Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Devil and Mr. Bush (or, The Devil with Training Wheels)

a guest post by Mark W. Bradley

Dear LGND,

I read the following letter-to-the-editor in my local newspaper this morning and thought your readers would find it interesting:

"I would like to add my soft-spoken, but silver-tongued voice to the chorus of outrage that has been expressed throughout this great country of ours over the disgusting remarks uttered at the United Nations by that tin-horn dictator and misleader of his own people, Hugo Chavez. How dare he imply that George W. Bush and the Devil are one and the same! It is an insult beyond endurance, and I for one have no intention of standing idly by, and letting that sort of spurious comparison go unchallenged…

"Let me start by saying, 'I know Satan. Satan is a friend of mine. And you, Mr. Bush, are no Satan. Let’s face it pal, you couldn’t cut it as a special teams incubus, or even a backup ground mechanic for a squadron of flying monkeys. You simply lack the requisite attention span, and I don’t mean that as a put-down.'

"No, in the unimaginably vast and unfathomably bloodthirsty army of evil that my man Beelzebub is preparing to unleash on the world (all except America, of course, where he plans to build a state-of-the-art embassy and a dozen or so permanent bases), George W. Bush is no more than an anaesthetized troll dragging a spiked club, driven ploddingly onward by the persistent lashing of his snarling, leather-clad handler, Dick Cheney. If the two of them were to wander off the thorny path of perdition and accidentally fall into a sulfur-spewing volcano (which, believe it or not, they’ve actually done on more than one occasion) it would put no more of a crimp in Our Satanic Majesty’s plans for world domination than if, say, Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin were to be dowsed with a bucket of water (unfortunate, perhaps, but hardly debilitating for the cause). Such occurrences are nothing more than a “comma” for Our Beloved Prince of Darkness. He plans to “stay the course” for, well, pretty much eternity, and the only “cutting and running” he’ll be doing is “cutting” your throat and “running” his pitchfork through your solar plexus.

"But beyond this, to compare George W. Bush to the Devil is like comparing the ammonia clouds of Venus to a three-year old pissing his pants. It’s not really the same thing, now, is it? Bush has killed maybe, what, ¼ million people tops? Gimme a friggin’ break! The guy’s a dilettante. Come see me when he’s up in the billions. Then we’ll talk…

"So, please, Mr. Chavez, no more unfair characterizations. They strain credulity, and poison the public discourse. And just to let you know we’re serious down here, remember, we’re closer to the oil than you are. So try and be nice, O.K.?

"Karl [aka 'Satan’s Minion']

"P.S.: We thought about threatening to boycott Citgo, the way 7-11 did, but we figured you’re smart enough to recognize that as an empty gesture. As you are no doubt aware, we are at the moment heavily invested in Exxon Mobil, and inasmuch as we are thoroughly satisfied with the way they do business up there on the surface, that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

"P.P.S.: Satan asked me to tell you he would appreciate it if you would address all future correspondence to: Suite 666, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004-2505, as we are now a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group."

Mark W. Bradley is a schoolteacher and political satirist in Sacramento, California. He can be contacted at:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bad Trains on The Fast Track

Guest Post by Man of American Dissent

Never mind going to Hell in a bucket or handbasket. Things seem to be on the TGV. The House and Senate gave a big thumbs up and Cheshire Cat smile to torture, indefinite detention and admission of coerced statements. The resident is expected to sign the bill (sans signing statement no doubt).

This legislation is so fundamentally wrong and Un-American that I do not even know where to begin when discussing it. Just when I was recovering from a Hardball hangover, I heard Christopher "Rabbit" Matthews jabbering on about how he and most Americans thought that there were times when torture and stuff is ok.

I've got "Breaking News" for Mr. Rabbitt and our "representatives". Torture is wrong. We're supposed to be the good guys. If we don't start walking some miles in those white cowboy boots, we're doomed.

I have one request. Please do whatever you can to get the Republicans and their LibermanOcratic counterparts out of office come November. If we are unable to do that I fear the worst is yet to come.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GreenBacks and Sham

Guest Post by Man of American Dissent

(Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

I am Scam.

Scam I am.

We fight them There

Instead of Here.

All the while we peddle fear.

I do not like this,

Scam I am.

You cheat and lie

while people die.

Fight them,

Fight them. Yes I must.

You are with us,

or you are dust.

We have to fight them in Iraq.

And we could fight them in Khazak.

Fight them,

fight them. Yes I will.

And I must make many more to kill.

I will fight them There not Here.

Please wait.

I have a Lib to smear.

I do not like this,

Scam I Am.

Your story is an utter sham.

I could have stopped them in Afghan.

But I want to fight them in Iran.

We have to fight them There,

not Here.

Lest a mushroom cloud appear.

Scam I Am,

Your words are rote.

Tell me...

Would you fight over a boat?

Or would you read about a goat?

I do not like this Scam I am.

You've put us all in

quite a jam.

I would not fight over a boat.

I'd rather read about a goat.

We have to fight them There.

not Here.

All I've said

should be quite clear.

Stay the course.

Never mention that

Oil Bourse.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Relax, We've Got Things Covered for 250 Years

Guest Post by Man of American Dissent

They’re at it again. Big Energy, is running another huge media blitz pushing “Clean Coal”. They’ve got an apparently sizeable ad buy playing TV commercials to promote their website and blog. They’re targeting young people and it really reminds me of Big Tobacco peddling cigarettes to kids. Smoke sells, especially when combined with mirrors. Clean coal? Give me a break. Well, according to Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (the group running the website), we'll have near zero emissions from Coal Fired Electrical Power Plants by 2025. I certainly believe that to be technologically feasible, but it’s very disingenuous since these folks have no real interest in doing anything of the sort. Consider the following from The Annenberg Public Policy Center:

• We estimate that Americans for Balanced Energy Choices spent approximately $9.1 million during the 108th Congress on legislative issue advertising.
• Americans for Balanced Energy Choices was the 8th highest spender for broadcast advertising, and 9th highest overall.
• We collected a total of three print ads and 2,657 broadcast ads sponsored by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices during the 108th Congress.

It's plain to see that they’re spending a ton of cash to get their message out about how “clean” coal is, while at the same time they’re lobbying Congress for new energy regulations that "ease emissions limits and would give the power plants more time to comply". You just gotta love it. Let’s give polluters more time to get into compliance with weaker protection standards. Sourcewatch gives us plenty of information on ABEC and it’s astroturf campaign tactics. Additionally, we can see that ABEC’s website is registered to a group actively opposed to the Kyoto Protocol.

We should be addressing energy issues in the manner outlined by Clean Air Now (a joint multi-state PIRG project).

"…the U.S. electric power industry emits billions of tons of pollution each year, much of which could be eliminated through increased use of modern pollution control technologies, a shift to cleaner burning fuels, or increased investment in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency."

