Why I Read Driftglass Every Day

Re Brit Hume, chosen to interview Dick Cheney concerning the shooting accident: "A man who must to stand on his ippy-tippy toes to reach the yummy dollop of stinkfoot hanging like a summer peach from Dick Cheney’s cybernetic arch-supports."

I'm glad this dude's on our side.


Wash Out Your Mouth, Asshole

By Alan Watts in "The Gospel According to Zen" (1971):

"Christian piety makes a strange image of the object of its devotion, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The bearded moralist with the stern, kind, and vaguely hurt look in the eyes. The man with the lantern, knocking at the heart's door. "Come along now, boys! Enough of this horsing around! It's time you and I had a very serious talk." Christ Jesus our Lord. Jeez-us. Jeez-you. The Zen Buddhists say, "Wash out your mouth every time you say "Buddha!" The new life for Christianity begins just as soon as someone can get up in church and say, "Wash out your mouth every time you say 'Jesus!'".

"For we are spiritually paralyzed by the fetish of Jesus. Even to atheists he is the supremely good man, the exemplar and moral authority with whom no one may disagree. Whatever our opinions, we must perforce wrangle the words of Jesus to agree with them. Poor Jesus! If he had known how great an authority was to be projected upon him, he would never have said a word. His literary image in the Gospels has, through centuries of homage, become far more of an idol than anything graven in wood or stone, so that today the most genuinely reverent act of worship is to destroy that image. In his own words, "It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Paraclete [the Holy Spirit] cannot come unto you." Or, as the angel said to the disciples who came looking for the body of Jesus in the tomb, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen and has gone before you...." But Christian piety does not let him go away, and continues to seek the living Christ in the dead letter of the historical record. As he said to the Jews, "You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life."

"The Crucifixion gives eternal life because it is the giving up of God as an object to be possessed, known, and held to for one's own safety: "For he that would save his soul shall lose it." To cling to Jesus is therefore to worship a Christ uncrucified, an idol instead of the living God."

This shit ain't news.


Your Tax Dollars at Work

And when does this government agency get prosecuted for criminal negligence? And when do people who lost everything get to sue these motherfuckers for everything they own?

Remember: Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about a blow job.

Military MaDNESS

Remember that the last time we fought a two-front war, we had the draft.


A Steaming Pile

The day: Wednesday, Jan 25 06
The time: Just after 7 pm
The show: Scarborough County
The guest: Al Franken

(Quick, we need a transcript!)

I chanced by the TV a few minutes ago and who should be on "Scarborough County" but Al Franken, who must have been sitting in as Joe's designated lefty of the evening. Joe is fair and balanced and gave Al the last word after bestowing upon him the Scarborough County imprimatur of "You're doing a good thing over there, Al". Al got to give his schtick and went to great lengths to say that he honored the troops but that there are issues about the Bush administration that deserve a little closer scrutiny. I'm sure Joe was nodding in approval. Except that all of the time Franken was talking, the caption at the bottom of the screen read BLAMING AMERICA.

Sorry, but I could not believe my eyes.


No, the caption beneath the talking-head image of my man Al Franken was BLAMING AMERICA, as if that was what Franken was doing, appearing on that steaming pile of dung known as "Scarborough Country", a melange of propaganda and cheap sensationalism that passes for quote-unquote journalism in these times, times when real journalism is the single most important thing we need, even beyond campaign finance reform.

Let me tell you something, Mr. ex-Representative Joe Scarborough. Your show is a lie and BLAMING AMERICA proves it. Al Franken doesn't blame America, he serves it every day by hosting the best three hours of talk radio anywhere on the AM dial, blaming those Americans who really deserve to be blamed for the fiascoes that accost us daily: Iraq, corruption in government, the gross mendacity of Republican apologists like Rush Limbaugh, etc. These are, of course, the Bush Administration and its Congressional and media enablers--like you, Joe.

To say nothing of going on USO tours to Iraq, an adventure so dangerous that Franken's family lets him go only reluctantly, knowing he could be killed at any second, because they know how important it is to him to show the troops that even people who disagree with the government can still honor the service of men and women in uniform. How many tours has he done? Five? Six?

And if I thought Joe Scarborough would ever see this blog, I might say something like, Joe, don't call yourself a journalist and don't ever call yourself "fair" because that word has to be enquoted when considered in the context of the politics of your show.

And the copy desk editor who sent that piece-of-crap headline to the printer is a tool, too, and you can tell him or her that I said so. Tell him or her that there's a big difference between BLAMING AMERICA and telling the citizens who really are America what happens to be wrong with the idiots who are running it.

Update, 9 pm

Olberman provides what balance there is. Shows Bush at the podium over the caption, "Domestic surveillance for dummies".



The Second Cell (A Scenario)

First, you have to believe that the destruction of the Twin Towers (and WTC7) were controlled demolitions, as the evidence indicates. You don't, however, have to believe that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld set the charges themselves.

You just have to entertain the possibility that there was a second al-Qaeda cell working the September 11th attacks, in addition to the nineteen hijackers--who are the only ones who have been mentioned to this day as having anything to do, beyond funding, with the attacks. Assuming, which I think you basically have to, that the buildings were purposely taken down by controlled demolition--because the airplanes themselves were not enough to do it--I've come up with a plausible scenario that actually helps the whole thing make sense.

I won't go into the evidence about why the planes alone could not knock the buildings down; we know the structures were built to withstand airplane hits--and did. We also won't go into how burning jet fuel was not hot enough to melt the steel superstructure of the Towers, nor into how steel-structured buildings don't fall because of fire, ever. Nor even into the evidence of our own lyin' eyes: two buildings, three if you count WTC7, falling straight down just like we've seen a million times before with controlled demolitions. Gee, all three of them falling exactly the same way; how did that happen? And people heard explosions just before the fall, but that's all just paranoid conspiracy theories because this is America and things like governmental takeovers by madmen and their puppet presidents only happen to other countries because we're outside of history and all that.

The airplanes alone couldn't bring down the buildings, and, really, what was the true purpose of the attacks? To hijack and kill all the prisoners on the planes and the people inside the buildings? Maybe, but I like to think the real purpose was to destroy the buildings, which is what the blind sheik, Ramsi Yusuf and that group had tried and failed to do in 1993. In my scenario, the planes are just the opening act.

