Friday, February 24, 2006


"Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves." - Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

It's true, you know.

Around the turn of the last century, we in America were filled with a sense of purpose, that we were special people and destined to be an example of What Could Be, based on self-reliance and free enterprise. Two World Wars and a Cold War later, that sense of self-reliance lay in tatters.

Over the past 100 years we have see just how deep into the depths of depravity and evil human beings are capable of sinking, and that has shaken our confidence. As we lost faith in ourselves, we began to fall back on other things to act as supports (crutches).

During the Cold War, we relied on nationalism and the belief that we were Better (somehow) than the godless Commies; when the Soviet Union and its adherent states fell apart, many people were left without that crutch. What was the use in relying on the State, when the State was no longer needed to protect us?

To use a now-tired cliche, 9/11 changed everything.

Acting out of fear is never a good course of action; it clouds your better judgment, you see. So many people in this country have fled from the responsibility of being self-reliant, and have sought refuge in religion and in nationalism. However, it's not the religion you might think, and it's a twisted and perverse form of nationalism.

The religion now embraced by many who call themselves 'conservatives' is closer to one of the older "pagan" faiths - the belief that the god will destroy our enemies. And the term "enemies" now encompasses anyone - anyone who does not agree, anyone who does conform, anyone who does believe. The God of Love and Mercy no longer walks abroad in their mental landscape.

The perversion of nationalism can be discerned merely by turning on talk radio or certain news outlets on the TV. The State, embodied by the President, is sharing if not supplanting faith in a Deity as the guiding religion. It too, is far removed from our former libertarian democracy - adherents of this twisted faith deny dissent, brand those who disagree traitors, and actively, vocally (and in some cases vociferously) wish them actual physical harm, with little or no fear of reprisal from the forces of law and order.

It's no wonder that the present Government wants the "war on terror" to be a long one. It will perpetuate fear, and keep people off balance longer so that they too will stop thinking for themselves and take up the crutches.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Any Port in a Storm

How long, O Lord, how long?

Are these assholes ALL thieves and traitors?

Our Dear Leader wants to exercise his long-unused veto to block any attempt to delay or stop the deal where security at six ports in our country will be taken over by a company headquartered in the United Arab Emirates.

Think about that a minute.

George W Bush has consistently refused to use his veto authority for any reason, no matter what stupid law or insane spending bill has crossed his blood, alcohol, and sputum-stained desk. So now he want to exercise it, in the face of actual bipartisan opposition.

Even my own congresscritter, Adam Putnam, shrugged off his collar and leash and told Bush to ram it up his ass on this one. Some things are just beyond the pale.

Now Bush is saying that he didn't know about it at first.

What a clueless jerkoff. And so much for being the "President Who Makes Us Safer."

Or the "President Who's All About National Security."

And for any member of Bush's Base who still slavishly laps at the sour effluvia emanating from this gold-plated carpetbagging wastrel, I have this question: "Are you brain-dead, or just a traitor?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Land of Secrets and Lies

The New York Times is reporting that historians are baffled by the number of documents that are being reclassified as secret by the government. Information that has been common knowledge for years is starting to disappear into the Night and Fog.

Further, a small cabal of GOP assholes (excuse me, honorable Representatives) have sent a bill up to the House Judiciary Committee asking that the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution be repealed. For those of you playing along at home, that's the amendment the GOP Congress rammed home after Franklin Roosevelt died to ensure that no President could EVER AGAIN serve more than two terms in office. Seems like these assholes (Sensenbrenner among them - no surprise as he's chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House) want the Imperial Presidency to continue as long as the ballot machines can run.

The Land of the Free is disappearing, folks, slipping away on soft cat's feet without many people noticing it.

Mourn for Lost America.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

McTerrorists, Inc.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has announced that al Qaeda has better PR than the US military and the other members of the coalition, and that a group of ragged fundamentalists have better communications than the most powerful military organization on the planet.

Sadly, Rummy may be right. The use of satelite phones, text messages and Blackberry personal communications devices enables terrorists to network and coordinate their efforts. Because it's a number of small cells or groups, finding and destroying them (because let's face it - that's what an army does for a living) becomes an exercise in futility.

I use the term "McTerrorists" in identifying this post because the term "al Qaeda" has become a franchise name. Any street gang or group of malcontents who want some instant street cred, notoriety or respect can adopt the name, and who will be the wiser?

I expect to see a gang of Christian gang-bangers calling themselves something like "al Qaeda in Evanston, Indiana" sometime soon.

Friday, February 17, 2006

From the BBC:

Iran calls for UK Iraq pull-out

Iran's foreign minister has called for the "immediate withdrawal" of UK troops from Basra, in southern Iraq.
Manouchehr Mottaki claimed the presense of the British was "destabilising" security in the city.
But UK Prime Minister Tony Blair dismissed the comments as an aim to "divert attention" from concerns over Iran's stability.
Mr Blair reiterated that UK troops were in Iraq with a UN mandate and backing from the Iraqi government.
UK forces are facing rising hostility after the release of a video appearing to show troops beating Iraqi civilians.
Basra's provincial council suspended relations with UK forces over the video.
UK newspaper the News of the World carried images it said came from a video shot in 2004. The video has been aired repeatedly on Iraqi television. Three soldiers have been arrested over the film.