In my opinion combining advanced pollution controls, cleaner fuels, renewable energy and higher efficiency standards is the way to go. I don’t think it’s realistic to believe that we’ll stop using fossil fuels until they no longer exist, but I guess with the 250 year supply of clean coal that we’ve got right here in the U. S. of A none of us really needs to worry about it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Presidents Are People Too

I’ve been confronted lately with the idea that George Bush is a person, with feelings, thoughts and opinions that together create a cohesive personality that is somehow relevant to understanding the dangerous world he has helped to create. As the press becomes slightly more engaged and starts asking some serious questions about not only the policies of this administration, but of the ramifications of their actions to this point, I’ve noticed a recurring narrative popping up that together with the criticism, seeks to humanize George Bush.

On the plane to California I started reading Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s new book Hubris, but I had to put it down after the first few pages because I simply couldn’t believe what I was reading. It took too much suspension of disbelief for me to accept that GWB invaded Iraq because he doesn’t like “motherfuckers who gas their own people” and “assholes who lie to the world”. Besides, the irony was too much to bear.

Then I read a Washington Post article this morning that attempted to do much the same thing. What has changed? Why is it so important now to humanize Bush while highlighting his policy failures? Are we to understand that it is his personal failings that have contributed to the world uniting against us, the erosion of our moral authority and the tanking of our own economy? Is that supposed to make his disastrous war that has made the world less stable, easier to swallow?

Since I have never really considered George Bush to be the brains behind the operation, I guess it’s possible to believe he’s just a flawed and damaged person who has allowed himself to be used as the “face” of an administration that he couldn’t control if he tried. Do I think we went into Iraq because of a personal and visceral hatred that Bush had for Saddam? Not in the slightest, but I might be willing to believe that it could be why Bush thinks we did. Unless, of course, believing that in any way absolves him of culpability. He’s the President and the buck stops there.

I am able to think of Bush as a puppet and as a little tyrant that those around him (Cheney, Wolfowitz and Perle to name a few) coddle and cater to in a way that allows him to believe he’s in charge. But these men, much stronger in personality, ideology and commitment to dogma, know just how to get Bush to do exactly what they want. Even if Bush was duped by the neo-con lunatics he chose to surround himself with, he’s still guilty in my mind, there is no absolution for willful ignorance, reckless behavior and incompetence that puts others at risk, not that he’s asking for it anyway.

If traditional media feel the need to connect Bush’s policy failures to his flawed personality, they should go right ahead, but I’m not buying it. There are plenty of damaged people in prison that had fucked up childhoods, and while that can be considered in the penalty phase as mitigating circumstances, it is not relevant to their guilt or innocence. It doesn’t matter why he pushed an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, tortured prisoners in violation of Geneva Conventions, violated our constitution and sent thousands of young people to die in a war of choice, the fact is he did. Being a simple minded, malleable, incompetent doesn’t change that.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wallace Pulls a Boehner

A guest post by Mark W. Bradley

A few days ago, Fox “news-puppy” Chris Wallace rounded up the unusually usual suspects for a square-headed roundtable discussion of the week’s knucklehead news from Capitol Hill. Mr. Wallace’s panel was drawn from across the political spectrum, from fawning Absolute Monarchists to foaming-at-the-mouth Schutzstaffel bully-boys. After an exciting and informative segment in which the disingenuous panelists swapped their favorite recipes for Hareng Rouge de Jour, the group got down to discussing a narrow range of predigested ersatz-issues, including the president’s latest assertion that either we retroactively revise the Third Geneva Convention no later than Tuesday, or prepare for decapitation by Akhmed and his scimitar in the frozen food section of Albertson’s on Thursday.

One of the impeccably hair-helmeted guests on this practically-unscripted program was House Majority Leader John Boehner, a true Patriot (with a capital “P” [for “putz”] ). Unless this reporter’s lying eyes and ears deceived him more than usual, the following vacuous platitudes appeared to issue forth from the Congressman’s thoroughly lip-glossed mouth, if not from his alarmingly cavernous head.

"I listen to my Democratic friends, and I wonder if they're more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people."

Bravo, Signore! And this:

“The fact is, is that, if you look at the USA Patriot Act, we're trying to give the president tools to protect Americans; they [Democrats] fought against us.”

But wait, there’s more:

“Democrats were jubilant that the [Supreme] court was taking away the president's ability to do these military tribunals.”

And finally:

“We're willing to give the president the tools that he needs to take on the terrorists. And many times, they [Democrats] stand in the way and try to fight us giving the president these tools.”

So I guess the question we should be asking ourselves is: Why do the Democrats hate us so much? Is it because of our freedom? If so, what can we, the average citizens of this country, do to protect ourselves from these cowardly Democratic terrorists who seek to launch ever-deadlier attacks against our increasingly threatened homeland?

First of all, Mr. Boehner, I’d like to suggest that simply revising (or even scrapping) the Third Geneva Convention against torturing prisoners-of-war will not be enough to make us safe. We must also have the courage to make necessary and overdue changes in the Third Amendment to the Constitution. That’s right, it’s time for us to repeal the quaint and outdated provision that prevents the legitimate quartering of troops in our homes.

Let’s face it, having armed soldiers permanently stationed in each and every home in America will go a long way toward making us all feel a whole lot safer. But that’s only part of the story. There’s an even more pressing reason to repeal the Third Amendment. You see, that’s the amendment that’s been used so effectively in the past by activist liberal judges to justify their shameless promotion of what liberals like to call the “right to privacy.” In the landmark case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), for example, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas used this amendment to argue in favor of protecting privacy regarding sexual matters, of all things. What’s the purpose of that, for God’s sakes? Sounds like something Bill Clinton slipped in there to cover-up his own immoral behavior!

And while you’re at it, Mr. Boehner, let’s not forget to revise or repeal Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”


After all, this would not be the first of Newton’s laws to come under attack from Congressman Boehner. In a little-publicized speech he delivered back in 2003 to the Dayton Chapter of the Mesozoic Thinkers Club, he told a startled but enthusiastic audience the following:

“I intend to sponsor a bill later this year that will repeal Newton’s so-called Law of Gravity. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that I, for one, never voted for that flawed piece of legislation, and even though it bears his name, I am fairly certain that my good friend Newt Gingrich didn’t support it in its amended form, either. The truth is, if it wasn’t for that law (passed on Bill Clinton’s watch, I believe), the World Trade Center Towers would still be standing today.”

[Boehner then went on to point out that if the law in question had never been passed, the country would have been spared the grief and humiliation of the Monica Lewinsky Affair, as it never would have been possible for Bill Clinton to drop his pants at all. “Besides,” he went on, “gravity or no gravity, if there had been a Boehner in the presidential power-pants back in 1997, Ms. Lewinsky could have saved a wad on her dry-cleaning bill…” ]

The Congressman continued:

“I would remind all you forward-thinking Ohioans that “gravity” per se. is nothing more than a theory, and if it must be taught in school at all, it should be taught alongside the equally valid Levitational Design Model of the Universe, whose proponents include such distinguished scholars as the Nobel Prize-nominated Dr. David Copperfield, and the renowned Israeli freelance physicist and spoon-bender, Uri Geller.