Remember that these al-Quedans are engineers and doctors--educated men. Osama himself comes from the leading engineering family in Saudi Arabia if not the world. He would know the planes alone wouldn't be enough to bring down the buildings, that a controlled demolition would be necessary to ensure that result. The death planes would add drama and, more importantly, focus the public's horrified attention on the real show, which was--boom!--bye, bye World Trade Center

"Al Quaeda, Destruction of the Towers, take two." You could call it learning from your mistakes. Or not giving up until you get it right. Whatever, it was a fiendishly audacious and effective piece of large-scale performance art that was sure to satisfy the deep romantic longings of the medieval Wahabist mind. And scare the holy fuck out of every American alive. And be the "new Pearl Harbor" so fervently desired by the neocons who needed a reason to go to war in Iraq.

Which helps to explain how the bad guys were able to pull it off, right under our noses. If Cheney and Rumsfeld can call off NORAD at the moment of truth, who's to say they couldn't also have have called off the FBI, who would have been able to catch the explosives guys--just like they could easily have stopped the hijackers if they'd wanted to, which they apparently did not.

To me it makes perfect sense. Two cells working simultaneously: the one we know about learning how to fly heavy jets and the other taking perhaps years to surreptitiously plant the explosive charges that would bring down the buildings in a traditional controlled demolition. The explosives would be set off, perhaps by remote control, perhaps by some other means, after the shocking and world-fixating opening display of the fiery murder of hundreds of innocents right there on live teevee.

The scenario of a second cell is no less plausible than of the one we know of: The hijackers were living openly in the U.S., attending their flight schools and being ignored or actively not investigated by the FBI, which was at the time being Ashcrofted into thinking that pornography and prostitution were greater dangers than terrorism. A second cell, the New York City cell, could easily have been just as busy, working underground or in the open, developing an identity that would allow them access to the buildings where they could then plant the explosives.

Far fetched? Not really. Like I said, where the fuck was NORAD, who literally disappeared from their own radar for the entire morning? What happened to their fifty-plus years of 24/7 training to deal with shit like off-course jetliners in addition to Russian bombers coming over the North Pole? And how did we know the exact identies of the hijackers within hours or days after the massacres? If the good guys knew the bad guys were on the planes, how is it that the bad guys got away from the good guys for just enough time to do the deed? And what really caused WTC7 to fall, which hadn't even been hit? The seismic impact of the Towers crumbling into dust and a huge asbestos cloud? I thought they built these things to withstand earthquakes. Hm-m-m.

Those buildings were not destroyed by those two airplanes, and so somebody had to plant the charges. My money's on al-Qaeda, with a wink and a nod from you-know-who.

Update, Feb. 12 06:

Actually, the more I think about it, I have to wonder: Why would the terrorists have gone to the trouble of setting up the controlled demolition that brought the buildings down in the perfectly symmetrical pattern that is what took place? It now seems to me that, from their viewpoint, an asymmetrical demolition--in which the buildings fell to one side--would have been more spectacular and more destructive. The benefits of a symmetrical demolition would devolve more to people who needed to destroy all the evidence, which of course would be those people inside the U.S. government who needed this "new Pearl Harbor" to effect their coup d'etat.

So, what then was the matrix of personnel? Who was flying those airplane and who were they working for, actually? And where, really, does Osama bin Laden figure into all this?


Required Reading

Driftglass has produced an instant classic, if there can be such a thing.


We're Not Alone

I have lately been wondering whether our friends Across The Pond will have to act as a counterweight to the mass stupidity expressed by the American electorate, which seems unable to appreciate the fundamental problem of the neoconservative madness of the Pax Americana:

"The problem for the US today is that Leviathan has shot his wad. Iraq revealed the hubris of the imperial geostrategy. One small nation can tie down a superpower. Air and space supremacy do not give command on the ground. People can't be terrorised into identification with America. The US has proved able to destroy massively - but not create, or even control. Afghanistan and Iraq lie in ruins, yet the occupiers cower behind concrete mountains.

"The spin machine is on full tilt to represent Iraq as a success. Peters, in New Glory: Expanding America's Supremacy, asserts: 'Our country is a force for good without precedent'; and Barnett, in Blueprint, says: 'The US military is a force for global good that ... has no equal.' Both offer ambitious plans for how the US is going to remake the third world in its image. There is a violent hysteria to the boasts. The narcissism of a decade earlier has given way to an extrovert rage at those who have resisted America's will since 2001. Both urge utter ruthlessness in crushing resistance. In November 2004, Peters told Fox News that in Falluja 'the best outcome, frankly, is if they're all killed'."

Just One More in a Series

Is it even arguable that the Bush administration has been little more than one Constitutional crisis after another from the day they planted their worthless collective ass in the White House?


The Butchers Among Us

Wolcott, our Virgil in Hell.

From the John Ciardi translation of Dante's Inferno:

"The poets come to the edge of the Ninth Bolgia [of the Eighth Circle] and look down at a parade of hideously mutilated souls. These are the SOWERS OF DISCORD, and just as their sin was to rend asunder what God had meant to be united, so are they hacked and torn through all eternity by a great demon with a bloody sword. After each mutilation, the souls are compelled to drag their broken bodies around the pit and to return to the demon, for in the course of the circuit their wounds knit in time to be inflicted anew. Thus is the law of retribution observed, each sinner suffering according to his degree."

The irony is, shall we say, cutting.

Also, here's my note to James Wolcott, sent through the Vanity Fair website:

Mr. Wolcott:

I can't e-mail you through your blog (problems with my e-mail setup), so I'm writing you this way to tell you that, concerning your "Headhunters" post, I went to one of the fonts of our moral understanding--Dante--to find an eerily prescient commentary on our friends at LGF.

I would be honored if you would see my post at www.millerdunwoody.blogspot.com.

William Miller
San Anselmo, Calif.


the mccain amendment: why?

My thought here at the beginning is that it sounds unnecessary, in that we already have laws on the books, as the Second Amendment crowd is fond of telling us.

Mr. Ashcroft? Mr. Gonzales?

Update, 12/17:

Of course, the fact that Congress even sees a need to enact such a bill is evidence of its finally awakening to the fact that this outlaw administration requires--gee whiz!--a check against its tendencies to commit egregious felonies and then justify them by passing laws that make the behavior legal!

Ashrcroft? Gonzales? Ha ha!

