preferring theocracy to democracy.

A second group, however, is far more disingenuous about their contempt for the American experiment. They are today’s far-right conservatives who love to prostrate themselves before the flag and publicly espouse their love of all things American, but who have no allegiance to democratic principles. This group is reflected in Weekly Standard editor William Kristol. On a recent Sunday talk show, Kristol attacked opponents of Iraq escalation in Congress, saying, “It’s just unbelievable. … It’s so irresponsible that they can’t be quiet for six or nine months.”

This is the, “I-like-democracy-as-long-as-everyone-agrees-with-me” camp, which, of course, is inherently anti-democratic. Bush and Cheney are poster boys for ILDALAEAWM. For Bush, democracy is what he says it is. Cheney is just an evil bastard who would have risen to power in any totalitarian regime of the twentieth century. But they and other standard bearers like George Will, Bill Bennett, Coulter, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, David Brooks, and D’Nesh DeSouza, among many others both more or less extreme, yearn for an America that is a different animal than the one brought into existence by Jefferson and company.

Under the banner of “Super Patriotism,” the anti-democracy crowd and its big-business sugar daddies have taken over the media to spew their repressive ideology. Every idea they support is wrong. Every principle they stand for is bogus. Yet no one seems to care. Bill Kristol has a remarkable record of championing the losing side of every issue from Iraq to immigration. Instead of being shamed out of Washington, however, Kristol is rewarded for his ignorance with a regular column in Time magazine.

With Bush stealing two elections, the “I-hate-democracy” crowd bought and bullied its way into the White House, and once there, didn’t waste any time taking a jackhammer to the country’s democratic foundation. Fortunately, through sheer stupidity, they brought the temple down on themselves, and their hubris and opportunism has become obvious to even the dullest American.

The great divide remains, however, and, despite the descent of Bush into the black hole of popularity, the corporate media continues to push its anti-democracy agenda. It’s going to take a lot of political courage on the part of the Democrats to reign back in the many-headed media monster, but it is absolutely necessary if we hope to resurrect true democracy and begin closing the political chasm that separates this fractured country.

United we stand. Divided we fall.

WANTED: Speechwriter

Can you turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse with words? Temporary position at undisclosed Washington D.C. location. Work with top political insiders on critical national speech. Qualifications: Ability to write fiction essential. Must be able to turn incoherent, delusional babble into inspiring, uplifting message of hope for a nation. Ability to check conscience at the door. Criminal record not necessary, but a plus. Experience working with special needs adults also advantageous. Pay beyond your wildest dreams. Prospective applicants should contact the man wearing a black fedora sitting on the bench at the east entrance to the Smithsonian at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Code words: “Operation Moron Rescue.”

Friday, January 19, 2007

Fredo Corleone as The Godfather

My favorite movie is The Godfather. My worst nightmare is the Bush administration. The two have intersected with some significant alterations to the script. In today’s rewrite, a series of improbable events has resulted in Fredo heading the Corleone family. Fredo, you’ll remember, is the mentally challenged oldest son of Don Corleone. Unable to handle more important family business, Fredo is relegated to showing politicians and judges a good time in Vegas.

George Bush is our Fredo, an inept, intellectually challenged son of an accomplished father thrust into a position of great power. One can imagine Fredo barking orders to his lieutenants, and everyone in the room rolling their eyes in disbelief. It must happen to George several times a day.

And, like the Corleone family, the Bush administration is a criminal enterprise. Think Progress notes, “As many as eight U.S. Attorneys are leaving or being pushed out of their positions by the Bush administration. Several of these prosecutors are working on high-profile cases, such as Carol Lam, who ran the investigation into the corruption of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA).”

The Fredo/Bush response to judges who won’t play ball? “Whack the S.O.B’s.” Justice? That’s for suckers. The administration’s blatant strong-arm tactics are lifted right out of the Mafia Handbook.

But who has the guts to go up against the mob? Even one ruled over by Fredo?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Conservatism. There is hope.