“Now I know that some well-meaning liberals out there have contended that Newton’s Law of Gravity is a universal law of physics. That may be so. But personally, I concur with Ambassador John Bolton’s expert opinion that the United States is in no-way bound by international law, let alone universal law. Maybe some of my colleagues across the aisle are willing to turn this country’s sovereignty over to a bunch of Jupito-fascist terrorists, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit by and let it happen on my watch…”

Three cheers for Boehn-headed Republicans, and another barrel of jet-fuel on the Raging Bonfire of Freedom…

Mark W. Bradley is a schoolteacher and political satirist in Sacramento, California. He can be contacted at:

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Rambling Post For Friday

I’m going to be on the road for the next ten days so blogging may be a little sporadic. Hopefully my boys, Man of American Dissent and Mark W. Bradley, will help me out and keep you entertained on the days that I can’t find internet access, although I figure that even rural areas and seaside towns have at least one Starbucks. I won’t drink the coffee, but I’ll surely use their WiFi!

If you haven’t already checked out this disgusting ad, do so now. Apparently the GOP thinks that black folks are stupid and will fall for their revisionist history lesson, including such gems as Democrats started the KKK and Dr. King was surely a Republican! I’m not going to say that the Democrats are the answer to anything, but I will say that liberals are (not to mention that we have a proven track record of supporting minorities of all stripes), and there aren’t any liberal Republicans anymore. The GOP is corrupt, cynical, backwards and will do anything to hide their true purpose, namely widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots! Mission Accomplished on that one.

In an interesting and rare, truth on television moment yesterday, Nora O’Donnell had Greg Palast on MSNBC and he threw out some truth bombs that made the Republican guest go apoplectic and Ms. O’Donnell go silent for a change. It was great fun to watch, I wish there was a video. Palast was on to talk about Hugo Chavez and his speech at the UN and Palast tossed out that Chavez was just saying what 90% of the rest of the world is thinking. He also said that most of the world knows that Bush stole the presidency through fraud and that it’s time the American people heard it as well! I guess real journalists aren’t afraid to speak the truth on television, I mean really, what are they gonna do, have Homeland Security pick him up and toss him in jail? Oh, yeah, they already did that but even that didn’t shut him up.

I get the feeling that MSNBC executives see dollar signs when they look at us liberals clamoring for some real news on television. We’ll have to keep their motivations in mind if they do decide to claim the identity of “liberal cable news network”. Perhaps their slogan can be, “We don’t care about democracy, but there are barrels full of money to be made pretending that we do.”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Talk About Missing The Point!

George Bush is in the midst of trying to push legislation through Congress that will shield him from international law on the treatment of prisoners. With the secret CIA run prisons now out in the open and terrorist suspects having made their way to Gitmo where they will meet with Red Cross workers, it seems pretty clear that George Bush will, at the very least, be accused of war crimes. Could it be that his pet legislation now being forced on Congress is merely an attempt to insulate himself from future prosecution? Or is it just that this administration thinks that torture is good wholesome fun.

Most bizarre is watching traditional media miss the point completely. The Washington Post has been framing the issue as a political one, highlighting the rift within the Republican Party on this bill. And Chris Matthews held a discussion on Hardball earlier this week on whether or not we should torture prisoners! Never mind that it’s against international law, morally repugnant and dangerous to our men and women in the military, just about every interrogation expert agrees that it doesn’t work. Under fear of death and extreme physical and psychological duress, suspects will say whatever they think their interrogators want to hear. That is a waste of our resources as we chase down false leads! If Republicans can’t find their moral center long enough to be against torture on principle, perhaps the wasting of tax dollars will sway them.

Has having this corrupt administration in power for the last six years really degraded the public discourse to the point that debating whether or not America should torture prisoners is valid? That should be the shortest debate in history. No, we don’t torture and we never will! For an administration that loves to paint the world in black and white, they sure are presenting a nuanced position on this one! Again, is this just Alberto Gonzales trying to keep his boss from having to sit in the defendant’s chair? Even if this bill is passed, it can’t retroactively make legal what has already been done in violation of international law. I suspect that Gonzales knows this, but what else can he do at this point?

I’m also hearing and reading that this debate is good for Republicans. What?! Advocating torture is now seen as “tough on terrorism”?! The GOP has nothing to offer the American people other than that?! The theory is, if the Republicans can keep the debate centered on terrorism, rather than the economy and the war in Iraq, they will be able to keep control of Congress. I know that Americans have been trained by the media to focus on only one story at a time, but I can’t see how passing a bill that will endanger our troops simply to protect the President will be seen by the American people as a good thing. But maybe I’m just naïve.

The only thing I can figure is that Karl Rove’s promised October surprise will somehow figure into this debate. Perhaps a thwarted attack on US soil with the help of information gathered through the use of torture. Of course it wouldn’t be any more real than the punk kids in Florida labeled “terrorists” or the made up “liquid bomb” story that has resulted in travelers having to ditch all their shampoo and after-shave, but who cares? If it makes a good story, has the potential to scare people and even half of the voting population believes it, it’s all good! The Bush administration and the GOP controlled Congress have done more damage to this country than any terrorist could hope for. They have shown us what they are capable of, driving our economy into the ground, promoting war profiteering, proving that a hurricane is no match for the destruction their incompetence can produce, starting a war that they can’t win while getting ready to start another one and decimating any moral authority we may have had with the international community by torturing prisoners. Anyone that votes for a Republican this November is voting for more of the same, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could be in favor of that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Murphy's Bill

A guest post by Mark W. Bradley

(Dateline - Washington D.C.)

In a bold move aimed at solidifying its congenitally stultified base, the Bush administration today unveiled its latest plan to elevate Murphy’s Law to the status of a Constitutional Amendment. Congressional representatives from both sides of the aisle have been lining up since 10:00 a.m. this morning to co-sponsor the legislation, and media coverage of Thursday’s eagerly anticipated floor debate is expected to be wall-to-wall, with CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and the Disney Channel leading the way. (C-SPAN has announced it’s sticking with a prior commitment to cover Lyndon LaRouche’s 84th birthday party in Ann Arbor, Michigan.) Earlier this afternoon, the White House issued a press release laying out the language of the proposed amendment, a copy of which found its way into this reporter’s hands. It read as follows:

“Be it resolved, that anything that can go wrong, should be allowed to go wrong, as quickly and frequently as possible. In the event preemptive action on the part of the Executive Branch is required in order to catalyze, facilitate and/or expedite such calamities, a willful failure on the part of any citizen to actively engage in promoting such preemption shall be considered a violation of Executive Order 2768119B. Furthermore, whosoever shall inquire into the cause of such unfortunate inevitabilities shall be declared a seditious and undesirable miscreant, subject to whatever punitive remedies, civil or criminal, may be deemed appropriate by the president, the vice-president or any other constitutionally mandated officer charged with preserving the public safety, including (but not limited to) policemen, firemen, postmen, utility workers, animal-control agents, UPS drivers, retired Salvadoran death-squad members, floor managers from Walmart, and concerned citizens with magnetic steel plates in their heads.”