Oh, and in your fucking face, Guantanamo:

"(b) CONSTRUCTION.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any geographical limitation on the applicability of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under this section."

I always thought, "You gotta be shitting me" when Rumsfeld et al. would argue that Guantanamo was outside the reach of the U.S. court system. Excuse me? U.S. military personnel doing their official duties at an official U.S. military installation are outside the reach of the U.S. courts? What's wrong with this picture?

That Congress has let this Constitutional travesty exist for four years is itself a travesty. A pissant like Bush pisses on the separation of powers and nobody raises a finger. Better late than never? Stay tuned.

Update 2: Orcinus has more to say on the dangers of unchecked executive power.


"It is nice that the Bush administration has finally been pressured into backing a ban on cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners. But what remains shocking about this embarrassing and distasteful national debate is that we had to have it at all."

-Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


Halos for Hypocrites

I like the halos press photographers sometimes put around Republicans. Sort of points up the hypocrisy thing, white-collar criminals waving fingers at us slobs who are just trying to make an honest living for the family.

(Speaking of which, I thoroughly enjoyed today's pic of Ken Lay doing his apparently low-key perp walk. Lay almost looked like he was out for a stroll until you noticed the handcuffs, discreetly hidden by his suit jacket. Funny; we haven't heard much about Lay's day in court in the liberal media. What's up with that?)

(Ed. note: the Lay photo was actually from 2004.)

Interesting that hypocrisy always seems to have been the sin most despised by Jesus, the sin perhaps the least amenable to forgiveness. He reserved his most caustic invective for "you hypocrites, you generation of vipers."

"Ouch! Was it something we said, Rabbi?"

As a leader of the party of "getting the government off our backs," Frist is in charge of reducing regulation in the very place where it is most needed: corporate America, as personified by the aforementioned Kenny Boy, Bush Pioneer and impoverisher of millions.

But Doctor Menge... er, Frist is also leader of the party dedicated to keeping the government very much on the backs of people who do not share his party's concept of family planning. His government will do all it can to stay very close to those people's backs (especially when they're on them), to the extent of force-feeding us judges like Samuel "10-Year-Old Strip Search" Alito. Jon Stewart offered that Alito is like the relief pitcher brought in to get one guy out: Roe v. Wade.

In fairness, you could say Frist favors getting the government "off the back" of the poor and the middle class through, well, just pulling out of the whole "government entitlement" thing once and for all. You know, like Medicare and Social Security. Veterans' benefits.

Remember: Government is the problem!

(Your New Republican Party: "Like a broken clock, right twice a day.")

I was going to say something along the lines of: "Sounds like a bad case of holding two mutually exlusive and impossible beliefs, which, as we recall from our reading, is a function of doublespeak--is this a doubleplusgood country or what?

"Stick to something, you lying douchebag!"

But then I realized: His beliefs are not at all mutually exclusive. In fact, they are quite in conformity. They both support the notion that wealth holds the power and ain't gonna give it up any time soon.

And that the poor ye shall always have with you if he has anything to say about it.

Because remember this, too: Doctor Frist's ownership interest in the nation's largest health maintenance organization has absolutely nothing to do with any of his decisions vis a vis the public health. Eg, Medicare. Really. I mean it.

That's your 2006 Congressional Christian for you: A finger-wagging hypocrite whose party tells me I'm unpatriotic while he's hard at work using my tax dollars to make my life miserable, a slave to his friends in the medical-pharmaceutical industry and his friends' friends in the petroleum industry, to say nothing of the "30,000 or so" dead Iraqis and their grieving families. We'll get to the American dead later.

Update, 12/27/05: And not that there's any obvious hypocrisy at work here, but Trent Lott's also got words for us.


Man, I Hate Shit Like This

Now there was one funny motherfucker. Newsday has a nice obit on Pryor.

Harold Pinter, Anti-American

Harold Pinter's Nobel acceptance speech will no doubt fuel arguments by the right wing that the Literature prize is given to radical leftists so they can have a bully pulpit from which to sling rhetorical turds at America. That's probably not the case, but, hey, if the shoe fits....

In any event, Pinter did not disappoint:

"You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."

And, as they say, the money quote:

"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

"We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'."

George W. Bush has millions of supporters in this country. You can hear it in every justification for the carnage we impose daily on the people of Iraq.

"It's the terrorists who are doing most of the killing", as if we had nothing to do with their being there in the first place.

Or "Twenty-five million people have been liberated", as if our form of "liberation"--car bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, military occupation--none of which existed under Saddam Hussein--to say nothing of the devastation of the physical infrastructure of the country--is the kind of "liberation" the citizens of Iraq had in mind when Bush sent in the Marines.

"No attacks on the U.S. since nine-eleven". Well, I guess they got that one right. Of course, the "flypaper" strategy--inciting ultra-violence in Iraq so we don't have to suffer it here--happens to be one of the more morally repugnant doctrines to come out of our government in a long time, which is really saying something.

Where is our national conscience?

Hypnosis, indeed.

Spell Check

BTW, it's "ad nauseam", not "nauseum".


LaTroy, We Hardly Knew Ye

He did okay as far as I could tell ('cept for a few home runs here and there), but bidness is bidness.

And please, John: Don't remind me of 2002, okay? There's enough pain in the world without adding more to it.

This Used to Have a Different Title

It's a sad day of remembrance.

I'd love to hear what John would say about right-wing doughheads cherry-picking lyrics in order to cite "Revolution" as a conservative anthem. My answer? Get your own fucking music, assholes.

In fact, I'd love to hear what John would say about any damn thing in the world, just so he could be here to say it.

By the way, I first called this post "The Day the Music Died". Then I saw that same title over somebody's else's post and I decided to change mine.


What Good Does It Do?

This from Corrente Wire:

"The GAO report does not prove that the Republicans stole Ohio 2004. However, it does make a prima facie case that ample means to steal Ohio 2004 existed, and ample opportunities as well."

lambert goes on to list a number of major problems with the Ohio election:

Weak system security controls
Design flaws in the voter-verified paper audit trail systems
Weak security management practices
Incorrect system configuration
Poor implementation of security procedures
System failures during elections

Here's what I said in response:

All of these weaknesses were well known before the 2004 election, and the Democrats made lots of big noise about all the measures they were putting in place to ensure a clean vote. They weren’t going to take any shit from the Republicans … and then Kerry and Whatshisface pissed on my vote by walking away from the whole thing—after one day!—like it didn’t matter. And now the people are left holding a very big bag of shit.