Jack, the neurological tests are back and I’m afraid it’s not good news.

What…what is it?

Well, I’m not going to sugar-coat this. You’re conservative, Jack.

Oh God. No.

I’m afraid the evidence is overwhelming. The pathological lying to yourself and others. The anger and tendency toward violence. Lack of empathy. It’s all there.

I thought it was the flu.

It’s not always easy to diagnose. Conservatives can seem quite normal under many circumstances, but once they engage in discussions on politics or religion, the illness becomes quite apparent.

I was so certain I was right.

That’s what the illness does to people, Jack. It acts as a filter to the brain, blocking logic and reason. Lacking the ability to think critically and objectively, you’re left to fall back on superstition and more primitive reactionary thought patterns.

Is there a cure?

It’s difficult but not impossible to cure. What makes it so damned hard, Jack, is that because of your inability to reason objectively, it becomes extremely hard to bring you back to health using logic. All of the perfectly rationale arguments, all of the objective evidence, they really amount to a hill of beans if I can’t somehow break through the filter.

That filter again.

Don’t give up all hope. There are cases of conservatives regaining their mental health and living fulfilling lives.

But…how do I start? What do I do?

Here, Jack. It’s a book. Read it. Think about it. Discuss it with others. Then read another book and another. Opening your mind and rerouting your thought patterns will start you on the road to recovery. Now, I’ll have to excuse myself. I have a serious case of religious fundamentalism to deal with.

Thank you, Doctor.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Does anyone in the Bush administration have a conscience?

I don’t know why you would, but if you ever did entertain the notion that there was a shred of honesty or decency to be found in the Bush administration, this will knock that silly idea right out of your pointy little head. Check out today’s diary at Daily Kos titled: “The True face of this Administration Revealed.”

Unless you were recently thawed from an ice block after a several thousand years nap, you will find the administration’s attempts to use American soldiers as hostages to get money from Congress sickening.

The latest blogosphere diagnosis of Bush is that he is a sociopath, which I won’t argue with, but he can’t be the only one. It seems as if the President as drawn similarly afflicted people around him. The Daily Kos diary quotes National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, who seems quite satisfied with putting the lives of Americans in danger in order to help the President get the money he wants.

If Hadley has a conscience, its whereabouts is unknown.

Now we know. The inmates are running the asylum. Who will stop them?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

In case of emergency, break glass

Living in America is a surreal nightmare. It’s the plot of a 1960s bargain bin novel written by some hack who tried to come up with a modern day version of 1984, only it’s worse than he ever imagined.

In his weekly radio address, Bush railed at the Democratic congress to either put up an alternative plan for Iraq or shut up. Is the President channeling Ronald Reagan? What about the Iraq Study Group plan? Or John Murtha’s proposals? Or probably a dozen other alternatives out there to sending in additional troops? Bush doesn’t want another plan unless it involves nuclear weapons and a fancy new uniform. Even his plan isn’t a plan. It’s a delaying tactic to try and prolong the madness just long enough to pack up and catch the first plane to Crawford in 2008.

And then there’s this. On an upcoming 60 minutes, Bush will tell correspondent Scott Pelley that he doesn’t care what the Democratic Congress tries to do; he’ll send the troops anyway. The boy has gone crazy. Either he doesn’t know this is a democracy, he doesn’t know what a democracy is, or he doesn’t give a shit. It’s probably a combination of the three.

WHY CAN'T SOMEBODY STOP HIM? George Bush is mentally impaired and he is pulling this country into the abyss with him. Is there no recourse for stopping a madman in the Oval Office? I’m not even talking about long, drawn out impeachment hearings, but an emergency button behind the Speaker of the House’s desk that says, “In case the President is insane, break glass”?

I always thought our system of checks and balances was a work of political art, a nearly flawless balancing act that would always keep everyone honest. How naïve could I be? What we know now is that it only works if everyone plays by the same rules. If the President or Congress or the judicial branch decide to ignore precedent and even the law, all bets are off. The soft underbelly of our system has been exposed and exploited.