In response to questions from the White House Press Corps, Press Secretary Tony Snow revealed the following:

“I hate to admit it, but I’m really not up to speed on this particular Constitutional Amendment,” he confided. “When the First Lady called my office this morning to give me a heads up, the first thing I did was go to my laptop and double-check this month’s Constitutional Amendment calendar. When I couldn’t find it anywhere on there, I called the vice-president, who informed me that this amendment was the one that was supposed to replace the other amendment that got pulled from consideration a couple days ago, you know, the one the president talked to you guys about last week at the ranch? Remember? That was the one that would have required written documentation from at least three of your parents stating they’d received Pasteur Treatments prior to 1894, in order for you to be able to purchase pseudoephedrine and a disposable camera from the same store…”

Mark W. Bradley is a former satirist (who’s now serious as cancer) and a former teacher from Sacramento, California (whose livelihood was taken from him when “Anonymous” contacted each and every parent in his low-income school district and convinced them to withdraw their children from the public schools and instead enroll them in expensive private institutions where they could enjoy cucumber sandwiches and learn to play Squash). Mr. Bradley now works as a private contractor in the aluminum-recycling industry, and spends his free time fabricating pathetically implausible stories about Washington D.C., which he sells to the Liberal Girl Next Door for enough money to buy glue.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What Does The Bush Administration Know Of Moderation?

Bush calling on moderates to come together to help solve the critical problems in the Middle East is a joke! This is arguably the most rightwing, authoritarian, borderline (that’s for those of you who balk at this next word when applied to American leadership) fascist administration in the history of this country, there is nothing moderate about them, how could they possibly call for moderation from the rest of the world when all they export is extremism?

Is there anything moderate about altering Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions to allow for the torture of prisoners? Is there anything moderate about preemptively invading a sovereign nation for the first time in American history? Is there anything moderate about running roughshod over our Constitution and spying on American citizens and locking them up without due process? We have seen some pretty extreme behavior from this administration, just because the lapdog press hasn’t challenged them on much of anything, doesn’t make it any less shocking. How many more hypocritical lectures from this President must we endure?

I was glad to see Countdown’s Keith Olbermann take on the President’s tirade from last Friday, you know, the one where Bush tells us that we aren’t allowed to even think about moral equivalency or dare to question our behavior around the world when it comes to this never ending war on terror. Bush’s poll numbers must be even lower than what is being reported if MSNBC is willing to allow Olbermann to speak to the President like this. Obviously GE sees that there is money to be made by throwing some red meat to the masses that are now overwhelmingly turning against this President.

I am often afraid to contemplate what this band of thugs will do when their backs are up against the wall. Everything is political for the Bush administration and anything is fair play in politics. Wars will be used to bolster poll numbers, fear will be used to maintain control and violence will be used to influence elections. The world’s problems will have to wait because there’s a midterm election to win. Nothing that happens between now and then will be accidental and everything will have a political purpose, whether it’s dropping bombs on Iran or an increase in terrorist activity. This administration will claw and scratch, plot and lie, cheat and steal if that’s what it takes, because the alternative is real oversight and investigations into the crimes already committed. With their backs against the wall, we best prepare for the worst.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Here We Go Again!

It doesn’t seem that with our current leadership in DC (a little tyrant in the White House and an opposition party afraid to oppose him), it is going to be possible to avoid a confrontation with Iran, and by confrontation, I mean an all out aerial assault by US military forces on that country. I expect to see the same kind of trumped up intelligence, the same kind of fear based rhetoric and the same kind of misleading public statements that we saw in the lead up to the Iraq invasion, recycled this time around with Iran.

There is a very real debate to be had about the threat of allowing Iran to become a nuclear power and how the international community can best help create peace and stability in the Middle East, but that is not the debate that this country will have as we head toward war with Iran. Instead, our politicians will debate what it means to be “tough on terrorism”. It’s sad really, but American politics is not about what’s best for the country anymore, it’s about who can come out on top and with the most money to show for their efforts.

War used to be a serious topic and war was once viewed as a last resort, a step not to be taken lightly by a democratic country. With this administration, wars are started in the middle of the night, achieved through arm-twisting and manipulation and then sold to the American people after the fact using any justification that fits the current mood. We have become the aggressor country thanks to the Bush doctrine. How American is that?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Oh Yeah?!?!... Well, I'll Kick Your Ass Next Time.

Guest post by Man of American Dissent

Is anyone really able to take John Kerry seriously anymore? What with all the Special Political Action Messages he keeps sending out in an effort to remain relevant and now this regarding the Swift Boat Crew. John Kerry says he’s “prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other“.

He sounds like the kid with the black eye and the torn shirt who got the snot beat out of him on the playground after school, making the in vain pronouncement that he’ll beat up the bully next time. You should have been prepared to kick their ass the first time, but instead you allowed them to inflict permanent scars on you, John. Your dress whites still bear the stains from the Rovian slime-o-matic and it’s really quite unbecoming for you to pretend that they’re not.

Friday, September 15, 2006

How Could Anyone Still Vote Republican?

How can it not bother your average American Republican leaning voter that the Congress chooses which bills it will take up depending on what is politically advantageous to them? It is appalling that with all the important work left undone by this Congress that they would give up completely on accomplishing anything meaningful and instead pass puff legislation that they think will win them votes. It’s not as if there isn’t enough to do, hell, New Orleans is still in shambles over a year after hurricane Katrina, how about spending some time on that? And how can Republican voters sit idly by while this President further erodes any moral authority we may have left by pushing legislation that allows for the torture of prisoners? When will the Republican rank and file turn on their party that has abandoned all sense of decency, honor and responsibility?

At this point, I don’t even care that the biggest factor that may motivate Republican voters to stay home on Election Day is the fiscal irresponsibility of the current GOP led Congress and this Republican President. If illegal wars, lying to Congress and the American people, spying on American citizens without cause or warrant, torturing prisoners in violation of Geneva Conventions, political payback that includes exposing undercover CIA agents working on nuclear proliferation, walking away from an American city that was destroyed by a hurricane and failing to implement even the most basic security measures at our ports are not enough, then by all means, boot these thugs out of office because they’ve been irresponsible with our tax dollars. For me it doesn’t even make the short list of the worst things they’ve done, but whatever gets them out of office sooner rather than latter is fine by me. Then the real work of convincing Democrats that we are serious can begin. Liberals haven’t done a great job of holding the Democrats’ feet to the fire in the past, but let’s hope this time is different. Democrats taking over Congress in November will merely be the beginning of the fight to right this country, even they will provide significant resistance to what the people really need and want.