What good does it do to know how Karl Rove and the Republicans can steal an election if nobody’s going to call them on it? No wonder people don’t respect the Democratic Party; they won’t even stand up for John Conyers, who wrote a report that nobody cares about and who had to hold his Iraq hearings in the fucking basement for chrissakes. I’m surprised they didn’t make him bus tables during the breaks.

And this, after the Democratic Party turned its back on the Congressional Black Caucus during the 2000 election by not backing a challenge to the Florida recount.

Disgraceful is almost too easy a word to describe their spinelessness. It’s almost as hard for me to listen to John Kerry these days as it is to listen to Bush. What a pathetic crop of losers.

The Democrat Party

From Shaun at Upper Left:

"There's one thing, though, that I wish John, Cecil and anyone in a similar situation would do for me and for self-respecting Democrats everywhere. Next time one of those Republican twits starts to prattle on about '…the Democrat Party,' stop him in his tracks and say 'You're an educated person. You know the name of my Party and I take your deliberate misuse as a personal insult.'

Do it to every one of them. Every time.

Or...nah, just tell 'em."

I posted a few comments:

Thank you, Shaun. That irritating little neologism, which I think started with Gingrich, has stuck in my craw for years.

It is indeed an insult, and I'm sure a calculated one. In fact, the unanswered insults just keep on a-comin' from those fuckers, who know they can get away with them.

As for example "Turn Off the Mike" Sensenbrenner's refusal to let John Conyers hold hearings in a proper hearing room and shuffling him and his speakers off downstairs to some fucking broom closet. Did anybody in the Democratic power structure speak up for Conyers? Did Pelosi? Did Reid? Not to my knowledge, though I could be wrong.

And don't even mention Conyers' Ohio election report, which seems to have slipped down the ol' memory hole. Time to move on, and all that.

When you think about it, the entire Republican agenda is an insult to the Democratic Party and to all Democrats, who happen to revere the New Deal programs--especially Social Security--that were put into place by Franklin Roosevelt. These were made a part of the social fabric so as to make life a little easier for everybody. That's what's called domestic-tranquility democracy with a small d, and it is why the current doctrine of Republicanism--fascistic capitalism as personified by Bush, his criminal junta, and his Congressional and big-media enablers--must be eliminated from our civic discourse.

We would like to think the Democrats would be leading that charge. But this craven bunch? What a disappointment.

When wingnuts say the Democrats have no cojones, how can we argue?

spaghetti happens Email Homepage 12.04.05 - 11:18 am #

And yes, maybe I'm being too hard on the Ds. They may be starting to turn things around. Social Security "reform" was stopped in its tracks, and somebody important--Jack Murtha--finally stood up and said Bush's "plan" for "victory" stinks. (Of course, Pelosi took two weeks to finally agree to this publicly.)

All well and good. As Molly Ivins says, The first rule of holes is, when you're in one, stop digging. Maybe Reid & Asso. are finally putting the brakes on this political terrorism, as the Constitution mandates.

Is it too little, too late? Stay tuned. The Republican legacy to America--a $7 trillion deficit, unregulated corporate rapine, and a bloody, unwinnable war--is a pretty deep hole to get out of.

spaghetti happens Email Homepage 12.04.05 - 11:34 am #

Which brings me to civil disobedience. On the part of our Congresspersons. Meaning, fuck civility; do they think the Republicans give a shit about civility?

Sensenbrenner turns off your mike? Throw a fit, right there in front of C-SPAN. The Speaker pulls one of those voice vote things, where it's obvious that the Dems won, but he calls it for the Republicans? Rush the fucking podium, demanding justice!

Make a scene! Stop taking shit!

spaghetti happens Email Homepage 12.04.05 - 11:44 am #

Update: And, I would add: Sensenbrenner denies you a hearing room? March in as a group, turn the fucking lights back on, and make the prick call the Capitol cops on you and march you out in handcuffs. Great photo op!


Bush and the Global Greenhouse

"The Bush administration has spent $20 billion on climate change programs since taking office, Dobriansky added, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 0.8 percent between 2000 and 2003."

Really? I guess we're supposed to be convinced by those numbers that our president is really concerned about global climate change. Here is one analysis of the president's alternative to the Kyoto Protocol:

"The Administration's strategy instead sets a target for greenhouse gas intensity: the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to economic output expressed in gross domestic product (GDP). This approach minimizes economic impact by allowing emissions to rise or fall with economic output; however, it provides no assurance that a given level of environmental protection will be achieved since the degree of environmental protection is measured in relation to GDP. Theoretically a GHG intensity target can lead to a net reduction in emissions, but only if it is sufficiently stringent. The Administration's target - an 18 percent improvement in GHG intensity over the next decade - allows a substantial increase in net emissions." [Emphasis mine.]
Decreasing the intensity of emissions has in fact been done before. As the Pew Center notes,

"[a]lthough total emissions continued to rise, greenhouse gas intensity in fact fell over the last two decades ... In the 1980s greenhouse gas intensity fell by 21 percent. During the 1990s greenhouse gas intensity fell by 16 percent. The Administration's strategy aims to cut greenhouse gas intensity to a level of 151 metric tons carbon equivalent per million dollars of GDP by 2012, 18 percent below its present level. While this would represent a very modest improvement over the "business as usual" emissions projections for 2012 used by the Administration, it appears to continue the same trend of GHG-intensity reductions and GHG emissions increases experienced over the last two decades."
In other words, the Bush program to decrease the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions won't necessarily decrease the actual amount of gas being emitted into the atmosphere. Given sustained economic growth, unless the allowable percentages become very low, the absolute tonnage of gases emitted will still increase. It's simply a means of postponing the day of reckoning, and it's the typical sleight of hand that is regularly employed by Bush & Co. to hide what they're really up to.

We should also note that the Bush plan is voluntary, and, as the Pew Center report notes: "Previous voluntary GHG targets, including the UNFCCC's target of returning to 1990 levels of GHG emissions by 2000, have not been met by the United States."


But maybe Ms. Dobriansky is correct in that the Bush administration has been spending lots of money on non-CO2-emitting energy sources. Could it have anything to do with this?