Unrest blame
Britain's 8,000 troops have their headquarters in Basra.
Mr Mottaki made his comments through an interpreter to reporters on a visit to Lebanon.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran requests the immediate withdrawal of British forces from Basra," he said.
Iranian officials have repeatedly blamed British agents in Iraq for an outbreak of ethnic unrest across the border in Iran's mainly Arab south-eastern province of Khuzestan.
Mr Mottaki also called on the new Iraq government, to be formed after the inauguration of parliament later this month, to put "an immediate stop to the US occupation".
Mr Blair said there was "no point trying to divert attention from the issues to do with Iran by calling into question the British presence in Iraq".
"The reason we remain there is the desire of the Iraqi people to have a democracy, to elect their own government and to have the same rights and liberties that we enjoy, whether in Germany - in Britain. Our job is to help them get that," he said.
Meanwhile in Basra local protests are planned for Saturday and city councillors have spoken of what they say are heavy-handed tactics by troops and a need for better communication.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/17 12:26:47 GMT

This is rather interesting. Iran's having a small spate of bombings in its southern provinces, and in light of the yelling and posturing going on, it's certainly plausible that the bombings may be the fault of agents provocateurs. The release of the abuse video just makes matters worse.
Ah, but how can it be worse?
Silly people. It can always get worse. Just watch.

The Fox and the Henhouse ....

A Cautionary Tale.

Once upon a time, a farmer was shocked and his family was horrified to see that foxes had raided their henhouse, killing chickens and breaking eggs all over the place. The family and the farmer worked hard to rebuild the henhouse and coax the chickens into laying eggs again.

Then the family learned that the farmer had struck a deal with the King of the Foxes. The King would allow his foxes to guard and run the henhouse, to the benefit of the farmer and his family. The farmer's family rushed to him and exclaimed, "What is this? Didn't the foxes ruin our henhouse just a little while ago?"

"Hush," the farmer said. "I have spoken to our neighbors, and my friends. The King of the Foxes trusts his minions, and I trust the King. Our chickens and their eggs will be safe, and we will prosper."


Now, boys and girls, what do you think might happen next?

"Welcome to McTerrorists! Can I Take Your Order?"

CNN (yes, you heard me, the Chicken Noodle Network) has reported that the US Army has in its possession an actual employment contract used by the al Qaeda terrorist organization.

I'm not kidding.

The contract stipulates, among other things, how much vacation time is allowed to its employees (married or single), sick leave, and pay allowances.

It actually makes some sense - Osama was, after all, trained as a businessman. It would be plausible that he'd follow a business model.

But the idea's still a bit silly. Here you have people blowing themselves up for an Idea - and you want to make sure they get five days of sick leave per month.

However, there's a plus side. At least you don't have too many people in the pension plan.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Noted author and humorist PJ O'Rourke once titled a book about the Congress and its members Parliament of Whores, and he was never more right than now.

That came out a bit stilted, didn't it?

Whatever. None of you read this for English lessons.

As the Abramoff Scandal widens, more and more Republican congresscritters are being caught in the wire-noose traps. Trapped by their extremities, they either jabber frantically in order to frighten their opponents away, keen shrilly for support, or chew their own legs off in a vain effort to get clear of the impending fate that awaits them.

Now, of course, the GOP leadership is trying to defuse this, partly by putting disgraced and indicted Texas-size Asshole Tom Bugnuts DeLay into the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, as well as put him in the position to shut off funds to the very same Special Prosecutor investigating his scandal. Neat, huh?

Sen. Pat Roberts (I won't name what state he supposedly represents because I don't want to insult them by mentioning them in association with this waste of valuable natural resources) basically adopted the same position Nixon did in 1977 - "If the President does it, it's legal." Um, Pat, hey, did you know that Nixon was pressured into resigning over warrantless wiretaps, among other things? And if he hadn't resigned, he would've been impeached and put in prison? You disgusting prick. I shall daily pray that the same God who killed Cain and squashed Samson comes out of retirement with your name #1 on his 'People To Do' list.

Meanwhile, Our Clueless President, Rex et Imperator and Provisioner Extraordinaire of Dick Cheney's Portfolio, George W Bush makes his merry way, speaking to carefully screened crowds of sycophants and worshippers. God, I have just one request this week - put this hopeless wastrel President in a position where he'll be asked some real questions for a change, huh? Please?

But getting back to the Brothel that is Official Washington, if you have the money you can get anything done in Washington. Anything at all! A law to guarantee the transportation of flocks of sweet young Arab children in order to keep Dick Cheney supplied with fresh blood? Not a problem.

A law that lets Bush do whatever the hell he wants, even if it means using the Constitution (that he swore to uphold) as toilet paper? You betcha, Sport. Get out the checkbook.