And at this point, Democrats taking over even one chamber of Congress is a big IF. The public selling of GOP control is on and cable news is working diligently to prop up this President and boost the moral of Republicans. Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews and his rabid protégé Nora O’Donnell spent nearly 20 minutes talking about Bush’s surging poll numbers, Cheney’s “amazing” political abilities and the masterful playing of the news cycle by the Republicans. Of course, all the while they dished out Republican talking points of the Democrats being “confused” and “without a message”. The voters may be ready to toss the bums out, but if the media can successfully tie the anger at the GOP with anger toward incumbents, nothing much will change. In order to keep control of Congress, the GOP will need Chris Matthews, Nora O’Donnell and the rest of the press lapdogs to push the “pox on both your houses” meme. If you’ve noticed the phrase being bandied about occasionally, brace yourself, I have a feeling it will be repeated ad nauseam until November.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

If He Could He Would

Does anyone doubt that Karl Rove would do ANYTHING to win an election? Whisper campaigns about Ann Richards being a lesbian, push polls suggesting that John McCain fathered an illegitimate child, lying to the FBI about his office being bugged by the opposition and voter suppression drives are all hallmarks of a Rove run campaign. What in his moral character would suggest that we WOULDN’T tamper with election results if he could? Yeah, I can’t think of anything either, especially if he could get away with it without leaving a trace or having to involve many operatives in order to pull it off.

A new study released today by The Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, demonstrates just how easy it is to flip an election without leaving a trace. Like I’ve said many times before, that it could be done is just as important as whether or not it has been already. Without full confidence that our elections are free and fair, we don’t have a democracy. As long as Democrats in Congress refuse to engage on this issue, they remain a bigger part of the problem than those who would exploit vulnerabilities in the system. Karl Rove being a snake is expected, but Democrats are to blame for continuing to provide him the opportunity. I want to know that our elections are secure so I don’t have to rely on faith that Rove and his kind will play by the rules. That would require a level of self-delusion that I’m simply not capable of.

May She Rest In Peace

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ann Richards last night.  George Bush may give Texas a bad name, but Ann Richards did just the opposite.  Any state that can produce Ann Richards and Molly Ivins, is okay by me.  One of my favorite Ann Richards quips comes courtesy of Molly Ivins in her book Shrub.  While Governor of Texas, Richards was being lobbied hard by the NRA to sign a concealed weapons bill and at one point, they even attempted to appeal to the Governors feminist side by suggesting that women would feel safer if allowed to carry a gun in their purse.  As Governor Richards vetoed the bill as promised, she said, “You know that I am not a sexist, but there’s not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag.”  Every time I’m digging around in my purse for my keys, I always think of Ann Richards.  She was smart, tough, funny as hell and so much more.  She will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It’s Not A Holy War!

I have to say that the rhetoric out of the White House right now is a little frightening. It seems that when Bush used the term “Crusade” back in 2001 when talking about the “war on terra” he said exactly what he meant. There is no logical basis for promoting this unending war on a feeling, so might as well revert to the old standby of whipping up religious fervor and framing this “new struggle” as one of good versus evil in the most religious of terms. It’s what they do best, herding sheep using the prod of God.

I believe in coincidence and synchronicity, but it’s hard not to notice that when it comes to the relationship between traditional media and this administration, much of what appears coincidental is actually manufactured. Take for example the story that ran in The Washington Post yesterday, detailing a study that purports that Americans are more religious than previous polls suggest. The study out of Baylor University concluded that because one out of ten people that checked “no religion” also listed a place of worship, they must in fact be religious. Never mind that people attend church for all kinds of reasons that don’t necessarily include a belief in God, such as social networking, business networking, or simply to keep a spouse happy or a neighbor’s prying questions at bay. Why is it that “no religion” has to be explained away as if it’s simply too unbelievable that more and more people are choosing that option?

On the same day that this story appears in the Post, George Bush starts talking about “The Third Awakening” referring to a newfound devotion to religion in this country. He bases this on such sound evidence as, “he notices more open expressions of faith among people he meets during his travels.” Well then, that’s all the proof I need that we are indeed in a “clash of civilizations” and we can’t let the terrorist win because this is a Holy War, and damn it, our God is better! Bush sounds more and more like Osama bin Laden every day. Maybe he’s jealous of bin Laden’s recruitment numbers and has decided to use the same kind of religious rhetoric to boost his numbers.

Just because a group of Islamic Fundamentalist fanatics have turned this into a Holy War, doesn’t mean that we should allow the Christian Fundamentalist fanatics to engage as if it is. This President has wreaked havoc on the world with his war of choice, his economic and foreign policy that have made us all less safe and less secure, and even God can’t save his sorry ass now. “They” don’t hate us for our freedom or because our women walk around uncovered or because we worship a different God, that is simply ridiculous. The bin Laden’s of the world use those things to recruit and to promote anti-Americanism, but we hand them so many more reasons all by ourselves.

When we turn poor countries into client states, when we build permanent military bases on their soil, when we preemptively invade sovereign nations that pose no threat to us, when we fail to act as an honest broker for peace and when we antagonize the world with macho rhetoric and then follow it up with bombs, we are turning the “they” of a small group of religious fanatics into the “they” of citizens of entire countries. Bush is trying to retroactively sell this war as a religious one, and we shouldn’t let him get away it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Truth, Justice And The American Way

I wanted to write about 9/11 yesterday, on the fifth anniversary of that awful day, but I just couldn’t do it.  What should be a day of unity, of remembrance, free from politics, can never be such because our President has sullied the memory of those who died five years and one day ago by turning 9/11 into an event used solely for political gain.  What Americans learned on that day, and what the President learned are two different things.  As Keith Olbermann pointed out beautifully yesterday on his show Countdown, “We have not forgotten Mr. President.  You have.  May this country forgive you.”  I encourage you to watch the whole segment at Crooks & Liars if you haven’t already.  This kind of truth rarely makes it onto television these days.

The opportunity that this President was handed (whether accidentally by Osama bin Laden or purposefully by shadier elements of our own secret government) five years ago was simply squandered.  What should have been the opportunity of a lifetime for this President has turned out to prove our worst fears that this man is not up for the job he has been handed.  No President has worked harder than this one at dividing the American people, and never has fear been peddled so relentlessly.  Power gained in such a way cannot be sustained and Bush’s power is steadily eroding as he has nothing but fear to bolster him up.