The problem with reports such as those from Ms. Dobriansky is that the Bush administration has no credibility. Recall the Medicare scam; they will say anything or present any numbers they need to present in order to make people think they're really working in the public interest, rather than

1. Draining the treasury,
2. Wasting natural resources,
3. Killing people.

Nothing the Bush administration has said or done to this point gives cause to believe that what Ms. Dobriansky is saying has any but the most tenuous connection with what's really happening at the Energy Department, the Interior Department, or the White House itself. These people are liars and nothing they say should be believed without the most rigorous reality testing.

Here's more reading:


Now, I'm all for fairness, and in all fairness, here's the eyewash the White House has published about its program. Take it with a grain of salt.

We report, you decide--or barf and throw a shoe through the TV, as necessary.


Fool Me Once ...

The "special relationship" appears to have its limits, after all.


About Me

Well loved though socially inept. Straight.

Politically liberal (from a family of mostly Republicans). Retired military (enlisted, never in combat except with father over morality of Nixonism and Vietnam--please don't ask why I stayed in).

Native of Cincinnati, married and living in Marin County, Calif. Keine kinder.

Currently reliving fish-out-of-water AF experience as admin/exec assistant (at my age?!) in small (but growing!) construction-development company.

SF Giants fan.

Don't like long walks on the beach.

Would Bush and Limbaugh Kill Journalists?

The question is being asked (about Bush, not Limbaugh; that part's mine), so let's consider it.

Bush is said to have wanted to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar, but a cooler-headed Tony Blair talked him out of it. Would Bush kill journalists? No, not if you just put a gun in his hand and Sy Hersh in front of him. Well, maybe Hersh ... just kidding!

No, Bush would never shoot or stab anybody; he's not that kind of killer. But I think we can say that Bush does not hold a soft spot in his heart for the journalistic profession--at least as I believe the profession is understood, which is a purveyor of true interpretation to us citizens out here in teeveeland about the events and personalities of the day (that the craft of journalism on teevee is just about dead is beside the point). As with those unfortunates who happened to come up for execution in Texas on Governor Bush's watch, I think President Bush sheds no tears when this cameraman or that journalist's driver happens to get caught in harm's deadly way. This is especially true when it is our troops doing the firing because our troops can do no wrong, and by the way, we do not torture either.

Americans have twice bombed al-Jazeera headquarters, in Kabul and in Baghdad, so this would be nothing new. In the case of the Baghdad office, where the Palestinian journalist Tarik Ayoub was killed, the building was clearly marked as a press office and the US military had been expressly informed of the map coordinates so they could avoid dropping bombs on it--oops! And let's not forget the Palestine Hotel.

I think the simple fact is that any regime that would perpetrate the horrors of "shock and awe"--not as an aberrancy but as a matter of policy--can certainly be counted on literally to kill the messenger, especially during the "fog of war" when mistakes can be made. The fact that, as Reuters reports, more journalists have been killed in the three years of war in Iraq than were killed in 20 years of war in Vietnam is suggestive in this regard. When the U.S. military won't pledge to even try to protect unembedded journalists, you figure out quick which side of the bread the butter's on.

(The real question, though, is whether Bush would actually have called down an air strike on Qatar, a sovereign, non-combatant, and allied nation, in order to do the al-Jazeera hit. The fact that Tony Blair had to talk him out of doing this should make us wonder about the man who is ostensibly leading us.)

Along with George Bush's itchy trigger finger, I think we can also count on a chorus of support for the killing and intimidation of journalists from people like Limbaugh, Coulter and their ilk. (We already have heard, explicitly, from Coulter on this subject, at least twice that I’ve read.) These people are are widely and mistakenly considered to be journalists themselves rather than court jesters, albeit swinish ones. They are outspoken in their contempt for those who are forthright in their disapproval of what Bush and the Congress are doing in the Middle East (and note that I said Congress, meaning it's not just Republicans who are fomenting and enabling the mess over there).

Let's consider an example. Do Rush and Ann give a shit when real journalists like Dan Rather and Mary Mapes are run out of town on a rail for doing their jobs, albeit mistakenly? Of course not, because these propagandists of the public airwaves are part of the conspiracy themselves, whether they choose to admit it or not, the lying bastards.

Gee, ain't it funny how CBS got suckered in about certain documents--notably not the details that were in those documents--of George Bush's military service that turned out to be forgeries, red herrings. Could CBS have been sucker-punched over forged documents that--oh, my!--were purposely interjected into the national dialogue by someone aligned with Karl Rove, a man with a proven track record of such wanton criminality?

Limbaugh et al. not only didn't stand up for the real journalists here by calling for an investigation into the creation and use of the documents, they aided in and papered over the crime by criticizing CBS for being taken in by forgers. Such was their means of deflecting criticism away from where it really needed to be, which was on George W. Bush's record of "service" during the Vietnam War. No, instead of doing the right thing and protecting journalists who were trying to uncover the truth about Bush's military service, Limbaugh and company led the charge to have Rather fired.

I wonder if that’s because Rather is one of the infamous Press Losers of the Vietnam War, a stupid and ruinous war whose outcome apparently had nothing to do with William Westmoreland’s being a lousy general who never did understand his enemy and who apparently forgot that we weren’t supposed to be getting into any land wars in Asia any time soon. And maybe Westmoreland should have made that perfectly clear to his president and then resigned instead of sucking up and promising to do the impossible, which was to replay World War 2 and be the Great Liberator once again. Fucking social climber.

But I digress.

Instead of coming to the aid of a once-great news organization that was being patently and publicly dirty-tricked, right on network TV in front of twenty million people, professional liars Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of their sick company clamored to have Rather and Mapes drummed out of the profession in shame.

Dan Rather gets professionally gang-raped by Karl Rove in front of God and everybody and we are then treated to the spectacle of a hypocritical drug addict like Limbaugh having the nerve to say Rather should resign because he was tricked! Get a grip, America! It’s not about George Bush being a liar, it’s about Dan Rather being a fool.

Thanks for coming down on the side of decency, Rush. Where would Karl Rove be today without the trusty right-wing echo chamber?

And by the way, this is what Armed Forces Radio is feeding to our troops around the world every day and twice on Sunday. Dude, where’s Wolfman Jack when you need him?