Yes. The Best Government Money Can Buy.

Happy Darwin Day!

And for all you "intelligent design" yahoos out there, just remember that your opposable thumb is extremely useful - particularly for ramming up your ass, you disgusting fundamentalist losers.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Citius, Altius, Fortius

The Games of the 2006 Winter Olympiad have begun in Turin, Italy, and the words of the Olympic motto have struck a chord in my mind. It's three simple words.

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

The ancient Greeks fostered the Olympic tradition as part religious rite and part political truce. No wars were allowed between the city-states, and no one on their way to the Games was permitted to be robbed or molested in any way. King Philip of Macedon humbly paid a fine because one of his soldiers robbed a spectator.

It has often been suggested that the true game of kings - war - should be set aside, as advances in technology have made competitive homicide expensive and even suicidal. As an alternative, events such as the Olympics have been put forward, to foster nondestructive competition as a means of settling disputes.

I hold no hope for such an alternative. We are not yet too removed from our animal nature to turn our backs on war. So all that is left is a dream, and those three words that epitomize the aspirations of human beings - the urge to strive, to do, and to become.


When a roof starts to cave in, or the ice beneath your feet starts to give way, they usually give you a sign that things are about to go dreadfully wrong. The sign usually takes the form of a cracking sound, and it always translates as, "Run, you fool."

So the Bushite Junta is starting to hear a lot of cracking sounds:

The revelation that the White House knew that New Orleans was flooding the day before the date they said they knew;

The revelation that the White House did, indeed, 'cherry-pick' the intelligence leading up to our military adventure in Iraq;

The revelation that Scooty Libby did, in fact, receive orders from his superiors to 'out' Valerie Plame. This draws a direct line to Vice-President Richard 'the Dick' Cheney, who was Libby's immediate boss;

The revelation that the President has violated the 4th Amendment by authorizing warrantless wiretaps on Americans without even the rubber stamp of going through the FISA Court;

The revelation that Laura Bush eats puppies (sorry, I made that one up).

That's a heavy load for any Administration to bear. It's just as well that the economy's doing fairly well, or there would be howling mobs gathered before the White House, screeching for blood.

Can YOU hear the cracking sounds yet?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Murderous Certainties

Back in September, a right-wing Danish newspaper published some scurrilous cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed (pboh).* The matter raised a bit of a stir, and quietly died. Now, however, the publication of the cartoons in another newspaper and on the Internet have raised a bit of a fuss.

Angry mobs have burned the Danish flag and burned the Danish embassies in Damascus and Beirut. An economic boycott of Danish products is putting a major hit in Danish wallets. And the Syrian Government has snubbed the ambassadors of the Scandinavian nations.

So, while the protests continue (now further inflamed by knockoffs of the original 'toons that make them even more inflammatory), many here in the West are asking "What's all the fuss about some damned drawings?"

Well, here goes.

For starters, it is a tradition in Sunni Islam (the largest, widest-spread and most orthodox of the various Islamic sects) that you do not depict the Prophet. Picturing his face, it is argued, may lead some people to venerate an image, rather like a Catholic might venerate a saint. To a Muslim, that's idolatry, and a sin against Allah. The Sufi and Shia sects are not as strict, hence the widespread depiction of religious leaders such as Ayatollah Khomeini.

Further, most if not all of the countries where these riots are taking place have a long or deeply-rooted history of secularism or freedom of expression. Here in the West we have the Enlightenment and a long history of struggle to express ourselves without being repressed. The best analogy to the shock and anger felt by the average Muslim could be likened to the feelings many religious fundamentalists felt when an artist immersed a crucifix into urine, or another artist accentuated a portrait of Mary with elephant dung. Both acts shocked people by a perceived assault on a very sensitive spot; i.e., religion.

Apologies won't stop this. William Durant once wrote of the Muslims that they were generally good-natured sorts until or unless the Faith was attacked. Then all hell would break loose. He also coined the term that titles this entry.

Murderous certainties. No one's died yet in all this (so far as I've heard), but someone will.

*pboh: "peace be on him," the standard form of benediction bestowed on the Prophet. I'm trying to be nice.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Curious, George ...

"Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research, human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling or patenting human embryos."-- GWBush [SOTU, 1/31/06]

This is what Dear Leader had to say to the assembled Houses of Congress and the American People - that he and the crazed pack of Christ-mongering assholes that own him want to close up the science of genetic biology. Seal away forever the hope and promise that genetic research could give to millions of people who suffer from disease, deformity or disability as a result of drawing the wrong card in the genetic poker game.

One would wish that George Bush's parents will never suffer the slow degradation of memory and life that is Alzheimer's, or that his daughters never look upon their children and know that their offspring have Downs' Syndrome.

As for human/animal hybrids, who's to say what's human and what's animal? I, for one, regret that we lost our prehensile tails all those many years ago - having a tail would be very handy for toting groceries or opening doors if your hands are full.