Jonathan Alter wrote “An Alternate 9/11 History” in which he explores the fictional America where George Bush did everything right once the country was united behind him.  It’s not so much funny as it is sad.  As much as I believe it was never possible for George Bush, with his limited knowledge and damaged character, to behave in any other way, it is sad that at this critical time in our history, we have been cursed with a leader that can only inflict harm, incite violence and through his incompetence and willful neglect, leave chaos and destruction in his wake.  History will judge him harshly, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also.  Keith Olbermann last night used the term “impeachable offence” and that is where we are.  The only way that 9/11 can become a truly unifying day, is to rid the country of the biggest wedge separating us from one another, George Bush.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Time For Some Republican Whiplash!

There are signs that the long awaited pendulum swing back to a less extreme political and social center may be on its way.  The Bush administration’s fear mongering is increasingly falling on deaf ears, the public’s taste for regressive GOP policies as well as their cronyism and corruption is waning, and the fear of accountability and real oversight (regardless of what the Vice President asserts) in Washington DC is growing.

The Washington Post is reporting on CIA officers buying legal insurance out of fear they could face criminal charges relating to their treatment of prisoners in secret detention facilities around the world.  Now that George Bush has admitted the existence of these facilities, it could be only a matter of time before the Congress grows a conscience and investigates this administrations practice of extraordinary rendition and torture of prisoners.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Wright and Co., the company offering legal insurance to government agents, stops taking on new clients at some point, what with all the folks in DC that could be in legal trouble soon.

Also encouraging is that Roll Call is now referring to Rick Santorum as the Republican’s most vulnerable incumbent.  That this Bible thumping, hypocritical, bestiality obsessed, sanctimonious numbskull became a Senator in the first place is disheartening, but at least the people of Pennsylvania have come to their senses and appear poised to dump Santorum.  Saving the rest of us from having to listen to their rabid Senator would be a public service for sure.  Come on Pennsylvania, don’t let us down.

All things being fair and above board, it seems clear that the Democrats will be able to take over at least one chamber of Congress, despite the re-drawn districts that virtually ensure that incumbents win.  As I’ve said before, the Democrats not only have to win this November, they have to win big.  Anyone that thinks that the GOP and this administration is above fixing elections, hasn’t been paying attention (nor should they answer the phone for fear of being suckered into buying swamp land in Florida).  It should concern all of us that Bush is so confident the Republicans will retain control of Congress despite all evidence to the contrary.  It suggests that he knows something that the rest of us don’t.  

The only way to beat Republicans is to beat them badly and then pay attention.  We voters cannot allow ourselves to be suckered by the barrage of negative personal attacks on Democratic candidates that are on the way, and more importantly, we must pay attention to what happens after we vote.  Talk to neighbors, watch the vote counting process and look outside the local paper for news about how these Congressional races actually went.  Surely there will be more “glitches” and broken machines and unexplainable vote tallies all across the country and it will matter how we react to these things.  

If it looks fishy, it probably is and sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option.  This administration has been actively running afoul of federal and international law for far too long and we desperately need some oversight.  Dick Cheney was on the Meet The Press yesterday and said that he is not at all afraid of real Congressional oversight.  Logic tells me that his lack of concern has more to do with his confidence that Congress will remain friendly to this administration than it does his confidence that he’s done nothing wrong.  Get your orange shirts ready, we very well may need them.  

Friday, September 08, 2006


(Guest post by Mark W. Bradley)

A couple of years ago, I wrote a widely unread article entitled Teaching the Constitution in a Post-democratic America, in which I pondered the difficulty of instructing public school students on the institutional foundations of our republic, even as those institutions were being energetically dismantled by those sworn to uphold them. Since then, I have discovered the source of my confusion. It seems I’ve been trying to teach the kids about governmental institutions in an age dominated by the cult of personality. I was busy illuminating for them how oxygen is sucked out of the public discourse by the corporate media’s obsession with the air-head heirs of hotel magnates and the talent-less progeny of trash TV producers. Of course, what my students were interested in hearing about was Paris Hilton and Tori Spelling. Having discovered the error of my ways, I’ve now completely dispensed with the boring old “institutional underpinnings of our government” stuff, and instead now dish out tabloid-style mini-bios of the fabulously exciting and interesting people behind the institutions. To illustrate my point, here is a copy of my very first in-class handout of the school year:


President George W. Bush: Unlike former president Jimmy Carter, no one can accuse George W. Bush of getting bogged down in minutia. In fact, he doesn’t allow himself to get bogged down in what comes after the Roman numerals on an 8th grade social studies outline. Frankly, he’s too busy reading. Last summer, he’s reported to have read Salt - A World History. Not one to become easily distracted from his stated goals, Bush has since put a moratorium on his recreational reading until Mark Kurlansky completes the companion edition, The History of Pepper. But the president’s talents are not limited to simple reading. He can speak, as well. Well, maybe not as well as some (or even as well as he used to, perhaps), but he can speak. Oh sure, he’s a little “verb challenged” at times, but seeing the captivating smile on his cute little face as he proudly pronounces polysyllabic words correctly is guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart. And watching him e-nun-ci-ate the last set of consonants like a super-smart first-grade phonics teacher is a nice touch too, don’t you think? What can I say, the guy’s an intellectual vole on large-animal doses of veterinary Xanax…

Vice-President Richard Cheney: Mr. Cheney can best be described as an individual to whom wealth and power are of paramount personal concern. By this I mean he is as greedy as a recently-neutered chocoholic trencherman with whirling hypnotic spirals in his eye-sockets (and a feeding frenzy of ravenous tapeworms wriggling in his grossly engorged gut), shoveling bucket-loads of Belgian crème truffles into his gargantuan gaping gullet, oblivious to the fact that the candy store he is so feverishly intent on scouring is rapidly becoming engulfed in flames. Even as the crystallized sugar-encrusted teeth rot out of his bulbous balding head, it concerns him not, for he has already deployed a team of mercenary prosthetic dentists into nearby low-income neighborhoods armed with rolls of quarters, the better to purchase perfectly healthy new teeth from needy nine-year-olds. (Are we clear on his guy yet?)

Secretary of Defense DonaldDuckwing Rumsfeld: Mr. Rumsfeld has the distinction of having served as both the youngest and the oldest Secretary of Defense in American history. This makes perfect sense, as he shows every sign of having passed directly from puerility to senility without stopping to wind his watch. At least he has the distinction of having gained a first-class education along the way. He studied rhetoric and public speaking with Professor Casey Stengel, military tactics with General George Armstrong Custer, ethics and morality with the honorable King Richard III, and nuclear physics with the Nobel Prize Nominated Theodoric of York. Nothing escapes Rumsfeld’s colander-like mind, with the possible exception of each and every element on the Periodic Table. His historical myopia is so all-encompassing, he once praised Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as a “visionary.” In the event Mr. Rumsfeld should become accidentally imprisoned in a wet paper bag, please call 9(-)11 immediately. (God knows he does every chance he gets.)