So, would Bush kill journalists? I think so:

He’ll merely wish it, and yes, it will be so.
Someone else will have to pull the trigger, though.

Would Limbaugh? He’d support it, for sure. Same thing on the trigger, too.


Cheney's "Other Priorities"

Could this be evidence of intramural bureaucratic warfare within the Executive Branch, specifically, between the CIA and the Bush Administration? I'm wondering whether the bureaucrats of the CIA--meaning the working stiffs who collect the data, do the analyses and write the reports, not the Mob politicians like Porter Goss and his crowd of enforcers--are fighting back against the obvious Administration plan to pin the rap for disaster in Iraq on the intelligence itself rather than on the Administration's misuse of it, as in "the Democrats had the same intel we did."

(We could ask why, if the intel was so bad, George Tenet got a Medal of Freedom, but we won't.)

The irony of the CIA, formerly directed by Bush 1, being a finger in the eye of Bush 2 would be sweet indeed. The Agency may actually have some loyalty to the Bushes through its association with H.W.; after all, they did name their headquarters after him. And some of that loyalty might rub off onto George the Stupid. But I doubt there's any love lost among the bureaucrats for Cheney, who's really at target-center of this affair.

I'm thinking that some memo-leaker somewhere in the Agency thinks it's important that the public not be deceived about the quality of the Agency's product, at least enough to say, "When we're wrong we're wrong, but when we're right we like to get some credit. We were right on a lot of things about the situation in Iraq before the war, and we don't like being tarred as misinformed by people who know damn well that we were right but who, having 'other priorities' for this war, chose to disregard what we told them. Which is their right, of course, but they shouldn't ask us to lie back and enjoy it when they tell the world that it was us who fucked things up, not them."

The current memo indicates that Cheney & Co. (a wholly independent subsidiary of Bush Inc.) knew shortly after 9/11 that there was no operative connection between the regime of Saddam Hussein and al-Queda. Yes, the memo notes, Hussein was a sponsor of terrorism, in that he did support Abu Nidal, who as I recall died peacefully in a Baghdad apartment not long before the current chaos. And yes, Saddam Hussein did provide monetarily for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. All for the cause, as it were.

But the report said that Saddam wasn't in league with Osama bin Laden, and if there's anybody who knows its former asset Osama bin Laden, it's got to be the CIA.

Quick, hide that fucking report!

It's clear that just getting rid of Saddam Hussein was not enough for Cheney and the boys. That could have been done through other means such as the fomenting of a peaceful revolution like those that took place before our eyes in the East Bloc states during the collapse of Communism. Nary a shot was fired in anger, as everyone well knows. Those revolutions--against heavily militarized and repressive governments--proved that military force is not the political be-all and end-all that warmongers like Cheney apparently think it is.

(Let's recall where those peaceful revolutions occurred: East Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Rumania, Czechoslovakia. Gee, even the Soviet Union itself. We can't say Yugoslavia , I think, because of what came later. Did I miss any? Yes! Albania!)

Not to mention that Saddam has been in custody for, what? Two years?

No, in fact a peaceful revolution is exactly what Cheney (and Rumsfeld et al.) did not want for the simple fact that while revolution would not have excluded the United States as a player completely, it would still have rendered us more of an equal partner rather than the controlling entity. And the whole point of this real-life war game from its conception fifteen or twenty years ago has been American control of Iraq and its oil: the primacy of American interests over all others. That means we have to do it right now before anybody else can get in there and that means we need American boots on the ground, no time for diplomacy or Hans Blix or any of those other cheese-eating surrender monkeys. For what else are the Marines useful for if not to protect American corporate power in those parts of the world where the rule of a gun is more effective than the rule of the people? (Thank you, Smedley Butler.)

Which is also why talk about a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops must be busting Cheney right in the gut: "What do you mean, withdrawal? We're there for fucking ever, you idiot!"

Talk about fighting the last war. The lizard Cheney is stuck in the Nineteenth Century, worshiping William McKinley on an altar provided by Citibank.

Will the bureaucracy take Bush-Cheney down from within while the rest of the civilized world takes them down from without? Stay tuned!


America the Great!

Are we at an historical turning point? Is it possible that the base and obvious criminality of the Bush Republicans will be enough of a lesson to us to cause us to make the fundamental changes in our political system that need to be made in order for us to survive as the democratic nation dreamed of by the Founders?

We spend ten times on "national defense" what we spend on social services such as college loan guarantees and food stamp programs--aid that middle and lower class citizens depend on for their survival and their future happiness (pursuit of; see Decl. of Indep.). We've known about the pernicious quality of the "national defense" myth for years now, and how the gaping maw of militarism has swallowed trillions of dollars since World War 2 while hospitals, schools, libraries, and police and fire departments all seem to be caught up in a never-ending scramble for funding just to keep the lights on.

And we have come to accept that as normal state of affairs rather than the grand, tragic mistake of social priorities that it is. "I dream of the day when schools have everything they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a new bomber."
We have become enamored of war and militarism, but Bush and the Republicans have taken that misguided love, turned on their own kind, and ground it into the dirt of their venality and cronyism--and in doing so may have inadvertently exposed the myth of national defense for what it is, which is something that modern, civilized people like America should reject and despise.

The curtain is being pulled back on what "national defense" really means. It means profiteering by defense contractors and a revolving door from the Pentagon and other public offices to private industry and back again. It means the diversion of precious engineering and manufacturing resources away from socially beneficial ends and toward wasteful and destructive government programs such as nuclear weapons development and the Strategic Defense Initiative, a multi-billion-dollar research-and-development program so ludicrous and anachronistic as to be laughable were it not tragic.

It means violence against innocent people who happen to get in the way of the grand designs of corrupt and deluded policy makers. And it means a lust for war on the part of Americans, which is how it most harms us--in our souls--since we also manage to conveniently locate far from our own shores (and therefore our eyes, ears, and bodies) the armed conflicts we cause to take place.

The image of America has changed from the Great Liberator of the 20th Century into the self-centered bully, insisting, all evidence to the contrary, that our way is the right and only way and not giving a shit--indeed, becoming offended and defensive--over what other people may believe in contradiction.

How dare they disagree with America, the Greatest Nation of All Time? (Indeed, time stops with us.) We are the repository of freedom! You are puny and irrelevant! We alone defeated the dark forces of fascism in World War 2 and we alone stood fast against Communist totalitariansm while the rest of you swine cringed in terror and would have been engulfed were it not for the bravery and steadfastness of your American protector.