I’m sure there were many people out there who, after the November elections, thought, “Whew. Now we have a Democratic Congress and Bush only has two years left. How much damage can he do?” Well, let me tell you, it’s more than any of us can imagine.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Ballad of the Crawford Kid

Six years ago, George Bush walked into a Las Vegas casino wearing a ten-gallon hat and shiny new boots. He had huge wads of cash in every pocket and was accompanied by a posse of true believers. The Crawford Kid was a glittery rhinestone cowboy ready to show Vegas what a real Texas bettin’ man could do.

Stepping across the threshold, he paused for a few beats and cased the joint, unsure about where to go or what to do. Then, miraculously, a seat opened up at the ultra-high stakes blackjack table. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for the Kid and he swaggered up to the stool and climbed on like he was hopping into the saddle to break a wild mustang.

Problem is, the dealer was no fool, and he immediately spotted the Kid for what he was—a big-talking rube. All hat and no cattle. In his career Mr. dealer had seen scores of rich kids like George all drunk on money and power coming into the casino thinking they actually controlled the universe, when in reality it was the other way around.

King of the world on his leather throne, the Crawford Kid started playing. Of course, Mr. Dealer started playing as well; playing the rube like a violin. George won some of the first few hands and was ecstatic. “Look,” he said. “I know what I’m doing.” The posse cheered, blinded by the piles of chips next to the kid’s hand that they hoped he would share with them when it was over.

A few more winning hands emboldened the Kid. He wasn’t into card counting or theories of probability. George relied on his instincts, those gut feelings he had about when to hit or hold, and they were working beautifully. He started betting more with each hand.

Soon, the winning and losing started evening out. A more mature gambler might look at his stack of chips, see that he was comfortably ahead, and leave the table to play another day. But, as the dealer well new, Bush was not mature, and the cowBOY became agitated that he was losing hands.

After a few more losses, the Kid’s thinking went something like this: I’m bound to win one of the next few hands, so I’ll increase my bet even more to recoup what I've lost. This is a fatal mistake for gamblers and one of the reasons why the house always wins. The good dealer, like the matador toying with an increasingly angry bull, knows that the weak gambler eventually loses his ability to play rationally the more he goes in the hole.

The other players at the table sensed that the Kid was growing testier the faster his chips disappeared, and they quietly withdrew from the game. George didn’t understand why they were quitting when he knew for a certainty that things would start turning around for him any hand now. Even many in his entourage took their leave, which angered the Kid even more.

Now he was losing consistently. He blamed the dealer. He blamed his closest friends. He blamed the casino. But he never blamed himself. Nor did he stop playing. He kept betting and borrowing money from people, feverish with the need to win some hands and regain his money and his pride. The losing continued.

Finally the Kid was flat broke, but he wouldn’t leave the table. He became belligerent and threatening. There was discussion among management about how to handle the situation. They new George was from a wealthy, politically powerful family and were not enthusiastic about the publicity that would be generated by throwing him out. But soon complaints from other gamblers grew loud enough to spur the managers to action, and they finally tossed the Crawford Kid out of the casino.

The Kid works on a ranch now, clearing brush for a living. He is a bitter and angry man these days, and he blames that Vegas casino for all his troubles. If you’re around him, you’ll hear him muttering to himself, “One more hand.” “Just one more hand.”

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A new holiday from Glorious Leader

Washington, DC - In a Rose Garden ceremony today, President Bush and a number of cabinet members danced on the lawn and sang Christian hymns after declaring January 4, “Day of the Decider.”

In his brief speech before friends and family, Bush said the day would be a national holiday and would allow Americans to “…celebrate my presidency in prayer and joyful skits illustrating my many courageous moments as the ultimate decider.”

Reporters were asked to join the dance by the barefoot Secretary of State Rice. The FOX News team was the only group that chose to participate.

Most Democrats responded to the announcement with comments similar to those made by Senator Ted Kennedy: “He’s gone fucking nuts.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Impeachment is definitely back on the table, as is involuntary commitment.”