*As I develop more educational hand-outs for my students, I will continue to share them on my daughter’s website (the godless hussy).

Mark W. Bradley is a schoolteacher and political satirist in Sacramento, California. He can be contacted at:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The GOP’s Nullification Strategy

The Bush administration and their GOP Congressional lapdogs are spouting off about Islamofacism, a term that makes me laugh every time I hear it, perhaps these idiots should pick up a dictionary or a history book every once in a while. They’re using the term, I think, for several reasons. One is to instill fear in their broadest probable base, you know, the 48% that still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11, and the other is to wear away at the meaning of the word fascism. If they can successfully tie the term “fascist” to “terrorist” then they make it very difficult for people to recognize and identify the Bush administration and the corporate controlled, authoritarian, lockstep Republican Party as exhibiting fascist tendencies. It’s a perfect example of projection and deflection and the sad part is, it will probably work.

There are court cases being decided around the country that are effectively nullifying not just past elections, but the entire process of electing representatives. How is this not fascist in nature? How is it possible that interpreting the constitution as giving the House of Representatives the authority to choose its own members not a direct threat to the democratic process? This is exactly what the GOP and their teams of lawyers are arguing, and they are winning. Whether or not they continue to use this whacked interpretation of our constitution to nullify future elections is not as important as the fact that they could. That should scare us all.

Meanwhile, the real fascists in DC are attempting a “re-education” of the public surrounding the events of 9/11. The ABC docudrama, "The Path to 9/11" will be airing this week and will apparently attempt to prove that the real villain is Bill Clinton. I’ll reserve judgment until after I’ve seen the film, but the more disturbing thing is that ABC has teamed up with Scholastic to spread misinformation about 9/11, the Bush administration and Iraq. Media Matters has some excerpts from the “discussion guide” being sent to teachers across the country. There are some real whoppers in there, including the ever-present “we invaded Iraq because of the WMD” crap. Yeah, nothing fascist at all about corporations teaming up with an authoritarian administration to “re-educate” our children about recent historical events using misinformation, emotional manipulation and blind patriotism. It’s not as if we’ve seen that before in history, right?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What Now Mr. Rove?

That Karl Rove and Ken Melman directed millions of dollars into Lieberman’s primary campaign is not surprising, but it is funny, both because it exposes Lieberman as the GOP candidate of choice and also because it didn’t work.  Strike one for Karl “the feral pig” Rove this election cycle.  Rover has as his main job right now, securing GOP control over both houses of Congress, and that job is a big one, even for Karl.  We all know that he will go to extraordinary lengths to get his job done and dirty is the way he likes to play, but will it be enough this time?  

It’s clear that Rove understands that the mid-term elections are about the economy and the war and helping Lieberman retain his Senate seat as a Democrat was a high profile way to show that there is still strong support for the war.  But Lieberman lost his primary bid and the voters of Connecticut sent the clear message that support for the war is a sure way to lose an election this year.  So what now Mr. Rove?  Perhaps serving as Bush’s brain has plumb tuckered you out, better cook up some fear fast before your brain and Bush’s empty shell are forced to endure Congressional investigations that aren’t run by your hand picked water carriers.

Ted Stevens, Shady Or Just Confused?

Is Ted Stevens the dirtiest member of Congress now that Duke Cunningham is in prison? That’s a dubious distinction and one that is not easy to qualify for considering the current crop of corrupt GOP Congressmen slithering around Washington DC today. Ted Stevens has not been busted for anything (yet), but he does seem to be exhibiting some strange behavior and those close to him are finding themselves in the hot seat.

Alaska’s Republican Senate President, Ben Stevens, son of Ted Stevens, had his office raided by the FBI last Thursday and Friday as the FBI searched for evidence of ties between Veco Corp. and Alaska lawmakers. Ben Stevens has received almost a quarter of a million dollars from Veco for “consulting” work over the last six years. We’ll see whether or not Ben has good documentation on the “services” he provided to Veco that don’t include passing favorable legislation or inappropriately awarding contracts. But whatever Ben Stevens has or hasn’t done wrong, it’s important to remember that Senator Ted Stevens is not responsible for his son’s behavior. After all, he just raised the kid, taught him right from wrong and guided the development of his son’s morality, character and behavior.

But Ted Stevens has some problems of his own, starting with his recent blocking of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act by placing a “secret hold” on the bill. The bill was sponsored by Barack Obama and Tom Coburn and would have created an online database detailing federal spending. This bill had bipartisan support and was considered by most sane people to be a good way to increase transparency and accountability for the way federal dollars are spent. It’s curious that Senator Stevens would fear such a database. It certainly gives the impression that he has something to hide.

Could it be that Senator Stevens doesn’t want anyone to know that he is willing to push legislation that benefits industries for which his son does lobbying work, or even attach riders to bills that will funnel money directly to companies his son holds financial interest in? Or could it be simply that Senator Stevens is old school and believes that backroom deals are the grease that allows money to flow from the federal government to private industry (the way “free market” capitalists intend) or that he simply doesn’t understand how the internet works (beyond being a series of tubes)? I guess it comes down to the question of whether or not Ted Stevens is corrupt or just a little too dense for this modern world. It’s something we’ve been wondering about our President for a long time as well. Perhaps it’s a little (or a lot) of both.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We Know The Who And The What, But What About The Why?

New information about Valerie Plame and her job at the CIA has come to light.  David Corn of The Nation, gives a sneak peak today into what he and Newsweek’s David Isikoff found while researching their book Hubris.  It turns out Valerie Plame was not so much a “desk jockey” as a critical part of the CIA’s effort to find evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program as she headed up the Joint Task Force on Iraq.  This new revelation adds a new dimension to the story, that up until now has focused on who leaked the information rather than why, but it does seem to create more questions than it answers.

If Valerie Plame was such a significant player in helping the Bush administration prove their case for an invasion of Iraq, how exactly did she fall out of favor?  Was it simply that her husband, Joe Wilson, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times basically calling the President a liar?  Was outing her status as a CIA operative a way of punishing Joe Wilson, or was it a way to remove Valerie Plame, who must have been viewed by the Bushies as a traitor by that point, from any further work in the CIA as well as ensure that she couldn’t reveal what she knew?

Recently we have learned that Richard Armitage was the original leaker and primary source for Bob Novak’s column that first publicly revealed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, but as David Lindorf points out today, traditional media seems content to have the mystery solved rather than looking at why it was so important to this administration, particularly to Vice President Cheney, that Valerie Wilson be exposed.  And why no interest by traditional media about the secret meeting that took place in Rome between neo-cons in the Bush administration, Italian intelligence agents and shady characters from the Iran-Contra deal?  It’s not as if this information hasn’t been out there, I wrote about it back in December.  