And don't you forget it.


Our Friends, the Oil Companies

Oil-industry profits are at an all-time high. Are there calls in Congress for those companies to plow some of that money back into the infrastructure that makes their existence possible? That seems the most reasonable thing, after all, since it is we consumers who make a large segment of their vast profits possible.

(Homework: what portion of American oil industry profit derives from consumer purchases and what portion from governmental or other types of purchase?)

We buy their products and pay their salaries; you'd think they'd be grateful and return some of that profit to us in some material way--like cheap petroleum products! Since we live in an automobile culture! Instead, gas prices go up so far that I'm actually happy to seem them come back down to $2.50. Besides, what's a car culture for if not to be an endless revenue stream, at least until the oil runs out?

Maybe they could pay taxes--which I guess they do, in their own way. A few million for these Republicans here, a few million for those (fucking) Democrats there; if that's not supporting your government then I don't know what is.

But no, those profits seem destined to remain liquid, in the forms of compensation for executive management and securities, I would say. And R&D for new products to generate either real need or the illusion of need. In either case, it's a one-way revenue stream (there's that word again) to our disadvantage. The rich get richer and the poor get negative cash flow.

Did I mention advertizing?


Honesty Is Such a Lonely Word

"And by the way, enough with the 'spousal' notification bullshit, okay? You won’t let gay people get married, so we’re only talking about heteros here, and last I checked, men couldn’t get pregnant, so let’s call this what it is—the Husband’s Prerogative Over His Wife’s Body Law. Sure, it doesn’t have the snappy ring to it that 'spousal notification' does, but at least it’s honest."

And honesty is always the best policy.

Oh, That Maradona!

"Earlier, the tone was struck by the former football star Diego Maradona, who wore a 'Stop Bush' T-shirt to an anti-Bush "counter-summit" that drew some 4,000 protesters from around the world and easily eclipsed the official summit in the public's attention. 'I'm proud as an Argentine to repudiate the presence of this human trash, George Bush,' said Maradona."

That fucking Maradona!

The scene: Kindsbach, West Germany, me sitting at home watching the finals--the finals!--of the 1986 World Cup on TV. West Germany on the cusp of history! Hans Beckenbauer and the boys! Versus Argentina! Gonna do it! You can hear the shouting from the people watching the game on TV in the neighborhood bars! And the winning goal is kicked by ... Maradona.


"Human trash", indeed. Well, we certainly call a spade a spade, don't we?

Why Bush is Bad for the World

Oh, my god.

"President Bush last week appointed nine campaign contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a 16-member panel of individuals from the private sector who advise the president on the quality and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence efforts." (Newsweek, via Altercation)

Note, of course, that he picked nine people for a 16-member board, thereby ensuring that his wishes will be accommodated. Smart man, that George W. Bush.

Anybody who thinks George W. Bush is doing a good job, like about 35 percent of Americans, should think about this particular piece of presidential news. What is arguably our biggest challenge right now? Could it be spelled I-R-A-Q? And what is arguably the most critical element in that effort, beyond the breathing human flesh that is required to make everything happen? Could it be spelled "I-N-T-E-L-L-I-G-E-N-C-E"? And so maybe we want people overseeing our intelligence efforts to be people who k-n-o-w-w-h-a-t-t-h-e-y-'r-e-d-o-i-n-g? Is this really a job for c-a-m-p-a-i-g-n-c-o-n-t-r-i-b-u-t-o-r-s?

The man is a sociopath.

Unless Congress decides to exercise its oversight authority, we are doomed.


A Thought on Grover Norquist

"I want to get government down to the size where you can drown it in the bathtub."

Famous words from Grover Norquist, anti-tax god and virulent anti-government wild man. My question to him: If you hate government so much, why are you so dependent on its existence for your own? The logical end of your campaign is to eradicate government altogether; what will you do when it's gone?


Update on Nov. 27 05: It's nice to see that even the guys on Grover's own team see that he's useless:

"When we asked [McCain's] staff for a comment on Norquist's fusillade against McCain, his chief of staff, Mark Salter, had a lot to say. 'In Norquist's world, the truth is for suckers. And it's as pointless to respond to him as it would be to respond to some street-corner schizophrenic,' Salter responded."

Yeah, baby!


Repubs: Lying or Just Stupid?

"Republicans, while not defending Libby, asserted that the lack of other indictments indicated there was no conspiracy in the White House to punish an administration critic by identifying his wife as a CIA operative." (link)

If that is their statement, then they are either too stupid or too mendacious--it's got to be one or the other--to be the elected representatives of American citizens, who deserve better and many of whom actually believe are as good as these politicians posture themselves to be. Legalistic sophistry designed to confuse rather than to educate the electorate is not acceptable, especially since you are bent on not allowing us little people to be decently educated to the point where we might be able to defend ourselves against your anti-intellectual propaganda, you chickenshits. Who think it's okay to make it harder for Joe Six-Pack Nascar-dad's kid to go to fucking junior college to say nothing of Enormous State.

Because they know damn well that there was a fucking conspiracy to do the nasty right there in Tricky Dick 2's conference room and these guys are facing decades in prison (unless you-know-who is going to pardon them all now and then let it all hang out in fronta God'n ever'body in Texas and around the world for the next three years).
So, these Republicans are being disingenuous at best. Not least because they know that much of the common wisdom is that Fitzgerald is just getting started--and why would Libby being doing this on his own or, if there are other people who are, say, doing the same kind of thing as Libby, how could they not know about each other and why would they not really be working together? In other words, how is it possible that there is no conspiracy?

O-o-o, as a matter of fact, I don't think I've heard the "c" word before that particular article, and it was floated by the Republicans! Sweet. (Cornyn: "I think what we found out this week is that any alleged wrongdoing is really confined to a single individual. Those who were expecting an indictment, indicating a broad conspiracy to out a covert CIA agent or - are going to be disappointed because there is no evidence to support that.") Looks like a road map to me. And what gentlemen (and ladies) these are, letting the loyal Scooter take one for the team.

And everybody else walks? As some blogger somewhere indicated, I think Mrs. Libby and children might want to have something to say about that, hm-m? Scooter does thirty years of solitude just so Karl Rove doesn't have to go to jail, or Dick Cheney? Somebody be singin' like Mahalia Jackson!


Another Libra



Headline from Hell

Oh, my God! The headline!

"Bush fires Plamegate DA"

Ha ha, just kidding.


Michelle Malkin, Whiner

Michelle and others are angry that the Nobel Literature committee has picked (another) avowed "anti-American", British playwright Harold Pinter, to receive its 2005 prize. These prizes are all political, they claim, and the supposed practice of only recognizing liberal writers has become so egregious that even some Swedes (!) are up in arms.

Michelle posted Pinter's recent paean to shock-and-awe as a demonstration that he is an undeserving hack:

American Football

It works.
We blew the shit out of them.
We blew the shit right back up their own ass

And out their fucking ears.
It works.

We blew the shit out of them.
They suffocated in their own shit!

Praise the Lord for all good things.
We blew them into fucking shit.

They are eating it.

Praise the Lord for all good things.
We blew their balls into shards of dust,

Into shards of fucking dust.
We did it.
Now I want you to come over here and kiss me on the mouth.

All I can say is, Get used to it, Michelle. In fact, I hope you feel the same way about Mr. al-Baradei getting the Peace Prize, too. Get used to having your warmongering imperialism thrown right back in your face, not just by writers and artists but also by the internationally renowned organizations who accord these people their highest honors. Not everybody thinks that war is cool and that America is the bestest and most peacefulest nation on earth.

Michelle Malkin has been shitting on writers for a while now. I wrote a letter to the editor a few years ago challenging a column by Ms. Malkin in which, as I recall, she castigated an American university (Temple?) that had had the temerity to give a teaching position to Amiri Baraka. What was Amiri Baraka's crime? I believe it probably had to do with his 2001 poem "Somebody Blew Up America", though I could be wrong. (Like an idiot, I can't put my fingers on either the article or my letter.) But the method is there, if memory serves. Baraka says blame America first, why do you let him teach? He's corrupting young minds! Universities are hotbeds of liberalism! They must be purged!

This is freedom? This is thought-crime.

Anyway, as I was scouring around Michelle's website looking for her anti-Baraka screed (not there), I found an interesting tidbit from 2000 entitled "My Impeachment Referendum", in which she reports that she's going to vote Democratic in the upcoming Congressional election. The reason? Her representative, Connie Morella, R-Md., had voted against the Clinton bills of impeachment in 1998.

To wit: "The message is loud and clear. It says to me that Morella cared more about focus groups than about the rule of law. It says she was more willing to stand by a Democrat president -- who lied under oath, lied to his family, lied to his Cabinet, lied to the nation, attempted to persuade his staff to lie under oath, and used the people’s house and resources to escape the consequences of lies piled upon lies -- than by her own fellow Republicans who performed their constitutional duty against the prevailing tide of moral relativism."

Ah, yes, Moral Relativism, the great boogeyman of the Right. In that spirit, I would ask Ms. Malkin what she thinks about our current administration, whose lies about, for example, weapons of mass destruction have been exposed for years (and let's just leave aside the Politics of Personal Destruction for the time being). Or does she really think Bush had it right all along that somehow Saddam Hussein was able to spirit one of the world's largest arsenals of conventional and unconventional weaponry out of the country under the nose of the world's most sophisticated satellite intelligence system, which can identify the proverbial car license plate from 200 miles into outer space? And nobody's found it to this day? Well, I guess it could be. Or maybe Michelle Malkin is just stupid.

(By the way, if Michelle is actually concerned about weapons that happen to be missing, she might ask what happened to the four-thousand Stinger missiles that turned up not to be where they were supposed to be a couple of years ago. And what about all those munition dumps that were looted in the early days of the Glorious War for the Independence of Iraq? Could some of those same munitions actually be in use against our own troops? I guess Michelle would agree with our Defense secretary that that's what can happen when "untidy" freedom-things like looting take place in brand-new democracies like Iraq.)

Stupid or no, Michelle is nevertheless a hyprocrite. Her own moral relativism is as plain as the nose on her face and would be an embarrassment to her if she weren't such a blockheaded ideologue. She is outraged over lies about fellatio by a Democratic president--in federal court, no less! And to his own wife!--but doesn't show the same sense of betrayal when it comes to "lies piled upon lies" of much more terrible effect being uttered by a fearmongering Republican administration and abetted by its craven allies in Congress.

As to the "rule of law" to which Michelle makes her required genuflection: Do we really have to go into detail over the contortions that Michelle and her fellows on the Right put themselves through in order to justify George Bush's violations of international laws to which we are a signatory? Do the words "Geneva Conventions" mean anything to her?

I guess it doesn't count if you're America.

Update, Oct 31 05
To finish, though, and bring this train back home, how then is Michelle Malkin a whining hypocrite as pertains to the Nobel literature award? Because if it were someone more of her political persuasion who had been selected (and I am enough of a pedestrian not to be able to name someone--Hitchens' friend Amis maybe? Who's as right wing as Malkin and writes books that college professors think their students should read?), you can bet your ass that Michelle would come up with the perfect opposites to cover that as she is to cover this. I'll expound on that in more detail later (after I've come up with examples), but now I have to go upstairs and be sociable. Waah.


Theater of the Absurd

It's a great day for democracy. Iraq is voting for a constitution! (Should that be capital C?) How happy we are!

Ten years ago you couldn't find thirty percent of this country who knew the difference between Eye-rak and Eye-ran and now we're supposed to get goose bumps whenever we see the Blue Fingertip of Freedom? Are you shitting me? Twelve years of U.S.-led sanctions rendered our former agent Saddam Hussein impotent as the regional Hitler (except for his domestic terror regime) while impoverishing his people and causing the deaths of a half-million children ... and the recently published ex-hostage "just an ole' country boy" truck driver on C-SPAN can feel grateful that American kids don't have to beg for food like Iraqi kids.

Americans as a people seem to have the worst kind of tunnel vision--it's like looking through the wrong end of a million kaleidoscopes, where you don't see the big picture but just a bunch of little pictures, all of which are inspiring or fearsome but none of which is connected to any of the others. Life as a series of disconnected vignettes, a theater of the absurd. No wonder people are so scared. Who wouldn't be if you had no rational explanation for how the world works?

Which brings us to the rejection of science. Thanks, Republicans!