It is staggering how our corporate owned press has gone out of its way to avoid investigating the shady deals and secret meetings that are the hallmark of this administration.  At the end of each day I come to the same conclusion, that the transformation of the press corps into a sycophantic press gaggle has done more damage to our democratic republic than this scandalous administration ever could.  After all, without their complicity, none of this, a ginned up war, fraudulent elections, illegal surveillance of American citizens, impeachable offenses all, could have happened.  They deserve the level of contempt that most people now have for them, maybe even a little more.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Bad News Looks Good, But It Is Too Little Too Late

The love affair that traditional media has had with Bush appears to be on the rocks.  For almost six years there has been plenty of bad news, but if you get your news from the television or mainstream newspapers, you wouldn’t have known it.  According to most of traditional media, Bush won two elections fair and square, he invaded Iraq to protect us from terrorism and that war has been going swimmingly even if a few Democrats are spreading lies that the violence is escalating and that civil war is imminent.

We watched as the New York Times sat on a story that would have exposed Bush’s illegal wiretapping program before the ’04 election, and then when they did run it a year later, they let the story drop with a thud.  Most Americans still haven’t heard of The Downing Street Memos and anyone that challenges the Bush administration is quickly deemed a conspiracy theorist by the press.  There are simply too many examples of a complicit press to cite (although Eric Boehlert gives it a good shot in his book Lapdogs, How The Press Rolled Over For Bush).  Needless to say, the fourth estate has been vacant for six years.  

That traditional media appears ready to pick up the ball now, in my mind, is too little too late.  Piling on now that Bush’s poll numbers are steadily in the low 30s is easy, but where were they when we really needed them to be the watchdogs of our democracy?  I can’t help but think that if most Americans were forced to read and hear about all of the things many of us had to seek out through alternative news sites and blogs, Bush would have been impeached years ago.  It’s a little too convenient that traditional media is talking about Bush being a leper in his own party, his lack of intellectual prowess and his disastrous policies that have been executed with a staggering level of incompetence now, when an impeachment trial is all but guaranteed not to happen.  The Democrats, even if they do take over both houses of Congress have shown an unwillingness to appear “divisive” and even if they could get over that psychological hump, they simply aren’t organized enough to pull off an impeachment in the amount of time Bush has left in office.  I mean really, it’s been three years since Mission Accomplished and the Democrats still can’t find a unified voice on the disaster that is the Iraq occupation.

Unlike Bill Clinton who gave a rousing partisan speech here a few weeks ago, I don’t think that Democrats are the answer (even if they are better), but I do think that the few individuals that can be part of the solution are most definitely not going to be Republicans.  What this country needs is a radical transformation of the face of power.  We all know that the GOP is corrupt beyond redemption and that the Democrats we now have representing us in D.C. are not far behind.  We know that corporations have more of a say in legislation that passes through the people’s house than ordinary Americans, and we know that democracy is a tenuous thing that requires active participation by those being governed.  I firmly believe that the reason we are so close to losing our democratic republic, is because the press abandoned its responsibility to inform and instead became paid cheerleaders for their corporate bosses that had much to gain from propping up Bush.

So I’m happy to see that traditional media is now covering stories that the blogs were covering months (and sometimes years) ago and it’s great that they are finally willing to question this president, his policies and his ability to lead his Party, let alone this country, but if I didn’t trust them last month, what have they really done to earn my trust this month.  Their paychecks are still signed by the same corporations, their interests are still the same and their failures in the recent past haven’t been acknowledged, even in the most cursory way.  For me to trust that what they are reporting now is any more valid than what they reported before, simply because I like what they’re saying, would make me as stupid as their corporate bosses are hoping I am.  I’ll be thrilled if traditional media actually looks into the crimes of this administration, but I will still keep in mind that they will have reasons for doing so that don’t involve what’s best for the public.

The answer to the problem of inadequate, corporate owned representation in D.C. is active participation by average Americans.  If we don’t like the corporate candidates we have to choose from, we must buy some of our own.  When we read news about what our government is doing, we must question the motives of those passing that news along.  Sure, we are working harder for less money every year and the economic outlook isn’t good leaving little time to actively search for relevant and accurate news, but if we don’t, we will surely be working harder for less money next year.  The only way to stop the slide is to take some responsibility, take some action and invest in our own future.  It may seem daunting, but the alternative is so much worse.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How Many Times Must We Go Down The Same Road?

Have you noticed the “chatter” about a full-scale attack on Iran?  If not, you haven’t been watching cable news, and good on you for that.  I have a bad feeling that Frank Luntz has given the GOP, the Bush administration and Fox News a tutorial on how to wear away at the resistance of the American people to start yet another war.  They are testing the waters and using repetition to get people used to the idea that an attack on Iran is an inevitability thereby mitigating the public backlash that would surely come from such a move.  I’m done asking if this administration will ever learn from their mistakes, but will the American people?  That’s what I want to know.

We’ve seen what Bush’s pre-emptive invasion of Iraq has produced, a bloody occupation, a civil war and the proliferation of radical Islam and anti-Americanism.  As bad as things seem now, they will be made exponentially worse if this administration goes neo-con crazy again and orders air strikes on Iran.  Any chance we may still have of repairing the damage we’ve done in the Middle East will be blown to bits once the first pictures of dead Iranian civilians are plastered around the region.  Anyone that thinks the Iranian government will collapse as fast as Saddam’s is loony beyond help and Iranian resistance will not be contained within their borders, we will see a significant rise in international terrorist acts as a result.  But that may be exactly what the Bush administration and their neo-con bat-shit crazy new world order friends are counting on.  The fear they love to exploit has lost its punch, better stir the pot and get some real action going again.

If there is one thing the Bush administration is not, it’s creative.  They are trotting out the same argument for attacking Iran as they did for invading Iraq and they are doing so without acknowledging in any way that we now know their entire argument was based on lies and manufactured evidence, not to mention that we have seen every single pillar of their case collapse into rubble.  We were not greeted as liberators, this war is not paying for itself and it has certainly not made us any safer.  How stupid do they think we are?  I guess the more important question is how many times will the American people allow their incurious, slow learning, incompetent President to insult their intelligence?

Iran does not pose an imminent threat to us, most experts believe that they are five to ten years away from developing a nuclear weapon, but that doesn’t matter if there is political gain in ratcheting up the fear.  The only potential winner in a preemptive strike on Iran is Bushco.  George gets to leave office a war President, the war profiteers get to keep raking in the dough and the GOP gets to continue manipulating voters through fear.  This administration is not serving the people, so much as serving themselves and their friends.  Our money isn’t being spent, it’s being stolen.  Our soldiers aren’t defending our country or spreading freedom, they are being sacrificed for profit.  Do we really need a repeat performance before we make up our mind?  Six years should be long enough for Americans to be able to recognize the pattern.  I just hope the slow learners don’t blow it for the rest of us (yet again).